I am in the process of getting a new tattoo. The image is a “bio-mech” tattoo in which the skin is ripping open to reveal a circuit board beneath it. The skin is tearing because the tree of life, which is growing behind the circuit board, is bursting through. It’s an especially splendid idea. The design reflects a nearly life-long fascination with the dualism of nature vs. technology. This particular fascination probably began with Star Trek, and and got nurtured through old sci fi like Andre Norton, Robert Heinlein, Ursula LeGuin. Of course, in learning about feminism, I discovered the gendering of this dualism (alongRead More →

A great team building activity is the spaghetti marshmallow tower. In this activity, students build a tower made out of spaghetti sticks and marshmallows in order to assess their performance and communication skills in a team situation. To build the tower, the students must “buy” their materials (spaghetti = 10 ¢, large marshmallow = 25¢, small marshmallow = 5¢). The tallest tower wins, the cheapest breaks a tie. The rules are that the tower must (a) support a ping pong ball at the top, and (b) stand freely long enough to measure. Often the groups get competitive with each other, which makes the activity entertainingRead More →

Today has been an interesting lesson in stereotypes. Lesson one: A guest speaker from Deaf Services in BR come to the Interpersonal Communication class. He was dynamic and interesting, and the students loved him. The capital D is important to people in the Deaf community, by the way. Deaf culture is fascinating, particularly as it illustrates major concepts from communication studies. I’ve been fascinated about it ever since a friend of mine demonstrated the way that sign language is not a literal interpretation, but a more poetic one.  She did this by signing a song. Audre Lorde once said that it’s good to educate yourselfRead More →

While playing on Facebook Facecrack tonight, I noticed all the groups, pages, and causes on my page. The accumulated weight of mouse clicks shocked me, not only because of these groups’ sheer purposelessness (i.e., the various Farmville hate groups), but also because joining typically leads to nothing fruitful even when the groups are actually meaningful (i.e., Southern Poverty Law Center). Now, we could rationalize this by saying that Facebook allows us to construct ourselves in a very strange hybrid space of reality and virtual reality. So I want all these groups/pages/causes in my profile. They are little hyperlinks to represent me, and all my connectionsRead More →

See? It just proves it! Everyone’s crazy and the Left is losing it because of ObamaCare. Today, in the wake of the “historic” ObamaCare bill signed by the “historic” black president, the liberal blogosphere has been crowing, there is a lot of Republican post-mortem-ing  on both sides of the aisle (Hey! I verbed that noun!), and everyone’s ranting about the failures of right-wing fear mongering and obstructionism. This is disturbing. The Democrats cheer because the bill was resuscitated after near death, and they applaud that the bill went through with enough votes that Democrats didn’t need to rely on parliamentary shenanigans such as reconciliation. Admittedly,Read More →

1.  The Orangutan and the Hound — This is a lovely story about the friendship between an Orangutan and a dog, reminiscent of Donna Haraway’s work, since she’s written about primates and dogs and kinship. 3. Five creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted — A fascinating look at the Skinnerian logic behind video games. 4. Pentagon Strike — Anyone interested in either visual rhetoric or paranoid style should visit this site produced by the Truthers at Sign of the Times. It’s a sort of paranoia that is transparent of itself. 5. Enlightened sexism — An excerpt from Susan J. Douglas book, whichRead More →

The Opportunity of Adversity – Aimee Mullins’ presentation at TED.

Mullins had her legs amputated as a child and has made a name for herself as a model, athlete, and inspirational speaker. Her talk addresses how the idea that she’s “overcoming adversity” diminishes her. It’s a great illustration of the power of language and our stereotypes about people with “disabilities.” It’s a good video for discussing language.

A comment on the TED site is interesting, though: Mullins wouldn’t be as effective if she weren’t pretty.


The “problem” is that Tea Party activists move from legitimate feelings and normal longings to paranoid political positions that are dangerous and cruel. But because these positions serve an important psychological function, because they resolve an emotional dilemma, they can’t be changed by rational argument.

– Michael Bader, clinical psychologist
Alternet, Why we need to have empathy for Tea Party lunatics

Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America – This is simultaneously amusing and disturbing. The documentary Jesus Camp, depicts camp leaders wanting to train Christian children for the Army of God, just like Islamic children are trained. Ted Haggard, the disgraced preacher who is a key figure in Jesus Camp, was central to organizing the spiritual warfare movement. It’s amusing to think that this movement is praying to rid battleground cities of their demons. But then..it isn’t so funny after all.

Someone pointed out today how important it is to observe and even appreciate the little things around me, like the changing seasons or paint peeling on the wall. My response? Seasons don’t change in BR and really? Paint peeling? Ok, ok. Point taken. So, not so much gratitude as things that I was present for today: 1. Hoarding ink jet cartridges, something I just now noticed. 2. A lot of colorful markers. 3. Three d10’s on my desk for years, left over from a torturous attempt at World of Darkness. One is rather pretty with its blue and purple speckles and silver numbers. It remindsRead More →