Short Story #374: The Tomb by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:  The Tomb

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator, Jervas begins by explaining that he knows the reader is not likely to believe him since he has been confined to a room in what appears to be an asylum, but he goes forward with his tale regardless.  He explains that he grew up on the grounds of an ancient house that was owned by the Hydes who had largely died out, though his family had a loose connection and the house had been burnt to the ground years ago in a fire caused by a thunderstorm.  He always enjoyed exploring the words on their property and eventually stumbled upon a vault of tombs that was all but forgotten and covered in woodlands.  Throughout his youth, he spends much time here staring at the door with hopes of gaining entrance.  He is intrigued by the place and hints that much in the woods spoke to him in curious ways.  One evening when he visits the vault, he seems to be hypnotized by the sound and the sight of it and through this experience, goes to his house and searches some old chest to find the key to the padlock.  He now enters the vault and begins to explore.  He continues to enter the vault and meditate upon the nature of the vault.  His experiences cause him to act strangely and eventually, his family has him followed.  When he exits the vault one day, he sees the man who is spying on him.  The man reports to the father that Jervas goes to the vault, sits outside, and stares at it for hours.  Jervas believes that the vault is protecting him.  At a later time, he visits the tomb as it appears to be close to a storm.  He goes to the tomb but it is not the tomb he remembers.  Instead of being half-buried, itt is above ground and well-cared for.  Hereto, he comes across the burnt wreckage of the ancient estate to find that it is restored and there is a party going on.  He joins in the festivities but then lightning strikes, burning the building and many in it to the ground.  Believing that he is dying, he comes to in the arms of two men--his father and the spy.  He is brought to the asylum for care after his father tries to assure him that Jervas has never been in the vault and that it is still sealed.  Jervas explains that later on, one of his faithful servants did break into the vault and found a tomb labeled Jervas Hyde.


Reflection

The story had a good momentum to it.  Lovecraft slowly gives away details throughout the story, which helps the reader get a sense of where he is going but one is never quite sure.  This of course is because the narrator is supremely unreliable admitting in the opening sentences that he is in an asylum.  This is reinforced throughout the story when the narrator makes reference to things that he experiences that he knows are not real and therefore, won't mention them.  This attempt at sounding sane only amplifies our sense of his tenuous grasp of reality.  I will admit that I had hoped that somehow Lovecraft would connect this family of Hydes with Edward Hyde but I knew that to be a bit too far-fetched.

Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  


For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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Image of the Week #9: The Iceless Box (Not Ice-Box)

The Wellesley News (10-24-1918)

What Is It

An article from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

I found this small piece to be a curious oddity in the Wellesley News.  It's not the refrigerator that we come to know, but something else entirely.  There's no clarity on what it is--which is interesting because today, I could google the answer and find it (which I did and found this), but how would one be able to find out more information from this simple post.  The piece also makes me wonder what other things were invoked for usage during World War I to help people adapt to the shortages. 

This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This Season's Running Line Up



It's been a few months since I've dedicated any posts on running.  Clearly, there have been other priorities.  But with the spring approaching, I'm revving up to get in some races this year.

Results from the Frosty Four:  Lance Eaton, Bib: 187, Age 36, has finished the Wicked Frosty Four in a place and time of 33:02:0164.  33:19 0Last year was both a struggle and a success.  I struggled with a hip-strain which killed much of the summer.  I floundered a little bit during June when I started the PhD program and during the semester when things got really busy.  Most recently, I had to take at least three weeks off from running to let a cold finally go away that had been lingering around way too much.  Yet, it was also a success.  I ran my first half-marathon in under two hours.  I followed this up with a five-mile race where I ran in under 43 minutes and a 4 mile race on New Years' Day where I ran close to 33 minutes (8:15'ish minute miles!).  Something over the course of the year had changed that helped me find the right pace and approach to running to help me increase my time.  I will never be "fast" but I am slowly moving toward the middle or even the top third of the pack--such a far cry from my youth when all runs resulted in me in dead last.  And while placing ahead of others isn't necessarily a goal for me, it is an indicator of progress.

With all that in mind, I'm looking to this year to continue to do well.  I'm not necessarily looking to get even faster, but I am looking to be consistent in my running in terms of the times I've seen thus far.  Of course, there's a part of me that wants to get under 8 minute miles for a half-marathon and at this point would just love 10 minute miles for a full.  But more realistically, I just want to complete all these races this year and end the year feeling like I've (literally--hahaha) gone the distance.  

Fool's Dual Half Marathon 2016
Sunday, April 3, 2016
http://www.active.com/gloucester-ma/running/distance-running-races/fool-s-dual-half-marathon-2016
I did this as my starting run last year.  It's a good half-marathon to start the season with and so long as the weather is agreeable, I anticipate doing ok at this one.  It will be more than six months since running my last half-marathon, so I'm not breaking any records here.  I just want to see where I am at.

Earth Rock Run Half Marathon
Sunday, May 1, 2016
http://greenstrideraces.com/event/earth-rock-run-half-marathon/
I did this two years ago when it was a full marathon.  It was rough and hilly.  They're advertising a much flatter course, which makes me hopeful (I'm still remembering the hills!).  But being early May and with the first half-marathon behind me, I think this will better than the Fool's Dual.  

Fast Half Marathon
Sunday, May 15, 2016
http://www.active.com/south-hamilton-ma/running/distance-running-races/fast-half-marathon-2016
This is a new one that is being offered by YuKanRun (in fact, I'm signing up for many of their halfs-because they are local).  They're pitching it as their flattest course, which could mean a really good time--especially by now if I'm into the rhythm of the half-marathons and am getting to run outdoors more in April and May.   

Twin Lobster Half Marathon 2016
Sunday, June 5, 2016
http://www.active.com/gloucester-ma/running/distance-running-races/twin-lobster-half-marathon-2016
I forget at this point if I've done this before, but it's a good one to do before things get crazy in January with classes.  I think I would be in peak performance at this point, though this is a hilly course if I remember correctly (or remember hearing about), which will be interesting to see how this impacts my pace.  

Ultra Around the Lake
July 24/25
http://www.srr.org/events/annual_events/24hour/index.php
So I want to try this race.  I've been eyeing it for a few years and they have 2 options:  12-hours and 24 hours.  I will be opting for the 12-hours race.  I want to see how far I get--how much I can actually run in a 12 hour period.  I'm sure I will be in rough shape afterwards, but I'm also sure that it will be an interesting test.  

25K Around the Goose
September 4
http://www.northshoreymca.org/programs/healthy-living/road-races/races-and-scoring/
I ran this my second year of running.  It was the first time I had run such a distance in a race.  It will be like returning home in some ways but after traveled thousands of miles.  

Half Marathon-by-the-Sea 2016
Sunday, September 25, 2016
http://www.active.com/manchester-by-the-sea-ma/running/distance-running-races/half-marathon-by-the-sea-2016
This was the race that I broke my two-hour time last year.  I want to do it again.  I'm not necessarily worried about doing better than last year (though that would be nice).  I'm just interested in making sure I beat two hours.  

Baystate Marathon
October 16
http://baystatemarathon.com/
I skipped out last year because October was insanely busy.  I am hoping I can balance things better this year and make this happen.  I want to do well this year and break my previous time.  I feel like this time I am in a space that I could significantly better than in my past marathons.  So here's hoping!

That's the season line up.  I'm hoping to get to all of these races, though I haven't registered for them all.  I learned that in the last 2 years, I've lost a bit too much money to races I ended up not running because of various issues.  So I'll sign up as each one gets a bit closer and it looks like I'll be ready for it.  

What about you?  Got any races or athletic events that you're training for?  How do you keep on target?  


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Review: How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value

How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value by Michael D.C. Drout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I willingly admit that I am a total fanboy of Michael C. Drout's work. He is the author of several lecture series from Recorded Book's Modern Scholar line. His lively voice, amusing asides, and excitement over nerdy things add a level of interest to the lectures that other Modern Scholar lecturers seem to miss. This lecture series is no different as he delves into the history, the values, the importance, and the problems with the Liberal Arts as a major centerpiece of modern education. It's worth a listen for everyone who works in the liberal arts and more so for those who wish to devalue (and ultimately, defund) the liberal arts as it provides a good strong explanation as to their cultural importance.

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Review: Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress

Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress by Becky Pettit
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is a fascinating look at the element of incarceration among African Americans (particularly male) and how because of demographics gathering such as the census and polling work, has left a wide gap about the nature of racial progress over the last 60 years. The result is a stark difference in perception between what is reported to have occurred in terms of racial progress and how things really are. Pettit traces connects these changes to the rise of the prison industrial complex and its explosion since the 1970s and 1980s. The disproportionate amount of African Americans in prison has left them unaccounted in a variety of other data for different reasons and thus, hide the actual disparities. The result is political action and choices that do not necessarily make up for the continued problems created through historically institutional racism.

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Article Summary #8: The Digital Divide and First-Year Students

Citation:  Goodfellow, M., & Wade, B. (2007). The Digital Divide and First-Year Students. Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 8(4), 425-438.

Word cloud for article: The Digital Divide and First-Year Students
Summary: The authors explored the digital divide along lines of income, racial, and household type and its impact on first year college students.  888 students over three years at Penn State Schuylkill Campus filled out surveys  requesting demographics, technology access, and skill levels in the following domains: word processing, e-mail, Internet searching, library searching, computer-enhanced presentations, creating Web pages, and game playing.  The results highlighted differences that occurred over the three years.  Students surveyed in the third year reported increased access, improved word processing skills, and Internet-searching skills compared to students in the first year.  The authors noted that the improvement in skill accounts for potential changes in K-12 education to enhance technological exposure and skills.  However, students’ improvement did not indicate impressive returns as students reported being "unskilled" in word-processing (44%), Internet searching (26%), library searching (64%), and email (32%).  The article did not bring much to bear the breakdown of these skillsets and demographic differences.

Keywordsdigital divide, income divide, household divide, racial divide, Internet search, word processing, technology skills, email, presentations, library search, K-12 technology


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Short Story #373: The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:   The Thing on the Doorstep

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator is writing a confession of sorts explaining why he killed Edward Pickman Derby.  He claims that it was not his fault and that his tale will explain everything in this strange case.  He starts by explaining Edward's childhood and their meeting.  The narrator, Dan, explains that he first came to know Edward when he was eight and Dan was sixteen.  The boy wrote deep and dark poems that intrigued Dan and so he became mentor and friend to Edward who was a very reclusive boy from a reclusive family in the town of Arkham.  Their friendship continues for decades and Edward regularly visits Dan to engage in deeper philosophical discussions.  Years later, Edward returns to Mistakonic University and begins to toil in darker and darker exploits.  It's at this time that he also meets Asenath, a woman fifteen years his senior who eventually becomes his wife.  She is from Innsmouth and from an archaic and mysterious family there.  They move in together after Asenath's father, Ephraim had passed away and Dan begins to see noticeable changes within Edward.  Edward becomes noticeably scared and erratic, while at the same time, the rumors indicate he and Asenath are getting deeper and deeper into the dark arts.  He visits less and he is beginning to look less and less like himself.  One evening, Dan receives a call to find out that Edward is up in Maine and requesting his help.  This is strange because Edward can't drive and it's unclear how he got there.  On the drive home, Edward begins to explain that Asenath has found the spell from the Nerconomicon that allows her to possess Edward's body and leaves Edward in Asenath's body.  This has been going on for some time and in fact, often, she loses her grip and Edward finds himself in some strange place.  Dan continues to be skeptical about this but then witnesses the take-over while driving back.  The now-possessed Edward takes control of the wheel and drives them home.  For some time after this, Dan doesn't see much of Edward except for one visit where it is clear that Edward is not himself.  However, Dan continues to hear rumors. Edward arrives one day and explains that through trickery he has vanquished Abernath (whom he now believes is actually Ephraim, the father) from his body once and for all and she has left for New York.  The servants (that were hers) have been sent back to Innsmouth. Later, Dan learns that Edward is still paying them for some reason.  Dan begins to make arrangements to move out of the house that they occupied and into his old family estate but he continues to stall.  Eventually, he has an entire breakdown and is admitted into an asylum.  Though Dan continues to worry, he feels relieved that Edward is being taken care of.  However, he receives a call one day that Edward is back to his normal self and that he is likely to be released soon.  Dan visits Edward and realizes that this is not the Edward he knows but the faux-Edward he encountered in the car drive.  Later that night, he receives a phone-call that came from Edward's old house even though no one is supposed to be there.  Later, he receives a visit from a deformed character wearing Edward's clothes who passes him a note.  The whole experience caused Dan to pass out several times but by the time he gets to the end of it, he discovers that Edward had killed Asenath but the power of Ephraim was strong and survived death to eventually take over Edward's body.  Edward was left to try to use the corpse of Asenath to communicate what had happened.  In his letter, he requests that Dan kills the faux-Edward because it may come for him some day.  Dan goes to the asylum and kills Edward.


Reflection

Now this is the Lovecraft that I love to read.  I find that his confessional stories are always the most fascinating.  In this one, I also found that the levels of madness were well executed.  Dan is trying to convince his reader that he is sane for doing what he did and was dealing with potentially less sane people (Edward).  It reminds me of Ben Kenobi's point--"who's more the fool?  The fool himself or the fool who follows?".  That's the best part of Lovecraft and where he at times improves upon Poe.  His characters often come across as somewhat--if not entirely--sane for doing what they did, but somehow really do seem insane on some level.  I also found the unraveling of this tale well developed.  We are initially led to believe that it may be Edward who goes into the dark world but then it is his wife (or his father-in-law, rather) that drags him to horrifying depths.  

Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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Image of the Week #8: General Electric Campaign

The Wellesley News (11-06-1919)

What Is It

An advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

Several of the ads that I'll be exploring in this series are from General Electric and their advertisements.  They are interesting in that they usually have some powerful or intriguing imagery such as this one wherein you see a drawing of the U.S.S. Constitution and the U.S.S. New Mexico next to each other--one a hallmark of the Revolutionary War and the other, a representative of World War I.  Beyond the image is usually a story like this one that connects the work of General Electric in war and at home, giving the reader a sense of power about General Electric and their products.  These were typically 3/4 or 4/5 page ads meant to draw attention and even pass as part of the newspaper.


This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So You Wanna Blog? Part 1

I’ve been blogging here for about six years (here's my very first blog post).  I’ve come to really enjoy it and find it a useful means of exploring different ideas, sharing interesting things, and engaging in occasional dialogue.  I’ve had a variety of ideas about why I blog over the years but have largely settled into blogging as a practice of writing and reflecting for myself and if others join me—hey, that’s great!


In fact, it's taken years to figure what my blog is about and how to best use it.  It’s largely about coming up with prompts for myself—which to the general reader is probably a bit eclectic:  what I'm reading, things I'm seeing (wow--now that I think about it, that's pretty boring--oh well, I still enjoy the act of blogging).  

Getting Started...or Not

The hardest part of any blog has been keeping it going.  Most blogs die quick, lonely deaths in the first months of their creation. I stumbled a lot with my blog in the first few years.  I’d post a few things and then not come back for weeks (even months!).  But three things happened that helped me get a focus. 
  • Thing #1:  I took a course where we were required to blog regularly.  So, now I had to post regularly on a topic (what I was learning) and thus, began a series of posts called, “Adventures in Learning." his led to:
  • Thing #2:  Realizing that serial posts are useful and if there are things I do regularly, I can make them into series that I regularly post about.  From this followed:
  • Thing #3: I decided to do year-long projects or my 365 Projects—where I attempt to do something every day for a year. 

 Now, I have an abundance of things to post about, whether it’s short stories, photos, running, or different recommendations.  This means I’m rarely at a loss of what to write about and the bigger challenge is about time. 

What to Blog About

Word cloud of this blog post
However, I recognize that my focus is really an out-of-focus approach.  My blog is a smorgasbord of content and I’m sure that dissuades some readers from subscribing.  That's where I work best but that might not be where every blogger works best.  If interested in blogging, my first recommendation is to brainstorm what you want to write about or what you want to explore through your writing (recognizing that they are two different things--the first creates you as more of an authoritative voice and the second as an explorer and sense-maker).   You might consider blogging on that which is directly tied to what you do in a professional sense (highly recommended for people trying to improve their employment opportunities) or to something completely different (the internet can always use more cat blogs--really, I'm a firm--and biased--believer in this).  

When you have a topic or area you want to explore in hand, you really should brainstorm the hell out of it for numerous different ways you can write about it. Here, I highly recommend Chris Brogan’s blog and his book, Social Media 101.  He has a series of different posts/chapters that help generate topics.  Ultimately, you need to come up with both 1-shot posts and series of posts that you could produce with it.  

For instance, if you were into Canadian comics, you could do any of the following:
  • Themed-posts tied to several classic or modern titles.
  • Compare and contrast of a title from the past and present.
  • Weekly or monthly close-reads of specific titles series or just a random title each month.
  • Top 10 lists (Favorite 10 moments in Canadian comics, 10 best artists in Canadian comics, 15 times I wanted to give a character a hug, 10 Facepalm moments when reading Canadian comics, 10 things you find in every Canandian comic).
  • Reviews of different authors' life-works.
  • Interviews with Canadian artists & authors.
  • Contrasts of Canadian comics with other countries' comic output.


Basically, you want to have a bunch of different ideas for posts and particularly easy-to-repeat posts (e.g. weekly reviews), so that you can spend less time thinking of what to write about and essentially, create a writing schedule of what you want to cover and when.  

Keep Committed, But Don’t Get Committed

My next recommendation is to not go hog-wild.  Don't be overly ambitious in your writing and try to do 5 posts a week.  Start slow with a post a week or every other week.  Ease into the rhythm of posting but make sure you make a commitment to do it regularly and schedule accordingly or it's likely to fall by the wayside.  In truth, most blogging platforms allow you to write and schedule the post to be published at a future date.  Take advantage of this and if you feel like you can write 10 posts in a single day, then write them and schedule maybe 2 a week.  This gives you 5 weeks to produce new content.   For instance, this year, I've already written about 150 of the blog posts that will be published.  By pre-loading them, I know that I have content for much of the year and can focus on other things (like teaching, learning, working, etc).  Spread out the blog posts until you know what kind of consistent rhythm you can have with your blog.    

Another consideration is to not be afraid to recycle or connect to your content elsewhere.  For instance, whenever I have something published on another site, I’ll include a snippet here .  These are easy posts and help you to turn your blog into your ongoing writing portfolio.  It’s also useful because you may have readers interested in checking out other work by you. 

Do It For Johnny!—No, No, Do It For You

Another consideration is to realize that in many cases, you will not have a huge audience.  It will take time to get an audience.  As I've said, I've been doing it for about 6 years and am only now getting about 8,000-10,000 visitors a month.  Many of them come to my blog and leave rather quickly.  So I tend to encourage people to not think about blogging for anyone else but themselves.  If others show up, great, but in the meantime, it's your own thing.  There are definitely ways you can expand your audience but I always recommend you focus on writing and worry less about the audience.  Otherwise, you're constantly hunting for numbers and that game gets old quick.  

So that's my first go round with this topic.  Keep an eye out for my next post, where I covered some of the content you might want to include in your blog posts.  If you don't want to miss it, then mayhaps you should sign up for the newsletter?

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Review: Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of Tom Standage's work. He captures history in some rather fascinating ways and connects it to the everyday life of people in unexpected ways. Writing On the Wall is no different and of course, more dear to my heart as he meticulously traces the history of the characteristics of social media far back to ancient times. He identifies the various ways in which humans use and engage with social media today (along with the how the mainstream culture questions, values, and devalues these exchanges) and finds their historical analogues. We find Circero telling his informers to write him letters even when there is nothing new to write as well as the graffiti-laden walls of ancient cities, not just filled with irrelevant messages but advertisements, lovers' exchanges, and other content that holds meaning. It is an argument that I greatly appreciate since I also see that though there is change of format, there has not necessarily a change in the style, approach, and meaning of human exchange.

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Review: A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not about knowing the answers, it's about being able to ask questions. That's the message of Berger's text and he provides a great range of ideas about how to get to asking great questions. I appreciate this book a lot, especially since I have as a tag line on my emails, "I wish I had all the answers; better yet, I wish I knew all the questions to ask." This book helped with thinking about questions to ask but also about ways of encouraging questions in teaching and learning that could produce solid outcomes for students. It's a versatile book that provides a lot of different ways to think about asking questions for learning, for working, and for living.

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Article Summary #7: Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access

Citation: Goode, J. (2010). Mind the Gap: The Digital Dimension of College Access. Journal Of Higher Education, 81(5), 583-618.

Word cloud of the article: Mind the Gap
Summary:  Goode examined the relationship of a student's personal history computer access and skills development with how such knowledge impacts their educational pursuits. Her goal was to understand how lack of access and skillset can impede performance of low-income students in higher education.  She provided a technology identity framework which she used in her mix-methods research that includes surveying (512 respondents) and hour-long semi-structured interviews (3 respondents) at UCLA. The survey focused on home technology access, technology integration and access in high school, technological social/cultural capital, ability level on specific computer activities, UCLA's access and technology integration, and attitude towards technology.  Goode developed a technology proficiency index (TPI) to rate students answers.  Goode finds that though race is not correlated with TPI, it is correlated with other measures that are correlated with TPI.  She then showed some of the explicit racial and educational differences such as age-differences in first encountering technology, where technology was accessed, technological social capital access, and formal technological instructional.  Goode provided brief sketches of the three interview students to articulate specific ways in which divides and access limit or enhance the college experience.  The results indicate that level access and skills development prior to and during college impact the student's experience and development throughout college.

Keywordstechnology skills, digital divide, technology access, poverty, technology and identity, cultural capital, habitus, technology identity framework, mixed-methods research, semi-structured interviews, survey, technology proficiency index



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Short Story #372: The Terrible Old Man by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:   The Terrible Old Man

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
Within the town of Kingsport, there lives a "terrible old man" of which so much lore has developed by the people in the town.  They have their suspicions about his background given that he pays in gold and silver from centuries past and has been old and recluse for more years than anyone can remember.  However, when three strangers arrive in town, they decide he is the perfect target to steal from, assuming he must have a vast sum of money.  They set up a plan so that two men will go in and the third will wait in a car in the backstreet to the house.  The man waits in the car while his accomplices head in.  He hears screams and assumes it is the old man and continues to wait.  An hour passes by and he assumes that they have killed the man without him revealing where his treasure is so they must search the house.  Finally, the back entrance opens but it is the terrible old man.  The story jumps from there to tell the reader that the spring and summer were filled with town gossip about the three dead bodies found in the town, sliced up with cutlasses and the abandoned  car.  However, no one made any connection to the old terrible man.


Reflection

If looking for some great Lovecraft tales, this is not the story to sink your teeth into.  It's a bland as far as the horror goes and doesn't really excite the reader.  It feels more like a campfire tale than a well developed horror story.  It seems to be one of Lovecraft's earlier tales so I guess that is no surprise, but it seems a far distance from some of his other great works like The Call of Cthulhu.

Rating:  2 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Image of the Week #7: The Greatest Mother...

The Wellesley News (11-07-1918)

What Is It

An advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

Some of the ads in the Wellesley News during the 1918-1920 period make direct and indirect reference to World War I and its aftermath.  This is one such case and an interesting one at that.  Here is the call by the Red Cross to get involved.  I'd be curious to see what other publications this advertisement ran in.  In fact, I would like to have seen all of the ads that they used and where they were published.  This one, with it's young maternal figure holding a wounded soldier and the first line of the text saying "The Great Mother in the World is counting her children."  It certainly plays to the feminine ideal.  What would a male-version of this look like, I wonder.  


This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

January's Gratitude

Word cloud of Gratitude Journal January
Word cloud of my gratitude reflections.
I set out this year to be more grateful.  So how's that going?  Simply put, I feel I'm off to a good start.  I begin my day with a gratitude acknowledgement.  I usually do at least three; more if I so feel moved.  I type out what I am grateful for using terms like, "I am grateful for..."  "I am thankful for..." or "I appreciate that.."  

I find this a wonderfully reflective and rewarding practice.  My January was a bit rough--I had a cold that wouldn't go away and I couldn't run for several weeks.  My running is my go-to for working out stuff, so having it inaccessible was a challenge during a month where lots is going on.  Awaking every morning chockful of phlegm and coughing also proved challenging.  Yet every morning, I was able to find many things to be thankful and grateful for.  This helped me find a center and a place to sit with and acknowledge the many things that I don't always see or pay attention to in my life.  

As I have moved into February, I am thinking about how I can up my game in terms of recognizing and reflecting on my gratitude.  Obviously, one method is to do it more publicly and work to more openly thank people in a variety of methods:  Shoutouts on social media, person to person acknowledgments, written notes or thank you cards, but I'd be curious to hear of other ways of illustrating, reflecting, and engaging in grateful practices.  Please feel free to share your methods, practices and ideas!  


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Review: Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In many ways, it is a valuable read that provides some insight into the blogosphere and modern news media. However, it's also at times feels more like bravado than confessional and there is definitely elements of trustworthiness when it comes to Holiday's self-proclaimed feats. But all that being said, he does emphasize the superficiality of an online media system that relies on page-clicks and ad-views, and not reliable content. In fact, I think his argument that getting the news wrong is almost as valuable as getting it right because it means a site gets more stories and thus more page-clicks (and therefore more revenue) is probably not far off the mark at times.

View all my reviews


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Review: It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last month, I talked about iRules as an essential text for any parent or anyone who works with youth and looks to mentor them with social media. Well, Boyd's book is a counterpart iRules. Where iRules provides a first-hand account that explores how a parent can navigate challenging conversations with youth, Boyd's text provides a much wider and research-oriented context from teens' points of view about what they are doing and why. Boyd does well in swimming through the misinformation, the fear-speak, and the generational differences to help understand what is really going on. It's a solid read for anyone who wants to better understand that our youth are not lost and destined fro disaster.

View all my reviews


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Article Summary #6: Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus

Citation: Gasser, H. S. (2008). Being Multiracial in a Wired Society: Using the Internet to Define Identity and Community on Campus. New Directions For Student Services, (123), 63-71.

Word cloud of the article: Being Multiracial in a Wired Society
Summary:  Gasser explored how multiracial students choose to develop and express their identities as well as form communities in the digital world through Web 2.0 resources, specifically social networking sites, wikis, and blogs.  In each case, Gasser explained how multiracial students might use the tool for further self-definition and dialogue.  Her research was largely preliminary, recognizing pockets of users that engage in identity dialogue and she drew simple conclusions from each without substantive examination.  She explained that given these spaces, monoracial and multiracial people are likely to seek out these places to find community.  She encouraged student affairs practitioners to actively use the online environments as another space for outreach and inclusiveness.  Additionally, she emphasized that graduate students in student affairs should more actively be introduced to Web 2.0 to be more prepared for current undergraduate students.  Gasser warned about three issues practitioners should be aware of when using digital outreach strategies:  digital divide, addiction, and privacy issues. 

Keywords:  multiracial, social networks, Web 2.0, student affairs, student outreach



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Short Story #371: From Beyond by H. P. Lovecraft

Title:   From Beyond

Author:  H. P. Lovecraft

Summary:

Book cover to H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection with Accompanying Facts from Red Skull Publishing
The narrator explains that he hasn't seen Crawford Tillinghast for some ten weeks and that when they last departed, Crawford was mad at the narrator and also in decent health.  But time has passed and Crawford is requesting his attention.  The narrator notes how skinny and sickly looking the man has become and recalls the night weeks ago when he told Crawford that his ideas were mad.  However, Crawford was insistent that the machine he had created could empower someone to experience things beyond the typical senses.  When the narrator arrives, the house is in total darkness and Crawford brings him to the attic where the machine is.  He explains that the staff had left and that it was necessary to leave all electricity off except the machine.  As Crawford turns it on, the narrator notes that his senses are indeed increasing and can see ultraviolet.  However, Crawford becomes increasingly erratic.  He warns the narrator to stand still and slowly it's clear that there are beings that surround them in this new sensory experience.  Crawford explains that his servants actually had succumb to these beings and that it was his goal to have the narrator succumb to them as well because he didn't believe Crawford previously.  Just as Crawford is explaining that there is a being "from beyond" behind the narrator, the narrator explains that he shot the gun and that Crawford died.  However, though he was arrested for the death, it was later determined that apoplexy killed Crawford, for the narrator had shot at the machine.


Reflection

The confrontation with the mad scientist is always a good story to tell.  It reminded me at times of the confrontation of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde with Dr. Lanyon since there was also an adversarial and friendship dynamic between them.  In typical Lovecraft fashion, it focused on the things we cannot see or know--beyond the veil--and hinted at but never delivered the full monster shot, which I like.  I thought the gun shooting the machine--though smart for the narrator, still a little underplayed for the plot.      

Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)

Source:  I read this version  of a the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft from Red Skull Publishing (that's their book cover too).  However, you can find all of H. P. Lovecraft's work for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Image of the Week #6: Would You Like Some "Applju"?

The Wellesley News (11-13-1919) 01

What Is It

An advertisement from the Wellesley News, the student newspaper of Wellesley College, from the late 1910s. 


Why I Find It Interesting

I'm amused by this ad.  It comes on the heels of Prohibition, so in that regard, it seems like it's trying to capitalize on it.  I love that the bottle reads "Champagne Type"--whatever that means.  The name of the apple juice, "Applju" seems like a strange name.  It hints at the exotic, but to actually say it, reminds me of a child asking for his "applju!".  Under the label, we see "Pure Apple Juice."  This must have been the precursor to the "Natural" descriptor.  I also am amused by the drawing within the ad of the butler serving a glass of "Applju" to someone relcining in a chair as if to try to make this drink more classier than it actually is.

This submission is part of the Image of the Week series.  For access to all photos, which are open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Most Recent Reads - January 2016

January was another good month of reading.  Not great, but still I got through some good stuff.  I'm not totally in love with the readings this month.  Even the ones I selected, while I enjoyed, I found myself not as excited about these books as I have been with other titles of the previous few months.  

Tsundoku - leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
I really enjoyed reading this book.  It's a nice coffee-table book or just something to revisit.  Though I also feel like this could easily be a "word a day" calendar or a "word a day/week" app.  The illustrations were often cool and fun and the range of words offered were fascinating.  I had some issue sometimes with the font and script they used for definitions, but I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are fascinated by language or art.  

Singers and Tales: Oral Tradition and the Roots of Literature by Michael Drout
I'm a huge fan of Drout's work.  This is his 8th or so Modern Scholar production and he's just a joy to listen to.  He's always excited and engaged with the course he is presenting and he has many different asides that make it feel like each lecture is a conversation.  This lecture series brings a lot of insight into oral tradition, what we assume about it, what it really is, and how it is different from and informs the written tradition.  What's great about Drout is that he covers a good range of literature and does his best to go beyond his own comfort zone of training to explore non-Western traditions of oral tradition.  

Here's my ongoing list of books read this year on GoodReads

BOOKS
  • Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
  • I Could Pee on This And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano

AUDIOBOOKS
  • The Five Keys to Mindful Communication: Using Deep Listening and Mindful Speech to Strengthen Relationships, Heal Conflicts, and Accomplish Your Goals by Susan Gillis Chapman
  • Singers and Tales: Oral Tradition and the Roots of Literature by Michael Drout
  • NeuroLogic: The Brain's Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior by Eliezer Sternberg
  • The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
  • Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Orthberg
  • Spellsinger (Spellsinger, #1) by Alan Dean Foster
  • Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam

GRAPHIC NOVELS
  • Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 4 (Tokyo Ghoul, #4) by Sui Ishida
  • All-New X-Men Vol. 6: The Ultimate Adventure by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 3 (Tokyo Ghoul, #3) by Sui Ishida
  • Invisible Republic, Vol. 1 by Gabriel Hardman
  • Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 2 (Tokyo Ghoul, #2) by Sui Ishida
  • You Have Killed Me by Jamie Rich 
  • Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 2 by Naoki Urasawa
  • Outcast, Vol. 2: A Vast And Unending Ruin by Robert Kirkman
  • The Divine by Asf Hanuka
  • Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 (Tokyo Ghoul, #1) by Sui Ishida
  • Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann



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