Thursday, November 17, 2011

re-run, re-cycle, re-post:work sets

adapted from initial blog post. yes still at it, tweeting and fcbk too. social media is more than just one work set, if i can call something not in the least connected with gainful employment a "work set" ~ but why not? here i get to define "work." life on the other hand defines itself. work often defines life but does not have to unless you let it. 

what are my current work sets? not entirely the same as when i started this blog in 2010 and wrote the original post.

one "work set" involves learning how to use new social media and other applications for online teaching, ESL in particular. yet another personal peculiarosity in that i am not actively employed teaching online or otherwise. volunteer teaching ESL online may count somewhat.

and then there is the massive blogging effort and community networking. 

the chamber of commerce is no longer part of any work set. pulling its tail (and the tails of true believers therein and elsewhere in the community) as needed (a public service) should count as a work set 

blogging and community networking even by blog (as in 1 if by email, 2 if by blog) should go into subcategories but not this time. ditto life not part of work sets.


How very suitable for this neglected corner of my blog network. With all the workplace related posts piling up in my reader, I really should be doing better here.

Briefly commenting on the following article: emphasizing the recent bull market in this truly annoying genre overlooks that it has always been with us. Remember Paul Harvey? Little People Overcoming Adversity On Their Own stories were a specialty of his. As an underemployed single parent at the decade turned from 60s to 70s, I recall the depression of reading and hearing about other single parents rising up what was dragging me down and wearing me out. Not just overcoming without assistance but single-handedly reroofing their homes. Somehow the roofs were the final straw.

The last few years have seen a bull market for Sadness Journalism – stories of foreclosures, medical bankruptcies, layoffs, homelessness, hunger, and a host of other woes that were invisible when they happened to the underclass but are now polite conversation since they're happening to middle class people. The narratives inevitably follow one of a few well established frameworks. The sad story (man loses job, descends into alcoholism, accidentally kills loved ones/ends up in prison). The downshifting story (well paid professional loses job, realizes she is happier living in a small house with a garden and no car).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

English Department of the Future

The time: some decades hence.
The place: The University of South Jetsonville, a large state university.

The Grand Administrator is speaking to one of his minions about what used to be called the English Department. Although there are four faculty members who still comprise the "English Department," most of the department, and its chair, have been "restructured" and have disappeared in the name of increasing efficiency. Curiously enough, the number of administrators has only increased. We enter in the midst of the conversation.

The Grand Administrator: "What can you tell me about how we're achieving excellence in the English Department?"

Minion: "Well, our single section of English 101 is a success. The accrediting agency is happy that we have moved to weekly Scantron grammar quizzes instead of actual writing, since it's impossible to be accredited without measurable outcomes. There's nothing more measurable than a quiz."

It gets 'better' ~ read the rest at

From April 2008, so either prescient or just another case of the le plus ça change le plus c'est la même chose. That or, quoting Gen DeGaulle, ça c'est le chit en lit. Inspired by discussion of tenureless university, closer now than it was then. The scenario is equally reminiscent of a certain rural NM branch campus, cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, circa 2003.... and no doubt innumerable others of its ilk

Posted via email from Academentia

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inside PermaShelter Model 2011

From Transitional Shelter to permanent or long term housing. A home. You've seen pictures of the outside ~ now take a tour of the compact interior, designed for efficiency and to maximize limited available space.  

Of course  production values and sound track are unlikely to get us any Oscar or other film prize nominations. That's not the film's purpose anyway. Can you visualize PermaShelters as real world living space, a home where there was none before? That is our purpose. 

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

Sunday, February 13, 2011

what is academic work?

Rounding up all the usual suspects and then some: Omnivore, the Book Forum blog, surveys academia as written about online in magazines, book reviews and blogs, via selected, annotated links.

From Miller-McCune, blacks and Latinos who apply to the most selective public universities in some "race-blind" states are being reshuffled downward to lower-quality schools, researchers say; and studies find a decline in Asian-American students’ success once they move away from home and go to college. A review of Diary of a Dean by Herbert I. London. A review of No University is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom by Cary Nelson. Does Google Scholar push the most popular content rather than act as a neutral tool? A review of Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age by Ann M. Blair (and more). Laurie Fendrich on the humanities and human temperaments (and part 2). Challenging the Left: An Objectivist case for intellectual diversity in academia. A review of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa (and more and more). Cult Stud Mugged: Why we should stop worrying and learn to love a hip English professor. Stephen Brockmann wonders if a key cause of the crisis facing humanities programs can be traced to the culture wars of the '80s. Monty Python's Academic Circus: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition — or high modernism in the guise of British goofballery. What is academic work? In academic debate for academic debate's sake, the pleasures are as palpable as they are esoteric. Do rich, white Protestants have a big edge in admissions?

Posted via email from Academentia

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Haitian remembrances, in their own voices

Anniversaries are supposed to be celebrations, not catalogs of destruction, marked by delays and frustration. I can't help but recall that the 1st year is the paper anniversary and think on the symbolism, "Paper represents fragility, a delicate nature, but can also denote the acquisition of knowledge." Fragility, yes. Knowledge, to be hoped for. 

Blogger DocCrof writes, "Google and NewsNow are saturated with earthquake-anniversary stories, with few adding anything useful to our understanding of Haiti."

After going through my feed reader  skimming and tagging anniversary stories, looking for standouts for an anniversary remembrance post, I'm of the same mind. The post excerpted below, itself compiled from other posts by Haitian bloggers, caught my attention for its authentic and unadulterated voices. 

Perhaps later, I'll return to the anniversary stories, pick out a few for sharing links and images. 

Today marks one year since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Haitian bloggers are remembering…

The Livesay Haiti Weblog writes:

On 1/12/2010 at 4:53pm the landscape of Haiti was irrevocably changed. Despite great tribulation and loss the heart and spirit of the people endures. Today an entire country stops to remember those they lost. Please pray for them and with them.... There is no week in our lives in 38 years that is as vivid and clear in our memories as a year ago this week. 

Pétion-ville cemetery by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Karlito's Blog posts an image that “you possibily have been seeing this image pop up pretty much everywhere on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, BBm) today”, explaining:

Late last night as I was thinking about a way to commemorate the one year anniversary of Haiti”s devastating earthquake, It came to mind that I didn’t need to do much, I just needed to be a survivor, so I created this little image symbolically.

We need to be there not only to tell a story, the story, our story as we remember it to our children and our grandchildren but also to help built a better and safer future for them. We need to be survivors everyday so that every step we make forward in this life be the reflection of our gratitude for the blessings that God has bestowed upon us everyday since that day. Nothing is greater then the gift of life.

National Palace, by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence

On Twitter, the hashtags for the one-year anniversary of the earthquake are #remember #Haiti - and Tweeple have been using the micro-blogging platform to do just that. Bloggers on the ground in Haiti continue to weigh in. The Apparent Project Blog writes:

The last few days have been hard. Somehow I wish the calendar wasn't cyclical, because I'm not really ready to remember what happened a year ago.... I heard that they resurrected the Iron Market and it opened yesterday.... It was a place of significance for me and I cried as I saw the beautiful historical marketplace crumpled on the ground in the wake of the quake. I think for me it will be a moment of joy to see it rebuilt. The one thing that is fixed. The one thing that has been restored and repaired.

Indeed, @RAMHaiti posted several tweets about the inauguration of the rebuilt Iron Market…and a few about the stark contrast of the new facility to other areas of the capital:

Tent city, Juvenat by caribbeanfreephoto, used under a Creative Commons Licence

Today, whether it was through tweets, poetry or suggestions about ways in which to move forward, there is no doubt that this sad anniversary was top of mind in the regional blogosphere. Perhaps Shelley Clay sums it up best - today is important to remember because it is about the Haitian people:

It is January 12th. A baby is coming into the world today. A country is on her knees today. I will spend my day waiting for news of a boy or girl, probably go down to see the beautiful Iron Market, probably cry a little, hug my kids a lot, and remember what happened one year ago. God Bless Haiti this year!

All photos used in this post are by caribbeanfreephoto, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Creative Commons License. Visit caribbeanfreephoto's flickr photostream here.

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another MLA Online Roundup « Post Academic

Still no personally crafted MLA Convention-from-afar round-up, instead I spent the day community blogging, researching a story on, would you believe, the local Chamber of Commerce (which displays the same stunning disregard for transparency as highered admin), setting up for and settling into a couple of open online classes/workshops, one an experimental online super-mega-class, a MOOC.

Both delivery and subject for this last course, Learning and Knowledge Analytics, have major implications for the future of highered and academic labor. Why am I doing it? Curiosity, it's free, definitely a change of pace and, unless you are into ostrich, relevant.

Anyway, back to Post-academic's excellent MLA Convention roundup...

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionI would have made this a Twitter roundup, but the #mla11 feed is admirably polite and professional, aside from concerns about cliquishness among a certain group. To which I say, this is a convention, not high school, so make your own group if you don’t like the dominant group. It can be done. It’s a large convention, not a cafeteria. Watch “Police Academy” or “Stripes” or any other inspiring misfit comedy, take some notes and call me in the morning.

Anyway, on to the roundup:

The message of the digression (yes, intended or not, there's a message, or subtext if you prefer): nice to hear about the convention, but we all still have lives. Haven't checked recently, but not much about #mla1 on the adj-l list, not even about the "Academy in Hard Times" opening day initiative. A different quantum universe.

Posted via email from Academentia

Sunday, January 9, 2011

the academic divide

I'll get back to MLALA, Boston AHA and other convention follow-ups tomorrow or whenever the blog and media post-mortems roll in to supplement in-the-moment twitterati observations, not to mention the wealth of links on the rss reader to sort. In the meantime, Ominvore's annotated, academic-themed links fill the gap.

Communicating across the academic divide: Universities must nurture interdisciplinary relationships, which can lead to creative ideas that could fuel the economy's long-term health. Are English departments killing the humanities? From Minding the Campus, Russell K. Nieli on why Caltech is in a class by itself. What does a relationship between the intuitive symbolic work of children and the design of contemporary technologies mean for the academic world? The man who financed Facebook is offering 20 two-year $100,000 fellowships to teenagers with big ideas — as long as they leave university. An article on the 7 most important classes to take in college. With a cross-disciplinary approach to education, we can train a new class of problem-solvers to address current global challenges, from poverty to climate change. No talking in class: Campus liberals sacrificed free expression on the altar of political correctness. What happens when college is oversold: Why are more and more college graduates not entering the class of professional, technical and managerial workers that has been considered the main avenue of employment? An interview with Ronald A. Smith, author of Pay for Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform. For-profit college companies are taking in enormous amounts of federal student aid money by recruiting and enrolling members of the military, veterans and their families, with questionable returns.

Posted via email from Academentia

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My PLN Blueprint in 5 parts

This was one of my early posts explaining how I became involved in Social Media and the idea of a Personal Learning Network.It seems to be a topic that needs to be continually explained because of the growing number of educators who continue to enter the world of social media for educators.

Part 1

One of today’s educational buzzwords, or fad terms is the PLN.  For my purposes it stands for Personal Learning Network. Others call it a Professional Learning Network or Community or even Environment. That would be PLN, PLN, PLC, or PLE. Many educators today are involved understanding and developing their own PLN’s. Everyone has one, and each is different and as unique as a fingerprint. Some employ technology, and others dwell in faculty rooms across the country and around the world.

The history of my PLN began back in the late 70’s. It was formed not through the technology of the computer, but rather about the technology of a 27 foot sailing vessel. It was merely a sailboat, but in my mind, being my first boat, it was truly a vessel.

I live on Long Island in New York. It is a place where boating thrives for about five to six months a year, beginning in June and ending in October. As I grew up, I always went on others’ boats, but never owned my own. Working in a school district of a community on the shore of an island, I found many of my faculty friends were avid boaters. More specifically they were sail boaters , or more accurately, sailors. It was at this time of my life that I made a big decision to become a boat owner. I purchased a brand new 27 foot O’Day sailboat. There was only one small drawback to this major purchase and commitment, I had no idea how to sail.

I took a Coast Guard Course and read a bunch of books. I ordered several catalogues and every sailing Magazine subscription I could get delivered. As my purchase was being readied for delivery, I determined that my preparation might be lacking. That is when I developed a plan out of desperation. This was to be my first organized development of a Personal Learning Network.

The plan was simple and bordered on genius. It was based on knowing that sailors are a breed of boaters who love to sail at every opportunity. I informed the Yacht dealer that I wanted to take delivery of my vessel in the water and ready to sail in April. This was unheard of, since boating season did not really get going until June. That, however, was the genius part. I had two months before all of the sailors that I knew would have their own boats in the water. I on the other hand had a spanking-new Sailing vessel at their “Beck and call”. They only needed to take the owner along for the sail. I had about ten experienced sailors teaching me all that they knew in my Personal Learning Network. I was golden.

I also recognized that I stumbled upon a real plan for personal learning. I did not want to make any other major purchases to test my assumptions, but I did pay close attention to what I had accomplished and how I did it. I took note of what I needed to know and how I gather those who knew it around me. With the advent of the Internet I have expanded my reach for those who know what I need to know. I have developed a PLN beyond the faculty room and to Educational experts literally around the world.

Possibly the best description of the Personal Learning Network and how it works. Thinking just in terms of technology is misleading. I remember my first PLN: I was 14 and certainly didn't call it that. I was just trying to learn about something new on my own.

Posted via email from Academentia

Monday, January 3, 2011

Name That Weird Invention!

Life surrounds us with weird inventions and practices. Some we become so accustomed to that they no longer seem weird ~ normalization. I'll spare you extended references structuralism and Gombrich on the visual arts.

It’s time for the Name That Weird Invention! contest. Steven M. Johnson comes up with all sorts of crazy ideas in his weekly Museum of Possibilities posts. Can you come up with a name for this one? The commenters suggesting the funniest and wittiest names will win a free T-shirt from the NeatoShop. Let your imagination run wild, and good luck!

Somehow this also reminds me of Mountainair Moments. What would you designate as the oddest / weirdest structures, practices, stories, etc. about Mountainair? If unnamed, then go wild naming it. Yes, we have no free T-shirts today. Sorry about that...

Posted via email from Meanderings

Sunday, January 2, 2011

announcing a new digital daily

... PermaShelter SA covers #Haiti news, art, culture, music, development, disaster relief updates and more online at, Subscribe by email (button on site) or to RSS feed. Learn more about Haiti, conflicts, triumphs and why rebuilding matters. 

Before PermaShelter... 

Our vision of "After" 

and in many colors

Posted via email from Haven at Harbor Homes

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HNY & Independence Day ~ with soup

 ★* Happy New Year *★* ˛. _██_*.。*./ ♥ / .˛* .˛。.˛.*.★*
For Haitians, the day was more than just the start of another year: it is also their Independence Day. Like many holidays, this one comes with its own special dish, joumou or pumpkin soup, which is poignantly symbolic of freedom to Haitians. 

1 lb.cubed beef stew meat 
2 lb. pumpkin (winter squash)
1 lb. cabbage sliced, chopped 
3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery sliced and cut,
3 quarts water (more later if needed) 
1 large onion cubed 
6 medium potatoes
1 lb. malanga peeled and cubed or equivalent 
3 medium sized turnips, peeled and cubed
2 limes cut in half and juiced 
1/4 lb vermicelli, macaroni broken short 
4 garlic cloves, 2 sliced scallions, 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, all grinded or pounded
1 scotch bonnet pepper, whole with stem.(hot)
  1. Clean the meat with hot water and lemon juice and set aside in a bowl. 
  2. Add the spice paste and let marinated for at least an hour. 
  3. Bring water to boil in stockpot, add meat and hot pepper, cover the pot and let cook until tender (about 1 ½- 2 hrs) 
  4. Add carrots and pumpkin to the tendered meat and continue cooking for 20 minutes 
  5. When pumpkin gets soft, remove and puree it in blender but, discard the chile pepper. Add the puree back into the pot. 
  6. Add the potatoes, celery, turnips, malanga cubes to the soup, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for another 20 minutes. Add water if necessary because you don't want the soup to be too thick. 
  7. Continue boiling until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked (1/2 hour). 
  8. Add vermicelli and macaroni or pasta and continue cooking until tender. 
  9. Taste and add seasoning at will, salt or hot pepper. Pour in lime juice and stir. 
  10. Turn off the heat, cover pot and let sit until ready to serve in medium size bowl. Put on the side a beautiful basket of sliced bread for 6 persons.
Also posted at Harbor Homes LLC on the blog, Haven