Drawn Akimbo

Turned in grades for ENGL6364 a day early, freeing up Friday the 13th for gauging under drizzlesky what tempestuous awaits in the second half of May–some administrative suspense!–as if months had halves, as if the just-in-time hiring practices over at the VPI&SU could be anything other than serial end of year nail-biter. What becomes will be, harrowing precarious at that edge of hot damn does time appear to be running short. Problems are for carrying and caring about; yet, they’re not all yours-mine.

Hoop Hollerin’ – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

It’s time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 18th annual-ish. Just like whatever year it was when we did this last, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), and going with modest upset bonuses, +1 point for upsets in the first round, +2 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the most steady-handed dart flingers of all time. There’s no time time for consulting with your local misfortune teller, ordering new bifocals, staring into the sun (never advisable) while wondering about the rate at which your bracket will wither if you choose that team you kind of love.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE, yes, free to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Hoop Hollerin (ID#37368). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frenemies, faux-frenemies, Canadian compadres, social media snobs, wishful critical thinkers, mentors, interim interim interim associate provosts, outrageous sentiment analysts, multicolor kitchen molds, too-long-didn’t-readers, spendthrifts who subscribe to more than three streaming media services, people who can’t ever seem to find the goat yogurt at Kroger, friends of Appalachian folk artists, empirical phenomenologists, people who say they train on a bike but who haven’t trained on a bike in over a month, candy-sneaking flexitarians, Ypsilanti tattoo artists, grandchildren who had a stomach bug last night, attic vermin, septic tank replacement companies in Montgomery County, Va., who will not return a phone call, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Nonscopic stakes: reputations are made (and quickly forgotten) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Hoop Hollerin’ (ID# 37368)
“18th annual-ish.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 13, and first tip of the round of 64, sometime around noon EDT on Thursday, March 17. 🍀

A Break

A break. For driving exactly 500 miles. For resuming a paused yoga practice. For making and sharing tacos on the smallest of corn shells. For studying the curls rising from French pressed coffee, French press being the only available in this Michigan spring breaking place. 42°16′4″ N 83°35′39″ W. 61F and a wind advisory because the troposphere is delivering late morning a wall of stiff winter air. A break for punch-listing several work to-dos. For review tasks needing caught up. For reading. For writing.

Nothing Happens

Figure 1. One-Off Non Series #00 “Nothing happens.”

Busy week at work. What day is it? Tuesday, even so. Emails crossing strike zone, many high, many low. Simultaneity is the complication. Batter facing several pitches at once. Never allow the emails to discombobulate. Filing them is easy. Drag and drop to “filed away.” Where they will never be seen again unless you go searching. Unless there is a FOIA request. Either I have not after a decade adapted to WPA rhythms, or WPA rhythms have not after a decade adapted to me. Mid-semester fire sale. Fire sale is a metaphor for frenzy and chaos. Only in this metaphor the fire that sent up smoke and flame that led to discounted goods now on sale (is this what fire sale even means?) is also a hair on fire scenario sale. Hair on fire is also an incendiary metaphor, only it’s more urgent because hair fires are significantly more urgent and potentially more harmful than ordinary fires. All of these fires are metaphors and should be taken with a grain of salt, which is an idiom for douse of baking soda, or water, or some other extinguishing matter.

Captain Obvious, Small Bolt

Figure 1. One-Off Non Series #00 “Despite Fatigue, Captain Obvious Conjured a Small Bolt.” And just when we’d begun to worry that our hero was out of heroics.

First illustration of 2022. Re-finding habits. Drawing takes a backseat for a month or more, sometimes. And sweet baby Jesus was December a steep climb of a month. Wonderful in many ways, but steep. “Captain Obvious throws a bolt” has become an idiomatic way of carrying on what Joe Meriweather at PU used to mean when he would say, as he often did, “uh-duhhhh.” Damn sure do miss Joe C.’s friendship, mentorship, encouragement, and reminders about when to get your elbows up (figuratively).

Step Back, Again

In basketball parlance, the step back is a move, not a method. If there is “research,” it is immediate—nothing protracted in the decision to make the move. I have never heard anyone refer to practiced, foreseeable basketball actions as methods. Instead: for individuals, moves, techniques, tendencies, styles; for teams, systems, plays, schemes. The step back introduces sufficient space for a shooter to send one up unobstructed (or with reduced interference from a defender who, because of the step, is now a step away). The step back creates a clearing.

For this step back to be effective, one judges by the space it established—usually a small, quickly opened space. Was it sufficient? And was it quickly enough calculated and executed to become indefensible? I want to be careful in suggesting that this step back compares neatly to the other step back. We do not on the hardwoods, say, in a pick-up game, wish to be running with anyone who noodles on, ish-talking about “did you see my step back method?” No. Time we shoot for new teams.

Try This

Figure 1. Try This: Research Methods for Writers book cover.

Quick entry—it’s late and kale sweet potato soup is bubbling. And I’m still in the late stages of moving, turning in keys and parking passes at the old place this afternoon, scooping expired field mice from the attic of the new place, fetching groceries, hooking up laundry machines, chopping onions, and so on. But a project several years in the works dropped yesterday at https://wac.colostate.edu/books/practice/try/: Try This: Research Methods for Writers, a textbook we hope sees uptake in rhetoric and writing classes. I could say A LOT about this book’s development. Once it was in the hands of Mike Palmquist and the editorial team at WAC Clearinghouse, its shape and timing were never clearer or crisper. I didn’t realize it, but I read today that this book is the 150th free, open access publication of the nearly 25 years WAC Clearinghouse has been operating. So it’s an honor and a wonder and a credit to so many that this book is circulating now, as it is. [N.b., not a ninety, but hope to get back to a few more of those soon, like tomorrowsoon, or the nextdaysoon.]

Step Back & Difficult Puzzle

Step back, consider how it’s going. Recline in an overpriced chair. Pause to sit on a bench outside if the weather allows. Walk. The practices of writing research and doing research thread ends into a knot, and the knot’s beginning-point and ending-point conceal themselves, each indistinguishable from the other. What researcher takes the time and care to label writing as writing and doing (otherwise, anything) as doing? Unwinding later will make for a difficult puzzle. Or else with a shrug and carry on attitude it won’t be necessary.

Gorgoylean Methods

Appealing are the sense-making motives in the Berlant-Stewart exchanges, with a nod echoic to Jenny Rice’s variation—gorgoylean methods—in Awful Archives where the generative tenets follow, 1) What is going on? and 2) What accumulates as being rhetorical figuration? and 3) How does it (fail to) add up? Not anchored entirely in story nor narrative, in description, in data nor database/collection, the gorgoylean approach hearkens maybe to positional disruption: What is for me phenomenological is for you empirical is for Earl not even worthy of inquiry.

Memoranda from Lulls

A few anterior questions for research design: Who—individual, department or program, college, institution, field—needs to research? Why? Do research designs do more than install (strict or suggestive and flexible) rails for procedural fidelity? How much of what shows up later in a methods section is accountable to planning versus zig-zagged execution? Method’s slow way-twining of ‘above’ (meta-) and ‘along’ (-hodos) cannot at every resting beat be comparably discernible. Are research memos, then, only ever generated from a resting beat, casting a perchance motley-at-best crumbtrail?