A Thank You to my Mentor: Mary Kupiec Cayton

I’ve been writing about my undergrad alma mater, Miami University, this week. I thought I would take this opportunity to send out a congratulations and thank you to Mary Kupiec Cayton as she finishes her last semester at Miami.

I had many classes with Mary when I was an undergrad. She was a lecturer in the Western College Program and a great teacher. She taught a course on American Protestantism (And I will always remember the question in seminar: “Did any of you wonder why the course on American Protestants is being taught be two Catholics and a Jew?”) She taught a course on creativity, where among the topics  we looked at was quilt making and we made a quilt. (It was because of that class that I have three short stories published about quilts.) And she led my senior project workshop.

During my junior year, Mary granted me an amazing opportunity. I was an undergraduate teaching assistant for one of her classes and I helped the students create a publication from the class. While at the time, I still wanted to write comic books, I had always had teaching in the back of my mind as something I would like to do. This opportunity made me realize that yes, I would like teaching.

If I look back on who has influenced my teaching style the most as a positive role model, it would have to be Mary. She engaged the class in the subject and often interspersed humor into the discussions. I knew the she cared about me as a student. Even though the creative writing classroom is much different than our Western seminars, I still know I have Mary to thank for my success in the classroom.

So here’s to you Mary! Enjoy your semi-retirement and thanks for all you have done through the years!

Follow Up Open Letter to Miami University President

Dear President Hodge,

I was happily surprised to see that the decision regarding the razing of Patterson Place has been changed. I will look forward to supporting the fund to help with its renovation. I sincerely hope that in future campus planning, you will keep the historical integrity of the Western College campus intact.

Sincerely,

P. Andrew Miller

Professor of English

Northern Kentucky University.

An Open letter to the President of Miami University and to the Miami Board of Trustees

An open letter to President Hodge, the Board of Trustees, Director of University Advancement,

Please remove my name from the alumni directory. I do not wish to be called or receive your requests for money. I had given to the university in the past, but no longer. First, you dismantle the program (The School of Interdisciplinary Studies) that meant so much to my education and inspired me to become an educator as well. Now, against wishes of current students, alumni, faculty, and city of Oxford ordinance, you have voted to raze Patterson Place. There will be no more money coming from me to the university.

In fact, I hope other alumni and future alumni make this pledge: No Patterson, No Money. I have been in academia long enough to know it is money that does the most talking.The silence of bank accounts speaks loudest of all.

Sincerely,

P. Andrew Miller

Professor of English

Northern Kentucky University

Avengers: Age of Ultron

First, I will say I did enjoy the movie. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. Let me explain.

I enjoyed the new characters, especially the Scarlet Witch and Vision. Though the Scarlet Witch’s powers were different than her comic universe version, I think it worked better. It would be pretty hard to visually show probabilities being altered. The “red energy” she used worked well on screen.

I liked the character development of the Avengers who don’t have their own movies: The Hulk, Black Widow, and especially Hawkeye. Hawkeye got the best development of the three. I especially liked his “pep” talk to the Scarlet Witch. The rest of the characters, including the new ones, were hardly developed at all. One hopes that will be something they will do in future movies.

The action sequences were visually well done, except the opening sequence. Watching it in traditional format, it was easy to see that it was made for 3D. As traditional, it looked too CGI. The final battle scene is what one would expect, and I thought that was the problem. It seemed like complete deja vu to the first movie. Hordes of homicidal aliens have been replaced with hordes of homicidal robots, but it still gives the Avengers and excuse to go all out and not worry that they are actually killing people. The lesser powered save civilians and fight the fodder, while the heavy hitters go after the big threat. I would have liked to have seen something a little different than that. In fact, the first movie did it better when Black Widow shut down the portal.

While I have read reviews that lauded the humor, I didn’t find that it worked that well. I heard no laugh out loud from the audience like I did in the first movie. It all just felt, well, familiar.

However, I’m sure it will do well and I will probably watch it again. But then again, I own Disney stock, so I have an (in)vested interest. 🙂