Sunday, November 16

Friday, November 14

me, words, now

this is the nine hundred and fortieth post, if blogger's internal number-tickers are to be trusted.

I'm writing it from the chair in the corner by the western-most window of this coffeeshop on Main Street. that hot chocolate mug has been empty for hours. my Modern Rhetoric midterm has been finished and officially turned in for forty-eight minutes, if the time-stamps on my email account are to be trusted.
the ambient music sounds a little bit like bleating ducks. 

these photos are miscellaneous snapshots. do they have anything to do with each other?

I sat underneath this Einstein painting on Wednesday for a good span of time, reading about the history of writing instruction, taking notes on noetic fields and closed systems.

are all photographs art, automatically? photographs of non-photographic art seem like they shouldn't be art, themselves. too many layers, that would be.
but who am I to say? meta-art sounds cool.

meta-everything. documentation-as-art. ephemera-as-art. breakfast-as-art. breathing-as-art.

this is the nine hundred and fortieth post. it doesn't have a real title, yet. 

I have Sunday sketches scheduled into January, but my weekly rambly writings might go on hiatus at any moment. you won't miss them too much, eh?

they won't be gone very long, I hope. but as of this frosted Friday evening, I'm giving myself permission to fudge the blog-every-week routine.

Sunday, November 9

breath or else

Friday, November 7

adaption

starting this week I've had my students doing reading presentations with selections from our textbook Convergences (it's an old book, but look, it does have one of those publisher-sponsored companion websites--full of dead or dying links).

I had each student choose a piece to practice and measure and then read aloud to our class. it's my way of forcing them to 1. actually pay some attention to that textbook they paid a non-insignificant chunk of money for and 2. think about literacy and reading from a more auditory and external perspective, not just a visual/mental/internal one. will it work? so far nobody has complained too terribly much.

our first two presentations were on Thursday.

one student began with this piece by David Brooks.

thought-provoking. guilt-inducing.

next, his fellow student abridged Matt Snyders' write-up of one week at the Mall of America and threw up a little powerpoint to go along with the story.

we cringed. we laughed.

presentations next week will include excerpts from Richard Rodriguez's "Gangstas." there might be costumes.

it's an old textbook, compiled of articles that exist in many other media incarnations--books, articles, photography collections, poems, comics, reviews. seeing how the students abridge and adapt these pieces for a potentially very bored audience is going to be very fun.

if my class didn't already hear too much from me every day of the week, I'd be tempted to read something to them as well, to join in the project. something from David Eagleman's Sum, perhaps. or one of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales.

our adaptations in class are pretty simple. but they're leading into our last unit on media, where we might have room for talking about re-mediation of all kinds. book-to-film-to-comic-to-stage-to-radio-to-thesis-to-interpretive-dance and everything.

maybe I will show them some of these, from the marvelous and very sweet-seeming Yulin Kuang, one of the brains behind Shipwrecked Comedy.


isn't that lovely? all of it--the voice, the light, the wide outdoors and cozy twosome?

yeah.

postscript 1:
in my poking around after details on Marina Keegan the other month
, I came across this rather fantastic channel featuring the Yale spoken-word-poetry group. does Purdue have an organization like this? should we start one? eh, friend Priya?


postscript 2:
and did I ever mention The Moth? someday I'll perform a story for The Moth. but which one?  

Sunday, November 2

pudding

Saturday, November 1

refer to the print version of this title

for Modern this semester, I'm reading a book about marginalia. all the bits of writing added to books, in the spaces left unprinted, and what those bits mean or used to mean or could mean. as someone who isn't usually afraid of writing in books (provided they belong to me or to a library and not to any finicky acquaintances who prefer pristine, un-dogeared books on their shelves) I'm enjoying it. finding value in the mundane is always neat, and when the mundanity also has a pinch or two of the subversive in it (writing in library books--heaven forbid!), even better.

the text is called Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books by Helen J. Jackson. her research sounds so dusty and so extensive.

ironically, I'm reading this book via ebrary, a ProQuest interface for online library book access. every few pages, where there should be some kind of awesome illustration of Jackson's examples or descriptions, the ebrary copy gives me this:
I can make a copy of that bracketed instruction. ebrary doesn't make it easy, but the functionality does exist.

[To view this image, refer to the print version of this title.]
Jackson, H. J.. Marginalia : Readers Writing in Books. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2001. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 31 October 2014. Copyright © 2001. Yale University Press. All rights reserved.


and appended to every copy-pasted segment of the text is every shred of bibliographical information you could want, in something sort of like MLA style. useful, eh? or tedious. if you'd like to copy out several passages, having all that meta-data trailing around after each one is a little much.

ebrary will also let me download this book, but I can only have it for fourteen days. and I can then only read that downloaded copy using Adobe Digital Editions. the whole internet complains about Adobe Digital Editions. it might beat ebrary by an inch or two, simple for not requiring both an internet connection and official university credentials... but really it loses by being unfamiliar, un-syncable with anything at all, and that 14-day thing... really? sure, the local library limits my book-borrowing to the same length of time, but this seems more unnecessary than that. none of these digital books needs to be returned so someone else can access it somewhere else.

our library does have a print copy of Marginalia. but it's currently checked out. if I needed, for some reason, to access its illustrations, I'd have to wait until its January due date, or track down whoever must have it checked out, or send a recall request (which is a jerkface thing to do, so nah). I can make do with the electronic version, and trust Jackson's descriptions on their own. it's fine.

I've been reading lots of old Enlightenment stuff via Google Books lately, too. which reminds me of The Art of Google Books. have I mentioned that tumblr before? it's neat. the images there, thankfully, are not only accessible via the print version of their titles.

all this reminds me of this old post and particularly this newsletter referenced there. ebrary and Google Books and Adobe Digital Editions all put up extra doors between a reader and the reading material. they are like fancy schmancy locks and chains around the covers. so many fancy locks and chains, and so many complicated keys. what happens if we lose the keys someday? if I stay in academia, I'll most likely always have the requisite university credentials for getting into these non-dusty but-yes-extensive library databases. but the infrastructure of that system might someday be just as obsolete as a floppy disk is today. and then what?

Sunday, October 26

immortal strawberries

Saturday, October 25

midterm excerpts


fuel coffeeshop. a few Fridays ago.
not pictured: Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, with accompanying notebook and pen.

somebody asked me the other day what mind-mapping software I liked to use.

I muttered and gestured to all the notebooks in my bag. paper, of course. not sure it counts as software, being made of dead trees, but whatever. I map things into my mind using paper. that way I can doodle in the margins or write sideways or crisscross crazily between this note and that note. for example: the first leaf of the blue spiral notebook I've been keeping notes in this semester has some boxes, some circles, a sketch of an envelope, some numbers, some squiggles, an octothorpe, a non-existent email address, one question mark, four arrows, the word ungrateful in all caps, and the advice to Sing in Your Own Voice, followed immediately by the words blue ink in parentheses. on the verso, there is an overwhelming amount of math. I'm pretty sure all of this was written in late 2010 or early 2011, when I was studying for the GRE.

the rest of that blue spiral notebook is now full of notes from this very fall, 2014, my second year at Purdue University. I've had to start a new notebook mid-semester, which I guess is what comes of using one already half-used-up notebook for three different seminars + lectures + practica. because it's midterm-time, and because looking back at these notes might be a useful thing to do as I begin writing proposals and papers and essays and project reports, and because this blog needs more academic nonsense plastered all over it, here are some snippets from it. they don't always transfer very well to this stringent, linear, typographic medium. ah well. I can add hyperlinks to this version though, so that's something.
what does this mean? more money for ____ / quality +
find out the impact ★ 

agonism / movement
metis / arete / kairos / phusis / hexis

observing with no aim other than
normal/everyday
interaction
why that now
what next

ignoring ≠ not noticing ★ 
how to become sensible to things that are unremarkable? [doodle of fish under water]
ethnographers must join the fish but also remember what water is

tech separating creative process from production process --> bigger businesses
telegraph typewriter filing cabinet railroad copy paper

definitions need definers (+ attendant power structures)
I keep thinking about SUITS.

disconnects between writing/docs and + real expectations
or impossible to articulate things
beyond expertise

work (n)
work (v)
internal + external articulation

writers not writing.
interesting nod to Kant

"elite" / "male" / "western"

nature + functional historical knowledge (a formalist approach)
chronicle > story > mode: plot, argument, ideology

mystical / sociological / cultural models
unities / Weltanshauung, paradigm

★ sentience ★ consciousness
making of the world
torture - "torque"/twisting
terror - "to tremble"/terrible

useful vagueness!
scripts     schema
quantifying "shared knowledge"

rules tacitly learned
instruct > interpret > act > assume > instruct > interpret ....
making the world match the words

digital iterations are quicker
do machine made songs words art get copyrighted?

Taylorism = basic (time) task efficiency -->
Fordism = specialized production
functionalism = prototype prod. line + labor management
art?
passive / normative / or creative / or reactive

could machines cook?

what if actions are our bigger understandings of interlinked systems of interactions all working together? (more philosophically cool)
or we could see interactions as bubbly frothy conglomerations of discrete actions? (more etymologically consistent)

★  ideas precede expression
but we learn names before concepts.....
essence ≠ substance

man = ?
biology?
no immovable boundaries
men make sorts
nature makes qualities/matches

a set of subjects memorizable / polymathical
"tristapaedias"
categories / relationships / authorities

self-evident character of prison
war functioning as if...
prison NOT functioning as if... but pretending to try? <-- a="" br="" does="" how="" media="" play="" role=""> the Last Lecture Randy Pausch

practical advice /  + integrity
"if small faults are to incur such grievous punishments, there can, indeed, be none found sufficiently sever for great crimes." (Edgeworth 245-246)

norms as processes, assumed in forming identities
legible / livable vs unlegible / unlivable lives / spaces
e. exclusion, boundaries exposing limits of constructivism

p 37 - always already material
centering the world symbolically
lack of control = castration

subject
abject

containing multitudes. [I was thinking of Maya Angelou at the time but really, Walt Whitman said this.]
"if the unconscious is the discourse of the Other, the unconscious necessarily exceeds the individual + becomes thinkable as Social + Cultural...

power (opposed to) ornamentation elitist finery
puritan austerity

Com 621 Social Media
Com 605 PW

blending sacred motherhood w/ secular moneymaking

regularity / order / harmony / sense

Beauty   Harmony / this sounds like Hume ^

ch 3 Zuern / "what we seek to master is the control of the cultural meaning of the body ... our offering of our bodies to the world as meaningful" p 62


Sunday, October 19

imposed

Friday, October 17

intoxicating reasons

last week our readings for Professional Writing Theory included two chapters from a book called Lines: A Brief History. I fell in love with this book, and I want to read the whole thing, even if at the expense of the Hugh Blair and Adam Smith and all the other reading.

Lines seems to be about everything--my favourite topic. there is a section asking why musical notation and alphabetic writing are considered so differently. there are chapters on weaving vs. knitting vs. embroidery. there are illustrations of all sorts, mapping traces and threads. the connections are intoxicating.

last month my podcast-listening included a Radiolab episode called In the Dust of this Planet. it's about a book with the same title, plus a subtitle: Horror of Philosophy Volume 1. its author says something during this podcast that I come back to every now and then. he's talking about his writing process and how he came to finish this book. in the middle of all the research and work, he thought to himself, would I write this book even if no other human being in the world was ever going to read it? his answer was yes.

can I say the same about things I write?

I think so.

I think I am enough of an audience for myself. but then again, maybe my future self counts as separate human being. does that change the question? if no human being, not even my future self, were allowed to go back and read all the writing I'm scraping out of my head onto paper or screen, would I keep writing?

that's not so easy to answer. writing and reading aren't very separable activities anyway. but if they were... and if I weren't only disallowed but also wholly unable to go back and re-read... if all the lines and traces of my own writing forever disappeared into some irretrievable somewhere else...

then what?

if that were the case, would it be so for everyone else? would the function of writing be permanently altered for all of humanity? would we revert to a primarily oral culture, or would we develop some alternative system of recording ideas?

there are a dozen ways to imagine this kind of scenario. what if we all forgot how to read, and the alphabet became a string of curly artistic shapes with no definable meanings? what if there was no such thing as ink or graphite or paint or any other way of making lines on things? what if our hands weren't shaped right for holding pens or stroking keys? what if textless, animated gifs become the one and only medium of communication anyone ever uses?

would I write this even if no human being in the world was ever going to read it? 

if a tree falls, or a bird sings, or a kitten meows, in a forest or a cage or a box far far away from any observers... do those things have reasons for existing at all?

this thoughtful little post on change and sadness was written a long time ago. I've blogged every week since then, pretty much. I've been blogging every week since forever. there is a chain (a line, a thread) of checkmarks six years long or more fluttering along behind this silly little blog's march into the future.

but people say blogging is dead.

this one isn't. this internet space is not an irretrievable elsewhere. not yet. my future self, and all your future selves, can keep coming back to my silly little blog.

does that mean it, along with the trees and birds and kittens, has a reason for existing at all?