Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Final Thoughts (Thing 23)

Several final thoughts on the 23 Things on a stick library learning program:

1. My network/filter powers that be are going to hunt me down and find out why I keep unblocking sites like YouTube, Flickr and Ning. If anyone looks at my internet usage record for the last month at work, it looks like all I do is play. YAY! Isn't it fun to play!

2. I really enjoyed learning about all of the various tools that are out there and what other folks think are ways to use these tools in the library setting. I am more and more curious about various ways, but continually frustrated by my school district. I can't add certain tools with Java or that embed into our school website software because they aren't allowed. This site or that is blocked. We don't allow kids email or outside storage devices. It's all quite maddening. How do we explore some of these great tools when they aren't allowed or we constantly tell our kids no??

3. We test too much. (Oh, that's not a 23 thing, thing...That's a thought about this week...)

4. I'd definately explore more tools or try another learning program that Metronet offers.

5. I'm not sure what my favorite tool that we discovered during the 23 things journey was. I really liked exploring all of the tools and learning new things. I liked Library Thing and Shelfari. I liked Facebook for making me actually join it since I was so anti-facebook. I liked finding the fun tools like ImageChef to make fun images online. Overall, it just felt good to learn new things and keep up with all that changes in the blink of an eye.

Keeping Up! (Thing 22)

Thing 22 encouraged us to keep up the learning, keep at it, and keep trying new things. It offered several blogs and/or sites to read that might be of interest. Curious enough, I already have several of them in my Google Reader account. For me, that is the one way I will continue to keep up with the numerous "things" we've learning about and tried out. It's a way to consolidtae information into one place and get it all at once. I like that. One login, one place to read most of the blogs I read. I haven't gotten into my Google homepage much yet, but I think that will be another place to keep up with other sources of information, too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Infinity and Beyond (Thing 21)

For this thing, I played around a bit in Ning and looked at some other social networking sites.
Ning is another social networking site where groups can make there own special interest forum and group. I joined the 23 Things group and here's the badge.

Visit 23 Things on a Stick

I found I did more exploring with all of the settings on Ning and just did a lot of looking around. I'm worn out from all of this "signing-up." I like that certain groups have communities on Ning, but I didn't care for the layout. And I can't pinpoint why. It's driving me nuts. It feels too cluttered, I think.

One of the sites listed to try was Shelfari and since I am already a member, I was excited. I'll be honest, I have too many logins I may never use again. I like Shelfari and am going to stick with that. See my thoughts, here.

I also scoped out some of the other social networking sites listed in this thing. I liked Bakespace.com, a site for those who like to cook and like recipes. But just what I don't need right now are more recipes to site and collect dust. :) So, perhaps that isn't the right networking space for me.

In other notes, I keep finding more friends on Facebook. I need to write on some walls, there are people I haven't talked to in ages. :)

I have friends--on Facebook! (Thing 20)

This thing made me do what I'd been avoiding for quite some time. At last, I am a Facebook user. I spent much of last evening setting up my profile and finding friends. (Ok, sending generic friend requests to folks in my email address book.) I was happy to find I had friends in less than 5 minutes. What does that say about Sunday evening computer usage? Everyone's online on Sunday night? Or better yet, what does that say about my gen, the somewhere in between X/Y's that we are...I know that most of my college friends are on facebook. I now know that most anyone from my HS class is not. Or at least I can't find them. That's somewhat interesting if you ask me. Or maybe they just won't own up to the fact that they went to school in rural WI. Either way, I sifted through the 500 some alums of my HS that are listed just to see.

In good news, it seems that I mgiht actually hear from my sibs-in-law. (Are you two reading this? :)) It seems they are just enough younger as to use facebook much more frequently. When JD joined, he was told he was, "too old!" Last night, I was more or less told, "nice to see you took the plunge." Perhaps we are just a bit too old, but I can see where the networking facebook employs can be useful. I can't get DT to answer an email, but I wrote on his wall and had a response that night! Now that's what I call networking and the power of Facebook.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

La Vida es Hermosa

La vida es hermosa. TV with new episodes is back. I suddenly have programs to watch again. Whatever will I do? I so enjoyed not watching TV for so long...But it was nice to watch NCIS this evening. :) But the real question is: When does Chuck get back to new episodes? Ok, so maybe that's not that important. I mean, I never watched them on TV to begin with, we downloaded them and watched them, so really does it matter... And isn't it a shame that the complete works of JA are done? I guess it's time to start re-watching them!

Sense and Sensibility Part 2

Sense and Sensibility's second part aired on Sunday night. It was a good culmination of the story, but I think I was a bit let down. I think that the first part did such a good job of setting the story and tone. It gave detail and didn't skip over things. The second part felt fast and perhaps somewhat rushed. All of the events happening so close together made the time go by quickly, but there wasn't the same time to savor the story in this part. Like the first part it is well done and I think if I sit and watch the whole adaptation straight through, I will find a bit more continuity to it. I was frustrated by the appearance of Willoughby after Marianne has been sick. Is it that disjointed in the book? He sort of appears out of nowhere. The same can be said for the appearance of the two Miss Steele's at the Ferris household. They were just invited there? What? What's the connection that would lead to such an invitation? I guess it's no wonder I just bought a new copy of S&S at B&N last week. We know what I will start to read later this evening....Overall, a great version. Andrew Davies wins my kudos again for a great screenplay of dear JA.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sense and Sensibility Podcast (Thing 19, Part 2)

Masterpiece offers this sudo-podcast about S&S (I argue that it is not a podcast because it does not have a RSS feed/link to download it. It is only available on the webpage to listen to and not even download. But, they call it a podcast, so there it is.) by life coach Cheryl Richardson. There are two segments, one for each portion of the broadcast of S&S.

Part 1: Richardson offers these questions in relation to JA and S&S.
What speaks to you from this film? What is it that you might be longing for?
She notes several points that speak to her and I thought they were well thought out.

Simplicity: The simplicity in the film (and perhaps all of JA) speaks to her. It should make us stop and think about what we really want and how we might go about clearing our life from all of its clutter. I think that the film does a good job of showing the simplicity of life in the Regency era compared to the busy lives we lead now. I think that can be why JA still appeals to readers. Somehow we find refuge in the simplicity of the stories. There does not seem to be as much clutter and complications make from numerous committments and time constraints. Life was simple--a bit of gossip, wit, find a husband, Life was good.

Importance of connections & relationships. How do you relate to others? Do you have a support system in place for tough times. She notes how Mrs. Dashwood deals with the loss of her husband and the lack of her stepson's follow through of duty to she and her daughters. What did the others do?

She also notes that amount of containment or repression of emotion that takes place in the film. You just want to scream out and yell at the women who don't speak up and say what they are thinking or meaning. Instead, the stay proper and refined as a lady should. It can be maddening to watch!

Food for thought: Richardson points out to watch for the ocean and how it shows emotion in the movie. It connects certain periods in the film and certain character's emotions. She also says to pay attention to some of the characters and how the film uses light and dark to portray certain issues or certain sides of some of the issues or conflicts that arise in the story.

Part 2:
She asks us to identify which character of the book/film we identify most with? (In terms of obvious, free qualities and in terms of hidden qualities and similarities, good and bad.) I would have to say that I agree with Richardson and can identify with Elinor the most, but know that at times I exhibit (depending on the situation) parts of Marianne's personality. It is dependent on what the situation is. Mostly, I would argue, however, that the level headed, thinker would be easier for me to relate to. :)

The plot also makes a point of how important telling the truth is throughout the entire story. Pay attention to this theme and you begin to notice how it runs throughout the whole of the story. (Think Edward, think Willoughby, think Margaret, think Elinor and Marianne. All have points where this theme shines through.)

Podcasting (Thing 19)

I am not new to podcasting. We listen to certain podcasts fairly religiously in on our iPod in the car--NPR's Sunday Puzzle and A Way With Words.

In searching out some new podcasts, I discovered a blog that has a post that lists numerous links to, what else, Jane Austen Podcasts!! HURRAH!

I looked at some of podcasts the author lists and found one from NPR when they intereviewed screenwriter Andrew Davies on Morning Edition about his numerous Jane Austen adaptations. It was from the Morning Edition: Interviews portion and I added that feed to my Google Reader account. I also have Nancy Keane's booktalks podcast feed in my GR account as well.

I think iTunes is so simple and easy to use. I did do some exploring in PodcastAlley and Yahoo Podcasts, but I am partial to iTunes.

I have tried podcasting on my media center website for bookreviews. I have published 1 and have 1 waiting in the works. (I just need to sit down and take the time to finish it.) I am trying to get some 8th graders to do some book podcasts with me, but they just aren't biting at it right now. I think the only way I'll get them to try it is if it is with or for a class activity. Here is the link to my podcast, which I made using the software GarageBand on my computer. I have also played with Audacity.