Sunday, November 18, 2007, 08:17 PM
I was reading an interesting article naming the ten most dangerous cities in America, and our hometown comes in at number four. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful place is so tarnished.
When I first moved to Oakland, I did so because my wife got a job at a company that was located here. I never felt unsafe, but my wife frequently did. We lived in a fairly decent area (Piedmont Ave.), but we saw our share of crime... fights, gangs, prostitutes, and robberies to name a few. Since we lived in an apartment, I had to park my car on the street, and during the four years that we resided in Oakland, my license plate was stolen three times. While that was a minor annoyance, it was one of several such incidents that prompted us to move from Oakland. So, when my wife became pregnant with our first child, we decided that we would like to raise him in a safer community, and we left the city.
Although I love Oakland and the students I'm privileged to work with, I do wish it was a safer place. During my 12 years of working here, I have known nearly a dozen people who have been murdered and countless others who have been assaulted, violated, or taken advantage of. The crime rate in Oakland continues to soar, and there seems to be no ceiling in sight. My hope for next year is that we avoid the top ten list altogether. This city has so much potential...
Sunday, November 4, 2007, 08:24 AM
Yesterday, we took the kids to go see Bee Movie. Our credit union hosts an event each year where for two dollars you get a movie ticket, a bucket of popcorn, a hot dog, and a soda. So basically, the whole family can go see a movie and be fed for the price of one normally-priced movie ticket.
Last year, the movie they presented was Arthur and the Invisibles. It was a good movie for the kids, but didn't offer much in terms of adult humor. So this year I was happy to see that the movie they selected was Bee Movie. I was a huge Seinfeld fan, and this is his project, so I had high hopes. While I did enjoy the movie, it is by no means an instant classic like Shrek or Toy Story. It is a cute story and is filled with all sorts of bee puns, but not a lot of laugh out loud moments. The animation for the movie is very good, the concept for the movie is intriguing, but it just doesn't contain the hilarious moments that are in many of the other feature films aimed at both kids and adults. There are no memorable moments like those that were presented on Seinfeld each week.
Saturday, September 22, 2007, 06:43 PM
I absolutely adore chickens. If you've poked around this site at all, you've probably seen evidence of this. So from time to time, I find myself Googling chicken-related topics. The other day, I discovered perhaps the most amazing chicken ever to live. That's right, Mike the Headless Chicken.
Apparently, the farmer who owned Mike was hungry, and was craving chicken. Long story short, he went to the coop, grabbed Mike, and chopped his head off. Mike, barely phased by the event, went on about his business. In fact he went on about his business for another couple of years... sans head.
Mike was a huge celebrity during his lifetime, and made his owner quite wealthy. Mike's legacy lives on today through annual celebrations in his hometown, playground chants (Mike, Mike, where's your head? Even without it, you're not dead!), and even his own fan club and website. Go here to check it out.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 09:03 AM
I was devestated to hear that a former student of mine, his mother, and sister became part of the impossibly high murder rate in Oakland this year. If you would like to read the details of what tranpspired, go here to read the article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
I knew that some murders had taken place on Thanksgiving Day because another former student of mine, Haimanot, called me to wish me a happy holiday and had mentioned it. She mentioned it because it took place at Keller Plaza, which is a large apartment complex that is home to several Ethiopian and Eritrean families. My good friend Metti, lived their for years, but moved last summer, so I wasn't concerned for her welfare, and I forgot about the incident until yesterday.
Haimanot called me to wish me a Merry Christmas, and we talked for a long time, and we somehow got on the topic of the tragic events of Thanksgiving Day. I was horrified to find out what had happened, and who it had happened to.
When I first met Yonas, he was brand new to this country and spoke very little English. He had a hard time at Carter because of this, and was tormented in P.E. and lunch by certain students. Children were brutal. By the end of the year, his English had improved greatly, but students still pestered him. So when he didn't return to Carter the following year, I wasn't terribly surprised. I did see him a couple of times after that year, and he told me things were working out great for him at his new school, both academically and socially. I now understand that he was on the honor roll at Berkeley High, the varsity soccer team, and in several clubs. His passing is a tragic loss, and my prayers go out to him and his family.
Saturday, April 8, 2006, 04:36 PMIf you have been looking at my pictures of the day for this month, you've probably noticed that I have not been using original pictures. I've been using images that have been generated from other websites.
It all started when Peter Le posted a picture of a church sign on his blog that honored him. I don't remember the exact words, but it was very well done. After a little research, I was able to find the site where he made the sign, and the rest is history. The site is called churchsigngenerator.com. It allows you to type in information and then generates an image based on your input. As it turns out, there are many websites that offers services like this, and they are called generators. A generator creates something based on your input or in some instances on random information. While churchsigngenerator.com is the best, in my opinion, there are several other great ones out there. If you would like to see some of them, you can go to The Generator Blog. It features many generators that can be found on the net.
I've also talked to several people who run generators and am in the process of setting up an image generator section for this site. If you want to try some of the generators from this site, click here. More to come.