So, I'm surfin' through my blogroll, and I see that Jenny is taking up yoga. She mentions that taking yoga has made her realize "how little (she) breathe(s)." I can totally identify with that, as success in a speedy world encourages non-contemplation of bodily things like chewing and breathing. Oddly, even though I have been lifting weights since high school football, I never really applied what I learned about breathing technique to my quotidian awareness (not, I'm not a no-neck guy...I played defensive back [mostly safety, which means I am the fastest person at running backwards]). My *secret* admiration of Dr. Weil didn't snap me out of this unawareness. It wasn't until my partner convinced me to take ballet that I began to *really* pay attention to this common and repeated activity. I think it probably started with trying to hide the fact that I am *always* the most unflexible person in any given ballet class. Breathing definitely helps with schootching a micron closer to your toes or knees (or to at least breaking a 90 degree angle). This daily ritual of breathing was only reinforced with music and the heuristics that dance teachers use to align posture (making the figure 8 through your spine and head, etc.). These are some of the reason I love seeing people like Deb Hawhee, Blake Scott, and Byron Hawk taking on the rhetorical situation of bodies...


"Radical" Copyright

So far, all of the publicity surrounding the UCLA metaphorical fisticuffs has been pretty predicatable (you know...the story about the pencilneck ideologue offering students $50-$100 to record lectures and take notes from the evil faculty indoctrinators [cue orchestral violin swell in minor key]). The most interesting development I have read was UCLA's response to the pureile and ineffective jihad against Academic Freedom. At the very end of a predictable CNN writeup about the fight (written pretty much as a "right-vs-left" horserace) is an interesting sentence.
UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said the university planned to send Jones a letter warning him that faculty hold copyrights to all their course materials and that his campaign encouraged students to violate school policy.
*end snip*
I'm not sure how most universities handle faculty lectures, but I haven't seen this copyright angle used (at least publicly, John Logie?). It might be interesting to see intellectual property law hitch its wagon to academic freedom. After all, Universities are finding the commons model more difficult to articulate to state politicians looking to slash taxes and win elections. The "it's good for the state" model curries less and less favor, so it might make sense to see what comes out of the mouth of teachers as a type of owned property (and therefore off-limits to those who would treat utterances as public property and therefore actionable in the public sphere). It probably opens a can of worms, but I'm not sure this idea is all that bad.

Chomsky is right--you need to read the end a news story to find out what is REALLY important.


JDJE rules the datacloud

I have bookmarked about a half-dozen of Johndan's Datacloud posts. I give up trying to compete with a snow-bound tech comm genius. Just go over there and see some of the cool odds and ends he has unearthed. I especially recommend the 2006 annotated workspaces. It goes well with the fish AND the polenta...


When Blogs Attack

I'm a pretty big fan of Chuck Olson's Minnesota Stories video podcast, partially because of how raw some of these podcast videos can be. Their Christmas podcast consisted of three guys smashing up a television and a turntable with almost zero editing (you could hear mostly just Mike Judge'esque "heh heh"ing as the only soundtrack to this Dionysian violence). The podcasts of Ethiopians surreally protesting outside of a suburban Barnes and Noble, a review of a coffeeshop in early evening, and creative lawn snowboarding all make this a really interesting blog/podcast experience. Still, the recent "WCCO Radio" episode ended by the host Chuck Olson videotaping a driver from a hotel cursing him out and spitting at his car because Chuck cut him off. Chuck remarks

"What he probably doesn't realize is that I have a high-definition camera, and that I can call...and get his @$$ fired for spitting at me, so that's exactly what I am going to do. I love video blogging."

I'm still a fan and get a bit of a thrill watching Chuck (possibly) enact some retribution for someone else's road rage, but I still have to say that I'm not sure this should have been on a video blog for public consumption. I know that "Reality" TV packages and sells exactly these cinema verite (sorry about the accents, francophiles) moments, but I'm not as gung-ho about throwing this kind of edited read meat out for public consumption when the production company is essentially an army of one. After all, who do you blame for the "crassness" of documenting and publicizing others petty weaknesses. Not even sure I should be commenting about this...


Long Run

5 miles in 48 minutes. Ran past the George House Coffeeshop, past the "Crazy Church" and halfway to the DOW plant.

It was in the 40s and sunny. In January.

All I wore was a light windbreaker and warmup pants. No gloves necessary.


Posthuman Writing

Discovered a very cool project that demonstrates, in my estimation, a good posthuman sense of purpose. The "Alley Garden Project" website has this description:
Our team has a plan to retrofit Albuquerque with the community-initiated green space it needs. A pilot project has already begun, and will continue into the summer, to demonstrate the potential of the idea. Our partnership will introduce community gardens into an unlikely but abundant space throughout the city--Albuquerque's alleys. We hope that these Alley Gardens will expand throughout our urban environment. The project will transform alleys into beautiful and productive spaces, nourishing our city by beautification and community investment. The Alley Gardens project will also enhance our city in many other ways: by empowering neighborhoods, and localizing food sources; by acknowledging our limitations with rainwater harvesting, and by reanalysis of our community's needs, we can raise the quality of life we experience in our city.
I like the use of the phrase "quality of life." It situates improvement within limitation. It counters some of the larger development usurpation of the "quality of life" mantras. Usually, this means divorcing oneself from the immediate ecology/environment through the use of generica (whatever cultural amenities are in vogue, including big boxes and restaurants) and then creating some sort of "retreat" (either through a McMansion with a "great room" and vaulted ceilings or some other nondescript collection of spatial significations of wealth). "Quality" here means getting to the alleys with broken glass, etc. and meeting the folks around and even trying to see what kind of stuff survives in "this weather."

What is doubly interesting to me is how this group has gotten the word out through press releases, grant applications, and even the aforementioned website. This is the kind of writing I expect my students to do and the kind of writing they can expect training for in their classes. Situating bodies, acknowledging contexts, and advocating for users in an unpredictable ecology.


Missing One of the Points

I am not a breathless proponent of the "wisdom of the masses" meme (the "mean meme"? And, yes, I am aware that I have a Freakonomics link--those guys actually mine the data instead of trusting in it's "wisdom"). Still, I think that Jonathon Keat's Wired article "File This Under Data Overload" not only misses the point of digitization, but, because of the human-interest angle, misses one of the purposes of an archive.

Of course, no matter how the system evolves between now and 2011, one module it won't encompass is Mr. Taylor. While Lockheed's design prototype emphasizes intuitive access for users ranging from amateur genealogists to career paper pushers, no software on the market today or in the future is likely to have the veteran archivist's idiosyncratic expertise, his intuitive grasp of the collection's contents.

I am a HUGE fan of archivists, but digitizing these materials will enable an entire range of archivists to apply their own expertise to these archives. Limiting close scrutiny to meatspace shuts out an endless amount of possible experts from inhabiting the archives. There is nothing preventing institutions from hiring people who are digital archives experts. Harvard could hire one. UT Austin could hire one. I suspect that there will be amateur archivists who become experts in negotiating this mass of data. The interconnectivity could enable people to create new knowledge networks as well as interface filters that enable all sorts of Vannavarian pathways through this huge archive.


Welcome to the "Blogos"phere

Professor Hawhee just started a new blog. She studies rhetoric and is an expert on rhetoric and the body. This is not surprising to me, since when I was at Penn State, I tried my best to rope her into playing for my intramural basketball team (she was a year behind me when I was an M.A. student). You see, she played Tennessee basketball for HOF coach Pat Summitt. I needed to know little else, but got a chance to mix it up with her (along with much of the Philosophy department and my roomie Dr. Grass) in pickup basketball games. Although I was totally bummed when she didn't join the team (she did so the next year AFTER I had left for another Ph.D program), I knew that she would go far if she studied as hard as she played.

In short, give her blog a read. In long, give all of her scholarship a read. It's that good.


Day After the Marine Corps Marathon

Sport and I stretching the day after the Marine Corps Marathon. No, this photo was not staged. M-dawg or D-dawg (our running buddies and fellow foodies) took this photo as we were waiting for the bus at the Postal Museum in D.C. This marathon was VERY painful, but the next day was much more pleasant than the New York City Marathon aftermath. Having to do the "backwards crab" down subway stairs is NOT my idea of celebrating the accomplishment.

4.5 miles

Ran 4.5 miles in 45 minutes (yes, I run most training runs at 10-minute mile pace). The weather is pretty darn warm (45 and overcast), so I didn't wear gloves and had to take off my windbreaker about halfway through.

I'm going to eat my greens, beans, and cornbread tonight (that isn't bad luck, is it?).