« November 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

December 16, 2007

A Dismember to Remember?!

So I stopped up at school this weekend, and when I came outside, what did I see? A brand new car!!

my new Saturn Aura

Who says you can't get a new car for Christmas??

(Okay, so I actually picked it up at the dealer the day before, and photoshopped a bow on it from this lovely site.)

My new car and I are slowly making our way westward, so expect little to go on here...

That's all.

December 9, 2007

Two birds, one stone

The urban legend goes that, each NFL season, when the final unbeaten team has been defeated, the members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins pop the cork on some champagne and toast themselves as the only NFL team to ever go a full season without a loss. It's hard to know whether or not this is the case--the Dolphins themselves deny it, but I can't help but think that they keep the rumor alive just so, every year, they get a little attention from the media.

So this year, seeing as how the Patriots are almost certainly going to do them 2 games better (in 72, the season was 14 games), maybe the Dolphins can go ahead and ship that champagne to the members of the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose record for futility (0-14) the current Dolphins are likewise almost certain to eclipse.

I'm sure I'm not the first (or perhaps even the thousandth) to suggest this. There's just something really striking to me about the same team occupying both tails of the victory bell curve.

And I need something to entertain myself, given that the Patriots have now won as many games as the Bears, Syracuse, and Iowa combined. It's not been an especially me-worthy football season.

That's all.

December 8, 2007

A December to Dismember

I've got some college hoops on in the background while I work and play Scrabulous, and it's occurred to me that visitors from another planet would honestly believe that Christmas is the holiday where we meat popsicles buy each other Lexuses (or is that Lexi?). Seriously. I've seen 5 or 6 commercials reference the holidays in the past hour or so, and 4 of them were for Lexus.

If I had that much disposable income for gifts, I could think of only about 8 gajillion better things to spend it on. So, just so we're clear, if you're expecting a gift from me this year, chances are it won't have an oversized, four-foot bow on it.

That's all.

December 7, 2007

Reading Reimagined

Matthew Kirschenbaum blogged about it when his CHE piece ("How Reading is Being Reimagined") came out online, but given the choice between plunking down money or relying upon the "free" copy in the department, well, I'll take the two week delay.

But I got around to reading his piece today, and I did want to express appreciation for a couple of points in particular. It's an essay that balances nicely the critique of the NEA report with the promise of new media. A couple of things jumped out at me:

First, I think this point is easy to overlook:

The structure of To Read or Not to Read presents itself as tacit acknowledgment that not all of its own text will likely be read by any one reader, since it is clearly designed to be "not read" in at least some of the ways that accord with Bayard's observations. The report is accompanied by an Executive Summary, a condensed version of the major findings. Its internal organization is carefully laid out, with summary points at the head of each chapter, topic sentences, extensive notes, sidebars, and sections labeled as conclusions.

I mention this passage not for its critique, but because it connects with some of the stuff that Derek is working on with respect to abstraction, and it points to something I'm increasingly conscious of: the range of scales through we approach texts. It's rapidly becoming one of the key ideas that I'm working through in my own writing. And at CCC Online, for that matter. It's not an issue of reading/not-reading for me, but of negotiated distances.

A second quote that poked at me:

Reading your friend's blog is not likely a replacement for reading Proust, but some blogs have been a venue for extraordinary writing, and we are not going to talk responsibly or well about what it means to read online until we stop conflating genre with value.

Again, my point is a little less obvious. I'd add that we need to stop misunderstanding genre itself, in terms of a set of language-objects like books, blogs, magazines, etc. Which is not to say that MK is wrong here. The problem is that thinking about reading in terms of consuming objects (a book, a blog, a newspaper) is always going to lead to the substitution he's arguing against. And this is something I hope my book gets at a bit. The problem isn't the range of acceptable objects so much as it is our acceptance of "objects" themselves as the measure of the practice, if that makes sense.

(I've arrived at that position in large part as I've been converted by the work of genre studies folk in our field, btw. When I taught a course on genre a couple of summers ago, I entered the course highly skeptical of the material we were reading--it's the only time I've taught a course whose subject I was "against" to start with...)

Anywho, one last observation, which itself has nothing to do with MK's article. It's title is "How Reading is Being Reimagined," but on the cover of the Chronic Review, it's listed as "The New Metrics of Reading," which strikes me as somewhat different. On the front page of the Chronic site, it's called "Literacy.net," and includes the tease

All you need to do is skim the NEA reading report online and you'll have some questions. And that's the point, writes Matthew Kirschenbaum.

I've never really noticed how fast and loose they seem to play with their descriptions of content. I know that Becky has run afoul of the CHE headline writers before, but I guess I haven't paid much attention otherwise...

Anyways, it's a good article. Go read it. That's all.

December 6, 2007


As I observed 362 days ago, I'd like to wish everyone a happy St. Pullman's Eve. As I thumbed back through my entry from 365 days ago, I had cause to recall a little birthday hope. Not so much for this year with the hope, I'm afraid. It's been an understandably difficult year, for some reasons that I've shared here previously and others I haven't.

And yet, I'm on the front edge of what I hope will be a long-term uptick in terms of my quality of life--I'll talk about it more when I get there, but I'll just say that one of the things I wasn't ready for (and didn't fully understand) was the black cloud of debt that a career in the humanities entailed. To be fair, much of it was my own stupidity, but given that I've had to be triple smart for years now to make up for it, I feel as though I've paid my dues (and at outrageous interest rates).

So while I entered last year with a sense of hope and expectations for change that didn't really pan out, I enter the last year of my thirties with the means to effect some change, and some choices in front of me about how best to do it. That's not such a bad trade, I suppose.

That is all.

December 5, 2007

I'm sure he's just on another server...

Overheard this evening...

me and Mr. T, playing WOW

December 4, 2007

The Hammer of the Frost God...

...has descended with unwavering accuracy upon the city of Syracuse.

I don't have much more to say than that. My methods class met for the final time last night, so it's all over but the grading. And the practice job talks. And the practice phone interviews. And the practice f2f interviews.

I do hope it stops snowing one of these days.

That is, to my chagrin, all.

December 2, 2007


When I was a kid, I was fascinated by roman numerals. I was also quite intrigued by the notion that our own number system was arbitrary in the sense that you could have other bases besides 10. (Yes, I know, what with ten fingers and ten toes, it's not exactly arbitrary.) Silly as it may sound, I would figure out what random numbers would be in base-8 or base-12 number systems. This may be one major reason why web design, with its hexadecimal numbering for the colors, appeals to me so much.

But this is an entry about roman numerals, prompted by two things, one which makes sense, and another which doesn't. The one that makes sense is that in class last Monday, someone stumbled a bit relating the roman numeralled page number to which she wanted to make reference. Later in the class, in making reference to a normally numbered page, I converted it to romans just for fun. For whatever reason, it happened to stick in my head. And when things get stuck there, I tend to just roll them around. So instead of remembering straight page numbers, for the books I'm in the middle of, I'll convert them to romans. (I'm on page LXXVI of the book sitting next to me, btw)

I'm also fascinated by the subtractive numerals--IV, IX, XL--the ones where the normally additive numeral system is reversed like we do with time when we say quarter til two instead of 1:45. The number 944 (CMXLIV) is obviously greatly appealing, the number 144 (CXLIV) only slightly less so.

I should note too that 144 is 100 in base-12, which makes it a big round C.

That's how my brain worked when I was a kid.

The mood for this post was inspired by a hilarious LJ entry by webcomicker John Campbell, titled "50 Answers," which of course my brain converted to LAnswers. Campbell invited commenters to ask him questions, to which he draws answers. Fifty of em. Here's one:

from John Campbell's 50 Answers

That is all.