Showing posts from March, 2018

Review: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. Helen Fielding shows us that not only can she write a novel, but she can develop a new endearing character and evolve her writing to a higher level unseen previously. In "Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination," Fielding introduces us to Olivia Joules, a smart and sophisticated journalist, whose vivid imagination often gets the best of her. Rather than being a star reporter as she often fantasizes, Joules operates out of the lifestyle section, covering cosmetic launches and perfume parties. Her misconceived sense of reality prevents her from returning to her position as a genuine news reporter.

But Olivia’s ambition and zany brainstorms won’t be set back by a mere demotion. Olivia is destined for grander things. …

Letter to the Editor - Watertown News

Well, we know I like to write letters to the editor, because well, it's just something I've had a tendency to do over the last 8 years.  Since moving to Watertown, I haven't really done much along those lines, often being inundated with other projects (ahem, see the PhD Chronicles!).  But I've been reading The Watertown News, the local paper on a regular basis and an Op-Ed showed up that I couldn't resist.  The original post was from MA State Senator, William Brownsberger who argued for putting in cameras that autocapture street violations.  I did not quite agree with his arguments (to no one's surprise).

Here's some of what I wrote:

"As someone who works with technology on a daily basis, I appreciate Brownsberger’s effort to convince us that cameras and computer programs can help us. But his message confuses me.

He hints that municipalities would use this tool transparently and conservatively, yet also tells us that this method will be a lucrative way of…

Review: The Dragon's Son

The Dragon's Son by Margaret Weis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. At the end of “Mistress of Dragons”, listeners discovered that Melisande, the Mistress of Dragons, gave birth to twins; a normal-looking child and a child’s whose lower half shimmered with dragon scales and claws. Draconas, the dragon disguised as a human, gave the normal looking child to King Edward to take care of as his own. Belona, Melisande’s lover and former general of Seth’s army, received the other child to raise and protect.

Marcus was born to a privileged life of royalty while Ven (short for Vengeance) spent his life in hiding and solitude, seeking the comfort of a cave when escaping the monotony of the cottage that he shared with his foster mother, Belona. The audiobook starts out when the boys are at age six. While accompanying Belona to the…

Books for White Folks Part 2: The Ambassadors

So what do I mean by “the ambassadors”?  These books are the books that I recommend for people that may be just starting to try to understand their privilege or starting to learn about identities other than white identity.  The authors are often friendly or providing a lens through which it is easier for the reader to engage.  

Wrapped up in white privilege is this idea of white fragility--an idea that to even break down privilege or to understand it, meets with a resistance for many white folks because, well, so much of our identities are bound tightly into our whiteness that we don’t even realize it.  Therefore, to contemplate beyond that, we have meltdowns--that is, our whiteness, though super-abundant and richly reinforced in our culture, is also super fragile.  

Therefore, I see these writers as good writers that can start to get readers to step back and reconsider their place or just a means of better understanding other people’s situations in our culture. They can help privileged…

Review: We the Living

We the Living by Ayn Rand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. Are you a conscientious citizen? Do you continually sacrifice your life and your energy to help the state and your fellow compatriots? Then you'll fit right in, here in Soviet Russia. But poor Kira cannot. Kira Argounova and her family have been dispossessed from their bourgeoisie life and now spend their time trying to find work, access to food, and shelter.

Welcome to Bolshevik Russia in the early 1920’s. In one of Ayn Rand’s first literary attempts, she explores life in an all too familiar setting for the Russian-born immigrant. This audiobook relates to listeners the world in which Ayn Rand grew up in. In regards to this novel, Ayn Rand has commented upon the fact that while it is not an actual autobiography of her life, it certainly is as close to a philosophical autobiography that her fans will ever see. In “…

Rescheduled: Liberal Arts Lecture

As I mentioned previously, I have been selected to deliver the Liberal Arts Lecture at North Shore Community College--and I'm very excited.  Unfortunately, the original date got snowed out but it has been rescheduled and I thought I'd let everyone know.  

The new date is Monday, April 9 at 9:30am to 10:45am at the Danvers Campus (1 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, MA) in the Math & Sciences Building, Room 119, I will be delivering the Liberal Arts Lecture at North Shore Community College.  This is a great event that NSCC has been doing for a few years now as a means of exploring how the study of the Liberal Arts is valuable and meaningful in modern culture and society.  My lecture description is below and I hope you will be able to join me.  I will be creating some videos around it afterward for those that can't.  I believe this will be a fascinating journey into areas both monstrous and mundane!

For those that haven't been to the Danvers Campus, I'm including a map.  If…

February's Bookshelf

February went by quick and alas I did not get to read any physical books (but am almost done with The Obelisk Gate by N. J. Jemisin).  However, it is a month filled with fantastic reads and inspired a new series of blog posts (that would be the Books for White Folks series).  In the meantime, here is a slice of the books that stood out and warrant your attention!

Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rooks This book, in many ways, does the critical work for K-12 education that Michelle Alexander does for the criminal justice system.  Rooks traces the history of "school choice" to its origins in the rise of segregation and shows how the United States has a consistent history of taking public dollars away from educational spaces where marginalized folks could benefit to spend on public schools of white students or in the case of school-choice, into the pockets of private entities.  Some of her best work is illustrating the depths t…

Books for White Folks Part 1: The Introduction

We all know that I’m an avid reader (and listener) of books. We also know there are like a bajillion books out there that I want to read.  Seriously, my “To Read” pile grows constantly, no matter how much I read.  A problem of such a burning curiosity is that I have to make decisions about what to read and when I look at the range of topics that my To-Read books covers, it’s a substantial range:

how technology is distracting us (The Distracted Mind by Adam Gazzaley)how Baby-boomers & Generation X have screwed us later generations over (A Generation of Sociopaths by Bruce Gibney)how the gig economy is ruining us (Shadow Work by Craig Lambert)how elite colleges are selling students BS (The Golden Passport by Duff McDonald)Misunderstanding the science of success (Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker)understanding how fear works (Scream by Margee Kerr)creativity in a digital age (The Maker Movement by Mark Hatch)neoliberal economics (Free to Choose by Milton Freedman)understanding …

The PhD Chronicles: It's Becoming Real...

In many ways, this journey towards the PhD is feeling real and I've felt it more this semester than any other.  By this semester's end, we'll be at 36 credits (and 42 credits by July 1st).  This semester (#6) marks the completion of the course courses in the program, which include the following:
HIED601: Educational Leadership SkillsHIED610: Administration and GovernanceHIED630: History of Higher EducationHIED611: Access and EquityHIED632: Organizational Leadership in Higher EducationHIED634: Public Policy Issues in Higher EducationHIED612: Research on StudentsHIED624 Globalization in Higher Education*HIED620: Teaching and Learning in Urban InstitutionsHIED751: Quantitative AnalysisHIED752: Qualitative AnalysisHIED622 Civic Engagement in Higher Education*
*These were electives.

What lies ahead are courses directly related to the dissertation process or electives to help fill in areas I need for the dissertation.  In order words, when this semester ends, I'll be on really …