Midweek TPP Update: Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp, #MAGAWeek2022, Etc.

Summer is rolling right along, sometimes at an alarming speed.  I’ve gotsta buckle down if I’m going to get all these projects finished.

This week I’m running Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp, which I offered for the first time last summer.  Last year I had three campers—a small but talented group.  This year, I’m down to one diligent bassist.  I wasn’t even sure if he was going to show up, but his grandmother rolled up Monday morning and dutifully dropped him off, so we commenced a-rockin’.

Essentially, he’s getting twelve hours of private lessons from yours portly for about 22% of the normal cost (if I charged my half-hourly rate of $30 for twelve hours/twenty-four half-hours of lessons, I’d pull in $720; I’ll net $160 on this camp [that’s $200 total for the camp, less the 20% the school takes]).

Of course, we’re not playing bass for three hours straight each morning.  Where it’s just the two of us, we’ve worked out a schedule that seems to work pretty well:

  • Start with about thirty minutes of bass guitar—his bass “lesson” for the day.
  • Shift over to piano (his little fingers need a rest from pressing metal against a hard wooden fretboard) for about thirty minutes, working on chords and music theory.
  • Take a morning break, during which we talk about songwriting.
  • Work on songwriting (we’re currently wrapping up a tune called “The Story of Sam the Clam”) for about forty-five minutes.
  • Take a second, shorter break.
  • Review the songwriting session, then clean up and organize the Music Room for the day.

It’s pretty cool to have the flexibility to build the camp around what he wants to learn, while also working in some things that I know will be beneficial to him.

The other looming event of the year is #MAGAWeek2022, which will run from Tuesday, 5 July through Saturday, 9 July 2022.  For newcomers, #MAGAWeek2022 is when I celebrate the people, places, things, ideas, concepts, institutions, etc., that have, in their own way, Made America Great (Again).

During that week, all posts are behind the paywall over at my SubscribeStar page, but generous previews will be available here.  Fortunately, it’s just $1 to get access to everything for the week.

Finally, I’ve at least pulled up the manuscript for the first volume of Sunday Doodles, which I hope to publish via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service by the end of the summer.  The plan originally was to include the first fifty editions of Sunday Doodles, which are normally only available to $5 and up subscribers, as a handsome, black-and-white paperback.  Now, however, I’m thinking I might go even bigger, and include the first 100 editions of Sunday Doodles.  Talk about a nice coffee table book!

Speaking of, I am running late—for the first time in a long time!—on this past Sunday’s edition of Sunday Doodles.  Hopefully it will be live for subscribers by the time you read this post.

So, there you have it—some quick updates on yours portly.

Happy Wednesday!

—TPP

Happy Birthday, Murphy!

Today my dog Murphy turns nine-years old.  According to the records I have from The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission, she was born 15 June 2013, which is a pretty easy date to remember.

Last summer I suddenly, inexplicably went a bit dog crazy.  I was not looking for a bull terrier at all, but stumbled upon one on at Petfinder.  I spoke with a representative from BTRM, and we realized that that particular dog would not be a good fit for me due to his advanced age and delicate health issues.

She put my information into their database and said it might be a few months before a dog came available in my area.  One week later, while moving a then-girlfriend to Athens, Georgia, I got a call from BTRM asking me to foster an older girl who was good with children and other dogs.

About ten days later, I had Murphy.

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TBT: Summertime Schedule Begins

As of about 8 PM EST last Thursday, I’ve been living the Summer Break Lifestyle.  Other than camp and lessons, I’ve been enjoying a much more leisurely pace of living.

Summer is already filling up fast.  While the first week of Minecraft Camp is in the books, I have another session next week.  I’m attempting to run my Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for the second year, but as of the time of writing, it looks like I might just have one student, so that may get axed.

Nevertheless, it’s a good time to knock out some projects, especially when I wrap up camps.  I’m hoping to get back—finally!—to wrapping up the first volume of my Sunday Doodles book, which will go through the first fifty editions of the feature (over at my SubscribeStar page).  Indeed, I may do the first 100 editions, as I am currently at 144.  That will require more editing, but will make for a beefier book.

It’s also time to get cracking on some short stories.  I’ve been sitting on one story about a guy who eats an undercooked frozen pizza with bizarre consequences; now I need to write it!

With that, here is 8 June 2021’s “Summertime Schedule Begins“:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The State of Education Update II

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Spring Break is drawing to a close, with a four-week-ish slog to the relative freedom of summer vacation, when I go from being a stressed-out ball of blubber persisting on processed foods and frozen pizza to living like a chubby retiree.  As such, it seemed like an opportune time to look at the state of education in the United States.

As I wrote this morning, lately I’ve been listening to quite a bit of the ideas of “unschooling” advocate John Taylor Gatto.  Some of his views on adolescence (he says there really isn’t one, and that childhood essentially ends around the age seven) are pretty radical, though they aren’t without historical precedent, but for the most part, I find myself in agreement with assessment of the modern educational-industrial complex.

The first JTG video I watched/listened to

In essence, Gatto (should I call him “JTG”?) argues—and supports, with ample primary source research—that the modern system of “warehouse” schooling is not a proper education at all, but rather a massive system for indoctrinating students into compliance and mass conformity.  He argues that little real “education” takes place inside of schools, and that a genuine education comes from within the student himself.  In other words, all of the world is a “classroom” and everyone in it a “teacher” to the open learner.  An elite, private or boarding school education is available to anyone, Gatto contends, for free.

Gatto famously quit after a long, celebrated career in New York City public schools in a letter to The Wall Street Journal entitled “I Quit, I Think” (note that the title has two possible meanings:  the first, obvious one is the note of uncertainty the added “I Think” carries; the second one is the subtle implication that because “I Think,” I (Gatto) must quit).  In short, Gatto came to believe that what he had been doing for years was actually harming students, rather than improving their lives.

Talk about a heavy epiphany.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

SubscribeStar Saturday Coming This Afternoon

Hi TPP Readers,

It’s a big family weekend—and the last weekend of my glorious Spring Break—and after a very long Friday of “funcling,” I’ve fallen behind—yet again—on today’s edition of SubscribeStar Saturday.

I’ll be writing about the current state of education, and looking a bit at the ideas of “unschooling” advocate John Taylor Gatto.

Thank you for your patience, especially to my paying subscribers; you’ve had to endure too many late SSSs lately.

Happy Saturday!

—TPP

Blogging Reflections at 1192 Days

Anyone who has been on WordPress for longer than five minutes has probably come across Cristian Mihai, a Romanian-born blogger, who writes about, well, blogging.  I don’t know much about Mr. Mihai, but he has apparently figured out a way to make a living blogging.

Many of his posts are tips about blogging, and almost all of them are sales pitches (no judgment here—I do it, too) for some blogging-related product or another.  I’ve never paid for any of his courses or the like, so I can’t speak to their quality.  He does sell reblogs on his blog, meaning he re-posts another blogger’s work in order to increase that writer’s views.  I don’t endorse that practice personally, but if people are willing to pay for that exposure, they have the right.

I do, however, have a free membership to his irevuo website.  On Monday, he posted a very interesting piece about Seth Godin, one of the early adopters of blogging.  Godin has been at it for over twenty years, reaching his 7000th post on 6 November 2017.

That’s insanely impressive.

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Midweek March Update

Yep, Portly readers:  it’s one of those blog posts:  a general update on the latest with yours portly because I’m out of both ideas and energy.  Sure, I should be writing about the war in the Ukraine or something important like that (instead of silly paintings and piano pieces), but, again—I’m more low-energy than JEB! at the moment.  Or, at the very least, my pantheric intensity has to be focused towards more pressing matters than this humble blog.

Early March is always a time when everything comes to a head at once.  Last week was the final week of third quarter, and was chock-a-block with various school events.  That saw me scrambling around all over campus during my precious planning periods performing various feats of technical wizardry (but all of the standard hedge-mage variety; the really powerful audio/visual spells won’t be cast for another month).  Incredibly, I managed to record all of Péchés d’âge moyen last week (give it a listen if you haven’t already—it’s less then seven minutes to listen to the entire album!).

Naturally, that meant a backlog of grading and comment-writing for report cards, which had to be completed over the weekend.  I’m grateful to Pontiac Dream 39/Always a Kid for Today for his movie review Monday, because that saved me some valuable time Sunday (it’s also an excellent review—you should go read it!).

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Midweek TPP Update

This past weekend I attended my girlfriend’s brother’s wedding in Mississippi.  I’d intended to write about the trip (and the long drive), but the combination of the eleven-hour trip home; a busy Monday; and catching up on schoolwork put the kibosh to that plan, especially after Murphy and I fell asleep on the couch last night as I was beginning to write it.

Oh, well.  I’ll have that up next week, more than likely.

Instead, I decided to write a short update post on what is going on with yours portly, the blog, and the like.

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Halloween and Spooktacular Preparations

It’s Halloween Week!  Besides Christmas (and probably Spring Break), it’s quite possibly my favorite week of the year.

It’s also the week of my third annual (and second on the front porch) Spooktacular!  As such, I spent a good portion of the weekend making the preliminary preparations for having lots of people sitting on my front lawn for a couple of hours or so.

Among the myriad tasks I completed (such as some long overdue weed eating, and applying more ant bait to the lawn), I engaged in my favorite Halloween season ritual:  carving a Jack O’Lantern!  I picked up a couple of massive pumpkins from Sam’s Club for $7 each, and this one made for particularly attractive gourd.  Just look at its perfectly jaunty, stout stem!

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