Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post Blizzard Pictures (2-25-11)

After the snow settled, I returned to EWU's radio tower and shot pictures of the sunset. It was a day later, but the view was much clearer.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.


2-25-11 South Hill/Mica Peak

Morrison Streeter 2-25-11

Water tower 2-25-11

EWU 2-25-11

Steptoe Butte in the distance, EWU in the foreground.

Northern Hill, Cheney 2-25-11

Mica Peak 2-25-11

Mica Peak--the view from EWU radio tower.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blizzard Blankets West Plains.

South Hill, Spokane--View from Cheney
South Hill--Spokane, View from Cheney
Northern Hill, Cheney
Northeastern Hill, Cheney-- to the right as you head to the freeway on 904.
Betz Elementary and middle of Cheney

Self Portrait-Blizzard
Condensation from my breath froze to my hair. It was 10 degrees with wind gusts up to 25. During my trek, two motorists stopped to ask if I needed a ride. They must have figured that only crazy people would be out
taking pictures.
Geoff Meyer ties a bandana to his face to protect against the blizzard conditions while snow blowing. Adding to the Blizzard
Adding to the Blizzard
Geoff Meyer blows snow in 10 degrees.

More to come.

Blizzard Closes West Plains Schools

Updated 5:52 a.m.

EWU news twitter feed has announced that the university is closed.

Cheney School District has called students, saying school is closed due to "hazardous weather conditions."

Krem2 News has announced the closures of Reardan-Edwall and Medical Lake school districts too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jenny Hyde: Virtual Virtuoso

Jenny Hyde is an art and design professor on the farthest reaches of campus. In a round cinder brick of a building, Jenny shuffles in her clogs through the Digitial Arts Lab, calling over the seventeen monitors and seventeen scanners. Over lightly freckled cheeks, her hazel eyes flit about the room. At the end of the lecture, she tours the room, giving praise and instruction to her digital art students.

The Digital Arts Lab is far from the drawing and painting studios where she began. In 1998 she earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Her exhibition was in drawing and painting.

Maintaining a studio in New York City exhausted Jenny. She worked multiple jobs to support her artwork, but the fulfillment wasn’t there. She was tired. Her ideas weren’t working. Painting wasn’t answering the questions she was asking.

She had been exploring “cultural geography” and human control on physical spaces. She explains, “When I say the words, “American West’ or ‘The West,’ immediately there’s images that will come to one’s mind that are sort of stereotypes of what the American West is. Stereotypes such as… cows, horses—all these things that…depict the American West, but in reality these things were only there because of human habitation… the European invasion…So these icons were manmade in a sense. So we actually made these landscapes through our influence and what we were doing.”

Influenced by recent art shows she had attended, Jenny had been experimenting with different media, drawing with Sharpies on different materials. In addition to cultural geography concepts, Jenny was trying to recall a certain physical experience or feeling of what happens to someone physically but had difficulty putting this on canvas.

A visiting friend examined her work. He told her that she should be making videos and recommended the Electronic Integrated Arts program at Alfred University, where he was attending.

She applied and started the program in the fall of 2004. A year after she finished graduate school, she moved back to New York. Freelancing, she created web pages and assisted another artist by transferring her slides to j-pegs until Eastern Washington University hired her as a visiting assistant professor, which lead to her current position.

Her work has shifted to the body itself and how it shows evidence of life, thoughts and anxieties. She is “looking at the body like a thing we need to survive…physical things that we depend upon about our bodies.”

In her short movie, Potential Problems, she uses scans of chewed fingernails in different layers and sizes, moving them across the screen and rendering them into something other than fingernails. She takes the digital image and is able to render it into something beautiful in a different and new way.

“My work…focuses on these weird little physical things that our bodies do that are evidences of our inner selves...This recent body of art I’ve done with fingernails…I’ve been scanning and collecting all my chewed off fingernails, which is totally gross. But it’s a gross activity…Sometimes I’ll be sitting in the classroom…and I’ll see fingernails from other fingernail chewers…and there’s like these little pieces of body all over the place…So that to me is fascinating…not only act and the weird grossness of it,” Jenny pauses to laugh, “but that they’re doing it because they’re either nervous or bored. It involves some psychological need or comfort.”

In her current project, Zooming In, Jenny uses video to compare the sleeping body of a child in diapers to that of an adult in the same position. She utilizes two channels of video playing simultaneously. One view is the zoomed in view only inches away from the baby while a scroll bar hovers over the correlating spot on the adult’s body.

She was inspired by online shopping and the interactive nature of viewing objects that one can’t hold before purchasing. The child and the adult have a personal connection to her as well, which spurred her thinking further. “I’m a fairly new mother of a two year old…one of the things that really fascinates me is that he is literally a physical copy of his father. I think about this genetics versus digital code. Working digitally, you can constantly you can copy and paste, copy and paste…and it’s the same thing…Human reproduction is a little more organic than that, but the info in the DNA code reappears as a copy in my baby...His body is the same as my husband’s. Sure his face is a little bit more of a blend of us, but his body is his father’s.”

She would like to create an interactive piece with this material, where the viewer can scroll over the adult body and see the corresponding place on the baby, but she says she’ll need help with technology before she can do that. “What I love most is that what I want to use or use changes as much as the technology changes…Working with digital technology is like a double-edged sword because (every new change) happens so fast. You get the hang of something then a new program will pop up or they’ll revise it somehow. It gets exhausting.”

Beyond digital art, Jenny thinks that “what’s next will involve a complete simulated environment.” “We touched on it a little bit with virtual reality,” she says, “but there’s a problem with virtual reality because you had to wear a big thing on you. Now we can interact…between environment and virtual environment…like the Wii game…Your physical movements are involved in the actual process…I see a lot more simulated environments that actually also use your physical environment… so that it’s not all simulated. That actually involves the physical self as well.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

All-Star Game like Winning Lottery for 13-year-old

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
CORRECTION: If you've read this article already, you should know that Nespelem is on the Colville Reservation and the Cardinal's player spells his name Pujols, not Pojoles.

Dark hair, dark eyes and fair skin, Shane Moses plays with his lip ring and smiles shyly. At 23, he has big plans and big dreams: sports journalism and a career broadcasting the games he relies on. “If school is bad… if my team is doing well... it’ll make it easier.” Moses says that his teams’ successes give him momentum and confidence. College athletes also inspire him because they have schoolwork too.

When Moses turned 13, all he wanted for his birthday was a trip to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. While his counterparts were asking for gaming systems, all the eighth grader could think of were his favorite sports stars aligning into constellations in Seattle.

Shane had played ball since he was in second grade but had not been to many games. His extended family followed both baseball and basketball so when he mentioned the All-Star game to his mom, it wasn’t a huge surprise. She hesitated; it would be expensive. He knew there were “going to be hella guys there.” It would be fun, he told her. They could go to Pike Street, he said. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he said.

The tickets would be expensive, but Rachel Moses, a single mom, probably knew she could get a lot of mileage out of the event. She answered Shane’s pleas by asking him if he deserved it. She told Shane that “actions prove louder than words.”  Shane answered the challenge by mowing lawns and doing household chores for a month before the midsummer game. If they went, Shane agreed, there would be no birthday present in October.
She was correct to be worried about the costs. After the costs of the tickets, the hotel room, the food and memorabilia, Shane estimates that his mother put $1000 on her credit card. For a single mom working for a tribal agency, this was a lot of money.
As an only child, Shane’s lack of competition played to his advantage. “I don’t know if it would’ve happened (if I’d had a sibling.)” Rachel didn’t have to worry about treating Shane with favoritism, and there was no concern for the care of younger children during their trip.

Seattle was five hours from the little town with a gas station that combined with a video quest and mini-mart on the Colville Indian Reservation. The predominately Native American population of 800 lived in “rezzed out” conditions, said Shane. In Nespelem, packs of dogs run through the streets. Tall, unmown grass and cars that are broken down, broken into and shot at surround the run-down houses.
They arrived in Seattle, which was buzzing with excitement and pride over the All-Star game.
Leaving all this behind, it wasn’t enough for Shane and his mother to make it to brand new Safeco Field. Once there, they still had to gain admittance. They had no tickets. Fifteen minutes before the game, they found a scalper, desperate to sell. The two tickets cost Rachel $150, a bargain at $20 to $30 more than the ticketed price.
To this day Shane remembers it like a dream: the sunshine graced them in their seats. A slight breeze wafted through the field. The weather was perfect for baseball. Yet all of the big-time players on the field weren’t the high point of the night for Shane. The stars aligned twice in one night for the young sports fan.

Post-game, the mother and son searched for a hotel. Their first try struck out, so Rachel stole for the Sheraton. When they reached the desk employees fluttered about, stocking a conference room, assembling nylon rope barrier stands. “Something is getting ready to happen.”
The employee behind the counter said that many of the players are staying at the Sheraton. “I bet you’re excited to stay here!” This was bigger than life itself. Shane jumped up and down, screaming for excitement. Heart racing, he couldn’t calm down. “Oh my God!” he said. Rachel grinned—coming to Seattle had been the right decision.
There would be many fans at the hotel that night, including people that weren’t guests. “Make sure you’re here early,” the desk employee said.
They dropped off their luggage and ran out quickly for food. They returned to a packed lobby. The busy atmosphere had turned into a circus. “There were so many fans,” Shane said, “so excited.” Shane begged his mother to allow him to stay. If only he could get an autograph or two.
His mother relented as she had for the trip itself. Shane grabbed a hotel-issued notepad and squeezed his small stature of five-feet-one-inch through the fans. Rachel pressed forward too, slowly. The lobby was crowded with 150 to 200 people from a few little kids to elderly, all waiting for an autograph or a glimpse of a sports hero.
Shane fretted. What if someone came through and he was unable to get an autograph, or a picture or even a look?

Barry Bonds, winner of the National League Most Valuable Player, strolled through the lobby. His wife and kids accompanied him, dressed just as professionally as he did. The kids had slacks and dresses on. It was like seeing the Royal Family. Instantly, Shane put them up on a pedestal.

“Pudge” Ivan Rodriguez burst from a cab. A sharp contrast to the ecstatic fans, the Golden Glove catcher quietly and calmly signed six to eight autographs. Shane, still creeping forward, couldn’t reach him. “He just seemed humble,” said Shane, who wasn’t a huge fan. “Just to see him in person was amazing.” The player was “cut, buff, thick” but Shane says, “I was almost the same height…I didn’t think he was that short.” Rodriguez stepped onto the elevator and vanished for the night.

Manager Joe Torre signed autographs for the fans, his wife smiling on supportively. They were elderly, but the time spent with fans was important to them.

Fans weren’t a priority for everyone. Derek Jeter breezed through in an expensive suit, clothes in a leather bag. Fans pleaded for autographs but he rejected them all. Talent doesn’t matter with such arrogance. Shane says he “can’t stand him.”

A man in a suit stepped into the lobby, shining his aura on all. To Shane it was “like seeing the president.” All the fans admired Chipper Jones simply for how he presented himself. Shane recounted how he wouldn’t lose his temper, even at undeserved strikes. “He was a gentleman, even in Seattle.” “If you were a girl, he was guy you could bring home to your mom and dad.” He signed autographs, mingling with the fans. “So many people were trying to touch him on the shoulder, to give him handshakes.” He went to the bar to visit with the other players.

Bret Boone stepped off the elevator, decked in a nice suit with gelled hair. Shane froze. Star struck, his jaw dropped. He couldn’t move, but it didn’t matter. Boone didn’t sign for anyone. The Silver Slugger promised to sign later, but never did.
In the open-air bar, Boone and Jones were the life of the party. The friends had an energy that held Shane transfixed for hours. “The players were like gods.”
He and Rachel had arrived in the bar at 7 p.m. Rachel could only stay until midnight. Her aching legs prohibited her from standing beyond that. Shane watched the party in the bar, anticipating closing hours.

He wasn’t disappointed. Rich Aurilia stopped on his way to the elevator.
Shane recalled a game televised from San Francisco where the Aurilia’s bat thumped against the ball so hard that the ball soared into the far wall, thumping again. “He would kill (the ball.)”
Aurilia’s breath was sour with alcohol. His girlfriend huffed impatiently. It was obvious that she wanted to go. The Silver Slugger signed anyway.
Shane wanted to touch him on the arm. “Just to be among them was like being in their world…It was an honor breathing the same air.”

Sometime during the evening, Shane made a break for the bathroom. In the neglected hall connected to a side door, he crossed paths with Greg Vaughn of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A girl wearing a short skirt, showing a lot of skin shadowed the player.
“You’re Greg Vaughn! Can I have your autograph?” Shane said.
Vaughn glanced around nervously. “Keep it quiet!” He took the pen and signed.

Later, as St. Louis rookie Albert Pujols headed to the elevator, fans flocked to him, including Shane. This Cardinal puzzled baseball fans nationwide. Fans echoed the question: “Where’d this guy come from?”  He was “destroying the ball.” Impressively, he had been selected as a rookie to play at the All-Star game.
As Shane rushed forward for an autograph, a bigger, older man intercepted Shane. He grabbed Shane and pushed him aside.
Pujols stiff-armed the bully, pushing him aside. “He was here first.”
The bully’s eyes widened.
“Here you go little man.” With the tang of the bar heavy on his breath, Pujols signed for Shane.
Pujols didn’t overlook Shane’s antagonizer in spite of the oppressor’s poor behavior. He signed for him too.
 Shane smiles when he recounts the story. “(The players were) not like people, more like gods.”

Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals was among the last to stumble out of the bar. Shane intercepted the staggering star on the way to the elevator. Sweeney signed, but when Shane inspected the prize, he found an unwelcome surprise: Sweeney’s room number.
Reflecting on Sweeney’s mistake, Shane laughs. “Do I look like a girl?” Sweeney was later traded to the Mariners, but in Shane’s mind, he’ll always be the drunk looking for a date.

When Shane returned to his room, it was around 2:30. He had stood all night, waiting, but his legs were not tired. Rachel was waiting, excited to celebrate Shane’s trophies—a simple memo pad with scribblings from some of the greatest athletes of his time.
He couldn’t sleep for all the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He had met so many stars. The reality still hadn’t set it and wouldn’t until after he had returned home. After all, he watched these players on TV from home. If they owned a particular mitt, that was the mitt Shane would buy. If they wore a certain number, Shane would buy their jersey. They influenced not only entertainment, but also play and shopping decisions as well.

Back at home, Shane’s friends were happy, but envious. He wanted to share the experience with them, but he didn’t want to gloat. After all, he was only “lucky, not deserving…Some people get lucky winning the lotto. I feel lucky just being able to go to (the game.)”

Shane continued baseball through his ninth grade year before quitting. “I couldn’t hit anymore. It was stressful.” However, Shane’s ability didn’t dampen his spirit for the game. He thanked his mom by mowing the lawns from that summer on. “I will never forget it for the rest of my life.”
            Shane’s evening with the stars still captures his imagination and dreams. Remembering the atmosphere he loved with the stars and their families, Shane has pursued journalism at Eastern Washington University, dreaming of reliving the glory of that night. Rachel still speaks of handsome Chipper Jones. Shane’s notepad autographs are still at her house, but his devotion to the glory of the sport is as close as ever. “It was like cliff jumping… you know that feeling in your gut—that goes through the rest of your body—right after you jump. That’s so overwhelming.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Portable at Betz Elementary.

View from Ash street.

10:15 a.m., 2/10/11

Due to population growth on the West Plains, Betz Elementary is anticipating overflow students from Sunset and Windsor elementary schools. This overflow will continue over the next two years until the new elementary school is built on the corner of Holly and Hallett.

The Cheney School District projects the new elementary school will be occupied by Sept. 1, 2012.

A new portable was delivered on Feb. 9. Kent Martin, principal of Betz, expects a third portable building to bring the total of portables up to three. Each building houses two classrooms. The temporary building they've been using houses a classroom for resource room students and a district program called Student Connections.

View from alley behind Betz.
With the overflow students, Betz staff will have more difficulties scheduling the common areas such as the library, gym, cafeteria and computer lab. Martin says it will work--three portables is nothing in comparison to the seventeen portables added to the elementary school where he served as principal on the west side of the state.

Betz is the only elementary school in the district that still has room for portables. Martin says "Salnave's built out too." He explained that the city and country regulates how much water each property can have on site and how many feet the portables must stand away from other buildings.

Betz currently instructs 426 students. Projected numbers for next year's load will come this spring.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Airway Heights Rockwood Clinic Opening April 1.

Spokesman-Review article says that a new Rockwood Clinic is going in at Crosspointe Center. For those of you who are like me and don't know what that means, it means next to the Walmart at Airway Heights.

Send the link to your Airway Heights friends and tell us what you think.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My goal for the year is to get in shape so I can get away from my car and see more of the world.

Dave McMillin has set some goals for 2011 too-- if by goals you mean ADVENTURES!

Check out his list of adventures on "The Cows are Watching."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mason's Amber Lake Farm, A February Photo Essay.

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit Aaron and Kathy Mason's farm out on Amber Lake.

Amber Lake Sunset 1

Barn Cat Stalker

A barn cat stalks me as I scope out shots.


Dove 2

Male Lamb

This little male lamb was born some time this week.

Twin girls

These two females were also born this last week. They're dramatically smaller.

Amber Lake Sunset 2

Amber Lake Windmill

Amber Lake Sunset 3

Amber Lake sunset 4

Amber Lake Sunset 5

Amber Lake Sunset 6

Amber Lake sunset 7

Amber Lake sunset 8

Amber Lake sunset 9

Amber Lake Sunset 12

Amber Lake Sunset 11

Amber Lake Sunset 12

Sunset on frozen Amber Lake

The lake was frozen, but we wouldn't trust it. Kathy Mason told me that she and her little boy listen to the popping and cracking ice. She says it's quite dramatic.