One of the personal projects that has taken quite a bit of my time lately has been helping our symphony orchestra prepare for their mid-winter family concert.

This year, the all of the music including the featured work, The Light Princess" was written by my daughter, Amy, who is a music composition major at The Master's College.

Amy has been working for years on the arrangements for this concert which is called "Tunes, Tales, and Truths." The concert will feature the World Premier of “The Light Princess,” an adaptation of George MacDonald's beloved fairy-tale into orchestral music and narration.

The concert will also include a sweeping suite of original music: pirate legends, great awakenings, swinging jazz, and powerful tales of redemption and new life.

T3 poster - painting with title text

See that painting above? That's an original painting -- one of 10 -- that Amy commissioned for the concert. Working with the artist, Jay Wegter, Amy designed the theme and sketch for each piece of art which Jay then masterfully painted. These will be presented on giant screens during the concert. After the concert, the original score and the 10 paintings will be available in the lobby for closer inspection.

Continue Reading "Of Tunes, Tales and Truths -- and The Light Princess" »

Why I love teaching at The Master’s College

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Eric Teaching 2 (small).jpg

Imagine returning to your old college – seeing students learning what you learned so many years ago, maybe even from the same professors, getting the same education you did. Imagine returning to be part of their journey!

That's just what I've been doing for seven years as an adjunct professor at The Master's College. Obviously, I have the best students in the world, and I love my subjects and the school's commitment to Biblically-based teaching.

The Biblical perspective shapes everything about teaching here, from how the material is presented to how professors engage with the students.

Continue Reading "Why I love teaching at The Master's College" »
Not long after my Introduction to Robotics course started, it got its very first press coverage!

Three years ago, I was interviewed by Jason Cremeen, a student writing for The Master's Piece, a student publication of The Master's College. What I love about this article is how Jason emphasizes that this course is not an engineering program for computer nerds only -- it's a hands-on critical-thinking course for anyone.

You can read Jason's article here.

2012 - Robotics students2.jpg
We had a great first session of my Intro to Robotics class last night at The Master's College! I have 17 upper-division computer science majors, and I think they're even more excited about this course than me!

The students were so engaged last night that I asked them whether they'd like to stay an extra half-hour, and every one of them said yes.

After the lecture, we spent time in the lab building our test robots. It's going to be a lot of fun helping them move from inanimate software development to moving parts!

20150120 - Intro to Robotics 1.JPG

20150120 - Intro to Robotics 2.JPG

For more info on the course, see here.

Starting this evening, I'll be teaching Intro to Robotics at The Master's College once again. I love having this opportunity to teach students critical thinking and problem-solving in a very hands-on way -- by building robots that solve puzzles and attack each other!

I created this course at Master's a couple years ago. At the time, a few students from the College made this (admittedly silly) video to show in Master's chapel to promote the course:

Of course, this video is not wholly accurate. Students never watch cartoons in my class (though they have been known to eat M&M's).

And since we're on the subject of teaching...

Pop quiz!
Which TMC faculty and staff did you see in the video?
How many different robots were shown?
Bonus: whose lab was this shot in?

I look forward to sharing more about this class!

A fuller description of the course is available at masters.edu.

I've recently graduated from the Eric Mack school of self-taught welding for beginners. I have completed my first major welding project welding the frame for the deck of my new computer desk.
20140803-EricAndWeldedDeckOfHisComputerDesk.jpg
Now, I need to learn how to properly finish the metal, including sanding and painting. I'm thinking of either finishing the bare metal with a clear sealer or perhaps painting. I have zero experience with metal finishing but YouTube is my friend and I'm willing to learn.

If anyone has links to share or experience to offer by phone that would be great!
19890526-MickeySmilesUponTheNewlyEngagedCouple.jpg
Last week I shared how Kathleen and I met and how we've been making music together for the past 25 years. Today is the anniversary of our engagement.

Kathy shares the story of our engagement as she experienced it:
I had just come through the worst graduate class created on the face of the earth - Anthrolopogical Linguistics. It was the last class I needed to have my clear teaching credential. I'll tell you what, I just did not understand that class. I could not figure out how one African tribe's dialect differed from another's, and why I should care. In 20 years of teaching, I've never needed any of that information. Oh well, that aside. I had just finished the final exam. That's the background information you need to know.

We had arranged to have dinner with a couple with whom we sang in choir. Their daughter was going to be in my kindergarten class the following school year, and they said they wanted to get to know me better. Janet said she would stop by and pick me up, and we would pick her husband up from work before meeting Eric at a restaurant for dinner.

Janet's husband, Steve, was a flight instructor out of Burbank airport. On the way to the airport, about three blocks away, Janet's car broke down - I later learned this was not part of the plan. We walked the rest of the way.

When we got inside the lobby, I told her I was going to find a phone and give Eric a call to tell him we would be late. As I walked across the lobby, I looked out the big picture window and saw Steve and Eric standing outside. I expressed my surprise, and Janet steered me out to where the plane was parked.

Eric pulled out a rose, and told me we were going on an airplane trip to celebrate the completion of my class.

Steve and Janet promptly put on their "Peter Pan" and "Tinkerbell" identification tags, and we were off.

We flew to Santa Barbara, and Steve took the plane to the end of the runway. There was a restaurant there, The Elephant Bar, and we were dropped off. Steve and Janet taxied away. Now I was really confused. Why were our friends, whom I thought were celebrating my class being over, going away?

We were taken to a corner table, where I was presented with another rose - by the way, did I mention that I received roses throughout the day? At work, and in my apartment. Well, the love of my life asked me to marry him, and I was shocked that he pulled off this surprise. I knew the proposal was coming - after all, he had already asked my father, and several times over the previous weeks he would say, "Now, IF I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?" He really had me believing that it would happen the following weekend, though.

Of course, I accepted, and was given a beautiful engagement ring. The silly waiter snapped a picture of us, and himself, and we had a delightful dinner.

When we finished, Steve and Janet were waiting outside with yet another rose. Did I mention that I love red roses?

We then did something I always wanted to do, fly over the coast and Los Angeles. We even flew down to Long Beach and over the Queen Mary.

Now, along the way, we stopped at the Oxnard landing strip, and were greeted by Eric's friend, Rick. He toasted us, from his tailgate, with sparkling cider and another rose.

When we arrived back at Burbank, we were greeted by another friend from church, who presented me with another rose, and he drove us back to Eric's condo. There, we were set up with more sparkling cider, cheesecake, and more roses!

To say the least, I was absolutely blown away with the attention to detail and love that went into this. So many people worked together to help me feel special, and they did a fabulous job!

So, Eric, thank you for asking me to marry you 15 years ago today. The years have been full of the good and the bad, but I'd do it all over again to be with you. Love you lots!!!

Posted at 5/26/2005 8:57:14 AM by Kathy Mack

The next day, we celebrated our engagement by spending the day at Disneyland.