Blog

23
Sep

That Time When I Went to a Faculty Meeting and Shared too Much

medium_3890431165.jpgI'm teaching less this term. Which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I'm not, 100%, on the go. The curse is that I have to fill my days with stuff. 

The stuff part is relatively easy. I've got the freelance job going on and will be transitioning into writing and building coursework as well as white labeling and branding and a few other things. Which is exciting. Though I wonder at what point I will find a solidly established place to call home. 

However, as an adjunct Assistant Professor of English (often teaching a full-time-plus load), I was asked to attend a mandatory (and, apparently also, multiple-times-reinforced) faculty meeting during the middle of a re-accreditation. Or is this the beginning? Not sure which way. Could go in a lot of directions. The accreditation team is here for two, long days and this evening wanted to talk to a group of us. 

So, a group of them sat down with a group of us (sadly, about a 1:1 ratio) and asked poorly worded probing questions that resulted in primarily yes or no answers. This led to some follow-up or, in different cases, the need for very specific clarification of academic policy, which I am (unfortunately???)  versed in and, eventually, leading to a variety of potential deep-pit quagmires that may or may not cause additional questions to be asked of people. 

I shouldn't be allowed in meetings for something like four reasons. The first twenty-eight of which are: I don't know when to be quiet and when to speak. 

If something interests me or needs correction, I totally Hermione Granger it and shoot my hand into the air with the intent of setting the record straight. However, after a few minutes, it became clear that I could couch many of these statements in phrases like, "On the academic side ..." and then explain the non-intricacies of how things are done. 

My favorite (read least) was in questioning 'academic freedom," which I seem to be granted in spades. I show a lot of success and my students come back. Sometimes, I think, to see what kind of insanity and craziness I'm going to pull. There's a sense of enjoyment to being slightly unpredictable and with the reputation for being a bit on the crazy side. A sense. Though, there are days where that reputation gets more in the way than allowing me to actively engage students in the learning process. 

Oh, the burdens we bear. 

Oh, the struggle and something something something. 

I threw in three 'somethings' out of a lack of knowing what to write. You can add the true phrase in if you want. Well, suggest one in the comments. Those are always nice. 

In any case. Or, in a case where the beverages are cold and the participants beer commercial hot. You know, impossible. 

Anyway, if there are any problems with different things, it will be my mouth that gets us there. Just saying. 

Now to be done with the nearly insane train-of-thought prose I've just typed out. 


photo credit: postbear via photopin cc

11
Sep

Rapunzel, Cy's and Mine

I'm doing a bunch of Stick Figure sketches for the Plot&Story project. Cy's been checking out the product and identifies most of them pretty fast. He told me I needed to be drawing entire stories and not just the single things. When I got home yesterday, from a meeting, he checked out my drawing. 

This morning, just before he left for school, he drew his own Rapunzel picture and then asked that I post them side-by-side. 

What do you think?

Rapunzel by John.jpg Rapunzel by Cy.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9
Sep

Plot&Story

This may (or may not) come as a surprise to some people, but I've started a new project I'm hoping to move to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo near future. The project is called Plot&Story and will consist of cards that will help people through early stages of ideation in regards to writing stories. When I presented the idea to Erin, she suggested it as a good teaching tool (which is where I formed the basic idea, since I need students to clearly see the difference between the various elements of writing) and while I agree I also think this is a tool people, especially writers who like to use things like this as a part of the story creation process, will want to have. 

There are other decks (of cards) that do similar things. In this case, instead of full game mechanics and rules or going in the direction of non-writing and more creative inspiration, the cards will focus on the elements of writing and will be extendable to various genres. You can see the current site at http://www.plotandstory.com/. It's not quite done yet, but we're getting there. 

The stick figure "art" that follows is what I plan to use as a starting point and what I will use when contracting with artists. 

Cave of Monster.jpg

genie and the bottle.jpg

little red and the wolf and woodsman.jpg

spaceman and spaceship.jpg

warrior.jpg

wizard.jpg

1
Sep

Kindergarten

medium_11805164136.jpgTomorrow marks the first day of Cy in Kindergarten. He will wake up and get dressed, we'll pack a lunch and walk him to the bus stop and then watch him board the bus and drive off until the afternoon. 

After he boards that bus, I will put my things in my car and drive to work. Erin will speed off to her job. By the end of the day, we'll congregate back here to talk and relax and let off steam and the first day of classes (for Erin and Cy) will be over. They will probably be more tired tomorrow than at any point in the past year. 

I look forward to a change in schedules. A radical change. Instead of teaching way more classes than I can handle, instead I'll be teaching a couple, and those at night. My time will be dedicated to working on the freelance videos and writing and my own creative endeavors. And I'll pray we can make ends meet. In truth, this is the very thing that I've, we've, been dreading for the past year and some. The school gives me fewer classes than we need to pay the bills. 

However, I've started doing other work and that (crossing fingers) will make up more than the difference. 

Today, is Labor Day. The day we celebrate something dealing with the socialist notion of labor and the laborer, of which I am absolutely in favor. And yet, I can go to nearly any store and purchase whatever I want from the very people for whom the day exists. What does that say? 

In truth, I don't really care. We've moved beyond the purpose into a different meaning for holidays. What the day really represents is putting away the white pants and shoes and pulling out the darker, more sedate fall and winter clothing even though the weather is going to remain somewhat warm for the next couple of weeks. 

We start the long, dark trek into fall and winter, through the Winter Solstice where we experience longest period of dark each day and then back into light. 

It's time for change. Though, to specifically state what kind of change or in what direction is impossible. It is merely time for change. 

28
Aug

Redesigning Stuff

I've found myself not updating as often and the previous post is, in part, the reason why. However, I decided to do a redesign of the website using Drupal as the backbone, but allowing for other applications to design content and features of the rest of the site. Should be fun and will probably take a while. 

At the moment, I'm working through a list of things that need doing. The freelance stuff needs finishing and editing. I've got to write something up on social frameworks and what would be required to create an app. I'm building a server that will function as both a media server inside the house and a Minecraft server for Cy and me. 

As for the family, we're getting back into the swing of expectation with school starting in a few days and school bus schedules and new teaching assignments and the like. 

I'm hoping to maintain updates (at least once a week), but please forgive if that doesn't happen. 

7
Aug

WOW! Things are going gangbusters

large_6812481635.jpgI inadvertently put my site into the Maintenance Status the other day. Why? Because I couldn't get into parts of the administrative section to which I needed access. As a result, I was attempting to run some scripts that work best when the site is offline and found that none of them worked. 

What I didn't know was that my hosting company provides automatic minor updates, when released, on the software I'm using. While convenient, it was also a bit of a struggle to realize that one of the themes I was messing around with (I'm planning some changes to look and feel) decided to conflict with the automatic changes. 

In addition to that, I've taken on a client for writing and website stuff and a variety of other semi-hidden skills. The website is: http://cambridgeitllc.com/. It's still in states of flux, though the style, software, and content is pretty much what you see. Also, I was asked to be a formal part of the team and you can see my profile page here. In the near future, I get to take some of my equipment out to Boston for video interviews as I continue to build out content for the website, a YouTube channel, and more. This is proving to be fun. 

This term I'm teaching six classes, two of which are big enough to be individual classes, and trying to make time for everything that requires my time. Calls on my time include writing stuff I want and need to write, teaching and grading, writing and managing Geek Eccentric - including GEGATT content, and church. My church responsibilities have now been added to, though that's not official or public until the weekend (I think). 

Finally, I've been using the Massachusetts Vocational Rehabilitation services in my job hunt. This included going to a meet-and-greet the other morning where I presented my resume and background to a group of employers. I was the wrap-up presenter and chosen because I put on a good show that is also effective. I also learned the length and breadth of my experience is a bit intimidating to potential employers with my long resume more of a detractor than a benefit. I get to change the resume. 

Basically, I'm busy and loving it, though the total number of things I've got to do is extensive and time consuming. Still, I feel pretty good and blessed to have these things going on and to begin seeing what may be a light at the end of a pretty long tunnel. 


photo credit: photosteve101 via photopin cc

23
Jul

The Happenings

large_2462457722.jpgOutside of some pictures (especially the band saw), I haven't been too active on posting. Which doesn't mean I don't spend a lot of time messing around with the backend of this site (and others). However, I thought it time to update people on the happenings and offer a short explanation why I'm slightly out of touch or contact or not as contactable. I like that last one best. 

First, I'm teaching six classes this term. Yes. Six over an eight week period. That's putting some stress on my system and requiring a bit of time for prep and grading and such. 

Second, I've (I think) put out my shingle and am hawking my skills at websites and content for a bounty or I am working some freelance projects. This is proving to be both fun and rewarding and (already) I've had the work increase with the promise of more. 

Third, I'm writing a novel. Yes. It's out. Don't ask to see it, hear about it, or read it right now. It's a work in progress that develops new bits on a nearly daily basis. I'm writing one of the stories that only I can write and I'm hoping to finish it. 

Finally, I've got work around the house that plays a role. This includes the band saw and reassuring people that it's not going to fall over EVEN if someone were to run into it. The weight of the thing is a couple hundred pounds, easy. It is on a steel table that needed to be reinforced. And it works. There are a couple of things that need doing, like removing a bolt I busted and replacing it and its match, buying a new drive belt, and building a work bench. 

In addition to that, I'm still a husband and father who has responsibilities there as well as church and a few other things. Which reminds me, I need to rewrite some stuff for a guy that has nothing to do with the freelance work and I'm trying to read The Blind Watchmaker. I need to write something up on a couple of books I've read or listened to. And I'm still writing and running and being publisher at Geek Eccentric. 

Basically, I'm all over the place and I'm enjoying it. That is all. 


photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

1
Jul

Don't Make Me Care

Or, don't make me continue to care. 

I have a long memory, access to the world's knowledge, and a desire to do what is socially right. I want to see people taken care of and I don't want to see abuses. I am opinionated and I don't follow the crowd simply because there is a crowd, though the gathering may shift my focus and attention. 

i_dont_care.jpgDon't make me care. 

Why? 

Because I am a force to be reckoned with and I'm very outgoing and personable when the situation and people warrant it. I can change the world and I will only attempt to change the small bit of the world directly around me. 

Don't make me care, because I think all of the time. My mind doesn't get to shut down and I don't get to stop hazarding options and solutions and alternatives until something presents itself as better than what's currently being used. 

Don't make me care, because I will begin the slow, steady process of marshaling supporters and friends, helping them come to my point of view, and then asking them to do something. 

Don't make me care, because my caring means I have to act. And my acting means I have to see some form of systemic change at least in the hearts of the people. 

I don't need to care about the rich or the influential. I don't need to care about businesses losing money. I do need to care about people. 

When you make me care, you bring with it slow and steady action that will result in change. Maybe not this this year or decade or even in my lifetime, but the change is coming. 

Please don't make me care. 


image source: Jamie's Blog all rights retained by artist or author

28
Jun

GEGATT and my first GEGATT Podcast

I've ventured off on my own (not always a good sign) and interviewed a friend, Kenneth Ross, about his new Kickstarter Make My Mini. 3D design software envisioned for the tabletop gamer and equally useful as a way of getting into the whole 3D printer game. 

You can read about and view the video at Geek Eccentric through this link http://www.geekeccentric.com/make-my-mini-gegatt-video-podcast

Ken did a great job and it was a pleasure to interview him. Next time, I'll handle video better and have my beautiful and enchanting face show up. 

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