May 162013

A solitary tree sifting the wind,
Wormy toes wiggling down to stone;
an apple core, gnawed clean, now caramel brown;
Singing bugs, distant call of a bird,
The sun low in the warm dusty air;
Bootmarks and bent grass leading across an open field.
This is a poem.

May 152013

Love Lies Bleeding (1)

The Beav and I went to see the Alberta Ballet’s Love Lies Bleeding. I know nothing about dance and expected to be left behind by the experience. Instead, I was swept up and ecstatic. Art had happened.

What I took away was the way it was a profoundly non-critical experience. I was present for the dance, attentive to it, and it was only itself. There was no need to to translate it into something else, an idea or a message. The thing was the thing and it was beautiful.

Came home and rented some dance films. Flamenco, Flamenco was good, but Pina and The Rain were extraordinary.

Love Lies Bleeding

May 142013

In January, I bit the bullet and bought Mark Bernstein’s software Tinderbox to develop and organize the literature classes I teach. I offered my initial thoughts a few months ago. Now as the semester draws to a close, I can say that Tinderbox has changed how I think about course planning.

I had three course sections in a sixteen week semester which meant 90 course meetings needed to be planned. Using adornments I recreated my tried-and-true paper and pen diagrams in map view and used them to layout the semester roughly and quickly. In all the other software I have tried to use for this task this is as far as the process has gone: initial work done, I have always ended up with an electronic document that I could have done as well on paper. In fact, I generally printed the file because a paper document was ultimately more flexible and more useful for the rest of the term.

With Tinderbox, things were very different. Initial rough planning done, I overlaid my adornments with containers, one per course meeting. I created notes for the scheduled readings and began to drop lectures, exercises and quizzes into the readings notes (which automatically became containers for these new notes). I populated my course meeting containers with aliases to the materials I would use each day. As I moved through the semester, I began filling in links, spreading out aliases. By midterm, I had decided to enter my student rolls into the file–one note per student–and was using agents to keep track of who had submitted work, what feedback I’d given on previous assignments and dozens of other small (but important!) details that made teaching easier for me and more useful for my students.

Ultimately I can say that Tinderbox has made my own work better. Just as importantly, it has introduced me to the possibilities of hypertext. I am astounded and inspired and very happy to have found it.


May 122013

Blog:  Database
Site:    File system

Blog:  Correspondence
Site:    Book

Blog:  Time
Site:    Object

Blog:  Realtime
Site:    Stable

Blog:  Accumulated
Site:   Created

Blog:  Generated
Site:    Built

May 102013

I started the blog with fairly defined purposes. Over time these have expanded, and at least twice, this has entailed rethinking how things work and adjusting my conception of the site.

Now, after nearly two years, I’m ready to take what I think will be a major leap forward that will make the creative projects I’ve been nursing in the background possible. But it is a leap and will take some effort. It will also involve letting things evolve and simmer quietly behind the scenes. So little visible action. Maybe not even logs.

Fair warning.