Showing posts from June, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #134: That's Not A Ship

What Is ItThe end of a railroad where it mees with a shipyard and a giant concrete building where there appears to be some kind of production going on as well as a "Mayflower" shipping truck.  

Why It's Today's PickI found this image a bit haunting and curious.  I had run by it the day before while exploring Halifax but came back for a walk earlier today to capture it.  There's an element of industrialized destitution with the rusted train tracks, the massive, water-stained concrete building, and the train carts allow which seem to be slowly getting swallowed by the abundance of green weeds.  The Mayflower truck are curious because it's a moving and storage company out of Halifax named after the Mayflower that came to Massachusetts (that seems likely given that the icon next to the right of the title is a ship).  All of it seems foreboding or strange--something almost alien.  I would love to go exploring in there as if it were an abandoned lot but it was also …

June Is Audiobook Month: The Full Experience #ListenLit

So in this final post for June Is Audiobook Month, I want to talk about why audiobooks are so powerful.  If you haven't had a chance to check out my previous posts on the subject, please do. I've discussed authors as well as my appreciation and considerations for narrators and even the unsung heroes of audiobooks, the sound crew.  

Why Audiobooks Are So PowerfulI listen to a lot of audiobooks in a given year (probably about 150).  Some are amazing aural adventures and others teach me things about the world and myself that I may never have known otherwise.  In fact, sometimes, it's the voice itself that helps me to think about the information, much more than the information itself.  Inflection and emphasis can do much for our understanding and I value that much with audiobooks.  They provide vocal direction that helps immensely in moving through a text.  It's why I encourage everyone I meet to listen to audiobooks and keep listening until they find what works.  People cl…

Photo Reflection of the Day #133: Empty Clam at The Beach

What Is ItAn empty clam shell on the beach.

Why It's Today's PickI went for a walk on the beach at Gillis Park today.  This empty clam was just sitting around enjoying the view, or at least, that's how I imagine it like it were some Pixar film.  Of course, it stuck out to to me because it's a white and yellowish object among a field of browns, blacks, and greens.  Now that I look at the clam closer, I can see small little bugs on it--I'm guessing they're looking to clean out any lingering reminents of the clam that used to live in the shell.  And when I look even closer, there is a whole army of the buggers to the left of the clam in the bottom corner of the photo.  It makes me almost wish I had seen them and tried to capture them.  

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.

By …

Photo Reflection of the Day #134: The Bookman Statue

What Is ItA photo of a statue at the MBTA Central Station in Lynn.

Why It's Today's PickI really like this statue.  Clearly, we know that part of the reason is that I'm a shameless bibliophile.  Of course, I also teach literature at North Shore Community College, which is right across the street from this statue.  But I love what the statue communicates.  The person sits upon a throne of books.  They hold him up and indeed, when you look close enough, they even are a part of him.  In fact, it's hard to tell where the books end and the person begins.  It's a great metaphor about books and by proxy, learning.  I find it also fascinating that the person is largely naked--speaking to how deeply books become a part of us--surpassing the exterior and delving into our private world.  I look at this statue and I regularly wonder--which books are they that make up this person.  

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

June Is Audiobook Month: The Production #ListenLit

In the past few weeks, I've talked plenty about audiobooks with regards to authors as well as my appreciation and considerations for narrators.  In this feature, we are going to take a gander at the production end of audiobooks.  

It's clear when people pick up an audiobook they are thinking about the author and increasingly, the narrator.  These are the two biggest forces that come through in audiobook productions.  But the unsung heroes are the sound engineers, directors and others involved in turning the static text into a dynamic experience.  They are the like the book editor who does so much labor and yet whose presence is rarely seen in the finished product.  

Seamlessness of SoundLet's first just recognize that the production crew creates a finished product.  They weave together and level off the narrations that have been produced into a coherent and (mostly) seamless product.  After all, even the best narrators are going to make mistakes, stumble, or need to re-read …

Photo Reflection of the Day #132: Iron Eye

What Is ItA metal hoop in cement near Ferncroft Pond.

Why It's Today's PickUpon a walk this morning, I decided to stop by Ferncroft Pond.  I occasionally visit this small little nestled and rarely visited nook that's off of Ferncroft Road, down the street from North Shore Community College.  It was a calm and slightly hazy morning and there was a nature-induced soundscape of birds, a slight breeze, insects chirping and even the occasional bullfrog letting one loose.  I thought about snapping a photo of the pond, but then I spotted this figure in the ground and thought it could make a more powerful centerpiece to the photo.  I liked how it came out overall, though if I were to take it again, I would try to have some of the water seen within middle part as this would make for an interesting balance and visual.  It still turned out 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, wh…

June Is Audiobook Month: The Narrators Part 2 #ListenLit

In the last post, I gushed an awful lot about narrators.  I couldn't help it.  They have changed my life in profound ways.  This week, we'll explore a few other elements around narrators that aren't necessarily as positive.

Author as NarratorIt needs to be said: most authors do not make good narrators, even when it comes to telling personal stories such as memoirs.  There are definitely exceptions to the rule but usually when an author delivers a good narration, they have experience in radio or acting, thus transferring previously established skills.  I root for authors as narrators but they just don't make the cut and it can often feel like to narrate the book is an act of ego.  Too often has the author's inability to navigate their own complex prose turned me away from their book or the inconsistency or over (and under) dramatic voice done them in.  Ideally, an author should read the introduction, the foreword, or the afterword--that is, they should contribute and…

Photo Reflection of the Day #131: #SelfieSunday #21

What Is ItA self of me at a coffee shop.

Why It's Today's PickSo it's been a month since I've done a selfie post.  In fact, all of my posting for this project has been barely afloat.  I've managed about 1-2 posts a week for the last month owing to the doctoral program I am in.  Now that we're on break for two months (sorta--still have mad papers to write), I feel like I can get back in the swing of things here.  So yes, a new selfie.  The last one was a month ago and was also the last time I shaved, apparently.  I'm looking rather scruffy looking, which is to no surprise given the busy month that I've had.  However, this selfie is interesting in that I realized how much the landscape/portrait frame can change how I appear (along with the camera angle, of course).  For instance, in this selfie, my face looks rather long.  It looks much more oval than I perceive it to be.  It makes means for next week, I may have to do a landscape selfie and compare a bit …

June Is Audiobook Month: The Narrators Part 1 #ListenLit

In my last post in this series on June Is Audiobook Month, I took time to celebrate the author as the foundation for any and all audiobooks.  In this entry and the next entry, we are going to talk about the narrator--the life of the audiobook.  I should warn you, this post is pretty much a fanboy rant about how wonderful narrators are.  It will be filled with praise.  The second post (next week) on narrators will have some critiques, but this post--not so much.

Narrators are wonderful.  They are.  They take static words on a page and breathe life into them.  They give color to the black and white page with their inflection and emphasis, timing and projection.  The listener is passenger to a long drive filled with twists and turns, sometimes with rather challenging stretches, but the narrator brings through to the destination with apparent ease and grace.

Narrative DynamicsNot all narrators are alike (and we'll talk about that in the next post), but any good narrator must find a way …

Photo Reflection of the Day #130: Nickels & Dimes

What Is It
A nickel and dime on a key-ring.

Why It's Today's PickYesterday, I finished the first three week intensive of the doctoral program I am in.  I say "I"--but it feels awkward in my mouth.  I'm inclined to say "we".  We as in our cohort.  The twelve students from all walks of life but all in higher education that are starting down that path to a doctoral degree together.  One of us suggested we should be the Nickels & Dimes since we are "Cohort 2015" and when you put together a dime and a nickel, you get fifteen.  It stuck and the same cohort member made these keychains for us.  I really like this symbol that I know carry around on my keys.  It represents the journey that I am on--the journey that we are on.  It's an amazing and powerful adventure we're on and it's a privilege and delight to be doing it with such a great group!s  So if you see the nickel and dime on my keychain--you'll know why.

This submission is part…

Photo Reflection of the Day #129: So Starts the Day

What Is ItAn early morning shot of the water and sunrise behind the clouds.

Why It's Today's PickI found this scenery rather serene this morning.  I got to UMASS Boston as the early hour of 6am.  I spent some time walking around playing Ingress and taking in the calm morning.  It' s the last day of a 3-week program and so to find calm waters and a rising sun seemed to capture the mental space of where I am.  It's been an intense but powerful few weeks.  And though it is the first leg of the journey, I feel rather optimistic about the full journey.  I also liked this picture because there's such a swirling mixture of blues and grays that i can be hard to tell where one begins and another ends.  This contrasts well with the mixture of yellows of the sun somewhere behind the clouds and yet still able to reflect its colors across the water.  

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

Photo Reflection of the Day #128: Which One of Us Is The Turtle?

What Is ItAnother turtle that I ran into on my run today.

Why It's Today's PickI was on a run today and nearly toppled over this guy (or gal--she may be looking for a place to drop some eggs).  It's not the same turtle or anywhere near the last turtle I ran into and I felt obliged to take a photo.  I think I needed to see the turtle on my run today.  I was going for a longer run and just wasn't getting the momentum or rhythm that I wanted.  I didn't expect to run fast per se (relatively speaking), but I was hoping to cover a long distance (about 15 miles).  Alas, neither hope was intended.  However, by seeing the turtle, it just reminded me that sometimes, slow and steady is what you need.  A mile is a mile after all and if I did 11 of them, that's still good work!

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 …

My Most Recent Reads - May, 2015

May was a strong month for reading for me.  A lot of that credit goes to listening to audiobooks when working out--whether riding or running.  And man, this month's reads were amazing.  I'm recommending 3 here but in truth, most of them were excellent reads that I would encourage you to check out.  And you can always see what I've rated them by clicking over to my GoodReads bookshelf.  But I nailed 19 books this month and am feeling ready for a lighter reading month as I go into PhD program next week.  

Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World by Dan Pallotta Pallotta's book is essential for anyone working in the nonprofit sector.  He turns long-held beliefs and prejudices about how nonprofits should function and turns them on their heads.  For a sneak preview, definitely check out his Ted Talk on charity work.  Essentially, he explores issues the dreaded term, "overhead" and why there is a framing battle tha…

Photo Reflection of the Day #127: Nature At Its Cruelest

What Is ItA dead baby bird on the concrete.

Why It's Today's PickOk, yes, it is a morbid picture and yes, I am that person that stopped to take a picture of it.  I came across it while on my walk during lunch today.   It is indeed a hard thing to look at--something so young, so dead  We look upon such moments with such regret of the potential that life might have held.  Of course, we know this happens regularly in the abstract sense but to come face to face, is hard.  What makes this particular picture more profoundly challenging is the colored texture of the chick in contrast to the ground.  It's brownish body blends with the brownish gray concrete so much that it's the bird's crooked yellow beak that drew my attention intiially.  In some ways, it encapsulates the intersection of human-made world and the natural world.  With no natural landscape for hundreds of yards around and not clear immediate view of a nest, the likelihood is that this fellow plummeted from a …

Photo Reflection of the Day #126: Those Aren't Pine Cones

What Is ItA plant growing in a neighbor's front yard.

Why It's Today's PickToday's photo is another lesson in observation.  over the winter when I went for a walk and into the spring, whenever I passed a neighbor's house, they had little garden box near their front porch and there looked to be pine-cones sitting in them. I figured that they just happen to coalesce there together and no one bothered to clear them out.  However, while cooling down on my run home today, I happened to notice them today and realized that they are definitely not pine cones.  I don't know what kind of plant they are, but they are pretty cool with their varying shades of red, orange, and green.  The little hairs on them make me wonder if they are related to the species that aloe plants belong to or even cacti.  But it goes to show that sometimes even if you look at something, you don't quite see it.

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

Photo Reflection of the Day #125: Looking Up

What Is ItA picture of a lightly-clouded sky.

Why It's Today's PickIt's not an amazing picture but it is a nice picture.  I came outside for a walk and clearing of the head at work and just found this frame of clouds to be refreshing to look at.  I think in part because I missed a lot of being outside this past week as I completed the first week of my PhD program.  The ability to look up and take in a pretty sky was needed (or should have been taken of advantage of more this past week).  The clouds themselves are interesting because you have the more solidly formed in the upper left corner while other clouds look more like streaks or clouds in a state of forming (or deforming).  That in itself draws me into thinking about this path I have started to go down in become a PhD student and think about this picture as a transition to and from one state to another.  Much of which at this point is abstract or elusive--like a cloud.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For …

Share This: Social Media for Personal Professional and Organizational Use

So many of my (so very few) readers know that I regular work with social media in my various capacities as instructional designer and instructor.  I have also been a social media strategist for NERCOMP and NEPCA over the years and provided consultations on social media for different individuals and organizations.  Social media is something I think, read, discuss, and use a lot.  So when I learned last year that Jeanine O'Neil had decided to step away from her courses on social media at North Shore Community College's Community Education (their noncredit courses), I talked with her and them noncredit program to find out about trying to fill the gap.  

For the second time, this summer, I will be teaching:  

This course will run on Wednesday, July 29 and Wednesday August 5th from 6pm-9pm at the Cummings Center in Beverly.  Previous participants have said that this course provides them with a strong understanding of social media that goes beyond just how to use it or why to use it, …

June Is Audiobook Month: The Authors #ListenLit

For those not in the know (it's ok, I'll forgive you), June Is Audiobook month.  Why not?  The other 11 months of the year can belong to books (which I still love!), but apparently June is dedicated to audiobooks according to the Audio Publisher's Association.

In honor of audiobooks, this month I will be focusing several blog points on audiobooks.  I've certainly talked about them before on this blog, so that should be nothing new.  For instance, I wrote an article on audiobooks and comics, interviewed narrators, found fascinating and free audiobooks on Librivox, considered how audiobooks help me fold time and space, discussed my intial--but never followed up writing opportunity at Abbreviated Audio, explained my experience with volunteering with an audiobook site brought me great opportunities, considered the variables in listening to audiobooks, and reflected on my experience as a judge for the Audies.  This is all in addition to reviewing audiobooks for over a decade…

Photo Reflection of the Day #124: The 4 F's of My Life

What Is ItA writing challenge in class today to display significant moments of my past and how it shapes who I am today.

Why It's Today's PickToday was the first day of my doctoral program.  It went well overall (for more details, you'll have to ask--too much to do to write it all--hahaha).  As part of our getting to know one another, our instructor asked us to draw significant moments that contributed to who we are today.  I didn't intend to but I came up with the four F's of my life.  Failing, Framing, Finding, Fixing.  I came to this thinking about how much my adolescent years and the sense of feeling insufficient--particularly physically--left me feeling like a failure; one that was captured every time I looked in the mirror.  However, this gave way to framing--that is seeing things differently and so much of this happened during my college years as I learned how to learn and see things differently, including myself (it's also not wonder that given such a po…