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Dispatch from the Age of Electracy: C2E2 edition

One of my prized possessions (thank you, Joe Hancock and Joy Sperling) is a Dawn of the Dead poster signed by George Romero, Ken Foree, David Emgee, Scott Reiniger, and Gaylen Ross.  Among the various bits of stuff that the seller provided were photos of the signings — attesting to their provenance.  With C2E2 today, […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Unbreakable

I’m not sure how much of an essay is worth writing here.  Slate excellent pieces about the race issues in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and in particular the disturbing trope of the “hilarious black neighbor” trope that has become so common.  Aisha Harris writes: The tongue-in-cheek song will be familiar to anyone who’s followed the news […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Obsolete before it ships

Charles Stross reflected on the relentless pace of culture and the difficulty of writing about the near future or the present in a post about his book Rule 34: There is a certain pub in Edinburgh that I’ve used as a setting for some key scenes, because it’s quarried out of the side of a […]

Sous Chef

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney, narrated by Fred Berman Sous Chef is part detailed explanation, part memoir, part battle narrative.  It recalls a day in the life of the assistant chef at a mid-level “star rated” restaurant in New York.  Gibney does a great job explaining both what the day […]

On Trigger Warnings and Empathy

Neil Gaiman’s recent short story collection is called Trigger Warnings.  Scott Kenemore (author of Zombie, Indiana among many others) wrote about how horror is supposed to cause feelings of discomfort: in recent years a threat has emerged—a sinister shadow falling over our community, you might say—leaving us even darker than usual.  And I believe that […]

On modern humor

A few observations without a conclusion. 1. “College Kids Can’t Take A Joke” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune (link) Clarence Page writes about how Chris Rock doesn’t perform for college audiences any more because they’re too sensitive. Page writes: I marvel at comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Freddie […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: End of the semester grading

Note: I’ll be taking a break from the Dispatches from the Age of Electracy series until after the new year. An interesting conversation opened up on Facebook last week about grading.  The OP asked “Hypothetically, what should I say to a student who’s unhappy about getting 91/100?” (click ‘read more’ below to see the full […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Profile Pictures and the Digital Age

In a professional development panel at Midwest PCA 2014, I spoke with two colleagues about the job search and job interview process.  In particular, the subject of our panel was “how to give a good interview.”  We discussed Skype interviews and the many pitfalls that emerge from them.  In particular, I mentioned that it was […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Beguiled by Spam

As all blog owners do, I regularly clear the spam queue from my blog, rarely giving a second glance to comments so clearly machine generated.  I believe early machine comments with non-advertising contents are designed to build a spambot’s reputation on a site so later they can post SEO click content.  Anyway, yesterday I got […]

Cabins in the Woods

Last week, after watching Cabin Fever, I started to think about this particular subgenre, and wondered how it would be to watch some of these films side by side.  I discovered that four of them have very similar run-times, check it: The Evil Dead, 1981, 85 min Cabin Fever, 2002, 92 min Tucker and Dale […]

The Death Star Contractor problem and Agents of SHIELD

Watching episode 203 of Agents of SHIELD (the one with the ice guy), I couldn’t help but remember this scene from Clerks: Because this is one of the first episodes where we see very much inside Hydra, it’s the first where we realize just how much Hydra matches SHIELD.  Like SHIELD, Hydra has secret facilities […]

Nark – where words come from

Reading “The Hands of Mr. Ottermole” for my detective fiction class today, I came across this sentence, warning why most murderers will eventually give themselves away: …your everyday criminal is seldom clearheaded and dislikes being lonely.  He needs, if not the support of confederates, at least somebody to talk to; his vanity needs the satisfaction […]

Movin’ On Up: thoughts on officiating competitions

Today I take my YMCA Swim Official Level 2 certification class.  After today, and after I take the test associated with the course, I will be eligible to perform a variety of duties at swim meets as an official, at least at meets with YMCA designation (USA swimming, the governing body that organizes swim meets […]

In one end and out the other. Gulp by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Mary Roach’s latest book explores the digestive process, from beginning to end, looking at what scientists think and have thought, what they study, and how they go about it.  It’s great, as usual, with lots of funny moments.  A few thoughts: […]

Happy Labor Day!

Fun facts about Labor Day (from Wikipedia): We proposed it in the US after Canada already had it, but in a stroke of efficiency, we dropped the superfluous ‘u’ from Labour. Because Labor Day has become a major sale day, “some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor […]