It is a constant source of amusement to me that barely a day goes by without someone reading a post I wrote over two years ago. As hard as I try to write posts that are interesting and engaging, and have some relevance to either readers or other authors the one post that shows up in my blog stats almost every day is ‘Top Four Shakespeare Podcasts’, posted in June 2017.
While I have had some posts that got a great response at the time, othing else I’ve published on this blog has had that kind of perpetual popularity,
The funny thing is, it’s only got three likes, but more people than that visit that post every day. Perhaps WordPress needs to make the “like” button bigger and brighter so that it’s easier to see and click.
Given that it’s the most successful blog post I’ve ever written, I thought it was worth posting again for all the followers I’ve gained since then. Enjoy.
I love podcasts, and I love Shakespeare. In these four podcasts, you’ll find the best of those two worlds combined.
#1: No Holds Bard. An informative and entertaining podcast by Dan Beaulieu and Kevin Condardo, directors of the Seven Stages Shakespeare Company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They discuss the plays, words that people in the 21st century might not know, different interpretations, and various performances of Shakespeare’s plays. They even have a segment where they’ll answer homework questions sent in by students.
#2: Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimited. A podcast that explores the associations between Shakespeare’s writing and the world today through the words we use, ideas we discuss, and performance of the works of Shakespeare and others.
My friends and I were standing in front of a portrait of Oliver Cromwell at the Tudors to Windsors portrait exhibition at the art gallery in Bendigo. .
As I often do, I added my own commentary. In a posh English accent and lower vocal register, I quipped, “Look at me being all godly and humble and unroyal and stuff before I go and kill a bunch of people and destroy all the monasteries… you know, on God’s behalf.”
A well-dressed elderly gentleman had come to stand beside me. When I finished speaking, he added in a crisp, upper class accent: “Bastard.” He was not wrong.
Snapchat has been the subject of much controversy in the past – mostly from people who have never used it. I know a lot of people have been vocal in their criticism of the ease with which teens could use it to send pictures of their naughty bits to one another. To be honest, they haven’t ever needed SnapChat to do that. And, in a further moment of not-so-surprising honesty, I’ve never used Snapchat for that either.
It’s like anything: you can use it sensibly, and be careful who you add to your contacts, or you can be an idiot and endanger any bit of credibility you ever had. Snapchat is definitely not alone in that regard.
Contrary to all the negative press it has had, Snapchat is actually pretty cool.
The process is simple:
Take a snap, choose who you want to send it to, and send it.
If you want everyone to be able to see it, you add it to your “story”.
If you don’t, people will only see your snap if you actually send it to them individually.
You can choose how long you want the photo or video to last. Once the time you set expires, it’s gone.
It’s important to remember that people can take a screenshot, and people can be offended, so common sense and decency are still required.
I have great fun using Snapchat for quick, easy contact with my family and friends. It’s also a great way to quickly and easily share a moment in your day in ways that are hard to otherwise express.
In that respect. It’s super duper effective.
It’s actually great for introverts because we can communicate meaningfully without actually having to make, or answer, a phone call. I have found that if you send enough Snapchats, they know you’re okay and what you’re doing, and don’t actually try to call anywhere near as often. That may sound awful, but if you ask any introvert you know, they’ll tell you it’s a fact of life: talking on the phone for any length of time is hard, especially if you’re tired or unwell.
I also use it to share my comedic genius with the world. You’ve got to take your opportunities where you can get them, after all.
My absolute favourite use of Snapchat, though, is when my family use it to send me baby spam. I’m one of those aunties who can never get enough pics of my babies so Snapchat offers a great way for them to send me pictures without all the cranky “we don’t want baby spam” whiners on Facebook and Instagram getting their noses out of joint. Snapchat makes it easy to be a lot more direct and “one on one” with your pictures.
You don’t even have to take a photo every time. You can just use the instant message function if that’s all you want to do. But then… why wouldn’t you take a photo every time when you’ve got those filters to play with?
Seriously, the Snapchat filters are fantastic. One minute I’m a washed out, permanently exhausted 50-something English teacher, and the next, I’m a cat… or an emu… or a pirate… or whatever the filters of the day offer. Sometimes, I have instant makeup and smoother, younger skin. Sometimes I can add a piercing or a tattoo. Finding out what the filters are each day is as much fun as using them.
Its easy to edit a picture using the menu at the top right of whatever picture you take This allows you to:
add text, labels, and/or stickers
crop your photo
doodle or write on your picture
attach a URL or website to your image
cut out part of your picture to create a sticker
You can also easily save any picture you like to your phone’s camera roll, using the little down arrow icon at the bottom left of the image.
There isn’t really a lot that annoys me about Snapchat, but I probably should mention:
The silly, click-bait stuff they post on the “discover” page. Ugh. Once I’ve looked at my friends’ stories, I swipe away from the page.
On specific dates – Christmas, New Year, that kind of thing – the ’Snapchat Team’ send pictures or videos that you have to watch to get rid of them. Some of them are clever. Others… not so much.
Occasionally, there will be a filter that makes me look uncannily like my brother. I’m really not so keen on those, but it is kind of fun freaking out his daughters and our sisters with the pictures. And no… I’m not going to show you what I mean!
For me, the frustrations are very minor compared to the fun I have with the app. It’s a keeper.
Despite the crisis that had unfolded overnight as I slept, I woke this morning to find that the sun had risen, gravity still worked, and the earth continued to turn on its axis.
I had breakfast, got ready for work, and headed into a very busy day. Surprisingly, I found that the work deadlines and professional requirements that were in place yesterday still existed today.
My students, however, were despondent.
Them: Facebook is gone! Instagram doesn’t work! Me: Imagine how much work you might get done in the meantime! Them: You’re not very sympathetic. Me: And that surprises you because…? Them: Rolled eyes and sighs. Some lovely moments of dramatic pathos that I shall try to draw on in drama class.
This left me wondering: what on earth does the world do without Facebook and Instagram? It seems the general response is to complain.
Many of the real social media junkies responded by rushing over to Twitter to complain and commiserate with their followers and the social media world in general.
In all honesty, some of the responses are pretty funny.
Others demonstrate that many people are much worse at dealing with this kind of thing than they should be. I mean, really, Australia? Emergency services? That’s… pathetic.
This one has to be my favourite. It cuts through the whining and combines the sublime and the ridiculous with glorious snark. Jenny Bean Edwards gets an A+ for World Studies.
Cheer up, folks. I’m sure Facebook and Instagram and their enormously profitable algorithms will be back soon.
Until then? You may actually be forced to either read a book or have face-to-face conversations with real people.
Alternatively, you can head to twitter and follow me!
I know some people make a big deal of it, but that tends to diminish over the years when a couple have been together for a long time.
As half of one of those couples, I decided to create some attractive yet practical greetings that might come in handy for couples like us. In the interests of quality assurance, these have been road-tested on my husband, who laughed a bit.
You’re welcome to use any or all of these in order to win favor with your beloved, or just for a bit of fun.
This weekend we’re attending a family reunion in Anglesea. Just before lunch was served, we sat in a room full of relatives and listened as one of our cousins shared a reflection on relationships among family.
He said, “Think about tthe friendships and relationships you have. Consider the negative, the strained, and the unhealthy…”
“Never mind about the unhealthy,” I muttered. The cousin sitting beside me laughed.
“Can you imagine if they all went Marie Kondo on me?” I continued.
“Does she bring me joy?”
“No, she brings sarcasm, snark, inappropriate humour and painful honesty.”
Today I returned to work for the first time after my surgery. As I left home this morning, I told my husband that I was mostly confident and a little bit afraid.
As it turned out, there was no need for fear and my day went pretty well.
I only had to stop once each way to take a walk and stretch as a break between driving.
I cleared/responded to 93 emails from my inbox that were not messages I could just delete. I also sent a bunch of emails chasing students for work they hadn’t bothered to hand in while I was away. Some of them actually responded by submitting their work!
Very conscious of keeping my spine healthy by not sitting for too long, and still really only comfortable sitting for about fifteen minutes at a time, I completed all my email and admin tasks using my fancy standing desk, located right behind my regular desk. All I have to do is stand up and turn around.
I also stood while I taught my classes, as I often do anyway.
I know my students were happy to see me because they all asked me not to cough in class again, please. I shrugged and commented, “I have more discs” but they didn’t seem to think that was funny. It was, though, because the one kid with a sense of humour as subversive as mine laughed out loud.
With a strange sense of deja vu, I told the kid who always sniffles to blow his nose, and told the kid who chews with his mouth open to chew with his lips together. On both occasions, all I had to do was say their name. It was almost as though they knew!
I entertained Year 9 with puns. It was just like old times.
I sorted the exams, papers and assignments I have to grade into neat bundles. I plan to start on those tomorrow and hopefullly finish them by the end of the week. It was good to get things organised and leave my desk tidy again so I can make a good start in the morning.
By the time I got home, I was all worn out like a Norwegian Blue parrot after a long squawk, so I embraced my bed and had a lovely little nap for a couple of hours.
Ovetall, my first day back on the job gets a thumbs up.
I love a good family story or tradition, especially one that gets etched into the conversation patterns and banter for years to come. A moment of humour or a funny experience becomes part of who we are, both individually and collectively.
One of those stories half belongs to our great friend, Lindsay. He is a super nice person, and we’ve been friends for at least twenty years.
On one particular occasion maybe fifteen years ago, maybe more, he and I were outside doing some work on the farm that my husband and I were living on, and where Lindsay was a regular and most welcome visitor. I can’t remember what were talking about, but I remember this part of the conversation vividly.
We laughed. We told my husband the story. And it stuck. We still “do the routine” at least once a week. It honestly never gets old.
Monday was one of those days. After the lines were said and the laughter was had, I thought for a while, as I have often done before, about how clever a comeback it was.
I also thought about exactly what I am full of. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me when those thoughts began to turn into a poem. That’s what my thoughts do.