Can the Creature Teach? And Another Announcement.

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Before I actually start this blog post, I’m going to start this blog post with something.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Guys, I’m keeping the blog.

You could say I hit a real homerun… If my name were Nelson Cruz.

Did I apologize for the GIFS? Because I should really apologize for the GIFS.

Did I mention I’m also four news people from the 70s?

Whew.

With all of that amazing celebrating out of the way, I can say I’ll try to be a weekly blog person about… something. I suppose whatever is in my head will somehow end up splattered on a post here every week.

Alright with that out of the way:

CREATURE FEATURE.

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I want to teach the first Shakespearean Shop class. I would embed famous Shakespearean quotes within certain car parts. I would first place a few quotes from the “Tempest” in the windshield wipers, because it takes place on the ocean it would be totally relevant. The quotes would have to be discovered in the correct order so I would know my students followed proper directions I laid out for them.

For example, they would first find “We are such stuff.” Then they would find “As dreams are made on, our little life,” on the next step, before they finally end on “Is rounded with a sleep.”

That way I’m maximizing (hehe) their potential and I’m killing two birds with one stone. Because fuck birds who are allergic to stones.

Wait. That’s not all. Why should I not incorporate Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves into an advanced Physics class? Just imagine if I made only one number blue with nonsensical footnotes. I can see the questions and puzzled looks now.

The new textbook for the post-modern era? It can be included in everything from theoretical quantum mechanics to managing your finances!

“Professor ThatMaxGuy, why is the number two in blue in every formula and why does the history of plastic Gatorade bottles have to do with how soon a train will arrive?”

“Hey professor ThatMaxGuy, that’s obviously a canned response from a video by the author. Can you please tell me what any of this means?”

“This is your sovereignty and what you make of it is yours. Just keep it, Max Student.”

“This why I don’t fucking talk to myself on my blog.”

“Would you like to read House of Leaves: How the World Turns. A Physics Love Story?”

*Sigh*

“You’re just killing space aren’t you?”

“Like you don’t.”

Well that was a tangent.

And here is why.

From “The Loss of the Creature” article of course. The author mentions that it would be a great idea to combine subjects. For example he wants to:

propose that English poetry and biology should be taught as usual, but that at irregular intervals, poetry students should find dogfishes on their desks and biology students should be find Shakespeare sonnets on their dissecting boards. I am serious in declaring that a Sarah Lawrence English major who began poking about in a dogfish with a bobby pin would learn more in thirty minutes than a biology major in a whole semester.

First of all: lol wut?

Second of all:

lol wut? I mean, LOL WUT TO DA CHOPPA!

The concept sounds like something I’d make up with my friends for one.

“Guys…How ’bout a class that teaches you biology while you-wait for it-read various Shakespearean sonnets?”

“What?” “Would the sonnets be on the tray they’re using for dissection or something?”

“You know what?!” Points finger enthusiastically at friend. “That’s a great fucking idea, man!”

“I’d call it ENGBIO 486: Dissection of Shakespearean Themes and Amphibia.”

“Dude.”

“Dude.”

I suppose I can appreciate that the author tried to think outside the box and create new paradigms for learning a diverse selection of subjects. Although that entire quote feels like it was spawned from a weird lunch break discussion about how to consolidate costs and make teaching more efficient. It ends up sounding like a made-up scenario or an SNL skit because of how ridiculous it sounds.

There are more ways to learn and reach people, because of course there are, but can we move past the first draft of “Woah, dude,” thoughts and try something less…hilarious.

 

 

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Pop Up Part 3: How I Learned to Pop Up: The Re Popening.

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Alternate Title Thoughts: Pop Up E3. Popping Straight Up : How I Learned to Write Like an Old White Dude From the Forties. Pop Up (Pun Intended…WITH A VENGEANCE).

Writing is hard.

More?

Okay. Sports writing is also hard.

In the articles I usually read, statistical analysis is at forefront and story narrative is at the back burner at best. I usually find that articles which are simply about providing a more “human” narrative are often lacking in any kind of interesting or varied information. Playing the game the “right way” means a sports writer is complaining about how baseball isn’t played like it was in the old days. The wrong way being players showing emotion after a tremendous play or a close victory. In my experience, human narratives like those usually involve those right way and wrong way cliches, and I have little time or patience for reading about a writing yelling at kids to get off his proverbial baseball diamond shaped lawn.

But anyway, I suppose I should stop criticizing and start learning.

While baseball writing trends toward the romantic, that does not mean it’s useless. There are times when it can be poignant. There are fascinating human interest stories that actually do humanize their subject matter. Such as this one about Cuban baseball player Yasiel Puig. Yes that was a total shout out because, yes, as mentioned before I’m a Dodgers Fan.

I am emotional about the game when I’m watching it. Just because I embrace logic and statistical analysis for player evaluations, does not mean I am immune to the emotional turbulence of watching my favorite team play. It involves screaming profanities and clapping really hard. In fact, during playoff time, I am reduced to an imitation of myself that only knows “fuck,””shit,” or one of my favorites “fucking bullshit.” It’s really a treat if you have always wanted to see me lose my shit on an inning by inning basis.

ARGHHHH!

ARGHHHH!

Oh where was I?

Yes, baseball writing.

Well anyway, I know that emotional appeals using baseball and its players as the subject makes it easier to manipulate the audience. That’s why sports writers write the way they do. While I prefer to read something like this, and not something like this. The latter can include intriguing and thought provoking narratives, such as the Yasiel Puig article.

I also learned by reading other blog posts that there are other pieces writing too. For one, I found Tara’s post on game writing by Bioware’s lead writer, David Gaider, to be fascinating as I’ve always been interested to see how actual games are written. Especially by one of my favorite video game RPG (Role Playing Game. I do speak a little alien from time to time too, I guess.) companies. It’s a field I have always been interested in and to see how different it is from the other more conventional types of writing was really an enlightening read.

I also must thank whoever thought of this moment and whoever put this in. An amazing moment.

What can I say? I learned from myself and all of you. So thanks me and thank you too. I can only hope I was as informative as I was bloggy (Just wait for the urbandictionary entry).

Pop Up (No Pun Intended) Part 2

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This is Derek Jeter’s last season as a Yankee and as a professional baseball player. He was a Yankee so expect every sanctimonious article from writers who will say the good ole’ days of hustle and play will go with him once he retires. Ignore even more sanctimony when Jeter in his age forty season does something spectacular for his age that any twenty something year old could do in his sleep now, because its Derek Jeter’s last season, and goddammit, when he does something in his last season as a Yankee, it means everything, no matter what.

Now I really don’t share the above opinion. Full disclosure: I’m a Dodgers fan who’s had to live with a mother who was a Yankees fan (Don’t ask, it just happened). I can’t stand to hear his name because of the conflict it will inspire in my household.

I say he’s allergic to anything hit to his left

She says to get off of Derek

I say she needs to get off of Derek

And the cycle continues on and on. *Insert Journey Song*

Anyway, baseball writers are subject to flowery prose when describing anything baseball, because baseball is old and therefore garners the attention of the color purple prose.

The article, actually does a fine job setting a scene with a little bit of actual reporting.

For example let’s look at this passage:

Girardi was right about the standing ovation for the Yankees’ Core Four, and Jeter got another standing O when he came to bat in the bottom of the first inning: Number 2, hitting second, a familiar sight. Jeter dug in, his back foot on the back line of the batters’ box as usual, and he wagged his black bat. And then on the fifth pitch from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez — the Yankees were playing the Orioles, by the way — Jeter swung and missed for strike three. (Kostya Kennedy) 

I mean, that’s a nice bit of imagery. Especially if you’re a baseball fan who can actually remember the Core Four Yankees. It encapsulates everything triumphant about baseball while pointing out the last element that makes it so human. Even the best swing and miss on occasion, just like the real world, and Derek Jeter is no exception. One thing this type of writing does, or at least seeks to do, is portray the people playing on T.V as something human, though one could argue it does the opposite since they’re idealized thanks to articles like this, but interpretation of the masses and all that junk.

One cannot read a baseball article without baseball terms no one, but baseball fans will understand, and sometimes, not even human beings or addicted baseball fans can. Like this line:

Jeter made a point of rapping hard line drives into shallow rightfield, an area which functions as a kind of Jetersburg for him when things are going well. (Kostya Kennedy)

To be fair. I don’t know what the fuck a “Jetersburg” is either and I’m not sure I ever will. Does it relate Gettysburg and the address? 

Baseball writing does lead to a sort of romanticism about the sport. Again, because its hold and it’s always been played the “right way” according to old white beat writers. The intent of baseball pieces like this is not to always provide the reader with best statistical information. It is to create a narrative that is easy to tell and capture the feelings of the reader like the Death Star’s tractor beam. (TRY FINDING ANOTHER DEATHSTAR IN A BASEBALL ARTICLE, CAN’T FIND IT CAN YOU?)

I have a feeling it won’t last long if it doesn’t move out of the way. You could say there’s a certain…Force.

The primary purpose of this kind of writing is to provide a story to latch on to. It doesn’t matter what Jeter’s projected on-base-percentage is going to be or how he’ll rate in advanced defensive metrics in this kind of article. It matters whether he will go out the “right way” and if he will preserve the Yankee uniform in a matter fitting of the “Captain.” No one will care about how many hits Derek Jeter has in his last year, just as long as he gets one more hit.

One more time to be a Yankee.

One more time to Derek Jeter.

 

Could Use a Burger Now

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DARK TEXT WITH WHITE BACKGROUNDS IS TOTALLY EXTREME!

“Hey, Max, would you like to try our new extreme bacon, ham, double bacon, beef, werewolf, predator, BURGER EXTREME COMBO BURGER AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT CARL’S JR. IN EXTREME MAN PORTIONS.”

“What the fuck are we waiting for, invisible voice? GIVE ME FIVE RIGHT RIGHT NOW, BRO.”

I would hurriedly eat  more of what was being offered to prove my EXTREME manhood, because since I’m a college aged male, I have to dig right the fuck in to something with a shitload of protein, fifteen different kinds of meat, and something with enough cholesterol to give me enough heart attacks to last a few more lifetimes, BECAUSE EXTREME.

I’m certain this is how fast food commercials are talking to me. At least anything made by Carl’s JR, whenever they show the new burger of the month. Why the fuck would I not want a pineapple burger just because I saw some guy eating it, and then a really hot chick eat one.

It’s not that specific commercial, because believe it or not, Carl’s JR has made so many of these kinds of commercials, it’s hard to find just one of them. I can’t believe they’ve made so many gimmicky burgers either. Poor people. At least the models got to eat something.

Oh right, I’m avoiding the obvious.

I’ve said Carl’s JR about fifty times and that means something. When I immediately thought of sexism in media, I thought of their commercials. It wasn’t even a stretch either. It was as natural as assuming the sky was blue. I admit it was very effective. Hell, they still are very effective. For one, have you seen anyone burgers, or you know, ANYTHING at those angles?

As a part of the dumb college male demographic they were clearly shooting for, all I remember is that Kate Upton is hot and that the burger she’s holding is making her hotter.

Now I’m certain Carl’s JR did not really care how sexist it was perceived as long as it sold whatever gimmick burger they had for the sales period, but wow, did they fucking ever make a sexist ass commercial that I could not pry my eyes away from.

According to Carrie Packwood Freeman and Debra Merskin’s article “Having it His Way:”

analysis shows how much animals are feminized and women are animalized and both are often sexualized. (Freeman 281)

(Note to my spell check: “sexualized” is not misspelled as serialized and “animalized” is not a misspelling of annualized.)

If that Carl’s JR commercial did not do that then I would love to see your brilliant deconstructionist breakdown of the fast food commercial. You clearly have much to teach me and the world.

But really, the way she is posed is like a poster. Upton was in many ways almost exactly like the burger, both objects to be idealized and consumed by male gaze helped built by advertising.

Another reason why these commercials are so effective is man’s need to be men. We can’t simply be men typing at a computer and watching Netflix (Spellcheck note: It knows how to spell Netflix!) all the time. WE MUST BE MEN AND MEN DO MAN THINGS. HEAR ME ROAR, MANSTYLE!

Because of this history of men as meat-eaters, the men of today who eschew meat often face the stigmatization of being labeled effeminate. Adams cites Nutritionist Jean Meyer, who believes that in modern society ‘the more men sit at their desks all day, the more they want to be reassured about their maleness in eating those large slabs of bleeding meat which are the last symbols of machismo. (Freeman 280)

Oh shit do I feel hungry even quoting that. Does anyone feel like a burger? Sure I may contributing to the negative stereotype of man’s need to be man, but I could really go for a disgusting Five Guys burger with a ridiculous amount of fries.

Oh but back on topic. I guess.

I do agree with most of what the article says. Carl’s JR does emphasize its models and burgers as objects to be gazed upon and consumed like objects. I do agree that humanity has it’s history of consuming meat, but I don’t think it’s completely correct to assume the reason I want a burger is because I need to in order to claim some vestige of my ancestor’s manhood.

Fast food commercials are ruthlessly sexist and misleading, but can’t I have a burger… because I just like burgers?

 

Guys, I’m full of 21st Century Skillz.

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21st century skills. 21st century skills. 21st century skills. 21st century skills. 21st century skills.

Okay, I’m think I’m done with that now.

*Examines brain* Sorry. Guess not.

I fit five 21st century skills in one sentence, but does that mean I have them? Sure I typed them out really fast. Just like I’m typing now. I would not say typing originated in the 21st century (skills), but it feels like their importance is wide spread and not just for stereotypes anymore.

My fingers feel dirty and decrepit now.

So glad I have this rather than a typewriter that’s probably a biohazard by now.

Typing has become a necessary skill in the 21st century. I had classes devoted to typing and beating the shit out of Mavis. Typing quickly really has changed in meaning, I feel. I mean if you’re not at least sixty words per minute, you might as well pull to the side of typing highway and let the other typers through because I’ve seen Lord of the Ring movies on Netflix with faster conclusions than you. It really is a 21st century skill that matches the pace of modern 21st century society.

YEAHHHH! I OWNED YOU MAVIS. You were also my driving tutor apparently.

 

Our typing has improved with our need to constantly update our statuses on Twitter and Facebook. If my best friend can’t find out I ate at Five Guys in less than a minute on a status update, he or she will never care.

Obviously.

Do you know what else is a 21st century skill?

Watching Enterprise on Netflix while writing this blog post with ten tabs open in two windows just because I “need” all of that information, both for leisure and intellectual purposes. If that is not a 21st century skill then I don’t know what the hell a 21st century skill is.

Though I suppose Mike Rose was not concerned about my Netflix habits, though he should, if he wants me to remember season 2 of Enterprise. But alas, he has other priorities in his article, such as, the first five words in this post. 21st century skills. He summarizes them thusly:

Twenty-first century skills include the ability to use a range of electronic technologies to access, synthesize and apply information. The ability to think critically and creatively and evaluate the products of one’s thinking. The ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with others, particularly in diverse and multicultural settings.

Well fine.

If I took out “electronic technologies” anyone could apply this to any century. Which is, you know, the point.

The range of skills is admirable, as is the intention that they apply to all students—an equity imperative. But what’s new about them? They sound like the skills one would have gotten from a good 20th century education—or from a lot further back than that.

There it is.

But there’s a reason I mentioned Netflix and having ten tabs open. I feel a legitimate 21st century skill may be the ability to multitask while using electronic devices, specifically on the Internet. This is helpful while conducting research for a paper, as I couldn’t imagine having less than a dozen tabs open for research and YouTube purposes.

I also used my 21st century skills for our MRW project. More specifically, I used Twitter and Netflix simultaneously in these posts here: “Following” and “30 Rock,” and I watched them too.

Live tweeting sounds like the most 21st century skill I’ve ever had. They’re both very much 21st century technologies and using them both in conjunction requires that I have the ability to multitask at least competently. Granted, multitasking did not start in the 21st century, but multitasking multiple web browser tabs, PDF reader tabs, computer files, and social media are 21st century skills because I’m essentially handling various programs that were not even invented when I watched X-Men on FOX in the 90s.

Rose does have his points though, as listed here:

The 21st-century-skills philosophy of education is an economic one. The primary goal is to create efficient and effective workers. Twenty-first century skills for the 21st century organization man and woman.

No disagreement here. When a large organizational force, such as, I don’t know, the public education section or the collegiate system deems that something must be taught and label it as something like “21st-century-skills,” the reason is usually primarily economical. Forget anything involving bettering the system or the student’s lives.

I made another blog post. Goddamn, that is really a 21st century skill.

Oh, 25 “21st century skill” sightings by the way. Now 26.