New Media Faculty Dev. Seminar – FA2010

"Awakening the Digital Imagination" – a Networked Seminar

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The Importance of Being Ernest…

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Post source: publicintellectual

Names are so important in life, but at the same time, they don't really matter because they ARE arbitrary. My wife and I are struggling to find names that might communicate the perceived possibility of our baby. Of course we have no real idea what this child will become, but being first-time parents, we want to positively influence our oldest child to be the coolest, smartest, etc that they can.

I've been told and heard that this radically changes with a second and subsequent children. Being a second/middle child, I understand why and how this occurs, yet I am not immune to my psychology's attempt to determine the need for us to choose THE perfect name for our son.

Furthermore, being a student of semiotics and cultural studies, so many different and competing drives enter the equation. I want to choose a name that will give my son some gender fluidity because I don't want to force hegemonic (yeah, I used that word, whatcha gonna say about it?) masculine ideals on him, say "Hank" or "Dick". At the same time, knowing the strength of power in culture, I do not want to be too out there and leave them open to painful and potentially scarring him by the years of jeers and beatings that my sons will probably be subject to just by the fact that they have me for a father, say "Claire" or "Rene".

In addition to gender distinctions, there are obvious ethnic, racial, and ideological influences. We want to communicate our faith and family backgrounds but do not want to force that on our child but would prefer that they express that interest as a choice.

This does not really represent a wholly intellectual pursuit either. We also want to have a pleasant aesthetic sense in a name that will will probably end up calling and saying and yelling for the rest of our lives.

All of this rigamoral of discussion is just to say: If you have suggestions of guides or names that would fulfill all of these criteria, then I am open to suggestions.

The Importance of Being Ernest…

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Post source: publicintellectual

Names are so important in life, but at the same time, they don't really matter because they ARE arbitrary. My wife and I are struggling to find names that might communicate the perceived possibility of our baby. Of course we have no real idea what this child will become, but being first-time parents, we want to positively influence our oldest child to be the coolest, smartest, etc that they can.

I've been told and heard that this radically changes with a second and subsequent children. Being a second/middle child, I understand why and how this occurs, yet I am not immune to my psychology's attempt to determine the need for us to choose THE perfect name for our son.

Furthermore, being a student of semiotics and cultural studies, so many different and competing drives enter the equation. I want to choose a name that will give my son some gender fluidity because I don't want to force hegemonic (yeah, I used that word, whatcha gonna say about it?) masculine ideals on him, say "Hank" or "Dick". At the same time, knowing the strength of power in culture, I do not want to be too out there and leave them open to painful and potentially scarring him by the years of jeers and beatings that my sons will probably be subject to just by the fact that they have me for a father, say "Claire" or "Rene".

In addition to gender distinctions, there are obvious ethnic, racial, and ideological influences. We want to communicate our faith and family backgrounds but do not want to force that on our child but would prefer that they express that interest as a choice.

This does not really represent a wholly intellectual pursuit either. We also want to have a pleasant aesthetic sense in a name that will will probably end up calling and saying and yelling for the rest of our lives.

All of this rigamoral of discussion is just to say: If you have suggestions of guides or names that would fulfill all of these criteria, then I am open to suggestions.

Making the Geezers laugh…

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Post source: publicintellectual

As a new lecturer/professor, whatever I am, I've been trying to figure out who I am and what in the wide world of sports I am supposed to be accomplishing in each class. These students pay a fair amount of money to be in a classroom with me, but it is not a commercial relationship. This has lead me to an observation.

Teaching is a hell of a lot like being a stand-up comedian in an old-folks home. While I have not ever held this position, but I can guess from my experiences in church and band when we played or sang for old folks. My imagination gives me an image that is remarkably similar to what I do every day.

Nearly every day, I stand in front of a group of people who are...
  • confused as to why they are there and
  • who would prefer to be in bed.
  • Many of them are on drugs or the influence of something.
  • Without fail at least one of the audience falls asleep during my spiel, and
  • they resent all attempts to make them get up, move around, or interact with each other.
  • None of the audience really trusts other members of the audience, and
  • they displace these feelings by revealing cynical/skeptical opinions about me, my topics, and my being there.
  • The fact that I dress up or down results in criticism from some quarter.
  • I have no real idea where they are coming from or what they might be interested.
  • Many of the members of the audience miss their home and familiar surroundings.
  • The male members of the audience wish to find the prettiest thing in the room and stare at it or touch it.
  • The females wish to be pleasant and not attract too much attention.
  • There is drooling.
  • I am expected to do my little song and dance, but actual attempts to be cute/charming/etc are frowned upon.
Of course, this implies some stereotypes, but it is close enough to keep me up at night.

Making the Geezers laugh…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

As a new lecturer/professor, whatever I am, I've been trying to figure out who I am and what in the wide world of sports I am supposed to be accomplishing in each class. These students pay a fair amount of money to be in a classroom with me, but it is not a commercial relationship. This has lead me to an observation.

Teaching is a hell of a lot like being a stand-up comedian in an old-folks home. While I have not ever held this position, but I can guess from my experiences in church and band when we played or sang for old folks. My imagination gives me an image that is remarkably similar to what I do every day.

Nearly every day, I stand in front of a group of people who are...
  • confused as to why they are there and
  • who would prefer to be in bed.
  • Many of them are on drugs or the influence of something.
  • Without fail at least one of the audience falls asleep during my spiel, and
  • they resent all attempts to make them get up, move around, or interact with each other.
  • None of the audience really trusts other members of the audience, and
  • they displace these feelings by revealing cynical/skeptical opinions about me, my topics, and my being there.
  • The fact that I dress up or down results in criticism from some quarter.
  • I have no real idea where they are coming from or what they might be interested.
  • Many of the members of the audience miss their home and familiar surroundings.
  • The male members of the audience wish to find the prettiest thing in the room and stare at it or touch it.
  • The females wish to be pleasant and not attract too much attention.
  • There is drooling.
  • I am expected to do my little song and dance, but actual attempts to be cute/charming/etc are frowned upon.
Of course, this implies some stereotypes, but it is close enough to keep me up at night.

Back to Normalcy…

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Post source: publicintellectual

Now that we are finally in our new place and I am in my new job, things will hopefully return to something like a routine. Routine is good for me because it allows me to begin writting and working again. Part of this will mean that I can again start posting my thoughts here, although I'm not sure how brilliant they might be. As soon as I get the photos that my brother took, I can post a few, non identifying, pics of our new house, which is fun.

Recently, other than moving and starting a job, not much has been happening. We got DVR, which is super exciting. I had resisted the temptation for the longest time because I liked having to search for shows and I believe in a sort of comraderie that surrounds being able to watch things at the sae time as other people, but with the fracture of audiences and the amount of programs that I follow, both professionally and personally, I found that we really needed a DVR/Tivo device.

Additionally, of the many friends that we have that have recently had babies, almost all of them very strongly recommended something like the DVR or Netflix. Since I really was unimpressed by Netflix's time for return and some of their selections, we settled on the DVR. I am told that there is nothing quite as helpful for being forced to be up with baby as being able to have something that you actually want to watch on TV.

My wife and I recently saw a few films, most notably the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, which I cannot recommend for reasons that I will go into in another post, and Judd Apatow's Superbad, which I recommend to those who love the sort of teen/high-school night-in-a-life movies. Think "License to Drive" or "200 Cigarettes" only much much funnier.

Anyway, I need to continue my progress into becoming an honest faculty member. So, I'm off.

Back to Normalcy…

No comments

Post source: publicintellectual

Now that we are finally in our new place and I am in my new job, things will hopefully return to something like a routine. Routine is good for me because it allows me to begin writting and working again. Part of this will mean that I can again start posting my thoughts here, although I'm not sure how brilliant they might be. As soon as I get the photos that my brother took, I can post a few, non identifying, pics of our new house, which is fun.

Recently, other than moving and starting a job, not much has been happening. We got DVR, which is super exciting. I had resisted the temptation for the longest time because I liked having to search for shows and I believe in a sort of comraderie that surrounds being able to watch things at the sae time as other people, but with the fracture of audiences and the amount of programs that I follow, both professionally and personally, I found that we really needed a DVR/Tivo device.

Additionally, of the many friends that we have that have recently had babies, almost all of them very strongly recommended something like the DVR or Netflix. Since I really was unimpressed by Netflix's time for return and some of their selections, we settled on the DVR. I am told that there is nothing quite as helpful for being forced to be up with baby as being able to have something that you actually want to watch on TV.

My wife and I recently saw a few films, most notably the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, which I cannot recommend for reasons that I will go into in another post, and Judd Apatow's Superbad, which I recommend to those who love the sort of teen/high-school night-in-a-life movies. Think "License to Drive" or "200 Cigarettes" only much much funnier.

Anyway, I need to continue my progress into becoming an honest faculty member. So, I'm off.

Post source: publicintellectual

Well, my frustration and remorse for the past few posts about getting things done has exploded, calmed, exploded, and now seems to be calm for a couple of weeks, at which time it will explode again before hopefully settling into a nice, calm year of fun teaching.

That's right. I have a job, but that is not the most exciting thing. My fun, knitting-loving wife and I now have a special someone to knit for this coming January. Yup. We're expecting a baby! So, I will have the opportunity to use this blog as a desparate attempt to remain connected and expressive, like so many others. Oh, the hilarity that will ensue.

Ok, back to the exciting job front and impending move. I have been hired at Penn State - Erie for a lectureship. Yeah, I know. It's not tenure-track, and I only have a one-year contract at the moment. However, that leaves me free to pursue only the jobs that I really want this year, and if I really like it, like I think I might, then I have a very good chance to apply for a three-year contract beginning next year.

There was a momentary phase where my wife and I were considering buying a house too. We looked into it and found some great places at very affordable prices, but with so much going on, we figured that it would be better to rent for a little while.

The dust is settling and it looks like I will be teaching half composition classes and half something like the classes that I taught for the last two years. Expect some funny if vaguely described stories.

Post source: publicintellectual

Well, my frustration and remorse for the past few posts about getting things done has exploded, calmed, exploded, and now seems to be calm for a couple of weeks, at which time it will explode again before hopefully settling into a nice, calm year of fun teaching.

That's right. I have a job, but that is not the most exciting thing. My fun, knitting-loving wife and I now have a special someone to knit for this coming January. Yup. We're expecting a baby! So, I will have the opportunity to use this blog as a desparate attempt to remain connected and expressive, like so many others. Oh, the hilarity that will ensue.

Ok, back to the exciting job front and impending move. I have been hired at Penn State - Erie for a lectureship. Yeah, I know. It's not tenure-track, and I only have a one-year contract at the moment. However, that leaves me free to pursue only the jobs that I really want this year, and if I really like it, like I think I might, then I have a very good chance to apply for a three-year contract beginning next year.

There was a momentary phase where my wife and I were considering buying a house too. We looked into it and found some great places at very affordable prices, but with so much going on, we figured that it would be better to rent for a little while.

The dust is settling and it looks like I will be teaching half composition classes and half something like the classes that I taught for the last two years. Expect some funny if vaguely described stories.

Post source: publicintellectual

I think...that is, I'm pretty sure that all of my paperwork is in for me to be officially considered Dr. Me. After the past week of going crazy trying to figure out the innane instructions for electronically submitting my dissertation and getting all of the last-minute signatures on my final draft, I have officially turned in my dissertation entitled "The Stranger in the Dark: Levinasian-Derridean Ethics in Noir".

It should be available to download on Ohiolink and various dissertation databases soon for all those of you who are dying to get your hands on this brilliant treatise on the confluences of genre, philosophy, and narrative. When I began this, most people thought that I was crazy to try to link these different ideas in one work. However, the most recent PMLA journal has a very conceptually similar essay that examines the Lemony Snicket books in terms of their ethical statement that grows out of a Post-modern/Gen-X perspective.

I think that I have some quibbling about whether the interest in ambiguous and self-refertial storytelling belonging just to my generation, but the author seems to indicate that she is not bounding the practice, just exploring one of its expressions.

On another front, I had a very nice interview about 12 days ago, and I am waiting to hear back about that sometime between now and July (nice focused window they have). Additionally, I have an interview this Thursday and Friday for another position that would be equally nice.

So, hopefully, I will soon be able to inform all of my beginning on truly kicking off my academic career from the other side of the educational fence.

Post source: publicintellectual

I think...that is, I'm pretty sure that all of my paperwork is in for me to be officially considered Dr. Me. After the past week of going crazy trying to figure out the innane instructions for electronically submitting my dissertation and getting all of the last-minute signatures on my final draft, I have officially turned in my dissertation entitled "The Stranger in the Dark: Levinasian-Derridean Ethics in Noir".

It should be available to download on Ohiolink and various dissertation databases soon for all those of you who are dying to get your hands on this brilliant treatise on the confluences of genre, philosophy, and narrative. When I began this, most people thought that I was crazy to try to link these different ideas in one work. However, the most recent PMLA journal has a very conceptually similar essay that examines the Lemony Snicket books in terms of their ethical statement that grows out of a Post-modern/Gen-X perspective.

I think that I have some quibbling about whether the interest in ambiguous and self-refertial storytelling belonging just to my generation, but the author seems to indicate that she is not bounding the practice, just exploring one of its expressions.

On another front, I had a very nice interview about 12 days ago, and I am waiting to hear back about that sometime between now and July (nice focused window they have). Additionally, I have an interview this Thursday and Friday for another position that would be equally nice.

So, hopefully, I will soon be able to inform all of my beginning on truly kicking off my academic career from the other side of the educational fence.