Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks

Friday, November 30, 2012

F3 Critters

"Critters?" I asked.
"Yep, critters." Jack did not clarify.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Home Stretch

All major essay assignments have been graded. All that remains are a few minor assignments. I and my students are in the home stretch. Of course, now comes the inevitable reflections on the semester as I try and plan out changes to make in curriculum and teaching methods for the next semester. This time of the semester is good for that since all major work is done and I'm still in teacher mode.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A New Class

I have been given the opportunity to teach a brand new type of class. This is both exciting and terrifying. Because there have not been any classes like this before, I have nothing to reference in terms of what type of curriculum or assignments there should be.
On the flipside, I have autonomy to decide all of it for myself. I get to try something truly groundbreaking and construct a curriculum without preconceptions or constraints.
I just have to make sure I don't screw it up.

Friday, November 23, 2012

F3 Thanksgiving

"You have Thanksgiving in a restaurant in St. Louis every year?"
Jack shrugged. "What's wrong with that? I'm thankful for—"
"Barbecue, I know."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Digital Teaching

Increasingly I'm finding ways to incorporate computerized learning in my teaching. I'm still evaluating my foray into interactive fiction as a teaching method, but since I've gotten an assortment of flash drives, I've been coming up with other ideas, such as copying video files and having my students review them for clues and details. Previously I would show the video in class and have them tell me what clips they want to review as a group. With individual videos on flash drives, they could look at them individually how they wanted.
I wonder what else I can do with a class full of flash drives.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Serious People

Every teacher wants a serious student. We don't want the most brilliant students, we want students who take classes seriously, who genuinely want to learn and expand their horizons. I have a hard time taking students seriously when they only want to take a class to get a credit, fulfill a requirement, or have fun.
Writing is also for serious people. Anyone who wants to get published needs to know the endless hours of honing the craft, revision, and head-slamming needed to get a manuscript out. Writing is not for the casual. I can understand the idea of exploring and testing the waters to see if it's right for you, but I have problems with the idea of "everyone has a novel in them" or the people who think wistfully, "I might write a book some day."
Writing is not something that just spontaneously occurs (though many a writer wishes it were so). It takes a lot of hard work. It takes dedication. Writing takes blood, sweat, and tears.
How many are willing to bleed for their writing?
Paper cuts can be nasty, though carpal tunnel is more likely.

Friday, November 16, 2012

F3 Meditation

I watched as Nikki sat in some kind of Yoga position in front of a statue of Buddha. An Indian Buddha, at that. It was easy to get lost in the different flavors of Buddhism, and it wasn't my strong suit.
"Do you meditate, Matthew?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In the highest points of political debates and speeches came an idea that people are entitled to higher education. I think this comes from the need for advanced degrees in order to qualify for employment. But I don't think people are entitled to higher education. I've been through the system. I've clawed my way into an advanced degree, and this is not something people are entitled to. College is a proving ground, and not a place where mere participation merits achievement.
Higher education is for those who put forth effort. Higher education is for those who sacrifice and struggle, who recognize that college is not entertainment and partying, but hours of studying, attending class, and doing the work, no matter how awful and boring it all is.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Full-Time Jobs

I frequently visit sites like Lifehacker, which collate great tips of life productivity from around the web. It's a great time saver. Quite often they post job tips (applying for, dealing with colleagues, etc.), and on one occasion I perused the comments of one such about how to apply for a job. One of the comments posted a common idea: applying for a job should be treated as a full-time job.
I understand the sentiment, and there is certainly a lot of effort involved, but time is a precious commodity.
Ask any teacher, and he or she will tell you that teaching is a full-time job, no matter if they spend a full day actually teaching or not.
Being a writer is likewise a full-time job, one I do not get paid for . . . yet.
Staying up on the publishing world by reading news, blogs, and social media is a full-time job.
When exactly would I have time to apply for yet another full-time job of applying for a job?
I don't think applying for a job should be a full-time job. It should be regarded seriously, but not necessarily requiring that much time. If someone is unemployed, obviously circumstances are different, but for those employed, life keeps going on.
I guess I am just prioritizing differently. Finding a new job is important, but it's not as high up on the list as other things. Plus, I think working smarter is key here. New techniques, new resources. New inspiration.

Friday, November 9, 2012

F3 The Chosen One

"Congratulations" the note read, "you are the Chosen One. On you the whole world, all of reality, hinges." This seemed too much to handle, and Eric swallowed hard before continuing on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crimebake Ho!

I'm off to Beantown to see friends, family, and immerse myself in writer conference-y stuff. I'm especially excited about the forensic workshops. Not to mention I get to rub shoulders with mystery writers and agents galore. Desert Dreams was great, but being one of a dozen men at a conference can make you a little self- conscious. Throw in the fact that 90% of the conference attendees are interested exclusively in romance writing (and quite a few workshops reflected that) and I was very much not in Kansas, anymore.
This time around it should be a little easier for me to hobnob and make contacts.
Maybe I'll be able to pick up on the Boston accent and slang while I'm there, too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Self-esteem in Moderation

I've been reading some interesting news on the web, most of it tied to education, but the same holds true for writers. It turns out that too much self-esteem is not good. That's understated. It's downright dangerous.
The idea is that excessive positive self-esteem is constant reinforcement that a person is, well, perfect, and can do no wrong. When confronted with obvious failings and shortcomings, the reinforced behavior of the person's ego is unable to reconcile, and so places blame on external forces instead of recognizing imperfection.
In short, students who have too much self-esteem will resort to blaming teachers, work, assignments, or other external forces rather than embrace the idea that they are the ones who have failed. This excessive self-esteem prevents people from taking responsibility and wanting to improve themselves. After all, they've been told repeatedly that they are perfect, so there is nothing to improve. They have a locked mindset that prevents growth and change.
Writers are not immune from this, either. I believe writers, especially fledgling writers, receive too much positive feedback on their writing from friends and family instead of other writers and professionals.
Professional writers (and teachers for students) are under no such illusions about assessing abilities. It puts everyone in an awkward position, and can result in harsh feelings.
It's no wonder that many agents have embraced not responding to queries.
Teachers do not have that luxury.

Friday, November 2, 2012

F3 Grammar Clergy

William attempted to keep himself from trembling as he approached the Confessional. His stomach churned and heaved with fear, and he licked his lips.
He walked into the space, closing the door behind him. He sat patiently, trying to order his thoughts.
1001 Nights (4) Abraham (11) Adonis (4) Aphrodite (18) Apocalypse (6) Apollo (5) Arabian (4) Ares (2) Artemis (5) Arthur (12) Athena (7) Bard (1) Ben Slater (13) Bible (88) Boxing Day (6) Celtic (2) Character File (2) Chinese (1) Christian (6) Christmas (1) Conferences (30) creation myths (15) Criminalelement (11) Dark Business (61) Dark Winds (22) Demeter (10) Diomedes (6) Don Iverson (4) Eden (5) Enchanter (16) essay (9) Exploding Storm Rider Mystery (1) F3 (632) (2) Fairhaven Club (6) Fairy Tales (20) Family (2) Flood Myth (8) Flynn (84) Greek (96) Greeks (1) Guest (1) Hades (10) Halloween Fall Formal (6) Hercules (9) Hestia (2) Hindu (2) History Prof (22) Holiday (12) Holiday Myths (6) Incan (1) Iranian (2) Jacob (13) Japanese (1) Job (21) Joseph (18) Judges (12) Knowledge Myths (3) Levite (12) Library (8) Life (123) Love Gods (4) M3 (253) (1) map (13) Matt Allen (268) Medieval (7) Metamyth (5) Misc Flash (36) Mom (1) monthly chart (21) Movies (6) Myth Law (2) Myth Media (4) NaNoWriMo (22) Noah (5) noir (9) Noir Tales (1) Norse (10) Odyssey (8) Persephone (15) Perseus (14) Persian (1) Poseidon (1) Prometheus (8) publishing (24) ramble (113) Red Riding Hood (6) Review (1) Sam Faraday (53) Samson (14) Santa's Helper (3) Scavenger Hunt (20) Sci Fi (15) science (1) Serial (84) short story (14) Spotlight (8) Storm Riders (139) Teaching (136) Tech (18) Transformation (5) Travel (27) TV (10) TV Myth (1) Underworld (6) Unhappily (2) Vacation (15) vampires (18) W3 (11) WIP (20) Writing (166) Writing Tools (16) Zeus (21)