29 September 2010

Golden Domers

I saw this graphic today as I was looking for an mp3 version of the "Celtic Chant" as played by the Notre Dame Marching Band (check it out here not a great video but it is amazing to see the whole student section doing it). Back to the graphic - how many teams with gold helmets can a team put on the schedule. The Irish (themselves wearing golden helmets) are playing SEVEN teams sporting gold on top. That is too many. We need some more color contrast in there (in addition to teams we can beat).

Black Swan

How great is it when your friends know you well enough to call your attention to something they know you'll love? Catherine, a former student from my first year of teaching whom I tutored through college macro last year and am helping her with micro this year, posted this fantastic trailer for "Black Swan" on my fb wall this week. Natalie Portman. Mila Kunis. With those two names alone, I am totally going to see it. Add to that the fact the the trailer is totally crazy creepy but also super hot, and I can't wait!
[Catherine said to reading the synopsis before the movie comes out might help.]

28 September 2010

Omaha Half

Some unpleasant weather had me a little nervous on Saturday when I headed over to Omaha. I was running the half-marathon on Sunday and all-day Saturday was cold and rainy. Luckily we were able to spend most of it indoors, watching Em play volleyball, shopping for a new watch, visiting the bookstore and watching some college football. stoppable made some delic pasta and steaks to carb up for the race.
And, Sunday morning was just about perfect for a race. Completely dry, cool and low humidity. The race started at 7 and we were running when the sun came up. kt was running the 10k, and my brother-in-law, and stoppable and I were all tackling the half-marathon. And, despite my less than impressive final couple weeks of training, I really had no problems with the run. I felt pretty great the whole run. There was a while around mile 10 or so where I was thinking, "How long til this is over?" but by the time I hit the last mile or two, I was still feeling fine.
To be honest, I wasn't blown away by the organization of the race (parking/traffic, porta-potties, course design, poor mile marking and post-race festivities all left a bit to be desired), but no major problems. The serious hill at mile 8, while not fun, was a good challenge.
And it was SO great to run it with family...it makes such a difference! I was thrilled to get it completed and happy with how I felt after. (Must've been the G1, G2, G3 treatment!...or the Bud heavy tallboy after crossing the finish line.)

Total time 1:55:44 (41 seconds behind stoppable but ahead of the overall half average 2:07:29)
8:51 average mile time
Overall place 619 of 1684 (63rd percentile)
Place in Males 379 of 719 (47th percentile)
Place in M30-34 73 of 126 (43rd percentile)

My splits (from the 5 mile markers I was able to see) back up what I stated above.
First four miles we averaged - 9:37
Started to speed up, mile five was - 8:53
Miles 6, 7, 8 we were pushing it, averaging - 8:39
Mile 9, we hit our stride (and some downhill) - 8:09
Mile 10 slowed down a touch but still hitting our pace - 8:20
The last three miles we averaged - 8:23

27 September 2010

Celebrity Excess

In two stories from polar ends of the celebrity excess spectrum:
First, Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) is donating $100M to the Newark public school system.
[sidenote: The article states that the school system missed out on a $400M grant due to clerical error...Ouch.]
And second, my crush Lindsay Lohan will be heading back to rehab for the fifth time. That is after four visits jail. Come on girl, get it together...and bring back the red hair.

24 September 2010

Guest Blog - Autobiography Project: homebase

well, I liked reading people's music genealogy on this blog so I have been wanting to do one too. Here goes. When I was growing up there was a huge rock and roll movement that allowed us to hear some of the best music ever. But hey, maybe that is what every generation says. I started listening when my older sisters and brothers were listening in their high school years. I loved Rock Around the Clock with Bill Haley and the Comets, Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity sung by Perry Como, and Why Do People Fall in Love? by Frankie Lymon. Those were sung at my oldest brother' s 70th birthday party a few years ago,--with enthusiasm by everyone in the room!! Then it was on to Shoop Shoop song by Betty Everett, Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-La's (sung by MKG over and over), and It's my party by Leslie Gore. Great introduction to my music life. Next was my turn in high school to listen to the old 45 rpm records we would buy at the Music Room in Shenandoah. We did drive our parents crazy because we didn't have many but what we did-- we played over and over. Since this was the Vietnam War Years we listened to Green Beret by Barry Sandler, Soldier Boy by the Shirelles and My Boyfriend's Back by The Angels. Drugs, Sex, War was the theme of most of the music and we were so out of the loop we thought we were so rebel in singing Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf. How wild could we be when our curfew was 10:30? I loved All You Need is Love by the Beatles, Light My Fire ( the Doors) , Thank the Lord for the Nighttime,( Neil Diamond ) and anything by Elvis. Everyone loved the Beatles but my fav was Elvis!! I will get to Graceland one of these days. :) Especially love In the Ghetto, and I have a recording in iTunes of that song with Lisa Marie singing with her dad, digital wonder that it is. I do have lots of Elvis tunes. I love I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher-- they were an awesome duo. Greg Gee sang this one night with the radio when we were headed to his and Kay's house in his car and I have never forgot it. He had a great voice. Our Prom theme was Itchyoo Park, and the townspeople were worried that was over the top. :) As Graduation approached we belted out the song " We got to Get Out of this Place" by the Animals. But as it always goes Shen didn't seem like such a bad place just a few college years later. Soon I was having kids and my favorite songs were hymns from church. Be Not Afraid on the Earthen Vessels cd, and Holy God We Praise Thy Name. I was spellbound by Ave Maria by Luciano --still am. The kids and I sang along with the Muppets' Rainbow Connection and all Sesame Street songs. I love the song You Really Got a Hold on Me by Smokey Robinson--YouTube it sometime, you won't be disappointed. Next was Sport songs with my 3 boys--Anchors Aweigh for the Farragut Admirals, taught them to sing the Iowa fight song for long rides, One Shining Moment, and now Comin' to Your City on Game Day by Big and Rich. Irish tunes next became my focus and I love Pat and the Donkey, When Irish Eyes are Smiling, Danny Boy, anything by the Chieftains. Eron brought home lots of music by the Cranberries in this college years, and we heard a lot of that, I mean a lot. :) Thanks E. Love Rescue Me by U2, Me and The Moon by Gaelic Storm, and I know My Love by The Corrs are all my favorite tunes. As I look to the future --I like singing along with Matisyahu (thanks Luke) with One Day, We Are the World-USA for Africa, In This Life by IZ , and Better Together by Jack Johnson (thanks Jake). Those songs represent hope, love, peace--not that far from Make love not War!! which was our war cry of the 60's and 70's. :) I love music, it makes me happy, causes me to cry when it's emotional (weddings, funerals, graduations, baptisms), and helps get through the day!! :)
My three boys all love music, and that makes me happy.


Rock Around the Clock - Haley and the Comets
Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity - Perry Como
Why Do People Fall in Love? - Frankie Lymon
The Shoop Shoop Song - Betty Everett
Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-La's
It's My Party - Leslie Gore
The Ballad of the Green Beret - Barry Sandler
Soldier Boy - The Shirelles
My Boyfriend's Back - The Angels
Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf
All You Need is Love - The Beatles
Light My Fire - The Doors
Thank the Lord for the Nighttime - Neil Diamond
In the Ghetto - Elvis w/Lisa Marie Presley
I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher
Itchyoo Park -The Small Faces
We got to Get Out of this Place -The Animals


Be Not Afraid - Earthen Vessels
Holy God We Praise Thy Name -
Ave Maria - Luciano Pavarotti
The Rainbow Connection - the Muppets
You Really Got a Hold on Me - Smokey Robinson
Anchors Aweigh - Farragut Admiral Pep Band
Iowa Fight Song - University of Iowa Marching Band
One Shining Moment - Luther Vandross
Comin' to Your City - Big & Rich
Pat and the Donkey - Donal Hegarty
When Irish Eyes are Smilin' - Irish Tenors
Danny Boy - Bing Crosby
O the Holly She Bears - The Cheiftains
Linger - The Cranberries
Love Rescue Me - U2
Me and The Moon - Gaelic Storm
I Know My Love - The Corrs
One Day - Matisyahu
We Are the World – USA for Africa
In This Life - IZ
Better Together - Jack Johnson

23 September 2010

Geography Quiz!

Geography and maps have always been very popular in my family and this "Test Your Geography" site is a long-time favorite. Even though I don't like that it tells you what the city/country is that you guessed on the wrong answers, it probably is set that way to be a teaching tool. I came across a new one this week and it offers some fun differences. Try out freepoverty.com and see how you fair. I think their map is a little harder to use, but the format of the questions and getting scored on how accurately you can place cities is fun. And another option is freerice.com, then just go to subjects and choose one of the Geography options. I like that is repeats the ones you've missed to reinforce the correct answer.

22 September 2010

YouTube Play

I saw this on Google's blog and, even though I haven't had a chance to explore it, thought I should share. Out of 23,000 videos the Guggenheim has chosen 125 videos for its shortlist. They will choose 20 videos on October 21 for its biennial of creative videos. If you have some time, check out the shortlist.

21 September 2010

Don't Bonk

Watch these two classic commercials and you'll have an idea of how I felt last night.
I put off my long run on Sunday due to the crappy weather, which I probably would've enjoyed if I'd just gone out and did it. Instead I had to fit it in on Monday which already included work, coaching my volleyball girls, and my first Spanish class. So I started my 11.5 mile loop at 8:30. And I had a fantastic first 7-8 miles. I was averaging under 8:30 thru mile 7. And they felt great. Funny how a mile of hills can change your attitude. We turned onto 56th Street and those hills were the end of my energy reserves. I made it through them and about a mile further but at 10.3 I threw in the towel and uttered those awful tasting words, "I need to walk." Blah.
I'm hoping that race day will be much better. It will be in the morning, not after a long day. There will be lots going on to get caught up in. My brother will be there to push me on and won't accept any excuses. I'll have a GU or a Gatorade 1 before the race. Regular water stations. And probably most importantly, I won't start off quite so quick. 9 minute miles will get us done in under two hours, so I need to keep that in mind.

20 September 2010

NY Times: Krugman & Kristof

These are the two columnists that I read the most on NY Times, by far, and here are two articles from the last few days that show why I like their writing and their thinking.
Nicholas Kristof "Message to Muslims: I'm Sorry"
Paul Krugman "The Tax-Cut Racket"
Give them a read if you are interested in what all the tax bill hubbub is about or if you want to think about freedom of religion in another light. Or don't, whatever. :)

September Sessions

I swiped the title from Jack Johnson's surf video.
Tell me if you want it.
Oh My God - Cults
She Came Along - Kid Cudi (with Patsy Cline)
ADD SUV - Uffie (with Pharrell)
XXXO (remix) - M.I.A. (feat. Jay-Z)
Like a G6 - Far East Movement (feat. The Cataracts)
Major Tom - Shiny Toy Guns
Kiss With a Fist - Florence & The Machine
Bully - Lissie
Older - Band of Horses
Lingering Still - She & Him
Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi
Burning For You - Shiny Toy Guns
love in this CLUB MED - K.Flay
Whip My Hair - Willow Smith
Cameras - Matt & Kim
Words of Wisdom - Hoodie Allen

19 September 2010

Fall Fest

Well, I probably shouldn't title this 'Fall Fest' since I harldy took part in any of it this year. I did do the Beaverdash and ran it in 22:45 (7:20 pace), which I was happy about. I wanted to see how it would feel to really push it and I found out. I'm glad I don't run for time every time I go out 'cause that is not fun. I have always found it enjoyable to push my body, to find my limits, etc and after you stop training and competing in high school/college, there isn't a lot of opportunity for that unless you seek it out. I took off fast and got with a group of three runners, one of which had a Garmin and I heard her say that they were on a 7:15 pace. I stuck right on their hip until about mile 2.1 and then I fell off just a little, not more than a block but my lungs were sucking air like it was their job (actually that IS their job so that's a terrible analogy). And I had a guy a block or so behind me who was yelling out the pace, time and distance every so often, so I figured I just had to stay in front of him. I actually started feeling better the last half-mile of the run and was able to hold off an attacking runner trying to pass me at the end. The rain was kind enough to stop until the race was over but made for extended parade viewer to be damp. I had stoppable's meatball recipe simmering on the stove and it made for some great sandwiches to get warmed up with. And in the evening, Nic, Les, caboose and I made a night of Hickory Park and Hood Internet. Both were delicious.
More rain today and I've filled it with book-reading, bathroom-cleaning, yoga-exercising, coffee-shop sitting currently and Mass-celebrating later.

17 September 2010

Stewart & Colbert to March on Washington

How would I handle the political arena in our country without these two guys to keep me sane?
Now, answering an online campaign that raised $200k+ for education charities ["Help Restore Truthiness to the Classroom"], the two are going to hold opposing rallies on the Washington Mall. Both slogans are fantastic. I haven't had a chance to watch the videos yet, but that that image alone of Colbert as the Lincoln Monument had me laughing. Check out Colbert's "Keep Fear Alive" or Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" site for more info.

16 September 2010

Pump the Brakes on that Oil Change

Kind of a random post today, but I saw this article in the NY Times and after reading it I felt the need to share. I, like many, grew up hearing and learning that a regular oil change meant every 3,000 miles. A few years ago Click and Clack verified what I'd been suspecting, that it was perfectly fine to stretch that oil change to 4,000 or 5,000 miles. The article directs the reader to this website that has a pdf document showing the recommended mileage between oil changes for the Top 25 most popular makes of car. My car can handle 10,000 miles! Can't wait to cut my annual oil change bill by 2/3's. It is nice to get a check-up every 3 or 4 months to have the great folks at Logan Automotive look my Accord over and tell me of any problem areas or things to think about coming up, but I think stretching that to 6 or 7 months will be fine too. And it will help our planet out (although not so much for our economy).

15 September 2010

Dream Home?

caboose and I have been looking (not hardcore, but at least we're looking, right?!) for a new place to live and in my search of craiglist today I came across this gem. Where do I sign?!!!

Cristo Rey in Des Moines?

Following in Omaha's footsteps, the Diocese of Des Moines has been working on the feasibility study to see if there is a need/opportunity for a Christo Rey school in central Iowa. It is a four part study and three have been completed. Iowa Public radio has a four minute piece on it that you can listen to on this page. In looking at the need, the study found 8000 possible high-school students in central Iowa that are currently on free/reduced lunch. 4215 of those are in Des Moines Public Schools. They are aiming for a school with 400 students (9-12) so that would definitely seem doable. They have secured commitments from at least major business partners willing to hire from their school. See the list of businesses here. [Happy to see Hy-Vee as the lead sponsor, and most of the rest of the common names are on there: Principal, Meredith, Wells Fargo, Bankers Trust, IWD. Two omissions that I noticed quickly: Nationwide and Kum & Go.] Now they need to locate $3m for start-up costs...which actually doesn't seem like too much. (Well, I'm not able to write a check for that but I'm sure there are some deep pockets that can be hit up.)
I think I would love to teach at a school like this. I read "More Than a Dream" a couple years ago and LOVED it (read my review of it here). It combines several things I believe in: Catholic faith, working with at-risk youth, the role of working in developing responsibility and real-world knowledge, and high quality education.
sidenote: that Iowa Public Radio webpage is crap. I have little tolerance for low quality webpages. No search box on your site? Gimme a break.

14 September 2010

Season Opener

First game of the year last night. And amazingly, I think I was as giddy as my 6th graders. They were on cloud nine already, with slivery sparkle-glitter on their cheeks like eye black, paw print stickers by their eyes and ribbons in their hair. We have a few girls who can really serve and at that age, the serve makes all the difference. We took the first game easily (25-10) and then stumbled a bit in the second, dropping it 23-25. And that was that. I had high fives for everyone and we broke it down with a huddle and a cheer at the end. There were lots of positives: they were talking and calling their ball, not afraid to move around on the floor and we seemed comfortable with rotating and knowing where to stand on the floor. Areas to work on: not giving up after the first hit and getting the rest of the team to improve serves.
For my debut coaching appearance, I have to say I loved it.

13 September 2010

Nike Pro Combat

I haven't watched a ton of college football yet this year, but I had seen TCU and thought their uniforms and especially their helmets were very different this year. And then I caught a highlight from the Virginia Tech - Boise State game and barely recognized VA Tech. I just assumed it was some new designs by these schools, but when I went to a get-together for the Iowa-Iowa State game, holt informed me about this new line of Nike football-specific gear. Check out the website, be patient it takes a while to load, but the info on where the inspiration for each team's image came from is pretty cool. And pants that weigh half as much as before?! Wow! Cool stuff. Nike knows how to do it right.
sidenote: I noticed Michigan is with adidas now, not sure how long that has been going on, but that is a major coup for them to pull them away from Nike.

10 September 2010

The 5% Doctrine

Wanted to share an article about this spectacle and media hubub about the Koran burning, that now looks to be averted, but was going to take place down in Florida. "The 5 Percent Doctrine"
  • "This is under the theory that the best way to honor Americans who died at the hands of religious extremists is to do something that is both religious and extreme."
  • "a person whose seminal career achievement has been building a thriving congregation of about 50 people."
  • "When this sort of thing happens, it is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy."
  • "Helping us achieve that state of public grace is the highest possible duty of every elected official. But, lately, they’ve abdicated or worse. And the fight for public sanity has fallen to average citizens...“Let me say first, there are crazy people in every society."
The list of people decrying and disagreeing with him is long and growing; the Pope, the President, the Secretary of State, Gen. Petreaus, Sarah Palin, Republican governor of Missouri, Angelina Jolie, and dozens of members of Congress. But as the article states, there always has been and probably will be a small fraction of any population who is 'crazy' and immune to logical, rational thought. What is doubly frustrating is that this small group of crazies gets a disproportionate amount of media time.
This thought popped into my head again this morning when the Flobots song "Anne Braden" (which is a completely fantastic song, btw) came on my headphones. The idea that there are defintely those extremists out there but we have to do our best to off-set their hatred and close-mindedness with true morals, tolerance and calm heads.
"There is another America"

09 September 2010

What Do You Want to Be?

...Is a phrase that I recall thinking was only asked to young adults when I was a graduating high schooler or a college student. But it is something that a lot of people ask themselves off and an through their lives. And this phrase came up twice this week in (what I thought) were interesting ways:
The first one was this discussion topic on the forum on Gapers Block. There are some interesting statements from people and my favorite one - "I'm a web developer. It's fun at times and I like it, but I think I'd rather be on a canoe in a lake in Canada, as far away from a computer as possible." I didn't contribute my answer to it, but if I had it might read like this:
I currently am a technology trainer working with teachers and administration in K-12 public schools to increase and facilitate technology integration, but I'm only in that role because I was bumped out of a classroom teaching position that I really enjoyed. If I could choose anything else...maybe, working with at-risk youth in some fashion. Or managing charity projects overseas while developing my language skills. Or running a simple restaurant.
The other time this came up was in the homily Sunday. We had a great young priest who is the head of vocations for the diocese and he spoke about giving a little thought to how self-focused that question can be. What do YOU want to do? What makes YOU happy? He encouraged us to maybe consider that question in a different way, "What is your calling?" Which reminded me of one of the simplest lessons that has stuck with me from my TEC experiences;"It's not always about you."

08 September 2010

All-time Low

Last month I blogged twelve times. Twelve times! That is the fewest posts in a month since I started this blog. Poor effort.
There are a myriad of reasons/excuses I could offer. With a change in job, it always takes some time to figure out how your 'free' time is going to be. I've been busy with lots of other things in my evenings. I'm coaching some middle school volleyball and have not been making it to the coffeeshop much. If I make it there once a week, that is doing good, whereas when I was teaching I'd be there at least 3-4 times a week. But last night I had a realization that one of the biggest reasons for fewer posts is not being in a school setting. I don't have those humorous/poignant/reassuring interactions with young adults that used to give me fodder for my blog.
So, I will have to be more observant in my daily life for those "human experience" stories. And I will have to set aside some time each night for blogging. And I am making a pledge to myself to be more diligent about my posting this month. As you can see, I started well - three on September 1. And not much since. But I'm working on it!

iPad...now what?

One of the 'perks' of my new job is that all my team members where supplied with iPads. I wasn't really excited when the iPad was announced just because I didn't really think I would use it a lot. I like having a full laptop - fully functioning programs, all my media (music/pictures), a full keyboard that is easy to type on, etc. The main reason for purchasing these devices (I believe) is to use them during "walk-thru's" that we have to do to capture what we are seeing in the classrooms. We haven't received any training on that yet, nor really even talked about it much so not sure when that is going to happen. So my iPad sat in my desk drawer for a good week or so, then I decided I should at least make an effort to use it, so I pulled it out and gave it a shot. I downloaded a bunch of educational games (only the free ones, though) to try out and show administrators if they ask about it. I got it set up so I can check my work email and work calendar with it. And that's about the extent of it. If I'm going to a meeting, I prefer a steno pad and a good pen over drumming away on a fake keyboard. If I'm going to get some actual work done, I prefer my laptop. There are two apps that I've loaded that seem worthwhile. Touchmouse is a simple free app that, once sync'd with your computer, makes the entire face of the iPad a remote mouse. You can walk around a room and control your computer just by dragging and tapping your finger on the screen of your iPad. This will be nice for presentations and trainings. The other app is MobileNoter. It allows you to access, view and update your OneNote notebooks through your iPad. OneNote is a new discovery for me at this job and I LOVE it. I keep all my notes and information in a pair of notebooks and I think it is much more useful than a folder full of emails on topic. So it is nice to be able to get to that information if I were to have only my iPad with me. The MobileNoter app was free and I am on the 30 day free trial, then I'll have to decide if it is worth $15 for a lifetime of syncing.
Other than that the biggest chunk of time spent on my iPad has been using it as the world's most expensive mancala game. I'm getting pretty good.

07 September 2010

Google Does It Again

homebase pointed out today's Google Doodle to me and I was intrigued. Not just by how fun and crazy it is but the supposed intent of it. If you click through to that article, you can see the estimated lost productivity on the last interactive Google Doodle, when they had a Pac-man game on their search page. I'm looking forward to more creative interactivity from Google!

01 September 2010


I don't watch much ESPN unless there is a game on, but I just happened to turn it on as I sat down to enjoy the Pasta Pepperonata I made out of Jamie Oliver's book (won't make it again). There was a show called E:60 on and it had three short pieces that were all good. The first one on Maria Sharapova and how her parents had lived an hour from Chernobyl. The story was pretty interesting as it chronicled the impact on her life and also documented her first visit back there in 12 years. Check it out. The last clip of the three was the shortest and also the most entertaining. The Green Bay Packers have been doing this community relations event since the '60's and it is awesome. Just watch the video - it involves a lineman, a little girl and a pink bike. Go on, watch it!
After that, there was a special on Alabama and its program as it kicked off the season. It really shows you a lot of what goes on during two-a-days, both on the field and off. I totally loved it (even though I don't like 'Bama). Reminded me of all the great things (and some of the unpleasant ones) involved with that first week or two of practicing. Check your listings for a rerun "College Football Special: Alabama All-Access"

Apple Music Event

The annual big Apple music event was today and it was full of announcements. There is a lot of talk about the appleTV, but I am not interested at all in that, so we will focus on other areas.
First off, the iPod lineup: The shuffle gets a makeover, keeps its pricepoint of $49. And it looks...eerily like it did before they made that 'mistake' of moving all the controls to the headphones. Still, I say nice job to apple for bringing back a great functional design. The nano gets a major form change also, and this one is completely new. The nano says goodbye to the control wheel and hello to the touch screen. And it is square now, with a clip. The iTouch gains front and back cameras, FaceTime (video chatting), can record HD video and is thinner. The iPod classic still looks the same, it seems to be the forgotten sibling. Most exciting, for me at least, is the announcement of Ping. It is all about "social music discovery." As Steve Jobs said, like if "Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes." Can't wait to try it out. Oh, and the new iTunes 10 icon is going to get a makeover to remove the CD since the iTunes store will be outselling CD's shortly.
To leave you with some iTunes store numbers: 11.7 billion songs, 450 million TV episodes, 100 million movies, 35 million books, and 160 million accounts.

Women Hit Hard

There's a good article about "How Power Has Transformed Women's Tennis" on the NY Times as the US Open is getting underway. The article is good, though maybe only for fans. The slow-motion video clips are totally cool and the photography is great too.