Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coming to the End of Another Semester

Things always get a little hairy and busy at the end of a long semester, and the fall term has a special difficulty with Christmas nipping at my heels as I try to get all my grading done and the final grades in.  But I'm closing the gap now as I edge ever closer to the end point, and it's fun to see the result of the student work all through the 16-week period.  One of those things I can share is my students' work on some little informational videos we post on a blog site.  It's here:  http://compdsu.blogspot.com/

Sure, the videos are a little uneven, but consider the students put these together after finishing their long researched essay (some of which were condensed to the video text) and they only had a week to work on it.  Nice.  I'll keep doing it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Tinder Box Heats Up Mochavino's

The Tinder Box at Mochavino's
Mochavino's was graced tonight with the cool bluegrass fusion band The Tinder Box this evening.  These guys have a unique sound, mixing banjo, guitar, and trumpet with some high lonesome vocals, a snare, and a bass drum.  Nothing plugs in!
Their original music, available on a free CD they offer at each appearance, is haunting and beautiful, and I find myself playing the songs over again and singing along.  Check out some of their music on their Facebook page or on their Youtube page.
The three guys are Dominic Osterloh on banjo, Chad Konrad on guitar, etc., and John Wallner, trumpet.  Chad and John offer up some great harmonies while Dominic picks away on the banjo.  You might think the combination sounds a little odd, but these guys have it worked out.  It's really amazing what a philosophy, sociology, and psychology major can put their collective minds to.  Their songs are often haunting and sorrowful, but then they'll do a foot-stomping blues number and shake things up.  Nice.
Combine that with some good food, good company, and good conversation, and things are . . . good.

First Fire

All through the summer, back into spring, back to last winter and beyond, and even now, as winter rolls in and the roads and fields finally turn white with snow, I've been stocking up for the cold, stacking wood, splitting, stacking again into the back yard.  And now it's time to fire up the stove, finally, and turn that wood into heat for the house.  And for Walter, the old dog whose big trick is to find the warmest place in the warmest room.  Now he can find a spot that's too warm for even him.  He won't go to the edge of the fire, creep too near the stove.
We've had such good weather coming into this winter that a fire in the stove hasn't seemed right, so the big heater has stayed cool until last night, when the right thing seemed to be, bring the ash can and log holder up from the basement, lay the fire tools near the stove, bring newspapers in to get the ball rolling, gather up kindling to be the first to flame, then add the first logs to the fire.  Fast forward an hour or so and the stove is blazing and the thermometer, set at 70 degrees, now shows the room to be at 75.  Finally, the payoff for cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking, bringing into the house.  Walter, now snoring by the fire, seems thankful.