February 20, 2009

Do Not Pass Go

This is the rustic jail cell summer house, or majlis that is outside our humble little villa.

I sentenced myself to an hour there last night, around midnight, for some reading in the cool breeze. The sound of the ocean a few hundred yards away interrupted the quiet gurgling of the infinity pool just outside. So. Very. Relaxing.

Going mountain biking this afternoon. They call it the "Down Hill Dash" and drive us to the top of the mountain, put us on bikes and say, "see you at the bottom."

Tomorrow is paragliding. Then it's back to jail, I reckon.

February 17, 2009

Welcome to the Unthinkable

Lynda Barry's What It Is has made my day.


I might even go so far as to say it's made my week, nay, my month.

It's for anybody who ever wanted to create anything. Even you alleged non-creatives.

I dare say it's magic.

February 16, 2009

In Awe Girl

My sister cracks me up. In honor of Presidents' Day, she is having her children reenact all the inaugurations.

I wonder which of the kids drew the short straw and got William Henry Harrison. It's not snowing back home today, so the lucky winner has to give a an hour forty-five minute speech from a cold shower.

Oh, and Happy Family Day to all y'all north of the 49th parallel.

February 15, 2009

You Gotta Have Heart

Just saw this on VH1's Top 100 Power Ballads. Can you believe it's only #93?

I can't decide what's best: Anne and Nancy's hair? Anne's pink satin jacket? The hands coming up through the grid? The hands coming out of the water? Ann giving the neck of her guitar a phallic slow motion wank there at the end? Wind machines? All those candles?

Or maybe it's that one simple moment of Anne, after slithering through the sand, coming face-to-muzzle with a ceramic horse.

Go on, have a watch and tell me your favorite bit.

February 12, 2009

Blended Learning

So I'm about halfway through this online Cert IBET course and it's been great so far. One of the keys to it is the concept of Blended Learning* which is mixing teaching with technology. Blended Learning can come in many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Using YouTube clips in the classroom

    Setting up Wikis or blogs for your students

  • Setting up Skype sessions for follow-up outside the classroom

  • Going totally online for distance learning

It's all very cool. I think for language learning nothing beats the F2F (that's face-to-face, you know), but having the ability to do follow-up from afar is genius. And if you're stuck in Kazakhstan with nothing but broadband, a horse meat sandwich (yeah, they eat horse there) and a burning desire to learn English, then this here's your ticket.

And it's not just for language learning. One of my MA colleagues just set us all up on Ning this morning, which is ostensibly a social networking site, but will allow us to have a dedicated website (complete with forums, blogs, chatroom, et al) to post comments on readings, writings, speakers, etc. It'll be an excellent tool for keeping in touch once the classroom work ends and the actual novel writing begins.

Ain't technology grand?

What do y'all think? Have you used any type of blended learning? Would you have liked it if it was available to you when you were in school (back in my day, we barely had electricity to light the caves, let alone computers)? Would you use it as a teacher?

* I was initially intrigued because I thought it was Blender Learning, and I was hoping to get new and improved recipes for frozen drinks and milkshakes, but alas, I was sorely mistaken.

February 4, 2009

Assume First, Research Later

I might have made an idiot out of myself (again) in class last night. So I'd like to collect some empirical evidence to support or refute my claim.

In the interest of a fair poll, I'll tell you the story next week, after I've had time to collect the data.

Please take the following quick quiz.


February 3, 2009

We Lived

The GREAT WHITE DEATH did not prevail.

I ended up going out last night, to see Entertaining Mr Sloane. The play was very entertaining (especially Imelda Staunton), Mr Sloane ... notsomuch.

How amazing was London last night? Hardly any people in Trafalgar Square, a quiet hush on the streets, zero traffic. The calm after the storm. Can we have that again, please?

And wasn't it fun for a whole day, having the entire city complaining about the same thing rather than trying to decide what to whinge about?

Next new call to arms: Why oh why wasn't David Tennant (Who?) nominated for Hamlet?

Come on England, get your gripe on! Don't let one day of blue skies make you complacent.

February 2, 2009

When Marketing Fails

Have they seen the film? Read the book? Read a review?

Spoilers ahead ...

Yes, I'll take a romantic evening of depression, dysfunction, and death.

Don't forget the chocolate!

Yeah Yeah Yeah, We've Heard