Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

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Moody Church Chicago

If we were having coffee, I’d rave about Open House Chicago, where visitors can choose from 250+ sites of architectural significance, many that are not usually open to the public. On Saturday I went with a friend to a dozen or so sites in the Gold Coast neighborhood, including St. Chrysostom Church, the Graham Foundation, Moody Church, The Palette and Chisel art center and several others. On Sunday I volunteered at the First Methodist Church of Evanston and beforehand saw American Toby Jug Museum, a distillery and an architectural firm housed in a one time horse stable. The weather this year was ideal, sunny and a bit crisp. Volunteering was fun and allowed me to meet some new people. In addition, as a volunteer I got two tickets for Chicago Architectural Foundation’s walking tours (worth $25 or so). This week I’ll share posts on each significant site.

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At the American Toby Jug Museum

I just got home from my October Great Books Discussion Group. On the one hand it was great that we had a large group, 15 (which might be a little too big). We read Genesis this month and I’d looked forward to a lively discussion. There are many very sharp people in this group. However, the leader spent about 35 minutes expounding on background information, unaware that a lot of the people there knew much of what he shared. It was quite exasperating. Then when we did get to talk we just went around the table sharing impressions. By the time everyone had shared their impressions, rather than talking about the text as is the point of Great Books we had a lot of ramblings and digressive commentary. We flitted from one person to the next, never coming to the few questions people raised about the text when we went around the table. Such a waste of time. A couple people had joined and seemed to just want a platform to talk about irrelevant ideas. The leader occasionally broke in with more background, which we’d heard before. Not our best meeting.

I’d also say I was captivated by the animated film Loving Vincent, which uses oil paintings and the subjects of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to tell the story of the last weeks of his life. Amazing!

Visit Eclectic Allie’s blog for links to other Weekend Coffee Shares.

 

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Open the Books

A friend told me about the website, Open the Books, which lists all U.S. government spending from local to federal jobs. You can find salaries and expenditures.

I wonder if other countries have this data openly available.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m getting ready to go to Peoria for the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference. I’m volunteering so the registration fee is waived. It’s about a 2 hour drive so I’m able to borrow a car and have used hotel points so the trip is very economical. One day I hope to have a job where I don’t have to pay for such events out of my own pocket.

I have come to regret getting this Master of Library Science. As much as I love libraries, I have learned that while it looked from the outside that there were plenty of full time jobs for hard working, successful graduates, there aren’t. It’s a very costly field as you have to sacrifice years of full time work with benefits and take poorly paid part time work to get your foot in the door. So this week I ramped up my applications to other jobs outside libraries. Fingers crossed.

I highly recommend Coursera’s Manager’s Toolkit course. I’ve finished three weeks and the information is well researched and useful. On top of that it’s free!

Poldark S4 - EP2

I’d discuss Poldark, Season IV and if you haven’t seen the series, I’d urge your to watch. The characters are well drawn and the conflicts nail biting.

I want to add how demoralizing it was to see a friend I taught with in Japan. She’s smart and hardworking. She’s a single mother and wants to live in her hometown, the Bronx, where her older mother is. She has to cobble together a slew of part time ESL university jobs and never knows if she’ll have enough work to make ends meet. Schools don’t offer courses till the end of a semester and it’s hard to make the schedule of school A fit with the work offered by school B. Sadly, she qualifies for Medicaid. This is why I’m intent on leaving the field. This is no way for an educated person to live.

On a lighter note, I’d urge you to check out You Were Never Lovelier with Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. I knew Astaire was a master at dance, but Hayworth also is.

Taiwan’s Confucian Temple

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Taipei has a beautiful Confucian temple, which is free to visit. Located a short walk from the Yuan Shan MRT station (Red Line), the temple is free to visit and offers a free film in English, which explains the basics of Confucianism. If you visit when there isn’t a tour, the brochure

The temple’s architecture is based on Qufu religious architecture and southern Fu Jianese architecture. Since I’ve seen a lot of Chinese temples this one didn’t wow me, but I always enjoy the art and symmetry of these temples. It’s a serene sight.

Free admission.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday and Mondays 8:30 to 5:00pm. Closed on Sunday

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Huashan 1914

If you visit Taipei, you really should take a stroll around Huashan 1914, a one time industrial complex that’s now an artsy, creative center. Huashan 1914 has several cafés, galleries, shops and restaurants. The art ranges from the cute to the provocative, with an accent on the cute.

It’s a fun place to stroll and in humid Taiwan it’s nice to go from outside to in when you need some respite.

When I went, I met several gallery workers and shop clerks who spoke English well. I particularly enjoyed the man at the leather exhibition who told me several stories about the history of his leather company.

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It’s free to wander around, but some exhibits charge entrance fees.

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Code Academy

For my library class, I have had to complete three courses on codeacademy.com. These interactive courses are free, though you can get a premium account and get a certificate and more detailed instruction.

We had to do the first courses on HTML & CSS, a style sheet language, Building a Website and SQL, a database. The courses were well designed with a good mix of theory and step by step instructions. Code Academy did have some bugs, which get fixed if you report them. I had problems with the exercises. When there were two tasks and I’d complete one, I’d get an error message for not having done both lessons even though the second task is darkened so you can’t do it till you’ve run the first. It was a minor annoyance.

While I prefer Lynda.com courses because they have more insider information and more of a human feel, Code Academy is a good place to get your toes wet to see if you want to learn more.