some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
hey guys, so, i'm working on a unit plan for the final project in my most beloved class, and i've got it worked out and most of it drafted, but i need a few data points from people who read and/or remember more short stories than me. our units have to be built around a single short story; i'm using "The Building" by Ursula K. LeGuin (or possibly "The Nna Mmoy Language"--easier for a HS class, fits the theme of the lesson a little better, but omg my love for "The Building" you guys I can't even--anyway, one of those). the main content focus of this unit is about structure and style--different ways to tell/write a story, why and how and what's the effect, etc. etc. so like, the stories in Changing Planes are in the form of reports from a traveler, describing and explaining the other worlds to people back home. and it's pretty complex, it creates a persona for the reader as well, it offers a certain lens that's especially useful/interesting in writing SF/F, it gives the stories and the whole book a distinct flavor.

and so on and on, anyway, the point is: as one v. important lesson in this unit (which i have to describe day by day and is 2-3 weeks long), i want the class to read and discuss other stories, or more likely short excerpts from such stories, that are written in non-traditional narrative formats, so they have real patterns to compare to, not just the Le Guin story and the anthropologist-report format. like--well, epistolary and journal-form stories are p much traditional at this point, but they're the kind of thing i'm talking about, a frame other than "direct" experience of time (obviously never direct, mediated by the narrator, etc. etc. this is not a college class i'm pretending to teach). and then there's document fic, the kind of stuff that locates the reader in an alternate universe and the reader has to puzzle out what's different based on indirect evidence.

and just, anything, anything that could be described as a short story and uses some kind of frame, format, something like all that blather up there. Because, my brain being what it is, and given how little short fiction i read, i can remember exactly one (1) example that isn't fanfic and would be appropriate for a high school class. (it's comp.basilisk FAQ by David Langford, which is not ideal--how many 17 year olds in 2013 would have ever encountered a newsgroup FAQ or even heard of usenet at all--but i can remember that it exists.)

so please, just any short story like this you can remember, throw it at me. don't worry about the approrpirate-for-HS thing, i'll sort that out, just anything professional/published, at any time in history (as long as they're written in more or less modern english obv). if you know the name of the collection where i can find it that's extra magical but if not, w/e, i have google and two university libraries and two public library systems to work with, i'll be okay.

so: do you guys know any examples? :D? :D?
some_stars: (hearing the whir of the servos inside)
on the off chance that anyone cares: i am now watching Almost Human, because fuck my fucking id so hard, and posting my dumb commentary on my tumblr. why can't i get this invested in TV that isn't awful lazy offensive bullshit??? first thing i do after this semester is over, i'm going to catch up on Sleepy Hollow. i need an antidote /o\
some_stars: (sequitur)
1. Not nearly enough work :(
2. Wrote and performed eight lines of a rap battle between Odysseus and Penelope (I was Penelope) (it actually came out pretty fucking great, people cheered)
3. Finally snapped, slightly, and told off the horrible immature entitled useless worst member of my group project, which is otherwise composed of awesome people
3a. I mean not in so many words but I stopped cushioning and repressing my criticisms of her terrible ideas (mainly: refusing to have any) and behavior, it was all civil but I stopped being so careful to keep my tone light and end with questions and throw in the occasional self-deprecating remark and basically just told her some shit
4. Finished up and presented that group project, which also went pretty great
5. Made very slightly more progress towards fixing this hideous academic mess I'm in, at least procedurally
6. Fell even more grossly in crushlove with the classmate I adore and keep failing to ask out because we're both so horribly horribly busy
7. Wore lipstick
8. Just generally flailed around having feelings and talking really loudly and almost crying at the cash register at Whole Foods buying dinner because I'd put my wallet in my coat pocket and when I went to get it the zipper got stuck and there was a huge line and it was so noisy and awful
9. But the cashier fiddled with the zipper for me and fixed it and was super nice

It has been such a day, you guys, IDEK. I would like to take a few weeks off from feeling things.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
I'm trying to get Hanukkah presents for my nieces, and while none of them were particularly helpful when surveyed, one said she'd like a book, and mentioned enjoying Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby recently. So on the one hand, awesome, I can buy her a grownup book! On the other hand...I hate the first one and I've never read the second, but I have read another Fitzgerald and hated it. So I have no idea what to do with this.

Therefore: Any ideas from people who don't hate early- to mid-century American dude lit? It doesn't have to be something from that genre, either. Just...something you think she might like. (For reference, she's in 9th grade.)
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
Happy Hanukkah! I am so, so happy it's finally here. It's my very favorite Jewish holiday, the one I do properly every year even when I can't manage the actually important ones. I have all kinds of very serious feelings about it which would not be interesting to other people probably, but also the sun has been setting at 4:30 lately, and the prospect of a midwinter festival of lights is one of the few things that's kept me going.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
This has been such a fucking day, the only bright spot being that I finally got around to obtaining a menorah and candles. (Although not, now that I think of it, matches.) Even that process was weird and kind of awkward but I got it, and set it up, and then everything else was crap. Why can't it be Hanukkah yet, I always feel better then, it was legitimately super difficult not to just start lighting candles tonight. I don't think I counted on how much more emotional I would get about this holiday (and I already get pretty emotional) when I moved somewhere where the sun sets at 4:30 PM :(
some_stars: (ph34r)
So my tragically mismanaged "technology in education" mini-course ordered me to make a video--the assumption being I would shoot some random crap on my phone, then use iMovie and throw some pre-made titles and wipes on top and be done with the whole thing in two hours. Being a crazy person, I took about eighteen. But I think it came out pretty great!

(One caveat: if shaky-cam movies make you sick, you definitely shouldn't watch this. I've never actually shot my own footage before except a few seconds of a cute squirrel or something, so it wasn't until I got back home and had wasted my only available slot all week of "near home, free time, reasonable amount of sunlight" that I realized: pressing 'record' on a five-ounce phone and then walking around and climbing rocks and stuff while just...holding it in one hand is not an optimal strategy. The first half is especially bad. Just pretend it's an artistic statement.) (Also apparently my phone was recording at 28 fps, which, uh, what the actual fuck, Apple, who even does that??)

embed )
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
So I'm poking around Amazon trying to find the cheapest menorah that won't set my apartment on fire--I have accepted that it's going to be hideously tacky and unpleasant, but I figure I might as well wait a few years until I can afford to buy a really nice one to have forever. So anyway, I'm just pulling up the ones under twenty bucks and reading the reviews, checking for any house-on-fire stories, and I find this:

Very traditional and a nice addition, especially if you have children. Affordable and it looks very nice. Will not replace grandmothers, but it is a good value for this item.

After staring at this for a full minute, I think it's an apostrophe issue, but I had to get through a few highly unsettling possibilities before this one occurred to me. ("Will not replace a receptacle for lit candles? omg 'Deborah M' WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FAMILY.")
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
Jiggity joggity,
Readers and followers,
Help me to squander my
Hours of rest--

Name me a personage
Hexasyllabic, and
I'll do my best.

(Bippity boppity,
One main criterion
Choosing a name so it
Won't be too tough:

Real or imagined or
On Wikipedia
There should be stuff.)
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
Until this morning, when I abruptly began to produce the following after a week of searching for poems to use in one class's final project, it hadn't occurred to me that perhaps the reason I stopped writing poetry is that I stopped reading poetry. This really shouldn't be the kind of thing that has to occur to someone, but then, so many of my abrupt and belated realizations are.

a poem about winter and stuff, apparently )
some_stars: (it's a metaphor you see)
So I'm sitting here, feeling bad and waiting for my shitty tacos to arrive, flipping through my TV and movies folders for something unstressful and undemanding and unimportant to watch. And I notice this David Attenborough documentary I downloaded a while ago, "Frozen Planet", basically like Planet Earth and Life but for cold places. And this seems the exact right level of engaging and relaxing, pretty pictures and soothing voices and no plot or characters. So I fire it up...and after about twenty seconds of narration I realize my error. Guys, this is the most depressing nature documentary ever. That was probably already obvious to anyone with sense, but I am not such a person, and I somehow forgot exactly how bad polar bears make me feel now.

To his credit, he only mentions the whole "and this will all melt away within a generation and there will be no more of it, ever again" issue every ten minutes or so. But I know. Polar bears :(

(However, I was compensated with the moment where the camera lingers on two polar bears fucking as David Attenborough solemnly intones, "Few have witnessed this moment...")
some_stars: (Default)
everything is still terrible, so so terrible, "crying in bed because i'm so hungry but i can't get out of bed to eat" terrible, but: i watched the first episode of Sleepy Hollow and it's PERFECT. stupid and sexy and sweet and incredibly stupid and perfect.
some_stars: (yesssss)
I think I need to get another tattoo. But all the stuff that's really important to me right now is in text form, I think, and at the moment all in English, and I'm not super excited about Roman alphabet text tattoos, especially in English (for myself, anyway). But I really really really need to get a tattoo. Not a crazy expensive one, either, which limits my options.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
oh daaaang you guys, I was looking through for stuff to use for my literacy vid, and I believe I have hit the motherlode. 375 short videos produced by teenagers, dozens of them about school and/or video production. The quality is kind of iffy and they all seem to be 4:3 but I don't even care, this is GREAT.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
A few days ago I made a post asking for help finding sources to make a vid about literacy for one of my education courses. Here is a brief (and final) update on that:

1.) You are all awesome and the greatest and I love you guys forever, omg.

2.) Having found a song (probably), I think I'm going to try to focus in on new media stuff, still very political, I'm having trouble articulating words today but basically: people taking control of texts. Elaborated as follows:

3.) People: especially young people, especially POC and people with disabilities and, to a somewhat lesser extent, women--anyone in some way oppressed by the traditional educational concepts of "literacy" and "writing" and the teaching thereof in schools.

4.) Taking control: creating, adapting, translating, remixing, subverting, rejecting, destroying. Both in school contexts and elsewhere.

5.) Texts: just about any kind of "created" communication (that can be distinguished as such in a two-second clip with no context). Computer/internet stuff for sure, but also video, audio (if there's like...microphones or speakers in the shot or something visible like that), drama, pictures and other visual art, and all kinds of writing and written text, both traditional (regular books, writing in a notebook) and subversive (text graffiti, zines, a million other things I can't think of right now).

6.) Also scenes of the exact opposite of all of the above, for the beginning of the vid—people being oppressed by texts and school.

So: if you didn't see the last post, or maybe this slightly more specific request brings something else to mind, or whatever, I would just really appreciate any movies/TV/any filmed viddable source whatsoever you can think of that fits any of the above criteria, even just one. I am super super grateful for everyone who's already offered suggestions or linked to my original request, and I promise this is the last post I'll make on the subject (at least that requests your involvement; as with any vid, I will probably whine about my own process endlessly). As before, signal-boosting is hugely appreciated! I promise this is the last time. *g*
some_stars: (everything's eventual)
I think the biggest and most disruptive culture clash I am currently experiencing in New York is the definition of brunch. I define it based on the time of day when it occurs, while New Yorkers define it as "meal where eggs are served" and schedule brunches for 2 PM. That is a wrong lie.
some_stars: (ph34r)
so this is something I should probably find out now, and not in several weeks: is it possible to vid from .mp4 files on a PC? Because if not, there's some shit I'm gonna have to track down...somehow.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
The really frustrating thing about being so busy is that I am REALLY INTERESTED in the stuff that isn't bullshit! Even one of the million fucking group projects I find interesting! If I could eliminate the ~35% of the demands on my time and energy that are in fact pointless and stupid and utterly emptyheaded, I might actually be able to enjoy that group project and be more relaxed about it and focus on developing collaboration skills and learning to be more patient and just generally obtaining all the benefits one is supposed to get from group work, because it really is a pretty great group, but I don't have TIME for this.

So I'm sitting here losing my shit over what's going to happen when we finally get together for our second planning meeting, and how I'm going to keep everyone from wandering all the fuck over the place getting bogged down in mostly irrelevant details when we still don't have a general plan, how I'm going to stay calm and polite when people are being....people, just--and of course how to keep shit running smoothly, how to keep ninety minutes of precious time and brain energy from being utterly wasted, WITHOUT being a jerk. Getting everything right socially, and also just not...being a jerk, like, letting other people say stuff. Letting the whole process go forth and not obsessing over the end product. Except I don't trust the group to actually produce anything in the end without me constantly suggesting wild and unorthodox techniques like "planning what should happen before writing a script" and "actually figuring out what the other 2/3 of our fifteen minute presentation are going to be before settling in for detail work on the first third."

Basically: I HATE GROUP WORK. Two people, maybe three, yes, fine. I do not in fact have all the answers despite my charming demeanor, I want to learn from people. But once you get to four--my group has five--the time it takes to articulate, develop, choose, and execute even the simplest fucking idea imaginable goes up exponentially. And so a project that the professor probably assessed as taking maybe ten total hours ends up taking thirty or more, and all the while that same class is assigning more work and more projects, to say nothing of the other classes simultaneously doing THE EXACT SAME THING.

I just, I don't know, you guys, I genuinely can't see my way through to the end of this semester. There literally aren't enough hours in a day. But the only significant time sink I can choose to eliminate is the one that makes me the most excited and happy and intellectually stimulated. Also there's so much I want to READ, more books and articles by the authors of the readings I'm doing, the other 2/3 of this book from which only five chapters are assigned, the other books of a guy whose school memoir I just finished, all kinds of things. And the very notion is laughable.

Also fucking fuck god dammit I meant to go to bed before midnight tonight and clean the kitchen. Needless to say, neither of these things has occurred. Starting Monday I have to get up at six in the morning three days a week for the rest of the semester and I'm pretty sure it's going to kill me.
some_stars: (kids! stay in school!)
So here's my situation: I'm in an M.A. program in English Education, preparing to be an English teacher, which this semester mostly involves taking classes (although that is about to change for 15 hours a week, which is part of why this appeal, as will soon become clear). For one class, I have a not-quite-final project due in eight weeks with extremely open guidelines, but the core project is to present...something, in a multimodal format (engaging more than one sense), on the subject of literacy, probably but not necessarily focusing on teaching and learning in a school/classroom context. Because I am a ridiculous person with no respect for my own time or need for sleep, I really really want to make a vid.

Specifically, I want to make a massively multisource vid examining some aspect of literacy through any of a wide variety of possible lenses that I haven't decided between yet, because I got this idea this morning, but which include historical, multicultural, political, new media and/or remix culture, many other things. Actually whatever I do will probably end up being political.

I am 100% confident that I can do this and do it well, and I think it's a brilliant approach to this assignment in particular and will let me meaningfully incorporate almost all of the texts we're reading. The problem, of course, is that I've never made a multisource vid before, and I've definitely never made one with a deadline of less than eight weeks, a full three of which I expect to spend trying to fix technical problems. Three at minimum. Probably four. But that's not even the main problem; the main problem is that the reason I've never made a multisource vid before is because I have an absolutely terrible visual memory, and also regular memory, and I can't come up with possible sources, especially since I almost never watch movies and haven't really seen that much TV.

And this is all made more difficult by the fact that my primary audience is my classmates, not fans, so I can't count on them knowing any of the sources or having any vid-watching experience, and I can't rely on context for almost anything. Obviously I would like to make it with a second layer so that many of the clips become even more meaningful when you know them, but that priority comes a distant second to making something other people in the class can understand. (Although I definitely do want to use the format to engage with the concept of 'literacy' beyond written text, and the experience of reading a vid.)

Basically, if this is going to have any chance of happening, I'm going to need help. A lot of help. I have to mostly crowdsource the entire brainstorm stage of gathering sources, because I just flat can't do it myself in the time I have. Obviously I will then watch this stuff and choose what to use and do the rest myself, so I feel like this is completely legitimate in terms of not asking the internet to do my homework.

Which brings us to my request: please help me find sources for clips of the things on this list, and please point other people to this post!

  1. People reading or writing

  2. People trying to read or write and having difficulty or failing

  3. Text (written, typed, chiseled into a slab of stone, etc.) that's particularly visually interesting either in itself or in the way it's filmed, especially if there's some kind of motion involved

  4. The above three items but with other kinds of texts, probably visual but not necessarily--anything that depicts the process of production, reproduction, reception, transformation of any kind of text, the development and practice of any kind of literacy (in a form that I can vid--so the process should be clearly and immediately visible in some way even if the text itself is not)

  5. Classes happening in classrooms, especially if there's reading/writing happening but also just depictions of classroom teaching and learning (or not learning) in general

(EDIT: I've done some more planning and posted a slightly updated request list.)

more details )


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fifty frenchmen can't be wrong

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