Yesterday I finished up one of my face-to-face classes, except for the final. I have another class meeting tomorrow,  exams next week, and then grading and clean up for all three classes. By the 18th I’ll have the grades turned in and be through with that for a month.

The plan then was to come home and quickly take care of my regulars, get a couple more of the Arts Center lessons done, and be ready for rehearsal.

In fact, there was a lot of human contact yesterday. One of my regulars wants to have a blog of his own and wants me to set it up for him and teach him to use it. A previous client wants me to train his office to use Twitter and keep up a company blog. I’d like to do more of this type of work, actually, but of course the first one will require planning and the making of handouts.

Then I had an actual physical visit from a graphic designer of my acquaintance. Business is not good. I was sort of amazed. How could business not be good when I have to beg designers to take on jobs for me?

Well, she has no website, and she specializes in print work. Print work is shrinking. She has relied on word of mouth for her entire career, and had just sat down that morning to do a postcard for a long-time client — a postcard designed to get people to their website so they could cut back on their print and mail campaigns.

Unlike most of the people who come to talk with me about their desire to work in my milieu, she has skills which are in high demand, can use modern software, and is willing to learn new skills. I think I can help her out.

Then there were some tech issues. One of the new job offers I got yesterday (and I think they are increasing — maybe I had better keep track and see whether this is a trend) was to write an article about Wii Music. I reviewed it at Amazon (and they didn’t send it to me for free or anything), and apparently the manufacturer put it at their website, where this guy saw it. He’s building a new site for music teachers, and wants me to write about Wii Music’s educational potential. fun, of course. However, he needs screenshots. The Computer Guy said to use a camera. I didn’t like that answer, so I put some time into research on that question. I’ll also need to play Wii Music a bit, since I haven’t done so in a while. Clearly, this will be a project for which the fun quotient will be high. I just need to keep it profitable as well.

Or not. It may be that a low per-hour rate for playing Wii is perfectly acceptable.

And then my Arts Center project got slippery. I’m doing the physics of sound, with a set of old lesson plans involving badly-designed experiments. I’ve already roped #1 son into playing with rubber bands (I had to go buy some for the purpose) and will then be moving on to garden hose and PVC pipes.

How fun is that?

Today’s song is one which I think I have never included in the musical Advent calendar before: “O Christmas Tree.”

I am including it because, in honor of physics (which is in my work life and also in my play life because we are starting the new season of SPOB, the Science and Philosophy Online Bookclub, with Why Does E=MC2?), I am offering you “O, Energy,” a carol to the tune of “O Christmas Tree” by Will Wicker from Wakefield High School.

Here are Will’s lyrics:

Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, conserving you’s not up to me.
Some people say, “Don’t waste a Watt!!” They say it’s true, I say it’s not!
Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, conserving you’s not up to me.

Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, con-ser-va-tion, that’s the key.
What’s the big deal, what’s the fuss? Electric bills are fooling us.
Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, con-ser-va-tion, that’s the key.

Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, you are conserved in spite of me.
Your conservation is the law, you’re not used up, just changed, that’s all.
Oh, en-er-gy, oh, en-er-gy, you are conserved in spite of me.

Not sure why he felt the need for all those hyphens, but it’s cool, isn’t it?

The tune is from a German folk song of the Renaissance. The most common English words were settled (to the extent that they were settled) in 1824 or so, when hardly any English speakers had Christmas trees.  The Nazis, according to Wikipedia, popularized the song again in their day in an effort to get Christ out of Christmas. I know that the Third Reich was into neo-pagan philosophy, but I can’t substantiate this claim from Wikipedia — everywhere else that it turns up online, Wikipedia is the source. Obviously, I wouldn’t accept this in a student paper.

One of the most popular arrangements today is Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas version. I have Nat King Cole’s recording, which has both German and English words. They Might Be Giants has also recorded this, and Mannheim Steamroller. And this really is a good one to sing idly as you go about your daily work, even if your daily work is perhaps less fun than mine, what with not  involving video games and physics experiments conducted with bits of rubbish from your garage.