23 June 2011

Introducing my Digital Portfolio (xtranormal flick)

This is the introduction to my ASWC Digital Portfolio on our Ning site. You won't get to see my portfolio there, but I will be putting a lot of the pieces on here - some are already posted.

Click here - I couldn't embed the flick.

On xtranormal, there are preset scenes and actors to choose from. The creator does have to write a script for all of the actors and choose what facial expressions or body movements the actors are doing. Because the audience is primarily teachers in my Summer Institute group, I thought this would be a good resource to show that might be useful in the classroom. Students would have to write a script and think about pacing, voice, timing, body movements, etc. As well, the computer reads the scripts phonetically and rigidly follows punctuation. It would be a good mini-lesson on fluency and how punctuation changes meaning. I forgot to take that whistle at the end out and you can't edit after publishing. This would be a good way to get students to be mindful about their final pieces (scripts) before publishing. You can preview and save along the way.

21 June 2011

I am from... (Prezi)

I am learning how to use Prezi (emerging).  This is the I am from... poem I posted earlier this month in Prezi form.  Hit the gray play arrow to move forward - when you're at the end, the triangle will just be an outline.

19 June 2011

Cinch IS a cinch!

This is a fun little tool that can be used anywhere from the classroom, to letting friends & family hear your voice on FaceBook, to recording an audio journal for your children as you notice things about them as they grow up.  And it's free!

Then & Now


I remember using a rotary phone & I preferred it to the new button system.  Ours was this gross pea green color.  How fast technology has changed in the world!  If only human equality and egalitarianism were so ubiquitous. 

In some regards we've come a long way (i.e. women in the workplace).


In other ways, we have a long way to go (i.e. homosexuality, racism).

18 June 2011


I was among 2,500 half-marathoners at the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage today.  There were people from all 50 states attending.  Of the 13.1 miles, I probably jogged 30-40 minutes off and on, walking the rest.  It was an absolute perfect day - sunny, 44 degrees to start us off at 9:00!  Just lovely!!

I know this isn't a particularly flattering photo of my feet.  But I had to show the nasty bruise I acquired on my second toe - that nail is not staying on for long.

17 June 2011


This is the view I have from my window.  Frequently, I stare out the window when I write.  I ignore the buildings, except when spying on people through their windows at dusk - it's easier to see inside that time of day.  Usually they are oblivious to being watched and carry on their ordinary tasks of taking something from one room to the next, reading on a couch, opening or closing the window, eating dinner, etc.  Some apartments only bear pictures on the wall, the shades blocking my view, or there is black vacancy, camouflage never revealing movement.  It is an omnipresent feeling from my end, nonetheless.  Someone is probably watching me too.  

Most days I leave the window open, even though it's a little chilly.  The chill reminds me why there are still patches of snow atop those mountains even though it's June, mid-June.  The wind slides along my cheeks and sinks into the bones in my hands.  I involuntarily take deep breaths more often than I used to whilst inside.  My body appreciates the oxygen.  And the blanket and laptop keep me warm.  A shiver sneaks in every now and then.  

There are urban sounds, but those too get lost when my other senses take over.  When the magpies and seagulls' raucous cries fitfully surge into my ears, it washes the sound of traffic away.  It is a juxtaposition of a shocking piercing sound and the pleasure of knowing that nature carries on.  One evening a seagull flew by.  As it approached, it's mouth widened, almost in slow motion, and I could see into it's dark throat, surrounded by a pale yellow beak.  It seemed to be so near.  It was, only twelve or so feet away.  As it swooped upward that agape beak voiced a long shriek surely calling to it's following mate.  They were flying on the same invisible line.

Trees in the foreground rustle with the gentle daily breeze and serve as a lounge for those aforementioned birds and others that are not so vocal.  There are the translucent leaved Birch trees, my favorite on the planet.  The young ones have a shiny copper bark that flakes, a stark contrast to the scratchy white of mature elders.  Deep opaque evergreen trees are everywhere, some taller than my four story dorm.  The air is accompanied with downy plumes of the seeds from cottonwood trees that are like dandelions all over campus.  Chokecherry trees adorn their white flowery regalia and refresh the air.  Those intertwine within the bounds of University housing.  Many more birch and evergreens frame outside the court.  I do enjoy these trees, rarely seen in my ordinary life on the Lower Kuskokwim delta.  

As you see, sky fills over half of my window prospect.  Today, as many have been, revolves between being sunny and overcast with the bulbous fluffy clouds.  Light still washes over the landscape.  The mountains illuminate: golden in the morning, bright in the middle of the day, and sometimes they are the only object spotlighted at sunset donning a pink and orange sherbet hue.  This picture makes them seem insignificant. From my view, I am close enough to see the brown soil mixed in with those snow patches and the lighter shades of the green tree-line that slither into that dark opaque evergreen as it melds into the birch and evergreens around the perimeter of these buildings.  

Breezes drift into my room.  Often.  Most of the time, the crisp air brings with it a bouquet from the chokecherry trees. It is sun warmed floral decadence.  I cannot help but wish for the scent to stay - so I keep breathing in, and slowly out still trying to hold some of it.  Sweet grass, fresh cut grass whirls through my window too, though not as often as the floral reign.  Chill even has a certain scent to it.

Sunday morning, a bell chimes to welcome it’s patrons - every hour.  In between, the persistent songs of a modern organ, apparently from a church near by, accompany the sun licked verdure tree leaves as they shimmer and twist, resembling a couple on the dance floor.  Likewise, and just now, a single white feather waltzed in front of the window, moving from side to side and then continuing on to the left in sweeping curves and twisting out of my view. There is a new squeak today coupled with the clatter of several other unseen birds. Dandelion tufts continue to hover over spots in the courtyard and their yellow kin.  

I have to pause now an again, as my senses are tapped.  It's good to let that sink in, I think.  After those moments, and during most of them, I contemplate what to write next and continue the rapid pressing of fingertips on computer keys t-y-p-i-n-g_s-e-n-t-e-n-c-e-s_t-o_t-h-i-s_s-t-o-r-y_a-n-d_o-t-h-e-r-s.

Planes soar beside the ridge line of the sparsely shadowed West face of the mountains.  The propellers’ drone manifests before the small white 207s, looking to be the same size as one of those seagulls closer to my temporary home.  A hum of traffic remains, interjected with a siren, barking dogs in the distance, birds chirping merrily, or the faint footsteps of passers chattering about the days prospects.  Every now and then laughter bellows from a couple on the lawn grilling burgers and obviously enjoying each other.  

Contrary to what it may seem, I am not trapped, wishing for freedom held on the other side of these walls.  As I am here, I am also there, free and in love with all of it, sharing views with you.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
Purpose - I started to write an e-mail for a friend of mine, based on the photo I took of my dorm window.  As I was writing, it morphed into a story for everyone. Then, I thought it an appropriate reflection of my time in this room, writing.  The paragraphs are organized by sense.  I rely heavily on description when I read and tap into my imagination more often than not; many people do.  Something I like about writers like Seth Kantner, author of Ordinary Wolves, is the craft of rousing the senses - a way to bring nostalgia or provoke the imagination to make the reader feel like they are there with the writer, experiencing it together.  

I am open to, in fact welcome, your feedback about writing pieces like this.  
Press me!  ^_^
  • First Impressions?
  • Sentence fluency - where can I break up my long-winded-ness & vary sentence length?
  • Do you feel writer woven in with the tale of the view (esp. beginning & end)?
  • Constructive criticism advice?

In honor of Father's Day

Yes, I actually heard about this via my rigorous, studious writing class.  
It was a side note.  ^_^ 
Adam Mansbach's "Go the F**k to Sleep" as read by Samuel L. Jackson.

By the way, given that this blog has been a place for my pre- & published writing, 
expect some of more to show up here soon.

09 June 2011

I am from…

I am from blue jeans, from Coke, and gravel dirt roads.
I am from the Tobacco Barn with open beams and extension cord electricity.
I am from the Dogwood trees, the Pine needles and bark covered in sticky, gluey sap. 
I’m from salty air at Pawley’s Island, and tall threads, from Regina Catherine and Jeffrey Boggus, Hill and Steele.
I’m from working days; and quiet nights; and a Poplar tree that allowed the black snakes to get into the attic, one which liked to slither down the window pane in the moonlight, making me quiver. 
From Beth’s letters and forbidden drawers.
I am from Freedom church.  Floundering self-direction. 
I’m from the Piedmont of North Carolina, blackberries, meat loaf, and Funeral Beans. 
From the wicker baskets, the musty nylon, and propane burners, with the sunrise chases of hot air balloons.
I am from snapshots on developed film and printed on Kodiak paper, fading on the stairwell walls in Grandmother’s house.
An egret at Pawley's Island, SC - place of 20 years of Steele beach trips.

Shadow poem, modeled from George Ella Lyon's.

Note:  My grandmother's sister, Beth threw her love letters down the well in Mississippi.  My grandmother fished them out & read them while watering the lawn.  Beth's letters remind me of all the stories my grandmother has told me, this one being a favorite.