Friday, September 29, 2006

To Set The Record Straight: Grad Students are NOT Lazy...

I thought it interesting that someone found my blog by typing in "Grad students are lazy" on Google and connected to my post entitled, "The Last Few Lazy Hazy Days of Summer." Uhhhh...I think we're too busy to be lazy. I just want to set the record straight that on the contrary, graduate students are NOT lazy. At least I know I can say for myself that I am NOT lazy as a graduate student working full-time. Nor can I honestly imagine that any of my colleagues in the M.A. in Media Studies program at The New School are lazy as well. We don't have time to be lazy.

Most grad students work full-time and some may also have a family. It's a tricky juggling act to balance work, family and grad school. For these reasons, many graduate courses on campus are taught in the evenings to account for this, or asynchronously through the online M.A. in Media Studies at the New School. For the first year and a half into the graduate program, I was working full-time and and I was in grad school full-time and maintained a 3.9 GPA. If I were lazy, I don't think I would have maintained the GPA nor lasted through grad school. The M.A. in Media Studies program is rigorous.

Some graduate students take a combination of on campus and online courses, and some are strictly on campus or strictly online grad students. One student in a class this semester was on campus in NYC and moved to Los Angeles for a job. She has continued with the M.A. in Media Studies by attending courses strictly online. One student travels frequently and has logged into class at airports. We're not lazy...not even close. Just very busy!

One of the great advantages of the age of the Internet -- we can take the classroom with us anywhere we are in the world. Truly remarkable how mobile we are worldwide in our global virtual classrooms! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gas Prices: They are a changing...

Has everyone noticed that gas prices are decreasing? This is the second week that the price per gallon for gas is below $3/gallon and still decreasing. While I am an optimist overall and about most things in life, I am not optimistic about these lowered gas prices. I think the lowered gas prices are temporary at best and they'll start climbing again. I have this theory that they get lowered just enough to make consumers feel better about the price of gas, and just when they start feeling better, the gas companies start raising prices again for one reason or another. Why? Because the gas companies can. It fits the game theory from the book, Co-opetition. It's raising prices even though the demand stays the same. And it is just awful.

Did anyone see President Bush's comment on the news about the rising gas prices when the prices first started climbing above $3/gallon? Read the full story.

Following is an excerpt, on a question the President answered from reporter Carl Cameron on gas prices and the current gas price crisis (dated April 28, 2006):

Carl Cameron.

Q Thank you, Mr. President, good morning.


Q Back to gas prices just a moment ago. Insofar as you directed some of your Cabinet this week to look into the possibility of price gouging, do you have a suspicion yourself, do you have evidence here at the White House, and should the American consumer believe that you think they're being ripped off?

THE PRESIDENT: I have no evidence that there's any rip-off taking place, but it's the role of the Federal Trade Commission to assure me that my inclination and instincts is right. More importantly, it's up to the Federal Trade Commission to assure the American people that they're being treated fairly at the pump.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Evoking the Soul"

Following is my favorite quote from Goethe. Although he lived many years ago, what he said about commitment, providence, and ultimately, action, still holds true for anyone today. I like to refer to it now and again. It keeps me motivated and inspires me. I hope it inspires you, too.

Evoking the Soul

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no person would have believed would have come their way. Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

As Luck Would Have It

"Do the right thing and help others whenever you can" has been my mantra all my life. It's helped me live life with a purpose. I was also told by a dear friend that what you give is returned three-fold. I think there's a lot of truth to that. It's also been called Karma, I believe. I've helped a lot of people in my life, and been kind in return to those who have not been so kind. And I've noticed that some good things have happened in my life very recently, especially with regard to my efforts in adding a crucial class that applies to my Media Management Certificate. If I had not been able to add this class, I would have had to stay another semester and paid a lot more money.

I was so lucky in that I was able to add Competitive Strategies with Professor Warner on August 31th. The class was closed on April 19th during registration for the fall 2006 semester. I tried on the first day of open registration on August 30th and kept trying all day unsuccessfully. Thinking I likely wasn't going to add the class because it likely wouldn't be dropped by anyone, I took comfort in the fact that I had a plan B. But as luck would have it, someone dropped on the following morning of August 31st, and I captured the class.

Because I was so lucky, I decided not to hoard the other classes I had signed up for on April 19th -- classes I would have loved to take but which would not have helped me complete the Media Management Certificate -- classes I would have paid a lot of money for. I let go so that another student would find the same luck I had. I am certain someone got lucky and was able to add Visual Storying with Sharri Kessler -- a course that's only taught online -- a course that was full almost immediately on April 19th. I'd like to know the name of the student who got lucky and added that course.

Looking back, I still don't regret letting go knowing I probably made another graduate student's day. It's always good to learn to let go when you need to, and not to hoard things. Not just material things as I mentioned not being a pack rat in last week's post, but not to hoard things that could benefit someone else.

As luck would have it, open registration closed on September 1st, at which time thereafter, any courses added or dropped must be done in person on campus in NYC. I live in San Francisco. It would have required the approval of Professor Berkman, the new online Advisor. And the approval of someone else. With Tony Laing no longer our Senior Graduate Student Advisor, the process would have been a bit more complicated. I'm so glad I opened up that one position so another student could benefit and take it. No regrets. None. :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

Today is September 11th, my birthday, and the first day on my new job. I thought it a great birthday present this year. It's been a great birthday, as all the other years. It's a special day for me and one I hold dear. It is also a day of remembrance for all Americans. A day to remember loved ones. That one year that places a strong mark in our history. It's not the month nor day that is notorious, it's that one day in that one year. It's the best way I have chosen to think about it moving forward. There are, afterall, many more birthdays and birthday years to look forward to, and I would like to think that they will be great days.

Five years after the infamous 9-11 day of 2001, we as a nation were brought closer, as other nations weeped with, and for, us -- for the innocent lives lost -- for a terrible day in one year that we can never take away nor erase from our memories. Five years later, we still have much to be concerned about to make sure such an attack never happens again. I cried only once on my birthday -- that was the year. I hope such a terrible day in our history is never repeated. Not just in the history of the United States, but in the history of mankind. No one should ever live through that, again, not ever.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Online Classes Start Thursday, September 7th!

Before entering your online classes on Thursday, attend orientation with Brett. You'll see his thread on the new Blackboard system, which was up and running with all final maintenance completed at NOON today! Yay!

Have fun! See you in cyberclass on Thursday.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day, Bay Bridge Demolition Work, and Don't Be a Pack Rat!

It's that time of the year again -- Labor Day is upon us -- a day of rest and a time for picnics, barbecues, public art events such as arts and wine festivals, and the like. And though it is traditionally given as a day of rest, it also makes for a good long weekend to move as was apparent driving around over the weekend. There were many moving trucks on Highway 101.

This was especially obvious amidst traffic headed southbound on Highway 101 -- everybody was headed south to take the San Mateo Bridge east -- traffic that would otherwise have been east bound on the Bay Bridge. Why? East bound traffic to the Bay Bridge is completely shut down over the entire Labor Day weekend through Tuesday for the Caltrans demolition project. About 1,000 feet of elevated freeway is being demolished to make way for the new. "The job will include removing 9,000 cubic yards of concrete and steel, almost 400,000 pounds of material," according to Adam Martin of the San Francisco Examiner. This shuts down the lower east bound deck of the Bay bridge from midnight Friday and will reopen at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

Labor day weekend this year apparently was a time for "work" rather than rest for a lot of people in the Bay Area. Time to demolish an old section of the Bay Bridge to make room for the new. Time to move out of an old place to the new. Moving trucks all over the highway in a rush to get to their destinations, and the Highway Patrol on the prowl ticketing speeders on the highways. The energy in the air over the weekend was electric.

Ahhh...Labor Day weekend! Time to clear out an old storage locker filled with years and years of "stuff" to make way for the new and the future. Time to get things done before school starts on Tuesday, September 5th. The idea of getting things done before school starts is always a great motivating force! Time to get things done during the last long weekend before the holidays.

After 5 years of sitting in the back of my mind, I thought it time I stopped paying mula to hang on to my "stuff" and give to charity things I do not need.

Fortunately, I had help from Superman! Woohoo!

Keep what you want and can use, my mother said, and give to charity what you don't need or haven't used in years because you probably don't need it. Good advice. I like the idea of giving away something I no longer have a use for so that someone else may benefit. St. Vincent de Paul's Society, The Salvation Army, A Battered Women's Shelter, and the Goodwill -- all worthwhile charities to give things to for the benefit of others. It's a great motivating force, especially after seeing the stacks of boxes in my makeshift locker dining room. I woke up this morning and looked in on the stacks of boxes and it was SCAREY! The task is daunting to say the least.

The dining room is now a makeshift storage locker -- but not for long. At least I am now all in one place and can sort through years of history. Time to clear the old cob webs in the recesses of my mind. Years and years of history in things accumulated and held dear over time. Time to let go.

As I look at the task ahead of me, I find new meaning in the adage, "Don't be a pack rat!"

Ownership of material things can be a burden. I see huge moving trucks, some the size of semi's lugging around material possessions -- all we "own" in this world. It isn't all about material possessions for me. I'd like to travel lighter, own less, and give more to those in need. The thought is quite enchanting...and freeing to the spirit.

Before I start the hard work of going through years of history, I want to soak in the beauty and energy of nature and come back refreshed and ready to tackle such a daunting task. But also, I want to be refreshed and ready for school tomorrow and the start of a great new job as well which starts on September 11th. It's going to be a great birthday!

And so...onward to Lassen Volcanic National Park...

And Lake Almanor...

...before rolling up my sleeves and starting the new fall semester.

I'll be logging in to attend class via wireless Internet from Lassen Volcanic National Park until Thursday.

For students taking Media, Corporate Responsibility & The Law and Competitive Strategies, I look forward to meeting you. For students taking Web Design and Production with Joerg Muller, who resides in Spain, I will be your class TA and look forward to meeting you, as I am sure Joerg is as well.

Enjoy a day off -- it's Labor Day! Rest on this day if you can. School starts tomorrow!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Kubla Kahn by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Today I thought I'd share a poem by one of my favorite poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in 1816. From Wikipedia: Kubla Khan, or, A Vision in a Dream, A Fragment, although shorter, is also widely known and loved. It has strange, dreamy imagery and can be read on many levels. Both Kubla Khan and Christabel have additional "romantic" aura because they were never finished. Stopford Brooke characterised both poems as having no rival due to their "exquisite metrical movement" and "imaginative phrasing."

Kubla Khan,
or, A Vision in a Dream, A Fragment

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,

That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Some Favorite Poems by D.H. Lawrence

Self Pity

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

I am Like a Rose

I am myself at last; now I achieve
My very self, I, with the wonder mellow,
Full of fine warmth, I issue forth in clear
And single me, perfected from my fellow.

Here I am all myself. No rose-bush heaving
Its limpid sap to culmination has brought
Itself more sheer and naked out of the green
In stark-clear roses, than I to myself am brought.


Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
to the old Sunday evenings at home, with the winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Friday, September 01, 2006 - An Upstart Community Wireless Network

An increasing number of wireless Internet entrepreneurs have started a revolution by networking wireless access and resources together to provide FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS. is at the forefront of this revolution, providing an open access wireless community network in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It uses the Meraki mini as its access device:

If you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, you can be part of the wireless network to obtain FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS for basic services. is available for residents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Read more about's upstart community wireless network from the founder and CEO in his blog: Fallen, Inc.

To sign up, send an email to:

If you live outside of this area or in another state, check to see if there's one in your area by doing a Google search, or check out the following:

Other Wireless Community Groups:
* Bay Area Wireless Users Group
* Austin Wireless
* Houston Wireless

As these networks grow nationwide, FREE WIRELESS INTERNET will be available anywhere in the U.S.

An open access community wireless network is created by citizens willing to share wireless internet access for FREE. Remarkable phenomenon and growing, thanks to those with a big heart willing to share the Internet to others. I like to call it "Power of the Crowds".