Category Archives: me

Redesign Coming Soon

Ok, I have now mastered just enough knowledge of the WP templates to be disatisfied with how this blog is working.  Sometime very soon I’ll be doing a major redesign, as well as expanding the content, though the latter will probably wait until summer.

My other projects have slowed down because funding at my school has really dried up.  Now I’m having to back up and redesign several of them, at least for now.

The main difference will be focusing more attention on the Bay Area in comparison to NL.  I had planned to wait another year or so before getting into this angle, but since travel abroad is tough right now, I’ll focus closer to home.  Happily for me I’ve ended up in the last nine months or so meeting a lot of artists, hackers, scholars and others who occupy a similar “space” to those I’ve been working with in the Netherlands.

More on all of this soon, but untill the end of term next month, updates will be sporadic.


My school, like many, is having money trouble, and that’s making things tough in a number of ways.  For me personally, there is direct financial impact– we didn’t get the raises we were due this year, and there’s no money for travel or research.  I was awarded an internal research grant, but since we have no money, it wasn’t funded.  But even worse, money for a lot of other things is being cut and some people are losing their jobs.  Some people I supervise.  We haven’t officially laid anyone off, and so far, there are no plans for that.  But there are people who had not worked here long enough to gain any protection who were not re-hired after one semester.  And our grad students can’t count on finding work here any more after they finish.

My school has always asked a lot in terms of teaching and service, but I think many of us have been quiet disheartened by the current conditions.  Also, many of us are looking around and noticing that working so many hours per week leaves little tmes for friends and family.  I have been thinking about that a lot.  I love my research, and my students are great.  but I need to have some life outside those areas.  In fact, I’d like at least half my time free to spend on the other things I love– friends and family of course.  But also gardening.  Reading for fun.  Writing and coding for fun; to experiment, rather than always to a deadline.

And I’m tired of moving.  And of always traveling for work.  Thinking hard about how to change things so I can work less and play more.  So that work again becomes fun, rather than a weight crushing the life out of my life.

Yes, dark post today, but there it is.  I  paid a cost for my doctorate in all the time I didn’t spend on anything else about which I cared.  i didn’t expect I’d just have to keep paying and paying.  Think I’m going to try keeping more for myself.

Finally Posting Again…

I took quite a stretch off from posting here because I was focusing on my teaching blog, Ethereal Education.  Now that it is pretty well under control, I will resume, though probably sporadically until Spring break anyway.  The teaching blog is going well, and I’ve learned a lot more about theme templates in the process of setting it up, so I may change this theme again.

In the next 12 to 24 hours I’ll start posting the entries I’ve written while in SF for CCCC.  There was no wifi in most of the conference (aaargh!) so I had to just write them as documents…

Anyway, as you’ve divined, I’m in San Francisco for the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and was speaking about teaching grad students about technology.  My talk went well, but I’ll post about that later.

Nice to be back.

New Media (or whatever we call it) at the MLA

From 27-30 December I made the traditional pilgrimage of English faculty everywhere to the annual conference of the Modern Language Association, since time immemorial held between Christmas and New year’s. This year, lucky for me, it was held in San Francisco. Bigger and … well, bigger than ever. Forty-eight concurrent sessions every day, from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm every day.

I spoke about new media and my belief that we need to ditch that term, and expand our attention to a wider range of issues than are currently getting much play in the US, –I’ll upload my remarks shortly. There was a panel on Participatory Education 2.0–quite good; a workshop on evaluating digital scholarship for tenure–grim; a panel on E-literature–contentious and quite a few others as well.

The participatory education panel included remarks from Cathy Davis (Duke) about the HASTAC project (which is aimed more at faculty than students), Howard Rheingold (Stanford) about the set of tools he’s been developing and his basic thoughts. His essay in Joi Ito’s book, FreeSouls captures most of those ideas. And Greg Niemeyer (UC Berkeley) spoke about the Black Cloud project which involves students and schools in measuring air quality in their communities. You can join the project at the main Black Cloud page. This was really a valuable panel more for making me aware of possibilities than anything else.  Rheingold in particular has done a lot to integrate technology into his classes in ways that enhance participation and I can see things I shoould do very differently.

The E-lit panel was about “Genre, Form, and Cultural Practice in Contemporary Electronic Literature” and included leading lights from the E-lit scene: Scott Rettberg, one of the editors of the Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1, and Sandy Baldwin who directs the Center for Literary Computing at West Virginia University, Maria Engberg who has just finished her PhD but is already well-known for her work on digital poetry, were the main speakers, while John Cayley responded and Jay David Bolter presided over the panel.

The basic question boiled down to “what is electronic literature” and was unresolved. Sandy and Scott had almost opposite views on whether it is better to define it broadly or narrowly. For me the highlight was going to lunch with Maria, Sandy, Jay, my friend Aden Evens and my co-panelist Joe Tabbi afterward, where we could continue the discussion less formally and over some yummy Thai food. 🙂

I’ll write about the tenure workshop later, but for now here’s a link to material organized by the MLA Committee on Information Technology.

There were even a few tweet-ups, but they weren’t as well-organized as might have been, given the technology, and this was complicated by the lack of an open wireless network in the conference meeting rooms. Really I would have thought that would be a given for a huge national conference by now.

Along with attending the conference, I also visited an exhibit on Participatory Art at the San Francisco MoMA and got to hang out with some people I mostly only connect with via Twitter and Facebook, so that was great. More on that stuff later as well.

Hello again…

Just migrated to this WordPress blog at my new website.  Took two tries to get it installed the way I wanted it, and I’m still not totally happy with the theme, but it will do for now.  Regular posting should resume soon, I hope!

Wow, long timelines

Sometimes I am amazed at how long journals still take to get articles and reviews into print. Given how quickly things get posted online, I would have thought they would all be changing their practices in order to not get left behind entirely. I mention this by way of introducing the following review. i wrote it for the European Journal of cultural studies and have just learned they expect to publish it in 2010. It’s a book review, not a 20 page article requiring peers to read it. But anyway, I don’t care that much, except I think the book really deserved more attention sooner, so I’m re-posting the link to my review (which I blogged a couple of months ago) here.

I also just learned that a chapter I proposed on the FB stuff has been accepted for publication in the Handbook of Digital Research (at least the proposal has been accepted meaning, I can send a full chapter, which I think will be also be reviewed), so that’s cool.

On the downside, My NEH grant proposal has been rejected. I asked for the feedback, but haven’t yet received it. I was approved for an internal grant of a few thousand dollars, but our school is so broke at the moment, there is no money to actually fund that grant program. Unless they find money somewhere in the next 2 weeks, it seems I will not be able to make the trip I had planned to the Netherlands in late January. I’m pretty discouraged about that because it will delay my work on my book projects by at least 6 months and they have already been held back by the fact that I can only visit each time for 1-3 weeks, have only been able to afford 3 visits in the last 2 years, and have such a heavy workload the rest of the time that (like almost all of my colleagues) I have almost no time for research anyway.

Lack of funding and too much work would be problems for any academic, but when you actually love your research like I do (as opposed to just doing it because your school requires some amount, and I personally know several people who take that approach) this is especially awful. If all I cared about was meeting a requirement, I could argue that the requirement was unreasonable under these conditions and have a powerful case, but I love the research. So much so that I’ve been doing it on my own time and out of my own pocket. –My school doesn’t have a really good internal grant program to support junior faculty, nor are any time or money allotted to everyone just to support research.

So it boils down to my work being accepted by my peers for publications and presentations, but if I want to do the work and travel to present it, I have to pay for it myself because academic research is not sufficiently valued by the public to support it (not just mine, but most scholars’) generally. Maybe I need to just leave the country. 😛


A quick note to thank Ritchie Pettauer (whom I met through Facebook!) for asking to publish my Facebook paper on his blog, datadirt. As he describes it:

the main focus is (pro)blogging, WordPress and online marketing with the occassional media theory twist. I also like to blog about music and funny stuff on the net – yup, it’s a wild mixture of highly personalized preferences; but hey, that’s why it’s called a blog and not a magazine.

I’ve been following it for a little while via Twitter and there always seems to be something fun and interesting posted over there. –A much cooler blog than this one! 😉

And Ritchie has reformatted my paper in a really easy way to navigate–I’ll have to steal it someday. 😉 Last, upon reading I see that in spite of my efforts, typos are plentiful in that text, and I want to make clear they are mine, not Ritchie’s.

This is not a post

ok, of course it is, but not a real one.

By that I mean that I have a ton of things to post about the IR 9.0 conference and other things as well, but I’m exhausted and sick right now, so I can’t muster the energy, will, brainpower, or anything else needed to compose something coherent.

Instead I will just say that I had a really good time seeing people I usually only see online. It was actually kind of strange at first because I noticed that I had gotten so accustomed to speaking with people individually through email, or FB messages, or Skype chats that being with them in a group where we all talked together felt very strange at first. But it was actually lovely, and sometimes a really amazing group chemistry would develop.

I also noticed that when most of your socializing is one on one, you can’t develop much sense of what people are like in a general way, only of what they are like with you. So that’s something to think about incorporating in my latest paper on Facebook.

So yes, all you people know who you are and I’ll name you later when I talk in a more professional way. Now suffice to say that you all proved even nicer, smarter, and more fun in person than I had even expected. So thanks, people. 🙂

–and yes, I just bet a few of you are almost feeling sick because I am writing in this so personal and gushy way on my, gasp, research blog. It’s called leading the examined life, my dear ones. 😉


Ok, I still have two interviews left from summer– Brenno de Winter and Florian Cramer. Florian’s was 3 hours long, and was actually recorded! So that may take several entries at least…

But I’ll put that on hold, for a bit. In a week I leave for IR 9.0, the Association for Internet Researchers 9th annual meeting, which is Copenhagen this year. I got two panels accepted but they got compressed into one because they were short on rooms and we lost a panelist, though that will be a pain, but on the other hand it should be a really fun panel. Also a good one; I know the work of all the participants from articles and other conferences and I am also happy to report that they already sent me full papers, which I’ll link to soon. So none of those half-assed “done on the plane the night before” slide shows here. 🙂

Also, on the last weekend of September, I went to San Francisco for Arse Elektronika where I got to meet Johannes Grenzfurthner and some others from Monochrom. I also met Aaron Muszalski, who was speaking at AE, and Richard Kadrey, author and photographer, who also spoke and did a reading. I managed a short interview with Johannes and talked to Richard at length on Friday before meeting him for an interview on Saturday. –They were all great! So reports on all of that are coming up.

hopefully getting back on track

OK, so I ended up spending much longer on the East Coast than I originally planned for this summer, which means I had a really poor network connection–both slow and sporadic–and I didn’t have the books I needed to finish up various articles, reviews, and so on. Then I came home, and oh yeah, no day care. Sigh.

Now I might normally feel a bit bad that I am complaining about my kids being home, but anyone who has tried to write while small kids are in the area interrupting every 2 minutes (literally) will understand. Also, I had the dubious pleasure of having my mom and sisters insist to me for most of my visit in the east that working so much is hurting my children. This was especially ironic given my current research on women’s use of tech and participation in the new media scene in the Netherlands. I heard from several women there that they often encountered a sort of incredulity from other people at their not wanting to be home all the tie with their kids.

Incredulity is bad enough, but I wonder how many encounter what I have? Actual resistance from the people we might have expected to help us manage work and family. I now know that I can’t turn to my parents or sisters if I have another research trip or conference, because they don’t think I should be going anyway. My husband travels as much as I–he’s also an academic–but apparently “it’s different for men.” –So says my mom. It’s no mystery that women are still not equally represented in so many fields or at upper levels in fields where they are present if we are still being pressured and socialized this way.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled discussion.