Showing posts from January, 2014

Short Story #31: The Ash Tree by M.R. James

Title: The Ash TreeAuthor: M.R. JamesShort Story #31 out of 365Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/24/2014
Source: Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.  The short story can also be found here for free on this site.  You can also listen to an old time radio production at this site.
SummaryThe narrator introduces us to his predeliction for old buildings in England's countryside.  He focuses on one building in Castringham Hall in Suffolk, England.  He proceeds to tell us of its curious history that started in 1690 when the owner and mayor of the town accused a local woman of being a witch.  She was hung and burried.  Later on, the mayor, Sir Matthew Fell dies a horrid death where his servants find him in his room dead and blackened with the window open.  No one is quite sure what happens but many suspect poison.  His son takes over the estate and continues his life with no incident.  His son, Sir Richard inherits the house…

Tales of Running: The 2014 Line-Up, or OMG, Are You Insane?

I started signing up for my 2014 races.  This list only goes up to July as many of the later summer and fall races are as yet not available for sign up or haven't confirmed a date.  As I mentioned elsewhere, I want to run 4-6 marathons this year and get myself ready for doing a double-marathon next year.  I'm also looking to get under the 2 hour mark for my half-marathon and the 4 hour mark for the marathon (though that one I think is a bit of a reach).  That's a lot to ask for in a single year but I'm up for the challenge given how well last year went.  

If you're a runner, feel free to join up with me for any of these races--I always appreciate the company!
Old Fashioned 10 Miler and Fast 5K (OFTM)11:00AM on February 16, 2014 (Sunday)
Distance: 10 MILES
35 Neponset Ave Foxboro, MA

The 4th Annual Black Cat 10 & 20 Miler9:00AM on March 1, 2014 (Saturday)
Distance: 20 MILES
Bentley School, 25 Memorial Drive, Salem, MA

Short Story #30: Pieces of Silver by Brett Halliday

Title: Pieces of SilverAuthor: Brett HallidayShort Story #30 out of 365Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/22/2014
Source: Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.
SummaryThe narrator is speaking to an insurance man explaining to him about the disappearance of Thurston, an American who had visit him the Isthmus of Tejhauntepec.  He explains to the agent that he, the narrator, was part of his crew and knows as much as there is to know about Thurston's disappearance.  He then relates the story of how Thurston appeared and was arrogant and condescending to the narrator and other Mexicans.  He met another "gringo" in the area, Mr. Simpson, who had lived there for 20 years and was well accepted by the locals.  Thurston pressures Simpson and a crew to take him up river during siesta rather than waiting because he's looking for reported oil seepage in hopes of discovering an oil.  He works the crew brutally hard, ins…

Short Story #29: The Hated by Frederik Pohl

Title: The Hated Author: Frederik PohlShort Story #29 out of 365Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/21/2014
Source:   Published in Galaxy Science Fiction January 1958, available at the Gutenberg Project site as well as a free ebook on Amazon.

SummaryByron was among a handful of six people who visited Mars.  But what they don't tell you about going to Mars is that you have to be programmed to not kill your team because you are crammed together for nine months in a very small space.  When you return to Earth, you are sectioned to different parts of the country so that you don't encounter one another.  Byron is at a bar across the river in New Jersey where he's telling this woman about his adventures as an astronaut when he hears a sneeze that he recognizes and looks for another crew member in the bar.  He breaks a bottle and starts to attack the other crew member when he awakes with a doctor nearby.  Byron remembers that he is being re-trained to enter society in a way tha…

Short Story #28: The Valor of Cappen Varra by Poul William Anderson

Title: The Valor of Cappen Varra Author: Poul William AndersonShort Story #28 out of 365Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/20/2014
Source:  This story was published in Fantastic Universe January 1957 but can also be found as a free ebook on Amazon.

SummaryCappen Varra is a minstrel of the south attempting to make a fortune by going to the north and offering services to the kings in the north.  Unfortunately, the plan doesn't quite work out.  One king is fond of him but has not offered him any real profit.  While at sea, they are hit by a terrible storm.  In dire need of fire, they see a red light from an island.  They send Cappen off to the island to retrieve it but the local islands are covered with trolls.  Cappen is no brave soldier so he's absolutely terrified.  His only hope is that he has a charm from a wizard that will protect him against harmful magic and that supposedly, trolls cannot do harm to someone who does not fear them.  He finds the source of the red light--…

Short Story #27: The Sound Machine by Roald Dahl

Title:  The Sound Machine Author:  Roald DahlShort Story #27 out of 365Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/18/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.
SummaryKlausen is working on a machine when his doctor stops by to check on him and inquires as to what he is doing.  Klausen is building a machine that will allow him to hear the sounds that are at frequencies that the human ear generally can't hear.  With clear hints of mental instability, he believes he must find a way to hear these things.  The doctor leaves him to his work though not without some clear concern.  Klausen continues to work on his device until he believes it's ready.  He brings it out of his workshop (a shed in his backyard) and turns it on to listen.  He hears nothing but then all of a sudden hears a loud cry.  He soon connects it to his neighbor who is cutting flowers.  He asks her to cut one more, though he approach does not put the ne…

Short Story #26: The Cocoon by John B. L. Goodwin

Title: The CocoonAuthor: John B. L. GoodwinShort Story #26 out of 365Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  1/19/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.
SummaryDenny has followed in his father's footsteps and collects trophies from his explorations in the local wildlife.  His interest is on butterflies and moths and he continues to find interesting specimens in a vain effort to impress his father.  He stumbles upon one find that he has never seen before and it becomes an all-consuming interest of his throughout the fall, winter, and spring until the creature hatches from its cocoon.  With no container to hold the creature in, Denny decides to gas it so it can then mount it on his wall of insects.  After he does this, strange events occur.  The dead moth wreaks of some repulsive smell and the night time is filled with strange sounds.  With each passing night, Denny becomes increasingly worn out and visibly ill.  F…

Short Story #25: Evening Primrose by John Collier

Title:  Evening PrimroseAuthor:  John CollierShort Story #25 out of 365Rating:  4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/17/2014
Source: Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.  You can find the short story on here or you can find it as a radio episode for Escape here.
SummaryThe narrator, a self-proclaimed poet who has abandoned society sets off to live in a department store and survive by scurrying in the dark of the stores through the night, avoiding the night watchman.  He quickly discovers that there is an entire civilization of people who live in such stores--small clans at each store throughout the city.  He slowly becomes part of this group as he learns their ways and learns to camoflauge himself against the night watchman.  He also slowly become enfatuated with a servant to the clan's leader.  He slowly befriends her and courts her even through the rest of the group cares little for her.  When he finally confesses …

Short Story #24: Lady's Man by Ruth Chatterton

Title: Lady's ManAuthor: Ruth ChattertonShort Story #24 out of 365Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/16/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.
SummaryUpon visiting Noel Coward's house for a weekend away, Ruth finds at the end of the night, she is sent to stay in a guest room on the first floor.  Noel acts a bit strange in offering it to her because it is a very nicely set up room.  During the course of the night, she hears voices and the door even opens and someone or something comes in.  She's quite puzzled and a little bit scared by this but eventually falls back asleep to wake up at noon.  When meets with the others in Noel's house, she makes inquiries about it, only to find that Noel knew it was haunted but was curious by the haunting as it has only gone after women and not men.  He relates teh stories of three other people, two whom he names and one he doesn't.  Afterwards, she's be…

Short Story #23: The Whole Town's Sleeping by Ray Bradbury

Title:  The Whole Town's SleepingAuthor: Ray BradburyShort Story #23 out of 365Rating: 2  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  1/15/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.  I could not find the full text, but here is a radio transcript and here is the radio broadcast of it.

SummaryLavinia sits on her porch waiting for her friend to go meet with another friend to go to see a movie that night (Welcome Danger!).  When her friend shows up, the neighbor warns them about going out but they assure her that they are ok and won't encounter "The Lonely One," the nickname for a person who has been killing women.  The town is set up with a ravine near it so they must cross the ravine to actually get to town.  Upon doing into the ravine, they encounter the dead body of a girl that went missing.  They report it to the police and then, in an attempt to forget about it, they meet up with their friend to go see the movie.  …

Short Story #22: Death Is a Dream by Robert Arthur

Title:  Death Is a DreamAuthor:  Robert ArthurShort Story #22 out of 365Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 1/13/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.

Summary David and his new wife visit his therapist because he's been having nightmares all week.  His therapist puts him under hypnosis to explore the dream that's causing so much trouble.  The dream started the night before he got married to his wife.  He dreams of hearing from his last wife, Louise, who died a year ago.  She has visited him and explained that she faked her death and now, wants money from him.  At this point, Richard, David's repressed schiztophrenic inner "twin" emerges to convince him to do something about Louise because she will keep coming back for money and ruin his new life with his new wife.  David refuses to do anything and so Richard takes over and eventually blinds David to his actions.  At this point, the therapist…

Hybrid Fluxed #01: The Semester of Hybrid Flexible Teaching (And Learning!)

As some may know, I just finished another Master's Degree (that's #3 for those that are counting).  My final project for said degree was to develop a hybrid flexible course for an American Literature I course that I've been teaching for a while now.  
What is Hybrid Flexible Pedagogy?There are other definitions such as Dr. Brian Betty's work that has influenced my thoughts on understanding hybrid flexible but here's my stab at defining it:

Hybrid flexible pedagogy seeks to maximize the amount of choice (i.e. flexibility) for students within a given course (or even program, ultimately), with regards to class format (online vs. face to face), content (learning resources), and evaluation.  

That's the best definition I can come up with.  So what that has mean for my course is that I've developed a course in which students can take the course entirely face-to-face, entirely online, or move back and forth between the face-to-face course and the online course in any…