Thursday, July 27, 2006

Secrets and hacks

Jenny and Jeff each blog in response to cues from 43 folders, leading Jenny to reveal her secret need for help staying on task, Jeff about his secret high school strategies to establish himself as eccentric.

Yeah, well, I'm an unfocused mofo, too, and am going to put that (10+2)*5 hack to work. Just like I've been using a variation on the hipster PDA for the past year or so. Good stuff, life hacking.

As for my efforts at eccentricity:

(1) In high school, I told everyone I wanted to be queen.
(2) To try to make this happen, I encouraged as many people as possible to write me in as "Queen" on the student council ballot.
(3) Also related, I sometimes signed my name as "Anastasia."
(4) Later, in college, I announced that I was a mystic nihilist.

That's all for now. I've got (10 minutes of) work to do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fruits of labor, or something equally pleasant

Some years ago, I began my first tenure-track position at a smallish private university in the midwest. I stayed for only one year, because I felt that I wasn't going to be able to, you know, follow my bliss and all. But I have to say that I had the chance to teach some really wonderful people while I was there, and I often still think of several of them and wonder how and what they're doing now that they have (no doubt) graduated.

Happily, one student, who took my Introduction to Rhetoric course, has stayed in touch over the years. And I just got a message from her, indicating that her bags are packed and she's heading west for Arizona, where she'll begin graduate work in Rhet-comp.

I feel almost misty-eyed. I'm so deeply pleased that over the years she stayed interested in rhetoric, as she took a couple of different jobs and went through some ups and downs in her personal life. She was thinking of applying to grad school when she was in my class, and she wrote her final paper for the course (on David Foster Wallace's "high style") with the idea that she would submit that paper as her writing sample. And last winter, after the passing of a number of years, she did indeed submit that paper as part of her application to graduate programs. And now she's off to Arizona.

I'm so proud. Like I told her, I can't wait to see her at CCCC, RSA, etc. Cool, cool, cool.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer teaching, again

This is just to say
I am teaching a class
two hours every
and find I have
little time for anything else
it's intense
so compact
so consuming

WC Williams, I'm not. But, yeah, that's what I've been doing. Teaching, reading, and more teaching. A *little* writing around the edges. (Mostly working on the co-written piece with R. I like co-writing because I often learn a lot, but it's also darn slow.

But here's a nice secret I think I've yet to blog: I'll be on leave in the fall! So after this class finishes up next week, it will be all writing, all the time. Which means, I hope, more blogging.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Longing for the snows of yester-year

It is, as you know, very hot (105 heat index, though C says he doesn't believe in this concept). Despite growing up in the fire (otherwise known as Texas), I nonetheless find that my brain melts a little in the frying pan. And so, I think nostalgically of another season (spring, say), another place (Chicago, for example). And I am moved, at last, to upload some photos from CCCC to Flickr.

But don't get too excited. I didn't upload many. Mostly a few pictures of friends.

And as I wrote this, the sun set. Things are cooling down. Slowly, slowly, my brain starts working again. Maybe I can even reply to Daniel's interesting question in response to last Friday's post...

Friday, July 14, 2006


I'm pretty pleased with how the image collage assignment turned out. They created their collages with all kinds of software: Word, Publisher, PowerPoint. And while my "plan" was that they would see just the circulation of the images, many of them jumped into narrative. Interesting how strong that pull is.

So, take a look.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Do I really talk about horses so much?

What's wrong with my zoom cloud? Isn't it supposed to update itself? "Horse" is one of the biggest words (along with "horses" and "thoroughbred"), yet I've written only one entry ever about horses, and it was some time ago.

I like the way it looks, hovering over there. But I think I need a more reliable way of representing my tags.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thank goodness

As I mentioned yesterday, I've assigned a couple of modest new media-esque things in the lit class I'm currently teaching. (And, of course, the students are blogging. These "things" are in addition to blogging.) I haven't said much about them because, well, they're modest, and many of my readers will have assigned similar things with much more finesse and such.

But thank goodness my students (many of them, anyway) are way ahead of me. Today they started work on an image collage: the idea is to take an image from a text we've read and to see how it gets taken up in a variety of other contexts, to see how the image circulates. And create a collage of images. For the days that we're working on that, we're in a PC classroom, so I wasn't sure what kind of image editors would be available, so I wasn't really planning to push the envelope much. (Hence I gave them the link to Dan's students' images but told them they didn't have to worry about using an image editor for this one.) But many of them are using image editors anyway. With pretty cool results. I'll link to some of them once they're posted.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer teaching

I started teaching a four-week summer session yesterday: Intro to Women's Lit. I taught a section of the same last semester, but I'm doing none of the same texts nor assigning any of the same writing requirements. In part, I realized my focus last semester (on working women's literature), at least as I was approaching it, would probably work better at the upper level than at the introductory level. And I also just wanted to assign more writing/production pieces that would get students more actively involved.

So that's what I've been up to lately. Thanks to Dan for inspiring me to get some new media logic into the class (modest at is, for now). The class wiki is here, but there's not much to see as yet.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independently noted

On this Independence Day, these unrelated (or *are* they??) news items caught my attention, and I share them here for your edification:

(1) Man's brain rewired itself after car crash
Lately, I've become fascinated by the notion of "brain placticity," the process by which the brain continues to change (with appropriate stimuli), even long into adulthood. It used to be that folks thought the brain was "set" at adulthood, but cases like this prove that the brain is capable of rejuvenating itself (though usually is slightly more pedestrian ways). After nineteen years in a coma, this man regained consciousness and began talking. His speech continues to improve. A miracle for him and his family--and quite an astonishing and humbling reminder of the brain's capacity for growth.

(2) Hot-dog eating champ retains title, sets new record
Stomach plasticity? The look on the champion's face suggests maybe not so plastic. It's a Fourth-of-July tradition, friends. Does force-feeding oneself help or hurt brain plasticity?

(3)Keith Richards said to be almost on board for *third* Pirates movie
And falling from a coconut tree? How does that effect plasticity? (And we won't even talk about other insults to Mr. Richards' brain over the years.) Didn't Johnny Depp tell us Keith Richards would be in the upcoming second Pirates movie? Are we really to believe him this time?

And that's all folks. Three random pieces of news. They caught my attention. I put them here. The end. Happy fireworks and hot dogs to you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Limpid waters of crucifers

While buying broccoli at the Farmer's Market yesterday, I noticed a pile of deep, deep purple cauliflower next to it. Because I love all blue foods, I had to buy a bunch. I steamed both broccoli and cauliflower up this evening for dinner, and was left with this in the pan after removing the steamer:

teal water 2

The colors here don't really do it justice: an amazingly brilliant teal. If I was into dying textiles, I would have tried it out on some.