Another Day In the Life

Yesterday was the first day of class at Kendall. This semester I have fifteen students, and all of them seem to be pretty With It. I also ran into some of my students from last semester, who are now learning the basics of Flash with Mr. Bock.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be spending practically every waking moment of the next three and a half months in front of one computer or another. This is not entirely a bad thing, as I have a great 21″ monitor at home, and at the college I have an Apple cinema display the size of a drive-in movie screen.

Yep. The only place I have sub-par equipment is at work, where I have a four year-old Dell laptop driving an ancient 21″ monitor, which has a refresh rate slightly slower than the overhead fluorescent lights. That means that the normally subliminally-fast flickers go into and out of phase with one another ever couple of seconds.

If that was too technical for you, try this: I spend eight to eleven hours a day staring into a slow, dim strobe light. Why I have not yet suffered a debilitating epileptic fit is anyone’s guess.

One Week and Counting

Yep. That time of year, again.

Class starts in a week. Monday next will find me staring down the barrel of something over a dozen pairs of eyes, behind which will be brains capable of containing the sum total of all universes, just waiting to be filled with my wisdom.

Or beer.

The Class Pages have been updated to work with the content management system I use on the main site (i.e. this page). This will enable me to teach my class from the safety of my home, or the nearest bar with wireless access.

I have one more week of freedom, then four months of insanity.

O God.

On a more personal note, today is my Mother’s birthday. She is currently on vacation in the wilds of Canada, touring the Rocky Mountains ’round about Edmonton, in Alberta. Happy Birthday, Mom!1!!1!

On a less personal note, this is a picture of some blackberries:



A Day Full of Music

Spent all day yesterday at the Rockford Celtic Festival. Drank much Guinness. Saw many friends, several of whom are disreputable musicians.

The following three photos are of the Conklin Ceili Band , a traditional Irish group. They put on a great show wherever they go. Natalie (the fiddle player) had her first go at singing at the Celtic Festival, and performed wonderfully.

Conklin Ceili Band

Conklin Ceili Band

Conklin Ceili Band

The next three photos are of local band Craic Wisely . They have more than a little of The Pogues in them (stylistically, not politically) and had the whole audience jumping well into the night.

Craic Wisely

Craic Wisely

Craic Wisely

Today I feel a wee bit hung over. Funny, that.

Free As In Gutenberg

A couple of days ago I came across a few words strung together in an order which made them seem huge and full of portent: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Yes, I know…it’s the title of a Pink Floyd album. But it seemed too… I dunno… magnificent for a mere album title (my initial reaction was that I had it wrong, and that it was actually Jethro Tull).

Maybe, perhaps, the title of a poem or painting by William Blake? The Piper At the Gates of Dawn could have come from the same mystically animistic mind that brought us The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun

So I did a little digging. After several pages of Pink Floyd I came across an eBook of The Wind in the Willows; a book of which I have been aware for many years, but have not read. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is the title of Chapter VII.

I read for a little while before noticing where I was: The Project Gutenberg site. Well, back in the day, I spent a lot of time there. Back in the day.

Some time in the last year, the PG people have got themselves a new domain, re-structured their site, and done a major re-design. The result is a fantastic place where whole days can be lost (and by lost I mean spent blissfully ) browsing, researching, and reading.

On a related note, The new semester at Kendall will be starting in a couple of weeks. Last semester I had my students create portfolio sites for their final projects. This year, I think they will take Project Gutenberg eTexts and turn them into online books.

I may have to do the same thing myself. Again.

And I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long Long Time

What do you get when you bring together the following people: A grunge bassist; a grunge drummer; a soul/jazz singer; a Christian-rock guitarist; an electric violinist with anger-control issues; an indie-rock percussionist; and an ex-factory worker with a theremin?

An amazing version of Rocket Man . (linked .mp3)

And a great story , too. (linked RealAudio file)