A Happy Week for the Aase Family

This was a week that will be long remembered for the Aase family and for the Austin High School basketball program, as my son Joe and nephew Tom, both two-time all-conference players returning this year for their senior seasons, accepted scholarship offers to play college basketball.

Austin hasn’t had a scholarship basketball player since 1999, so having two players accept offers in one week is quite a milestone. And it’s pretty cool that I’m related to both of them!

Joe committed to Davidson College (read about it here and here), while Tom is going to the University of Sioux Falls.

It’s great to have these decisions made, so the boys can focus on their high school season. With three starters returning from last year’s state tournament team, Austin is hoping to make some noise.

A Revolutionary Opportunity

I received a call last November from a writer with Minnesota Monthly, the magazine Minnesota Public Radio sends to its donors, saying that its editors had been brainstorming an article idea for February’s issue and wanted to include me. The feature was to include a dozen Minnesotans they called “The Revolutionaries” and would involve a professional photo shoot, which they scheduled for December.

The February issue was sent to subscribers and available on newsstands in mid-January, but the articles weren’t online until last week. Here’s the lead-in to the “Revolutionary” profiles in the article, entitled “The Revolutionaries: 12 Minnesotans who are changing the way we think about the world—and its future.

It’s never been harder to think big. From an economy that keeps many of us clinging to crummy jobs to small-minded partisan bickering that puts innovative projects on hold, looking beyond ourselves and this moment can be mind-bendingly hard.

Nonetheless, there are still dreamers out there—and more important, dreamers who take action. We rounded up 12 Minnesotans who are tackling projects that have the potential not just to change their industry, but to change the state, the country, and the world.

Check out the whole article, and you’ll see the photo I’ve adapted for my Twitter avatar.

An Aase State of Mind

That’s the headline from this story in today’s Austin Daily Herald about basketball in my hometown, and about our family’s history (and hopefully future) of participating in Minnesota’s state high school basketball tournament. Here’s an excerpt:

Austin center Joe Aase knows all about his dad Lee’s history on the basketball court.

He knows he went to the state basketball tournament in 1981 with the Packers and he knows he played in the title game.

Joe also knows about his sister Rebekah. He knows she played in the state basketball tournament in 2008 because he was there.

Now Joe’s hoping he finally gets his chance to play in the state tournament as the Packers (12-4 overall, 9-2 Big Nine) are currently sitting atop the Section 1A standings and are just a half game behind Owatonna in the Big Nine.

Read the whole story here.

As a dad, it was a great blessing to be able to watch Rebekah and her team get to the state tournament in 2008 (I wrote about it here), and now Joe and my nephew Tom (who also is a junior starter on the boys’ team) are part of a team that is poised to make a tournament run. It’s particularly neat for my dad and mom, who also still live in Austin, to be able to watch both grandsons play, and also to get to go to Rebekah’s games as she is now playing at the local community college.

As a volunteer with the team’s booster club, I’m applying the SMUG philosophy, using social media tools to track (and promote) the team’s progress through a blog (the Packer Fast Break Club site), a YouTube channel and a Twitter account. I’m using a Flip camera (on a tripod) to capture game highlights to post to YouTube.

Since I already had the Flip, the total cost for all of it is about $20 a year for the PackerFastBreakClub.com domain and mapping it from WordPress.com.

How are you using your SMUG lessons to provide low-cost, high impact support for community or volunteer programs?



Web Video 105: Why you should always use a tripod with a Flip

SMUG doesn’t have a formal curriculum in Web video (come to think of it, none of our curriculum is really formal in the accreditation sense.) I guess what I should say is SMUG doesn’t have a curriculum series in Web video.

That may change, but for now here is the first post in what might become a series.

I didn’t start with 101 for the course number, because I can think of some lessons that would be more introductory or basic than this one. But this is something you should learn early and take to heart:

Always use a tripod when shooting video with a consumer-grade video camera.

The videos below show the difference a tripod makes. The first is a compilation of highlights from my son Joe and nephew Tom, in their first few games of the high school basketball season. I’m using a WordPress.com blog as the team booster site. I used a Facebook group a couple of years ago to do the same for my daughter’s team. All of the video from these first games was shot using a tripod:

Last night, however, when the Austin boys played John Marshall High School in Rochester, I realized upon arriving at the game that I had left the camera base that connects to my tripod attached to my other camera. So I had to shoot the whole game holding the camera in my hand.

And while I haven’t yet edited the highlight video for the whole game (which Austin won by the palindromic score of 74-47), here’s one snippet that was particularly fun for me as a dad:

I really wish you could tell that was my son, Joe, but because I had a hand-held camera, it’s considerably more blurry than the earlier games. So please just take my word for it.

I think the other factor is that I was a little closer to the court than usual, and therefore had to move the camera more quickly to keep up with the action, which increased blurriness.

So, to summarize the lesson:

  1. Always bring a tripod.
  2. If you goof up and forget to bring a tripod and are shooting action footage, get some distance away to avoid introducing extra movement.
  3. If you are shooting an interview or something at close range, find some other surface (a box, a stack of books, etc.) upon which you can set the camera.
  4. Don’t mess with the Austin Packers. 😉

Seriously, it was pretty cool to get to see and capture my son’s first dunk in a high school basketball game. And I always try to turn these moments into teaching opportunities.

It’s the life of a Chancellor.

Christmas Eve Reflections on 2010

It’s 6:30 on Christmas Eve morning as I begin writing this. Why am up early on my first of five days off from work? Because my youngest daughter, Ruthie, needed to get to her nursing assistant job at 7, and we had to get a car free from six inches of new-fallen snow. Part of the record cumulative snowfall for December here in southern Minnesota, and further evidence for global warming.

But then again, isn’t everything?

So, as I sip coffee and wait for the snowfall to taper off so I can fire up my newly acquired snowblower (good year to get it, huh?), it’s time to reflect on – and give thanks for – the events of 2010.

Continue reading “Christmas Eve Reflections on 2010”