Mr. Richard Finch 

Did you ever look back at your school years and wish that you had been in the class of a certain teacher? Mr. Finch is featured in volume 11, number 3, and this triggered a string of memories that make me wish that I knew the guy a little better.

One was when I had a journalism assignment to "take some pictures of the foreign language department". I was a student of French, and Mr. Finch taught Spanish... but he was in the office when I wandered in there wondering "what in the heck am I going to do about this". With some trepidation, I asked Mr. Finch if he had any ideas, and he immediately went into the language lab, opened up the console, exposing switches and wiring, and made a wonderful pose acting like he was trying to figure out what was broken...

He could have said "go away, I'm busy"... he could have played like he was reading a Spanish dictionary, but that wasn't his style. I didn't even know the guy, but he thought up one of the most fun and interesting pictures I took at Cubberley.

This sort of playfulness should have given me a clue, but it wasn't until year later when I read Wendy Lesser's "The Amateur", where she described the many facets of this wonderful guy, that I really thought "that would've been a neat teacher to study under".

Check out the article "Mr. Richard finch: artist, fencer, linguist", and also, especially if you remember this guy, go read Wendy's book. One of these days I'll figure out how to put one of those links in here that gives me a nickel if you go buy the book from amazon, but it's too late tonight.

I also should upload the picture of Mr. Finch in the language lab... later. (here it is April 2008 finally...)


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Google Analytics 

These are kind of cool - I've got them installed on the home page... still playing around. Just slowly adding things and seeing how they all work.
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1966-1967 

I'm going to try to keep my personal comments over here in the blog rather than in the text of the web pages, although undoubtedly some opinion will creep in - and probably things that interest me more will get more attention than other items.

If there's stuff that should be added over on the main text (like something significant about sports, which I was woefully ignorant about), please let me know and I'll try to work it in. With kids of my own, who both wanted to do some sort of sports, I see how important that is in their lives, and I wish I had tried to be more involved myself (although I was such a klutz, the coaching staff might've been wringing their hands with me).

So, 1966-1967. What was it like?

I was (and still am) a science nerd, and pretty clumsy (still am), and skinny (not so much any more). I had to take the required English (with Gerry Meyer), Contemporary World (with Al Chanteloup), PE (with "staff", but Mr. Jim Yelton taught me how to tumble, and play badminton, both of which I really enjoyed), French 3 (with Miss Tully - which has come in much more useful over the years than I ever expected), AP Math (Duane Hinders), Photo 50 (with Harry Butterfield). I had done biology the summer before at Gunn (with Bob Anderson and Miss Kenton, plus student teachers Mr. Penny and Ms. McIntosh), so I felt like I had bandwidth to do photography.

I was quite surprised at the Photo 50 - three of us that knew each other pretty well had all gotten this "Photo 50" thing on our schedule, and didn't have a clue what it was. We had all signed up for Photo 1, and figured you probably needed to have 1 through 49 before you took 50... but that wasn't the case. Photo 50 was an experiment that Mr. Butterfield wanted to try. It was designed to cover the material from "Photo 1" (theory and technique) but in an accelerated mode. The assignments would be generated from the needs of campus publications, including the Catamount (newspaper), Totem (yearbook), Cub (Student handbook), Folio (literary magazine), and the Palo Alto Times Thursday "High Times" column, which often needed photographs. (Those were worth $5, which was a lot of money in those days). My other two buddies in Photo 50 were Hal Sampson and Charles Scott. Hal has worked in hi-tech in the Sunnyvale area since graduation. Charles (as he now likes to be called - back then it was "Chuck") is an attorney in San Diego, and is actually representing me in a probate issue down there right now. Knowing him gave me the courage to try to work a "conservatorship", with an elderly relative in San Diego. So the old school tie goes on 40+ years later.

Photo 50 was the start of my photojournalism gig in high school. We were the trainees, and the trainers were Mr. Butterfield, the Journalism and Yearbook staff, and the current photographers, namely Scott LeGear and John Kehres. Initially we got the easy assignments where you could "take your time", shoot lots of pictures, and present only the best... things like "foreign exchange students"... ("Did you bring some sort of clothing or artifacts from your home country we might use in a picture?"). They would let us tag-along at sports events in case we managed to shoot something useful. It was all great fun. We had deadlines every two weeks, that culminated in the photo staff driving prints down to "the lithographer", where they would produce half-tone negatives needed to print the pictures in the newspaper. There were a lot of wonderful folks in Photo 50 - I remember Linda Mooers, Gretchen Wooding (now a doctor - specializing in allergy in Northern California), Pat Davis, and probably others that aren't coming to mind right now. We were all pretty excited about the prospect of being "published"... and probably all a little nervous as well.

I actually did get photographs published (as did many of my colleagues) in a book written about our times at Cubberley: "Hassling", by Sylvia Berry Williams. Sylvia Williams was an English teacher, and she ran the Catamount one of the years I was there. She was a wonderful woman, and very perceptive about much that was going on. To understand Cubberley in depth during those years, I recommend this book highly. One of the photos was of the 67/68 Student Body President, bearded Tim Wise, posing next to a photo of Che Guevarra. The other was Sidney Walton, the multicultural director in the Palo Alto schools, and later superintendent of Sausalito Schools. Below is a photo of him taken (I think) in early 1969.


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Two weeks later 

This site has been in my thoughts a lot the last few weeks, but has unfortunately had little progress.

I'm kind of torn between trying to use one of these cutesy template website builders to make cool little navigation tabs and graphics, versus just getting the material going.

Right now, I'm pretty much decided to do bonehead html and worry about the cutesy later if I have opportunity.

I've added a table to allow selection of the school years I have in my archive (I'm open to hosting others). Also, I've been trying to figure out google analytics.

I've never had a "hosted" site like this before. I did a very early website for my employer back in 1995/1997 but I always had 'root' access on the unix box I was running the thing on, so I could tinker away with the configurations to my heart's content. Doing it "hosted" is a little awkward, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

I'm going to try to open up the 'content' a little at a time, so that I can watch the effects, whatever they may be, and try to make some early corrections in how I do this before I get too much work invested.

I've instrumented the home page with google analytics at least, and I'm going to experiment with the google ads (hopefully to make this site self-supporting eventually) Unfortunately I have to do this stuff in little snatches, so it's going slowly.

The main page is in the google cache at this point, but not this blog.


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Taking this site live 

I'm setting up this site because I wanted to make available my files of Cubberley Catamounts (the student newspaper) from the years (1966-1969) that I was there.

I have scanned the ones I have, and most of the files are PDFs, which makes them more-or-less searchable, although the OCR software isn't smart enough to always figure out multiple-columns. Single-word searches work pretty well, but phrases may be more difficult.

I also own a LOT of photographs I took that were never used in publications. I was a staff photographer for the Catamount, the student newspaper, and the Totem, the yearbook. Some of these old photos are quite good. Some are fun, whimsical, or just interesting. We probably took 10 photos for every one that was actually used, so there's quite a bit of material.

I haven't decided yet how to use or present these, but they are also a possibility for this site, or perhaps one of the photograph upload sites (flickr, yahoo! or whatever).

I wasn't going to put a blog or anything like that, but Hal Sampson (I'm still in touch with him and several other alums) suggested I put a blog, forum, or wiki so people could give feedback about the site, what's on their minds, and things I might do to improve it.

So... we'll start with this blog, and evolve to more complex stuff if warranted by demand.

Hopefully, for a start, this blog will capture any thoughts people might have.

Since I'm allowed to ramble on a blog (and the older I get the more I ramble), I'll say that going through the photos has been a lot of fun.

I've found photos that I completely forgot about, such as a few of the "Fritz Raybine Memorial Band" from the 1967 Christmas Dance, which includes a nice shot of a very young "Stevie Nicks". (There is a cropped version of my photo on page 66 of the 1967/68 Totem ). I sent a copy of the photo to her publicity agent, and he verified it was, in fact, her. I also recently got a photo I took of "Buffalo Springfield" autographed by Richey Furay when he appeared at our local church, Calvary Chapel, Auburn .

Two motion pictures have dealt with events at Cubberley.

- " Wait Til Your Mother Gets Home ". Remember Coach Bob Peters? The story is about him and his family. Paul Michael Glaser plays Bob Peters, Dee Wallace plays Pat Peters, and David Doyle plays principal Herman Ohme (so this must have happened after I graudated, since Ohme took over in 1969).

- " The Wave " deals with Ron Jones' "Third Wave" experiment in 1967. All the names are changed, and the story has, shall we say, "grown in the telling", but it's easy to recognize the story from the film. IMDB makes references to Jones' publications as well.

Additionally, there have been at least a couple of books written...

-"Hassling", by English teacher Sylvia Berry Williams, for example, deals with many of the events that overlap my years at Cubberley.

-Ron Jones has written articles, and a book was written by Todd Strasser about the "Third Wave" as well.

-Scott Thompson wrote an article about campus activism for the "Theory Into Practice" Journal. (Theory into Practice, Vol. 8, No. 4, What Do All Those People Want? (Oct., 1969), pp. 279-283).

I'm sure there's lots of other stuff I'm missing here as well.

Suffice it to say, these were interesting years, and the history is worth preserving.

I'll have to work on "building" more structure (like to access the pdf's themselves, and maybe scan a few pages from the yearbooks), but at least it's getting started.



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