Monday, August 24, 2009

The Experiment

Oh,where do i begin...

This summer has been interesting without cable. Half of me liked not having T.V because our family has spent more time together. For instance, my dad and I are now going golfing together every Sunday(unless we cancel). On the other half, I miss T.V. I miss relaxing and watching the shows that are stupid but don't feel like changing the channel because it is kinda interesting. For the whole summer our friends go,"Have you seen the commercial where the animals are dancing? "And our answer is,"No, we don't have T.V. remember."

Overall, this summer was interesting I wouldn't say that i hated the idea, but i definitely wouldn't of said i loved the idea. Well, the T.V. is coming back on...hallelujah(:


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Status: Week 12

Well, I can't say that I'm all that happy about the results, but it would appear that the family vote on whether to stay TV-Free is in. It was a hard fought campaign, but I'm afraid it looks like our television is coming back.

I have to give the family credit though, for more than 12 weeks, we have managed to turn it off and leave it off. But the original deal was "...for the summer", and a deal's a deal. School starts on Tuesday.

There will likely be a few modifications to our new lifestyle, though.

I don't think that Momma's going to allow the old living room TV to live on. This will avoid the "background noise" television that always seemed to be on regardless if anyone was sitting in front of it or not.

I doubt that we go crawling back to Time Warner for the full digital viewing onslaught. I think everyone is fine with "basic cable". I, personally, can live with only the Weather Radar Loop channel, but I am sure Kate and Shortie are looking forward to Survivor and Momma won't go much longer without a LOST fix.

After spending a summer getting my news from RSS feeds and such, I won't be watching much CNN, FOX, or MSNBC -- and the newspaper is truly DEAD and buried. I like being able to manage subscriptions to dozens of publications all in my Google Reader. However, it might be nice to catch a Jon Stewart monologue on the 42" LCD in the family room every once in a while.

We've read more books, listened to more music, and discovered more new things on the Internet than we thought possible. And yes, we've even managed to talk to one another.

So here we sit at the end of the grand experiment. The days are getting shorter, and the cicadas are buzzing. Summer's winding down, and football season is just around the corner. Even if it was only for a short time, we tried to make a minor change in our world and we succeeded. That's pretty cool.

If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'
-Bob Dylan

Next summer? Vegetarianism! LOL!! :o)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekly Status: Week 11

We had a big soccer weekend so this post is a little late. Nothing all that new to report except I once again floated the subject of not turning the cable back on at the end of the summer. Kate was concerned about missing Survivor. Sara was worried about the ever-present threat of a profound boredom setting in. The topic is still open for discussion.

For those that might be further interested in streaming internet to their televisions, the New York Times had an interesting article about some of the more useful gadgetry that is available.

August 17, 2009, 6:41 pm

Why Your PC May Be Your Best TV

By Sonia Zjawinski

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Camp L.E.E.D

For the past 3 weeks Sara and I have been attending a camp called L.E.E.D. I'm almost 100% sure a lot of you are wondering what L.E.E.D stands for, or what you do in the camp. Well this is my explanation in a nut shell:

What it stands for:
L - leadership
E - ethics
E - esteem
D - duty

What do you do?
First of all, you do A LOT of different activities. But mostly it has to do with volunteering in the community, at camps, and cleaning up the enviroment. But you also have a choice; you can volunteer or you can stay back. When you choose not to go volunteer you usually play in the gym, go outside, rent and watch a movie, or play card games all day.
Personally, I'd rather get out of "The Dublin Bubble" and see what's happening outside of it. But when you DO volunteer this is some of the things you can do.

Volunteering Opportunities:
- Help set up the Irish Festival
- Go to the Soup Kitchen
- Go to the Free Store
- Go to the Faith Mission Shelter for Men
- Go to the Ronald Mcdonald House
1. Make lunches for the families
2. Clean every nook and cranny of every floor(: <-- this was fun.
- Help at the Wyandot Camps, Kidzone, My first Camp, and Wee Folk.
- Go to Faith Mission on 8th Street and help serve lunch
- Help sort donations at Faith Mission on 8th
- Go to the Cozy Cat Cottage
- You also learn a bit about CPR and Bullying.
- Pick up trash at Hayden Run Falls

These are just some of the things you do!

L.E.E.D are for kids in the range of 6 - 8 grade and it's a lot of fun. It's such a great exprience too! I learned so much about what's going on in the world and how I can help. So check it out, and maybe even sign your kids up for it next summer.;)

- Katie

Weekly Status: Week 10

Week 10 and we're in the last few weeks of summer and our grand experiment. All continues to go well, and we've not broken our promises.

This week, fall sports start up again. We have our first Soccer tournament this weekend, and Cross Country practice begins tomorrow morning at 9am. So, the girls have been busying themselves and sorting out athletic equipment situation and such.

Kate needed some new runners, so we had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite old haunts -- The FrontRunner store on Lane Ave. If you're an experience Columbus runner, you already know about this place. If you're a beginner, you'd be doing yourself a favor to get down there and check them out. As per their norm, FrontRunner staff had us in and out with a great fitting pair in no time.

An Authentic Beach Vacation: Revisited

A friend of mine after reading my post on looking for authenticity in a beach vacation dropped this article on my desk. Based on the report, this is the place we're all looking for -- so get there quick, they are probably already running low on sponge cake.

A Florida Island, End to End, Table by Table via the New York Times.

Looks like fun.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Music: Stumbling onto Music

Stumbling onto Music

Having much more time to spend on the computer lately, I have visited about as many websites as I could remember, and have Google'd about as many subjects as I could think up. At some point, you're just out of ideas -- and start feeling like you've reach the proverbial end of the Internet. As I was spiffing up the site the other week for the social media folks, I re-stumbled upon StumbleUpon.

For those unfamiliar with StumbleUpon -- you sign up for free, specify which topics interest you, add a toolbar, and by clicking a button -- StumbleUpon shoots you to a website that you might find interesting -- presumably because other people with similar interests have identified the site as "interesting". It's great for casual browsing. I setup my account and selected "Music" as one of my interests.

AAannywho... this has dropped me into some great music sites, and pointed me to some interesting music-related content. It pointed to me to this video of Bobby McFerrin ("Don't Worry - Be Happy" - remember?) doing a demonstration using the pentatonic scale. What's the pentatonic scale? Umm..It really doesn't matter. Let's just say that in a lot of ways -- you already know what it is. Bobby proves it in this video. -- Enjoy.

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Music: Pandora - Personalized Internet Radio

Internet Radio

I got a Blackberry a while back, and on my way back from Florida I was messing around with a new application that I downloaded. The goal was to use my Blackberry as a music player so I could ditch my iPod. So, scanning the new Blackberry apps one day, I came across the
Pandora application for Blackberry. On the way back from Florida, I tuned into the new App to see if I'd like it.

Pandora starts you off by having you name an artist you like, and then it plays that artist and other similar artists thus presenting a "personalized" radio station for you. I was skeptical. I figured sure, you put in "The Beatles" and it also plays the "Rolling Stones" -- even though everyone who knows anything about music knows that there are "Beatles people" and "Stones people" -- and they're very different groups.

I put in Ani DiFranco because while she's one of a dozen female singer/songwriter that came out of the late 90's -- she's has a unique style in what she does. Simply put, she's got a bit of an angry streak, and she flat tears up the guitar. I especially like that about her.

In short, almost 3 hours of listening later, I was sold. Pandora uses a database from their Music Genome Project to categorize the songs it plays for you. It then asks you to rate each song and analyzes your picks to fine tune the songs it selects for you. This, then, creates a personalized radio station that plays songs that you've already said you liked and adds similar songs to see if you like those. Very cool. It'll even explain to you why it picked the songs it picked. It says stuff like this:
Based on what you've told us this far, we're playing this song because it features folk roots, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, acoustic sonority, and extensive vamping.
Funny.. I thought I liked Ani because she can flat tear up a guitar.. but yeah, all that stuff is good, too.

Pandora is one of several similar internet-based radio sources that you can try. Here's a big run-down of the service on Tradevibes. It has a list of competitors on the site, too, so if Pandora doesn't do it for you -- look around.

TV-Free Alternative: Music

The Dublin Irish Festival always brings with it some of the best musical entertainment to be found in the summer. It always re-energizes my appreciation for music of all types.

As I sat listening to some of my favorite Irish jigs and reels yesterday, I realized how large of a part music has been playing in our lives lately.
The reason is that because we have much more time to listen to music -- we listen to more and varied music. Because we listen to more music -- we have found more music sources. All of this grows into a greater music appreciation and a richer experience when listening. That's been a nice TV-Free win!

This week I'll be posting a couple more posts dealing specifically with music. Here's a quick run-down on some of the local live music we've enjoyed lately.

Support your Local Musicians

During the Dublin Irish Festival, the wife and I enjoyed many of the bands, but especially enjoyed Slide and Scythian. Slide plays those great irish reels that get you banging on the table, and Scythian plays the more raucous flavor with an eastern European spice.

In prior posts, we've called out local live music at The Columbus Arts Festival and the Park Street Festival. We also went up to the Dam Jam in Shawnee Hills, Ohio and saw
Conspiracy play. Covering some great old R&B songs, you can't beat this band for its vocalists and that horn section just gets you up on your feet.

Benny's Pizza in Marysville has been supporting the local live music scene this summer -- and a few weeks back we saw the Menus. What a great fun band those guys are even after 26 years!

This is just the stuff that the family and I have covered. This is probably less than 1% of 1% of the live music opportunities that abound in Columbus. Pick something you'd like, shut off the TV, and go see them. Support your local musicians.

Weekly Status: Week #9

All things are going well this week.

We visited the always interesting and fun Dublin Irish Festival both Friday Night and Saturday Night. The girls spent time with their friends roaming around the 27 acres of festival grounds. Once again, as large as the grounds seem to be -- it always seems that there are plenty of people there.

I met a couple there on Friday night while I was enjoying some fish and chips who had just moved into town from New Jersey. They'd lived in Dublin all of 2 days, and happened to arrive on this weekend. They were treated to a nice welcome from the city, and seemed happy to have found an unexpected treat in their new hometown.

Welcome to Dublin, folks.