Monday, October 31, 2016

Reading Notes: Alice in Wonderland Part A

I read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for week 11.  This is the first week I've read a single longer story as opposed to several short stories, so it was definitely a little different.  I only have one solid idea for this story so far, so that's all I'll discuss in this post.  Perhaps in my next reading notes post I will have more ideas for alternative stories.

Alice's journey is of course very curious and vivid, but what if it isn't real?  For Week 11, I'm contemplating writing a story about what was really happening while Alice was experiencing all of her wild adventures.  Hallucinations - that would make much more sense!  But what are causing these hallucinations?  Well, I'm thinking of making Alice severely ill, and her very high fevers are the culprit.  I could relate some of the things she experiences in her vivid dreams to things that are actually happening.  Perhaps Alice is with her sister when she falls ill, so it is the last "normal" thing she recalls.  When Alice imagines drinking the potions, she is really being fed medicine to help her recover.  Cheshire Cat is her own cat, who Alice even mentions at the beginning of the story.  I think there are a lot of things in this story that I could relate to being ill.

A strange interaction indeed.  Courtesy of Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Story Planning: Avian Elements of the Peace Pipes

My source story was The Legend of the Peace Pipes from Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by  Katharine Berry Judson (1913).

My original reading notes: 
The Legend of the Peace Pipes
"This is my favorite story in part A of this week's reading; it gave me so many ideas.  First of all, there are blatant mentions of immoralities (that the peace pipes are meant to remedy) at the end of this story, which makes it a potential candidate for my portfolio.  I enjoyed the incorporation of the different types of plants and animals, and I found it intriguing that the tribal chief was so meticulous about which sapling or feather should be used to make the peace pipes.  My story idea is to have the rejected plants and animals represent an immorality, possibly the two explicitly mentioned in the story.  I'd explain more about why the chief did not want to use these materials to build the peace pipes, and show that it was because they came from beings that were not peaceful or moral. "


I still have a similar plan for this story in the sense that I want to explain why the spotted and bald eagle were not allowed to contribute a feather to the tribe's peace pipe.  I knew I wanted to include some immorality themes, which I elaborate more on later, but I wasn't sure how to go about this story.  I was leaning toward keeping the same style of storytelling as the original story, and almost making my story seem like a "lost book" or part of the original.  I'm honestly not sure of any other style I could use to tell the story in the way that I intend.   

I consulted several wikipedia articles to learn more about some of the elements in this story, and hopefully gain more inspiration.  

Article: Ceremonial Pipe
I learned about "peace pipes" while reading this article, and this gave me more ideas for my possible story.  Ceremonial pipes can be used as a sort of treaty, and can represent war or peace within a tribe. The use of "peace pipes" varies by Native American tribe, though, and I did not find anything too specific about how the Omaha tribe used their peace pipes. 

Article: Great Spotted Eagle
A spotted eagle is featured in this story - he drops a feather to the tribe, but they decide against using it in the construction of their peace pipe, although they do not elaborate on why.  I discovered that the scientific name for the spotted eagle, clanga, translates to "scream."  Because I plan to elaborate on why these birds' feathers were not used to make the peace pipe, I've decided I will make the spotted eagle represent "cowardice."  I think cowardice would be frowned upon by the Omaha tribe, especially if the peace pipe is meant to represent both war and peace. 

A "vengeful" bald eagle. Courtesy of Jerry and Pat Danaho on Flickr
A bald eagle is also a rejected peace pipe candidate in my source story, so I also plan to elaborate on why.  In this story, the peace pipe is meant to prevent revenge, so I think I will make the bald eagle a vengeful character in my rendition.  

The imperial eagle presents the feather that is chosen to be used in the peace pipe, and in my story I will explain why his feather was chosen.  It will probably be along the lines of this bird representing a thriving "empire" or in this case tribe. 

I didn't really want to do a story planning post this week, but I was having such trouble coming up with a story despite having a good idea about everything I want to include.  I'll reexamine this story next week, and decide if I want to make something out of it, or if I'd rather start over with a new unit and story.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reading Notes: Great Plains Part B

Part B of Katharine Berry Judson's Myths and Legends of the Great Plains, 1913, was full of more immorality than part A, but inspired my own creativity less for some reason.  If I don't come up with a story idea after the first couple of times of reading over a story, I usually won't come up with one at all, and I hate having to try to force one.  I did think of a few ideas that hopefully I can expand on after they ferment in my mind a little bit.

This was a short but very fun read, especially "The Ghost and the Traveler".  The man ends up traveling with the ghost woman, but doubts and fears her, in a totally random way, causing her to disappear.  I thought the random thought of fear the man had toward the ghost woman was hilarious, and if I choose to write about this story, I will definitely center it around that interaction or thought.  I think it illustrated the point that we should only fear fear itself, and that anything else may only cause us despair. 

This story is full of immoralities thanks to that rude little rabbit, and I love possums, so this story is a double win!  Unfortunately I can only think of writing a child's rhyme about this story, which would be really cool to do, but also very difficult.  I'm good at rhyming, but just not in a way that is good for longer stories, or stories that appeal to children. I do really like the idea though, so I will continue to ponder how I can create a story out of this legend.

A sweet angel playing dead. Courtesy of Wikipedia
Another wonderful, short story full of immoralities that are demonstrated by both of the main characters!  For this story, I could expand upon the immoralities committed by both parties by writing it in the form of a confession from the snake (since the snake kills the coyote.)  By writing my story in this fashion, I could add a new perspective while also expanding upon what was presented in the legend.  I could even change the characters from animals to people - that may add even more to the immoral themes. 

Reading Notes: Great Plains Part A

I read Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson (1913) for week 10, and encountered some very interesting stories.  I liked that the lengths of the stories varied quite a bit, and also that the themes were so different.  I assumed I would be most attracted to the ghost stories, but I actually didn't really draw any inspiration for my own story from them, though I did enjoy reading them.  The stories that did inspire me were actually the first three stories in the unit, which are:

The Creation
This story gives an interesting perspective on the creation of the earth and its inhabitants.  Although I didn't see any immorality in this story to use for my portfolio, I did have the idea to write about funerals for the animals that perish at the end.  The sun and moon, and possibly the wind, could be the main speakers at these funerals.

Sacred Legend
I really loved this story!  It used parallel structure beautifully to explain the evolution of tribal "technology" and companionship.  If I were to write about this story, I would use a lot of pictures to illustrate the development of new methods and devices by the people in this story.  I like this idea a lot, but I think the downfalls are the fact that this story doesn't display any immorality, and that it may be hard for me to reach the minimum word count with a story.  I could just rework the story I suppose...

The Legend of the Peace Pipes
This is my favorite story in part A of this week's reading; it gave me so many ideas.  First of all, there are blatant mentions of immoralities (that the peace pipes are meant to remedy) at the end of this story, which makes it a potential candidate for my portfolio.  I enjoyed the incorporation of the different types of plants and animals, and I found it intriguing that the tribal chief was so meticulous about which sapling or feather should be used to make the peace pipes.  My story idea is to have the rejected plants and animals represent an immorality, possibly the two explicitly mentioned in the story.  I'd explain more about why the chief did not want to use these materials to build the peace pipes, and show that it was because they came from beings that were not peaceful or moral.

A ceremonial peace pipe. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tech Tip: Canvas App for iPad

I've had the canvas app installed on my iPad mini 2 for several weeks now, and it's been of great use to me so far.  I mainly use it in my "Case Studies in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease" course for things like pulling up my submitted homework to reference during the in class assignments.  The app isn't quite as simple to use as the actual canvas website, but it has basically the same layout, so it doesn't take long to figure it out.  It was also incredibly easy to install - no different than installing any other app from the app store!

The only problem I've had with the app so far is sometimes I'm unable to see recently graded assignments that are otherwise visible on the normal website.  This is only applicable sometimes, like if an assignment is graded but still appears greyed out on the normal website (I don't know why this happens sometimes.) Otherwise, the app is wonderful to have, especially if you frequently use your iPad in class, or otherwise!

Here's a link to a video that guides you through the installation! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

That Made My Day

The highlight of my day (what made me happy today):

Thursday 8/25
I got started on my first research project today! Officially streaked my first plate with a (likely) novel bacterial species, specimen PMP191F. What made me even happier was that after talking to Nisha about my research interests, she said that I would be able to incorporate research on antibiotic resistance into this project, and then when I'm finished with this project she'd give me one all about abx resistance! She also said there was a chance that I could be published with this project (though it's a pay to prove type project, so they may not even publish the findings?)

Friday 8/26
The two homeless people that frequently hang out around outside of the clinic found a precious baby kitten today on the side of the road, no mother or siblings in sight. They brought the kitten in, and we cleaned it up and bottle fed it! One of my coworkers decided to take it home to care for it.
It was so kind that, even though they don't have a home of their own, they cared enough to help an animal in need find a home and the care it deserved.

Foundling - Female kitten, ~2 weeks old after a bottle feeding; Photo credit: Me 
Monday 8/29
I'm happy and thankful that I'm working with such great grad students at the Lawson Lab.

Tuesday 8/30
Talking with my mom last night and today made me happy.

Wednesday 8/31
The Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast always makes me happy. Couldn't control my grinnin' today while listening to it as I walked to class.

Saturday 9/3
Someone banged on the door and yelled "EARTHQUAKE!!" during that 5.6 earthquake we had. I found it hilarious.

Sunday 9/4
I went by my favorite coffee place here in Norman (Cool Beans over on 12th and Alameda), but as I pulled up to the drive thru, the (presumably) owner informed me that they were closed for renovations.  I was bummed, and was going to just go somewhere else, but then she asked me what I was going to order. I told her I was craving a large iced chai, and she said she could make it for me! I told her I didn't have cash, just my card, which she said was fine. She made the drink and brought it out to me, and then told me that it was on the house!

Monday 9/5
Obviously it made me happy that there was no class today, ha! But also, I got to see my friend Jessica today! We met up over a couple of drinks, she told me all about med school so far, and then I went and saw her new (awesome) house in OKC!

Sorry for the hiatus, I had a hectic last week!

Sunday 9/11
Today a female praying mantis hung out on my hand for a bit. It was really cool.

Praying Mantis by Shiva Shankar on the Wikipedia Commons

Tuesday 9/13
MY BEST FRIEND ANDREA FINALLY HAD HER BABY!!! It feels like it took forever, especially these last few days, but Piper is finally here! 7lbs 2oz, beautiful as can be :,) 
I'm very happy she's finally here, and I'm also really happy I got to facetime with Andrea like, 20 minutes after the birth! Got to see her and Piper! I can't wait to meet her tomorrow! 

Ps: this is in bold because it's probably the best thing that will happen all semester, and maybe even the rest of the year! 

Andrea & Piper - Photo courtesy of the Sawyers family, 2016
Wednesday 9/14
Drove straight to Tulsa after work to meet baby Piper today! She was as precious as can be :,)

Saturday 9/17
Trump did Harambe! That's all I've got to say about today.

Sunday 9/18
As simple as it sounds, spending some alone time and working on getting back on track was oddly fulfilling today. *Sigh of relief*

Monday 9/19
I finally got a phone, which definitely makes me happy

Tuesday 9/20
My broth cultures grew! I was afraid my cultures had died, and was worried if my subcultures would even grow, but they did and I'm happy.

Friday 9/23
I taped a photo of Bernie Sanders to my TV. Alec and I sang My Chemical Romance to it  Thanks alcohol.

Saturday 9/24
I went to an OU Improv show, and really enjoyed it.

Sunday 9/25
The fair, the fair, the fair, the fair, and Alec! We rode a ton of rides and snuck into the snake woman exhibit - it was terrible! :)

Monday 9/26
It's a little early in the day to do this, but I ran into my old professor Herr Sullivan today after class! He is one of the best professors I've had, ever! I was delighted to see him, and very happy that he remembers me, even after a couple of semesters.

Tuesday 9/27
I just had a good day in lab today.

Saturday 10/1
It's October!!! And I got a raise!

Tuesday 10/4
The lightning storm last night made me really happy.  It was so cool, I watched it for an hour or so.

Wednesday 10/5
This didn't necessarily make me "happy", but it did make me laugh, so that's close enough...
Today after my pathogenic micro class, Alec was walking in as I was walking out, and I got really excited about this picture of Harambe that my friend photoshopped into a clown that I wanted him to see, so I start walking toward him all happy and then I slip on the stairs and straight up fall on my ass (ok it was my knees, but still). It was pretty hilarious.

Friday 10/7
This is too easy - I was really happy to be out of school today! But I'm also really happy to get to go to Tulsa to see my family in friends today!

Saturday 10/8
The Tulsa State Fair - enough said!

This beautiful relic was spotted at the Tulsa State Fair. Credit: me. 

Sunday 10/9
I'm happy to see my cats again! I missed them while I was in Tulsa.

Monday 10/10
I went in to get some coffee at the Circle K by my house, and the lady gave it to me for free!  And then some teens outside told me to have a nice day in a non sarcastic tone.  Weird series of events, but they made me smile.

Tuesday 10/11
The Norman Animal Shelter agreed to join my work's adoption event we are having next month! Yay!

Friday 10/14
It made me really happy to finally see my friend Jessica again!  We went to the Art Walk on Main St. and had a lot of fun!

Saturday 10/15
Today I finally met Jessica's mom, whom I've heard so much about.  She's a neurosurgeon with a PhD in microbiology, so she's someone I've been very eager to meet! We all got sushi and had a nice time!

I'm sorry I've been slacking!

Wednesday 10/19
Having lunch with some of my coworkers was enjoyable!  Also, there was the sweetest little 3 legged kitten at work.  She was too sweet.

Thursday 10/20
I talked on the phone with my friend Austin for about 3 hours!  It was nice because I haven't gotten to talk to him in a while.

Saturday  10/22
Alec and I went to Oktoberfest in Tulsa! I got to see some of my friends I hadn't seen in awhile there too! Oh, and not to mention the delicious food... mmm

Oktoberfest in Tulsa. Courtesy of TulsaTopics on Flickr

Sunday 10/23
Even though I only saw her for a little bit, I was happy to see my mom today.

Monday 10/24
ZACK came to Norman!!!!!!!!

Monday 11/7
Dang, I'm sorry I haven't posted in so, so long.... Life has been tough lately, and this election is stressing me out beyond belief.  Hopefully soon I can get back to this. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Story: The Chronicles of the Wonderful Turtle

J is for jealousy:
He’s got a calm demeanor.

He’s kind and he’s wise.
But which is greener: 
His grass or your eyes?

A is for Adultery:

When you say "I do"
it’s beyond your purview
a new love to pursue,
for what may ensue
is he bid you adieu. 

Extra, extra! Read all about the rise and fall of the reptile known as the "Wonderful Turtle"!

A hero is born.  Image made using canva. Photo courtesy of yum9me on Flickr
Full Article:

A local turtle became a tribal hero this week after defusing a conflict between two of the fiercest Chippewa warriors. Akecheta, 27, and Chaytan, 32, got into a heated argument over a personal matter, which nearly escalated to bloodshed. The two men visited the chief in an attempt to resolve matters, but despite speaking with the men for hours, they did not find a resolution. “I started to worry when the men did not seem pleased with my solution,” Chief Sassaba tells our reporter. “I knew I had to find another way to resolve this conflict.”

The chief finally decided to ask an unexpected party for advice on the matter, so he reached out to his personal friend known as “Mr. Turtle.” Mr. Turtle resides near the large lake just south of the Chippewa village, but had never before visited the village.
“Mr. Turtle is very wise, so I thought he may be able to help with this matter. When I asked him for assistance, he said he’d come right away,” the chief explained. When Mr. Turtle arrived, the entire village was tense, and many were worried about a battle breaking out between the men. Mr. Turtle sat in the chief’s throne, and began deliberating with the men; this lasted several hours before they finally compromised.

According to the two men, Mr. Turtle explained that they were both correct, and offered them “very wise” advice regarding the matter. The men declined to provide details about the conflict and the advice. Nevertheless, the entire village seems to have fallen in love with the reptile, who they are now referring to as the "Wonderful Turtle." We briefly talked with Mr. Turtle, who said, “I’m honored that the chief asked me for assistance in this matter, and I’m delighted I could help.”
“I’m very grateful for the love and support the Chippewa tribe has shown me. I’m going to make this village my new home,” Mr. Turtle told the Sun.
On behalf of the Chippewa Sun: we are very thankful to have you, Wonderful Turtle!

The turtle finds love.  Image made using canva.  Photo courtesy of StarsApart on Flickr

Full Article:
Chippewa’s local hero the “Wonderful Turtle” is set to marry the chief’s daughter this December. The two met after the turtle helped prevent a violent fight between two Chippewa warriors earlier this spring. Those who know the couple state that they are “soulmates” and say that they are, like many other villagers, excited for their ceremony.

Not every resident of the village is excited for the marriage though. We talked with a few local men, who wish to remain anonymous, about how they feel about the upcoming wedding. “I think it’s absurd! Such a beautiful woman should be with a warrior, not a turtle,” says one man.
Another man stated, “I think the chief’s daughter deserves to be with someone else. There are many more eligible men in the village besides that old reptile.” Sources tell us that those expressing anger or jealousy over the wedding will be barred from attending the ceremony.

Whether you are looking forward to or dreading the ceremony, it will be held at sunset on December 11th at the chief’s residence. Further details regarding the guest list, food and drink, and more will be published as we are made aware of them.

The Wonderful Turtle involved in a scandal.  Image made using canva.  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Full Article:
An idealistic marriage was torn to shreds recently when local hero and husband of the chief’s daughter, Mr. Turtle, discovered that while he was away his wife had an affair and bore a child. Our sources tell us that Mr. Turtle went on a trip over the winter, and returned home to find his wife cradling a child that he says “looks nothing like” him. The Chippewa village has been eager for the couple to have children, and many claim the couple was actively trying before Mr. Turtle’s trip. Both Mr. Turtle and the chief’s family declined to comment on the matter, but an insider revealed to us that Mr. Turtle will be moving out of the village. It is unclear at this time who the father of the chief's daughter's son is.

Author's Note:
The Wonderful Turtle tells the story of a turtle who is asked by his friend, the chief of a Chippewa tribe, to help resolve a potentially violent conflict between tribe members. Thanks to his great wisdom, the turtle is able to resolve the conflict, and soon becomes known as the "Wonderful Turtle" by the tribe. His wisdom and fame win him the love of the chief's daughter, and they wed. The turtle gets left behind during a journey, and ends up just sleeping through the winter. When he awakes and returns home, he sees that his wife has had a baby! He is excited until he notices that the child is not his. This story is from Myths and Legends of the Sioux by Marie McLaughin, 1916. I chose to use a newspaper headline type theme for this story to highlight the many "newsworthy" events that happen to the turtle in this story. I enjoyed the simplicity of the story, as well as the twist at the end in which the Wonderful Turtle's wife commits adultery - how immoral! The original story also highlights the jealousy of the other men in the village; they want to marry the chief's daughter. I couldn't find a way to incorporate much of that into my own story, but I do consider it to be an "immorality" in this story.

The theme of an immoral alphabet comes from A Moral Alphabet by Hilaire Belloc, 1899. The letters J and A are courtesy of Maelle K on

Reading Notes: Sioux Legends Part B

I chose the unit Sioux Legends for week 9's reading, which consists of stories from Myths and Legends of the Sioux by Marie McLaughlin (1916) and Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Sa (1901). 

Unktomi, the Two Widows, and the Red Plums
Most of the stories in this section have been somewhat pleasant, but this story, oh my god, this story is twisted!  Of course I gravitate to it though, right?  Anyway, I don't have any specific ideas for this story just yet, but the cruelty of the unktomi (spider) really surprised me.  The horrific things he did were completely unwarranted, unprovoked, and cruel in so many ways.  This would obviously be a good story or immorality, because that spider is one twisted dude.  Perhaps I could do a sequel to the story, where the spider ends up in an afterlife similar to hell.  Then I could illustrate that the spider is more evil than the "devil" himself, and have him ultimately become the new ruler of hell.

Dreamcatchers kind of remind me of unktomi webs! Yikes.  Courtesy of  Wikipedia

Unktomi and the Arrowheads
I was really surprised to see the term "hemorrhage" in this story!  It actually sort of excited me, and made me considering writing this story into a sort of medical drama.  If I don't end up writing about this story in such a way, I would definitely keep a medical-type story in mind for the future.

The War-Like Seven
Searching for trouble will only cause you grief - look at that, I found the moral of the story... well except that the turtle and fish succeed at the end, and kill the whole tribe for no reason. The turtle and fish may have won in the end, but they lost many of their war-seeking friends along the way.  I could have death/the grim reaper tell this story, and talk about the faults in looking for trouble, and then explaining how and/or why he took each character's life.  Then, at the end, death could explain that the good guys don't always win, and that even if he doesn't like to take an innocent life, it's his job, and he's gotta earn a living too!

Reading Notes: Sioux Legends Part A

I chose the unit Sioux Legends for week 9's reading, which consists of stories from Myths and Legends of the Sioux by Marie McLaughlin (1916) and Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Sa (1901).

The Rabbit and the Grouse Girls
In this story, the rabbit plays a malicious trick on a flock of grouse, and ends up capturing them in a bag.  The rabbit's grandmother is supposed to be keeping an eye on the bag of birds while the rabbit runs an errand, but is tricked into letting them free once again.  For this story, I was thinking about having each grouse trick the grandmother in a different way, so in a sense it would be several short stories.  One could trick her in the original manner, by telling the grandmother that she is her granddaughter, but the other tactics would vary.  One could flatter her and ask to see her beautiful face, tell her she forgot something, plead with her, or even say they've got to use restroom!  The possibilities are pretty endless with this story, and it could be a fun idea.

The Wonderful Turtle
I've got a couple of ideas for this story that is about a wise turtle that ends up marrying a beautiful woman.  At the end of the story, the woman cheats on the turtle (who slept all winter!) and ends up having a baby.  The turtle finds out and leaves her.  That's drama if I've ever heard it, so this story could be a good opportunity to use an idea I had a couple of weeks ago: Maury!  It's tacky, sure, but it could be pretty funny to have the woman go on the show, then have the turtle and a couple of other men show up, and then have Maury reveal the results of a paternity test.  Though I really want to use this idea at some point, I'm somewhat hesitant to use it with this story, because I feel like the turtle handled every situation with grace, whereas guests on Maury's show do not handle any situation with grace... I suppose there's no harm in changing the characters a bit, but I feel like it may be too shallow of an approach for this story.
Because the turtle is somewhat of a celebrity in this story, I was thinking that I could do a series of newspaper headlines with short article excerpts that talk about the main events in this story.  The first could be about how the turtle solved the argument between the tribe members, then about how the turtle married the chief's daughter, a missing persons ad for the turtle for when he disappears, and then last an article about the adultery scandal!

Wise Mr. Turtle.  An original drawing from the book.  Link

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Tech Tip: Reverse Image Search

A really cool feature of the internet, that I was totally unaware of until watching Catfish, is a reverse image search! Google has a pretty good one, but there's also Tineye;  I alternate between the two.  

My favorite feature of both of these searches is the fact that you can literally drag and drop an image from another window, directly into the search bar!  No need for the annoying uploading, searching through your downloads to find the picture, etc. etc.  Just drag and drop, you don't even have to click "Search"!! 

This is the image I reversed searched today:


Here are screenshots of my results.


Screenshot of google results; Taken with gyazo app, courtesy of me. 


Screenshot of tineye results; Taken with gyazo app, courtesy of me

In this example, it is clear that google gives more results, more details about your image (it even told me the title!), and offers you the option of viewing distinct, but visually similar images.  All of these features could come in handy in different instances.  Using google, I also found the exact same image in a wide variety of sizes, from very small to very large, which I did not find on tineye.  

I recommend giving both a try depending on how rare your image is! I know I've found duplicates of an image on tineye that were not on google before, so I think the results can vary!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 8 Growth Mindset

Throughout the semester, I've been working on developing more of a growth mindset.  I think having a growth mindset would benefit my mental health, overall performance in school, and my stress levels.  I took a lot at the chart on the assignment page, and have been thinking about my strengths and weaknesses.

Finding Motivation Inside Yourself:
This is a big one for me - I sometimes find it hard to get motivation from within, and often turn to others to help get motivated.  I'm not sure why I do this, but I'd like to develop a healthier mindset when it comes to motivation.  I put off things I know I should be working on, and sometimes instead do things others either want me to do or things that I still need to complete myself, but that I've got to complete in order to work with someone or please someone.  My current mindset is not very healthy.
I looked up some articles about this, and found a few good suggestions on . I've found this website/blog very helpful in the past, and I need to make it a point to visit it when I'm feeling less than motivated.

Focusing on Learning:
Since discovering the growth mindset, I've been trying to focus more on learning rather than just solely on how to get an A in a class.  I've always wanted to do this, but it can be so hard when overwhelmed with classes, work, and other responsibilities.  I've been trying to study not only what I think will be on a test, but also things I've heard or read about from my classes that I find interesting. If I find the material interesting, I'm more likely to remember it, which will come in handy in the future.

Some things I've improved on this semester are choosing what's hard instead of focusing on only what I know already, being willing to try new things, and asking a lot of questions.  A lot of my improvement comes from recognizing where I may have been lacking, and keeping my goals for improvement in the back of my mind.  I'm very grateful for my research position, because I think it is helping me improve my growth mindset quite a bit.  It is forcing me to ask more questions, learn new things, and accept that I will make mistakes, but also realize that a mistake isn't the end of the world.  I also think this class has helped me as well.  It was very uncomfortable for me to have to pick my own project (portfolio vs storybook) and almost choose my own parameters.  I'm used to professors telling me what they expect, and then strictly following their guidelines.  This class has opened me up more to being flexible and more open to the options and choosing my own path!

You can do it too! Source

Week 8 Reflections


One of the prompts given for this assignment is "Have you been making good choices with the reading?" which to me, begs the question, can you make a bad choice?  In my experience so far, every story read gives me something new to think about, and sometimes even gives me a new idea for a story, or even a new reflection about life.  I've enjoyed nearly all of the readings in this class; it's hard to imagine even picking a favorite.  I think each week brings me something new, and I look forward to that.  

It's hard to not be objective when you're always working with one of these. Heh. OpenClipArt


I'm fairly happy with the stories I've written so far in this course.  As I look back on my stories, I notice that I'm not bad with describing details and adding more elements to the story, as well as focusing in on one aspect, but I'm not so great at coming up with original ideas derived from the stories.  When I'm reading the stories, I usually don't connect it to something else, or something completely different.  I'm a microbiology major, so I take a lot of science courses, which I believe has impacted the way I read and interpret information.  I've been trying to open up a creative door in my mind with this class, but it's hit or miss most of the time.  

As far as using my reading notes to create stories, I think I do an adequate job.  I usually try to focus in on what interested me the most about a story, and also write down any ideas I may have at the time.  I usually go back through my reading notes right before I begin to write.  


When I read other students' stories, I admire their creativity the most.  I'm always impressed by what they pulled out of their original source, how they made connections with either other stories or even things they've experienced in their own lives.  I try to give decent feedback, but I also try to keep in mind that someone else's creative process and vision is probably a lot different than my own, and that just because someone wrote a story differently than I would have, that doesn't mean it's not great!  I try to be careful not to be overly critical, but point out things I think could be improved as well.  I think I've got a pretty good system with giving constructive criticism, but I'm always looking at what others tell me in their feedback, and looking for techniques I can use there.  

Overall this class has been enjoyable so far.  It's fascinating getting to read and learn about stories from so many different time periods and cultures, especially those I would've never thought to have looked into myself.  I've also been enjoying my "daily" happiness challenge!  Sometimes it's really easy to come up with something that made me happy throughout a day, but sometimes I have really bad days, and it's harder to find joy in it.  I think trying to notice the small things that I enjoyed is helping me realize how great of a life I really do have.  I look forward to the second half of this course! 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Famous Last Words: Can I Conquer Time Management?

Time management: one of my most dreaded phrases and concepts, but mostly because I'm terrible at it!  When I say terrible, I mean it.  I don't know where my hours, days, or even weeks go sometimes.  I've been trying to get better at this, but despite making progress some weeks, I always end up slipping and falling back into my procrastination habits!  I need to step it up.

I've been reading the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy, which was highly recommended to me by a friend who claimed it helped him end his procrastination problem.  I'm very busy, so I read it when I can, and I've found it full of helpful advice thus far.  The only problem is, I can't seem to even find the time to implement some of the things the author recommends!  He states that planning out your week, and even your days/hours, is essential to time management and productivity.  I think this is an excellent idea, and is something I try to do to an extent when I'm thinking of it, but I need to do more.  Tracy recommends taking an hour or two one day a week and setting goals, priorities, and generally planning, but I can't seem to find that time.  I'll admit that I have the time, but I think it's the motivation I lack.  I'm trying, though!

I've tried other techniques for time management, including setting timers while studying, making lists, and keeping several detailed calendars.  The method that somewhat works is making lists, though I find it extremely difficult to prioritize what's on the list.  I try to focus on what absolutely must be done, like what's due that day or the next, and that helps.  But one thing making lists doesn't help with is getting the tasks completed in a timely manner, which is my biggest downfall.

I'm going to continue reading that book, and try my best to implement the suggestions the author makes, because I'd really like to get this under control sooner rather than later.

If you took the time to read this rant, feel free to leave any suggestions you may have in the comments!  :)

A pretty accurate quote, courtesy of hot4sunny on Flickr

Growth Mindset: Multiple Intelligences

For this extra credit assignment, I read about Howard Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences", and thought about which styles of learning suit me. I think I fit best in the categories Interpersonal and Logical-Mathematical.  I also benefit from and use aspects from Bodily-Kinesthetic and Visual-Spatial as well.  I'll briefly elaborate on each.  

The fact that this style of learning suits me so well is strange, because I'm not necessarily much of a "people person."  I don't actively dislike people or anything, I just can have a hard time relating to and speaking with them sometimes.  But what I really benefit from is "teaching" people.  If I've got to study for a big test, the best way for me to remember material is to explain it to someone else; it's especially useful if they ask me questions about it too!  This never fails to help me prepare for a test.  The only downfall for me is that it can be hard to find someone willing to listen to you teach them material they may already know, or may not care about at all.  I've heard that the "teaching" method of learning can also work if you pretend to be telling someone about it, or if you teach your pets the material, but I haven't tried that just yet.  I think I will try it next time I've got something to study for coming up, though!

I'll get this out of the way - I HATE math.  Yeah, yeah, I know... math is wonderful and beautiful and elegant - I don't disagree - I just suck at it!  I do benefit from trying to logically approach problems and think/talk them out, sometimes looking at additional sources along the way.  When I am able to find a pattern or relationship between concepts myself, they really stick with me.  Sometimes it even feels like I've had a revelation.  The problem for me is being able to recognize these relationships; that is something I want to work on. 

If I can learn something by physically doing it, I will remember it much better than if I just read about HOW to do it.  I have a feeling that this applies to many people, but I could be wrong!  Without practice, theory is very difficult for me to understand.  I think this is why I struggled with physics so much - I wasn't concurrently enrolled in the lab, and the professor didn't do many demonstrations, so I had a hard time understanding what he was talking about.  

I LOVE making flow charts and graphs, and I love drawing and coloring pictures of concepts, structures, or processes.  Unfortunately I don't have very much time to dedicate to this anymore, but I used to use this method to study quite often.  It's a fun, non stressful way to study difficult concepts, but I'm always sure to read over the material before or after I'm done working artistically with it as well!  

Here's a really cool infographic about the topic:

I also took an online quiz that is supposed to tell you which intelligence is best for you.  
My results were almost evenly split, but my highest was Interpersonal! Try it out if you'd like, it's really short! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Story: Toy Train Sorcery

Author's Note:  This story is inspired by The Sorcerer of the White Lotus Lodge from The Chinese Fairy Book by R. Wilhelm, translated by Frederick H. Martens, 1921.  In this story, a sorcerer instructs his students to watch a bowl that is covered by another bowl while he's gone - no peaking at what's inside! Of course the pupils peak, and find that the bowl is filled with water, a small boat made of straw floating on top.  The sorcerer comes back and scolds them for disobeying him; he claims to know they disturbed the bowls because it caused his ship to capsize.  A similar instance occurs when the sorcerer tells his students to carefully watch a lit candle while he's gone, presumably to make sure it does not go out.  The students fall asleep and the candle goes out.  When they awake, they quickly try to relight it, but the sorcerer gets back and scolds them once again, claiming that he was made to navigate in the dark because of their inattention.  More things happen after this, including the sorcerer killing one of his pupils, being arrested, then escaping by fighting a giant, but all of those are irrelevant to my story, though interesting nonetheless!  I really liked the idea that the items left to the students by the sorcerer somehow affected him in real life, so I based my story entirely off of that.  (Unfortunately there's not really any immorality in my story, but I enjoyed writing it anyway!)

The young boy leapt off of the school bus and burst through the front door, rushing to make his way to his bedroom.  His mother called for him to slow down, but he couldn’t hear her over his own excitement; he had been waiting all day to finally play with his new toys.  When he opened the door to his room, he shrieked with excitement when he saw the antique chest sitting on the floor.  The chest and all of its contents were given to the boy by his grandfather, who had been given it by his grandfather – they were at least a hundred years old.  He propped open the lid and briefly admired the trinkets before yanking out a delicately crafted train and the accompanying wooden sections.  He assembled the long, intricate track and placed the train on one end.  “All aboard! Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride,” he announced as he gently pushed the train toward the other end, delightfully making sound effects as the train rolled along.  He suddenly felt a strange pull on the train and he let go in surprise.  He watched in amazement as the train moved along the tracks by itself, quickly picking up speed.

The antique toy train.  Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum and Wikimedia Commons

“Does it feel like we’re going faster to you, honey? Like, a lot faster?” the woman said to her husband as she peered out of the window of the train. “Hmm?” he replied, only half listening as he continued to type on his laptop. She continued watch the trees zoom by, trying to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach.  “Does it feel like we’re going too fast?” she repeated after a few minutes, this time putting her hand on her husband’s shoulder.  “Look,” she insisted.  He sighed and glanced out of her window to appease her, but he felt uneasy with what he saw.  Everything outside of the train was almost indistinguishable - the forest looked like a green blur.  He began to notice that the train ride felt more like an airplane zooming down a runway.  “Yeah, yeah,” he hesitated, “you’re right, we are going a little fast.  I’ll go ask our attendant if this is normal,” he said as he stood up.  He walked toward the front of their carriage, noticing that other passengers were starting to look confused and alarmed as well.  As he approached the attendant, the train went over a bump and he lurched forward, nearly falling down.  After the man regained his balance, he squared his shoulders and softly cleared his throat.  “Excuse me, ma’am. Is this a normal speed for this train?” he asked the employee sitting at the front of the train car.  She turned to look at him, but said nothing. He looked back at his wife, who was watching him anxiously, her eyebrows furrowed. He cleared his throat again. “Doesn’t it seem like we’re going a little fast?  Is this norm- -“ Before he could finish his question, the train hurled off of the tracks, throwing the screaming passengers out of their seats as they plunged into a ditch.

The tragic train wreck. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The toy train clattered as it fell toppled off of the wooden tracks.  The boy stared at the train for a moment before slowly picking it up.  He began closely examining his new toy, looking for a motor or winding mechanism of some sort when he heard his mother calling him from downstairs -“Timmy, dinner’s ready!” she beckoned.  He wrinkled his forehead, set the train down, and raced toward the stairs.  He decided that he’d had enough of the train for now, and that maybe he’d play with the toy airplane after dinner instead. 

What could go wrong? Courtesy of Pixabay

Reading Notes: Chinese Fairy Tales Part B

I definitely enjoyed part B of the readings from Chinese Fairy Book by R. Wilhelm and translated by Frederick H. Martens (1921) better than part A.  I felt more inspired by these stories to come up with a story of my own.  Here are some notes:

Again, I'm very surprised at how nonviolent this story is; I really predicted it was going to take a turn for the worst, but it didn't.  This was a pretty mild story, but it still gave me some ideas for stories.  I'd probably write this story in a sort of poem style, where each little stanza/paragraph would begin the same way.  It would probably be about the powers of the fire.  I could then use two or three lines to tell the story (maybe even less?).  I want it to be repetitive.  I may also add on to the ending of this story.  I don't think the man should be brutally punished, but he stole the fox's powers, and I think he got off a little too easy.  It would be a pretty indirect punishment, like after the fox takes the fire power back, the man actually needs it to save his wife or kids. He didn't seem to need it before, and just used it to make money, and that's pretty wrong - I can fix it though!

The fox in the story took mercy on the man, but I won't! Courtesy of PixelCrazy on Flickr

This may be a little harsh, or even weird, but I kind of want to rework this tale into a story about a mail-order bride.  She wants to be able to come to America from her terrible home country so badly, but she can only accomplish this by becoming a mail order bride to a miserable yet wealthy man.  He's very possessive of her, so she can't even do what she dreamt of in America, but she is well taken care of otherwise, as far as food and shelter goes.  She is conflicted, and doesn't know whether she was more content when she was destitute but had her free will, or spoiled with food and material things, but can't follow her passions.  

The beginning of this story really caught my attention; the way that the pupil's unknowingly affected the travels of their sorcerer teacher.  I think I'd write this into a story about a child or children playing with (magical) toys, but little do they know, how they play with the toys affects people in real life.  For instance, like in the story, if the boy is playing with a toy boat in the bath, and has it tip over and sink, a boatful of people in a different part of the world suffer a similar fate.  Perhaps it could be about a cursed town or village, or even just an individual?  I like this concept a lot, but I think I'd have to narrow it down more in order to keep it within the limits of the storytelling posts.  

Reading Notes: Chinese Fairy Tales Part A

I chose to read Chinese Fairy Book by R. Wilhelm and translated by Frederick H. Martens (1921) for week 7.  Many of the stories in this unit had relatively happy endings with way fewer grim deaths than I've seen in previous units.  Although some of the bizarre and downright cruel deaths from previous units were interesting to read about, it was definitely nice to have a break from it. 

The Cave of the Beasts
I said these stories were (mostly) free from heinous murders, but not necessarily attempted murder!  The reasons for characters wanting to kill others usually strikes me as completely unwarranted most of the time, like in this story, where a father wants to kill his daughters because they ate one of his eggs.  Seriously!  Luckily the girls don't die, and actually end up returning home with jewels and riches, which they strangely share with their father.  I'd rewrite the ending to this story and ensure that the cruel father is punished for trying to murder two of his girls, and not rewarded with riches!  I'd probably have the girls spare the lives of the fox and wolf, and recruit them to seek revenge on the dad.  I'm not sure what style I'd use to write this story; I'd probably keep it pretty similar to the original otherwise.

The Girl with the Horse's Head
This story caught me off guard - the imagery was a little shocking and slightly disturbing, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it.  There are several ways in which I could rework this story.  I could tell the story from the perspective of the horse, maybe give him a little more credit, perhaps.  Alternatively, I could have the girl actually marry the horse, and then have him turn into a charming prince, instead of killed and skinned.  I could also do sort of the opposite, and have the horse still be killed, but afterwards the girl is cursed - any boy she kisses turns into a horse.  Maybe they happen to live in a big glue producing town, too.... There are lots of possibilities within this story!

A whole family of horse headed folk! By Brandon on Flickr

The Miserly Farmer
In this story, a farmer does not act very benevolent toward a poor priest, and ends up paying for it in the end.  The way that the priest tricks the farmer reminded me of a magician.  I could rework this story into a story about a poor magician who gets by performing tricks on unsuspecting wealthy folk.  I don't know much about magic or magic tricks, so if I were to do this, it may require a bit of research.