Sunday, October 30, 2005

Family Coup


I love this image. Isn't it clever?
I didn't do it of course.
Photoshopped by a Flickr genius, John Ward and there are more of his photos here.
I love the way people are LEARNING and TEACHING on Flickr. Knowledge sharing is a great thing, especially on a global scale.
The comments about this picture reflect what seems to me to be genuine warmth and interest.
People talk a lot about deception on the iNternet, but on Flickr, I think there is a lot of 'show and tell'.
I know that the Internet is not always warm and cosy, but there are definite places where you can find a great deal of this kind of supportive stuff going on.
I also love the way people are showing bits of themselves in their blogs and on Flickr; humour, family, biography, lifestyle.
There is plenty of trust and friendship in the world - which you would not guess from looking at the news.
I like the way people are able on the web to publish and mediate the things that make them feel good.
Let's all go GLOCAL.

(This is a nice, warm, cushy, Sunday posting.)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Julia Needs An Ass Woopin'

No this is not a request. It is a meme which Anya told us about here goes:

  1. Miss Julia needs a bad boy, not a saint).
  2. Julia needs an adoptive family who will love her unconditionally.
  3. Julia needs toprove that she is not gay in order to adopt her baby.
  4. Julia needs to set her on fire, both at home and on stage
  5. "Julia needs it for her homework",
  6. Julia needs to worry about leaving a legacy.
  7. Julia needs her help.
  8. Julia needs her to babysit, she should ask ahead of time.
  9. "Julia needs another mocha and a … what is it?" Dave smiled. "A soy cappuccino,"Roberts replied. "She needs a soy cappuccino and a mocha," he joked, ...
  10. Julia needs those notes, but they're not a crutch.

So there you have it. I am pretty needy. And that's just for today.

Friday, October 28, 2005

How to eat a small child

Thanks to Jackie for alerting me to the excellence of this.

If you look at the comments you will see someone is already offended.

I think it is strange as the Mum and Dad are obviously very fab, see their blog post here.

They just a like a bit of a larf and so do I.

I love this kind of thing:


(From Pupski)

and also this :

Sheffield Dolly

which was taken by Merrony's Moll.

It is not sinister. It is play. I think that peole know the difference between play and real life. Thay can do different things in play than they can in real life.

I guess we all have our prejudices and places where we draw the line. The kind of play I totally cannot understand is funfair rides. As far as I am concerned, people who like being thrown around must enjoy car accidents. I HATE funfairs. It even upsets me to watch people screaming on those horrible rides. Why do they do it?

Maybe it is all about risk taking and knowing you can survive. It is seeing what it is like to push back the boundaries.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Learning Federation!!

What a great name huh?
The Learning Federation is an organisation which declares:

The Le@rning Federation (TLF) is an exciting and innovative project that employs emerging technologies to produce world-class online curriculum content to encourage student learning and support teachers in Australian and New Zealand schools. TLF is an initiative of the state, territory and federal governments of Australia and New Zealand.

Anyway go to the showcase for Innovation, Enterprise and creativity.
Playing around on the site took me here.

then on this menu to the right of the screen:

Arts and technology

> Sonic space
> Sonic motion
> Sonic time
> Creativity: Fifi Colston

I selected Fifi Colston. Then you can play 'dress design'!! It is fab.

But play around on that site and feel sad that you are not an Australian or New Zealander teacher.

Thanks to Johanna for the tip off about this site. Johanna has an English Language Garden and it makes me wish I was a student in one of her classes.

Isn't it lovely?

Too great websites, with two great names.

(And talking of flowers ... I was sent some today from here. Thank you Guy.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


to go out for a meal here.

This was Anne Marie's starter... it looked like it should be shared, there was so much.

Weird how when you read a menu, if there is a really long descripton, the food is always even more of a surprise. This was goatscheese and pear with rocket or something.
Anyway that's it for tonight. Can't be bothered to think but what can you expect?

Behaving for the evening like DrRob,or Bob the Builder, I had to do DIY.

Should have photographed it with before and after images, but forgot.
Oh well; suffice to say daughter's bedroom is now transformed to look like The Sistine Chapel.

It is now one in the morning and time for bed.
Oh well.
Goodnight children, everywhere.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005



Well you know, sometimes we feel we are being profound, but what we say may seem obvious to others.
This is the problem with writing; we can end up spending hours and hours and wind up saying the blimen obvious. But this piece of writing here was, I suspect, a quickly written thing and a response given quickly back.
A post and a comment, in fact.
But bounded to a specific geographical place – the enticingly named ‘Grinder's Hill’ in Sheffield.

In my travels on the Net, looking to help a student, I came across this fantastic article by Kevin Leander. He writes of markings on walls like this:

Unbounding Internet culture and identity
While walking through the city, you might come upon chalk marks on the outside of a building that look something like a large version of this: )(, with letters and numbers written adjacent to them. These symbols are giving you information about how to tap into a wireless local area network (WLAN) based inside that building; someone has “warchalked” the building so that you may open up your laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) and piggyback on a high-speed network supported by a business or building resident. This literacy practice is said to have its historical precedent in the marking of buildings by beggars and the homeless during the Great Depression in the United States, who used chalk marks on the outside of buildings to indicate whether or not they were good places for handouts.

I am so fascinated by this idea of the urban sketch pad. It is a kind of Janus thing with a face to the past and a face to the future. Graffiti is usually etched in liminal spaces anyway – as in the example above – a snicket between two buildings you would hardly know was there – but Leander’s example is so potent. A primal text, an etching temporarily chalked on the wall, acting as a portal to the new literacy world enabled by technology. The pervasive thing that invisibly permeates our airwaves.

It is interesting also to wonder about the nature of the blog post. It seems so new but like the comment I photographed on the wall above, it can be commented upon by passer’s by and that comment can be anonymous or signed. It can undermine, confirm, add to something (etc.) But the chalked comment is bounded by a geographical space; potential interactants have to pass by. On the Internet it is maybe different; is the Internet tying the text to one space; or is it many spaces? Of course Foucault has written about this in 'Of Other spaces'.


Am adding a PS!! Is this allowed on a blogpost? I want to add something to the orginal thing ...
I would like to analyse street texting as compared to blogging in terms of certain aspects of their characteristics:

1. Both in spaces that are also used for other things - e.g a wall is to be part of a building.
2. Both can be specifically authored, anonymised or written under pseudonym.
3. Both are written for an unknown audience.
4. They can be transient or permanent - but depend on the host staying there. (I.e the server can cut the post or the whole blog; the wall can be knocked down or text cleaned off.)
5. Audience can respond - anonymous, with real name, or under a pseudonym.
6. There are specific conventions - e.g. emoticons or shorthand stuff. (As in the code Leander shows in the article above).
7. The text can agree, disagree or undermine.
8. There may be far more readers than commenters. There may be no readers at all.
9. Posts are often political; personal; funny; on any topic at all.
10. Someposters are really wellknown, some are not.
11. The test is somehow environmental and in liminal spaces.

Monday, October 24, 2005

No Comment

Torill Mortensen has decided not to have comments on her blog any more.
She wants to see if it makes her blog differently.

This is an interesting idea which I could try. I think I would have started today - if only it had not taken me half an hour on Sunday to work out how to make my 'Comments' section say 'Interjections and Pronouncements' instead.

And then spent a further twenty minutes making the letters fuschia coloured.

Perhaps I am not yet ready for the maturity required to rid myself of comments??

Torill once corrected me on Blogtrax for spelling her name wrongly. That was an interesting thing about identity and reputation I think:

You are on the map as somebody who can’t spell the great Torill Mortensen’s name. You’re in exellent company, but please, pretty please, read my name on my weblog, and get it right?

So it is not at all the case that Torill is uninterested in what others say and do around her work. Maybe she is wanting to think about how her writing will develop without the immediacy of comment reactions and input. But I really like the way my text becomes a new text when others have had their shout. And so as I write here now, I think, that on balance, to remove that affordance, one goes back to writing in a manner which only allows a one directional 'giving voice' - and that is so twentieth century now.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


is to be found in fruit and in flowers.

I have enjoyed messing around today with photos.

I bought stuff from the supermarket and as summer is now gone, my roses and my fruit had to be imported at great ecological and financial cost.
So it is best I share the spoils.


This is a juicy morsel. I really love passion fruit. But they are SO SMALL.


There are more Rows of Rose on my Flickr stream

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Carnivals and Concert Halls

Well, Anya has been very busy on her blog and I was very interested in this. It is a BLOG CARNIVAL idea. I am interested in Farrell's views on academics blogging and feel he is absolutely spot on when he says:

Academic bloggers differ in their goals. Some are blogging to get personal or professional grievances off their chests or, like Black, to pursue nonacademic interests. Others, perhaps the majority, see blogging as an extension of their academic personas. Their blogs allow them not only to express personal views but also to debate ideas, swap views about their disciplines, and connect to a wider public. For these academics, blogging isn't a hobby; it's an integral part of their scholarly identity. They may very well be the wave of the future

This really is what Guy and I want to argue and also when Farrell continues like this:

Academic blogs offer the kind of intellectual excitement and engagement that attracted many scholars to the academic life in the first place, but which often get lost in the hustle to secure positions, grants, and disciplinary recognition. Properly considered, the blogosphere represents the closest equivalent to the Republic of Letters that we have today. Academic blogs, like their 18th-century equivalent, are rife with feuds, displays of spleen, crotchets, fads, and nonsenses. As in the blogosphere more generally, there is a lot of dross. However, academic blogs also provide a carnival of ideas, a lively and exciting interchange of argument and debate that makes many scholarly conversations seem drab and desiccated in comparison. Over the next 10 years, blogs and bloglike forms of exchange are likely to transform how we think of ourselves as scholars. While blogging won't replace academic publishing, it builds a space for serious conversation around and between the more considered articles and monographs that we write.

I could not agree more.

Apparently there is such a thing as a blog carnival where, a showcase of good blog posts are gathered together on one blog and the posts are all about one theme. The 'about' section copied below comes from Tangled Bank. Bloggers put themselves forward for inclusion on a themed post.

Welcome to the Tangled Bank, a version of the "Carnival of the Vanities" for science bloggers. A Carnival is a weekly showcase of good weblog writing, selected by the authors themselves (that's the vanity part). Every other week, one of our crew will highlight a collection of interesting weblog articles in one convenient place, making it easy for everyone to find the good stuff.

Two things will distinguish us from the original "Carnival of the Vanities": 1) we are specifically restricting ourselves to articles in the field of science and medicine, very broadly defined, and 2) we've got a different name. Our weekly compendium of great science weblog articles will be called the Tangled Bank, after Charles Darwin's famous metaphor.

Tangled Bank makes a 'call for posts and then gathers them together in one post. Here is one all about scientific life.

It seems a bit like peer review is going on, but as a commeneter said on Tangled bank, it is more like Self-review.

Anyway ... I went to the newly refurbished city hall in Sheffield last Wednesday to see a funny man Russ Noble.

It amused that someone set off the fire alarm before the performance and we all had to leave the building. The waiting staff were not enthusiastic:

Dinner may be delayed

The building itself was very pretty inside and here is one shot. There are more on Flickr here.

But what has this to do with the carnival of blogs?
Not a lot. But it did strike me, in a moment of apophenia while I was there, and not managing to blog that night, that stand up comedians gather together random instances of the everyday and turn them around and upside down, inside out for analysis.
And so do we I think, in ourblogs, our own little showcases, or 'cabinets of curiosity' as Kate would say.

That's all.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Dr Kate's Arty facts

is the blog we have all been waiting for here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another missed blog post

What is happening here?
I keep missing days from my blog and wonder whether this is a BAD THING.
My life seems crammed and I don't ever seem to really DO ANYTHING.
But this sfeeling is familiar and I seem to remember, is always intense at this time of year.
DrRob is fed up
Virtual Mother has too much bloody marking
Guy has been fretting about his identity.
The usually sweet and even tempered Vitriolica is pisst off by a nurse.
And OH MY the SYNCHRONICITY. Profgirrrrl feels the same as I do.

So as Joni would say:

Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But life is for learning

I guess there is something for us all in that one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Another meme

Vitriolica tagged me the other day and told me about this meme where you have to write ten random facts about that you ahve not blogged before. And then tag as many people as the minutes it took you to write the facts. So you have to be fast. Vitriolica got the idea from Caroline here. So you can trace the meme back and back if you want .... Anyway set the clock, here goes: (9.59. p.m)

1. I used to be MAD about windsurfing and less so about sailing . Want to get back into my wetsuit and windsurf again - I am trying to get fit enough NOW.

2. I have a swimming certificate for swimming five miles.

3. I love cottage cheese, marmite and grated carrot sandwiches

4. I am rightly terrified of rats and snakes .

5. My fave colour was purple is now red .

6. I failed O' level maths and got into teaching on one of the two years where you did not need to have it.

7. I would never leave the house without wearing earrings.

8. I used to smoke and am very ashamed of this fact but it is out now .

9. I have two sisters and one brother and I adore them all.

10. When I was a kid I loved the cowgirl suit my grandmother bought me.

11. When I was a kid my brother used to torture me with 'the slipper treatment' - he put his slipper over my face and held it there... True.

12. I was terrified of Daleks - especially the red one.

13. I am blind in my right eye - but don't care as am used to it. (But I used to be cross eyed which was v. bad.) It would be information overload to have two eyes switched on I reckon.

14. I went to see Laura Cantrell a few weeks ago and it was fab.

15. When I was a kid I wanted to be an acrobat.

16. I would like to own a flat in London.

17. I would like to own a flat in Nice.

18. When I was expecting my first child (Rosa) I was not expecting her ... I did not know I was pregnant till I was seven months pregnant. This is also embarrassing.
19. I am really lucky to have a job as an academic - mainly as I am so thick.
20. I got a really nice coat last week and have been discreet about it as it has not got big pockets like Clare's .

That took me FIVE minutes and I typed really fast.

So the tags are for:
Lyn who told Caroline who told Vitriolica about the meme.
Scrivener who is an English teacer in Atlanta.
Virtually Mother - you will love her - get over there today to see the witchy pix. (Hear her moan about marking ...)
The Professional Lurker who has some very interesting blog statistics and also some info about a teaching session she has just done on bloggers and Hurricane Katrina
And lastly mashuga's fotolog.

Monday, October 17, 2005

new meme

I read about this meme on Mary Plain's blog.
It said you had to go to the fifth sentence of your 23rd post and write about the sentence for a new post.

Well here are the first five sentences of that 23rd post:

Visual culture and the new canon
I have been thinking about images and their relocation to centre stage.I went to Rome (Tra la la) and saw what the fuss is all about with Caravaggio.The narrative around his work is that when he was first painting (at the end of the 1500s -start of 1600s), his pictures were seen as a threat to the old school of religious painting.
Previously ecclesiastical artists had represented the great stars of the Bible in highly idealistic etheral paintings. Beauty was high on the agenda: as well as purity, majesty and a certain cleanliness was assumed around being holy. Even crucifixions were sanitised.Entry stage left was Caravaggio with his paint brush - depicting images of Christ and the Madonna with filthy feet.

(Fifth line is in green.)
Reading this makes me immediately think of two things: that I have been obsessed with images for ages and have been boringly harping on and on.
Secondly that I really fancy a holiday.


It is my blog's birthday today.

One year of posting.


Actually, my first post makes me blush. It is like seeing baby photos or something. Still, it's nothing you haven't seen before, but hey,

'My how I've grown!!'

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Last year

it was handmade greetings cards. Now her room is filled with glassware, paints, beads, pictures and ribbon. She nests in amongst it all, sitting on a beanbag with her laptop on her lap. It is all very cosy in my daughter Rosa's space.

These are a few examples of her work:


Notice the colour matching and the beads all thread in a style to match. The pictures are found on the Internet, printed, carefully cut and pasted.

Rosa bottles

The nineteen-twenties have been an interest - and note how there is a poem on the background here:

twenties girls

Whilst here is a just a line from a poem ...


This one has a Japanese theme:


and as in the last little display with the miniature bamboo plant, the finished pieces are put together in R's bedroom with other artifacts that have a similar theme:

I believe in fairies

The glassware is displayed around her room in little groups, each with appropriate other artifacts - e.g in a magical/fantasy genre/ Japanese or nineteen twenties. A commonly used icon across all themes though is the wings which are given to many of the characters. They are all carefully selected from a huge collection she has gathered from across the Internet; colour and size must match the character. They are all angels or fairies.

I think it is interesting the way we create backdrops for ourselves; we often fill our spaces with artifacts that seem to set the scene in particular ways, as if our world is a stage set that has to present a consistent and particular message. This is, I think what Goffman was getting at in his work 'Presentation of self in everyday life.'

Maybe when people get irritated with a mess in their spaces, they are nervous that the backdrop is creating the wrong presentation; yet there are those who like to live in mess. This is might come from a desire to resist one particular 'reading' of the self - ! /em>Or maybe even a desire to mislead!!

Of course blogs offer possibilities for presenting identities to others, exploiting the public/private affordances of online spaces ...
Stern (1999) has compared girls’ homepages to their bedroom walls where self-expression and public presentation come together as textual constructions of self. Yet these are complex textual constructions which reflect tensions across multiple selves, showing what

in some way the selves girls think they are, the selves they wish to become, and most likely, the selves they wish others to see

(Stern, 1999:24)

I know that in writing my blog I present a particular self and have a particular range of themes. As I write I tend to think I am showing a 'real me' whatever that means; I think I mean that I am not aware of the type of identity I am presenting; it seems to be the same as the me elsewhere, but I do not really believe this can be so. The medium always changes the message. The blog just poses as a window onto my world but it is a filter.

I love to write my blog and feel disappointed when I cannot get to it everyday. I think it is not that I am egocentric (although I may be) but that I have created a space for myself and I can make it whatever space I want. People share it with me and I like that; I can bring to, bits of my life, turn things round and present them and re-present them in different ways to help me think.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


claims to be lazy and confused as well as aged 31.
I am interested in the exciting artifacts he uses in his photographs.
'What an interesting juxtaposition!!!!',
I hear you say.
And others call out:
'Check out the semiotics in that!!!'

barbie in a teacup
thanks so much to Mohawk for showing us this too.

You must see the discussion here of what is going on.
Aaaanyway at the weekend (when I was working) a student told me she had read my Babyz paper here.
She told me she had to stop reading after a while as the thought of cyber babyz being tortured upset her so much. When I told her this was just girls (gurlz) playing experimentally and it was only pixels being manipulated not Babyz being tortured, she explained that many murderers had been found to have brutalised their dolls when younger.

So I now worry about Guy's daughters' futures. See here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

online and in touch

The Professionallurker has some very interesting statistics about Americans online, who is, who isn't etc.
Some of the findings are similar to those of Sonia Livingstone and Magdalene Bober in their research about UK children - for examples, adults who have kids under 18 are more likely to be online than not.

Considering the electricity cuts and the dangers to individuals who use the Internet - especially English language sites - in Iraq, it never ceases to amaze me how many Iraquis manage to get online and blog.
It is so cool that Riverbend continues to write and she cites A Star from Mosul whose first post begins:

I'm going to Baghdad tomorrow. So, I might not be able to post for few days. Therefore, I’m writing a long post...
- My name is not Najma Abdullah, and I'm not going to tell you my real name, coz I don't want to get killed.

From here I went to Tell me a secret who reveals how crucial the blogging network has become in infprming others of their safety ..

I know, it’s been a long, long time.its funny, Riverbend doesn’t .blog regularly so I and Raed get emails asking where is Riverbend all the time, and then I stopped blogging so Raed started to get emails asking where is Khalid and Riverbend? And now Raed stopped blogging so I got emails asking where are you and Raed and Riverbend?:))

I invite you to read around on these three blogs and see how for some people life online is truly a lifeline.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Not in Education, Employment or Training

Statistics here showed this:


In 2004, 1.1 million 16-to-24-year-olds were not in education, training or
employment (NEET).

(Source: Labour Force Survey, Office for National
Statistics, 2004).

In 2004 12% of 18-year-olds in England and Wales were
not in education, training or employment (NEET). 17% of Black young people were NEET at 18, and 6% of Asian young people were NEET at 18.

(Source: Youth Cohort Study, Department for Education and Skills, 2004).

When young people are 16 in the UK, they can stay on at school, go to colllege, take up employment or do an apprenticeship scheme. I think that's pretty much it.

If you do not do those, then you are classified as NEET, which is considered to be a BAD THING.

I think it is considered that the student herself is bad and probably the parents.

A couple of weeks ago, when I got back from work, my daughter told me she had a 'comfort call' from Connexions.

Connexions are the people who are commisioned to guide young people into careers, training or academic courses (amongst other things). It is a government funded body that is supposed to bridge school, careers and adult guidance I think.
I was quite interested in the idea of them giving my daughter a 'comfort call'; I assumed this was different to a 'comfort break' and she explained she had invented the term.
She told me it is a phone call intended to make the caller feel better about themselves, less guilty for not providing a service.
My daughter, (now 18) who has not attended school or college due to illness since she was 11, and who has not received home tuition as she was not well enough to work for as long as an hour, (the least a home tutor is allowed to work) is now a NEET person. This means she has no services offered to her still. At the age of 16 no one rang from school to ask what she was doing; no one contacted us to see whether she was OK. They continued to ignore her existance. But she gets a Connexions comfort call once per year it seems.

Aaaaanyway, the Connexions comfort caller said something like ....

Connexions person: Hello, my name is Angela. I am your personal Connexions Advisor. Can I ask if you are in Education, Employment or Training at the moment?

Darling Daughter: Hi. No I am not in any of those.
Connexions Person: You do know that we are a service that can help you, don't you?
Darling Daughter: Er yes I think so.
Connexions Person: Well we are here to help you so if there is anything we can do, pleae do feel free to ring me.
Darling Daughter: Yes, thank you.

So there you have it. Neat, huh?

I mention this , not because I want to moan or to canvass support or to try and evoke emotion. But I want to show you how easy it is to be a NEET person and how once you are one it is hard to get out of it.

(In fact darling daughter is going to sign up for a little Open University course later in the year when we hope she is through a current little 'bad patch' .)

I am prompted to think about this as today I was talking to some International students at the university, teaching in fact, about the UK Education system, in a general way. The session is designed to give the students the basics of how we do things, what is compulsory and what-not. And they were shocked that there were such things as NEET people.

Are you all shocked? Did you know about NEET people? Do you know any NEET people? Do you think it matters if people are not in Education or Employment? Do you think the term NEET is neat or nasty?

I just wondered what people think. This is quite a new topic round this neck of the woods too. One to maybe get us going ....

(*ha ha* can you have one of these on a blog? I am just trying it out ..)
Someone said to me that in places like Australia where there are lots of kids in remote locations so therefore no access to school for different reasons, the networks have been set up for YEARS for people to be able to get an education without home tutors etc. Don't know if this is true. Don't know how it works. And what happens to these kids after school age? Do they become NEET?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


From here:
ordinariness - the quality of being ordinary
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
mediocrity, averageness - ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding
expectedness - ordinariness as a consequence of being expected and not surprising
commonplaceness, everydayness, commonness - ordinariness as a consequence of being frequent and commonplace

In an e mail today one of my students asked me why I keep a blog. Of course we all get asked this all the time. But why do we record our ordinary daily lives? Do we seek to narrate their ordinariness or do we shape out of each day a little something extraordinary?
Do we look to narrate ourselves on a daily basis out of a desire to self affirm? I think Giddens would say yes.

The existential question of self identity is bound up with the fragile nature of the biography which the individual ’supplies’ about herself.A person’s identity is not to be found in behaviour, nor - important though this is - in the reactions of others, but in the capacity to keep a particular narrative going. The individual’s biography, if she is to maintain regular interaction with others in the day-to-day world, cannot be wholly fictive. It must continually integrate events which occur in the external world, and sort them into the ongoing ’story’ about the self.

(Giddens 1991: 54)

I think we continually try to turn the mundane in to the exotic. Yesterday I showed the beans; the onions;the garlic; the mug; as if worthy art forms. They were each a 'still life'; they were shown as other than the mundane items of food or crockery.
They were no longer functional, but aesthetic. Maybe this is a way in which we enrich our existance - through creative acts that resist the mundane.

Is that what a blog is? A creative, resistant act against the mundane? Is it an attempt to subvert ordinary and re-create it as extraordinary?
maybe we are saying, that we know we are ordinary.
This is it.
This is our ordinariness.
That is who we are.
And we are OK with that.

I was given a copy of 'Boring Postcards' for Christmas last year and it is really interesting (and funny) to see the boring places depicted there in all their drabness. The pictures, (of motorway cafes, motels, carparks, airports and so on,) show the backdrops that belong to the 'inbetween' parts of our lives, the bits we want to ignore. The liminal spaces. The margins between the events.
But these are the spaces in which we spend a LOT of time.
(Hence the great sales of ipods and walkmans to take us through these spaces.)

These marginal spaces, or 'mythologies' apparently unworthy of attention are the focus of Moran's book, which I have returned to, this week.

These mythologies are so buried in unnoticed habitual spaces and routines that they are relatively resistant to the kind of analyses undertaken by Barthes. I want to find a critical strategy that acknowledges this boredom in everyday life, raher than one that simply seeks to transform it through resourceful readings that strip away the veneer of what Barthes calls the 'falsely obvious.
(Moran, 2005: page 22)

The iterative routines of office life, the ritual phrases and actions and reactions, the habitual inertia. These are the stuff of the everyday that come under the spotlight. And I think these are the things I see Vitriolica deal with; Bitch PhD and many more. But I think we exoticise them; I think we are creative about them and it takes a brave person not to try and make the rdinary a bit more perky than it really is.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Know your onions

I have just been messing around in the kitchen and in the photoshop....

Know your onions




I have become really interested in the way photographs - the framing, the focus, the angle, can make you look at everyday life in new ways.
I have become more interested in all kinds of things since I got my posh camera; and making some parts of the photo into monochrome, makes me see more detail in the colours of the rest of the image.

I have also become interested in how the process of photography means that you can isolate things from their context. In this way we see them as separate artifacts (the 'a' word) in their own right. They are no longer just functional e.g. as food or as machines, but designs or organisms. They stand on their own, not just a component or part of a set which gets overlooked. I notice shape and detail more too.

Look at this cup .. it is one of the many coming of age symbols belonging to my son ... despite its crudity.


And that's shallot.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Help for Kate

Kate said...

Thanks for the tip Dr Joolz.I will now use you as my centre of advice on all
matters domestic.I will ask help with:

1. Recipes( am getting stale
where are the cookery blogs)

2. Winter coats. A dilemma. To buy or
to buy a winter coat.What kind. A navy blue trench?

Interiors. Should
I purchase spicy candles as recomended in the Sunday
papers and infuse my home
with warm smells?Help please.

Have moved Kate's comment from the back to the front.

Ok so :
1. Go here.
This blog is delicious to look at and has good recipes. She has loadsa good links down the side. (But don't worry too much. You are a working Mum and so have a good chance of doing the right thing food-wise. )

Yes buy a coat. Today I spoke to someone who had just spent £500 on a coat and did not regret it. I felt she was an excellent example. And you need one . Even at £500.00 it is cheaper than a car which you would otherwise have to travel in.

Candles. No. Don't do it. I have a friend (Guy knows her)
who had her house burnt down by her husband (now ex) burning candles and going out of the room and forgetting. (It was very Thomas Hardy as the insurance letter was on the table and got burnt so they were not insured. )

Another person who needs our help:
Poor Vitriolica has come up against the madness of the education system. It is a different system against which I come up or which Kate's daughter DETESTS and which Kate detests on behalf of daughter 2, (who does not want to read yet) , but nevertheless it is THE education system in general.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

One more thing

Just adding to the post I did earlier ...

Thanks to Anya she has put this great link on her blog and I love it.

Weekend school

The MA Literacy and Language course had to move location this weekend to here.
We were a bit concerned as we have always liked the venue here. But we were looked after like we were the treasured guests of royalty...
... The grub was good and the rooms warm and comfy. The staff were all sweetie pies.
There were some funny things though.
Like the too-quiet -listen-to-music in the background. Always there but never able to be really identifiable. Bit irritating in fact.

Then there was the whole cutlery thing going on ... the tables were laid with cutlery on plates, on serviettes. So the waiters have the ritual of coming to each person and taking the cultery and serviette of the plate and taking the plates away. The plate was never used for food, just cutlery. Why? What is that about? Am I uncouth? It was a mystery.


Maybe it is a special new grammar that is coming out.
Perhaps it is fashionable.
Maybe Becks and Posh do it??

Aaaaaanyway, the weekend was great, kicking off with Bob Lingard talking about
Productive Pedagogies.

This is a model for teaching produced by a team Bob worked with while in Queensland; it evolved through a huge piece of research and has been written about in a range of publications from the team.
Allan Luke is continuing the good work in Singapore now.
Suffice to say our students loved what Bob had to say and were excited by what he had to say about teachers and their ability to make a difference through professional pedagogies.
We also had Mark Vicars talking about life history research; I was really interested in what he had to say about the usefulness of GOSSIP of ways into life history work... fascinating stuff. I am going to look these up (as Mark recommended):

Leach, M (1997) Feminist figurations: gossip as a counter discourse. Qualitative studies in education vol 10, no 5 305-314Blum Kulka, Shoshana. (2000).
Gossipy events at family dinners: Negotiating Sociability,presence and the moral order. In, Justine Coupland (ed.) Small Talk. London: Longman.213-240.

They sound good, don't they?

Kate's work on her Turkish person, who she has been working with for years looking at her literacy and languae practices also was really fascinating and we all wanted to be a fly on the wall. Kate is learning Turkish now as she is realising the importtance of understanding the nuances of the language and the idea of taking on someone's vision through the frame of their cultural Discourses/discourses. She is having her paper on this matter published here soon. The paper is not out yet but some of the work is in here. I can't wait for her paper to come out ...

David's stuff on Critical Analysis went down brilliantly as usual and all in all it was a good weekend. (I rambled on a bit about blogging, Flickring and play theory , but that was all.)

I was so excited this week to see these fab posts on the play blog.

Anyhoooo, another tough week coming up with loads of teaching, a few deadlines and then a weekend school. Oh well the following week SHOULD be easier and I am lucky enough to have a REALLY interesting job.

About Me

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.