2013 in review

•January 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Contributors!

•November 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Good Evening everyone! I just wanted to give you all a heads up about some upcoming changes to my blog. Currently I am in the process of finding individuals to assist in adding content. I have already asked two individuals, who are going to start writing a post once or twice a week starting sometime this week. They both are old friends of mine and we have a lot of things in common. So sometime this week I hope that they will introduce themselves to everyone and that they can share a brief explanation of their perspectives and world experience.

As for the other updates, I plan on directing this blog in a different direction. The way that I have been approaching this blog is really more toward an online journal. Though I have had fun about sharing these fun tidbits about my life, I desire for this blog really to be more of a watering hole that will be able to give back to the online community. What do I mean by this? Well as most of you already know, I have been an internationally minded man who has been blessed to experience some of the world. My number one goal for this site going forward is to properly express more about stories, events, topics that will be valuable to individuals. If there are some topics that I am covering in my studies, topics going on in the world (politically, economical, or culturally), or topics concerning education, I want to write about these topics. But the issue is that I am not competent on all topics and another goal of mine going forward is to get in touch with individuals who have a different perspective, a deeper knowledge or personal experience concerning those topics.

Please comment and let me know what you think about some of the upcoming changes! Thanks and God bless!

Web Science- University of Southampton

•November 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The internet has definitely changed since the first computer my family purchased back in 2001 (it was a Compaq Presario running Windows Me) and we connected to the internet via a dialup connection. I can remember at the time, I had absolutely no interest in using the computer and my sister actually was the person who decided to set up our computer. Being the thirteen year old boy that I was back in 2001, I was more concerned with going outside and adventure. Well today technology plays quite a different role in my life and I have become a major advocate for technology inside the classroom.

MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses have been around for some time now, but instead of the most well known MOOC, Coursera, dominating the internet in this category, the UK has decided to get into this arena in an attempt to rethink MOOCs with FutureLearn. I have been using Coursera for over a year now and when I first heard of FutureLearn on the BBC, I signed up immediately. FutureLearn is still in it’s beta stage, but there are quite a wide variety of courses and British universities that have registered to host online courses.

The first class that I signed up for on FutureLearn was Web science: how the web is changing the world, through the University of Southampton. For those of you who are interested in the course, the course just began today, November 11, 2013. This course is a six week course that is completely FREE and if you start late, you have time to make up the coursework. Unfortunately this course is not for college credit, but you will receive a certificate of completion that you can put on a resume or CV. Please allow me to mention just a bit about the course and then I will describe my opinions about FutureLearn. Everyone who is currently reading this post has some knowledge about the internet and thankfully the internet has evolved into something that users can create content without any major knowledge of how the internet works. This being said, when people have a better understanding of what they are using, they are able to maximize the effectiveness of the item they are using and utilize the item in new ways. Web Science, I believe is a very interesting and important new field of study because the Web has become an integral part of any industrial society’s infrastructure. I am not saying that we need to become experts on the Web, but I do believe we all should have at least a working understanding of what we are using.

Now for a brief head’s up concerning what I think about FutureLearn as a whole. Web Science being the only course I have begun on FutureLearn, I cannot say for certain that this will be how all courses will be set up, but I am very impressed with the layout of the course. Having down several courses on Coursera, I have found it somewhat confusing when it comes to what I have finished reviewing. The entire course is set up like an outline and after you finish one portion of the curriculum, you can click a check box indicating the completion of that portion. I really like the clean interface and how everything seems to be spread out. It seems a lot less cluttered than other MOOC sites. The last item I would like to mention concerning FutureLearn is that it seems to be more focused on the Social Sciences at the current moment. There are some computer courses, but I have noticed the content seems to be geared around history, sociology and psychology. Not saying this is a negative, because personally I enjoy these areas of interest much more.

Job Update

•November 10, 2013 • 2 Comments

If someone were to ask me, “what is the number one thing God has been showing you lately”, I would have to say one thing. No matter how we plan or think we have an idea of how things are going to turn out, we haven’t the foggiest idea.

These past few months I have been applying to teach in Hong Kong, China and Korea. Though I had several bites, they all fell through. Then a job that really comes out of no where is a job that I end up getting. I started a new job in the Cumberland County school system as an ISS (In School Suspension) coordinator. My current principal mentioned that if I did this for a while, then he would move me to a Social Studies position. So even though this was not how I intended things to turn out, I have felt at peace for the time being about my job and my salary has increased substantially.

Another thing is that I think God is helping me with balancing being firm and illustrating Christ’s love in a non-verbal arena. Though all of this is true, my heart is still for China. I may not know when The Lord wants me back, but I pray it will be soon. In the meantime I am about to start an ESL cert course online through the University of Toronto and furthering my Chinese studies by taking the HSK next month. I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while now, but I haven’t really been inspired to write. It has definitely been a hectic few weeks and I’ve been rather exhausted adjusting to such new elements, but thankfully God has been giving me newfound characteristics.

HSK Test One

•October 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

hsk_1

Some of you may be wondering what exactly is the HSK, well the HSK is an official Chinese language proficiency test administered by the Chinese government. I have been studying Chinese for some time, but unfortunately now that I am no longer in school, I have been studying Chinese less and less. The ultimate reason why I am taking the HSK is because I hope that this will help me with utilizing my time and setting goals for me to keep up with my language skills. HSK stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi and it translates as Chinese Proficiency Test. The HSK is for those who want to show their proficiency in the Chinese language, for either work, academic or personal reasons. I have registered to take the first level test on December 1st of this year. In preparation for the test, I will be spending between 1-2 hours a day on my Chinese language skills and my old textbooks. Thankfully there is a testing location here in North Carolina, so I will be driving to NC State to take my test! I’ll keep you all posted on my results.

HSK @ NC State

Tegan and Sara Came to Raleigh

•October 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

We were on the second row! Too bad the camera sucks on the iPhone 3Gs.

I have been listening to Tegan and Sara since I was first introduced to the dynamic duo listening to CBC’s The Q with Jian Gomeshi a few years ago. Being a twin myself, I think that was the immediate appeal. I have three of their albums and I love their lyrics/ crazy music videos.


It is actually pure coincidence that I found out Tegan and Sara was coming to Raleigh, North Carolina. I was attending a meeting with a non-profit I am apart of and I happened to see a posting in the Fayetteville Observer. They were playing the very next day! Needless to say I rushed home to see if I could find tickets online. Thankfully I found two tickets in the pit at the Red Hat Amphitheater. We actually were supposed to be further back, but it turns out my sister and I stood on the second row! Unfortunately I sold my iPhone 4s because I hated the new iOS update and was stuck with taking photos on my old iPhone 3Gs. I wish I had just kept it one extra day so my pictures would have turned out better!

Tegan and Sara mostly played songs off their new album, but they did play on old favorite of mine “In Your Head”. A funny side story about the concert, the girls smelled popcorn from the vendors and kept joking about how they wanted some popcorn. Tegan talked about how they’re last trip to Raleigh, North Carolina was during the summer at a blistering 104°F (40°C), which was too much for their Canadian blood. She added that this time they would remember performing in Raleigh on a beautiful cool night smelling popcorn. To my surprise, a fan actually bought them popcorn and reached across the railing to give it to them! Even more shocking was that the girls ate some of the popcorn!

Interested in purchasing Tegan & Sara’s latest album? Amazon MP3 Store Google Play Store

Turns out the concert was really for FUN.

Well since my sister and I found out about the concert at the last minute, we had no idea the concert was really for a group called FUN. I’ve heard their songs on the radio, but I didn’t know their name. I was somewhat disappointed to only see Tegan and Sara for a little over an hour, but it was still worth it. FUN put on a good show, despite all their cursing.

For the most of the time, the lighting during the FUN portion of the show was more tamed than Tegan and Sara’s. It made it a lot easily for me to take photos. Also the lead singer moved all over the stage, whereas Tegan and Sara were stationary for most of the show.

The music was so loud during this portion of the concert, my heart felt like it was skipping beats! I mean I’m half deaf and I thought it was a little too much. It probably would have been a nicer experience, if not by this time mostly everyone around us was drunk. Unlike the popcorn smell earlier during the show, it definitely was overrun by alcohol at this point.

Well overall it was an excellent concert and my sister and I had a great time! On an ending note, I was surprised to see Red Hat’s (yes as in the Linux Distro) name and logo was all over the amphitheater. Apparently they are trying to branch out I guess.

They had really cool special effects.

September the International Month!

•October 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have been meaning to blog about these events in separate entries, but since they started piling up, I figured incorporating them into one post would be only reasonable. At least for Cumberland County, September is the month for celebrating cultural diversity in the area. The first event that I photographed was from the Greek Festival. I took some videos of them dancing, but I am not sure what happened to them. The dancing videos were pretty cool.

Hellenistic Festival- Traditional Greek Dance

Traditional Greek Dance #2

Tour of the local Greek Orthodox Church

Overview of the Greek Church’s Sanctuary

The next event photographed is the International Folk Festival. Unfortunately I was working and missed most of the festival, but thankfully I was able to attend for the ending ceremonies. Out of the three events being represented in this blog post, the International Folk Festival is the largest.

International Folk Festival 2013- Traditional Hawaiian Dance

Panamanian Traditional Celebratory Dress

Traditional Panamanian Dance

Thai Buddhist Monk Dress

Irish Kilts Go Rock n Roll

Traditional Filipino Dance

Okinawan Group

Native American Dance

These girls told me their outfits were called Jolies. This is a contemporary Indian outfit.

The last event in today’s post is of the 3rd Annual International Film Festival hosted by a local non-profit I am privilege to be a part of. The name of the non-profit is Faces in the Community. We help spread cultural awareness in the surrounding area by hosting or advocating for specific programs in Cumberland County. Faces also is responsible for awarding a few scholarships to graduating seniors at the high school level. I am very proud to be a member of the board and it is a privileged to serve with the head director, Dr. Shirish Devasthali.

Opening Ceremony at the 3rd Annual International Film Festival hosted by Faces in the Community

We watched this film for this year’s film festival.

 
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