Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sorting Out Visiting Teaching

Our first short stories were originally intended to be due in fiction writing today, but our teacher gave everyone a deadline extension. That was pretty nice, since I hadn't finished mine.

The reason they weren't due today is because instead of going to class as usual, we instead attended a poetry reading by someone named David Baker. It was... not my thing. He didn't introduce himself or give the title of his first poem, and his poems were quite strange, going from talking about drawing deer to ADHD and then back to deer. It was an incredibly long poem that took him at least five minutes to read, and I'd assumed he'd switched to a second poem in the middle. There weren't any rhymes, and I couldn't detect a beat pattern. He was just saying sentences, and not in a voice that particularly captured my imagination.

I stayed up until it was time for me to leave for Institute and snuck out. I guess I just don't get the point of poetry readings. It did make me realize that I could probably be successful if I would actually finish a small project instead of dragging all my novels out for 600,000+ words. One of these days I'll decide that breaking into the publishing world is more important to me than the details of character development across the lifespan and needlessly complex worldbuilding, but not for a little while longer.

The relief society presidency got together to sort out visiting teaching slips from 7 until 9.

We might have gone on longer, but I was getting really tired, and I had homework that needed to be finished. We were able to pair up a lot of people, though. Now it'll just be a few days of contemplation and prayer to as everything get finalized.

Truthfully, I am a little worried. There are so many records in the ward, but only about a third of the people whose records are here come to church. Hopefully everything works out well.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

This Is School

Today was a rather simple day of attending my research methods, measurements, and behavior classes. Just some basic school stuff.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day After Conference

We talked about General Conference in Institute today, of course. There was a story told in Conference about a girl who was on a tour bus and saw her brother while he was out serving his mission. The bus stopped for her, and she ran out to see him. Apparently, that girl attends Institute here, and her friend had recorded the exchange. We got to watch it. It was pretty cool to see the video rather than just the still images from Conference. It just helps the stories come to life a little bit more.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Even More Conference

Another day of enjoying General Conference. I ate a little better today. Not so much candy. Always good.

It's always sad when Conference ends. There were some good talks this year, although it's so bizarre not to have Thomas S. Monson attend. I suppose that's what happens sometimes when prophets get old. It should be interesting to see how things play out from here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Single-Person Conference

Today was the first day of October General Conference for 2017. I'd bought a little bit of candy, but my goal was not to go overboard.

So, I passed my day hanging out on the couch, mostly drawing, and doing a bit of writing during the breaks. Of course, I got up to walk around the apartment and stretch too. Even cooked some food. A bit lonely and unusual, but nice.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Meat at the Zoo

Early this morning, I took the bus down to the zoo again. It's a little intimidating since it's crazy dark at that time of day, but it isn't too bad.

I recorded the behaviors of several animals with the ethograms again today. I also helped prepare some food for the bobcat, lynx, some owls, the eagle, and redtail hawk. I chopped their meat into smaller chunks. I don't know what they were being served, but it smelled absolutely delicious, and I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who has hated meat for years. It was quite an interesting experience.

Following my trip to the zoo, I attended my fiction writing class. It's pretty nice not to have Institute on Fridays. It certainly lightens my load.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Behavior Exam 1

I had an exam in my behavior class today. It certainly wasn't enjoyable; some of the questions were worded strangely, and my stomach was hurting a lot. I kept squirming in my seat as I tried to get comfortable. My teacher brought donuts to cushion the annoyance of taking an exam, but I was stuffed from lunch. I walked home with it and left it on the counter so I could crawl into bed. I'll eat it later.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Up For Sudden Fiction Review

Today was the day we were to come to fiction writing class and critique one another's sudden fiction pieces. Not all of them, of course, but just the ones we had been assigned to look at over the weekend. Mostly I was looking forward to it, though knowing you'll be receiving critiques on something you put time and energy into always comes with a bit of dread.

To be honest, it didn't go too well. Everyone in my group who was assigned to read my story understood what was going on... except for the person who did the write-up for mine. And as non-judgmental as I try to be, it does sting when I write eight pages of both positive and negative feedback for the person I was assigned to, and only get 3/4 of one with very choppy sentences and evasive, noncommittal responses in return. Especially when we were instructed to write in complete sentences. Oh well. At least I got one.

My story was basically an elevator pitch, except the guy doing the pitch was trying to convince his boss why he should be fired... and manipulated him into granting him a promotion. I thought it was pretty straightforward, and everyone else seemed to think so too, but it's always helpful to get the perspective of someone who wasn't onboard. If you didn't catch the subtleties early enough, I can see how the end would be confusing.

I also found out that we had a 4-page limit on our sudden fiction piece instead of a 3-page one, which is what I'd confined myself to. That might work out in my favor when I do revisions, since it gives me more room to work.

The person I was assigned to be "main editor" for wasn't actually here today. She was an interesting case: Her writing style was too much instead of too little. She went into extreme details about little things that weren't very important, like the sticky cheese on the nachos a side-character was eating, and the way they rained down when he threw them up into the air. Interesting, but very confusing at times. It wasn't clear why the nachos were raining from the sky a moment later- had he jumped up and thrown them? Was he excited? Startled? And why were people on the soccer field holding the ball and their heads? Had someone fallen? Was someone hurt? In soccer, players get down on one knee when someone is hurt. Had a player just tried to make a winning kick but failed, and was now falling to the ground in shame, clasping his hair? It was a bit jumbled up. Still, I had a lot of fun looking over her story and making comments. It was an enjoyable read overall.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ordinary Monday After

Just an ordinary Monday for me. Luckily, I was able to finish my homework on Saturday, although it sure does feel busy going back to school right after spending Saturday preparing a lesson, and Sunday teaching. Still, I'm glad I was able to rest Sunday afternoon. That wouldn't have been fun to try to cram all my homework in after teaching. It's nice to have a day of rest.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Our Callings

This morning, I printed out the items I needed for my lesson on magnifying our callings. I had a few quotes and scripture to cut into strips, and I had people volunteer to come up and get them while I introduced myself and gave the brief outline of my lesson. I figured that was better than handing the strips out to people as they came in, since people generally don't like to be forced into participating.

My lesson went well. I had a lot to say about Eyring's talk, and some stories to share. One thing that I mentioned was that when I'd first been asked to give this talk, I still had lingering traces of bronchitis that made me constantly cough and rasp a bit. However, I accepted the task anyway, and my bronchitis ended up disappearing before it was time for me to give my lesson. I hadn't even realized it until then, and I hadn't planned to discuss it, but suddenly I felt prompted to mention that.

I think I was engaging and many people came up afterwards to tell me they really enjoyed my lesson. I sent Mom a quick test to let her know I thought I'd done well. Of course, I later found out I'd given a lesson on the wrong talk... but no one actually confronted about it. Maybe it was the lesson the girls just starting relief society needed to hear.