Education

An Open Letter to PBS.

Dear PBS,

Oh, how you taunt us so. A couple of weeks ago, you posted on your official Tumblr account this little teaser image:

Where in the World IS Carmen Sandiego?

…Carmen Sandiego?

And then…speculation started to flow from all corners of the Web. Even HuffPo covered it! New episodes? Reruns of old episodes? So much potential excitement here, and then…NOTHING. No follow-up posts as of yet. Boo. Hiss.

So, what’s the deal, PBS? Don’t you guys realize how EPIC this would be? Why tease the masses, then just crush their hopes with your “edited to add” business: “this is not about new episodes, but will be appreciated by any 90s kid…” Well, I was an 80s kid and I watched it, but I’ll let that slide. Are you going to do something, or not? And while we’re on the subject, PBS, let’s talk about some other shows that could prove useful for today’s kids. You did keep Reading Rainbow on the map for awhile, as well as Ghostwriter, you even refreshed The Electric Company, an “Old School” staple, as well as Zoom! for a time. Sesame Street continues to brighten the lives of young kids as well. So, how about a couple more that could use some revamping, or re-airing, at the very least: 3-2-1 Contact, and Square One TV. Oh, and of course, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Let’s pretend that Noggin didn’t exist though, because it’s dead; well, it’s Nick Jr. now, and they didn’t always do these shows justice in rerun format.)

Granted, some of the materials and information on these shows may be a bit dated and in the case of “Carmen,” inaccurate, but in a time where American kids are falling behind in math, science, and geography, let’s at least put some reruns back. Better yet, DVD releases of these shows. Ever heard the phrase “shut up and take my money” used online? Surely you have. You would have SO MANY former kids fully prepared to hurl massive amounts of money at you if you put these shows out on DVD. You might not even need to have pledge drives for awhile if you do it right. Teachers and parents want this stuff in their homes, trust me. As someone who created the site for “Mathnet” (yes, it needs updating, I KNOW), I can tell you I have received a lot of E-mails about this very thing for years now, and the more people hear about possible renewed interest in these 80s and 90s after-school staples for kids, the more people will crawl out of the woodwork wanting to know more. And they’re waiting…

I could go on for quite a while about this, but what I’m saying here is: pay attention to the media buzz! Look at the likes, shares and mentions on all the major sites  – there’s your target audience, plus any new fans you pick up along the way. If you follow through with these teasers, it’ll be a move you won’t regret, and kids are about to go back to school – is there any better timing? 

So, do it. Do it, Rockapella!

With Love (that remains to be seen),

Me, and Legions of Other Fans.

3/3/13 – World Dyscalculia Day

Yay, it’s World Dyscalculia Day!

Uhhhhh…WHAT?

So, I started to touch on the topic of Dyscalculia in my last post, and I intend to further break it down into a series of posts over time, but this is a good time to summarize it, on the very day set aside each year for Dyscalculia awareness (always 3/3; how fitting for it to be a lovely fraction).

There is SO MUCH I want to say about it, but seriously, it can’t be summed up in a short post, and writing a novel will only bore people in a sea of new knowledge (tl;dr ;)), given how few actually know what it is. There are a lot of people out there who have this and only wish they could turn to someone who gets it, or knew more about it themselves, or wish to find a community of fellow “sufferers” where they’ll fit in and can relate to.

What is Dyscalculia exactly? It’s a learning disorder involving numbers, but not just numbers. Rather than write a painfully long description when other sites explain it very well, head over to the Dyscalculia Forum site and read up for a good breakdown (I’ll wait…). This does not mean we’re stupid and/or lazy, or aren’t trying hard enough to understand things like handling money, reading a map or organizing a space, or that we’re just choosing not to do something because we don’t like/feel like it, we actually lack the ability to grasp these concepts; our brains simply cannot make heads or tails of it (pun intended). It’s like any other form of dyslexia – you can try to learn, practice for hours, and no matter how much you put into it, your brain will never retain the information, or very little of it, and scrambles it around furiously without ever actually understanding it. Ooh, and the resulting brain pain. 😛

Learning and Growing.

I have found, since walking away from the old job, that I have learned and grown so much in my thirty-something years, and truly I was at a point in time where I got as far as I was going to without taking flight on my own to seek my true calling in life. The “old” me, the insecure one of years ago who had little confidence in herself, would never thought this possible. Thanks to good friends, supportive parents, and just plain looking inside myself to realize my potential, that little frightened bird has made it. However, for those following along here, please don’t tell me I should just let go, move on, and walk away from something when I’ve committed myself a great deal to at least trying to do my part, with a load of feelings and thoughts that go with it, when I’ve been doing the best I can, take it or leave it. It’s just not that simple – these experiences, feelings and thoughts are a large part of what has built me up to who I am today. Hear me out for a little background on my life, why don’t you?

There are a few situations I have had to go through in the past to realize sometimes you have to “just keep swimming” and not look back when something has helped you grow, but only held you back for whatever reasons after a time; sometimes it’s not agreeing or meshing with people and situations that have become dysfunctional, futile or feed negativity into an environment while you try to keep your eyes on the prize, whatever it may be. You become broken inside, discouraged, losing heart, losing focus. For so many reasons it can happen, and not just at any one time or place in your life. There will be people who misconstrue your words, don’t listen to your advice (or that of others), rush to keep you quiet, cut you out of the picture or threaten and intimidate you for daring to speak up, and in that, seemingly refusing to validate your feelings and input. And there are those who do not see things eye-to-eye with you, or simply aren’t in an ideal place themselves, whatever it may be, and in dealing with this realization sometimes you have to leave behind or cut out those parts that aren’t healthy in order to remain strong yourself.  You can’t change other people, after all; you can try to affect change, but we’re not designed to fix other people’s problems, only work on ourselves and do the best we can to make our existence the best it can be.  But for all the parts that make it difficult, realizing this is a sign of growth, especially when you muster the courage to break through the haze and see you are still that same person you used to be, still full of hope and potential, still wanting everything you always have, only now you’re stronger, braver, more prepared for the journey ahead. 

Where Have You Been?

Yes, I’m sure many of you are wondering where I’ve been (okay, so maybe only a small sampling of you), why did I just leave my Website all sad, lonely and unloved for…er…6+ years or so? Has it been that long? Wow. And yes, it’s time for an overhaul…in Internet and Technology time, that’s several shiny devices that have come and gone! Let us mourn those old toys for a few moments…okay, done.

Actually, it hasn’t been that long in some aspects; I’ve been actively using my domain for file storage, occasional micro-updates of sections on the site, but most of that has gone unnoticed to the world-at-large. Well, isn’t that life, though? Get all tied up in life, work, all that fun stuff. I have been quite productive and social in that time, however;  if you know me well enough, you know where I tend to lurk and post regularly. If you don’t know me well, that means absolutely nothing. 😛

In this time, I have also been getting educated! As in, schooled! I decided to invest in myself and my creative skills (that whole “figuring out what I want to do with my life” thing) and studied subjects of interest like Playwriting, Screenwriting and Graphic Design. And in doing so, have really stretched my mind and my talents and have essentially found things that make me happy and that I’d like to spend more of my life doing. So, see, this “hiatus” has been a good thing, and good things come to those who wait, or whatever cliché you’d like to apply to that.

Anyway, without going on too long here (too late), I do promise more updates. More details on my future plans and where things on this site will be going. And yes, this includes an update, or at least a minor overhaul of sorts on what’s probably the most popular part of this domain: The Mathnet Website. Oh yes, there wasn’t much going on for many years, and I feel terrible about letting it just sit, but the need, and time, to update content wasn’t really there (plus the whole having a job and going to school business sidelined my efforts somewhat, too). I’m also a part of the efforts over at SquareOneTV.org, so it’s not like the fandom has dropped off the planet; in fact, we’ve been doing a lot of interacting with former cast members recently and are celebrating 25 years since the show debuted as of 2012. Not to mention in the time since I last overhauled, wonderful sites such as YouTube and Facebook have come along and are still going strong, making it easier than ever to share clips and gather fans in larger groups and all that fun stuff. And because of that, Sesame Workshop has been paying attention and are now taking a DVD release into consideration. So, this is the best time to be reviving those efforts! Stay tuned, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 😉 And on that note, before I let anyone leave, please take the time, if you could, to “like” the official Square One Television page on Facebook – Sesame is using this as an indicator of interest by the fans. Tell your friends! Tell their friends! If you honestly want to see the show gain a pulse in the media again, and hey, it worked for The Electric Company, this is the best way to do it!

Okay, I’m done for now. A lot to digest, but I hope y’all are still with me. Take care, and much love! -Jill 🙂

My First WordPress Blog…Aww.

A lot of what I do, design-wise, tends to be inspired by stuff I find online or through just plain experimentation. This blog is part of that process; while I have taken classes for graphic design and writing and whatnot, most of the “Web Monkey” stuff came through trial and error. I’ve been on the Internet awhile (since 1996), but given not many around me at the time had a clue about technology in general, I was pretty much on my own figuring out how to code HTML, CSS, etc. Looking back on some of it, it’s embarrassing just how BAD previous versions of my existence were – NO, I’m not linking to them! However, it’s made my skill set well-rounded over time, though, and as technology evolves, so am I. Given how long it’s been since I last overhauled my site, you could say a lot of nothing has gone on, but actually, a lot of learning has gone on during the hiatus! Yay! 😀

As for this blog, fortunately, my Web host has “one-click install” features that allowed me to set this up pretty quickly, right here on my own domain. But, I like to customize things and make them my own, so I sought out more information on the subject. Anyway, as I’ve been slowly learning more about WordPress, I came across an ongoing tutorial from HOW Design (an invaluable site and magazine for designers) for building a WordPress site in 30 minutes a day over 21 days (your mileage may vary; given I already have quite the background in editing and tinkering with code and graphics, plus maintaining my own site, the first couple of steps weren’t needed). Just in a couple day’s time I’ve learned a few valuable tidbits, and plan to follow along with the rest of the series.

Here’s where you, too, dear reader, can learn about one of the most widely-used pieces of blogging software out there right now, and how to make it your own, too. (I’m not being compensated for this plug, I simply find it very useful and worth sharing.) I am linking to the author’s page, as it’s easier to find all the parts in one spot:

Jesse Friedman’s Guide to Building Your First WordPress Blog

Anyway, as time goes on, so should this blog, I hope. Stay tuned…

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