Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly ECU news -- Scissortail Creative Writing Festival

East Central University's fifth annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is scheduled for April 1 - 3.

The festival will feature authors Joy Harjo and Jim Barnes, with 39 other published writers on the bill. Speakers will read selections from their works, discuss the context of the pieces they present and answer questions from the audience.

The event will be divided into 19 reading sessions with three or four authors per session. Attendees may sit in for as many or as few as they wish.

Reading sessions will take place in the Estep Center, located in the Cole University Center, and the North Lounge, located in the Memorial Student Union. The event is free of charge.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Employment in Ada Among the Younger Set

In Ada, employment for young residents can be a diverse struggle.

Jonnathon Hicks, recent political science graduate, currently works at Hastings three months after graduating. He said that although he had no problem finding a job, there was little to no market for jobs with good promotional opportunities in general, and none in the field in which he graduated.

Hicks described his experience, saying that he was offered employment by the first two places he applied after college – Interactive Response Technologies, or IRT, and Hastings. However, IRT had a mandatory one-month hold before formal employment could begin. In need of money, he accepted the job at Hastings rather than waiting for the job at IRT.

"I believe that my college degree could have helped my chances at getting those jobs, but I don't know if it really helped beyond that," he said.

Although he said he doesn't care much for his job and he struggled to find one that meets his financial needs, Hicks said that he is thankful for his current employment status and optimistic about the chances of employment in Ada for both himself and his peers.

Others are having difficulties finding any kind of job. Dakota Turpin, 21-year-old community member, mentioned that he has applied to over a dozen businesses in the last month and has received no job offers. He said he believes that he is being discriminated against because of his age and because he is overweight.

"People here in Ada don't want to hire young people," he said. "Mostly they want people who are older, even for menial jobs."

Amber Huffman, Ada freshman, agreed that weight plays an important factor in one's chance for getting a job. She mentioned that her sister, who is thinner, was offered a job at a local restaurant as a waitress on the spot with no prior experience. When Huffman put in an application, she was not hired despite having been a waitress for over a year. She said she believed the reason was the difference in weight between her and her sister.

"No one wants to hire an overweight waitress," she said.

Although opinions differ on the subject, statistics show a 3% increase of unemployment in Oklahoma over the last two years, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The organization's Web site stated that the most available jobs in Oklahoma at this time are waiters and waitresses, nurses, general and operations managers, retail salespersons, cashiers and janitors.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Business leads

Business stories with leads that I like:

American International Group is selling its Asian life-insurance unit AIA to British insurance firm Prudential in a deal worth $35.5 billion, giving the bailed-out American insurer some of the capital it needs to pay back Uncle Sam.

Who wouldn't love to pick up the phone and ask Warren Buffett for advice? People have spent more than $1 million just to have lunch with the man. He was voted the most admired corporate director in America by Directorship magazine in 2008. Chief executives of companies he has a stake in laud his patience, foresight, and ability to capture the essence of a complex financial situation in just a few words. They also like the fact that he usually leaves them alone as long as they're getting the job done.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alumni Establish Creative Writing E-zine

Four ECU alumni, who graduated with English degrees, recently founded an online publication for creative writing called Polyphony Online.

Elton Shanaj, president of Polyphony, said that he has high hopes for the future of the publication.

"Our hopes are that we will make a lot of money and plan to sell, once the price is right, to the highest corporate bidder," he said. "The New Yorker, Playboy Magazine and Esquire have already shown their interest in us. However we have our eyes, hearts and wallets set on Rupert Murdoch of FOX Empire fame and eagerly expect his fatherly attention. We have already conceived a blog area to be hosted by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh sometime in the near future."

Issues of the magazine are published on the Web site,, every three months. Submissions of essays, fiction, poetry and creative photography are welcome. Content will also include blogs and entertainment reviews from regular contributors.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Me, me, me!

This week was pretty crazy. The "rollercoaster" bit from this video comes to mind:

My week didn't have anything to do with hormones, though, as far as I can tell.

Had a bit of a breakdown over the weekend and that reached the apex of angst on Monday. That was not fun at all. The gloomy weather had really gotten to me. By Tuesday I was starting to feel better, and by Wednesday I was in quite a good mood. Definitely think it had something to do with the sun actually coming out, plus counseling.

Seasonal affective disorder makes me feel like a crazy bitch. Maybe I am?

But I can feel the seasons starting to change already. There are whispers of spring that I am catching. It's a feeling I've had for a long time and yet I can't put it into words, but it happens around every equinox (although spring and autumn feel different). It's wonderful, and sometimes I wonder if other people feel it too and just don't talk about it. Regardless, I am looking forward to looking out my window at work and seeing the white balloons of Bradford pear trees blooming on the hills and valleys of Ada. My nerdiness makes me happy about upcoming ren fairs as well. :D

In other news, disbursement came in today. Yes! It seems early, or maybe my low expectations were just the way to go for getting a pleasant surprise. Still, I am going to treat myself to some sort of hair...thing. A cut and color sounds good. Then again, so does another sushi-filled trip to Norman.

Can't help but think that somewhere I am missing the point of blogging. I've had a LiveJournal since I was about 13 and so I'm used to just making them like normal journal entries. But whatever, it's my blog and I'll write what I want, even if it is trivial self-centered nonsense. Ha!

Apparently my blog URL is going to be posted somewhere at ECU or something like that. For those of you who found this through that link, I laugh at you for having no life. Hahahahaha!

I am tired and want to go back to doing nothing, so I will do just that.

Portraits of Ada - Delma Hall

Sitting at her desk in Danley Hall, Delma Hall, assistant vice president of academic affairs and director of fine arts at East Central University, smooths her hair briefly, perhaps subconsciously. She sits up straight in her chair, and there are no visible creases on her suit. Her laugh comes easily. Her demeanor is pleasant and charming, and she carries herself with both a gentle calm and a strong confidence. Her humble and inviting attitude are enough to put most anyone at ease. As a sort of adviser to the roughly 4,000 students at East Central, her professional yet agreeable presentation is invaluable.

Although Hall grew up on a farm in rural Oklahoma, and currently wears several hats at ECU in Ada, she has not lived a stationary life. After graduating college with an English degree and almost enough credits for a degree in speech/theater, she moved to Heidelberg, Germany, where she taught at a high school for American students. Around that time she toured Europe with her husband, indulging her passion for travel. She returned to the United States a few years later, and came to Ada to teach at East Central while also finishing a doctorate in theater.

Since beginning her career in teaching and leadership at the university level, she has fulfilled many roles. As a teacher she started part-time and moved up to department chair of communication and associate professor. Her teaching was put on hold after getting her current position in academic affairs. For six months she was dean of the school of business, and picked up the role of director of fine arts after the new Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center was finished in 2009.

Despite her multiple positions at ECU over the years, Hall said that, first and foremost, she is a teacher.

“The classroom is always my favorite,” she said.

Many students would agree that Hall is a natural teacher. She received 13 reviews on, a Web site on which college students can post public evaluations of their professors. She received nearly perfect scores on clarity, helpfulness and overall quality.

“Everything about her is perfect,” one review stated. “Her look, her voice, her presence, you can't take your eyes off of her and she knows exactly how to impact every individual in the room. She taught me so much.”

As director of fine arts, Hall mentioned that her most desired expectations for the new school are mainly focused on getting students actively involved, pushing creativity to the maximum level.

“I would just like to see it full and overflowing all the time,” she said. “I'd like to see the programs grow, because the facility is so phenomenal. I want there to be activities going on there all the time … That building should be vibrating on its foundation at all times with creativity.”

Hall has had a lifelong love affair with the arts, she said. Despite her focus on theater, she made it clear that all arts are important to her.

“To me, the arts are breath,” she explained with much zeal apparent in her voice. “Creativity, to me, is such a part of who I am. I can't imagine that the world would be a very nice place if we didn't have the arts.” She mentioned that the most challenging part of her career so far is “finding time to do everything.”

“Being involved in theater, time is always the challenge when you're trying to get everything done,” she said.

Hall stated that she is progressively focused, looking forward to the future and evolution of the university, especially the fine arts program. On a personal level she also hopes to continue to explore her love of travel – perhaps when she finally does find time to do everything.