H ere are a few photos from Sunday's commencement at SU.
As I mentioned last time, Joe Biden was the speaker. He started with Sinatra's line that "Orange is the happiest color," and suggested that Sinatra must have had SU in mind when he said it. Biden told about his graduation from SU in 1968, contextualizing events occurring around the time of his commencement and gradually establishing a bridge between 1968 and the present moment. Graduating during times of great uncertainty uniquely positions you to shape the world at whatever scale you will (i.e., oftentimes this shaping grows from small, principled deeds, from being one who "was not made to look the other way"). He also expressed his strong sense of loyalty to Syracuse University because Syracuse ties have helped him through some of the greatest challenges he has faced. Interjected within these two aspects of his address were references to his father's advice: when you get knocked down, "get up."
This summary is the best I could do without notes. And I dedicate it to Sleepy Pete, who appears in the photo above not to be paying attention to the VP.
Other than those awarded honorary degrees, doctoral candidates were the only group introduced by name and called across the stage. D. snapped this photo of the best the jumbotron could to do capture Chancellor Nancy Cantor and me in the same frame.
After the ceremony, I was fortunate to catch up with professors Lois Agnew and Eileen Schell who waited with D. and Ph. outside HBC for this photo--"fortunate" because temperatures dropped sharply into the 40s during the ceremony, so milling around outdoors wasn't as appealing as it might have been on a warmer May afternoon.
This Flickr slideshow has a few more photos from the weekend's events.
N o telling whether you'll be able to see me walking across the platform during tomorrow's graduation ceremony in the Carrier Dome, but I'll be there, walking, in any case (with the qualification "diss. defense imminent"). The web site mentions streaming video, which ought to start around 10 a.m., just about the time the event gets going. Vice President Joe Biden, an SU alumnus, is giving the commencement address. I'm looking forward to it, even if it means additional security screening and an earlier start to the morning.
Also here's a photo from last night's hooding ceremony in Goldstein Auditorium.
L ocal sports columnist Bud Poliquin shared his "20 Reasons Syracuse Will Make The Sweet 16" in yesterday's Post-Standard. I'd already picked the Orange to win their first couple of games in this year's tournament: no surprise, then, that I was nodding along with Poliquin's twenty reasons.
I paused on No. 7, however:
7.It's been 1,825 days since SU has won an NCAA Tournament game, which was on March 20, 2004. Or before anybody heard of Hannah Montana, before Alex Rodriguez played a single regular-season contest for the New York Yankees, before that airplane on "Lost" crashed in the South Pacific. That's a long time.
A long time, indeed. In fact, it's exactly five years ago, and it's just about the time (within a couple of weeks, anyway) I committed to SU for a doctoral program of study, just about the time I said "Yes" to Syracuse. A long, long time. Long. Time.
Of course, the latest developments on Lost throw a wrench into this; that Jack et al. are now on the island in 1977 tinkers with time-space decorum ever so slightly, but, alas, it does not change the fact that the Orange have gone 0-for-the-NCAAs since I moved to town.
That will change later today, right?
W hat is on your mind if you live in Syracuse in mid-late February? Snow statistics.
On average, Syracuse endures 117" of snowfall per year. If you insist that I need a source for this, my source is Ph. He has, without flinching, handled the largest share of shoveling this year. One hundred and seventeen inches equals just about ten feet. If you don't trust my source, maybe you should do a google for the "National Weather Service" or "snowfall totals" or "enough of this torment already."
This year we had 117" before the end of January. Ph. would probably say that he shoveled 110" inches of it and that I struggled with the other 7" before crying out from flesh-shredding back spasms. I, on the other hand, would offer in my own defense that we have just one snow shovel.
Ever curious about snow statistics, I went online myself, checked out what data the internet had to report. And I found the blog for the New York State Golden Snowball Award, which tracks the prestigious annual honor for the city that suffers the most snowfall among Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Albany. No contest! The site reports that No. 1 Syracuse has taken on 127.8" of snow this year, although as I look out the window right now, I think their measure is not up to date. Make that 127.9...128....
I can't continue to watch. Of course, snow isn't the only thing accumulating on Westmoreland Ave this winter. I have a CCCC paper to spit-shine (it's written-ish, if I can decide which six pages to graft from the diss), a dis'tation to finish, a book chapter draft to collaborate, and teach teach teaching to do.
Not to mention resuscitating EWM. Or unburying it, at the very least.
Perhaps I will have more to say about these accumulations again sometime.
L ike a lot of schools, SU's first day of classes is tomorrow. But I don't teach until Tuesday, so the plan is to jam on the diss in the morning and then head over to The Great New York State Fair for the afternoon and early evening (a dinner of deep fried Oreos?). Special happenings at the fairgrounds: Day five, which means Senior Citizens' Day and Dairy Day. I'm too young to capitalize on the first one (although, what about this here sun spot the shape of Onondaga Lake?), but there will be milk to chug and ice cream to slurp down. Also, cheese. And bunnies in cages, goats on leashes, etc.
And then I teach on Tuesday morning, after the new semester's dust has finally started to settle.
J ust returned from a local house concert put on by Mark Cool (tonight was solo acoustic, in the house where he grew up). Snappy grooves, well played, and an eclectic mix of influences: Libba Cotten, Dylan, Cash, Van Zandt, Led Zeppelin, Springsteen, and some more I can't remember. I had to cut out early because Is. reached her bedtime, but the first half of the show was good enough that I would have liked to hear the rest. So: Once home, I tracked down sites due for a return to get a copy of last year's album (where we can find most of the stuff he played tonight) and more.
Returned from a couple of errands yesterday afternoon to find three young foxes wrestling in front of the barn next door. The property is vacant (clung to for nostalgia's sake by a man who grew up there). In exchange for shoveling the drive and making the place appear minimally kept up, Ph. gets to park the '90 bucket-o-bolts there--that's the ultra cheap set of wheels we picked up in February so Ph. could learn properly to drive. I don't know whether the foxes are a threat to much of anything. They're young and small--innocent seeming. One was pawing at an old tire. The other two were rolling around on the ground, grappling with each other. Of course, I'm sure they have parents. Will they run off the other barn-friendly vermin (esp. the skunks, who take every opportunity to make their presence known)? I don't know. A family of foxes also cannot be good for field mice, squirrels, and outdoor cats. But are they dangerous enough to call in animal control? As long as they don't bring Bill O'Reilly sniffing around these parts, they're harmless, right?
About the photo: I snapped it on my cell phone, a freebie from AT&T. The only way your cell phone would take crappier pictures is if you didn't have a cell phone. Even then your impressions might be crisper than this. But, hey, work with what you've got, no?
from November 1 until March 31 the mittens come off only when you brush your teeth.
I ought to clarify that she's wearing them not because the house is freezing cold (believe me, we send exorbitant amounts of money to National Grid each month to ensure that this drafty rental is toasty warm throughout the winter) but because she likes to wear mittens, indoors and out.
T wenty-four hours and six-plus inches in to the season's first major snow event and it's still coming down steadily. The accumulations meant a snow day for D., Ph., and Is. And while I had strong, vivid dreams around dawn that I would wake up to the News 10 Closings & Delays site posted above, my dreams did not win the day (dreaming, I mean, of the item listed at the bottom of the screen-grab more than of the weather map or the link to Clinton's cranked up "rhetoric"). I awoke to find that the (indoor) stairs leading up to the office were snow-free and not the least bit slippery. I would characterize the morning's writing, on the other hand, as patchy, drifty, and slick. We have not had any indoor snow yet (Lalo told us that last year they had traces of snow blowing in through the eaves of the room that is now the office--a converted attic--where I am now writing this). Nonetheless we are steadily learning about the lack of insulation in the house where we now live. The North wind pretty much blows undiminished through a couple of small draft-slits around certain doors and windows.
Classes at SU are on as usual, which means I will soon pile on a couple of layers, tie up my boots, and head over to campus for the second-to-the-last class session of the semester. Planned: course evals and the finishing touches on projects, due Thursday.
W e've been in Syracuse for going on three years, but today was the first time we visited the Regional Farmer's Market (just ten minutes from where we live). We managed some self-restraint in that we only picked up a few fresh vegetables, a pint of fresh raspberries, and fresh-baked cookies. Incredible range of produce, meats, and hand-made goods filling four or more long pavillions; it's one of those finds when you think, shoot, three years we've been missing this? I wish we'd stopped in much sooner.
A year and a day ago, I took a photo of SU's quad from its SE corner.
Today, I took another one from the same spot.
Much has changed_ [! ? . , ...]
(Provide your own punctuation.)
W e've had a snowier stretch of weather lately than any I can remember before, here in central NY or while growing up in central lower Michigan. Around two o'clock this afternoon, I broke from grading WRT205 projects and laced up my boots so I could shovel the yard. Really this only meant carving out enough space for Y. to dododo his business. He seems to be just slightly more beagle than pug, which means he's a sniffer. Cold temps and snow disorient him mightily, so the trips to the restyard are panicky and vertiginous. He just whirls around, alarmed, until it no longer makes sense to seek a guiding odor where there is none.
With a small parcel of yard shoveled, next I recruited Ph. to lend me a hand with the front walk and driveway. All preventive shoveling, considering that it was still snowing steadily while we cleared paths. We worked non-stop for an hour, pausing only long enough for me to reminisce about the nice snowblower my dad used or to wonder aloud through five or six Fred Sanford-esque close calls. Damn sure can feel my heart pounding. Is that right? And the banks at the edges of the drive piled higher than the Palentine Hill. Happy snow-blitzed Lupercalia.
We've been good about clearing the driveway in recent weeks. Might have been just 18 inches or so when we worked it over this afternoon. And at least four or five inches have fallen since then. Granted, it's nothing like the winterized souls are getting just north of us in Oswego and surrounding areas. Over 100 inches in a week? I'm crying uncle and whining about my back with only a couple of feet of snow. I've never shoveled a roof, nor would I have the snow fortitude to undertake such a thing even if it means imminent collapse. Go on and cave in for all I care, I might say (while on my cell phone to U-Haul).
F lamingo, peccary, red wolf, fisher.
We drove over to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park here in Syracuse this afternoon to enjoy the unseasonably warm temps and to get some use out of the family zoo pass we were given as a gift a few months ago. Under ordinary circumstances I'm not much of a fan of zoos (mutated Zoo! strand in my DNA?). Today the zoo was as good as it could be: cool, minimal crowds (aside from the penguin hut), and smooth-going around the half-mile trail: just right for an hour-and-a-half family outing in what is almost certain to be the last gasp of enjoyable autumn weather.
I have an email here reminding me that the annual Westcott Culture Fair is coming up this Sunday, 9/17, from 12-7. Without much planning, we've enjoyed the C-Fair each of the last two years. Of course, it was easier then. We lived within a block of Westcott. Each time, curious about the heavy traffic from cars and passers-by, we'd look out, figure something interesting was going on, and head over to Westcott--a strip of shops and restaurants in the old neighborhood just east of campus. This year's C-Fair should be more interesting, however, and I'm noting it blogally because the email includes this:
The fair starts off with a parade where members of Nottingham's varsity football and soccer team, along with our cheerleaders, will be marching.
I could be off, but I take this to be saying that Ph. will be among the parade marchers at noon on Sunday. Uh, except that we have somewhere else to be at that very same time that "the fair starts off," it should be a lot of fun. Westcott C-Fair-style. If you get there and I don't, snap a picture, will ya?
H ere you have Ph.'s day with Shakespearean whatnot:
First, the dance leading into this evening's opening of Shrew.
And then I've also captured the local news clip that aired this evening (notably not uploaded to YouTube because of
D . and I drove over to the Inner Harbor where Onondaga Creek joins Onondaga Lake for the Water, Precious Water concert this afternoon. One of D.'s students had a role in the festivities and a parent was putting the whole thing on, organizing it, as far as I know. We stayed for just an hour; the temps in the mid-fifties were surprisingly brisk for an afternoon in early June. We returned, teeth chattering, back to the car. But I did get photos of the puppet procession. So as not to suffer further despair of Onondaga Lake's top-ranked pollutedness, the get-together aims to build awareness, focus resources, and rally environmental cleanup.
T he three-day conference in the Adirondacks ended yesterday; in the afternoon, several of us caravanned back to campus in the rides provided by the University. More background: The event convenes each year in the spring. Put on by the Graduate School staff whose work involves professional development for graduate students, the conference draws together PhD students and faculty from a variety of disciplines (journalism, anthropology, geography, and so on) and institutions (SU, Onondaga CC, and several SUNY schools). Attendees pop in and out throughout the three days, but altogether there were 40-50 people present on any given day. Our program sent two faculty members and three students, all of us involved with the Future Professoriate Program at SU. The program, as I noted the other day, was a mix of general sessions and concurrent sessions. On the final day (yesterday), there were a few roundtables, but with just 30-45 minutes, they felt too brief to get into much substantive discussion. Still, the conversations across disciplines linger as the most compelling aspect of the conference. It's unusual to locate avenues for cross-disciplinary contact, much less opportunities for the convergence of multiple disciplinary vantages rather than the perspectival 1:1 of rhet/comp and geography, let's say, or rhet/comp and IST. This oversimplifies, of course, glossing that any individual might be a nomadic collocation--a knot of multiple influences--unto themselves. But I'm getting at primary affiliations and recognized roles: the label on a name tag, for instance.
Here are the sessions I attended (with session type in parentheses):
Influencing Classroom Culture (general)
Integrating Research into Teaching (concurrent)
Insights on Publishing (concurrent)
Electronic Portfolios and Portfolio Critique (general)
Learning from Experiences - The 'Un-Vita' (general)
Using Technology to Extend the Classroom (concurrent)
Tenure, Unionization and other Facets of Faculty Life at Different Institutions (concurrent)
Academic Job Interviewing Simulations (general)
Beyond the Lecture: Bringing the Classroom Alive (general)
Experiential Learning (concurrent)
Setting and Fulfilling your Independent Research Agenda (roundtable)
Building Connections--Professional Networking (roundtable)
The first night's session on electronic portfolios was surprising in part, at least, because I was the only one in the room with an electronic portfolio of sorts, even if "portfolio" never really comes to mind explicitly when I think about the assorted self-representations I'm assembling here. The session was split between a general overview of professional portfolios and breakouts where six of us introduced our stuff and talked through the ideas driving whatever we'd brought. But the lead-up discussion kept breaking down, split along an event-modeled framing of portfolios as a particular response to a particular exigency (answering a committee's request, for example, related to a job app or T&P) and, on the other hand, portfolios as a habit of collecting and presenting that which is in progress throughout a doctoral program of study. I sensed that the breakouts, perhaps because they were more focused on tangible portfolios, were more satisfying for everyone. As I talked, I tried to get at the idea of fashioning a digital ethos and being in the network underscored by habits of writing activity.
The session on "Using Technology to Extend the Classroom" involved an overview of the many technology-oriented expectations imposed on the faculty at Onondaga Community College. Problems: so many sites! so many passwords! poor design! I suppose I'm being flippant, but what started out reasonably strong ended with examples of eBay bids (our professional technologies blend with our personal technologies!) and finally--the centerpiece of the really interesting conversation that capped the talk--an ameil from a desparate student that included, Gasp!, typos, no capitalization and informal address. Interesting about the Q&A and related discussion was that it primed us into us to cross-talk about writing in a roundabout sort of way without those of us from the writing program needing to defend or assert any particular view. Responses ranged from "danged unconscientious students!" to "big deal."
I suppose I'll sound like I'm complaining if I write that I left the professional networking session wishing for something slightly different. It's not that the advice was bad. That's not it at all. It's just that "Building Connections" fell neatly into the business-modeled domain of shaking hands and being a good muckety-muck (flip again?). My bias against the "market yourself" gloss grows out of experiences here in the blogstream, coming to know others and in turn to be known by interactions that blur the faux-division between professional networks and social networks. How can the logics of social networks and social networking apps overhaul the efforted versions of professional networking (as pandering)? Maybe it can't. But I really like the question, and even though change along this front moves at a glacial pace, I think we must continue to ask: why not look to social networking models? why not ponder the connections denied because of too hastily relegating social networking models to the trivial, to the inconsequential? I brought it up briefly, but then somebody suggested I was an extrovert. Oh, maybe. But I'd resist self-identifying with anything -vert. Versions, rather. A rinse of extro- and introversions: Yeah, well, and I did have a business card on hand.
There's much much much more, but this is 'nough for today. Eventually I
want to get down a few thoughts about 1.) Sounds of... projects, 2.) the halo
effect--an advisor's reputation as perceived network influence, 3.) the
claim that "scale is dead" (and resurrected!) over dinner on Wednesday and the
argument discussion that nearly had me breaking a sweat
(what happens when PhD students across disciplines disagree?), 4.) job interview
simulations (play-acting a search committee with folks from other
disciplines--me, a geographer and an info science technologist--interviewing an
anthropologist and then a comp/rhet candidate), and 5.) chatting with the editor
of Names: The Journal of
Onomastics and related ideas about toponyms and
D ay two of the '06 Syracuse FPP Conference is winding down (Next: dinner at six). It's a three day retreat focused on teaching and professionalization hosted by SU's graduate program. In a nutshell: general sessions, breakout sessions, good food and drink, and an amazing setting deep in the Adirondacks. A mix of disciplines are represented here, so there have been several lively conversations. I'll try to report on some of the pleasant surprises and encouraging moments in the days ahead. Here's a photo of Blue Mountain Lake from the main lodge.
And this is Castle Rock. Dianna, Chris, Eileen and I just hiked there and back through downed trees, brambles and hoards of blackflies.
I was walking along Euclid Ave. yesterday morning, on the way to a mini-seminar that was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Euclid is the main strip running east from campus; traffic was light: a few students going to the second day of their Maymester classes, City of Syracuse workers gathering up end-of-lease heaps of curbside refuse. It was 9:37 a.m. I was ten minutes from campus, well into the 1.6 mile, thirty-minute walk.
A bicyclist peddled into the vague periphera at my right. Nothing unusual about the speed or course, until, that is, the front wheel of the bike scribbled a quick figure eight and the young woman riding along uneventfully just moments earlier tumbled headlong onto the street, the bike awkwardly folding away beneath her. In other words, she fell off the bike in the middle of the street, as if, almost, the bike just broke.
I pulled my earphones--Track 6, "All Tomorrow's Parties"--and hurried to where she fell. She was dazed, looking over her left arm for evidence of the pain she no doubt felt. Another walker on the other side of the street came to her aid, as well. While I called 911, heeded her request to go get one of her roommates from their house, which was less than a block away.
I don't think she was hurt badly. Might've had a broken hand/wrist/arm. And blue jeans did a very nice job, I'm sure, of abating what could have been nasty scraps with any other sort of legwear. Within fifteen minutes, the ambulance arrived; they whisked her away on a backboard, braced for the possibility of neck trauma. She wasn't wearing a helmet, and by some small miracle, her arm took the brunt of the fall. For all I know, that is.
I continued to campus and would be fifteen minutes late for the mini-seminar. Not rattled, exactly, but stung by a moment of crisis, affected somehow, as much by the oddity of seeing someone spill, unassisted, from a bicycle (@15mph), as by my quiet wish that everything would be just fine.
T he SU Quad on my walk to campus for class this afternoon.
I f yesterday's nail-biter against eight-seeded Cincinnati wasn't enough to secure the Orange a spot in the NCAA tournament, today's squeaker in OT against #1 UConn was, pretty well locking up a place for SU among the 34 teams to be chosen by the committee this Sunday. Following Boeheim's post-game tongue-lashing of the local media coverage yesterday, the tiresome coverage that for weeks on end has in at least one case charactered senior point guard Gerry McNamara as over-rated, I admit that I was surprised. Not really necessary, I thought, to waste a precious press-conference f-word after a win, especially when referring to the Daily Orange, a student-run paper that has done much of late to gain a reputation for unscrupulous reporting. But whatever else Boeheim said--to the team most especially--worked (uh...did you hear him today acknowledge that both his wife and the chancellor are upset with him...?). The Orange have been sloppy at times (even during these wins...astoundingly sloppy in crucial moments), but today more than ever I thought we had a glimpse at how well coached this team is. What I'm getting at is that a team that goes from a 39-point loss at Depaul to a two-point overtime win against UConn in a single week is a team that gives a coach absolute fits. Who wouldn't be prone to letting slip with f&%^ coaching this team? No, of course, not that it's excusable to say such things, even when you're expressing contempt for those who've been publicly bagging on the senior who has tossed in two amazing shots to carry you into the semis of the Big East tourney.
I can't remember any sequence of games in March where a team so completely
doubted and so rickety at times came through with two bigger shots (by the same
guy, no less) than SU and Gerry McNamara yesterday and today. I should
admit that I was a skeptic in recent weeks, figuring, as I have all along, that
this group would be as good or as bad as its bigs because the guard play is
relatively reliable by comparison. I wasn't convinced of the toughness of
the frontcourt, and I'm still not sure they've got the depth to put together the
string of miracle wins needed to advance very far in the tournament of 64...er
65, considering the foul trouble Roberts and Watkins keep getting into.
This is only to say that the last two days of early-afternoon match-ups in the
Big East tournament have been overspilling with Marchy goodness, and I will be
watching again tomorrow for their contest against G'town
or Marquette, even if
it means listening to Bill Raftery's ridiculously over-inflected declaration of
"onions" every time somebody hits a big shot in the last five minutes. Or,
OniONS! (Because they make an eye tearful?) The rest of the tournament(s)
will have to feature a heavy load of intense scenarios to top the last two days of
Syracuse hoops craziness.
Y ou might have thought I was just horsing around last March when I posted a photo I'd taken of a delivery truck from a local produce distributor. Silliness, you thought. Sophomoric digression.
Well, the email came today requesting an interview. I answered with my cell number. Then came the phone call. It's going to be a story about the Syracuse Banana Co.; I was told it will run in the Daily Orange later this week, probably Thursday. No telling how many of my insights they'll have cause (or column inches) to include, but I hope they work in the part where I rattled off a version of, "We're accustomed to ordinary delivery trucks; then rumbles along a bright-yellow load of good from Syracuse Banana Co. Wow! Because it's a riff on the university's hyper-orange mood, it's memorable. When you're new to campus, it's the odd thing that's still with you at the end of the day." Okay, so it was much more coherent on the phone.
Added: From the DO's Pulp Section, Friday (1/20): "Search Peels Away Banana Truck Mystery."
D efn.: hefting a pair of lead-heavy window air conditioning units through thirty-degree temps and snow squalls into a house equipped with central air. Slick sidewalks! A/Curdity. That's my new word for today. No, we don't have a pressing need for the air conditioners, but nobody's seeking window AC-units in Syracuse in mid-November. Plus, they're good social insurance--guarantees that I'll have a way to make new friends in June when it's back to 90-degrees F and 80-percent humidity. So I'm trying to focus on airconditional friendship while shuttling those units and other stuff this AM.
B efore a full week cycles around, I wanted to tack up a few notes about the Digital and Visual Rhetorics Symposium hosted at SU last Thursday and Friday. Each of the talks was stimulating/evocative; w/ these notes: I'm going for a patchwork of what was said and what it got me thinking about (highlights plus commentary). Fair enough?
"Documentary as a Hodos: A Public Counterpedagogy"
Jenny started with an explanation of public non-places, the spaces we pass through out there that are so common-place as to be routine. As a counter to these non-places and the "worldless lessons...built into these walls," J. sought to complicate the widespread lessons about monolithic, unchanging contexts, which she built up through a series of examples and called a "pedagogy of delocalization." One response, or a meta hodos (alt- ways, met-hod): create a counterpedagogy. The counterpedagogy entertains the none-too-simple question, "How did we get here?" How did we get here? J. explained that mobilizing this question--enacting it? acting as if it's answerable?--involves something more than reading texts about the conditions giving rise to globalization, delocalization (although we can imagine the pedagogy that studies how did we get here while keeping the classroom delocalized, generic--anyplace-anybodies, yeah?). The counterpedagogy depends on a non-generic notion of documentary with no clearly fixed territory. Drawing on Ralph Cintron (Angels' Town), Marc Auge (Non-Places), and James Agee (Let Us Now Praise Famous Men), J. articulated the counterpedagogy of documenting the local--"educating to attention by amplifying." J.'s model emphasizes the etymology of document--docere, docent: to teach, and it also employs tools that confront us with the limits of composition: sound, image, film. Rather than foregrounding the projects with explicit theorizing about delocalization, the model emphasizes creative research. For me, it productively blurred the splits between ethnography and documentary, between research as noticing and attention/amplification, and the uses of media projects for introducing rhetorical strategies such as arrangement. Look into: Bill Nichols: Introduction to Documentary (best book about writing that doesn't mention writing).
Jeff set out with questions about referentiality--questions worked up from Mitchell's What Do Pictures Want? and Burnett's How Images Think. To notice, J. explained, is to engage, but somehow noticing isn't enough. Noticings can be distant and flat, removed from self-reference: "distant learning, visual style." Examples: from Seeing and Writing and Rockwell's self-portrait. A move beyond noticing involves referentiality--a visual style of invention that works with place (Detroit) and the possibilities of multiple naming systems for a single place. Folksono(me)--new media taxonomy--supports multiple localized and individually designated meanings; tags permit users to rename and redefine. Implications: self-referentiality beyond detached noticing. Citing Barthes' RB, J. noted that the reference can be thin; it "carries me back to somewhere in myself." The folksonomic categories, therefore, overlap. They reciprocate, name him in return. After introducing Ulmer's ideas about remakes and associative dreamworks (where proof is replaced by the production of imaginary space), J. brought up McLuhan's suggestion that new media produce anxiety. How to respond to such anxieties? Selective entanglements: folksono(me) and folksono(you) [This isn't quite the way J. put it...rough spots in my notes!]. With folksonomy, we find room for other reference systems and other possibilities for a visual style expressed through strategic referentiality. What do images want? Linkages. Throughout the talk, J. mixed in a sequence of linkages--his own "multiple local meanings" in Detroit, at Wayne, down Woodward Ave.
"The sweet, glamorous and deadly pink of screens: some perfections
of an online apparatus"
Anne's talk began with a pattern in looking at particular web sites: where are the women? She framed her own research orientations in film studies, art history and rhetoric. I experienced the talk as a buildup of histories of seeing, apparatus theory and a variety of perspectival identifications--parts of which A. aptly characterized as gendered. We might be more fully cognizant of the structures supporting layout--the mechanisms that project the available ways of seeing. A. clicked us through a few exemplary sites (a product listing on Amazon, a Japanese anime site, and a project featuring reborn dolls). Why aren't we more inquisitive toward mechanized layouts founded on efficiency-drive? What kinds of seeing are encouraged (where body-images are easily replaced)? How might site/interface design bring about more patient browsing? A. brought in Virilio and Hayles; she reminded us that photographic representation is crucial on the web, and, ultimately, her talk got me thinking about the relationship of interfaces to differentiated reading/browsing. If we don't pause to consider apparatus theory, we might miss the otherwise transparent trajectories of interface design and web-viewing experiences (visual, discrete, full, non-narrativized, isolated individuals, and hard-surface of the screen) as they re-inscribe unmonitored patterns of encountering the web.
S U's offensive sagnificence in Sunday's 15-7 home loss to Big East rival West Virginia was inversely proportional to the solid performance by the defensive unit. SU on offense: naught for 15 on third downs and a grand total of 103 yards. SU on defense: five takeaways. SU on offense: six points for, eight points allowed (interception for TD and a safety).
Not sure whether it's a sentiment shared by any of the other 45,417 fans at the Carrier Dome watching the game today, but considering that it was Greg Robinson's first game as the head coach and considering that SU couldn't have played much worse on the offensive side, the Orange contingent should feel okay about keeping the margin within reach until the very end. The game seemed like it could easily have tipped our way had we been able to come up with any sequence of positive yardage (even attempting a 10-yard gain now and then would have been something, but it happened just a few times). Well, yeah, and one more touchdown. But the unfortunate combination of errant passes, drops and simple-seeming schemes...; brighter days ahead, I think. That's what I really want to say. Word around campus is that Robinson is well-liked by the players, and I think he's savvy to shoulder some of the blame for the loss. The turnout and game atmosphere was new-season festive (down to The Hyper-Bellowing Clapper one row behind us and the Toxic Perfume-Cloud Mountaineer Fan one row up...an excess of cheering and flower-scent). Plus, I hadn't attended a college football game in person since C. Mich v. Ball State all the way back in 1991 (when the score was a whopping 10-3), so it was all around fun just to take it in. We'll have better results, I think, when the Orange host Buffalo next weekend.
Added: Read Collin's take on today's game.
O n my walk home this afternoon, a lovely barrel:
T he Daily Orange, SU's student newspaper, reported yesterday that the U. is scrambling to lodge this fall's freshman cohort of 3,524 students. One group of 30 students (Quiet Lifestyle Learning Community) will occupy a floor of the Syracuse Sheraton on the edge of campus; in a less popular arrangement, the University is converting double-occupancy rooms to triple and handing out discounts. No mention in the article of where the Raucous Lifestyle Learning Community will rest their heads this fall. From the article:
[J.C.], an undeclared human services and health professions major, said he would like to live in the Sheraton. However, he would be very upset if the university placed him in a converted triple, he said.
"I would be very, very shocked and surprised," he said. "I would probably want to take my money back and transfer to another school. You pay $41,000 to come to this school and you get put in a room that's smaller than a prison cell?"
Campus living space as prison cell: such killjoy. Twice as many roommates to share in the intellectual and social wonders of freshman year! Get the full article here (you'll need a login, so feel free to co-opt the EWM Express Pass: firstname.lastname@example.org. But don't send me any email at this address, if you know what I mean.)
Added: Oh, okay, so it was "published" back in May. But the item just came through on the DO feed (in Bloglines) yesterday. That's what I meant. Old, but least it's not year-old.
S o sat the sun over Lake Onondaga and downtown Syracuse tonight.
D ietarily speaking, quite a day! No. of Italian restaurants I ate at/from today: due. Other than a bowl of Life cereal to kick start things this morning (oh, and one caramel Frappuccino drink this afternoon--the first caffeinated beverage I've enjoyed since May 29), all of my food consumptions, Italian: first at the Olive Garden, then from a place with notable local repute, Pastabilities. You should know that I didn't have a whole lot of say in either decision, which doesn't really mean anything beyond the alimentary coincidence of fettuccinic proportions.
First came our final class session of the summer term in CCR760. To cap things off, we gathered at the Olive Garden ristorante on Erie Blvd. I loaded up on the salad-soup-breadsticks combo. And we carried on about class stuff after everyone gulped their selections. All in all, an afternoon well-spent, rounding out a vitally important course abounding with serious and careful attention to genre and writing in academic contexts. Just one note about the waiter (and I'm not a waiter-complainer usually, fwiw): by muttering a certain and audible lord's-name-in-vain when I asked him to repeat the soup options, he made it exceedingly clear that he was less than content with something--serving a table full of mostly grad students who would spend the better part of three hours in his section? I really wanted to know the soup options. Everyone before me who ordered the same thing I ordered let him get away with the rapidfireindecipherable blahdieblahminestroneblahdieblah: three soup choices as a single word. "Minestrone," was the answer from every. other. person. before. me. Thinking I might not have minestrone, I had to ask. And when he said (after dropping the whispery J.C.) the last choice was something with sausage and potatoes, I doubled back for option two: the minestrone. I had the sausage and potatoes selection a long time ago. For the last time. I remember distinctly that the sausages were rather like Franco American meatballs who'd wandered their way into my soup, having lost much of their usually savory flavor en route. Last time. In the end, the salad and minestrone were quite good; I ate until content; and the class ended on a high note.
Later when D., Ph., and D.'s sister and nephew from Colorado suggested ordering takeout from Pastablities, I went along with the plan. I agreeably drove over to Fayette and Franklin. Parallel parked (so what if nobody was behind me?). Grabbed up the order. And I'm actually glad I did. Pastabilities has the absolute best sourdough bread to go with spicy tomato oil for dipping. That sauce is really what I wanted this weblog entry to be about. Negative: it's so damn good--dip-my-breadslice, runny-nose tasty--I stuff my poor self. Overindulge. But there is something to be said for having Pastabilities after Olive Garden. And there's also something to be said for blogging this entry instead of accompanying D. and her sister for a long evening walk. And third, it's an accomplishment unto itself that I don't even have the slightest stomach ache. Must be something of a soothing quality (spiceopathic remedy?) in the zesty tomato oil. Or maybe I didn't get enough of it.
I t's a comment more on the cliff face of a two-hour afternoon meeting combined with break-intensified reading-writing-teaching work resuming today than on anything else. I've posted the rest of my San Francisco photos to Flickr. There's more to say about the conference, but take the photo-slide show as a photographic-essay, because I'm not too sure if/when I'll get notes to the blog. Several others have more complete, thoughtful renditions than my fanned out notes could ever supplement, anyway. So go read them all. And know that I enjoyed an exhilaratingly good, enriching (if exhausting) time. And that I hope my precious luggage finds its way home soon.
O n the walk to campus Tuesday morning, I carried along the camera, intending to snap up a few digipics of the fresh snow on trees, covered paths and whatnot. I shot all the ones I wanted, but then, just as I passed onto campus, low and behold a coveted, rarely spotted Syracuse Banana truck rolled up from a side street, mush-braking to a squeaking, slushy halt just in time for me to pass in front (walker's privilege on campus, ordinarily, and a friendly wave from Driver to keep me in motion). But knowing that I don't see Syracuse Banana trucks often and knowing that I might not have another chance to record the sighting, I yanked the camera from its case and grabbed this image from an over-the-shoulder half-turn. Click!
Full line of fresh fruits and vegetables, daily delivery to restaurants & institutions. No, this isn't a one-fruit town, if you ever supposed it was.
S tarted the day that way, anyhow, by marching fresh tracks through the park. The path was well-worn by the end of the day, as it usually is, but the first pass through a fresh several inches blanketing Syracuse and surrounds was a test, and by successfully managing it, I extended the oft-cited family lore about lonely uphill walks through the driving snow to get to school.
T hursday's Daily Orange ran a feature story on the steady decline in sales of yearbooks to Syracuse seniors. SU students tend to live in campus dormitories; fraternities and sororities, academic and social clubs, and a relatively compact campus (among other factors, I suppose) combine to make the social patterns of each year's undergraduate cohort more encapsulable, as has long been the case in the annual memento of the yearbook, which, I'd say, works well at some colleges and universities and less well at others. FWIW, I held off on posting these few notes about the fade of yearbooks and the coincident emergence of thefacebook.com, social software, and other network-enabling mobile technologies because I thought there was a slim chance the story, "Shelved books," would pop up on DO's web site. So far, it hasn't. But I was impressed to find that the DO offers an RSS feed. When I didn't find one a few months ago, I sent the editor a quick email. Never heard back, but at least the RSS feed is available now, even if many of the stories are late to filter to the web site or the syndication channel.
The story about waning interest in yearbooks coincided with my (teacherly) discovery that two distinct facebooks reach out to SU students, storing away profiles, tagged interests, class schedules and photos. The university circulated an email in the fall encouraging students to sign up with SU Facebook. I went ahead and signed up because I'm curious about self-defining tags as network indices, and I wanted to have a sense of the connective interface agreed upon by the administrators concerned with student life as well as the various uses to which such services were being put by SU students. Then, as I developed WRT205 for this spring, I knew I wanted to talk about the ways in which such networking interfaces might serve more than social purposes. What would it mean to carry social software over to other spheres, such as the semi-social arena of the writing classroom? When we met on Thursday (two days after I asked, on Tuesday, for them to log profiles in SU Facebook), we convened a brief discussion of social software. After a few minutes, it occurred to everyone that we were talking about two separate spaces: SU Facebook (the site sanctioned by the university) and thefacebook.com (the original, more popular site, it turned out). As it operates beyond the institution's domain of authority, as far as I can tell, thefacebook includes social "poking" and groups such as "I hate WRT105." Only three or four 205 students (out of 20) didn't have profiles set up in thefacebook.com. One cause for declining sales in yearbooks? The DO article didn't mention emerging technologies or new media, but clearly the new facebooks have redefined the static, single-class (only senior photos) and annually produced old facebook. I now have profiles in both online facebooks, and yes, I enrolled in the group for 105 haters, though--ho hum--I still don't have any friends as of yet. Even ran across the profile of a student from one of my sections of 105 in the group. Heh. Small(er) world.
From the DO article, this passage reminded me of the relative price tag of the school's yearbook against the *free* profile in the facebooks:
Even if the yearbook staff somehow managed to have every SU student get his or her picture taken and placed in the yearbook, the final product would be four times its current size and be much more expensive than its current $80 price-tag--and cost is one of many SU students' complaints about it already.
And this bit, works on the "type of memories" ordinarily made static by the old print model. Social software enables lesser networks to form and flourish in ways chronicles of any school's central/normative social pulse could never accommodate.
But some students may wonder who exactly those buyers are, since they're not sure they will want to capture the type of memories found in the yearbook. Students who claim they are not actively involved in on-campus school-spirited life--attending speaker events, Homecoming parades or becoming members of organizations--find no reason to buy the yearbook because it documents exactly those things. It tends to only show images of those students involved in activities as well, Defilippo [an SU student] said.
Put together the implications of new media on an old media are abundantly clear, and to elaborate to this length probably seems like overkill, particularly for folks who are already thinking about networks and social software. Thursday's mix of yearbook/facebook issues got me thinking about the curricular consequences for yearbook classes (and this probably applies to high schools more than to colleges and universities). Following a network logic, we might begin to think of the charge in a yearbook class in terms of lesser network documentaries--multi-mediations of the social/intellectual interplay among active-minded, interested groups. This way of thinking about the yearbook as a project would, I suppose, depend on more complex approaches to layout and design (where the web of relationships dictate form rather than the confines of the page), and the intervention of extra-institutional social software apps has, perhaps, already stripped the practicality from older efforts at nostalgic memorabilia.
M ichael Moore was on campus Wednesday evening speaking in rotation as part of SU's fall lineup on humor. Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau spoke just one night earlier, I think. I missed both events; too damn much going on.
A colleague and new friend in the writing program, knowing I was sorry to miss the event, hit me with a brief review of Moore's talk along with this link to the report in the Daily Orange: "Filmaker rehashes politics in Dome speech."
[Oh yeah and: Requires login: use email@example.com to gain access to the full article.]
I would like to have observed some of the call and response interactions between Moore and the audience, but other than that, the coverage suggests this visit was what you'd expect from M.M.--provocation, flippancy, and polemics sweetened with rhetorics of humor.
Though the crowd seemed to be mostly in support of Moore, he didn't escape occasional heckling. After Moore finished calling Bush an ATM for the rich, one person yelled, "Why don't you give back some of your money?" When he told the audience that it was best to turn off the TV for everything other than "The Daily Show," another person called out, "How much did you get for that one?"
W e're staying at the Genessee Inn, wrapping up our three night stay in Syracuse City, flying back to KC late tomorrow. We signed a lease today, committing to a one-year occupancy in a three-bedroom flat (with abundant basement/attic storage) on the edge of Thornden Park, just east of the University. Ph.'s school is five blocks one direction; the U. and HB Crouse are five blocks the other direction. For the small few inconveniences of renting (after owning for a few years), we are just around the corner from the Syracuse public pool, two blocks from the Westcott strip--eateries, a small movie house, public library--and renting from a friendly, fair landlord. Should work okay for year one. Bikable, walkable, bus route: that's what we wanted.
Our stay at the Genessee has been more pleasant this time; I'd gladly recommend it. Turns out, however, that the ice machine/vending room on the fourth floor here is a steamy 95 degrees. Here's a look at a wilted Hershey's bar we didn't buy from the vending machine this afternoon. Who will have such a soft candy? Pour thing. Got me thinking that a vending camera would be fun--maybe a web cam in a trickster machine, where the candy never drops, the wrong package comes out (always a mallow cup!), or a heated compartment keeps the candy disappointingly gooey.
Don't have as many restaurant dispatches to report from Central New York this time. We've been unadventurous since dinner the other night, preferring chains, convenience, and the hotel's continental freebies for two days. Yesterday we scouted the mall in Syracuse, Carousel Center, before I succumbed to my inevitable mall lethargy. It's quite a place--car dealership, stores galore, and a huge indoor carousel. Makes me sleepy walking around in such a mallacious mall, and it shows a side of generic mall culture carrying powerfully from city to city to city, all the same.
In an hour we're meeting up with a few CCRers at Kitty Hoynes in Amory Square. AS is one of the noted historic attractions in downtown Syracuse--which, for today, I'm calling Drearacuse because we have had grayness and light rain all day and because I now have an address here, which means I should be more observant of the weather. They say it snows from time to time in the winter, too. D. and I managed a jog-walk around a few of the nearby neighborhoods just before the sprinkles started this morning. And now the TV predicts flooding.
S till too lazy/occupied to muster a full blown entry, but these photos dumped from the digital camera are a quality holdover. First one is a look at the falls. Broke up the drive on Friday by stopping in Niagara for an hour and a half. Strolled around; ogled the view. Delightful weather for onlooking. American Falls are on the left; Niagara (Canadian?) Falls on the right. I can't recommend the Planet Hollywood restaurant. D. discouraged me from photo-documenting the reason. Go ahead; ask why.
Here is my favorite pic from the trip. On the way back through Detroit, I passed on Syracuse memorabilia to my nephews. The orange wig was a hit--far more coveted than the stuffed Otto we brought. In the photo, older nephew T. is in a compromised position, holding fiercely to the wig on his head and the wireless Nintendo controller in his left hand while younger nephew T. goes for the two-for-one: choke hold and wig grab. Oh so brotherly.
wenty second eatery reviews:
1. The Varsity. Perfectly bad food. Mmm. Affordable pizza by the slice, cheap beer in plastic cups, curious and not-too-spicy wing sauce, an environ slathered in Syracuse memorabilia. Recommended by R. Brecke, the only SU alum on the faculty at my current U. And we ate there twice today: lunch and dinner. Cholesterol? No worry. All hospitals between the restaurant and the hotel. Plus we walked the long way back through campus this evening, stopping through Crouse Hall to remember where things were and to read some of the postings and messages on office doors.
2. Munjed's Middle Eastern Cuisine. Lunched in the Westcott district yesterday. Ph. and I chomped spilly pockets of beef-lettuce-Mediterranean sauce. Good eats. We'll definitely be back. D. tried out some kind of chicken on a bed of hummus. Different. She would've ordered chicken and rice, but they only serve it on Friday and Saturday. Cool when restaurants have odd menus with some stuff for specific days.
3. Genesee Inn continental breakfast. Fruit, cereal, juice, coffee, yogurt--name it. All while looking out from the sixth floor concierge room of the recently renovated hotel. Genesee Inn's a good fit. Close to campus (four blocks up the hill), clean.
4. Alto Cinco in Westcott. We almost ate there for lunch yesterday, but it was so crowded that we slipped next door to Munjed's. A.C. is popular; it was crowded when we returned in the evening (just down from T. & T.'s house). They serve handmade Mexican food. Lots of choices on the menu. I tried the chicken mole. Not bad, but next time I'll try something other than the mole. The catfish burrito or chili relleno thing, maybe.
Other stuff: D. and I started the day at the OCM-Boces admin offices on Thompson Street (just south of the airport). Drove up there because D.'s calls from Missouri have been perfectly futile and we thought a drop-in would get us closer to certification. Missouri and New York don't have a reciprocity agreement, so there's more processing involved. Funny, we chased around from building to building before we were referred to an elusive "Elaine" in building A. At the door, they pointed us to the conference room, told us we could call "Elaine" at Ext. 6213. "Elaine doesn't see people," said Doordesk. "Sorry." Surprise that Oz author L. Frank Baum is from Chittenango, just a few minutes up the road?
An older couple in a minivan pulled up to a stop sign, rolled down a window, and asked me where the Genesee Inn was. "Go down to that light, take a right, it'll be on your right." Sort of a turning point to give out directions in a new town--especially considering that I was the one puzzling over directions to the same hotel just three days ago.
We formalized an offer on a house this afternoon. Will see where that leads. Figure it's a toss-up since another offer was promised around the same time. Should know more by the end of next week. Tomorrow we'll snake back through Western New York and Ontario to Detroit. Rest of the drive on Saturday. May usual blogging resume before long (remember the good ol' usual days at EWM?).
D etroit-Indiana, Eastern Conf. Finals, game six: one long aspirin commercial. Can we get Bayer as a sponsor next time these teams play? And for the NBA Finals, it would only be fair to let Detroit and Indiana combine teams to play LA. The Wallaces, Jermaine O'Neal, Rip H., Reggie Miller, Tay-tay Prince, Artest, Billups. That'd be even.
Sampled Dinosaur Barbeque (Willow & Franklin) here in Syracuse tonight. 'Twas a recommendation, so we stopped in for dinner. Ended up sitting outside; missed some of the blues atmosphere and moto-decor on the inside (although the music was piped al aire libre). Picked up on a Harley-Davidson theme, but didn't sort out the connection beyond (coincidental?) clues. The cornbread grubbing sparrows were something new. Decent barbecue, I'd say, but the sauce was more of a salsa barbecue than the spiced smokehouse stuff we get in KC at spots like Gates. Not used to seeing vegetables (bits of onion and green pepper?) in the sauce. A generous smattering of Now-and-Laters and Pistons basketball for dessert. Is this the worst (perhaps baddest) travelogue ever? (That's okay. It's a restaurant review. And a Pistons fanzine. And an aspirin commercial.)
F irst, the quiz tells me:
|At work or in school: I need to be "hands on": I like to play games, to compete, and to perform. I enjoy flexibility, changes of pace, and variety. I have difficulty with routine and structure. My favorite subjects are music, art, theatre, and crafts. I often excel in sports. I like solving problems in active ways and negotiating for what I want. I can be direct and like immediate results.
With friends: Planning ahead bores me because I never know what I want to do until the moment arrives. I like to excite my friends with new and different things, places to go, and romantic moments.
With family: I need a lot of space and freedom. I want everyone to have fun. It is hard for me to follow rules, and I feel we should all just enjoy one another.
Well, yeah, I'll be something different tomorrow. Shades of green, gold or blue. [via Culture Cat - tks!]
Syracuse U. announced yesterday that its mascot is now plain and simple: Orange.
Previously the [athletic] department had multiple marks and logos. In addition, Syracuse University's teams will now use the nickname Orange, replacing Orangemen and Orangewomen.
Fragmentation is bad for branding; fair enough. Now Otto's rotund genderlessness perfectly matches the desexed mascot name. I never cared much for the genderbent mascots anyhow. It's been tricky at my current institution, where "Pirates" is *usually* engendered as male, and where "Lady Pirates" doesn't do the trick--in my thinking. Our graphic solution was to prefer a skull; the skeletal face is pretty much neutral, right? Of course, the graphic of the skull scares the kids, so they drew up an alternative for "Little Pirates." What a relief that SU is simply Orange (and portends to be the first U. with a single official color, rather than two).
Beats the heck out of rose pink and pea green (SU's original colors in 1872). At Park, we've been dickering over Canary and Old Wine versus their modern cousins, Maroon and Gold. Flipped back, forth and back again in my seven years there. Old wine: is that the color left in the bottom of the wine glass the morning after a bottle of Chardonnay? Shiraz?
So I should be reading and working on course migrations into eCollege for the summer and pasting a trail of fresh caulk in the bathrooms for house showing in the days ahead. I have to balance my priorities; SU trivia is going to come in handy when we visit in early June. Maybe I'll find a sweatshirt freshly reduced to the discount rack as a result of the switch to the latest official logo.
I 'm posting my first lil' write-up on the Braddocks. And I should beg your pardon for not asking whether anyone cares if I turn this weblog toward self-serving notes on some days (wait...nevermind...I do that every day). Periodically, over the next few weeks, I hope to register a series of scrappy notes like this. They're not wonderfully critical or connected; they're not aimed at any research project. They're rather more like the solid (squiggly?) paint-lines along the highway to Syracuse's CCR program in the fall. With that, I also confess to testing out Scribe--a free note-organizing app. These few notes are shaping up in Scribe as a way to see how it works, whether it's worth the price. Well, it will be. The program works. How well, I just can't be sure yet. One of the best parts is how it fits conveniently on my 64MB jump drive and runs from there via a USB port, making it easy to switch from home to work and back again.
I had to smile at myself more than once, chuckle, grin inside about my sense of humor in this whole experiment. A lot of behind-the-blog antics. A lot of tongue-in-cheek and silliness over the idea of taking myself seriously here. It's not official, but I prefer to play around at Earth Wide Moth. For now, I'm resistant to poisoning my blog with responsibility; responsibility is everywhere else.
Most of the way through Richard Braddock's essay, I decided to mix it up. Avoid a linear reading of the honorary essays. I pasted the table of contents into Excel, inserted a random integer formula, and sorted by the RAND() column. Spice it up, you know? Before long, I'll create a list of my plan over in the sidebar (along with the 'About' note I've been mentioning). And one more thing: I'm not applying a tidy, syntopical format to the essays, covering them only as Mo Adler would want me to. Just jotting loose notes, free-associating, reacquainting with the Braddocks I've read and getting to know the ones I haven't. That pretty well covers the who, what and why.