Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flip Video, and Eleanor's Art Aptitude


Molly loves to record video of our kids; there's never a unique moment that she wants to pass by without catching it on camera. We've had this huge, probably 15-year-old camcorder that we've been using for quite a while, and it's not exactly the easiest thing to just whip out on a whim if you want to catch one of those unique moments. In fact, most of the time when Molly says, "We should get this on video, can you get the camcorder?", I just say, "umm... no." It's a hassle. But, I've had my eye on a solution for a few months and finally pulled the trigger and purchased it for Molly's Mother's Day present this year. It's the Flip Mino Camcorder.

It's super small, super light, easy to use (just a few buttons), records up to 60 minutes of video, and makes it easy to save and share videos. It's even darn cheap for a camcorder. For any techies out there, it's also purely flash-based memory so there are no moving parts and reliability should be off-the-charts better than any standard camcorder that uses tapes or discs (or a hard drive). Speaking of how easy it is to save and share videos, it has an integrated USB connector so you just plug it into your computer and save videos.
From there you can post videos to the web or burn to DVD easily with the software that is included on the device. You can also string together multiple clips into a "movie" very easily.

There are, of course, downsides to a simple, small design. There is no zoom to speak of, which is probably the biggest downside. There is a 2X digital zoom that you can use, but it just enlarges the digital picture and it ends up kind of blurry. There also isn't any image stabilization technology, so if you are walking or moving the picture can get a little bumpy. All-in-all though, for our needs it's a 95%-of-the-time camcorder. I would only use our old one for a concert or show that our kids are in, where you might need to record more than 60 minutes of video in one sitting and you'd need the optical zoom.

Molly has already used the "Flip" quite a bit to record the daily travails of our kids, and I've enjoyed watching the clips when I get home from work. This will also be a handy device for when we (God willing... please!) start construction and we can record construction progress videos and post them here on the blog.

As an example of a couple videos taken with the "Flip," we have our young Eleanor (3) showing off her art memorization skills. She and our older kids participated in the "Art Challenge" in our parish homeschool group. The kids had a lot of fun and really got into it. It wasn't our plan to have Eleanor particpate (as you'll see Molly explain in the video), but she would have none of that! Oh, and as a humerous note regarding Eleanor's enunciation in the video, Molly had instructed her to speak "slowly and clearly," and Eleanor chose to take that very seriously :-)

Molly and I take turns going on "dates" with each of the kids as special one-on-one time, and just today it was Eleanor's turn to go on a date with me. And she chose for her date to go to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts! Since Eleanor enjoyed the Art Challenge so much, I thought this would be a good idea even though she's so young. As you'll see, she had a great time. This video shows how the software included on the Flip can be used to string together multiple clips into one movie (even with a title at the beginning). Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Honor of Doctor Brendan Early Koop, PhD.

  • Number of years since study for PhD began: 5
  • Number of doctoral courses completed: 6
  • Final Grade Point Average: 3.89
  • Number of children born since PhD studies began: 3
  • Number of journal articles read: 500
  • Number of hours spent doing research: 500
  • Number of porous electrodes built: 100
  • Number of leads built in Puerto Rico: 35
  • Number of lab dogs sacrificed for the cause: 16
  • Number of pages in the dissertation entitled: "Creation and in vivo evaluation of a porous electrode for pacing in a coronary vein: an assessment of the potential for improved electrical performance and chronic stability of coronary venous pacing leads": 200
  • Number of professors on doctoral committee: 4
  • Number of hours spent writing thesis: 800
  • Number of purchased bottles of Men's Under Eye Cream to reduce puffiness: 1
  • Number of cans of Full Throttle consumed: 500
  • Number of cans of Coke consumed before and after Full Throttle was discovered: impossible to estimate
  • Number of Caribou Mochas, extra hot, with an extra shot of espresso consumed during Lent when Coke and Full Throttle were off limits: 100
  • Number of dollars spent on said energy drinks: I refuse to estimate!
  • Cavities filled: 1
  • Number of hairs lost: Zero!
  • Sleep Number: 35
  • Number of interns mentored: 1
  • Number of dollars spent in this process by Boston Scientific for tuition and research: over $100,000
  • Number of dollars yet to be earned by Boston Scientific because of the success of a potential new product: Millions!
Congratulations, honey! I am so proud of you! And I'm glad to have you back!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009 - A Great Day!


Me in the University of Minnesota doctoral cap and gown, on the steps of the Northrop Auditorium

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) hood

The Northrop Mall before the ceremony

Molly sneaked down and got a pic after the awarding of the degrees

Me and Clara (who, of course, was so good the whole day... and so excited!)

Molly, Clara, and me

Me and my parents

A classic shot by the Northrop columns

Saturday, May 2, 2009



Beware THIS MAN, he is incorrigible!

From -

1. Incapable of being corrected or reformed.
2. Firmly rooted, ineradicable.
3. Difficult or impossible to control or manage.
1. One that cannot be corrected or reformed.

You all will remember this recent post.

By way of update, here was the situation at 7:30pm this evening:

Max is single-handedly providing his own economic stimulus package for the French eyeglasses industry. I hope they appreciate it.