Month: September 2015

IPA Review #31-37

IPA #31: Eel River IPA

Date consumed: ?

  • Bomber, found at Whole Paycheck liquor store
  • Smooth
  • Good hops so it’s not too sweet
  • Lovely amber color / foamy smooth head
  • Hardly fizzy at all
  • 7.2% ABV
  • organic

IPA #32: Celebration Day 

Date consumed: ?

  • On tap @mountain sun
  • Very light, almost kolsch-y 
  • Very bitter
  • A little lemony
  • 7.1% ABV

IPA #33: Lucky U

Date consumed: 5/2/15

  •   By Breckenridge brewery
  • Very bitter without being refreshing or crisp
  • 6.2% ABV
  • on tap @Exchange tavern
  • Heavy but not sweet
  • Happy birthday, Mark

IPA #34: Avery Dry-Hopped IPA

Date consumed: ?

  • On tap @Avery 
  • 6.5% ABV
  • refreshing when cold; when @ room temp, gets cloying
  • No bite whatsoever
  • Not very bubbly–feels flat

IPA #35: Avery IPA

On tap at Avery brewery is the absolute best way I have consumed this favorite beer, and I’ve consumed it in myriad ways. This is the way to have it.

IPA #36: Third Kingdom

Date consumed:?

  • On tap @West Flanders
  • They say: “crisp, herbaceous, aromatic” and they ain’t wrong
  • 6.7% ABV
  • good aftertaste: kinda bitter and sweet together
  • Herbaceousness is definitely there

IPA #37: Perle White IPA

Date consumed: ?

  • By Odell’s 
  • 5.5% ABV
  • citrusy: a little of the hops savor but it’s mellowed out by the wheatiness of it being a “white”
  • Slightly crisp 
  • Needs to be cold

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Fringe Fest Review #2: Paper Glass

Fringe Fest Review #2:
Paper Glass, performed by Monica Dionysiou (MonTra Performance)
 
Fringe Fest, by nature of itself, often harbors a large percentage of one-person shows, which can range from pure storytelling to performance art, with everything in between. Mainly this is because of how Fringe Fests work–often the shows travel to various festivals or are touring shows in other ways and perforce must be small in cast and simple in tech. And the thing about the one-person show as a particular theatrical monster, is that often a one-person show demands indulgence from the audience. Sometimes unfairly.

Monica Dionysiou has a way of filling a room with her presence that makes any moments of indulgence worthwhile at best, forgivable at worst. She has concocted a mosaic of what feels like memoir with material from Lewis Carroll and the result is a paper-strewn journey into the heart of what rules mean, and what goes into a journey into learning.

Paper Glass is a piece surrounded and threaded through with paper: letters appear out of nowhere and change at the drop of a crumpled note. The backdrop of the first section is a dictation of white sheets of paper which, once they are torn down, reveal a pleasing backdrop of a light web in front of more white paper. Finding meaning in the messages is a fitting theme for a piece that channels and echoes Lewis Carroll, after all.

The strengths of Paper Glass lie in the repetition, almost chant or mantra-like, of certain Carrollian clips, as the meaning of the words devolve into pure sound and rhythm, accompanied by the rustle of paper, and more paper. Sometimes the audience is allowed to see/read the messages written thereon, sometimes not, but all pieced together it becomes something akin to the Carrollian madness from which it takes its inspiration.

For more information about MonTra Performance and/or the Boulder International Fringe Festival, visit their website.

Retrospective Review #2: The Blind Banker

My latest for Sherlock’s Home.

Sherlocks Home

Written by Prof. Jenn

Reminder:  I am writing these as RETROSPECTIVE reviews, so I will be discussing reveals, revolutions of cliffhangers, ends of plots, etc. If you are reading these reviews without having seen the eps, a) what is wrong with you?? Go watch them now! and b) these reviews are not for you till you’ve seen them.

‘The Blind Banker’ is the one ep of Sherlock that has been the subject of the most negative criticism and contention of any other in the series. There’s one main reason for this, in my opinion, but other than the one sweeping problem in this episode, as a basic Sherlock murder mystery it has a lot going for it. Too bad it’s been spoiled by racist stereotypes.

But I’ll get into that later. ‘The Blind Banker’ finds us with some cute exposition of how Sherlock and John have been getting on domestically…

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Fringe Fest Review #1: Sub Rosa

I have been given the great honor and privilege to review the Boulder International Fringe Festival’s eclectic theatrical offerings. The first show I was able to attend is reviewed below. Please to enjoy.   ~Jenn

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Fringe Fest Review #1:

Sub Rosa performed by Fractal Tribe

You’d think, lovely lurkers, that I’d have an extra critical eye when watching aerial dance, as someone who has a modicum of experience in the art in my past. And it’s true: when I watch a piece such as Sub Rosa, I do tend to notice every single hiccup, where a layperson in the audience might not even notice. But far from making me uber-critical, my perspective actually makes me appreciate the difficulty of the moves these talented dancers accomplish, with the added knowledge of

The Fractal Tribe encouraged picture taking during the show. I only took this one, very quickly, as I was riveted.

The Fractal Tribe encouraged picture taking during the show. I only took this one, very quickly, as I was riveted.

exactly, precisely, how difficult it is to do them.

What I appreciated about the Fractal Tribe last year is exactly what they shone with this year at the Fringe Festival: they use (and excel in) multiple various apparati (as well as what I call “unarmed” dance and acrobatics), and have a seamless quality of circusy tricks blended with a dancey artistry.

Sub Rosa begins in a tribal manner, replete with shamanic horns, smoldering stares, amazing muscular bodies, clad in fur and not much else, and lots of animal panting in lieu of music. The show continues in a dreamlike state from there, not really a plot-based dance piece per se, though there is an element of a sort of sexy Alice in Wonderland feel to it. The lithe, intense dancers use ropes, loops, hoops, trapezes, each other, and even a giant ladder suspended from all possible angles to writhe and dance upon. The night I attended, the audience lost its breath myriad times, not just from the astonishing danger of the tricks but of the poignancy of the emotional depth as well.

I absolutely recommend Sub Rosa to any Fringe goer. For more on the Fractal Tribe and Sub Rosa, visit the Boulder International Fringe Festival’s website.

Mini-Essay Guest Post #3: Susan Teabault

This, being the third of 3 Mini-Essay winners from FRCC’s Comp I courses that I teach. A fascinating book review / personal memoir by Susan Teabeault of the 9:30am section. I hope you enjoyed these works by my dynamic and engaging students. More from them to come later when they create their video grammar lessons. Stay tuned!   ~Jenn

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Probed Mind On A Mission

 by Susan Teabeault

I have a neurosurgeon. I’ve also been diagnosed with a brain tumor – a meningioma to be more specific. These are two things I have in common with Liz Holzemer, the author of Curveball: When Life Throws You A Brain Tumor. Curveball follows Holzemer’s journey from misdiagnosis to shocking diagnosis and beyond. It is an honest and informative personal account of what it’s like to have a craniotomy and the subsequent recovery process. The lasting impression after reading this book is one of survival, hope and a need for further action. Liz Holzemer has made it her mission to bring attention to and raise funding for meningiomas through her Denver based non-profit, Meningioma Mommas. Because of their benign classification there is scant funding and attention given to this type of tumor. Holzemer argues in Curveball that a “benign” meningioma brain tumor is frequently a life threatening condition and more needs to be done to support those affected and to raise awareness and funds for this cause.

“If you were going to have a brain tumor…. a meningioma is the best kind to have” (Holzemer Ch 1). Wait, what? If the “best” kind of tumor can take you to the verge of slipping into a coma and dying this spells trouble. It’s a sentence that gave me chills. According to Merriam-Webster, benign can be defined as “not causing death or serious injury; without cancer, not cancerous; not causing harm or damage” (“Benign”). As focus tends to be directed primarily to malignant tumors of the brain, the medical community largely ignores the seriousness of a meningioma diagnosis. Curveball opens with Liz Holzemer, then only 32 years old, facing a meningioma diagnosis yet receiving reassurance from her neurosurgeon that she has the “best kind of tumor” (Holzemer Ch 1). Meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor, originating in the brain rather than being a metastasis from somewhere else in the body. 90% of meningiomas are classified as benign. They also have a 15% to 20% recurrence rate so survivors must receive lifelong monitoring for regrowth (“About Us”). In her work, Holzemer painfully depicts her experience with her deadly benign tumor and provides a crucial examination of the impact and dangers that result from the medical community’s mistaken labeling of meningioma brain tumors.

51LmSnl9chL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_After enduring two craniotomies, Holzemer writes of her experience at a Brain Tumor Conference. At a luncheon, she is directed to the benign table as if her tumor was not worthy of validation by giving it a name, unlike the sufferers of astrocytomas and oligodendrogiomas. The emotion of the moment is palpable as Holzemer described how she feels less important, “I felt snubbed because it seemed I didn’t have the right type of tumor” (Holzemer Ch 12). The pattern of being overlooked is addressed throughout the book and ultimately motivates Holzemer to take action. “It was akin to being the most popular kid at school yet being the wallflower at the school dance – neglected and passed over. We needed a dance of our own” (Holzemer Ch 13).

Curveball effectively draws attention to the gravity of a meningioma diagnosis. Some could dispute that it does not to address the seriousness of other types of brain tumors, nor does it draw a comparison. Arguably, Beau Biden and Brittany Maynard (and their families) would have traded their malignant tumors for a benign variety and the hope that it could be found and treated before it became fatal. Hope! With the diagnosis of benign comes an infusion of hope. This fact is not to be diminished. Not cancerous will always be better than the alternative.

Curveball should be prescribed reading for anybody affected by a meningioma, both patients and those caring for them. It should also be a reference for members of the medical community that have to say the four words that nobody ever wants to hear, “you have a brain tumor.” Liz Holzemer was lucky to survive her brain tumor, go on to conceive two healthy children and give birth to the idea for her non-profit, her “brain child.” The book serves as a jumping off point to dive deeper into the message behind Meningioma Mommas.  It is a message that has kept me going since my own devastating diagnosis and surgery. It is a message of support, survival and hope. Hope that meningiomas will not continue to be dismissed. Hope that people will no longer die from this type of tumor. And hope for a cure.

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Works Cited

Holzemer, Liz. Curveball: When Life Throws You A Brain Tumor.

Denver, Colo: Ghost Road Press, 2007. Kindle file.

“Benign.” Merriam-Webster, 2011. Merriam-Webster.com.

  Web. 06 Sept. 2015.

“About Us.” Meningioma Mommas. Meningioma Mommas, n.d.

 Web. 06 Sept. 2015.

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Mini-Essay Guest Post #2: Clayton Peppler

This, being the second of 3 Mini-Essay winners from FRCC’s Comp I courses that I teach. Another essay on technology in education, this time by 1pm’s Clayton Peppler. Please to enjoy.   ~Jenn

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Too Much Technology?

by Clayton Peppler

American society puts an emphasis on the use of technology in everyday life, making it inevitable for children to be subject to the technology around them. Even though children are going to be exposed to technology in most environments, I do not think that school should be one of those places. Not only does technology pose a danger to a child’s education, but recently technology has been linked to the underdevelopment of social skills in children.

The Internet is a dangerous place for the curious mind of a child. With social media and online resources so easily accessible, education is at serious risk. According to a study done by Cengage Learning, “59% [of students were] busy checking out their favorite social-media sites” (Strang) instead of participating and engaging in classroom activity. If the child’s mind is being occupied by social media, how is that child going to retain what the teacher is teaching?

Most children are not going to have the self restraint to avoid scrolling through their Facebook or Twitter feed when the opportunity arises. This is not the fault of the child as they are too immature to fully realize the negative repercussions that looking at social media can have on their grades and future endeavors. Now, there are different ways to counteract the use of social media, such as internet safeguards and teacher monitoring, but these are only so effective. The Internet safeguards are able to block websites but often have loopholes that allow access to these pages. If teachers have to monitor these computers day in and day out, there is not going to be any time to teach as they are going to spend all their time monitoring.  The same study found that “60% [of the students] claimed that texting is a major cause for distraction” (Strang). No longer is text messaging limited to cell phones but has expanded to Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, all easily accessible from the Internet. Texting allows students to communicate no matter where they are or what they are doing. For example, one student could be taking an online test while another student is taking that same test across the room, but the entire time they could be messaging back and forth sharing answers and discussing problems. This does not allow the teacher to know what student one or two is understanding individually, rather she is getting what student one and two are understanding collectively. In order for the teacher to do her job, she needs to know what each student knows individually that way she can help them with their individual needs.

06a69719d007f1ebd1b2b5e183fb8694According to a different study done by the Pew Internet Project, they found something they deemed as the “’Wikipedia problem,’ in which students have grown so accustomed to getting quick answers with a few keystrokes that they are more likely to give up when an easy answer eludes them. The Pew research found that 76 percent of teachers believed students had been conditioned by the Internet to find quick answers” (Richtel). Students are no longer thinking for themselves, as Wikipedia has everything that they need. While Wikipedia is a very effective tool, it can often be misused. Students are going to be tempted to type in a question and get an answer because that requires no brain power, they can get an answer in five seconds instead of the five minutes it would take them to figure it out for themselves. They are not going through the process to finding the answer, which means that they are not learning anything. Wikipedia may give them the answers, but it will not give them the experience and explanation to understand what they are answering. Education is being substituted for key strokes and quick answers.

While technology poses a danger to a child’s education, it also has irreversible effects on that child’s social development. According to pediatric nurse Denise Daniels, “technology can completely rewrite a child’s brain pathways in a very different way than how they would normally develop… their neural pathways change and different ones are created. It affects concentration, self-esteem, in many cases they don’t have as deeply personal relationships… they lose empathy” (Johnson). Through extended screen time, children are not getting the social interactions that they need to survive. As the children grow up, they are going to struggle with the relationships that they have in their lives because they don’t know how to react or behave to other people. These children are not going to have any real hope for change either, as their neural pathways are literally altered beyond repair. Psychologist Jim Taylor also found that “voice inflection, body language, facial expression and the pheromones (released during face-to-face interaction): are all fundamental to establishing human relationships. And they’re all missing with most forms of modern technology” (Johnson). Society is trying to replace human emotion with emoticons. Behind the keyboard, one is able to be whatever emotion they want to be, one can send a happy emoji when in reality they are not happy. When one receives a text message or email, they are unable to pick up on the things that Taylor mentioned above, making it extremely difficult to pick up on these things in real face to face conversation; like a shift in body language or what a change in inflection is.  If you put computers into the classroom, student to student interaction is going to become more and more limited, even non-existent, making it hard for children to pick up on important social ques. As the children move into their adolescent years, again, they are going to struggle with their relationships. By learning to express their emotions with a smiley face or a sad face, that child may not be able to verbally or physically express their feelings. This could also result in these children not knowing how to comfort someone properly when they are experiencing emotion. For example, we all see those posts on Facebook saying R.I.P grandma, and people commenting back “I’m so sorry for your loss”. This is very easy to respond to with a couple key strokes, but not so easy to respond to when they are with that person who lost their grandma. Comforting people in their time of need is essential to healthy friendships and relationships, something that can only be learned through experience, something that these children are not getting from a computer.

In the third quarter of 2011, “Teens ages 13-17 used an average of 320 MB of data per month on their phones, increasing 256% over the last year” (Johnson). The Internet is becoming more and more accessible to teenagers, and teenagers are taking advantage of it. This study was done in 2011, and was only looking at one year’s time, so this number could be way more now that we are in 2015, four years after 2011. As the MB of data used increases, the face to face time decreases. This is something that schools cannot control, they cannot control cell phone use and technology use outside of the classroom, but they can control it inside the classroom. Instead of promoting technology, schools should be promoting face to face social interactions.

In the classroom, others would argue for the opposite, that technology is not only positive to a child but essential. According to securegenenetworks.com, “technology helps the teachers prepare students for the real world environment. As our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent, it becomes even more necessary that to be successful citizens, students must learn to be tech-savvy” (10 Reasons Today’s Students Need Technology). As technology advances, jobs geared towards technology are going to be created. Our future generations need to be up to date with the ever advancing technology, that way they can be ready to fulfill future jobs. It is important that our children are prepared for the future, but at what cost? Is our society willing to potentially hinder a child’s education or risk socially developmental retardations for technology? It is no doubt that children need to be tech-savvy, as a society fixated on technology, but it should be at a developmentally appropriate age. An age in which the child is able to make the decision to choose their education over social media, an age in which social skills will not be compromised for technology.

Moving forward technology will continue to be an institution in societal ideals. The facts are there; technology will continue to negatively impact children in multiple facets of development. By allowing technology in the classroom, our society is waging a war against social abnormalities and educational distractions and dishonesty. To counteract this very real problem, schools need to keep education and technology separate until a child is developmentally and educationally sound; otherwise the children’s education and development of social skills will be at risk.

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Works Cited

Johnson, Chandra. “Face Time vs. Screen Time: The Technological Impact             on Communication.”   Face Time vs. Screen Time: The Technological Impact on Communication. N.p., 27 Aug.           2014. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.

Richtel, Matt. “Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.

Strang, Tami. “Technology in the Classroom: A Distraction or an Asset?” The Cengage Learning   Blog. N.p., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.

“10 Reasons Today’s Students NEED Technology in the Classroom.” 10 Reasons Today’s    Students NEED Technology in the Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 07       Sept. 2015.

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Mini-Essay Guest Post #1: Charles Sigwarth

You may recall from the Blog That Was, lovely lurkers, that each time I taught Composition I would assign the Mini-Essay, which is a very short research essay students write based on a list of topic choices. I then choose the top 3 Mini-Essays and let the class vote on which one is the winner. The winner gets to see their essay published here on Daily Cross-Swords. Welp, this semester I’m teaching 3 sections of Comp. So 3 batches of Mini-Essays were read, and 3 classrooms voted for winners from the top 3. Here is the first of….3 Mini-Essay winners from Comp I at FRCC. This one from the 2:30pm class; an essay on ed-tech by Charles Sigwarth. Please to enjoy.   ~Jenn

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Dude, Where’s my Prof?

by Charles Sigwarth

We’ve all heard the same hackneyed lines over and over: the Internet is the future, technology is what drives innovation today, and online correspondence is the new medium for human interaction. Yes, we do live in the digital era, and the technology available to educators and schools today presents a valuable set of opportunities for dynamic, interactive learning. That said, there’s a significant difference between utilizing technology to enhance the classroom experience, and using it as a crutch. Online and digital correspondences, when used as the primary form of communication between educators and their students, leaves plenty of room for misinterpretation, can slow the classroom dynamic, and instills a 7227476148_43ebe5a7c3_black of face to face teacher-student interaction that drives the growth process of learning forward.

Technology, when used correctly, can be a godsend in the classroom, but when used improperly can be a detriment. When faced with the daunting set of multiple websites, passwords, and interfaces it can slow the process of teaching for both students and professors alike. In fact, according to a recent report put out by CQ Press, studies showed that “At the college level… nearly 64 percent of public-university faculty who have taught both online and traditional courses said in a 2009 survey that it took ‘somewhat more’ or ‘a lot more’ effort to teach online than in person. Nearly 85 percent said it takes more effort to develop online courses than regular ones”(Clemitt). Students in classrooms rely directly on educators to facilitate the learning process, but when a computer is put between the two and used as a medium for discourse and instruction, the quality of the communication is then solely tied to the educator’s ability to type out their ideas and expressions. Like many people, college professors and teachers the world over have varying aptitudes for working with technology, at least in an academic sense, hinging interpretations on typos and mistyped direction. While we’re on that topic, the significance of face to face interaction between teachers and students is monumental. An educator who can see a student face-to-face, interact and bond with them on an interpersonal level, and motivate and direct them in person is able to recognize issues that a student is facing that may not be apparent from behind a screen.

Technology is only as good as the person utilizing it. Computers and internet services are fallable, and while humans are as well, tech-based classrooms can be confusing and lack the interaction that helps both the student and educator do their jobs respectively. Educators in public schools and universities throughout the country are continually being pressured to conform to the online and digital medium, but in the process of that a crucial element of learning in lost– the human element.

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Works Cited

Clemmitt, Marcia. “Digital Education.” CQ Researcher by CQ Press. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2011120200>.

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Musings on a New Semester

…and a new quarter, too. As DU is on the quarter system, my two classes for them begin this week. one is an online course called Writing the Short Story, which is a graduate-level writing workshop on, you guessed it: short stories. This is a new one for me, so right now I’m doing the dance of the teacher-as-pirate: deciding what materials to keep from the other professor’s work, what to invent of my own, and how to adapt. It should be fun–the most fulfilling courses I get to teach is when I help students with their creative work. Of course, it’s also the most hard work…

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I found this on my facebook feed, so I have no credit for this image. Wait–do you have to give credit for a meme?

The other DU course I’ve got going on is an on-ground course called Discovering Creative Energies. It’s a course for undergrads (adult learners), about the form and function of creativity: what it is, what it does and means cognitively, etc. Plus we get to keep a journal, which I always love. And need. I don’t do enough creative work on my own without external requirements like this, and even though it’s actually a requirement for my students and not me, I impart the deadlines on myself too. As my Mom always taught me, too: it’s good practice as a teacher to do the generation/output with the students–to model the process as well as be inspiring with her product.

At Metro, I’m riding along in Week 4 of an online class called Staging Cultures, which is an upper-division course for undergrads that centers on diversity in theatre through history. This iteration of the course focuses on colonialism in particular, and how that feeds into the theatrical works of both the conquerors and the conquered. We read a play a week in that class, and most of them were ones I hadn’t read before teaching this for the first time last Fall. Celebrating the brilliant obscure, in many cases.

Finally, at Front Range I’m teaching three (count ’em: 3) sections of Composition I. Beginning essay writing for incoming community college freshmen. Times three. Twice a week. Right now we’re in Week 3, and they just handed in their mini-essays (look for prize-winners here forthwith), and are now beginning Exemplification Essays. Which are essays that center on use of examples for support. Also I know from this class one shouldn’t use “finally” in one’s conclusion as that’s hacky high school writing. That reminds me: I actually have a few high school kids in these classes. So far they’re right up to par with the rest.

Of course, at Regis I’m doing my normal handful of one-on-one writing courses and Capstones. I’ve got a Creative Non-Fiction student this session, which is refreshing as I don’t work in that genre very much.

So.

Yeah.

I’m not picking this semester to quit my addiction to caffeine.

Random Movement Pic

This from A Caboodle of Seuss, year: 2000. Director: yours truly. Seven stories adapted from Dr. Seuss by yours truly. Ensemble: Brice, Jason, Jesse, Matt, and yours truly. I named my little group Five Funny Faces after a game the illustrious theatre prof Sean Ryan Kelley frequently used to play w us as class ended. This shot isn’t from one of the stories, just an ensemble shot. Get it? Five Funny Faces?