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Showing posts from November, 2016

Review: Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania

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Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The most important statement I can say about this book is that every student should read this book in their freshmen or sophomore year of high school--yes, high school. Bruni's exploration into 3-Card Monte structure that is higher education when it comes to seducing students should be understood by all students as it has many long-term implications for them. Throughout the book, Bruni systematically breaks down the traditional mindset to aspire to elite colleges, noting how success in getting into them and success as a result of attending them is drastically overrated and over-played. He highlights a range of approaches and strategies that students should use to determine what form of higher education is best for them.

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The PhD Chronicles: Zeroing in on Research

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Research, the centerpiece of work in graduate work is always a tricky beast.  Ideally, it should be a time in which students are able to focus solely on their topic, find meaningful and relevant literature to inform their approach, process it, conduct field research (if possible or relevant), and pull it altogether into a meaningful product known wide and far as the "term paper."  But alas, that's pretty much how it never goes. 

Papers are always composed in media res of the semester while we are busy with trying to keep up with the course work, keep up with our own work, and have some semblance of a life.  Like Facebook says our relationship with research is complicated.  But we press on.  In a well-designed course, the professor is likely to be a useful and ongoing guide in our research, providing a few opportunities to check in, provide feedback, and when necessar, course correct.  Other times, we're tossed to the wolves, praying we come through with something cohe…

We Can Do Better; I Can Do Better

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So where am I with all this?

The swirling hurt, disappointment, and rage still swirls deeply in my soul.  I knew it was possible, but just like cancer and death, it is not something I conceive of happening until it's too late.  I had hoped the country would not go down the path toward a Trump presidency in the weeks since his election, I'm more scared for this country's future and in particular, those made more vulnerable by his hateful rhetoric.  At the time of composing this post, the count was at over 700 reports of harassment

And I'm mad at a lot of things, people and places--all the forces the colluded to make this election the barely-conceived win that it became--not for Republicans so much but how much the messages of Trump's campaign mixed together a message of hope that was deeply seeded in hatred, anger, fear and frustration.  I get and want change in our government like so many others;   I get and want change in our politics like so many others; I get an…

Review: With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830

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With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830 by LeRoy Ashby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ashby's mammoth text (700 pages long; 33+ hours of listening on audiobook) was a fascinating and excellent discussing of popular culture that was great in terms of timing as I listening to it just as I was revising my online Popular Culture in the US course (You can see the course preview here or the course playlist here). Ashby covers a whole lot of content, arenas of popular culture, and events within popular culture. But equally important, he ties it together well as he drifts in each chapter from sports to reading to radio to television to other arenas. In reading it, you get a much fuller sense of mesh of intersections within popular culture while also a framework for understanding how it connects to the culture at large and history. Now, I just need to find a way to integrate the book within my own course.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is l…

Review: Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives

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Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives by Howard J. Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like this is a book I need to read at least once a year because as much as I agree, understand, and deeply appreciate its message, I also know it's horribly easy to ignore. The message is that we--all of us--you, me, the author, and everyone--are innately biased in ways that are not clear to us. Unfortunately, many of these biases are arbitrary and many of them may incline us to think and act in ways that are against our actual beliefs. Ross traces the many different ways in which we are blind to our biases and the various ways we succumb to our biases. He also illustrates ways of overcoming some of our biases some of the time but makes clear it's probably impossible (and probably for the best) to overcome all of our biases all of the time. Rather, the goal is to reduce it in places and situations where it undermines our sense of fairness and equali…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - November 20, 2016 at 06:49PM

Why is he so petty and who finds that appealing? #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #CatLife #catstagram #cats #catsofinstagram
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - November 19, 2016 at 06:33PM

An increased in hate crimes, offering up a "registry"...all part of the 8 steps. #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #CatLife #catstagram #catsofinstagram #Cats

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My Most Recent Reads - October 2016

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No physical books read this month and that's no surprise.  We're in month two of the semester and that I'm writing coherent sentences is considered a win, right?  However, this month was an amazing month for some powerful and impressive books.   I talk about a couple here, but I would encourage you to check out my full Goodreads list to see the others as many of them were powerful and worth the read! 


Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow continues to impress me and many others with his thoughts on what it means to be a creator in the 21st century.  This collection of essays (which you can download for free on his website) brings together a lot of his different works that he's written for his blog and elsewhere about the nature of copyright, open source living, and censorship.  At its center are questions about how do we as a culture decide to empower creators new and old a…

Review: The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance

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The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance by William McDonough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

McDonough and Braungart's follow up to their previous book, Cradle to Cradle, is a solid book to help think more critically and creatively about developing a more sustainable world through human efforts. They highlight a variety of work that is already being done with regards to upcycling and where more work can be done. At its core is the argument is that there isn't a "waste" problem insomuch as there is a design problem that we must think more proactively about design with the full cycle of the products resources and their long-lasting implications. From furniture to clothing to waste management (or more appropriately renamed, nutrient management), they show pathways to making human practices more sustainable.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Daily StickMan Adventures - November 16, 2016 at 08:44PM

This cat ain't sitting on the sidelines. #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #CatLife #catstagram #cats #catsofinstagram

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Review: The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer’s Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead...

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The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer’s Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead... by Adam Rockoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I tend to be a fan of film critic memoirs mostly because they provide me with insight into the mind of the critic about key moments in their cinematic-taste development. I always appreciate when a film critic can crystallize their viewing experience and that's what Rockoff does a lot of in this book, mixing his life with a great deal of horror films--some good, some bad, and some we should probably not talk about. Sprinkled among his films and reflections are sometimes political or theoretical views that I personally disagree with but can see how and why he has inserted them. But the main reason I enjoyed this book is to see the great many horror films that I may know nothing about and wish to learn. Indeed, a book like this makes me go and add a bajillion (yes, that's an accurate count) new titles to my Netflix que. Horror fan…

The Daily StickMan Adventures - November 15, 2016 at 05:05PM

Well, he does have 9 lives.... #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #CatLife ##catstagram #catsofinstagram

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The PhD Chronicles: Negotiating Privilege in Higher Education

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So here is something that I've been grappling with in my work for my PhD in Higher Education.  We've taken two classes that have strongly focused on institutional and structural privileging and discrimination, which as a white male from a middle class family, has me doing a whole lot of thinking and reflecting.  

During the discussion on the issue of how limited higher education is to racial minorities for a variety for structural issues, the professor emphasized (as did someone else) that it is important to have white allies (for the lack of a better word) in positions of power that can signal institutional priorities, especially as it relates to race.  That is, white and male allies can be highly effective in improving the diversity of their colleges by vocalizing (and following through) that it is a clear priority.  

I found it incredibly useful to hear this as a someone who is a white male practitioner/scholar because it helped me to better understand how I can help strive f…