Page CXVI, Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nebraska files: Day 3 (pt 2)

Right before lunch was over they had a quick game of Jeopardy, to give away some prized. All the prized were exausted, or at least we though, when they pulled out free copies of Aperture to give away. They didn't have any questions left, so they were just asking random movie and TV questions. Then something amazing happened. They asked something that sumped everyone, even me. But quick to my fingers on google I fled, typing in a search on IMDB's site to swiftly secure my copy of Aperture! w00t! After that lunch, I immediately called Amie who happened to be sleeping, and dispite her state of consiousness shared in my joy.

The last few classes went well and I learned quite a bit. I think that I will be asking work to look into getting a copy of Compressor 3. The hands on workshop and the presentation really impressed me, and I think it will work wonderfully with what I have been doing in regards to encoding video. We also worked through quickly converting a slide presentation into a podcast with audio dialog in ProfCast (which integrates with iTunes U beautifully.)

I had thought that I would ask the Apple guys what they were doing for dinner, but two of them left early to catch a flight, and the last guy was left taking care of all the equipment. It didn't pan out, but I went to a great restaurant call Lazlo's Brewery and Grill. The atmosphere was great, and their steak was delicious! I told Amie that I will have to take her there if we ever return to Lincoln.

After I talked with Amie on the phone, I walked around Lincoln scoping out the Cafe's in the area. I rested on nice looking place called The Mill. And glad I am I did so, for it is by far my favorite place in Lincoln! I might also add that I am probabbly impartial to the coffee scene, if there is even such a thing. This place is great. The atmosphere is wonderfull. I asked if they would let me take a few photos while I was here, and they agreed. So before I leave I am going to snap a bunch without making myself feel like a complete idiot walking around the place with a camera in peoples face. I wish there were a quality coffee place like this around Bourbonnais, it reminds me of Rochester somehow.

Lincoln has quite the art scene I am finding out. I hope to be able to walk around and scope out some of the areas galleries, for which I am finding many. I haven't been able to catch one yet during open hours. That is part of my plan for tomorrow.

Well, I have to call for my shuttle back to the hotel before it's too late and I have to hail a cab. I'll be sure to have some more great photos before the trip is over. I am noticing that it is quite dark outside, and I'm thinking that will bring some very nice night shots.

Day 3: Nebraska files

Today has been very educational and great. We started off the day creating a podcast in GarageBand, and publishing it to the web. The specific project we worked on I downloaded here for you to listen to. It's an enhanced audio podcast, which features slides and links (except I forgot to add hyperlinks, so you can just view the slides.) It's the first podcast for a fictional (as far as I know) band called La Rocca, which I am the manager for. The room was crowded with people recording their own versions of the script we were given, so it sounds like I'm in a bar or a crowded room or something. GarageBand has the capability to clean up the background noise a bit, but it's not perfect. The instructor used a snowball microphone. So his, of course, sounded absolutely excellent. I could see myself investing in a good mic and doing this professionally, it's pretty fun!

We then worked on streaming production with Vara Wirecast 3, which was very exciting. Wirecast is a very robust application that enables you to stream a wide array of formats (video, audio, pdf, slide presentations, etc) in many different combinations and configurations. They suggested a few other free options which I haven't checked out yet, but I am incredibly impressed with Wirecast 3. I hope I can get my hands on a copy of this to work with. Here's a list of features they mention on their site:

Plug in one or more cameras, drag and drop existing movies and images, and configure built-in titles to produce a live, dynamic broadcast that will amaze your viewers. Traditionally such systems have required expensive, dedicated hardware. Feature Highlights include: Support for multiple cameras, Stream at multiple bit-rates, Real-time Chroma Key, Remote computer desktop input, Built-in Title Engine, Amazing 3D Graphics, Multiple Layers, Easy to use User Interface, And much more...

They brought us lunch from Brown Baggers, and I ate a salami half Brown Bagger sandwich. It was quite good.

I'll post about the remainder of my day later tonight. I hope to tag along with the Apple guys to dinner. We'll see how that pans out.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 1:Nebraska files

Today I got into Nebraska, and from the very quaint little NE airport, I was informed that the hotel that I am staying in offers a free shuttle to their customers. I was excited, and took the shuttle back to the hotel, talking to the very nice driver along the way, who gave me the quick tour of Lincoln. After I settled into my hotel room, I got a shuttle ride into downtown NE to visit the state capitol building. I got there around 3:20 and joined the tour towards the end, and then waited around for the next tour at four to catch up on what I missed. I learned a lot of interesting things, although a lot of what was explained was stats and numbers that I forgot. Here is some information that I found online to supplement my memory:

The Nebraska State Capitol, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, is the capitol and seat of the Nebraska Legislature and houses other offices of the government of the U.S. state of Nebraska. One of the most distinctive statehouses in the United States, its height is surpassed only by the Louisiana State Capitol, which rises 34 stories.

The building was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and constructed between 1922 and 1932. The limestone structure draws on both Classical and Gothic architectural traditions, but represents major innovations in state capitol design.
One of the things that was really impressive was the tile work in the floor, I attempted to take some photos of it, but I don't think I really was able to capture the beauty of it. After I took the tour, and explored the 14th floor, I realized that I was quite hungry. I hadn't eaten since the banana bread that Amie packed for me before my flight. I walked a few blocks down to the Haymarket area, which if I understand correctly was where the town was initially formed from. I had heard about a bunch of really interesting sounding restaurants that I wanted to check out, and I managed to find one called, Buzzard Billy's. I ordered one of their signature platters called the Alligator Grand Chenier which was a surprise, and pretty good.
Alligator Grand Chenier Farm-raised alligator medallions, lightly breaded and sauteed with mushrooms and green onions in a mildly spicy Cajun cream sauce. Served around a mound of rice.
I have never had Cajun food, and it isn't my preferable choice in food, but it was good to try. I have a few other restaurants that I want to try out, so hopefully I will be able to work those in before I leave. After my meal, I went and walked around histroic (Haymarket) Lincoln. I got a few shots of the city, walked around a few shops, and looked in some shops that were closed. Soon I was ready to head back to my hotel, and called for the shuttle to pick me up. I made the misjudgement of thinking I was near the capitol building and asked them to pick me up there. So I had quite a jog to get back, and by the time I was brought back to my hotel, I was ready to kick back and relax for a bit. I flipped the TV on and caught some history channel, talked to the love of my life for a while, caught some Cosbys before I finished up a book I am reading, and went to bed.

Tomorrow is the first day of the conference! Hopefully I will meet up and make friends.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lincoln NE or bust!

My next post will most likely be from Lincoln Nebraska where I'll be going to an apple media conference. I'm sure (despite what all of you are thinking at this moment) I'll find lots of things to do in Lincoln. I plan on taking lots of photos while I'm there, so stay tuned for the Nebraska madness!


Pee pee goes in the potty

Mama. Peepee ina potty?
~ Noah

For the first time today Noah came to mom and asked to go to the potty, and peed! All on his own! He then got a cookie as a reward. This is extremely exciting, and I thought I would tell you about it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apostrophe abuse

In other news, I submitted a few photos to a blog that I admire and check to lighten my day called, Apostrophe Abuse. I gave theme some photos I took while we were blueberry picking in MI, because I noticed that the signs there were prime candidates to be featured on the site. You can check out the post, as well as amuse yourself with other apostrophe mishaps here: Apostrophe picking in Michigan

Here are additional photos from our blueberry picking day: Trip to MI

Gifts from friends

Today I received a gift that can hardly be put into words, my attempt would simply dull the joy it brings. Never-the-less, here is our story:

We have been planning, or shall I say attempting to plan a trip to NY for Rachel's September 29th wedding (Amie's sister). It's hard to plan a trip of 631 miles on little to no budget. But yet, you can't just say no to seeing your sister off into a new life of happiness and marriage. It's an event that is just assumed you would make, and I understand to some extent. I would not want 600 miles to stop me from seeing my sister off at her wedding. So we were sitting in this catch-22 wondering and contemplating what we would do.

Enter a mysterious inter-office mail envelope with no return address marked "URGENT." I opened it to find a gift certificate for at least $400 cash for travel expenses and a Ford SUV rental for the weekend of September 15. As smart as I am, I didn't think much of it besides a gimmick. I didn't at all connect the two until today when I was talking to Johnathon, who said that it was definitely true. All except for the part about $400. It was actually $800! After about 5 minutes of Johnathon convincing me it was true, I told Amie. She cried.

"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over. So in a series of acts of kindness there is, at last, one which makes the heart run over." (James Boswell)

The information is still a little vague to me, but Johnathon told me a few friends decided they wanted to be a blessing to us. We are very grateful.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Frencesca news!

I got an email from my Aunt Sandra today, sending greetings and some news that was surprising to me. She said:

I came across Grandpa's original birth certificate. Two interesting things on his birth certificate. First Grandpa's birth name was Lorenzo Vito. The second thing was Grandpa's mothers name is Frencesca, spelled the exact same way as your baby girls name. I thought that was interesting because I'm sure you didn't know that when you pick the name. Grandpa always told me that his mother's name was Frences, when I asked him he said that's just her nickname. Just thought you would find that interesting.
I thought that was absolutely amazing, and it is exactly as she said. We had no idea that my great great grandmother's name was Frencesca. Even though it wasn't necessarily intended, it gives some depth to Frencesca's name, and as soon as I told Amie I could tell she was very excited and happy as well.

Just thought I would share that tidbit of additional information that came my way today, and I hope to upload some new photos soon!

IT Cook Out

So today, at 8:47am Aaron walked into my cubicle and asked me something that is sure to start the day off with an interesting twist:

"The van is on fire, could you come take some photos?"
I replied, "The van is on fire?" and quickly grabbed the camera and headed off to the window to find the IT van outside spewing smoke like no tomorrow. It was quite the ordeal with the public safety first on the scene, soon to be followed by the local police. The pumper showed up at around 8:54, and made a slow start because of (I'm guessing) some equipment difficulties. Regardless, they put the fire out with quick work, and gave us IT people (as well as the rest of the campus) a nice Monday morning show.

I just installed a new plugin that has the capability to create a photo album out of my facebook uploads. You can see the new photos category in my page hierarchy, and you can view photos of the van BBQ here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trip to Michigan

Last Thursday we took a trip to Michigan

Friday, July 6, 2007

Hot day, popsicles, and a cowboy

To keep our bills low, we typically try not to turn the air conditioner on (unless we have company over or something.) On most days when it is seriously hot, we let Noah have what we call a, "special." This is a popsicle. But not any popsicle, a fudge or banana popsicle. We found out a while ago that he has some serious reactions to citric acid, which turns up in everything. Soda, orange juice, pineappple, and you guessed it, popsicles. Turns out that the only flavor popsicles that he can eat are fudge and banana! Lucky kid! Enjoy these photos of him on the porch, along with his sister Frencesca.

Also, I'm trying to upgrade the blog, and in doing so I am using Google's picasa for images. I plan on having a better set up soon, but here's a gallery for now:


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