Sunday, September 23, 2007

Around the Lake

50 miles around the lake today, exactly per the bike computer, from the start to the end when I threw my chain downshifting as I came back up 70th! Cleared the 2400 mile mark YTD. Stops in Kirkland (Starbucks), Gene Coulon Park in Renton, and Seward Park. Uneventful ride, except for encountering a couple of pelotons, notably the Byrne riders who seem to be pretty serious about what they do.

It's getting to be real autumn up here, and it seems early this year. Leaves turning, cool and drizzly on the ride, classes begin tomorrow at SSIT.

Talked to Zach on Friday, who reports all is well in Beijing. He's getting to teach classes again, and Hannah is off to visit him on Wednesday. Looking forward to the reports.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Zach in the NY Times

No kidding...

RHS Jazz Champions 1st Gig of the Year

After 8, count 'em 8 days of rehearsals, Roosevelt HS Jazz Band played Jazz Alley last night.

They opened with Don't Get Around Much Anymore, played a fine first set, including a great Body and Soul. The combo did three tunes and then the band came back on for a couple more. They finished with a Dizzy Gillespie number that is sure to be a show stopper. I'll get the name next time.

The playing was somewhat tentative, but the band is strong and should be in great form by the time Jazz Nutcracker is on the schedule at the beginning of December.

Crazy students

After the VP of Student Success's presentation at our kick-off meeting, I have the following questions:

Is SSIT attracting more crazy students than in the past?

Are there simply more crazy students in general and we are just getting our fair share?

Is the proportion of crazy students to crazy people getting larger?

Are there more crazy people in general?

Monday, September 17, 2007


This is the number that they gave me for the Spawning Cycle ride....

In retrospect, it's amazing that I found my way back home.

Accountability at SSIT

GVB writes, "In the coming year, several new teachers will arrive at the factory and illustrate through example that most of our faculty here at the Learnin' Factory are terrible, terrible teachers who only have jobs because there is no real assessment of performance here."

He's right about no real assessment of performance at SSIT, or probably anywhere in higher ed that I've come into contact with. Performance being how effective an instructor is in the classroom. Does the instructor hold students to standards of high performance? Does the instructor then do an effective job of helping students achieve that high level of performance? Do the assessments of that performance measure what the students are expected to achieve? And, is there external assessment of the performance of instructor?

Not in the classroom, and certainly not in distance learning. No one seems to care about this and as long as no one is watching, the instructors take the path of least resistance and the students look for easy classes to earn a degree that has little intrinsic value. That will only change when the risks of this crap are brought in for payment by someone who wants their money back for the worthless pieces of paper that the degrees and certificates that we sell.

My disillusionment with the self-study process grew from the a-ha! moment when it became obvious that the Standards Committee was more interested in having syllabi that matched with other paperwork than in getting in the classrooms and seeing what was actually taking place. That sort of teaching/learning audit has never happened at SSIT, and I doubt it ever will. Classroom performance assessment tools are limited to the number of students who complain to the Deans and the VP, and the BS student evaluations that lack meaning and insight.

Fall at Magnuson Park

Trees starting to turn....

Clouds and rain.......puddles, no crowds......

Dogs......know the owners' by their dog's names......Madison's mom!


great natural resource so close to home......

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spawning Cycle

Grey day, started in the drizzle, ended just before the real rain started. Did CBC Spawning Cycle ride today, and this time did the West Seattle Loop, for a 53 mile jaunt. 2,330 miles, YTD. Almost wimped out before heading out because of the rain, but glad that I got in my first real autumn ride.

Crossing the Fremont Bridge, the cut was filled with sculls doing the Row for the Cure:

The Spawning Cycle route takes you to Myrtle Edwards Park, across the West Seattle Bridge (bikes do the low bridge), across the Duwamish River, past Salty's and the best view of Seattle....

Once past Alki Point, the route hugs the coast and then veers up over the hill at the Fauntleroy Ferry to Vashon Island and then past South Seattle CC and the Duwamish Bike Trail where I stopped to watch the fishing from the pier.

Then, it's through the ID, up the hill to the Mount Baker tunnel, and down to Seward Park for a food stop. Now, you could go up the hill and turn left to head about 190 miles to Portland, but that's the STP for next July!

Lake Washington Blvd is the route home. At Denny Blaine Park, you descend quickly after a short hill up from Madrona. There's a small traffic circle at the bottom of the hill, and it's a tricky curve. I came across a rider who had fallen. Others had stopped and the medics were on the scene, with an ambulance en route.

Bike accidents are particularly nasty, even the near misses, as there's nothing but air between the rider and the pavement. Hope that the injured party recovers quickly.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Headwaters Metric Century

Another great ride on Sunday, 9/9/07, the Headwaters Century, this one courtesy of Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club. The ride starts from Enumclaw High School, and heads across beautiful Enumclaw plateau and dairy farms, plus cornfield at this time of year. Strong northeast winds provided great weather to ride, with temperatures well into the 70's, and needless to say, no rain!

First rest stop is at Flaming Geyser State Park, the entrance to which was guarded by a llama (or an alpaca?).

Then, it's up the hill for about 1.5 miles to Black Diamond, Ravensdale, and Maple Valley, where you cross the Green River.

The way back to the starting point takes you through Hobart, Landsburg, Cumberland, with rollers, a few hills and plenty of scenery until you reach the Enumclaw plateau, more views of Mt. Rainier, and finally the return to Enumclaw High School. My cyclometer read 64.6 miles (or 103.9 km!), so this ride qualifies as a metric century! Your mileage may vary.

TWBC provided strawberry shortcake desert at the finish, but that wasn't enough. So I stopped at the Cave Man Kitchen in Kent on the way home!