"Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them; it is for you to seek out this truth and to decide whether any part of it is worth keeping." --Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own

Finding George Orwell in Burma

Last night I finished reading Finding George Orwell in Burma and I reccomend it to anyone who is even the least bit a fan of Orwell's writing. The book is written by Emma Larkin, "a pseudonym for an American journalist who was born and raised in Asia" (from the dust jacket). What enables Larkin to do the job she does is her ability to speak Burmese, which she learned at the School of Oriental and African studies in London.

Generally speaking the book is a travelogue, chronicling Larkin's search for information on Orwell as she travels Burma, spending time in each space that Orwell spent time in while a member of the Imperial Police force. The book is broken up into these five "postings" of Orwell's, Mandalay, The Delta, Rangoon, Moulmein and Katha. I found the whole of the book interesting, but since one of my favorite Orwell works is Burmese Days, which takes place in Moulmein, I probably enjoyed that chapter the most. Larkin visits the actual buildings remaining from Orwell's time in the region, even the Lackersteen's house, along with the Club. Anyone who has read Burmese Days and enjoyed it will also enjoy this chapter, if not the whole text.

I'm Bald!

Last night I shaved my head, with some help from my wife Rachel and some support, if you can call it that, from our son Tobias. My pate is not entirely smooth, though I wish it were. Rachel likes it, and I like the looks of it too (except for the pasty whiteness where there used to be hair). I wonder how much work it will be shaving not just my face, but my head. Right now my head feels like 200 grit sandpaper. T-shirts snag on it rather than sliding smoothly. The only real concern, beyond sunburn, is that I'll need some sort of skull-cap while cycling to keep the sweat from dripping into my eyes, which happened anyway with what little hair I had.

Road Trips and Americana

I spent the July 4 holiday week-end on the Oregon Coast in the Neskowin and Lincoln City area. While there, we flew kites, rode our bikes along 101, ate way too much, watched some fireworks, relaxed and I also got to paddle in an out-rigger, which was a bit of fun. But enough of that.

On the way home, on I-84 I think it is, that runs east from Portland, OR to many such illustrious American cities as Boise, Pocatello and more, we passed a good many tractor trailers. But one in particular caught my eye. As we pulled up to the rear of the trailer, I noticed a hand-lettered sign in red, white and blue (what could be more patriotic?).

John Lovas: A Memoria

While attending the recent Computers and Writing Conference at Stanford, a number of us bloggers wondered where John Lovas was. Seeing that he lived and worked in the Palo Alto area, and that he had recently been at the 4C's held in San Francisco, it was only natural that he be at C&W. It was until after the conference close that we learned the reason why. John was sick at the time and died shortly after the conclusion of the conference.

I had only recently, as near as I can remember, met John f2f, at that was at the C's. John had been a presence on techrhet and at times on the blogs@kairosnews.org list. I really didn't know much about him except for what I read of his writing. On occasion I'd go to his blog (see the link above) and see what he had to say, but that was it. But that changed, at least a bit, at the C's.

CW 2005 Panel G.5: Teaching Visual Literacy

Kevin Brooks, North Dakota State U

"Scott McCloud's Big Triangle and New Media Composition"

  • A variation on the traditional rhetorical triangle, but with the whole thing fitting in the message corner more than the others
  • George Dardess says comics and the triangle provide both useful material and a need for refinement;
  • As seen in Visual Rhetoric in Digital World and Picturing Texts;
  • Robin Williams and CRAP: contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity
  • Words can be used as text, icons, and abstractly;
  • continum runs from purely abstract to purely representational but no item has any absolute location in the triangle;

CW 2005 Panel F.2: Rhetoric, Writing and Hypertext

Christine Alfano, Stanford

"Electronic Rhetoric in the Classroom: Hypertext, Argument and Student Writing" changed to "Choose your Own Adventure: The Complexities of Teaching Hyptext in the Classroom"

  • A non-linerar, audience/consumer driven nargument, following Daniel Anderson's "Prosumer" model of being producer and consumer at the same time;
  • Seeks to enact point, that althought arguement is generally linear, it can be developed in a multi-linear format with right balance of choices;"
  • Choice One: Research Hypertext Assignment. Students analyze and experiement with web writing, be they blogs, MOOs, wikis or what havfe you. How do classical rhetoric and digital strategies work together?;

CW 2005 Session E.6: Databases and Collaborative Spaces in First Year Composition

Matt Barton

"Empowering Teachers with Sharepoint"

  • Used at U South Florida to standardize curriculum, encourage collaboration, and more.
  • Wanted to develop some program control because admin wanted greater central control, to establish standards rather than have the standards foisted off on faculty. How to standarized without it being top down? Used WPA outcomes that were rather general but specific enough to keep writing teachers headed in roughly the same direction;
  • View composition program as a mosaic, a coherent system composed of many dazzling pieces;

CW 2005 D.2: Assessing Students' New Media Projects

Madleleine Sorapure

(http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/sorapure/accouting.html for examples of student work) No clear standards for assessing student multi-modal student work. Dearth of publications on such assessement. Strategies and criteria ought to be made explicit, whether mono or multi-modal assignments.

  • Some pair a traditional print paper with the multi-modal so as to avoid grading multi-modal work on its own: sorta the cop-out route;
  • How well does assignment address audience and criteria, which doesn't directly assess multi-modal (MM) concerns;

CW 2005 C.7: Community Building through Weblogs

Amy Earhart, Texas A&M University

"Blogging in the Distance Course: Community through Freepost and Coursepost Entries"


Each student creates and authors a blog in blogger. Used "ringsearch" to find and classmates blogs. Students required to post "freepost" at least once a week, open theme, student directed, of interest to students. "Coursepost" was to repsond to particular class content. Included responses to found and assigned readings. Responses to reading didn't generate any discussion. ASked to respond at least twice a week to other student blogs.

CW 2005 Session B.5: Self Representation and Agency in a Web of Commercialization

Mike Edwards: UMass Amherst

has his outline and a number of links available online at "Paris Hilton's Shoes: Online Identify and Economic Commodification." Rhetorical self-production as an act of branding, personified by Paris Hilton who has no value, one might say, beyond her "self." The choices we make when it comes to linking, blogging, blogroll or whatever creates a mediated self, a brand for ourselves in the way Paris has branded herself, just not so crass I would hope. As Mike notes in a quote, we see our own experience as a mediated experience, a mask to show others what kind of person we are.

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