Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Books Read:
Dystopian Literature Kick
We- Zamyatin
1984- George Orwell
Handmaids Tale- Margaret Atwood
Mild Embarrassment
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- JK Rowling
Incredible Embarrassment
Twlight- Stephenie Meyer
New Moon- Stephenie Meyer
Other Books Read
Diary of a Young Girl -Anne Frank
Number the Stars- Lois Lowry

Concerts Attended:
Beach Boys
Frankie Valli
JoDee Messina
Barenaked Ladies
Girl in a Coma (twice!)
Joan Jett
Better Than Ezra
The Dollyrots

Places Visited:
Salt Lake City/Ogden/Davis County, Utah (visits with Steve and Sundance Film Festival)
Austin, Texas (Girls Rock Camp Alliance)
Grand Canyon! (with Nevada Social Studies Teachers)
Chicago, IL (with Steve and the Archer fam)
Washington DC (Girls Rock DC and visiting Natalie!)

Austin, TX
March 2009- Girls Rock Camp Alliance Conference

Grand Canyon- June 2009

Salt Lake City, UT
July 2009- me and Steve with the band, Girl in a Coma

Salt Lake City, UT
July 2009- Tracy Aviary with Briana and Steve

 Chicago, IL- July 2009

Washington D.C.- August 2009
Smithsonian Museum of Art with Natalie

Washington D.C.- August 2009
Girls Rock D.C. Party with Natalie and Emily

Girls Rock D.C. Counselor Band
August 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dollyrot Love

Dear Dollyrots,
Thank you for autographing this guitar for Girls Rock Vegas. You guys played an awesome show and were super fun to hang out with afterward. Steve and I had a great time at your show and we are totally going to DVR your January 15th appearance on The Price is Right! Kelly Ogden, you are a great role model for young women.
Love, HeatherBay

Monday, December 07, 2009

Letter to a Pervert

Dear Pervert,
Could you please not post gross comments on my blog? Yah, thanks.
Love, H

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Holiday Shopping

I have a surprisingly small number of people to shop for this season. There's my mom, of course, and Steve. That's pretty much it. My mom and I are going in together on some kind of gift for my grandparents. And sure, I've got some random friends and coworkers to shop for, but that's pretty much it. Making a conscious effort to no longer communicate with selfish, hurtful relatives has not only been good for my self-esteem, but has also been friendly to my checking account. Since I won't be spending insanse amounts of money on people who love to chip away at my self-worth, what should I spend the extra money on?
A.) cruise or other such vacation
B.) downpayment on house
C.) credit cards and student loan reduction

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Salt Flats and Joan Jett

Last month, Steve and I had an awesome mini vacation to Wendover. What? Wendover? Yes, that's what I said. We went to see Joan Jett, which was totally awesome. It was a small venue, less than a thousand people. She sang all of her old classics, sprinkled with a few of her new songs, which were, of course, fabulous.

We also checked out other landmarks, including the Bonneville Salt Flats and "The Tree." We took plenty of Flat Stanley photos for one of my students, and Steve broke off a huge chunk of salt that I could take back for my fifth graders.

Usually when I think of Wendover, I think of sleazy and/or hypocritical Utahns going there to raise heck. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter of Gratitude

Dear Ms. A*****,

Thank you for not killing my grandparents while you were driving recklessly on the freeway today. My family spent all of Thanksgiving at the hospital while my grandparents endured round after round of tests, which were quite unpleasant, especially ...since my grandmother just had a round of chemo YESTERDAY.

We got home from the hospital around 8pm, where everyone was too shook up to eat. So thank you for saving us from ingesting unnecessary calories.

Also, thank you for providing us with such a craptastic holiday that every Thanksgiving in the future will be fantastic by comparison.

But mostly, I'm just grateful that you did not kill my grandparents today while you chose to drive drunk.

I hope you had a great holiday, which I'm assuming you did, since you were laughing hysterically on your cellphone while my Grandpa was filling out the police report this afternoon at the accident scene. While you laughed and carried on with your giddy cell phone conversation, my Grandma was doubled over in the fetal position in pain because the right side of her face slammed against the inside of the car when you hit them. In case you didn't know, she had major reconstructive surgery on the right side of her face because a specialist at UCLA had to remove cancer from her sinus cavity.

But again, thank you for not killing my grandparents. Also, thank you for having car insurance.

Gratefully Yours,

PS: I hope you continue to provide such a wonderful example to your students, seeing as how you teach high school social studies and many of your students probably look up to you as a role model.

PPS: I usually don't take cheap shots, but I think it was very sad that your car was completely decked out in Disney decals and other such Disney paraphernalia, especially since you were drunk driving. You are a 40 year old woman and your car looks like a 5th grade girl's notebook.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Was I foolish to think that I could spend 7+ hours each day in a cinderblock cell with 30 germ infested children and emerge victorious (ie: illness free)? Probably. However, I managed to survive the first TWELVE weeks of school without getting sick. That's one-third of the school year, folks.

Unfortunately, I have succumbed to illness. Steve thinks it might be strep throat.

Oh well. It was good while it lasted! Congrats to me and my immune system!
(...and booooo to whichever of my students is spreading death germs in my classroom.)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reason #211 to Love Joan Jett

Friday, October 02, 2009

Wise Words #8

This is a snippet of a conversation that my dear friend J.W. and I had today:
ME: I hate being home on Friday night, watching crappy t.v. How is it that mentally retarded people (on TV at the time) can manage to find each other and get married?

J: Well, wouldn't you rather be awesome and single instead of mentally retarded and married?


ME: If I were mentally retarded and married, at least I'd have someone to go to the movies with me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I love stuff like this. Not sure what that says about me...

Thanks, Racheal. This is awesome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dear Geocities & Yahoo... YOU SUCK

Dear Geocities,

You said we had until October 26th before you deleted our websites. Today is September 20th. When I went to the once-beloved website that I created for my college band, Brickle, this is what I found.


Now my future children will never know that I was in a hip rock band in college. Briana, Dave, Melinda and I no longer have photos of us being young, thin, and cool. If I hadn't spent so much time working on this stupid Geocities site back in 2002, I might have had more time to finish up that business minor I started.

Its one thing that you folks at Geocities will be shutting down our websites. You gave us an October 26th deadline. But what's up with you shutting it down a FULL MONTH before the deadline? Seriously?!? You guys suck. I hope all of you at geocities lose your priceless childhood photos and family memories in a fire. Or a flood. Or a shark attack.


Your non-friend,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Three weeks have passed...

I've spent the last three weeks among the 5th graders, and this is what I've learned:
1. 5th graders don't care about cutesy bulletin boards. Not even a little bit. The hours and hours you spent making sure everything was perfect? Not even noticed. You might as well forego the butcher paper and fabric and cutesy laminated cut outs.
2. 5th grade boys try to act tough. They think its cool to act like gangstas/pimps/thugs (at least where I work). This must be nipped in the bud ASAP.
3. Rites of passage seem to include: starting to wear deodorant, leg hair/shaving leg hair, training bras, and menstruation.
4. They are old enough to use nasty language and be disgusting, but are young enough to still like Hannah Montana. And High School Musical. Aaaaand the Jonas Brothers. (gag)
5. It is imperative that they begin wearing deodorant. Soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dude looks like a lady??? (or "Why I Love Fifth Grade)

My class theme is "rockstars" and each table group is made up of four kids. Each kid has a role- guitarist, drummer, bassist, piano player. It's just a classroom management thing. That way, I can say, all right, all the "guitarists" come pick up materials for your group. Or "bassists," start a table discussion with the "drummer." and so on... That way all the kids rotate through positions and they think they're hip and cool, etc... It is all based on Kagan principles.

Anyway, in introducing this to the kids, I showed them a powerpoint which introduced them to the instruments (guitar, bass, drums, piano). I also showed them some photos of famous bands so they could recognize the various instruments. The whole point of the exercise was to make the kids realize that people in bands have to work together, listen to each other, and work through their differences to be successful. The kids quickly picked up that, as a table group, they ALSO have to work together, listen to each other, and work through their differences to be successful. Sweet.

However, this seemingly simple exercise developed into a more complex conversation. I showed the kids pictures of bands that I thought were important: The Beatles, The Runaways, and Ben Folds Five (because they feature a pianist).

From this photo, the kids thought Joan Jett was a man (Joan Jett is the one in the long-sleeved red shirt).
After much discussion, they revealed that they felt this way because she wasn't "dressed slutty." So apparently a woman in long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and short hair can't play rock and roll. I pointed out that a lot of teachers have short hair and wear modest clothes. The kids pointed out that regular women could wear modest clothes, but rockstars should wear tight/revealing clothes, wear a lot of makeup, and show a lot of skin. This led to a deep conversation about body image and the role of women in media.

I love fifth grade.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oldies but Goodies #1

Briana and I have taken to posting our old Portland pics on facebook, so I dug up this gem from youtube. It's a bunch of our old pics from 2006. Highlights include: OMSI, public transportation, and the zoo. Good times!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs, one of my favorite authors, came to speak at the Clark County Library a few weeks ago. He spoke for about an hour, answered questions, and was kind enough to sign books for his fans. I unexpectedly ran into my dear friends Deanna Rilling and Toni A., along with her husband, Scott. That was a nice bonus, and it was nice to have someone to sit with. I was also pleased to see that the 400 seat was PACKED with fans. See? Las Vegas isn't as culturally unaware as you all might think.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Girl in a Coma

On June 8th, Steve and I went to see the band Girl in a Coma play at Burt's Tiki Lounge in Salt Lake City. This band was amazing. The band is made up of two sisters, Phanie and Nina, and their friend Jenn, all from San Antonio. They met back when they were in junior high. What I really like about them is that they care about their MUSIC, not sex appeal. This band is a great model for young women, especially the young ladies of Girls Rock Vegas.

Their show was freaking amazing. Nina, the guitarist, played the guitar like a woman possessed. Also, they were really cool. After the show, they talked with fans and took photos, signed CDs and were generally really cool. While their opening band was playing, the band members of Girl in a Coma were even selling merch- totally down to Earth.

Anyway, please check out this band. They rock.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Grand Canyon!

Have I mentioned that I hiked in the Grand Canyon? Well, I did. And I survived. It was amazing and beautiful and I can't wait to go back after I get in better shape.
We also visited Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam.
I traveled with these awesome people from the Geographical Alliance of Nevada, led by Chris Ryan. This group was made up of teachers and university professors from both southern and northern Nevada. We learned a lot, traveled a lot, and had a great time.

Friday, July 03, 2009

July, July!

I say your uncle was a crooked French Canadian...

Can you believe it's already July?!?


So perhaps I've been a little vague. Here's an update on my career situation:

  • I am still teaching. I am moving to a different school and I will be teaching fifth grade.
  • I didn't not lose my job- just voluntarily moved to a different school. At last count, there are 213 elementary schools in our district.
That's all.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Student Filmmaking

Gee, I'm sure glad I got an undergraduate degree in Media Arts from BYU. Some kind stranger has posted my TMA 285 project on YouTube!

This was created in a class where we formed a "film crew," wrote an original script, shot it on 16mm film, and edited it using Avid and ProTools- all in one semester. I had some awesome team members, including:
Kirsten Bales-Heder
Jason Conforto
Jonathon Dayton
Robert Fewkes
Todd Hamilton
Daniel Heder
Sarah Heder
Ryan James
Heather Rampton
Jana Schurig

Seriously though, I've been trying to find a copy of this for, like, the past five years. So thank you, kind stranger!

Let the purging begin!

As I'm closing one chapter of my career and preparing to begin a new chapter, I felt a little purging was in order. Nevermind that I have 13 giant Rubbermaid containers full of teacher junk. Nevermind that I own enough children's books to start a smalltown library (thanks to Scholastic, eBay, and Goodwill). Since purging junk and books takes a degree of organization that I can't muster at midnight, I decided to start small... just a little facebook purging.
It's not like I'm super snotty about facebook; I am "friends" with enough childhood friends and former coworkers to start a marching band. However, there are just some people that I don't care to be in contact with anymore. These are former coworkers that generally spread drama wherever they went and created a toxic work environment... for fun and sport. I just don't want these negative influences in my life anymore. So I blocked them.

...and I feel better already!

Note to self: #1 Task for tomorrow: tackle the 13 giant Rubbermaid containers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Girls Rock Vegas... totally awesome week of camp!

Thanks to Denise Rosch and Channel 3 for visiting our camp and telling our story!
Aired June 12, 2009 on the 4:00pm news
I can't even begin to describe how amazing our first annual Girls Rock Vegas Summer Camp has been. The campers, counselors, and musicians worked so hard to make it a success! We are empowering girls, one chord at a time!

(I realize that sounds cheesy in general blog conversation, but that's our camp slogan.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heather = Toby (or, Free at Last!!!)

As I went to the office to return my classroom keys, a certain admin stopped what she was doing to exclaim, "I need to check you out and inspect your room!" even though the member of the office staff assigned to inspect classrooms had already done her job. That person explained that I was already checked out and that my room was fine. So the admin grabbed my checkout sheet and scrutinzed every last thing, even though I had gone above and beyond, creating my own typed and categorized inventory sheet for items in my classroom (this school has NEVER inventoried their materials, even though they have had millions of dollars of state and federal money poured into it when they became an empowerment school). I also provided receipts for everything I had purchased for my classroom in the last two years (totalling over $4,000).

"What about your whiteboards, sweetie?" she asked.

"I never received white boards from this school." I answered. During my first year of teaching at Vegas Verdes ES, I went to Home Depot, ordered a large piece of melamine tile board, which I had cut into 1' by 1' squares. Ghetto? Yes, but a much more economical solution than the Lakeshore Learning addiction that this school suffers from.

"Well, every classroom received whiteboards." she said.

"No, they did not." I wanted to tell her that some classrooms also received easels, smart boards, curtains, custom tiled floors and paint jobs, furniture, plastic trees, etc...

"I'm sure they didn't just grow feet and walk off," she said, trying to rally the support of the office full of other teachers and office staff. "Hmph. I guess next year we'll have to take an inventory and make a sign out sheet so these things don't just continue WALK OFF when people leave."

"Um, okay. Here are my keys."

I may be a perfectionist, I may be a little messy, and I may come to school with wet hair a few times a year... but I am NOT a thief. I haven't stolen so much as a paper clip from that freaking place. It infuriates me that Dr. G would try to imply that I stole from children, when in fact, she and her inner circle had been misappropriating funds for the last three years. I'd been harassed for the last few weeks of school, but trying to publicly call me out on whiteboard theft while I'm dropping off my keys? Unbelievable.

More "Fun and Exciting" things that I choose not to be a part of:

  • Multi-age classrooms (1st grade - 3rd grade) where older gifted students are required to "teach" remedial students. Kids don't come to school to teach, they come to school to learn.
  • Not making Adequate Yearly Progress for several years in a row due to a lack of structure and actual teaching.
  • Spending tens of thousands of dollars to fly out personal friends and pay for their travel expenses, under the guise of hiring "consultants."
  • General misuse of state and federal money.
  • Teacher turnover rate of more than 50%
  • and many, many more...

From our Union's website:
NRS 388.132 requires schools to provide a safe and respectful learning environment. This applies as much to students as it does to teachers. Teachers often discuss issues regarding parent and/or administrator threats, abuse, and harassment. There are statutes and school district polices to protect teachers from these types of actions. Because of the requirements of NRS 388.132, the school district promulgated Policy 5137 which provides that teachers have the right to work in an environment free from harassment, abuse, and threats.

Click here for some further insight into my journey at an "empowerment" school.
Michael and Toby's Greatest Moments

And just to show that we're not all fun and games, here is a little food for thought...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

And then I realized... (Episode 2)

... that a job is just a job. My problem was that I put too much of my heart and soul (and money) into a job where I wasn't appreciated. I am really hurt because I gave that place 100% of myself for the last two years, and now that I'm leaving, I feel like Toby, from "The Office."

Heather = Toby.
Here are some of the things I "choose to be":

  • I choose to frame my instruction from state and district standards, use district-adopted textbooks and programs, and use assessment to drive my instruction.
  • I choose to use school funds wisely and honestly in a manner that benefits students.
  • I choose to give all students the instruction that they need. Differentiation is NOT discrimination.
At least Toby got a party and a Michael Scott parody song when he left. All I got was some nasty emails.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Class Photos

I will be removing these later today, as I don't really think its a wise idea to post a photo of my students online. However, I need these pics for our class yearbook, and I tried to email them to my work email, which had already exceeded its whopping 20mb capacity.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dude, DON'T buy a Dell...

Unless you want to spend 4.5 hours on the phone with tech support regarding a brand new laptop that sounds like a lawn mower, has 2 USB ports that won't work, and won't accept any external hard drives. Seriously, the ear-piercing sounds coming from the fan are horrid enough to hear ACROSS the house, and my dog is terrified of them- she is currently hiding under a chair.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

... and then I realized (Episode 1)

I spent most of today driving to and from St. George because I had to pick up some equipment for Girls Rock Camp. The night before, I made a super awesome iTunes playlist so I'd have some sweet tunes to blast. I was really looking forward to driving for 5 hours and singing along (poorly) at the top of my lungs. It was also nice to be have some time to drive fast and clear my head.

You know, there was even a time when I thought it would be pretty sweet to be a big rig driver. It sounded like a lucrative summer job as well as a fun and exciting way to explore America's extensive highway system.

#1: My car is not as rock steady as it used to be. I can barely go over 65 mph before it feels (and sounds) like it might explode. Also, my brake light is constantly on and I can't figure out why. And when I put my foot on the gas, a scary gurgling/farting sound comes from under the hood. This can't be good.
#2: Semi trucks. For some reason, when they pull alongside me, I have this overwhelming urge to drive into them, like there is some kind of magnetic force drawing my car into the underbelly of the semi. I hate when that happens.
#3. Wind that blows my Corolla all around the road like a wadded up tissue on an air hockey table.
... and then I realized that I really just enjoy air conditioning and listening to loud music.

On a positive note, this was one of the first times I went on a solo road trip with an iPod. How did we travel without iPods? It seems like so long ago that I used to drive between Provo and Vegas with a portable CD player and, like, 900 burned CDs. It was awesome to just set up my playlist and let it go without having to fiddle with anything audio related for the entire trip. I feel way less like I'm going to veer off the road to my death.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where the passengers change, they don't change anything...

Oh Ben Folds, how do you always know exactly what I need to hear???

Fred sits alone at his desk in the dark
There's an awkward young shadow that waits in the hall
He's cleared all his things and he's put them in boxes
Things that remind him: 'Life has been good'
Twenty-five years
He's worked at the paper
A man's here to take him downstairs
And I'm sorry, Mr. Jones
It's time
There was no party, there were no songs
'Cause today's just a day like the day that he started
No one is left here that knows his first name
And life barrels on like a runaway train
Where the passengers change
They don't change anything
You get off; someone else can get on
And I'm sorry, Mr. Jones
It's time
Streetlight shines through the shades
Casting lines on the floor, and lines on his face
He reflects on the day
Fred gets his paints out and goes to the basement
Projecting some slides onto a plain white
Canvas and traces it
Fills in the spaces
He turns off the slides, and it doesn't look right
Yeah, and all of these bastards
Have taken his place
He's forgotten but not yet gone
And I'm sorry, Mr. Jones
And I'm sorry, Mr. Jones
And I'm sorry, Mr. Jones
It's time

Saturday, May 09, 2009

They're the Girls of DC...

...and they are definitely ready to rock!

Here's the awesome camp song from Girls Rock DC. I hope they won't mind me posting it here because it is a totally amazing song that summarizes what I want our girls to take away from camp. Go DC! If all goes as planned, I'll be going to volunteer at their camp later this summer. I can't wait to learn from them!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

T-shirts available soon!

Thanks to the very talented Sarah (at, these awesome t-shirts will be available soon from Girls Rock Vegas. What do you think?

Saturday, May 02, 2009


I look just like Buddy Holly...

This will always be my favorite music video ever.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, the Mayflower...


I've had my pink Motorola razor for three years now. Well, that's not entirely true. My current phone was a replacement for the one I mysteriously lost in the Vegas Verdes parking lot one morning before work. Embarrassingly, the default ringtone was the theme song from "M*A*S*H," and the wallpaper was this hot pic of Alan Alda:
Honestly, I was more worried that someone might find that phone and track it back to me. I just really like M*A*S*H, okay?

Anyway, I confess that I've been untrue to my pink razor- I've been contemplating an upgrade to an iPhone; those dang apps are so appealing!!! I even went so far as to download an AT&T checklist for switching wireless carriers. 

But every time I think about going through with it, I think about how much I really do like the pink razor. Its so adorable how it desperately tries to keep up with the texting prowess of my friends' fancy qwerty keyboard phones. It even remembers weird random words that I text and it spits them out as I clumsily maneuver the keys. I love my ringtones, the Barbie-pink color, and I even love how the battery falls out of the phone every time I drop it (even on carpet).

Why fix it if it ain't broken?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our first hate mail!

Today is a milestone because Girls Rock Vegas has just gotten our very first hate mail! I've taken the liberty of highlighting the mistakes in red and making a few corrections, just like I would do for my students.

you go to the bar and you have Lady's night(.) of course you drink free, an next stop is one of the many Lady's only work out areas, and then off to the "friend of the court(--) a place that takes all the husband(')s monie, and now a place for Lady's to play instruments together so they fell empowered.
My daughter plays
guitar(.) she think people like you make woman look weak and I agrey(.)
Everyone has
issues(.) get over it(.)
And I love woman(.) have  a wife an 3 daughters(.) thay are all just fine so please dont tell me I have a chip on my sholder.

No dude, I wouldn't worry about having a chip on your shoulder. I would, however, worry about your lack of writing skills. Seriously, I teach third grade and my students hand in better work than this. 

I think people who write nasty hater emails at 7am with multiple spelling and grammatical errors look weak.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Misogynist City Employee

Yesterday afternoon, we went down to the City of Las Vegas Financial and Business office on 400 Stewart Street in downtown Las Vegas to inquire about getting a business permit for Girls Rock Vegas. I explained that Girls Rock Vegas is just a 5-day summer camp for girls, ages 9-17.

When I expressed frustration about the immense cost of filing fees (nearly $1,000), this was the Business License Technician (ie: pinchy-faced clerk)'s sarcastic response:

"Why don't you just have a little bake sale or something?"

Really? REALLY? A "little bake sale"? Would he have had that same response to a motorcycle enthusiast club or a retail porn business? Probably not.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Pleeeeease help us out!

Hello friends! Yes, I'm posting about Girls Rock Vegas Camp again. We found a donor who is willing to match whatever funds we generate in the next week. So whatever money we generate, they will double it! Even small donations, like $5 or $10 will help. Every dollar we generate is going right back into the hands of girls who need the gift of ROCK AND ROLL. 

Please help!!!

This is a fundraising video from the Portland camp. You can help end rocklessness in here in Vegas with a small donation of $5 or $10 by clicking on our safe & secure Paypal link. Every dollar makes a difference!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Girls Rock Vegas

Please share the goodness of Girls Rock Vegas! Right-click and "save as" on this image, and please share it with the world! You can post it on myspace, facebook, your own blog, or you can even print it and hand it out to your peeps. Let's spread the word about Girls Rock Vegas!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Planet Percussion!

This is a video by Howard Agster, uploaded by my brother Dale. This was shot at Planet Percussion, the store he and my father owned until my father passed away. They manufactured percussion mallets and accessories. Also, as evidenced in this video, all the cool kids hung out here to play tunes. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Girls Rock Vegas stuff... just what you all wanted

We're going to put these images on 1" buttons. We've heard that all the cool kids are wearing them these days to advertise things they like. Of course, we'll just get by with these logos for now. My dear friend Sarah will likely be doing some design work for us in the new future. You can visit her site at

What do you think of our modified logos? Which one is your favorite?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Maybe it's time for a move...

The guy who owns the house next door is renting it out to a giant family. That's fine. He is also renting out the detached garage of that house to another large family. There is no plumbing in that garage, by the way. He is also renting out the toolshed in the backyard to another large family. That's right. A toolshed, like, the kind you buy for $300 at Costco. There are nearly twenty people living next door, approximately fifteen of which are living in structures that are not zoned for human inhabitance(Instead of ski equipment and dusty boxes, imagine a family of five living in here. This is what's going on next door.)

This guy, who I've gathered from the Clark County Real Property Records is named Mr. F****, was blocking my driveway this morning. I asked him to move his truck. He refused. He said he watches my house every day and no one ever uses our driveway. Really? Really?!? He went on to say that he knows every way in and out of my house because he already checked it out. He also said that he would get into my house when I least expect it to teach me a lesson I won't walk away from. Nice!

With a bit of sleuthing, I've discovered that Mr. F owns a construction business (the name and info of said construction business is plastered all over the giant truck blocking my driveway). It turns out that most of the able-bodied men living next door work for Mr. F's construction business as day laborers. I've seen him pick them up in his truck (they ride in the back, of course) early in the morning when I'm leaving for work. I've also seen Mr. F pick up other people standing on the corner of the Star Nursery, presumably for day labor jobs.

So Mr. F is, like, one step above being a human trafficker. According to the Clark County Real Property Records, Mr. F lives in a $900,000 house off Decatur and the 215, while his workers live in a toolshed. How is this legal?

Greedy, ill-mannered bastard. And a bad neighbor, to boot.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Girls Rock Vegas- a summer camp for girls

Please visit the site for

 This project has been my heart and soul for the last few months. The other site has all of the information about the summer camp, but here I feel comfortable telling you how strongly I believe in this cause. This camp will surely benefit young women. I know what it feels like to be empowered through music and I want to give this gift to other young women. I have started this camp, along with some dedicated colleagues, and I am working like crazy to get it off the ground. 

Please consider donating through our paypal button- even just a few dollars will help. We are trying to buy/rent instruments, pay for food, etc... Every dollar will go directly to students. 

If you know a girl ages 9-17 that would be interested in coming to camp, the application can be found on our site. Or contact us if you would be interesting in volunteering or donating goods/services.

Love, H

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine Weekend

After a fast and furious Valentine's party with my students, I thought the weekend festivities were over. Luckily, I was wrong. This holiday weekend included:

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you're not into fake sword fights
Pointy slippers and green wool tights
Take a tip from a knight who knows
Free Credit Report dot com, let's go!

Friday, January 09, 2009

2008 Review

Kristine tagged me on a post about "Top 10 Goals for 2009." I didn't feel right about doing that tag without first reviewing the great things that happened in 2008. Sure, the economy may be falling apart, I'm financially supporting my unemployed mother who refuses healthcare, and I still make less money than a garbage man... however, I refuse to believe that 2008 was completely devoid of positive memories. Please humor my self-indulgent recap of 2008.

  • Thanks to the support of Christy Keeler, Ph.D., I presented for the first time at two national academic conferences: NECC (National Educational Computing Convention), and NCSS (National Council for Social Studies).
  • My students won first place in the Southern Nevada Computer-Using Educators Multimedia Contest with their short film about gravity.
  • I spent a week in Washington D.C. and Colonial Williamsburg as part of the Teaching American History Grant.
  • Also this summer, I attended the week long training for "We The People" at Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe. We learned about ways to teach elementary students about the Constitution.
  • I spent a lot of time in Utah this year.
  • Steve and I visited with Amie and Diego and their family in Florida.
  • I paid off one of my credit cards!!! One down... more to go....
  • I finally bought a Wii. Gotta love Dr. Mario.
  • I actually put up a Christmas tree, lights, and holiday decorations at my house for the first time in several years.
See? 2008 wasn't a complete downer after all.