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Rubber Duck Website


After gave most of it’s members the boot (see previous post), we had to find a new host for Rubber Duck Theater. We set up an account on YouTube, but YouTube is over-the-top with their copy write filters and either places ads on videos or blocks them entirely even for videos that don’t actually break any copy write laws. When you do movie reviews, you are allowed to use small snipits of movies. You can challenge YouTube, but that’s a nuisance. We did manage to upload 42 of our 45 episodes so far, but still not the best solution.

We then tried Vimeo. Their free account was useless because there was only enough space for a couple of videos, even though our online episodes are only between 300-400MB each. So we paid $60 for their “Plus” account, but this account only allows users to upload 5GB per week. A time consuming task uploading 45 episodes. But we are up to episode #31 as of today, and so far no copy write issues like YouTube. Vimeo also has a pro account, but it’s more than we want to spend for our public access non-profit videos.

Then we thought why not host the videos ourselves and not deal with these video sharing sites? We already have several hosting accounts for various projects. But this can really put a strain on hosting bandwidth. Our best solution so far is to host the actual videos on Amazon’s servers. Amazon offers lots of server space and very it’s very inexpensive. So, we’ve uploaded our episodes to an Amazon Web Service (AWS) “S3” account and linked the videos to this blog powered by WordPress on a hosting account. It’s nice to have full control over our content and no annoying ads to deal with.

Our Community TV station is also working on videos on demand, so we hope to have our show at as well. Still more work to do on this site and also need to update our Facebook account, which is all linked to So, that is where we are at now.



Grafton News Transitions to New Ownership


The Grafton News, a fixture in the Grafton community for the last 53 years, recently transitioned to new ownership.

Founder Charles N. Bolack has sold his interest in the weekly newspaper and its website to editor and publisher Donald E. Clark, graphic designer Wendy L. Watkins and website developer Cynthia M. Bissell, all residents of Grafton.

Bolack will continue to write “Up and Down the Highways,” the weekly column he has penned since 1958 when the newspaper was founded. He will also continue to be listed as “publisher emeritus” in the newspaper’s masthead.

Clark was named editor of the Grafton News in 2003 and publisher in January 2011. He started with the newspaper in 2002. He has been involved in journalism, newspapers, publishing, and graphic design for many years. Clark holds an associate’s degree from Worcester Junior College and a bachelor of arts in English from Worcester State College (now University).

Watkins has been the newspaper’s graphic designer for the past four years. Born in Montreal, she has a degree in commercial art from Dawson College. She was formerly an art director for Phillips-Magnavox in Canada

Bissell started, the online version of the Grafton News, in 2009. A registered nurse, she began creating web sites professionally in 1998 and has received several awards and citations for her work on the development of specialized medical and disability-related Internet resources.

“Charlie started the Grafton News as a way to help foster the civic, cultural and economic life of the area, just as it says on our masthead,” said Clark. “Although we may explore new ways to do it, there’s no reason we should change that philosophy.”

View article as it appeared in The Grafton News


Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley was written in 1964 by Jeff Brown (illustrated by Tomi Ungerer). It is the first in a series of books about Stanley Lambchop who became flat after a bulletin board fell on him. He discovered that being flat could be fun. He could fit into a large envelope and travel easily (and cheaply) by mail!

In the mid-1990’s a 3rd grade teacher in Canada decided to use the Flat Stanley story as a teaching tool to facilitate letter-writing for his students. The students would make paper Flat Stanleys and then take Stanley with them and document the places they went in a journal. The students would then mail Stanley and the journal to others, who were asked to treat Stanley as a guest, add to his journal and then return him to the student.

The focus of the project was literacy, but students also learned about the different places that Stanley had visited. Many Stanley’s were returned with photos and interesting information about the places he visited. His travels could also be tracked on maps for a lesson in Geography.

This project soon caught on in many other schools across several different countries and now thousands of school children are doing Flat Stanley projects. Several variations on the original idea have also developed over the years. Some projects are quite elaborate, such as this excellent video showing Stanley’s adventures in Hollywood.

Stanley has also visited many exotic places and met many famous people in his travels. He is sort of like the traveling gnome, except the focus with Stanley is educational.

Flat Stanley Skydiving


Flat Stanley visits the President


This summer Eric’s class did a Flat Stanley project in which Stanley spent part of summer vacation with the students. The kids were asked to take photos of the places they visited with Stanley to share with the class. This turned out to be a fun project for the whole family.

Here are some of the places Eric took Stanley:

Stanley at the Nelson Park Ice Cream Social, Worcester, MA


Stanley at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada


Stanley at WaterFire, Providence, RI


Stanley at Grafton Common


Stanley at the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston


More Photos of Eric and Stanley’s summer travels on Flickr: Flat Stanley Set

The students were also asked to make two Flat Stanleys to send to friends or relatives in other states, so that the students could learn about different states. Eric sent Stanley to Aunt Phyllis in Florida and to Aunt Joyce in New York.

The Official Flat Stanley’s Website