White Christmas at NDHS

I thoroughly enjoyed the NDHS presentation of White Christmas. The students did such a great job. They have bright futures ahead of them!

Miss Becky’s Elvis Bash

On February 17th, Becky, our secretary at North Daviess was surprised with a birthday party. It would soon be her 50th birthday, so she joined those of us who have entered the exclusive club of a half century of life. The administration and office staff went all out, and the teachers were even treated too as one of Becky’s presents was a mini concert appearance by Bruce Borders, the world-famous Elvis impersonator. Becky loves Elvis music, so it was a great gift. Before the day even began, there was a gag gift–a deputy stopped Becky right in front of the school and gave her a “ticket.” She was escorted into the building in a wheelchair, and the fun festivities began. The students serenaded Becky and gave her lots of cards and gifts. What a great day!

Heart, Be Still

The Indianapolis Colts are going to the Super Bowl, but not until I had sufficiently yelled at Sylvia’s fabulous big screen tv and squashed and banged a Mountain Dew bottle to pieces. I definitely did NOT like the first quarter, but things started looking up in the second one. I did spot Erica, my cousin’s daughter and a Colt’s cheerleader, a couple of times, but they put a great big black text over top her. Why do the tv people do that? If you’re going to have a big sign up on the middle of the screen, at least put background shots, not people’s faces! Good grief! It was a great game though. I’m just hoping that Brock, the teacher whose room is right next door to mine (and a former student as well), will not be too tortured tomorrow at school. I have a feeling he will be because he actually showed up at ND in a Jet’s jersey. Erica’s and Brock’s pictures are below. Colt’s Blue is beautiful!

Muppet’s Bohemian Rhapsody

This is one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a while. I love beaker, the penguins, and the piano-playing dog. I saw Christmas Carol this weekend, and I swear that the Muppet Christmas Carol is better, and the one I’m watching now with George C. Scott is tremendously better. All the special effects spoiled the 2009 one, if you ask me. The cgi was amazing; I kept noticing the details in the leather texture, the lighting sources, and even the stains on the dancing floor. The people looked a little strange. I guess there’s just no way to draw people without making them look plastic (a la Polar Express). Anyway, enjoy this tribute to the zany muppets.

Vincennes Rendezvous

I attended the Vincennes Rendezvous in May and loved it, although it was very hot that day. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Spirit of Vincennes: The Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous is an annual reenactment held on Memorial Day weekend at the French Commons, adjacent to the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes. It is also hosted by the Northwest Territory Alliance (NWTA), and the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. The event was started in the 1970s, and is intended to introduce visitors to life along the frontier in late 18th and early 19th century Vincennes, particularly during the American Revolution. According to the it’s webpage, the rendezvous may attract 400 to 500 reenactors and 35,000 visitors.

I cannot believe that I had never gone to it before as I love that kind of stuff. These are a few of the hundreds of pictures that I took. It might take a while loading. The tune played is a fife and drum song called “Standing With Roy.”

The Sense of Pitch

Kim Komando had a link on her Cool Sites of the Day today that was pretty fun. It was a quiz about how some people on American Idol think they can sing, but really can’t. I don’t have perfect pitch, but I think I have relative pitch because after a while, I can start a song from memory without hearing an intro or a given tone. Unless I have a cold or sinus infection, I’m usually right 95% of the time. That’s why I was so freaked out when my left ear completely closed up in June! Anyway, here is the link for a test to see if you have a tin ear or not. There are 26 little snippets of tunes. Some stay right on the money, but others drop or raise a tone right in the middle. I actually don’t think it’s accurate though because people who get off pitch enough to drive me bananas only are off a fraction of a tone (in music it’s called cents). They wobble somewhere under or above the tune, but not a full half step away, such as these examples played on a keyboard.

This would be pretty interesting to give to my students, but it says: “You must be 16 or older to take this test. Tone recognition is not fully developed at younger ages, and test results may not be meaningful.” I don’t know. I have a bunch of kids with great ears, and then some who cannot repeat a pitch no matter how hard they try. We do crazy fire engine siren sounds, and some of them can’t make their siren move up or down at all. They don’t hear it. On the quiz I got them all right, but they are pretty easy. Give it a try!

Spring Mill State Park

Back in May I read somewhere in the news that Spring Mill State Park, a wonderful historical park in Indiana, was going to have a Civil War Festival. It was over Memorial Day, and the Civil War reenactors were going to be camping as Yankee and Rebel soldiers. Some local performers were going to do Civil War period dances as well. It sounded like a great photo opportunity for me. I hadn’t been to Spring Mill in a while, so I decided to stop by while on a trip back to my hometown, Shoals. I managed to get quite a few great shots because it had just rained, and everything looked fresh and green. The workers at the park do a great job maintaining it–it looked just as good as I remembered it and better. They had added another building and a garden and had updated the restrooms. I especially enjoyed all the people who were dressed in authentic clothes. The musicians were wonderful! The actors were very generous and very informative, and I snapped away happily. If you would like to see the photos, click the thumbnails below.

Both Daughters Perform in California

Is anyone from the San Francisco area? My daughter is performing in a Christmas show at the Six Flags park near there. I can’t go watch her but she sends me pictures. It looks like it is a great park similar to the Busch Garden park as it has lots of animals. She called home last week excited that she was able to pet a dolphin. I can’t go because I can’t afford 2 trips. She is performing until the 23rd and then flying home on the 24th. She has to be in Florida by the 27th as she got a full time job in entertainment at Disney. I think everyone has to start with a fur character there and then they are evaluated and moved into other places. She is so excited.

SixFlagsSarah

I’m just glad to see her smile again. The two trips I mentioned have to do with my other daughter Carrie also. She is going to be in the Rose Bowl parade on New Years. Sarah will be in Florida by that time. I can’t go to one’s show and not the other. I just can’t afford to go to both as I figure that it would cost close to 2 grand for the 2 cross country flights and hotels, especially during this time of year. I can watch Carrie on TV although I doubt if I’ll be able to pick her out in those full military uniforms with capes and all. I am really proud of my daughters though and wish I were made of money. Well, on the other hand, if I were, the kids might not have turned out as good as they have because they are used to fighting for everything they get. The photo is a shot of Sarah in California. She is the one with the cream hat. I will make a scrapbook page later with some of her stage photos.

Update: Here is a picture of Carrie in the Rose Bowl Parade.

2007 VMI Band

Pipe Dream

I’m not normally a big fan of Anime, but I was in a music store yesterday, and they were playing this crazy 3D Art with music that matched perfectly. It’s been out a couple of years, but I hadn’t heard of it before. I’ve got both DVDs reserved at my local Best Buy, so I’m going to head out soon to go get them. My students will just love them! The DVDs were crafted using special software called MIDImotion that matches the movement to exact pitches of MIDI music (musical instrument data interface, found on most electronic keyboards today). If the music is changed, the animation is regenerated effortlessly. This is just totally beyond my technology comprehension. I work with video, graphics, and MIDI music, but just can’t wrap my brain around how much work this must take. Anyway, do a search for more samples on YouTube or check out their website below. You can check out Pipe Dream right here on my site too!

Link to Animusic here!

Wet, Wonderful Gardens

Today the girls and I went back to Busch Gardens. I had bought them season tickets before I left. They have a good deal where a season pass is the same as a one day ticket! It would have been silly not to get it. They have been back several times since my first blog post and rode the roller coasters many times. I don’t enjoy the roller coasters like I did when I was younger so today we just hit most of the shows. Our favorite was an African show called Katonga. The sets and costumes were very elaborate. It was so creative, and we loved it. We also went to American Beat, a show about music of the 50s to 70s plus some songs of today. During the 70s section the guy who was singing a song from Saturday Night Fever had Carrie get up and disco dance with him. She was so embarrassed but did it anyway. We also went to the Chinese Acrobats (they were fabulous) and a Pirate Movie in 4D.

It rained and rained in the evening, and we got soaked. It was great though because it never was that hot, and it thinned the crowd out quite a bit. We also saw a lot animals and birds. The girls loved the Budweiser Clydesdale horse named “Mike!”

We ended up staying until closing time. As we were leaving one of the biggest roller coasters was stuck at one of the highest points in the ride. I would have been scared to death. I hope they got them out before it started raining again!

I really enjoyed my time with the girls at Busch Gardens. It was a great day!