Corona – Day 16 – My Playlist

Streaming2017I gave my students the task to create a playlist with songs that get them though this strange time. Party one of the task was the playlist and they also had to wrote a few sentences about each song and why they chose it. I decided to do it as well and here’s the result. You can click on the title to get to Spotify.

My Corona Playlist

I tried (pretended) to be a eclectic in my music taste and decided not to use some all-time favourites. I decided to mostly go for quiet and somber songs with some nice crescendos. Most of the songs are light on electric instruments and focus on piano, strings and so on, but that wasn’t a rule, I mostly just went for songs that work in the background as well as active listening.

Here we go:

A good playlist starts strong, you need to communicate that you mean “business”, you need to introduce the theme of your playlist….

Track 1: “In the House – In a Heartbeat (28 Days Later OST)” by John Murphy

Yes, I’m opening with the soundtrack of the Zombi apocalypse. This track has a driving quality, almost a crescendo that ends very quietly with just a guitar.…

Because, as we all know, you start strong and then you calm down…

Track 2: “Diamond” by Bandit Heart

…crickets…and then we get this melancholic song. “Time is a bandit..”. Yeah, it feels like corona is stealing a lot of time from us.

…ok…lets’s keep the mood but with a bit more “oomph”.

Track 3: “Fake Empire “by The National

I love this songs especially for Berniger’s baritone voice. You don’t hear that often in music like this. The songs has a somber tone yet, its weirdly engaging and almost uplifting, which nags us to…

Track 4: “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car” by Iron & Wine

Let’s get a bit folky. These are strange times but let’s try to be upbeat and live in the moment and let the rhythm move and the strings sooth you.

Which brings us to track 5 & 6… the midpoints of this 10 song playlist….time to bring the heat…time to turn it up…

Track 5: “Defying Gravity (from Wicked)” by Stephen Schwartz

There are many musical power ballads but there’s only one “Defying Gravity”. Performed by Christin Chenoweth & Irina Menzel (Elsa from Frozen) this song actually makes you defy gravity….and I think that’s what we all could use right now. (I could do a whole playlist with just musicals…depending on how long this goes on, I actually might.)

And we stay strong…

Track 6: “Your Song (Live)” by Elton John

Yes, even the social distancing there needs to be time for one of the greatest love songs ever. Live in Australia with an orchestra in the background…for added effect. It was either this or “Tiny Dancer”.

Time to calm down again before the big finale…

Track 7: “Pt. II C (The Köln Concert)” by Keith Jarrett

Yes, we stay with the piano, but let’s go solo piano jazz played by Keith Jarrett…If you don’t know, this is one of the most beloved Jazz albums of all time. “Pt. II C” is technically the encore. The music is just beautiful and I highly recommend the whole album. Fun fact: He wanted to cancel the performance because he caught a cold.

Track 8: “George by Moroder“ by Daft Punk

Let’s get the groove going with Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder (the “Father of Disco”) and a track with a great “needle drop”. This is one of my favorite Daft Punk tracks. I also recommend the “Tron Legacy” soundtrack.

We’re getting closer to the end….so it’s time to get back to the theme again…

Track 9: “The Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter

A piece of music that explores the meaning of time, something we all do right now. What does time even mean in the age of corona? Max Richter is a german-british composer who walks the line between classical and contemporary. Worth a listen is also “Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons”.

And finally….

Track 10: “My Body is a Cage” by Peter Gabriel

From his album “Scratch my Back” Perle Gabriel covers this Arcade Fire song in an orchestral arrangement. A beautiful haunting version…. don’t we all feel a bit caged at the moment?

…and…well, there’s nothing left to say. Stay healthy.

Corona – Day 15 – Workflow

Back from I little blog  break. I had a relatively quite weekend 1. I uploaded an old video essay of mine, damn you youtube content filter, and then I uploaded an edited version again. 2

I’m already working on an other video essay and I think I have a decent plan for this weeks episode of “Mr. Vogt Explains”. The plan is to write it on Wednesday and record some new band inserts, and then, like last week I shoot and edit the episode on Thursday. At least that’s the plan.

I spend most of the day correcting, as long as my students hand in their stuff like they are supposed to, the workflow is pretty great. I use my iPad to correct, so I can do it with “a pen” without having to print or scan anything. When it work, it works like magic…unless….well, lets not go there.

I have to get some dinner now and then it’s more correcting before I go to bed early to get rid of this jet-lag, damn you daylight savings time.

Worst time of the year

  1. like everyone else I presume.
  2. Those content / copyright laws are really outdated.

Corona – Day 12 – Murphy’s Law

Feedback to the video has been good. I just sent it to a couple of students and I’m not claiming that I’m hitting YouTube jackpot here, but one could say that the video went a bit viral. 🙂

That being said, work on episode two has officially begun. I’m aiming for that 10minute mark. I’ll probably record some more band reactions and I have some ideas for “Anonymous Reporting”.

One thing I might have to introduce thought, “RANT!”. Guess what, the video got copyright flagged for the shirt Corona Song clip. I’m probably not gonna dispute the claim, there’s no money in it, but doing a segment on copyright seems like an interesting idea.

That being said, I’m toying with the idea to do something really educational next time. Should something besides Corona come up over the weekend, I’m seriously going to consider that.

Another idea, I might use a topic my students are working on (Revolution of 1848 or WW II) and do something educational and fun about. WW II with jokes, what could go wrong.

I’m taking a blog break this weekend. I have to start with some grading, apparently of you let your students do work, you have to correct it at some point. Who knew.

Besides that I have to get my new D&D campaign running. I have the first few sessions outlined and I know where I want the campaign to go but I need to adapt to new circumstances. It will be “trial and error” but by now I’m used to that.

If it works out, I might actually try to join an online D&D game.

Murphy s law

WW II with jokes, what could go wrong?

Corona – Day 10 – Proof of Concept

Yeah, the ting with the computer didn’t go that well. Had to go all the way and apparently at 2 in the morning I made a mistake with the partitioning and now i need to shove some stuff around. At least I finally git the iCloud to work properly. 

I did a videoconference with two of my classes today. Went quite good. Not the best quality though. Not sure if it’s me, them or just the technology being at it’s limit. 

That being said, I worked on the video today. Uploading it to youtube right now. Probably not the final one yet, just figuring out how its going to look but it’s going to take ages to upload it. It runs almost 7 minutes and it turned out quite OK. I had to redo the whole Intro but recording myself was a bit weird but If I keep doing it, It will get better. I’m a bit stiff. 

The material itself is ok. Nothing too insightful or groundbreaking but as a “proof-of-concept” it will do. I don’t expect a TV station or so to call, but with a bit of practice it might not be too bad.

Stay tuned. 

Corona – Day 9 – Setbacks

Damn it. My computer has issues. It crashed and became unusable just as I was about to finish the first drafting of the script for the first episode. 

Need to reset everything. Might take a while. I just hope that all the things I prepared yesterday (not backed up yet) are not lost. That would suck.

Wish me luck.

Not looking good. Tried a reinstall. FUBAR. Looks like I get a clean mac. I might use a late backup for all the non cloud data but unfortunately the new stuff was just on the HD. Looks like the first episode premieres a bit later than anticipated.

Corona – Day 8 – Quick & Dirty

Just a short one today. Students are working and so am I. Some of them are actually doing a great job and are very motivated…some not so much.

My webcam arrived today and my setup is complete now. I recorded the band segments today, yes my show has a band and familiarised myself with the Adobe Premiere. Tomorrow is the first day of shooting the actual episode. I have some jokes lined up already and the plan is to put together a 10min show by the end of the week. Who knows, depending on how long this lasts I might actually start to do video essays on a regular basis. 

Stay tuned and healthy.

Corona – Day 6 & 7 – One week down

So it’s Sunday evening. The first week is over and what a week it has been. I just finished updating tasks for my students. They should be busy for the next couple of days. I’m really curious how the students will handle those assignments I shared with them. Ideally it’s something I might use once regular school resumes.

The goal for next week is to plan a face-to-face lesson with at least one class. I probably use mine, I’ll set a date and we’ll see see how capable the video conference feature is. Speaking about video, my proper webcam should arrive tomorrow so I might start with with test recordings for my “show” tomorrow. I have some ideas for the first episode, I am aiming for a 10 minute version of “Last Week Tonight”. It’s going be  more of a “proof of concept” than anything else. I’m not sure though I I have the broadcast energy to come across the way I intend to, it’s probably going to be very embarrassing but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. 🙂

The other area I looked into this weekend was D&D. We have a pretty good group together and we decided to keep playing through the crisis, so we’re switching to online. I looked into roll20 and it looks quite good. It seems manageable without too much hassle. I prefer sitting round a table but it’s definitely better than not playing.

I’m in the middle of learning Premiere. So stay tuned for next weeks adventure in homeschooling.

To close the day, a german video that explains quite well why you should stay put.

Corona – Day 5 – Remain Indoors

No big news today. I’m settling in, students seem to be working and home-office starts to become normal. I have a broad plan for the next few weeks and I’m now trying to find ways to make those tasks more fun for students or to maybe prepare a reward for them. I testing out a bunch of software and I’m making progress. I’ll probably try to cut a little movie tomorrow and figure out how to properly record a podcast.

The plan is to start writing creatively this weekend as well. As I said, I’m getting the hang of this and between tech-support and watching tutorials I’m sure I can find some time to write.

That’s it for today. Stay healthy and remain indoors.

Corona – Day 4 – What to consume during the Apocalypse

Today was a holiday but that didn’t stop me from working. I updated the tasks for tomorrow, so I’ll only have to answer questions tomorrow and I still have that exam to grade.

I promised you some entertainment tips to get through the days, so without further ado, here’s a list with some suggestions:


On the non-fiction side, I really recently read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. An interesting exploration about why certain people succeed. I also enjoyed “Winners Take All” by Anand Giridharadas. He takes a look at the rich elite and their philanthropic endeavour… and why that’s a problem. Entertaining and gripping. “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari is also worth a read. An interesting look at the history of mankind. Last but not least “Five Came Back” by Mark Harris about the World War “ experiences of five great directors.

On the Fiction side, everything by Neil Gaiman is usually a good idea. John August recently released the third and final part in his middle-grade fiction series “Arlo Finch in the Kingdom of Shadows”, fun and exiting bed-time reading. If you want to prepare yourself for what’s about to come, “World War Z” by Max Brooks, just kidding. 🙂


I listen to lot of music while working on my home office and I’m a huge fan of subsection services that let me try out everything. I’m really into anything Max Richter at the moment. I also stumbled upon a playlist of “Early Music”. These old chords have something soothing that I quite enjoy right now.


With theatres closed the only way to ghostwrited is back to the classics or some recent but mostly forgotten fare. “Contagion” or “Outbreak” is apparently what everyone is watching and if you’re into self-punishing, “Cats” is out on VOD. I quite enjoyed the two news DC Animated flicks “Death and Return of Superman” and “Superman: Red Son”. Also on my rewatch list “Dawn of the Dead” both Versions and “The Andromeda Strain”. Are you sensing a theme yet?


There’s a now season of “Cosmos” airing. It’s called “Cosmos – Parallel Worlds” and it’s quite good. I also gave “The Outsider” a shot and three episodes in, I’m quite intrigued. It’s a gritty cop procedural meets…. that would be a spoiler. See for yourself. The last episode of “Star Trek: Picard” was pretty interesting as well. Season finale next week. If you’re into something older and weirder: “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace”. Too weird to describe, but it’s on YouTube. You’re welcome.


Speaking of YouTube. There are a couple of channels I’d like to recommend. Patrik Willems produces great video-essays about movies, as do Bob Chipman and Lindsay Ellis. If you’re into Essays about film music, Sideways is a must subscribe. For the of you into food and cooking, check out SORTEDfood.


I reactivated my PS5 and Switch. The plan was to wait for “Last of Us 2” and “Cyberpnk 2077” but instead I’m playing “Detroit: Become Human” and “Luigi’s Mansion 3”.

So this is it for today. Stay healthy until tomorrow.

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Go figure. 🙂

Corona – Day 3 – What’s in a day

I’m a master procrastinator, so working from home is really dangerous for me but these first two and a half days of “Corona Time” have been quite productive. Communication with students seems to work and most of them are hard at work. One challenge is going to be to make sure that no-one falls through the cracks. I listened to a couple of voice memos my students made, discussing a book. Works great, why didn’t I do this earlier.

Another class writes their results down in the ClassNotebook and discusses current events. If one good thing comes out of this, then it’s the fact that more people in schools embrace the possibilities modern technology provides. I count myself among those.

I promised you some insight into my day and I intend to deliver. I get up around 7 and take a morning stroll. Around 8 I’m back home and around 8:30 I’m in “the office”. So far I usually start the day with checking emails and answering questions. After that I make sure that all my classes for that day have enough work. I obviously make sure of that earlier but yo never know if someone has questions. As I already mentioned I listened to some voice-memos and I started working on a treat for my students… I finally might go full John Oliver. But more on that another time.

I adjusted the teams a bit, watched some tutorials and then it was lunchtime already. After lunch it did more of the same, I also helped my dad a bit in the garden. I have to make sure that I get out of the office regularly. I’m trying to break early today, I will still listen to some memos and answer messages but I worked enough for a day. Tomorrow is a holiday so no work for my students. I might sleep in tomorrow. I also have to correct an exam from last week, so might just do that tomorrow or maybe Friday. I definitely put in my hours these last couple of days so I think I deserve some rest.

I will definitely blog tomorrow. I’m planing to give out some recommendations of things to watch, read and listen.

Let me end today with a little tease though:

Mr. Vogt Explains the World

Coming Soon…