valerievisual

Readings, and Related Inspirations


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Timeline Tool Experiment

Below is an experiment with a tool called Timeline JS. Interestingly, Timeline JS is populated by information the user plugs in to a Google Spreadsheet. Timeline JS provides the user with the template, and then the user is expected to publish their timeline on their website.

As an experiment, I built a VERY short, and rather silly bio about myself so I could publish it here and see what it looks like.

//cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3/latest/embed/index.html?source=1piL_7tMSWVdLq3c0wfOXZpIomYmUAoJaPUdqWl-Juow&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650

And here is another experiment based on numbers and not dates. Let’s see what happens:

//cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3/latest/embed/index.html?source=1_XDct8jVhfA4kGa8qQoYZhbNts4kbXoMfiNOKYecUNE&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650


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Getting in Good with God – TvsZ3 Safezone 2.

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.

Who knew it'd be a Methodist church?

Who knew it’d be a Methodist 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.


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My version of the Zombie Antidote

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.


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Get Higher – Twitter vs. Zombies 3 Safezone

I have somehow managed to remain human through what the news stations are now calling a “zombie apocalypse.” All the making fun of my friends and their zombie obsessions… I guess I got mine. But that friend that made the zombie fighting mobile – guess who got taken down before he ever got into his ride? Yeah… it’s been a hard couple of days. I’m haggard and I’m tired and I’m out of mousse. At least the zombies don’t care what my hair looks like.

My buddy @joeylunchbox

found me in Decatur where I was holing up in a service alleyway behind an old dumpster training. Getting stronger.

I couldn't make it back to my university to get my good shoes - so my old pair will have to do.

I couldn’t make it back to my university to get my good shoes – so my old pair will have to do.

@joey lunchbox was all covered in zombie blood and she scared the everliving crap out of me. I couldn’t believe she was alive, and I almost killed her with a knife I had been carrying in the back of my jeans.

Crouched on an abandoned porch of an empty restaurant, I ready for the attack.

Crouched on an abandoned porch of an empty restaurant, I ready for the attack.

We made it to the safezone and holed up there for pretty much the remainder of the night. I slept like a baby, and @joeylunchbox was able to procure a little food, thank goodness.

Now we have been amassing weapons like the chopsticks I am growing expert at throwing to fend off the smaller zombies.

like stars, these sticks work to ward off smaller zombies.

like stars, these sticks work to ward off smaller zombies.

And knives we’ve collected from various kitchens.

My best ally, my attack chicken, I shall save for a zombie #weapon surprise. Best not to give away everything up front.

kitchen knives.

kitchen knives.

But if there’s one thing we learned the most – it’s to get higher. Zombies are some lazy fools and they don’t want to climb.

@joeylunchbox and I are refreshed and ready to run for our new location. Our current situation is getting too hairy. Good thing we’ve found an old abandoned house with a lot of wonderful floors. And outside stair from which we can survive any kind of attack.

Get Higher - that's the answer!

Get Higher – that’s the answer!

COME ON! LET’S CLIMB!

On the way we find @profnwalker too!

Hurry! It’s our only hope!


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My Summer Romance with Raymond Williams

I meant to write this weeks ago. But then I began reading Adam Banks‘s Digital Griots, and was enjoying it so much, I just forgot about Raymond Williams.

But let me admit this to you – Raymond Williams is my summer romance.

When I first began to read him, I wasn’t sure I liked him much. I wasn’t sure if he was for me. He’s fast. He’s smart. I was lost. And then I wasn’t. And when someone recalled my Marxism and Literature book, my very next read, I got so upset, I just decided to read something else until I got over it. Recall is just mean, people. Mean. I feel like a teenager who’s boyfriend got stolen by a prettier girl.

But seriously, I am over it. Mostly.

So let me tell you a little bit about how I met Raymond Williams.

If you’ve read the last couple of posts, you’ll know I’ve been reading Terry Eagleton’s edited collection called Marxist Literary Theory. I was excited to read the excerpt by Raymond Williams because a lot of the Marxist criticism I’ve been reading cite him. It’s kind of like when you’ve seen someone across the room a bunch, but haven’t actually met them.

The excerpts I read are from “Tragedy and Revolution” (1966) and “Literature” (1977). Tragedy, in this case, is similar to the way Kenneth Burke talks about tragedy in a dramatistic sort of way. This is not the kind of tragedy where everyone dies at the end.

At first though, Raymond Williams gives a lot of information on the mechanisms of Marxist-esque structuralisms, assuming that the reader already understands when the -isms he covers occur in history. I decided, through context clues (forgoing the use of internet while reading) that Naturalism comes before Romanticism, which occurs sometime during the Enlightenment, and so on. I was kind of lost though. Raymond Williams was not giving me enough information for me to be able to keep up. But I was intrigued, and I kept reading.

I particularly like the bits about tragedy. Williams makes claims that I have not heard articulated in quite the ways he states them:

“We say, understandably, that we must avoid war at all costs, but what we commonly mean is that we will avoid war at any cost but our own” (257). – Get it Williams – that’s what we mean in America – otherwise, why would we all keep and maintain nuclear arms?

“The customary pretense that this organized violence is defensive, and that it is wholly dedicated to human freedom, is literally a tragic illusion” (256).  – I suppose that depends on what you mean by freedom? I can’t help but think about McGee’s notion of the ideograph here.

And relates to:

“It is a very deep irony that, in ideology, the major conflict in the world is between different versions of the absolute rights of man” (256). – I often have to remind myself that other people are actually people. Constantly. And learning to account for all of our differences is… problematic. This is a beautiful entry point to that.

“We acknowledge others as men and any such acknowledgement is the beginning of a struggle, as the continuing reality of our lives.” – keyword here is ‘acknowledgement’ – what happens when we start to think of other people as people that have value, just like I do?

— I’ve changed my mind on how cool I thought the recall was – I will be reading more Williams soon – Maybe my summer romance will blossom into something more long term.


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What I Learn by Asking About WorkShops

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been work-shopping papers with my students.

It works like this:

As you can see, the students are split into 3 teams of approximately 6-7 students each. They meet with me and their team once per week for 2 weeks, and then they have fall break. Over those two weeks, they are to accomplish 4 tasks:

1. Present their ideas in some kind of outline or brainstorming fashion so we can give them arrangement feedback before they begin to write.

2. Write the paper and trade with their teammates.

3. Read teammate papers and give constructive feedback.

4. Rewrite and repeat over the holiday.

The whole process usually goes rather well because we practice feedback on earlier papers, and because I hold my students to the ‘don’t be jerk’ principle, which basically says, “pull your own weight in your group and all will go well” – the philosophy is that if everyone works hard, we won’t be left with that situation where that one group member does little but gains a lot. Somehow – it works almost every time.

Today, we met back as a whole class and I asked for their feedback.

Below are my more interesting findings:

  • Students love love love reading each others paper to see how they stack up. It gives them a sense that their writing isn’t as bad as they thought, and in some cases, is quite a lot better than they thought.
  • Students will hold each other to working standards as long as I do. When I implement the ‘don’t be a jerk’ policy, they carry it through quote well.
  • Students used google docs, and google hangout to share and meet. They prefer the ease of new media to meet because it cuts down on travel time for students who commute to campus.
  • No matter how much I try to sell it, students (not even the best and brightest) are not going to share drafts over Thanksgiving Break. They may start out with good intentions to do this, but they simply won’t. This is a fantasy I will harbor until my death.

What I found most interesting today, is that my students all found value in peer review. I guaranteed them that these skills will transfer. I told them that the rest of their life is going to be made up of different types of group work. Maybe I’m just getting better at this job, but they’re buying it.

I think this one might stick with them. And that makes me warm inside, despite the chilly Fall weather we’ve been having.