Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Future

Ah, the future. What a wonderful subject. What will tomorrow bring? Well, let me tell you what I'm forseeing here for a bit.

This summer: Upward Bound Summer program 2007. We are hoping, striving for, and wrangling money for a four week program (June 17-June 30, July 8-23) with a one day city trip. Reduced staff, reduced students, reduced budget, reduced travel, reduced supplies, but still an Upward Bound summer. The smaller groups will flourish, and we will still reach our students and build a wonderful little community.

Also during the summer, I will be taking at least 1 class at Luther (Introduction to Mass Media), which will take me 4 out of 6 credits towards renewing my teaching license. Also, I will be taking an on-line class for Mandatory Reporting through Area Education Agency 11. I need to find 2 more credits, then.

This fall, who knows. I know Kath will be having a baby in November sometime. Due date the 27th.

I know my first book will be published at some point during the months through Iuniverse. (more details on that as it gets closer).

And I'll writing, drawing, playing and reading to help stay sane. Or at least maintain the level insanity I'm at right now.

Friday, May 18, 2007

LCUB Defunded! Help!

I know many of you have already received this message, but I thought I'd give it one more place for people to see it.

Dear Friends, Alumni, Students and Parents,
We found out on Friday, May 11, 2007, that our program has been de-funded. This means that as of my writing this to you we must halt the plans for a summer program as it has been. If you have not finished your summer paperwork then complete it and turn it in as soon as possible. We are planning on having at least a College Prep class. I know this will be disappointing to those of you who have planned to be on-campus this summer. You can help us save our program by sending an email to your Senators and Congressman. Check to see if you live in Congressman Latham’s district (Iowa 4th). If you live in another district also send your Congressman an email. There is strength in numbers so please write and let them know how important our program is to you. Let everyone you know in on this information we need to be heard loud and clear in DC.
We need to start a fundraising effort to raise $200,000.00 for our summer program. If 2000 people can give us $100.00 each we can reach our goal. Any amount of money will help us be able to bring closure for our current students. The summer program has been ripped from you. Help us to restore it by sending a contribution to the signature address below. With the help and support of all of our students, we can turn this around and once again provide a quality educational experience to students in Northeast Iowa. Ask your neighbors, friends, church members and family to help us take back your summer program. We will be sending out a donation request packet next week.
You can call or email your contact person or me if you have questions. When writing your letter to your Federal representatives keep positive thoughts and a clear head as you think of the good things we have done together. I am asking our current students to donate their May stipend to help fund the summer program. Our fundraising has already begun, just this morning we received a check for $100.00 and a pledges for $500.00.


To make it easier to send an email to your Federal representatives I have listed either their web form or an email address for you to use to contact them. I am also enclosing a web address of an organization that will send a message to each of our representatives at the same time. For non-Iowa supporters I have listed the web address for the senate and house of representative directories. I have included talking points for you to use in addressing the loss of our funding.
My suggestion is that you create a word document and then copy and paste it onto the web forms and into the email. Use the spell checker to be sure that you are putting your best foot forward in your email. You can write more than one email to each of the representatives. Our Federal representatives are supporting funding for education programs such as Upward Bound. Thank them for their support first then let them know your concerns about having this particular program defunded (will not have a program after June 1, 2007).

Senator Charles Grassley James Rice Legislative Aide
Phone: 202-224-3744 FAX: (202) 224-6020
Web Form:

Senator Tom Harkin Rob Barron Education Aide
Phone: 202-224-3254 FAX: (202) 224-9369 Web Form:

Congressman Tom Latham Iowa 4th District Matthew Hubacher Education Aide
Phone: 202-225-5476 FAX: 202-225-3301 E-Mail:

Congressman Bruce Braley Iowa 1st District (Waterloo)
Phone: (202) 225-2911Waterloo Office: 501 Sycamore St., Suite 623; Waterloo, IA 50703; (319) 287-3233

House of Representatives:

Send a Free Email to Congress ( If you don’t live in Iowa’s 4th district send an email to your congressmen and then send one to Tom Latham.
Use the form on this website to send emails directly to your representatives in the U.S. House and Senate! Your one email will get to both Senators and to your Congressman. Be sure to fill out the information form on the website, it will be used to sign your letter. I do not encourage you to use your regular email address on the form. If you would like to use your email address.

Talking points for students:
* How long you have been in the Luther College Upward Bound program
* What you have learned while in Upward Bound
* What you were looking forward to learning this summer
* How not having an Upward Bound program to attend may affect your going to college
*Why it is important for students like you to receive Upward Bound services
Talking points for Parents:
* How long have your child(ren) been involved in the Luther College Upward Bound program
* What do you feel they have learned while in Upward Bound
* How do you feel not having an Upward Bound program to attend will affect their going to college
*Why it is important for students like your children to receive Upward Bound services

If you chose to write a letter get it to the Upward Bound Office on the Luther College campus and we will fax it to our Federal Representatives. We are located at 318 Riverview on the lower level.
Phyllis Gray
Luther College Upward Bound
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045
Phone: 563-387-1136
FAX: 563-387-2213
800-LCUB-PMA (528-2762)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lil' Z

Okay, Scott is doing the 'silly new daddy' thing and is positively glowing. Kath is positively glowing, too! My lovely wife is 12 weeks pregnant! We just go an ultra-sound done, so here is Lil Z's first picture, spread to you, my friends.

*Scott dances around in glee*

Friday, May 04, 2007

Statesman's Task Force and other notes

Last night, I played City of Heroes. Issue 9 came out, and I wanted to take a stab at Statesman's Task Force. A Task Force is a series of adventures that you must finish with the same group of people without any side adventures.

I took the role of leader, which, believe it or not, I'm reticent to do with groups of people I don't know. We had a good mix: I had Mithril Zeta, my tank who absorbs massive amounts of damage. We had a scrapper and two blasters for serious damage, two radiation controllers for the weakening of villain defenses, and two defenders who were incredible healers.

For the first couple of missions we did really well. We defeated five arch villains in about an hour and a half. Then we lost our scrapper and one of our blasters. We went to a place where we had to destroy 88 vines that attack you back, and the regrow. We just couldn't do enough damage to them fast enough, so we didn't finish it. I was very bummed. It was a good group; refreshing to work with a group who really know their toons very well.

I really do want a chance to complete the Task Force (albeit with another group). Mithril Zeta really wants the chance to pound on Cap'n Mako and Lord Recluse (but not at the same time!)

On another note, I have been working on my drawings, and have joined 'deviantArt', so if you want to see some of my current work, take a look at it here.
Also, I have pictures of my show The Odd Couple up on Facebook. A good time was had by all.