Sunday, 30 November 2008

Shades of Gray

Getting this week's homework in the nick of time...

An absolutely amazing story can be read here.

I couldn't even begin to do it justice by describing it to you, so I'm going to whet your appetite by quoting directly the very first paragraph:

"The rhythm of her Nikes slapping the pavement countered the pace of her breathing. While it didn't quite match completely, it was comforting for the mismatched tempos mimicked her mood. There had been a lot going on in Annie's life; everything except the one thing she wanted. Slowly she pushed all the thoughts out of her mind and focused on the beat pulsating in her ears and the burn in her calves. She was one mile in with two still waiting to be traveled; a daunting task when ten laps around the station make one mile."

There are 10 chapters/posts so far, so it won't take you long to catch up, and believe me, you are in for a treat.

The story is written by Bernice, who has a blog about her day-to-day life here.


stepping back for a second to teaching...

So I'm a little bit behind the times....actually a lot behind the times. Seems I'm handing in my homework rather late...

I just wanted to share the following with you, which are all teaching blogs I came across while I was searching last week. They are all really good.

Bluebird's Classroom is the musings of a middle school teacher in the U.S. In her latest post she talks about frog dissections. Lovely.

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages is a very well-written teaching blog. Lately she's been hoovering her classroom in preparation for the parent-teacher evenings!

NY Teacher is a blog by a primary-school teacher in Brooklyn. Here she shares some good tips on how to get kids to make more effort with their spelling.

And finally,

To Miss With Love is an amazing blog written by a teacher in an inner-city school in London. She points out in this post why children don't take exams seriously. The archives used to be much larger, and it seems she may be ceasing to blog soon, so get in there quick!

I really haven't done these blogs the justice they deserve, so go have a poke around and see if there is anything you like!



Thursday, 27 November 2008

Are you sitting comfortably? Then, I'll begin...

Having chosen this weeks topic, it dawned on me quite quickly what a mammoth task I had set for the team. There are squillions of fiction bloggers out there, all hammering out their quirky tales, in a veritable cacophony of creative clattering. The tap-tappety-tap of keyboards echo throughout the ever chaotic avenues of the fictionosphere. So how on earth was I going to be able to pick just one?

Never being one to turn down a challenge, but struggling to single out a sole subject, I made an executive decision. I wasn't going to. So instead of just one choice this week, I am going to cheat, openly, and bring you my top three creative writing blogs. Be grateful, I was going to cover 15...

The author of "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes" splits her blog into two. The part that I tend to frequent covers her day to day life, living with an eating disorder. The other half of her blog, contains short fiction. Sometimes the two cross over, for example "Anorexia Reunion" is an ironic look at the competitive but solely self-destructive nature of Anorexia Nervosa.

The majority of her fiction is not based upon eating disorders. There are several series, and numerous shorts available to read on her blog. I enjoyed "Zombie Toaster Virus" "How to sell yourself short" and "don't cry out" Vanessa has recently been working on a series of pieces called "Instructions to a young deity" beginning at part 1 and scattered throughout the blog up until the most recent part 14
Some of her older writing includes a series entitled "Things could be worse..." I particularly enjoyed "...if the rain washed away all our pain", "...if my voice was stolen by wolves" and "...if I only had one eye".
I also

I also found another great fiction blog on her blogroll: Told On A Friday which has a veritable fiction-fest for you. I didn't have time to write a post, and read everything on there, however I did enjoy Adventures in Sitting (or The Armchair Romantic) although I'm sure I just identified with the upholstery love, seeing as I have merged into one, with my futon. And I fell in love with Underneath His Hat but you have to read it yourself to find out why.

The last blog I happened across quite by accident, and decided at the last minute that it was worth a mention. Natalia Antonova* is The Dork Angel, and this is her personal blog. Aside from general posts on pretty much life, the world and the Universe, Dork Angel provides an archive of Natalia's own writing. She describes her stories section:
"Some are purely personal anecdotes, like diary entries, others are a little bit more substantial and fleshed out. I am progressing toward something here, am just not sure as to what yet"
There is some dark imagery lurking in Natalia's archives, I got creeped out by Nightmares and found her own take on Fairy Stories to be quite interesting, try The Blunt Mirror. There are also a selection of personal essays, the one which stood out for me was: Natasha From Russia but be warned, the content is quite real and harsh.

Phew, that should keep you busy!

* Natalia also writes a column for the online magazine called Global Comment, which describes itself as one-stop web magazine for all readers who are looking for fresh, independent and eclectic commentaries written by talented writers from all over the world....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Week 3: Hannah's choice for 'Fiction'

This has been a great week for finding hidden gems! There are so many creative people out there, I was overwhelmed to find so much inspiration!

I'm going to share Sin of Silence with you, because it was so endearing. SoS describes her blog like this;

"This blog, in a very short time, has indeed become my home. Like my bedroom back home. Yes, I like the sound of that word. Home. It makes me feel like I belong somewhere. It makes me forget all insecurities and self-doubt. It makes me feel at home."

All I can say is it really does make you feel like you have entered into a little secret hideaway, where you will find yourself privy to some beautiful writing.
Themes that run through include, dreams, growing up, relationships, hopes and fears, it's treasure trove stuff.
I think this blog shows so much potential, take a look, you wont be disappointed!

Now I'm going to push you all in the direction of two more deliciously sparkly finds; Creative Coping is the first, talent like this simply must be shared, and the second is Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookie, off the wall creative genius!

Enjoy my friends!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Week 2: Hannah's Choice for 'Teaching'

Wowee! What have I learnt this week? Teaching equals stress people!

As I ploughed through the blogosphere this week I've been blasted with more hot air than you would encounter from a dairy cow's behind!

It would appear our little darlings have been providing teachers with more than enough fodder to rant about. I came upon post after post from hair-pulling, pent-up, worn out educators.

My big blue neon arrow is pointing you towards Scenes from the Battleground, a blog about teaching in tough schools in the UK. The blog author, Old Andrew, is a secondary school teacher who confesses to loving his role as an educator but at the same time is "utterly dissatisfied" with the way the British education system is run.

Honest, frank, strongly opinionated, Scenes from the Battleground is admirably well researched, topical and rightly inspiring a large following. Ok, so it's already well-known but before you cast me down below, it was one of the best I came across and I couldn't help sharing it with you!
Complete with an interactive discussion forum this blog is an invaluable resource for teachers, and I recommend it to you as a great read.

Check out Old Andrew's tongue in cheek humour in The Driving Lesson and his alarming discussion on students intimidating teachers in Getting "Terrored".

To conclude, this is an eye-opener. A real insight into what goes on within the school gates. More of us need to be aware of what is actually happening in our country's schools these days!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Week 2 - Diary of A Trainee Teacher

Like Lola, I too had to sift through lots of very interesting, but unfortunately abandoned, blogs before I found some still live.

A lot of them are really good, but also already quite popular.

However, here is a gem I don't think is very well-known.

Unfortunaltey, with the pressures of a PGCE (and I know how tough they can be seeing as my housemate started one and dissapeared into the world of study, never to be seen again!) she doesn't update very often, but when she does you can tell she is learning - a lot! There is a good mix of 'things I have learnt on the job' posts and 'things I have learnt through research, reading and essay-writing' posts.

Check out Reflection, Wow - it wasn't a fluke, and fail to plan- plan to fail (which is a lesson for us all!) for examples of the former.

Check out Classroom management, SATS scrapped and Universities and Training for examples of the latter.

Update your blogrolls and enjoy!

(On that note, I didn't realise how bad this project would be for me - adding about 7 blogs to the roll a week is very very bad for the amount of time I'm spending reading all the updates! Ah well, I could be addicted to worse things in life...)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Week Two - A Class Act

It appears that teachers are unable to complete their homework. Literally millions* of abandoned projects cluttering up the blogosphere, obviously they missed the lesson on how to tidy up after themselves, huh?

After a frustrating hour of trawling t'interweb, I seriously thought that I was about to become a 404 Not Found. You know that feeling, when you have so many tabs and windows open that you can't remember where you started, where you're going or what you were even looking for in the first place. So I got apon my snobby-bloggy high horse. Too many photos? You are the weakest link, Goodbye! Eughgh black background with red font, what in God's name were you thinking? Oh my word, I do NOT want to see your real face if you look like that! How many Memes have you done? Is this a MEME blog? I don't want to read about your flippin' holiday in Turkey. What is your problem, do you hate your readers? No? Then whats with all the fricking clipart? Huh? Is this 1992?

Then I started getting hyper-bloggy-snobby: Errrm no, I'm sorry, you are a TEACHER. Can you not spell? Hypocrite is spelt with a I not a Y. Can you not consult a dictionary-book? No? Well pee off then with your bad grammar and your spellcheckophobia. And so forth.

I was worried this week might creep over the language barrier into Baby Speakland, with cutsie-wootsie stories of gosh-n-darn it, ain't kids the cutest things? But then I found this blog. A light, (but well thought out), humorous (but not cruel or mocking) gleaming example of blogging at it's best.

"It shouldn't Happen To A Teacher" definitely gets a gold star from me. Actually I liked it so much that I've added it to my Google Reader, and to my Blog Roll. It's the blog of a young maths teacher who describes his favourite things about teaching as
"the holidays, the financial incentives and the encouraging ratio of male to female teachers. Oh and working with kids and inspiring young minds and all that"

The blog used sufficient technical lingo for one to be sure this is a real Teachers blog, as apposed to someone merely pretending to be a teacher (like y'know writing about Home Economics or something) but the reader can understand the posts without needing a degree in Teacherology.

I wanted to pick out my favourite posts to share with you, but honestly I struggled. I made my way down the list, mentally noting: "Oh yes, this one. Oh and this one. Yes this one, this one too" and that was only the most recent page. I thought this post on "Quiz Night", was really sweet in a non-vomit inducing way. The post entitled "Shut Up" made me laugh out loud, and I think we can all identify with "What did you say". Personally I also loved "Standing Out" because I could just picture the scene, and "I'm blind" had me in slightly cringy stitches too.

These are just a few of the more recent posts. He's been blogging for three years now, so you have the whole archives to work your way through. Something to occupy you on the Sunday evening blog-posting lull. After you've done your homework that is.

Lola Snow x
Blog Addict 404


*OK tiny exaggeration

Monday, 17 November 2008

Week 2 (Teaching) - just a math teacher

I think I've found an exceedingly hidden gem here. The other day, Chapati was kind enough to give me a Blog Award, and I've been following it's progress.

I passed it to Bernice, who passed it on to Big Bad Wolf, who passed it to Earl, who passed it to his sister, Yoda of Math. Currently, she only reads Earl's and their mum's, and I only see evidence of comments from Earl.

Her writing, however, is just how I like it. She talks to you in the way you would tell things to a friend - it gets the point across without being overly emotive or long-winded, or overly clinical/brief.

I think that, given more readers, this blog could be the centre of its own community

So, without further ado, I introduce 'just a math teacher' by Yoda of Math

Week 2 - Teaching

OK, week 2's theme is teaching. I can imagine us getting some really good ones out of this week - it's a topic which is bound to inspire conversation and debate.

I'm looking forward to reading eeryone's finds.

We've already added one reader to our team, and the more the merrier, so if anyone's interested...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Introducing Hannah!


HANNAH: (enters stage left and glides gracefully to podium) "Oh, oh really! You are all too kind, too kind!" (holds arms aloft, nods graciously, basks in glory of applause)


HANNAH: (taking her time) "Well, what can I say? I am honoured, (dramatically clutches bosom) deeply honoured to accept this awar...." (cut short by frantic head shaking and arm waggling by rest of Blog Listings crew)


HANNAH: "Ah, erm..?(catches sight of auto-cue) Oh! Ahah! (suppressing a growl) I am deeply honoured to be accepted as a part of this new and exciting enterprise, Blog Listings!"


HANNAH: (taking advantage of position and ignoring auto-cue)"I promise you, my (responds to deep frown from Lola Snow and corrects) erm.. our readers, I will endeavour to ensure that the contributions I intend to bring forth will cover a plethora of hugely entertaining and emotive subjects. (then, hastily) As you will see from my own blog (speeds up), Becoming Hannah, I am a highly talented and exceptionally gifted young writer with a skill for capturing an audiennnnce...yelp!" (dragged off stage right unceremoniously by rest of Blog Listings crew)


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A break from week 1...

... To introduce Hannah, the newest member of our team. According to Lola, "Hannah likes knitting crockery, reindeer juggling and hoverboards".

Hannah tells me this isn't quite right, so I shall leave it to her to introduce herself in another post

Monday, 10 November 2008

Science On The Brain

When I first signed up for this Blog Listings shindig, I thought to myself: Pah, how hard can it be? Really? I spend all day messing about reading blogs, I'm practically an expert. Did I mention in my introduction that quite often I am overconfident, and quite often I am wrong? I knew I was screwed when the first topic was announced. Science.

There are only 2 types of science that I'd ever come into contact with willingly. One was the department at the hospital which gave me a bunch of funny little pills, the Neuroscience Team, and then other was that lesson which I had to attend at school. Y'know the one first thing on a Monday morning. Yes you do, nice comfortable desks, and a slightly dark corner in the back left of the room. Only drawback was that man at the front of the room, who kept wittering on about mass, and forces and stuff.

Yeah well, anyway, I was a bit stumped. Now, Chris kindly helped me out and told me that as long as I could get "a BSc out of it" then I could use it, and if I had any doubts then just to "Go with my gut" Well I wasn't absolutely sure what a BSc was, but I thought I'd figure it out. I realised I had already stumbled across a contending blog a couple of weeks earlier, Dr Shock MD-A Neurostimulating Blog.

Now this is a blog I can get on board with! Mostly science with some extras thrown in. I found posts on some of my favourite topics! There was one on Sex, Video Games and the Brain, and one on Red Wine and Dark Chocolate for Vascular Health

Ha! I know I've got your attention now!

"Wine, Chocolate, Sex and Video games?" you cry, "What can top that?"

Well, there is this post about The musical robot that plays Flight Of The Bumblebee. Or particularly relevant this time of year was Seasonal Affective Disorder and Genes

I was surprised when I discovered this blog, because I think I might quite like science after all. It's not written in a language which is too tricky to understand, so I was alright, but if you're cleverer than I am, then you won't be bored either. And if you are thicker than I am (but still possess opposable thumbs to grasp a mouse) then there are some nice pictures for you to look at in the post: Photos based on experiments.

On a final note, I did come across another blog which held my attention for more than 5 minutes, and trust me, that's an achievement! It was: A Good Poop. OK, it was mostly because of the title, but there are some good posts too.

And after all, Chris had said to go with my gut....

Lola x

Week 1 (Science) - The Culture of Chemistry

OK, here we go. Week 1 reviews are in, and being published as we speak.

After a weekend away, I spent half an hour or so today frantically looking for something, and luckily found this gem very quickly.

Michelle M. Francl is a professor at Bryn Mawr College. She has a knack for explaining things to the lay person. Obviously when it comes to chemistry I am no layperson, but her explanation of protecting groups for instance, is easily understandable.

She also discusses current science related issues (such as the destruction by missile of the toxic hydrazine in an unused sattelite by the US), scientific trivia, such as some facts about carbon dioxide, and the occasional "weird words of science".

Recommended for anybody who wants to expand their general scientific knowledge, regardless of current skill level. Whilst there is a strong tendency towards chemistry, Professor Francl's writing will be of interest to scientists of all types.

From her blogroll, "Stimulating Aliquot" and "Ethics and Science" are worth reading, but I'm not going to put links up - you can go over to The Culture of Chemistry to get the links

Maths Teacher: Now suppose the number of sheep is x...

OK, so I predictably decided to look for some mathsy blogs for this week's theme. Maths at university level is very different, and far more interesting (although also a lot harder!) than school maths. We stop talking about x number of sheep, and start talking about x dimensions. Hmm...not the best way to get people interested? Um...well, it has many uses, and a kind of beauty in logic that you just don't get to appreciate at school. OK, OK so I'm a geek. need to point out the bleeding obvious! Not many people, quite understandably, get to experience that style of maths. At school we're all too busy learning the more useful more numerical, less abstract maths. I set myself a mission to find some blogs that would illustrate the type of maths you would find at university without causing the reader to yelp in fear and hide under a table in the foetal position.

First I trawled through many blogs written by people who like maths. Not many of them, funnily enough, actually blogged about it. A few had some good occasional maths-y posts, but that wasn't the point.

Then I went down another route, and found lots of blogs written by people who work in maths-related jobs. Most were aimed at university students or graduates. Dotted about were words such as 'homomorphism', 'group and set theory', 'Markov property' and 'random processes'. Interesting, but unfathomable unless you have done (and understood) a maths degree.

Eventually I found what I was looking for: Division by Zero is a blog written by Dave Richeson, a professor of maths at Dickinson College. He takes the type of maths you would meet outside of school and makes it readable, interesting and easy to follow.

He has some good links in his side-bar, and one I came across which is a more well-known is the Math Less Traveled written by Brent Yorgey. He has aimed his blog at the high-school level, but it is exactly the kind of thing you'd find in your first year of university, with more explanations given to help you think through the work.

In his FAQs he backs me up on the beauty of maths, proving that I am not the only one:

Math? Beautiful? Yeah, right. No fair, that's not a question. But anyway, if you can't understand how anyone could use the words "math" and "beautiful" in the same sentence, then I dare you to stick around a bit and see if you don't change your mind. Math is about much more than figuring out when two trains will meet or calculating compound interest. Mathematics — like the hard sciences, but even more so — seeks to discover and understand the deep, elegant structure built into the very fabric of the universe.....

...I'll leave you to explore - let me know what you think in the comments.

If anyone has anything to add, or wants links to the other maths blogs I found, or a better insight into why I think it's a great subject, give me a shout!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Yet another intro post

Hey there, I suppose I should join the crowd and write an introductory post. I'm Nick, though go under the slightly more unusual blogger name of Nickopotamus (a long, but predictable, story). I maintain (quite a strong word) the latest incarnation of my web presence Dysphoric Mania, a place for me to rant about things that I like and don't like, and on rare occasions post something that might be of use to other people.

About me? Like almost everyone else, if not everyone else, involved in this project, I'm involved in EMS. I've been a member of St John Ambulance for what seems like forever, and currently even work for them on behalf of Yorkshire Ambulance Service. A lot of what I blog about is what is wrong in SJA! When not doing that, I also work as a healthcare assistant in the emergency medicine directorate at a major Yorkshire hospital, so I can't escape.

Once upon a time, I did do other things though. I did a degree in "science", though specialising in geophysics - you can check out my super duper thesis here. I have since been corrupted by my involvement with SJA and the oil industry, and decided to pursue a career in medicine. Fingers crossed, I've just applied to several graduate medicine courses, so we'll see how that goes.

I'm also a fully paid up member of the crazy community, and tend to blog about that quite a bit when I can find space in between angry complaints about the way SJA works. In fact, I get most of my traffic from one particular post about the side effects of Lamictal, which annoys me slightly.

I think that's about all there is to say. If you wish to know more, the afore mentioned blog can provide more information, and I'm pretty easy to facebook stalk (I even provide a direct link to my profile). On with the blog listings!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Next up... Epijunky!

Okay... so an introduction, right?

*taps fingers on desk*


Good Lord I'm bad at this stuff.

Hey ya'll, I'm Epijunky. When I'm not busy rationing out Cheerios to my kids, taking pictures of anything from a Bride to a squirrel, or running around the city in an ambulance, I write Pink Warm and Dry. Initially it was meant to be an EMS blog. A way to blow off steam at the end of a tough shift. Pink Warm and Dry is a description of skin condition. If your patient's skin is pink, warm and dry, in a lot of cases, they're not doing too badly. I know. I'm a total geek like that.

I initially started blogging through Myspace (I know, I know. *groan*) in May 2006. After sifting through all of Ambulance Driver's archives and feeling completely inspired, I decided to start a real blog, Pink Warm and Dry was born in June, 2007.

I've made some amazing friends in that short time, and I've learned so much. I've learned how to be a better EMT, I've learned how to improve my photography and writing. Most importantly I've learned to forgive myself for what I perceived as my shortcomings as a parent. Not small potatos (potatoes?) by any stretch.

My hope here is to draw attention to blogs. Pure and simple. You wouldn't believe some of the diamonds in the rough I've already stumbled upon.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Medic Three/Cheating Death

Where do I start? Honestly I'm not sure. I am 25, married to a beautiful woman, expecting a child in February, and spend my waking hours doing the medical professions dirty work--I am a paramedic. 

Honestly, I find few career choices define you as much as careers in public service like EMS, Law Enforcement, and the Fire service do. EMS is a lifestyle and a tough one at that.

My blogging "career" started 9 months and 203 posts ago with Cheating Death: Start your day with a DOA. Recently I transformed that blog into MedicThree. My call sign for the ambulance service I run with is Medic 3 and it just seemed so fitting that the actuality of my every day life would be the name of my online chronicals of that life. 

Through blogging I have managed to piss people off, meet new people, and most importantly I have found a way to let out the stories and gore that have been the foundations of my "nightmare bank". EMS is a tough line of work--a tough lifestyle, and blogging has really set me free.

Prior to EMS I spent a year in Florida working on a campaign, preceeded by a year working on campaign at home, preceeded and proceeded by a few years of wandering, drinking, and wasting money while in college. Upon returning from Florida my path into EMS was swift, as was my marriage to my incredible wife.

I now reside in a tiny little town, inside a tiny little county just outside of my state's largest city(though not very large). My wife and I spend our free time enjoying good food and wine(well... the wife watches right now... though I'm sure I will be punished sorely after the baby has come), playing with our dogs, planning for baby, and enjoying the outdoors. 

I suppose I have gone farther than my colleagues so I will call this an end. I hope this project really does turn out to be something great--let us know if you have any ideas!


Hi, I'm Chapati,

About a year ago I inexplicably found myself writing a lot because I found it so theraputic. I got introduced to the blogging world through lots of medblogs like the ones Chris mentioned. I lurked for a while, then commented, then started a blog about 6 months ago, because sharing my writing with others was so much better than leaving it all un-recorded. I have really grown to love the blogging world; I love learning about people, and I really do think you get to learn about another dimension of a person through their writing. My blog doesn't really have a 'theme', I tend to just write about anything that is even remotely to do with me (or stuff that's nothing to do with me at all!)

I work in the big bad world of finance, am studying to be an actuary (8 - 11 exams to go!) and did Mathematics at University.

But there is far more to me than that - I do a lot outside work, and am unlikely to ever 'cut down!' Spending time with friends, family, reading, blogging, playing badminton, cycling, occasionally attempting other forms of exercise and volunteering for various charities...I love keeping busy!

My most enjoyable extra-curricular activity* is volunteering for St John Ambulance, and I have a keen interest in the medical world. And anything that is hands-on-helping people.

Don't ask why I voted to work in finance. It's a sore point!

Hope this blog will help you find blogs of interest/expand your readership!

*can you use that phrase after you've finished school?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Introduction/Shameless self-promotion - Chris

Chris Rigby

4th year Chemistry student, St John Ambulance volunteer, nightclub steward/first aider. I got into blogging by reading Random Acts of Reality as research when I first started looking into paramedicine, and was finally convinced to take the plunge and start blogging myself when I started commenting fairly regularly on Sam's blog, On the Clock, and realised that the best way to integrate with the blogging community was to become a blogger myself. Despite never having been able to keep a diary for more than a couple of days as a child (probably because I had nothing interesting to write about), I'm really enjoying blogging, and being able to get my opinion out on the net, as well as getting talking to new people.

If anyone wants to contribute to this here listing, please get in touch in any of the comments sections

Week 1

The theme this week will be Science blogs. As a chemistry student, I should probably have come across some fo these by now, but I haven't, and I want to rectify this.

Any major blogs that are found will be listed, but we as a team will each briefly review a lesser known science blog (If you want to be included, drop us a message). Not every member of the team will take part every week, and hopefully the team will grow over time.

There are introductions going to gradually come as people get around to them

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Project

The plan here is to create a resource list, a place where you, the reader, can come to find new blogs to read, and a way of getting blogs read by a wider audience.

Each member of the team will each week find a relatively unknown blog, generally from a specific theme, and link to it, along with a brief review of the blog. This is not meant to be a place for us to criticise, but to advertise new blogs we've found and enjoy.

The team at conception consists of me (Chris), Nick, Chapati, Cheating Death, and hopefully a couple of others when they get back to me :-)LinkLink

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