Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ellen Klages at Peru State College

Ellen Klages visited Peru State College on Thursday, October 7, and Friday, October 8.

She read in the CAATS Conference Room at 11:00-11:30+ on Thursday. Ellen also visited at 2:00 Dr. Holtz's Appreciation of Literature class in Hoyt 105.

And on Friday, Ellen talked with my College 101 students
in TJM 326 from 11:00-11;50 about White Sands, Red Menace, the novel about the V-2 rocket and related events that students in the class read.

As these three events underscored, Ellen Klages is both a remarkable person and an engaging, hilarious, serious, and exciting speaker.

Oh, Ellen also loves toys!

I posted photographs of Ellen's visit, which includes a visit to Brownville and a stay at the Riverboat Inn, along with a trip to Seward to attend the Plum Creek Literacy Festival at Concordia University.''

While at the literacy festival, I had the pleasure of watching Sarah Weeks' program and look forward to reading So B. It and the excellent, honest, and hilarious picture
book, Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth; Sarah has published some fifty books.

I took special delight from listening to Ashley Bryan, the famous illustrator of children's books. Wow. I loved his readings from The Sun Is So Quiet, a book that features not only his beautiful illustrations but also the moving poetry of Nikki Giovanni.

And I also look forward to reading Beautiful Blackbird, Bryan's illustrated telling of an African folktale--the book earned many awards, including the Coretta Scott King

And on You Tube, you will find a short video of Ellen's reading "Ringing up Baby," a
wonderful and humorous satire on, among other things, genetic engineering. You will also enjoy Ellen's reading from the final pages of The Green Grass Sea.

And for more about Ellen Klages, read the following material and follow the links.

As Ellen's web page notes, she visited Nebraska last year, for her award-winning novel, Green Glass Sea, was chosen 2009's One Book for Nebraska Kids. This novel won many awards, including the prestigious won the 2007 Scott O'Dell Award for historical fiction.

You will find a ton of interesting information about Ellen on the internet, including this article from a 2007 article in
Locus Magazine.

Ellen's collection of fantasy and science fiction stories, Portable Childhoods, includes the short story that became the novel of the same name, "The Green Glass Sea"; I remember listening to Ellen read this beautiful narrative at WisCon quite a few years ago.

Ellen is a fixture at WisCon, the World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Conference, at which she was the Guest of Honor in 2009. As Ellen notes on her web page, "she serves on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and is somewhat notorious as the auctioneer/entertainment for the Tiptree auctions at Wiscon."

Ellen's numerous and varied publications include the Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated stories "Time Gypsy" and "Flying Over Water." These stories are collected in Portable Childhoods along with Ellen's Nebula Award winner for Best Novelette (2005), "Basement Magic."

This year, my College 101 class--for History, Social Sciences, and Literature majors--reads the sequel to The Green Glass Sea, White Sands, Red Menace, the 2009 California Book Awards
Gold Medal Winner - YA.

Marcus is Walking

The Peru Theater Company's production of Marcus is Walking delighted those lucky enough to attend from Thursday through Sunday.

I attended on Wednesday night the dress rehearsal and took quite a few photograph of the eleven sequences that make up the play.

Everyone connected with this effort did an excellent job, and the audiences appreciated their efforts.

To see the names of all those involved in Marcus is Walking, just click on the images at the conclusion of this post.

I also went to the play Friday night (before heading to
Cotty's for Soul Specimen) and recorded video sequences from all eleven parts of the play. As with the photographs, I wanted to get some footage of all the actors.

You can watch in High-Density scenes from the play on You Tube: Marcus is Walking Part One and Marcus is Walking Part Two.

Enjoy the pictures and the video and congratulate when you see them everyone who played a role in this further evidence of drama's presence on the Campus of a Thousand Oaks.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

PSC Field Ornithology and Brownville White Pelicans

Dr. John Hnida and the Field Ornithology Group

White Pelicans Near Brownville

Every two years, John Hnida invites me to his Field Ornithology class to show bird pictures and to accompany him and his students on short field trips.

As we did two years ago, the class and I walked for a couple hours on the Trace Trail--and on a stunner of a morning.

Bird sightings started out at a less-than-exciting pace, but the birds made a pretty impressive showing that included Wood Duck, Broad-winged Hawk (possible), Bald Eagle, Osprey, Great-horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Cardinal, Cliff Swallow, Vulture, Red-winged Black Bird, Mourning Dove, Crow, American Goldfinch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Great Blue Herons, Great Egret, and a Yellow-shafted Flicker, and numerous "brown things."

I will add to the photographs from yesterday whenever I get a chance to join the class

for their field work. Oh, you will see on the photographs a couple shots of the Women's Basketball team before they took off for a two-mile run.

Friday evening, I drove to Brownville and crossed the bridge into Missouri to view the White Pelicans about which Ellie Kunkel told me that morning.

Thousands of them beautify the waters on the north side of the highway just east of the Missouri River--along with an impressive number of Great Blue Herons and Cormorant. An American Bittern or a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron surprised me, and I wish I could have gotten a clearer shot, but what fun to have one fly by after seeing it along the shore in the distance.

I posted some photographs of the White Pelicans and also some film footage; see, too, the HD video of the pelicans on You Tube.

I hope that you get a chance to see this beautiful display before the bird leave the area.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

PSC Student Senate Along the Road

Wednesday evening of September 22, Students from Peggy Groff's Pilot Program joined with Micki Willis and members of the Peru State College Student Senate to clean up a strip of Highway 67 as part of preparations for the upcoming Homecoming Game on October 2.

A pleasant breeze that and at times turned into a mischievous wind,
kept everyone cool and alert during the 90 or so minutes the group devoted to the task.

I followed the Bobcat Bus along the rout, as students got out and began their coordinated efforts to clean up the trash along the highway.

As the collection of photographs indicates, everyone worked hard and enjoyed the Cartman might say, "mostly," for the aroma from a not-so-fresh road kill at times punctuated the group's efforts.

The soybean fields in the evening sunlight look stunning--I look forward to when Daryl Long harvests.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twilight on the Prairie 2010

A Prairie Celebration for the Entire Family

Despite rather bracing weather, parents and children enjoyed beautiful Spring Creek Prairie, site of Audubon's annual Twilight on the Tallgrass Prairie festival.

In addition to music and other entertainment, numerous stations dotted the prairie trails where youngsters and adults watched bird banding and captured bug; made kites; and learned about
the history of the prairie trails.

At last year's celebration, my station focused on birds and poems. This time around, I called the station "Feathers and Petals on the Prairie" and offered folks photographs of birds and wild flowers, images to color, and slide shows.

As the photographs from the evening suggest, everyone enjoyed the beautiful prairie on a chilly but warm-spirited evening at Spring Creek Prairie, a stunning area you can visit pretty much every day of the year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Irena Ravitskaya at Peru State College

On Tuesday evening, September 14, Dr. Irena Ravitskaya offered the lucky members of the audience an inspiring recital.

For your enjoyment, I uploaded
a few photographs from Irena Ravitskaya's performances of works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Modest Mussorgsky.

In addition, you can watch on You Tube and in High Density, a couple videos from the
delightful evening.

For the first half of the recital, Ravitskaya offered the audience movements from Beethoven's Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"), and I recorded around eight minutes of her work.

You will also enjoy, I think, the video of selections from Pictures at an Exhibition.

I look forward to the next event.