…NOT our Congress right now, that’s for sure.

31 July 2011

I just read the Boehner and Reid plans for myself, because I’m sick of the news “interpreting” them for me.  (the OLD Boehner plan…I haven’t been able to find the new one yet)  Dude, they’re almost EXACTLY THE SAME. WTF?!?  The only glaring difference I could find is that Reid wants caps on spending specifically related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other caps on discretionary spending, where Boehner’s plan wants to cap discretionary spending with Iraq and Afghanistan specifically excluded.  BOTH plans cut subsidized Stafford loans for graduate students (which SUCKS, dudes) and basically use that “extra” to pay for extra Pell grants. The net gains from that are then very small in each plan.  WHAT THE HECK, Boehner/Reid?!?  Why even bother fiddling with Pell grants and Stafford loans when WE’RE ABOUT TO DEFAULT ON OUR OWN LOANS?!?  I’m fuming right now. It might be forgivable if they hadn’t decided to put almost all of the money saved by forcing grad students to pay interest on their Stafford loans right back into Pell grants…but doing that SAVES US NO MONEY!!! Finally, the only other huge difference I could find in the plans is that the Reid plan (he’s the Democrat in this, just to remind you) had in it a clause to investigate those who are receiving unemployment benefits (and other benefits, like Disability and Social Security) to make sure that the system is not being abused.  While CBO estimates that this will actually cost us money (probably to hire people to do the investigating), I can’t help but think it will probably save us money in the end, especially if–as Republicans are fond of saying–“the system is being abused.”  There’s other minor differences in the plans (like one of the reasons Reid’s is estimated to save so much more include auctioning parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, WTF? He also wants to cut subsidies paid to factory farmers…), but all-in-all, I can’t help but notice that BOTH raise the debt ceiling and BOTH call for the creation of a task force to propose further debt reduction. If both parties’ major plans have that measure in them, why not forget the secret back-door cuts to Stafford loans, the random caps on things, and the increase in Pell grants, and instead focus on what really matters…raising the debt ceiling before it hits the fan, and creating a joint task force to work on reducing our freaking ginormous deficit before it comes this close to hitting the fan again.

The Most Important Qualities of an Outstanding Educator

2 April 2011

Sooooo, this is my response to the following prompt on my job application.  I welcome suggestions!

The prompt:

We are interested in your ability to organize and express thoughts on a specific topic in a succinct manner. Please select one of the following topics and write an essay in the space provided on this page.

  1. The Most Important Qualities of an Outstanding Educator

My response:

A truly outstanding educator asks more of her students than they do of themselves, for she sees in them qualities they’ve never dreamed of possessing. However, she has these high expectations with reasonable concessions; she will, for example, give her students time to begin their homework in class, knowing well the demands of after-school jobs, sports, and activities.  She will even support students in some of these ventures by attending (or even coaching!) their sporting events and other activities, such as Science Olympiad or History Day.  She understands that in spite of her four-year education at a university and her bachelor’s degree, she still has much to learn, and that her students will have much to teach her.  She understands that each student will have his or her own preexisting beliefs about her and the subject she teaches, and she knows that part of her job is giving each student a fresh perspective on both. By the end of her first couple weeks of teaching, she knows all of her students’ names, career aspirations, interests, and learning styles. She creates in her classroom an atmosphere of mutual respect.  She must be able to think on her feet, for she won’t be even able to imagine the questions (both relevant and irrelevant) she will be asked. She must have a sense of humor (it will come in handy when things go wrong with technology, weather, et cetera), and she must encourage respectful humor in her students while nipping hurtful or distasteful humor in the bud.  She must be cool in a crisis, no matter how large or small it may be.  She should try to infuse fun into every lesson, and she must attempt to make each and every assignment relevant to her students if at all possible.  Each of her lessons should follow the state/national standards so her students can perform well on the standardized exams that will decide their futures.  She should teach not only to these standards, but she should also include relevance to the “real world” in her lessons.  These, in my opinion, are the qualities that describe an outstanding educator.

…Firefly campaigns! Sleepless nights! Ideas!

26 February 2011

There’s whispers among Browncoats of a Firefly revival, thanks to Nathan Fillion’s comment that he would go back in a heartbeat if he won $300 million in the lottery. Whispers of buying the rights to the show, giving them to Joss & co, and getting the gang back together. Not so much whispers as a roar. But a cautious roar. A roar we’re trying to share with talk show hosts and each other as much as possible.

I was up late last night–about three hours after I decided to go to sleep–thinking about realistic ways to make this happen. I started making a list of potential problems (I thought of them as roadblocks in my head) and helpful things already in place.

Without further ado, here’s both lists now:

Problems:

  1. First and foremost, buying the rights. Fox isn’t going to want to part with them, even though they’re not using them. Irksome and annoying, but truth. I’m betting it’s going to take $70 million or more to get them to part with it.
  2. Sets. The Firefly sets were dismantled in 2003. The chances of finding a place where new episodes can be shot that will look similar to the originals is slim to none. Possible plus to counter this: there may be fans in the LA area who have decorated their houses/businesses/buildings so that they closely resemble Serenity…and if they are such big fans as that, they probably won’t mind allowing the cast and crew shooting there either.
  3. Castle, Chuck, The Cape, and V. Nathan, Adam, Summer, and Morena have their hands tied at the moment. I can’t speak for Adam, Summer, or Morena’s schedules, but I know for a fact that Nathan is often working 18 hour days on Castle.  There is NO WAY that this campaign is about getting them to quit their other jobs.  If this Firefly revival goes through, it has to be in such a way that they can keep their other jobs.  (See my cunning plan…)  Possible sad sad sad plus: The Cape is listed as certain to be cancelled, V is listed as more likely to be cancelled than renewed, and Chuck is listed as a toss-up between cancellation and renewal on TVbytheNumbers, so one, two, or all three of them may be more available next year. Unfortunately, this sucks for them–and for fans of Chuck, The Cape, and V–so we obviously wish that both shows will get renewed for many seasons to come!

Positives:

  1. Jane Espenson and Jose Molina have already explicitly stated that they support the idea of more live-action Firefly and would be on board with it.
  2. Almost every cast member has explicitly stated that they would go back if they could. I’ve never heard or read anything to contradict that.
  3. There are currently over 99,000  fans on the “Help Nathan Buy Firefly” page. That’s a LOT of people willing to give of their money, time, and selves (meaning labor–some have offered to help out on set if it gets that far) for this cause.
  4. eta: Patrick Rothfuss (an awesome author, in case you were wondering. He’s done some AWESOME things before, but this is probably moving him to the top of my “favourite author list”!) has pledged to help Nathan buy Firefly with his royalties from his new book that is coming out soon.  Obviously this offer only holds if Nathan truly was serious, but this still deserves a spot on the list of positives!!!

So those are my lists so far. After I made those lists, I started to plan. Nothing major, just some ideas in my head.

My cunning plan:

  1. First, find out how much people are willing to give. Not just a post on Facebook, either. A legitimate place where people can go to make a pledge.  For this purpose, we need a site we can use FOR FREE to accept these pledges. I’m thinking SurveyMonkey.com.Something like this.  That’s just a rough survey I made in like ten minutes, but that would be a great way to get an actual estimate without using a site like Paypal, which takes money up front for something that might not happen. [ETA: the pledge site is up here: http://helpnathanbuyfirefly.com/pledge/]
  2. Wait until there are at least $30 million in pledges. This is an almost impossible goal, but once we get there, the next steps get easier.
  3. Next, approach Fox professionally with an official offer.We’ll need to hire a lawyer (or maybe get the help of a Browncoat lawyer) to make our offer more official and make sure that everything is aboveboard and legally respectable.
  4. Next, if Fox accepts our offer, we find a way to get hard money. Paypal was my first thought… any other ideas?
  5. Next, we give Fox the money and give the rights to Joss. Just like that. The lawyer would be very helpful here as well…especially since, up to that point, Firefly would have 70,000 official owners!!! Fans who pledged and delivered more than $10,000 get credited as producers and the right to work on the show if they are available, but it is important that the rights go to Joss. I know that here is where my plan stops being relevant, but it keeps going…
  6. Next, Joss gathers a gang of writers together (especially Jose Molina and Jane Espenson!), and they write 13 more kick-butt episodes (for now)! Writers are compensated at the industry standard rate for their writing.
  7. Next, we wait for Castle, V, and Chuck to go on hiatus simultaneously. This will probably happen over the summer.  Each episode has to be shot in 6 days (like Dr. Horrible!) with minimal crew and professional-level equipment. The crew and actors MUST be paid at industry standard.  This may be a fan-funded reboot, but it is very important that everyone gets paid up front for this!  There may only be time to shoot 3-6 episodes this summer. That’s fine… with something like this, you take what you get.
  8. Once the episodes are cut, release them on Youtube. This will make them free and available to everyone all over the world–especially the fans who funded the project! Youtube is free, so this is another way to save money.
  9. Sell the Season 2 DVDs to finance season 3. (There should be plenty of extras to make it worth the $50 they will cost.) If there is enough DVD sales, there will be enough money there for a season 3. If not, we at least got our second season, and we certainly will have had a grand adventure whilst doing so!

So there you have it… there’s my lists. I hope it has given you something to think about.  Hopefully, I will be able to sleep tonight now that I’ve gotten this all written down!

…free stuff from USA Network!

11 September 2010

I don’t think it’s any secret that USA Network is the best TV network ever–cable or broadcast. Their original shows are witty, clever, funny, and charming. Not even on CBS or ABC can you find shows like Burn Notice, White Collar, or Psych all together on the same station. I’m a huge fan of their syndicated shows as well. NCIS, SVU, and House all on the same channel? Can’t beat it. But that’s not why I’m writing today.

Today, I’m giving USA Network props for how awesome they are to their fans.

Take Psych for example. Through Club Psych, USA has given away thousands of free shirts, DVD sets, and even bobbleheads to Psych fans willing to do small things like promote the show on Facebook, watch it online, or play games on its website. I have gotten seasons 2-4 this way.

Another example is all the free stuff they give away on Twitter, Facebook, and various entertainment blogs. For example, simply by retweeting a message that I was watching the summer finale of White Collar (the best show on TV! check it out if you haven’t already!), I was entered to win prizes that ranged from DVD sets to t-shirts. Due to some amazing amount of luck, I won season 1 on DVD!

ALL of these free things make me exceptionally happy, so I thought I’d blog about it. If you have cable and don’t watch USA network, you don’t know what you’re missing! Go check it out today!

…creepy adventures!

30 July 2010

Today I ran to the store. At 23:40. Yeah, that’s military time for 11:40 at night. Why run at night? Because it’s cooler. And darker. And I run faster when I run in the dark for some reason. So I mostly run either on the treadmill or at night. And normally this isn’t a problem. (I have been doing this since I lived in CLEVELAND! I mean, if you’re gonna have problems, you would think they would happen there, in the city…)

Tonight changed my perspective on night running a bit. It started off like my normal Thursday night runs. I set off with the intention of running a quick mile, stopping at the store for maybe five minutes, and getting home in time for Burn Notice (I missed the teaser and act one the first time due to class). I ran past a bunch of drunk/getting drunk summer freshman and had fun playing “How Close Can I Get Before They Hear or Notice Me” with them. (It’s quite fun! You should try it sometime!)

About a mile into my run (500 meters from the store), I began to hear the quiet ticking of a bicycle coming up behind me. Since it wasn’t rapidly approaching (as bikes normally do, since two wheels are generally faster than two legs on flat ground), my “spidey sense” started tingling. I picked up the pace, but I wasn’t scared too much because I was not far from the store.

As I approached the store, I saw the bike and rider pull up to the store’s bike parking. I hurried into the well-lit store and waited by the entrance for the biker to come in so I could see him (or her, I suppose, but something told me he was a he) in the light. He did not immediately enter the store behind me, so my internal dialogue ran something like this:
“Dude, that guy is SO waiting right outside the store to rob you OR WORSE!”
“Naw, he’s prolly just on his way to the store to go shopping like you.”
“Then WHY didn’t he come IN the store?”
“Maybe he thinks YOU’RE the creeper?”
“HE was following ME!”
“You got me there.”
“Let’s buy something to fight him off with.”
“Okay, but it has to be something we already need.”
“Fine. How about a mop?”

And so, instead of buying pretzels, I bought a mop.

I headed to the register to pay, peering out the store window to see if my alleged bike creeper was out there, waiting for me. I didn’t see him, and sort of relaxed. Reasonable me convinced paranoid me that I was just being crazy and have an overactive imagination and maybe shouldn’t be thinking about Burn Notice so much.

At this point I was cutting it pretty close…if I wanted to make it back in time to catch the beginning of Burn Notice on the repeat, I had to leave the store within 5 minutes of my arrival and run the 0.3 mile shortcut home. So sure, my reasonable self managed to convince me pretty thoroughly that I was just paranoid. Reasonable me wanted to get home!

After I finished paying, as I was tucking my receipt into my wallet, I saw a darkly dressed Hispanic man of about the same height and build as my creeper leaving the store. WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING. Like he had been waiting near the exit for me the whole time. All that relief that I had JUST felt left me instantly. “OH crap,” my internal dialogue began.

But I didn’t want to be a cliche and I didn’t want to be my mother (who distrusts anyone who is not a WASP). So instead of telling the clerk my suspicions, I walked out of the store into the foyer. (Yanno, the place in Wal-Mart where you get the carts. Except this wasn’t a Wal-Mart, it was a grocery store. It had plants and fertilizer, not carts.) The foyer was glass, and I could see my alleged creeper walking slowly….to the bike rack.

My suspicions confirmed, I stayed in the foyer, pulse racing.

He was waiting for me to leave, because he got on his bike and just sat there for about three minutes, fiddling around with the seat or something, glancing toward me every ten seconds or so. I just stayed in the doorway brandishing my mop…

I could easily run for help, but didn’t want to seem paranoid or racist.

Eventually he rode off–slowly–toward the opposite way that he had come. However, there was a sidewalk that loops around to the sidewalk I took there (and would be taking back) so I watched him bike away until I couldn’t see him anymore. Right as I lost sight of him, he turned back in the same direction I was going. However, he was so far away at this point, I was confident I could make it to the hill before he caught up.

My shortcut home after my mile-long run to the store is up a giant 0.3 mile hill. I knew that there was no frakking way this dude could ride his bike up it as fast as I could walk–or run, if need be–up it. Still, the ~300 meters between the store and the hill were a little nerve-wracking. I was wielding my mop like Mulan the whole time, turning around every ten seconds or so to make sure I couldn’t see the creeper or his bike anywhere. (And yes, I probably DID look crazy to any normal person who happened to see me doing this! :) )

When I finally reached the hill, I set off up that sucker like I never have before. But made it home safely, and that’s what matters, right? Plus I got a great workout out of the deal! Between the final initial run to the store and the heart-pounding action after I left, I am BEAT! I’ll sleep well tonight! :D

My only regret? I missed the beginning of Burn Notice! AGAIN! :(

…Twitter. Yes, I’m saying it again!

24 July 2010

I had to give an informational speech on Thursday night for my continuing education class, so I chose to talk about Twitter. And it was seriously amazing the number of pictures and awesome stories I was able to recall from the 2(ish) years I’ve been on the site.

Twitter has given me the chance to chat with celebrities (and writers/showrunners of my fave shows, who apparently aren’t celebrities in normal culture, but they totally are to me!) I would normally never be able to talk to otherwise. This is amazing to me! Sure, I’m easily amused.

But I’ve also met some great friends there. (You know who you are!) I found people who share my interests and who I’d love to meet in real life someday. Probably at a con, since we’re almost all huge nerds! :D

And that was the general gist of my speech: Twitter isn’t just a bunch of people letting the world know what you had for breakfast…it’s a community where you can talk to anyone who shares interests…and where you can find some great conversation if you look. :D

…bacon. Plain and simple. Just bacon.

29 March 2010

Seriously, the secret to happiness is bacon. Now you know! :D

… Mystery Google Missions. Today’s: email me 100 reasons why you love me

21 December 2009

Mystery Google is a site where you type in a request, hit search, and you get the Google results of the person before you. Often, people input “Missions” such as “call this number” or “IM me!” which are fun to do if you have the time. Which I do, now.

So, I e-mailed the mystery person the list below the cut (which originally had numbers, but they didn’t copy-paste for some reason). I know absolutely nothing about this person, so I kind of made stuff up to get to 100!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

…the shirtless man of the week!

9 December 2009

I recently began reading Show Patrol, a blog on the ChicagoNow website. Written by Curt Wagner, it’s insightful, fun, and interesting. My favorite feature is the Shirtless Man of the Week. This week’s SMotW is David Boreanaz, which made me so ridiculously happy that I absolutely needed to blog it here! I highly encourage you to click on the link in David’s name for some really lovely pictures of David, as well as a promotional video for tomorrow’s episode of Bones! :D

…Patrick Rothfuss’s Heifer Project fundraiser!

1 December 2009

So there’s this author I don’t really know. His name is Patrick Rothfuss and he’s pretty much amazing.  Never read any of his books but I hope to rectify that this summer.

Anyways, he ran a fundraiser for Heifer International last year and raised $58,000 for them, and then matched the entire donation, bringing the total for his fundraiser to well over $100,000.

The Heifer Project is based upon the philosophy of the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” That’s essentially what Heifer does: they provide families with livestock to raise and breed for food, eggs, wool, milk, et cetera. They train the families to care for their animals, and ask that they share the blessing with others in need when the animals reproduce. It’s one of my favorite charities and that’s why I’m so excited about this:

This year, Pat Rothfuss is at it again. He has partnered up with Subterranean Press to raise money for Heifer yet again this year. SubPress donated over 300 books which you have one chance to win for every $10 you donate. Here’s the page where you can donate.

I’ll be donating as much as I have left in my bank account after I pay my rent for December and January and after I buy Christmas presents for my little siblings!!!  I hope you’ll consider donating as well.

Happy rest of your day!  :D


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