Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘qotd

That would be a Chilean wine: Santa Helena–Seleccion del Directorio, which was available sometime in the mid 80s. I used to share this with my godfather back when I was growing up. Yes, I did not grow up in the continental U.S. where having a drink as a minor is somehow seen as some taboo. In fact, having a couple of glasses of wine with some cheese and crackers during those lazy Sundays when I visited with him and the rest of the family, followed by a nice lunch, not only remains one of the nicer memories of my youth, but it was the time when I learned about drinking in moderation. Maybe one of these days I will write about this more in my blog.

Now, I would also add another Chilean wine, a brand simply known as Gato Negro (Black Cat, which was the red wine) and Gato Blanco (yes, White Cat, and it would be their white wine). Pity you can’t get these in the States.

Ask me anything

P.S. What do you know? The wine still exists. See here. Though I wonder if it is as good as those vintages I remember from back in the day.


I definitely prefer to write notes on paper. I prefer to write drafts on paper before I put words online as much as possible. I like the feel of pen or pencil on paper. I feel that my thoughts flow better, maybe even more gracefully when I put pen on paper. I do find the ritual of writing by hand to be soothing, a bit more relaxing.

Even this prompt, which I am now posting online, was written first on paper. In this case, I jotted down my initial ideas in my personal journal. For me, it’s just the natural thing to do. I first develop and expand my ideas in paper, then I copy them, maybe with some minor editing, onto the online medium. That’s what has worked for me for years. It still works for me today. It is an approach that allows me to reflect and think.

Plus, writing on paper let’s me decide if I really want to publish online or not. It is a small precaution against publishing impulsively online. If it is a journal entry, it may stay in my journal. If it’s just a rough draft written on loose paper, and I deem it not worthy of publication, it is very easy to destroy that rough draft and leave no evidence behind. You can’t say the same thing about online publishing. In the online world, once it’s published, it’s pretty much permanent. So there’s another advantage to paper: in a pinch, it can be destroyed,

And yet paper, as long as some care is taken, can be more permanent and accessible than electronic devices, All it takes is a loss of power, and no more electronic notes. With paper, as long as I have a candle, a working pen or pencil, and paper, I can still write, and I can choose whether to share what I write or not. This idea applies to books as well, but that is another note for another time.

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A well made homemade pumpkin pie is my favorite pumpkin treat. Put a little dollop of whipped cream on top, and serve it with a nice mug of coffee, and we’re in business. The coffee would preferably be just plain coffee, nothing flavored, so it does not take away from the flavor of the pie.

Ask me anything

What’s your favorite movie quote of all time?

There are a few, but I think one of my favorites, and the one that I would include here is this one from the film The Godfather (quote via 

Don Corleone: Tell me, do you spend time with your family?
Johnny Fontane: Sure I do.
Don Corleone: Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man. 

To me, that says a strong message to men everywhere. Be man enough to be responsible and care for your family. This is a non-negotiable, and I started appreciating it a bit more when I got married then we had our daughter. Anyhow, there it is, a favorite movie quote.

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Prompt: Do you tend to like music in particular genres, or are your tastes all over the place?  What are your most and least favorite musical genres?

Hmm, I came here to blog something else, but as this question seems cool, here we go. In terms of music, I tend to like a bit of everything. Having said that, if forced to pick a favorite, then I will say I favor 80s music. I like pop, new wave, rock, dance, and similar styles of that era. What can I say? For one, it was the time I grew up with. Second, overall, the music had a feel-good vibe to it that went down the drain with the 90s and afterwards. I also like latin music, classical, a bit of jazz, a bit of country, and even some hip-hop and rap. Lately, I have been enjoying a bit of techno, trance, and similar.

However, I am pretty open minded. You make a suggestion for something to try out, I will give it a try. I also go by mood once in a while. So it depends on what I feel like listening. Do I want something upbeat, or do I want something more mellow? Overall, there is very little music that I dislike. There are some things I would skip, but as I said, overall, I am pretty flexible.

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Prompt: In honor of World Teachers' Day today, tell us about a teacher who had a positive impact on your life.

I had no idea that today was World Teachers' Day, but here it goes. I have been fortunate that I have had some good teachers who had a positive impact on my life. I think the earliest I can go back was my 5th grade English teacher, Mrs. Velez. She was just one of the nicest teachers a boy could have. Later in middle school, I was educated by De La Salle Brothers. These were probably amongst the best teachers I ever had. To this day, I give credit to them for a lot of my values and lessons learned. Even though I am not particularly religious, the education they gave me helped to put me on the path of a lifelong learner. The Christian Brothers are probably the most dedicated teachers I have seen, and I think their influence had a role in me becoming a teacher. I went on to become a public school teacher, a job I did for three years before I went on to graduate school and then librarianship. Even as a librarian, I chose the path of teaching becoming an instruction librarian. From the Christian Brothers I learned dedication, discipline, and caring for my students. Brother Eugenio taught math and algebra. Brother Cesar taught religion and art. He also taught penmanship. I may be one of the last generations who actually got graded on penmanship. I will say this. To this day, some people praise me for my handwriting for it being neat. It is a lost art. My daughter in school now. . .well,  you can tell they don't teach penmanship anymore. Her handwriting is not very neat. There is more emphasis on typing on a keyboard I think, but in my view, you lose some skill in things like taking notes and just making a small list.

Sadly for me, we moved, and I finished my high school someplace else. In college, I had a few good professors. Dr. Rocio del Pilar taught a course on Hispanic Culture, and it was one of the classes that turned me towards my teaching major. Dr. Ohlgren (I hope I spelled his name right; it's been years) made Chaucer and medieval literature fun as well as interesting. In graduate school, for my English masters, Dr. Maude Jennings was probably the best teacher. She had high expectations, but more importantly, she was passionate about her subject, and she cared about her students. Not many professors take the time to get to know students and nurture their interests. She did it very well.

I have named a few teachers, but I have to say that I also learned a thing or two from the teachers who may not have been as effective or competent in the classroom. We could say they served me as negative examples, illustrations of what I did not want to be when I became a teacher. In that regard, I thank them as well now, though I will say I may not have been as thankful then.

In the end, teaching is a hard profession. At the school level, it is often a thankless job where a lot of bureaucrats who would never dream of doing the job tell you what to do. So, as a former school teacher, I have a strong admiration for the good ones that decide to continue teaching in public schools in spite of the challenges. College teaching also has its challenges. So, on this Teachers' Day, I want to thank all those who had an impact on my life, who educated me, and helped me become an educator myself. I can only hope to put some of your good lessons to practice.

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How do you sign your emails?
Submitted by rosemarypepper.

Here is my first foray into doing one of the QotD's. For me, it is fairly straightforward. I have a signature file set on my Outlook and on my other e-mail which I may use for professional purposes. It has my contact information, and it usually has a quote to go with it. Right now, I am going with one of two quotes for my signature line. My work e-mail currently has this one:

"Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again." –Lazarus Long, in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough For Love

On my personal e-mail, and this includes people in my profession (librarianship), but not my workplace, I am going with this from V for Vendetta:

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

I once in a while change the quotes depending on mood.

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April 2020


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