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Road Trip 2018 – California to Nevada to Utah

mirrorselfie

702 miles up the Interstate 15. It’s easy to forget how beautiful the wild open spaces of America are. This is only one small portion visible from the passenger seat on the highway.

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My Favorite Artists Through History – Rembrandt

1024px-Rembrandt_Self-Portrait_(Royal_Collection)Rembrandt

I love that Rembrandt was unafraid to use heavy shadow in his paintings. The darkness is used strategically to bring the viewer’s eye to the focus. This is the chiaroscuro effect that I am a huge fan of.

His self-portraits are absolutely stunning and it’s really cool to see his evolution through his self-portraits. I am always inspired to start painting self-portraits again whenever I look at this Dutch master.

He wasn’t just a painter. He was also a printmaker! They had a collection of his etchings in Boston a few years back which I was very happy to see! I love his swagger in this one:

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2014)

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a lot of Rembrandt work in person in Amsterdam at the Rijksmuseum. I also made sure to go to his house which is maintained as a museum.

My Favorite Pieces: The Night Watch, etchings

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Psychic Vampires and Updates

Just and update for you all: it seems very likely that I will not be going to Japan with the JET program. I’m currently on the waitlist, but it seems unlikely that I will be upgraded at this point. It took me a while to be okay with taking the L on this particular dream of mine. While I can apply through other programs to teach in Japan, I’m taking the summer to focus on my writing and other creative pursuits.

I am developing ideas for a short form comic book. I have three stories currently brewing in my mind right now.

In order to actually get this accomplished, I’ve put myself on a social media diet. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account and deleted apps off of my phone. It’s funny how easy it is to get addicted to something so stupid. I’ve been off of it for about a week, and I’ve found that during the time I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook was when I needed to daydream and be creative.

I will be using this blog more for thoughts and general observations as well as updates regarding my work.

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A Tongue for Every Continent

After I studied abroad in Italy for a year (2011 – 2012), I became fascinated with languages. Traveling Europe, I began to see how multilingual people were constantly in the process of learning and mastering other languages. This is incredibly different than the American mentality of monolingualism.

It follows the old joke:

What do you call someone that speaks three languages?

Trilingual.

What do you call someone that speaks two languages?

Bilingual.

What do you call someone that speaks one language?

American.

And of course, as most polyglots know, as soon as you get far enough in your second language, you want to learn more and more languages. I guess I am no different:

Which language(s) are you learning – why those?

Japanese

I am in the process of learning Japanese as I have applied to go through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. I am hoping to be able to survive, hold a decent conversation with Japanese people, and immerse myself once I go over to Japan. I’ve loved Japan since I was young watching Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z.

Italian

I studied Italian for two semesters before I left to live in Italy for 11 months where I studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence through the CSU International Programs. Much of my knowledge of Italian vocabulary focuses on art terms or cooking terms. While Italian is on the backburner, I do love to read Italian memes and watch videos on Italian cooking taught by old Italian cooks.

 Arabic

During my Master’s program, I was considering where I wanted to go abroad. While I was in Italy, the Arab Spring brought a lot of people from different countries to Italy so I met many Arabic people that I thought were very friendly. During my second to last semester in grad school, I decided to take Arabic 101. Man! What a difficult language! But I love the way Arabic looks and its potential for beautiful calligraphy. I am definitely interested in visiting either Morocco, Egypt or Jordan someday.

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Recommended Texts for Composition

They Say, I Say- Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

https://www.amazon.com/They-Say-Matter-Academic-Writing/dp/0393935841

This book is a well-written, boiled down approach to academic writing using the metaphor of “joining the conversation.” I still use many of their chapters in my English composition classes including the Naysayer chapter as well as the templates¬†for introducing direct quotes from authors. The templates alone are worth the money– these signal phrases are chunks of language that are highly frequent in academic writing and are invaluable to the aspiring native and non-native speaker of English that wishes to improve their academic writing skills.

Norton Field Guide to Writing with Handbook –

https://www.amazon.com/Norton-Field-Guide-Writing-Handbook/dp/0393919587/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484772253&sr=1-4&keywords=norton+field+guide+to+writing+3rd+edition

I used this book for my students at the university level for Freshman composition. The text is multimodal and includes etexts and related videos. The addition of the handbook is also invaluable as many native speakers struggle with grammatical problems although their meaning and organization is on point. This is a very strong textbook for composition and it breaks down a variety of different rhetorical modes for students in an easy to understand manner.