Category Archives: School

The (Lunch) Kids In The (Band) Hall

They rant. They rave.

They rage at all that isn’t “fair” in their world.

They laugh, they smile, they curse.

They martyr themselves for a shred of recognition … or admiration … or pity.

They reinvent themselves without shame weekly. Sometimes daily. Sometimes hourly.

They are as corrupted as they are innocent – and they are riddled with honest contradiction.

They are glorious. They are grotesque.

Freaks and geeks. Athletes and artists. Angels and demons.

You create the role and cast them in it. And they might play it for a while, but then, like a butterfly from a chrysalis, they break free and surprise you.

They will confirm the worst of stereotypes with their narcissism and selfishness. Then shatter the same with bursts of empathy and altruism that streak across the room like meteors.

And they are growing, morphing, changing, developing … constantly – almost before your eyes.

Snap a picture for your memories. They will not look this way again.

Examine it closely. See if you can find yourself.

What they are now, you were once. What you are now and more, they will become.

But for this frozen moment they sit.

Plugged in, wrapped up in jokes and opinions they may remember years later with laughter or cringing and shaking heads.

They scarf down pizza and fries and leave banana and orange peels on the floor.

Then a bell rings and they all file out.

To finish their time, dreaming of 3:30 like a kid waits for Christmas morning.

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Holy crap! It’s just hot out there…

iPhone screenshot... we could have record heat tomorrow. Yes!

It ain’t no joke. The back of the heat is very scrong indeed, 96 degrees at 5 p.m. tonight.

So… I have one more week of school left. After I squeeze in about two weeks of work into that one week, I should be ready to begin my summer vacation.

Every year I get the same question: What are you going to do this summer? And every year I had the same answer – just a combined shrug and sheepish look. (Actually I had a quite different answer at one point for this summer, but that’s a whole nother story… it’s back to shrug, sheepish look).

I know that I will be trying to continue with my diet and exercise (down about 35 pounds since rejoining WW in December). I know that I’ll be working on a reading list developed from the 100 books every man should read from the Art of Manliness (see my new tabs for more information). And I know that I’ll have a few gigs at least with the band.

Past that I’m not sure… though I was looking at some possible travel options the other day – maybe a road trip to Santa Fe and Flagstaff, or possibly Colorado Springs might be in order.

I haven’t ever taken a trip like that solo. I’m not sure how much I’d enjoy it, but also not sure who else would want to come with me.

If you’ve got some insight into the world of solitaire vacationing, please share. And if you’re interested in taking a road trip with me, please don’t turn out to be creepy.

Either way, I hope that I’ll spend a little more time blogging this summer.

Time to leave and face the heat… here’s a shot from outside my window!

Catch some rays!

Highlight Reel

An office supply innovation. I love these highlighters. What office accessories are you obsessed with?

So I’m just going to come right out and say it.

I love office supplies.
Seriously. I might require psychiatric assistance for this. So much so that I’m taking time away from what I should be doing (preparing substitute lesson plans for the next two days) to write this post.
At school, we have a huge catalog from Staples with a corresponding educational discount guide with which, my bookkeeper will attest, I can spend weeks pouring over pages of everything from doorstops to deskchairs, rotary trimmers to rolls of scotch tape.
There are at least seven different companies manufacturing plain Manila file folders, which blows my mind. Seven companies? Is that market just a bit oversaturated?
But I digress. My current object of office tool fascination is the retractable highlighter marker. For years I suffered through the misery of conventional highlighters, always struggling with the feast or famine of either having the uncapped marker dry out or dealing with the difficulty of trying to highlight one-handed while still manipulating a separate cap. But thanks to the retractable highlighter, those days are a distant memory.
My personal favorite is the Sharpie Accent Retractable. You just can’t go wrong with a Sharpie, and I really like the design, what with it’s AP certified nontoxic quickdrying odorless ink, as well as the trademark Safety Seal technology to keep the marker from drying out. It’s even got something called “Smear Guard.” Got to feel pretty secure with Smear Guard watching my back.
There are eight colors availabe, but I’m still a fairly old school guy so I stick with the standard yellow. I had to buy a variety pack at Wal-Mart, but I’ve since found a five pack of the yellow markers available on Amazon.
I know these retractable highlighters have been around a few years (Google Patents has the earliest patents filed between 1996 and 2005), but it seems like I’m just discovering them. Better late than never.
Surely some of you have some office supply innovation suggestions for me. What are your favorite types of pens, staplers, tape dispensers, hole punches or any other kinds of office accessories?

Year in review

Dear friends,

Even though I’m still at work, surrounded by papers to grade and e-mails to send, and lessons to plan, I still feel a definite excitement not just for the new year, or the next semester, but just life itself.

2009 ended well for me. I reconnected with an incredible woman through a series of circumstances that just don’t seem coincidental, and today marks one month since our second first meeting. I feel God is growing and stretching and shaping me in new ways as I discover, for the first time, what it’s like to really experience this kind of relationship. I’m thankful that Dani is a part of my life and I’m looking forward to getting to know her and her very cool son, Spencer, more and more.

It was also a very good year for my newspaper. My kids put together three top-notch issues, earned the Best of Show award at the state convention, and pulled in a slew of national awards for last year’s papers. I’m thankful to them for making me look so smart.

It was also a good time for family. Three different occasions this fall, either my brother, sister, Dad, or a combination of the three were able to come to Texas for a fun weekend. Whether it was “Screams” with Graham, UT-Baylor with the whole bunch, or UT-North Carolina hoops with Truman, I had a blast and reminded how blessed I am to have these bonds of love and friendship with my family, not to mention how rare it is that we all share the same faith.

But most important, I got to have an incredible time of revival during my Thanksgiving visit to my hometown. It was something that I prayed for with a pastor at The Village, and God definitely answered that prayer with abundant blessings. Even as I got the difficult news about the health problems of a spiritual mentor, the Lord turned it to good by awakening a spirit of prayer in me that I hadn’t known before. 

2009 was a good year. And 2010 is starting well. It just feels like a bit of reset in my life. There’s been so much starting and stopping and stalling and starting again over the past 32 years. And while I know the road ahead won’t be easy, I’m confident that it will be good.

My hope is in Christ and my prayer is to learn to trust and love and enjoy him more each day.

Wishing the same for you, Happy 2010!



My newspaper staff uses a special web-based software to write their stories, get edits and just communicate in general. One of the features is a board where we can post topics for discussion.

So for our last class before the break yesterday, I posted the following thread.

Giving Thanks

Take a little time and share some of the things for which you are thankful.


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Then I posted my thankful list.

Mr. Hale is thankful for the following: Fantasy football, Strawberry Bliss Smoothies from Bahama Buck’s, the amazing Cuban album he found at Goodwill for $1.99, the Sunday Homestyle Chicken Dinner at Cracker Barrell, the barebones deliciousness of an Icedream cone from Chick-Fil-A, the generosity of his family, the kisses he’ll get from his 1-year-old niece on Wednesday night, the health of his parents and grandmother, the drop in gas prices, the literary genius of Flannery O’Connor, the musical genius of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the fact that his DVR will not let him miss the series finale of The Shield on Tuesday night, his new friends in Texas and old friends scattered across the country and around the world, the technology that allows him to keep in touch with them, his faith, his church, future grace, the return of Tony Romo, his brother’s sarcasm, his sister’s laugh, his sister-in-law’s smile, a home to go home to, a new haircut, a great job; and a staff that works hard, gets along, cares, laughs, makes him laugh, makes him proud, and makes the job so great in the first place.
Oh yeah, and Grub Rub from Dickey’s Old Town Meat Market. That stuff is off the hook/chain/charts and whatever else you got.

I asked the students to post their own comments. I heard them talking and giggling about it throughout the rest of the class period. I figured it just turned into a string of inside jokes and silly back-and-forth comments. I totally misjudged my kids. I forgot how smart, funny and profound they really are. Here’s a sample of the things for which they were thankful:

    • for Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson.
    • for Snapple and Chicken Fried Chicken. Cheeseburgers, Fratelli’s pizza and the Godfather.
    • for having awesome parents
    • to have more than what i need, people to love and to be loved from
    • for surviving cancer and catching it early
    • for the male gender..because if the world was all would suck
    • for creepy vampire books
    • for overcoming shyness
    • for silly animals..they make me laugh
    • I’m also thankful my parents didn’t name me an insane name like Bronx Mowgli.
    • for being able to work and make my own money
    • for having a roof over my head and clothes on my back
    • that me and my brother aren’t on the verge of killing each other any more (sounds familiar)
    • for soccer, even if i cant play for a while 😡
    • for the newspaper and having more stuff to do that takes me away from my house
    • for Harrison and his crazy jackets and singing
    • for my mother who has given the world for me
    • Also music. and the concept of love. that’s some pretty great stuff right there.
    • for a staff that works hard, loves the newspaper and each other, and is also arguably one of the best looking staffs out there.
    • for football – paticularly the Dallas Cowboys. TO AND ROMO REPRESENT!
    •  for the random phtoshop creations on the wall only a few of us understand.
    • for my job, even though at times they screw me over more than anyone should. The people there are some of the coolest people ever.
    • for the beauty that is cinema and the way I can look at it so throughly to the point people think I’m a freak.
    • for living life and being around amazing people throughout high school, and throughout my life in general. Leaving this place in May is going to suck, but the memories will last forever.
    • for good music *radiofire* , these super awesome laptops, my new house, my good friends, life, the cold weather, forgiveness, the wonderful memories i have of my brother, my cell phone :D, vans brand shoes, sunny D, food, my cats and dog, my family, twilight the movie, hair extentions from hot topic, LHS, Choir, all you wonderful newspaper people, and of course, the way i feel when i walk in this room. all my worries are left at the door and i feel welcome, needed, and even better, wanted.
    • for my small but sweet family of two.
    • for coming to Texas.
    • for Mr. Hale and his interesting taste in music.
    • for The Sooners kicking Texas Techs butt on saturday, for the bears beating the rams, my amazing family, my amazing friends, very thankful for my sister moving out and me getting my own room finally, thankful for my grandpa letting us stay in the house for atleast Christmas.
    • for my nasty disgusting tooth finally getting pulled even though it hurt reallly bad
    • for a fabulous newspaper staff and the wonderful people who make it up, my family, the freedom that comes with living in our country, Jason Mraz, my health, John Mayer, DANCING, Maroon 5, cranberry sauce on thanksgiving day, my Gotta Dance posse, dark chocolate, my dog Sophie, my nasty green 1998 Nissan Altama, gushy romantic movies, the gifts God has given me, Jimmy John’s Beach Club with no tomatoes, my parents who love me, my 11-year-old brother, having teachers who care for my future, my education, my church.
    • for all the memories I have created during my lifetime. For all my amazing friends. For my family that has always supported me and given me everything I have ever known. For the stars. For the rain. For the weather that brings back many more memories and allows for creating more. For how easy it is to make me happy.
      I’m thankful for all the simple things in life.
      Life would be so much better for everyone if we all just took the time to enjoy the simple things.
    • for mr hale putting on free bird!
    • everyone’s little quirks because without that the world would be boring, guitar solos, air guitar, football, LOST, tv, the internets, the sun, the ocean, schlotzkeys, the farhar staff, creativity, photoshop
    • white chocolate covered pretzels..The seasonal limited aditions to the starbucks menu..the many smiles i have during this time of cellular device..the break coming awsome grandparents love and doggy..the good times in newspaper..the diversity of great music
    • to live in AMERICA so i can be free
    • for the following: The outdoors, forests, tractors, fires, electric blankets, computers, his 360, modest mouse, all other music, people, candy, chicken fried steak
    • my sisters cello playing ability
    • staying up all night with a voice recorder
    • Also all of newspaper staff. Especially Hale. Wouldn’t want to do this without any of you guys.

This life is a blessing. It’s just a shame that it takes so much effort just to see that.