Friday, February 27, 2009

When someone dies

Now, maybe this is some deep connection to my ancestors, but when someone dies, I want a bonfire. I want a big-ass pyre that screams my sorrow into the night sky. I want the warmth of the flames to remind me of the embrace of my loved one, and I want the smoke to remind me of ascension of my prayers to my unseen God "up" in heaven. I also wish we could have a one night pass on the Word of Wisdom and all get piss drunk on rum as we sing dirges into the night and tell stories of our fallen friend. A bonfire is cathartic.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Fall 2008 Evaluation Comments (All of them)

Don Mac is a wonderful professor!! This is a great class but it needs more hands on activities!

He is the best teacher I've had here. Especially when we learn facts about other cultures. We learn about the world and don't even realize it.

This was my favorite class. The “que pasa en el mundo” made things interesting though we rarely understood at first. Great class!

He's a very great teacher and I learned so much from him.

Really good, helpful teacher, always there when I needed help. A ++ professor. I really liked using Quia it helped a lot. I didn't like audacity at all.

The instructor was amazing. This is the first time an instructor deserved all A's!!! I learned a lot in this class and almost considered a Spanish minor.

Wonderful professor – willing to help students as long as they want to help themselves. Makes 1012 work but you learn much. Gracias!

The instructor is one of the best I have had. He is very helpful. Spanish 1012 is a great program.

Great professor!

Always make class enjoyable. Always helps us when we have problems or ask for help. Very good course! I learned a lot and feel a lot more confident about conducting.

Awesome, fantastic, great teacher! Awesome course! Learned a lot!

Dr. Carswell did a wonderful job in this course! He was great! (Huh? This is a mistake)

Culture projects helped learn things about Spanish culture. The elmundo activities were good too.

I really liked the instructor. He was a very good teacher and had high expectations for his students. I would take his class again.

Wonderful teacher, really enjoyed the class.

He's an excellent instructor and provides many strong resources to do well on the exams. He shows interest in what he does and makes the class fun.

Enthusiastic about course material. Knowledgeable and helpful. Appropriate & interesting.

All of the group work helped me understand the topic.

Dr. Williams is a wonderful professor and is very passionate about what he does. He has made me love Spanish.

Needs to inform classes when assignments are due. Does a good job interacting with students.

Needs to make effient (sic) records (attendance, class participation, etc.) (A fair critique; it's true I could be better about taking attendance, but participation is student self-evaluation)

It's helpful that he is so readily available. “Que pasa en el mundo'” is a good way to learn because the student is individually corrected.

By having all of the students work in groups, we are able to learn more about the topics and participate effectively in class. Class discussions were also helpful and expanded our skills in the use of the Spanish language.

He is very concerned for the well-being of his students. He should write things he says down on something. (I should!) Good course. It challenged enough without breaking us. My writing skills have greatly improved because of Dr. Williams.

Professor was of much help. Available whenever we had a question. I enjoyed the class. All of the writing tips were very helpful. Some of the assignments made you think. (I'm sad they all didn't)

The amount of translation required will be great for native speakers but will most likely be too much for non-native speakers. (The class is SPA 225, so, translation shouldn't be an issue)

The instructor brought objects to class as visual guides for our writing. Excellent professor who always gives feedback and thorough in lecture. Course was very helpful because it helped [sic] to better articulate and become a stronger analytical thinker. Course was excellent. Helped my critical thinking and I feel that I have become a better creative writer.

Great instructor, really know [sic] how to treat people. One of the best instructors on campus. The course was interesting. I learned a lot on how to better writing [sic].

He is very interested on [sic] what he teach [sic] and knows a lot about it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Alajuela, August 1993

Alajuela Ward, Alajuela, Costa Rica, August 1993. I sit in the chapel reading something as I listen to my companion, Elder Brent Reed Jensen of Mountain Home, Idaho playing the piano before Sacrament meeting. Elder Jensen was a very strong piano player, a decent hard-working guy, and a lover of classic rock....especially Led Zeppelin.

He had played a fair number of hymns that morning, transitioning flawlessly between numbers without even pausing, so I was only half-listening when I heard some bars out of the pianoforte that confused me as I tried to place them in the hymnal, thinking perhaps he was playing one of the many hymns not found in the Spanish hymnal that we have in English (e.g. "God Save the King"), when what should my wondering ears suddenly hear but the opening notes of "Stairway to Heaven." I shot him a glance of "DUDE!" met by his mischievous back-at-ya grin. He didn't get past "what she came for" when he ended his "set" and stood up to start putting the hymn numbers in the ubiquitous hymn number placard. Several members came up to him and asked, "Elder, ¿Cuál himno era ése?" to which he responded, "La escalera al cielo." The name saved him because the members were used to hearing hymns played by him that aren't in the Spanish one..........I'll never forget that moment.....Led Zeppelin in sacrament meeting......I'm smiling about it right now.

I entered the MTC sixteen years ago today.