crickets and computers

Trying to stay focused and organized but feel like I have had too much spare time and need a deadline to kick me into high gear. Tons to read and print out and prepare, but am sidetracked every now and then by watching my frog Stella devour crickets, reading Angels and Demons, watching the Gilmore Girls, or thinking about what I will be doing this summer, which is my last one before taking the comps and starting on the dissertation writing. But I gotta think about the here and now, so off I go to complete a First Amendment exercise due Thursday.

Til next time, here’s a link to the latest issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Several titles have piqued my interest: “Community Participation and Internet Use after September 11: Complementarity in Channel Consumption” and “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcome”.


Love hurts

When I Googled “New Orleans, Mon Amour” last night for an image of the Codrescu book, I came across this blog post with the same title. It’s from September 2005 and is quite a passionate reflection.

As someone who continues to have dreams every other night about going home or just being home in the city that was (which causes me to spend all my late mornings remembering random people from my childhood) that blogger’s words struck a chord.

It’s sunny outside today here in FL but I woke up melancholy. That’s the power NOLA has over me…


not much to report at the end of the week

Spent much of today reading, doing laundry, running errands, feeding the frogs [AC’s frogs are here too so Stella has some buddies–actually they are all in separate tanks so I am calling it “The Wall of Frogs”], and planning out my weekend of academic work. I want to update my CV and make some edits to some previous work.

Should read the latest Pew report as well: The Strength of Internet Ties: The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions.

Having typed this I’m struck with how BO-RING my life must seem to others, but oh well. I’m happy and having a good time with all these books surrounding me. And I’m still counting the days til Mardi Gras where I know, no matter the changes to the city, things are bound to get OOC. 😉



Podcast and Picture finds of the day

I have Tuesdays off this semester, which is why I blogged so much yesterday. I also spent time on the Powerbook updating I-Tunes and I-pod software. While doing so, I finally subscribed to some podcasts including The Ricky Gervais Show. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s the star of the original BBC “The Office” and he’s hysterically funny, in that British way I love. His laugh is quite contagious, and while it hurts to watch some episodes, you just have to get over how much of a prick he is as the character of David Brent.

I listened to more episodes tonight since my Wednesday night seminar was cancelled and I also spent more time than usual exercising and surfing the blogosphere. Found this review of our MLA panel from fellow presenter, Mary Godwin, which includes a pic!

I would go on and on but I’ve got to catch up on some sleep so I can read 200+ pages of Kenneth Burke tomorrow. So, the moral of this blog is go subscribe to the Ricky Gervais podcast!

ricky pod


the drama!

I received an email from my friend Trina who is appearing in a production of my favorite musical Cabaret in New Orleans the next few weeks. Upon visiting the Gambit website to see the press release, I was pleasantly surprised to see the new layout of the site. Pre-Katrina it was pretty basic, but it looks like they’ve spent some time redesigning things and offering a more interactive layout with “comment here” and “send this article” features. This week’s cover story is about the return of the theatre scene in NOLA, and includes some discussion of the film industry returning there.

Note: if you haven’t already seen Love Song for Bobby Long, go out and rent it for a beautiful depiction of New Orleans on film!


De Vry and the First Amendment

Old news to the blogosphere, but now that I am taking a course on the First Amendment, I decided to re-read some of the press surrounding the firing of Meg Spohn, department chair of communications and composition at DeVry University.

Her blog is quite appealing and she includes many posts reacting to her experience as well as round ups of who else is reacting to her experience. Lately though she’s been talking about her dissertation topic, football, and a startling UCLA issue.

She also includes a link to a new blog, Blood and Treasure, [CHECK OUT ITS BLOGROLL OF CARICATURES] which offers advice on “How to Assassinate Yourself Online in One Easy Post.”

EDITED to include Lisa’s “Dangerous Myths Bloggers Believe,” which has some great links to explanations of Trackbacks and referrer log.


The Chronicle

Thanks to my fellow panelist from last month’s MLA, I was pointed to “Yielding to Convention” from the Chronicle Careers page. Looking for the wacky paper titles that has earned MLA it’s own wacky reputation, the author’s girlfriend stumbled into our blogging panel.

Ashley went to one on the emergent literary genre of blogging. I think she was drawn, in part, by the promise that the paper about a blogging group called “The Vagina Posse” would exhibit the prime MLA virtue of provocation. Instead, it was almost homey in its sincerity. Ashley learned a good bit about blogging — why people write and read blogs, how bloggers borrow from other genres, and how teachers might use blogging to teach composition.

If you saw the artwork that Chandra’s infertile women bloggers created, I don’t think you’d call it “homey,” but whatever… 😉

From the Wired Campus section of The Chronicle comes “Katrina Blog at Tulane U. Provides a Venue for Reflection and Memory,” which led me to an older piece “The Internet as Emergency Tool.” The Tulane bloggers posts are here, and provide more insight into how much the storm affected an unfathomable amount of people all across the greater New Orleans area and its suburbs, which are rarely mentioned in the news. It takes locals telling their stories to know this. I can’t imagine being a freshman who had just moved in, at any university in NOLA…

Finally, and the most important link of all, is the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, which has the following mission:

[It] contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. We hope to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.

The amount of stories to read is overwhelming, but each one is so important.
I plan to add my parents’ story later tonight. Again, in my opinion, the truth from the locals is much more important than the media’s or government’s “take” on things.


benefits that don't benefit

OK I probably shouldn’t complain about this because it’s a good thing I am happy and healthy, but every time I’ve been in a job with medical benefits, I see chunks of my pay check disappear every 2 weeks. When I know I am going to be out of the job soon, I make medical appointments so I can reaffirm, once again, that I am healthy.

Right before I handed in my resignation letter last November, I made sure that I would see the dentist, eye doctor, and “regular” doctor. Each one of these visits ending up costing me, even with my so called PPO plan. At the eye doctor, I had to pay for glasses, which is understandable since the lenses needed to be shaved down and the frames were the sassy Bebe “luscious” model. At the dentist, I had to pay extra for the 2 cavities she found. But this “regular” doctor visit, I’m just learning, is costing me the most! I just received notices, now 7 weeks after the visit, that lab work and the initial visit weren’t fully covered and they’re wanting almost $400?!?!??!!?

What the hell? Why did I let my paycheck dwindle if I was going to just have to pay for it anyway? I’m sure the insurance would have come in handy if I were seriously hurt [again thank goodness I haven’t been], but the cost of these 3 routine checkups is absolutely ridiculous!

Can anyone explain this to me?

And can I shout out AMEN again for not being at that full-time job anymore!?! I’m making only a couple of hundred less teaching 2 sections and I’m barely on campus more than 15 hours a week, including the time for my own coursework. That’s one thing about academe that I will forever appreciate!

Enough bitching, I need to go call the insurance people for an explanation then finish reading Freud and feminist reactions to his case study of Dora.


dinner and a movie

I am so obsessed with thai food it is ridiculous! Finally tried a place I’ve had my eye on, which has the same name as my favorite place in NOLA, Sukho Thai. Spicy and delicious! I knew AC and I could try making some noodles of our own having just been down the ethnic foods aisle at the grocery store, but this was a perfect ending to our afternoon movie date.

Go see Match Point. Scarlett J is wonderful as always, and J Rhys Myers is superb! I’m on the PC now but can’t wait to get on the Mac so I can download all the podcasts.

And I love that Scarlett’s character’s name is Nola!!!!


end of an academic week and update

So far this semester is going smoothly and obviously so much better than last semester when I was dealing with the hurricane news, a full-time job and coursework. Since this is my last semester of coursework, I am trying to be a diligent student, and with the 3 classes I am taking, I have to be! Besides Criticism and Theory and a doctoral seminar on Kenneth Burke, I’ve ventured into the Mass Communications department for a course entitled “First Amendment and Society.” The reading is intense but the prof is an expert in communications law and theory, so I’m in good hands. As the only doctoral student in there, I’m required to do a little more so I’m going to try and relate it to my dissertation topic of the rhetoric of truth and responses to Hurricane Katrina, but I’m first going to have to figure out a policy connection to the First Amendment. Other than it being relished, I can’t think of any policies being violated in the sharing of information at that time. Any thoughts?

In a similar vein, there is this connection between blogs and teens’ First Amendment rights, and of course, audience! “Teens’ Bold Blogs Alarm Area Schools: Uninhibited Online Remarks Full of Risks, Officials Warn.”


Chocolate Swirl

Below: Mayor Nagin “backpedals, apologizes.”


Perhaps I can use it to teach students about rhetoric, audience, and the need for preparedness?

Political observers said the speech, which Nagin said was unscripted, may endure as perhaps the most damaging in the mayor’s history of spontaneous oratory.

“It was another case of him saying the first thing that entered his mind,” said Ed Renwick, director of Loyola University’s Institute of Politics. “Instead of thinking it through, he likes to shoot from the hip. He seems to think he’s only talking to the audience he’s with. So he spoke to the 75 people who were there, but of course the TV cameras and reporters were there, too, so it goes to everyone. He just seems to continue to do this.”

Nagin said his remarks were directed toward an African-American audience and were designed to resonate with people concerned about the direction of New Orleans’ rebuilding. Recent reconstruction plans that envision a smaller city have heightened some fears, particularly among displaced residents of the Lower 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans, two overwhelmingly black zones of the city, Nagin said.

EDITED to include more on audience and anxiety from 1/19


Never say something like this!

I have no idea what C. Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans was thinking with this one: “Evoking King, Nagin calls N.O. ‘chocolate’ city.”

Metroblogging New Orleans has a few responses to Nagin’s idea that hurricanes are God’s punishment, as well as this one on the chocolate factory.

And of course, there is a Willy Wonka-like spoof over at NOLAfugees.com.

EDITED to include Poppy Z Brite’s responses here and here.


Never eat there

I’ve been somewhat sporadic in my blogging, although I have maintained my New Year’s resolution in # of posts so far, due to straining my back and just the other night, falling victim to food poisoning. Awful. I wonder what to do at times like these–when you pay $$ for a meal, then become ill, is that fair? Should I call the restaurant and complain or just spread the word that I got sick there and hope that that word of mouth is enough? I’ve chosen latter; therefore, don’t order anything with “a touch of cream” from The Laughing Cat, an Italian place in Tampa’s Ybor City.
I don’t think you want me to elaborate more than that!


My frog Stella

I have been meaning to blog about my new pet, Stella. She’s an Ornate Horned Frog, or Pacman frog. I had wanted to get a better photo, but it’s kind of difficult!
She’s absolutely adorable and we made her tank extra sassy with some pink stones in her water dish. Expect to hear more about her as she gets bigger, but you can see pics of bigger frogs here.


4 Things Meme

Clancy tagged me (in a manner of speaking…)

Four Jobs You’ve Had In Your Life:
1. Editor of surveillance reports
2. Ballet teacher and Folk dance performer
3. Private tutor and ESL TA for a group of Fulbright students
4. Substitute teacher at Chalmette High School

Four Movies You Could Watch Over And Over:
1. Love in the Afternoon (Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper)
2. Charade (Audrey and Cary Grant)
3. Moulin Rouge
4. High Fidelity

Four Places You’ve Lived:
1. New Orleans, with parents in Gentilly and solo in an apt. in Mid-City
2. Arlington, MA
3. graduate housing in Boston, MA
4. Tampa, FL

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1. The Office
2. Gilmore Girls
3. CSI
4. Sex and the City (thanks to now owning the entire DVD collection!)

Four Places You’ve Been On Vacation:
1. Greece, various islands but the favorite is Santorini
2. Miami
3. France and Bulgaria [albeit on a folk dancing tour, the Bulgarian leg of the trip was quite leisurely)
4. Winona, MN

Four Blogs You Visit Daily:
1. Culture Cat
2. Metroblogging New Orleans
3. Poppy Z Brite
4. Bitch PhD

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:
1. pad thai/drunken noodles
2. BBQ chicken pizza
3. Cooter Brown’s cheese fries
4. rigatoni pasta with vodka sauce

Four Places You’d Rather Be:
1. Greece, perhaps this spot on the island of Milos?
2. any city where I can walk or train to work
3. New Orleans, drinking dayz-erasers at OZ
4. currently obsessed with going to Australia

Four Albums You Can’t Live Without:
1. Very, Pet Shop Boys
2. Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna
3. You Could have it so much better, Franz Ferdinand
4. Alegria disc 1, DJ Abel (put your cha cha heels on!)

Four Vehicles I’ve Owned:
1. The Anna Maria Kia Sephia Optima
2. The silver sassy Sa-turn
3. Envy, a green Cannondale bike
4. and drove the parents Chevy Lumina for a good while!

Four People To Be Tagged: If you haven’t done it yet, you’re one of the four!


Life is a Cabaret, ol' chum

Although we often chat on instant messenger, I have not been keeping up with my friend Trina, no it’s not short for Katrina’s blog. After receiving a comment from Tim and seeing her blog listed on his blog roll, I stopped by only to find “The Twelve Days of Post-Katrina Christmas” she composed and sent us all via email, then put on her blog after my nudging, has become famous! Read here for of all the places it’s been posted and then here for her story of singing it on the Creole Queen.

Have fun with Sally Bowles, my friend!


Ernie the Attorney

Always meant to check his blog out and finally came across it and his Flickr photostream tonight. Nice honest optimism about returning to NOLA in this post.

While I have been linking to Katrina related blogs and such, I haven’t offered my own thoughts on the devastation in awhile. Truth is, I’m still in denial. I saw some NOLA friends while at MLA in DC and one asked me, “How can you speak of everything so calmly? That was your childhood home…” Believe me, everyday I have some sort of flashback of walking on the bike path a street away from my parent’s house or some books that I always kept there along with other childhood knick knacks and tons of other memories of people and places, but I guess I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that the entire city flooded and entire neighborhoods are vacant. I just can’t, and knowing that it won’t be til 2007 or so when I actually can go back, PhD in hand, and try and DO SOMETHING to help, I’m not sure when it will really hit me. My friend Rudy just got back last week and calls everyday with a report of what street he’s driving on and what he’s seeing, but that juxtaposed with the images from August 29-September 6 or so makes me feel so lost and helpless all over again. While I am thrilled to be able to focus on the city and the storm and the responses to it for academic purposes, it will be difficult at times to comprehend the damage and how best to represent it in writing.

As I wrote this my friend Greg called and when we got to the subject of Mardi Gras he said simply, “I’m ready. New Orleans is ready.”


back 2 school

Started teaching face to face again yesterday. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year!

Have 2 or 3 CFPs to answer and plan to get on those tonight. My main concern at the moment is finishing my coursework this semester and I won’t feel like that is feasible until I gain a permit into a required Criticism and Theory course. No word from the prof after a month of emailing her and other powers that be, but the class meets tomorrow and I may just show up with the hope that someone will drop.

Wish me luck.