C. A. Pack

Musings & Brainstorms & Rants

September 2013

Ancient Architecture

I’ve always been a closet architect, just ask my husband who is bugging me to throw away four decades of Architectural Digest so we’ll have more storage space. I would donate them to someone, but “throw away?” Never.

Anyway, I love thoughtful design, and I enjoyed the following Houzz article on the ingenuity of ancient architecture, so I thought you might, too.

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

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Target Alaska

target alaska

Lidia & Charles LoPinto wrote
Target: Alaska thirteen years ago, before 9-11 turned the word “terrorism” into part of our daily vocabulary. Now, the authors are re-releasing their novel.

This quick-moving story has a multi-layered plot that merges environmental crime with nuclear terrorism
a dirty business that threatens the pristine waters off Alaska. The protagonists are a rumpled FBI agent whose career is threatened by his drinking, and a dedicated, but flighty, EPA investigator whom we never really learn enough about, to know why she does some of the things she does. Every time a new man looks her way, she seems eager to date him. The only man she’s not interested inis her partner.

This is a good read, but it could use the help of a proofreader to fix some minor problems and get rid of the excessive exclamation points that take the reader out of the story. The late Elmore Leonard advised writers to use no more than two or three exclamation points for every 100,000 words of prose. It’s a really tough rule for a writer to follow, but like anything else, too much of something diminishes its value.

A Hard Earned Education

When I left NYIT after nearly twenty-five years of teaching college students how to be television news reporters, the sad end of an era came with an unexpected perk: free college classes for life! And this year, I decided to take the school up on its offer.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I needed a signed form from Human Resources approving me for tuition remission. Once I found the course I wanted to take,
Drawing 1, I found out I needed a signed form from the department chair saying I was approved to take that class. But there was no chair at the time, so I had to get the permission of the temporary chair. A flurry of emails ensued. He said, “no problem,” but I dragged my feet. It was early summer and I thought I had plenty of time. A month later, when I actually visited the school to have the form signed, I found out there was a new chair and I would need her signature. There was another flurry of emails. Finally, I had her signature in hand, and drove to the campus registrar to finish signing up. That’s when I discovered I needed to go to admissions and be admitted as a student first, because I needed a student ID number. When I got back to the registrar, I learned I couldn’t sign up until I either submitted my MMR form or had it waived. Once that was done, I found out I still had to go to the Bursar, even though my class was free, to submit my tuition remission form. That’s when I learned every student pays a fee for tuition insurance, but since I wasn’t paying tuition, I needed to have my fee waived, or it would cost me $40. for insurancee I didn’t need. Another flurry of emails. I couldn’t get that waiver until I had a school email account, but my student email account wouldn’t work, because I was still in the system as a staff member from my nearly twenty-five years of teaching college students how to be television news reporters.

My students used to complain about how difficult it was to sign up for an internship in our program, but I figured they were just being histrionic and blowing everything out of proportion. Duh!

Anyway, this morning was my first time back at school as a student. I received my BA and my MA at NYIT, so it should have felt like old times, but it didn’t. It felt foreign to me and I realized it’s much easier to be the professor than the student.

Although, I must admit, I never thought that, when I was the professor.

It's All In My Head

When I was a kid, I was a part-time explorer of the philosophical world. I remember twirling one day until I got dizzy and fell to the ground, which prompted me to ask, “Daddy, why am I me?”

I recently learned that dizziness is not necessarily a precursor to an inquiring mind. A couple of days ago I thought I might base the plot of a future book on everything around the protagonist being imaginary.

Then, I learned that theory has a name:
solipsism - which says while we know what’s going on inside our own heads, we can’t prove that the thoughts of others actually exist; only that we think they may actually exist.


If the external world
doesn’t exist, that would make me very, very smart, because it means that all of Da Vinci’s inventions, theories and drawings, and stories by Charles Dickens, were actually created by my own mind. I am Victor Hugo, so to speak.

And if you tell me I’m wrong, I’ll just think it’s my own brain imagining you playing
devil’s advocate.

Anyway, if you exist, I stumbled upon a great web page that includes a bunch of theories, including solipsism, that are food for thought.

Here’s the link.

As Mal told Johanna in the
Library of Illumination, “Go forth and illuminate” (yourself).