I love YouTube's commercials

Here's a montage of the "You will" commercials from AT&T:

The breathless enthusiasm in those commercials reminds me of the ITT Tech commercials I used in my master's thesis as examples of technology narratives as conquest narratives. I haven't been able to find any of the specific commercials I wrote about, but they're the ones that start out by quoting friends and family ("it's great to see him succeed"). I have found several videos on YouTube by students who dislike ITT. Here's one, but it's a parody rather than a rant:

iPhone Parody Material

Am I just not looking in the right place, or has everyone except these people pretty much dropped the ball on iPhone parody?

The IPhone

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Then there's this image:

and this feeble bit by Colbert.

For several days, literally every third story in my Google Reader under my News label was about the iPhone. I kept checking The Onion eagerly to see if they had some good stories about it, but then they just had rehashed content for their July 4 week issue. Since then, nothing.

Peer Review Activity Using Johari and Nohari Windows

I always like to salvage good ideas from the web, repurpose them, and bring them into the writing classroom. I realize that I've never blogged about one I tried last fall which went really well.

Remember the meme about the interactive Johari windows and Nohari windows? I decided to try that with a peer review activity. I made copies of the Johari and Nohari windows -- a two-sided handout -- to accompany their peer review questions.

I asked students to (among other things) circle at least three words from each window which describe the draft in some meaningful way, then write an explanation of why they chose those words (preferably referring to specific passages in the drafts). I found that this heuristic was especially good for giving feedback on personal narrative essays, as students often have a hard time figuring out what kind of commentary to give on those. With the windows, they were able to respond to the writing, the authorial persona, and the tone in really substantive ways. The students also have more social license to give honest negative feedback because they have the excuse of "well, she's making us pick at least three negative words..." Finally, the windows let the students talk about the Johari words in nuanced ways. For example, "sentimental," "tense," "nervous," "shy," and "quiet" are on the Johari (more positive) window, but those could be used as negative terms as well.

I'd recommend the Johari/Nohari method for any composition teacher looking to shake up peer review.

Reduce, Reuse (and reuse and reuse) and Recycle

I just realized that I have used the same cardboard boxes (salvaged from grocery and other retail stores) in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR MOVES:

Portland Ave. apartment in St. Paul --> Cushing Cir. apartment in St. Paul

Cushing Cir. apartment --> Decatur, GA

Decatur, GA --> Greenville, NC

Greenville, NC --> Lafayette, LA

Hooray for me. Four will probably be it, though, because I don't think we have a dedicated storage space for them in the new digs.

Use What You Have

I've been enjoying Merlin Mann's War on Clutter posts:

My War on Clutter
My War on Clutter: Never “organize” what you can discard
My War on Clutter: The Tools to Purge BIG
My War on Clutter: Inspiration for Independence Day
Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Because we're moving in three weeks, I've been frantically packing MANY boxes, and I've done one haul to Goodwill so far, with at least one or two more to come. I did a variation on the 27-fling boogie, and as I've mentioned here, I implemented a plan for us to eat all the food in our house so that 1.) we won't have to waste much; 2.) we can pack the dishes, pots, pans, flatware, and glasses sooner; and 3.) it will be easier for us to clean the refrigerator and pantry as we near the moveout date.

As I've also mentioned here, I haven't bought shower gels or soaps since late 2006, which has ended up meaning that we had, so far, a seven-month supply of the stuff. It will end up being a lot more than seven months total, though, as we still have two bottles of shower gel, one Bath & Body Works coconut lime verbena soap, and last night I used all of my samples of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume oil to make soap using a base I got from a craft store several months ago (nine soaps total). I still have more soap base and perfume oil, too. I wouldn't be surprised if my supply carries us into 2008.

Being conscious of this copious supply of bath stuff has been less than pleasant. I do love good smells, but I'm painfully aware of the need to declutter by using the things I have,

(I'm talking here about my particular impulse overbuys, which are:

  • bath stuff
  • hair products
  • perfume
  • lotion
  • cute office supplies like gel pens, little notebooks, and stationery
  • makeup)

and not buying new stuff just because it smells good or has seductive packaging. I can reduce so much of my clutter-related anxiety and save so much money just by using what I have. It's such a simple concept, but it's been a breakthrough of sorts for me. I've put an official moratorium on buying the things on that list until I've used all of my current supply of that thing.

My mom has always been big on stocking up on supplies. I agree that it's important to have about a week's worth of stuff you need, like food and toiletries, but I've been taking it way too far.

Anyway, my contribution to the War on Clutter blogging effort is the following:

  1. Identify the specific things you have way too much of (also your buying habits)
  2. Don't buy any more of those things until you use what you have (if the things you overbuy are, in fact, use-up-able)
  3. Get rid of anything you feel less than taste-confident about. As I've mentioned recently, I feel somewhat insecure about my personal taste. Most of my knickknacks are cute, but they look like stuff that would be in a 21-year-old's apartment (because hey, that's what I like). So if I'm not really proud of it, off to Goodwill it goes.

The Way I Looked in College

From the professor's vantage point (I've never had a student in class whose look was nearly as experimental as mine):

Me in college: the way I looked in class

And in front of the student center:

Me in college: Bringing back 80s fashion

I was so excited about that outfit when I was getting ready to go to class that day. I actually thought I would, singlehandedly, bring back 80s fashion with my Flashdance sweatshirt and my legwarmers.

Eight things meme

As seen everywhere, but most recently B's:

  1. I love the end pieces of loaves of bread.
  2. Related: I have a weird bread-crust-to-pizza-or-sandwich ratio thing. If I'm eating a slice of pizza, I can't just eat the tip of the slice first, then the crust at the end. I have to have a little bit of crust in every bite. Same goes for sandwiches -- no bite with just middle-bread and sandwich stuff, there has to be some crust. If I have two end pieces of bread or a crusty bun, though, this isn't a problem.
  3. Regarding pizza crust, I prefer it to be thin, as close to a cracker as possible. It canNOT be doughy, gag. I like a lot of sauce, only a tiny amount of cheese, and a couple of light toppings on it, like fresh basil and banana peppers.
  4. After reading this article and a few others, I decided to watch a few of Riefenstahl's films, as well as a couple by Fanck. Tiefland was among these, and I was struck by the irony in the way the Roma people from the concentration camp were used in the film. They are extras playing peasants, and Riefenstahl's character is trying to convince the evil marquis to let the peasants have water for their crops so they can live and prosper.
  5. Jonathan and I are in the middle of an Entourage-watching kick. Netflix discs come so slowly...
  6. I had a go-cart when I was a child/young teen. I used to drive it around a lot when I was 13-14 with my Walkman. My favorite go-cart-driving tape was Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil
  7. I dislike most candy -- chocolate and sour candy are okay, though -- but the worst ones are Skittles, jelly beans, licorice, candy corn, and Peeps.
  8. In my coffee: Silk vanilla soy creamer and one teaspoon of Sugar in the Raw.

Can you tell I'm hungry?


I just now started watching The Onion's cable news spoofs, and they're great. Here's one in particular I like:

In The Know: The U.S. Moat

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