Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Christmas Spirit

This week I met two women, Emily Rank and Jillian VanTassell. Both were Salvation Army bell ringers outside Raleys in Loomis, CA. VanTassell was playing the drums, Rank was ringing the bell, and both were singing Christmas carols from time to time. The two are doing a 9-month discipleship for their church, The Rock of Roseville.

"We have a love for music but we get it from the Lord," they told me.

I happened to have my new audio recorder with me and was excited to use it. Listen in as they spread the Christmas spirit to Raleys shoppers!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Google me!

I am proud to say that as of Wed., Sept. 19, 2007, when you google my name, the entire first page of results points to the real me - my blogs, my news stories, my Poynter comments, and my resume!

That first page is actually a very small piece of my online presence. None of my networking profiles appear. Not all of my blogs do either. And after almost three years writing news at the Colfax Record, there are no actual Colfax Record links listed at all.

I should chronicle the changes in my Google search results throughout my life. That would make for an interesting form of scrap book. I remember when my silly high school research projects were still links on the internet...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My classwork blogs, if you are interested in keeping up with them, are as follows.

Wordslinger - This is my column and review writing blog, for J 131. It is updated every Sunday night and Thursday afternoon.

Bear Wrestling - This is my blog for magazine writing, J 132. It will be less polished than the above column, as we're asked to update our classmates on the status of various projects and post drafts here.

The Shadow Council Strider
- This is for a special project class. WoW is a hobby of mine, so working on these stories is a lot of fun.

I look forward to getting feedback on my writing. Be as truthful as Doc Cox from Scrubs. And hey, if you can write out a rant Cox style, more power to you...

Friday, August 17, 2007

A writer, writing...

Sometimes you forget that to be good at something you have to practice.

That is exactly what this project, The Strider, is all about.

It's been going for a month now, and I have learned a lot of valuable things from it. Mostly I have learned that it takes incredible courage to do your own project--and the courage necessary must multiply tenfold when investing in your own business. I am fortunate that I don't have to gamble money on my little writing venture this summer. As it is, I have nearly backed out of this project more times than I can count. My husband and my friends have patiently encouraged me; they have not allowed me to quit on myself.

There are weeks when I spend so much time on this project that the 9 hours a week required to do it for college credit feels like it would be a vacation. There are weeks in which all my efforts seem to have accomplished nothing. But things are getting easier as I go. Creating a readership from a single community is harder than it sounds!

I can't say I'm not proud of my work, but I know it could be better than it is, so I'll keep plugging away at it. I hope I find the time during this semester to keep writing and raising the quality of the site to something akin to how I imagine it could be.

If I ever started my own business I would not be a workaholic--I would be a perfectionist. They have different motivations but the same end result...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Roleplayers in Iraq

If you're a Penny Arcade fan, you've seen this already: a story about roleplaying soldiers in Iraq. I'm delighted they are organized enough to be able to dungeon-crawl together, and especially delighted that Penny Arcade has taken up their cause.

We roleplayers need a PR firm to help explain to the public the benefits of roleplaying. Too many people see D and D as either too nerdy or too evil. We do good stuff! We're cool too! And in my supreme eloquence, you too have come to understand why roleplaying is awesome. Right?

Ok, ok. Show of hands. How many people actually know what roleplaying is? Roleplaying is unlike anything most people have experienced, and so to qualify it in understandable terms is hard.

It's like an oral choose-your-own-adventure book, with a storyteller who orates the world around you. But roleplaying stories are so much more flexible and fluid than those books. Characters are unique, and can grow and change within the course of a story. My storyteller has to spend a lot of time creating the people, places, and plots to make these stories fun and interactive... all these attributes are unique, and can be difficult to express succinctly. There is nothing quite like roleplaying.

I've learned valuable skills from roleplaying. I am better able to problem-solve, both on my own and in groups. I have learned how to better communicate. (I'm still learning that one!) I can work with rules and numbers much more than I could before. I can understand a variety of viewpoints; I can become a variety of characters. I am often challenged to play a character that is a better leader, a better thinker, or a better communicator than I am - a process which keeps me reaching for new heights in my personal life. I've also learned a lot about my own weaknesses. I've had to organize events, or play key roles in events, that give me good practice for things I might have to do someday. Or maybe they give me experience in roles that I never will fulfill in real life, but was able to experience thanks to the game. I'll likely never be a politician in real life, but I can certainly play one and experience similar challenges through roleplaying.

One thing roleplaying does for me is it gives me the experience of responding to a situation. In the wake of Virginia Tech's school shootings, everyone on campus was asking, "How safe are we? What would we do if this happened to us?" It is a healthy excersize in both personal and schoolwide emergency response... and we all get better with practice.

Roleplaying is also a bonding experience. When my group overcomes a challenge because our characters have worked together cohesively with a common goal, we feel satisfaction. When it comes time to solve the next problem--in game or real life--we have shared context to draw upon, experience working together, and knowledge of who can do what best.

What have you noticed about the public's perception of roleplaying?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A few hours' grace

I enjoy school. I enjoy learning. Sometimes, though, you just need a break.

Fitting, then, that I ditch class today and be given this fortune:

A few hours' grace before the madness begins again.

It is a mad world, isn't it? Mad, mad world.