Monday, August 13, 2007

Springfield Little Theatre - 2007-2008 Season

Springfield Little Theatre - 2007-2008 Season
The Just So Stories
A Tuna Christmas
Disney's Aladdin Jr.
The Miracle Worker
Tom Sawyer
Tick, Tick...Boom!
Seussical The Musical

Click here for more info and dates. Bonus assignments will probably be available for several of these performances later in the year.

Photojojo � 11 Super Awesome Photoshop Movie Effects

Photojojo � 11 Super Awesome Photoshop Movie Effects
Make your yearbook page or just a photo from your collection into a movie poster with these tutorials for Photoshop.

Jerry Seinfeld's Motivational Stratetgy

Read all about Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret.
Very easy to use and probably most effective for people who are either a little obsessive or highly competitive (even with one's self).

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Best 80 Photoshop Text Effects on the Web

The Best 80 Photoshop Text Effects on the Web

For those of you in Mass Media or playing around on your own, this provides tutorials for text effects in Adobe Photoshop, but I think many of them will work in Photoshop Elements as well.

Science of Baseball: Fastball Reaction Time

Science of Baseball: Fastball Reaction Time

I thought some of the baseball players might find this interesting:

Fastball Reaction Time imitates a 90-mph fastball thrown by a major league pitcher. While this exhibit doesn't test if you could actually hit a fastball, it does test whether you could react in time to hit one. When you see the "swing batter" screen, a signal in your eye sends a message to a part of your brain that controls your muscles. Your brain must then send a signal to your muscles, telling them to click. Although it takes some time for the signal to travel along each nerve, the major delay in your reaction time occurs at the junction points in between the different nerves involved, and between the nerves and the muscles in your fingers.

The Beauty of Photoshop - Faith Hill

The Beauty of Photoshop - Faith Hill

Just an example of what photoshopping a picture can do. I've seen even better examples, but this one is pretty good. And, no, the yearbook staff won't edit all your photos to slim you down or fatten you up in the right places!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Simplify Your Writing Environment with JDarkRoom

JDarkRoom is a cool little (100k) program that let's you see nothing but the words your typing (i.e., eliminate distractions.)
I don't like that I can't italicize (because I think it is really intended for people writing code, not prose,) but otherwise it's quite nice.

P.S. If it doesn't work, it's probably b/c you don't have the latest Java update.

The Homework Wars - Lifehacker

A quick guide for winning the The Homework Wars.

Don't be yourself...

"Don't be yourself. Be someone a little nicer."
-Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)

2006-07 MTC Writing Fair Winners

I've scanned the winning entires from the 2006-07 Mark Twain Conference Writing Fair to a single PDF file. You can download it here and read stories, poems, and essays from students from Chadwick and other schools.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Grammar Ninja Game

Identify the parts of speech with speed and precision to earn the title of grammar ninja in this flash game.

BTW--On the test run in Master Ninja mode I finished in 1:14 with 0 mistakes. Let me know how you weigh in. A couple are a little tricky--remember to look for the role the word is playing in the sentence. Good luck and feel free to brag on your score in the comments!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

I haven't posted anything in awhile so I though I'd post...nothing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thoughts on Losing Family from Life of Pi

Thoughts on loss from Yann Martel's Life of Pi:
" lose your brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is like to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that's like losing the sun above you..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Pen Ad + Handwriting Analysis
I'd put about as much stake in this as I do in horoscopes and the like. But, then again, mine was pretty accurate. Enjoy. (P.S. The results are in video form and take a few minutes to view.)

Economy/Efficiency in Writing

Quotes on efficient writing: More time = shorter letter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


A very efficient dictionary. You can search for multiple words at once. I recommend adding it to your firefox search bar.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Read books by email

DailyLit: Read books by email and RSS.

You can read War and Peace in just 675 days! Just read your email! There are lots of other titles as well. I haven't tried it, but thought it was a cool idea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

26 Reasons What You Think is Right is Wrong

26 Reasons What You Think is Right is Wrong presents a list of cognitive biases. If you keep an eye open, you'll notice a lot of these being exploited by various advertising and political propaganda.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spoiler t-shirt

Elizabeth needs this shirt. Don't read the text if you are like me and hate to have endings ruined.

35 Scholarships Anyone Can Get

35 Scholarships Anyone Can Get
Free money for college, though it's worth noting that some of these are pretty competitive.

Friday, May 25, 2007

J. D. Salinger's Uncollected Writings Online

If you've read Catcher in the Rye and are dying to get your hands on some more Salinger, J. D. Salinger's Uncollected Writings is a good place to get started.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Template Sentences

PDF Handout from Long Island University (Brooklyn): Template Sentences

I first read about the concept of template sentences as a pedagogical approach to teaching writing "moves" in my course on teaching "basic" writers. But these sentences could be helpful to just about anyone being introduced to the world of academic writing. For more on this see They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: Books: Gerald Graff,Cathy Birkenstein, which is one of the texts being used by English 110 students at Missouri State.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Truth vs. Fiction

"Surely the job of fiction is to actually tell the truth. It's a paradox that's at the heart of any kind of storytelling."
-Jeremy Northam

Friday, May 18, 2007

Music vs. Lyrics

"A melody is like seeing someone for the first time. The physical attraction....But then, as you get to know the person, that's the lyrics. Their story. Who they are underneath. It's the combination of the two that makes it magic."
-Sophie (Drew Barrymore) from Music and Lyrics (2007) PG-13

I'm a lyrics man myself, so I'm always taken aback by someone who claims that they completely ignore the words of a song. Here are a few lyricists that I especially enjoy: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, and Josh Ritter.

You can add your own favorites in the comments.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Searching Year

Well, I just finished reading the first of the novels from the novel class. I started with Casey's The Searching Year, a quick-paced fantasy about finding love and fighting for it set in a world with two suns. It was rich with symbolism, thoroughly foreshadowed, and featured a strong female character. I'm sure they'll be fighting over the library copy as soon as it hits the shelf.


Brain Candy for your IPOD

Put something worthwhile on your mp3 player this summer. has unabridged classic works--and its not those lame computer voice recording versions (at least none of the titles I sampled were). Enjoy! - an audio book publisher providing free audio book downloads and podcasts of philosophy and classic literature titles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Five-star Summer Movies

Summer can be a great time to catch up on movies. I'm not saying you should spend every day that its over 80 degrees wadded up on the couch, but, hey, it rains sometimes in the summer, too.

If you've seen every movie at Video Showcase, then Netflix may be just right for you. I've had great luck with their service and the movies arrive in your mailbox.

I've seen over 1000 movies, and while that doesn't make me an expert exactly, I might be able to point out a few great films that you missed. Here are a few from my 5-star list that you should make time to see this summer:

12 Angry Men (1957) UR
Actually, only 12 of the men are angry and its a black and white film--but its worth your time. The entire film plays out in the jury room.

Finding Forrester (2000) PG-13
There's some great dialogue and Sean Connery's character gives some advice on writing worth taking.

Les Miserables (1998) PG-13
If you get a chance, go see the musical. I can't recommend it highly enough. However, chances are you are never going to read the book--let's just say its longish. While your waiting for the musical to come to town or working up the courage to read the novel, try this one out.

Lonesome Dove (1989) TV
My wife hates westerns, but she made me finish this miniseries all in one night. It is just that good. It's based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurty.

Pearls of Wisdom by Dave Barry

Dave Barry was a huge hit with the Class of 2004. Maybe he's ready to be adopted by a new group:

Pearls of Wisdom by Dave Barry

Pearls of Wisdom
"Fourteen Things That It Took Me Over
50 Years To Learn" by Dave Barry

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

5. You should not confuse your career with your life.

6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

7. Never lick a steak knife.

8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

14. Your friends love you anyway.

Thought for the day: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Great Free Software

Once I tried Firefox Web Browser I could never go back to Internet Explorer. Try it out and then check out all the cool add-ons.

If you do not have access to Microsoft Office, it can be a huge pain trying to take files back and forth from home to school, but with you can open, save, modify, and create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations and more (with some limited functionability, of course.)

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut -- "So it goes."

Kurt Vonnegut -- "Kurt Vonnegut

Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10."

Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures

Here's a quick and simple tutorial from Kodak on taking photos. Rememeber that only so much can be done with cropping and photo manipulation software.

Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures