Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category
I know that the reason for regular ROW80 check-ins is not to brag about our accomplishments (okay, not solely), but also to share those less than stellar times when we are floundering and need the support of our fellow ROWers to get us going again. Still, I somehow managed to avoid three check-ins in the past two weeks (one at Many Worlds and two here) because I felt I had nothing to report.
I wasn’t writing, and somehow, I’d begun to equate words on the page as the only marker of actual progress I could use. Which is (of course) very silly on my part. I was doing a ton of things, above and beyond the normal stuff of daily life. If anything, I’ve had to become extra creative to fit in those normal things… a few dishes here and there while waiting for my hot water in the morning, sort a few clothes and move a load for folding out on my way downstairs…
Thursday and Friday I was “at college” with my son as he was invited to participate in a set of workshops* with the drama department at Hudson Valley CC and Shakespeare & Co. for their Northeast Regional tour. A mini-homeschooling conference on Tuesday, car inspection and repairs on Wednesday, dental visits on both Monday and last Thursday, and on and on…
Oh, and I have managed to get back to some writing-related stuff. The classes I am taking on Ancient Portus (not so much the Maritime Archaeology one) and the American South (global view) have provided a great deal of fodder for my stories. Time Team episodes have given me a deeper realism of the past and what skies might look like, smells, even how the water might be… We like to romanticize the past by imagining things were so much cleaner and purer (or how much more violent and dangerous) things were. At least in fiction, especially, there seems to be a sense that we do things so very different than we used to.
Then we have to consider facts like the Tiber river had become so polluted during by the 2nd C BC in Rome that there were purification rituals for the river itself (and an increased need for well drilling), that the slag heaps from ancient iron smelting were stacked so high in some places they made their own mountains (and became a source of iron in WWI), or man-made hills of discarded pottery in Italy… just think of the trees that had to be cut down and burned for those kilns and furnaces (making charcoal uses an insane amount of wood in its own right).
So, yeah… I’m getting some definite ideas about the world in more stories, smells, sights, textures. And I even managed some newish words last night. Yay!
*For the record… After Friday’s 3½ hr session on clowning, I have acquired a great respect for the control needed for any comedic actor as well an awe at the passion the Boodle brought to his parts. He’s an amazing kid.
It’s official. I am the world’s most inconsistent blogger.
(It’s also official… I do NOT like WordPress’s idea of a “newer, easier to use” [I forget the exact words they used] editor. Give me the clunky thing in my Dashboard/Admin area. Love that so much!)
Anyway… I’m back.
Another Round of Words in 80 Days began today, and since I volunteered to sponsor (I haven’t ROWed in a long time, and I miss the gentle nudges to write regularly), I need to blog. Why didn’t I choose my beloved writing blog Many Worlds From Many Minds? I don’t know: maintenance reasons, emotional reasons… Just reasons.
In the spirit of a ROW, it’s time to set some goals to keep tabs on throughout the next eighty days. I’m going low-key right now with the option (one I’m sure I will exercise because I always do) of adding goals later in the ROWnd.
In fact, my first (and main) goal is going to be: Assess progress weekly and add more projects as needed.
Notice I didn’t say “adjust” or “tweak” or any of those other (sometimes weaselly) words that allow me to drop a challenging project just because something newer and shinier has come into view? Well, I’m ALL about the shiny, trust me, but I’ve come to realize how self-defeating that behavior can be.
I just spent whole weekend cleaning out (actually I still have a few more hours left on the project yet) my OneNote files, notes that have piled up since 2003, notes that had not been synced correctly when I upgraded in 2010… notes that came with seven (yes, seven!) “conflicted versions” because a random change or edit got saved on one machine and not another.
My next project is to make sure all my story files are saved, backed up and synced correctly, and that also will include digging into some scary archives. Time to pull out DOSBox and Wordperfect 5.1 to make sure I have all the comments and notes.
And in the interim… I have the goals of:
- working through three chapters weekly of James Scott Bell’s Plot& Structure (including exercises)
- catching up in my local critique group (including submitting something this week)
- typing two pages a day of old notebooks in
And THAT is enough for anyone right now.
It’s been a process of rediscovering old interests, passions and… bad habits. But thing can change. In fact, they always do.
Today, I’m a bit late with my First Friday Photo post. We were cleaning house and moving furniture. All sorts of my least favorite, but necessary, activities…
That means my head just wasn’t on blogging or pictures or pretty much anything until just before I should have gotten ready for karate. I’m not going to that tonight because there’s a Dr. Who event at the local Barnes & Noble that the Boodle wants to go to… yes, I’ll take pictures and post them one of these days.
Anyway… my contribution for the First Friday Photo is a small foreshadowing of the thing I’m planning on doing tomorrow… which is trying to capture a near-perfect camera RAW image of a firework using manual mode (despite it being slower for my camera to process and write to its compact flash card).
I’ve had some luck with auto-mode shots. My old Canon G5 can write JPEGs to its CF card reasonably fast. It’s a dog at writing RAWs though. And RAWs with a reasonable exposure-time? Good time to catch a cat-nap between shots….
So I’m actually very happy to have captured these last Thursday during the Tri-City ValleyCats game:
They aren’t perfect, but they are exceptionally detailed captures. And I learned a bit trying to catch these, such as I should ignore my camera’s exposure warning and speed up the shutterspeed just a touch more (the excess light in the Finale shot means I could even turn down the ISO a nudge and get a less noisy image).
And the top image? What do you think it is? How do you think it was taken? Any guesses?
If you’ve got an image you’d like to share, jump on in and post your picture to the First Friday blog hop. We’re a social group, and we love to talk and discuss our images.
I don’t want to make today’s blog post into a diatribe, but I have so many opinions that I usually don’t want to share with the world… Would the world accept them? Does the world care? Who am I to have an opinion on things I only know third-hand through the biases of social media and my oddly-sheltered childhood?
Thing is, I have opinions, and I have a place to express them. I want to express them.
Doesn’t mean I should…
To express my opinion on most of these things means the first; it means I have to do something beyond saying “I agree/disagree” with something. At the very least, I need to express why, and sometimes I don’t know exactly why—I just know I feel the way I feel. More research needed… and yet, it’s not right of me to be a social voyeur (at least not anymore than I already am with my writer’s people-watching addiction) as in the most recent brouhaha over the ATI families, TLC and the molestations.
Does my researching and exploring the situation make it better? Or am I adding yet one more layer of schadenfreude to the situation?
If I want to go a step further, I can ask people to act on something I believe in such as this link for a petition on MoveOn.org about trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Put up, or shut up… I can speak out, let the world know how I feel and ask them to act with me.
If I don’t, then clearly I am comfortable enough with the way things are, with the way things might go (even if they get worse). I’m content with “putting up” with it for a long time too.
Please sign, btw. True Equal Rights will go a long way to preventing things like the above mentioned situation.
My personal “putting up” involves something far less dramatic or grand scale. That said, it does affect my life greatly.
Lately I’ve had problems with my part-time teaching position at my son’s school. The class I am teaching now is nothing like the class I signed up to teach (1st year French). Now, I have students self-studying, with guidance, seven different languages. I’m trying to inspire them to learn the language they chose because they chose it, and because they have a reason to learn it. Three children put in consistent effort because they want to learn their language…. three students out of twelve. The rest.. well, they say this is what they want to do, but they don’t do it.
I’m not quite sure where to go next. I’ve already made it clear that there are no grades in the class; that the learning is for them; that am available to talk with about trouble they might be having, etc. and as a dialogue partner and/or mentor; and…
I have three students who have shown me they have an interest.
As I had originally thought I was going to be teaching French as an elective class, … three dedicated students might actually be a good thing.
But, today is the second to last class of the year. The final project needed to be handed off to another class for artwork… last week. Do I ask my students who haven’t put in any effort to “put up or shut up” for a weekend rush? Is it fair to ask the rest of the children to put up with their class time being disrupted constantly by the disruptions and goofing off of those that aren’t doing their work. (To me, the answer to the last question is obviously “no”, but both the kids and I are in pretty untenable positions; the kids don’t want to be there, and I am trying to make everyone happy, when it’s clear that no one is.)
But… for now, I am putting up with it. The year is almost over. I know a lot more about what I am willing to put up with, and… what I have put up before I have no choice but to shut up.
“Audacity, more audacity and always audacity.” by Georges Jacques Danton
If you’re online, you get spam some way, some how. From proclamations of wealth overseas to titillating your lover better than any other man (which always struck me as funny, for obvious reasons), most spam is a horrible waste of time and mental energy. And of course, the dangers of falling for the spammers’ tricks could fill several blog pages…
But did you know that spam could be fun? Or empowering?
Well, it can at least be somewhat fun. Read the rest of this entry »