Has it been that long?

Hard to believe that it’s been April since my last post. I’ll see if I can do better about that. Just found this app that lets me post from my iphone. Perhaps I’ll be able to do more frequent, shorter posts. Kind of like this one.

A break that went my way

Today as I was reviewing some of the material for the unit I’m still teaching for entry 1, I stumbled across a wonderful thing – a useable video for my portfolio. I had only taken it as a means of peer critique. I took a video of student performance (using miniDV camera captured it straight to my laptop), converted it into wmv format (prefer divx, but I windows media player is the only thing that I could be certain would be on all of the school computers), got the site up and running using my googlepages account and then created a free domain name so the students could use it (hooray for .co.nr!). I then used a site to create a web based evaluation form that emailed me the results. Its a pretty sweet little setup.

At any rate, I was reviewing the video after the fact today and thought – crap, I can use this! This means that as of this moment, I’m almost halfway finished with the commentary for entry 1 at this moment and will have it finished before I go to bed tonight (miles to go before I sleep).

Now I can spend the rest of this week doing heavy editing and physical assembly of the portfolio instead of sweating it out to actually continue teaching the unit and writing the commentary at the 11th hour. Now I’m looking pretty comfortable with sending it next day air on Wednesday.

It’s nice to have a break go my way, I really needed this . . .

In unrelated news, I have two posts that I’ve had in my drafts folder for a while. One is titled “if life were more like star trek” and the other “concert etiquette or lack thereof.” The star trek one may not see the light of day, but the concert etiquette one definitely will. Just give me time.

Encryption Oddity?

Should it bother me that my email is encrypted with 256 bit encryption (AES-256) while my online banking is encrypted with 128 bit encryption (RC4-128)? You’d think you’d want your bank to have greater encryption than your email. Or is it that google is better at this game than my bank is?

Losing weight

I’m on the quest to lose weight again. I’m keeping a private journal of my daily progress, but don’t want to bore everyone with my daily log of what I eat and so on. Last year, my wife and I each had a physical as part of the life insurance application process. When I got the results of the bloodwork, I was shocked at how bad my cholesterol and triglycerides were. I’m now paying a small fee each year so that in the event that I die, my family will be well taken care of. Naturally, life insurance is one investment from which no one wishes an early return. I’m trying to take care of my family, but it occured to me that taking care of myself was a big part of that. I did some reading and eventually settled on the South Beach diet. I didn’t do the southbeach.com thing, but just bought the book and lived by the basic principles. I don’t like having to follow set menus or specific rules, but rather live by general guidelines (ironic from a BJU grad, don’t you think?). It worked well for me and I lost 40 lbs in a few months.

Summer rolled around and with the hecticness of grad school, I went off the official diet. I tried to live by the “do as little damage as possible” philosophy, and that worked well for a few months. After several months, my eating habits in no way resembled those that let me lose so much weight. It took me about 4 months to lose 40 lbs. In the 8 months or so since then, I’ve gained back 15. I’m on a quest to now lose 25 pounds, bringing me down a total of 50lbs from where I started a little over a year ago.

To be honest, I’m not caught up in the numbers of weight loss. I am however, very concerned with the daily consequences of it. I want my pants to fit better, I want to look and feel better. I want and need to be healthier. I’m certain that this time around, I’ll need to add an exercise component. Any suggestions on that one?

I’ll keep you all posted from time to time on my progress. Weekly, perhaps?

A truly insignificant title

I?ve never been one to keep a journal. I’ve tried it several times and failed (though it has been many years since the last attempt). Just as with my quest to find a name for this blog, with each post, I seem to struggle to find a topic. The one that came easily was the one that came in a moment of caffeine induced clarity at 6:30 in the morning (these moments are rare, you see). The next day I was ready to report back on my experiment (which did not go well) and my new blog service was in the midst of a 24+ hour systems upgrade. After that, things just sort of went downhill.

Next week I’m performing with the GAMAC orchestra. We’ll have rehearsals all week and then a performance on Friday. I’m also doing a separate concert on Saturday as well. I know its going to be a hectic schedule, but I really can’t wait. After you leave school as a music major, your opportunities to perform in a top notch group is limited, at best. I know full well how difficult the week will be in general. I know how incredibly difficult it will be for my wife since she will be taking care of the kids all day and all night with very little help from me. Even knowing all of this, I am greatly anticipating those rehearsals and performances. I am especially looking forward to my second shot at Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. The whole concert is a Russian extravaganza, so almost everything has pretty cool horn parts (though not all are terribly challenging). I’ll definitely have to do something as a thank you to my wife. The cool thing is that even though it is going to be difficult and she is not looking forward to the experience, she realizes how important it is to me and doesn’t begrudge me the opportunity. That’s a wonderful thing there.

Now once I got going, this wasn’t too bad. Perhaps from now on I’ll write my title once I’m done writing instead of before. Just start writing and then look back and see what its about. Sounds like something they taught us in one of my research classes, hmm. Maybe grad school really is paying off . . .

Morning Coffee

Morning coffee is the elixir of life. Just twenty minutes ago, I was a complete zombie, staggering around in relative darkness. Now, after a mere quarter of my mug of coffee gone, I am sitting down writing coherent (I hope) thoughts. I really wish that I had the discipline to go to bed early and get up early. For me, the hard part is going to bed early. I?m going to experiment with it tonight and see what happens. If I go to bed by 10:30, am I capable of getting up at 5:30? I guess I?ll just have to wait and find out. Its amazing how quiet it is in the morning. Not just in my house, but in the neighborhood as well. When I had to leave the house at 6:30 on a Saturday to go take a test for NBPTS a few weeks ago, the silence in the neighborhood was almost shocking. Yet somehow, it was really, really nice. Maybe I?m a morning person who just stays up too late. As a kid, I always got up really early and prided myself in that fact. GI Joe coming on in the morning is a great motivator for a young boy. If I can end up getting more work done in the morning, spend more time with my family in the evening, and actually get 7 hours of sleep in on top of it all, this would be an even more powerful motivator. Let?s see what happens.

Getting Started

Why must getting started always be so difficult? I enjoy writing, but I cannot stand attempting to determine a topic. Let?s take this new blog for example. An old friend encouraged me to get going on my blogging effort. I decided to take the plunge and then instantly hit a roadblock. What do I call this thing? There was the quest for something clever, for something that sounded intelligent, for something . . . I don?t know what. At any rate, this morning I said ?this is dumb,? so I just wrote down what came to mind. And now you have it, A Musician?s Musings. I hope that it will be enjoyable, and perhaps somewhat frequent.