Philadelphia City Hall
I’m always impressed with Philadelphia’s City Hall. Such a grand building that dominates your view with its bulk.
Curtis Institute of Music
An evening walk introduced me to the Curtis Institute of Music. Roaming from my hotel to Drexel University via Rittenhouse Square, I happened upon a notice for the graduation recital for a cellist. After visiting Drexel I returned to enjoy a beautiful recital. My last evening I returned to Curtis again for a brass chamber recital. More gorgeous music this time set in the original building featuring this amazing setting.
After this second recital I read in a display case about the founding of the Curtis Institute of Music. The next morning I ran across The Curtis Publishing Company building. A daughter of the Curtis Publishing founder established the Institute.
COMPANION art installation by KAWS at 30th Street Station
Luckily I decided to catch the SEPTA train to the airport at the 30th Street Station. I was curious because this building is enormous. Luck came in that a Companion, a KAWS artwork, started a stint at the station on this day. The work is amazing. No one can ignore the Companion, all are captured by its scale and tale. What tale? Whatever you read into Companion’s body language.
Time Travel Exhibit at the Kimmel Center as part of PIFA
This is just a fun time travel exhibit with several locations where you interact with the art.
Much newer than all the grand buildings in Philadelphia but still impressive and eye-catching.
SEPTA Platforms at the 30th Street Station
Closest I’ve been to a King’s Cross Station. While not truly comparable this is a train station worth visiting. As mentioned earlier the station is massive. You can see in one of the Companion shots that the main room in the station consumes a vast space.
Other shots around Philadelphia
The weather was wonderful during my visit. Here is one shot looking off Walnut Street looking up the Schuylkill River with the 30th Street Station in the background. Also had to include an evening shot of a street of downtown homes. Gems are also hidden in buildings such as the large pipe organ dominating the Macy’s located in the Wanamaker Building.
This H&M dude has all the makings of a Dr. Who villain.
When MyPCC was first introduced at Portland Community College, I would grab emails that came out to staff to post in our new student portal. The typical practice back then was for staff to send emails out to all other staff about something pertinent to students. Of course these messages were never seen by their true target. Hopefully some staff shared these with students in some way — perhaps posting on a wall or announcing something in class.
The days of me searching for news to post faded quickly. The college soon learned that students do indeed pay attention to announcements posted in the student portal (MyPCC). How did we know this? At the time we didn’t have any real statistics but we did have stories.
A faculty member thanked me for posting a poetry reading. He was very thankful because the reading had more than 70 students attend. This was a very impressive turn out.
We would also regularly get staff members posting an opportunity for students. For example, a job posting. Soon after we’d receive a request to remove the announcement due to the large response.
With success came the flood. I no longer had to search for announcements, everyone wanted one. Now we had to structure the communication. We did (that is a separate story), and while not perfect, our practices and governance are still in place.
We also now have better statistics on views of our announcements. Here are total views for a recent set of announcements:
- 7,500 views: Grades Available Tues. 3/26
- 12,000 views: Update on police investigation in the news
- 6,500 views: Course evaluations online until 3/17
- 2,500 views: Message from the President: Budget forums set
- 5,900 views: Desire2Learn Outage and Storage Issues – 1/29/13 (only up for 2 full days)
- 1,500 views: Weather Alert: All classes and events cancelled until noon today (only up 1 day and available prominently elsewhere on the PCC website)
Here is what a typical month looks like showing pageviews which equate to a view of an announcement:
Our audience is aware and paying attention to what we say. While MyPCC isn’t the only way we reach our students it is a primary channel.
This Easter traditions continued with bread baking and pierogi making.
Babka bread was this year’s bread feature. (In the past it has been hot cross buns and Challah bread.) Babka bread is impressive due to its size and stateliness. Adorned with a decorative cross and other embellishments it is beautiful, fills a room with heart-warming smells and tastes wonderful. In this picture we have our Babka bread on a Ukrainian table runner and alongside Easter eggs of year’s past.
Great to look at but better to eat. Our Babka bread had substance and great flavor along with a nice moist lightness to it.
Pierogies highlighted our meal and our day as the preparation does take time — but provides for ample family bonding. This year’s highlights included the teenagers making the pierogies. It was nice to see the cousins having fun and socializing while taking on this family tradition.
Last time they participated in the pierogi crafting but took it on full force this year. I think they found the mountain of flour building and hands-on work entertaining.
Unfortunately I enjoyed our meal before thinking of taking a picture of our beautiful place setting with plates full of pierogies with sour cream, kielbasa, German sweet mustard, dill sauerkraut, asparagus, and salad. Dessert featured gluten-free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A yummy day!
We have a few pierogies in the freezer, maybe I’ll remember to take a picture when we fry those up. Until then, you can take a look at SewPixie’s plate full of pierogies and sausage from her Flickr photostream.
I’m a fan of Ava’s Martin Luther King artwork for school.
While in the city of Oaxaca visit the amazing works of artisans at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca and Exposición Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular en Oaxaca.
The Museo Textil de Oaxaca displays amazing textiles in a beautiful former convent. The updates contrast the ancient feel of the building and, like the textiles, the patterns and textures are entrancing to the eye. Just a beautiful setting.
A gathering of people shots during my visit to the city of Oaxaca.
Graffiti on this wall in Oaxaca, Mexico doesn’t really come to life until the evening when a street lamp casts a shadow on the wall. The lamp shines on a bust of Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón. Cute and clever use of shadow.
I also like this because I like random connections. In this case I have to admit no previous knowledge of Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón. Of course a quick search provides some awareness in which I learn that Álvaro Carrillo is a famous composer from the state of Oaxaca. The connection comes in the realization that I know of his music — well, at least some of it. My favorite is Sabor a Mi, I’ve always liked the Los Lobos version.
Although an instrumental version is also very nice.
Here is a shot with the Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón bust.
The small park containing this bust is on Calle de Macedonio Alcalá. Apparently this is quite a musical street. Being the primary pedestrian street in the tourist area, music can be heard constantly — street musicians, marching bands, dance performances, concerts and, of course, a park honoring Álvaro Carrillo Alarcón. The street, I learned, honors a Mexican musician and composer born in Oaxaca. I assume the text on the wall is referring to Macedonio Alcalá because “Dios nunca muere” is the title of his famous waltz. Here is a YouTube video playing Dios Nunca Muere, unofficial hymn of the state of Oaxaca, and views of Oaxaca.
The college sent me to Oaxaca to learn about the culture and bring this back to Portland. Rather than buy small gifts for my work team, I shared a bit of Oaxaca in the form of drink, food and fun. This afternoon we enjoyed watermelon flavored water, conchas (a Mexican sweet bread), and fun with globos.
Globos is Spanish for balloons. At the Zócalo in Oaxaca there are globos vendors selling all kinds of balloons but for our activity the long tubular balloons were the stars. I’ve been told two different Spanish names for these toys: globos salchicha and globos cohete. While they may look sausage-like, for our purposes — and the way the kids used them in the Zócalo — globos cohete (or rocket balloons) seems more fitting.
I’ll be sharing more stories with the group but this bit of culture made for a fun team building break this afternoon.
One instructor at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca celebrates with his students at the end of their class. Instructor and students have a chance to carry a beast of pyrotechnical wonder.
Yes, a beast — well, maybe a donkey — but with an impressive stockpile of fireworks as its burden this is a beast not to be ignored. The curious crowded close as the fuse was lit but all retreated as the initial spiral of fire ignited. The relative safety of the fireworks we are used to are not so common here. These spirals of fire engage the crowd by spewing fire — no standing still, you are ready to dance out of this beast’s path.