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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Late Summer in Southern Maine

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

My family just returned from a week in York Beach, Maine.  We love the area and typically head up there each year at some point.  A few highlights included unexpected treasure while hunting for sand dollars, a great musical in Ogunquit and comfortable swimming conditions.

Sarah and I walked the beach most days and typically kept our eyes open for interesting shells and sand dollars.  Low tide is best for such finds and we adjusted our schedule to match the tides.  On one of the days were were walking along Long Sands beach and encountered an area thick with seaweed.  Sarah and her New-Found Riches

Sarah was not enamored with the slimy sludge as it wrapped around her legs with each wave.  She complained about how “gross” the stuff was and wanted to move out of the water to avoid further encounters.  However, she spotted something green trapped in the plants and realized it was money.

Suddenly she was willing to walk through, reach into and touch the seaweed!  Her reward was a ten dollar bill.  For the remainder of the week she stopped complaining when we wandered through seaweed. (more…)

Youth Brass Players Do a Great Job with Benedictus

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Ever since I first heard the Benedictus from Karl Jenkins‘ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” I knew that I would enjoy having the opportunity to share it with my church family. I also thought that it would need more than just me playing a piano accompaniment. Luckily my children and two of their friends were willing to put in the effort to learn an arrangement of the piece that I put together.

The Benedictus comes late in Jenkins’ Mass and provides a respite from the devastation, sadness and grief that is brought to life during the preceding movements. It begins in a beautifully serene way, erupts with a wonderful climax on the words “Hosanna in excelsis” (Hosanna in the highest) and then returns to its original calm and peaceful spirit.

Although scored for strings, with the brass appearing during the “Hosanna”, I think that the use of brass throughout worked well. During our early rehearsals the trumpets used mutes for the opening phrases, but we decided that the tone was not conducive to the mood of the piece.

A video of the performance has been uploaded to YouTube so that family and friends may share in the experience. I thank all four of these hard-working students for giving up some of their summer recess time to work on this. I know that the congregation and I truly appreciate each of them sharing his or her talents. Also, a special thank you to my wife, Lisa, for recording the service so that this could be shared.

The video is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_KdZfnyizE

Chandler Version 1.0 Released!

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

My family has been using Chandler for about a year. Chandler, in case you haven’t heard, is a “Note-to-Self Organizer“. I am not convinced that this tagline does the application justice. It provides a task list, note management and calendar that are easily shared with others through server software known as the Chandler Hub. Further, the tasks, notes and calendar entries are easily reclassified.

Chandler provides two interfaces: 1) a rich client that is installed on a PC and 2) a web interface used to interact with the information via a user’s browser. The Hub also provides a web-based service that is used by the desktop application to share information among users.

The Chandler Hub is available for download, along with the Chandler Desktop, so groups can run their own Chandler service. For those not interested in running the server, the Chandler Project provides a free Chandler Hub instance.

Chandler’s interface is great for sharing information, and in my case schedules. Multiple calendars are easily overlaid. Further, the sharing of a calendar is done by sending people a URL that allows for either read-only or read-write access to the data.


Conclusion of Odyssey of the Mind, 2007-2008

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Another Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) year has finished for my children. For the 2007-2008 long term problem their team, representing O’Rourke Middle School, chose “The Eccentrics.” They worked through the late fall, winter and into spring getting their script, costumes and set prepared.

I think this was their best script yet (having been involved in 3 prior years). The story had a nice flow, solid dialog and humor throughout. The team also had positive dynamics with much less in-fighting and interpersonal frustration than in prior years.

They won their divisional competition and proceeded onto the state competition where they achieved 4th place! This was their best finish and a clear testament to their hard work. They are already talking about getting geared up for the 2008-2009 problem. I guess I shouldn’t get used to having all the cardboard out of the house! :)

For those interested, their performances are on YouTube: