As with a lot of things in this lifetime, the plans that we make do not always happen. I had every intention of going to an Internet hotspot, namely the Eatonville, Washington , public library, and put up a surprise web update of “News on the Net” from across the continent. I had badgered Frank Solle into writing up his sports story. I had made certain to have pictures and stories written. I even edited the pictures and laid it all out in the program named Dreamweaver, which, by the way, is NOT a dream to work in. I had the entire update completed. All I needed to do was walk to the Eatonville Library and update the website from the changes to the website that I had made on Phyllis' laptop.
I had been to the Eatonville Library already and made certain that it had wireless internet access available for the public. I had used my laptop to check email and such, but now it was time to use the laptop that had all the programs, all of the pictures, and all of the stories for the website ready to be uploaded. It was a beautiful afternoon, pretty cold for Washington State , but not too bad for a Michigander. I had a nice, brisk walk to the library. It was only about a half mile away. I walked into the library and sat down with Phyllis' laptop. I turned the laptop on, and I had the “Nightmare in Eatonville”. When I looked at the laptop screen, I had a blue screen with “Failure to Load Windows” message on it. All of that work, all of that time, and all of that effort was for nothing. The laptop's operating system had crashed. I tried all of my tricks as a computer geek. I even got out my pocket pc, got on the Internet, and looked up the error message and error codes. No such luck was to happen on this day. I could not get it working.
More importantly, all of the pictures that Phyllis and I had taken of the trip out to Washinton, the mountains including the Rocky Mountain range, the Cascade Mountain range, and the Olympics were on the laptop as well as a large number of baby pictures and pictures of our adventures during this visit. We are back, and we hope that we will be able to resurrect the information on that laptop.
This morning, the day after our return to the Island , was spent working on Phyllis' laptop. No matter what I did, nothing worked. Dell Support was not any help, nor was Microsoft Support. So I did what any good website editor would do, I called my good friend (who chooses to remain nameless). I went to his home to get help. We are now seven hours after I started this morning, and I am now able to begin work on the website. Thank you to our anonymous friend. I couldn't have done this update today without your help. Thank you for the conversation. Thank you for the technical knowledge. Thank you for the laughter. We all appreciate your help.
by Frank Solle
G eorge E ngler ' s O ld G randfather R ode A P ig H ome Y e sterday. That was how my mother taught me to spell geography when I was but a lad. And while it was a big help way back then, it would not have come in very handy at the Beaver Island Community School gymnasium on Thursday evening, Jan. 11, in the 5th Annual National Geographic Bee.
Although it would have helped some in the night's first contest — the 1st Annual Sparkle Bee, which is a spelling contest in which the contestants stand in a line as each contributes one letter to the word in question. Miss a letter and you are out and the next person in line begins the word anew. It's a new twist on an old game, but a fun and entertaining one. Not only do you have to know how to spell the word, you have to know how to pay attention to the flow of the game.
What may not have been so much fun for the other contestants was a sweep of both events by eighth-grader Jacob Drost.
Once the 14-member Sparkle field had been whittled down to Drost, Jenna Battle, and Gus Connaghan after the third round that saw other spellers stumble during the group spelling of such offerings as intensify (a tricky ‘e'), neutral (that darn ‘u'), inferiority (too many (i's), and schooner (an ‘h' in there, really?), the three prepared to battle for the title.
All three missed at one point during the word adequate, so the contest continued. Gus was knocked out during exaggerate and Jenna was tripped up on immediate, which Jacob was able to spell correctly on his own for the win.
Yet the Sparkle competition looked like a breeze compared to the questions put forth to the 10-member Geography Bee.
The first round centered around National Parks with the students given a map of the country to help. Then some more specific national questions were given and students began to miss. And once the questions moved on to the international realm, well, your guess was as good as mine, and not many student guesses were correct either. Some of this seemed more directed at a much older, much more worldly level of knowledge.
The championship round came down to Drost, the defending champ, and young Matt Cull who was determined to return the title to his family as older brother Patrick had claimed the crown the first three years of competition. This round consisted of three questions. The contestant who answered the most correctly would be the winner.
Just so you can have an idea of where your geographic knowledge should be at an 8th-grade level, here are the final questions:
1. Mount Olympus , reaching an elevation of 9,570 feet, is the highest point in which European country?
2. In April 2006, pro-democracy demonstrations in Katmandu and the surrounding countryside resulted in the king transferring power to the Parliament in which Asian country?
3. Which West African country, a member of OPEC, is known for its major oil reserves and is one of the largest producers of oil in the world?
Have you got your answers?
1. Greece . Both finalists knew this.
2. Nepal . Neither finalists got this one correct.
3. Nigeria . Again neither were correct.
That brought us to the Tie-Breaker round of questions. The first contestant to correctly answer a question the other could not, would reign supreme.
The first question: Columbia , with low coastal plains along both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean , borders which Central American country?
The answer: Panama .
Drost answered correctly while 7th-grader Cull unfortunately did not.
While Drost earned a medal, a certificate, and a tee-shirt for winning, we also won the opportunity to take an even more difficult written test in the near future in order to qualify for the state competition.
All contestants in the Sparkle received a certificate and an insulated Islanders travel mug. Afterwards, contestants and the large gathering of supporters were treated to cake and juice in the lobby.
Many thanks to moderator Ms. McNamara and event organizer and Sparkle moderator Ms. Brown for their efforts in making this year's event a great success.
Now study up for next year.
Sparkle moderator Ms. Brown listens as , from left, Jacob Drost, Jenna Battle, and Gus Connaghan combine to spell a word.
Ms McNamara reads through the rules of the Geographic Bee as the contestants and the crowd listen intently.
Geo Bee winner for the second year in a row Jacob Drost is awarded his prizes by Ms. McNamara and Ms. Brown.
I got an excellent suggestion from someone who will remain nameless (until you have a chance to guess who this is) to bring this back onto the website. Here is a person that is always willing to offer a helping hand to those in need. Can you guess who this is?
John Works, Jr., has been hard at work making improvements in the golf course here on Beaver Island . While out playing golf on January 3 rd , Frank Solle took these pictures showing the driving range that John has been working on including a building enclosed on three sides and a cleared field that has been planted as well. Frank also included some pictures of the 7 th green from the 7 th fairway which shows just a little bank of snow that hasn't melted yet.