Il Dolce Suono

Another lovely choral concert last night, this time the student-led Il Dolce Suono (the sweet sound), tonight at Cabrillo’s Samper Recital Hall. Here are 4 songs from the 14 they sang:

(Silly me, I totally forgot about videoing before hand, and forgot to charge my phone; thus only four songs. I’ll post more if I hear from another fellow who was there recording.)

 

New compost bins…

Twenty five years ago, within the first year we lived here on Clay St., I built a 3-bin compost bin set-up, but I took a short cut and just made it with 2×2 lumber and no concrete, rather than something more durable. They lasted all these years pretty well, actually, but it’s high time we rebuilt them, so at last I am.

Here are a few pics of the process (and I’ll add more as the project progresses): 2-digging-out-old-compostsite-clearing1)  Here I’ve removed the old rickety rotten frame, which was 2×2 wood and wire fencing sides. Now I need to remove all the old compost, to clear the site.

3-sifting-compost

2)  I learned about sifting soil & compost at the UCSC Farm & Garden project. I built this soil sifter a couple decades ago, I believe; amazing how well it’s held up. It’s a lot of work to shovel the dirt onto the sifter, then shake it and rub it through the sifter into the wheelbarrow, but it makes for wonderful soil/compost to add to your garden beds. (See a plan of how I built it. The picture below, with Kevin, shows a portion of the soil sifter, and you can see the hardware cloth, the 2×2 wire fencing, and the 1×2 wood around the frame.)4-making-progress3)  After several hours of shoveling and sifting compost and soil, the site is nearly cleared and ready. Temporary compost pile in foreground, waiting for new bins.

5-site-cleared

4)  With Kevin’s help, the site is now cleared and ready.6-new-bins-plan5) Here are the markings for the (6) 4×4 PT posts that will frame the 2 new compost bins. Each bin will be 4′ x 4′ x 4′, which is the recommended minimum dimensions; less than that and the compost won’t “cook” enough (i.e. bacteria and other decomposers won’t be as efficient).

holes-dug

power-auger-bitThe power auger bit.

6) I rented a 1-person power auger, which made quick work of the (6) 2′ deep holes.

posts-in7) Posts in. They’re 4x4x6′ PT (pressure treated) posts, sunk 2′ in to stand 4′ tall. The power auger made a small enough hole that a 60# bag of concrete filled 2 holes, so only 3 bags for all 6 posts.

fencing-on-posts8) Fencing stapled to posts. I added an extra layer of fencing this time: 1/2″ hardware cloth, which will reduce compost and debris falling out, and it lasts a long time since it’s galvanized. I stapled the hardware cloth to the posts using a staple gun and 1/2″ staples, then attached the heavy duty 2x3x48″ wire fencing using big galvi staples that you hammer in. I reused the old 2×3 fencing, which is showing its age but will do fine; great to keep the old material going.

You can also see the 2x10x4′ PT boards I screwed onto the front posts; they create the “lips” that hold in place the 1×10 (or whatever) boards that I place in the front, building up the front wall as the pile grows taller. Here are some fencing details, a few of which also show the 2×10 boards in the front:

fencing-detail5 fencing-detail4 fencing-detail3 fencing-detail2 fencing-detail19) Now to start filling the new bins with a fresh compost pile:

sticks-on-bottomFirst step is a layer of sticks on the bottom, which helps aerate the pile a bit.

greenwaste-then-dirtOn top of the sticks, a layer of greenwaste, and on top of that, some dirt.

dirt=inoculationThe dirt helps to “inoculate” the compost pile with soil bacteria.

Music for the Feast of Christmas

Once again, Kevin was among the chorus members of a great show, this time “Music for the Feast of Christmas,” one of the most popular annual shows, presented by the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, under the direction of Cheryl Anderson.

And once again, my videos are of mediocre quality, but they’re something… The chorus surrounded the audience for the first couple of pieces, and we happened to be sitting right where Kevin was standing, so the first video is focused right on him. For the whole chorus shots, Kevin is near the top row on the left (stage right).


Hanachpachap Cussicuinin, Paco Marmol & Manolo Casaus; and My Song in the Night, Paul Christiansen (1914–1997)


Nun danket alle Gott, Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706), text by Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)


Virga Jesse Floruit, Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night, Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000), text by John Bowring (1792–1872)


Psalm 150, Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)


Blow Ye the Trumpet, Kirke Mechem (b. 1925)


Ave Maria, Jacob Arcadelt (1507–1568)


Bound for Jubilee, Joyce Elaine Eilers (1941–2009)


A Pescar Camaron, Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory


Guantanamera, José Fernandez, arr. Gene Glickman, text by José Martí (1853–1895)


Son Mercedes, Leo Brouer (b. 1939)


Juramento, Miguel Matamoros (1894–1971), arr Electo Silva (b. 1928)


El Guayaboso, Guido López-Gavilán (b. 1944), text by Guaguancó

Cabrillo Chorale Winter Concert

Our son Kevin performed tonight with the rest of the Cabrillo Chorale, in their winter concert.

In the pieces with the entire Chorale (1-5, 10-13), he’s second from right, top row. In the pieces with only the men (7-9), he’s front right.











The last tune, “Cantique de Jean Racine” by French composer Gabriel Fauré, was performed as a tribute to the people of France and the victims of terrorism everywhere, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks in Paris just 1 week ago.

Paz en Watsonville, Peace in Watsonville

2014 was a tough year with far too many gang-related homicides. Here I am with PVFT President and PVUSD educator Francisco Rodriguez, at the Vigil for Peace and Unity, Callaghan Park, 28 December, 2014. Many more pics on Facebook:

ted-francisco-12-2014

Sadly, just a couple hours before the vigil, Watsonville’s 10th homicide of the year occurred not far from Callaghan Park. Police now attribute the murder to “road rage” but it is unclear whether it was also gang-related.

Best & Worst in 2014 Education News

Washington Post  Journalist, author and blogger Valerie Strauss wrote a great article about the Best and Worst education news from 2014. Read her article at www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/12/25/best-and-worst-education-news-of-2014-a-teachers-list/. Here’s a summary of her list (copy-pasted, though most have more info than I’ve copied here):

Best Education News of 2014:

  • State after state implementing unfair and arbitrary teacher evaluation methods this year nonetheless found an infinitesimal number of teachers to be “ineffective” — including Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland and New York.
  • High school graduate rates are at their all-time high, drop-out rates have decreased and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test results increased, with the biggest improvement among students of color.
  • Colorado students organized a successful large-scale protest campaign that stopped their district from making changes in their Advanced Placement History course curriculum.
  • Ras Baraka was elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey, with opposition to the state’s “One Newark” reform plan for that city’s schools.
  • Two destructive “school reformers” left the public scene:
  • Lily Eskelsen García was elected president of the National Education Association and will provide a powerful voice, along with her counterpart at the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, to support teachers, students and their families with a progressive and positive education agenda.
  • It was a very rough election night, though there were two clear education bright spots that had a lot to do with the support the candidates received from teachers — Tom Wolf was elected governor of Pennsylvania and Tom Torlakson was re-elected California State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • The good news is that Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union is recovering from surgery on a brain tumor.
  • Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The central role of standardized testing in schools came under increasing attack from many different directions and has even forced some major proponents to at least make rhetorical retreats.
  • Dana Goldstein’s book, The Teacher Wars, was published and became a bestseller.
  • The millions of students who had great learning experiences in their schools this year.

Worst Education News of 2014:

  • Two particularly awful tragedies struck educators and their students in other countries this year — the apparent murder of 43 student teachers in Mexico by police and drug traffickers and the massacre of 148 students and teachers at a Pakistan school by the Taliban.
  • Of course, the United States was not immune from the killings of young people. (Ferguson, MO, Cleveland, OH)
  • In another attempt to blame teachers for challenges facing schools, California judge ruled in the Vergara lawsuit that tenure and due process is to blame and not poverty, lack of resources for schools in under-served communities, or minimal professional support.
  • The Obama administration appeared to learn little from its countless missteps it has made in the name of “accountability” for K-12 public schools and announced plans to start treating colleges and universities the same way.
  • The Atlanta test cheating scandal has resulted in an endless trial that is still continuing, with terrible revelations.
  • TIME Magazine published a cover insulting to teachers everywhere and sparking a justifiable backlash from educators.
  • Social Emotional Learning threatens to become just another in a long line of good ideas manipulated and used by school reformers in harmful ways.
  • A video from a Chicago professional development session showed why teachers are going out of their minds.
  • A new study found that less than one-half of one-percent of research studies related to education were replicated.
  • The millions of students who should be getting a better education than they are receiving.

The Most Important “In-Between” Education News Of 2014

The Common Core Standards continue to be under attack, with a few states withdrawing their support.

Jazz @ 3:00

Kevin has been loving his music studies this semester at Cabrillo, including vocal jazz. Here are 4 of the 5 songs they performed at Friday’s concert:

Web Design Using WordPress

I am so very busy in my new job (Academic Coordinator, comparable to Ass’t. Principal) at E. A. Hall MS, I really should not add more to my plate… but I am a fool and I can’t resist, so I am teaching a 1 day/week class in the after school program, on Web Design Using WordPress.

I’ll post updates on the class at my own web design website, www.agoramediaservices.com, but figured I’d post this “life update” here as well.

February 2015 Update: Well, I had the best intentions, but the class just didn’t fly… A few kids were interested, but it was a lot harder for them than I expected, and they lost interest, so it was like pulling teeth trying to get them to actually do the work and build out their sites… There are now a couple dozen abandoned sites at wordpress.com… Oh well…