I am now running a Student Innovation Fellowship blog, and over there, I attempt to define ‘innovation’ – a concept I really struggle with.
Right now. I am writing this blog, cooking some chicken, and listening to music. For me though, now is a rather large amount of time, when I think of all my movements compiled into a ‘now’ point. I set my timer for 40 minutes a few minutes ago. The timer is ‘now’ running, but I set it in the past… part of my continuous now moment. Now however, does not always work this way. Now is subjective… and as soon as I can say the word ‘now,’ it’s then.
Edmund Husserl, in his essay, “The Constitution of Temporal Objects,” from his book The Phenomenology of the Internal Time-Consciousness tells us that our experiences begin to “blur and draw together” the further we move away from them. The ‘now’ I had when I set my timer, is beginning to blend into a past. A past that, tomorrow morning, will be one blob of ‘last night.’ And all my ‘last nights’ eventually blur into ‘last month’s nights’ and so on. “Blur and draw together.”
This morning I walked to my coffee shop and on the way, read an excerpt from Marcel Proust’s epic novel In Search of Lost Time, which used to be called Remembrance of Things Past. In the 2nd chapter of Swann’s Way, Marcel remembers his childhood home.
At the house, the setting is always grey and the time is perpetually 7 o’clock in the evening – bedtime for the young narrator. Later, Marcel tastes a petite madeleine dipped in tea, and this sparks more memories for him.
And this whole narrative causes me to think about the house where I grew up. that tiny green house in Huntington Beach. I remember that house as fondly as I might a family member. I remember it with such vividness – the color of the carpet in the dining room – the claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom – I had not ever considered to attempt to remember it the way Proust’s character does. And so:
If I stand in the street and look at the house, it’s morning. It’s time fore school. White fog is rolling in from the ocean and blanketing everything. But if I stand on the porch and look out, it’s daytime – sunny and bright. Each room of my little house contains a different set of memories – the living room is filled with Christmas, string games, blanket fort building, Saturday morning cartoons, and uncles. My parent’s bedroom is all spankings, reading Star Trek books with my dad, and brown quilts.
And so I wonder whether or not I remember more about my childhood than most people. If so, why do I remember so much so vividly? If not, why don’t more people talk about their memories from when they were little? Why does Proust have this singular memory of bedtime and the staircase, and I have hundreds of memories all over my house?
As I delve deeper into the study of time, memory surfaces again and again. It is such a subjective experience, both broken and powerful. Would that we could put Proust and Husserl in a room together and see what happens….
As I prepare to dig deep into my dissertation, I have learned a lot about my own writing process(es) – one of which is podcasting.
Let me explain:
In order to stay healthy and brain-stimulated, I run several times a week. When I run, I don’t like to listen to music. The beat forces my pace and this frustrates me. Instead, I podcast. I don’t listen to funny podcasts because laughing while running is also not wonderful. Instead, I podcast educational materials. Recently I have discovered the material theorists dream – The History of the World in 100 Objects sponsored by the British Museum.
Not only has this lead to several hours of fascinating discovery about significant bits of history of which I was unaware, it has also (today) lead to some rather large bits of inspiration. In podacst 015: “Early Writing Tablet“, broadcast on 5 February 2010, the narrator says, “Of all mankind’s great advances, the development of writing is surely the giant. I think you can say, it’s had more impact on the evolution of human society than any other invention.” The episode, which I have linked you to above, goes on to talk about one of the first discoveries of writing in Uruk. The writing is record keeping – and the record is about beer. Suffice it to say, this program is worth a listen.
As I listened to this short episode, I realized that I don’t have to do much to connect the theoretical lens that I am using to frame my dissertation to the study of writing. Writing is so immensely important to humans, civilization, and the labor we put into making those civilizations work, almost any object, space, or even software can be linked to how important writing on, in, or about is crucial to deciphering how to better ourselves, and the civilizations in which we live.
If you hadn’t heard yet, yesterday was the 25th birthday of the internet. About 25 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee was working as a physicist, and decided to connect up some computers to each other. Well… that’s the really short story of it.
There are a bunch of great stories on public radio this week to mark the internet’s age. For example, here is a little clip about Berners-Lee and his new idea – the world wide web:
Sure, it’s all terrifically interesting, but what does it all mean for us right now? The short answer:
We still have no idea.
What has really been catching my attention lately is all the talk about security, privacy, and surveillance. According to Colin J. Bennett’s 2011 article “In Defence of Privacy,” the concept(s) of privacty “is not, and can never be, the antidote to surveillance” (485). This took me back a bit – isn’t that what we hear in popular media all the time these days? Isn’t privacy the opposite of surveillance?
Reading further in Bennett’s article, which is largely a literature review about many of the opposing views concerning privacy, we don’t really have a cohesive concept about privacy at all. So how are we to decide whether or not our privacy is being ‘invaded’ if we don’t even really know what privacy is? I put ‘invaded’ in quotations here because ‘invasion of space’ is only one concept of how privacy works (488-489).
Rather than go on and on about how much we don’t know, I find it worth my time to explore more of how we discuss privacy, particularly in terms of rhetoric and composition pedagogy and theory in the last 25 years.
For now, I leave you with last week’s Science Friday exploration of security on the interwebs in which the expert, Bruce Schneier claims, “It’s less a little brother, and more a lot of little brothers” (Schneier), concerning networked items that can track what we do.
Later, our noble host, Ira Flatow asks, “Can we opt out?” – In short, the rather unsatisfying answer is that we kind of can’t.
This weekend I had the priviledge of attending the 2013 National Council of English Teachers 103rd Annual Convention titled “(Re)Inventing the Future of English in Boston.
I made a lot of observations during the conference that have affected me both emotionally and professionally (like how cool of a city Boston is), but for this entry, I chose to focus on just one thing:
As many of you might know from reading past blogs (I haven’t made any recently :( ), I am very interested, and immersed in ways to harness technology that are interesting and relevant to my students. But one thing that absolutely blew me away, was how little technology is allowed in public school classrooms.
Middle and Secondary school teachers I spoke with reported the restrictions of websites in their classrooms to include any social medias, youtube, and even google. That’s right. Students can’t google anything.
In the interest of keeping this short, I would like to link you to an article that is definitely worth reading to find out more on this topic:
This is a must-read article. The topic, in my personal belief, should be one that all educators make a big stink about. And not just educators, but parents, and people who care about children, and people that work for companies that might one day hire someone that is now a child.
Please pass it on, and make the move to comment (either here, or in Hybrid Pedagogy, or elsewhere) – we all need to hear this.
The trees were a wonderful place to hide out and recharge from that last zombie entanglement. I almost got my leg bitten clean off. Thank God I spent all that time training in back alleys of Decatur, Georgia.
Alas, the trees are overrun and we humans are being scattered to the four corners of the globe. Funny, since I wasn’t aware that globes had corners.
I run as fast as I can, by attack chicken on my shoulder for safety. My chicken sure does love pecking some zombie heads.
And I come across this HUGE church.
I approach with caution. Everything we do these days requires caution. The news programming stopped over an hour ago and everything is quiet. I’m betting that old abandoned house me, @joeylunchbox and @profnwalker stayed in doesn’t have any sputtering electricity left in it at all.
Thankfully, the church appears to be cleared, except for one zombie under a pew. The zombie has no legs and my chicken kills it easily.
I hold the door open for others to run in.
@caty_posch makes it by a small margin.
and @joeylunchbox and @profnwalker sneak in too.
And here come @bekah_Hogue and @writingasjoe in their flying car!
It’s a party once again.
Up in the safezone, away from the zombies below, we are running out of time. They know we are up here. They can smell us.
Fortunately, I have been working on an antidote. A serum of sorts. Based on the ingredients I know to be in acrylic paint, mixed with the effects of hot chili peppers, I have deduced that the combination can jolt a zombie back to life… but the unfortunate trick is that I have to get verrrrrrry close to get it into a zombies mouth.
We have very little time, and I might not make it out alive… but I’ll try.