Kenny Smith | blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hey! Blogger is shutting down the way this site works. Thanks, Blogger.

So I'm upgrading to Wordpress.

The archives should stay here.

The new URL for the blog is here. Adjust links and RSS feeds accordingly.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

May smiles always be showered down upon you.

May thumbtacks always be safely depressed into a cork board, and not into the palm of your hand.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Turned in my last paper of the term, meaning my semester as a student is over.

Today I finished that paper, having wrestled with it over the course of the semester, sometimes on paper, sometimes in my head and sometimes in conversation with classmates. I spent a great deal of time on it, all told, and at lunch today I finally had the a-ha moment.

The downside being that it was due by 6 p.m. this evening. The downside to that being I had to leave Samford by 5 p.m. to make it to Alabama by 6 p.m. So, really, the paper was due by 5 p.m.

I uploaded it to the professor at 5:10.

So that was done today. Also I taught today. Also there was an editorial board meeting, wherein the editors for next year's newspaper, yearbook and literary arts magazine were all selected.

It was a busy day.

And then there was class. On the last day of classes for the semester it ran almost two hours. Dropped off a few books at the Alabama library and then walked over to a restaurant for dinner with The Yankee and friends.

Now home, now this. I'm spent.

I'm so very fortunate to do these interesting, thought-provoking things at Samford and call them work. I'm fortunate to then have the opportunity, with the blessing of my employer, to take classes at Alabama at the same time. This is some kind of great deal I have, don't get me wrong. Don't think I don't appreciate it or realize how blessed and lucky I am. But I'm ready for a nap.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday evening on the Samford University campus, Birmingham, Ala.

It is a lovely place. The people are all nice. The quad is peaceful. The architecture is charming. Samford is a great place to be. (The trees and sky pictured here are the view from the west end of the quad, and my hasty effort at creating a two-layer high definition photograph.)

And so I'm here all day today. And all night, at this rate. Working, first. Writing a quiz, making phone calls, making things happen. And then teaching, another day of Dreamweaver. There are things the students like and things they dislike. That makes sense.

Their projects are coming along. I'm looking forward to seeing their final product. I hope they take our advice to heart and not let their sites end with the semester, but keep them going as a project and a new skill to learn.

I did that years ago. A grad student friend of mine who was big and loud and dynamic and funny and who'd been out into the world, making money and had come back> to school said to me one day "If you can build web pages you can add $10,000 to your annual salary!"

That part didn't happen, but the advice served me well.

I spent that summer tinkering around in HTML. I figured if I was going to pay rent on my place at college I may as well be living there. And I figured if I was going to live there I may as well take classes. And since none of my friends used this logic I had the three months to myself. I spent it trying to figure out how to make websites run.

I did it by hand back then. Hammered it into stone with a hammer and chisel. I still do. (Using the simplest text editor I can find.) I find it soothing somehow. There's a certain repetitiousness to it that is actually refreshing, at least when things work. There's a certain comfort in making minor changes and seeing them happen live that I enjoy.

When I say it like that it makes me think I should maybe redesign my site.

My internship dealt, in part, with building web pages. (Some of those pages still exist, I ran across two this weekend for one reason or another.) I found myself running stories on the air and on the website a few jobs into my career. Back then very few newsrooms thought this way.

And then I spent four-and-a-half great years at I learned more about writing pages than I thought possible. Some of the people there have forgotten more than I'll ever know.

Two years ago all of that brought me to Samford, where I've been fortunate to work with talented students and faculty and think and talk about journalism and broadcasting and newspapers and social media and call it work. They pay me for this.

That friend? He went on to get his PhD. He lectures at two colleges and works for the FDIC.

Moral: Find the smart people, take their advice. It can serve you well.

So aside from the teaching of Dreamweaver and this silly little trip down memory lane I'm still trying to wrap up this paper. It is due tomorrow evening. It has a way to go yet, so I'll stop write here and get back to it.

Tomorrow: More on this paper, and then I turn it in and move on to other projects. Everyone wins, especially if you are in such a nice place as this.