July 31, 2007

GI: Ch. 1 Why You've Made the Right Choice

Summary
The first chapter is very encouraging, and it reminded me that I'm not alone (to remember that other GI will be facing the same problems as me when it comes to teaching).

Generally, teaching writing is fun in spite of its concommitant chaos. Here are the reasons why teaching is "fun:"
- giving one a natural andrenaline more powerful than bad drugs.
- being one's own boss, managing one's time, organization
- fostering creativity in sharpening one's own writing skills, stimulating
- getting an opportunity to people watch and learn about/meet others, variety
- learning new things, power
- helping others, changing others
- bonding with peers/forming a (writing) community

Anticipating problems
- lack of confidence (transform nervous energy into fun energy- How about you (reader/veteran) how did you transform your nervous energy in the classroom?)
- time management issues
- volume of work (tome of compositional knowledge- lifelong task, take it a day at a time)
- imposter syndrome (establishing authority, grammar issues)

Relating some of the points to my experiences
- I remember in some of my English classes, my professors responded to students' inquiries with:
"I'll get back to you on that."
"Anybody? (about grammar, asking students to answer to have time to come up with answer, making it a "research project")

Encouraging insights
- act like a professional (more like a reminder)
- "Writers are learners and we never reach a point where we can say, ' Now I know all about it and can teach it.'" and "Ironically, people skills may be more important for most writing teachers than writing knowledge." (Improving attitudes better than learning the vocabulary of grammar) [16]
- enjoy the job, savor the moments, "For me, the clearest indication that I don't like the work is that I become hyperconscious of time" "There's nothing wrong with seeing this job as a phase." (Making a career out of this?, 20-21)-- the insight about being conscious of time, I noticed that when I'm writing I lose track of time, even if in the end, I don't write much...it was the process, the beginning of something I wouldn't mind working on...

I know I'll be nervous, however I am still looking forward to "thinking on my feet," meeting people and helping them the best way I can. It's sort of weird seeing the other side and soon teaching from it (in spite of the advice of vicariously putting self back to student status) and at the same time continuing to learn and being a grad student.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:50 PM | Comments (3)

updates

I resumed running... I wonder, is it better to run on pavement or hilly lopsided earthy terrain?

I watched a Japanses film called "The Bird People of China"... I want to find works by the author who wrote the book that inspired the movie...his name is Makoto Shiina, according to the director, he wrote a lot a imaginary travel novels...

I have 5 1/2 more chapters left before I finish my spanish review (I can't believe I'm reviewing 3 years of high school spanish in 10 weeks-- it's very basic, I reviewed lots of vocabulary, and conversational phrases, I learned a bit about the culture, and basic grammar (3 tenses, subjects, direct object etc.), retraining my ear to hear the rhythm of the speech, and vocalizing the words...tomorrow is my last day...

I finished Harry Potter, it was satisfying for me as a fan... it felt weird... it seemed like I grew up with Harry (he's like a real person I knew)... it's a bit sad because it's the last book, but I'm also understanding of its end... Book 7 is like a waving good bye to a friend moving to another country... sure you can keep in touch via email but his/her presence will not be convenient, they're not hanging around... more effort to keep in touch, not close in proximity (not necessarily bad, but still not near them)...

I am not going to finish my two boxes of summer reading...at this moment, I'll be putting aside some books... I have less than three weeks to read the books I'm going to use for teaching...

It's difficult not eating desserts so carefree/freely... I know not to deprive myself but I have to watch it...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:50 PM | Comments (3)

July 29, 2007

un dia espanol

viernes pasado, I had a spanish themed sort of day... I started by going to the Mud Room in Suburban square to make un regalo para/por tia de mi amiga... it was related to the spaniards porque of its Catholic-themed... I painted an icon of Madonna and Child on a plate. I hope it turns out right, especially the colors...

despues I went to the ciudad, specifically el centro, and met con mi amiga en Starbux (I didn't get any drinks just a spinach and queso sconce). Coincidentally, we watched a pelicula called "Goya's Ghost" which is about the Spanish Inquisition during the famous Spanish painter's life Fransisco Goya... I thought this movie was going to be focusing on how Goya worked but instead it focused on the events which inspired Goya's paintings and drawings of violence/pain and ugliness... it was chistosa when I remembered what my Art history teacher said about Goya's realistic depiction of the royal family... in the movie everybody kept pointing out how they were ugly and funny looking, I laughed in my mind...

the movie ended cerca a las siete, so mi amiga y yo went to the restaurante, Cebu, they served Filipino cuisine with a "Spanish" flair. My friend just felt like going there... nothing was planned, un dia espanol just happened. Serendipty.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:41 PM | Comments (0)

A Bewitching Day!

the Wizards and Witches come out!

On Thursday July 26, I finally got a copy of the final installment of the Harry Potter series (HP), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Book 7... I spent an hour reading the first 100 pages (don't worry no spoiler's here) and all I can say is wow! J.K. Rowling is definitely using all her cards on this book... she's taking a lot of risk with the characters... it's so free, and wild but still contained- like a rollercoaster (loops, hills but still within a track)... I kept turning page after page, which at first seemed like a lot of pages per chapter but before I realize it I'm already done with the chapter... so I'm reading all this excitement while in Starbucks behind the Kimmel Center (of course) sipping a caramel Frap (I told the lady no whip cream but she still put some- no whip cream because I'm watching the fat/sugar content in my blood, I can't do my starbucks binge anymore because one frap a day calls for the doc to stay)... watching the fifth installment of the HP movie was definitely a helpful reminder of the ongoings in the potter-universe. As of right now, I'm half-way through the book!

I ate a quick dinner after finishing the first 100 pages and then headed to the Academy of Music venue (only a block away) to watch the broadway hit Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.... I read the book before I knew that there was a musical... at first I didn't want to watch the musical, but I was convinced when I heard the music from a couple of Wicked SHU fanatics, I familiarized myself with some of the songs I liked a lot such as "the Wizard and I," "Dancing Through Life," "For Good," etc.... when I saw that Wicked was going to be in Philly, I bought my ticket asap (I didn't want to travel all the way to NY- too much coordination needed, transportation and other schedules).

Wicked is light-hearted, funny and smart... the issues discussed such as leadership, propanganda, friendship, can be applied in today's world... Wicked is fraught with verbal irony and other irony, it's imaginative, it has a nice twist on the origins of the beloved Wizard of Oz characters such as the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Wizard, and of course the witches. Act one was filled with lots of fabulous songs like "Popular" and "Defying Gravity." Act two filled in the gap of the story lines and it has a killer ending and a banging finale song "For Good." Although Elphaba is the main character, Glinda stole the show with her quirky vocabulary, mannerisms and dance movements. She was just lovable and funny. At times she was the bimbo bonde, and sometimes she broke through the conventions of stereotypical blonde. The show gets a wickedly cool grade of A++!

It was a magical and spellbound day!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

dangers of too much vacation

there's a saying: all work and no play makes a person dull... the reverse is also true: all play and no work makes a person dull...

vacations are especially dangerous if the people one is spending time with are not on vacation.. why?
because one puts one's self at risk of being a spectator of someone else's life/drama...

in vacations it's important that all/both parties (the vacationeer, the visited, etc.) are in mutual understanding of the purpose of the vacation- which is to catch up, make fond memories, relax and have fun together... when the following criteria are not met, then disasters befall especially the vacationeer... as the case study proved, below is an excerpt:

a girl was visiting her sister in a neighboring county... her sister was the busy type, no time for play all work... of course she welcomed her youngest sibling but deep inside she was resentful... because she didn't have the same freedom and luxury as her....the young girl on the other hand was reserved, in the past she had an inkling of her sister's resentment, but she was trying to be as diplomatic and positive as possible... in the end of their time together, little was done, no fond new memories were formed, just reminders of the sad past surfaced... the young spent her time watching the drama/life of her sister, and she spent her time always adjusting to her whims... she was lucky to be fitted into her regular schedule... the girl's vacation became a time to catch up on her studies instead bonding...

the conclusion the data came to indicates that mutuality of understanding of the purpose of leisure should be important for all parties et. al. (vacationeer, the visited, etc.).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

Books for Teaching Composition

As the summer is winding down, and my summer curriculum coming to its end, soon I'll start reading the books I have to use, as a Graduate Instructor (GI), to teach composition to Utah State University first year students. The books arrived a couple of weeks ago, but I've been holding them off... Don't worry I'll begin soon.

The first book I'll be reading is written by one of my instructor of GIship, named Brock Dethier. The book is called First Time Up: An Insider's Guide for New Composition Teachers. While reading this book, I'll be doing three things:
1. Summarize each chapter
2. Relate the materials to experiences
3. Discuss/write about new insights gained

The second book I have to read is the Instructor's Manual to the textbook The Curious Writer, I think I have to read the first three chapters before orientation week. After these two books, I'll perused through the textbook, and maybe start reading some of the essays, stories, and articles. I'll also try to acquaint myself with The New Century Pocket Guide for Writers.

Isn't it ironic that I dropped out of SHU's education program at the end of my sophomore year, in order to focus on English and Art, and now that I've graduated, I'm going to be a GI, who is going to teach composition to first year students?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)

Greenwich CT. (Part 4)

the surface

during my sojourn to Greenwich CT, I learned several things about people in general and myself (not giving in, the limits of compromise, the care of languages, discretion of speaking, the unexplainable attachments of people whether to their older sibling or former lovers, frustrated/supressed anger). I saw economic imbalances (big houses on big lands and small lands, the color of houses changing from divine white to grafitti-washed smog/red bricks, immigrant workers), I experienced New York (Manhattan streets, the traffic, the bustle of people, the tongues of foreign speech, microcosm of the known civilization, I saw people from different walks of life- teenager, mother, disenfranchised young man of late 20s, students, gays, senior citizens, bratz, and many more).

I'll remember... sleeping on top of the bunk bed, falling asleep watching the green stars fade, improvising stories always trying to get the last word, waking up in the morning, eating croissant with jelly for breakfast, drinking milk, accompanying my cousin and uncle (to one of the big mansions they work at, doing thier morning duty of fixing the cushions at the pool for twenty dollars just in case the rich owners decided to chill there and take a swim that day)... playing basketball, training, learning moves (dribbling with eyes close/looking at the opponent, running with the ball, guarding with bent knees, making plays, lay-up, cradles, ball bouncing on the board, Horse, 21)... watching TV (Charm school), White Chicks the movie-never gets old... the breeze, the coolness after the rain... Shelly Jade Porkchop, laughing and talking at 1 in the morning as if in a slumber party (getting yelled at to go to sleep)... doing Spanish homework...American Folk Art Museum, walking in New York with aching feet? Starbucks at NY -rude worker and good revealing conversations, unsuccessfully eavesdropping on Spanish conversations, winning at Yu-gi-oh even if only one out of five...

I'll remember going home, passing through Chinatown N.Y. for "pasalubong" of 'schopaw'... getting stuck in traffic due to closed roads because of cyclers... dead end, passing through Central Park...

I finished Brave New World and The Mother Tongue:English and how it got that way (which was apt to my Spanish/language study)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:50 PM | Comments (0)

An Asian Experience

On Monday, July 23, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts welcomed the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and the Taiko Masala Master Drummers to its stage, as part of the 2007 Young People's Concert Series. The free concert, which lasted for an hour, brought culture to Philadelphians especially to children.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company from New Jersey started the show with a vaudeville-like act consisting of three people, one as a trainer and the other two as a giant dragon-dog, which was very convincing since they moved as one (a bit uncomfortable because the other guy near the rump had to crouch/ and bend his back). They coordinated moving the tail with blinking the eye and opening the mouth.

The costumes they wore not only added to the movements but also to the effect/story they told. The act to follow was a solitary guy with two batons... he might be a grasshopper because he moved like one, his appearance was sort of grasshopper-esque... he had two long antennas made up of tail-feathers and he made the grating chirping sound of grasshoppers. There was a woman and she imitated the crane with its precision and angular movements. Everything flowed... she did great body isolation movements especially with her arms, elbows, hands, and fingers.

The ribbon dance was spectacular. It was pure bright energy/motion captured the serpentine paths outlines by the ribbons' lightness and undulation (wave-like motion). Some dancers have the ability to defy gravity, but the freedom of the ribbons exceeded the heaviness and corporeality of even the most agile human being. It was whimsical and lively like flying snakes.

The Chinese dancers successfully used crops like fans to create images and movements unfathomable to the human body. Everything was just bouncy and fluid.

The second half of the concert was filled by Japanese drumming and martial arts demonstrations from Taiko Masala, INC., New York. The drumming was very inviting, I wanted to get a drum and start some sort of beat/rhythm. The way the drummers raised thier sticks to the sky and bringing it down reminded me of the controllers of the game console/system of Wii. Sometimes the flute accompaniment felt like transitional/elevator music (I foget that it's part of the performance).

Of course the kids, who attended, were mostly brats, and they forgot their "Mann" manners at home, but overall it was an awesome "Asian Experience."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

Neruda's poems

I just finished reading Pablo Neruda's poetry called "Book of Questions" both in Spanish and English... some of the questions he asked are very imaginative and visually stimulating (awesome metaphors). Poetry made up of questions. Here are a few of the questions I found intriguing:

Where did the full moon leave its sack of flour tonight?
Why do tree conceal the splendor of their roots?
Is there anything in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain?
Does smoke talk with the clouds?
Why do leaves commit suicide when they feel yellow?
Why do clouds cry so much, growing happier and happier?
How many questions does a cat have?
Do tears not yet spilled wait in small lakes? Or are they invisible rivers that run toward sadness?
Do you know what the earth meditates upon in autumn?
Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?
Isn't it better never than late?
How many weeks are in a day and how many years in a month?
Why do all silkworms live so raggedly?
Who wakes up the sun when it falls asleep on its burning bed?
Was it where they lost me that I finally found myself?
What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?
Does he who is always waiting suffer more than he who's never waited for anyone?
Perhaps heaven will be, for suicides, an invisible star?
Where is the child I was, still inside me or gone?
Why did we spend so much time growing up only to separate?
And what is the name of the month that falls between December and January?
Did spring never deceive you with kisses that didn't blossom?
Why did I return to the indifference of the limitless ocean?
How in salt's desert is it possible to blossom?
Do we learn kindness or the mask of kindness?
Is there a star more wide open than the word "poppy"?
In which window did I remain watching buried time?
If all rivers are sweet where does the sea get its salt?
And how do the roots know they must climb toward the light?
Is it true that autumn seems to wait for something to happen?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)

July 21, 2007

NY: American Folk ARt Museum

-left greenwich CT, walked to the train station in port chester NY to catch ride to Grand Central Station NY for a trip to the American Folk Art Museum
(AFAM)

-got out of grand central... passed by the constellations, out the door started walking... forgot the map (the visual cue)... wanted to start on the right foot so before going farther and lost, asked a passerby which way to 53rd street, later asked another one which way to 5th avenue

-found AFAM, write next to MoMA- $7 entrance fee for students (a lie since the internet said admission was free)... five floors, narrow, start from the top and go down, each floor an exhibit itself... crafty and contemporary (in our 21st century sense)...the folk art revealed exhibition (part of the permanent collection) was really enlightning about the folk art genre and its uses: individuality (stability/assertion identity sometimes defying conventions), community (not just a place), symbolism (associations/subtle/secrets), and utility (practicality/functionality).

-walking towards 33rd street, going to shops on the way, Disney (photo shoot with Goofy and Liberty Minnie), Gap, souvenir shops, more window browsing, 42nd street, passed an Asian (Korean) Avenue...

-Starbucks- Greentea Frap and sausage and egg sandwich, mean worker, who speaks another language beside English - talking, catching up, little confessions, laughs, utilizing the ability to speak another language

-underground and boom above ground, clouds... nice day, breezy, stark... mansions of Greenwich/Stamford CT versus brick apartments of New Jersey... Filipino restaurant...being reminded of the Philippines, not the same, pansit and taho...'emo'-tional, snacks

-didn't bring a camera, be more than just a tourist... walking, chill in front of NY Public Library in fifth Avenue (the one with lions, and was featured in a movie "the Day after tomorrow") sat on the steps, ate snacks, watched people pass by... taxis racing

-st patrick's cathedral, a little prayer, bags check... gothic stye, flying buttreses (roman cathedral in Philly is still better, more grand)...

-walking to 42nd street...caught the train...eavesdropping on people speaking Spanish for educational purposes... home by 10

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

Transformers

The movie is "more than meets the eye"- well you ain't seeing much in Michael Bay's interpretation of this classic cartoon... just kidding! :)

Overall the movie is good and comic timing is right except for this one part in the middle... the turning point/climax was a little slow and out of character.

The clumsy giant robots trying to make slapstick jokes and the obnoxious FBI agent slowed the pace of the movie.

When it was the main human character being goofy, it was understandable and relatable. An example of this is when the main character's feelings were demonstrated by the songs played by his car-robot, Bumble-Bee... It was a hilarious and cute scene. The robot car was funny with his silence, his miming.

The movie slowed down when the rest of the robots were introduced. In five minutes or so, the director/writer/etc. tried to put some character and attitude in the robots- make them spunky and lovable by putting personality in their voice and slick movements. In the end it became too comical especially the scene in the backyard when Optimus Prime (i think) crushed a fountain and in reply he said something like "my bad"... one of the other robots had a temper and he wanted to kill "jokingly" the inquisitive parents.

After this scene, the annoying FBI agent barged in. Forget about decorum and civility (like X-Files's Agent Molder)... the FBI came in with his greasy slick hair, supposedly just "following" orders. His jerky attitude contrasted with the main character's scared demeanour. The FBI was depicted as a scumbag, way too comic... of course later on he admitted that he "began on the wrong foot."

After these two episodes, the movie's pace hastened again. The clumsy robots became agile and the FBI agent became less obnoxious. The action and special effects were spectacular! Transformers, the movie, gets a A--. Good thing it's more than meets the eyes!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2007

Greenwhich (part 3)

more basketball training... more playing... while jogging- walking, grand jete-"ing" and cartwheeling... attempting to walk on hands.... laughing camel jokes/lewd jokes

idea...

he is 'whipped' ...he doesn't understand her... he succumbs to her whims, he treats her as if they're equal, he's older and she's younger, he rationalizes with her even though she is not in the same emotional and intellectual level... he watches her maltreated by her eldest sister, who blackmails her and makes her feel stupid, yet in spite of his effort, she get easily frustrated with him and forgets the flowers and times joyfully spent with him... she gets angry with him... he tries to avoid war and tries to maintain peace, he avoids sitting under her favorite tree so not to upset her

nothing changes, two years ago she was like this and she still is
whipped- he keeps her secret, makes time for her to play games, avoids making her look bad, gives her filial tips,

he's greatful for all her help... she makes things more difficult than it truly is

he understands the strong bond between her and her eldest sister... but what he can't understand why his efforts are forgotten because of a little argument...maybe it's her immaturity, her age, her incompatible intellectual and emotional i.q.... maybe he needs t remember his place/ and pull the "i'm-older-and-more-experience" card, in order to get "respect" the same way as the cruel eldest sister....

he just can't understand why he even bothers... her eldest sister doesn't even give squat (in a sense that, she'll put effort whenever she can). On the other hand, he bend backwards just to make sure that she's not neglected... he's just a pushover. he doesn't want to be the "excuse", the decoy, a distraction/plaything How can he stop being pushover?

Audience, what should he do? below are some suggestions, please feel free to add...

he shouldn't treat her like a baby
he should hold her responsible for her actions
he should be firm but not like a jerk
he should stick to his words/goals and not change around to pacify her illogical temper/fancy/whims

Reality....

okay back to reality away from imaginings.... okay I finished "Brave New World" the ending was okay... I was hoping that John, the savage would be stronger in the end... today I watched a spanish version of "access hollywood"...I"m catching on the phrasing and rhythm of the language... but I'm still slow in translating... I'd catch a word or two and get the gist of the sentence and sometimes I'd completely hear the whole sentence. I would be translating word for word and doing so I'd missed the next sentence being said...I'm continuing my spanish review... I just don't want to start with spanish 101. I have enough to pass that level... I want to get to the speaking part (in order for me to do this, I need to have good vocabulary and confidence)...Im pushing myself to finish my spanish textbook, which took me 3 highschool years and now I'm trying to finish 7 more chapters in less than 6 weeks...

Shellie Jade Porkchop is still alive!

song of the day "i'll never get over you getting over me"

the weather is bearable... in the 80s, not as humid, mostly staying indoors, there's a bit of a breeze... cool mornings...

planning to go to the American Folk Art Museum in New York this Friday

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2007

greenwich (part 2)

greenwich or stamford... big houses, lots of migrant workers, laborers, housemaid... rich caucasian people livng in mansions... at first doesn't seem "diverse"... then once in a market... the diversity is seen (even if for the most part the immigrants are laborers working for higher minimum wage)... in the market, there's an isl e where south american food, mexican, Indian and other food are located... Spanish, portuguese.... $20 for fluffing cushions for the pool... put it in the morning and take it out for the evening

basketball training- dribbling, horse, tricks, push-up, running jogging, waking up in the morning, stretching...

visaya-ville... college talk like high school or maybe missed it because focusing on too much academics... guys with weak morals...secrets reveals of times first...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2007

Chinatown NY

Ordering 'schopa' (soft bun with pork stuffing), waited for an hour, but it's okay, worth it... so while waiting, walked around...

got the $2.00 pudding tea special... walking ... Chinese tongue... baubbles... tiny turtles, an inch and a half long, from Pasay river... Chinese lady knows how to sell... got a mini turtle, plastic case, and at least three months worth of food all for $10... the turtle's name is Shellie Jade Porkchop...nicknamed Tinky-Winky...

Grass art ranging from $3 maybe up to $20... got a $3 grass art of a blue dragonfly...

getting kick out for having a drink... tourist trinkets... land so foreign yet a couple of blocks from it, it's little Italy...

driving... honk... leading a car full of latinos toward route 95... beep, Gracias!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:47 PM | Comments (0)

card games

pokemon, yu-gi-oh, magic- are card games... not just the regular "go fish" type of game, much more complicated- makes you think, forces you to strategize in order to survive...

my first exposure to this type of card games was pokemon, rule destroy all the monster of the opponent... you have a monster or several, face down until you get energy cards to the monster, one energy down the playing field per turn, can attack using specified moves (as long as energy is there), cards like potion to substract from the damage, effects like poison, paralyzed, etc.

yu-gi-oh- level four monsters are easy to summon, anything higher would require a sacrifice of monsters... it works with a point system like say each player have 8000 points (which is nothing because the damage can be around the thousands)- of course no matter whether monster is in a defensive or offensive... unless stated, there's the trample, after the difference is subtracted... there are trap cards and magic/spell cards... in order to for the trap to work one has to put it in the playing field... the danger in this is it can be destroyed, but keeping it in one's hand can also be dangerous (there's a magic card that can destory cards in the hands), but sometimes one is forced to put cards in the playing field because one is only allowed to have six cards at a time, in each turn, you draw a card...

the magic is the most complicated... the drawing on the cards are not so cartoony, it has good quotes (reminds me of lord of the rings verbage)... it's complicated because there the turning of the cards... effects.... monster card, land cards to summon, magic cards to equip, trample... this is like the yu-gi-oh, but more intricate and complicated...

it's not enough to know the rules, after the basics, then strategizing is next, overall the card games are fun to play

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2007

Greenwich (part 1)

-left Philly's summer wave, took train ride- (going a different direction not the usual one that goes to Greensburg...bridge over 'schukyle' river ), waiting - phone call... waiting using the computer... listening to conversation, "real world" job, talking about blonde moments, mental exhaustion, harbour, sea/ocean/ breeze... more trees... rain...

-picking up babysitter, driving by big houses some land smaller than the house, make it look crowded so near the road... sometimes big house on bigger land... interesting houses, Victorian, turrets, castle, box, German cottage-mansion...

-doors left open, breeze passing from the open kitchen door all the way to the living room door... attic room, hot, air conditioner cools it unbelievably so... playing board games, working on strategy, card skills... sleeping, waking, gazing at artificial green stars on top of bunk beds, waking, an apparition drinks water... longing/nostalgic of 'cameraderie'/brotherhood... waking

-woke up, it's time to play sport, like a spring morning, cool, soft light... running, warming up, walking, cool, chocolate dog and master... catch football, horse, basketall, sprinting... bunny... cottontail rabbit... bottles, recycle... walking, catching a ride on a yellow, towards Donuts, nearby, not so "far"... annoying shoulder... chicken... dancing in the tele...

-Spanish homework, reading, sleeping cold, waking up... dropping in Riverdale... Hudson, trees, mansion, tiles, cold people? plastic, smiles, Sisters of Charity, lovers reunited? silence avoids or faces the question, questions question, drifting... reminds... catch, football teach how to throw, copy tricks, drifting... open cards, going to movies... clothes next time tomorrow... secrets... perfect crime elementary level (hoping).... amusing for now... wondering how far the games will go... washing dishes, reading

-laughing, joking on the edge... fruits-blackberry, grapes... milk, vitamins... games, gaudy versus confident, games...night showers... working... cell phones... charm school... cursing...making a deck... playing catch... football- lost in the bush,... driving, talk of uncle (bored, ignorant of priveleges or maybe longing for what's gone) not calling- card tournaments...

--- dying- cancer- swimming, talking, chatting, dog running back and forth, dust, can't pass the gate... comics to politics... dogs, cats, magic, sexuality...pregnancy

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2007

three books

Playing the Game by Frank and Stein, the streetsmart guide to graduate school, it's very tongue-and-cheek... you really need to have a sense of humor when you read this book or you'll get quickly offended... at times I did forget to have a sense of humor especially when they make it appear as if graduate school is politics or when it deemed the search and attainment of knowledge/expertise just fluff or bs... then I'd remember to laugh at myself... from this book, I'll remember the importance of planning, doing work early (even if it's painstakingly meticulous in the beginning but will save time later on), keeping in mind my objective and applying it to every class I take, making the most of grad school (my last hurrah before full time employment in the working world), and not stressing too much...

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde- now I understand the allusion in James Blunt's song "Tears and Rain"... of course the song pales in comparison to Wilde's novel... I seem to have the patience for descriptions/catalogues, the greek/roman allusions and the flower symbolisms... I noticed the excess flower metaphors, and while reading the footnotes, I learned that flower symbolism were used a lot in the Victorian period... it was a captivating read and at times fantastical especially some of the plot twist (sometimes the action is so quick and sudden that it seemed at first underdeveloped but in the end it justifies itself)... the novel makes me think about art and its creator (a little piece of the creator left in the art, art as an extension of the artist, his life/personality)... it's a fast read and mind-provoking... intellectual!

New Grub Street by George Gissing, once again another fast read, it was only 500+ pages but I didn't find it difficult to read at least 50 pages a day. Besides the literary issues discussed here, the story reminded me of a soap show but not so superficial. It's more profound and novel... the ending is subtle, but the sting lingers mentally... :)

I started Brave New World and so far it's disturbing...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

latest movies

Paprika- japanese anime about dreams... very fluid even with today's technology in movie-making, animation still appears effortless and graceful when presenting a topic like dreams... the cartoon -look made it easier to identify (simple line concepts).. transition from reality to dream is hard to tell, made it more playful... imaginative... draw what's on your mind with ease and not worry about special effects, stunt men, blue screens, safety, overpaid actors etc... if you can think it you can draw it!

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)- in spanish with english subtitles, a journey movie both literal and metaphorical... beautifully shot all around south America (perfect for my independent spanish review)... it showed an aspect of the socialist guerilla leader "Che" Guevara (assasinated by Castro's men and the U.S.'s CIA)... the plot/structure is traveling around South America in a motorcycle for months (Romantic), the conflicts/antagonist: internal- the self, physical illness, social issues such as poverty, unfair wages, workers' rights, class system, diplomacy or lack of... Nature and its elements (estaciones)... inspirational!

Vincent and Theo (1990) - an artsy movie about Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo, who was Van Gogh's earliest patron and documentor (kept the letters, kept his paintings and organized them into an exhibit, sold them etc)... the actor really portrayed the crazy Van Gogh- I don't know how accurate this is but overall a great supplement to Irving Stone's biographical fiction of Van Gogh in Lust for Life... In art history classes, I learned that Vincent was "off" or on the "mark" spiritually/mystically with his "vision" but I didn't imagine him as super crazy like in this movie... you have to like Van Gogh and his work to watch this movie because at times the transition and plot is rough, it's just the life of Van Gogh and his turmoils...

Bitter Sugar- another spanish flick about love and revolution in Cuba

Harry Potter 5- it reminded me of what's happening lately setting me up for the book, I'm going to buy tomorrow... I heard they cut alot from the book, but I think they covered the gist. Book #5 was the biggest out of the collection.

La Vie en Rose- A French flick about the singer/legend Edith Piaf (the little sparrow)- being a sickly child, praying to Theresa, living in a bordella, mothered by a prostitute, own mother abandoned her for her singing career, working in a circus, singing to get money, losing a child, doing drugs, drinking, fainting on stage, affair with boxer, life=singing etc; The Voice of Paris.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

scuba-diving in a pool and kids

yesterday (sunday July 8) was a great day to go swimming, it was around 93 degrees... a friend of the family decided to have a little get together in her place... bar-b-que chicken, spaghetti, and scuba diving in a 7 feet pool...

her place was awesome... trees were tall enough to provide substantial shade while letting in enough sunlight... the water was just the right temperature, not freezing cold but alluringly just right...

another friend of the family came also, he brought his scuba gear, wife and three children... he was very enthusiastic to share his scuba gear with those interested. At first I was iffy, then my dad tried it so I decided to try it also- well at least I took the first step in trying anyway.

my instructor doesn't believe in "steps" it's all or nothing... however for me, I fear things I don't understand so of course I asked a lot of questions... the instructor sort of got annoyed because I asked too much questions...

I put on the water boots followed by the flippers, then I slipped on the vest with the oxygen tank and wrapped the belt with weights around my waist... he showed me the buttons that'll automatically bring me down and bring me up... I put on the mask and praticed breathing... I was doing okay, but my instructor wanted to rush everything which is a bad thing for me because I'm slow... I have to understand and be at least comfortable before going to the next step...

the breathing part with the mask wasn't that bad... the physical was okay, it was the mental that made me panic... my mind is trying to adjust and maybe overthink things... at times wearing the mask made me feel claustrophobic... of course I'm wearing those googles and I can see pretty clearly... seeing the bubbles come out from the mouth piece... seeing it so close to your eyes, then I get reminded of the fact that I'm underwater and yet I'm breathing as if I don't have a mask... just a natural thing I normally do above water... it seems illogical/magical/mind boggling... then I felt as if my mouthpiece would slip out of my mouth... so it's like a puzzle... to add to the challenge, the oxygen tank have a tendency to float up and make me horizontal and while I'm trying to keep upright (because I'm just practicing), the flippers are trying to flip me out of my standing position... all of these things are happening while my mind decides to make up a scary story of a heavy oxygen tank dragging me to the bottom of the pool...

the oxygen or maybe lack of oxygen started making me laugh at the absurdities of the things happening so I surfaced ... my instructor losing his patience told me to put the mask (I did) and then he started pulling me towards the deeper end of the pool (he doesn't believe in steps- it's all or nothing), I couldn't control my mind, i didn't breath in a normal pace... I started inhaling and exhaling in a shorter period so I surfaced again...

another person wanted to try it so i was more than willing to hand over the equipment... to my instructor my attempt was fruitless BUT I disagree... I learned a little bit about the equipments and their functions, I got exposed to breathing using the mask and oxygen tank, maybe next time I'll practice using the flippers and someday I'll put it all together...

the instructor's kids were adorable... one was only around 9 months, the other 21 months and the eldest one may be 2 to 3 years old... the eldests were just doing their thing... with parents watching over them, they'd sit next to the pool, wet their feet, splashing and kicking water everywhere... sometimes grown ups are sadists, they'd scare the little kids by picking them up and half dunking them on the water (up to their waist)... the little kids would cry and once they're safely on ground again, they return to their happy selves, act as if nothing happened, sometimes they would leave the crime scene of traumatic experience and wander somewhere else.... good qualities of kids... sometimes they're not so self-conscious, instead of self-editing themselves, they go ahead and express themselves the best way they can (even if sometimes they seem babbling or incoherent to adults)... they are not super conscious, but they know what happen and they're expressing the moment... it's amusing to watch children while they're playing pretend or using their imagination...it makes one wonder about the ongoings of their minds: what's going on inside their heads? how are they seeing/perceiving this world?...

amazing! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2007

summer curriculum update

the more I use chopsticks whether in a Japanese or Vietnamese restaurant, the more I get used to it...

I'm getting used to the speed of the highway... sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm going 70... maybe because everybody else is going around 80 or 90... the way I measure speed by sight or the blur of the scene is relative...

I'm not going to finish my two boxes of summer readings... I have five books started at the side of my bed- one about: gradschool, poetry, fictional account of literary life (more on this later), the English language, and author's letters and other correspondences - and two graphic novels...

it's difficult getting in touch with my UT advisers- they don't have regular summer office hours plus they're busy either enjoying their summer or traveling for their own education... I did get the books I'm going to use for my composition classes... I ordered the other book I need so it's on its way hopefully...

for my Master's I have to be proficient in another language... so I started reviewing my Spanish... my friend's aunt is tutoring me twice a week en gratis... basically I'm just trying to refresh my mind so that when I start taking classes I don't have to begin in the most basic level... what I like about this session is the chance to hear Spanish spoken, I'm still trying to get to the point of being comfortable enough and courageous enough to speak it... the good news is that I understand most of the things said to me... I started watching the Spanish channel (cartoons, talk show, entertainment news, news, sports, telenovelas) I get the gist of what they're saying and if I don't focus and try to listen to what they're saying then all I hear are fast gibberish... I also borrowed some Spanish poems with English translation, and I'm working on Reading comprehension on the Elementary Low and High levels... I can't wait to get to the speaking part but I know that I have to have good vocabulary and grammar knowledge before I get there...

random google search- I saw the article I wrote last semester in the Setonian called "Students wander to foreign lands" in the website of the company I mentioned (CEA)...

I'm reading George Gissing's New Grub Street, it's about the literary life... I like it so far... it's discussing issues such as hack writing, the market, the vulgar, literary snobs, networking, pragmatism, money, patrons, literary circles, editors, reputation, fame, favorable connections, Literature as fine art, aspirations, starving artists, diplomacy, writing versus teaching, (wo)man of letters, journalism vs Literature... it reminded me a bit of Honore De Balzac's Pere Goriot... this novel is about 500+ pages long but I'm finding it fascinating and easy to get into (maybe because I'm a writer and the topics discussed are still current)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

Ice Cream Festival at Penns Landing

On June 29 and 30, an ice cream festival, organized by the Children's Hospital at Philadelphia, was held at Penns Landing to raise money for Pediatric Leukemia research and its cure.

For $5, people got a white plastic spoon and a free pass to the all-you-can-eat ice cream tent, where they gorged on ice cream from classic favorites such as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, to innovative deviant delights like peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and sticky buns.

Sponsors, such as Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's, were there to show support, and local Philly radio station B101's Buzzbee and the Bee Crew mingled with the crowd and posed with children for the camera.

Although the clouds kept rolling on overcast sky, the high humidity melted the frozen goodies/treat, but precipitation held out until nightfall... overall a good day to feast on icecream for a good cause!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)