Showing posts from March, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #79: How Much Is That Building In the Window?

What Is ItA picture of a building reflecting in the wall of another.

Why It's Today's PickI got into Providence today rather early for a conference (we know this is my M.O.) and wandered around downtown Providence.   There were a few different sights to capture but I liked seeing the reflection of the building in this photo. For some reason, it makes me think more concretely (pun intended) about the idea of whether a city has a soul or not and if it did, could it see it in its own reflection.  Beyond that, I just enjoyed walking around tall and unknown buildings of a downtown area.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with…

Running Update

So I've been rather quite on the running front of late.  The last I posted on running was way back in August when I was talking about my recovery.  I continued running through the fall and completed the Baystate Marathon, though came in around the same time as the year before, which was disappointing but there wasn't much I could do about it.  However, I have been running pretty consistently since then and am looking forward to another season of running.

I'm mostly itching to get outside and start running.  I've been running for months but it has been all on the treadmill.  I've learned to tolerate the treadmill pretty decently, so long as I had Netflix to get me through it.  January and February were less than stellar.  I blame that mostly on moving in late January coupled with the start of the semester and of course, blizzard season. March has me in much finer form and the forthcoming months will be more successful in this regard.

I'm also itching to get anothe…

Photo Reflection of the Day #78: First Outside Run Map

What Is ItA map highlighting my first run outside this morning since last year.
Why It's Today's PickI have my first half-marathon in two weeks.  I definitely have the endurance to do it (I ran twelve miles yesterday).  However, I've done all my running inside on the treadmill.  I realized that I needed to get out and start running outside, so I forced myself out of the house at 6:00am or so to go out for a run.  The route you see above is what I did, though I originally had another route in mind.  I opted for this because it took me through downtown Salem and down to Winter Island, which is always a favorite of mine.  It was great to run outside.  Not only was the temperature pretty reasonable (30s--though running over the Beverly/Salem Bridge was rough with the wind), but I managed to get in some hills (like said bridge) which hasn't happened while running on the treadmill.  It was definitely refreshing and gave me a good start to the day.  Now, I just need to keep it…

Photo Reflection of the Day #77: #SelfieSunday #13

What Is ItSelfie-sunday with side profile.

Why It's Today's PickI went with the side profile for a change.  However, it was a pain in the but to get.  I don't have the most steady of hands and so trying to take the picture while holding it still with one arm proved challenging.  I figured I would take a look from the side.  I'm not quite sure why my ear happens to be so red.  But this angle proves interesting for other reasons.  The first is that my forehead was a slight divot to it.  If you follow the curve of the forehead from the top, it does in just slightly before going outward  as it gets to my eyebrows.  The most curious contrast though is between my hair on my head--largely brown (though a few hints of whites, I think) and my beard which seems much more reddish by contrast.  On my eyebrow, if you look closely, you can still see the two holes in it from when I had my eye brow pierced.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, che…

Photo Reflection of the Day #76: Cookie's Fortune

What Is ItA photo of a fortune cookie that reads, "Fear is interest paid on a debt you may not owe."

Why It's Today's PickThe fortune cookie was a pretty easy choice for today's picture.  I went out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant with my colleagues and this was my fortune at the end.  I found it a curious fortune for me to get because I generally don't think of myself as carrying around a lot of fear.  At least not to my knowledge.  However, as I started to write a quasi-self-righteous post about why I don't carry fear, I began to reflect and realize that there are times when I'm rushing or feel anxious about something I'm engaged in.  When I give myself the chance and step back, I can trace the rushing and anxiousness to some element of fear.  Sometimes, it's small stuff or familiar stuff, and on occasion, it's completely something I didn't even realize that I was holding onto.  So I can would only add to this that it's not only …

Photo Reflection of the Day #75: A Sun Tree

What Is ItThe sun rising on the Danvers campus of North Shore Community College.

Why It's Today's PickI captured this photo and a few others when I got to the campus today.  It was curious that where I initially stood, the sun didn't look like it was up, but then when I walked over to this spot, it looked like it had risen past the horizon.  I took a few shots with the sun aligned and not aligned with the tree.  I liked this one because it actually looks like the sun is cutting into the tree, which is a pretty cool effect.  I also like the contrast of the whitish snow in the foreground.  This contrasts nicely with the sun cutting through the tree because it seems provides a sense of fire and ice.  I also like the dark and tangled branches surrounding the sun.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full a…

Photo Reflection of the Day #74: That Lil Extra Push!

What Is ItThe screen on my treadmill after completing 6 miles.

Why It's Today's PickThe weather hasn't quite picked up in terms of me being able to run outside, but I have attempted to still step up with the running.  I've signed up for 3-4 half marathons and one marathon and therefore need to get my running going.  This last week I got myself back to running 10 minute miles (including doing 10 miles at 10 minute miles).  But not every day is easy.  Today was a struggle to get to 6 miles in an hour.  I fought with myself pretty hard and came close to slowing down or quitting.  There was no fatigue or pain to speak of--just the some-times nagging voice telling me to skip the workout or not do as much.  I don't manage to conquer that voice every time it comes--I succumb to it more than I would like.  But today, I beat it and so my photo of the day is my accomplishment.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to a…

Changing Lives Through Literature Post

I recently wrote another post for the Changing Lives Through Literature blog.  Here is the post--feel free to follow the link and get all 10 tips for reading!

"The following is a handout I provide for participants on the first meeting to help them think about literature and how the program runs. What they receive is the numbered items, and the text below each is usually what I explain as we go over the handout.

1. Learning is a building exercise, not a filling station.The research increasingly shows that one’s approach to learning can be pivotal to their ability to learn. To this end, it’s important to understand that learning is something they can continue to do throughout their lives and that their mind is not necessarily finite. Basically, so long as they maintain a belief that they can learn, they will continue to learn.

I make this point first because we often carry the limited view in our heads about our learning abilities and I hope to help them break negative expectations ab…

Photo Reflection of the Day #73: Day Or Night at Gillis Park Beach

What Is ItA shot of the beach at Gillis Park in Beverly, MA in the afternoon.

Why It's today's PickI took a bunch of photos on my first venture down to the waterfront at Gillis Park in Beverly, a small little park right around the corner from our place.  with much more of the snow gone, it was easier for us to walk down and take a look around for the first time since we've moved here.  I got in a lot of shots and choosing today was hard, but I went with this one.  I took it initially because I liked the reflection that ran from the water to the sand.  However, when I was going to post it, I looked at the black and white filter and found it to be even more fascinating as this shot could potentially read as day or night, which I found to be pretty cool as well.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full al…

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is seeking papers on popular and American culture, broadly construed, for its annual fall conference to be held on Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015, on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.  NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment.  We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.  NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.

In particular, I am the chair of the Teaching and Popular Culture area and I'm really interested in hearing about and seeing the different ways instructors use popular culture in their courses--be it their core curriculum or even courses on popular culture.  If you have some ideas about a panel as a whole or individual papers that you would like to present on regarding this…

Photo Reflection of the Day #72: #SelfieSunday #12

What Is ItPost-10 mile run and show, selfie!

Why It's Today's PickAny Sunday, another selfie.  This one was taken as I finished running ten miles on the treadmill with ten-minute miles (a happy accomplishment for me) and showered, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.  As we can see, we're getting into the 3rd week of going without shaving.  It looks manageable--less scruffy but not too unmanageable like it will be by next week.  I think between the shower and the white background, I look a wee bit pinker than I might usually look.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up …

Photo Reflection of the Day #69: Avoiding Plastic Bottles

What Is ItThe number count of how many plastic bottles have not been used as a result of using the bottle station at the water fountain.

Why It's Today's PickEvery day when I go to fill up my water canteen, I look at this at the water fountain on the Danvers Campus of North Shore Community College.  I've watch this number grow over the last few years from under 100 plastic bottles to nearly 16000.  That's exciting, though when I compare to the one on the Lynn Campus, it is dwarfed by comparison.  In part, it's because the Lynn fountain is in an area that the majority of people who enter the building are likely to pass.  By contrast, this one is hidden away at the end of the cafeteria where only few people visit.  So to me, it seems like a sad number--a number that could be higher, were more people aware of it and it was in a more consistent place.  I also wonder if such green initiatives couldn't be more actively encouraged as positive behaviors such as the sc…

Photo Reflection of the Day #68: My Grandmother's Art

What Is ItA photo of a piece of art that my grandmother painted.

Why It's Today's PickThis painting hangs in our kitchen.  It used to hang in the previous apartment, which is also where my grandmother lived for some 15 years while I was growing up.  I like the fact that I have something from her that reveals one of her many skills and interests.  She was such a fascinating woman--she danced, she painted, she played the organ, and many other things that I didn't know about.  I just knew her as Gram--my grandmother who lived downstairs and played Go Fish or War with or watched Murder, She Wrote, or who made awesome cookies.  So I like to have this in my house as a reminder of her.  I also like the picture itself--a road in the country side.  At times, I imagine myself walking down such a road, trying to take in all the information that the painting provides--the wind, the smell, the colors.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out th…

Recent Post from LETS Blog: A Simpler Solution to Tablets and Laptops

The follow blog was posted recently on the NSCC LETS Blog and it's about my approach to using laptops and tablets in the classroom.

"David von Schlichten mentioned in his recent Conversation blog post on The Chronicle that he is fine with students using their digital devices to do whatever they want in the class and that it is their choice to engage or not engage. I can appreciate that hands-off approach but I agree with some of the commentators that while it may work for the instructor, it is likely to be challenging for other students in the classroom and they may be distracted. This point was made obvious to me when a student was once caught watching inappropriate material in my class. Granted, it was likely way more interesting than whatever I was teaching at the time, but his peers ratted him out by the astonished and bemused looks on their faces."

For the rest of the article, please visit the blog!

Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down belo…

Photo Reflection of the Day #67: #SelfieSunday #11

What Is ItPost-run/post-shower selfie.

Why It's today's PickAfter finishing a run, I took the necessary shower and so decided I would take a selfie, being all fresh and clean.  I meant to take a selfie of sorts earlier when I was doing an interview with Josh Kornbluth, but it slipped my mind because I was so excited to be talking to him via Google Hangouts.  Anywho, it's curious to take photos in this new apartment where it so bright and my skin then becomes a large reflective surface of sorts.  I think of this in contrast to my photos I tried to take in the previous (basement) apartment, where flash was almost always necessary.  When I look at this photo, I have to wonder what a caricature artist would do with it.  I've never had one done but I'm curious what he or she would choose.  I used to think I have big ears, but you almost don't even see them here.  I often think my forehead is huge but then this photo makes me wonder about my nose.  Maybe one of these …

Photo Reflection of the Day #66: Sunrise at UMASS Boston

What Is ItSunrise from in front of the Campus Center at UMASS Boston.

Why It's Today's PickAs people know, I can be notoriously early, especially when it entails traveling to places.  My philosophy is that if I get there early, then I don't have to deal with traffic nearly as much and I can always find things to entertain myself.  On regular occasion, it provides such an opportunity as to watch the sunrise in all it's glory.   The morning wasn't cold by usual standards of late (in the mid-20s and slightly windy); it was cold for me for I didn't bring my hat (for my bald head) and gloves.  So when I wandered outside about 15 minutes prior to sunrise (should tell you how early I got to the campus for an event that started at 9am), I was definitely feeling the burn of the ice.  However, I stuck through until the sun was firmly above the horizon, snapping photos and video to capture it.  I found this to be the most striking photo of the lot, with the sun just got la…

Photo Reflection of the Day #71: Snowy Train Tracks

What Is ItA show of MBTA train tracks in Beverly.

Why It's Today's PickI was walking over to the Beverly Comic-Con (No worries if you missed it--I barely knew it was happening--or that it was it's second year) and crossed an overpass that goes over the train tracks.  I've wanted to get a good shot of these as I'm always fascinated and curious with train tracks; it speaks to the influence the Stand By Me and later on, Station Agent had on me.  And there just seems to be something about train tracks with snow that is mesmerizing to look at.  Maybe it's the mixture of the power of nature to change things (water into snow) combing with humanity's ability to change things (the landscape) that make it so striking and intriguing to look at and ponder.  In this photo as well, the stark contrast between the dark metal of the rails and the white--freshly fallen snow, also provide a great visual.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submission…

Photo Reflection of the Day #65: Slick Water

What Is ItA stream of water from melting snow with a layer of oil to it.

Why It's Today's PickAs a child, I was always mesmerized by oil and water when it came together in little pools in potholes or unleveled ground.  It fascinating to see the swirling of water and oil and the colors that came from it.  And yet as an adult, I look at this and though those nostalgic feelings still pull at me, there's also a feeling of dread when I watch this river of melting snow with it's sustained oil-slick moving along it.  I think about the issues of climate change and how so much of it is like this oil slick--occasionally, visible in certain lights and pockets, but largely invisible.  That is, all of this oil is embedded around us, but it's only when the snow transitions to water and slips into sewers, streams, and oceans do we actually see it--and even then, only momentarily.  The rest of the time, we just experience the results of this persistent pollution.

This submission is 

Photo Reflection of the Day #64: #ShareThis2015 Class 3

What Is ItTitle slide of my slide deck for my last session of #ShareThis.

Why It's Today's PickIt's the final day of this course and like my credit-classes, the end is both a mixture of excitement and regret.  The excitement is that we've made it to the end--we've completed something.  The sadness is  in that ending a class is a parting of ways.  There's a hope within me that the students will take what they have learned and test out social media by Tweeting at me or something along those lines.  That in some ways will signify success.  There's also regret because like any course I am excited and passionate about, there is always more to share and tell.  Teaching is sometimes frustrating in that regard is that some subjects there is just so much to talk about and share, but so little time to do it.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reus…

My Top 101 Films Part 5 (of 10)

So remember this series that I started way back when before life got a lil crazy!  Here we are at the half-way mark!  Anyone still here?  Let's hope!  I'm rather enjoying this trip down memorable movie lane!  Here's the running list of previous entries!
Films 1-10Films 11-20Films 21-30Films 31-40
Happiness (1998)Films that deal with hard topics in honest ways, showing nuance and complexity are fantastic.  It is why I appreciate independent films.  Many mainstream films do not have the time, gumption, or interest in delving into the complexity of everyday life.  Hence, Happiness make it onto my list.  The film follows a family and their intersections with happiness--particularly through the lens of sexual and relational happiness.  It's a powerful film because in all of the sexual issues covered (including BDSM, infidelity, developing sexuality, pedophilia, apathy), it does its best to not present it in a straightforward black and white manner, but rather explores the dif…