Sunday, November 16, 2014

That's the smallest drive-in screen I have ever seen!!

via Instagram

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I wished for more... Review of "As You Wish..." #review #audiobook #theprincessbride

I know I posted earlier on facebook about having purchased this audiobook, but seriously, if you are even a casual fan of "The Princess Bride," this audiobook is well worth the listen. With cameo audio from the likes of Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, and a host of others, this story of the endurance of the film will make you laugh out loud at some parts, provides a few "ahhhs" in others, and will bring a tear to your eye when you least expect it.

Cary Elwes does a wonderful job of taking us through casting, rehearsal, filming, wrapping, and the aftermath of the movie that has truly become one of the all-time gems of filmmaking.

I laughed at loud at his very concise rehash of the story itself for those folks who have not seen it, as I did at the apology which followed (or perhaps there was an apology on both ends, which is most likely the case).

The book itself is a little over 7 hours long, but it passes quickly. It passes too quickly, in fact. It is one of those great pieces that pulls you in and gives you a driver's view of what it's like to make a movie. More than that, though, it really delves very deeply into the human side, the actor side, of the process and the lives going on inside and outside of the film itself.

There are wonderful tales of meeting Andre the Giant, working with Billy Crystal as Miracle Max, and of swordfights and hilts to the head (Yes, hiLts - the L is intentional).

I grew up watching many of the folks in the movie (or connected to it, as in the case of Reiner), so it was a true peek into their world for me. I remember going to wrestling matches as a kid with my brother and father to see Andre. Getting to know him as a person, not just a persona, was pure magic as Elwes delivered various lines and recalled a slew of escapades involving the gentle giant.

It is quite evident that Elwes loved Robin Wright, perhaps quite literally. She used the term "smitten" when referring to her feelings toward Cary. Of course, how can you be a heterosexual male and NOT have fallen for Wright? I submit it would be impossible, certainly inconceivable.

My only real knock of the book is the use of some of the cameo quotes. I have not read the print version, so I don't know how (or if, for that matter) those appear in the book. But, sometimes, the other actors seem to be doting on Elwes and his acting, etc, even when the context didn't quite seem to fit. Carol Kane, for example, has several quotes in which she is simply talking about how great Cary was even when Cary, himself, was discussing a particular scene or offscreen tale. It was a bit weird, really.

But, even with that, as minor as it is, I couldn't help but be sucked in. It was very much like pulling back the curtain on the wizard. And yet, instead of revealing some little man pulling a trick, it was like being allowed to see how a magician performs just the sleightest of hand. I was pulled fully and totally into an adventure about a story about adventure being made into a movie about adventure. In a way, it was like "Inception" for "The Princess Bride" movie lovers.

In the end, the final kiss goodbye comes much too soon. Sure, everything comes together nicely and cleanly, but when the final words were spoken (by Norman Lear as part of the Epilogue), I longed for more. I can't imagine what else there would be to say, but I just didn't want it to end.

I suppose, in my own way, it was like the final scene in which Buttercup and Westley kiss. That is, during the filming, neither of the actors seemed to have wanted the scene to end (you will understand when you listen). In fact, when the tag came on, I actually said aloud, "That's the end!? Inconceivable!"

Get the book here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#StudentGPS #ArkEd StudentGPS Dashboard Training for SysAdmins

Why I am attending:

Since I support area school technology coordinators, my boss suggested I sit in on this to see what they were being taught and to get a refresher on the StudentGPS Dashboards rolling out to schools across Arkansas. Also covers ASIS: Arkansas Student Intervention System.

What we learned:

Training Model
Security and User Access
Dashboard Support
Support Resources
ASIS Overview

Initially called "EdFi"
Developed by Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
Uses ADE existing systems
Provides timely information for educators and student data-driven decision-making

6 Performance Categories

Fully customizable, stakeholder input on front end to refine what AR educators want

Data comes from eSchool, AELS, SIS, CCMS

Video played as an overview of the dashboards.

Train-the-Trainer Approach: Co-op > District > Building > Teacher

Trainer Roles and Responsibilities laid out for the attendees.

System is optional, but can prove to be helpful in fulfilling some of the requirements placed on educators.

ADE will handle login issues, handouts, etc.

Attendees presented with a variety of screenshot overviews of a student's dashboard sample with list of items presented.

Admins can upload student photos (in a zip, by building). Can replace photos as needed/desired.

Supports multiple system administrators for the StudentGPS system.

System is updated nightly from other student info (eSchool, etc)

- MOU from Supt
- Ed-Fi Manager Form
-Establish Administrator
-- Escalates tech support issues
-- Resolve data anomalies
-- Create StudentGPS email address to capture tech support
-- Place users in AD
- Offer training

Dashboard Security and User Access

FERPA-compliant login, based on where user is assigned and what role has been given to individual user(s). Local access designation determined by district/building admins.

Attendees shown various roles pertaining to the system (not enumerated in this post).

System admins have added abilities for system-wide features. District admins have abilities for district-wide features.

Attendees taken to an edfi demo site and walked through various aspects of system administration (again, not enumerated in this post).

Attendees shown support overview (District > ADE > DLP)
-- District verifies data between system and eSchool
-- District must set up a generic email for ticket submission

Two roles are System Admin and Data Steward. System Admin has access to everything. Data steward serves as a backup to that person (verification of data, mainly).

Discussion/slide regarding Identifying and resolving data anomalies. Examples (enrollment numbers, student incorrectly tagged (SPED), features not working, etc

Examples of errors/issues and what should/would be done in terms of troubleshooting and/or submitting a ticket.

Should work on all browsers and all platforms.

Q&A - Will the functions of HIVE and QuickLooks be replicated? Possibly, but no ETA as of this writing.

ASIS: Arkansas Student Intervention System (AIP, IRI, SARS)
- Free intervention system for AR schools.
- Populates to StudentGPS
- Print-to-PDF for signatures
- Can create templates
- Anywhere access
- Revision history

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Okay, trying ifttt and fb again. May have to find a different avenue for this...