September Means…

It’s September now, and it’s one of those months I have a love-hate relationship with.

When I was a kid, it meant going back to school and summer vacation ending.  Good thing is, I liked school.  But I loved summer vacation.

Now, it means a lot of different things.  On the positive side, it’s time for hockey to start.  Training camp opens this month, and it gets me excited for the new season.  Here in Japan, it means a less hot month than August.  September is still the second hottest month, though.  But it does mean it’s getting more comfortable. I’m also going to get to meet my new niece.

On the other hand, it means winter is coming.  I find the prospect of shorter days and cold weather depressing.  It’s no secret that I don’t like winter.  Not sure if I’d call this a positive or negative, but September is the busiest month for typhoons, too.  But I like typhoons. It also means I have to renew my passport.  I don’t like government procedures and forms.

There are other things that happen, such as cicadas dying, fall foods becoming available, new electronics models become available, and so on.

What does September mean to you?

Month in Review – August 2014

August was an interesting month.  It saw the death of Robin Williams, a big low point of the month.  The high point was the release of Part 2 of Journey to Ariadne.  The blog also reached 500 followers.

August Stats

This month saw an improvement over July, with the second best month yet.  It also had the best day ever.  The busiest day was August 12th with 151 views.  August had 1,667 views, which is the second best.  The month finished with 17,651 views total.  There were 48 posts, which brought the total to 550.

The month ended with 2,852 total comments, meaning there were 344 comments.  This is an improvement on July.

The top 10 (11) countries for August were:

  1. United States (1,001 views)
  2. Canada (232 views)
  3. Japan (111 views)
  4. United Kingdom (58 views)
  5. Australia (31 views)
  6. South Africa (20 views)
  7. India (15 views)
  8. Singapore (8 views)
  9. Norway (5 views)
  10. Philippines (5 views)
  11. France (5 views)

Top Posts

The 5 (6) most popular posts made in August were:

  1. Robin Williams Dead (87 views)
  2. Introvert Problem Checklist (42 views)
  3. What Will You Write? #6 – It’s History (42 views)
  4. When Should Children Be Left Alone? (41 views)
  5. Commentition: My Super Commenters (36 views)
  6. Reality Is Stranger than Fiction? (36 views)

My most popular post in August that was written before August was The Power of Introverts – from TED with 50 views.

Posts that deserve another look are:

Reviews

I said I was going to have a couple reviews done, but I haven’t typed them up yet.  That will need to be done in the next week or so.

Social Media

A new section, I’ll cover a couple stats from a couple social media platforms I use.

On Twitter, I have 2,058 followers and I follow 2,105.  I have exactly 6,000 tweets at this time.  How’s that for good timing?

On YouTube, I have 37 subscribers with a total of 6,235 views.

Looking Ahead to September

This should be a big month for writing for me.  Part 3 of Journey to Ariadne is finished, but I just need to edit it and submit it for critiques.  After a second edit, I’ll post it.  Part 4 will also be written soon, and hopefully part 5 before the end of the month.

I’ll have some reviews coming up, including the 2 I intended to post in August.  But there should be at least 2 more.

I’ll have a busy month with a day trip to my wife’s hometown and renewing my passport, but posting will not be interrupted for that.  I will continue with the daily posting.

Thanks for continuing to read!

Daily Flash Fiction #5 – Flash! Friday Entered (Vol 2 – 38)

Flash! Friday is another flash fiction contest, and a much more popular one than what I’ve got going.  This one is limited to only 150 words.  That can be quite difficult.  But I decided to join last Friday’s edition.  In the next few hours, the winners will be announced, so I’m pretty curious to see if my story has been picked.

Here’s my story:

A Hero’s Welcome

Fuzz Baldwin, the hero of Alpha Centauri. That’s what they’ll call me, thought Captain Baldwin as he tumbled out of the capsule into the frigid waters. Darcy Kroeger splashed in behind him.

“Hey, Fuzz! We did it!” Darcy’s smile gave away his youthful exuberance. “I landed it perfectly.”

Clinging to the inflatable ring on the capsule, Fuzz grinned. “You know what they’ll say?”

Darcy nodded. “Yeah, that ace pilot Darcy Kroeger saved the day. Turning left around Proxima Centauri was the best decision of my life.”

“Left?” Fuzz’s mouth hung wide open when he heard the click. Oh no. He craned his neck to his right.

“What do we have here? A couple of pink ones.” Four eyes on a scaly head stared back at him. “Lost?”

“Darce, you idiot! Right! You were supposed to turn right around Proxima. This is Epsilon Eridani.”

“And you are tonight’s dinner, hero sandwiches.”

I used a bit of humour for this one.  That last line came to me just as I was finishing it.  I had never intended on that.  It was a moment of inspiration.

So, what do you think?

The Power of a Headache

You ever have plans to do a lot, but a headache thwarts those plans?  That’s happened to me tonight.

I had a book review planned for tonight.  I can’t really concentrate on it.  So, I’ll do something else.  I’ll let you know about a couple things.

First, What Will You Write? #6 will be finishing in a few days.   You still have time to get your entry in.

Second, I’d still like some comments about my official website.  Please go here and leave some comments about what you’d like to see.

That’s about it.  I think I should probably get some sleep.  Sleep off this headache.  Good night everyone!

Teacher Fired For Giving Zeros Treated Unfairly

A couple years ago, Lynden Dorval, a teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was suspended, then fired for giving students zeros on tests they missed and assignments they didn’t hand in.  Sounds unfair, doesn’t it?  Well, the provincial appeal board agrees with him, it was unfair.

So, why was he fired?  Well, it was against school policy to give zeros.  Then what was he supposed to do when students failed to hand in assignments or missed tests?  Give them endless extensions until they finally did them?  What if they never do? Give them a passing grade anyway?  This policy is ridiculous.

It seems that these days schools are being incredibly soft on students.  They don’t want to hurt their feelings by giving them failing grades.  They are precious snowflakes that need to be protected from failure.  It’s a terrible lesson to students to say that they can fail and suffer no consequences.  If they don’t do their work, they should fail.  They should get a zero.

Mr. Dorval was right in this, in my opinion.  The school’s policy is flawed, and it only encourages false reporting of grades.  What’s ridiculous is that the school board is going to appeal.  So they want to strip this good teacher of his pension and pay for their unethical treatment of him?  The Edmonton Public School Board needs to go back to school and learn how to treat people properly.  They are wrong in this, and I encourage any parent in Edmonton to complain to the school board about their intention to appeal.  It’s inexcusable.

If this happened in your area, what would you do?

More Activity on My Official Website

My official website has been pretty quiet.  I update infrequently, though I did update this week with a new part of Journey to Ariadne. Read it now if you haven’t done so.

What I’ll be doing is giving updates on progress regularly, as well as tidbits of information about the story, the world, and the characters.  I may write short scenes involving the characters, draw pictures of some of the animals, and write about the world itself.  I will also work on the Ariadne Encyclopedia.

So, I’d like to ask you.  What would you like to see?

My Job and Writing

I teach English in Japan.  I’ve been doing it for more than 9 years, and should be here another 2 years.  As a result, I’ve been forced to think about English grammar and vocabulary nearly every day for quite some time.  It probably helps me with my writing in some ways.

One aspect of my job is that I have to know the proper way to say something using grammar.  Now, this isn’t always required, since I’m teaching conversation, not writing.  I teach a lot about casual conversation, as well as formal and business English.  There are idioms, figures of speech, and many other aspects of language that are not very natural for Japanese people to use.  You see, they learn grammar in school, but not conversation.  They can read reasonably well, but when it comes to speaking, they often can’t do much.  Of course, I do teach advanced students, but they’ve been studying English for a long time or have had to use it in business or lived overseas.  I’m exposed to a large variety of students, so I have to use many different kinds of language.  As a result, dialogue may be one of my stronger suits in writing.

When I began teaching, I didn’t know everything.  In fact, I found it kind of difficult to explain different rules for grammar and the difference between similar words.  This has caused me to learn a lot about my own language.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to grammar these days.  I guess I’m a Grammar Nazi.  I’ve also always been good at spelling.  In grade 8 in junior high school, we were given a spelling test to determine what level of spelling we had.  I had a perfect score.  I was spelling at a university level while I was 13 years old.  So when I write a draft, my spelling and grammar tend to be very good.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s great to read.

An interesting thing I’ve found is that the Japanese language has loan words from English, but the meaning is different.  For example, Japanese naive means sensitive in English.  Also, there are many mistakes that Japanese people learning English make.  For example, the usage of particles (a, an, the), the usage of almost, and verb tense problems.  Sarcasm is also not commonly used in Japan, so it often goes over the head of many Japanese.

When I read, grammar or spelling errors pop out to me.  The rare mistake is fine. But if they’re happening on every page I read, I find it difficult to read and take the book seriously.  Problems with to and too, confusing your and you’re, and mistakes with their, there, and they’re irritate me.  I also easily spot problems with quotation marks and commas when using dialogue and dialogue tags.  And the incorrect use of apostrophes aggravates me.  Maybe I could be a proofreader.  Or maybe I should stick with writing and blogging.

Do you have any difficulties with grammar or spelling?  It’s embarrassing to say this, but I often forgot if it’s embarrassing or embarassing. I don’t have that problem now.

Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 517 other followers