changelog @ tengrrl.com: not a day
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Who knows if that title will work? Technology is not my friend today, so it probably won't. I have spent most of the last 10 hours trying to get Quicken Mac to Quicken Windows. Had I known when I started all this that Quicken Mac doesn't easily convert to Windows, I'm not sure I would have ever bought the software in the first place. I am certain that I have exported, uploaded, downloaded, and imported my 5 bank accounts at least 30 or 40 times. Lord only knows how someone who doesn't know their way around a computer would do this. Then again, someone who doesn't know computers wouldn't be stupid enough to have a mac and a windows machine in the first place, let alone think that they can play nicely together.
In case anyone tells you that it doesn't pay to use Windows, explain that simply by moving from Mac to Windows my checking account balance went up $13,736.63. It only took me 2 of those 10 hours to figure out how to get rid of the extra $13,700.
When I finally get the whole thing transferred and I have the balances near reality again, I try to log on so that I can pay my bills. I used Quicken Bill Pay without problems on the Mac. Windows won't connect. That's another hour or so of that 10 hours. A good portion of it on the phone with tech support with a guy who claims there are only two people there and that he can't understand what's going on with my account. The call ended with him telling me that he has to fill out a work order or whatever cuz he can't solve the problem. Okay. Then he tells me that it will take SEVERAL DAYS for the information to be entered and he'll call me back Wednesday
. By then, I'll have slashed my wrists.
See? Not a good day. When not fighting with Quicken, I have people mad at me in e-mail plus e-mail about "being more hopeful" in my writing for next week. Geesh. How could you look at this day and have any hope at all? Some days I should just stay in bed.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: silence
Sometimes I seem to go the whole weekend without saying anything out loud. Maybe this is in my head because of Speak
, though it's not that kind of silence. There's just no one in the house to talk to, and I'm a hermit. I also seem to go the whole weekend in my "sleepwear" since I often don't leave the house. (Did you know that if you wait late enough on Sunday night, it's okay to walk your trash to the street without getting dressed?)
But back to the point, often I'm not even really thinking about the silence. I am chattering away with self-talk in my head. I'm just not saying anything out loud. Who am I gonna talk tothe plant? the refrigerator? Usually, it's either the TV, the computer, the other computer, or my stupid self. Oh, and sometimes, general interjections caused by stubbed toes and whatnot.
Today, it was the stupid in my brain. I'm watching Dave Lieberman
, who kinda annoys me but it was the best choice. I may not speak much, but if the house is totally silent it begins to grate me so the TV is usually on. So Dave is screwing around with pesto, and I'm realize that he's just announced that he's not using pine nuts for some daft reason and he's using something else instead. But I didn't hear what. So I go to the Web site. It's walnuts. Okay. I'm not sure why walnuts, but okay. I scan the other recipes and read, "Beef Salad with Goat Cheese, Watercress and Shallot Thyme Dressing."
"What the hell is beef salad?" my inner chatter asks. "There's a salad I can get into. I have to check this out."
I click through to the recipe
. That's when I spoke today.
"BEET, moron," I say out loud to my stupid self.
The sound of my voice feels so odd suddenly. The inner chatterbox notes how long I've been silent. I don't even realize I've been silent till I speak. The chattering certainly wasn't silent. Even in my dreams last night, there was chattering. All night, there were dreams about the library. Earlier yesterday, I had been browsing around on the Ong Archive Blog
, where there are new pictures
of Ong's Boy Scout trip to Europe in 1929. The thoughts of libraries and archives apparently took over my dreams.
Sometimes I was in the children's section, reading various books and looking very out of place among the tweens and teens, but insistent that it was okay for me to sit and read there just the same. Other times, it was the archivist section of my brain, lost in handwritten letters and journals and notes. She was deep in reading and scanning and (even more importantly) touching yellowed pages with handwritten grooves pressed by an author no longer available, an person hidden in the text.
I'm not sure whose artifacts I was reading in my dream. I can't even remember what they were about. I just remember the joy of touching the pages, of feeling the pen imprints, of the life there in the texts. When I look at my own pile of handwritten journals, I feel guilty for typing this. Rationally, I know that my carpal tunnel would make it impossible to write this all by hand, and yet it feels like something is lost. There's something about looking at these archived documents in my dreams and knowing that I'm seeing a person that the general public doesn't know, that I can discover something no one else has seen by piecing together the puzzle of artifacts. It's the kind of dream where I wake regretting that decision I made to teach rather than be a librarianand wishing that I had some legitimate reason to walk into some great library's archives and touch whatever person I wanted. All those voices are silent to me. Packed up in boxes in the archives, no one to talk to.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: renaming, rethinking, and revising
renaming, rethinking, and revising
So "Building Comprehension Word-by-Word" became "Focusing Reader Response Through Vocabulary Analysis
." And other than that, there has been no writing. There has been gathering. I needed to get a head start on the Ideas section for next week's Inbox, so I gathered all the articles Thursday and Friday. I may need to find some lesson plans to go with the articles. We'll see.
I got some feedback on the various proposals that I turned in a couple weeks ago. The response is generally good, but one of the proposals seems to have grown from a 20 to 30 page, single-spaced document to a much larger endeavor. Good, but scary. Now I'm rethinking the resources that I gathered and looking at restructuring everything. Here I thought I knew exactly what I was doing, and now I'm back at the beginning again. I think I've gone through and rejected several dozen books. Nothing seems both current enough and approachable enough. Anything practical is dated before it gets printed it seems.
I have lesson plans to write too. I was working on a lesson on profiling a technology. The idea was that you worked through a heuristic to interrogate a technology
--who uses it, how, why, and so on. Could be a technology that the student uses/sees used or it could be a technology in novel/short story. I can't get the thing going though. I have the heruistic all done, but it feels gimmicky. I'm not quite sure how it relates properly to English classes. Maybe I could turn it into a tech writing activity of a sort. But that doesn't feel quite right either. I guess I need to play with it a lot more, but instead, I watched Starsky and Hutch
changelog @ tengrrl.com: School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon
Friday, April 29, 2005
"The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt."
changelog @ tengrrl.com: The higher the SAT scores, the more the house is worth | csmonitor.com
But will anyone realize that what this really tells us is how unfair the tests are to the economically-disadvantaged in the society?
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Wal-Mart whips student's parody site, from eSchool News
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I'm not quite sure what I think about the situation reported in eSchool News' article "Wal-Mart whips student's parody site
Okay, sure, Wal-Mart sucks with evil unparalleled; but can you just take graphics without changing them and call it parody? Parody should change the original, no? Seems to me Wal-Mart may (sadly) be right.
Does sound like a fun assignment thoughyou gotta understand the site and coding to do a parody. I wish they had included links to the other parodies. Teasing me with McDonald's and the 700 Club! Tsk, tsk!
changelog @ tengrrl.com: BBC NEWS | UK | Net-illiterate 'failing children'
Someone has figured out that "family literacy" actually means all kinds of literacy, not just book-learnin'.
Tags: digital divide |
technological literacy |
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Rewriting and Editing Day
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Rewriting and Editing Day
When not winning books, :) I've mostly spent today editing. More accurately, rewriting and editing. First, I reformatted and made minor tidinesses to a framing text for a new Kit
that is to come out next week. This one is about writing at the secondary level. It won't make the bookstore for a few more days.
I also did rewriting and editing on a new 6-8 lesson plan, Building Comprehension Word-by-Word
(at least that's it's name right now). It uses The Hobbit
for its examples, which is good because at least I've read The Hobbit
. But unfortunately, it reminded me of what I didn't remember about The Hobbit
. Another book I guess I should re-read.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: I'm a winner!
Hey, my writing
actually got me something
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Worker Bee
Monday, April 25, 2005
Today has been a worker day. First thing, I finished up the Inbox Ideas section on Summer Reading (rough copy
). It will go out tomorrow afternoon.
I updated and edited a calendar entry on Yusef Komunyakaa
. It had been cut because we had already included the maximum number of entries planned for April. But given that we now have a Vietnam lesson plan and American troops left Vietnam 30 years ago
this week, I wanted it back in the rotation.
After that, I edited A Bear of a Poem: Composing and Performing Found Poetry
. It was a fairly clean lesson, so the process of editing, marking it up, and loading it on the site wasn't time consuming.
Most people would have quit at that point, but that wasn't enough for me. I wrote Developing Reading Plans to Support Independent Reading
. Really, it's an idea that I dreamed up Sunday, and my colleagues encouraged me to get it written because it fits well with the Summer Reading Inbox entry. So this evening, while watching SpongeBob
and The Daily Show
, I wrote it and marked it up. Then I went back and added it to the Inbox draft.
Now, surely, it's time for bed. If I keep working like this, I won't have anything to do tomorrow.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Geography Club
Sunday, April 24, 2005
X-posted to teenliterature
by Brent Hartinger. HarperCollins, 2003.
In this young adult novel, a group of students gathers to form a geography club, "a
club that's so boring, nobody would ever in a million years join it" (63). You
"Geography Club" is code for a budding Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance, a society
so secret that not even its advisor knows what it's about. Not only are its members
closeted, the club itself is in hiding. Chosen for its lack of appeal to the
student body, the name Geography Club highlights the importance of naming in
the bookwhat things are named and when we can name them. This book
focues on the geography of high school life.
Author Brent Hartinger
the terrain of Goodkind High School (which is, of course, anything but good and
kind) as he describes all the cliquish misfortunes of its student life. Russel
Middlebrook, the narrator of Geography Club
, tries desperately to live
up to his name, straddling the middle of the stream, safe in (or more accurately,
from) all the cliques, but as the story progresses, his position becomes harder
and harder to maintain. Clearly, Hartinger is having fun with his names:
- Geography Club allows Russel to learn more about Land (Kevin Land).
- What better way to describe a lesbian than to give her the last name Buckman?
- And Trish Baskin certainly "basks in" self-enjoyment.
- Homophobia and sexual repression at the school have taken their toll (Ms. Toles).
But beyond the play with naming, the book deals with the much more serious issue of when these characters can name who they are. As the book begins, Russel hides who he is from his family, his friends, and other students. It is only online that Russel can identify himself, but even then he must hide his name:
There was only one other person in the room, which made sense to me, since I figured there was only about one other gay person in my whole hometown. His handle was GayTeen, which wasn't the most original name I'd ever seen. Mine was Smuggler, for no reason I can explain. (13)
Hmm. A smuggler, of course, moves goods from one country to another illegally, and our narrator is definitely on course to explore the border region of high school respectability, the Land of the Popular, the Landscape of Love, Outcast Island, and all the country in between. The challenge for Russel is to realize when his travels are false, when they are smuggling from one region to another, and more importantly, how to navigate the geography honestly and openly.
is a realistic exploration of the challenges of high school life. At times, I was bothered that Russel wasn't smarter or quicker. How could he fail to realize what Kevin was really like for so long? Why hadn't he noticed that there were other gay students? Where is this boy's gaydar? But then again, if he knew all that, he wouldn't be a high school student, would he? Russel and his friends face a much bigger challenge than coming out or fitting in; they face the very real challenge of learning to be true to yourself. I'd recommend the book for students of any sexuality who navigate the same terrain.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Turtlepoet
If last weekend I was speedwriter, this weekend I seem to be turtlepoet. Every line must be just so. Every blessed word must be right before I can go on to the next. I started with a chapter that had 171 words, and after hours of fidgeting with things, I now have 282, counting two sentences that are just notes. Woo hoo. At this rate, it shall take approximately 357 days to create the 125 page manuscript I proposed.
I did try to leave the trouble chapter and move on to a later section; but everything seemed to depend on what had been said first. Here, I'd told myseld, "It's not a narrative. You can skip around without any problems." But when I tried, it didn't seem to work. I couldn't really work on the chapter about challenges when I hadn't written the chapter on theory that explained why the challenges are what they are. So go write the chapter on theory, but no. How can I write the theory until I've written the intro that leads to it. Where would I start?
See, turtlepoet. Every line must be perfect, polished verse, with the cadence of the angels. It's a miracle that I have 282 words really.
I did finish editing Focus on First Lines: Increasing Comprehension through Prediction Strategies
Friday. My manager told me that it sounds like I gave it a Heinemann book title for a name. I apologized. She said it was a compliment. The lesson introduces a lit course by asking students to make predictions based on the first lines of selected texts that they will read during the course (or unit). The author included first line handouts for American, Contemporary American, British, and World Lit.
I was sitting here editing, surrounded by piles of my
books, and I thought, Hey, why not a YA lit list. So I gathered all the books lying around me, took those that had great first sentences that I could use, and made an extra handout for YA Lit
. I couldn't use everything I might have wanted to. I was too chicken to use some linesLike "Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt." And it's a one time per author kinda thing too; so I couldn't use both Geography Club
and The Order of the Poison Oak
. Both have nice first lines, from which you'd be hard-pressed to know exactly what the book is about really. You know emotions and metaphor but nothing about the specific plot. But that too seems like a place for a conversationwhy would the author begin with a metaphorical description of the character's feelings?
I'm actually still reading Poison Oak
. I finished rereading GC
Friday night. It had been months since I read it, so I figured revisiting was in order before going to the next book. With my turtlepoet ways, it would probably have been better to just read today instead of writing 100 words. If only writing chapters were as easily as writing entries.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: TengrrlFeed
Friday, April 22, 2005
So based on Perci
's suggestion, I'm going to stop updating the LiveJournal. I made a feed of my Blogger site to LJ (TengrrlFeed
), and that's all I need. Besides having a FEED is so making me think of MT Anderson
I'm staying with Blogger because I ftp my blogger entries to my server. LJ folks who want to read my entries can add TengrrlFeed to their friends and they'll still see everything on their Friends list. So today's will be my last public entry to LiveJournal, and more importantly, the last time that I have to double enter everything. Another RSS timesaver! Thank you Perci!
With LiveJournal, everything is on someone else's server. With Blogger, I have more control over backups. Okay, I'm probably not writing anything amazing here, but I have that old print-copyright mentality. I want to own my words. Or at least believe that I can own them.
I'm still working on the prediction lesson plan that will use the "Young Goodman Brown" Flash piece. The lesson is currently titled, "Focus on First Lines: Increasing Comprehension through Prediction Strategies." I'll probably have it live by tomorrow afternoon, and then I have to get the June calendar live.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Unpredicted Developments
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Well, I've been somewhat less productive today, compared to yesterday. Yesterday, I somehow worked on 4 different projects, turning in all the proposals, revising and editing a lesson, AND I think I republished my blogger site at least 2 dozen times. After much trial and error, I finally have comments and titles showing up on posts. You'd think that would be an easy accomplishment, but when I'm involved, nothing is easy.
I guess that I need to figure out what to do about the two separate sites now. I can paste over the entries from blogger to livejournal (or vice versa), but obviously I can't synch the comments. I'm feeling conflicted about the decision. I know I need to give one of them up eventually, but for now I'm not even sure what the criteria for the decision are.
But back today. Today's accomplishment was beginning work on a lesson plan to use at the beginning of a course or unit. The teacher pulls first lines from pieces that students will read, and the students do some prediction exercises. One of the tasks is to use think-aloud to demonstrate how someone might work through a sentence and predict what the story is about from the first line.
The lesson had the teacher narrating the think aloud, with the first sentence on the board or an overhead. I used one of the templates that MarcoPolo has provided to make an Online Think-Aloud Predictions for “Young Goodman Brown”
interactive (You'll need the Flash plug-in to see the file). And hey, if you go look at it, don't freak out about the details there. It's supposed to be the voice of a student who hasn't read the story yet. It's okay if some of the predictions and questions are not what really plays out in the story. That's the way prediction strategies work after all!
I can't really point to anything else that I've accomplished. Just spent most of the day revising and editing the text so that it fit in that tool properly. Sometimes paper-based work is more satisfying. That piles up in nice, neat stacks that look so much more tangible.
Because my life isn't amazing enough, it's been raining steadily most of the evening, since about 6:30 or 7. My roof has responded by leaking. There's this lovely leak in the living room, where I know have a series of plastic washtubs lined up to catch the drippage. So now I need to find someone to repair the roof--and the plaster on the living room ceiling. The up side of all this is that the roof waited till after I'd had the house appraised. Very thoughtful of it. I guess I shouldn't complain. But still, I really wish we'd stop having rumbly thunder. Some days I love the smell of rain and the rumbly springlike thunder. Tonight, it has me on edge. Who'll stop the rain?
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Digital Divide + Pyramid = Rotund Sphere
The Washington Post
article You Are What You Click
includes a number of quotations on how the digital divide limits the Health Department's method of educating the world about its new pyramid scheme.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: RWT Lesson: Analyzing Symbolism, Plot, and Theme in Death and the Miser
I just finished editing Analyzing Symbolism, Plot, and Theme in Death and the Miser
. Okay, maybe it's not what you'd use in your typical writing class, but it does play with visual analysis. From there you might go on to visual argument, visual persuasion in advertising, and so forth. I wrote a list of Final Projects
that could be revised to go with any piece of art you might analyze. Most of the lesson is by the listed author, but it needed something more for the final project... Traci the ghost writer to the rescue!
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Shakespeare Resources
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
This week's Inbox
is live, in which the Ideas section (which I write) points to Kcollege resources for teaching drama/Shakespeare, in celebration of the bard's birthday this coming Saturday.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: My Kind of Blogger
You Are a Snarky Blogger!|
You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!
I blame Clancy
changelog @ tengrrl.com: No Comment
Monday, April 18, 2005
I will not listen to evil spawn of the devil who say that I must have comments.
I will not listen to evil spawn of the devil who say that I must have comments.
I will not listen to evil spawn of the devil who say that I must have comments.
Yes, evil people, I just skunked my entire blogger account and was about to search you out at your homes and force you to pay for your evil ways.
You are lucky. I found a way to get it back. Now if I could just figure out how to synch my LJ and Blogger. This is all way too complicated.
changelog @ tengrrl.com: Indecent Proposals
I have written three proposals in the last week. Together I think there are fewer than 15 pages, but it feels like I've been writing all day, every day just to get those few pages. Heck, two of them are linked and, therefore, repeat sentences with only minor changes—one for a book series and the other for the first book in the series.
I tried to convince myself that the proposal writing was harder than the actual writing. I mean, after all, you have to figure out the structure for the whole thing, project what will fall into each chapter, pretend that you actually know how long the end product will be. I was doing really well believing that till I just tried to write the sample chapters that I should turn in with the proposal. I figured that I'd follow the same kind of logic that my friends have used on their dissertations. They always made official title pages and wrote up acknowledgements long before the text was done.
I figured I'd knock off the Introduction. It's only 2-3 pages in the model books. So far I think I have one finished paragraph
, about 100 words. This brilliance followed by the start of a second paragraph that I don't think I like and then two throw-away sentences that I've copied over and haven't decided whether to delete yet. Whose idea was it to write a book?
At least I can claim that I figured out RSS feeds this last week too. Who knew how much easier an aggregator would make my life? Actually lots of people (cyberdash
, Dr. B
....). I just wasn't listening. Thank goodness I'm saving all this time now though. I'd probably have only 50 words in that first paragraph.
changelog @ tengrrl.com:
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Okay, this feels like a crazy question that has an obvious answer. My problem is that I can’t decide whether the obvious answer is yes or no. Can a writer's voice and style change in a matter of a few months, almost a year?
Maybe it's not that the voice has changed, but that I’ve finally found it. I reread something that I wrote in June or July. It’s been sitting in its folder ever since. I just haven’t had the chance or the energy to write. But I pulled it out, and I felt almost compelled to grab a pen and mark out huge sectionssections that felt like a fake attempt at sounding like I knew what I was doing. It read to me like a sort of unnatural pasting together of varying sources.
I read it, and I suddenly knew that that wasn't my voice. My voice is different now. Much more straightforward, stronger. It feels very odd, and odder still that I don’t know whether my voice changedor maybe I had it all along and I just never heard it. Whatever the answer, maybe now
I can get that manuscript written.