2016 Review and 2017 Preview

I know the end of January is later than years-in-review usually come out, but since I have not blogged in a long, long time, I thought it best to share what I’ve been doing all this time and what I plan to do this year.

One thing I have spent a lot of time on the last four years has been teaching ASL at the community college level. I tend to spend “however long it takes” on projects rather than say to myself, “I’m going to spend the next hour on this” or “I’m going to limit my work on this to three hours a week,” so I think it’s fair to say I have been spending too much time grading homework– and even maybe giving my students too much homework. I recently looked at my profile on RateMyProfessors.com to see what some of my recent students wrote, and I looked at a few other ASL instructor reviews out of curiosity. One student said of another teacher, “Plus, no homework!” I was like “whaaat??” I have a hard time believing that’s even true, but it jolted me enough to wonder what it would be like not to have any homework to grade, and it reminded me that I spend way too much time grading homework. Now, that doesn’t necessarily translate to “I make my students spend way too much time doing homework”; it means I am being typically me and spending too much time on work. I’m sure many of my students spend much less time doing their homework than I spend grading it, so honestly — as selfish as it may sound — the idea of grading less homework is more for me than for them. Suffice it to say that I spent too much of 2016 grading homework, and I plan to spend less time on that in 2017.

I taught some workshops in 2016 — well, I taught people in workshops — and I hope to teach as many if not more in 2017. Last year, I traveled to Aberdeen, South Dakota, Flagstaff, and Tucson to teach, and I taught a local workshop and two national workshops in Phoenix, two of them being at the joint conference of the National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. (You can see more in my CV).

Which brings me to blogging. I ran by the warm-hearted Dale Boam in the hallway between sessions that the NAD-RID conference, and he said, “I miss your blogs! Share more of your insight with us!” or something to that effect. It was one of the sweetest things a reader/viewer and fellow interpreter/trainer ever said to me. It reminded me that indeed there are people out there who read my blogs, watch my vlogs, and appreciate what I have to say. I want to spend less time grading homework in 2017 and more time sharing my insight through writing and videos. I need to remember that I am a professional, not just a professor, and I owe it to myself and my colleagues to spend time in my profession reading, researching, writing, informing, discussing, and generally improving my and others’ understanding of the world.

I also did some other fun stuff in 2016, much of which you can see in my Flickr feed, and I look forward to more adventure and travel in 2017. One thing I do feel good about, looking back on the year, is all the good times I spent with friends, and I very much look forward to doing more of that this year. I also got involved with making new friends around the world by chatting with people in English and Spanish through an app called HelloTalk. I might even visit some of them in 2017! One of my goals this year is to take a summer vacation with my husband to Spain, visiting not only Barcelona — which we went to in 2008 — but also Madrid, Seville, and Málaga. I am steadily improving my Spanish with the aim of becoming a trilingual interpreter, something I did to a very limited extent in 2016 and hope to do more of in 2017.

Well, that was far from an exhaustive review and preview, but those are the points I wanted to hit in my first blog post of the year (and my first long-form post since November 2015, yikes!). I did some “microblogging” on my Twitter feed and a few public posts on my Facebook timeline that I might post here retroactively, but this is my first real blog post in a long time. I hope the next time I blog won’t be in another 14 months! See you soon.

Status Update for July 2015

What have I been doing since last summer, you ask? I have been teaching ASL classes, mentoring and leading case supervision, interpreting, and teaching interpreting workshops. I have not been much of a blogger because, honestly, as busy as my days have been, the only thing I want to do at night is watch TV. On the weekends, when I am not grading or prepping, I am relaxing, doing housework, and getting out of the house to go to a park, mall, museum, theatre, restaurant, or friend’s house.

After the Spring 2015 semester ended, I took a 15-day vacation with my husband to Alaska and British Columbia. We moved into a new (to us) house in April, so renovating and redecorating have consumed much of my spare time. This summer, I am editing and taking teacher education courses. I update my Facebook profile pretty regularly, mostly just to my Friends, but sometimes publicly. I tweet occasionally, mostly live-tweeting television broadcasts, commenting on current events, or reviewing products and services— only sometimes tweeting about interpreting or teaching.

So, I am alive! Just making an appearance on my blog for a moment to say “hello world.”

Blog 2014: Adding affiliate links to earn money

I just found out that WordPress.com, the advertising-averse blogging platform that hosts this site, allows bloggers to earn revenue by posting affiliate links. What?!? I wish I’d known this years ago! I’m this nice guy who, for years, has had links on this blog to Amazon for books I contributed to — just to make it easier for people to find them — even though I wasn’t getting royalties for purchases or commissions for referrals. All this time, I could have been earning at least a few pennies from Amazon for the business I was sending their way. Who knew?

This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.
This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.

Well, since I’m this nice guy who spreads the word for the greater good, I’m telling the WordPress.com community about this opportunity in case I wasn’t the only one in the dark. Basically, WordPress.com says it’s okay to post affiliate links to goods you like and think your readers might like, as long as you’re a real blogger who writes original content and doesn’t just use your blog to sell stuff.[1] I’ve always been an honest blogger with loads of original content; now I know I can turn my “free advertising” into commissions each time a reader follows one of my product links and chooses to purchase the product. Yay!

There are several affiliate programs out there, but in case you’re interested here’s a link to Amazon.com’s Affiliate Program I just joined. They pay 4% on every purchase readers make from your affiliate links. Hey, even if it only gets a blogger a few dollars a year, it doesn’t hurt.

References

[1] WordPress.com Support > Policies & Safety > Affiliate Links

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Blog 2014: Free WordPress themes that display bylines

This is an update to a post I wrote in September 2012 titled WordPress.com themes that display author bylines, which listed free WordPress themes of 2012 that displayed bylines on both posts pages and single posts, single posts only, or not at all. My 2012 post served as an update to another blogger’s post Author and profile displayed or not (Panos, 2009; 2011). This present post covers all free WordPress Themes for Blogs at WordPress.com from January 2012 through July 2014.

Byline Displayed
Screenshot of a byline displaying in a post info/meta section

A matter of style

Displaying an author’s name is a matter of style, not content. As I wrote in WordPress themes not showing author bylines explained, the author’s byline is on every WordPress post and posts page. It is always there in the HTML; whether it is displayed or hidden is an effect of CSS that makes up the theme. It has no affect on search engine optimization (SEO) or Google Authorship.

Screenshot of hidden byline exposed by stripping CSS, courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer
Screenshot of hidden byline exposed by stripping CSS, courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer

A matter of preference

Some authors feel no need to have their bylines displayed except on single posts; for them, there are themes that hide bylines on posts pages. Others have multi-author blogs and want each author’s byline displayed everywhere. (Mind, I tested all these themes on my single-author blog.) Others, especially in organizational blogs, might want to present a more collective identity; for them, there are themes that hide bylines on all posts.

Here, then, is a list of free WordPress themes released from January 2012 through July 2014 that do and do not display bylines on single-author blogs: (more…)