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Archive for December, 2012

Resumes and College

About an hour ago, someone asked me to keep an eye out for a couple books that they needed. I said, “sure, give me the ISBN numbers.” When I got to the computer and looked them up, I see that although they are like “textbooks,” they are more like study books. What is the subject matter? Job hunting and how to write resumes. I thought that books on this subject are a wonderful idea. Students who are looking for work, to get that first job, looking to get hired may not have any idea what employers are looking for. And, a good place to start learning about those kinds of things are from books! (Notice the title of this blog is Books… and Learned Things.)

I would think most of us can figure out that an employer wants basic qualities, such as being on time, being prompt, polite, courteous, etc., but I would think that if your resume just says you are good at being on time, there may be the possibility that others’ resumes might, uh, ‘beat out’ your resume. So what do you put on one? How do you portray yourself? Well, guess what. I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. I, myself, would have to find out. How would I find out? I’d probably go to a library (either like a big library that I wrote about on this blog, or a local one) or bookstore or bookshop and read some books on how to job hunt, and how to write a good resume.

My goodness time flies. I’m a perfectionist and I could have written more, but I spent most of my time correcting the grammar in this post. Do you all have that same tendency?

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The hardest thing I’ve had to do in regards to this blog is coming up with a title for this post because it is about helping (and selling, too)! It would have been easier if I had my act together and got this post up before Christmas, but in hindsight, maybe it’s best that I’m a day late. How can we help others? What can we do to help those in need of help? In the holiday spirit, it’s really a nice thing to be able to do something for others when we are able to. If you have money to spare, maybe just a little cash, isn’t it a great time of year to be able to give something to those that are needy?

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned that in hindsight, this post is okay that it is a day late. My logic is as follows: those that wanted to help others, that wanted to give a little money to others may have already done so (e.g. Christmas gifts, coin donations to those that cheerfully ring that bell in front of stores, donation boxes, etc.). So what about all those folks that want to give, but don’t think they have anything to give? I’ve always felt that just to smile at someone, to let them know you care, to lend an ear and listen to someone’s story, to share one’s joy and peace with others is a really nice gift in itself. On the other hand, there are those that could really use some money, and there are many people who think or feel they don’t have any money to give, and they might even feel bad that they didn’t donate any money. I don’t think a person should feel bad if they don’t have money to give. In fact, maybe it’s not really the best thing to do to give away money that you really need yourself. Therefore, I’m not talking about that; I’m talking about extra dollars; cash you won’t miss. Again, though, what if you don’t have extra money laying around? So, this morning, I let my “wheels turn” and lots of good thoughts and ideas came up (forgetful me — I’m sure some of those ideas I forgot already, hence the importance of getting them down on ‘paper’).

First of all, it is likely that you have a person, a charity, or a company in mind that you’d like to give to. If you don’t have a charity in mind, you can always search on the net for some worthy causes. (I like to visit a place like the better business bureau at bbb.org to check out the charity, so as to help me make decisions about donations). Or maybe you know a friend or neighbor, or a friend of a friend in need that can use some food or money. After you have someone in mind that you want to give a donation to, then you may wish to decide what you have to spare, whether it’s money, food, or whatever. I wouldn’t be to quick to immediately decide you don’t have any money to give. My readers might be thinking “No way, I don’t have a spare penny to give.” And, that’s fine, maybe it’s best that you don’t give any money. But I said not to be too quick to immediately decide about that. What do I mean? Well lately I’ve become aware of how many things (things = stuff, unused items, junk laying around, non-junk laying around, miscellaneous items boxed up in storage somewhere) that can actually be sold! For example, let’s say you are a college student. Now, granted, one may hear the phrase “broke college student” from time to time. I always chuckle to myself when I hear that because it’s such a generalization. Some college students are rich, some are successful, some are loaded with cash. At the same time, there are some students who simply don’t have any money, but they wish they had money to give. All their money has gone towards tuition, living expenses, educational materials, housing, and other university-type expenses. However, consider this: they may have un-needed or unwanted assets. Like what? How about textbooks! The college graduate or enrollee may have books laying around that they don’t need any more that they could sell for some money, and then voila, they now have some money to give. Another example may be someone that is an avid reader who has a huge collection of books, novels, and storybooks, but throughout their life or career, they may have accumulated too many that they  might not even read again, or don’t ever use any more, and they could… you guessed it… sell those items at a flea market or a used bookshop. Okay back to the college student who might have lots of books they aren’t using. Where can they convert those books into money? Well, they can take them to their bookstore if their bookstore is doing a book buyback, or they can find a web site to sell textbooks to (www.buystextbooks.com is a good example, they’ll buy almost any current edition textbook) and sell their books, get some money, and now they have some money they could donate.

Of course, that’s just one really good example of how to possibly get some cash for stuff that’s just laying around, and using that example, a person can probably think of a dozen other ways to get money. Another example (this is really cool) is that many people (maybe even most people?) collect one thing or another. Some collect cards, baseball cards, old fashioned toys, and things like that. With the advent of internet, auction style websites, and the like, a person wanting to help others by giving them money can sell things they don’t need online. A person doesn’t have to be a college student to sell items, although someone in college might have time to do this: they could be a craftsman or craftsperson, and make handmade items. Let’s say you are good at making boxes, or ornaments, or really classy hand-made gift items. There’s an excellent websites where a person can sell their crafts and make money to give to those in need.

Note: while writing this post, someone just told me they knew someone that raises money for charities buy buying used books from library sales, and then going online and selling those books and using the proceeds to give to others. I’ll have to look into this further but on the spur of the moment, this website looked pretty interesting and cool: http://www.booksale.org. Now, that’s a library book place in New York, I’m sure there are other similar places in your town.

Anyway, in conclusion (yes, I am rambling on), my point is that there are so many ways to help others. You, the reader, have to decide on your own how much you are able to help others, if you are able to help others, and use your own best judgement to make these decisions. If you truly are unable to give to those more in need, a really friendly smile or a gesture of positivity is often a welcome offer of kindness. I once heard someone say that if you walk past or drive past a homeless person on the street that is holding a sign that they need money and you don’t have any money to give to them (or don’t want to give them any money), it’s really nice to not ignore them (for whatever reason), and to at least smile at them and acknowledge them as fellow human beings. We are all part and parcel of the universe, and creation.

Joy, peace and all of the happiness of the holidays to all.

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Here is just a quick note to wish all my readers a really happy holiday season. As far as education goes, I’m going to educate myself in the art of properly wrapping some Christmas presents. I’m going to read up on whether it’s proper to affix a bow to all presents, or only some of them. Should gifts be randomly ‘bowed’ or should only the best ones receive a bow? I almost giftwrapped a book without putting it into a box, but I realized that like the proverbial box of chocolate candies, the recipient is going to know what it is based on the size and weight even though it’s wrapped. So, into a box it goes!

May everyone in the world experience all the joy and peace in the entire world.

Merry Christmas 2012!

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Normally when I study, I will read through the subject matter from front to back. I’ll start from the front page, work my way through to the end of the book, and call it good. Recently, however, I started studying “backwards” from the back of the textbook to the front. It feels like that does something to my brain/mind in a tactile way. Probably like when people force themselves to handwrite using the non-dominant hand. Like exercising a usually-non-exercised portion of your study patterns.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that anyone studies this way, but for me, for some reason, it actually feels good, and allows me to internalize whatever data I am trying to get my head around.

Here are a few of my study methods. They may be ones you already use, and they may not be ones that you use. You have to make your own choices, so please don’t take these as any kind of “recommendation” or suggestion. This is a list I’ve made, just for fun:

  • Reading from back to front.
  • Studying from the beginning to the end.
  • Studying a book from the middle to the front, and then from the middle to the back.
  • Reading from beginning, to the back; then repeating the reading and study from the back all the way to the beginning (like mowing a lawn diagonally, then diagonally again the other way).
  • Imagining myself studying, while I’m actually studying.
  • Taking notes while doing any of the aforementioned 5 steps.

And, there you have it. My various methods of studying things. In a previous post, I went into some details about libraries, in particular, a library in France called the “Bibliotheque de L’Arsenal.” Locally, right here in the United States, we have a number of libraries that are as large, or even larger. If I were to go into one of those libraries and start studying microfilms, literary works, or whatever, I would probably use one of those study methods. For me, the most important way to study is to be sure to actually learn what it is that I am reading about. Then, when I feel I have a tangible grasp on the material, I can say that I’m done studying! Readers — you saw I just now said “tangible” grasp. By ‘tangible’ I mean when I’ve learned something, it has a certain tactile feel to it. Read on:

Tangible Feel To Learning:

I made a little headline right there, “tangible feel…” because have you ever asked somebody a technical question (e.g. “What is the 4th planet in the solar system?”) and you get a vague answer (e.g. “Well, there are quite a few planets, it depends…”). Obviously, they have no clue. They DON’T have a tangible grasp on the topic. But when you do have a full grasp, you can answer with authority (“Mars!”). Did that make sense? Hopefully I explained this in a sensible way. Anyway, I’m about half-way through my study of latin literature, so I’m done writing for the night! Good night!

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Anybody heard of the “Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal”? I did, when I was about 8 years old. I remember thinking magic and spells and things were really cool and I read somewhere that locked up in this giant mysterious library all the way over in France were actual manuscripts from ancient magicians and sorcerers. I really wanted to visit that library. In my imagination, it was made out of brick, and was filled with archives upon archives of books, literature, maybe even writings from Solomon himself.

Well, just the other day, I remembered the name of the library (I even remembered how to spell it) and I searched on the web for it and found it! Here’s their website, again, if you don’t want to search for it like I did, just click here: Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal. On the front page of the site is a cool looking mysterious room, except it’s not ‘mysterious’ as I would have imagined when I was 8, but mysterious because the whole website is in French and I don’t know the language. Um, where are all the books and manuscripts? I dunno. I’m really not so interested in reading books about magic, sorcery, talismans, and things like that any more. Of course, if someone has some stories to tell, or if you’ve actually visited that big big library, do post your comments. I’d like to know if you have been there, have found anything interesting, whether they use the dewey decimal system like we do, etc., and whether the key of Solomon is buried somewhere among the stacks of parchments.

The front of that library (photo taken from the outside) looks kinda smaller than I would imagine it to be. Maybe one day I’ll actually visit it in person. I found the address at the UK National Archives (here) at 1 “rue de sully” street. So maybe it’s as big as a street. But then, if I visit, I wonder if they would actually let me paw through all their texts and volumes. Probably not.

Oh how I wish I was 8 again 🙂

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Some days, doesn’t it seem like there is this thing called “space” on one end of a stick and “time” on another end, and all we’re doing is balancing the two? See, we have to get from one place (point ‘a’) to another place (point ‘b’) in a certain amount of time. Others rely on that! Someone expects us to be at a certain place at a certain time, or, we, ourselves, expect to be somewhere, at a certain place, at a certain time. Well, the title of this blog refers to “Learned Things” (that’s Learn-ed, two syllables, in case you’re asking…), so you’re probably wondering, what’s so learned about balancing time and space? Read on!

Consider this scenario: what if you never had to be on-time for anything. You sat on a park bench all day long reading a book, feeding birds. Nighttime approaches, but you really don’t have to be anywhere, or even go home to your bed to sleep. Isn’t that the ultimate in timelessness? Normally, we keep track of where we have to be. Right now you are reading this blog. You know you have a few minutes left before you have something else to do, so you continue reading. If someone asks if you are busy, you probably say “Oh, well I’m reading, I’ll be there in a few minutes,” or something to that effect. Again, limitations of time and space. What I’m trying to get at is what happens if you don’t have to be anywhere, at any time. Now, saying “Well I have all day” doesn’t count, because what about tomorrow? I’m talking about having unlimited time.

Back to balancing that space vs time “stick” mentioned in the first paragraph. If the time you have is unlimited, won’t that throw off the stick? Make it impossible to balance? Hmm? When I look at a typical day, it’s made up of discrete moments, all grouped together. If you don’t want to search all around the internet about “space time,” there’s an interesting piece on “stacking” time written by a U of P professor, found here and there’s even a cool looking illustration (much better drawn than my illustrations ha ha) of this spiraly circular stacked time thingy. This circular-ish illustration kinda depicts a typical week for me. Anyway, back on point, back to that balanced stick.

balancingWhat happens if your time is finite, so finite it feels constrained? Then, dear reader, the stick will tilt the other way. Space becomes heavy. WE feel heavy and burdened. So constantly, we balance space with time. Please let others know about this blog, as I would most definitely like to hear your comments, and suggestions on this post, particularly your experiences balancing the two as unique entities, instead of a free-flowing river.

In conclusion, the essence of what we experience in our day to day life of learning about stuff, education, and absorbing information seems contingent on how much time we allot to such pursuits. We are finite creatures, in that we will be ‘alive’ on this earthly realm for a set number of human years (after which is a matter for discussion in another place, another time). We have to count minutes, hours, and days; we have to consider what happens next, what we do next, and most importantly, what we choose to study.

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Why do people (well, some people) associate READING with BOOKS? Aside from the obvious, a person can read lots of things. Yesterday’s post already had a list, so I’m going to make a short list: a person can read labels, magazines, newspapers, and signs.

Signs?

That’s today’s topic: signs and signposts. Do you ever wonder what they really mean? Do signs exist to indicate things? To tell people what to do? On the road, there are signs that say “stop” or “don’t cross” or “do this, don’t do that.” None of those signs bother very many people. What if they did? What if you were walking across the street, and suddenly saw a sign that says “Don’t cross.” Would you get irritated? In my opinion, seeing a sign that says that shouldn’t have an emotional impact. Rather, it is an instructional/warning sign to NOT CROSS THE ROAD. If you stand there thinking about it, then that might not be a good thing! So following rules can be a good thing. Hmm… why does it say that? Are they being ‘demanding’ or ‘rude’ or whatever? Ha! That would be silly. That is taking an emotional point of view when given an instruction. If a person reads the owner’s manual to a device or vehicle, or some mechanical item and it says to keep the tires inflated to a certain PSI, does one think “Why are they making demands of me?” No, of course not, these are simple rules or policies or instructions that should be paid attention to.

Okay, back to books… (I can almost hear all of you book lovers out there that are thinking “get back to talking about books…”). What is it with book lovers, anyway? They go on and on about “oohh, I like books so much…” like they are making a blanket statement. Always struck me as strange. I mean, some books are great, and some, well, belong in a box. In the trunk of a car. As weight. To help keep a car that needs trunk-load-balancing balanced. Anyway, back to books: many are instructional, many are informational, and many are just plain ol’ FUN reading (and/or a mixture of the above, and then some). Do you like those colors? Then, why do some books have an emotional impact?!

Emotional Impact of Reading

Have you ever watched someone read a book and then they start to laugh, or cry, get depressed, or become happy? Why does a BOOK do that, and a ROAD SIGN does not? Is it the words? The amount of words? Or is it the context in which it was read? Let’s ponder that for a few moments. Don’t just blurt out what you think the reason is (you may be right, you may be wrong), but just think.impact

Did you come up with an answer? I did. Conditioning. It is our conditioning. We don’t really see that many individuals becoming emotionally involved with a road sign. But all around us, we see people getting absorbed in reading their books. Perhaps the exception may be students who may only get intellectually involved with their college texts. But just take a moment to look at the avid reader in a shop, a store, or a coffee house. The frowns, the smiles. Very interesting, wouldn’t you say!?

Do I have any readers yet? If any of you are reading this far, then for goodness sakes please tell others about this blog! I would love to hear (well, read — I don’t know how good your voice is) your comment(s) and suggestions. If you have compliments to tell me, I am right here. If you have things you don’t like, then just keep it to yourself! Well, okay, you can tell me about that, too.

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This seems to be the hardest part, for me, about writing. Going from my very first post, to the second post. Like building a diving board and then having to take the first leap.

here to there

from here to there, or a to b, or whatever.

So it’s all about going from my first post, to the second. I have this stack of teaching books here, each elaborating on some various aspect of writing. One says, “Give your readers an idea where your thoughts and feelings are coming from.” I am thinking “HUH”? Give my readers an idea? How about I do even better and insert an image into this post. I am going from one point to the next. Maybe one of my books already suggests that.

Anyway, I think it is time for a list. Here is a big list:

  1. The grounds. There is green grass, flowers, and trees everywhere.
  2. The big building. Yes, we mentioned a college of some sort in a previous post. But now I’m talking about anything with a foundation (brick, concrete, stone, or wood).
  3. The inside of the building where studying is going to take place.
  4. A floor plan of how to get from one place to another.

There, that is my “leaping point.” The next topic should be far more interesting!

 

 

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It’s time to write something. Every day I pass by the same buildings, the same streets, the same tree. Off in the distance is a big university with quite a few students (likely studying, and what not). Of course it’s made out of brick, you know, the kind with ivy and trees and well-landscaped grounds. If I were to go inside, it’s likely I would find places that serve food, maybe even coffee (probably near the library, right?). Next door to the university is a big sign that says “college of education.” Now THAT’S what I want to write about: education.

What’s “education” supposed to be about? I’m educated. You’re educated, we are all educated in some way. For example, today I learned that if a person is cutting grass, it’s good to leave a little bit of grass above the ground if you want to keep it healthy so that it grows good in throughout the season. I didn’t really have to go to college to learn that. I learned it by reading!

Now I’m rambling. My first paragraph was about education, my second about reading, and now my third is about getting things done. When a person on TV is idolized as a hero (the one who wins freedom for the community, the one who rescues those that need to be rescued, the person that needs to be counted on), I think their main quality is getting things done. That is the purpose of this blog. I am somehow (some how, some way, however, whatever) going to tie all those topics together, and it will make sense. Lemme repeat that. IT…WILL…MAKE…SENSE… (probably).

So, back to the university building. It’s all about the architecture, the structure. It’s going to be there for a long time because that is what the future is all about; being around for a long time. Sure, students may study at a non-brick building, or a temporary structure, nothing wrong with that. But I’m trying to make a point so if the reader would kindly allow me to generalize. A solid structure fosters an aire of consistency, whereby learning is facilitated. Of course, that’s only my opinion, but now that I’ve got that down on paper, so to speak , I can begin to consider where I want to take this blog, what topics to explore, and what may be of interest, of entertainment value, or something informative.

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