Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Hello everybody...I hope you all had a nice summer and are ready to go for another year at NHS!
One of my goals is to try to make more regular postings on here. Over the last few years I tended to make posts on a random basis. I am hoping to at least be more consistent, even if the posting is short.
A couple things are on my mind as we begin the 2011-2012 school year. First, I have to say that I am always amazed at how quickly the time goes by. I have found that the older I get, the quicker it goes. This past summer (and even last school year) seem like blips on the radar screen at this point.
I spoke to a few freshmen today who were touring the high school. A few of them expressed fear/anxiety/dissapointment that the new school year was starting. My advice to them....enjoy high school while you can. It is a difficult mission, but never wish the time away. As you get older, you realize just how short life is. Enjoy it while you can and just as importantly...don't sweat the small stuff!
The other thing I was thinking about is how amazing it is that we are now at the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is just amazing to think that 10 years have passed. I think most Americans who experienced this feel similarly. Our memories of this event are forever cemented in our minds and vision. Take some time in the coming weeks to think about the victims who perished, their families, and the overall impact this event has had on our nation. I'm sure there will be plenty of television specials to be had in the coming week on this topic.
Thats all for now. I hope you have a great start to the school year.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I was just watching a clip from Cinderella Man during my U.S. History class as we are covering the Great Depression. While I've seen the film before, it really got me thinking about how lucky I am to have such a great family, wonderful friends, and a job that I love going to everyday. While economic times are not so great presently, I feel fortunate to have not lived through the Great Depression.
Thanksgiving was never a favorite holiday of mine, yet these days I find myself appreciating it much more.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope you take a minute to think about some of the good things in your life.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Now that school is back in session and I am back in a daily routine, I am amazed at just how quickly the days go by. In fact, I feel like the older I get, the faster it goes. I know that is the case with most people, but I am noticing it even more these days.
Not only does the school day go by quickly for me, but I find that the afternoon and evening hours are gone before I know it. On an average day, I go to work, get home most days by around 4pm, do some type of exercise, and check my e-mail and such. By then, I find that its already dinner time. Once dinner is prepared and consumed, its time to think about the following day. I have to complete any correcting or prep work for the next day, iron my shirt and pants, and by that moment, its time to start thinking about bed.
I have been wondering lately how some people have time for things like television or other leisure activites. It amazes me that anyone could have much time to dedicate to any one thing with how quickly time flies.
Does anyone have any advice? Can I make time slow down?? Life is too short...I want to be able to enjoy the ride!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Being a big music fan and a lover of history, I'm almost embarassed to say I've never been to the Newport Folk Festival until now. Beginning in 1959, the Newport Folk Festival has seen some important musical history take place over the years, most notably Bob Dylan going electric in 1965.
When people think about the NFF, they understandably think of folk music. While folk is still heard on the Newport stages, this music festival has made the effort that many music festivals around the United States have in mixing things up. As we made our way around Fort Adams State Park to the various stages, you noted blues, jazz, rock, and some pure folk music. It really is an eclectic mix and a range of artists like 70 year old Levon Helm, or the up-and-coming Avett Brothers. It is also still very much a family event which is nice to see.
It was a beautiful day to enjoy my first Newport Folk Festival and most importantly, I got to hear some new artists that I wasn't familiar with. For me, that is one of the biggest bonuses of going to an event like this...the chance to hear new tunes.
Here is a review from the Boston Globe of this year's festivities:
Adding to legacy at Newport
Venerable folk fest receives jolt from acts both old and new
By James Reed, Globe Staff August 2, 2010
NEWPORT, R.I. — Having admired the careers of Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, Steve Martin confessed that he, too, had written a protest song to commemorate his debut at the Newport Folk Festival this past weekend.
“It’s called ‘Let’s Keep Minimum Wage Right Where She’s At,’ ’’ the actor and accomplished banjo player said deadpan Friday night at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, kicking off the folk fest with a rousing bluegrass revue.
He was joking, but the underlying message couldn’t have been more relevant. Because it’s so steeped in music history — where Bob Dylan went electric, where an unbilled Baez catapulted to fame at age 18 — the Newport Folk Festival and its legacy tend to loom large in the minds of the musicians who perform here every year.
Perhaps no other American music festival so strongly inspires its artists to connect the dots between their music and what preceded it. Sarah Jarosz, a New England Conservatory student and rising Americana musician, sprinkled covers of Dylan and Patty Griffin into her set Saturday morning at Fort Adams State Park. Around the same time on a separate stage, recent Berklee graduate Liz Longley sweetly said, “I’m a huge Joni Mitchell fan,’’ before playing a moving acoustic rendition of “River.’’
To celebrate Newport’s 50th anniversary, Seeger headlined both nights last year, leading nearly the entire lineup in spirited singalongs. While his presence lent the festival gravitas and cohesion, this year’s edition was more scattershot but with lively performances by the likes of bluegrass masters (mandolinist Sam Bush), indie folk-rockers (Blitzen Trapper), and soul revivalists (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings). The variety paid off too. This year’s attendance surpassed 16,000, up 500 from last year’s count.
Pity the folks who missed an ardent set from Nneka, a singer-songwriter of Nigerian and German heritage whose hip-hop and R&B resounded with warmth and defiance. Oddly, she seemed resigned and indifferent in between songs; such is the peril of opening the main Fort stage at 11:30 in the morning.
Nneka was among a handful of artists trafficking in different sounds and moods. Calexico, an Americana collective from Tucson, emanated a lovely desert noir vibe tinged with Mexican flourishes, replete with two horn players and an accordionist. New York’s O’Death, which rightly calls its music folk metal, ignited the first fits of dancing I saw, rivaled only by the contagious fan fervor for Dawes, the California country-rock quintet that made Newport its star-making moment.
Brandi Carlile was also a revelation, a little bit country and quite a bit rock ’n’ roll with a big voice that swallowed whole everything she sang. The same fiery spirit imbued the Low Anthem’s set earlier on the same stage, with the Providence-band once again proving its quick ascent was warranted.
Saturday’s lineup leaned heavily on up-and-coming acts, but it was Doc Watson who attracted a spillover crowd of faces young and old. The seminal guitarist — whose flatpicking style influenced nearly everyone on the bill, whether or not they realized it — held court with standards such as “Shady Grove’’ and “Anytime.’’ Fellow guitarist David Holt remarked that Watson was doing pretty good for someone who’s 87, to which Watson dryly retorted, “Or 30.’’
In separate performances, singer-songwriters A.A. Bondy and Andrew Bird built distinct but similarly slow-burning sets that lingered well after they left the stage. My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, performing as Yim Yames, was even more mercurial, somehow sounding both ethereal and embracing in his reverb-drenched set.
When James made a cameo in John Prine’s headlining slot for duets of “All the Best’’ and “Paradise,’’ it clearly wasn’t just homage. The gap between Newport’s past and its future was officially, and beautifully, bridged.
Like lived-in houses, Prine’s poignant songs — delivered in his world-weary husk of a voice — were familiar and comforting, a soundtrack to the sun setting over Narragansett Bay.
It became obvious yesterday that James was the linchpin of this year’s festival. Like a parlor game of “Where’s Waldo?,’’ you never knew where he’d pop up, but it turns out James was connected to various artists through previous collaborations. One minute he was adding a yodel to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s rollicking set and a half-hour later he was singing high-lonesome harmonies with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore.
A sense of electricity rippled through the festival yesterday, thanks to dynamic bands that knew how to work a stage. Jones & the Dap-Kings peddled a relentlessly contagious brand of soul and funk, replete with Jones’s nasty voice and a brisk rundown of classic dance moves.
Like last year, the Avett Brothers were the fest’s bona fide rock stars. Overcoming technical difficulties early on, the North Carolina band went on to shred its way through emotional roots rock that fired up the crowd.
But if Newport had an unofficial ambassador of good will this year, it was Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, whose communal indie folk — best heard when shouted at full throttle — galvanized what seemed like the entire festival attendance. You could hardly scuttle past the stage since it was so congested with folks trying to sneak a peek at the band’s messianic frontman, Alex Ebert.
A retro charm pulsed through April Smith and the Great Picture Show’s set, right down to the encore of Melanie’s ’60s hit “Brand New Key.’’ Likewise, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three channeled a sepia-toned era with their irresistible take on Western swing and old-time jazz. Blurring the line between Americana and Mexican music, Bay State band the David Wax Museum celebrated its Newport debut with an engaging performance.
The Swell Season, the duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova born of the 2007 film “Once,’’ were another striking pair of contrasts. Her elegant piano playing underscored the intensity of his singing and guitar prowess.
Levon Helm, the legendary former drummer of The Band, closed out the ceremony backed by veteran musicians who switched seamlessly from lean country rock to extended jams. Since he hasn’t been in good voice for the past year, Helm let his bandmates take the lead on almost all of the vocals.
Helm’s special guests included Richie Havens, who earlier in the day played a hard-driving set, and the Swell Season’s Hansard, each taking a verse of “The Weight,’’ one of The Band’s most iconic songs.
For a finale, Helm assembled several of the weekend’s bands for a singalong of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.’’
Watching young concertgoers and their parents sway side by side and sing along in unison, you sensed they left with a greater appreciation of what the Newport Folk Festival is all about.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Last year at the same time, I had made a post about New Year's resolutions. This year is no different. The most important thing on my list is to do a better job of exercising.
I have always considered myself to be "in shape." However, as many people know, I have had some roadblocks in the past year which have prevented me from doing as much physical activity as I would like. The graduate program I just finished in December took a large amount of time away from what little free time I had to begin with. Combine that with a freak virus that sidelined me for 2 months this past fall and I really feel like I'm in the worst shape of my life.
This year, I really need to get back on track. It has been difficult in the past month with all of the snow which had been falling and making the running surfaces slick. However, I need to follow through and really start treating my body better. Barring any snow storms, my goal right now is to run at least 10 miles a week. I also need to improve my diet and drink more water.
Hopefully by the time the summer rolls around, I'll be back in running shape in time for some of the road races I enjoy.