Top-Shelf A&P

A new local grocery store celebrated its grand opening earlier this
week.  Today was my turn for getting the food that will fuel our upcoming
week, so after Ph.’s scrimmage (is there such a problem as basketball poison?
My hoops toxicity level is at an all time high!), he and I popped in at the
glitzy Price Chopper to see what all of the hooha was about.  It’s Spring
Break–what do I need more than beer and Ruffles? And beef jerky for snacks
between high-carb meals?  I spend more money when I shop a store for the first
time.  I went in today knowing that I would pick up a few extra
things.  It comes down to new ways of seeing products, I think.  Or
maybe it results from new products.  I’m a ritual grocery shopper. Aisle by
tedious aisle, I usually stroll through Bressette’s Sun Fresh every other Sunday
picking out the bare essentials for meals.  But in a new store, like the
one we shopped today, I discover unforeseeable combinations.  Like at the
deli counter for example, I picked up a pound of chicken barbeque for sandwiches
tonight, since the Sunday evening meal is the start of the new weekly cycle.  Barbeque, brussels sprouts and various pickled garnishes–cukes and
beets.  Why not?

The store: like all new stores, it was a spectacle of consumptive
splendor.  High shelves, bright lights, and none of the dusty, uncirculated
products nobody ever buys–such as blue corn chips or ham and bean box
meals.  Surprising sight:  two men wheeling laptop carts with corded
scanner wands through the aisles–different aisles–to record the inventory and
inform the backroom about barren shelves.  When I worked in a grocery, we
actually pulled all of the back stock onto the floor during the night,
force-shelved as much as would fit, then carted it all back.  Night after
night.  That was twelve years ago.

When we approached the check-out, I saw three familiar students scanning
groceries.  I chose lane nine where B., a student from Nairobi who I got to
know last semester, was pushing clientele and their products through the
line.  I met B. in a class called Reading and Culture for International
.  And now, today, in our new local Price Chopper, I felt my
teaching shrink momentarily.  Although it was bent on critical reading and
cultural critique, something about the experience of reading American culture
through the checkout line, through the products and purchasing habits of the
upwardly affluent and economically safe (right, why was I shopping there?),
well, it seemed unusually powerful, unusually telling. 

It’s not a bad store, as stores go.  Unlike others places where I tried them once and
never went back, the Price Chopper up the street has potential to attract my
bi-weekly stroll-grab.  Heck, they even have Vernors (Michigan native
ginger ale; I had it every time I was sick as a kid–every time). 

Each Dish Harmless Might Mix Inside, Lub-dub

[Clash Combat Rock]

Home for a late lunch yesterday, a gobbled Ethiopian fingerplate waiting to
be eaten since the weekend, injera and spicy, saucy globstuff. The President’s
dentals were on CNN, pearl rows pocked with 1973 repairs. Proof,
X-rayed evidence of military service in the Alabama National Guard. This
turned me, while mash-wrapping the fabulous red-lentil heap, to the Wonka
candy I tangled with the night before, late Wednesday: Nerd Ropes. What
story will dental records tell of this in 31 years? I ate two of them with
a bottle of water–tacky cherry syrup ropes roll-coated in assorted Nerds.
It was late; I needed a kick. If they’d had these at the Palatine Hill,

Took the yarn quiz via Quizilla via
Culture Cat. Would’ve preferred
Mohair, but as it turned out, the test told me

You are dishcloth cotton.
You are Dishcloth Cotton.
You are a very hard worker, most at home when
you’re at home. You are thrifty and seemingly
born to clean. You are considered to be a Plain
Jane, but you are too practical to notice.
What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Cleaning? Yeah, I’ll get on that right away.

Via Slashdot,
I looked at this article about open
source insecurity
. So I’m wondering about trust in technology, about good
faith in the machine, and about the transference of this way of thinking about
open source as a "fertile ground for foul play" into
non-software-writing sectors, such as education. Why should we prefer
costly, closed-source course management systems to open source
alternatives? Foul play? Well, maybe. Here is where I get by
thinking while writing rather than planning all of this out ahead of
time. It’s just that closed-source systems seem much more likely to suffer
harm-intended hacks.

Do Not Burn the Joes

Narrow window for a brief entry this evening, since sloppy joes are
already started in the other room and, well, an unmonitored stove…blog…unmonitored stove…blog. You see the dilemma. Plus, we’ve scored free tickets to tonight’s KC Knights-Long Beach ABA game. It’s a one-two matchup, but I admit to being basketballed out, and the kids have practice in the morning again. But Phillip’s forever enthusiastic, so we’ll wear smiles tonight and root for the home team. Of course, I was looking forward to seeing Rodman-in-full-madness play one last time, but my friend O. from Detroit (who went to high school with a player on the Long Beach team) told me today that the Worm didn’t make the trip. Bummer!

Been thinking about two essay projects. Got an email about the upcoming
publication for the Greater Kansas City Writing Project inquiring whether anyone
on the listserv was currently publishing student writing on the Internet.
I replied, saying, “Yes. We have a blog. It’s rather like publishing on the Internet.” Then came the invitation to write about it before next Wednesday. Should be no problem as long as we get walloped with snow on Sunday and Monday. I really like the carefree pace of snowbound days, and we don’t get many around here. Usually grey skies and ice storms.

So that’s one project: an essay explaining why weblogs in education. Not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but I want to articulate a model of use that dispels the free-for-all mythos of unmediated e-comm while acknowledging the great boon of audience engagement and frequent, visible writing. It’s mainly for K-12 teachers who’ve not ventured far into the craggy terrain of weblogs in ed.

The other essay project (I will not burn the joes!) is for my students, mainly. I need to come up with a way of describing how we might read blogs rhetorically, how we might apply a close reading, seek answers to questions about how blogs connect with rhetorical terms of art. Right…the stove.