John Lithgow and Annette Bening star in King Lear in this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park. Currently I am sitting in line waiting for my tickets. 9:05: We arrived at 6:40. I planned to get here around 6:30, but we got turned around in the park so we were later than intended. The line is surprisingly short given that people often camp out at 3 a.m. for popular shows. This morning’s news reports said the line for last night’s show was long. We came woefully under-prepared with only the hotel blanket, a sweatshirt for a pillow, two bottles of water, and a handful of BlowpopsRead More →

gas receipt

At the first oil change for the Fiat Pop 500c, I noticed that the sticker the shop put on the windshield listed the mileage incorrectly. I snapped a quick pic of the instrument dial since I didn’t want to lose track of the next oil change. I have a swiss-cheese memory, I couldn’t find a pen, and I was late for school. I was already tracking gas consumption with pics anyway, because I wanted to see what my true mileage was (it’s about 30 mpg). I do it by taking a pic of both the instrument panel and the receipt. The receipt shows how muchRead More →

Dear Fiat Poop Mobile Manufacturers: Thank you for making me a fun car to drive. Please enroll in a technical communication class. Your manual sucks. The Fiat Pop glared a warning light, a yellow triangle with an exclamation point and no clear indication of what it meant. The manual said GENERIC WARNING LIGHT, to which I replied with a generic WTF? On an entirely separate page in the manual is a list of problems about which I had been generically warned. On the list was something about a broken oil pressure sensor. Skary!!!!1! Not a good thing for a new car under 4k miles. OrRead More →

I’m a bad traveler; I don’t like getting out of my comfort zone. Since I’m a plus-sized, curmudgeonly woman who doesn’t fit easily into boxes, I have to do out-of-the-box thinking to ensure my comfort and prevent meltdowns when I travel. I’m not built physically or emotionally such that I can hop into the corner store and purchase what I forget to pack. Fortunately, my traveling experiences started in the UK, where people speak English and everything is the same as here – almost. Then I moved on to less similar locales: Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico (San Miguel, not the spring break destinations). My firstRead More →

Students who take public speaking classes are fearful of delivering speeches. Although we work on speech anxiety in my classes, that is not our focus.Anxiety is a “fight or flight” physiological response left over from the “caveman” (That’s Sexist!) days when we needed adrenaline to face a predator. Since classmates are not predators, folks shouldn’t worry. There are many silly myths about how to handle speech anxiety, such as have a drink to knock the edge off, or look over people’s heads instead of making direct eye contact. Anything that keeps you from engaging with the audience is a mistake. The silliest of all isRead More →

If you look up practice in the dictionary, you get lots of definitions. You will see there that the word derives from the Greek and Latin sense of “practical work.” Gratitude as a practice is indeed practical work. It takes work. It takes practice. As such, it connotes the many meanings of practice found in the dictionary. Think about gratitude as you read these definitions, because it might change the way you understand gratitude. It did for me, or at least it reminded me of some old lessons. Gratitude is a proficiency that must be practiced. It is a habit, a custom, a customary performance,Read More →

Stealth texting or crotch texting in class. What a nightmare. I can’t make up my mind about permitting mobile devices and other technology in class. Even though I geek out over the latest tech toys, my class policy alternates every semester. Lately, my approach has been NO DEVICES whatsoever (without a disability services accommodation letter). This works best when students hear a thorough explanation and rationale. Unfortunately, last year I decided to “flip” some classes, creating situations where students need tech for activities, and causing a quandary. So, here’s my general NO TECHNOLOGY approach: Students get upset when it comes to outlawing technology in theRead More →

Nigerian scams fascinate me. Due to my recent life circumstances, their mutations surround me. I posted on Craigslist because I want to rent out a room, only to discover the barrage of roommate scams. I joined Match.com (yes, ..oy), which is a veritable cesspool of scammers. Nigerian Scam vs. Spanish Prisoner Saying scammers come out like bugs in the night has disturbing racial overtones. Why did “Nigerian scam” stick instead of “Spanish Prisoner”? Nigerian scams, perpetuated by actual Nigerians but by others too, are more recent than others, and therefore the name is more relevant. Also, people today probably don’t resonate with the idea ofRead More →

Using PowerPoint in speeches sucks. Always. Many speech teachers probably feel the same. PowerPoint becomes a teleprompter, which defeats the purpose of giving a speech. Last semester, I taught Business Communication for the first time in my entire teaching career. In thinking through that class, I felt obligated to teach PowerPoint since it’s expected in the business world. Also, the POD listserv, discusses visual resources a lot. Those two things motivated me to teach PowerPoint and to do it well. As a result of these explorations, I experimented this semester. One thing I incorporated is a Pecha Kucha format speech (you can use Prezi too,Read More →

1. Add your home as a venue. 2. Become mayor of your home. 3. Add your work as a venue. 4. Become mayor of your job. 5. Add places that are clearly not venues like THE BEACH. The beach is not a venue. 6. Become mayor of the beach. 7. Lie. 8. Lie a lot. Note: I have done none of these things. Update: 12/1/12 In the world of cheaters, monetizers, gamers, and people who need external motivation, do things for gold, XP, and badges, and those who seek only to level up, NONE of these 4Sq ethics seem to matter. Hence, the “Commission toRead More →