Monthly Archives: August 2008

More Kz Photos with Captions

I have put more photos into the Kz Picasa Album, and added captions as well.

Graffiti Under Bridge

Graffiti Under Bridge


Kazakhstan Photos

I have taken a first batch of photos and put them on Picasa.  There is one photo shot out of the third floor of the school.  If you look to the right, there is a new looking three story building there.  I am pretty sure I am going to be living on the second floor of that building with a nice view of the river.  I like it because it is not too big, close to school, new, and it has a great view.

Today I am working on getting ready for my classes.  I will be teaching six different classes, but I don’t think it will be as bad as it sounds.  There is a ton of support in the form of curriculum and materials.

Books that Change Lives

Here are some meaningful lists of books that change lives by various people. This list comes from Kevin Kelly.   I have read many of these books, but there are certainly many books on these lists that I am now encouraged to read.

Peter Turney, AI researcher
Tim O’Reilly, Publisher
Steven Leckart, Editor
Mark Reid, AI researcher
Trent Hamm, financial blogger
Eric Rawlins, data architect
Larry Winget, motivational speaker
Mark Verber, software architect
Duane Johnson, software architect
Lucas Doran, road burn chaser
Ryan Holiday, blogger

Yearbook Yourself

This is a great site!  It is quick and easy.  Here are examples:

What Skills Should We Teach?

For the last year or so, I have been attempting to distill a list of skills that high school students should be able to successfully accomplish before they graduate.  I have borrowed from countless sources to come up with this list.  A rich source of information comes from The Blue Skunk Blog as well as the sources cited in the article.  I have also borrowed from Smart and Good High Schools.  I should also acknowledge the good work done at the American International School of Hong Kong.

Having said all of that, I am sure that there is room to improve on the list of skills that I have identified.  I would appreciate hearing what you think.

Information Acquisition and Management

  • Listening
  • Reading and Observing
  • Ability to Understand and Interpret Data
  • Study Skills
  • Organization – Knowing where you put things- both physically and mentally


  • Questioning
  • Creative Thinking
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    — Compare and Contrast
    — Contextualization
    — Continuity and Change Over Time
    — Synthesis
    — Global Patterns/Processes Over Time/Space
    — Argumentation


  • Anticipate Problems
  • Develop Solutions
  • Ethics
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Delayed Gratification and Tenacity
  • Goal-Setting and Follow-through

Relating to Others

  • Communication
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration and Contribution
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Negotiation
  • Leadership and Responsibility

Math and Accounting

  • Saving and Investing
  • Reading Financial Statements

We Have a Politician in our Midst!

Cousin Carolyn is running for political office!  She has decided to take the opportunity to give back to society by running for constable in East Phoenix Number 2 Precinct.  Her website contains more information about her campaign.

In a world where truth is stranger than fiction, Carolyn is running against a two time incumbent who has been legally restrained from doing her job!  Carolyn has the support of her party (which is also the party of her incumbent opponent in the primary).  The primary election is on Tuesday, September 2.  The general election is on Tuesday, November 4.  Check out the video on her website, which does a better job than I could ever do explaining the problems associated with her opponent.

Good luck Carolyn!

The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway, is the best book I have read in years.  What makes it so good?  First, despite the immense misery heaped on the characters, there is a strong message of hope contained in the book.  Second, it is an absorbing account of the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990’s, as told through the thoughts of the people who lived through it.  Finally, it is an excellent story.

One of the most important qualities of a story is whether it contains a message of hope.  This book, despite its deep immersion into the horrors of war, contains a strong message of hope.  While the characters definitely experience moments of despair (who wouldn’t, having to live through something as horrible as a modern-day siege?), each of the four major characters displays through action a willingness to retain and manifest hope in spite of the horror.

Second, Galloway connects his characters and their unfortunate backdrop into an engaging story that leaves the reader wanting to know more about the characters.  And while some of the characters demonstrate more continuity in response to the backdrop, others change dramatically when pushed.  Humanity is nevertheless affirmed in all of the major characters.

Finally, Galloway is an excellent storyteller.  He knows when to emphasize detail, and he knows when to make a major push to stitch together his message.

Throughout this book, I felt challenged, but I did not feel manipulated.  I would recommend it highly.

I am putting together ratings of this and other books that I have read in LibraryThing.