Back in the office

phone_light.gifAm back in the office now, with its fresh new wall. When I’m in my office, I regularly imagine that the message light on my phone blinks at me, even when there’s no message. At least once per work day, I imagine that I see the light blink and redirect my attention to it, only to find it staring back at me unblinkingly. Such was my experience a moment ago. Welcome back, Cotter.

Writing About Ugly

zeFrank on why Ugly is Cool rocks. I’ve heard these things before, of course, but it would be interesting to use this in reposte to people arguing for teaching design alongside electrate writing tools.

Ohio State returns


It turns out the tree in our backyard is an Ohio Buckeye tree. I guess my choice of University of Florida over Ohio State finally returns to haunt me. I guess if I’d chosen Ohio State, we’d find a gator nest, eh?

I also learned that the Ohio Buckeye tree is also called the American Buckeye, the Fetid Buckeye, and the Stinking Buckeye because its leaves and bark smell really bad if you mash ’em up. I know I’ll be doing that this fall. 🙂

Know your audience

zombie.jpgIn an elevator yesterday, I forgot this primary rule of communication. I was chatting with our associate dean about the j-session course I plan to teach this coming January, Understanding Zombies. Here’s what I should have said:

I’m planning to propose a media and cultural studies course focused on the horror figure of the zombie. Students will watch films, read comics and stories, read some critical theory, and produce projects in the last week. I’m calling it Understanding Zombies.

Here’s what I said:

I’m planning a course for J-session. It’s called Understanding Zombies!

Horrified blank stare. The associate dean then mentioned that someone last year tried to propose a one-credit course in “doing your taxes”. I spent the rest of the elevator ride assuring him that it would be far more rigorous than the tax class. D’oh.


So we moved into a house this week. I’m a homeowner. Bask in my glory.


Some quick notes about our first two days here:

  1. Movers’ lingo for grabbing something by the edge is cuff it.

  2. Air conditioning vents on the wall by the toilet make for chilly toes.

  3. I need to buy lawn care equipment. And all manner of other effluvia.

  4. Few things taste better than new-homeowner-just-moved-in pizza, even if it was ridiculously overpriced. Except beer, I imagine.

  5. Who would have thought an 85 year old woman would have cable telephone?

RSS integrated


So I’ve added my “at home” feed from netflix to my sidebar there (check down at the bottom). It only shows the “at home” link for my personal queue — Jenny and I each have our own and share one too. You’ll probably be ashamed to see that it’s almost all horror, sf, and war movies. 😀 Any netflix subscibers out there, let me know and I’ll add you to my friends list.

Alas, the easiest way I could figure out to do this was to use an externally hosted php script. Ugh. Is there a better way? This is an MT blog, btw.

Rose colored glasses?

I recently rented Fog of War from Netflix and was impressed by a couple things:

  1. Through clever use of music and stock footage, the filmmakers were able to leave all the narration to McNamara, who had a very engaging narrative style.
  2. Villain documentary is interesting–I read the autobiography of Joseph Haldemaan, Nixon’s chief of staff, and found interesting levels of self-justification and self-blame. A similar situation occurs here: McNamara is pretty blunt about the mistakes they made, but he still comes out looking good.
  3. He seems to doubt that Agent Orange hurt anybody.
  4. Throughout the movie, I couldn’t help but think of Ted Steven’s vigorous defense of his pork-barrel bridge boondoggle. I say NO!.

Am Back. Again.

So I’ve not blogged in months. I’ve probably lost all my readers. Alas.

But maybe some of you RSS feeders will see this pop up. Perhaps. Anyhow, I’m a-gonna start blogging again. Nothing too strenuous to start off, but we’ll see where it goes.

We’re buying a house in a week or so, so my book budget is going to bottom out. I think I’ll start using BookMooch.