Family, Libraries, Three Things, Video Games

THREE THINGS 2017.2

COMMUNITY CENTRE

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I like this a lot. I have long thought that libraries are all community centers that just happen to be called libraries because once upon a long ago our only function was to loan books and we’ve grown up a lot since then. Anywho: Te Takere Library is a library in New Zealand and while doing some research I noticed that their council calls them the Te Takere Community Centre and Library.

HOMESCHOOLING

I walked by a public school today (a really great one!) and I saw about 30 kids playing at the playground. They seemed to be in very specific groups: those playing basketball, those playing on the playground equipment, and those around the teacher. They were all nicely fenced in by a giant 12 foot tall fence (I totally understand the need for this by the way) and it hit me: I wouldn’t change our lives as homeschoolers for anything in the world. I’ll eat nothing but ramen every day for the next 10-13 years of my life and be as poor as poor can be to keep this happening. I think about the past week that we had together and what we did and it makes me happy:

  • Wrote and drew a graphic novel (Finn)
  • Created his own guitar/keytar (Aero)
  • Went to swimming lessons (Finn)
  • Visited the library twice (Finn & Aero)
  • Worked on our gardens (Finn & Aero)
  • Went on some side quests in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Finn & Aero)
  • Did some dress up and role playing (Finn & Aero)
  • Read some books (Finn & Aero)

Learning happens all the time and I love being able to live a life with Haley, Finn, and Aero where we can explore this together at our own pace. There should be more freedom in our world. There should be less schedules. There should be more curiosity.

NINTENDO SWITCH

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Even though we’ve really only been playing THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD (combined playtime for Justin+Haley+Finn=over 125 hours) we have been having a wonderful time with the system. First up, Zelda: the game is amazing, fun, and sparks great curiosity and exploration in all of us at the Hoenke house. Every time one of us plays it we have discussions about what we’re doing and who we’re encountering. We’re telling each other so many stories about what we find in the game and in turn we’re inspiring each other to try new things. Second, the Nintendo Switch system itself is glorious. At times it can feel a bit more delicate than previous Nintendo systems. The amazing thing about is the ability to take it from the TV to wherever you want without any interruption. While Finn and Aero were inside using the TV yesterday afternoon after being outside all morning I spent my time in a hammock outside playing Zelda. It was glorious.

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I wrote two articles about the Nintendo Switch for InfoToday recently and you can read those here:

Plan a Library Game Night With Nintendo’s New Console
Attention, Libraries: It’s Time to ‘Switch’ It Up

Benson Memorial Library, Family, Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Music, Three Things, Video Games

THREE THINGS 2017.1 (Mini Deluxe Edition)

  • I am very uninspired with library work. I have two major projects in my mind for the Benson Memorial Library but I feel stuck. The projects are: bringing high speed fiber internet into the library and repairing and renovating our Community Room. Both of these projects are much needed and would be well received by the community. I am having a hard time finding the funds to pull these projects off which then leads to a general malaise inside of me that festers with time. Money and the lack of it really holds things back. My brain then reacts to being held back in a negative way. I want the path forward to be clear and positive, yet money is always standing in the way. I’ve researched grants, foundation money, and other paths but nothing is clicking. Maybe it will click soon enough. In the meantime, I am right here sitting at my desk feeling like the end of libraries is right around the corner.
  • I am still very excited by disco. When I use the term “disco” what I really mean is the following: Music from the NYC club THE SAINT, Sleaze/Morning Music, Italo Disco, and everything else in between.
  • I have signed a contract to provide a library related news platform with 6 articles/pieces from now until June 2017. Writing is something that I enjoy doing and the challenge to come up with a 2,000 word piece has been tough but ultimately rewarding. I’d love to write more of these. Heck, maybe someday I would like to be my full time job. I enjoy the opportunity to craft all of the thoughts inside my brain into well structured sentences. I also enjoy talking to others, getting their insight into the topic I am writing about, and sharing their story. There are so many good people out there.
  • One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to do our laundry.I have developed a system in which I tackle certain segments of the laundry one at a time. It helps me manage the flow of work to be done and provides a good feeling once each segment is done.
  • I am not happy with my weight. I am over 200 lbs for the first time in my life and my body does not feel good. While I do not have the world’s best eating/exercising regiment, I feel as if I’m doing pretty well. There is room for improvement and I will get there.
  • I am well over 50 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and I still cannot recommend this game enough. It is what I’d call a perfect video game: a marriage of great gameplay, visuals, sound, and experience. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are headed in the game. You will be amazed every step of the way.
  • And finally, the rehabbing of Fidelia Hall continues. At a recent auction, we acquired 8 radiators, 3 steel doors, 1 set of track lighting, and 1 hot water heater for $125. My mother and father also made one of the nicest donations to us: they got a furnace for our downstairs space. Both of these things were so very inspiring in the restoration process. The next steps look something like this: repair and paint the tin ceiling downstairs, repair and varnish the floor downstairs, install and hook up gas pipes to our new downstairs furnace, build a bathroom downstairs, repair/install new outlets and light switches downstairs, and finally rip out the upstairs radiators and install our newly acquired radiators. The work never ends, but the end product will be glorious for our family and the community so I am OK with the process.
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“Don’t talk, take my hand and let me hear your heart beat” -Brian Wilson and Tony Asher

 

Family, Libraries, Life, Music, Things, Three Things

THREE THINGS 2016.11

MUSIC

 

I’ve recently been feeling a burst of inspiration when it comes to music. All throughout 2017 I have been working on writing and recording the first album for a project I am calling ABIGAIL FOSTER’S PHOTOSYNTHESIS MACHINE. I am really excited about the project and the songs on this first album. I have a lot of thoughts on how I’d like for this album to go and right now I am just trying to keep the original focus of it being an album of simple, easy to digest songs. I want to restart my musical brain and this seems like a good place to start.

And just like I do every time I have a musical project happening, I add another one. This one is the completion of the 2002 Zomo album Waiting For The Green. You see, this album was being worked on back in 2001-2002 and was going to be the debut album for the band Zomo (which went on to record and release two other albums). However, things happened and it never got finished. This has always been something that has bugged me and held me back a bit musically, so recently I made the decision to look at what we had finished and cobble together a version of the album. Is this the album that it was supposed to be? No way. It will never be that album. But that’s not the point…the idea was to finish something that deserves to be finished and put it out into the world. So over this weekend I hope to put the finishing touches on this collection of songs and release it to the world. More to come.

ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF

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I spend a lot of my time playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on my Nintendo 3DS. I find the game to be wonderfully pleasant, well made, and extremely relaxing. There’s really no goal in the game other than to exist in your faux town and go about your daily tasks but for some reason these are the things I search for in a video.

I am extremely happy that even though the game was released 4 years ago that Nintendo has decided to continue to support the game. Just this week, an update was released that adds a lot of neat new abilities and features to the game. You can read about some of those big changes here and the smaller yet equally as important changes here. Considering that I would usually give this game 2-5 hours of my life every week before the update, I expect that I’ll be visiting my town a lot more in the next few weeks.

WINDING DOWN

Once November hits I feel like the rest of my year is gonna be smooth sailing. September and October 2016 were quite hectic, full of book sales, budgets, book challenges, and much much more. Those things have been taken care of and now for the rest of the year I can collect my thoughts and plan for 2017. I think that it is extremely important to budget yourself enough time to sit back and think big. November and December are months where everyone is occupied with the holiday season so for me these months are a great time for that. Mental relaxation and health are so very important. Take care of yourself. I need to follow my own advice!

 

Family, Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Three Things, Titusville, PA

THREE THINGS 2016.10 (Deluxe Edition)

  • I enjoy the simplicity of late 1950’s/early 1960’s rock n’ roll and pop music. I can put on the Sirius XM 50’s and 60’s channel and really enjoy every song that comes up. Simple chord progressions, easy to sing melodies, and generic lyrics lead to good music.
  • I enjoy seeing vegetables and flowers grow around our home in our gardens.
  • The circus at Drake Well in Titusville, PA on August 27, 2016 was amazing. Top Hat Side Show is awesome.
  • Scott toilet paper is hands down my preferred toilet paper. Good price, good texture, and nice on the butt. All in all though, get a bidet and a squatty potty for the best experience.
  • I recently discovered the band Against Me! and I really enjoy their style. I wrote them off originally as just another punk band but they have this folky, jangly thing going on that is really impressive. Their lead singer sings with such great power.
  • I enjoy sitting around in the hammock that my father installed at the bottom of our son’s tree fort.
  • I want to learn more about the universe and would like to obtain a proper telescope to use to do so.
  • This summer Haley has been identifying so many “weeds” on our property and wow they are so amazing. Purslane is a great thing and I enjoy eating it while I’m sitting around outside.
  • I enjoyed the time I got to spend relaxing after my umbilical hernia surgery. There should be no such thing as a schedule, no such thing as an alarm. We should just be able to exist in the moment. It took a minor operation to make me realize this. I think our world could be stronger and much more patient if we all didn’t have something to do or somewhere to be.
  • I believe we are coming up on yet another turning point for libraries where we present ourselves first and foremost as cultural and learning institutions that make communities stronger. I believe that this is the identity that we must present to the public. Our time to advocate for our budgets and funding is now.
  • Tonight my family will go see KISS perform live. This will be Aero’s first concert and I could not think of a better choice for him.
  • The end of summer and the beginning of fall are magical times here in Northwestern PA and I am really going to enjoy it while it lasts.

 

Family, Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Music, Technology, Three Things

THREE THINGS 2016.9

THANK YOU TECHNOLOGY

Brief shout out to computers, the internet, and technology in general. It’s easy to be negative about technology and computers, especially since they are a bit confusing and sometimes don’t work properly. But in the long run, wow, technology helps us out quite a bit. A large portion of my summer has been spent working on budgets, grants, and building maintenance and without technology it would have been much more difficult. Google Drive allows me to keep everything I write related to grants and budgeting in one place and gives all of my proposals and work a continuity that is much needed. It is also really helpful to communicate project updates and changes with my board and the community via email and social media. Conversation and communication are key!

KISS

Thank you to KISS for all of their music and their makeup that my son Aero seems to love oh so much. Over the weekend he wanted to dress up as Paul Stanley aka Starchild from the 80’s version of KISS. That’s the version of him you’re seeing in this video. He was amazed that KISS could take off their makeup. Even neater is that he think that their song “Lick It Up” is actually titled “Pick It Up” and is about picking up toys.

SUMMERTIME

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I hope everyone reading this is enjoying their summer. We’ve been spending a lot of time with our rabbits and chickens and also watering our plants and gardens. Just last week we got to eat our first crop of the season, radishes. It feels great to live in what basically amounts to our own little semi urban farm. It fits our family.

Life, Three Things

THREE THINGS 2016.8

HOW WE ALL FEEL THESE DAYS

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Gosh. Everyone in the USA is very angry right now. Some have legitimate reasons (the poor are getting poorer, crippling health care and student loan debt) and some (in my opinion) don’t. But we’re all very angry and our anger is leading us to make some very poor decisions. We seem to be aiming for a magic bullet, someone with enthusiasum and ideas that will solve everything ASAP. But it’s not gonna work like that. It never works like that. It takes time and patience. It takes balance. Someone who has ideas that are too far towards one end of the spectrum is gonna polarize a whole lot of people on the other end of the spectrum. And you know what’s gonna happen? Those folks are gonna get even more angry. Anger, anger, anger. We have to achieve a balance.

GET UP

Most people probably haven’t thought about Bryan Adams since his 80’s hits or his early 90’s foray into Robin Hood power ballads. His most recent album, GET UP, has really caught my ear. It comes from the fact that it was produced by Jeff Lynne (ELO, The Travelling Wilburys), who is one of my all time favorites. Jeff just has a way with producing albums that gets me to listen to any artist that works with him. I think it has something to do with his quest to make the songs sound as authentic as possible. Well, it really worked with this album, as I have been listening to it quite a bit. I enjoy simple songwriting and production these days, and this album just nails it for me.

THE SUN WILL SHINE ON YOU

And to end, we go back to Jeff Lynne. This song makes me happy. It gives me a feeling that everything is going to be alright in the long run.

Family, Fidelia Hall, Life, Three Things, Titusville, PA

THREE THINGS 2016.7

THE THINGS WE PUT INTO OUR MOUTH

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Think about all of the stuff you put into your mouth and then chew and digest throughout the day. That’s a lot of stuff. Here in America, we also have a tendency to produce a lot of crappy food that’s easily accessible. Donuts? Candy? Hamburgers? Come and get it at the cheapest prices around! But vegetables and other healthy things? We don’t love to have those easily available at the tips of our fingers. I have been doing this for quite a few years now, but recently I am really starting to pay attention to what I put into my mouth.

Haley and I have started seeing an herbalist in an attempt to not only get healthier but to also get off all of our medications. Long story short? The cons outweigh the pros and we want to see if this new route works. So far the journey has been interesting and I look forward to seeing everything in action over a long period of time. If you were ever curious about the food (both healthy and junky) that I put into my body, you can check that out here. I am enjoying documenting this part of my life. It keeps me very aware of what I’ve been doing during the day.

CHICKENS

Chickens in Chattanooga changed my life and to be completely honest with you life here in Titusville, PA hasn’t been the same without them. I enjoy going out into my backyard and hearing their clucks, discovering the eggs they laid, and just walking around the yard with them. Well, last week that all changed and we got our 3 baby Buff Orpington chickens. They don’t have names yet (we’ll see how their personalities turn out) and they just squeak a lot right now but it’s so good to have chickens back in our lives. Next up comes their coop and their run. We will enjoy building that.

DISCO

Just hit play and sit back for the next hour and enjoy this great set from DJ Robbie Leslie from Easter 1986 at THE SAINT.