Technical Writing Video

Let’s skip to the fun stuff. Here’s a video of me explaining technical writing to an eight-grade audience:

Now some backstory.

Back at the beginning of the summer, a former AmeriCorps member posted on Facebook asking for people to make videos to explain their careers to eighth graders. These videos replace an in-person career fair that, like everything else, has gone entirely online this year.

I volunteered to provide a video about technical writing, if she wanted one on a topic that boring; she accepted (desperate times, I guess) and sent me the information. I didn’t have time to really get started on it for a while, although pretty early on I roped in a very generous e-learning colleague to do the video editing. Continue Reading >>

Self Care

Normally I escape to the my bike when I need time by myself. But with the smoke followed closely by rain, the bike has meant an escape to… the garage. Ho hum.

Rouvy data looks to RideWithGPS like I really rode in Boulder, or Switzerland, or New South Wales… but I know that I never left the garage.

So to do something fun and totally different, and to deal with the split ends that have become an increasingly acute problem, I scheduled some time in the hair salon. Not my normal escape, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Continue Reading >>

Trapped Like a Duck in a Closet

I’ve been sitting here trying to think how to describe the feeling of last two weeks. The straw that broke the camel’s back accurately describes the sense of having this piled on top of so many other burdens that we’re crushed, but it utterly fails to capture the added sense of being trapped inside as the last dry, sunny days of summer slip away in a toxic haze of smoke.

When I have nightmares, they usually involve being trapped somewhere. I’m in a cage or a box or tightly restrained. I usually wake up trying to escape. Continue Reading >>

Unbreathable Air: Just More 2020

2020 is the year of “what’s next?” Remember back in January, the big news was President Trump skating easily though an impeachment trial thanks to the spineless jellyfish known as Senate Republicans. In the several thousand years (in pandemic time) since then, we’ve had nearly nine months of coronavirus-mandated stay at home orders and nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 thanks to, surprise!, criminal negligence (at best) from the top leaders in our country. Protests have erupted over social injustice and continuing racism, and now people are killing each other over it — violence encouraged and fomented by, again, the top leadership in the country. People have lost their jobs thanks to the shutdown, the government has failed to pass meaningful legislation to help those most desperately in need, and somehow wearing masks to protect people from our germs became a political act. At home, school started… and it’s exactly like the rest of the year, just another Zoom call. Continue Reading >>

First Day of School

Once again, the coronavirus pandemic hits home — literally. On Wednesday, Benji started second grade at his new school… from his little closet-office in his bedroom.

First Day of School 2020 - Ready to start 2nd grade
Ready to learn.
First Day of School 2020 - Remote learning
Second grade online.

One interesting thing about this is that I get to be a fly on the wall if I want. I can hear what the teacher tells the class during synchronous learning time, and then follow up with him during asynchronous learning time. Asynchronous is a heck of a word for second graders to absorb, but the kids will learn what it means through direct experience. Continue Reading >>

Camping at Ohanapecosh

I mentioned a bit ago that Dad and I were taking Benji backpacking. Long story short, it didn’t happen. The first week we planned to go, the forecast deteriorated rapidly and when the day came, it poured rain, with even more rain in the mountains where we’d planned to go. We postponed a week, to August 27 and 28. We obtained backpacks and got even more ready to go.

Then, several days before we were to leave, I started having the kind of gastrointestinal distress that you really don’t want to have on a hiking trip. Let’s just say I never wanted to venture far from a restroom, and I didn’t fancy using the bushes for that business. I hoped it would pass quickly (so to speak), but no such luck. Continue Reading >>

Getting Ready for School

This summer, stretching both infinitely long and impossibly short, comes to a close this coming Wednesday, September 2, as Benji starts second grade. Most of the summer we spent uncertain about schooling — in person? hybrid? all online? — but assuming all online. A month or so ago the school district confirmed our assumptions, ending that speculation but opening up a world of further speculation about how all-online would work.

About 10 days ago, answers started coming in. At first, we eagerly consumed every message, discussed it, thought about the repercussions and how we’d deal with whatever information in contained. But what started as a trickle soon turned to a flood, a veritable deluge of messages, often several in a day coming from all different entities: the district, the school principal, the teacher, the school nurse… At one point, I counted over a dozen school-related emails in 10 days. Continue Reading >>