Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Officially" Starting Work

Well today the staff of Saint Andrews finally met up and had our first meetings. It was mostly uneventful. Mostly. We made it through the Headmaster's address and split up for a few minutes before having the faculty meeting in my theatre. While we were in there we lost power, again. First Main power shut off leaving only the emergency lights and exit signs lit up. about 5 seconds after that, they died too. Luckily after about 30 seconds it all came back on. Since there is still a large part of RI without power it sounded like the power company had been saying that to bring up another part of the grid they'd have to kill power and then bring it all back up so we think that was all that happened. Other than that power was consistent for us.

I finally was able to meet the rest of my arts department, it is myself and 4 ladies all over 35, one of them being our just turned 60 department head. So that is an interesting work dynamic. Though they are all great and I really look forward to working with them.

Also today marked my official first meeting to go over Seussical which is our fall musical this year. Luckily for me the set is about 60% finished since we are adapting something they used for the summer camps so it's already on stage, I just need to add some more platforms, build a new curved staircase, paint and create a few new scenic elements. I haven't ran this past Melanie (music director) yet, but after talking today I hope and think this should work. In either case it was about a 10 minute sketch and a first rough idea.

I'm planning on painting our rehearsal cubes like old wooden blocks with sketch marks and such and hopefully we're going to draw a lot of these elements straight out of Seuss's various books. The section on the right, obviously as the label implies, will be whoville. We've got various levels and platforms already in place and had talked about something that can just roll on behind the upper platform, so I'll have to take measurements and check lighting angles but something like this should fit alright.

And now maybe a nap, then more class work and prep for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

of First Days of Non-Work

As scheduled my first day of work was to be monday. After a long and hard drive/ 15 minutes on campus... it was time to go home for the end of the day. I got to campus a little early to print a couple of things I needed and got parked, let myself into my building, got to my room and tried to turn on the computer. Nothing happened. then it hit me I hadn't even tried the lights. Low and behold, we were still without power there. So after sitting around for a bit to make sure nobody else was coming I decided to head home. It wasn't until that afternoon I finally got a call from the headmaster who said he hadn't been able to find my phone number to let me know till then and because the school's servers will still down there had been no way to email anybody.

Wine rack and Heather's apron hung up

Only needs a bookshelf and a couple more pictures
In either case I was glad to go, I swapped out some things I had brought home to read for some new material and accomplished a couple of things while making sure there wasn't any visible damage to anything. Barrington as it turns out got hit a lot harder than providence did and had a lot of trees down. Today they were still without power, though because I got access to the mail servers around 1230 today so we're back up and running and a go for 9 am tomorrow. So we lost a few days of "Professional week" but we're good to go for the last few days and coming up on the start of class quicker than I would like. The upside to these days off is we finally got the kitchen put away completely and since Heather's BG security deposit came in we went to Ikea to pick up our kitchen bookshelf. Only to find out (an hour drive later) that they were out of the one we were going to get, so we'll have to go back next week sometime. But we got a metal wine rack and some pot holders and a couple other small things (though they were also out of corkboards.... damn you Ikea!). So here is our, now once again, really big kitchen put together. Tonight I have just been working on class stuff, playing some games, and reading some Game of Thrones. Pretty good night.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

of Surviving Irene and Not Really Noticing

The main effect Irene had on us up here in Rhode Island is that we were without power for about 7 hours. Oddly enough though, we only had heavy rain for maybe a total of 20 minutes spread across a few hours and didn't have wind much stronger than a typical Bowling Green day. Had a small limb down in part of the street around the corner and a few shingles pulled off, but as far as the first hurricane we've had in Providence, it was really a let down. I didn't expect much from it and it did just about what I thought. No scary moments, nothing huge went wrong, so yeah, that's done.

Next up I have work tomorrow at 9 am starting "professional week" and then I'll have to set aside time for a quick inspection of the theatre just to check for wind damage. Campus is still littered with construction materials and potential missiles because of the work on the dining hall so we'll have to see if there were any ill effects. Other than that, uneventful day reading Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keys to a Brand New (7 Year Old) Theatre

Today marked my first real "teacher" meeting. My email is set up, my online gradebook is in progress and they finally handed over the keys to my space, including three that belong to something...somewhere...if I can find anything they work in, nobody seems to know. Highlights of today include driving a short bus like a champ, not too difficult after moving out here. I got to chauffeur the Dean of Students and the other new hire teacher I was with today as we talked about things and she waited for her turn to drive. Highlight 2 was actually getting into the theatre and my classroom.

Downsides of today. I've got a lot of work to do. The class stuff I'm not even too worried about, I spent tonight mapping out my tech class and the guides they gave me for the computer classes give me a real nice start on the work there. My major concerns are the theatre spaces themselves at the moment. I haven't gone through my inspection list just yet (that comes tomorrow) but it looks like the last time the linesets were inspected may have been 2007 so they are past due to have someone look at them and make sure we aren't going to.... you know... drop things on people.

My Classroom
Other pseudo-major concern is that my dimmer rack (while it looks real nice) seems to be a little out of whack and may have been changed by someone who wasn't certified so I may need to get an ETC rep to come out and take a look at it. And after a quick talk with someone it looks like maybe it was in better shape and that it had been cleaned recently... Though I still think a couple things are out of place.

My Desk
Theatre itself is pretty nice. No actual booth which is a pain, it works for sound mixing but the lighting board is out there too. We've got a huge open storage area behind the cat walk but you can only kind of see the stage so I may try to talk them into buying a few monitoring systems and have a video feed to makeup for the bad sight lines and move the board upstairs. Also I don't technically have a grid so I can't easily deadhang things and I've heard rumors that certain things don't fly all the way out. Blarg.

Only other major list is that my shop is full of junk that isn't mine or even my departments, it has a shipment of cleaning supplies all still boxed up and what appear to be boxed up brand new desks along with old windows and computer stuff that I'm not going to put up with and need to get cleared out of there. Other than those things I'm stupid excited, I just have a lot of reorganizing and drafting/inventorying work ahead of me.

The rest of my pictures can be found on facebook. Here are a couple of the main office and the oldest building on campus, the chapel. More pictures of the shop and such will come as I get all the crap cleaned out and get it to a place where I like it better. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Simple Post Day

Once I get something exciting worthy of an update I'll get a longer post going. Today I just have one simple video that really made my day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Down Day

well it has been an unfortunately down type of day around here. Nothing much to say really. Found a mouse in the dishwasher. Alive. Then when I looked again he was gone. Looks like it/they got in through the wall behind/under the sink. With the front panel on the floor to the cabinet in place they can't actually get into the house anywhere other than there and the dishwasher... I think. Have to take care of that.

for the gamers and angry birders, here are a couple videos.

Long story short which the video will explain, guy wants to propose, he gets special levels of portal designed and Ellen McClain (Glados) to do the new lines.

This one is also pretty self explanatory, it is just theme for Angry Birds with guitar.

Enjoy. Hopefully your days go better than today was for us.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Day of Non-Productiveness

The title pretty much sums it all up. We had to wait around most of the day for the guy from Cox to come and fix our cable... you know so that we'd actually have it. Other than that all I did was go to the store for groceries and watch three episodes of Torchwood... which by the way is really good this time around. Jane Espenson's writing has been fantastic. So without further ado, here are the highlights of what the internet yielded me today:

First up: A photo series by Juha Arvid Helminen, a photographer from Finland. The series is called "Invisible Empire" and really resonated with me. The uniforms and styles alongside the anonymity and obscurity of many governments really says a lot. I'd love to see this idea and style expanded on.

Here is the link for the full set, you should check it out because its pretty interesting.

Number Two! This one was forwarded to me by Melissa, one of my few followers (sorry it will be old news to you) and I thought it was worth a repost. It is an apartment in Chelsea in New York, up for $1,750,000. Some of the things I've read about it say steampunk but after seeing the living room and kitchen, it screams Firefly to me. It just has the right mix of futuristic, rustic, anachronism that sets it forward in time while rooting it firmly in the past as well. Much like Serenity herself or many of the outer planets they encounter on the show (the pure Alliance territory is too sterile and leans to much to the future, but the "backwater" planets that have been touched by space travel make the difference here). It has a ton of character and all kinds of small details. Will this be everybody's cup of tea? Definitely not, but it will be like any other unique item that gets an upcharge because it's "different" somebody will see the ad and immediately say "it must be mine" I have no doubt that this place will sell quickly. As with number one, here is the full link so you can check out the listing and the rest of the pictures, this is quite the place, with a great rooftop deck as well. 

Number 3! I blame Ze Frank (check out the Show) for this. I have always had a love for taking warning signs, street signs... basically any sign designed to be helpful, and take it completely out of context and really just see what the picture shows me. One of the most classic ones is for hand dryers in bathrooms "press button, receive bacon". In either case, someone took a bunch of emergency tips diagrams from and recaptioned them. As an example:
These are pretty self explanatory and there are a lot of them, they kept me pretty entertained for awhile today, so click through and look at the rest of them. Full link. 
And last but not least, Number 4 (the Carmonica)! Going back to my love for mini's I stumbled across a neat little video of someone who attached 300 harmonicas to a mini and drove it around, essentially creating a symphony of harmonica and car noise. Here you are.

and a news piece about how they did it.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Hey again everybody! Today is Knowledge Friday which will be the first in a series of Friday posts (if I can keep up) where I pick a topic/place/person/thing/etc sometimes at random, sometimes relating to something I did in the past week, and get all historical on your asses. Today's lesson: Faneuil Hall.

Heather and I went up to Boston today to visit an old friend of hers and to grab some lunch. After eating at Quincy Market we wandered around and explored the area a bit and part of the square is this building. Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and has served as a marketplace and meeting hall ever since. It's second floor meeting hall is where many Bostonians voiced their dissent leading up to the Revolutionary War.

In 1761 a fired gutted the building's interior, with repairs being conducted over the next two years. When repairs were finished the hall was host to the first rumblings of the war. Though the served as the town hall for Boston and should have concerned itself with only the politics and issues of the city, the concerns that were voiced often turned to taxation and issues involving the British Empire.

At times the debates and protest meetings that were held ended in violence and spilled over into the streets. Debates led by James Otis, Samuel Adams, and other "Sons of Liberty" led to an increase in opposition to the Sugar Tax of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765 and other British political movements including concerns regarding a recent shipment of tea and the tax that they were expected to pay on it. While the debates and politics focused only on Boston, reports and accounts of the meetings traveled throughout the colonies and served as a unifying force, bringing colonists together against the British.

Today the hall sits in what is known as Quincy Market. During the 1800's it was joined by three granite buildings to the east to form the new square which served as Boston's wholesale food distribution center until the 1960's. Faneuil Hall still serves as a public meeting place as well. National issues continue to be addressed, but more frequently it houses debates on community issues, high school graduations and naturalization ceremonies.

The upper floor houses a museum and armory of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1638
for the defense of the colony and has occupied the space since 1746. For two centuries the symbol of Faneuil Hall has been the grasshopper weathervane. It was inspired by similar vanes on the Ryoal Exchange building in London. Today it is the only portion of the hall that remains totally unmodified from the original 1742 structure. The hall is owned by the city of Boston, is a unit of Boston National Historical Park and is preserved through the cooperation of the city of Boston and the National Park Service.

This has been the first installment in Knowledge Friday, we hope to see you again next week, and keep checking back here for regular updates.This has been knowledge: thinking, so you don't have to.

John Carter

Simple easy post today since we're about to leave for Boston.

  Here is the preview trailer for John Carter, and yes it is cool and yes I really want to see it (the real reason will come shortly)

A bit of quick background for those who don't know anything about it. It originally was to be John Carter of Mars. It is based on an old Edgar Rice Burroughs novel and Carter is a civil war veteran transplanted to Mars to help fight this war blah blah blah. A premise I like. The SINGULAR reason I really want to see this though is Peter Gabriel singing My Body is a Cage. Before I saw the trailer I was in the camp that probably wasn't going to see this movie, at least not till it came out on dvd or netflix. but Peter Gabriel can do no wrong and has sold me once again because this song rocks. I leave you with the full song, which is just awesome. Marvel at Gabriel's majesty.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Of Ikea and Travel Hassles

So, fun fact for the day. In at least some parts of Massachusetts it is legal to drive in the breakdown lane during rush hour. (6-10 and 5-7?)

Today was quite productive, got our own internet hooked up, though the cable still isn't right, we'll have to call tomorrow about that. Today we decided to go shopping and to make our first trip to Ikea. As an Ikea virgin, it was kind of overwhelming. We had to drive 45 minutes to even get to the place, but for someone from Ohio, that's common practice for a lot of things. Needless to say this place was enormous.
It had it's own parking garage, and an escalator ramp for taking carts and such up. We spent two hours in there finding a lot of stuff we liked, a few things we're going to have to go back for (like a bookshelf for the kitchen) and a few things we planned on actually walking away with. When all was said and done we spent less than $50 (barely) and got a magnetic knife holder, a pot rack, boxes to put our dvds in and a nice live bamboo plant to put in the bathroom.

After our stop there we went on to Target just to look at a few things and compare some prices. Of course what do we find when we get there? A damn nice futon that is pretty inexpensive and will work great for our couch for the time being. On top of that it was on sale for another two days and it was the only one they had left. So we picked that up as well, more assembly for me. However it did put together easy and now we have somewhere to sit and its pretty comfy too.
Here is where we started to run into our travel problems, we figured hey, lets stop at Trader Joe's on the way back to pick up some frozen dinners right? Wrong. we find the nearest store using the GPS.... or so we thought. We drive the 10 minutes to find it and turn where it says and there is nothing. The whole are is a business complex that look like office buildings, so we drive around for a bit just to make sure we aren't stupid and we see a Trader Joe's car. By now we both know but still are determined we just can't find it, so we drive up and sure enough the damn GPS had taken us to a corporate office of Trader Joe's not an actual store. So we find the next one and get back on the highway. Of course more than once she decides it is important to recalculate because I'm going EXACTLY where she tells me to go and changes her mind back and forth enough times that I miss the exit I was supposed to take and have to drive an extra two miles before there is another exit.

Eventually we found the store and got what we wanted and started on the hour drive home. As it turns out each leg of our journey, while not being too far from the last, took us a bit further in the wrong direction. We get home and make food while I'm starting the assembly on things. By now I've moved on to getting the pot rack together, only to find out we hadn't measured anything and it is about a half an inch too long to fit above our oven. It is luckily an easy fix since it just hits some molding and I've got a couple scrap pieces of wood and they left us extra paint for touch ups. Tomorrow I'll just make a buffer that bumps the rest of the rack out from the wall a bit and it will fit fine. So that was the mess today was, and now it is time to relax some and prepare to take a trip up to Boston tomorrow. I leave you with this picture of the ceiling fans inside Ikea.

The thing was like the prop for a 747, I swear it was from a small wind turbine, it had to have been 30 feet across. and there were 3 or 4 of them. Until later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goals for this blog

I've half started lots of blogs in the past, hopefully I'm going to keep with this one since it is a good way to keep people updated. I'll likely kill the blog over on my portfolio site... since it wasn't that great anyway. What to expect from this... Hopefully it will be entertaining, I'll focus on life in Rhode Island, my escapades as Tech Director and teacher, as well as freelance technician/ jack of all trades, as well as my baking... which will hopefully expand beyond simple loaves of bread and bagels. So in summation, baked goods, teaching, tech theatre stuff, Rhode Island. The End.

Setting up shop

Well, it's a world of changes here. Just moved into the new apartment in Providence this weekend and it has been a whirlwind of activity getting everything unpacked/set up/organized/ (insert any number of words here). The main focus thus far has been getting the house in order. Yesterday we went down to Barrington to tour around my school and check a few things out. From there we just started driving with a goal to see the ocean before heading back, so we got down to Bristol and Newport which are both really cool cities and eventually found a really nice beach (also picked up a nice big shell for the apartment, though we've not decided where to put it just yet.)

One upside is our landlords (who rock) let us use their wireless and our cable is actually hooked into theirs right now so we've been able to watch some tv. Most of the house has been put away.

My office is finished as much as it can be right now, eventually it will get a drafting table and a couple more of my prints framed, but that will come with some more money. The living room is also pretty much done, though we need some boxes for the dvds, a futon/couch and the money to frame the rest of the firefly prints.

The kitchen is still a mess full of empty and full boxes BUT it is still pretty useable just because of how huge it is so Heather made cookies today, I'll make bread later tonight, and we had a real nice meal the other night and another one tonight which should be good.

Another upside is we found Woodchuck special reserve cider up here for about the same price as the regular and Heather hasn't been real fond of it, so more for me. (Right) My collection of safety/vintage posters. I have a British Airways poster to add under the work with care poster.

I can tell Heather is watching Eureka in the other room since I can hear the theme song, mixed with NCIS from the living room right now. Couldn't be happier here, this place and apartment already feel like home. We really ended up finding a great place. More to come later, including some bread stuffs and finished pictures of the living areas, for now, Wall-e.

 My hide away/posting den/ work space etc