I’m trying to remember how I first heard about NerdCon, and I think it was via a visit to Rainbow Rowell’s website in late April. I had just read Fangirl and wanted to see what else she had coming out and if she would be on a book tour doing signings. (I was also only a few weeks into my time in that godawful boot cast, so reading and coloring were major stress relievers. Still are, but that’s for a separate post.)
Fast forward to the big weekend, which far surpassed any expectations. Actually, I don’t know if I had any expectations other than hearing smart people talk about cool stuff. And getting my Rainbow Rowell books signed:
She’s awesome and I got to tell her how Fangirl inspired me to propose a course on fandom/fan creations/participatory media. But this isn’t a post about that. Believe me, I’ll update you with those specifics once they are written down in complete sentences. Right now I just have a stack of books, a folder with sample syllabi, and a padlet of ideas.
Like I said, I didn’t really go in to NerdCon with specific expectations, but each and every minute in that MSP Convention Center was beyond wonderful:
- Podcasters, vloggers, artists, and writers, all of whom are fans of the other podcasters, vloggers, artists, and writers there, spoke about why stories matter, the roles of the creators, the different things communities of fans can do, and the need for safe spaces to discuss this kind of stuff.
- Hilarious things happened: juvenilia, games, mock debates, musical performances.
- Celebrated authors like John Green, Pat Rothfuss, Rainbow Rowell, Dessa Darling, and Téa Obreht shared their feelings about writing and the other stuff that comes along once your writing takes off. It’s usually good stuff, but there’s tons of bad advice and frustration too. At one point I felt they needed this panel more than we did!
But I NEEDED this weekend too, and that’s what was most unexpected.
It wasn’t the usual academic mumbo-jumbo with which I surround myself. As a tenured professor of English, I obviously love the academic side of things, but this year has been A BEAST. Personally (cue the chronic pain) and professionally (thanks for nothing, Gov. Walker), it’s all I can do to get through the day. Last week, I sketched out my schedule for the week and even wrote down what hour I knew I’d be home so I could turn my brain off and pause the performance that is Dr. Daisy.
I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I’ve got a great group of students this Fall, but sadly I don’t get to spend a lot of time focused on them. I’m in depressing meetings about budget cuts, writing reports to defend the stuff we need, or trying to navigate the wreckage of mistakenly sent emails since a ton of staff have either switched jobs or took the early retirement deal.
I NEEDED this weekend to remind me that smart people who like to read and write and live-tweet exist. I know I have people in my life and on my campus who also like to do those things, but I needed to be literally surrounded by 3,000 strangers who like those things to remember how great that feels. And that all our stories matter.
However, one of those 3,000 people wasn’t a stranger. She was my Digital Humanities student, Sara. I didn’t see her until the very end of yesterday’s events, but I kept up with her tweets all weekend. This one links to her blog post, “What it Feels Like to Be in Your Element,” and the paragraph below totally inspired me to write this post today:
I go to college and I often get wrapped up in the stress (so much stress) that comes with it, like money and classes and decisions about the FUTURE. But being here at Nerdcon, I’m in such a good mental environment. I’m with my people, and it’s the best mini vacation I could have asked for. I’m seeing my heroes discuss topics that resonate so deeply with me, and I feel so light and great. I’m writing this post to remember that feeling and hopefully find a way to reach it again when I’m stressed in the future.
On Sundays like this I can easily slip into a routine of laundry, house cleaning, and Netflix, which invariably leaves this blog neglected. Today, though, my eyes have not left this laptop screen and it’s been all good. I’ve gained some new followers on Twitter, found some great resources for my PCA roundtable on “Shame, Gender, and Cultural Capital: The Problems of Reading and Writing Fan Fiction” like “Why must we hate the things teen girls love?” and “Mental Health Awareness Week 2015: How to Use Your Fangirl Powers to Practice Self-Care,” and have started a Storify to recap my favorite moments from NerdCon. When I’m done with that, I’ll post it here, but right now I’m going to log off and read a book.
Stop snapping selfies and look up at the spectacular world around you. Zachary Levi and Sesame Street’s Bert know that a day in the park doesn’t need a filter. Take a walk with them on this lovely sunny day!
How is it that I never saw this until today? We need some sun here in Wisconsin!
It’s been forever since I’ve updated.
A colleague resigned in January, so I’m back to being the program director for both of our Professional Communication & Emerging Media programs. That’s about 130 students total. I actually enjoy and (dare I say) excel at it, except for the meetings about budget cuts (stupid Scooter).
My teaching schedule changed and some other real life stuff has happened, so I’ve been too busy and/or distracted to update this blog. However, I think all you readers, whoever you may be, know I’m all over social media, now successfully managing 2 Twitter accounts (@phdaisy is a bit more entertainment-driven now but @profpignetti is directed at students & their interests). I’m even paying more attention to LinkedIn. If you’re a PCEM alum or soon to be graduate, join our group!
I’m also still dealing with chronic pain in my right ankle but should know about a surgery option and timeline for healing by the end of next week. Turns out there’s so much scar tissue in my ankle that it’s forming “coalitions.” Who knew?!? I’ve HATED not going to the gym and not teaching Zumba, but I’m staying hopeful that I’ll be back at it in September.
Anyway, back to the good stuff. Our on-campus PCEM program is booming with student achievements, client projects, enrollment numbers, and cool new faculty coming in the Fall. To learn a little more about all of that, check out the presentation I gave at this week’s Advisement Day. See also the obligatory stickered laptop pic:
I really liked using sway.com to create that presentation. An alum showed it off to my Capstone students and I thought I’d give it a try. What do you think? (Go fullscreen and arrow down to get a better sense of it.)
The online PCEM program is still trying to build enrollment, but I am truly excited about the marketing efforts my student workers and I are putting into place. I started as a Marketing major at Loyola but then switched to English Writing, so here’s my big chance!
So that’s what I’ve been doing all of 2015. I thought the first year of tenure would be a little less intense, but oh well. Seriously though, I’m desperate for things to improve at the UW, even if just for our morale, but I remain dedicated to students. A colleague will take over the on-campus program director role in the Fall, so I’ll have time to get back into my research and possibly apply for a sabbatical.
Woohoo! And here’s to more blogging!
Question #4: How have I not posted this video to my blog yet?
Last week I was in Boston at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. My session was part of the Virtual Identities & Self Promoting track and as you can see from the program, the papers focused on Using Social Media for Empowerment & Exploration.
What’s interesting is that I almost didn’t attend this conference. I answered a CFP I saw posted on the IABA listserv thinking it was for an edited collection because there was no mention of a conference, hosting organization, city or dates. Having spent a lot of travel grant money in Oxford, England, earlier in the academic year, I didn’t think I could pay for another conference. And knowing I’m going up for promotion next year, I wanted to focus on getting more publications on my CV.
But when I learned it would be a Boston conference, I decided to go for it. I lived in Boston between 1997-1999 when earning my MA from Northeastern University and loved it there. When some travel money came through from the Provost’s Office, I knew it was a go!
I had a great time listening to sessions about the relationship between social media & BBC’s Sherlock, and, how’s this for a title?, “Alan Rickman as Phallus.” I may edit this post later to include more links to info these presenters shared, but for now I wanted to link to my abstract and first solely designed/authored Prezi:
which should be accompanied by the working paper I have up on SSRN.
If you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you’ll recognize this as a section from my dissertation and I’m quite excited to report that I’m in the process of writing up a proposal to turn the diss into a book!
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
I know y’all are seeing that title and asking, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
So here’s the story:
I’ve been listening to playlists on Spotify for a few months now. Way back when, I listened to Pandora radio, but I got tired of skipping songs I didn’t like, especially since they claim their stations “play only music you like.” Case in point, I think you all know I LOVE the Pet Shop Boys, but whenever I listened to my PSB radio station, all Pandora would play is Depeche Mode. I know it was the 80s and all, but that’s not what I was looking for!
So Spotify came along and I liked being able to subscribe to playlists based on my interests as well as playlists dedicated to movie and television soundtracks. And what’s cool is that these playlists are constantly updated.
My favorite playlist so far has been “You, Me, Dancing!” It has tons of the songs we use in zumba and other top 40 pop/club tracks. Last month I noticed a non-English song called “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” and I instantly loved it. Its sing-a-long sections and accordion solos reminded me of my folkdance touring days. There’s a story about a performance in France that I could tell here, but I’ll save that for later.
Anyway, yesterday when I was grading papers the song came on and I took a break to search for its singer, Michel Teló, on YouTube. I figured I would share the song with my zumba instructor to see if she’d like it. Well, turns out this song from Brazil is pretty much this year’s Macarena all over the world, except in America, of course. If you have heard of it, please leave me a comment!
Before I give you a selection of what I’ve found on YouTube, here are the lyrics in English:
Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you
This way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God if I catch you
Saturday at the party
Everybody started to dance
Then the prettiest girl past in front of me
I got closer and started to say…
Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you
Nothing spectacular, I know, but wait until you see his smile 😀
The official video
The English version
The official choreography
[although there are some variations as seen in this German performance]
Check out the video compilation that starts out this performance as well as the audience going wild
And finally, what song is really a song these days without a Pitbull collaboration?
Too bad Mr. 305 didn’t have the choreography down yet when he called Michel out on the stage with him. His crazy helicopter spins crack me up though!
OK I’ve just realized that no one except me will actually watch all of these videos, so I’ll stop embedding them now. I do hope you give at least one a listen, and let me know what you think!
God, I love the Internet…
Since my last post, I came down with an awful sinus infection and basically slept from Feb 28-March 5. Seriously! The antibiotics helped a bit but it really wasn’t until March 7th or so that I could work out again, answer emails in a coherent manner, and grade papers. My teaching was evaluated on March 8th, so that worked out, huh?
I’ve still got a ton of papers to grade and I could’ve caught up on those over Spring Break, but this is the first time in 5 years that my husband’s and my Spring Break vacations lined up. Within minutes of discovering that, I booked tickets to NYC to visit friends. And boy was it worth it! I put up my “out of office” email message on the 9th and totally removed myself from any academic thoughts, except from when we went to see Seminar.
What’s Seminar, you ask? Here’s the synopsis from the official website:
In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Alan Rickman), an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.
It was a great play, but I’d be lying if I said that Alan Rickman starring in it wasn’t the reason it came on my radar. In fact, it was my freshman composition teacher’s posts on Facebook that brought it to my attention. Ahh writing geekiness and fangirl social media-ness. 😉
Here’s me & hubby after the show waiting to meet Snape, err, I mean Mr. Rickman:
And there he is!
Special thanks go to my BFF Eric who was my personal paparazzo on this trip, but I have to say my iphone got some good snaps of Snape too [sorry, couldn’t resist]:
Here’s one final pic from our matinee experience; notice the fully autographed Playbill:
After the show we went to our fav NOLA-themed restaurant, Delta Grill and then had some drinks at Industry where a nice fella from Mississippi took this fantastic group photo of hubby, me, Eric and Nick:
Ack, I have got to get to grading, so let me finish up this post with some touristy pics, especially since this was hubby’s first trip to NYC:
At the museum The Butterfly Conservatory was open so we walked through a room with hundreds of them flying around! Here’s a gorgeous one posing for us:
Two more pics, I promise!
Upon our exit of the museum…
and later that night in Queens…
Amidst all of the stress I just mentioned, these videos have brought me down off the email ledge & made me smile this week:
I’ve been a MIKA fan since 2007 and cannot wait for his new album!
Here’s another favorite so you can actually see him:
Oh, and very appropriate for this post, a new video for “Relax, Take it Easy”
And now for the best academic + 80s thing I’ve ever seen EVER:
Take the 10 minutes and go watch it NOW.
I know the Superbowl was nearly a week ago, but after much consideration and consulting of the AdBlitz channel on YouTube, I can now announce my favorite commercial to be…
I think it’s the “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah” that gets me! Also, is that Bebe Neuwirth voicing the brown M&M?
My other LMFAO-related point here is that while I didn’t feel they served much of a purpose during Madonna’s halftime show, their remix of her new song is fun!
My latest post on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog:
You will hear more about Aristotle’s appeals in future chapters, but if you notice I’ve uploaded a document in D2L that outlines the three nicely. Regarding pathos, or the appeal to our emotions, it states,
Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument. Indeed, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively….Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.
An example that comes to mind immediately is from Mad Men. I shared the link to this video in my comment to Jodee’s post, but wanted to create a separate space for it just in case you miss it there: http://youtu.be/suRDUFpsHus
Don’s entire presentation relies on pathos, beginning with his narrative about working for Teddy and his defining of nostalgia as “the pain from an old wound,” all the while showing slides of his own family and the memories they can now relive via the Kodak Carousel. Rather than distancing himself from a product, he’s thrown his heart into it and it works!
I’ve created a new category called “advertising” since we’re bound to make a number of references to commercials, print, and online ads this semester!
As predicted, now that school has started, the gym is even more packed. That leads to hotter and sweatier group fitness classes and, if a certain fan isn’t on, very slippery floors. The past two classes I’ve taken I’ve ended up in my sock feet…but it’s always fun and I love shaking it to various Pitbull songs!
Other than working out, I’ve been busy prepping 4 separate course syllabi & course calendars. I’m also directing two thesis projects, so there’s lots of email on that front.
Quick aside: Ever since I started teaching online writing courses in 2004, I’ve tried to reduce the amount of email by having a “General Questions” discussion forum. Students can post their questions and I can answer it there for the entire class to see, thus preventing repeat emails. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, another student will answer the question first and thus a community is born! Well, that varies from semester to semester, but this academic year I’ve been particularly impressed by my students’ abilities to rely upon each other for feedback & their appreciation of blogs, Skype, Twitter, and Google DOCs.
OK back to the title of this post.
Wait a second… 😛
In addition to having various WORD documents open while course planning, I’ve recently become obsessed with tumblr. And the cause of that obsession? Sherlock Homes. BBC’s Sherlock to be specific.
I won’t go into how brilliant each episode is or spoil Season 2 for you Americans who haven’t seen it yet [I have my sources], but instead focus on the fandom. The #IBelieveinSherlockHolmes movement has been amazing to watch and what I love about tumblr is that, given I have little time or skills to create my own fan art, I can “reblog” it.
Perhaps that’s lazy (and twitter has been considered blogging for lazy people) but look at the variety of ways the tumblr interface prompts you to post:
If I didn’t already have this blog space, which also has imported all of my USF blog posts from 2005-2008, I would definitely use tumblr as my primary blog. But, for now, this space will be for “longer thoughts” and my tumblr will be for spreading the word that #MoriartyWasReal and #IBelieveinSherlockHolmes!
This week, between workouts and the return to teaching, I have been drafting a post about my newly founded obsession with tumblr. I should get to publish that later this evening, but I wanted to quickly point out the site inspired me to create my tumblr account in the first place: Downton Abbeyoncé.
I’ve been a Downton Fan since last March when I first watched the series on my iPhone and while I might not know everything about Beyonce, I know enough to say the combo of these two are brilliant, fabulous and hilarious.
Here are my favorite creations:
If you do go subscribe to this tumblr, be warned that some images may contain Season 2 spoilers, but you can quickly remedy that by tuning in to Downton on PBS every Sunday night!
I MUST BLOG MORE!
When I was leaving the gym yesterday I overheard an instructor saying how packed the classes will be once all the students come back to town. We were already a group of 50 but the number is bound to rise since we get two waves of new years’ resolution-ers here due to the academic calendar. Classes [university, not gym] don’t start for us until January 23 thanks to the “Winterm” session.
So it hit me: Why not put the same amount of effort into my blogging as I do at the gym in turbokick and zumba? I average 6 classes a week there but only managed 2 unique blog posts here last semester? WTF?!? Although I did sneak in a few posts over at the graduate course blog, how can I even call myself a blog researcher? Yes, the Catholic guilt crosses over to academia quite nicely, doesn’t it?
The thing is, I have wanted to blog about some new teaching methods and reflections, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t like to go public much anymore. Being on the tenure track means I’m constantly evaluated, and while I’ve received “Above” rankings every year and, so far, have successfully jumped through a number of Promotion hoops, I haven’t wanted to jeopardize things, either by accidentally ranting about students and committee work or expressing my honest opinions on the political scene in Wisconsin.
The fault also lies in social media. Even though my Twitter updates aren’t protected anymore, those posts are more dialogic as are my Facebook posts where comments and “likes” offer me instant response. In fact, now that Facebook won’t be importing the links to these blog posts [their effort to get users to post Notes], who knows how much traffic this blog will receive. But there are things I want to post about…things that show the world who I am and what my interests are.
Primarily, those things are pop culture-y, so it’s a good thing I’ll be attending the national Popular Culture Association conference this April. I’ll be on the Virtual Identities and Self-Promoting panel, but more on that later.
Til then, I have tons of tv & music things to post because they’ve shaped my 2011 & made me smile, none more than this LMFAO performance.
Battery is dying on the laptop, but you can expect to hear more from me soon cuz “I-I-I-I work out” and blog this year!
What is Kickstarter? Here’s how their FAQ describes how they fund creative projects:
We believe that:
• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
This will be my first kickstarter pledge, and I know it won’t be my last!
While reading Kyle’s informative post on “What Beethoven Means for The King’s Speech,” I was reminded of the beautiful montage the Academy created of the Best Picture nominees:
More on this, and my beloved Colin Firth, when the DVD comes out in a couple weeks, but I wanted to post this while I still could find it on YouTube.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
After the PBS showing of Stephen Sondheim’s birthday concert I began composing an “open letter” to this great man, brilliant lyricist, and musical genius. I’m still writing that and will share soon, but until then, enjoy this interview with him on the Colbert Report!
So not only do the Pet Shop Boys have a great new compilation out, with a fabulous single called “Together,” the video for it features everything I love: waltzing girls in petticoats, hip-hop dancing boys, folk-dancing moves in a club, and a rehearsal to performance motif!
Not to mention a bench-sitting Chris and dog-on-leash standing Neil. SIGH…SWOON…SIGH
I’ll try to give an update on my teaching, grant possibilities, and Dexter kitteh later, but I’m swamped with freshman papers to grade before I head to NOLA for a wedding this weekend. Til I do “get my blog on,” enjoy the brilliance that is Stephen Fry.
A major benefit to being done with the dissertation is that I can pay more attention to pop culture. Otherwise stated, I don’t have to feel guilty for watching television.
I’ve already mentioned my love of Don Draper and MadMen, but there are all sorts of shows that I’ve recently discovered. Thanks to DVDs and Netflix’s “Instant Queue” I have access to entire seasons at once. These shows include Burn Notice, Boston Legal, Veronica Mars, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, and True Blood. Thanks to the internets, I even won Season 3 DVDs of Burn Notice just by leaving a comment on this post. It was offline for awhile but I’m happy it’s back up because I want to use it as an example of “if you answer the assignment, you will be rewarded.”
The most intense show I’ve started watching this year is Dexter. Again, thanks to Netflix we quickly went through Seasons 1-3. I remember reading all sorts of tweets about Season 4, but didn’t seek it out. Once I heard about its dramatic finale, I asked around and was pointed to a site, which shall remain nameless because I’m not sure it’s all together “kosher,” where hubby and I watched all 12 episodes over a 48-hour period. Yes, it’s that good and John Lithgow is that creepy!
With that said, this will be the first season of Dexter where I’ll have to wait week-to-week for a new episode. That might have worked for me with True Blood this summer, but I’m not looking forward to it this time around!
This trailer alone sends chills up my spine
but this conversation with the writers makes me all the more impatient!
Why didn’t this kind of stuff happen when I lived in Boston?
Even if Julie Andrews doesn’t know about this phenomenon, Mashable does!
And, somehow, all of that reminds me of this from 2007,
which Henry Jenkins eloquently discussed in his post, “Hustling 2.0: Soulja Boy and the Crank Dat Phenomenon.”
Sigh…more to discuss with the freshmen when I get to the YouTube chapter!
|From LADY GAGA|
I have had the great fortune to see Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball twice now. Once last December in NOLA and then this week in St. Paul. [Thanks again @fablor!]
Both times were amazing and I truly love her music, but despite her appeals to her fans AKA little monsters to be themselves and her donations to the ReGeneration fund, at both concerts she gave a speech that totally contradicts those beliefs:
“…there is one thing I hate more than money and that’s the truth…I’d like a giant dose of bullshit any day.”
What? After all her promotion of equality, being who you are and not feeling ashamed or insecure, why would bullshit be the choice? Wouldn’t authenticity trump that?
I should put my scholarly researcher hat on and theorize/analyze this further, like they do at the FABULOUS Gaga Stigmata blog, but for now let me hear your thoughts on the matter.
Cannot wait! Thank you HBO!
This will be an amazing addition to syllabi that currently include Katrina texts: