Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Cat Claims The Laptop

video

It was bound to happen, she knows when the laptop comes out that she isn't the center of attention anymore. I guess she just decided to take matters into her own hands...er...paws. This went on for another 3-4 minutes after the video was taken. She finally got distracted by a bird that landed on the patio, which was visible to her just to the right thru the patio door.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Online Class Experience

This is an essay that I wrote for my mid-term assignment for a writing class that I took. The class was an online class. I received an A for this assignment and for the class.


Education is an important part of growing. Adults who decide to further their education do not always have the time to attend an on-campus class, so the availability of online classes is an asset to them. The decision by Joliet Junior College to offer online classes had a positive effect on adult learners as well as other full-time or non-traditional students. The ability to take a class from home made a dramatic difference in the decisions that many adults made regarding their education advancements. Because of the online classes, many adults were able to complete degree programs that were otherwise out of their reach because of time and/or distance constraints.


The decision to take an online class is an easy one to make, but a difficult one to carry out. Participating in a classroom setting almost forces the student to connect with his classmates and instructor through the use of discussions and classroom activities. A student taking an online class does not have that “personal” connection with the other students in the classroom, or with the instructor. It takes a lot of discipline to be successful in an online course, mainly the ambition to complete the assigned work in a timely fashion, and to stay on track. Many times, students that are in an online class will let everything go until the last minute, then rush to get it done. Oftentimes this haste leads to sloppy work or an assignment that does not follow the guidelines set forth by the instructor. The ability to stay on track can be an immense disadvantage to a student that is not diligent in completing assignments on time. Also, a student needs to be able to comprehend the instructions for the work that is assigned so that he fully understands what is expected of him or her. In a classroom setting, there are often many students who have questions, and a timid student will hear the answer to his question through someone else having asked the same question. In an online class, the student does not know what questions are being asked by other students unless they are posted in the discussion board. Many students taking online classes prefer to contact the instructor privately through email when they have questions. Unless the questions are asked in an open chat or on a discussion board, the answers will usually not be made available for the others in the class who might be having the same problems.

My decision to take an online class was based on several issues. I work full-time and do not have enough energy or time to take a class in the evening, especially if it is more than one night a week. I already take one class in the evening, one night a week, so another evening class would really have pushed me to my limit. The online class experience is not new to me; I have taken other online classes and have been very successful in them. I have a lot of ambition for succeeding in school, and I can appreciate what an education means to my future. I have seen a lot of older adults returning to school and doing better than they did in high school, a testament to maturity and stability in life. The online class allows me to work on my assignments at my leisure, keeping careful watch on the due dates. I sometimes have free time at work, and I can work on assignments there also. At home there can be many distractions that get in the way of my writing, so I often take my laptop into the bedroom, close the door, and work in the solitude of my room. My family knows that when the door is closed, I am working and cannot be disturbed. I am lucky that I have the support of my family; without it, I would not be able to succeed in school. Family support is important to any student, but especially to one taking online or distance education classes. They usually have more work to complete at home, and peace and quiet along with privacy are important for success.

Although I do prefer a classroom experience, the online experiences that I have had have been very enlightening. The instructors have been trained to conduct an online class because there are many differences in the way the assignments are handled as opposed to a classroom setting. In a classroom setting, the students always have the ability to ask a question as the assignment is being discussed. In an online class, questions usually have to be emailed, and depending upon the schedule of the instructor, it may be a day or two before the student gets an answer. In a deadline situation, this delay can be disastrous, but that is just one more reason that a student has to be diligent in keeping up with his assignments. A student in a classroom setting has the advantage of discussing the topic at hand with his classmates and instructor in a real-time setting. Hearing the opinions of others sometimes helps to drive the point home on subjects that are a bit confusing. Online classes offer discussion boards and virtual chat, but these are not always conducive to group discussions because of the different schedules of everyone involved. Chat can be distracting and confusing, especially when there are many participants. Discussion boards are somewhat helpful but not the same as a real-time discussion. Classroom settings also offer the ability for the class to participate in role-playing; and depending on the subject, this can be very beneficial to the learning process.

Online classes will probably be my choice for my future classes. Unfortunately, not all classes are offered online, so there will be times that I will have to take an on-campus class. Either way, I know that I am getting the best educational experience, and as long as I am ambitious and work hard, I will succeed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Satisfying Desires

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you couldn't think about anything else?

The burning desire,

Painful yearnings.

An ache in the depths of your soul so strong that it controls your every emotion.

The need is relentless, wanting and wishing for your dream to come true;

to experience the ultimate in satisfaction,

finally reaching the heights of passion that you never thought you would reach.
.

.
.

Chocolate!

well, what were you thinking? ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poem To My Father

This is a poem I wrote to my father when I was 20 years old. My mom found it in his jewelry box after he died, he had saved it all those years. He passed away in 1990 but it still seems like yesterday.
I scanned it in its original form, the paper was a creamy color with a decorating that included a leafy shrub and a little mouse looking up into it.




Saturday, April 4, 2009

Random Mewsing #1 - ONEIDA’S SPA EXPERIENCE

The following story was written based on a "random prompt" that was generated on the web site I found.

The prompt was:

"Write from the point of view of a spoon in the dishwasher".



ONEIDA’S SPA EXPERIENCE

Looking around at her surroundings, with her round face turned upwards, Oneida was trying to get her bearings and figure out how she got here. The last thing she remembered, she was dancing, twirling around and around, warm and silky smoothness caressing her slender form.

What had brought her here? It was dark, and quite a dank odor permeated the air. She looked to see if there were any familiar faces here. Looking down a ways, she noticed a few others, probably relatives, since they bore a faint resemblance to her and her family. Maybe distant cousins, yes, that was it, they were at a wedding and all the relatives were there, even the ones that only go out to the really big events. Usually it’s just her and her sisters and a few others at a small event.

But they weren’t saying anything, just standing there, as if lost in thought. She tried to get their attention, but either they chose to ignore her, or didn’t even see her. There did seem to be a haze in the air, like a fog or light mist. Perhaps the weather was changing.

Her gaze moved around, seeing other types that were familiar, but they too didn’t seem to take notice of her presence. They looked as if they were in a battle of some sort, covered in debris and probably what the source of the odor was. The floral d├ęcor of their apparel was stained with what appeared to be spaghetti sauce, and there were bits of pasta hanging off the delicate lacy pattern on their extremities. Their round shapes were accentuated by the swirl of the sauce that seemed to cover them in an effort to create a type of disguise, perhaps they were embarrassed by the design that was chosen for their garb. Or perhaps they were trying to hide behind a mask of sorts so that she wouldn’t see them. They always gave the impression of being intimidated by her, since she was so slender and they were, well, round. They could sure dish it out, but couldn’t handle being cut down.

Suddenly, there was some movement to Oneida’s right. She turned, and noticed that there was a very sharp looking fellow giving her the eye. He was tall and slender, and very slick. Oneida recognized him as the one she spent most of the early part of the evening next to, and they had quite a good time. He had a very sharp wit, but was capable of casting a cutting remark if the occasion warranted it. There was another one right next to him, obviously a punk rocker, considering the spiked coiffure on the top of the skinny minny frame. He looked like he wanted to just poke someone’s eyes out; he seemed to have a very combative attitude and would stick it to anyone who got in his way. Oneida was wishing she could have been moved down a few rows, closer to her cousins. But alas, that didn’t seem to be happening.

Looking around to take in the entire scene, Oneida noticed that there was an upper level that also had some of the others that she recalled seeing at the party earlier that evening. She tried to get someone’s attention, anyone, to help her move away from the cutting insults that the sharp looking fellow was hurling at the punk rocker, but nobody seemed to give her any notice.

Along one side of the upper deck, she saw the Crystals, and they were standing on their heads! How odd, but then she could always see through them and presumed that they did this just to draw attention to themselves. They were the type that had to be wined and dined and then would only sing if you stroked them just right. They really disliked when the sharp looking dude would whack them on the head, and let out very shrill cries, which for some reason was done continually at the party that evening. Oneida was sure they needed some peace and quiet, so she decided not to pursue getting their attention.

The other side of the upper deck had the China ladies, also standing on their heads, but then they were probably just meditating or something. Although they continually dripped on the lower deck, Oneida was fortunate enough to not be in their line of fire.

The rest of her observations presented more of the round ones and a few more sharp looking dudes and punkers. She thought to herself that there must be a concert in town, or they were uninvited guests who crashed the party. They sure didn’t look like her family. Well, maybe there was a slight resemblance, because they all seemed to have the same type of sleeves, puffy with raised flowers and lots of curly ribbon designs. Maybe it was a uniform, who knows. Is it possible that she was from a family of service workers? That sure seemed to be a pattern in this scenario.

So far it had been quite peaceful, seemed all the others were asleep, and she decided to just relax and try to get some rest herself.

Suddenly, their was a faint creak, then a stream of light charged in, practically blinding her as it reflected off the sharp looking dude’s slick attire. What looked to be a large container was held over the now open door, and a thick, creamy solution was pouring out of it. The door was once again closed, and there was a distinct “click” as it was secured. Great, there was no escaping now she thought, that was a lock!

“ ---pssssttttt—hissssssssssssssssssss”

Oh how comforting…nice warm water sprayed out and enveloped Oneida in a sweet scented cloud of peace and serenity. She was enjoying this shower that was helping her relax and decided to just enjoy the moment.

“whirrrrrrrrrr---whirrrrrrrrrrrrr—“

Oh dear, now what? The water suddenly became very explosive and was shooting everywhere. She felt the bubbles drape over her and run down her face and slender frame. The others around her appeared to be having convulsions of some type, twitching and sliding back and forth in their compartments. Was this some sort of amusement park ride, or were they in an earthquake? She was so stunned; she didn’t know what to do. Then, as soon as it started, it stopped. Again she heard

“---pssssttttt---hissssssssss”

and was showered in warm water again, rinsing away the bubbles from the last attack. After the water stopped, it got quiet again. Oneida was very relaxed from this “spa” experience. The air no longer had that dank odor, and from what she could see after her eyes adjusted to the darkness, the others looked as if they had the same treatment. The rounds were nice and clean and their beautiful floral attire was sparkling like new. Even the sharp looking dude and the punker looked better. Her cousins were all standing up nice and straight, glowing in the soft warm light from the curly bars under the floor. It was nice and warm, very soothing and relaxing, and they all settled in for the night, content with their experience.

The next morning, when everyone had had a very restful night, they were startled awake by a rude opening of a door, and a blast of bright light invading their serenity. Each of them were dragged from their comfortable spots and shoved into a wooden box between columns of velvet. The sharp looking dudes were put in their own sections, right above Oneida and the others. She felt vulnerable, knowing they were just inches from her and right on top! Oh well, nothing she could do about it. The round ones had their own special places, but at least they had protection between them, soft round cloth that kept the others from touching them. Same with the Crystals and the China ladies. Why did they get the added cushioning and protection and not her group? Oneida and those like her, with the slender frames and puffy sleeves were just stacked on top of each other, with no protection between.

But she just realized, noticing her position in the crowd, that she probably lost her innocence without even knowing it because she was SPOONED on both sides!

One thing Oneida had to find out was where that Maytag Spa was and how she could get back there!


Karen M. Frank
3/27/09