Monday, June 30, 2008

ppt and/vs. new visrhet smart stuff

i'll be talking about "personal blogs for professional WPA ethos" at the upcoming WPA conference (it's more than that, but you know how conference titles go). ironically, i lost my bid to continue as a WPA recently, but i nevertheless imagine that the inquiry will be engaging and dare i say "fun"? i worry a bit about being 10 years too late, but since i'm still relatively new to blogging (just over 1 year now), i'm going with it. and i had finally planned to ppt it because i couldn't bear the sound of my voice reading another paper. and i don't use ppt templates and often find ways of using it that are less than "evil." that is to say, i *never* read bullet points to my audience. there are still many, many, too many people who have not figured this out; so thrilled that they are finally "giving a PowerPoint," they rip through, reading what we can read, overjoyed that the "fade" or "wipe" slide transitions are "jazzing it up." worse is when the presenter who pauses to admire her/his little image or animation, wondering why the audience isn't laughing or whatever and maybe even prods them to do so with an uncomfortable giggle. ha. i've been there . . .

. . . as have many members of my campus community. here's a thing: when one of our U's top administrators gave his first campus-wide presentation, when we were still working on achieving what we are today, um, celebrating in a campus bash they are calling "UVUphoria" (take a minute. breathe) . . . so, early on in the talk, he slides his previous bulleted list aside after happily reading it to us, and there, we are witness to a slide of geese flying in v-formation. he used it to (obviously) talk about how (wait a minute) we are all working together toward the same goal. as i watched, i thought, "well now, those geese are held within the 4 corners of a frame, so they are, yes, indeed, flapping their wings, but THEY AREN'T GETTING ANYWHERE." ha. at least he tries, i guess, but how nice it would be to see something more aware of its visual impact on an intellectual audience. a girl can dream.

so but i just decided to ppt it and make my life easier when i read about new programs via John, and so now i've got to see if they are all that. i guess i should be excited, but my first attempts at working with 280slides was disappointing, given that it did not recognize the URL i input. it was my blog's URL, and since we'll be looking at blogs, these links will be essential. argh. i'll try to be hopeful. wish me luck.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

me, filmmaker

i just began to make what feel like solid plans to begin shooting footage of filmmaker/animator M Dot Strange in late August. at that time, he will begin shooting his new film (i'd tell you the title -- yes, i know it -- but i'm not sure if i'm supposed to keep it a secret or not).

for now, i'm planning the structure of my documentary, whose working title, i'm like . . . professional derives from a bit of writing/ranting M did at one of his earlier blogs. generally, he writes (and now, speaks professionally) about producing animated films in DIY/self-distribution mode.

i don't want to say too much, just to write something here as a way of creating a concrete (inasmuch as my blog entries hold any weight or seriousness) reality about the project. if i could find some %$%##@@ funding, that would help, too.

why the "headshot"? for me, it radiates quasi-validity, and that, for now, will do.

some of you may have read my earlier post of the same title. i had to take it down, hold it aside as more of a private series of associations (for readers, i imagined, it was just too precious. too much. sorry).

Friday, June 27, 2008

so this guy, Calvino?

turns out, he's a pretty good writer. i probably should have read If On a Winter's Night a Traveler back in grad school, but i've only gotten around to it lately. it gets a little proud of its metanarrative moves in the middle chapters, but early on, where it's terrifically obvious and strangely subtle at the same time, it's very good. what do i love most about reading *this* particular (library) copy of If On a Winter's Night a Traveler? in chapter one, a former reader has left some notes; one reads "ambiguous." come on. that's sweetly funny (and tragic, as i surely wrote something like this in the margins of my grad school books).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

late bloomers, unite

our creakity old p.c. had to be hauled off for repairs. i could not figure out how to use the comcast cable with my macbook pro (i know. take a minute . . . breathe). yep, the hot mess of *getting* connected was confounding me something fierce (why i am channeling Christian Siriano i am not entirely sure). 

anyhow, i finally figured it out and feel like a jah-EEEnius! sad, but true. and so now i'm thinking, "jeez, there is a LOT of desk room w/out that computer . . . and i could pitch this cranky, planet-sized monitor . . . and then, and then . . ." (fill in the blanks: i'd lose that 20 pounds . . . finish that book . . . land that role . . . ).

really, isn't that the thing? to have what David Lynch calls "a set-up," a place that is yours, where you go to dream, work, think, write, create? that, and lose that 20 pounds? (actually, in your set-up, you are perfect, just as you are. maybe that's its special magic).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

happy birthday to me (part II)

i used to feel weird about the departmental birthday cards i got. they were signed by the Chair and maybe the Assistant Chair, and if a work study student was around at the time of the signing, maybe they threw in a signature or pithy "good wish." why weird? well, it always seemed sort of like an obligatory practice, not terrifically caring or thoughtful or sincere. but. i expected it. and it was something, i guess.

so you can see where this is going . . . today, i came in to the office for the first time in weeks. i thought i'd see a few exam copies, maybe a student note -- asking when a portfolio might be picked up or a grade changed, and i certainly expected to see my birthday card.

so but surely, by now, you've guessed: i got nothing. i suppose that's the Universe telling me to stop distancing myself from social rituals, however embarrassing or weird or insincere they may be. whatever it is, i do not like it, but then, i suppose that the Universe is at least being straight with me. and that can't be all bad.

but oh wait! i did get 2 gift cards from our local Pearson rep (thanks, Ryan. i LOVE Cafe Rio! and i have never tried Jamba Juice, so now's my chance. thanks!).

dear elk,

it seems like a pretty sweet set-up. we pay for your food, and, in return, we get the magical interesting experience of feeding you by hand. but, hey! you're kind of aggressive . . . and hey! don't bite my ring or i will dump this feed on the ground this side of the fence, i promise. and where's the purell?!

@ zion

Mike's blissed-out hiking pose ;)

dear Honda,

we'll be expecting that ad revenue check any day now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


i couldn't figure it out. at first, the ads that appeared were about film, and that was fine. cool. but today, i saw an ad on my site for a book about How to Get a Man (something like that). i went to my adsense account to try to figure out how to delete it, to better filter what was being posted here, but it was a hot, labyrthine mess, so i gave up. it's not like i was making any money (and i doubt that my little ad square was successfully enticing any potential renters to head to the Côte d'Azur during the Cannes Film Festival, as one ad had attempted to do).

still, i will admit to having experienced a feeling of some importance when i first saw ads on my page. silly me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

10 things

Liz tagged me, and although you can find a link (@ right) to a permanent list of 100 things about me, i am a good player and will do what she says to do: Write a blog of ten weird, random things, facts or habits about yourself. At the end, tag five more people, listing their names and why you chose them.

1.) i feel sort of badly about it (copying), but since Liz mentioned brain surgery in her list of 10 things, i am inspired to once again mention mine (1994 frontotemporal craniotomy for craniopharyngioma, by Dr. Thomas B. Freeman), just to ID with her along the lines of, "hey, we both have plates and screws in our heads." oh, and if you want to be schkeeved out a little (stop reading if you don't), i can tell you that you can feel the screws in my head. collectively, they are my tiny badge-of-courage, in bas relief.

2.) i totally care about what happens to Senator Ted Kennedy (see #1). so far, things look as good as they can (following his craniotomy; holy sh*t, he was AWAKE!!).

3.) i sometimes buy an expensive, lovely thing. then, i feel guilty about the expense, so i return it. i have, on more than one occasion, gone back to re-purchase the item, unable to forget it and move on. i could tell you more about this process, but i'll stop now. it's embarrassing.

4.) i have hardly any organs on the left side of my body. i have one right kidney, one right ovary, and a uterus that is 1/2 normal size and -- you've probably guessed it -- pulls to the right (it is actually referred to as -- i am serious -- a "unicornate" uterus). this whole thing is somewhat convenient because if i have pains on the left, my doctors know it can only be about the gut. voilà.

5.) if i have an itch on, say, my left elbow, i will scratch it. but i must then immediately scratch the same spot on my right elbow; it's a whiff of OCD, i'm certain, but this particular manifestation seems relatively harmless (fingers crossed).

6.) my brain tumor left me with a little damage to my right peripheral vision. no biggie, but sometimes, when i'm in the car, i imagine that cars on the right are VERY, VERY close, poised to ram into me at any moment. i freak out a little bit, sometimes even swervingleftveryquickly to avoid the phantom wreck.

7.) i love my Honda Element's key feature. it allows me to lock the doors by pushing a button and then, just to be sure, it invites me to push the button again to signal a "beep" from the car. the beep indicates that the doors are actually locked. i mean, i LOVE this feature, but it drives my husband insane whenever i beep the lock because the first lock already makes a fairly loud "clunk" noise, and so the beep just freaks him out. we have had what i might characterize as pretty serious fights over the beep.

8.) i hate to sound like an old nutball, but i worry -- seriously -- about people who text while driving. i'm beginning to develop a phobia, imagining that nearly everyone else on the road is texting while driving, and so i've got to be extra, extra cautious. maybe Stephen King would like to take a crack at this story line; it has a kind of potential, similar to the feature film potential of my project, The Highlighted Route (as in, "proceed to . . .").

9.) believe it or not, i am a very good driver.

10.) i get it and i love a good book too, but when people talk about how much they love "words," i throw up a little bit in the back of my mouth.

because i think they might talk about more than physical or mental oddities -- which is fine, just fine . . . i tag Cheryl, Dan, Mark, Steven, and Clay.