Saturday, February 20, 2010

Twitter Relationships and Benefits

Twitter is one of those Web 2.0 tools that some people either love or hate. It is after all microblogging (say it in 140 characters or less), which is a bit mindboggling in and of itself. But there are uses and benefits to Twitter.

I found that I didn't appreciate the value of Twitter when it was just me. It took my getting the google sidebar and a Twitter feed before I realized how much there was to learn from my Twitter peeps. If you follow interesting people who are doing fascinating things, posting information, links and photos, then you have a great Twitter feed. That is what makes Twitter a valuable resource: the people you follow.

Admittedly, there are silly people whom I follow like Justshitmydadsays: Justin is 29, living at home and tweets the crazy crap his 74 year old fother says. He's a Twitter sensation.

I also follow Postsecret, which is a very cool idea that has spawned several books. Essentially, people send in their secrets to him anonymously on postcards. He has started posting them on Twitter once a day.

I follow authors like Neil Gaiman and Laurie Halse Anderson and cool librarians who I think rock like Elizabeth. I follow comedians, Rainn Wilson, and the odd David Lynch (I don't know why I follow him, he is so very odd). And I follow people who read lots of books like Flashlight Worthy Books.

I also follow other teachers, technology gurus, dog trainers and social media types. And I follow my friends. And all of these people share a little bit of themselves with me throughout the day. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't. Depends on when I am looking at the Twitter feed.

So when I was giving a colleague a Twitter tutorial the other day and found a reply I had missed from one of my blog readers, I was really thrilled. It was about our adding captions to our photos in our blog about our guide dog puppy. Since she is blind, without the figure captions she has no idea what the photos are about. It made me really happy that I had added the captions, but it also made me happy that I now had this extended network where my blog readers could connect with me via Twitter and comment. It makes for a different relationship, but one that is valid nonetheless.

So, all of you Twitter detractors, find some quirky, informative people and follow them. If nothing else, you might just get a laugh every day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finally, A True Brasilian Restaurant!

We found a gem today through our favorite iPhone app Urbanspoon. If you don't already have Urbanspoon on your iPhone, you need to download it RIGHT NOW. It's free. It is wonderful. We have found several kick ass restaurants that we would have never found otherwise, if not for Urbanspoon.

Terra Mar Brazilian Steakhouse is at 6715 49th St. N., Pinellas Park, FL 727.525.1100. They do take reservations, but it is a very casual place in a strip mall. They have about 15 tables, so if you have a big party, it would be good to call ahead as the the party of 8 did today at lunch.

On Sunday the all you can eat lunch buffet is $8.95 without the churrascaria, $14.95 with it. I recommend that you splurge and get the churrascaria. In fact, I recommend that you dress up and pretend that you are at Boizao because the food is amazing and tastes homemade! You aren't going to get pao de queijo at Boizao and you aren't going to get mousse de maracuja there either (OMG, I thought I had died and gone to heaven, it was that good!).

They have a salad bar section, a fresh made soup, two rices and black beans and two entrees on the buffet. Farofa can be had upon request. When we went for meats they had fresh made sausage, chicken, sishkabob, filet mignon, garlic steak, pork tenderloin, and then I had to stop the waiter from bringing us more meat so I don't what else he was cooking!

Seriously folks, this is real Brasilian cooking at great prices with amazing service. The restaurant may not be fancy, but it is wonderful. Do not miss it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Uh, no, you didn't.

Strange, weird thing just happened. I got a friend request from someone who I didn't recognize either by name or photo. This is her message to me:

Hi, This is (blank) from (blank) high school. How are you?

No identifying information or any clues as to who she is or how I should know her. So I sent a message to two of my high school friends and asked them if they recognized her name or could find her in the yearbook (I have no idea where mine is).
She isn't in the yearbook. So what is the etiquette? Do you ignore the person? Or do you call their bluff? Why would someone who didn't go to high school with you claim to go to high school with you?
That's just too weird. Way too weird.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reader’s Advisory

I met with a former student the other day for dinner. She had great news: she was accepted into medical school. As we were catching up, she said that her mother had given her instructions that she was to get more book recommendations from me. Her mom was so pleased with my suggestions of The Thirteenth Tale and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie that she only wants to get book recommendations from me! That made me exceedingly happy, then it made me very nervous.

It’s hard to always get a book recommendation right all the time. It is nice when you are on a good recommendation streak, but I am a bit fearful now of screwing it up. I suggested Beat the Reaper and The Hunger Games and then said I would have to give it some more thought. I haven’t been reading much lately and I wanted to make sure my picks would be good ones. If anyone has any sure fire hits out there, let me know!

Monday, February 1, 2010

David Schickler - Great High School Author Visit

Last week we had author David Schickler come and visit our school to talk about fiction writing. He spoke to our AP Lang, AP Lit, Sophomore English and Creative Writing classes and he was wonderful. He was wonderfully interactive with the students and gave them great tips on how to make the writing pop.

While he wouldn't be a good author for younger audiences as he material is definitely upper school material, he was wonderful with the high school students. The AP teachers really liked him, which was quite a coup!

If you haven't read Kissing in Manhattan, here's my review of it. I really enjoy it.

Kissing in Manhattan Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At first, I was unsure whether I would like this book as I tend to enjoy novels more than short stories. But this book is a bit of odd duck. It is a collection of short stories, but they all intertwine; characters from one story show up in the next and they are tied together by the Preemption Apartment building where the main characters live.

You get a real Sex in the City feel for the first story, but there is a character mentioned, James Branch, who is dining alone and repeating the name of his entree outloud to himself. Something about that one small mention made James stand out for me and so when he popped up again in a charming magical realism story about a pair of opal earrings, I was hooked. James, for me, is the overriding reason to read the book. He is kind and compassionate, although at the end his compassion is a bit hard to comprehend. He is the one you root for, one of those very sweet men that you know if they will just come out of their shell a bit, and if some woman would just give them a moment of their time, magic would happen, love would happen.

Some of the stories stand on their own, and others definitely need to lean on their fellow chapters. Regardless, this is a lovely and well-written book that is a delight to read. And while the negative comments of some of my book club members were that the women are weak and the men are too demanding, I think James Branch silences those quibbles. James and the woman he ends up with (name not given so as not to spoil the book) redeem that dark quality in other stories and bring it all to a hopeful end.

View all my reviews >>