Here We Go Again

Mississippi makes the news again. My home state has a particular talent for making a real splash in matters of intolerance and hatred. The story of Itawamba AHS canceling prom to keep out one gay girl and her girlfriend has hit the national news today. It hasn’t escaped attention that Morgan Freeman’s Prom Night in Mississippi that exposed the little habit of sending the black kids across town to have their own separate prom came out only…um…last year?

Mississippi is still struggling with the idea that God won’t strike you dead if you see an interracial couple out in public without harassing them or shunning them in some way. It isn’t nearly ready for the thought that gay people might actually be included in all those children God loves.

This, however, is something else even for Mississippi. It’s cruel. It sets a young girl up to be brutally mistreated by resentful classmates. Talk all you want about morals, but cruelty is never a moral choice.

There was a time when honest Christians honestly believed that God wanted black people to be slaves. Now the idea seems absurd to any honest person of any belief system. Still, there are honest Christians who honestly believe that God wants gay people–created by God who they are and as they are just like everyone else–to be perpetually persecuted. This too is changing with the times, and change is always the thing people fear the most.

There’s a line in the movie “Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?”: “Is you is or is you ain’t my consituents?”

The Bible says a lot of things, many seemingly contradictory, but the idea that God is love is both clear and pervasive. When I see people taking a stand for hate in God’s name, I think “Is He is or is He ain’t Love?”

Well…?

Water, Water, Everywhere

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And…well…plenty of it to drink too, I suppose. Gloomy, wet, busy, anxious, stretched-beyond-limits kind of day, it was. In part. I also had a nice visit with a campus guest, and I received a surprise computer from my department. We were called to a sudden meeting, which felt a lot like a whole class being sent to the principal’s office at once. We didn’t know what we’d done, but we were fully prepared to blame someone else. As it turns out, our names had all been drawn for the door prize of the day, an HP Mini. It’s a cutie pie. It needs a new purse to wear, though.

That’s all I have. I’m glad I’ve been taking so many pictures lately. I’m too tired to string thoughts together, and pictures seem to be good substitutes if I’m going stick to my plan of posting something new to the blog every day. I’m not sure how that helps me as a writer, but it does help me claim I haven’t quit the blog-a-day program yet. I believe today is Day 68. I’m right on track to make it maybe even as far as 75 days. That, I’m nearly certain, would beat my previous record.

So today I am grateful for cameras and cutie pie computers. Not a bad day at all when I put it like that.

Comfort

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You can dress it up any way you want, and it’s still just cinnamon toast. This is what we had for supper in my family when we needed only a light supper, perhaps after enjoying a particularly large Sunday lunch. Other times we might have cheese toast, crackers with peanut butter and marshmallows melted on top, crackers crunched up in milk.

Maybe that’s what comfort food means–something simple couched in fond memories. Cinnamon toast makes no demands, offers no opinions, holds no expectations. It reminds me of sitting on the floor in front of the television to eat on a night when no one even cared if you bothered to use a plate. It probably doesn’t measure up to Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, but it’s alright. It’s just alright to me.

It was Keats who said this:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

I don’t know what I need to know on this earth. The more I learn, the less I believe I might ever know what beauty is, what truth is, what any of us needs to know. My small nephew says that he says yuck a lot because “boys don’t understand the true meaning of beauty.” Who does? We only enjoy it or feel unnerved by it, each in our own turn and in our own way.

But cinnamon toast? That’s alright.

Contentment Diary 3/4/10

The aggravating part about blog-a-days is that once you’ve said you’ll do them you feel obligated to continue even when you’ve had a long day and have nothing in particular to say. That said, what I want to talk about, the thing that occurs to me just this instant, is that I truly admire people who manage to live blog conferences. I got an email this week asking if I was interested in blogging CCCC, which unfortunately and quite sadly from my point of view, I will not attend this year. I thought about this email today while I sat in a session at CFTTC, a conference I was able to make by virtue of the fact that it is close enough to my house to go without staying overnight, and I scored free admission for presenting. Or, more precisely, I scored free admission for presenting at the pre-conference and for begging the right person for a name tag to come back to the regular conference.

What I realized while taking in info gained via my free name tag is that I’m not your girl if you are looking for live event blogging. I can barely keep up with my tote bag at conferences without assistance. They wear me out, and I don’t have a clue what I want to say about them until I’ve gone home and stewed in the information a bit. By the time I do know what I think, I’ve forgotten half of what was learned. Funny how it just works out that way.

Cheers to you, live bloggers. You’re the bee’s knees.

So here I am home from day 2 at the Beau Rivage convention center, and while I can’t get a clear analysis in my head yet of most of the day, what I do have on my mind is podcasting. I see more casting in my future and yours. I have the inner eye in these matters, or ear as it were.

That and I began a lobbying effort (harassment campaign, whatever) to set up an iTunes U page for my school today and discovered in the process that other people are actually thinking along the same lines.

I’ve been interested in podcasting for several years. Really, I was trying it soon after I first heard the word. I’ve worked on it here and there from time to time. I always believed it was a great thing, but it always seemed like more trouble than it was worth to keep up regularly.

Now that I have the MacBook with its built in microphone and podcasting software, it seems much easier. Not only that, but there seems to be more opportunities than ever now to distribute podcasts.

I think more video exists in your future and mine as well, but I don’t want to leave audio behind for the sake of it either. Students listen to class audio files while they are doing other things. They can’t drive and watch a class video at the same time, but they can listen to an audio lecture in the car on the way to pick up the kids from soccer practice. In the on-the-go world we live in, that difference can be the difference in success and failure.

Thus, podcasting is my word of the day.

Tomorrow, I am not going back to the technology conference. I head the other direction for pieces of a literary event along with a committee meeting for an organization. Who knows what my word of the day will be there. If I were to hazard a guess at this point, I’d say two words: Barry Hannah.

Rest in peace, Barry. Rest in peace.

Contentment Diary 3/3/2010

Tuckered out I believe is the official term for how I feel right now, though I’m trying to quit saying things like “I’m tired,” “I’m too busy,” or “I’m stressed out.” Points off for unnecessary repetition and stating the obvious all the way around.

This was a good day, actually. I gave a presentation at the CFTTC pre-conference. I did a Twitter session, and I was all a flitter over it, but it worked out, I guess.

I left feeling energized by the possibilities for what I might do with my classes. I didn’t energize myself, mind you. There were other people speaking as well.

I also found out from a session I didn’t attend that Blackboard is going to be updated between the spring and summer terms, and we’re going to have to rebuild or courses because copying might not work this time. That news make me feel like one of those works I’ve vowed to quit saying.

But it also makes me feel creative. A clean slate is the best thing that can happen to a class sometimes. If you have to redo it, you might as well rethink it in the process.

I want to put class notes into colorful newsletter formats. Probably, this urge is the product of some bizarre personality disorder, but it seems to me that they would be more visually consumable for students that way.

I also want to make more podcasts. I’ve figured out they can be loaded into iTunes straight from a blog with no real effort, so it seems I really only have to make the recordings to proceed. I’m also getting more comfortable with Garage Band. I should be able to make regular recordings.

What I really want to see is an iTunes U site for my school. I don’t see anyone volunteering to take that on, though, so I may be better off venturing out on a solo mission.

That’s about it for that. Shoot me with a tranquilizer gun if I take on any more new projects at any point before this semester ends.