Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poetry Poetry Everywhere

Two treasures in the mail this morning--one a message from the Poetry Foundation announcing the Poetry Everywhere project, putting poems on PBS.

I missed last night's performance by South Dakota Poet Laureate David Allan Evans at the Madison Public Library, but I heard good things. (I was in Sioux Falls presenting an ACT test prep session.)

The other treasure is the announcement of the open mic at Myxers at DSU to feature readers and other performers. See the poster here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No Room for Crowing

My friend TQ and I are the only two in a pool for the picks in the NCAA basketball tournament. Having not yet watched a single game, I'm not doing that well right now in the battle between us on the NYTimes bracket listings, ranked today (before the games start) at 13,471st place. TQ's in 20,690th place. But in our bracket, he's hanging in there at the #2 spot, with his pick for national champion still in the hunt. My Jayhawks are back in Lawrence, trying to catch up on their studies. Since Cinderella Northern Iowa is out, I'll have to root for the K-State Wildcats, even though that means I'll get trounced in the pool.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Racing on the Ice

Cool story this morning on the NY Times about car racing on the ice, by Katie Zezima. Just the kind of multimedia essay I'd like to see my students try. Here it is: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/03/22/sports/autoracing/1247467420130/on-thin-ice.html

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rhubarb Emerges

It's always a treat when the rhubarb pokes out its thumb to test the air in spring. Here come those little leaf-buds, just emerging from the garden as the snow is still piled in the trees. Maybe it's prompted by the sound of motorcycles rumbling past.
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Das Schmecht Gut!

Saturday, after a lovely Russain dinner on Friday night, courtesy of the B's, we headed south with the Moose and Ryan clans to savor the Mennonite feast at Schmeckfest in Freeman, SD. Top is a blueberry scone, delightful for breakfast, next is a bag of pfeffernusse, and at bottom is the menu for the all-you-can-essen dinner. Good stuff!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Place We Didn't Go

One place I forgot to mention in my earlier post is crossing the Bay Bridge, where, according to our Garmin GPS system, we left the bridge and floated in our car above the Bay. Very cool, yes, but to the wife, whose concern about crossing bridges over water sometimes gets a firm grip on her solar plexus, the image on the screen simply contributed to her unease. My comments about the new-looking elements of the bridge didn't help either, I understand now.
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Back from California, Back to Work

What we did in California!

  • Drove all over creation (622 miles on our little Nissan Versa from Budget)
  • Went to the play Den of Thieves, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by Susi Damilano, at the SF Playhouse in San Francisco.
  • Ate at the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant in Big Sur (check that website! Whoo!)
  • Drove along the coast on Highway 1
  • Climbed Mount Tamalpais
  • Ate at a nice little seaside cafe in Sausolito
  • Went to the movie “Ghost Writer” in Mill Valley
  • Visited the Pigeon Point Light Station, an old lighthouse
  • Spent several hours at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, where we enjoyed the special exhibition of seahorses
  • Hiked in Muir Woods—those redwoods are BIG!
  • Went to “Poetry at the Pottery” at Jered’s Pottery in Berkeley on Friday, March 12
  • Visited the San Juan Bautista Mission (where Deana stood by the seismograph!)
  • Had lunch in San Juan Bautista—ask Deana about the Quake!
  • Bought some wine from Al Guerra of Guerra Farms
  • Went to a party for Jered and Sarah at the Pottery on Saturday, March 13
  • Had breakfast with Melanie in the Haight-Ashbury district
  • Visited Melanie’s workplace, Eric Trabert Goldsmiths, on Fillmore Street
  • Helped Melanie set up her lovely jewelry at the events at the Pottery
  • Rode the city in one of the open-topped busses that tour the city (and were in a small, mirror-buster)
  • Drove up to Twin Peaks and looked out over the city
  • Ate at a good Thai restaurant
  • Jogged along the beach in Monterrey
  • Stayed at the Sand Castle Inn in Seaside, CA (cheap! not bad!)
  • Bought some cups from a potter in San Juan Bautista (sorry, Jered!)
  • Visited the John Steinbeck Center in Salinas
  • Visited the birthplace of John Steinbeck in Salinas (thank you, kind lady, for letting us in the house after visiting hours!)
  • Heard lots of good music from brother Joe, his wife Mary, and the Levins.
  • Watched (and blubbered over) "The Blind Side" on the flight home.
  • Shopped
What did I forget, wife?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Spring" Break

Although the snow in Madison has been melting during the relatively warm days, the cold nights come on again and we've still got mountains of snow, much of it dirty walls of angry-wavelike snow lining the streets. It's often this way in the spring, as winter reluctantly lets go, leaving in a slow-moving huff, smearing the streets and yards with mud, revealing the packed brown grass and leaves and broken tree branches that accumulated over the winter.

But that passes, and then color returns, the grass greens, trees grow their leaves back, and soon, lilacs and tulips and the rest of summer's bounty comes bounding in.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Check it Out: The 10 most amazing Rube Goldberg clips

I've always loved Rube Goldberg contraptions, from playing Mousetrap and building little things of my own as a kid, using dominoes or whatever to accomplish something insignificant. Check out these clips. My favorite is the piece "OK Go" by This Too Shall Pass.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Imagine a World With 50 Years of Presidential Expertise

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this, but it gets a person my age to wondering about the long line of presidential spoofs on "Saturday Night Live." It isn't SNL, though; it's Funny or Die, who has managed to raid the cast closet. And it's not just a spoof. It's got a message.

Good Reads for Travelers

NPR offers up a story for those who might be contemplating travel, perhaps a spring break trip? I'm intrigued by the description of The Flying Troutmans: A Novel, and others on the list also sound tasty. Who can't resist a title like Don't Sleep, There are Snakes? Check it out if you're going to be on the road or have some time for reading adventures. Here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Something that I Keep Telling People

So, thanks, Wired, for making the point well. Good stories make good games. In a good story, a classic tale, the reader is carried along by the story itself, by the recognition that the events somehow are important, timeless, and capable of being translated not only from one language to another but from one genre or media to another.

Chris Kohler, writing in Wired, makes this case in his article "10 Literary Classics that should be Video Games." Among them, Huck Finn, Moby-Dick, Siddhartha, Heart of Darkness, and some other greats.

Kohler notes that Electronic Arts has worked up Dante Alighieri's Inferno as an X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 game. Why not use great stories to make a great game?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Weekend Update, H7 Style

The weekend is over, but it was one filled with activities, including a mini-triathlon, an estrogen-packed Bunco party, and a pleasant trip to Sioux Falls. I was pleased enough with the results of the triathlon, but I couldn't help noticing that I was only slightly behind my fellow 5-decade competitors. That 41 seconds was, I suspect, partly due to my bulging waistline and partly due to having tested the spin bike and the treadmill at speed on Wednesday before the event. I was still sore! Now I'm sore again, but mostly from the swim. Progress continues to be made.

Sunday didn't help the bulging waistline problem, but lunch at Spezia's and dinner at Granite City leaves one complaining only about the abundance of good food. Not much to complain about there from me.

Friday night was the strangest of the events, as I played 12-th man for a women's Bunco group at our house. Simple, rowdy, and competitive in a random way, it was fun in a way that I'm happy to have done once. I prefer the competition of the triathlon, to tell the truth.

A good weekend.