Saturday, May 29, 2010

The End

Find me now at the new Disjointed Observations.

Here's the issue: this space is stale and stagnant, at least for me. It's creation was necessitated when I took a class in the Fall of 2007 in which digital submission of writing required, and I hadn't though to use it past those ends. Eventually I found it a decent forum for responding to things I read or musing about other topics that arose as I pursued my degree, but those impulses never manifested themselves into a sustained or co
mpelling effort for me. And if it failed to be those things for me, there is slight chance that it would be those things for someone else.

I started watching Lost only this January and made my way through five seasons in six weeks as I looked forward to the final season's premiere. Curiosity sent me searching the interwebs, stumbling across the work of paid critics like Jeff Jensen from Entertainment Weekly and Alan Sepinwall, who has recently taken his very good blog to These guys were writing the sort of analysis I could only hope to produce, and ridiculously late I began to realize that this was something I could be doing too. Perhaps not for multiple television programs as I rarely watch more than a few, but for the sorts of things that interest me and might be of interest to others. In fact, I had a good time writing however briefly about the use of hypertext in film a few months ago; I am a fool for not producing this sort of content more often.

This interest in Lost coupled with the unbelievable hype that surrounded the final season introduced some new scholars to me as well. Aided by my long overdue embrace of Twitter, analysis of episodes were constantly being referred by those I followed, and I found myself with more than I could handle in terms of trying to figure out the importance of sideways-universe. But these writers produced content about a lot of things, not just Lost, and rather than being paid to write for a web/print publication, they were often graduate students or young professors--people who are walking the same path that I am, aside from the small fact that they are producing ideas while I am not.

So this (obviously) needs to change. For one, it means shutting this space down and starting up a new one, a fresh one, that will hopefully inspire me to get more done. But more importantly, it means rethinking the way I approach writing, both in this sort of online space as well as more traditional ones. Not only do I want my posting to reflect my research interests, I also want there to be a more personal element to what I write. Example: I now realize that the sort of job I have now is not the sort of job where I am setting myself up for a big payday. Neither good/bad, it is a reality. The only way for me to earn more money is to work harder, longer. I want to work smarter. It takes the same amount of effort to write a post read by one person as it does a post read by a million. If I can find a way to get paid a penny a reader, I'd be working smarter, even with far fewer than a seven-figure readership.

I have lagged far behind my peers when it comes to engaging with new media. As I now am researching a degree in the digital humanities with research interests firmly lying within the ways communication in digital spaces affects communication in non-digital ones, I need to not only engage with such things but also note my observations. I'll almost certainly continue to record my thoughts on Star Trek and mainstream fiction/nonfiction books, but I hope to write a lot more a lot more often.

This isn't the first time I have made such a vow, but with all the free time I find myself with as my wife finishes her degree while I merely work a few shifts a week, I feel it is the time. The current plan is to go live on a new site within a week. Of course, I will publicize the shift all over the place and put a link at the top of this entry, but this space will remain inactive, as a relic. Maybe I will import the content, maybe not.

I'm keeping the name though, it's too good.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reading List: April 2010

After returning from the PCA/ACA National Conference last month, I was contacted by a couple of professors from SUNY Potsdam who are editing a book on digital rhetoric inviting me to submit my presentation as a chapter, assuming I could get it done in under two weeks. Knowing a good thing when it falls in my lap, I jumped at the opportunity, integrating a portion of my thesis with my conference paper in order to make a broader, and more lengthy, argument. So that's how I spent the last half of April and a major reason why nothing got posted here.

Now I have joined a group of colleagues in preparing an article on Facebook & Pedagogy, which will almost certainly be published. Not exactly in my area of research, but a peer-reviewed publication will be very advantageous at this stage in the career. And after receiving a call for papers from Modern Fiction Studies, I am beginning a look at the way the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise dealt with the cultural climate in the US after 9/11. I'm sure I'll find an angle somewhere, and even though I am unlikely to be published in such a prestigious
journal at this stage, it's a win/win scenario because I can always send it elsewhere if it doesn't pass muster. It's also nice to sit around and watch hours of Star Trek guilt free.

I also found out this afternoon that I was placed on the wait list for Florida's program, so I am hoping that with the book chapter, the co-authored paper, my analysis of Enterprise and 9/11, and a revised paper I did for a Writing Center Theory & Practice course, I'll be a sure thing come next year.

Anyway, last month I completed 7 books and 4 graphic novels, which were:
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  • Queen & Country: Operation: Morningstar by Greg Rucka & Brian Hurtt
  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
  • The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
  • Fables: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham, et al.
  • The Needs of the Many by Michael A. Martin
  • Queen & Country: Operation: Crystal Ball by Rucka & Leandro Fernandez
  • Reality Hunger by David Shields
  • Queen & Country: Operation: Black Wall by Rucka & J. Alexander
  • Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith
  • Synthesis by James Swallow
Wish I would have had a little time to give these works a proper review, but here's a quick shorthand.

The Good: Wallace, Shields, Simmons, Rucka, Smith, Swallow
The Bad: Willingham, Gawande
The Ugly: Martin

Thoughts and comments are encouraged and appreciated.