Sunday, January 26, 2014
Interestingly, just last week I was in a video chatroom where they were debating on the value of online ed solutions like Coursera. I'm taking a writing class there, and I piped in with my opinion that it may be good for learning stuff on your own, such as punching up your writing skills, but that it wouldn't be sufficient to prepare you for a job in business. It seems that Laurie Pickard is gearing up to prove me wrong.
This is a discussion that needs to be had, obviously. If you read "DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education" by Anya Kamenetz, and a few of the other books like it, you'd see that there are a lot of people looking at this issue.
There are so many reasons today why traditional higher ed is not a good fit for many of us out there. One example would be the high cost to parents who send their kids out to college, pay a lot into it, and wind up having to pay even more $$ because instead of buckling down and studying, Jr. has been doing nothing but drinking, partying, and getting into trouble. Jr. then has to come back home, and, rather than gain an MBA type position, he has to work the fry station at McDonald's.
No disrespect to McDonalds, though, because as I recall when I worked there, they actually worked *with* me to work out a schedule where I could take some college classes. Not enough of the entry level workplaces out there are willing to do that these days.
As a person who's had to balance work and school, and now these days with an added load of having to take care of elderly parents, having an educational resource that I can slip into the narrow cracks of my free time is an immense blessing.
In this economy, people are less willing to shell out the bucks to an institution whose idea of improvement may be only beefing up the sports program, or a cosmetic overhaul of the cafeteria/food court. When you consider the ever growing unlikelihood that a brick and mortar degree will lead to a job, large colleges setting up free MOOCs may be their first effort at remaining relevant to the needs of the future workforce.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I was searching and deleting, getting rid of whole swaths of email I would never read. Click, and gone were hundreds of crappy messages from the Democratic party, click, now giant blocks of pagan message board communiques erased.
After getting rid of a couple thousand emails, I thought I should surface in the front room, come up for air and get something to eat. A nice salad from the store, perhaps.
As I was eating, my brain started cycling over the task I had been doing. Emails began to scroll through my head. All of a sudden, I felt as though the part of my brain that was emotionally prepared to eat green onions was missing.
There was one in my mouth. "This is crunchy in a way I'm not in the mood to deal with!" I thought.
Clearly, I am not the type of person who needs Google Glass...
Thursday, December 05, 2013
The first half of my day was spent in training,mostly we went through a script I am to read when I do calls. As we discussed it, we also got a little bit into the theory behind cold calling and how it works. I would be starting out with a script, but eventually I will become so comfortable I will be able to put a lot of my own spin on things.
The thing that struck me the most about this place is how nice everyone is. Of course, they all like that show, "Coven", which I could barely stand the first half hour, so that is something funny, there will be a lot of laughs with this group, I expect.
Went down to the DMV today and passed the written test!!! It took three tries, but I got it.
Then I went to the library and looked up books about cold calling and sales. I sat there for awhile, thinking about what it will be like to start work tomorrow.
Something occurred to me while I was sitting there. My new job is as an appointment setter. What do things like cold calling, sales, advertising, and marketing all have in common? And what skill do they most use, while at the same time honing that same skill?
Writing, that's what! There are so many different directions I can go with this. Using words to persuade and capture hearts and minds. As I sat there today, my head was swimming with possibilities.
Also, forgot to mention that this is a company that serves the LGBT community. Is that cool, or what? This job is gonna rule!
Jupiter is certainly giving me lots of Xmas gifts this year! How's that for Law of Attraction?
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Monday, December 02, 2013
Ernie Souchak, the columnist played by John Belushi in Continental Divide, invented his own. There's something very cool about that to me. Something that said he was a real writer.
I have no idea why, but that movie didn't have the critical acclaim that his earlier movies did. I happen to like that movie a lot.
It's the story of a Chicago journalist who goes up against the Mob and corrupt politicians, has to go into hiding where he falls in love with Blair Brown, who I believe was cast due to her similarity to a young Katherine Hepburn. There is romantic tension, and Belushi has to get back to Chicago, where he once again takes on corruption.
I like that he's a guy who is on the ropes, and rallies his way back. And that he was a writer doing this.
It seems like during the eighties there were a whole lot of movies that revolved around writers and their problems. Probably because they were being written by screenwriters. The kind of screenwriters, it seems to me, that would be the type of guys who would have lunch with Robert Evans and those type of guys.
I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to have lunch with Robert Evans, but I sure wouldn't mind being a real writer, like Ernie Souchak.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
So, I saw Mur Lafferty's podcast about the end of NaNoWriMo: http://murverse.com/nanowrimo-podcast-day-30-the-end/
She didn't make the required number of words, but she (rightfully) didn't feel like a giant loser, either. This got me thinking how I had blown off the 100 Day Writer Challenge on Twitter, and maybe I could STILL do some thing writerly for the end of the year, that I didn't have to spend the remaining days of 2013 in writing challenge Palookaville.
In a "pouring it on in the last moments" kind of way, I've devised my own kind of writing challenge, one for "wannabe" writers like me, who look at the people doing NaNoWriMo, and think, "Man, I wish I could do that! Wish I had the time/skill/discipline/whatever that it takes."
I am one of those "scramble at the last moments" kind of people-- something always seems to get in the way. But in the spirit of not feeling like a loser about it, this time, here is the challenge: if, like me, you're a wannabe NaNoWriMo-er, but you feel it's too intimidating, how could you write that many words in a month, excuse dejour, etc, you can write in the last month of the year.
And you get to set your own goal. It could be so many words a day, it could be so many pages by the the end of the month--you are the one who knows how much time you have and how much writing you have in you. But your comitment will be to writing something, it doesn't matter how little, every day of the month of December.
And I knew that The Decemberists have a song with lyrics that go, "I am a writer, writer of fictions/ I am the heart that you call home/And I've written pages upon pages/Trying to rid you from my bones." So it seemed appropriate to name this The Decemberists Writing Challenge. Hope they don't mind that I used their name. Here's a video of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4FErEVRlIU&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Anybody wanna join me? This is designed to be a no-pressure kinda thing.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
So, here's a story of something kind of nice that happened to me today.
The day didn't start so well. I got some sharp words of criticism from a family member. Then I had a disagreement with some people on the internet, and I realized I had to completely remove myself from any further discussion with an entire group of people, because they just weren't worthy of the respect I had had for them.
It's always more disappointing when these things happen between myself and folks who I thought were more intelligent and mature. It wouldn't hurt as badly if it was a group of people I didn't care about.
It wasn't hugely devastating, but not the way I would have chosen to start my day. So, when I started work that evening, I didn't feel so great. So, when am I getting to the something nice, I'm sure you're wondering?
Well, I had been working for about 45 minutes, when I saw a familiar face come into the store. A gal I had worked with about 15 years ago was shopping, and she remembered me.
In fact, she told me a story, something I had forgotten about. She said, "I had a broken heart, and you gave me a little heart necklace and I still have it." I don't think she knew what just that little sentence had meant right at that moment, how it lifted me out of the doldrums I was in.
There I was, stewing about how someone had called me a moron today on the internet--I mean, come on, it's the internet, how important is it? And here comes along, this old friend, and reminds me of a small kind gesture I did and that they remembered it this whole time. Some little thing I did made *them* feel better.
I pretty much had a smile on my face the rest of the night, and work went really well.