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New Motivation Nation

New year, new resolutions. New things to think about? Write more, run more, work more, eat better, think better, BE better.

This got me wondering. What makes us do these things? Why does this transition really matter? I suppose, like many things, it’s just a marker. A time to band together and say, “We can do better, this time it’ll stick!”

So we drink a lot, and then kiss someone when the ball drops. Just because that’s the way it’s been for a good while. But what if it really meant something? What if people were to sit down and think to themselves, “Yes. Things are going to change this year. For the better!”

This happens often in blogs and status updates and people twit their resolutions as 140 characters for less. Some work, some don’t? Can I keep the resolutions that I made? Does it really work to say something just to say it? How does this whole motivation thing work?

I find myself asking why I don’t keep a lot of the promises I make myself. I’m a good liar when I talk to myself, and I’m as gullible as they come, so it’s a problem I often face considering changes in personality.

Regardless, regretless, and a day late, here are my resolutions. A toast to the hope of achieving number one.
1. Become self-motivated and able to rely on what I tell myself.
2. Be more aware of myself, emotionally and physically.
3. Talk to someone about something that’s needed to be talked about since September.4. Know when to hold them and know when to walk away.

I’ve started, a new beginning.Suspiciously like the old one.Only this time I’m ready.

Cheers and all that,


Teaching PowerPoint in APA Writing and Methods

I got to use PowerPoint to teach today. I can legitimately say that I’ve “taught” a class now. An old professor from my alma-mater asked me to present for her APA Writing and Methods night course today. It was…interesting.

Nothing went wrong, but it was strange presenting in front of non-traditional students. These were people who were 10 to 15 years older than me, and they talked to me like I was a professor. This whole student-teacher dynamic is so weird.

It went well however, I was even able to give some direction to a student who was having some trouble with making a knowledge measure. So I guess age doesn’t matter? It’s just which side of the book you’re on.



Class 2: A survey is taken and a plague erupts

Tracking time.

No, not the dart kind. Or the collar kind.

Grade tracking. The university wants to see how students do after 4 or so years of psychology. Another grad student and I got to give out a small survey to check students knowledge of psychology and (hopefully) we’ll be able to use that in a few more years to show that learning actually occurred in the department. Dr. Watson didn’t seem so keen on the survey itself, and the class was ours.

Well, the class was the survey’s at least.

Everything went off without a hitch, except for one strange occurrence. One student coughed, for real this time. Then another student coughed at an interval that seemed a bit too convenient. Then a wave a coughs followed with a few muted chuckles.

It was pure anarchy. The blood left my face. A thousand different scenarios played out in my head, all of them ending with a horrible demise brought on by the shame of not being able to stop a class from having a “cough-in”. “I’m done,” I thought, “this is proof positive I should never teach.” “I can’t even administer a survey without losing control.” Granted, I was not thinking clearly, I was just a bit confused as to what my actual role in the class.

“Do I help, am I like a second TA?” flashed through my head. “WHAT DO I DO?!”

But as soon as the coughing reached what seemed to me to be a cacophony of pure rebellion, it was stopped short by an equally strong, “Shhhhhhhhh…” from areas throughout the auditorium.

It was done. Crisis averted. Students returned their surveys when they were finished. Some walked out even though we told them that Dr. Watson would still be lecturing. I was still amazed that it happened. Who started/propagated the legendary Shhh’s? I don’t think I’ll ever know, and I’ll never understand why it all happened in the first place. Was Dr. Watson’s presence still affecting their behavior? That’s my best guess, but he came back in and decided to let those that were still there leave early.

This class is never what I expect it to be.

Well, as Dr. Watson says, “Remain perpendicular.”

Class 1: Getting to Know Watson

I have a seat waiting for me in a massive (at least by small liberal arts college standards) auditorium. 400 or so seats is what I’ve been told. Half of them are already full, and I’m sitting next to the teaching assistant for the course. “I can’t believe he teaches to a class this big,” I say, mouth gaping a bit in awe (or is it terror?). The TA agrees, “It would probably get pretty ridiculous if I tried to keep this many people quiet for 60 minutes.”

There’s no podium in front, only a desk to access the computer connected to the projector in the back sound booth. A table sits in front of the “stage” and two ramps lead up to the hardwood section of the front of the class. Dr. Watson has himself miced  and a few students come down to place recorders on the table. Dr. Watson cuts an imposing figure, over 6 feet tall with a well-trimmed beard he seems to tower over the class, even the students up and back in the “nosebleeds”. I’ve missed the first week of class, so I didn’t get to experience the “no drinks” and “no cellphones” talk. Dr. Watson doesn’t hesitate with “This is not a restaurant!” when he sees some students with drinks still out.

He begins with a brief overview of last weeks material. He begins by going over truth by empiricism and authority. “Are you always going to believe what someone tells you because they have some authority over you?”

A cellphone rings. Dr. Watson put his hand to his ear,

in a high pitched voice (more of a whine) “Yes, Jack?”

“I told not to call me-”

“I’m late”

“-in clas- wHAT?!”

cue laughter

back with the seriousness “Cellphones. Off.”

He knows how to perform. He knows how to seem approachable yet mean. An enigma. More classes to come…

The Shadow knows…teaching: Intro

I’ve begun a grand experiment in teaching and instruction! Perhaps not as grand as you might think, and it’s not quite an experiment. It’s more of a shadowing experience for teaching seminar. After some back and forth between the professor I was to shadow (henceforth referred to as Mr. Watson) I can finally start my experience watching General Psychology being taught. TO FOUR HUNDRED STUDENTS. Updates to follow on each days activities and my thoughts on teaching. Keep an eye out!That's a helluva lot...


I got lazy and installed Windows 7. What can I say, I love Team Fortress 2 and I couldn’t stay away for long. Although I do love games, it seems that my current computer can’t take the strain of Windows 7 along with some of my favorite distractions. Thus, I have been blessed with a 20 minute window in which I can play a game before my computer freaks out and dumps its memory. Talk about an effective tool for getting rid of time-wasters.

So I find myself spending more and more time looking at Ubuntu. For starters, the load screen is much cooler than Windows 7 (or any windows for that matter).

Sure, if you like the windows logo it’s great. I just like the simplicity of Ubuntu’s. So now I’m back to where I started, playing more with the terminal this time though, trying to find a way through the structure of the system. Wish me luck!

Staying Focused

A wonderful application that keeps you “productive”. What’s that? They have one? I’ll take eight please. 

A nice little app on Google Chrome called Stay Focused let’s you set those places that keep you from working (facebook, google reader, woot!, etc.) and limit the amount of time you can spend on them. Why do I write about it now? Well, although I’m wasting time blogging, (I didn’t set ScribeFire to the nono list) it just yelled at me after I got a bit too caught up in surfing. “Shouldn’t you be working?” it said. Damn, not only do I feel guilty when someone walks behind me and I’m not “working”, now my own computer has turned against me. 

Funny thing is, that’s how to do it; trick yourself into accomplishment!