Category: Featured

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College Hunt, Final Edition: Our SCAD Bee

After a one week delay, classes are underway at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. We are so proud of Allison for being accepted to this college! Tina and I attended family orientation sessions on Sunday where we were incredibly impressed by the staff and faculty, facilities, and overall planning and coordination of the school.

We were able to keep in contact with representatives at the college during Hurricane Irma by using a variety of online/social media outlets. The parent Facebook page, SCAD’s twitter account, and of course the school website at scad.edu were all valuable resources during the week of uncertainty. Even upon arriving at the school, with all the chaos of registration and getting kids moved in over a shortened weekend — the staff did a fantastic job.

For those not familiar with SCAD (me, a couple of years ago!) here is a video shown during parent orientation that provides a glimpse into the school:

You can see more SCAD videos on their YouTube channel and at SCAD TV.

When we arrived at check in, there was a large presence of SCAD personnel ready to assist and answer any questions we had. There was a party-like atmosphere setting everyone at ease in this new environment. We had some time to explore Savannah and visit the on-campus bookstore, Ex Libris. Shortly after that we arrived at Allison’s new dorm to move her in. There was a long line of vehicles going in and going out, but the security and staff at SCAD had the line moving efficiently. By the time we got to Allison’s building we were the only car unloading at that location. SCAD had organized move-in teams with students volunteering to help move freshmen in. With assistance, we had Allison moved into her new room in no time.

Thanks to SCAD for the wonderful experience! And here’s to four successful years at Allison’s new home!

Pics:

 

Featured, News, Technology

The Day of the ‘Challenger’

The ramblings of an adult remembering the shuttle accident through the eyes of a twelve year old.

So I remember that day quite well. In north-central West Virginia, January 28, 1986 was a snow day. No school in Harrison County. Those are the words every twelve year old loves to hear in January. Back then, we still had our summers, filled with basketball and music. (I always liked to type up the Top 40 tunes each week, as announced by Casey Kasem, on a typewriter. The red ribbon would be saved for the number one song!) Also, they didn’t keep extending the school year into the middle of June, nor start in August, to make up for missed snow days, like today.

c-128-screen
A Commodore 128 BASIC screen. At the ready.

Anyway, that particular Tuesday morning, I was busy plugging away at a computer keyboard in my bedroom. I was (what do you mean, was?) one of those nerdy kids. Synchronized-watch-with-the-school-bell kinda nerdy kids. Yeah, I really did that kind of thing… That morning I was busy writing a basketball simulation program on a Commodore 128 computer. I don’t have a screenshot of that program or a copy of it anywhere, but I remember it well. It was a side-on shot of a basketball court and backboard. When you pressed the space bar a basketball would head toward the hoop and it would randomly vary a few pixels left or right, and occasionally you’d “make a basket.” Anyway, it was just the kind of thing I was likely to do on a snow day.

“Jay, come in here,” mom yelled from the living room. “The shuttle’s going up.” “Oh, yeah, that’s happening today,” I thought. So… pack it up on the C-128, and head into the living room.

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Children, Education, Featured

The Art of Politics

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Allison McIntyre – Life Will Stretch You

This past week my daughter Allison had the honor of being recognized at the United States Capitol for winning first place in her district at the 2014 Congressional Art Competition.  Her work, along with several others from all over the nation, is on display in the hallways of the US Capitol Building.  On June 26 we attended a presentation and reception where Allison met Congressman David McKinley, representative of West Virginia’s first district.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Representative McKinley for taking the time to talk to us and converse with Allison about her work and passion for the arts, and for taking a genunie interest in our visit.  We often picture congressman and senators as distant suits who are too busy to speak with constituants, but his conversation was genuine and included statements like “What do you think?” and “What would you do?” It felt sincere and I was pleasantly surprised.  I would like to thank members of Representative McKinley’s office, including his staff and interns for their assistance in guiding us around the Capitol and for pointing out some places to visit (and eat) while in Washington.  I’d also like to thank the competition’s sponsers, Southwest Airlines, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and Adobe along with the Adobe Education Team, who can be followed on twitter as well.  Join Adobe’s conversation on twitter about keeping the arts in education and turning STEM to STEAM with #CreateEdu

For more information about the Congressional Art Competition, visit the House website or the Congressional Institute’s website. The House website currently displays artwork from 2013 competition, but the Congressional Institute’s website has been updated with the 2014 artwork.

College Hunt — Full Sail University

So, we just returned from a trip to central Florida over Christmas break that included a trip to Full Sail University in Winter Park. Allison will be off to college in no time at all, and with her artistic talents we’re looking for a media-rich school for her to attend. Full Sail certainly delivers on all counts.

This video provides a quick tour of the campus. Many of these places we visited during our tour.

Our tour guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable and full of information about the course offerings. There were a few grade school children along for this tour and Jim handled them all amicably. I had felt a little odd about taking Allison as she is just a freshman in high school, but after seeing the younger kids there on the tour, those worries quickly disappeared.

This would have been a top choice school of my own had I known about it in the early 1990s. I was interested at that time in attending Virginia Tech, as they were using Commodore-Amiga computers. I would have leaned toward television and movie post production, I think. I ended up staying local, and getting a well-rounded education here in West Virginia.

The education from Full Sail is very specific to digital media arts, and upon completion, 72% of students wind up working in their field of study. That’s a real-world education. I was impressed by Full Sail’s list of graduates who went on to work for film studios, audio engineering companies, gaming studios, musicians, etc. There are a few awards (Grammy, Emmy) on site that backs up the quality work their grads are capable of.

As I said, Allison still has a couple of years to get things sorted out, but hopefully we can keep Full Sail at the top of a short list.

Pics are below.

Exercise, Featured, Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday started out for me with a running in the annual Shinnston Turkey Trot, where it was a “crisp, cool” 26° for the duration of the race. It wasn’t my fastest time, but I’ll take it simply because of the poor weather. Here’s a short clip from the local news: (If you look closely you’ll catch me at around the :13 mark…)

(OK… Well, the video link no longer works, so here is a link to a story on wboy.com)

Shinnston Turkey Trot 5K Held to Benefit the Marie Gaston Scholarship Fund

That was followed by a great meal and time spent with family. There was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch, followed by the National Dog Show, and then a presentation of “Shrek: The Musical” on DVD.

Featured, Humor, Movies

Imaginary Monsters and Job Prospects

So, picture this… You’re a senior at Monsters University, just about to graduate from their prestigious “Scare Program.” (MU is top notch. Forget all that talk about Fear Tech. Their mascot? A pig. Really?) You’ve studied your whole life for this.  Dean Hardscrabble has scared you. You’ve learned all you can from Professor Knight. Soon it will be time to head out onto the scare floor, enter the human world, and fill those scream canisters with the sounds of all those scared little children… 🙂

Scary Sulley

But wait… Did you hear what Sulley and Mike just discovered? No? Okay, well, remember that little girl “Boo” that snuck in the monster world? Right after she returned home something changed. There’s a rumor going around that human laughter is much more powerful than human screams.  Yeah, I know.  Doesn’t look too good for us scarers.  I mean, what are we supposed to do now? We’ve spent the past four years learning how to scare children! Now we’re gonna have to make ’em laugh? I’ve already got $40,000 in monster student loans… spent all this time bulking up (I don’t want to get tooooo big) and now? What do I have to show for it? A degree in a field that has no future.  Maybe I can apply for some government help and go through job retraining… What else is a monster to do?

Welcome to Monsters University! Our soon-to-be-unemployed scarers are back, in a prequel that makes us laugh without working too hard.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since the original “Monsters, Inc.” hit the theaters.  Our kids have grown so much since the original, they don’t remember life before it.  The “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” is one of the most innovative attractions at Walt Disney World. So this movie has big shoes to fill.

I loved the glimpse of our favorite monsters’ lives before their daily scare floor routine kicked in.  Seeing Mike as a kid and watching him evolve into the paperwork-loving monster we all know was quite enlightening.  Watching how some personalities evolve over time (Randall, for example) shows us what turned them into the monsters they are today.  In a “Revenge of the Nerds” type of way, we watch as an unlikely group of students compete against other, seemingly stronger monsters for an opportunity to get into the scare school and get a leg up on their future at Monsters, Inc.

The major players are all back with a cameo or two (Snowcone, anyone?) and some surprises.  The only negative I have to say is that I had a hard time finding my favorite song from the movie because it wasn’t on the soundtrack. Fortunately, a few kind souls on Yahoo! helped me track it down.  You can see a Youtube video of “Gospel” by the MarchFourth Marching Band below:

Keep scaring!

Books, Featured, Humor, Internet, Technology

Google celebrates Douglas Adams

So I wake up this morning and head to Google, as one usually does on a Monday, and notice that the Google home page has a familiar look to it.

I see “large, friendly letters” that read “DON’T PANIC.”

After a few minutes of mouse hovering I discover that the cause of today’s Google salute is that March 11 is Douglas Adams’ birthday. 61st birthday this year, to be exact. Or would have been, had the author still been alive.

What a nice honor!

Happy 61st Douglas. Wherever he’s got to…