BlogHer 06

Once again, another great blog conference way far away in north California…


All the sessions look informative and offer the blog basics, still I reviewed the schedules for days 1 and 2 for anything trauma-related [remember BloggerCon had that Emotional Life of weblogs?] and finally saw this:

Closing Keynote – Creating Your Platform: Chris Nolan leads a discussion with four powerhouse women: Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief founder and professional blogger Grace Davis, Huffington Post founder and author Arianna Huffington, WashingtonPost.com/Newsweek Interactive CEO and Publisher Caroline Little and SixApart founder and President Mena Trott. These women have used the web to create and control their agenda…and give a voice to others. Whether your agenda is transforming your life, your business or the world, this closing session should send you back to your lives (or on to the cocktail party) inspired, energized and ready to make things happen!

I’ll update this post later with links to summaries/reactions to their session.

Speaking of conferences and before I sign off from the local Panera where I’ve been working on a lit review, here is a link to an update on the Rising Tide Conference happening in August in NOLA.

I booked my flight earlier this week so let’s hope the weather holds up!!!


Multicultural Weenie Race

Yes, you read that correctly…

I’d like to preface this by saying I am a sophisticated Minnesota Twins fan, but I had to blog about what happens across the state at the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller baseball park: weenie races.

And it looks like another sausage has joined the group, previously comprised of Italian, bratwurst, Polish and hot dog. He’s Chorizo, also known as “El Picante.”

I cannot stop laughing at the text of this article, but the pic is even better! Ole!



Blogathon 2006


Sharon is participating in this Blogathon [see FAQ here] and I thought I should give it a plug. I wish I had heard about it sooner, otherwise I’d join her but I think it’s a little late to ask for sponsors. Also, starting Friday I have a goal of writing 2 pages a day of lit review material so I don’t think blogging every half hour for 24 hours on Saturday is a good idea right now.

Anyway, go sponsor her if you can!



Girls weekend in Miami–me, my friends Sarah and Desi, and Madonna!

The concert was fabulous, yet political at times. I liked the images she used during Live to Tell and Sorry but felt that her accusation of people only “talking the talk and not walking the walk” was totally contradicted when she later yelled to a screaming fan, “Can you speak English?!?!?” Um, hello, you’re in Miami and you just preached about world politics…Well at least she didn’t sound all posh with that fake British accent of hers.

I think I’d rather have seen her have the whole tour as a big party like the last several songs felt: Lucky Star, La Isla Bonita, and Hung Up.

All I can really say is that this concert pumped me up for seeing the Pet Shop Boys in October, especially when I heard Neil Tennant’s voice in “Sorry.”


Rising Tide Conference

Had an awesome weekend in Miami and will blog about that later. Right now I have more cabinet replacement people in my apt. so I am gonna keep this short and take refuge in my bedroom!

Via a comment from Wet Bank Guide, I’ve just been informed of a BloggerCon-like conference to take place in NOLA in August. Here is the link to the conference wiki and I’ve already added my name to the impressive list of bloggers.

I am so excited about this and can see it helping my dissertation so much! I wish I didn’t have those pesky comprehensive exams to worry about but, as with every return trip I make to NOLA, these meetings will inspire me to write, write, write! And as has been suggested to me in the past, perhaps I will also incorporate some audio and visual…


New Pew


I have to get on the road for a 4+ hour drive to Miami, but wanted to share the link to the PDF of the newest Pew Internet and American Life Project report: Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers

I think it is most interesting that “most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression – documenting individual experiences, sharing practical knowledge, or just keeping in touch with friends and family.” This is similar to my students responses for why they keep a MySpace account (compared to the Vanity Fair sexing it up and news media reports scaring you off).

Having just found links to a slew of New Orleanian bloggers this past week too, I think it exemplifies their reasons for blogging as well.

Blog on!


A Geek Dinner in NOLA?

There was such an event and I missed it! I read about it here on SophMom and on Editor B’s blog.

Here is the link/description of the dinner, which sounds very much like the Friday night dinners at BloggerCon, and which is all the more reason I am kicking myself for not knowing about it sooner!

I hope to make it to the next one! Let’s hope Think NOLA responds to my comment.

EDITED to include the link to this blog post which links to many other NOLA bloggers. How I wish I were home to meet up with them, but at least they are documenting their rebuilding efforts!


my weekend in NOLA or how to gain at least 5 lbs!


We went to NOLA this past weekend and it was a wonderful trip. Lots of restaurants reopening, musicians performing and other signs of normalcy all around, but this time I saw more of the vacant neighborhoods and gutted houses. Streets and streets are completely desolate and you wonder where all these people are. Every place I ever rode my bike has changed and it’s hard to imagine the changes that will continue to come as buildings are bulldozed away.

I went to the Katrina exhibit at NOMA and have to say I did not like it. There were way too many pictures on the dozen or so walls and no real organization to them. Some were obviously professionally taken and others were by children; some were closeups of moldy items from a flooded home and others were street shots, but with no caption telling you what street. It seems the curator wanted to show all of the pictures submitted, but sometimes I think such images are more powerful with some white space around them. This way it was hard to even concentrate on one picture without other onlookers peering above or below you. Even if you were to purchase the catalogue, you still would not be given much of a context other than the photographer’s name. I want to hear their stories.

Which brings me to a purchase I am very glad to have made: 1 Dead in Attic which is described as “a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first four harrowing months of life in New Orleans after Katrina.” This is journalism at its finest and most honest and true. He was there and he wasn’t working for a network who mispronounced street names. I highly recommend you buy it, if not for the honesty than to help ARTDOCS and the Tipitina’s Foundation who are “rebuilding New Orleans, one song at a time.”

Speaking of songs, when I wasn’t listening the fabulous Panorama Jazz Band at the Spotted Cat, I was eating po’ boys, thai food, fried chicken from Praline Connection and beignets from Cafe Du Monde. No holds barred…

Finally, there are more pics to share and videos to upload, but they will have to wait until tomorrow from my Mac. Before signing off I have to mention that we went to mass at St Peter Claver and I cannot wait to join that parish. It seems Mayor Nagin has taken to that church too, the gospel choir is fantastic, and I can only hope that the rebuilding continues. The mass was so moving and there is such a strong sense of community there. I cried throughout the opening songs because of how welcome newcomers and returning residents were made to feel. More on this later…I need to catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs


meanwhile across campus…

I’ve seen the name Carolyn Ellis on various articles (most likely during my research methods courses) and knew she was at USF, but now that I’m researching and reading more trauma theory-related stuff, I have come across her work on autoethnography and want to meet with her, talk to her, work with her! Her recent essay in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography reads as a conversation with her husband, Arthur Bochner, and is titled “Analyzing Analytic Autoethnography.” It opens with the two of them watching victims of Hurricane Katrina tell their stories on CNN, and then segues into a discussion about an article she is to be writing but naturally is distracted by the footage. She is to respond to a work by Leon Anderson and for the rest of the essay, she and her husband go back and forth about how Anderson defines autoethnography and how they wish to see it the label used for those stories that cause readers to empathize rather than theorize. They prefer a work that lets readers “see the presence of the author” and posit the following:

If you turn a story told into a story analyzed, as Leon wants to do, you sacrifice the story at the altar of traditional sociological rigor. You transform the story into another language, the language of generalization and analysis, and thus you lose the very qualities that make a story a story.

While I don’t know how much storytelling I can get away with in my dissertation, I hope that I do not have to sacrifice the unfinished stories told on the New Orleans-based blogs I plan to pull from in favor of “generalization and analysis.” Just as Ellis and Bochner admit early on in their essay, “Disasters…shake you loose from ordinary time and you find yourself concentrating on the moment at hand rather than worrying about the past and future,” I want my story of dealing with, learning about the storm and finding friends and family online to be immediate, engaged, and embodied.

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this piece, but I’m going to try and read another one by Ellis published in the JCE, “Shattered Lives: Making Sense of September 11th and its Aftermath,” before hitting the sack. We’re off to New Orleans for the weekend early in the morning and I cannot wait to be THERE, the place where all of my energy for my academic work comes from!

P.S. Here is another related piece from Harpers Magazine: “The Uses of Disaster: Notes on bad weather and good government.”


link roundup re pedagogy

I’ve had these tabs open for so long and I figure it’s time to share them. I realize now that they all have a teaching connection, so here you go:

Paying Attention to Technology: Writing Technology Autobiographies

Defining Literacy in a Digital World
both of which were authored by Tengrrl

Using Social Software in the Classroom

danah boyd’s papers and presentations on social software

The Wall Street Journal’s “The Web on Film”

OK I think that is it. Off to bed.


What am I getting myself into?


I have already had enough experience from my Masters and PhD English Departments to know that pursuing an English degree or teaching writing is not as romantic an endeavor as Dead Poets Society painted. The essay “Goodbye, Mr. Keating” from the Chronicle Careers section emphasizes that when he writes, “I simply want to demonstrate that the reasons most people get into English are different from the motives that will make them successful in graduate school and in professional life beyond that.”

He also remarks, “For me, it’s strange and wonderful, after receiving tenure, to be able to rediscover my undergraduate self, to nurture in my students the motives that drew me to graduate school in the first place.” Note the phrase “after receiving tenure.”
And even then, you have to be wary of that David Horowitz and his anti-academic freedom brigade whose trying take you down!

While my experience has made me quite cynical at times, I feel it’s been a good thing that so many rhet/comp faculty left my current department. I’ve had no other choice but create my own directed studies and take classes with newer Visiting Profs, all of which have had more time to mentor me than most of the full time profs. Now that I’m done with coursework I feel I can finally pursue my own romantic motives of writing a dissertation that means something to me and can cast a light on what the Internet really did and is doing for New Orleans, post-Katrina. It took 3 years to get to this point and I’ve still got my exams to go, but as long as I keep reading and annotating the stuff I am interested in (no more Lacan and Derrida and “The Purloined Poe” for me!), I’ll be a happy camper.

That is, until, the job market search and first job where inevitably I’ll end up bombarded by committee work, teaching, and other politically motivated university moments… 😉

(at least I am not naive!!!!)


some connections I've been making

Everyday my boyfriend diligently sits at his computer and writes and writes. I, in the other room, set to the task to read, usually end up watching Young and the Restless. But eventually I do read and more of it has been from the blogosphere than the texts I assigned myself. So here are some thoughts on those readings:

Thanks to Clancy, I looked at the Jodi Dean essay on theory blogs. But before I did that, I read Jay Rosen’s piece on “The People Formerly Known as the Audience.” In it, the statement is made to mainstream media that we, the people, have more tools with which to respond and have our own say: blogs, podcasts, video, editorials, etc. While I certainly believe mainstream media should listen up, I think his final bullet point “A highly centralized media system had connected people “up” to big social agencies and centers of power but not “across” to each other. Now the horizontal flow, citizen-to-citizen, is as real and consequential as the vertical one” has a long way to go before becoming fully realized. Maybe I am not reading online news sites as much as others and probably haven’t linked to an “A-list” blog in months, but when I think of the citizens I come across in the grocery store, in my classroom, and even those bloggers in New Orleans that provide me with eye witness accounts of the rebuilding and local government mishaps still going on post-Katrina, I don’t think they are writing to connect “across.” The students I have who are on MySpace are promoting themselves. The NOLA locals are venting. Sure there are posts here and there with a call for action, but I see their use of blogging as a way to narrate their lives and at a pace not fueled by the exigency of newroom deadlines, which brings in the Jodi Dean piece.

One of her points is that academic theory blogs [NOTE: Academic Blogging is a category I saw disappear from the BloggerCon schedule which is the conference where I first met Jay Rosen and Dan Gillmor] offer “more thoughtful, human time.” Many of the problems people have with blogs are those blogs written by bloggers who don’t really say anything. Or if they do, it’s the details of their personal lives, and lord knows that’s not what Rosen advocates. Dean is specific when she writes that theory blogs offer substance where an exchange is “like a slow seminar, focusing on one narrow question that arises on its own, and is addressed over a longer period of time, giving those who engage it opportunity to read and reflect.”

That’s the kind of blogging I want to teach my students to do–not the taking control over old media. That’s not what they are trying to do with their videos or podcasts, so why force their blogs to? Sure, students can do this type of engagement in places other than a blog, but when “made public” I think they become more invested in their statements and opinions and can reach people beyond our classroom walls and university campus. Jill/txt’s students found this out, why can’t mine?

With that said, I’m off to finish planning my first day of the summer session and cross my fingers that the classroom has a computer in it!

EDITED TO INCLUDE…link to the essay “Do Internet Users Have More Social Ties?
A Call for Differentiated Analyses of Internet Use”
from the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication