After my team breakfast this morning, I took an Audi Q5 crossover SUV for a test drive and made arrangements to buy a new one the dealer had in stock. I will pick it up on Tuesday.
The Eight Schools Association (Andover, Choate, Deerfield, Exeter, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Northfield Mt. Hermon, and St. Paul's) is a group I've dealt with quite a bit in my role as athletic director. So it was nice to spend most of today at Hotchkiss School with fellow teachers of English from most of the member schools, discussing teaching and literature. Of particular interest to me was the round table session on Shakespeare in the classroom.
Since we have an informal long weekend break with no classes scheduled tomorrow, I am escaping into Manhattan for the day. I am in the middle of a One Day University program, sitting through a half-dozen presentations by college professors (and former New York governor Mario Cuomo) on such diverse topics as the U.S. Supreme Court, psychology, creative writing, and Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. Pretty fascinating stuff.
I caught The Social Network this evening and it is a very entertaining movie. The premise is how Facebook was started as a Harvard-only network and expanded into the global tech behemoth the company now is. But the Aaron Sorkin script has whip-smart dialogue and all sorts of intrigue about the relations between the Harvard students who had roles in the creation. Highly recommended.
The first time he played in the Japan Open, Rafa Nadal notched another tournament win--his seventh of the year--after fending off match points in the semifinal round and dispatching Gael Monfils in today's championship match. This part of the year, the fall indoor swing, used to be the weak segment of the season for the Spaniard. No more!
Booked tickets for my post-Christmas vacation travel today. I will be heading to London, Paris, and Morocco and celebrating New Year on the Champs-Élysées! I am planning to see a performance in the beautiful Palais Garnier--the older of the two opera houses in Paris--on December 27 and Hamlet at the National Theatre in London on January 1.
Tonight I had a hand in the dedication ceremonies for Shanahan Field, named for our school's headmaster, now in the final months of a 20-year tenure at Choate. The complex is a double-sized artificial turf facility with lights for night games. The evening's festivities included games under the lights for four varsity teams--field hockey, football, and boys' and girls' soccer--on the newly christened field and another nearby grass field.
I am loving the Sirius Satellite Radio service that is integrated into my Audi's music system. A channel that just plays Bruce Springsteen? Another for Elvis? And Sinatra? Two all-NPR stations? One channel for Broadway shows? All the talk radio and sports channels you can think of (even an all-golf channel--which is kind of odd for a sport I don't associate with radio)? Pretty amazing. Favorite channel so far is #14: Classic Vinyl.
I absolutely love the fact that my iPod seamlessly integrates itself into the Audi Music Interface in the new vehicle. The menu in my dashboard console replicates the iPod's hierarchical organization of songs, albums, artists, playlists, etc.
When I bought the Q5, I upgraded to the array of 14 Bang & Olufsen speakers, including some serious subwoofers for bass output. The sound is incredible. For the record, here is where the speakers reside:
Hard to believe the former Beatle would turn 70 years old today, were he still with us. We have certainly missed him.
When setting up my post-Christmas travel, I investigated trying to get a ticket to see Derek Jacobi portraying the title role in King Lear. It's playing at the Donmar Warehouse and is a tough ticket to get, apparently. But the NT Live series is broadcasting this production in high definition all around the world later this winter, so I will see such a transmission in Amherst in February rather than try to hunt down a ticket to see it in person. So instead, while in London on New Year's Day I will see the NT's production of Hamlet.
The ending of 1980's Superman II has always bothered me: how Clark Kent erases Lois Lane's knowledge of his secret identity simply by kissing her--with NO explanation as to how this was accomplished!
Here is an alternative ending to the film that resolves the problem a bit differently:
Apple Inc. has scheduled a presentation for October 20, presumably to introduce the next update to OS X--that's 10.7 for those of you counting, and the invitation suggests its code name will be "Lion" to keep with the big cats motif--and probably a new form factor for the MacBook Air and perhaps some other MacBook updates. Maybe there will be a Verizon-related announcement regarding the iPhone and iPad too?
Always dangerous to visit the Apple Store!
I dropped a pile of change on a companion for my new 27" iMac: a 27" LED Cinema Display. This unit is gorgeous and I have it set up as a horizontal extension of my desktop screen space, which makes it a lot easier to work in several different applications at once.
To my surprise, the educator's discount saved me nearly $100, which was a nice development.
At only $99, I felt I HAD to get one of the new Apple TV devices when I visited the Apple Store. This was clearly an impulse purchase. I own one of the older versions already (actually it was the second iteration of the Apple TV) and I am a fan of the technology.
My intention is to set up a second HD television in my study upstairs. Since I bought the 52" Samsung flat screen last year, I've had a 34" CRT Toshiba high definition set just gathering dust on the floor. So now I will have some motivation to hook up the new streaming-version of Apple TV to the older monitor. I'll probably move the PlayStation 3 upstairs as well and get a dedicated Blu-Ray player for the living room.
In the last couple weeks, I have made my contributions to the global economy: I bought a new desktop computer, an additional monitor, and a new Apple TV unit. I also booked a convention trip to Orlando in mid-December as well as a European vacation the week after Christmas. Oh yeah, and I bought a new car too!
Now back to work to pay for all of this.
A couple weeks back, I upgraded from MacSpeech Dictate to an improved version that has been rechristened Dragon Dictate For Mac. This speech recognition software has been a godsend for me in inputting large quantities of text, whether in correspondence or in work-associated evaluations or reports. The new upgrade is even more accurate and easy to use.
Earlier today Andy Murray denied Roger Federer's bid to tie Rafael Nadal's record of 18 Masters Series crowns in the Shanghai ATP event. Though the Swiss star looked nearly flawless in dismantling Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic the previous two rounds, he was outclassed by the Scot in the final in straight sets. This result will only add to the speculation that perhaps Roger's dominating days are behind him.
An interesting overview of federal spending as a projection of our tax payments:
One of the professors I head at the One Day University lectures last weekend is a big Springsteen junkie and wrote a monograph about his landmark 1975 release Born To Run. So I ordered a copy from Amazon, which arrived today. Funny how academics seem to gravitate to a few "legitimized" areas of pop culture--like Bruce Springsteen and the Boston Red Sox--where they can deploy their scholarly insights.
I just ordered the new iLife '11 to get the updates to iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage Band. The Apple keynote presentations do an awfully good job of making the case for the upgrades.
Down 1-3 in the ALCS, the Yankees finally found their bats and assembled an impressive 7-2 win over the Rangers. Now they need to win the next two games to reach another World Series.
I drove over to Watertown this morning for the fall meeting of the Founders League athletic directors and was treated to a splendid array of autumnal colors along the highway. The colors really have been popping the last few days.
The Hartford Stage Company has mounted a very strong production of Antony And Cleopatra--a tricky masterpiece to stage effectively. The theater has undergone a recent renovation and made good use of the improvements with terrific set and lighting designs to capture the action in Rome, in Egypt, and at sea. But this play succeeds and fails based on the performances of its two leads; John Douglas Thompson and Kate Mulgrew were more than up to the task in presenting powerful but nuanced characters. A satisfying evening at the theater!
In the wake over NPR's firing of Juan William and the firestorm of sniping in Washington and on the airwaves (and cable wires, I suppose), James Fallows has written a very thoughtful piece providing some context for the journalistic values at stake in this dispute. An excerpt:
To hear the Fox/DeMint attack machine over the past week, NPR is simply a liberal counterpart to Fox--a politically minded and opinion-driven organization that is only secondarily interested in gathering news. I believe that the mischaracterization is deliberate, and I know it is destructive and wrong.