Random Thoughts

It’s almost the middle of December and again, it’s been a while since I posted anything. Good weather has a way of distracting me from writing, and we have been having awesome weather since the Thanksgiving break. I hope you got to be surrounded by lots of family, friends and food. Thanksgiving is officially my favorite holiday of the year because it is mostly about these simpler things that I still believe in and that I enjoy completely. Now the Holiday Season is in full swing, and I, for one, hope that the weather continues to be the gentle gift it’s been so far. In that spirit of giving then, I’d like to share some random thoughts and links.

  • The Sketchbook of Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face, by Steve Silberman/ In the wake of the passing of Steve Jobs, a number of other Apple related stories have begun to emerge and I found this one fascinating for a couple of reasons. First and most importantly to me is the idea of getting to peak into someone’s notebook/ sketchbook/ diary/ journal. I blame my uncle Leonel, and his gift to me sometime around my 12th birthday or Christmas. The Sketchbooks of Leonardo da Vinci introduced me to my first icon and hero. But this love of mine to look behind the scenes at the creative process is not unique, of course, otherwise there would be no DVD bonus tracks to speak of. The commentary track on every DVD is basically a book without the reading. I found the Kare’s sketchbook both fascinating and nostalgic.
  • The Dwindling Power of a College Degree by Adam Davidson. The Occupy Movement has brought attention to the growing disillusionment of young college educated Americans who have little prospect for a profitable career and are burdened with crushing debt from that college experience. It’s not just a bunch of whiny, lazy people who want everything taken care of by the government. The reality is that there have been huge economic shifts in the last two decades, and the results are starting to shake the foundations of the “American Dream”. No one knows for sure what the future holds, but there have certainly been disturbing economic trends that indicate there are serious problems with our current version of capitalism.
  • Gabe Zichermann: How games make kids smarter. TED Talks … Do I ever write a month’s worth of posts without mentioning this site at least once? Whenever I have a few minutes, I make sure that I stop by this site to view their latest offering. This time around I discovered Mr. Zichermann’s provocative talk which asks, “Can playing video games make you more productive?” While I agree with the idea that games present novel challenges which may make some kids better problem-solvers, I completely disagree with the presenter’s conclusion that the days of sitting around with a cup of tea and a good book are over … that’s just plain ol’ ridiculous.
  • Frontline Videos: Among the many video resources that I have listed on the eponomously named page of this blog is the PBS offering Frontline.  You can find all their free streaming videos on their website. I purchased their College, Inc. video, but you can also find it here along with dozens of other interesting videos such as the Madoff Affair (Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme), Top Secret America (post 911 government and privacy), and The Card Game (credit cards and consumers). The great thing about streaming video is you can find the portion you want, and only play that for your class. Online resources like this are great now that we have video projectors in many classroom, and it’s another reason teachers and students should get into the habit of bookmarking these sites for easy reference.
  • Fahrenheit 451: the authorized adaptation by Tim Hamilton, with an introduction by Ray Bradbury: Not all of my reading is limited to text. I love a good story told using animation, and I try to add a few of the best “stories told in pictures” to our library collection with every book order.  I’m not saying that picking up this graphic novel is a substitute for reading Bradbury’s full length novel, but I would certainly use it to compliment any class room reading. Best of all, the introduction by Bradbury is not some thrown together blurb, but a mini essay about the creative process and the many forms a story can take.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find something worthwhile.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.

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About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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