A (potentially) Good Idea Gone Awry
While you read this, I am on vacation. Mostly I'm enjoying being at home (or at least I assume I will be enjoying it) though in two weeks (next week, for you reading this in the newsletter) I will head to Ruston, Virginia, to compete in the Virginia State Ballroom Championships which will be attended by people from all over the country not just Virginia. (Don't you already feel like you're following Alice down the rabbit hole or have tuned in very late to an episode of "Lost?" And I'm not even to the part where things went awry!)
Anyway, as I write this I haven't left for vacation yet, but I'm thinking about it. So, I thought I might write something about summer vacation and the ideas those words conjure upperhaps something that evokes memories of grade school when vacation seemed nearly endless. I went to my favorite quote page to see if I could find something fun about summer and found this one from Walter Winchell - "It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do." Well, that's certainly true this summer in San Antonio, and maybe it counts as evocative, but that's not quite the tone I was seeking.
And that's when things really did go awry. I found this quote, "The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting to let you know." Whew! This quote comes to us from Patricia E. Presutti and was the winner of the 1986 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC).
In case you don't know about the BLFC, here's what the web page has to say. "An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton. The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels….Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel "Paul Clifford" with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy has plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."
The 2009 winners have just been announced and after reading a few, I decided that they are just the right thing to share since summer is about light reading, trashy books, the kind you read at the beach – and leave there. So, while I'm enjoying my vacation, I'll leave you with a few of the 'winners' - light, trashy, leave-at-the-beach opening lines from the literary heirs of Bulwer-Lytton. I hope you enjoy them and that you find some time this summer to relax a little and laugh a lot.
"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor'east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests." David McKenzie
"The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor -- the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn't use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey could have something to ride." Warren Blair
2009 Winner: Adventure Category
"How best to pluck the exquisite Toothpick of Ramses from between a pair of acrimonious vipers before the demonic Guards of Nicobar returned should have held Indy's full attention, but in the back of his mind, he still wondered why all the others who had agreed to take part in his wife's holiday scavenger hunt had been assigned to find stuff like a Phillips screwdriver or blue masking tape." Joe Wyatt
2009 Winner: Detective Category
"She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.” Eric Rice
2009 Winner: Romance Category
"Melinda woke up suddenly to the sound of her trailer being pounded with wind and hail and she couldn't help thinking that if she had only put her prized hog up for adoption last May, none of this would be happening, no one would have gotten hurt, and she wouldn't be left with only nine toes, or be living in a mobile home park in Nebraska with a second-rate trapeze artist named Fred." Ada Marie Finkel
2009 Runner-up: Fantasy Fiction Category
"Towards the dragon's lair the fellowship marched – a noble human prince, a fair elf, a surly dwarf, and a disheveled copyright attorney who was frantically trying to find a way to differentiate this story from 'Lord of the Rings'." Andrew Manoske
2009 Dishonorable Mention: Purple Prose Category
"He slowly ran his fingers through her long black hair, which wasn't really black because she used Preference by L'Oreal to color it (because 'she was worth it'); her carrot-colored roots were starting to show, and it reminded him of the time he'd covered his car's check engine light with black electrical tape, but a faint orange glow still shone around the edges." Lisa Mileusnich
P.S. The real title of this article was "A (potentially) good idea goes awry on a dark and stormy night, though it wasn't all that dark because it's daylight savings time and it wasn't stormy at all because it hasn't rained here in, like, forever, though something was wrong with the atmospheric continuum because this article got totally out of hand." But Edna made me cut it.
Please take a few moments to check out all the latest news from the University Center in the July issue of “Center Points.” Read about the UC’s first wedding reception and all the great services the Campus Technology Store offers faculty, staff and departments. You can also learn about our first annual Events Showcase—Friday, July 17 from 2-4 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.
Please welcome Renee Hopkins to the Division of Student Affairs! Renee comes to our division with over 20 years of UTSA experience. She is the Senior Administrative Associate in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Please join us in welcoming Renee!
Click here for more information:
Want to get involved at the division level? Like to meet to new people? Seeking fun? Come join the Staff Networking Committee. The committee oversees the office tours, Mid Managers Network, New Professionals Network, Administrative Brown Bags, Student Affairs Jamboree, Tailgate Parties and other events throughout the year. If you are interested in joining, contact Re’Shanda Bridges or Misty Kelley.
This summer, the UTSA Office of Student Affairs welcomed Lionel Maten as director of housing and residence life. He will oversee operations of campus housing and residence life and have the responsibility of nurturing a safe and engaging living environment for the more than 3,700 students who live on campus.
With just a few weeks on the job, Maten's schedule is packed with meetings. His phone is constantly ringing, and his in-box is filling up fast. If he's overwhelmed, you can't see it. What is obvious is his passion for...
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/06/maten2.cfm
Two leaders of the UTSA Sponsored Student Organization VOICES (Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Service) attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco June 22-25. Nadia Danial, VOICES President, and Emily Pohl, Vice President of Programs, attended the conference with the organization advisor Jennifer Lilly.
The highlight of the conference was the opening plenary given by First Lady Michelle Obama. During her speech, Mrs. Obama unveiled...
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/07/voices.cfm
If you happen to notice an influx of visitors on the UTSA Main Campus, here’s why. Since May 1 of this year, The UTSA Visitor Center has introduced 2,500 potential students and parents to the UTSA experience. The office is expecting upwards of 3,000 more students before the fall semester. The Visitor Center sees the extra traffic on campus as an opportunity to make a great first impression.
The UTSA Visitor Center’s main goal is to provide a positive experience for visitors and to answer any question a prospective student or parent may have regarding UTSA...
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/07/visitorcenter.cfm
The UTSA Office of Business Auxiliary Services announces the summer schedule beginning May 11 for campus dining, bookstores, shuttles and parking.
For more information, visit the Business Auxiliary Services, UTSACard or Parking and Transportation Services Web sites, or call BAS at (210) 458-4003 or PTS at (210) 458-PARK (7275).
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/05/minimester.cfm
Events Management & Conference Services (EMCS) invites all campus event and meeting planners to join the University Center Ballroom Showcase on Friday, July 17, in the UTSA Main Campus Ballroom, UC 1.104, from 2 to 4 p.m. The Event Showcase will highlight all of the food, décor and planning resources available on campus for meetings and special events—including weddings.
Showcase visitors will experience the state-of-the-art ballroom set up in different ways to highlight the many different types of events EMCS and Dining Services can help execute on campus...
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/07/eventshowcase.cfm
Techniques for Insightful Communication:
In an effort to assist staff in gaining techniques for insightful communication in the office, the Education Team has compiled the information below to help you explore the listening styles and communication patterns of the "colors." True Colors is a common language that is perfected with practice. Learning how our co-workers and team members communicate and what they might be hearing as we try to convey information is important to our improved communication. Remember that we have all of the colors somewhere on our personal spectrum and that people of a shared dominant color still may communicate very differently. Given that, the information below still gives us a great place to start.
Read about your dominant color, does it hit home? Do you agree? Read the other descriptions. How well are you using the common language, communicating with someone in their style a little bit. Comtemplate our outcomes of excellence in service and programming related to our ability to communicate. Could learning more about our stylistic differences get us closer to excellence?
Blue Listening Style: They are focusing on more than your words. They evaluate what is being communicated. They listen and then give the benefit of the doubt to the speaker and assume sincerity.
"A Blue's world revolves around people, relationships, and fostering growth in themselves and others." Showing Our True Colors. p. 121
Tips for Communicating with Blues
Gold Listening Style: They listen for details in order. They can lose their train of thought if the conversation is interrupted. They do not want to fill in the blanks. They listen for responsibility. What is my duty?
"Golds have a tendency to come across in a businesslike manner. They speak of structure, responsibility, and the 'shoulds' and 'should nots' of life." Showing Our True Colors. p. 133
Tips for Communicating with Golds
Orange Listening Style: They listen for entertainment, impact, relevance. Unless you are engaging or reveal immediately how your information is useful, they may lost interest. They try to gage the motivation of the speaker.
"When Oranges are interested in being expedient and clear with their communication, they can be very straightforward." Showing Our True Colors. p. 145
Tips for Communicating with Oranges
Green Listening Style: They listen for information and want to know the purpose for the communication. They may assume that they been approached to solve a problem. They may miss the non-verbal cues.
"For the most part greens communicate for the purpose of gaining or sharing information." Showing Our True Colors. p. 152
Tips for Communicating with Greens
Have a creative idea about to use True Colors as a common language in your daily work? Send your idea to VPSA@utsa.edu. We will share your idea with other Student Affairs staff hoping to practice communicating in True Colors.
Ruth Coates, Administrative Service Officer I in the Associate Dean of Students office shared with us the design of her new color-coded filing system. She relayed that her use of colors was inspired by the True Colors characteristics. Her filing is color coded as follows:
Blue – Relates to Staff/People
Gold (Yellow) – Relates to Accounting, Reconciliations, Office Orders
Orange – Relates to Events
Green – Upper Level, Travel, Budgets
KUDOS Ruth! What a great way to keep the common language going. Every time she grabs a file, she is reminded of some of the core characteristics of the colors. As a result, she will have an easier time recognizing those characteristics in others. She found an individual way to bring meaning to the colors. Simple. Easy. Effective.
For more information about the True Colors initiative or to schedule a consultation, please send an email to VPSA@utsa.edu.
Photos of the reception, held at the University Center Ballroom.
What a great Open House/Hot Dog Luau. It could not have gone any better. Kudos goes to the decoration team and for the ingenious layout in the conference room. This year's turnout doubled last year. Nearly 240 people signed the guest book, and nearly 400 hot dogs were served. –Don Swinson, Academic Scheduling Coordinator Extraordinaire
Handout - Registrar Staff Listing
Pratt runs to All-America honors at USA Junior Track & Field Championships
UTSA Football Progress Report - Month 3
Roadrunner Athletics Fund announces annual donor drive
All Sport Schedule - Area Events
We have all heard of recycling paper, but in our office we recycle paper without throwing it out.
When a sheet of paper is no longer needed, we draw a line across the printed side, turn it over and stick it in our fax machine. In this way, we reuse the paper by printing on both sides. One must really ask, does fax paper have to be clean on both sides to be used in the fax machine, which usually get tossed anyway after it has served its purpose. By using both sides, you essentially cut your fax paper costs in half.
This Business Procedures Tip was provided by Joe Polasek in the Office of the Registrar.
As a reminder, Contracts, Services Agreements and all other contractual documents must route through the VPSA Office before being submitted to VPBA. Please do not contact VPBA to "expedite" a contract – please route communications through Bob Miller in the VPSA Office. If you have questions about processing contractual documents, please contact Bob.
By July 24, 5:00 p.m.: Departments must submit to Disbursements & Travel Services office ALL vouchers, manual or electronic for any expenses incurred for the period of June 2009; this includes VP2’s, VP5’s, travel advances, student travel…
By July 24, 5:00 p.m.: Departments must submit to Accounting office ALL request for corrections to transactions for the period of June 2009.
One trend that is common in fitness is that women tend to do cardiovascular exercise and neglect resistance training while men focus on resistance training and not cardiovascular exercise. In this next week, take the time to see what you focus on in your exercise routine and reevaluate your routine to balance both resistance and cardiovascular exercises.
Now the big question: Why?
Resistance training is important, especially as we age, to ensure we maintain muscle mass and that our muscles do to not "waste away" (a condition called sarcopenia). Having low muscle mass leaves the bones more susceptible to fracture. Muscle also helps maintain blood glucose levels and increases the body's resting metabolic rate.
Cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health, blood pressure regulation, and cholesterol regulation. There is also evidence that this type of exercise helps prevent some types of cancer.
Overall, remember to take time for resistance training and cardiovascular exercise.
A note to the ladies- You will not get "bulky" from lifting weights, you don't have the hormones to do so. :-)
Assistant Director, Fitness/Wellness
Thank You Rowdy has a special mission in Student Affairs - to travel across UTSA recognizing the good work of staff members. Within the Division of Student Affairs, Thank You Rowdy is presented from one Student Affairs staff member to another in recognition and appreciation of work done well - taking extra assignments to provide support, offering unsolicited assistance, or completing tasks in a unique way. Whatever the situation, contributions like this are made every day and Thank You Rowdy helps us recognize them.
Thank you Rowdy reflects UTSA's spirit of community and reminds us to remember it takes everyone to make UTSA a great place to work and to learn.
- Gage Paine
Thank You Rowdy is presently visiting with ...
See past Thank You Rowdy Recipients
Thank You Rowdy is winding up his vacation. "See you next issue!"
To: Bob Miller
From: Linda Edmundson
RE: Process committee
Bob, I just wanted to reiterate a comment I made yesterday at our Business Processes Committee meeting. I have been so impressed with the progress this committee has made over the last two years, largely in part to your leadership and tenacity to get things done. I know there have been numerous people involved, but I think your ability to keep that forward motion going has produced valuable results. I see major steps taken in the right direction to help all of us that deal with constant change. I have appreciated the effort made to listen to our concerns and to keep us informed.
I thank you again for getting our office on the right track for reconciliations through Quicken.
To: UTSA Visitor Center
From: Fernando Vasquez
RE: Thank You
UTSA Visitor Center,
I would like to extend gratitude for the hospitality shown to us, Donna ISD 21st Century Program, on June 23, 2009. Our students really enjoyed visiting your campus. One even decided to further pursue a post secondary education, and hopes to soon apply at UTSA. He previously did not wish to attend college, but has decided to since our trip. That equals success!!! Again, thank you! We wish to see you next year.
21st Century Coordinator
Donna High School
Please submit all newsletter entries by 5:00 pm, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, to