Category Living

Tuesday, August 3, 2020

Awake at about 2:45a, as the winds from Isaias reached peak strength here in Greenville.  Some branches falling in the yard, the impact loud enough to prompt my heading to reassure myself that they hit the yard—not the house.  Then the power started flickering, causing some electronics in the house to sing their ‘power on’ song as electricity came back on.

The rain was already dying down by 3, really leaving the wind as the focus.

Tried, and failed, to return to sleep, so just got out of bed at 3:20, deciding to make coffee before we lose power again.  Strong winds, for sure.  Lots of debris in the yard, trees dancing with very wide arcs of sway (is that a legit phrase?).

We’ve lost trees here in the past, on two occasions big ones crushing the roof of our separate garage b...

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Monday, August 2, 2020

Trying to get teaching materials made…have eight done so far, likely enough to get the course introduced, and cover the first one+ week of material. Experienced online teachers suggest a video self-introduction (followed by a first assignment for students to make one themselves). So here’s the quick one I made to introduce myself.

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Friday, July 31, 2020

A fresh disaster on the horizon: http://trackthetropics.com/isaias-2020/

With COVID-19 raging, economy tanking and congress not taking action before fiscal help (unemployment, moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, etc.), our incompetent POTUS always ready to send out another idiotic message to the populous (the latest re postponing November’s moment to get rid of him)…and now a series of storms on the way.

Our Surf City haven has now been put back into shape–for about 2 months now. Hoping against hope that we make it through the season without more destruction. Just don’t know if we can withstand another wipeout. At least it’s not our primary home, as much as we’d like it to be.

The daily work is progressing...

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Just last night received the url to this posting to Anton Miller‘s performance (and Rita Porfiris‘ video) of Six Humors, for solo violin. This was written as a series of etudes for Plus ça Change, a violin concerto for my colleague Ara Gregorian.

Anton Miller, violin

Working with Anton was a real gift—he was just so wonderful throughout.  And then on top of the superb interaction and top-notch recording, he and Rita put together this video!  Couldn’t possibly have asked for a better experience, no matter the conditions.   So grateful to both of them and, of course, to the people at ACA who made all of this happen.

Just so gratifying.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What a gift received over these past days, as Anton Miller sent a fabulous recording of Six Humors, and then followed up with a wonderful, intimately shot video of his session. Violist Rita Porfiris (Anton’s spouse, performing partner, and colleague at the Hartt School), shot the video, and really did a great job. It’s clean, crisp, uncluttered, and does an amazing job of making this into a house-concert-intimate performance. I can’t wait to share this, when it’s legit to do so.

Now just waiting on one more recording from ACA’s Shelter Recordings Project. I know that one, too, will be great, and look forward to what Chris Nappi will do with the solo marimba piece Anima/Animus.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Jackson’s 1st birthday!! Looking forward to the video-call I’m sure will come in a few hours.

Am up too early (it’s 3:30 as I write this), feeling the press of the semester’s start in less than two weeks now–and also the need to get calamine lotion on this still-not-gone poison ivy.

Am now feeling much more comfortable with the tech/software I’m needing to use in re-designing this course for fully-remote teaching. I realize that what I’m doing is an approach known as the “flipped classroom,” which I’ve heard about for the past 5+ years, but never felt a need to pursue.

Between narrating brief presentations with PowerPoint, screen-capturing with QuickTime and Canvas’s built-in Studio, and just preparing one-page easily digestible documents/handouts and explanatory pages with Can...

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Yesterday’s diving was such a welcome and wonderful break from work. A long day, for sure, we enjoyed the company of some new folks–outside, wind taking care of health-threats (we hope), and just being on the boat.

6am at the boat, left dock about 6:45 or so, about 1’15 to the first dive site. A pretty calm ride with a nice group of six divers, two dive-guides, and a captain. Good folks, no one too gung-ho, all pretty calm. This was a group of first-timers with this outfit/boat. I that’s unusual as their trips are usually drawn from a group of about 15-20 repeaters. Among the divers, three folks from G’ville (one the head of ROTC instruction at ECU), one from Raleigh, and us; the guides brought an EE student from ECU, and one who lives near Surf City and works for SAS in Cary.

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Busy, filled days this past week, and more ahead.

Torrential rains last night brought some welcome relief to a few weeks of very dry days; browning yards seeing changes in color this morning. Nice to see some green return to Greenville, for sure.

My need to get in about 8 more hours in the yard cleaning out a long-neglected area may have to wait until next week, though, as I’m very much feeling time pressing in as the start of classes is only a few weeks away.

Thankfully, it seems that the poison ivy reaction i got in cleaning the yard last weekend may be subsiding (thank you prednisone). As we’re looking forward to a dive this Sunday, and I really don’t want to spend a hot day in a wetsuit with p.i. beneath, I hope this trend continues...

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Coming to our senses? No, not really.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-hoped-for-an-in-person-fall-now-the-dream-is-crumbling

But after nearly 40 years of teaching, I am finding this process of converting /adjusting/reconsidering how to teach in this remote format all very interesting and, in its way, reinvigorating.

This process is enormously time-intensive; working on learning the software, using familiar programs in new and different ways and, of course, re-designing how materials are delivered, how students can access materials and lessons at any time–not at a set meeting time. Every “class” takes days to organize at this point, but I’m sure I’ll get more efficient at this process.

These days are all about designing these classes now, as things begin August 10 ...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Echoes from history, ringing loud and clear. None of them good.

Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun (Michelle Goldberg, NYTimes)

The politicization of everything is his only approach to anything, and he’s proven so clearly that his toolbox is only adept at making any situation worse than it was when he got involved.

Last few days have been filled with ups and downs; lots of yard work that has led to good-looking areas of the yard, and healthy-looking poison ivy on my arms. Nothing serious, but have to clear it up before diving this weekend. Really don’t want to experience p.i. under a wetsuit in this very hot weather. (Yesterday reached 103 here; certainly better on the water, though.)

Starting to walk more confidently now. Just love this.

Sunday night br...

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