Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The wheels go 'round, but the elevator-- she don't go all de way...

I really should come up with a new gig. Not a new job-- I really do like what I do quite a lot. What I mean is, I should find some new and exciting way "in" to my courses besides Saussure and Barthes. I've made way too much hay (or is that "hey") from the linguistic sign + "mythology" thing, AND I get one section mixed up with another. I spent a good part of my 102 class today finding out that 1) I had covered the basic linguistics stuff with them last time, but 2) I had NOT covered Barthes yet and they had no clue what I was talking about. It's kind of pathetic that I can't remember from one class session to the next what I've covered. I even have "notes" from the lesson plan before suggesting what I needed to cover next. And it's not that I can't read my handwriting or whatever. It's just that I'm absent-minded. In my defense, however, it has been 5 days since the last class session (with Labor Day intervening). So there... (sigh).

On a more positive note, our discussion (in 102) of the Diane Arbus photograph went quite well. The students' responses to it suggested that they got the linguistics/Barthes stuff and were (for the moment, anyway) reading the image at a pretty sophisticated level. It'll stick for some of them. For others we'll have to go over it again. That's okay, though. Repetition is the way to go around here. Repetition is the way to go around here... ;-)

I re-subscribed to a couple of listservs that I had put on "hold" for the summer-- TechRhet and WPA-L. WPA-L is the one I read to keep in touch with the direction the field is moving generally. TechRhet is the one I read to find out about new toys. The newest toy is Google's browser (aka Chrome). Scott McCloud (author of _Understanding Comics_, which I use in my 102) wrote the comix introduction for the release. Nifty (and very "new" media, from a certain point of view). Lots of good ideas here, but I see that someone has already found an exploit. I wonder how soon after yesterday's afternoon launch the first patch will be released.

Scott McCloud's intro of Google Chrome

I'm running Chrome now and find it pretty speedy. One annoying thing (kind of) is that the context menu does not (yet) have a "refresh" command. For Blackboard users, the only way to reload a content page within the Blackboard frame is the context menu (aka the right-click menu). Firefox even has a context menu specific to the frame in which you click.


Murphy's New York-a-go-go said...

Either you're amazing or all academics go through the same thing you described. I'm up there thinking have I said this before, and therefore forgetting to say things in my second class. I haven't taught back-to-back classes in years, so I'm using that as my excuse.
How did your bread turn out?
Are you excited that Brian A. is looking into what it would take to get former DA's PhD's?

Clark Draney said...

Alas. The bread became a doorstop (that was your metaphor-- but I'm stealing it). I'm not sure if it was the yeast or the fact that I used margarine instead of butter this time. I really shouldn't change two variables at once. I'll try again tonight.

I am very interested in what Brian is doing. I wasn't sure you were serious, but I guess you are. What is he saying it will take?

Murphy's New York-a-go-go said...

Well, Terry is saying that we'd have to do a test and (he called it) a thesis. I have plenty of things I could write about, and I'd take a test too, provided it wasn't like the format they used for our tests.

My bread was good, but it seems to be drying out quickly, something we don't have to worry about here too often. I'll send the recipe tomorrow; I'd up the fat (butter, yes!) for Idaho.

Take care Clark. I'm done teaching. Let the weekend begin! Oh, but wait, it's a weekend of writing that book chapter.