Travel Updated #12: Getting Lost in Paris with Kate Bornstein

So I decided to get lost in Paris while listening to Kate Bornstein's A Queer and Pleasant Danger.  It was a great time had by all!





Today's random images from the photo archive:

Just what the doctor ordered!

In the Garden of Luxembourg...who knew?

Hey!  She shrank...and moved to Luxembourg?




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Travel Updated #11: Enjoying Paris to its Fullest!

Paris has been fantastic!  Here is my update of my excellent day yesterday, but for more details about my wanderings, check out my journal as you'll find out about my crepe adventure and soaking in all the sights--as well as my FAVORITE part of the Louvre!


Today's random images from the photo archive:

Now entering the Louvre.
A sculpture that grabbed my attention


Lance make's crepes....not really!




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Travel Updated #10: Arrival in Paris

So I have left the Netherlands and even Berlin and am now in Pars!  Fun times await!



Today's random images from the photo archive:

Inside the Berliner Dom
Notre Dame



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Travel Update #9: Departing the Netherlands

An update about my second to last day in the Netherlands--lots of fun and sad to depart!



Today's random images from the photo archive:

The Start of the presentation

I made a friend.

Dinner:  Vegetable Lasagna



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Travel Update #8: Some of my Favorite Pics

A light update this time around.  Instead of a video, I've done a slide-show of some of my favorite pictures taken thus far.  I've also updated my journal, which as of now is in the vicinity of some 8500+ words.  To see a full screen version, you can also click through here.






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Travel Update #7: Of Palaces & Police

Not a bit update per se nor a cool video like the last few times, but just me talking about a palace I visited, getting pulled over by the police (I assure, I'm not blogging from prison...yet), and facial hair.  Enjoy!




Today's random images from the photo archive:



The hedge maze at Het Loo


The old castle on the grounds

Pretty purple flowers in Anna's parents' backyard




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Travel Updated #6: Art Exhibit Video

Below is the video I made of the art project that my host and her friends worked on at the Galerie Zuid.  They came out really well and I wanted to make this video to capture the progress and atmosphere.  I've also updated my journal as well as added more photos so be sure to check them out!  I'm still having a great time and even though the weather isn't entirely agreeable, the people are.




Today's random images from the photo archive:

Now, there's a throne to sit upon!

A new building with a golden dove and big egg...
or eye...or disco ball--we weren't sure.


Art on street tiles.





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Travel Update #5: Art, Gnomes, & Walking About

Another great day of adventuring in the Netherlands!  Here's my latest video update, giving some of the numbers of my first week in the Netherlands.  Enjoy the video, the pics, and the updates and let me know what you think.





Today's random images from the photo archive:



Clearly, these gnomes have gotten into the wrong
batch of mushrooms!


Medusa--a woman you never look twice at!


More cool street art.



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Travel Update #4: A Video Tour of Zwolle & More Adventures

I continue to have a great time with lots of travelling and meeting of new people.  During my adventures in Zwolle, I decided to make this video capturing some of the sights I've encountered there.  It's not great, but it might give you a better sense of where I am and what I'm doing.  Enjoy!




Today's random images from the photo archive:



A sculpture of the Archangel Michael


The spikes for our candle-holders.







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Travel Update #3: More videos, more pics, more fun!

The trip continues to be an excellent success with lots of learning, laughs, and excitement.  Below is my vlog update.  Also, I wanted people to know, after 2-3 requests from readers that I have opened up the travel journal so that if people want to use the Comment feature, they can in the Google Doc to ask questions and comment about what you read there.  I promise to answer them as best as possible.

Two Video updates!


Update 2:



Today's random images from the photo archive:


Seriously, bikes are everywhere!


Anna's College


Yum!  



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Travel Update #2

So it's early Monday morning so I'm throwing up another update.  I'm a bit of a morning person which means I can usually do get my journaling done before anyone else is up. Here's my latest update.  You can check out the current vlog post, as well as my journal update, and current photos that I've taken broken down by the days.  








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Travel Update #1

I arrived yesterday in Zwolle and it's Sunday morning, now.  Here's my latest update.  You can check out the two vlog posts, as well as my journal update, and current photos that I've taken.  A truly multi-media update!

Friday's Update:


Sunday's Update:


For those interested in reading my journal updates, you'll want to check out this link.

For those interested in checking out my photos thus far, check out this link.



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Tales of Running: "What's Your Time?": Both Sides of the Conversation

So I should be 4 runs into the season at this point and should be up to some 20 miles a week.  Sadly to say I'm not on either count.  However, I will may make it up on the other end and pick up some more runs (for instance, I did sign up for the 25K Around the Cape and I'll likely sign up for the Nahant 30K).  Regardless, the running is going well.  As I finished a 8.5 mile today, feeling good and relaxed; coming in around 1 hour 25 minutes (10 minute miles), my body felt it could have easily gone further.

Energize the Earth 10K Results
The two runs that I did complete, I was very happy about as they showed overall, an improvement in time over last year and just felt good to be out running with the herd again.  The Energize the Earth 10K in Beverly was a pretty nice route finishing up at Lynch Park.  I also ran into a friend who's been getting into running of late (I'll give ya a hint--he runs Arts After Hours in Lynn).  There was a 5K and a 10K option and the 10K was just a second loop.  Initially, I wasn't thrilled with this, but it actually helped push me better since I knew the route and the upcoming obstacles.  This is similar to how often my runs in Salem do better than entirely new places as I'm familiar with the upcoming route elements. So my time was actually really good (for me) for a 10K.  My low goal was 1 hour 2 minutes and high goal was 58 minutes.  But I blew past that can came in at just under 56 minutes.  It was definitely an epic win for me.  I have no intention or ability to become a speed demon, but progress in time indicates I'm doing something right (at least at this stage).   The HAWC 5 Mile Run was equally rewarding in that I was hoping to complete it under 45 minutes (and low goal of 49 minutes) and came in just under 43 minutes.

Both runs have gotten me excited about this running season in that I feel I have the confidence of nearly 2 years of running behind me.  Today's run (Friday, May 10) of 8.5 miles was comfortable with no moment feeling like it was overwhelming or daunting.  It was an enjoyable gallop!

HAWC 5 Mile Run Results
But beyond the update, what has me blogging today on running is two conversations I had back to back and the realization of several different things at once.  As some of my few dear reads now, I think a lot. In particular, I think a lot about how I come across to others.  This self-consciousness doesn't stem from a lack of self-confidence but rather a desire to assure that in my communicating, I don't come across too abraisive, insensitive, or thoughtless.  Which is not to say that I wholly succeed in avoiding such interpretations but I prefer to do them as less as possible.  There is a variety of circumstances contributing to who I am as an individual and where I fit within the culture that could generate a persona that acts as the proverbial bull in the china shop.  So I continually try to temper that and keep it in check.  One of the ways I do this is just by reflecting on my interactions and taking note of what I could do differently or being aware that my intention and results didn't quite sync.  

So what were these two conversations?  Let's start with the conversation that happened second.  I ran into a friend from high school who was doing the HAWC Run.  I hadn't seen this person in well over a decade and so we began chatting for a few and both of us were in the same boat of having just started running recently.  Her husband came over and introduced himself.  He has been running for years and was glad to meet another runner.  The first question he asked was, "What's your time?"

I runz good!
I tend to answer this question with a prefaced "just" or "only."  "I 'just' (or 'only') do about 9 to 9.5 minute miles."  I can't help it.  It just finds its way there.  It's a "just" I'm familiar with.  I often found it sticking in my throat when I describe my work as an "adjunct instructor" (many of my adjunct colleagues feel this experience too).  It reminds me of the move, Haiku Tunnel, by Josh Kornbluth wherein he talks about the incessant need to put "just" before his title, "I'm 'just' a secretary."  Maybe it's from the experience of always being the last kid running in every sports practice I have ever participated in (save maybe twice--and I wish that was an exaggeration).   I realized it's a bit of an intimidating question to answer or at least at times it can feel intimidating as I feel there is somewhere judgment and evaluation in answering the question.  

This brings me to my first conversation (a conversation that happened about 5 minutes before this one).  The first conversation was with a woman who introduced herself to me as we share a mutual friend.  She knew I was running and had seen my pic on FB so she came up and introduced herself.  As soon as we got through introductions, I rushed into "So what's your time?"  Now, I did have good intentions in asking this.  I had wondered if we were close in time and could run together.  I certainly know when I have someone nearby that helps to push me to better results.  Also, given that I had just met her and wanted to chat with her some more as she seemed like a cool person from my friend's description, running together would be ideal.  And finally, the race was shortly about to begin so I figured it would be a good transition to head to the starting line.  Our times were in different ranges and when she answered, she did the same thing I did She downplayed her time.  I can't remember if she used "only" or "just" but she did frame it that way and somewhere I realized what I that the question may have set her up to that.  So I probably went a little bit into overdrive to encourage and compliment her efforts.  Authentic yes--but I felt like I was stumbling through it like a bad interview where you know you've made a faux passe and are afraid to call attention to it for fear you will make it more of a "thing" that it actually is.

But in congratulating her about her efforts and growing appreciation of running, I worried that I might have come across as a bit condescending.  Something I also equally loathe to do to anybody (intentionally or accidentally).  To me, it's still pretty amazing to show up and run.  I still sometimes have inner battles about going to a run (clearly--I skipped out on two out of four).  Thus, here was another foot soldier in the battle to run and wanted to make sure I gave respect to that.    

So in the span of 10 minutes, I was immersed in the same conversation on both sides having to do with running and timing.  Upon reflecting, I realized that the man who asked me mostly likely had good intentions and that my asking of the woman certainly wasn't mean or condescending.  In the future, maybe I should find a different way of asking that doesn't somehow solicit the "just" or "only."  I mean I get why I do it and why others do it, but hell, we're running and that to me is always pretty freaking awesome.

Beyond a doubt, I'm likely overthinking this, but I'd be curious to hear from other runners in your experience of asking and answering the question, "What's your time?"  What kind of thoughts and emotions does it generate?  Do you ever feel challenged to answer it  or respond when there is a discrepancy between your time and the other person's time?



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Travel On: Wherein Lance Goes to Europe for 3 Weeks

So for those that don't know, from May 10 to May 30, I will be off to Europe for three weeks.  For two weeks, I will be staying in Zwolle, Netherlands with a good friend and colleague.  From there, I will be visiting Berlin for about 2 days, Paris for 3 days, and London for 2 days.  I am (obviously) pretty excited about the trip and thought I would capture my travels through a mixture of blogging and video blogging.  However, while I'll update here to let people know when I've updated my journal and my video travelogue, the content itself will not likely be stowed here.  So below you can see my first update.  And you can keep up with my exploits by subscribe to My Channel.



You can check out regularly updated travel journal below or click there to access it.  I will be updating this blog with reminders of when I've updated the other resources.





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CFP: Comics & Graphic Novels

As some of you know, I'm the Area Chair for Comics & Graphic Novels for the Northeast Popular Culture Association.  This is their season call for conference papers for this October's conference.  If you've got something, please consider presenting:


The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) is pleased to issue a call for papers for its fall conference. NEPCA invites proposals on a wide array of topics pertaining to popular and American culture, broadly construed.

The 2013 NEPCA conference will meet on the campus of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, October 25–26.     The deadline for proposals is June 10, 2103.

Since 1974 NEPCA has invited scholars from New England and New York to be part of an expanding intellectual community. Our annual conferences strive to obtain a balance of graduate students, independent scholars, and full-time faculty members. They are designed to be nurturing conferences where works in progress share intellectual space with established scholarship. NEPCA conferences are also affordable for all.

Email one copy of your proposal (maximum 250 words) and a one page vita to the Program Chairs, Robert Niemi; rniemi@smcvt.edu and Jennifer Tebbe-Grossman: Jennifer.Tebbe@mcphs.edu. A second copy may also be emailed to the appropriate area chair (Comics and Graphic Novels Area Chair:  Lance Eaton lance.eaton@gmail.com).   Area chairs and other conference information can be found on the NEPCA Website:  http://nepca.wordpress.com/fall-conference/



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30 Books for April: 365 Books a Year Challenge

So I made it successfully through April with 30 books.  Here's the Goodreads listing and details.  And with this month's books, that puts me at 128 books this year.  It's kind of awesome on its owns.

Here's the tally so far:
Highlights of the month--there were actually a couple that I found quite rewarding and insightful.
My Word Book Cover:  Source:  http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/97/80/80/14/47/9780801447631_500X500.jpg

My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan Blum

This should be required reading for any college-level instructor.  Blum's accessible yet complex discussion sheds light on the slippery slope of what academic dishonesty consists of, how and why students are likely to commit it, and the challenges in addressing it.  But more than anything, Blum vividly depicts the complexity of college culture that plays a central role in the development of cheating.

Infinite Progress: How the Internet and Technology Will End Ignorance, Disease, Poverty, Hunger, and War by Byron Reese

It's relieving to see a text that celebrates what technology has done and has the potential to do.  I don't know if I find the entirety of Reese's writing to be possible as he bypasses and largely ignores the environmental issues that seem to impede our changes of attaining a nearly utopian future, but I applaud his argument in so far as it connected the dots in how technology can reasonable diminish a great deal of harms to human existence.

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

I am limited in discussing this book in great detail as I'm reviewing the audiobook for a publication.  That being said, it resonated much with Byron Reese's Infinite Progress in the ways it identifies the possibilities and opportunities technologies affords us--though with a more developed thread of the challenges it provides for us as well.

50 Digital Ideas You Really Need to Know by Tom  Chatfield

Chatfield's book is a purely distilled text of the major ideas and elements of digital media one would need to know or might want a bit more clarity on.  Chatfield lays out clear yet sufficiently complex ideas so that this feels less like a "Just for Dummies" book and more like an adult introduction.  This works well because for neophyte and professional alike, there is apt to be plenty to learn (or just better contextualize).  Again, one of those texts that should be an essential for any digital native or immigrant.
Sticks & Stones Book Cover:  Source: http://images.publicradio.org/content/2013/03/11/20130311_sticksandstones_57.jpg

Challenging Casanova: Beyond the stereotype of the promiscuous young male by Andrew Smiler

Boys don't have to be "boys" but we sure want them to think so.  Overall, I appreciate Smiler's effort to delegitimize male culture that emphasizes and trains men to be "Casanovas" (promiscuous and disregardful of women).  He hits upon several points that correspond to my own experience while also leading down some roads I had not thought of.  There are some places here he comes up short (e.g. he argues that the male as "player" only really began to be celebrated in the 1960s and beyond--but ignores characters like Costello who was a player regularly celebrated within the Abbott and Costello show).

Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) by Thea Hillman

Hillman's exploration of her own challenges and sense-making as an intersex person is an excellent work for anyone better trying to understand intersex.  Filled with memoiric chapters, poetry, and other personal writing, the book crafts a nuance understanding of the battles one faces when the dominant culture has denied you space and personhood.

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon

I plan to write more about Bazelon's book in another post on bullying, so I'll refrain from saying too much here.  However, it is a solid text that talks about bullying in some rather important and potent ways.  Bazelon moves beyond the simplistic victim and bully paradigm to get at the roots and complex issues that bullying represents.

Again, my physical reading wasn't high but I anticipated April to be a hard month in terms of physical reading, given everything going on.   I started the month off pretty strong but staggered in the last 10 days as my schedule got busy with the end of semester and getting ready for my trip.  However, this has set me up to have a strong early May of books, which will be good, considering how much of May will be occupied with travelling.  May could be the first month that I fall behind since I will be travelling for 3 weeks and am not likely to be as prodigious.

Here's the month's breakdown of books, audiobooks, and graphic novels:

BOOKS

  • The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories Robert Chambers
  • My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan Blum 

AUDIOBOOKS 

  • Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel 
  • The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele 
  • Challenging Casanova: Beyond the stereotype of the promiscuous young male by Andrew Smiler
  • A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play by Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley
  • Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious by NPR
  • 50 Digital Ideas You Really Need to Know by Tom  Chatfield
  • Infinite Progress: How the Internet and Technology Will End Ignorance, Disease, Poverty, Hunger, and War by Byron Reese
  • Intersex by Thea Hillman
  • The Turncoat: Renegades of the Revolution by Donna Thorland
  • Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon
  • Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound by Mike Carey
  • Red Lanterns, Vol. 1: Blood and Rage by Peter Milligan
  • Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan
  • Angel and Faith: Family Reunion by Christos Gage
  • Alivs Rex: Book 1 by Kevin Grevioux 
  • North Wind by David Digilio
  • Worlds' Finest, Vol. 1: The Lost Daughters of Earth 2 by Paul Levitz
  • Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly DeConnick
  • Avengers vs. X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis 
  • Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences by Kieron Gillen
  • Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder
  • Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon by Matt Fraction
  • Justice League International, Vol. 2: Breakdown by Dan Jurgens
  • Rock Bottom by Joe Casey
  • Avengers: The Origin by Joe Casey
  • The Massive, Vol. 1: Black Pacific by Brian Wood



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