Thursday, November 30, 2006

South Station trains

South Stations trains
Originally uploaded by

Christmas is approaching, they are putting the model train set together in South Station this week. I was able to catch a photo in passing today. As they finish, I'll take more.

What marks the start of the Christmas season for you?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Painting a canvas = Selecting music

As I craft together music intros for podcasts, I realize more and more that you just can’t slap a voice over music and be done with it.

You have to choose the right music to fit the mood of the podcast. You have to choose the right voice. And on top of that, you have to place the voice-only track at precisely the right spot, on the right beat so that it sounds as if it’s part of the song.

Not easy.

Leesa Barnes writes this at Podonomics. These are good tips. This is also amongst the reasons why I have yet to venture into music. It will take time to play with and get used to.

Read her full posting here.


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Financial Aid - Scholarship Search Tips

Planning for college? It is a serious expense to consider.
Already there? You know what this means.
How do you pay for it? Hard work certainly is one way. With smart work is another way.
The second best part of this it is FREE.
That because the best part of it, may in fact find some money to put towards the bills you face or are arriving.
PS - Christopher Penn is behind this site. He was also behind the PodCamp Boston. This is not some fly-by-night website.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reel Education - Redux

From the archives, a year ago today I wrote about reel education. Reel as in what we can learn from the movies.

Read the full posting here.

What movies do you think are good teaching moments?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Acupuncture research

From the Sunday Boston Globe Magazine comes this insight into some fascinating research into acupuncture.
Langevin grabbed headlines when, in 2001, the Journal of Applied Physiology published the results of a study in which she and her colleagues quantified de qi’s biomechanical component, or needle grasp, by measuring the force necessary to pull an acupuncture needle out of the skin. Her findings showed something else: Gently manipulating the needles back and forth or twisting them increased the grasp significantly. Since then, Langevin’s research has proved that the connective tissue that winds around acupuncture needles – much like spaghetti wadded around a fork – is responsible for needle grasp. Further study has revealed that needle manipulation transmits a signal to fibroblasts, the cells that make up such tissue, causing them to spread and flatten. "The needle is, in fact, stretching the tissue from the inside," Langevin explains. "The tissue is not just being pulled; it's actively responding to the stimulus."
I appears that Dr Langevin is onto something.
Read the full article here (free registration maybe required).
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Why blog?

I wrote one of my longer posts for the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network on "How I blog" and it is published today. Catching up on some of my reading, I find this as an excellent example of "Why?"

I feel myself doing the same thing I always do. Like a rodeo pony at the gate, my entire being bucks up against the process of sitting down to write about the things that matter most to me: about trying to make a life. Invariably this work always takes me to the brink of what I know—and pushes me over, to where I plummet wildly into the unknown.

As I sit down to write about things that matter: about my father dying, about the gunman at school, about fighting with my husband, or loving my son fiercely, and I know that I will be changed by the act of writing. It is the act of putting words on the page that defines the reality of the world I inhabit. And so invariably, I resist because I am terrified that the act of delving deeply into this material will bring me face to face with my own small self and demand that I become more pliant. That I take risks or grow in ways I cannot yet fathom.

When I force myself to write like this my heart feels trampled like grapes becoming wine: something comes from the crushing that is sweet and heady and intoxicating, but also, there is the stain of broken skin and the pulp of the fruit that was once a different shape.

I encourage you to stop by and read Christina frequently. Her blog is a site worthy of a regular visit.


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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The JJL Anthem performed

It has been a good holiday weekend and it was made a little more special this afternoon as my daughters were joined by two of Allison's friends, Ashley and Theresa, to record an 'a cappella' version of the JJ Learning Anthem.
We had a great time recording this. I believe you'll enjoy it!
Listen to it here.
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Woodpecker attacks

We apparently have a woodpecker that loves our house. He came last year and made a significant dent or rather several holes in a corner finish board. I had plugged them with silicon and covered them with some pieces of screening. That seemed to work to keep him away. Then earlier this year we had the board replaced and the new board, newly painted looked good.
Today I am working from home and I hear the familiar tap-tap on the wall. Sure enough, it is the woodpecker again. Probably the very same one. Other than using violent means, does any one have any suggestions?
Have you had a woodpecker love your house? What did you do?
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for learning

The Joyful Jubilant Learning Network that I am part of has created a Thankful for learning post to help celebrate today.

Click on over to read.

What have you learned recently that you are thankful for?

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Thankful Giving Ways

This Thanksgiving, as we gather round the family table and give thanks for what we have, let us also remember those who around the world could also use our help.

Beth at Cambodia4Kids is raising money to Help Sponsor Leng Sopharath's Education

Alive in Baghdad is raising money to help tell the story from the Iraqi point of view.

The American Red Cross is always looking for funds to help the recent disaster victims and to help prepare for the next one.

There are many ways to contribute to any number of worthy causes.

On this Thanksgiving Day, please consider a contribution.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving preparations

The girls arrived home last night and promptly re-arranged the magnets. Who knew that there was a predefined order for their arrangement? A new picture will be posted sometime.

Ze Frank has some advice on preparing to go home for the holidays. I love how he works in multiple messages in the same story line.

Rocketboom reminds us that not all is well in this world. The plight of the Somalia refugees is heart rending.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Deja Brew

Joined a good college buddy of mine last Friday night to make my first visit to Deja Brew. Yes, first visit. We need to return in three weeks to bottle. After that, well, there will likely be other visits.
What is Deja Brew?
The first dedicated Brew-on-Premise in Massachusetts.
Yes, brew as in beer! They also do wine and soda.
There are six kettles along the front wall. Our group had three of them during or time slot on Friday. Putting together three different beers. Measuring the grains, making the wort, adding the hops, and following the recipe under the able guidance of two brew masters. It was light work with plenty of time for conversation.
There was also time to sample some of whatever they had on tap. I won't remember the names (no, I did not have that much; I'm just not great with names of things like this the first time around; I do better taking notes). They had a nice red beer but that tapped out early. They also had a nice stout. They brought out a vanilla bourbon beer. Yes, an odd sounding combination but it works. The flavor was delightful. It was not heavy, more of an ale than a lager.
After getting the beer brewed, the brew masters flipped the switches and levers on the tubing to draw the beer from our kettle into a plastic bag in a sturdy plastic drum adding the yeast as they did. They will monitor the fermentation process in two temperature controlled rooms. When it is ready, they will filter it and add the carbonation before we return to bottle it. They provide the bottles, labels and caps. The bottles are re-usable (hence the return trip sometime).
As our group had three kettles going, we should end up with three cases (one each). Each case 24 x 22 oz bottles. That should be enough to get us through the holidays and then some.
One of the pluses of this process is the absence of chemical preservatives in the process. Pretty cool! I can hardly wait to return to bottle "my" beer. Clearly, the other benefit to doing the brewing this way, we walked away. We don't have to worry about the kettles, the storage, the clean up... not that we left a mess but... that is part of the service we pay for.
So if you are in or near Shrewsbury, MA and interested in brewing your own, there are a few slots left between now and Christmas. They are filling up fast.
Check out Deja Brew
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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The magnets are back!

Yes, rehung, re-ordered and ready to swing on the door.

The magnets are the result of a collection over the years from business travel (Texas), vacation travel (Maine, South Carolina, Cape Cod, South Dakota, etc.), quick reference and clips for hanging other reminders.

As I go to the refrigerator, I can catch a view of one of the magnets and step back into time....

Do you have a collection for your refrigerator door?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Exploring a wiki

Today's Boston Globe has another in a series of articles appearing in the press touting the new wiki phenomenon. Wikipedia is certainly well known. Other uses of wiki technology are being explored. The wiki cake project mentioned in the article is underway. The wiki in this case is collection votes and suggestions from the group (and anyone can join) to decide what kind of cake to bake. A simple but effective exposition of the tool.
Dan Bricklin, inventor of Visicalc, the precursor to Excel (and I did use it once upon a time) is about to release wikicalc as an open source application. Anyone anywhere could collaborate on a shared spreadsheet.
I am exploring using a wiki to enhance the blog writing I do. Comments help foster the conversation but the content of the postings and comments maybe more readily available via wiki to continue the conversation and build a real information source. My 2 cents would be worth more if it was tended to, tempered, and added to by the collective intelligence of the readers. Or so my current thinking goes.
What do you think?
How would you use a wiki?
Would you help explore the use of a wiki?
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Friday, November 17, 2006

Snail Whitestone Interview

I'm here today with Snail Whitestone, well known golden oldies cover musician. How are you doing Snail?

Pretty good thank you!

You're in town for a concert tonight over at the Pavilion.

Yes, supposed to be a sold out show.

That must make the group happy!

Yes, we got the payroll covered for a bit now.

Speaking of covered, you tend to cover a bunch of Neil Diamond's big hits: "Kentucky Woman", "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Red, Red, Wine". Did you realize that in each of those songs, he was writing about his liquor bottle?

He was? Are you sure?

I think so. Then when he went into rehab he wrote about his withdrawal process and learning to live without the bottle by writing I'm a Believer.

The JJ Learning Anthem
Rewritten by Steve Sherlock (with sincere apologies to Neil Diamond)

I thought learning happened only in kindergarten
Meant for someone else but not for me
Learning was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Failure haunted all my dreams

Then I saw the blog
Now I'm a JJ Learner
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm JJ Learning
I'm a believer
I'll be learning for the rest of my life

I know learning is a sharing thing
Seems the more I give, the more I get
That's the purpose of learning
All you get is gain
When I needed sunshine, I got trained!

Then I saw the blog
Now I'm JJ Learning
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm JJ Learning
I'm a believer
I"ll be learning the rest of my life

2006 Foolish Music, Inc. (MADCAP)

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How do you get the short list?

In the course of exploring the use of a wiki to enhance this blog and others, I found a good comparison site: Wiki Matrix
Did you know that there are 74 wiki software packages available to choose from?
How do you wade through all that to make a choice?
Use the Wiki Choice Wizard! or check off ones on the list you want to look at and do the compare yourself.
I used the wizard and it was easy. From the 74 it brought my choices down to 12. I further made a selection (by pricing, i.e. "free") to create a short listing of 3. Then when one I had heard about wasn't on the listing, I went back to see where the choice got dropped off. Yes, it was one of the feature sets that the wizard asked. Now, I know and understand my short list.
If you use a wiki, I would be interested in finding out how you choose the one you did and what you are using it for.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Where to go

Visited Emily Chang's eHub tonight to get a fix on what the latest is and found a couple of interesting things. One of immediate interest, hence this post, is "Where to go".
"Where to go" allows for social networking around places you have been to or would like to go to. If you were going someplace new, wouldn't you like some trusted advice before hand?
Now, of  course you would. Well, maybe this site will help to create those bridges.
Since I was the first one to tag Niagara Falls (NY), Custer State Park (SD), and Mount Katahdin (ME), then I am not expecting an immediate response. But you never know.
I did go to Niagara Falls once upon a time (either 1977 or 1978). Dolores and I are planning to go there in 2007.
The family took great hiking/camping trips to Mount Katahdin (2001) and Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota (2003).
I have more tagging to do but why don't you go, sign up for a free account and tag the places you have been or would like to go.
We may connect!
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rev's - we still lov ya

At the half, the score was 0-0.
At full time, the score was 0-0.
At the end of the first OT, the score was 0-0.
Then the Rev's scored Khano Smith to Taylot Twellman to make it 1-0.
The Dynamo's came back on the ensuing re-start to score on a Brian Ching header to tie it, 1-1.
At the end of the second OT, it was 1-1.
Time for penalty kicks.
The tension mounted, the pressure built, the excitement ebbed, and flowed, and in the end the Dynamos stood on top 4-3.
Oh, well, there is next year.
You did well, New England Revolution. We still love you!
But you should have won!
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First Try at a Screen Capture

I recorded a screen capture on how to copy a picture from a web site (my blog in this case) using Microsoft's Windows Media Encoder following some instructions from Will Richardson's book:

"Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms"

As part of the Joyful Jubilant Learning network, we are creating a virtual classroom of sorts and this could be a handy tool to share some of our best practices.

The recording is 00:02:19 (2 minutes, 19 seconds) so it won't take long to view.

I appreciate any feedback you have. It helps the learning process!

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Tip on Copying a Picture

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Quote & Link


The student made a point about differentiating racism as experienced by immigrant cultures versus indigenous people or victims of slavery. My eyebrows went up when I heard this. "I never thought of this difference." And my eyes suddenly got big. Not that I believe by any means in the validity of a "my racism experience is bigger (worse) than yours" kind of world. I guess until that point I thought of all racism as equally bad. My opinion hasn't changed. But now I can see how people might rightfully feel more pain. I wish there were less.

Read the full posting here.

I agree that an injustice is an injustice, period. I also understand perspectives can be different. This is something I learned.

The difficulty is changing behavior so an injustice does not occur. A difficult task but one that needs to be taken one step at a time, one person at a time.


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Friday, November 10, 2006

False Voice? or Cool Technology

Cruised over to Will Richardson's blog tonight as I had just finished his book and wanted to see what was up on his site. I ended up writing about it here and here.
Then I gave a listen to the podcast version of this and was I surprised. It was not his voice!
It is cool technology, text to speech translation, but it is not his voice. I was disappointed.
So if you were going to listen to a podcast, would it make a difference to you to hear a live voice or a computer voice?
I am curious to hear what you think.
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Hitchhiker Team has expanded

The Hitchhiker Team has expanded!
Dave takes us down the yellow brick road today on a magical mystery tour.
Come along and have some fun!
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Guest Author at Talking Story

Rosa Say writing at Talking Story was looking for input around the theme of "when parenting works" for this month of November. I went into the archives for a good post to share. You may recognize it.

This is a good case of using the archives and then also exposing a comment that was worthy of getting some notice.

Thanks, Allie!


You can find the posting at Talking Story here.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Robert Bly - Profile

Voice of America has just published a profile on Robert Bly. I have written of his appearences at the Dodge Festival. I have posted a couple of his poems. This is a good bit of background on his life and works.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Make sure you

and learn a new word for the day
You could also check out the scrolling headlines on the left in the Feedburner boxes to find out what and where else I have written.
That's okay. You can click through to read one of the others posts (after you finish here of course).
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pulp, Peas, Casseroles

Orange juice with pulp. I bought it at the food store for the first time in a long while. The girls growing up did not like pulp in their juice. But they are out of the house now, so we (Dolores & I) can have the kind of juice we want.

The girls did not like peas so we had broccoli, green beans, carrots, cauliflower and salad. A good variety. But peas are now back in the house and made the chicken pot pie taste real good.

Casseroles, food mixed together did not happen too often. The girls did like lasagna but that doesn't quite qualify as a casserole does it?

Anyway, there are just a few of the little things that have changed now that we are an 'empty nest' (at least until the holidays).

They are little things. We did not make a big deal of it. We still had juice, we still had vegetables, we still had good solid healthy meals. The girls are healthy and doing well in school so we can revert to some of the "old ways" we used to do things as a couple before kids.

Did you make any changes like this for your kids?

Updated - Another one was meatloaf, I just remembered. Of course, it helped to have it for supper tonight.

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Revs - Post Game

Coaches - Steve Nicol easily out coached Peter Nowak. The Revs started 4-4-2 but DC was making in roads so they switched to the 3-5-2 they had played most of the season, shifting Riley outside. This immediately settled the Revs. The back 3 (Heaps, Parkhurst, and John) resorted to the strong defense they played all year.
Nowak got the team off to a great start earlier this season but then they staggered into the finish winning only two games after the All-Star break. They also had a poor finish last year due to the Ado incident. Both of these finishes can be laid at the feet of the coach. They get to go home early to think about what they need to differently next year.
One stat touted that the Revs had used something like 19 different players in 26 different starting lineups this year. Injuries and national team duties played a big part in driving this stat but the consistency of the overall program is a credit to Nicol and his assistant, Paul Mariner. They created an environment for the players to succeed no matter who was on the field. Getting to the conference championship 5 times in a row, and now to the MLS Finals for the 3rd time, 2nd in a row.
The players need to execute but it starts with the coach and the leadership provided. The Revs are succeeding due to Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner.
Way to go Revs!
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Revs 1-0 Winners!

The NE Revolution beat the DC United 1-0 and moved on to the MLS Championship game next Sunday.

They scored a pretty goal; Noonan to Twellman in the 4th minute.

They did not have much offense the remainder of the game but they played excellent defense keeping the score clean to win! Way to go team!

Go Revs!

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Go NE Revolution!

Yes, soccer is the world's game but it is hardly a blip on the radar around New England when compared to the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics. Yet the New England Revolution have done something that these other teams have not. I think only the Celtics in late 50's/early 60's were as consistent.

The Revs are just the second team in MLS history to advance to five successive conference championship games (joining the 1998-2002 Los Angeles Galaxy) and the only team from the Eastern Conference to do so.

They play on Sunday against arch rivals, DC United. They are dead even this season with a 1-1-2 record and the same amount of goals for and against each other.

Two years ago, they also met in the finals playing 120 minutes to a 3-3 tie then DC went on to take the penalty kick shoot out 4-3.

This year could indeed be the year for the Revs to go all the way to take home the MLS trophy.

The business lessons from the Revs are just as applicable this year as when I wrote about them last year.

Go Revs!


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Quotes & Links

From Karen Wallace writing at The Clearing Space Sanctuary from way down under in Brisbane comes this gem:
The more you notice the little things, the more you will notice that there are little things to notice.
Read her full posting and then explore the Clearing Space world. Follow a link or two. There is so much there.
From Anastasia writing at Totally Wired comes this:
I was reading this Associated Press story in USA Today about how the music industry is suing a mom for her teens' illegal downloading of over 1K songs. Personally I think these types of lawsuits only make the industry look like a big bully, but that's not the point of this post. The judge in the case called mom an "Internet illiterate parent" and now the recording industry is going after her two teens (one is 16, the other is now 20).
Want to read more about internet illiterate parents? Read the full posting here.
Thanks to David Rothacker for the pointer.
From Jonathan writing at Bemsha Swing comes this:
... poetry is situated within a wide range between relatively unmusical speech (I say relatively because speech is always musical) and a kind of relatively nonverbal music ("relatively" because music always seems a form of speech; it always seems to be saying something even when it is instrumental.)
This is along the lines of my "Fire Circle Story". Read all of Jonathan's post here.
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Goodbye William!

A moment of silence to mark the passing of a great writer: William Styron.
Author of
The Confessions of Nat Turner  (winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Sophie's Choice           
and other works...
Great quote: "A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it."


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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quotes & Links

From Christine Kane

One of my mentors says that when you plant a seed, the first thing that comes up isn’t the perfectly formed sprout. The first thing that comes up is dirt. Same thing with setting intent. Same thing with shifting your thoughts to create a better reality. Same thing with new habits and patterns.

In other words, when you embark on a new path, the resistance comes up first so you can push through it and get stronger in that process.

From Roy H Williams' Monday Morning Memo for this week
If you would taste truth and beauty and grace, you must reach for the fruit of a tree planted deep in the soil of irrational commitment.
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