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Free the West Memphis Three

I've felt strongly about this case for some time. Read all about it:

Friday five on Sunday

1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have?

I have always wanted to travel in outer space--go to other planets. I dream about it at night sometimes. The planets in my dream are never like they are on Star Trek, just cheesy overcommercialized vacation spots where it's always twilight and a 7up costs $5.00.

2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest?

No way! I'm from the south, remember? If I offer an opinion without being asked for it, though, that's going to be honest, because it's usually a compliment.

3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened?

Sorry, I'm drawing a total blank on this one. It's hard for any of my friends to disturb me that much.

4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why?

Star Trek: The Next Generation, for so many reasons. I'd get to pal around with Deanna Troi, you know, have some kind of chocolate concoction with her, I would never have to cook because there would be a replicator, and then there's the gorgeous Jean-Luc Picard.

5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted?

I'd love to be a great singer. That can come in handy in all kinds of ways. I could use it for teaching writing...make up a song about ethos, pathos, and logos, for example.

Do your own Friday Five.

First post from new apartment

What a doubleplusungood night. I moved all day today to my new apartment...all alone. I do feel kind of proud of the fact that I did it all myself, but it was lonely and depressing, quite a "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, think I'll go eat worms" experience. My feet would wail if they could. Tomorrow I'll give them plenty of time in their foot spa.

I'm stressing out about teaching this summer (it starts next week!). I'll post a link to my syllabus on Sunday evening; it would be great if anyone who's reading would give me feedback on it.

In my last apartment, I had my desk on the wall opposite my window. I read somewhere that that is bad feng shui, so this time it's different. I can avert my eyes to the left and see out the window. Hopefully this is the start of a better year.

Blogrolling, More Summer Course Preparation

I've been meaning to say this for a while...thanks a lot Cindy and Torill for putting me on your blogrolls (and to other folks who link to me). It means a lot, especially in light of this intellectual slump I've been in lately. I got some comments on my seminar papers last semester that were, while definitely intending to be constructive and helpful, a little alarming having to do with my authoritative voice or lack thereof. I've been wondering if I have any voice at all, anything meaningful to say at all. I wonder if I have any innovative opinions other than I agree with this or I don't agree with that. I know it's a common sentiment in grad school, and Cindy's June 11 post (permalinks in Blogger don't seem to be working so well) makes me feel less alone. Here's an excerpt:

There is a lot of discussion going on at baraita, Frogs and Ravens, and elsewhere about the ability of grad school to destroy the intellectual self-confidence of students. As someone who experienced this, I'm always happy to jump on the grad school bashing bandwagon, but I'm also self-aware enough to recognize that some of the personal demons I was harboring helped the process along. Nonetheless, the number of blogs I'm discovering which either focus primarily on what I'll call "the grad school blues" or which return to the subject again and again tell me that my experience of grad school as a largely gloomy part of my history isn't entirely a self-created reality.

Nor can I say good things did not happen in grad school. It is, of course, where I discovered my love of teaching. It is where I met my best friend. It is where I discovered I am--or perhaps where I named myself--a feminist. But it is also where I often felt isolated, intimidated, and small. It is where I learned what intellectual masturbation is. It is where I cried myself to sleep many nights because I didn't believe I was good enough to be there. And while a few wonderful professors did everything they could to instill in me a sense of worth, neither I nor any of my friends ever felt the department nor the profession as a whole gave a damn; hence, the systemic problem, no, illness, noted at Naomi Chana's blog.

To change the subject to something more imminent than the future of my voice, I'm in the process of moving to an apartment down the hall with my friend Jessica, and I'm still working frenetically on my syllabus. I met with Sandra Becker, the Course Coordinator for Rhetoric 3562, and now my head is swimming. She was great about answering all my MANY questions. I'm seriously considering using Bernadette Longo's idea of having each student be the manager of another student. It sounds like a good way to ensure accountability. Bernadette's course materials are excellent; I recommend looking at them if you're teaching technical communication or want to someday. She told me I can use anything I want from her materials too, which was wonderful of her.

Anne Galloway, calm technology, resistentialism and Bjork

Anne Galloway delivers the sharp content as always:

Calm Technology and Resistentialism
- Today's word from The Word Spy: calm technology. For more on this, see The Origins of Ubiquitous Computing and Calm Technology. And then there is resistentialism ( n. The belief that inanimate objects have a natural antipathy toward human beings, and therefore it is not people who control things, but things which increasingly control people. [Anne Galloway]

After going to the definition of "calm technology," I found this:

calm technology

(KAWM tek.nawl.uh.gee) n. Technology that remains in the background until needed and thus enables a person to interact with it in a calm, engaged manner.

First of all, after spending some time in the south (Mike Keene suggested that there's maybe a southern Clancy and a northern Clancy? Could be.), I'm surprised to see that the pronunciation key is saying "KAWM tek.nawl.uh.gee." Kawm? Tek-nawl-uh-gee? I would have thought it'd be something more like "noll."

Anyway...calm technology remains in the background. Galloway sees a connection between calm technology and resistentialism, "the belief that inanimate objects have a natural antipathy toward human beings, and therefore it is not people who control things, but things which increasingly control people." She says she'll blog more about that connection later, but to show you a little how my mind works, I immediately thought of the song "The Modern Things" by Bjork. The first and last parts go as follows:

All the modern things
Like cars and such
Have always existed
They've just been waiting in a mountain
For the right moment
Listening to the irritating noises
Of dinosaurs and people
Dabbling outside


All the modern things
Have always existed
They've just been waiting
To come out
And multiply
And take over
It's their turn now...

The calm technology has been waiting, but it has agency and hates us. And, in the unsettling words of Bjork, "It's their turn now." We'd better watch out. Paranoid fantasy reminiscent of The Matrix and The Terminator? Sure. What an influence popular culture has. :-) Heh--I'm sure Galloway has something serious and intelligent to say about the connection, so I'll stay tuned to Purse Lip Square Jaw.

Headed to Knoxville

Blogging might be on hold for the next few days as I'm taking a trip to Knoxville, TN to see some friends, and of course the professor who directed my thesis, Mike Keene. Still hoping to hang out with InstaPundit too.

Adam Howard's got some crazy talent

Just thought you should know.

Oh, and Paul--I'm glad you got a Creative Commons license!

New Music and Ennui

Bought three new CDs last night:

  • The White Stripes: Elephant
  • The Donnas: Spend the Night
  • Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears

They all rock. I must admit, though, that the purchase of Elephant was somewhat of a political move because of the band's stance on intellectual property.

Anyway, the music is great, and that's really all I have to say about it...which leads me to the ennui part.

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