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Back in the saddle again

Finito. My first three weeks back at QNotes flew by like a flash. My first issue back as editor hit newsstands yesterday and is online today. Check out all the great content, as well as my returning “Editor’s Note” column.

After about four months of absence, it’s quite amazing how easy it was to resettle into my old routines. It’s almost as if I’d never left. I’m happy to be back, and glad to have come to my own personal conclusion on where I fit best. As I noted in my welcome back commentary on June 23:

In the short time since, I’ve had the utmost pleasure and distinct privilege to work with Campus Pride, the Charlotte-based, leading national non-profit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer and more inclusive college and university campuses for LGBT students, faculty and staff. My time there gave me the opportunity to work with a wide and diverse variety of organizations, people and national media organizations. Yet, something was amiss. The deep, long yearning that I felt for community service and community journalism was too strong a pull. And, so, here I am, penning yet another column for you as both former and now-incoming editor of QNotes.

My time away from this editor’s chair has been short, but it has been time enough to learn where I find my truest personal and professional passion. I am deeply committed to honest, objective and relevant community journalism. I hope you will welcome my second tenure as editor of your community newspaper, where I might strive to provide voice to the important issues that affect each and every person in our LGBT community.

There’s a lot of things still left to figure out, like keeping this blog and SexCashandPolitics.com up and running. In the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing some changes here at InterstateQ.com and at Sex, Cash & Politics. Unlike my first stint at the paper, I want to maintain my own online homes where I might offer personal commentary and insight. Work is fun, but there must be balance. A dormant personal blog is unacceptable.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy your summer. Don’t let the heat zap all your energy and fun. Before you know it, we’ll be back in the cold, blustery days of winter.

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Family Honors on this Memorial Day

Though they knew not the family they would father decades and centuries later, they fought bravely — ensuring my freedom today and tomorrow. A grateful thank you to all those who have served and shaped this nation and its history in ways still untold.

 

Michael Easter II (abt. 1760-April 28, 1821) Revolutionary War, Infantry

 

Michael Easter (June 21, 1828-Feb. 6, 1914), Civil War, (2) Co. F, 29th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A.
Levi Easter (Oct. 15, 1830-Sept. 14, 1917), Civil War, (2) Co. F, 29th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A.

 

W.M. Comer (March 19, 1928- ) World War II & Korean War, Marines

 
(Re-posted from May 28, 2007)

As many of you already know, I’ve returned to school to wrap up my B.A., having transferred my credits from UNC-Greensboro to UNC-Charlotte. I started back this month.

The transition has been easy enough. I’ve definitely learned great skills in the workplace which help me to manage my time, goals and expectations. And, this go ’round, I’ve found myself more committed to my coursework. After all, a few years of adulthood under your belt gives you an appreciation for just how much money you’re actually spending to achieve that degree you want so badly.

But no amount of time in the workplace can prepare you for the insanity and fiscal irresponsibility that seems to plague university administrations (and, admittedly, other unwieldy, behemoth bureaucracies as well) around the world.

I thought I’d share, certainly for the laugh factor, though here I primarily offer, with the letter below as all the evidence I need, an argument outlining a severe lack of judgment, a waste of both student and faculty time and a waste of student and taxpayer dollars.

What in the world ever happened to simply taking attendance, requiring students to take notes and complete papers and administering exams?

Geez.

January 25, 2011

UNC Charlotte Students,

Over the past decade, instructors at UNC Charlotte and across the country have been using “clickers” in their classrooms with increasing frequency. Clickers are instructional tools that elicit student interaction in real time by collecting and displaying student responses to questions posed by the instructor, either verbally or projected on a screen. The students respond by pressing a button on hand-held wireless transmitters, and receivers transmit that data to a computer. The clicker software tallies the responses, and the students and instructor can receive instant feedback in the form of histograms and detailed reports. Because each student transmitter has a unique signature that can be registered to its user, performance data can be tabulated to assess attendance, participation, and long-term progress.

As the technology has developed, a number of competing products have emerged. Five years ago, the university formed a committee of faculty, IT professionals, and staff from units that would be impacted by this technology and charged them with selecting a university standard for interactive classroom clicker usage and to plan its implementation. The selection of a single clicker for campus-wide use ensured that students would only need to purchase one device for all of their classes, and has enabled the Office of Classroom Support to provide the support necessary for increasing usage.

The Clicker Selection Committee recommended the Interwrite Personal Response System (PRS), which was the only product on the market at that time that met all of our goals (especially when it came to accessibility issues). About a year after this standard was approved and implemented, Interwrite was bought out by a company called eInstruction, which offers a competing clicker system called the Classroom Performance System (CPS). In the summer of 2010, eInstruction notified the university that they would no longer offer the PRS clickers after spring 2011. This created a number of problems, namely 1) new software would need to be installed across the entire university, software which still does not fix any of the issues that have plagued clicker users throughout recent updates, and 2) the new clickers would require new receivers for every classroom, which would be incompatible with the clickers currently in use.

Since it is now, regrettably, that students will be required to purchase new clickers, and that these new clickers will, in turn, require new receivers and new software, a new Clicker Selection Committee has been convened to examine the clicker technologies that have emerged since the initial recommendation. After careful consideration, the committee is recommending products from two leading companies: I

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To a T…

My life, as reflected by Queerty.com (a story that reminds me of qnotes intern Nathan James’ diatribe against texting and mobile phones yesterday):

So there we are, standing at the bar, leaning but avoiding actually sitting on the wet bar stools that nobody has the good sense to wipe down, and there is a lull in the conversation, as my friend has now gone to the bathroom for the second time (but does not have a coke habit, swear it), and forcing me and Mr. Spritely to make or avoid eye contact. So, while avoiding it, I bring up up that recent report about Count Laszlo de Almásy, the WWII spy who inspired the main protagonist in The English Patient, and how he was actually gay, enjoyed romances with Egyptian princes, and was in love with a young soldier named Hans Entholt, and Mr. Spritely looks at me, locking eye contact, and in the same motion that his tongue finds the straw to the drink he’s holding in his left hand, asks me, “Who?”

Meanwhile… I’ve been a busy, busy boy. And, as usual, the blog goes ignored.

Stay tuned…

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Good. Evil. Neither?

I love debating. It really is too bad my high school didn’t have a debate team. I would have excelled. Plus, I’d probably be a better debater now.

Over dinner one night recently, as our food digested and we finished our drinks, a good friend and I spent about 40 minutes trying to decide if humanity was inherently good or inherently evil. Forty minutes, I know. Humankind has spent millennia pondering the same questions, yet we were determined to provide answers in less than an hour’s time generations before us couldn’t.

Continue reading this post…

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Did that week really just fly by?

What happened to last week? A full five work days felt more like two. And, I was doing so well on posting here at the old personal pad again. Can’t control the news cycle, or the news makers, it seems.

Last week kept me busy at the day job, reporting on Mecklenburg County’s decision to extend health and leave benefits to same-sex partners of county employees. Then, I was kept busy still reporting on the antics of Republican Commissioner Bill James. All of this on top of our usual production week for the Dec. 26 print issue.

Christmas is almost here and New Year’s is just around the corner. I’m excited to get Q-Notes‘ last print issue of the year out on the news stands this week. Click over to Q-Notes and sign up for our email newsletter to get a preview of our year-end wrap up. We’ll announce our Person of the Year and Person of the Decade in the issue, too!

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Lest we forget…

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Continue reading this post…

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Retiring “Matt Hill Comer”

I got a call today from a friend in Washington, D.C. He asked me, “Are you going by Matt Hill Comer or Matt Comer, because you’re using both.”

And, he would be right.

When I changed my last name in college (long story, read it here), I went by “Matt Hill Comer” as many of my friends, family and colleagues adapted to the new me. Over the past two years, I’ve slowly begun using “Matt Comer” in a variety of spaces; among them, my blog and on my bylines at Q-Notes.

“Matt Hill Comer” seemed like a great way to transition easily from “Matt Hill” to “Matt Comer.” I knew there’d always come a day when I’d vow to only ever use “Matt Comer.”

(Note to those thinking about changing names: It is an utter pain in the ass, but definitely worth it if you’re changing it for some deeper emotional or spiritual meaning.)

It is time for “Matt Hill Comer” to find its way into history. Today I bought up MattComer.net for my personal site, which lists my press clippings and short bio. It will replace the old url, MattHillComer.com.

So, goodbye Matt Hill Comer. Hello Matt Comer. ‘Tis the new me, all over again — sort of.

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I love college Charlotte

Just had to share… hilarious, silly, over the top… yeah

I’d heard the song on a local radio station days ago. Didn’t know there was a video. (h/t CLTBlog)

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89-72

tarheels

Oh, don’t worry. Still not a sports person. Tar Heel pride is showing through tonight (and the boys are cute). So wishing I were on Franklin Street right now.