Comfort Inventory 8

I started a comfort inventory this morning, but, not finding it comforting, I postponed.

  • For the first time this summer, the heat and humidity on the eighth (a.k.a., “magma”) floor of Hoyt Hall forced me to vacate. I dropped Ph. at The Ride stop near the Ypsi water tower, went directly to my office, hurriedly packed two bags of books, my third-year review binder-in-progress, my auxiliary monitor and its stand, and returned home to work in the quasi-air-conditioned upstairs space otherwise known as the office-bedroom. Hoyt and humidity, you win.
  • A couple of strange emails lately. One from my credit union with the subject line, “We’re Friends, Aren’t We?” The body message, of course, suggests I friend the union on Facebook (apparently they do not realize that Facebook is passé, that Google+ is now social media boss). Annoying. Yet emails like this one remind me that the key difference among these platforms is how they verb things together. I might follow the credit union or even draw them into a circle, but friending is not quite right. I could go on and on about this, but that goes against the list-logic of the inventory. The point is, if Google+ thrives, it could be because it managed to shed some of the peculiarity in friending and following as the default association-making verbs in Facebook and Twitter. I have seen attempts to assign verbs to Google+ (encircling, plusing), and maybe one of these will garner some mass appeal over the next several months. But I like about Google+ that the linking gesture does not too easily come down to one verb.
  • The other email of note came from the University of Michigan ticket marketing group. I got on the mailing list because I went to a preseason basketball game last fall between UM and SVSU. Many UM sport-promotional emails have followed. The most recent showed up the other day with “Brady Hoke” as the named sender (a cryptic email address reassured me this was not, in fact, the new coach himself sending me a personal email…to my great disappointment!). Subject line: Your Exclusive Individual Ticket Presale Code Has Arrived! I read on, knowing EMU plays at UM this fall. Reading it through, I was tempted to answer the email, even though I know it won’t go to Hoke, to say “Your Exclusive Individual No Thank-you Has Arrived!” because what I found surprised me: individual tickets to the UM-EMU football game on Sept. 17 are available for the special price of $70. To put this into perspective, home ticket prices for EMU are $9. Michigan Stadium is 5.6 miles away. Last time these two gridiron giants squared off, the EMU contingent was offered free tickets the week before the game. So, I am considering attending, but I may press my cheap luck and hold out for a better deal than $70 per ticket. And if it sells out, I’ll just have to listen to it on the radio.
  • I’ve been fiddling around with the Google+ photo combination that includes 1) the Android app’s automatic upload of photos to a G+ folder, 2) the duplication of that folder in Picasa, and 3) weighing the merits of Picasa over Flickr, where I continue to hold an shamefully underused Pro account. Consequently, here is a photo I took of an enormous moth just before eight this morning as I left Hoyt with my desk essentials in a couple of reusable grocery bags. But this inventory item is as much about Picasa’s linking and embedding functions as it is about the moth. By now perhaps they are one and the same, inseparable.
    From Blog

Notch for Orange, Notch for the Belt of Verbs

Syracuse’s home win over the Hoyas earlier today inspired thoughts of a
verb to add to the belt:

The Orange clowned No. 8 Georgetown, 77-70, in front of a
season-high 31,327
fans at the Carrier Dome.

Clown as verb: to subject to ridicule, to cause another to appear silly, etc.
Unlike evidence and discourse (as verbs), it is improbable that I will ever sneak clown or
clowned into the academic prose.

Nevertheless, in celebration of the upset, go on, add it to your belt of

Previously on B.

Belt Belt Belt of Verbs

Today is Start-of-Semester Day in Syracuse (even if I don’t teach until
tomorrow). How better to celebrate the occasion than by adding a verb to
the belt of
verbs (and thereby contributing to the Greater Verbiage)?

He’d discourse on the animals’ diets, reproduction, life spans, their
interesting and unusual characteristics. (48)

A rare sighting of discourse as verb. Tracy Kidder wrote this about
Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains (a book which I will think of
as Verbs Beyond Verbs from this point forward).

Belt of Verbs – Friday Leather Punch Edition

If you’re a user of the language, you’ll need a
verb sooner
or later.

Evidently, today’s Friday Leather Punch Edition is concerned with
. As in,

The strong odor in the office evidenced Yoki’s sick stomach.

it comes: I really don’t like the verb evidenced. I know it’s a
legitimate word, but it always sounds wrong to me, no matter the context.
A faint hunch tells me it’s a rip-off of evinced (that one, a verb of verbs!).
I doubt I would be stating it too strongly to say that this is the real dividing
line in the academy and, yes, all of humanity: those who use evidenced, and those who do not.

I checked it against the only corpus of texts I have on my trusty laptop
computer–the last nineteen years of CCC articles. Thirty-one out
of 414 articles put to good and proper use the verb evidenced. More than
seven percent! But the distribution isn’t even across the years. Just nine articles use evidenced from 1989-1999; twenty-two articles use evidenced since the turn of the century.

What does this evidence evidence? The question is too fresh to return a
decisive answer. And in the mean time, I will stick with suggested,
indicated, and proved as ready-to-verbalize ahead of evidenced.
Make room for evidenced, if you must, in one of the deep pouches on the
expanding belt of verbs.

Belt of Verbs

Buckle on your verb belt because it’s time for "Belt of Verbs": a couple of
kicky, kooky verbs for filling up the empty pouch.

1. From this ESPN headline: decisions

Former WBC Ortiz decisions Garcia

I’m not much for

(anything that reminds me of enduring punishing blows to my head, no
thank you), but "decisions," the lexicon tells me, has been around for quite
some time. It’s what one winning boxer does to a losing boxer without a
knockout. Improper usage: "I decisioned to have an A&W Root Beer with
lunch." Unless you’re a boxer. Then you can say "decisioned"
whenever you please.

2. From a book I’ve been reading: multiplexed
"Two kinds of apprehension are mutliplexed together."

I guess this means something like giving off many complex and layered signals
all at once: an entangled conduction that allows for (even anticipates) loss. So it’s in the realm
of the intelligible that comes just before noise. Not to be mistaken for
the many-screened movie theater or the manufacturer of
foam planes.

Verbing Method

In 691 Method~ologies this morning, we re-traced some of the semester’s
where have we been
: history, discourse analysis, ethnography and now
theory. Obviously there’s overlap aplenty–blends and
interplays among these methodological orientations. In supershort form, history considers memory, record, retrospectives and recovery; discourse analysis works primarily with language and corpus (linguistic objects of study); ethnography notices people, culture and pattern/dynamics; and theory (small-t)
accounts for a wide variety of stuff not limited to reading, writing, and
thinking. Assemble, arrange, re-arrange, and answer curiosities, solve
problems. No, these aren’t my complete notes, and perhaps these few lines
aren’t very good as thin representations of ten weeks of work.
There’s a whole lot more to say here. But I wanted to raise a side
question or two about method and methodology. When the subject of
method~ology comes up, I’m increasingly tuned in to the part of speech invoked
in the conversation. This has especially been the case with ethnography. The noun positions the method as a thing already done by others; it acknowledges a tradition and model projects against which we measure the edges defining the activity involved with doing ethnography. Is it like documentary? Must it feature human subjects? If we look to a set of nouned ethnographies (things, already-existing objects), then answering is possible. But the answer is set against a generic backdrop of the stuff already done.
I don’t know that we have a good verb for doing ethnography (ethnograph?
ethnographize? um…no). The chosen term, however, has bearing. Consider the
difference between using use the noun–ethnography–or the
adjective–ethnographic–to account for the way of doing, ultimately the
way of describing the research activity. And consider the verbs that we could collect under the broad (or is it narrow) rubric of ethnography: notice, observe, etc. What does this all come to?
Well, I’m finding it more and more appealing to talk about methods as verbs, and
I’m also wondering whether the methodology-as-noun departs from (or, on the
other hand, refers to the same thing as) genre. Near enough as to be thought the same thing?

Program notes: The
fall symposium on
visual and digital rhetorics
is happening on Thursday and Friday–two days
of workshops and talks with Anne Wysocki, Jeff R.,
and Jenny E. What’s not to look forward to?