Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bottom-Up Video

For the class I'm currently teaching, I've assigned the students a project to give them some first-hand experience participating in "read-write" culture. One group produced this video and posted it up on YouTube. I think its interesting. Not scathing political commentary exactly, but it is interesting how the students respond to questions from "one of their own."


I've blogged about how you can find webcams with a google search before, but I'm thinking about a project involving them so I'm bringing it up again. Anyway, if you type the following into google :
and do a search, google will spit out a list of online cameras made by a certain manufacturer. Click on the links and you can see their output. Some of the cameras are clearly meant to be public. Some aren't so clear. Anyway, I find clicking through the list discovering little windows on the world to be a fun little past-time. Here are some fun cameras I found today:

Somebody put their cube farm on the web!

A bar in Munich.
The front desk of an office on Long Island.
A place called "Friends Bar" - according to its IP address, it's in the Canary Islands.

Anyway, I'm trying to find fun webcams for a project, so I thought I would share how to find them with you and see what you find! Comment me if you find any fun ones!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Martha Henehan

My maternal grandmother, Martha Henehan, died on Sunday. She was a good woman, a loving mother and grandmother, and someone who remained close to the message of compassion at the core of her Christian faith in an age when many used that faith to advance an agenda of hatred, mistrust, and division. She will be missed by her children and grandchildren.

In September I visited my grandmother. I didn't know it then, but that visit proved to be the last time I would see her alive. She knew she didn't have long. She was at peace with that. She had been in pain for a long time, and her mobility was limited. She believed she would be reunited after her death with her departed husband, and she desired that dearly.

Still, she said to me, "there just isn't enough time."

Life is with us for just this brief moment. We will all wish for more time. None of us will get it.

Let's make the best of it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Lights Are On

Across the street from me, there is a light industrial zone. The factory that casts those giant concrete tubular things I like to post pictures of on my flickr page. A row of storage spaces for rent. What smells to be a plastic factory of some kind.

Stuck in the middle of the parking lot/loading zone for all this, is a small beat-up white building that looks to be a one story house. Tonight, as I was having some tea on my steps, I noticed a light on. Is somebody home?

I snapped a picture just to show what it looks like. It seemed lonely, but also somehow romantic. That little building is nowhere I would want to live, but it is somewhere I would love to have lived in the past. What a story!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is old is new again

Lately, I've been finding ways to fit Narrative Prose, short stories especially, back into my life. It has largely been absent since I stopped pursuing writing fiction myself, my recent academic work has been theory-based and left little room for reading stories to read. It was only when I started listening to the podcast of NPR's "Selected Shorts" program - in which actors and other performers read short stories to a studio audience. That I even remembered what I was missing.

Today, Salon.com published a series of excerpts from Red, an upcoming collection of short prose by teenage girls. I really like it. These girls have written some powerful, insightful, and original stuff. I don't know how much stock to put in the editor's assertion that social networking sites and other internet-facilitated communications are creating "a generation of writers." I'd like to believe it though, and certainly these examples suggest that for whatever reason, there are some talented young writers out there. Check it out.

I think if the editor's assertion is true, and we are looking at a whole generation learning to write online, the ramifications for those of us who are educators in the humanities will be very significant. A groundswell of unruly expression alarms some of us, I think, but we should see it as an opportunity. A potential mass movement of students interested in self-expression. The problem for us will be how to offer these students tools they need and want to use, challenge them to grow and explore, and avoid trying too hard to mold them into a "proper" format - without falling into the fallacy that they already have everything they might need to express themselves and any input on our part is somehow oppression.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why Yes, I am a Mindless Sheep

Because a friend posted her Simpsons Avatar, I feel compelled to do the same. Baaaa.