Sunday, January 26, 2014

What a journey

Musical Journey, Part II.  I know, it's kind of lame to do this twice, especially when I don't have a lot of interesting things to say about music. But there's SOMETHING here--something of interest in the way Youtube creates constellations of musics and links. And until I figure out how to express that, I'm going to keep this going. Or until I get bored. Maybe what it's missing is a running commentary. Let's give that a go.

Today's starter: The White Stripes. "Seven Nation Army." The video's giving me a headache. The mis-en-abyme thing is very... distracting.

Alien Ant Farm. "Smooth Criminal." Well, we did the Michael Jackson original last time. It's... okay. Clearly a tribute to Jackson, but the original made it clear that it was about Jackson's performance as much as the music, and these guys... the music's great, but they can't match him move-wise. It feels very 2001 alt-rock, what with the punk kid dancing, and a monkey for no apparent reason.

Fall Out Boy. Dance, Dance. 2005. Oh, THAT's this song. Up until about 2008, all the music I listened to was basically what was ever on the radio, or what someone else was listening to. So I knew of this song, since it was playing everywhere back then, but I had no idea what it was called. I guess the video's trying to invoke the "feel" of a high school dance--awkwardness vying with uncertain sexuality. Or something. I didn't go to very many high school dances. Awkwardness tended to trump everything else.

Panic! at the Disco. "I Write Sins, not Tragedies." 2006. Oh, THAT's this song. Repeat above statement. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that a lot. So... I guess the song is about a groom who finds out his bride has been cheating on him, and the video is about the same thing, only with a circus cabaret. Songs by all guy bands tend to have a very male-centric view, don't they? In the next video, watch me notice how there appears to be a connection between music and sexualization.

The Killers. "Mr Brightside."2003.  Okay, this one I know, though largely because I slurred through it while playing Rockband at a party once. It's basically the same song as "I Write Sins, not Tragedies," in terms of themes at least: male protagonist goes through hell as a result of female infidelity. I think the fear that the one we love doesn't feel the same way we do is fairly universal, but it becomes weird when situated in issues of trust and possession. The video also has a cabaret vibe, although burlesque is closer. And Eric Roberts is there, for some reason. I love the checkers match between him and the male lead.

Blink-182. "I Miss You." 2003. There's a blast from the past. My youngest brother was a big Blink 182 fan. So was the middle one, I think. And since most of the songs on my computer at the time were chosen by them, that meant I heard a lot of them. They're okay. They felt a little like they were going for punk and hit juvenile pranksters, but that also describes 90% of all teenage boys I've ever known. (Although they were in their late 20s to 30s at the time, so that's less an excuse.) This song is sweeter than a lot of their ensemble, but yeesh that's a voyeuristic lesbian kiss.

Oaisis. "Wonderwall." 1995. Man, we jumped back in time there. This is another one I recognize, as it was a song I played it on loop while I was going through the last dungeons of Grandia, which means it's closely associated with increasingly difficult fights and dungeons with "the dungeon is a living organism" sort of theme. As for the video: creepy clowns? Spinning cameras? Ick. But oddly, the most disconcerting thing was the swinging saws.

REM. "Losing My Religion." 1991. I guess I'm just going to be stuck in the 90s now. At least I know this song. It's fine, I guess. The singing part isn't quite catchy enough for my tastes; too close to regular speech, if that makes any sense. The video is kind of a hodge-podge of religious iconography, and I think I like it for the weird mix of earnestness and tongue-in-cheek.

No Doubt. "Don't Speak." 1996. Wikipedia would have me believe that this song was composed by Gwen Stefani (who is in her forties, which amazes me. When did everything from my teenage years get so old?) regarding her break-up with bandmate Kanal. I know it's common for singers to write songs about their personal lives, and it gets some really emotional songs, but there's also a uncomfortable edge to such music, a mix of private and public knowledge, and putting your life on display. Though I suppose a lot of art is like that, when you get down to it. An added weird factor is that Kanal stays with the band, which makes the video a mix of artifice and, presumably, some real tension. And the band has been together (with some hiatuses) for decades, so I guess it works for them.

Toni Braxton. "Unbreak My Heart." 1996. Well, this certainly took a turn from Alien Ant Farm. The video's very much what the song suggests it would be, featuring Braxton and the collapse of her relationship with a man who doesn't seem to own very many shirts. I like that one of the couple activities is Twister. Twister has to be the dirtiest all-ages game. I can't say Braxton ever made much of a ripple on my music awareness ocean, but I know this song--if for no other reason that it seems to get recycled for romance-oriented storylines every now and then.

Whitney Houston. 1992. "I Will Always Love You." Apparently, the original version is by Dolly Parton. Huh. They're not singers I associate with a lot of overlap. Although I suppose this song calls on similar strengths of voice that they both possess. The video has clips from the Bodyguard, for obvious reasons. It was produced by David Foster, which seems to be what it shares in common with Un-break my Heart. I just listened to it, and I don't remember a word of it beyond the obvious part, the chorus.

Righteous Brothers. "Unchained Melodies." 1955. And there's another weird turn. I guess I've hit a "songs from romantic scenes" patch. Considering the accompanying video is Ghost, I guess there's not a lot of doubt. I like Demi Moore's haircut here. Very 80s/90s, but it suits. I suppose I should watch Ghost at some point. It's one of those movies that's been copied so many times in pop culture that the surrounding paratext has outshouted the original source material.

John Lennon. "Imagine." I want it understood that my choices here included "Nothing Compares to You," "Stand By Me," "The Power of Love," and "Take My Breath Away." This was the only way out--although given that I'm now going to be stuck in Beatles era, it may be a cure that's worse than the disease. I don't think I've got anything to add to Imagine that hasn't been already said, content-wise. Personally, I'll remember it for being the number one entry in CBC's top songs of the millenium list circa 2000. I was still prepping for the driver's test then, so I spent a lot of time ferrying my folks around. At some point, I was waiting for one parent or the other, and this list started, and I slowly listened my way through. Funny the things you remember.

Louis Armstrong. "What a Wonderful World." Oh, not Beatles. Just general sentimentality, then. It works though. Armstrong has an amazingly expressive face. I wonder if the nature of Youtube is to eventually gravitate towards these massively popular, vaguely feel-good (I say vaguely because "Imagine" isn't really a feel-good song, and yet it is), nostalgia-trip songs.

Simon & Garfunkel. "The Sound of Silence." I can't hear this song without thinking of the Simpsons parody. "Hello Grandpa, my old friend. Your busy day is at an end. Your exploits have been sad and boring. They tell a tale that's worth ignoring. When you're alone, the words of your story will echo down the rest-home hall. 'Cause no one at all, can stand the sound of Grandpa." Its brevity means that it's one of the more underrated Simpsons songs, but I think it's top shelf, all the way. The video is a 1981 performance--hugely massive crowd. Kind of humbling.

Neil Young. "Heart of Gold." All right, I maybe should have stayed in the realm of romance films. Speaking of pop culture allusions, it probably says a lot about me that this song makes me think about Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, instead of a the other way around. He first performed it in 1971, when he was 26. 26! And now I'm the one who feels like he's growing old.

Kansas. "Dust in the Wind." Fun fact: I sang this in choral class in high school. Which my parents made me take, for the extra credit. Which I didn't need, because I was already getting an extra credit from my piano lessons. And because I had a 94% average. And I was the only male in my class taking it, which did not help my social rep. On the other hand, I really liked singing. Catch 22. This song is... interesting, because during the instrumental part, an  Au Capella version can only compensate by going "oooooh" in different notes. It's kind of fun.

Toto. "Africa." 1982. This is another song I basically only know the chorus to. Man, is this a product of its time. I love that a portion of the floor is just labeled "Africa," in case you missed the point of the song. He pulls out a book... and its title is Africa. And now it's burning. And he's sitting on a giant version of it. Sometimes, the less subtle the symbolism, the less sense it makes.

A-ha. "Take on me." Quote the wikipedia: "Take on me" is a song by Norwegian synth pop band A-ha. Truly, the 80s were a magical time for such thing to exist. Their farewell concert tour was called "Ending on a High Note," which is a truly awe-inspiring pun. I kind of dig the animated comic book thing that the video does.

Twisted Sister. "We're Not Going to Take It." The verbally abusive father in this video is the best thing. Everything about him is ridiculous and over the top, from his exaggerated rage to his obnoxious knocking down shelves. I have to say, I never really went through a rebellious youth phase. Not that I've got a particular respect for older authority. Rather, it just seemed to me that the kind of rebellion songs like this were selling was just a younger authority. Are you rocking hard enough? ARE YOU? No? Well, then, you're just a square. ...Okay, calling yourself a square in this context was the most square way I could have phrased that. But the whole "rebel against conformity by doing what we do" always bugged me. Fun video, though. I love the ending: "This time, I WON'T stand near and window, and THEN---" and then he gets tossed through a house wall, as you do.

Europe. "The Final Countdown." I was hoping I'd be able to steer this back to modern times via an Arrested Development connection. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Still, those are some righteous mullets. And if you like fireworks with your concert, man, is this the song for you.

Van Halen. "Jump." 1983. It was apparently inspired by a martial arts guy, which is a field you don't hear of often when it comes to Western musical inspiration. Paul Anka apparently did a cover, which sounds like a good time. And it was the opening game sound of the Winnipeg Jets, despite the fact that jumping with skates on is an inherently bad idea.

Bryan Adams. "Summer of 69." Yet another classic. Bryan Adams was a singer that everyone in my family--growing up at least--was sort of mildly in favor of, so he got a lot of play in the household. Fun fact: if you were a teenager in 1969, you're at least 45 now. That drive-in movie looks like fun. I'm not exactly sure why there's an apple fight in the middle of the song. Big Cider probably forced their hand.

Nickelback. "Rockstar." Well, I made it out of the classics. No offense to Nickelback, but... well, it's no "Final Countdown."  It's kind of a goofy song, but the montage of celebrities mixed with average off the street folk (and they show you the street, to make sure you get it) is nice and pleasant. It's lightyears away from Twisted Sister-style rock, but it has its place too, I think. And the whole song is about the stereotype of the rockstar, and the commodification, so it's only fitting that it's a rockstar that has had some of the rock edges smoothed down. (Although to paraphrase the Incredibles, if everyone's a rockstar, no one's a rockstar.)

Puddle of Mudd. "She Hates Me." Aaaaaand we're back where we started, with a disgruntled youth singing about his sour girlfriend. I like that this one is kind of a caricature of rage. I've got a vivid memory of watching this on a student lounge TV while I was waiting for class to start.

Hey, we really are back where we started--one of the next options is Alien Ant Farm's Smooth Criminal! What a journey we've been on. And when you've been through something like this with someone, you never want to see them again. (Simpsons reference.)

Later Days.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Music Journey

My musical tastes are fairly... eclectic. And by eclectic, I mean I'm too lazy to develop interest in a particular band or style. So basically, I like songs that you can sing along to (hence an appreciation of the musical) and songs with a haunting quality to them (Chopin's at the root of that one). So when I'm looking for music to go in the background while I do other things, I tend to trust in the randomness of Youtube. To whit, I take the last band mentioned on my Facebook page, go to their first song posted on Youtube, and choose my next song based on what Youtube recommends next. The only rule is less a rule than a general tendency: no repeating songs, and songs should be chosen in such a way that I listen to as many different bands as possible.

So here's a random musical journey. It starts when someone on my feed mentions Rush...

Rush. "Tom Sawyer." 1981.
Meytal Cohen's cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer." (Meytal is, frankly, kind of adorable. Which is perhaps not what most are looking for in a Rush cover, but I was fine with it.)
Metallica."One." 1989.
Guns 'n' Roses. "November Rain." 1992.
The Cranberries. "Zombie." 1994.
Johnny Cash. "Hurt." 2002 (Cover of Nine Inch Nails' 1995 version)
Pink Floyd. "Wish You Were Here." 1975.
Led Zepplin. "Kashmir." 1975.
The Doors. "Riders on the Storm." 1971.
Rolling Stones. "Paint it Black." 1966.
Animals. "House of the Rising Sun." 1964.
Eagles. "Hotel California." 1977.
Survivor. "Eye of the Tiger." 1982.
Michael Jackson. "Smooth Criminal." 1987.
(I had to go a LONG way down the list at this point to find a song that wasn't Michael Jackson)
USA For Africa. "We are the World."
Band-Aid. "Do They Know It's Christmas." 1984.
Spandau Ballet. "True." 1983.
John Waite. "Missing You."

I suppose the next point here would be to supply some sort of meaningful analysis, but... I got nothing. Don't have the musical background for it. Hence the exercise. It's easy enough to see the micro-connections between songs; more generally, it's mostly a "greatest hits of the 80s and 70s" sort of thing. That's... interesting? No wait, I mean, that's entirely to be expected. Maybe I need to try someone more recent/obscure next time.

Later Days.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Space: The Old Frontier

If you ask people what their favorite Trek is, the odds are you'll get an answer based on age. Those who were around for the original series speak confidently about being around when it all started. Those who were teenagers in the 90s speak enthusiastically about Next Generation, and how it modernized everything into a sleek new appeal. Those born a few years later will defend Voyager (although generally, what they're actually defending is "hey, that Borg chick was hot, and the hologram doctor was cool). And I'm sure there's a generation now who will defend nuTrek as being the most exciting of all possible worlds.

No one defends Enterprise. No one.

But for my money, my favorite is always the black sheep of the group, Deep Space Nine. Yes, okay, it was riffing off, if not ripping off, Babylon Five. And yes, it was dark, in tone and in lighting. (Cardassians apparently are not the most gregarious of interior decorators.) But it had and has so much in its favor. First, it's still the only Trek that stayed in one place. Arguably, that's a point against it: exploration is ingrained as a Trek element ever since a certain ship set out on its five year mission. But being stationary meant that it could explore the cultures of the races around it much more.(Plus, from a fancy scholar perspective, there's a lot troubling about a civilization that has its roots in Western culture going around on a never-ending colonial expansion quest.) Yes, we still had episodes about the culture of the week, but there was a lot more chance to get really deep into the established cultures: Cardassian, Bajoran, Dominion, and even Ferengi. After DS9, there was depth to the Ferengi culture. That still seems like it should have been impossible.

Going back way back, I once set up some criteria for what I look for in a show: good set pieces, a long term plot, character development, dialogue, and characters. Dialogue is probably the weak point for DS9; not that it's bad, it's just that it can be hit or miss. It has some great one liners and great scenes, but also some real clunkers. This is the fate of a show with a lot of different writers. In terms of set pieces, there are some really appealing episodes; comedy-wise, the time-travelling "Trials and Tribble-ations" is a great salute to the original series. And "In the Pale Moonlight" is a wonderful take-down of Star Trek optimism for something more complex and sinister. Character-wise, it's an ensemble cast down to its core, with traditional Starfleet types (Bashir, the bright-eyed doctor, Dax, the cheery second-in-command, the workmanship of O'Brien, and and the brash captain style of Sisko) clashing with the more jaded world views of the revolutionist Kira, the isolated Odo, the cheerful skullduggery of Garak, and the scheming Quark. As for character development, I make fun of Voyager a lot, but the one thing it did absolutely right is center the later seasons around Seven of Nine's growth towards humanity, and the earlier seasons around the Doctor's experience of the same. The other characters are kind of splotchy--Kim, Paris, B'Lanna, Janeway, Chekotay sort of reach a certain point, and remain static. DS9, on the other hand, puts all of its characters on a trajectory, and you can see how their relationships and their selves evolve over time. And that leaves its high point, plot. More than any other Trek, Deep Space Nine kept its continuity. The war with the Dominion, its big overarching plot, lasted for whole seasons, and really gave a sense that something was going on that affected the entire universe. And you need to remember, this is the 90s--before DVR, Netflix, and streaming, networks were basically disincentivized to do dramas with continuity; if viewers missed an episode, the only possibility was to wait and hope it randomly showed up in the reruns. So for the long-form show to even exist, there had to be a struggle. (Which probably explains why Voyager adopted a more episodic approach.) That DS9 tried for that struggle, and succeeded to the degree it did, matters. It paved the way for later continuity-heavy sci-fi, such as Battlestar Galactica (not least because Ron Moore was one of the writers hired for later DS9 episodes).

But if I argued that my attachment to the show was entirely objective or historical, I'd be lying. It mattered to me. It matters to me. Basically, I watched the show through twice. The first time, I was in high school. I had spent most of my youth being culturally deprived, as my parents didn't have cable. (That mattered! I had a lot of strikes against me as a kid--not being able to relate to the shows the cool kids were talking about did not help! Although if I hadn't resorted to teh books instead, who knows where I'd be now.) So it was a big deal when my father the teacher gave me permission to use the elementary school's cable to tape whatever I wanted. I kind of went nuts with it; I remember spending long sessions staring at the TV guide, trying to decipher which channels on the elementary school TV corresponded to which stations in the book. It must have been season 5 or so before I caught on to the tail end of DS9 in my TV trawling, but I remember being hooked right away. Until then, I had been a STNG type--DS9 was too slow, and too political for my tastes. But the teenage brain was just in the right place for it, and thus, hooked. My brothers couldn't stand the show--they would watch Voyager with me, but didn't see why DS9 was worth taping. And we had only a single 8 hour cassette to capture a week's worth of television, so there were actually arguments over whether it deserved its place in the line-up.

And that's my interest in media culture--endlessly fascinating how we adapt something like the limitations of a 8 hr VHS tape into our lives.

The second time I watched through the series, it was in reruns. It was during the summer of 2002, which was... not a pleasant time in my life. Academically, I was still in full over-achiever mode, so that was fine. But socially, I was pretty much a disaster. I had made zero close friends in my first year of university, and I was literally spending the summer living unemployed in my parents' basement. Not a high point. The only interesting things that ever happened to me personally for four months were volunteer jobs at the local library and senior centers--which were educational in their own way, I guess. Deep Space Nine was the show on every week day at 2:00 pm--the last show, essentially, that I could watch before my family came home, and I no longer had the freedom of being alone. I want to emphasize at this point that my family has never been less than totally supportive of me--it was just my mindset at the time that any other human presence served to remind me that I was falling below my own impossible standards of success. And it mattered, then, that the last piece of my daily solitude was spending an hour with a bunch of oddballs who managed to get their shit together every week to keep the space trains running on time.

I'm bringing all of this up now because I'm currently reading my way through the AV Club reviews of Deep Space Nine. I've reached third season, and I came across this passage: "There’s a great scene early in the hour when Kira brings by a plant as a house-warming gift, and Odo, after initially not wanting to let her inside his new apartment, tells her excitedly about all his plans to try new shapes and new textures. It’s a sweet exchange between the two of them, but it also shows just how vulnerable and lonely Odo really is. He isn’t a cynic at heart; he wants to engage with life, he’s just terrified of risking a sense of self." I read that, and I felt such a pang of sympathy for Odo--and for my past self, remembering me watching that scene.

Hang in there, Odo-me. It gets better.

Later Days.

Sleep is for the weak, Apu. So you keep working, while I take a nap

My sleep schedule has been off since New Years. At first, it was wild alternations between nights where I'd sleep for five hours, then nights I'd sleep for something insane like twelve. Then school started again, and it was just six hour nights. Last week, I got to the point where I was waking up at 5 or 6 every day, regardless of when I went to bed--I managed to sleep in on Tuesday to the late, late hour of 8 am. Finally, through sheer lack of options, my body gave in to a reasonable schedule, and I started going to bed around around 10 or 11 and waking up an appropriate seven to eight hours later.

All of this is somewhat relevant to my personal identity because--for the past decade at least--I have not been a morning person. When I think of early morning risers, I tend to think of my brother and his wife, who have perfected the early morning routine into an art form. Whenever I've stayed with them, for years now, they go to bed around 9 and wake up--I think--around 5:30 am. I say "I think" here, because I never, not once, have woken up early enough to see them off, unless I'm taking an early flight that day. And frankly, I always thought they were insane. Waking up early seemed, to me, stodgy and old. Staying up all night, in comparison, is exciting--an adventure, or a horror story, if insomnia-induced. Either way, though, it's the better story, I thought.

I was wrong.

Staying up late, if done in company, is an adventure, sure. But waking up early has its own pleasure. It struck me as I was walking to school around 6:00 or so last week, and everything was dark. The streets were quiet, but not empty, not quite. They were populated by people who, like me, were up early, making their way through the world. If you're walking home late at night, it can be a pretty draining experience. Whatever you're walking away from is over and done, so emotionally, you're probably coming down from an intense experience to something more mellow. And your thoughts are getting home, going to bed. If you're up early and it's dark out, it's a different story. People aren't as drained, and there's a purpose to their actions. That purpose creates a sort of joined commonality with the people you run into. On a very quiet, very simple level, there's a sense of communion in the air--not at all religious, but definitely edging on spiritual.

Okay, that's the corniest thing I've ever written here, which is saying a lot. But it's still true.There's a tranquility to being up and about before the morning rush, especially if you've got a lot of time to get where you're going. There's a whole day to get to, and the time you need to get to it.

I'm not a morning person, yet. But I could get there.

Later Days.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Take a Note

Some time ago, I discovered the note app on my iPhone. Every now and then, I remember it exists, and put it to use. I never, ever remember to consult it, though. I just add more things. This tendency has created some very bizarre, contextless nonsense. Here's the picks of the litter:

Hands of two people walking in side profile

Savoury Savior

Child as difference between stroller and walker

video game gambling systems Fargo rock city

hip monk chipmunk

The secret in their eyes. Weird Science. Cosmopolis

What's Jane Jensen doing now? Seems like there's a market for a new G *Knight game.
Which is basically what she's doing with her new game, Moebius.

Skyward sword twilight link games and text sexward sword. Heh.

Avadon fascism pariahs

Naked twine jam

talk more about games we haven't played

dick pic advice

Technics of Media Analysis

Idea: Chrono Kitty

Remember this feeling. This ache. Never again.

Later Days.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Taste, and an error in classroom

I don't know what a blackberry tastes like. This is not because I have never eaten a blackberry. In fact, I have been eating them at a slow, yet continuous rate for the past hour or so. Rather, it is because I haven't eaten them before today, which basically means that my taste vocabulary for them is lacking. We--or at least I--don't have either a very sophisticated palate or a very extensive vocabulary when it comes to taste.

Take a strawberry. If pressed on how a strawberry tastes, I would say, first and foremost, that it tastes like a strawberry. And because the odds are whoever I'm talking to is also a person who has grown up eating strawberries, that would suffice. If you pushed me a little further, I might say that a strawberry is sweet. While true, that wouldn't be particularly helpful, as I'd say the same for sugar, chocolate, cookies, peppermint, certain apples, pears, and so forth. "Juicy" would probably be added as well, though only because I have a vague idea that if it is a fruit, it can also be converted into a juice. I might attempt to describe the texture as well, but that would only be by comparison, at best: it's more crunchy than a blueberry, less than a carrot. I could go on and on in this manner, getting increasingly flustered and you probably wouldn't be any wiser than we started--although you'd definitely have a lower opinion on my relative wisdom levels. Strawberries taste like strawberries. And that tautology becomes a taste category for anything else that may taste like strawberries.

Blackberries do not taste like strawberries. They taste... kind of like grapes, I guess? Only more bulbous? Like raspberries with more internal consistency? Sweet, sour, juicy, and tart? Are those compatible flavors? They don't particularly taste like blackberry jam--not enough sweetness, which says more about jam than about blackberries. I don't have the experience to say "blackberries taste like blackberries." I don't have the vocabulary to accurately compare them to anything else. And compounding the whole problem, my perpetually plugged sinuses mean I'm swinging with a handicap when it comes to tasting to begin with. And the whole issue has reminded me how much of our sensory experience is beyond language's ability to easily parse.

I don't know what blackberries taste like. I know I don't particularly like eating them. That's something.

On the class news: you may remember last post I was nervous about teaching my digital studies course. Well, I went to the classroom, and no one showed up. For a full ten minutes. At that point, I checked the course's time again, and it turns out it is a Wednesday / Friday course, not Monday / Wednesday as I assumed. So I've had an extra 48 hours to be anxious! Hurrah.

Later Days.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Digital Butterflies? Bugs in the System! hahhaha...never mind.

I'm teaching the first day of a new course tomorrow--it's a first year course on online identities. And while I am not a praying man by nature, I am entreating any interested deities to make it a snow day. I am, in other words, nervous about it. And I'm not sure why. Granted, I've been more prepared for courses in the past, but that lack of preparation has largely been endless fiddling with the object texts in the syllabus. This course is essentially my subject area; I know this material, and I know it well. Nor is it the first time I've taught in this area; I taught a second year course on the same subject about two years ago, and if anything, that should have been the nerve-wracking one, given that the students were prepared to face much more difficult material. Perhaps it's some vestigial guilt over how that course went; the final projects were excellent, but even at the time, I wish I had pushed myself a little more to do some hands-on digital creation in the classroom. I don't think that hands-on stuff is appropriate in a first year course, not in the same way--it's an English course, and you need to establish basic writing and analysis skills before jumping into the more fun digital creation stuff. But we'll be doing a Twine workshop late in March, which should scratch that itch.

I suppose it's just nerves. I should calm down, relax, and put on some soothing music. ...Maybe one more pass over the material for week 4....

Later Days.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Movie Buff: A Spoileriffic Review of About Time

Tim (no last name I guess?) has the unusual ability to travel back to any point in his life. You and I do not, therefore, if you wish to read more, you must read after the break.