23 July 2009

Twitphonic?




The National Symphony introduces real-time program notes via Twitter.

This is going to stir up a bit of controversy. I am far from a purist and all about embracing technology for musical audiences but does this take it too far? Surely, going to the symphony is about experiencing the music as it happens and how each individual audience member engages with that performance in his/her own way. I view these live tweets from the conductor creating two potential problems: disengagement from the audience (aren't the symphony, opera, ballet, theatre, etc. places we go to get away from our smartphones?) and changing the way an audience member might receive and react to a piece. I feel the last one might be more harmful than the first and interfere with the audience member's interpretations of the piece by being fed the conductor's insights to the work in real time.

Also, by allowing the live feed from Twitter on the lawn and not in the house, aren't we promoting an even further division of highbrow/lowbrow value judgments by reserving the technology for the less elite lawn-seating? As if those on lawn seats would benefit from the tweets?

Tweeting from the opera probably isn't in our future but pending the reaction to this it might be at the next symphony concert we attend. What are your thoughts?

Visual Representation


Here is a visual representation of all 28,266 words of my master's thesis from Wordle. Good to know that it all looks pretty common in the end!

Transitioning


I'm back from the blogging hiatus of a ridiculously busy spring quarter which was filled with writing too many research papers and grading too many from my students. However, I was quite pleased with the variety of topics and overall writing skills my students developed throughout the past year. I'd say most, if not all, improved their writing skills, which was no small feat (for either of us) but I trust it will pay off for them in the long run. But the best news is that I am finished with coursework. HALLELUJAH! Now, onto prepping for exams and writing that darn dissertation... Oh yes, and welcome back to the real world (see above comic for real life experiences with this so far).

Moving from the frenetic pace of reading, writing, teaching, and pumping coffee just to stay awake into this stagnant stillness of not having any classes and having to gear up for pending exam studying is quite disconcerting. I'm spending many hours a day looking for work (apparently, not a huge market for us overqualified academics at the moment) and trying to build up a core of students to teach lessons to. It's amazing how quickly life can shift from completely crazy over-scheduled madness into unfettered sluggishness. No close deadlines or upcoming projects--it all feels so foreign and far-removed. Thankfully I've had friends to entertain me to keep me from cleaning my living room AGAIN and trying out a ton of new recipes for fun.

But really, WHAT'S NEXT? I recently experienced high competition applying for a barista job. The sad part that everyone looked over 30 and probably was either in or finished with grad school. Oy. (Again, see above comic).

I guess this is a lesson in how to transition. I think I'm not doing very well as I'd much rather plunge forth into work than figure out whatever it is I'm supposed to be figuring out but I guess during the "figuring out," everything will fall into place.

09 May 2009

Buried



My apologies for a lengthy absence, it's been a busy couple of terms. I am currently allergy-ridden and buried underneath a pile of term paper drafts and midterms. I will probably reappear at the end of the quarter once I finish my term papers. Bear with me. In the meantime, I was seduced by New Orleans and think I would immediately move there if I had the opportunity. The PCA conference was awesome, my paper was very well-received, I met many new friends from different disciplines, danced onstage at a drag show, and now have academic groupies...all in all, an awesome trip. I'm also currently pining to go back to Vienna, but that's not in the cards at the moment.

23 January 2009

HRC: Gettin’ Sneaky With It



I attended The L Word HRC premiere at Adonis last weekend. I will say that the HRC is getting sneakier in its tactics and this year, the “suggested donation” for entry to the event was not a “suggested donation” at all . . . you had to pay it to get in and bonus, it counted as your one-year membership to HRC. Now as a general rule, I support HRC because queers need a group that is nationally visible and promotes queer rights. However, since HRC does not view all queer people as equal--I am speaking specifically about transpeople here. HRC cast off transpeople when they thought ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act designed to protect LGBT people in the workplace) would not pass. When it looked like this legislation wasn’t going to pass, HRC only included gays and lesbians in the proposed legislation . . . never mind that this legislation still failed after cutting out what they felt were the “non-normative” queers. There are also a host of other issues with the corporate, assimilationist nature of the group—it’s all that heteronormative two married gays or lesbians and an adopted baby blather; you never hear about the plights of someone in transition. I’m not saying HRC should be all trans all the time, rather as inclusive as they wanna be (to quote NWA). This is a rant that could go on for a long time. But it’s a real problem—how do you reconcile belonging to a queer political organization (that is rooted in corporate politics, not queer politics, not coalition-building) that is trying to provide a visible (albeit, heteronormative) face to queer issues when it is exclusionary of what they consider to be “non-normative” levels of queerness? By not belonging, we lose national impact; by belonging, we are hypocritical. It’s a catch-22.