31 August 2009

Putting Foot into Mouth

Literally.
I saw this flash across ESPN on Friday and then found the video of these two teams playing a big rivalry match in Bolivia over the weekend. I haven't tried to get the whole story surrounding it. From what I saw, there was some rough play from #9 for Blooming and evidentally the guy in blue (Oriente) gets up and pretty much looses his mind. After shaking off whatever injustice had been dealt him, he gets up charges #9 in green stripes, knocks him down and berates him. That much is pretty intense but isn't unheard of. They both get reds and are sent off. But keep watching to see the "falcon kick" as I saw it named on the internet.

27 August 2009

Games!

After discussing caboose's post I am reassured that I am not a real gamer, but I do enjoy some simple games. One puzzling yet intriguing game that I've been wasting a little time on lately is Auditorium. It is very different, like a mind puzzle set to music and the melodies are hauntingly pleasing. Check it out...I'm stuck on Act 3:4.

23 August 2009

Goodbye Summer

Although students won't show up until Thursday, for me and the rest of the teaching force, school starts tomorrow. The weather we were gifted on this last day of summer vacation was simply put, perfect. A sunny, nearly cloud free sky. A high of 79 degrees and mild gentle breeze. I did my best to enjoy as much of it as possible. I had breakfast (Hy-Vee of course) with caboose, then rode my bike to the tennis courts for a match against Jamie (and I've been on the winning side of things lately, which has been nice). After biking home and showering up, I've spent a good portion of the afternoon outside underneath the shade of a tree in our backyard, reading the first half of a new book, munching grapes, sipping lemonade and just drinking in as much relaxation as possible. I'm now sitting down with a slice of the pie I baked yesterday and am going to spend this evening with this girl I have a super-crush on, Audrey Hepburn. It has been a great day.
Looking back a little over my summer got me thinking that it has really been a great few months. I was fortunate to earn some good money working a summer school job that I enjoyed. I was able to start each day in June off with daily mass and with priests that did a great job. I had some great times with my family, playing the park, hanging out back home, Happy Meat Night and College World Series. stoppable & I ran a 5k! caboose & I went to movies, tried out new restaurants, went to shows and threw a party. I heard some great live music. Made three great trips to Chicago and one to Minneapolis. I had some great times playing volleyball. My tennis game improved quite a bit and while I didn't do RAGBRAI, I did ride my bike a bunch. I made some new friends, got to know other friends even better, and reconnected with a couple I'd lost touch with. I've been blessed with some great times and great people to spend them with the past few months. Thanks to everyone.

Doctoring Photos

The NY Times has a short little slideshow of photographs being altered and manipulated in the news throughout history. There is quite a history of people erasing people from their photos once they fall out of favor (just like homebase!). Since I've been messing around with Photoshop lately and will be teaching it this fall, I found it interesting...there might be a lesson activity in there somewhere! One notable photo that is not in the slideshow is the photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, that the movie JFK takes a close look at and calls out as a fraud.

19 August 2009

Quotes...

I've always been a big fan of quotes. Maybe because I'm not great at forming my own thoughts and feelings into powerful statements that are thought-provoking, easy to understand and remember. I've got books of quotes that I love to flip through. I've got lists that I've made and keep with me of favorites. Just lately I've added a few more to that list, and the Fuel column at Gapers Block had people sharing some of their faves last week. I thought I'd share a couple of ones I've added to my list.
  • Ancora Imparo - written by Michelangelo in the margin of one of his notebooks. It is Latin for 'Yet, I am learning' although often used as 'Still I am learning'. I find it humbling and motivating at the same time that such a great mind was engaged by his own learning to write that down. It reminds me of two things; not to forget the joy of learning something new and never give up on something because we can continually improve and learn.
  • If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. - author, Kahlil Gibran. I don't know if this is from 'The Prophet' or not because I haven't read it. But I did just read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and this quote came up in that book. I thought it was funny, and most definitely true.
  • Esse quam videri - 'To be, rather than, to seem' - I love the idea behind this quote, but it is too cumbersome to ever think I'd use or repeat it.
  • All that is necessary for the perpetuation of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke. A great quote, but I just found out that it is most likely a misquotation, and an interesting one at that. It looks more likely to be from Leo Tolstoy.
  • Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. A friend of mine recently brought this passage to my attention and I really liked it. Now, a week or so later, I'm reading "Franney and Zooey" and that exact same passage plays a very significant role in the book.

ESPN comes to A-P

In case people hadn't heard about this yet, ESPN is going to be showing Aplington-Parkersburg's season opener against Dike-New Hartford live on August 28. They will have a documentary showing the hour before the game. Personally, I love seeing high school sports on ESPN and any publicity for Iowa high school's is great. This case in particular is one that, I feel, any good will and support will be much needed and well received. Plus, the game should be a good one, pitting A-P, a state 1A semifinalist against a 2A state qualifier. Now I just need to find somewhere to watch it since we don't get ESPN. :(

17 August 2009

Lolla Dancer

I saw this video from a WGN cameraguy on Gapers Block. I didn't get the pleasure of seeing these dancers when I was at Lolla, but definitely thought you all needed to witness their talents.

16 August 2009

Welchans Open '09

Earlier this summer, the idea of a family golf outing came to me and I wouldn't let it drop until we finally got it scheduled for this past weekend. To be clear from the get-go, none of us three brothers are golfers. I went the driving range a few times last summer but otherwise have played I think once in the past five or so years. caboose & stoppable (may need to correct me on this) hadn't been on a course in over a decade. kate has played a little more regularly, but has stuck to par-3 courses, so this was something new for her too. I have very fond memories of the Fremont County Golf Course in Sidney. Tons of great times, so I knew that it would have to be the location of our event. Although the weather, sprinkling through the first hole, kept us guessing, we got a great nine holes in and everyone enjoyed what hopefully might become a recurring event. The most notable event of the day was stoppable breaking the heads off of seven irons. You might think this is a sign of racous or careless play, but these were completely normal swings and the heads just broke right off, one after another, after another. The first one was shocking and hilarious, after that it become a spectacle to see how many it would happen to. Kate provided the other highlight, sinking a long-distance put from the very edge of the green on #2. I was very pleased since she was my partner on that hole. Personally, I had my best shot with my first swing of the club. I had a beauty of a drive on the first hole and pretty much went steadily downhill from there. But I did, somehow, end up with the lowest score, so I will bring the champion title to next year's event. Picture set over at flickr.

14 August 2009

Swell Season on NPR

The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova) are releasing their second album and they stopped by NPR: All Songs Considered to do a little acoustic set for them. You can watch & download the video or just the audio. I loved the music from the "Once" soundtrack. It is totally my favorite thing to fall asleep to. As I said after they won the Oscar, these two just seem like such good people; I love 'em! Check it out.

13 August 2009

World Cup Qualifying Update

The U.S. team fell to Mexico 2:1 yesterday. This continues the Mexicans' dominance at home. The 100,000+ fans in Azteca Stadium have never seen their team lose to the Americans. In fact, as pointed out by ESPN, eleven teams have came to Mexico and scored first (which is a HUGE advantage in soccer), yet all eleven have failed to not only win, but couldn't even salvage a tie!
With two months left until qualifying is completed, the Americans are still third in their group, which would see them qualify for the finals in South Africa next summer. They have four games left; two against higher-rated teams and two against lower-rated teams. No more games against Mexico though.
Across the pond, the qualifying also has about four rounds of matches left and there are a few surprises. The Balkan region is doing amazingly well, Serbia & Slovakia are on top of their groups and Bosnia & Croatia are in second in theirs. Although there's still a lot to play for, big names Portugal and Czech Republic have some real work to do if they're to qualify. Netherlands is the only team to have a spot locked up, which, of course I am happy about. The Irish are second in Group 8, only a single point behind leaders Italy. Italy does have a match in hand, though. Ireland has three remaining matches (Cyprus, Italy, Montenegro). Group winners automatically qualify and the teams in second place pair off to play for a ticket to South Africa. That is how Ireland qualified in 2002, and they missed out (finished 4th in their group) in 2006. The next couple months should be interesting!

The Original Ferris??

This Washington Post article on the guy who, purportedly, was the inspiration for Ferris Bueller's character caught my eye and, since it is one of my most favorite movies, I thought I'd share. Enjoy.

10 August 2009

What a Weekend

I am seriously dragging as I start to write this, but I wanted to get some of these memories down before I call it a much-needed early night. This past weekend was probably one of my most fun and amazing weekends in a long time. Friday night, caboose and I kept it low-key and just went to Woody's Smoke Shack for some great BBQ, and we even pushed ourselves to finish it with a slice of rhubarb pie this time. Total gluttony, but delic gluttony. Saturday morning gave a little cause for concern because it was a bit overcast with some off and on sprinkling and we had big plans to go out on a pontoon boat on Big Creek with friends for Leslie & Nicole's birthday. Luckily, by the time we got our gang together and overcame a detour and a tire change, the sun was out and ready for us. It was a great time, very relaxing. Lots of sun, lots of sunscreen, and lots of laughs. We spent like seven hours out on the water and I enjoyed every minute of it. Once we got back I stopped in and hung out with Haley & Matt for a bit before calling it an early night so I'd be as fresh as possible to catch my flight on Sunday.
6:50 wheels-up time came early but I was SO excited to be making this trip out to Chicago. I've talked about getting Lollapalooza tickets for like five years now and this year I finally pulled the trigger and got a one-day pass for Sunday. I got into Chicago early enough to stop at my old favorite breakfast spot, the Cozy Corner, to fuel up for the day and then catch mass at St. Stanislaus Koska. It really felt good to be back in the city and without a car to worry about. No parking or traffic problems, just me, my backpack and the CTA. Lollapalooza was amazing. Completely and totally worth the ticket price. I hadn't been to a big outdoor show in a while and never to anything on this scale. The festival sold all 1 and 3 day passes (225,000) for the second year in a row. I did a pretty respectable job of catching all the acts I wanted to see. Luckily everyone I was interested in was on the south end of the festival. I was really impressed with how accessible everything was. The lines for beer, food, and bathrooms were all amazingly short. There was free sunscreen to use and free water to refill with (both of which were crucial). If you didn't see it on the news, the heat was oppressive & relentless. This website's got a great review of the day, but here's my super brief rundown of what I saw:
  • Ra Ra Riot - these guys were playing when we were just getting there and getting organized so we really only caught the last 4 or so songs. I have some of their stuff and I like it. Would've liked to catch more, but I instead chose to get a really good spot at the stage next door for... (setlist)
  • Bat for Lashes - Now I only knew one of her songs and her cover of Kings of Leon "Use Somebody" but I'd read a fair amount of buzz on this girl and wanted to check her out. It was GREAT. Her voice is like a "siren mermaid" according to my Lolla-partner, Guam, and that's a pretty good description. Her outfit was crazy awesome and she is super cute, but her performance made sure those were not the things that people were talking about. I will be purchasing her CD before the night is over. (video)(setlist)
  • Vampire Weekend - After a quick recharge and rehydrating, we wove a long ways up and staked out a great spot for the band I was most excited to see. I love nearly every song on their album ("Blake" drives me nuts) and their music is perfect for a summer party. They did not disappoint. We had a ball during this set. The crowd was great and the band was fun. Super, super, super. (setlist)
  • Passion Pit - This was hard. I hard to sacrifice the first half of Passion Pit's show so I could enjoy the full Vampire Weekend set. We hustled, as much as you can hustle among 30,000 or so people trying to switch stages, over to catch the last half and got there just in time for "Sleepyhead." Lollapalooza is known for having one mistake each year where they underestimate the following of a hot act. Last year it was Girl Talk. This year it was Passion Pit. They were on a smaller stage and the crowd was ridic, overflowing into surrounding areas and everywhere was just a massive dance party. caboose called it on these guys and I've been enjoying them a lot but hearing them live was a whole new level. (setlist)
  • Cold War Kids - We took this time to cool off and sit for a while (after some hilarious 'engagement' pictures by Buckingham fountain) but could hear their show and it was good, but not necessarily incredible. Love their music though.
  • Snoop Dogg - He's definitely got the hits and cranked 'em out, but it is not a type of show or performer that I can dig on too much.
  • The Killers - We found a great spot to watch these glammy headliners from, off to the right, up a slight hill with a great view of the stage and the sea of 40,000 or so fans. Although I thought they took a while to get going, they definitely have a good looking, glitzy show and their encore rocked. (setlist)
When the show ended, we filtered into the stream of 75,000 or so people leaving Grant Park and making their way across the downtown streets seeking transportation, or maybe food or booze. It was bedlam. Traffic cops, crossing lights and even oncoming traffic were powerless to halt the onslaught of the river of people. Getting a cab was out of the question, buses went by that looked like stuffed phone booths and when we reached the red line subway station it was crazy. There were a couple guys playing covers and people were dancing and singing along like they never left the festival. I'd love to know what those subway musicians took home in tips that night. I bet they made serious bank. When a train would come in the crush to get on was frankly a bit scary. We were more scrunched than we had been at any of the shows during the day. Some kid started singing the "We're the three best friends" as we're all smashed in and I just died laughing. Also, let me just say that the heat and stench that wafts out and hits you in the face when the doors slide open to an eL car packed with concert goers that have been sweating for 10+ hours is pretty formidable. But, we made our way away from the loop and after a shower and new clothes, Guam and I proceeded to go out and enjoy the air conditioning and beverages, and later, breakfast, offered by some bars in her neighborhood. It was a truly rock star day. Pictures on flickr.

07 August 2009

New Computers!

I was very happy to hear at the end of the school year that I was up for new computers in my classroom. The old Dells were getting slow and not running the greatest. They will be passed on to a middle school to enjoy. :) I was not looking forward to unpacking, setting up and hooking up 24 computers though. So I was very happy to see a room full of new HP's, all set up and ready when I stopped in to my room yesterday. I'll still have to spend some time adding a couple programs to all of them but I'm looking forward to smooth sailing on them this year!

John Hughes (1950-2009)

I found this touching blog post via Gapers Block. It's about a pen pal relationship between iconic director John Hughes and a fan. Totally worth your time.

Oh, and I thought this tribute to his music selections for his movies was good too.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

04 August 2009

Here's My Excuse...

I feel like I haven't blogged much at all lately and here are a few excuses that I came up with to help explain my absence:
  • Ignite mentor training - I'm going to be helping with a program that has students mentoring our incoming freshmen. I think it could be a fun and beneficial thing, but it definitely in the beginning stages and will probably be rocky. I'm excited about it though.
  • photoshop lesson - I got (an older version of ) Photoshop on my laptop a couple weeks ago and met with a college friend who works as in design over his lunch. I provided the Jimmy John's; he provided a sweet run through of the very basics of the program. It is crazy to work with a non-Microsoft program that is so different and can do SO much! If I can learn and teach 10% of it I'll be doing good. (sidenote: this new adidas header on my blog is my first header done in photoshop.) But it will be very fun to learn! Plus one of my Penguin teammates was nice enough to agree to come into my class and lead my kids & I in some Photoshop fun. Woo hoo!
  • tennis - I have finally started to win a few sets here and there, which is a nice change. And I don't think it is just the new racquet! I've been playing lots and will definitely miss it when school starts and my partner moves to TX!
  • movie al fresco party - I love having a get-together because, if nothing else, you are forced to pick up, clean and rearrange. So our apartment looks nice with a few changes and some new things on the walls. We had a fun group of friends over, had some tasty food (albeit way too much), and lots of laughs at Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It is so nice to sit outside on a cool summer night and watch a movie with a bunch of friends. Now I can see why drive-in's used to be so popular!
  • Wellman's - wing night ($5 all you can eat), a friendly bartender, a nice spacious patio, cheap drink specials, friends that like to congregate there and a former student waiting on tables have combined to make this place a fun summer hangout.
  • car repairs - I won't go into the long version of this story, but just suffice it to say that there was a misdiagnosis (and sadly, very underestimated quote) and around 10 hours over two days without a car.

02 August 2009

"Reach Out" - updated

Anyone who knows me well and has heard me talk about my time in Chicago (or read my blog post from 3 years ago) knows that I gave extra attention to one particular kid at the YMCA. I've always been drawn to people that come from a difficult background or situation or that maybe I see as especially in need of something I can offer (education, kindness, attention, etc). The tough thing about that is while it feels great to help those kind of people out, there are going to be instances where you can't 'fix' them. Through the wonder of the facebook network, I saw that my little Y camper is now 6 months pregnant going into her junior year of high school. I know she had some very difficult (to put it mildly) experiences growing up, so I am hoping that she can take that and hopefully provide the care & attention to her baby that she didn't get.
Something to keep in my prayers for sure.

Cashes Rivers Show

Cashes Rivers played a great gig last night at Drake neighborhood hot spot, Mars Cafe. By the time he was a couple songs in, all the seats were taken and there were standing to listen. While coffeeshop shows aren't known for audience participation, Cashes got people clapping, humming, and singing and I think he fit half of the crowd on stage with him for "Atoms." He had caboose join him for three songs, Mike Huss on a couple to add some production effect and there was even a guy playing trumpet for one song. New t-shirts were debuted with some nice artwork on American Apparel shirts. And the excellent gig posters featured a piece of caboose's artwork! Pix can be seen in flickr.

01 August 2009

D.O.A.

I thought this NY Times article about Jay-Z's song "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) was good. Might be able to use it when discussing changes in demand due to advertising or endorsements. It supports the belief that any publicity is good publicity. Auto-Tune is enjoying more and more popularity, with T-Pain (as mentioned in the song) leading the way. Not just in his one music but also in comedy stuff like "I'm On A Boat" and "Thug Story". The article points out that using Auto-Tune to distort vocals instead of improving them was pioneered by Cher's "Believe."
I hadn't seen the video for Jay-Z's song before...it's decent. I liked the cameo by Lebron James.