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Showing posts from December, 2016

About Those 2016 Goals....And the Year in General

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At the end of each year, I take some time to look at and consider what are some of the goals I sought out for the year and what have I actually accomplished.  I did this with 2015 and set my goals for 2016.  My goals for 2016 were a mixed bag but my achievements for 2016 went well beyond what I set out in writing.  

Let's first look at what I set out to do:

Giving ThanksYes!  I totally nailed this one with a daily practice of giving thanks to different aspects of my life.  I will be writing a longer post on this but I definitely hit this one between the daily practice of acknowledging things to be grateful for and then also writing a letter once a week to thank someone in my life.  

Finish the BookWell this was flubbed and is part of 2017's goals.  It just didn't happen and I should have prioritized it a bit more than I did.  Here's hoping 2017 isn't a repeat of 2016 in this regard.

Running GoalsSo I didn't cross the 1500 threshold as I had an IT band issue that pl…

Review: The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time

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The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time by Leslie Pockell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, this is a solid representation of some great and classic horror authors. They have Lovecraft, Machen, Stevenson, Stoker, Poe, Le Fanu, Blackwood, and others. Classics like The Call of Cthulhu, The Great God Pan, and The Willows are perfectly chosen for this collection but then they throw away opportunities for great stories from other authors by offered in up The Bottle Imp by Stevenson which seems much less interesting in terms of horror than The Body Snatcher among others. Green Tea by Le Fanu was also much less enthralling than Camilla. However, if you want a solid introduction to some of the great horror writers in the 19th and early 20th century, this is a great place to start.

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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: Understanding College and University Organization, Volume I: Theories for Effective Policy and Practice: The State of the System

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Understanding College and University Organization, Volume I: Theories for Effective Policy and Practice: The State of the System by James L. Bess
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok, this is definitely not a sexy book by any means judging by the title, right? It was assigned by my instructor in my PhD program (and also, the author, Dee). However, it is actually a really solid breakdown of understanding higher education organizations (or disorganizations, no?). As textbooks go, it is accessible with its language, provides useful tools and resources for further consideration, and provides clear connections as it moves through each topic. One is never lost or feeling like the discussion is off the mark. It provides great examples and guiding questions that help readers better apply what they are learning. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to wrap their head around higher education and how it works (or doesn't).

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 24, 2016 at 05:01PM

They are truly persecuted... #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #Xmas WarOnChristmas ##Christmas
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 23, 2016 at 06:36PM

Make America a wasteland...again? #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #TwitterDiplomacy
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Review: Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online

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Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brogan's look at social media is a rather useful book for those first coming to social media as well as those who are intermediate users to pick up some tips. He provides a lot of different ideas on how to grow your social media once you have determined what use(s) you have of social media. The book itself is adapted from numerous blog posts from his blog. Therefore, you can get various bits of his advice for free. He claims to clean it up for the book, but his interpretation of cleaning it up is pretty loose as he repeats many different concepts, sources, anecdotes and sites throughout the book. In fact, a conscious reduction of these repeated points could have shrunken the book by 1/3. That being said, there is handy content in the book worth reading.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlik…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 21, 2016 at 08:40PM

Definitely a sack of something... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #Xmas
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Review: The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course

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The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course by Linda B. Nilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the first chapter of this book, I already had a clearer picture of just what I should be aiming to do with a graphic syllabus that I was missing before. Nilson’s premise is clear and easy to understand (albeit, challenging to fully execute). Given that many people absorb much information visually and contextually, it doesn’t make entire sense to have a syllabus that is segmented into its different silos of: objectives, goals, assignments/assessments/readings. Her goal is to help the reader consider the ways in which one can depict how all these parts of the course fit together in the syllabus.

This is useful for two reasons. The first is that it helps the faculty member have a clearer sense of what he/she is assigning in terms of work and make sure it explicitly connects to objective and goals. This grants a clearer vision of what the instructor is doing. The other reas…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 20, 2016 at 07:15PM

He sure does... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #catstagram #cats #catsofinstagram
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 20, 2016 at 08:59AM

That's right, the semester is over, #StartingNow. #DailyStickMan #EndOfSemester #PhDLife #PhDStudent #BrainHurts
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 18, 2016 at 08:29PM

And we do mean EVERYTHING! #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #Cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #unpresidented
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The PhD Chronicles: Completing the Second Semester

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Papers are passed in and my brain is a sludgy mess.  But that's ok, because that's what I wanted, right?  I said that I wanted a program that was going to push me and make me feel like my brain has been sent through a blender--sooooo, mission accomplished?!?!?

It is accomplished and there is no real need for the question mark.  The course work challenged me and pushed me to think and learn a lot.  It became intense at times as I juggled working, the program, running, writing, running a session of Changing Lives Through Literature, presenting at conferences and other activities into the semester.  It was a lot and probably more than I should do, but it is hard to say no to things that you enjoy so much.  

Right now--despite my brain in a gooey state, I am content with the semester.  I'm happy with what I did for my final projects and particularly for my Access and Equity course, I feel it will give me some good material to work with as I move forward and look to understand th…

November's Gratitude

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It's the second to last month of gratitude.  So I've been doing this for 11 months now and it's become a clear part of my life that I am indeed...grateful for.  When I look back at the year, I'm am happy to see how taking the time to be thankful in my day-to-day life has contributed to pursuing other projects and actions that pushed me to share that gratitude beyond myself.  In this manner, being grateful appears to be the gift that keeps me giving.



This month was a good month to focus on daily gratitude.  Never mind that it is filled with Thanksgiving--the problematic US holiday for giving thanks (made more problematic than usual this year with events at Standing Rock occurring) but this month of the 2016 election and the bigotry and hate crimes that followed, keeping a focus on those things to be grateful for was essential for me.  It would be extremely easy to slip into a deep sadness at the President Elect stocks his cabinet with white supremacists, climate-change d…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 15, 2016 at 05:06PM

I'm not quite sure that's how that works... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #cats #catstagram #winning
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Review: Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism by Benedict Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anderson's Imagined Communities is one of those books many people refer to for lots of reasons. It's an important book for consideration for history, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, and even technology that facilitates social relationships. I've known the premise of it for a while but it was interesting to actually read it and see if chockful of various populations and historical moments that I hadn't even thought of being included in the concept of imagined communities. Equally interesting was Arnold's discussing of the publishing history of the book and how different publications in different cultures and languages rendered different meanings and relevance to those cultures. I can understand why so many find it a useful text to draw upon, particularly in the age of digital media wherein we identify with and act as parts of imagined digit…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 14, 2016 at 05:14PM

Trust me, I've got this... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #FromRussiaWithLove #WhoNeedsIntelligenceWhenYouHaveRussia ##CATS #catstagram

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Review: Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time

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Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time by Linda Nilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nilson lays out a different approach to grading than what I have been doing most of my teaching career. She explains to readers the benefits and methods of developing specifications grading. Instead of grading along a continuum that doesn't necessarily capture or clarify what the student is able to do at the end of the course, she shows different ways in which you can create assessments that are clearly specified and graded on a complete/did not complete basis. It is--as most things--more difficult than it sounds and it will take time to create the specifications upon which to grade as they need to be clear and easy to follow, but I know what I will be doing for my next course. I generally provide strong guidelines for my assignments, but Nilson highlights the ways I can articulate through given assignments or assignment bundles, the means of accomplishing wh…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 13, 2016 at 02:57PM

Here's hoping they think I'm (un)qualified enough! #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #Cats #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #FromRussiaWithLove

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 12, 2016 at 08:32PM

It does tend to make one sick... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #Cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 11, 2016 at 05:05PM

Nothing to see here folks! #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #TrumpCat ##cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #ManchurianCandidate

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 10, 2016 at 05:26PM

Honestly, what's more important? #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #Cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #SNL #TrumpCat

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Review: Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It

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Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It by Lisa Bloom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bloom provides a very strong analysis and discussion of the Trayvon Martin Case that would be essential reading for anyone looking to make sense of the various legal and cultural issues surrounding the case. She goes further to highlight how Martin's case is representative of the experiences of minorities--particularly African Americans--in our culture due to historical and cultural dynamics that perpetuate institutional racism. She notes that while there has been clear progress, there are also places where we have stagnated or neglected the complexities of race relations. Lisa Bloom's approach is sometimes a little over the top (such as when she creates courtroom dialogue to show how it should have gone), but overall, her argument is spot on.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Common…

Review: Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories

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Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories by Charles Beaumont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beaumont is a fantastic teller of tales and many may already be familiar with him. A good chunk of his short stories eventually ended up as episodes on The Twilight Zone. This collection is filled with a great mixture of stories, many of which invoke the strange and quirkiness of the show. It's a well-chosen collection with something for everyone and many stories carrying a level of timelessness that makes them perfect. His focus is to entertain, not to be literary, yet an occasional tale achieves both. In many ways, this collection feels reminiscent of a contemporary of his, Richard Matheson. If you want a solid anthology to provoke your imagination, you can't go wrong with this one. Also, if you have the chance, opt for the audiobook; it's a rock-solid production.

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My Most Recent Reads - November 2016

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Despite it being a busy month with classes and work, I impressed myself with reading two physical books this month, on top of the usual audiobooks and graphic novels.  I won't ramble too much about my reading since my time is short and I'd rather talk about some of the great books this month.    
Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy UplandI openly admit that I am biased in reviewing this book because I am close with the actual author (spoiler alert—Tiggy Upland is a pseudonym!).  Regardless, I found this book to be a fantastic dialogue on the subject of understanding bisexuality (my own, and others).  Upland pulls together the best questions from her advice column to provide a panoramic view of what it means to be a bisexual in the United States in the 21st century.  She’s great at taking on personal questions and drawing out the nuance issues present and parsing out specific advice to the person while also connecting the question to the larger tapestry of n…

Review: Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him

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Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Furious Cool was a fascinating look into the life of Richard Pryor. I was somewhat familiar with his comedy and more familiar with him as an actor in a handful of movies I watched when growing up (e.g. See No Evil, Hear No Evil). However, the Henry brothers provide a rich history around Richard Pryor that marks him as one the best comics along with George Carlin. What I found most fascinating is how they are able to contextualize Pryor's work within the broader range of African American entertainment of the 1960s and 1970s and also mainstream culture while also being able to speak to the effects of his personal life around love and drugs that also filtered into his performances. The book is powerful enough that it is leading me to go back and watch some of the older Richard Pryor performances to see exactly what they were referring. What made the book equally chilling and fascinating was t…