Greg writes, teaches and sleeps. Sometimes he plays D&D.

Corona – Day 3 – What’s in a day

I’m a master procrastinator, so working from home is really dangerous for me but these first two and a half days of “Corona Time” have been quite productive. Communication with students seems to work and most of them are hard at work. One challenge is going to be to make sure that no-one falls through the cracks. I listened to a couple of voice memos my students made, discussing a book. Works great, why didn’t I do this earlier.

Another class writes their results down in the ClassNotebook and discusses current events. If one good thing comes out of this, then it’s the fact that more people in schools embrace the possibilities modern technology provides. I count myself among those.

I promised you some insight into my day and I intend to deliver. I get up around 7 and take a morning stroll. Around 8 I’m back home and around 8:30 I’m in “the office”. So far I usually start the day with checking emails and answering questions. After that I make sure that all my classes for that day have enough work. I obviously make sure of that earlier but yo never know if someone has questions. As I already mentioned I listened to some voice-memos and I started working on a treat for my students… I finally might go full John Oliver. But more on that another time.

I adjusted the teams a bit, watched some tutorials and then it was lunchtime already. After lunch it did more of the same, I also helped my dad a bit in the garden. I have to make sure that I get out of the office regularly. I’m trying to break early today, I will still listen to some memos and answer messages but I worked enough for a day. Tomorrow is a holiday so no work for my students. I might sleep in tomorrow. I also have to correct an exam from last week, so might just do that tomorrow or maybe Friday. I definitely put in my hours these last couple of days so I think I deserve some rest.

I will definitely blog tomorrow. I’m planing to give out some recommendations of things to watch, read and listen.

Let me end today with a little tease though:

Mr. Vogt Explains the World

Coming Soon…

Corona – Day 2 – Home Office

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Day 2, so far so good. I tidied my (home)office a bit, settled in and did some tech support for my students. You won’t believe how bad they re with usernames and passwords, well if you’re a teacher you will. 🙂

My new microphone arrived and it works quite well. I also ordered a webcam and I’m looking into ways to create videos for my students. Yes, I’m trying to make the best of this bad situation. Depending on how long this lasts, I might end up with a complete production studio. John Oliver: I’m coming for you.

My students should be occupied for the next few days and the plan is to think big picture tomorrow. I have to adjust my plans to this new situation. I have to properly set up the “Teams” I have with my students, I did quite a lot today, I feel like I spent a whole day just adding people to lists and sharing stuff with them.

I’m not complaining though, things could be worse. There was a corona-case among the teachers but so far no-one besides “patient zero” got it. I haven’t had much contact with that person last week and I don’t have any symptoms so I’m probably fine. Knock on wood.

The first week is going to be a lot of work but I hope that I’m set up next week and can focus on teaching instead of tech-support and setting up stuff. It’s going to be challenging but as long as I can keep up my daily routine. I should be fine, but more on that tomorrow.

Stay healthy.

Corona – Day 1 – Don’t be a Scab

Day 1 of who knows how many. I’m one of those “scabs” who went to school. The argument I can make for myself is that I’m just here to help others but starting tomorrow I’ll have to do that from home. It doesn’t make any sense to go to crowded places but our Department of Education needs some more time to get to that conclusion. At least that’s how it seems. I’m the English Department head at our school and we have a meeting scheduled for 13:30. Hopefully the last meeting, we need to set some guidelines, everyone who can work from home has to do that. It just doesn’t make any sense to do it any other way. Let’s just hope that the people in charge agree.

I know that everyone is either overwhelmed or our out of one’s depth…or both. Admitting it is the first step, there’s no shame it it. Count me in for both of those conditions. But I firmly believe that we can get through this. One step at time. Do your part, if you can work from home, it’s the responsible thing to do.

Don’t “scab” and stay healthy.

Strike

Stay home and stay healthy.

Corona – Day 0 – This is weird

I'd prefer this Corona.

I’d prefer this Corona.

This is weird, really weird and I can’t believe how fast it happened. I doesn’t make sense to talk too much about the current situation… things will be different in 15 minutes anyway but I’m going to tell you how it makes me feel and what I intend to do.

It looks like schools are closed for (at least) four weeks and restaurants and bars etc. are closing as well. Public life comes to a halt. This is what it must feel like when a war starts in a neighbouring country. This feeling of uncertainty is probably the worst. I know that I’m going to be fine but I cant say the same about everyone I know. This sucks.

So what am I going to do? First things first, I have to make sure that my students get a proper education, not being in the same room as I is probably a good start. I already have a few ideas on how to proceed and I will try to make the best of it. It will be challenging but I hope I can rise to the occasion.

I will probably have to help others getting ready for that as well. A few of us (teachers at my school) have a harder time than me getting around our digital tools and I’ll do what I can to help them. I kind of liken this to “what would you do during the zombie apocalypse” and I like to think that I’d be a helpful survivor.

I’m also going to write more. The plan is to get some pages out each day (probably after the initial school setup phase) and to write a blogpost daily to chronicle these testing times.

Until tomorrow. Stay healthy.

So far so good

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Let me give you a quick status update. I haven’t been able to keep the writing momentum going. I succeeded with my reading goal though. I finished the first book and started the second one, exercising has been going great as well, at least 2-3 times a week, so at least there’s that.

The plan is to try and get Alaska going this week as well. I’m usually quite tired in the evening, so I’ll try to start to write in school. I have some free periods and If I get half an hour of writing time each day I’m good. I think the goal has to be to write in school and rewrite at home. At least that’s the plan

I’m also working on a new D&D Campaign, the next chapter in my Driftworld Saga. I’m adapting Tomb of Annihilation for my setting an my characters. I’m scaling it down a bit and populate it with my own NPC and adjust the setting a bit and so on. I just came up with my Version of the Death Curse. I call it Snake Fever and it’s almost as devastating.

Yesterday I went to Zurich with one of my classes, my 7th graders. We went to see “Les Miserables”. I can’t attend their Maturafeier so proposed to do an excursion as a “last hurrah”. In the same week I saw an advert for “Les Mis”  in Zurich. That seemed appropriate, not because teaching them was miserable but because it seemed like a good idea to share something magnificent.

For some of them it was their first stage musical, which admittedly makes “Les Mis” a tough introduction but they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It’s just an impressive show and the stagecraft alone is worth the price of admission. On the way we had some nice conversations and we had a good time together. Mission accomplished.

It’s a shame that writing isn’t as easy as entertaining a bunch of 18-year-olds.

Let’s end this post with my favourite song from the show, incidentally the best songs from the (inferior) movie.

 

I know….

Looking back it my blog history it seems that the last couple of posts have all been along the lines of:

– It’s been a while.
– I’m not even trying to apologise.
– I’m sorry.
– I completely screwed up the goals I set myself.
– I promise to do better.
– I have new goals.

After that there’s no new post for 3-6 month and then the whole thing starts again. So let’s just never ever talk about this again. Let’s look into the future. I actually thought about deleting this thing here but this blog is dearer to me than you might think. It’s a big part of who I am and to some extents it’s probably closer to my true self than I am on a day to day basis. Many of the posts on this blog helped my clarify things about myself and I want to continue to have this outlet. Sometimes I have things to say and sometimes I just don’t, at least not on here.

The last few month have actually been quote good. I didn’t get that much writing done but I feel pretty good otherwise. I played more D&D than ever and my newest Toy (an Oculus Quest) keeps me moving (at least my hands). School is going pretty well and I feel really on top of things, not sure if that’s an accomplishment for 37 but I feel good about that.

I actually managed to rewrite the first 40 pages of Alaska during the last few 2 and a half weeks. I’m really trying to put my general well-being to some use. I started to read for myself again (Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, highly recommended), I’m doing some exercise and as I mentioned I’m fixing my writing muscles. Hence this post, I finished the rewrite yesterday so I’m taking a break to gather my thoughts and figure out where the story of Ajuk and the Uglies is going. I have some notes and I think I finally cracked one of the biggest issues. 

So where do I go from here? Don’t know, don’t care and I’m not making any promises. 

Happy 2020, take care and stay tuned…maybe. 

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

… why does that not apply to writing? 

To say that I’m behind on my updates and my writing would be an understatement. I totally failed after those first few days and I have to take complete responsibility. No excuse this time. One could argue that I’m really good in finding excuses or reasons why now (as in any time I could have written in the last few weeks) is or was a bad time to do so. This “talent” extended to pretty much any aspect of my life. There’s an argument to be made that I’m really relaxed at the moment and that’s definitely true but I don’t this that’s treason why I’m not doing things that are good for me and or I really enjoy, at least one I’m actually doing them1

So do I have a plan to change that, not really but I’m going to take it one day at a time. Next weekend we have our big concert. So this is a really bad week to start, and that’s exactly why I’m doing it. I’m going to set asides some time, to work on Alaska. I hope to resume the “one page a day” schedule pretty soon bur for now I’m  starting with 30 minute write sprints. That time frame seems manageable, even during a busy week and The goal is to make writing part of my daily routine again. 

Other than that, life’s pretty good. I have a handle on my diet again, I’m on track to be my best possible self again. School is going great as well. So there’s nothing to complain about besides my lack of drive and #Momentum but I’m working on that. But Now I have to go rehearse for the concert and I also need to get 30 minutes of writing done. 

  1. Starting to write is so much harder than actually writing.

#Momentum – The first five Days

Quick update. I started with the “One Page a day Challenge” on Monday and so far it has been a success. I had to force myself to start and the first two days were a bit difficult but once you’re having a “streak”1 you want to keep it going. I decided to stick with the one-page goal, I could’ve written more on some days but I figured it was a good idea to know how to start the next day so I try to end every session a with a prompt for the next day. I like knowing how to start and once my brain is in writing mode, new ideas keep coming but I like the initial spark from the day before to get me up to speed again. 

I’m quite happy with the pages. They will require a couple of rewrites obviously, the dialogue is too on the nose,  I’m still “finding” the story and I’m probably missing many occasions to develop the theme but getting this first version of the story written is more important than unachievable perfection. First drafts always suck but that’s what rewriting is for. So fingers crossed that I can keep the streak going. The plan is still to have a decent draft by the end of the year.

In other news… not much. The Netflix “Dark Crystal” show is pretty good. Judging by it’s premise, “Carnival Row” should be right up my alley but I had to force myself though the first episode. Not a good sign. Other than that, there haven’t been that many new shows that caught my eye. It’s probably because there are too many to keep track of. 

While I wait for a new must see show, I’ll try to keep writing and I might read a couple of D&D and or Pathfinder 2nd Edition books, speaking of that, Amazon, please hurry I’m so looking forward to compare rules. I obviously looked at the P2 Playtest but comparing books is just so much better than looking at pdfs… and I’m saying this as an DnDBeyond Power User. 🙂

 

  1. I’m on day 4, probably too early to call it a streak but this is my blog so…

#Momentum – Here we go again…again

Yeah, let’s do this again…again.

First things first. I’m back and I’m well, very well actually. I took my time adjusting to normal work life but I can honestly say that I feel exceptionally well. My trip through Ireland had the intended effect. I feel rested, content and ready to conquer the world. Those five weeks really relaxed me in a way I haven’t thought possible. I’m as good as new and ready to embark on the next phase of this hopefully final self-improvement project.

Not sure if this is the second, third or whatever relaunch of #Momentum and I don’t really care. I decided to stop caring about unimportant things and focus on the important stuff. One of the many things I learned or rediscovered in Ireland is the fact, that I am a writer. Yes, I just typed that, and I’ll type it again: “I am a writer!” and I will try to prove that from now on.

Doesn’t matter that I’m an unsuccessful one, doesn’t matter that most of the things I write suck, I’m a writer. I might have to remind myself about that from time to time, but at the end of the day, I like writing and I don’r care what wether I’m successful or not, I love telling stories, I love writing them down, not as much as making them up but nothing is perfect.

#Momentum has been successful in the past but I have to make it permanent. I’m currently listening to the Podcast “Write Along” by David Chen and C. Robert Cargill and I feel energized. I will try to follow the advice from the first episode and set myself a reasonable writing goal. I will probably go for 1 or 2 pages a day, dosen’t sound like much but the idea is to be consistent in achieving your goal.

Another thing I care about is doing a good job teaching my students. Even though I haven’t prepared too many lessons over the summer, I had a good start, my students return a bit more mature from their holidays and I’m cautiously optimistic about my new class. They seem nice and eager to learn so far.

So what are my goals for the immediate future, let’s say December? They can be summed up in three words: Write, work, weight.

Let’s elaborate. As I already mentioned, I’ll try to write one page a day. I might increase that number but for the time being, one page a day, five days a week. That seems achievable. I’m also focusing on work in general. I include teaching and my responsibilities for the “Verbandsmusikfest” in that. I also have to work on my weight again. Stupid me, wha did I let myself go again. Well, long story but I did it once so I know that I can do it again.

This is it for now. I have a lot of work to do.

Ireland – Part 9 – Leaving on a … Ferry

So I’m starting to type this on the Ferry from Belfast to Scottland. Yeah, my adventure in Ireland is over. I think its fitting that I leave by ferry, I got in by plane, used busses and trains and cycled through the countryside.

In the time I spent in Ireland, I probably could’ve done more, seen more but I think I did just the right amount. I can honestly say that I cleared my head. I feel more focused than before the trip, there are so many things I know I have to get back to that I just don’t care about right now, it’s absolutely wonderful.

Ireland is a beautiful country, maybe not the weather but I have to admit that I was really lucky, I caught a bit of rain once or twice, that’s just inconceivable in Ireland. I loved the landscape, the people are just wonderful and the beer was really tasty.

It’s hard to say what my favourite thing was, the Cliffs of Morher and The Giant’s Causeway were both great, I thought the Guiness Storehouse was fun, Teeling was awesome, as was Bushmills… and the Galway Craft Beer Tour…well, that was something. I “enjoyed” the history lesson on Derry, Titanic in Belfast, the Pub Crawls, literary and without … there are just to many things to mention. Let’s just say, that I will definitely come back.

I know that this trip will be over in a week, a week to relax, write some more, I made some progress but I have a about 50 pages to go but I think I know where I’m going.