Thursday, March 01, 2012


Friday Fragments

The glow from many things fades as one gets older.  But snow days stay wonderful.


I have to admit enjoying Senator Santorum’s assertion that Satan controls higher education in America.  To be fair, there is some evidence for his claim.   If you’ve ever tried finding a student parking space around noon on a Tuesday in September at a major public university, you know that Satan has major influence in the world of parking deck architecture.  And the proliferation of graduate programs in an era of decreasing full-time faculty jobs definitely carries the cloven hoofprints of Big Red.  

That said, I always assumed Satan had serious money to throw around.  After all, he’d have all those bankers, lawyers, and venture capitalists on his side.  He may be the prince of darkness, but he’s supposed to at least be sporting some serious bling.

Instead, we public academics work in cinder-block brutalist buildings with water leaks, while the laywers and financiers have enough money to sponsor people like Senator Santorum.

Satan, we have to talk.  You’re not upholding your end of the bargain.  I’m very disappointed in you.  Bad Satan!  Bad!


Meanwhile, Maryland just legalized same-sex marriage.  8 down, 42 to go.  Well done, Maryland.


Can you imagine Satan’s outcomes assessment metrics?  

By the end of your sojourn into the underworld, you will be able to

- gnash teeth and rend garments simultaneously
- regrow flesh quickly from one flaying to the next
- sit through an entire episode of Real Housewives without making a single snarky aside


Earlier this week The Boy reported that as part of an exercise in the library, they had to figure out who the Huguenots were.  Somehow I remembered, and told him.  His jaw actually fell open.  The Wife laughed and started singing “nerd nerd nerd, you are a nerd...” to the tune of “Bird is the Word.”  

The liberal arts begin at home, people.


Any tips for decent, Windows-based video editing software?  The Boy wants to go from basic stop-motion Lego videos to full-on Lego movies, and I don’t want to have to buy a Mac just for that.  Our laptop is a couple of years old and wasn’t top of the line even then, so we’re looking for the basics here.


I’m dusting off the trenchcoat and fedora to reprise my “roving correspondent” role at the League for Innovation conference next week.  It’s in Senator Santorum’s home state, come to think of it, so if I see the Senator, Satan, or both, I’ll be sure to say hi.

Ah, but do you ever see the Senator and Satan at the same time? One always seems to have left the room before the other shows up…
Satan's outcomes assessment metrics!

ROTFL. Been there, doing that.
I have used SAM animation with my daughter (who was 7 at the time) and thought it was good. It's for children and the interface is simple.

The download is at

I think the new free version only produces a few minutes worth of animation but upgrading to the unlocked version is on $30.
OMG! I almost fell off my threadbare office chair when I came to Satan's assessment metrics!

While I know who the Huguenots were, I'd have gone with the argonauts for my own amusement.
I'm so, so, SO glad that I put down my hot coffee before reading this post!
I've had a lot of luck using Windows Movie Maker. I think it's now part of the live software kit.

Once you outgrow that, I've enjoyed using Camtasia. It's about 100$, but really good.
As far as proprietary video editing software is concerned, Pinnacle Studio is nice. It's the consumer product put out by Avid, and I think there's a freeware version called VideoSpin. My mother teaches digital video at the middle school level and has used it for years with a lot of success. I might ask around about using it on older hardware, though-- I know my mom's had some issues getting video to output avi files on older machines.
Re: your comment on Satanic influence in parking garages:

In "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman, one of the main characters is a demon whose crowning achievement is manipulating the design of a London expressway to form the shape of an occult sigil, so that every day the commuters unleash more negative energy into the world. He also liked to say that humans did much worse to themselves than he could ever think about doing to them (i.e the Spanish Inquisition).
I'd recommend Premiere Elements for video editing on a budget.
Windows Movie Maker isn't as good as it used to be but adequate enough for my own limited editing needs. The learning curve is odd: teach yourself first by making a short video of family photos/clips or pet stuff so you can support your kid through any questions.

Satan's outcome assessment metrics? Brilliant! I'm pretty sure that's what we're using in our next unit assessment.
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