Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Archive for September, 2010

Hideously boring blog post

So, the paper that I need to reformat/rewrite/pretty much do all over again is about Success in Online Courses – how to define success, what makes some students succeed, what contributes to students failing, and how do we tell if what we do makes a difference.

I know, that makes you want to run right out and sign up to get a master’s degree, doesn’t it?  Yeah, me neither, but at this point, it’s too late to turn back.

Those chunks I’m working on follow along these lines:

What is online learning?

How many students are using online learning?

What are the success rates, and how are those rates defined?

What are the characteristics of successful online students?

What issues are identified as roadblocks to success?

What techniques might be implemented to encourage success?

How will the success of those efforts be measured?

How can that information be plugged back into the process to make improvements, aka “closing the loop”?  (for those not in higher ed, that’s the current buzz phrase)

zzzzzzzzzzzz . . . . Huh?  Why yes, yes, it is quite riveting. What has actually helped me make a breakthrough and give a gleam of hope this will get done is that my grad committee finally gave me feedback (only about eight months late) and it became clear – it’s all about assessment.  And what is the current trend that has all of higher ed in a kerfluffle?  Assessment!  And that means lots of academia is writing articles and articles about assessment (I suspect in an effort to avoid actually having to do assessment) which means I have paper fodder!!!!!  This is no small thing, people – get excited!!!!!

Let’s move on to more scintillating topics – tomorrow is Socktoberfest!!!!!  (and suddenly, it becomes apparent why it’s taken me six years to get through grad school)

Another sock may have entered the lineup.  Maybe.  More details tomorrow.

Random Wednesday

I don’t really have anything new to say.  I just wanted to keep the blog posts rolling.

My mom has to have an ‘odd spot’ removed from her scalp next Monday.  The surgeon doesn’t know what it is, which is either a good thing or a bad thing.  I will be the driver, as she will be getting a local anesthetic, plus, in the words of the nurse, “the ‘don’t care’ stuff”.  I suspect it’s similar to the twilight-sleepy stuff.

I need to work on my paper.  Maybe my post tomorrow will be a list of all the chunks (I’m breaking it down into 17 3-page chunks) I need to write.  That will be thrilling.  Socks are way more fun.  And prettier for pictures.

If you’ve been reading Ramblin’s blog, you’ll know he has a new hobby – smoker cooking.  We’ve been enjoying that very much.

The first yarn for Socktoberfest is wound.  Technically, I could start right now.  There’s no rule that says you can’t start before October.  Amazingly, right now I have two sets of toes with which I have no idea what socks to make.  I just started toes.  No idea.

Yeah, I’m kind of all over the place, but at least there was a post.

Socktoberfest is nigh!

Three more days and it will be Socktoberfest!  And I have plans.  Oh yes, there are plans.

1)  Argonauta in Numma Numma Toasty in “Boysenberry Preserves”

Toasty - Boysenberry Preserves

2) Cascading Leaves (could only find the Rav link), mostly likely in Bugga “Oak Timberworm” or “Autumn Tiger Beetle”


3) Shur’tugal (non-Rav free download here)  in The Woolen Rabbit Harmony in “Chocolate Chambord”

Woolen Rabbit Chocolate Chambord

4) (ambitious, much?)  Herringbone Rib Socks in Koigu, um, this one.  Maybe.

Koigu - P112 91

And that’s all I have planned for the moment.  Subject to change.  This all incorporates yarns I’ve collected but haven’t knit with.  The Woolen Rabbit was Ragged’s recent unclub pick. (which had been tempting me from reading Anne Hanson’s blog)  I’ve knitted with Koigu, but not socks.  Good grief, how can I not have knitted a Koigu sock?!  I got Koigu (a lot), I knit socks (a lot) – what the heck?!

Socky goodness – I has it.  Bring on Socktoberfest!

Out of madness comes opportunity

So I mentioned that I had started teaching online.  I also mentioned that while it seemed crazy at the time, it would be less so once things settled down.  I’ve reached the point where it’s not crazy.  In fact, I think it might be as far from crazy as I’ve been in a while.

I’ve realized something – I could do this from home.  As in, make it my primary job.  The sad truth is, teaching one course with the full number of students I’m allowed while working full-time at the college would just about equal the money I make now.  If I wasn’t working at the college and did this as my only profession, I can have double the number of students, which means double the money I currently make.

Right now, my only uncertainty is the health insurance angle.  I don’t know if there have been sufficient changes made to allow me to get health insurance on my own.  I know if I can, it will be expensive as all get out.  I’m one of the lucky few people who are designated ‘uninsurable’, except through group policies.  I have no idea why that makes one whit of difference.  If things stay as they are now, I could be in good shape come 2014. (well, other than the world ending in 2012)  However, there are plenty of people with the intention to end that, which puts me right back into trouble.  HIPAA might provide enough protection for me, unless someone gets the bright idea to get rid of that, too.  Don’t get a genetic condition if you can help it.  It creates all kinds of problems.

Health insurance notwithstanding, this is a really tempting opportunity.  I just see my current position getting worse and worse.  I know there will be challenges to teaching online, but believe me, it’s a contained insanity, as opposed to the current job where insanity knows no bounds.

P.S. This post was brought to you courtesy of the post-scheduler.  I can get on a roll, churn out several in one go, and have them magically dispersed.  Lovely.

Guild spinning day

Yes, as promised, I’m back to report on our guild’s spinning day.  Three posts in a row may cause this blog to explode, so view at your own risk.

BLAM! (just kidding)

There were less in attendance than in previous years.  Kind of sad, and hopefully not a trend.  Only two of us brought spinning wheels, and I barely spun on mine, maybe half an hour.  But I did get to see friends that I normally do not see, and that was very wonderful.

There may not have been much spinning, but there was dyeing!

dyed sock blanks

dyed yarns and fibers

You need a closer look at this one, it’s just radiant.

Judy's beautiful fiber

Now this was very cool to me – this is a project made from my hand-dyed fiber! It is so neat to see what you have made taken forward with others adding their artistic ability to it. And, it’s very gratifying to see something you made used and loved. Yay!

scarf made from my hand-dyed fiber - for blog

Sadly, I was not alert enough to get pictures of the gorgeous hand towels Kate wove.  Oh. My. Word.  They were beautiful!  I’m not planning on getting into weaving (“Yeah, right” you say?  Nope, because I don’t get to spin/knit/dye as much as I would like now, so I’m safe for the meantime), but I am in serious awe of the amazing work that comes off of the loom.

That was pretty much my day in review.  On the drive home, I became very, very sleepy, and the rest of the day was spent in the recliner.

You know, this blogging every day just might become a habit.  Or not.  You never can tell.

Happy Banned Books Week!

Here’s my reading list for when my degree is finally done.  Like any good rabblerouser, I’ve read a few of them already (indicated in bold – I know, I should have read more by now, but don’t forget, I am the worst-read English major).
Banned and Challenged Classics, American Library Association (see more about banned books at )
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence (oh yes I did, just because it was supposed to be so scandalous)
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (the only reason this should be avoided is because it’s too depressing for words)
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (first on the to-read list!)
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

One day late

Happy fall!  Yay fall!

Bring on the 70 degree weather!

Check back on Sunday for a spinning day recap.  (providing I don’t talk myself out of going between now and then)

I don’t care what the calendar sez

It’s fall.

Charlie's hand-made caramel apple - the surest sign of fall