Categories
#blogjune Review teaching Work

#BlogJune Day 14

So I’ve been an avid avoider of anything and everything AI related (as much as I’ve been aware, that is). But earlier this week, I attended a Webinar on ‘GenAI in schools’ and, from that, figured I should probably find out more for myself. Engage with it, at least, so I can be familiar with some of the concepts in the conversation… so I did.

Yesterday I discovered something amusing. I’m currently starting a unit on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with one of my classes, so to cut down on my workload I thought I’d ChatGPT some of the significant quotes in Act One.

So Act One has two scenes. Scene 1 shows Duke Theseus and others in Athens; Scene 2 shows a group of ‘mechanicals’ (actors) who are preparing to rehearse a play. Neither scene shows any of the fairies: Oberon (King), Titania (Queen) or Puck (mischief making sprite). But check this out:

See the explanation after each bolded quote? Oberon! Then Titania! And so then this happened:

Ha! Humans for the win right here! (Although I didn’t use question marks when asking my questions, so I feel like I’ve lost a bit of credibility there too…)

Still, have a winning day yourself, dear Reader 🙂

  • KRidwyn
Categories
Reading Review teaching Work

9/52 On reading

Books I’ve read recently:

H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. I figured it was time; that I should read it at least once in my life. And it *was* good. I can see why it was such an influential novel in its time… but it was the introduction by Orson Scott Card (in the version I was reading) which impressed me more in its insight and readability. He’s an impressive writer, Orson Scott Card!

The Joy Luck Club: I picked this one up because again, it was one of those “I should really read this at least once in my life” moments. Halfway down the first page, I realised I’d already read it, probably a decade or two ago now! And I’d enjoyed it… but seeing as time is fleeting, reading takes it up, and I’d already read it before: I finished the first chapter then skipped to the final chapter for a quick re-read before putting it down. It’s the mark of a brilliant writer, I think, that Amy Tan can make me cry in just those first and last chapters! Although maybe, being half-Asian myself, the story resonates with me more…?


Hangman’s Curse by Frank Peretti. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! The Christian overtones weren’t as ‘in your face’ as other Christian novels I’ve read, and as for the depiction of bullying in high schools: I don’t know if much (at all!) has changed in the intervening years since it was published in 2001.

And now: The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum. Considering his Bourne series has been one of my favourites since my teens, this is proving to be quite an easy read. Again: what a writer, huh?


And that’s it from me this week. Now I need to go and get through those class sets of draft marking which are waiting patiently for me!

Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂
⁃ KRidwyn

Categories
Life Review

7/52 On transparency

Today’s the 18th of February. In less than a month, we’ll be heading to the poll booths to get ourselves the next four years’ worth of local politicians.

So the other week, I thought I’d look into who’s running. In my region, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, both our Mayor and our Deputy Mayor (who was also my divisional councillor, just for interest) have decided to not run again… meaning I’ll have two newbies in these roles.

I headed off to Google to find out who’s been nominated. My first hit seemed to be the go: three mayoral candidates with a bit of a blurb on each. Impressive… until I realised that according to sunshinecoastnews.com, there’s six candidates for mayor, not three!  Jason O’Pray; Wayne Parcell; Ashley Robinson, Michael Burgess, Rosanna Natoli, and Min Swan (apparently listed in the order they appear on the Electoral Commission of Queensland website). I guess the original article made sense when I re-looked at the title “meet the latest candidates”… I’m guessing they’d already had an initial article with the other three hopefuls.

And in my own division, there’s three choices: Kristy Taylor-Rose; Jenny Broderick; and Stan Nowrocki.

Trying to find informaion on each of these nine people though, proved problematic. Surely there’d be a news article where each candidate was linked to their own page, which detailed (or even just outlined!) who they were and what they stood for? But nope.

So I tried Facebook. Nothing. Even a request to the Sunshine Coast Council’s offical Facebook page only produced this:

Hmm. So off to the ECQ website. Several clicks later, I can see that no, the list order must have changed since the 13th of February, when sunshinecoastnews.com published its article. No matter. There’s still 6 mayoral candidates, and 3 candidates for divisional councillor. Links to their websites though? Nope.

So I’ve decided that I’ll do it. I have my own website, yes? And an interest in getting this information out so people can actually be informed about who it is they might vote for? Well, here it is. For my division, as least. And they’re in alphabetical order (I’m a librarian, remember!)

Sunshine Coast Division One Councillor candidates:

Jenny Broderick

Stan Nowrocki (LinkedIn was the closest site I could find)

Kristy Taylor-Rose (again, no dedicated website; this one’s a news article and this is LinkedIn)

 

Sunshine Coast Mayoral Candidates:

Michael Burgess

Rosanna Natoli

Jason O’Pray

Wayne Parcell (this site takes a while to load…)

Ashley Robinson

Min Swan

Something I noticed about the mayoral candidates: numbers of them say they’re interested in transparency. So I’m guessing that when they inherit the Facebook page, the policy of ‘giving residents the information they’d like’ will change? Hmmm.

Enjoy, dear Reader! And feel free to share / comment etc as you see fit…

  • KRidwyn

 

Categories
Reading Review

Novel series review…

Now I’m a Teacher Librarian, I check out the book section of each store I happen to find myself in. And boy! Have I found some bargains 🙂
I’ve been meaning to purchase the trilogy by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff THE ILLUMINAE FILES for some time now, however time has worked against me. Imagine my delight then, to find them for just $5 each from my local supermarket! Purchase acquired, I scurried home to read them… and was even more delighted that I was on holiday and could afford the time. Because I literally could NOT put these books down!

On the downside, the grey font on grey background pages were a little frustrating. And a second downside was that finishing the series meant I had to integrate back into reality again, however I am immensely glad for the experience while it lasted, and have been recommending these books left, right and centre ever since. It’s no wonder they won a Prime Minister’s Literary Award, an ABIA Award, an Aurealis Award and an Inky Award – they’re well deserved winners!
So. If you have a few hours and want to be immersed in a gripping storyline, check these out. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll also be fortunate enough to find the entire trilogy for just $5 each!
Have an immerseful day yourself, dear Reader!
– KRidwyn

Categories
Reading Review Writing

On re-reading

I’m re-reading my all-time-favourite novel again at the moment: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas. I’m not entirely sure why I love it so much, just that I do. And each time I read it, I find more and more to love.

Take, for example, this segment:

“The two friends sat down to dinner; but as they were eating, Albert could not refrain from pointing out the marked difference between the respective merits of Signor Pastrini’s cook and the one employed by the Count of Monte Cristo; and indeed, honesty obliged Franz to confess, despite the reservations he still seemed to have on the subject of the count, that the comparison was not to the advantage of Signor Pastrini’s chef.” (p. 401)

and this, four pages later:

“The two friends did not presume to repay the count for the luncheon he had given them: it would have been poor jest to offer him, in exchange for his excellent table, the very mediocre fare that made up Signor Pastrini’s table d’hote. They said as much openly and he accepted their excuses with evident appreciation of their thoughtfulness.” (p. 405)

What gorgeous writing! Wouldn’t you agree? That first sentence, in particular, is 73 words long!!!

And have a fantastic, literary week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
Christianity momentous events Review

Best night EVER!

Friday night. The not-too-distant past. Sons of Korah, Australian Christian band, playing at Lifepointe Baptist church at Buderim.

SOOOOO worth the almost-20-year (yeh, you read that correctly) wait to see them live.

They were BRILLIANT! Their technical expertise was beyond compare. Such timing, such accuracy – they were so ‘tight’, it was – truly – incredible. As in, the “real” meaning of that word. Beyond belief.

It’s been years since I’ve been so ‘swept up’ in the moment. But that concert did it for me. I was alive 🙂

[I wonder if that’s how God feels, looking down on us with such delight?! A beautiful thought!]

Anyway, I just wanted to share this memory with you today. And if you’re interested in their music, try here. I’d recommend their initial album, ‘Light of Life’ as a great starting point!

And here’s praying that you have a inspired week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

Categories
Reading Review Writing

Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

 

 

Categories
Reading Review

My take on the latest, greatest picture book…

I was given a stack of Picture Books recently, asked to read them, and give my opinion. Smiling, I agreed. Who doesn’t like picture books?

And although there were a couple that I recommended the library in question *not* purchase, one of the books in particular hit me as not only extremely well-written (and illustrated, of course) but with a clear message, subtle yet necessary, and BRILLIANTLY executed.

I don’t review books often – not because I don’t read (my 2016 Goodreads challenge is sitting steady on 77 books completed, of the 104 I set myself) – but because I don’t want to embarrass myself again with a recommendation for a book I’ve fallen in love with… which I later find out to be pretty much a blatant rip-off of an earlier novel which I’d never read. [This situation occurred earlier this year, and boy! was I mad when I discovered the original…]

But back to the picture book: my latest, greatest, most favourite of all picture books that I discovered this week is: THE FABULOUS FRIEND MACHINE by Nick Bland.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-06-21-pm

Yes, that’s a chicken, looking at an iPad. No, I won’t give away any more than that.

If you’ve read this book already, you’re smiling right now; I know. Me too.

If you *haven’t* read it – go find yourself a copy and READ IT NOW. You won’t regret it, I promise. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll probably say to yourself after, ‘I know people who need to read this book’. And you’ll tell them. The way I’m telling you.

Please, please, please, if you know of any parents, or teachers, or librarians, please let them know about this book. I can’t stress enough how much they’ll love it. Try it, and see. Bet you I’m right!

And, as always, have a lovely week 🙂

— KRidwyn

Categories
#blogjune Blogging challenges Random thoughts Reading Review Writing

30 must-read books – #12

Book #12 continues the fantasy genre for this week’s #blogjune posts. The Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer, is my ‘go-to’ example of magical races surviving undetected on modern-day Earth.

#bj13a

In a similar vein, of course, are the more-well-known Harry Potter and Twilight series’.

#bj13b #bj13c

 

 

 

 

 

But as much as the Rowling and Meyer series’ are extremely well-written, I prefer the wit of the Colfer series. I found the mix of criminal masterminds with LEP Recon rather clever. Or perhaps it’s just the intricacies of the dwarf digestive system that amuses me.

Have you ever read them? What did you think?

And, as always, have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

 

Categories
#blogjune Blogging challenges Life Reading Review Writing

30 must-read books – #9

I can’t remember my first time reading Obernewtyn – I think I may have been twelve or thirteen at the time? I recall I’d recently read Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah – and preferred the Carmody story immensely. The ones that followed, just as much.

IMG_1199

Fast forward to 2015. Carmody finished the series! And seriously, reading the final sentence of Book 7, decades later and what felt like hundreds of thousands of hours of time spent with these characters? It was TOTALLY worth it.

Because of ALL my reading, every single book I have ever read, THIS SERIES has the final sentence to end all final sentences.

You don’t see it coming.

But when it does, it’s PERFECT!

(And yes, I’m well aware I’ve used excessive capitalisation in this post. And you know what? I don’t regret it. Whenever I write a final sentence now, I think of hers. That sentence of hers is my penultimate example. Trust me – if you’ve read the series from beginning to end – you’ll agree with me!)

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn