Category Archives: Inspiration

My 2015 Bucket List

Introducing my 2015 Bucket List

These are smaller items that I hope to accomplish by the end of 2015.

5. Catch a fish in Oregon

Considering how much water Oregon has I am disappointed to have not a caught a fish here. I am starting to wonder if the fish here are a myth like bigfoot. Salmon here are allegedly really good to eat.

4. Get back into Oil Painting

My wife bought an easel for me to use for oil painting. I enjoy it, but having kids makes it difficult to find a safe place to paint. Continue reading My 2015 Bucket List

Advertisements

How Did These Graduate Students Improve Their Working Conditions? They Went on Strike!

(from the Nation, by Michelle Chen) On their campus set amid the idyllic northwestern woodlands, graduate students at the University of Oregon stepped out of their classrooms and onto a historic picket line last week. The union, representing some 1,500 graduate teaching fellows, went on an eight-day strike and emerged Wednesday with a final deal, embattled but triumphant.

The agreement, now set for a final vote, fell somewhat short of their central request for paid family and medical leave. Instead, the university will establish a “hardship fund” to support graduate students who need time off to tend to healthcare needs, including students who are not employees or union members. From a fund of about $150,000 ($50 per graduate student), students will apply for grants “up to $1,000 in the case of serious medical issues and $1,500 in the case of the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.” Click here for the: Full story at the Nation, by Michelle Chen

Stranger than Fiction – University of Oregon’s Graduate Students on Strike

Friends… I know you follow this blog for fiction writing, foster care, and or marathon running. Well… sometimes reality provides great inspiration for fiction writing.

The University of Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) is on strike. They have been on strike since December 2nd. The sticking points in negotiation are two weeks of paid leave.

This is the first graduate student strike in the history of the University of Oregon. What makes it stranger is the bizarre comments made by the administration. Scott Coltrane, interim President at the University of Oregon, has said two-weeks of paid leave is not possible… even though he built his career on advocating for parental leave.

Corey Robin wrote: The GTFF demands are modest. Indeed, Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located, is mandating sick leave benefits for all workers across the city. But because university employees are exempted, the GTFF must bargain for them.

(An irony at the heart of this labor dispute is that the interim university president, Scott Coltrane, is a sociologist whose work is focused on family leave. He has been featured in The Atlantic, on NPR and was even at the White House last June to speak about the importance of parental leave policies. Such are the corporate institutional imperatives of universities today that his administration feels compelled to oppose such policies for graduate employees. )

The strike could end up making a mess of final exams,and final papers. As well as making a mess of campus.

The Daily Emerald reports:

The GTFF strike could result in a quite stinky campus. If an agreement isn’t reached between the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and the university, University of Oregon’s garbage will not be collected.

The Teamsters Local #206 union, which includes Sanipac drivers, issued a 72-hour notice that it will not cross the picket lines.

It gets stranger, friends. The University of Oregon is willing to go so far as to compromise the integrity of the grades and diplomas it issues.

In the Register-Guard story, Diane Dietz writes...The United Academics, which represents 1,800 UO faculty, is protesting administration plans to — in some cases — assign final grades in GTF-led classes based on student work turned in up to Dec. 1.

“(The administration) politicized the grading system at the University of Oregon in order to limit the tactical leverage of the GTFF. They compromised the core academic integrity of the grading process in order to win in this labor battle,” said Michael Dreiling, sociology professor and president of the United Academics. “They’re using it, at minimum, as a power play or a point of leverage — to say you can’t win this strike. We’ve got grades covered.”

John Protevi’s blog had a strong statement in an open letter to the University of Oregon (you should definitely read the entire letter):

I urge you to give the graduate students what they’re asking for, cease the morally repugnant behavior, and manifest a little integrity.

Will athletes be academically eligible with the “integrity” of these grades compromised? Will diplomas hold the same value? Give strong consideration to what is happening at the University of Oregon… because this educational crisis is not an isolated incident. If tuition continues to rise for college education, where are these tuition fees going if not to pay the teachers? At least the football stadium looks amazing.

Currently there is a moveon.org petition urging the University of Oregon administration to abandon its stranger than fiction campaign against the graduate teaching fellows. I encourage you to sign it and share it with others.

Part Two: A Character began Following Me … A Writer’s Journey

http://ri.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrTcXpIVlVUsDoA4EqjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBxNG1oMmE2BHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmwEaXQD/RV=2/RE=1414907592/RO=11/RU=http%3a%2f%2fshades-differentcolours.blogspot.com%2f2012%2f12%2fshadows.html/RK=0/RS=Wx_Gs8Bo7LVIcF74KBFTUn._LBc-A few weeks ago, a character I did not recognize began following me.

At the time I knew very little about this character. Things have changed. I now know the character’s gender, name, age… some of her motivations.

But this process is annoying. I am a writer. But working on two projects at once is a bit much. I have finished my outline for this “mystery character’s” story. But I am still elbow deep in my “current” story. But this new character will not stop following me. Continue reading Part Two: A Character began Following Me … A Writer’s Journey

Last Week a Character began Following Me … A Writer’s Journey

http://ri.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrTcXpIVlVUsDoA4EqjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBxNG1oMmE2BHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmwEaXQD/RV=2/RE=1414907592/RO=11/RU=http%3a%2f%2fshades-differentcolours.blogspot.com%2f2012%2f12%2fshadows.html/RK=0/RS=Wx_Gs8Bo7LVIcF74KBFTUn._LBc-Last week a character I did not recognize began following me.

Creepy? Not really. Annoying? Very. Maybe this is a good thing… but it is very distracting. I am currently committed to writing a novel, and committed to the characters in that novel. I don’t know the name, gender, or age of this figure. I can only tell you this figure is human… and began following me the other night. So yes… my next story idea is already brewing. But it is difficult to focus on my current project while this new character is stalking me… Continue reading Last Week a Character began Following Me … A Writer’s Journey