What was that?

Where did this webpage go and what was that error message?

Well, apparently some aspect of the database for this blog exploded. It took some time to fix it, but we’re back in action.

Hopefully you didn’t feel the loss too deeply.




Updates on my studio.

I got asked the other day what I meant by my studio. My studio’s kind of a hybrid workspace: I use it for music work, for idea development, and for varois hobbies I have. I put some pictures of it here, but they’re already posted over on my Flickr account. It’s a space that is moved with me through several iterations. I had one of my previous residence, and I’ve had two different ones at this house.

I think it’s important to have a working space in your house. I think it needs to be separate from your day to day life space, and needs to be designed specifically to foster creativity. I written before about the idea of the Vegas cube. In as many ways as is practical, I like to use some of those ideas in my studio spaces. That means I don’t keep a clock there. I don’t allow in natural lighting. It is, in as many ways as I can, isolated from the outside world. While that I solution isn’t always practical, it does help with the creative process. Nowadays with my kids, I have to be careful with how isolated I let myself get.

I’m in the midst of contemplating some larger changes to the studio. As those get made, I’ll try to keep this site updated in my Setup section. I’m spending less time on my music, and more time working on idea creation for education. This change of priorities has to be recognizing the physical layout of my studio.

Strangely, one of things that I’m walking in my studio is wall space. I’m looking at some options that allow me to have movable wall space. I’m still unsure about the budget I want to commit, and materials that I want to use for such an application.

What’ve I been up to?

Heavens, my. Lots.

I’ve been working on my health. With two young kids, it’s easy to overlook upkeep on yourself- and I’ve been guilty of that. My diet, sleep, and most other aspects of my life have been, to some degree or another, compromised in sacrifice to my kids. I regret none of it. That said, it’s not sustainable, and it’s not in the kids’ best interests long-term. My interest in improving my health started this summer, when I had my tonsils removed. I’d been getting sick as a result of them for a while, and I was sick of loosing time to something I could have dealt with. Out they came. It wasn’t the most painful thing I’ve every done/had done to me- but given the physical traumas I’ve had, that may be a viewpoint shared by few. It was 10 days of not-fun. Turns out it’s been totally worth it.

So here’s what else I’m doing:

1. Diet. I’m eating better. Breakfast every morning, Almond milk instead of dairy. Solid, healthy lunches. Cooking more (and ordering out less). Cooking with better quality products. I’ve cut out soda (except as a very occasional treat). I’ve cut out juice. I drink water and tea- and I’ve cut way back on the sugar in my tea. And I’ve cut down my tea consumption- and never after 3pm.

2. Sleep. For a number of reasons, my sleep patterns have been a mess. I’ve always dealt with some level of insomnia- when it’s really bad, I can’t fall asleep. Most of the time, I fall asleep just fine, but can’t stay asleep very well. Over the summer I was finding it very difficult to sleep past 3am or so. As a result, I’ve cut way back on caffeine. None after 3pm or so, and less during the day than before. I’m down to two good-sized cups of tea most days. I’m also using an app called “Tonic” to help track my sleep. It doesn’t track my sleep cycles, but I use it to plot sleep/wake times. Then I can track the hours of my sleep.

3. Exercise. I’ve been really bad with this. I haven’t been in the gym for a very long time, and it’s showing. It’s hard with the kids to get time, and my schedule is only getting more complicated. But I’m determined to do what can be done. I’ve been using a standing desk for two years now, but my current rooms don’t have them installed- just in my office, which I’m rarely in anymore. I’ll have to fix that. Also, I’m going to workout. Somehow. Maybe early-morning. Maybe mid-day. I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to.

4. Tracking. I’ve been interested in the Quantified Self movement since I first read about it several years ago- and before that, the life-logging movement was pretty interesting too. I’m not in a position to life-log these days, but I’ve been investing more time and effort in the quantified self aspect of things. So far, this mostly includes using Tonic to track several aspects of my days- and allowing my to export and analyze that data for trends. It’s an incredibly flexible app, and if you’re looking for something to help track any aspect of your life, it’s worth a look. I’ve also been looking into using an activity monitor to do more detailed tracking. I’d been excited about Nike’s Fuelband, but $150 is pretty stiff, and it’s got limited uses. The Jawbone UP is pretty neat- it’ll track more than the Nike, but it has no display to show you how you’re doing mid-day, and to do anything with it, you have to plug it into your phone. Also: $130. The new FitBit gets really good marks- wireless sync, sleep tracking, calibration… but I have an iPhone 4, and it needs at least an iPhone 4S to wirelessly sync. Really? That’s lame. As of just this morning, I’ve backed the indiegogo startup of the Misfit Shine. It’s tiny, waterproof, adaptable, has a very, very long battery life, and will wirelessly (and interestingly) sync with my phone. I’ve pledged $79 for a Shine with a clasp and sport bracelet. It’s supposed to ship in March. I’m really, really doubtful of that ship date, but I’m also really, really excited for it to come.

I’ve also been working on other stuff- a new presentation, some new video work, some new writing, some work on my much-neglected studio, and a new revived interest in minimalism. The kit I carry around has shrunk considerably. The gear I use has changed a bit. It’s the nature of the passage of time- the more I learn, the more things change. I’ll be posting about these things, soon.

Here’s to a new year full of fun, research, thinking, doing, and adventure.




A lot of work.

I’m headed into a very busy time. Several projects, all with deadlines, are looming.

Almost all of them involve shooting and editing a substantial amounts of video- all at 1080 res, all uncompressed. Which means huge files, and long rendering times. And while I love my new MacBook Air 11″, I’ve found a flaw: I can either connect storage or a monitor. I realize that with Thunderbolt displays and hard drives I could do both, but if there’s one thing that my projects always involve, it’s shoestring budgets. So there’s no new gear- Firewire800 drives, and good old VGA displays.

It also means I’m getting started on building a new shooting rig in my basement- seamless background and all.




Sit Rep

Summer’s over, folks. For me, anyway.

1. Got a cool announcement about a conference I’ll be at- but that I’m not running. Pretty excited about it. Check back tomorrow for details and linkage.

2. The school year is starting to roll along, so figure I’ll be getting started on new Tangentials pretty soon. First up is an episode about Red Heads. I’ll likely shoot it as a long form version, and then edit a short version down from that. Likely.

3. A very old friend of mine, Ed Sassler, has tapped me for a new project he’s working on. We’re meeting up this week, in person, to get started on my end of things. It’ll be a ton of work, but I’m excited to be onboard for this. Details/website/info as it becomes available.

4. I’m trying to run updates pretty much every day now. That means mostly shorter-format posts, which is something I’m better at anyway.

Loads more to come.

Back to my tea.

Sit Rep!

So my summer’s coming to a close (rapidly!), and it’s time to get a handle on where I am with things. Here goes.

1. #bpscon is ready to go. Mostly. Schedule is done, sessions are ready (?!), and logistics are mostly covered. Somewhat easier than other con’s I’ve done, in that way, given that everyone is an employee already…

2. One more day of iPad rollout for this year- until the mid-year mark, when there’s another HUGE rollout happening. But still. For now, almost done.

3. New room is mostly up-and-running. Got some smaller stuff to move around and some software I’m still waiting on (!), but the bones of it are coming together nicely. Next step: media gear setup, and art on the walls.

4. My handbook for my Media Production class is pretty much ready to go. It’s built in iBooks Author, and I’ll post a link to it here as soon as it’s public for the students.

5. I’ve been back to twitter, if you’ve been missing me there. I’m finding #sschat to be a great place, even though I’m not a Social Studies or History teacher… and as far as I can tell, #edchat is dead. Utterly useless at this point- a no longer productive echo chamber. A shame, really.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know my project list is hovering in the 30-40 range right now- and I’ve been making some progress through those in the last few weeks. I’ll likely abandon some of those- and that’s not a bad thing, but there’s a 100% chance I’ll add more too. As I’ve said before: I get bored quickly.

Back in the land of the living…

Holy Smokes.

Having your tonsils out at my age is (as everyone told me…) no joke. It’s been over a week and I’m just getting back to feeling like I’m alive again.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten a good start on my handbook/course expectations for my media production course this year. I’m doing it in iBooks Author because I want a) It to look glossy and nice and b) Because I want/need more practice with it as a publishing platform. It’s looking good thus far- heavily influenced by the Tom Sachs “10 Bullets” video I posted a couple of months ago. Next step with it is graphics work. Content is (mostly) there.

I’m headed back to work (I think…) tomorrow, for the rest of the summer. That’s right, kids: my year starts tomorrow. Long list of things to do there- see my last post for details. I’m sort-of looking forward to it, but I’ll miss the time with family.


Pretty excited for my new classroom. I’m going to spend some serious time working on it’s layout and configuration, and I’ve been doing some reading on the nature of creativity and creative spaces- that is to say, spaces that have been optimized to stimulate creativity- and I’m eager to apply them to my classroom.



Projects, oh my…

Figures. It’s halfway through summer and I’ve got more projects going than I can shake a stick at. Here’s a few:

1. Started working on a handbook for my media production class for next year based on some of the concepts from Tom Sach’s handbook for employees of his studio. His video is here, and is a good watch if you’re a dork like me.

2. In the midst of uploading near-as-makes-no-difference 11,000 songs to Google Play. I’ll be able to rock out anywhere from the cloud! Too bad the upload has taken three full days so far- and will almost certainly take another two.

3. Building a new fly rod for myself- a fiberglass switch rod created out of the unholy union of some existing rods. It’ll be cheap, dirty, and wildly unattractive, but fun. How often do you get to use a hacksaw while building a rod?

4. Breaking in this new computer. MacBook Air 11″

5. Pushing towards no local storage use. Combo of GDrive and Dropbox right now. More specifics in an upcoming post on Setup.

6. Overhauling the backyard. I get to mount a brush blade on my gas line trimmer. Woooo!

7. Tonsillectomy. Today, actually.

8. Still waiting on Apple to release they’re school profile of BHS- and hoping to see a little of my shining visage in it.

9. Migrating (again) my large(ish) collection of digital photos. Not looking forward to this.

10. Tons of new art to hang at the house. Frames, as always, slowing that down. Have a literal stack of pieces to deal with.

11. Pre-production of several new Tangential episodes. These will be delayed in shooting until I heal from #7.

12. Roll out of 250 new iPad2’s at the High School.

13. Prep for mid-year distribution of ~1000 iPad2’s for Middle School.

14. Prep for 500 person 3 day district PD to kick off the year.

15. Prep for huge Google Conference in November.

That’s enough to mention here for now- but there’s more. I’ve found that the pile is so big I can’t look at it in the eye- only from the side before I get overwhelmed.

Side eye it is, then.




Where’d I go?

To Maine, actually. For a week.

And yes, it was lovely.

But I’m back for a week or so, and thought I’d do some work on here. To whit:

1. Updated (a bit) the “About Me” Section

2. Added a “Tangential” Tab, with a drop down menu of available videos

3. Deleted exactly 776 spam comments

Which tired me out, so I had a cup of tea.

I’m teaching a two day session at EDCO at the end of the week, and I’m pretty excited. It’s about iPads in the High School classroom, and I’m looking forward to conversations and questions.

Sit Rep!

It’s the very start of the summer, and here’s where I’m at with projects:

1. The¬†Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative is happening tomorrow, and I’m pretty excited. We’re over 600 people registered- making it one of the larger one-day education conferences in the northeast. I’m leading one session the first day, and I’m leading four sessions (including a keynote) the second day. Busy busy busy. Exciting stuff, though.

2. I’ve had to put the fifth episode of Tangential on hold for a minute. ¬†Between the end-of-the-year, exams, moving my classroom, #madpc, and getting ready for some genuine vacation time, there’s not been any time to shoot or edit an episode. The subject and script are both ready, I’ve just not been able to crank it out. Keep calm: I’ll be doing it this summer. Earlier- but likely not for about two weeks. Likely. As it stands right now, the entire Tangential series is less than twenty minutes long- but don’t underestimate how densely packed that twenty minutes is. That’s wall to wall, foot to the floor delivery- and boy, being a Boston kid, can I talk fast.

3. I’ve had a bit of a transformative moment after watching this video put out by Tom Sach’s studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s effected me so much- but it’s been creeping into my life ever since. I’ve been knolling my cutting board in the kitchen while making our meals. No, really. Anyway, I think some of the concepts will form the basis of my new Media Production classroom for next year. The idea of “sacred space” and “the code” are pretty compelling. So compelling that I’m writing my own handbook for success.

That’s it, for now.