Sunday, September 21, 2014

6 Shows You Aren't Watching, but Should Be (unless you have a paper due for my class, in which case, get to work!)

Looking to procrastinate this semester (who isn't)? I'm a fan of many critically-acclaimed t.v. hits, but  I also like to find more obscure shows. Here are some I'll be watching this season before the grading season picks up....

Newbies (reviews to follow!): 
The Flash - It took awhile for me to warm up to Arrow, but last season made me a believer... mostly because of awesome fangirl proxy character Felicity Smoak. Something tells me this Arrow spin-off The Flash will be a lot of fun right from the beginning. It seems to have Smallville's cheeriness paired with a little bit of snark, and a charming leading man.
Network: CW
Premier Date: October 7

Gotham - I worry that a superhero show on any major network will be doomed for a couple of reasons. One being that niche-y shows like these don't tend to bring in big ratings. The other being that major networks aren't the most risky or creative story-tellers on the planet. But, my t.v. crush Donal Logue (of the criminally underrated Terriers) is in this show and that's reason enough to give it a try. Add to that the broody, noir tone and the fact that future Batman is in the mix, I am in.
Network: Fox
Premiere Date: September 22

iZombie - I am a huge fan of Rob Thomas (writer and television creator, not 90s rock star) and even though the zombie genre seems worn out (and how can you beat The Walking Dead?), I am looking forward to trying it. It looks like it has all of the best Rob Thomas elements: smart female lead, murder mystery, and plenty of sarcasm. Add to that a little horror twist and what's not to like?
Network: CW
Premiere Date: Not until 2015!!!

Returning Faves:
The 100 - On the surface, this is a silly CW show with improbably good-looking refugees from a post-nuclear apocalypse future, but underneath the models-turned-actors is a thoughtful and many times genuinely thrilling sci-fi drama. It's part Lord of the Flies, part Battlestar Galactica. I can't wait to see the leadership styles of Clarke and Bellamy clash in future episodes!

Supernatural - Even 10 seasons in, this show still has legs. It combines horror, humor, and warmth with fun meta-narratives, terrific chemistry between the leads, and classic rock. It also periodically asks the "big questions" about God, destiny/fate, choice, and family. I'm a true believer who's hoping for another decade!

Miss Marple - I enjoy pretty much any British import Masterpiece Mystery brings to us Yanks, but I have a special place in my heart for Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries. I love her mild-mannered-yet-sharp-as-a-tack persona. Why can't other shows feature a brilliant female lead whose personal life is intact and is still interesting? Why do most shows insist on competent professional women who are disasters at home? Miss Marple needs to straighten those t.v. execs out.

Happy Procrastinating, Friends. Now let's get back to the grindstone, shall we?

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Make It This Semester: Advice for Students... Written by Students!

Dear New Student(s),

I am thrilled to be your instructor this term.  I want to do everything I can to help you succeed.  It's (understandably) scary to start a new semester with a new prof.  To help calm your fears, I thought I'd give you some advice - that doesn't come from me.  It's written to you by former students who have managed to survive - and thrive! - in my courses.  

SO, to kick of the fall, I present to you: 


How to Make It This Term
in a Leah Payne Course

Listen.  Leah isn't a harsh grader, she doesn't hold grudges, and she gives students the benefit of the doubt, especially if you show enthusiasm and active participation in class. The only other thing I would recommend is, don't take a harsh grade too seriously. She asks some tough questions, and they might be hard to answer, but she gives plenty of opportunity to make it up. 
 - Zach Brigante, MATS Student

When Dr. Payne says stick to the word count, she means it. And she thinks it's "good for you" (read "painstaking character development") to edit every last syllable (especially if it's the only syllable in the one word that's over the limit). 300 words means 300 words or less. The nasty truth is, she's right. It actually does make you a better writer.
 - Anne-Marie Finsaas, DMin Student

Leah’s a lot of fun and her classes are fun, so relax, enjoy them, and engage – ask questions. Push her. She likes to engage and be pushed. She’s got a wide range of interests and likes to see and explore how ‘dots connect’ from seeming disparate disciplines and thinkers. Propose stuff even if you’re not entirely certain of the likely path the discussion may take. And then – research – have your stuff in order and write logical, defensible papers and you’ll be fine. Bottom line – enjoy the opportunity – you’ll look back at your ‘Leah classes’ with fondness!
 - Michael Gama, DMin

Learn the skill of skimming/reading for information.  Don't bog down in every printed word assigned, use a dictionary and think about if you agree or disagree with the main points the author is making.  The reading is where you can shape your own thoughts and bring constructive conversation to the lecture periods.  And come to lecture with humor in your heart; because Dr. Payne is a crack-up.
 - Jeniene Frisco, MDiv


Not sure what to say except to read as widely as possible. Frankly, I did not find the course work difficult as much as trying to keep up with reading, connecting the dots, and communicating in a concise manner. History has never been my thing but living Internationally, right in the middle of church history, has made a huge impact on how I listened in class and how I processed the material read for your assignments.
 - Dave Shepherd, DMin

Take notes in class and compare your notes to the outlines that are provided. Make friends in class and share with them. And don't hesitate to talk to the professor. She's not really scary.
 - Julie Dodge, DMin Student

It is essential that students understand the intent of the course by examining the syllabus, meticulously read the books assigned for the course, grasp the major theories, subject content and dissenting voices to understand all perspectives of the argument. The last essential key is to communicate early and often to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, especially on the first day of class when the syllabus is reviewed with the class. 
 - Carlos Richard, DMin Student

Be Concise... less words is best... and always organize your thoughts well. 
 - Grant Carey, DMin Student

The study guides are a huge help!  Do them and trade notes with your colleagues; they can be a great resource!  Also, learn to love knowledge.  One thing I learned about studying, in general, is that my attitude towards studying often reflects my attitude and outlook on life.  Life is not a stressful obligation!  It is (can be) a joyful discovery and an adventure!
JP Paxton, MDiv

My advise for doing well in Dr. Leah’s class is to read the readings, listen to advice, and learn from feedback.  First, Dr. Leah’s readings help students plunge deeper into topics. Second, allow yourselves to be pushed to become better writers and heed the specific instructions given. Lastly, learn from the feedback given and utilize it to make future papers stronger. If students do these three things I am confident students will succeed.  
 - Todd Clark, DMin

Don't let her winsome smile fool you, Leah's brain is on fire.
Alicia Chole, DMin Student

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting Through the Dog Days

On summer days, I would rather....
grab a cup of Edge Coffee with a dear friend,
eat Salt & Straw ice cream with someone special,
or try a cronut at Joe's Donuts in my home town...
than get my writing goals done for the summer.  
BUT, write I must (and so must you, I am sure!).

So, I listen to a few (eclectic!) songs to get me going, including:
1. Foo Fighter, Walk.  
2. Beyonce, Love On Top.
3. KINGOS, Come with Me Now.
4. David Guetta (ft. Sia), Titanium.
5.  Billy Joel, Movin' Out.

We are just about one month away from classes beginning.  Just one more month to write, write, write while you still can!  

Godspeed to you and to me - August is almost upon us!