31 October 2013

Farmers Tribute Fallen Friend

"It seems to me that farming communities all over the country may still hold the key to what makes this country a shining beacon in a world of trouble."

Loved this story of farmers taking time in harvest season to pay a unique tribute to a young farmer who died from cancer.  See full article with lots of great photos here.

30 October 2013

Strangers Posing

I saw that a cousin of mine had liked this article on facebook so I checked it out.  A photographer, Richard Renaldi, in NYC takes complete strangers and pairs them up and poses them in a manner that transmits a relationship of some sort. 
The pictures (most of them) are interesting as is the feedback from people once they are finished with the ten minute shoot.

29 October 2013

Lip Dub Contest: Katy Perry's "Roar"

Somehow I happened to starting watching a couple lip dubs today.  These are lip-sync'ed videos and there are some great ones out there done by different high schools to show school spirit.  I noticed that there were a bunch that used Katy Perry's new hit "Roar", of which I am a big fan.  Then I saw that she had held a contest for high schools and the winner got Katy Perry performing at their school live on Good Morning America.  You can see the live performance and read about the contest here.  And here are the five finalists.  Be sure to check out the winner.  Great stuff. 
5th Finalist - Pickerington Central - OH
4th Finalist - Abeline Cooper - TX
3rd Finalist - Spanish Springs - NV
2nd Finalist - Verrado - AZ
Winner - Lakewood - CO  - This one is fantastic.

21 October 2013

Center Grove Orchard

It seems everyone with a small child in the metro area raves about Center Grove Orchard.  So much so that I started to not really want to go.  I was afraid of 'drinking the Kool-Aid' and getting hooked, especially once minovia told me it was $10 a head to get in!  "Just for admission to the orchard?!" was my response.  But, of course, I did give in and she was sharp and snagged us all some $4 off coupons from work and we headed up on Sunday.  The weather, which had been flirting with gray & rain all morning, held off and then turned sunny and wonderful for us. 
Now, to market themselves as an orchard is something of a misnomer.  They are really closer to a huge play area or activity center with a pumpkin patch and apple orchard alongside it.  They have built up their grounds so that there really is a lot of things for kids to see, do and interact with.  We all had a good time, checking out the animals, feeding goats, watching a turkey fight, roping sawhorse cows, playing in the one-room schoolhouse, wandering through nursery rhyme village, flying down the huge slide, watching the pig races, swimming in the corn pool (not me, thanks.  too many lectures of not playing in corn growing up), trying out hand water pump duck races, milking a fake cow, riding a shuttle to our parking lot past all the orchards, doing ring-toss with a hula hoop aiming for pumpkins, guessing pumpkins weights, and on and on.  And, of course, we finished it all off with a caramel apple for the ride home.  It was delicious.
[I was going to add a photo but flickr is being hiccupy.  Just head over there and check out my pix.]

14 October 2013

Raptors at Scheels

In a wonderful alignment of timing, my Des Moines Audobon newsletter came in the mail on Thursday and it had a little snippet about a raptor show that was going to be at Scheels on Saturday and Sunday.  So when I was talking to homebase and thinking about something fun for the weekend, we thought that that show sounded just right.  So, on this past gorgeous Sunday afternoon, after preparing ourselves for the upcoming colder weather by picking up a few cozy treats at Active Endeavors (20% off everything!), we sat in some bleachers in the parking lot and enjoyed a great show, put on through the US Fish and Wildlife.  Falcons, hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, and kestrels.  It was great to be able to compare sizes of all the them in real life instead of pictures in a bird guide.  I nearly got clothes-lined by a barn owl whizzing by my head at one point.  The presenter was from New York and entertaining.  He wrapped it all up with a statement about living the American dream and being thankful every morning that caught us a little off-guard and was very touching. 
It was a great day and a nice end to a fun weekend.  minovia and I had a good night out with sushi and drinks on Friday, then (after watching Texas beat Oklahoma) went up the street to a chili cookoff with some friends on Saturday.  A great fall weekend.

11 October 2013

Creighton's New Look

With their new move to a new Big East, Creighton unveiled a new logo and wordmark this week, as well as a new court design. 
While it may take a little warming up to the wordmark, I will say that I love the bluejay head.  It is intense and focused without going down that often too-traveled road in mascot redesign of making them overly angry and rabid-looking.  Well done.  The 'C' doesn't really get me excited like the way the old, Chicago-Bear-ish one did.  I hope they keep the old 'C' around, I liked it a lot.
[thanks to homebase for the tip]

08 October 2013

The Return of Yard Fest!

I'm not sure when the first Yard Fest took place.  I was able to find a CD from the 2001 Yard Fest
weekend, but all I know is stoppable, for several years after purchasing his house would have a weekend where we all would visit him and help complete all sorts of home improvement projects.  It's been quite a while since we've had one though.  Now that I am a homeowner myself, I thought, "what a perfect tradition to re-introduce!"  And so we did.  I put together a good sized list of items I wanted to get down around the place.  Most of them were outdoors work: removing hosta plants, planting grass seed, sweeping & bagging acorns, trimming back bushes, etc.  stoppable made the drive over, bringing NTW and the brig with him.  homebase was first to arrive, with soup, homemade brioche and cookies in hand, and caboose, although last to arrive (per his namesake), hit the ground running.  minovia & isa both had a great time as well.
I had discussed with minovia ahead of time, saying that we should lots of before/after pictures and fun photos from the day, which I promptly forgot about as soon as everyone arrived.  Luckily, she is smart and took pictures for me.  And homebase took some great ones as well.  We were able to incorporate some fun activities into the work, including some boulder lifting, a mystery broiler drawer that refused to be figured out, a Hawkeyes loss to watch and Ping-Pong to be played. 
"Many hands makes light work" couldn't be more true.  The amount of work we got done would've taken me days to do and parts of it I simply could not have done by myself (i.e. putting the Iron Giant in the basement).
Many thanks to all and I am putting together a 2013 mixtape for Yard Fest so keep an eye on your mailboxes!

03 October 2013


Came across this clip today and, while I try not to shine any more light on those cuckoobirds among us, I had to share this one.  Congressman from TX castigating a Park Ranger for not letting vets into the WWII Memorial.  
Class act.  Yet another reason Congress earns that amazing 10% approval rate.
Of course, he bolts as soon as someone tries to confront him.

The comments, while definitely not work-friendly, are rather hilarious.  And the Breaking Bad pizza gif is hilarity.

01 October 2013

Top 100 Tools for Learning

I came across this list of Top 100 Tools for Learning today.  I do think the title should probably say something like 'tech tools for learning' or even 'software and web tools for learning'. 
The analysis data page also include who were included in her survey.  It is quite a diverse group and by no means limited to K-12 education.
That said, here are my thoughts on the list.
  • Love seeing Evernote moving up and in the top 10.  I am a big fan.
  • Completely agree with Twitter as the #1.
  • I would probably have Google Search as a close second though.
  • Surprised a little that Powerpoint is still not only everyone's go to presentation tool, but still moving up in the list!
  • I was also a bit surprised WordPress was so high, but less surprised when I saw that the survey group skewed to higher ed/training folks.
  • Feedly definitely is enjoying life after the demise of Google Reader.  Going from not on the list to #19. 
  • I don't really agree that iTunes and iTunes U should be lumped together. 
  • And I'm not sure about including "iPad", "Android tablet" and "Kindle"
  • Microsoft has got to be bummed to not see Bing on the list.
  • There are a few eLearning tools on here that I will have to check out.
Give the list a look and see if there's anything that interests you.
What are some of your favorite tools for learning?