glogs?

I had the opportunity to visit my friend Danae’s classroom today. She’s pretty amazing with what she’s done with her technology curriculum. I was blown away by all the elements she incorporated into a unit plan. Technology aside, she covers marketing, finance, budgeting, self-esteem. You name it, she covers it. And I could tell how much her students love her. All in all, it was pretty awesome.

The other cool thing was she introduced me to two websites that I haven’t used before. The first I just spent an hour trying out, playing around with it like a little kid. Glogster is the name of the site. Basically, it allows you to create a poster. So, this is my first hand at a glog……

glog1

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In Over My Head

When interest rates dropped to zero or zero-point-two-five or whatever it was, I thought I should revisit my dream to own a home.

I finally got word from my brother today on the realtor he used to find a home and that sent the work in motion.

I finally hit “send” on my saved mortgage application this morning, and by this afternoon I had a nifty “good faith estimate.” What exactly that is, I had and still have no clue.

I read through four pages of mishmash, and decided that I’m in over my head.

Then, that made me laugh. I sent it to my dad. He said to go ahead and sign it.

And, there we have it: comedy. (Stay tuned…)

Anger

I’m sitting here crying over “Road to Redemption” for what amounts to be every week of its season.

The show makes me angry. Not anger in a way like shaking my head and thinking “how sad that this happens.” Not anger in a way that I’m mad at because someone who is a celebrity has the opportunity to say goodbye to his family when the average guy on the street does not.

Nope.

It’s anger that’s so intense, I feel my blood pressure rise. I’d like to punch a wall, but instead I cry.

I have realized that I have replaced a lifetime of not being able to stand alongside young people who I share DNA with and memories of Christmas with standing alongside young people who I barely know.

That makes me mad. It makes me mad because I often wonder what is that “one point” where something slipped through the cracks and what could have been innocent childhood hi-jinks became a catalyst for 10 years of stupid decisions that presumably has sealed the fate of too many people who I spent summers with playing baseball in the streets and having picnics in the park.

It makes me mad because I feel like it is the one colossal failure of my life. And I feel like I will never, ever be satisfied with what I do because I will always be trying to replace these memories with happy endings for people who I don’t even know.

Sometimes I think that’s what has made me so dedicated and that it is entirely positive. I just don’t know if that positive feeling is enough to take away the anger. And I don’t know if that anger will be there for my entire life. And I don’t know that my anger may always cause me to want to be part of a bigger solution.

Are these bad things? No. They are not.

At this point, it’s just another part of my exploration in respecting my experience. It is an experience evidently driven by an experience that I would say 90% of my coworkers do not have. That is hard. It is very hard for me some times. I think a big part of me respecting my experience is to respect my story. And part of me respecting my story is respecting that there is this anger inside of me.

So, yes I cried. Yes, I know that people do some very awful things in this world, but at the same time I know face and names of people who do those things. And when you get to that point, it really starts to make less and less sense.

Filter-Free News

Politico featured a great story about how President Obama is “seek[ing] filter free news.” The idea behind it is that some people aren’t news junkies (they aren’t?!?) and could potentially miss out on news that is important to our politics and our society.

The concept behind it is an interesting one to me. It seems that the idea is to communicate constantly to an array of people in an array of mediums. This includes tv, radio, internet, print, traditional, nontraditional, bloggers, twitter-ers. You name it, and I’m sure it’s covered in one way or another.

Even with all of this and my relative faith in Obama, I still have to wonder what is exactly that we don’t know. I mean we are working on a backwards trajectory in some cases. A lot of what Obama has to talk about regarding wars and economics is rooted deeply in an administration that is not his and did not value the constant stream of communication with the general public.

I’d like to say that President Bush spoke just as much as President Obama does and that I just wasn’t paying attention, but the more I think about it, the more I’m sure that it genuinely is not true. I know for sure that it didn’t filter into any of my liberal news sources. You would think, at the very least, I would have read and heard a wealth of criticism.

When I began studying journalism 9 years ago, the internet was a relatively new phenomenon in the journalism world. It was new, and it was mostly untrusted by the veteran reporters I was privileged to call professors. At the time, I could completely understand why an “online journalism” emphasis was not given much credence by these writers who could count the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times amongst their employers. The internet, to them, was diluted. It was something that “anyone could do.”

And it is. It’s something that anyone can do. Anyone can sign up for a blog just like this one and write. Anyone could start up an online magazine, newspaper or (heaven forbid!) a blog.

I can see the positives and negatives. The biggest negative for me is that there is no editor for an online blog such as mine. Presumably, I could make up just about anything and publish it. I wouldn’t do that, of course, but who’s to say it doesn’t happen? The positives though? There are many from my vantage point. Online writing gives someone like me a medium to express myself. It provides yet another layer of that “watchdog” quality that journalism is known for. All of these bloggers and online reporters can instantly post their work and disseminate information much faster than any print newspaper could. I think that’s pretty cool. I think it also gives people (i.e. elected officials) less leeway to lie. Tell a lie? It’s all over the internet pretty much instantly. I think people my age and younger pick up on these things within seconds, and seconds later you have a viral situation going on where millions of people not only know what President Obama said in his news conference this evening, but millions of opinions have already been posted.

For me, that’s the best part of all. One of the lessons that I have carried with me from my journalism education was one taught by a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist of the New York Times. He covered the Vietnam war in Vietnam for several years. When he left for Vietnam, he asked his significant other to collect copies of the Times with his articles in them so he could have an archive of his work upon his return to the U.S.

In class, he described to us some of the most horrific firsthand descriptions of war that I have ever heard. Strangely, the most disturbing part of his story was that upon his return he read each and every article printed in the Times with his byline only to find that they had been edited, altered, “cleaned” up, sanitized and otherwise violated.

“I didn’t write for 12 years after that,” he told us. Thinking about it right now, I still want to cry. I bought his book on Vietnam when I was a junior in college. He signed it for me, and I still have it on my bookshelf. It took him 30 years to be able to write that book, and it is a very moving and very true tale of what it was like to be a reporter during one of the darkest periods of our recent history.

When I think about that story, I always think about Iraq and how little we really know. What makes me even sadder is that the little we know is probably much more than people knew in the 60’s. Even with the advent of the instant “news” online, I think in some ways we’re still pretty censored, even if it is self-censoring.

It just gives me a little comfort to know that we are making strides. The more often that news is disseminated to as many people as possible in as many ways as possible, we are finally making headway on a problem that genuinely plagues this country.

Snippets

-It was nice to read this  morning that Shawn Estes had been cut from the major league roster.

-Me taking joy in Estes being cut does not make me a mean person. Just one who doesn’t forget.

-It was not so nice to read that Chad Billingsley had suffered a groin injury. Argh! That cannot be good.

-I feel kind of “off” right now physically.

-I love that Desperate Housewives is online for free.

-I need to start reading again. I’ve totally blown the 52 books in 52 weeks plan.

-Tanaya and I redid our 643photography.com website for the millionth time (ok not millionth, but it feels that way). I wonder how long we’ll like this version.

-I don’t get why people are mean. I really don’t. It’s tiring.

-I’m happy with the way my first wave of spring cleaning went. I love the space in my living room now.

-I want to paaaaint!

-Going back to teaching is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

-I have a very strong desire to see stars in the desert sky.

-We devised this plan to circumvent paying the $15 parking fee at Dodger Stadium. It mostly involves Manny Ramirez and his car.

-I appreciate responses to job inquiries.

-I need to stop doing searches on the Century 21 website.

-The pastrami and jalapeno sandwich at the Yardhouse is positively amazing and well worth the gallon of grease I probably consumed.

-I’m on a super high caffeine intake plan right now and still sleepy as heck.

-I can’t wait until the sun is rising at 6 a.m.

-I’m a sneezy mess right now thanks to the wind, but I love the clear days so it’s a pretty fair trade.

-I found out that there’s a “Mary” at the Alameda post office, which is my home one. “Mary” at the Boyle Heights post office is one of my favorite people on the planet.

-I’m excited to get actual prints from Shutterfly.

-I’ve become a little addicted to stretching.

-I have realized that I jaywalk in front of the Hollenbeck police station far too much. It’s a wonder I haven’t been cited.

-I like Chris Matthews a lot more now that the election is over.

-I have a huge desire to get on an airplane and go somewhere. Like now.

-I don’t like falling asleep when I’m cold.

-I’m ready for something electric. Like electric blue.

Shutterfly Share Sites

I’m starting to think that I’m ridiculously addicted to the internet. I like trying out and signing up for anything and everything that I find.

I received a coupon for 50 free prints from Shutterfly via email, and of course I had to take advantage. I think my apartment could use some new pictures, and I have had the opportunity to take tons of them in the past few months.

So, I decided that I would upload pictures from January 1 through today. The first 80 days of 2009. It’s been fun, I will have to admit. It’s kind of hard to believe that so much has happened in a mere 80 days, but then that’s probably also why I haven’t been home for a full 24 hours in almost a month.

At any rate, upon perusing the Shutterfly website, I came across Shutterfly Share Sites. I don’t think that it’s something that I would use for myself personally because I have too many photo sharing capabilities as it is. I was thinking, however, that it might be a good way to share pictures with our brides after their weddings. Right now, we’re sending Picasa albums to our brides 2 days after their weddings. This gives more of a personal feel and we can adapt them to the couple’s personality. It even provides opportunity for a guestbook and that might be even more fun.

I suppose it’s something we can discuss when we meet tomorrow—among other things!

For now, this is my sample site….80 Days in 2009.