Doom Matrix

The following is the dream I had last night. Two immediate thoughts: 1.) definitely one of those vivid dreams associated with being in the family way; and 2.) I would totally watch a science fiction movie with this as its premise. Screenwriters, if you want the idea, have at it; see Creative Commons license.

I was in the future – around 2030-2040. I hadn’t aged, though; in fact, I think I was a few years younger and had been brought in from the past. The city I was in looked like it had gone through a disaster of some kind. Houses were partially burned, boarded up, or splintered. Rubble was everywhere. But there were some inhabitable buildings, and I lived in relative comfort.

For entertainment, people salvaged old technology from the 1990s and 2000s and played it, mostly old voice mails found on some cell phone companies' hard drives. People would listen to voice mails left by strangers for other strangers 40-50 years prior.* I listened to a message from someone inviting someone else to go to a Bible study. Another message I heard was from a woman letting someone know she had made "dime chicken," a low-budget but tasty and healthy dish, and that the person was welcome to stop by for dinner.

My job consisted of being sent into old dilapidated houses to take out an installation of equipment called a "Doom Matrix." It was a huge setup of projectors and computer processors, kind of similar in function to the holo-emitters (holodeck) on Star Trek. They had been sold as video game consoles. People had gotten addicted to them, and the machines had become self-aware, destructive, and murderous, like Skynet in the Terminator franchise.

I had, apparently, been summoned to purge the houses of these machines, which had been temporarily disabled by bombs and power shutdowns. They needed people who had a proven and utter lack of interest in playing video games, as I do. Others they had recruited for the job had been too curious about the Doom Matrix and had turned it on just to see what it was like.

* Actually, if voice mail had been available in the 1950s and 60s, I would definitely enjoy listening to old messages. I can imagine "http://oldtimeyvoicemail.blogspot.com" quite easily.

Which One Is Valid?

65% of doctors oppose the President's health care plan

or...

63% of doctors support a public option?

The New England Journal of Medicine would seem to be the more reliable source, but then again, we know that the American Medical Association isn't in favor of a public option, or they want to be sure they can opt out of accepting it, at least.

Gushing

I think people who teach literature courses should do more of it. Jonathan is teaching Jesus' Son in his sophomore literature survey course, and I mentioned to him that maybe I should come and do a short guest appearance in his class, just to get up in front of the students and say, "OMG YOU GUYS, this book is SOOOO GOOOOOOD" and the like. I know he won't do it. The professors I had in college never gushed either. It was always just "okay, for Thursday, read 'Among School Children' and 'The Second Coming.'"

How is it that so many people come to read the Twilight or Harry Potter books? People they know gush about them, and their enthusiasm motivates. Do you teach literature? Do you make a point of showing strong enthusiasm about the works you teach?

Picture it:

A car like this, going down the road...

only more beat-up with improper body work, along these lines. The car is plastered with the following bumper stickers:

"Socialism: a good idea...until you run out of other people's money"

"You can't blame Bush anymore"

and my absolute favorite:

"STAY OUT OF MY WALLET!"

???

The Semester Begins

Almost a month without a post...that may be a record. I will try not to make a habit of it.

Classes start Monday. I didn't get as much done this summer as I had hoped, but there's nothing I can do about that now. This semester I am teaching one graduate course (a composition pedagogy practicum) and, for the first time in two years, a first-year writing course. I finally feel like a credible composition scholar again. I know many may take offense to that; sorry. Of course it's not as if you're only as credible as the recentness of the last time you taught first-year writing. Many people have taught basic writing and first-year writing for decades, but haven't taught it in five or ten years, for example. It's just a personal point of view I have; I will have more confidence in my scholarship about pedagogy if I teach first-year writing regularly. I'm class-testing They Say, I Say and am interested to see how that will go.

In other news, Henry will be sixteen months old tomorrow!

Two Academic Reality Show Ideas

1. Top Poet: Like Top Chef, Project Runway, and similar shows, Top Poet would take a group of talented young poets and give them challenges (take a story from mythology and write a poem about it; write in a certain form or style; write a poem using the following "ingredients," which could be words, genres, etc.). The winner would be decided by a panel of expert judges.

2. So You Think You Can Teach: Talented teachers are assigned a lesson topic, sometimes in their content areas, sometimes not. They are given access to any technology they want to use. Teaching demonstrations are limited to about five minutes, and teachers can lecture or lead discussions with small groups of randomly selected members of the studio audience. America votes to decide the winner.

Science Idol

Vote for which political cartoon you think is the best. I am leaning toward number 1:

or number 9:

Nesting Cups

A good friend of mine gave Henry some nesting cups for his birthday. He LOVES them, and his favorite thing to do with them is to wedge a smaller cup into a larger one, like so:

IMG_3007

I can pick them all up and arrange them in nesting order, and he'll strew them out and wedge them together every time.

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