Sunday, November 28, 2004

Espejos y Ventanas

Steve Parks has posted a nice run-down about the latest book from New City Community Press, Espejos y Ventanas.  Several of us from SU's writing program made the trip to Philly last weekend for the release event.  The book's production is intriguing for several reasons. The translated-text layout--one side in Spanish, the adjacent page in English--struck me as one of the more interesting, unique features of its production. I'm sure we'll take it up more fully in class on Tuesday.  Reading Canagarajah's Geopolitics draws a provocative correlation between community press initiatives and overhaul in academic publishing, especially when we consider the potentials of publishing in multiple languages or in ulterior spaces.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

SU has football?

OttoBeen such a busy semester, I had no idea (well, except that I've enjoyed working with a few members of the team in 105). Explanation: neither my BA or MA alma maters field football squads. Turns out the Orange pounded Boston College today, 43-17 (hooray!)  Should've beat Temple, but, nonetheless, we earned a quarter-slice of the prestigious Big East title. The radio voices around town are flapping about a BCS bid. Since Nebraska was woeful this fall, we might have a shot at the Houston Bowl. 

The lesser Orange-surprise today: on the hardwood, the No. 5 basketballers roughed up the Siena Saints by 22 points; moved to 5-0.

No Dark Sarcasm In the Classroom

Pink Floyd's "we don't need no" school-children have mustered a lawsuit to collect royaltie$ on "The Wall."

The school was paid $1,000 and later given a platinum record of the song but the pupils were paid nothing.

The headmistress who banned the teens' media involvement in 1979, thereby anonymizing them, had a change of heart; she now supports their claim. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Section 1926.602(a)(9)(ii) states

5:19 a.m.: I could have slept through the racket except for the blaring beep-beep-beep of heavy equipment rolling in reverse.  Other than the beep, it was just a lotBacking up now of machine droning, the deep chugging of loaded trucks.  Since I was up, I stepped to the porch to get a closer look at the commotion, at the mulch-loading operation. Beep-beep-beep: the audio track from my dream played.

The whole event lasted fewer than forty minutes.  Loading leaf piles at the crack of dawn makes sense, I guess.  Nobody to blame who would care about being blamed.  So I shook my fist in the air and bellered, "Trying to sleep, buddy!"  Okay, really I didn't. But I couldn't go back to sleep; I felt some kind of nervous system irritation.

I did read a few weblogs, and decide I had time for an entry.  Then I set to googling the net for OSHA codes on the horns that warn of backing up (relevant to my early morning work on the rhetoric of alarm systems, the mal-ethos of warning sounds, etcetera).  Clearly, I'm not the first person to be irritated by the sound. offers this standard interpretation of alternatives in reply to a letter from a resident in Newton, PA:

Dear Mr. Buchichio:

Thank you for your letter of April 30, 2004, regarding noise emanating from excavating equipment and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for back-up alarms on construction equipment. We apologize for the delay in responding.

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: The repetitive, piercing beeping noise emitted from back-up alarms on excavating equipment at a construction site is stressful to residents who live nearby. Other methods of alerting or warning employees have become available in recent years. Do OSHA back-up alarm requirements allow for the use of methods that would be less noise-intrusive to nearby residents?

Yes. Two OSHA requirements, 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4) and 1926.602(a)(9), relate to back-up alarms in construction. Those provisions were promulgated in 1971 and were derived from Army Corps of Engineers standards.

Title 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4) states:
1926.601 Motor vehicles.
* * *
(b) General requirements.
* * *
(4) No employer shall use any motor vehicle equipment having an obstructed view to the rear unless:
(i) The vehicle has a reverse signal alarm audible above the surrounding noise level or:
(ii) The vehicle is backed up only when an observer signals that it is safe to do so.
Section 1926.602(a)(9)(ii) states: 
1926.602 Material handling equipment.

* * *
(a) Earthmoving equipment; General.
* * *
(9) Audible alarms.
* * *
(ii) No employer shall permit earthmoving or compacting equipment which has an obstructed view to the rear to be used in reverse gear unless the equipment has in operation a reverse signal alarm distinguishable from the surrounding noise level or an employee signals that it is safe to do so.

I feel you, Mr. Buchichio. But neither of us has it as bad off as Ms. Nunn who, according to OSHA, "expressed concern that electronic high-pitched alarm sounds can irritate the nervous system."  Nunn was supposedly addressing workers' wellness, not the residents whose poor souls were pierced by the equipment's un-melodious song.  But OSHA concluded--to Ms. Nunn--that "they had no data or evidence to indicate that exposure to such alarms caused [nervous system irritation]."  OSHA code explains that are alternatives (flaggers, a lower volume, and so on) if we must have street makeovers at 5:00 a.m., and now--although I captured just a few seconds--there's evidence of the nervous system irritation that results from exposure to the unbearable industrial cry. Hard data: just turn the volume up on the video, play it in loop fashion for forty minutes. You'll see.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

How to Tour Philadelphia


1. Find somebody with a camera, touring.

2.  Imitate.


I didn't stand in Balboa's foot-steps exactly.  Face-forward, this is what the city-scape looks like today.  A few other pics are posted to Flickr.  Rest of the weekend: behind on reading and pheeling Phila-drained-phia.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Washing clothes for a trip to Philly tomorrow (no laptop, no road-blogging).  Trekking to Brotherly Love for a grand-stately release reception for Espejos y Ventanas.  I'd say more about the book beyond interesante but for a heap of reading to get done before tomorrow. 

All kinds of buzz on the net today about the beta release of Google Scholar. I book-marked it; will put it to use.  But after a few cursory searches (artificial searches...looking for exactly nothing), ambivalence settled on me--that and I should be reading my poor head off.  Kept turning up PDFs (Paper-Digm Fe'you). Jeeps, I sound rotten and ungrateful!

Emph. on post-colonialism in my Mon-Tue courses this week.  Reading Lu on Anzaldua & Lundsford, Anzaldua on the new mestiza, Deepika Bahri on Spivak & Bhaba, Hardt & Negri on Bhaba and nation-states, Bhaba on Fanon, and Haraway's cyborg manifesto.  And some chapters from Canagarajah's Geopolitics of Academic Writing.

E.'s group routed Si Tanka (S.D.), 6-1, in the first round of the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Tournament yesterday in Olathe, Kan.  Today they play Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) at 5:00 p.m. CST.  Live webcast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Big Trak

A student in WRT105 emailed me this link overnight. MB's Big Trak was one of my first electronic toys.  I couldn't come up with the name of it when I was conferencing with the student the other day.  He's working out a project that makes use of the cut-paste/remix/playback method; focusing on 1982, he'sBig Trak looking at Insides "Mr. Roboto," the computer as Time's "man of the year," and early mechanical heart transplants, and something else.

A Google search for Big Trak turns up a bunch of late 70's/early 80's reminiscence.  Must've been for my sixth or seventh birthday, but I remember programming the rover to roll around our small trailer-house on Winn Road. We had the dump-cart, too, and although it was disappointing (dump what?  where?), we retro-fitted it with a cheap cup holder console (the sort with sand-weighted flaps), so the Big Trak could haul drinks from the kitchen to the living room fewer than ten feet away.  And even though the path was potentially straight, programming a crooked course was all the fun. 

I vaguely recollect the Big Trak was sore subject between my folks, too.  M. refused to tell D. how much she paid for it; she just insisted--as often was the case--that J. and I must have the latest gadgets, whatever the cost. Other memories: the batteries required replacement too frequently, and batteries were expensive.  Wasn't long before my older brother J. had the whole guts opened up, never to go together again.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Push That Button

Dear EWM,

I layered together this trailer (mpg | mov) for the final four weeks of my first semester of the doctoral coursework.  Just ahead, fourBlast weeks.  That's how long it takes the loaders to cart away the blasted dolomite rocked loose in this vid-clip.  Four to five weeks.  Load the crushed rock on the Great Lakes ship-way for steel smelting, roads, anything.  Two thousand tons of carted, ground-up, fresh-water-cooled, loaded, shipped rock.  Quarrying was my grandfather's charge for thirty years at this site--through 1983.  Work the deposit; aggregate. When we were there last summer the operation was grinding something like ten variations of crushed rock.  Pea one, pea one-A.  (Nah, seriously, I don't remember what the bits get called, but none're named RSS.)   

The hyperbolic track is from Sun-Ra. The implications are plain: weeks ahead loaded, dust-clouded. Figure: blast, cart, grind, load-ship. * that button.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Song Is Getting Thin

EWM's been on hold for a whole week.  I'd like to think blog-time will open soon.  Or else what? Got three books piled up for the weekend and semester-end projects, conceptually formed as they are, requiring a hard pry to loosen them into keystroke-motion. 

So it's not an official hiatus, just a holding pattern.  Meanwhile, it's not like there's nothing else to check on the net.  Today's web zen on earworms is a fine distraction (particularly this, this, this and this).  And there's this insightful quiz (via geek-guides) which tells me my file type is j-peg.  Decisive category-maker must have come when I answered that I'd rather burn my eyes with a hot poker than read another book.  Heh...kidding?  Back to it. 

You are .jpg You are very colorful.  Sometimes you forget things, or distort the truth.  You like working with pictures more than words.
Which File Extension are You?

Friday, November 5, 2004

Comfort Inventory I

I parked our second vehicle in the garage for the winter. (So what if it's a two-wheeler, and the foyer is where it's propped.)  On Wednesday, I asked my students from the Northeast how late into the year it seems sensible to ride a bicycle to campus.  Turns out they're mostly not bike-riders.  Except the one from Rhode Island.  He said it's considered risky to ride when the temp dips below 25 F. Today, the wind feels like 35 F.  No sense in taking a chance.

Forgot my book of codes at home this morning and so when the 8:30 a.m. bunch showed up at the computer cluster, we were locked out.  Crisis averted, I managed to track down someone who had the six digit magic pass in her digi-memory--a fancy-pants palm pilot. Probably could use one of those.  Of course, I could have called D. back at home except that I also forgot my cell phone, and I still can't remember our new home phone number after the 315 part.  Mind's been busy with other stuff.

In mobile technology woes, my laptop--the unforgivable Sony VGNS150--is off, via shipping carton, to the repair tech.  Sometimes it turns on.  Other times, no.  Shit breaks; I get that.  But the time I've wasted uploading fixes and patches, IMing Sony analysts through two long back-forth-going-nowhere sessions, and shouting numbers into hard-ah-hearing phone bots: agonizing. Timing couldn't be worse.

My favorite eighth-grade hoopster didn't make the cut.  Undersized, I guess, and scrapping with giants.  But I sure was glad to have him on my team for the four games of four on four we won tonight in Flanagan Gymnasium.  Between my high-post living and Ph.'s backdoor cuts, it was a cinch. Grubbing at the lay-up buffet. 

Returned 37 essays and invention portfolios to 105ers this morning.  Phew! Wrote elaborate responses to eighteen of them yesterday.  I would have rewarded myself with a blog entry and a Newcastle Brown.  But I only made it to the Brown.

Tomorrow: nine essays to read on everything from imagistic argument (continuing Handa) and public sphere-civic discourse (ala continuation of Lakoff's Moral Politics) plus one more chapter from Gramsci. And those projects.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Promo.:  Fresh blog:  I might have had a small part in its making, but I won't be so self-indulgent as to explain all the particulars here (especially because I have worries that the style sheet is all screwy for, many browsers.).  Just wanted you to know about it. I've been told it will begin filling up with entries later tonight or tomorrow. says this about the project, purpose(s), all of which, for the most part, extend the efforts and initiatives of the C's progressive caucuses:

We are a coalition of individuals, interest groups, and caucuses who feel that language, writing, and literacy are inseparable from issues of social justice and public policy.

Subscribe to the XML feed, pop in and contribute a comment, log it to your blogroll, suggest a link...anything that'll give lift to the PT-blog, including a quick acknowledgement at your own high-traffic site.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

< - T B r u u s t h h - >

Idle trajectories?  Better not tell you now.  Get some movement in the op-positionality.

Fielded this today from a colleague in 20th c. Rhetorical Trad:

And-also--we voted this morning at the poling station across the street.  #105, #106.  Inside the gym--two booths--while preschoolers scootered around an ad hoc obstacle course--slide, tire, sign-in tables.  In the booth, the other obstacle course.  Never was confusing to vote in Mo. or Mich.  But here, the booth felt ancient.  Had to flip the lever to close the curtain, then turn an assortment of dials and return the big red lever to its original angle.  Returning the lever at once registers the dialed-votes and opens the curtain.  So why's there an unsharpened pencil hanging by a thread in here?  Nah.  Wasn't so bad, really.