June 29, 2008

Project Prettification complete

yes, hopefully I would only have less than a year before graduating... but this idea didn't stop me from SPRUCING up the apartment I live in...

during my first year here at Logan, Utah... I was too busy learning my way around (learning the bus system/schedule, exploring different stuff/stores/institutions etc. downtown)-- my apartment was a place where I slept (and occassionally a place to socialize when dining/chatting with flatmates)... I did everything outside my apartment (the winter season was an exception)... I did most of my homework in the library or in a cafe downtown, I did teaching stuff in my office in Ray B West Building, I watched tv in my friend's house, I ate in the cafeteria or downtown...etc.

the summer season is helping to bring a change to this routine... sometimes I just don't want to go out because I want to sleep in (or it's too hot)... I'm eating more inside the apartment instead of relying on the cafeteria for food (Cooking plays a role)...also trying to save money...

most of the non-perishable stuff I bought to beautify the apartment came to a total cost of only $60... and most of them are second-hand from thrift stores (D.I and Somebody's Attic), you'll be amazed at the treasures you'll find in these places...

tv- I found a 20" tv in "Somebody's Attic" for only $15 (You have five days to test out the tv, if it doesn't work you have to return it within the designated five days-- luckily the tv works so I don't have to return it)... the only drawback to this tv is the broken VCR attached to it...even though there's no tape inside, it keeps rewinding itself... it's annoying at first sounding like a broken metronome, but eventually you get used to it...the remote is not consistent but still works occassionally(wait 5 minutes before pressing the buttons again)...in addition, I bought a cable antenna ($7) so I can watch local news, tv shows, and get access to some cable channels (like USA, MTV etc.)...

SEGA- Forget Playstation 3 or Nintendo's Wii... I went old-school and both a Sega Genesis game consul ($20)... I missed the FLAT 2-D images and simple linear plots of its games (it's another form of entertainment- a nice break from reading 20-30 pages scholarly journals, jargon-filled textbooks, grading, teaching, etc.-- to unclutter the brain)....

the apartment has off-white cinderblock walls, mauve/fading purplish/reddish carpet worn and blackened in some parts through wear and effects of time, gray couch and arm chair with scratched dark wooden base... I didn't go too far with buying couch covers with matching carpet at the center of the living room instead I spent $10 on a large abstract painting and two couch pillows:

art- the colors of the abstract painting caught my attention when I first saw this in "Somebody's Attic"... at first I didn't really care if it was a good abstract painting... the colors were enough to brighten up the living room and put color in a drabby room... it contained both primary and secondary colors (mostly red)... it's 3X4, the more I look at it, the more intriguing the shapes become... sometimes the shapes are blocky, sometimes it's like a lava lamp with organic/flowing shapes... the negative area sometimes pops out sometimes it sinks... something about it reminds me of Miro or a color-field painter's work... it's less than 5 pounds and I used one of those "super sticky" things to hang it... I hang it 2 days ago, and it's still hanging (I hope the "sticky thing" holds it- I fear the day it would fall on somebody's head while he/she is lounging on the couch)...

I was going to buy a rug for $15 but decided not to (it cost too much plus it didn't match)...Instead I bought two couch pillows from "D.I."... One is striped (subdued tomatoe red and yellowish/olive green) another is a solid olive green with a satin finish...instead of having a christmas feeling to it, it has more of a 60s vibe to it...nonetheless they serve their function well- they put color on a drabby gray couch

Other accents around the living room area and kitchen are plants and various birdhouses. I actually got the plants last summer, and they've grown...I just moved them in the living room because my room is crowded plus, they get better sunlight there... the only logic I used in choosing the birdhouses deals with number... while I was at "D.I."... I was looking for knick-knacks to fill the corners and other empty spaces... I decided to have a unifying theme to hold all of them together...I found lots of interesting looking bird houses on the shelf (ranging from $0.75 to $2.00)...

lastly, a natural accesory to have in the kitchen is food- the table is decorated by banana/orange/onion... cereal/instant oatmeal boxes, bread, honey, etc... I also inherited red fabric placematas from my old flatmate...

the entertainment, decorations, and food actually make the place livable, like somebody actually lives there: ME!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2008

grading for 13 hours

if you're ever an instructor, don't wait the night of to grade 17 papers (for an English/Composition class)...

This batch was the first major assignment this semester... the momentum from the Spring semester is gone (last spring, I had a method to grade fast, efficiently and thoughtfully- now I'm trying to remember how I did that... so of course, grading took me longer than usual.... keep in mind that the minimum page count for these papers is "3" (17 X 3 =51pages, i had to read 51 pages of prose at least- almost like a novella but disconnected)... BUT I always encourage my students to go BEYOND (which is good)

with this realization, I stopped complaining and just graded. I started at 2 in the afternoon, and finished at 3 in the morning (took breaks in between, ate dinner/snack)-- next time, I'll start earlier (maybe at noon :), or Saturday).

Nonetheless, I'm glad they're writing and one of the goals in English 1010 is just for them to get comfortable with writing (keep writing in order to learn how to write-- we've discussed writing as a process, they've fastwrite, drafted, polished, revised [being flexible with certain situations], we've talked about "bad writing", the importance of getting ideas down, content first before grammar, inner critic, collaboration, grammar in the polishing aspect, etc.)...

yeah I got 4 hours of sleep (it's summer so I can afford few hours of sleep, plus I'm off on Tuesday and Thursday), but at least my students got their papers back so they could get started in their revision (all revisions are due July 21 or earlier)--- [narcissistic aside: talk about dedication]

it took me forever because i have to justify the grades I gave them (show examples/evidence)...

I returned their papers today, and I told them that I would not discuss their grades in class- if they wanted further explanations or if they couldn't understand my comments, then I told them to visit me during office hours or make an appointment-- I told them to read the comments first before seeing me in my office (in the past, I've had students who just looked at the number grade and totally ignored the thoughtful comments I wrote (which took TIME!), they'd ask me to explain it to them- most likely I'd say the same things I wrote or I might just take their paper and read the comments to them-- if they don't understand what I'm saying, it's their responsibility to ask me questions so I can clarify (I can't read their minds, I can read their facial expressions to a point as a signal to clarify but other than that- if they don't ask questions, then I don't know how to answer them)...

I used the dreaded/infamous RED pen to mark up their papers-- In the past, I've tried torquise, emerald, pink, purple--- BUT these other colors are not as bright and long lasting as the Red pen (plus I think, red goes well with the black typed papers-- graphic design 101- black and red is an awesome and powerful combination- i heard)... another goal of mine is to give my students another perspective/association for the color RED... red is not just used to mark up grammatical errors, correct mistakes--- Red can be used to question/clarify concepts/ideas, used to give SUGGESTIONS, used for constructive criticism...

their next major assignment is due before the July 4th weekend- I'll definitely have more time to grade this batch...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:01 PM | Comments (5)

June 22, 2008

people, people who need people...

the folklore classes, which I've been taking since August 2007, are making me aware of people, their behavior and patterns (observable from the outside)... their mannerisms, the words they choose, etc. lead to speculation... this is a weird feeling especially when I recognize some sort of pattern or predict what the person will say (they have repeated a phrase over and over again) in certain situation, like a surreal feeling like realizing that one is dreaming and exploiting this knowledge to fly or do other things in the dreamworld (impossible in the waking world)...

two months ago, I was in Chili's. While waiting for my dad to arrive, the waitress approached me and asked if I'd like to order any appetizer or drinks. I just asked for a vanilla milkshake and explained to her that I was waiting for my dad to arrive before ordering. It looked like she wasn't having a good day, I sensed that she was annoyed. I didn't let her "standoffish" attitude ruin my dining experience (I did make a mental note about how much tip we'd give her later). I brought a book to read... the girl was taking the orders of a party to the left of me. Just as I was about get to the rhythm of what I was reading, the same waitress-girl fainted. I was surprised at how calmly the customers acted. One of them caught her and tried to lay her down, and with an authoritative voice (very subtle shaking of voice, little evidence of panic). "Somebody call for help!...somebody get orange juice... when's the last time you ate?, is this the first time that this happened? Somebody call for help?"... I just sat there and stared, my cellphone in my jean's pocket... finally two young women from a booth to my right came over and offered their assistance. I sat there... they finally moved her to the lounge/waiting area where she could fully lay down, a couple minutes later the paramedics arrived, and continued to question her... another waitress came to me and asked what I ordered, I told her that I was waiting for my dad, and that I'd like a vanilla milkshake while I waited. In my mind, I asked how the waitress-girl could have placed herself in that situation... college student working and going to school full time, neglecting health to finish work, to make ends meet... i've had similar situations when i'd feel my blood sugar really low, really tired- fortunately i haven't reach an extreme similar to the girl's- sometimes I have to force myself to stop everything (even inspiration)... my milkshake arrived, everyone resumed what they were doing, 10 minutes later my dad arrived (I told him what happened), we ate... after paying the bills, my dad decided to give a larger tip (we didn't know if the tip would go to the girl who fainted or the girl who took over)...

I had my teeth cleaned before returning to Logan, Utah. I arrived at the dentist's office on the dot. I signed my name and in a couple of minutes, the dental technician, who would clean my teeth, came out. Her appearance was very neat, her auburn hair was tied in a pony tail, and her voice was very matter-of-fact, mechanical (I thought, "oh my gosh my teeth is going to be cleaned by someone who doesn't want to be here")... I sat on the chair, my head resting,... she placed a bib-like course cloth around my neck, she put on her gloves and a mask covering her nose/mouth... she started doing small talk (which surprised me)... she was surprised at the alignment of my teeth: "Did you have braces?... They're nice and straight (in my mind, I begged the differ, they could be straighter...)... don't tell me you don't floss, you must floss...do you floss? You know how I know you floss, your lips are reacting to the floss (pulling away/pushing it)... the front and sides of your teeth are IMMACULATE, but you need to work on the back of your teeth, protect your investment... I have the same problem as you and my hygienist showed me how to brush back there... just relax your jaw and close it more while you brush... yeah, like smiling while you brush (my analogy)... you seemed to be pretty intelligent and can follow what I'm saying... see if we brush and floss, the friction caused by the up and down movement repels and kills the bacteria that lives in our mouths... the bacteria constantly reproduces and POOPS and if we don't brush and floss, the poop will build up and gather together and starts destroying the teeth."

I don't know if "pooping" is the right word, but her choice of word is so vivid that it makes an impression on me. I don't grudge as much everytime I floss my teeth.

during the last week of my vacation in Philly, I was walking in Olde City looking for a souvenir for my friend in Logan... I found a gift shop called Xenophobia?... The magnets weren't overpriced compared to the magnets from the stores near the tourist spots, such as the Liberty Bell, etc. The price was great but the selection/choices were few. I started thinking about buying magnets for my California cousins (so when I visit them, I'd have 'pasalubong' for them)... while selecting the magnets for my aunts, I overheard a female customer give the Asian cashier "attitude"-- I thought the customer was just having a bad day... I continued to look, and then I started looking at other stuff besides the magnets, like the different rubber duckies (duckie fireman, duckie bride, duckie frankenstien)-- I started getting ideas... then the Asian cashier lady said that she'll be closing soon at 5 pm (I looked at my watch and it was 4:40)...I told myself that I'll return to this store in the future, I ignored the tone of the lady (rationalized that she's having a bad day so it was okay that she was rude)... I returned to the magnets and tried to pick the best three designs... in less than a minute: "I'm closing soon," she repeated in a more hostile, unwelcoming way... this time I was annoyed, I didn't care if she was having a bad day or not (she shouldn't be like that to a customer)... I wanted to say how rude she was, but I didn't, I was so angry that all i wanted to do was leave... I returned the magnets haphazardly on the metal display and left (I vow never to return to that place even if the store has cute baubles)... i might have slammed the door, maybe?

my flatmate (for 3 weeks approximately) left three days ago. For three weeks, I experienced living with a person from Italy, from Belluno (between Venice and Padua)... every morning, he'd set up his red clothe mat on the kitchen table, heat up water for his coffee, have his laptop on, internet connected- either reading Italian news or chatting with friends/family, he'd have toast with jam (apricot/marmalade) [I know I have my own routine, but it's easier to observe from the outside]... sometimes he'll question my choice of food for breakfast (especially when I eat cantaloupe or salad with my cereal or oatmeal- I should have something "sweeter" he'd commented) usually he'd be out the of house by 8:30 or 9 am... then he'll be back either at 7/8 or 11 pm -- he usually eats pasta for dinner, or porkchop and crackers... I'll ask him questions about Italy (driving, weather, music, geography, job, etc,) then one day we actually conversed in back and forth fashion about gas prices and global warming... he avoids working on sunday, and he was surprised to find out that I worked on Sundays (I told him that my concept of a weekend [which i adopted from my thai friend] was not limited to saturday and sunday... the weekend is any free day so that means, it could happen on Tuesday or Thursday when I don't have work... I'm also trying to adapt an outlook that views 'work' in a positive manner [i figure, if i'm enjoying my work, I'm not really "working"]... i confused him sometimes...we'll keep in touch through facebook... before he left, he gave me tips on cooking pasta (salt placed on boiling water with pasta for flavor), flavoring food with lemon juice, proper use of olive oil, cooking meat? [tangent but still related to cooking- I found a rice cooker (the magic pot- easier than boiling rice grain over the stove)in my apartment... ginger have expiration dates, and you can peel them using a teaspoon or potatoe peeler and then you can store them in the freezer so they'd last longer]

I bought a used bike in the thrift store for only $15...I was fortunate, the only things the bike needed were air, some grease so everything runs smoothly (the gears, the wheels and other metalic parts). I spent 2 and 1/2 hours at the Aggie Blue Bike shop (free service and education on anything bike related, provided by USU supported by grants et al.). I told the bicycle mechanic that when it came to fixing bikes I was clueless (I can fix English papers to an extent). He asked me about my bike plans... I told him that I wanted to save as much money as possible and that I just planned to bike on flat grounds from my apartment to campus (library/my office and anywhere in between)... the bike is rideable for my intended goals...I assisted him in fixing my bike, I did the little things like putting grease on parts, unscrewing bolts, tightening parts, etc. in addition, I bought a bike lock and new handle bar grips... on Friday, my yellow and gray used bike from D.I. had been baptized as the "Yellow Submarine"...with this bike, I can now wear flip-flops and my diesel shoes, which would normally make my feet ache due to long-distance walking...

approximately 1/3 of the summer session (of teaching eng 1010) is over. For the most part, my students are doing what is expected of them... I'm glad the classroom is running smoothly... I have to grade 20 papers tomorrow... I like the 1 hour and 40 minute time frame... there is time for lecture, discussion, exercises, reading, etc. Last Friday, four students read their work in front of the class and afterwards, there was a brief discussion, it took 45 minutes, but it was worth it... the third semester teaching english 1010 so far has been a charm... everything is just connected better- content and concept are integrated well with chosen assignments and homework--> I structured the 7-8 week course using the rhetorical triangle, writing as a process, and connected everything to these models plus Ballenger's four ways of 'seeing'--- I'm trying to stress being active in one's "education" instead of being passive and "schooled" (Gatto) and just because eng 1010 is a general education class, it doesn't mean that it can't be applied outside academia and in one's field of studies...

one weird thing, some of my students are reminding me of celebrities or people I know (friends/classmates etc.)... one student has the bearing of Patrick Swazi (Dirty Dancing- maybe it's the hair?)...one has a similar face to Jay Pugh (my student is chubbier in the face, but the way they showed impatience is pretty similar)... another student's face reminds me of my friend in Philly... it's always something, like a pattern... whether it's their posture or the way they hold up their carriage/bearings, their walk, their chin/height/hair... something will remind me of people... after all "people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world..."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:40 AM | Comments (4)

blurb review: The Love Guru

I think the preview showed most of the funny jokes. Nonetheless there were still a few entertaining surprises such as puns and Mike Myer's behavior and good study of a stereotypical guru's mannerism (international wit?).

L-aughing but
nO-t as much as the
V-ery first
timE- but still

G-ot to
LU-v
Mike MyeR-s's
U-nicity
"TM"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2008

Pita Pit and Coldstone (they're not wrestlers)

Pita Pit and Coldstone are in the same shopping center area (a tangent from main street, near Walmart)...

one of my students wrote a review about Pita Pit, and based on her review, I was convinced to try it out for myself. She was right about the deliciousness of the food but her description of the serving size was misleading.

The 5-6 inches long cylindrical pita-wrap with an estimated circumference of about 2 inches filled with meaty goodness and fresh vegetables didn't fill me up. I ordered a chicken crave (chicken and bacon) with alfalfa sprouts, spinach, pineapple, green peppers (refrained from the tomatoes because of recent news), shredded cheddar cheese, topped with tzaziki sauce (cucumber mayo-esque) for around $6.25...

I was thinking about getting another one but instead I opted to get a dessert at Coldstone (2 stores away).

One of the special things about Coldstone is their magical 'cold' pan that fuses sweet ingredients using cold technology (in the veins of dry ice)...

I ordered an "All lovin no oven" (which consisted of cake batter, cookie dough, fudge and whipped cream) in the "Like it" size (in starbucks term-"tall" or "small").

They "cooked" the ice cream in front of me and I saw them fused fudge and whipped cream into the cake batter and cookie dough icecream (unique, the whipped cream solidified instead of melting into the icecreams)...

you can also design your own creation (i didn't go for this because it would probably take me forever)... I spent around $4.00 because I had it served on a waffle bowl...

it was sweet!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:22 PM | Comments (2)

blurb review: Kung Fu Panda

I saw this animated movie last week and although it's almost 3 weeks old, you should still see it. It's a good movie for the whole family or anyone who wants to be uplifted.

Cheesy or INSPIRING quotes include "The past is history, the future is a mystery, and TODAY is a gift, that's why it's called the PRESENT."

"Kung Fu Panda" is about a panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black) who wants to be a kung fu master. He gets his wish under one condition; he's training in order to defeat the 'baddest', most 'skilled', angry Tai Lung, the snow leopard, who's out for total annihilation and revenge. Will Po discover the secret in defeating Tai Lung, his dad's secret soup ingredient and the secret to life all in time before it's too late?

the graphics are cool- Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)- in the traditions of Toy Story, the colors are so lively, vivid and sharp. I loved the night scenes with the bright moon, the starry sky and peach tree with pink petals...the fighting scenes are also awesome too!

funny moments occurred when things are incongruent, for example, Po the Panda is the son of a Duck, who manages his own Noodle shop, and at a serious moment when Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie) reveals a personal childhood memory, Po makes a disgusted facial expression...

it's cute...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:39 PM | Comments (2)

June 11, 2008

hindi hindsight from Indian Oven

(good alliteration/assonance but bad generalization; not all Indians are hindi, some are muslims, christians, etc.)

i revisited the "Indian Oven" yesterday (along main street). I got the usual- access to the lunch buffet special for $8... i realized that I get full easily, which means, I probably don't need an unlimited access to the menu presented...

the background: I don't know much about Indian food, prior to "Indian Oven" I've had minute exposure to them (I think the first time was when I rode with Neha to CT for spring break. I waited in her house for my Uncle from Stamford to pick me up. While waiting, Neha's mom fed us. The food she served us were delicious and spicy. I remember dipping the spicy food in the supplimentary yogurt-esque side in order to "cool" the spice down [?])...

one of my colleageus at USU recommended "Indian Oven." She told me about the buffet and how the food wasn't spicy at all (after living with a thai, whose sense of "not spicy" or just "mildly spicy" often misleaded me when testing the "not so spicy" dishes he prepared, i've become more wary of other's perception of what is "spicy"-- nutshell: I'm not used to spicy food so even a smidgen of spice is considered spicy for me... so the first time I went, I talked to the host/server and asked him about the level of spice. He assured me that the food in the buffet were barely spicy/ bordering on subtle spice (in the regular menu, you can order any dish [mostly] with whatever degree of spicyness from subtle/sublime to scorching-need-a-new-tongue spicy, it all depends on you; spicy or not, the dishes are still flavorful).

the buffet was just a great idea because it was a good way to sample different dishes and get to be familiar with the names (so that if you look at the menu, you'll have a better sense of "curry" or "masala" or "tandoora?", you tasted the chicken masala, maybe it'll be similar to pork masala, maybe?)...

the buffet was good for "beginners", BUT since I've returned to this establishment several times, i'm ready to go to the next level and explore the other dishes not presented in the buffet menu/servings... here's my revelation; i don't have to spend $8 to be full while eating in "Indian Oven"- for me, a side of rice, an "ulam (some sort of chicken/ meat)", some vegetable/fruit, a dessert, and a drink, are good enough for me (i can get all of these in varying degrees/ combinations). So next time, i'll start exploring the appetizers, side dishes, and different "naans."

i still remember the first time I ate here. I was so full from lunch (maybe because of the unlimited servings or not) that for dinner I didn't have the appetite to eat the usual large dinner; I ended up just eating a slice of pizza and salad. I had a similar experience yesterday and inspite of the unlimited servings, I stopped myself when I was full.

[ tangent: yesterday I cut open my first cantaloupe, I cleaned out the seeds, sliced the canteloupe to pieces for easy eating experience and "peeled" the outer thick/rough covering/"shell"-- it was a good exercise to practice using the knife ;) and I didn't chop my fingers off :) ]

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2008

first day teaching summer session: good vibes

not everything planned happened but overall good session. good vibes emanating from my students (with few rare "mal"-feelings)...there are several things I'm changing and since it's a "short" summer session (7-8 weeks, but 1 hour and 40 minutes instead of 50 minutes).. i have to be really selective about the lessons (picking the best out of the pile).

originally I wanted to sit among the students and just chill and when a minute or two passed by, I'd "pop up" like a jack-in-a-box and say, "surprise i'm your instructor!" this didn't happen because it took me longer to walk from my apartment to my office to the classroom (i'm going to get a used bike soon)... one of the great things is that the classroom I'm using is technologically savvy (a smart classroom)- this is really helpful because there are some clips, i'd like to show from youtube. there's access to powerpoint for their presentation, and i don't have to photocopy too much supplimentary readings (they can read it in class with the help of the projector)...

one of the changes that occur dealt with types of clothing... in the last two semesters, I wore dress pants, longsleeve and tie, and dress shoes (to look professional)... it's too hot to be wearing all of those so today, i wore a red t-shirt, chocolate woven khakis and my white diesel walking shoes (i'm comfortable enough with the material that I'm teaching that i don't need fancy clothes for people to take me seriously- sure there'll be some who still won't take me seriously but that's their problem- I told the class straight up front that I don't like LAZY students, BAD-ATTITUDE, and CLOSE-MINDEDNESS)...

good vibes were the result of my students actually laughing at some of my jokes. For every good joke I told there followed 4 bad jokes (I found it amusing that I was telling them, and instead of learning from the bad jokes, i'd continue to tell them-i was laughing inside at the badness of them)

it's weird; it took me several hours yesterday to get back on lesson planning mode... i was excited at the possibilities of different lessons, and at the same time I was dreadful, BUT this morning when I began, I sort of just "click" (something inside me 'click'), I forgot about the dread, class began and i started explaining (once in a while, I'll be aware of me stretching, slouching, dry throat, or speaking really fast, of course i adjust- i wonder how much my students retain?- i am aware that i repeat several things/concept so if they didn't hear it or understand it the first time, maybe they'll catch it the second time)...

in the beginning of class, we talked about the pro's and con's of taking a general ed class (of course most of them wouldn't take this class if they had the choice) I tried to stress the "pro" side and for them to "make the most of the situation" [Go liberal arts education ;) ]

i told them that there'lll be lots of reading and writing (write a lot in order to learn how to write), and since it's an accelerated summer session, they'll have one major writing assignment per week, they'll be writing everyday we meet (MWF- fastwrite, brainstorming, reflections etc.) and on their own writing drafts (editing/finalizing/revising etc.), lots of discussions, teamwork and each of them at some point during the semester will do the "leading" (at this point, i'm trying to encourage them to drop out of my class if they think they can't handle the workload)

I'll see who'll be back this wednesday- at the end of the class i gave an analogy (which I thought was really-really cool). I compared this class (intro to academic writing) to the first step of learning how to longboard.

the first step in learning to longboard is to figure out your 'standing' leg (either left or right). A test to find out which of your legs is your standing leg is by being pushed (somebody stands behind you and pushes you, without resisting but just going with the flow you will allow yourself to be pushed and unconsciously either your left or right leg will step forward. Whichever ever leg steps forward is considered your standing leg, thus the other leg will be used to steer, and push you forward [some people are adroit with both their legs]

the connection: the class will give the students the "push" and it's up to them to practice writing constantly in order to get better at writing

i have basic longboarding skills- I practiced for hours to feel comfortable standing sideways, to learn how to turn left and right, I'm still working on "brakes"/stopping (I usually just jump out), I'm working on acquiring speed, I don't know any tricks, but i'm just content at being able to "cruise"....

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:46 PM | Comments (2)

June 7, 2008

just chillin in Logan, Utah

I'm liking the slow pace of spring/summer here at Logan. It's june, but the mountains are still getting snow. Far in the distance, the Wellsville mountain still has snow. Nonetheless it's still beautiful to see the once gray mountains of Old Man winter turn different shades of green from lime to emerald.

i'd take a walk and sit in the shades (i've yet to try taking naps outside- one day when I don't have a lot of books with me). I have to get a bike (used) so I can get to my office from my apartment dorm quickly (walking takes some time). Since most people are off campus, it feels like a private university (down side- limited hours for university facilities, such as the library, gym, pools, cafeteria).

since i have less access to the Marketplace, i'm forced to cook and buy groceries (explore local restaurants- reasonably priced). my average grocery bill per week is at least $50 (enough for milk, some fruit and vegetables, microwaveable food, easy to make recipes, and snacks). Two weeks ago I cooked my first Filipino dish (sinigang). This was a total adventure, I bought the ingredients (mainly vegetables and fish fillet), I followed the direction I wrote from my aunt, and then I added the mix. In the end, it was passeable; it tasted similar to what my aunt usually make (my friend tried it, and she's still alive). because of this experience, I'm a bit more comfortable cooking.

last week, I helped my italian roommate (flatmate) edit his english translation of an agreement, which he has to present in his field/department (hydrology). my USU writing center training has been really helpful. Sure I don't know anything about hydrology, but i know something about the mechanics of english. so i just approach it as any english text/document. first i read it by myself and circled everything that was out of place/wrong context, anything questionable. then like a writing center session, we went over it side by side. i'd ask a question about what he was trying to say and then we'd look at dictionary.com to find the right word. then we worked a bit on the flow/transition, redundency, conciseness, etc,. we discussed audience, hydrological jargon, differences between italian and english: extra words/phrases, missing words, literal translations etc.. He's a traveling scholar (here for only 6 months) from Belluno, Italy, near Padua, near Venice. He'll be going back to Italy on the 19th of June

besides sprucing up the flat with art, couch pillows, and a teal rug, establishing movie and tv days with friends, reading Orson Scott Card's "the tales of Alvin Maker" (one of his sci-fi series), blogging, fixing albums, attending local events, volunteering at Common Grounds, teaching eng. 1010, and planning for eng 2010 (reading/understanding the text book, coming up with lessons, organizing notes/handouts, and planning in general), etc., I'm going to pick up/resume watercoloring again in order to make a gift (i've borrowed books on stained-glass art, such as Tiffany's, to study and serve as models)...

some sort of direction for the summer, but still, most remain tentative....

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:50 PM | Comments (0)

restaurant blurb updates

Mandarin Garden- along main street. from 11 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday, they have Luncheon specials. I ordered Cashew Nut Chicken for $6.25. Because of the increasing price of gas, rice is expensive. The dish served to me had 2:1 ratio. The diced chicken, cashew, water chestnut, and zucchini were twice as much as the fried rice. I had left-overs, and I ate it for dinner with the white rice (cooked by my friend and I). The "brown" sauce (water-downed soy sauce?) was flat, but everything else was delicious. The interior looked like a messy amalgamation of western flowery wallpapers and bamboo artwork.

Henriquez Messican & Salvadorian Grill- along main street, I ordered Pasteles de carne (meat vegetable turnover- reminded me of corn beef hash), 3 pieces for $3.50, and Empanadas de Platano (fried plantains filled with milk pudding) 3 pieces for $3.50. It came with this coleslaw-esque side containing red pepper and some kind of vinegar. They were all good (it was interesting to taste and see a derivation from the fried plantains I'm used to: banana-que from the philippines).

La Beau- I ate here with my friends after watching Zohan. For $8, I ordered a Teriyaki Chicken burger and a small raspberry milkshake. Delicious. The teriyaki chicken was up to par with other teriyaki chicken I've tasted, the raspberry milkshake was the bomb (reason why we ate dinner here- my friend recommended it, this shake tasted like the famous raspberry shake she had when she visited the Bear Lakes). The shake was not too sweet or fruity, it retained some of the pungent elements of the natural raspberry without making your lips pucker. Simple interior of red and white with two hanging flat tvs.

Juniper- somewhere near the Transit center. This was the first restaurant in Logan, which I ate at (last august 2007)... for today's lunch, I had a cup of tomato beef soup and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for $4.17. I was full in the end. The style of serving here is like a classy cafeteria, the soup is fresh. I got the soup served on a tray and they brought out the recently grilled ham and cheese a couple of minutes later (they found my table with my number). There's a tv, some soft rock music and different age groups hanging out: senior citizens, mid-aged women, young family, college students, teenagers, babies and more.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:59 PM | Comments (0)

blurb review: You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Yesterday, I saw Adam Sandler's new movie, "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." I was laughing so much that when I tried to stop myself from laughing or tried to suppress it that I've hurt my neck a bit (but heal-able nothing that a little rest from laughing can fix). If you're worried about injuring your neck, don't fret, there are times when the joke goes flat or insider jokes from the culture are used (not funny when you have to think about it in order to understand it).

the movie is about an Israeli soldier, Zohan (Adam Sandler), who is tired of fighting in the war. He fakes his own death and escapes to America (New York City) to follow his dream of being a hair-dresser for Paul Mitchell. This movie pokes fun at current issues such as immigration, terrorism, politics, israeli and palestinian conflict, and more...

(academic theory tidbit about laughing- laughing induced by incongruency [misunderstandings/randomness], ambivalence, and taboo in Zohan. Examples of:
incongruency- word and context do not match, typical to foreigners who do not know a lot of vocabulary
ambivalence- happy for Zohan that he'll be achieving his dream, sad for him that he has to do it incognito
taboo- sexual innuendos- hinted promiscuity of senior citizens, booty snapshots...)

go watch the movie and give it a try, and tell me what you think...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

getting ready for summer teaching

I just finished my intense one-week seminar (june 2- june 6) and this monday summer teaching begins (it wouldn't be so difficult because so far I only have 18 students and this is the only thing I'll be doing- not like during the fall when I'll have at least 36 students plus 6 credits).

my seminar started at 8:30 am, and ended at 3 pm. We had a fifteen minute break in the morning, and had 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch. All I can say is that I've never written so much in a week. We had guest speakers, and on thursday, our special guest speaker gave a presentation...

the seminar is called Fife Workshop Seminar: Life Stories. We had two short articles to read, we'd listen to people's stories, we'd have discussions on structure and importance plus analysis of stories (their meaning), we'd watch videos, more discussions and lots of writing (fine with me)... as soon as I got out at 3, I'd go to the library and spend 2-3 hours just writing (writing prompt, values to me, and, extra analysis). I turned in my portfolio yestersday.

one of the nice things I liked about the class is that it seemed to be connecting and tying up everything I've learned about folklore since august 2007, and it's giving me ideas for my future classes. while responding to the prompts, i started brainstorming for memoir pieces which I might explore further in my upcoming Memoir writing class (at the end of july).

This fall, I'll be taking a storytelling course and children's folklore course. I'm supposed to be some kind of teacher's assistant in my storytelling class, which would involve collaboration with my prof (i'd help her with some lesson planning/demonstration, and student evaluation etc.). The children's folklore class is an undergrad class, which means that to make it count for "graduate level" I'd have to write a research paper or an enthographic work (both 15 pages at least). The seminar gave me ideas on what to research. it looks like i'll be doing a combination of research and ethnography maybe about children's narratives (memory and nostalgia). I have to brainstorm with my adviser before the end of June.

tomorrow, Sunday, I'll cull over old lesson plans and put something together for the week or for the entire summer (depending on inspiration)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:56 PM | Comments (0)