30 May 2011

Forthcoming Fourish

Our book proposal for a volume edited by David Herbert and Marie Gillespie called 'Social Media, Religion and Spirituality' has been accepted to De Gruyters' (Berlin) "Religion and Society" Series (co-edited by K. von Stuckard, W. Sullivan and G. Benavides). I will be contributing a chapter called 'Truck stops and fashion shows: A case study of the discursive construction of Evangelical Christian group identity on YouTube', a second bit of writing I did based on my probation review report (upgrade viva) last year. This is good news and would be even better news if I had actually done the writing, which I haven't. It's due 15 July, like 7 weeks and a baby away. Should be, uh, no problem.

Otherwise, today, a Bank Holiday, has been a rainy, slow day, the kind of day you have at the end of a pregnancy when the focus of life is shifting inevitably to the baby that will soon appear. I, in my weakness, have been avoiding it, locked in my office writing furiously about communities of practice. 2,000 words in a day. Most of it keepers, I think. This is for my supervisors (16 June due) and then for my literature review (mid-July due) and by the end of July, I hope to say that I have my literature review chapter in the can, more-or-less. Or at least in a place where I can put it aside until I get nearer to putting the actual book together. I made a completion schedule--silly, I know--with a goal of submitting 31 August 2012. That means being done with a draft between 1-15 June 2012, and, if you follow all that back to all the writing that needs to be done between now and then, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get it done. I typed it all out and it's like, two months a chapter for the hard bits. Really? Can I write 16,000 good words in two months? I hope so. My writing is getting better, particularly in the last three months, I think, but I'm not sure it's that good.

In a completely unrelated story, I decided I needed to start running again as my dad and mom are coming at the end of July and my dad is training for a marathon and looking to run with me. I suspect the most I'll have to do is 20-25 klicks with him, at a slower, old man pace (ha!), but still, that's not a run you can do just out of the box. Well, I thought it wasn't a run that I could just do out of the box: last year I really crept up to longer runs. 2011, however, is a different year and I am going on nine-ish months of healthy living (compare and contrast). So even though I hadn't really run since the beginning of January, on Saturday I did 12 klicks, no problem (albeit at a slower pace, like 63 minutes) and today I did 18.7 klicks in about 1:43 ish. I felt it especially going up and down the stairs this afternoon, but I easily had another 5 in me if I needed. So if I do this once or twice a week until they come, I should be okay.

It did, however, make clear to me why I had so much trouble losing weight last Spring. When you run 900-1500 kCals off, your body is ready to eat a lot and you tell yourself that you can eat a lot because you ran a lot, but you get to eating an excess 500 kCals pretty easily. You also only do that twice or three times a week, but your body still has you eating more on off days too. If you don't pay attention (and you're thinking, 'I'm running like a madman, man: I think I can have another cookie'), very quickly you get to a point where you are only making a 500-1000 kCal drop a week or staying even. That's, what 100 grams, a week, best case scenario, and also thinking to yourself that you are really, really putting out. Not good, on any level. Much better to make a 600 kCal daily drop by cutting 300 kCals of food and adding 300 kCals of exercise. Much easier to do (essentially cutting snacking and maybe a dessert while rowing or jogging for 30 minutes a day). Explains most of my health hysteria over the last three years pretty succinctly, I think.

28 May 2011

A&E and back to running

Yesterday at about 11 in the morning, standing at work, I was stuck. I had read and I needed to write, but couldn't. I decided I would walk over to the Kent's Hill church where they were having Mum and Tot's group that Yoko was attending. I showed up at the church and, as I sort of suspected might happen when a mysterious man shows up at an event like this, everyone looked at me suspiciously until I said, I'm Yoko's husband, I'm here to see Yoko. Yoko and the girls were in the kitchen where Yoko was holding Mei with a washcloth to Mei's face. Mei had, apparently, just before I arrived, run into a chair, and when they took the cloth off to show me the run, it was one of those cuts whereyou think, Yeah, we're probably going to have to do something about that, but you're not quite sure. It wasn't bleeding too bad. Was it okay?

One of the beautiful things about living in the UK is that this question of having it checked out at the hospital is only a question of need. Does she really need to go? Never, does she really need to go and (softly, guiltily) god, how much is this going to cost. No, in the UK you just go.

So we went to the A&E (which is British for 'ER') signed in and saw the triage nurse in about twenty minutes. Everyone was exceedingly kind and Mei fell asleep, a good sign that she wasn't in too much trouble. I felt a bit bad about going to the A&E with what I wasn't confident was a big enough problem for the hospital, but the triage nurse assured me that we had done the right thing. She brought us through to the children's waiting area and warned us that it would likely be an hour before we were seen. It was just about noon at this point, so I was thinking that, all things considered, this was going to be a good break from my work and I would be back at my desk by 1:30, easy, and ready to attend to my writing.

Yoko and Naomi went off to get some food and I held sleeping Mei, surveying the the waiting room to see how many people were in front of us. There was only a boy who had fallen and hit his head, at first, and then later, another older boy with a cut calf, so I assumed we would get through fine. Yoko and Naomi came back with the snacks, Mei woke up and it creeped around to 1 and then 1:15 and then 1:30, still without anyone going in. The girls played, and I suddenly had an urge to write, so I took some of the colouring paper and pen and started scribbling out my thoughts about genre and the vlog. Finally, after 1:30, the kid with the cut was taken in, and then the boy with the head problem, and finally around 1:50 we went in to see the doctor who looked at the cut on the eye and deduced that it need to be cleaned and possibly glued, but certainly no stitches. He filled out a form and circled something on the bottom, the last option which I could see was 'Died during care' or something to that effect and I thought, Shit, this is serious business, the hospital.

We were sent to sit on the blue chairs near the nurse station and told to wait again, which we did for about 10-15 minutes, for a nurse who finally put us on Bed B. I was to hold Mei's arms down while the nurse cleaned the cut, but Mei was pretty unimpressed and didn't really react, even as the nurse got all the dried blood off and down to the cut. After looking at it more carefully, the nurse said she needed another nurse to help with the gluing as it was so close to the eye, but when the second nurse came, they decided to just tape it. They praised Mei for being a good girl, Yoko gave her the Chupa-Chup she had been promised, and we just walked out of the hospital without doing anything else, at around 2:30. Three hours, all told: I was back at my desk before 3:00 and managed to bang out a couple good paragraphs before riding my bike home.
A couple of thoughts: A woman came in at the very beginning of our stay at the A&E, probably 20 years old, with her mother, and it was clear that she had gotten beat up pretty badly. She was wearing a Marks and Spencer's uniform and I realised that I was staring at her as she walked past with her mother, in the sad, judgemental way that evoked shame. I was curious, more than anything, but I looked longer than I needed to and the questions I had in my head were, I can imagine, clearly written on my face.

Second, the NHS has so far not ceased impressing me. Three hours is a long time, but in a private hospital in the States, it would have been as long, if not longer, and could be a crap shoot as far as the quality of care you get. Everyone at the Milton Keynes Hospital was professional, kind, cheerful, and helpful, if not as quick as I had hoped. Still, I had the sense, after the triage check, that Mei was lower on the list of people to be treated, given the nature of her injury, and I could accept that. No system is prefect, but why do I think that medical treatment for minor injuries is something for which I should have complete, immediate attention, especially if I am not willing to employ my own private medical team? It's a silly thing to expect. I am much, much happier to live in a country with a National Insurance tax taken from your pay and a democratised (for the most part) single-payer health system than whatever I would have in the US, even if what I had in the US was good. Japan is still probably the best in terms of my experience, but they essentially do a harder version of what they're trying to get down in the States, where there is a national insurance scheme subsidised by the government alongside private health coverage. You can choose which one you want, but you must carry one.

So now I can say I have written part of my thesis in the A&E waiting room. That has got to be a PhD merit badge, right?

25 May 2011

Combining family and work

Here's the talk I did yesterday: they recorded it, but it's only streamed so I bootlegged it with a programme I downloaded this morning. My lack of experience with the programme then led to a very poor quality output. Oh well. You get the idea. The thing about talking, rather than writing, is that you can't go back and fix things, fix the errors. I hear them all. Anyway, useful to do before my big talk at Lancaster on the 9th, right?

The Talk:

Venetian wonder in watercolour

New show at the Tate. Might go for my birthday? We'll see. Reminds me of Cáceres.

24 May 2011

Narrative of death and endings

I haven't blogged about the Harold Camping end times predictions that occurred over the weekend for a couple of reasons. First, I was interested to see what would happen to the people that believed when the end failed to materialise. I suspected that what did occur might, but there is always the possibility in times like these that people might do something drastic and that would make this more of a tragedy than simply a foolish, greedy old man and a bunch dumb, proud people being stupid together. Luckily, this time no one died. Second, discussion of the rapture brings out angry atheist Stephen, the person I try to suppress most of the time. He manages to poke his head out when he is reminded of some of the more pernicious elements of his Evangelical upbringing. I give him voice now because he makes some valid points, but I'll put him away at the end and remember that being bitter about the past doesn't secure a happy present or future...
"While [the rapture] may be in the near future, many signs of our times certainly indicate so, but anyone who thinks they `know' the day and the hour is flat out wrong," [influential, famous Evangelical 'end times' 'scholar' Tim] LaHaye wrote on his website, leftbehind.com.
My family, although not especially 'end times' oriented, was certainly surrounded by the Evangelical rapture hysteria. Much has been made of the Camping people being 'fringe' Evangelicals, but they are really only 'fringe' because they've set a date. Everything they say I heard as a child, sans the date, of course: the world was ending and the world was ending soon. I remember my brother attending a two day conference about this in which the leaders told a story about going to Hawaii, seeing the red moon, and being convinced that the tribulation had started as one of the 'prophecies' about the end times is that the moon would turn to blood. As a child, I remember hearing this and not really knowing what to think, but I suppose I felt it was a matter of fact: sure, the moon was not yet blood as far as I could tell, but it was bound to happen seeing as it was written in the Bible.

Of course, now I think back on this and am amazed by how primitive it sounds. This was, after all, the eighties and the nineties, not five thousand years ago when people were speculating about the stars. 

My YouTube Evangelicals have been hard at work trying to parse things. Yes, they believe in the rapture and yes, they believe it is imminent. It's just not happening on 21 May. It's happening soon. The difference between the two is not semantically different, but it does allow the Evangelical to remain carefully outside the realm of empiricism. Soon could mean anything and therefore can't be falsified. A moment for god is like a thousand years for us, right?
"I had some skepticism but I was trying to push the skepticism away because I believe in God," said Keith Bauer, who drove his family across the country from Maryland to California for the supposed Rapture to visit Camping's Oakland headquarters of Family Radio International.
"I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth," he said.
Yes, this earth is full of things that I dislike and am uncomfortable with. Heaven promises an end to all of it: no more homosexuals and democrats to deal with.

The problem with the Camping predictions is that they put unfounded ignorant belief in the arena of empiricism. When things are supposed to happen at specific times, in specific places, and you say that it will be observable to everyone and then it's not, well, empiricism has, in a very real way, trumped your faith. Harold Camping was wrong. Clearly, verifiably wrong.

Much of this (as Michael Tooley said in a seminar I attended a couple of weeks about metaphor and narrative) may be about the uncertainty of death. You and I don't know how we will die. It hangs over us: could be today, could be tomorrow, could be 50 years. Like the rapture, it is imminent, but unlike the rapture, we are not sure what will happen. The narrative of the rapture, or any dispensational view, affords a narrative about death, and for believers, a narrative with a happy ending. The quality, verifiability, and accuracy of the narrative is perhaps less important as one's belief about the narrative. Believe in it strongly enough and it will be true for you. Harold Camping need only change his narrative again and again. This is, after all, the most basic work of religion: change the narrative when things on the ground change. The believers will still believe because it is better to say, I was wrong, then I  don't know. I can't know.

Finally, this memory: It's the late eighties, maybe '88 or '89. The end times are imminent and I am walking with my father through the woods at night. We are going to the pond in front of our house to skate. It is cold and the sky is clear, but suddenly I have a question about the mark of the beast, 666, which I have been told I will need to resist when the tribulation comes. The mark of the beast will allow you to buy food, so without it, you will likely starve, but you must resist it because no one with the mark of the beast will get to go to heaven. I am frightened deeply by it: I don't think I could resist if I was hungry. I don't think I could starve. Here, my memory fails. What did I ask my father? How did he respond? I remember the answer did not satisfy me: I was still afraid.
"We've always said May 21 was the day, but we didn't understand altogether the spiritual meaning," he said. "The fact is there is only one kind of people who will ascend into heaven ... if God has saved them they're going to be caught up."
 So now Camping says 21 October. Or if not then soon. Very soon. 

22 May 2011

35 Days

35 days. 5 weeks. The end is nigh.

“Someway, baby, it’s part of me, apart from me.”
you’re laying waste to Halloween
you fucked it friend, it’s on it’s head, it struck the street
you’re in Milwaukee, off your feet

3rd and Lake it burnt away, the hallway
was where we learned to celebrate
automatic bought the years you’d talk for me
that night you played me ʻLip Paradeʼ
not the needle, nor the thread, the lost decree
saying nothing, that’s enough for me

Christmas night, it clutched the light, the hallow bright
above my brother, I and tangled spines
we smoked the screen to make it what it was to be
now to know it in my memory:

…and at once I knew I was not magnificent
high above the highway aisle
(jagged vacance, thick with ice)
I could see for miles, miles, miles

Two more pictures

20 May 2011

Studying is hard work

The Œuvre of Walker Evans

[Self-Portrait in Automated Photobooth]
Laid back on the sofa last night, I was listening to the new Bon Iver record, reading the Archaeology of Knowledge, and thinking about Walker Evans, while my wife, resplendent with pregnancy, tapped away at the computer keyboard and the children slept (as far as I could tell) peacefully upstairs. In a week of lethargy, the system can still suddenly attain a temporary stability--moments of convergence or unity.

Foucault writes,
Indeed, Walker Evans' photography, as I mentioned on Day 6 is all about how you see it, the unity it provides you, or rather, the unity you provide it.

I tend to make this blog about documenting my obsessions (diets, my family, standing desks, visas, Walker Evans). I know this can be taxing if you are not obsessed like me, so thanks, first, for reading. I do hope, however, that all the clarity and unity Walker Evans has afforded me the last month has afforded you some as well. This is by no means the end. A month of Caravaggio is brewing, I think. And anyone else with a deep, good online œuvre to draw on.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 30

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
["Wonder Wheel" and "Virginia Reel" Rides, Coney Island, New York]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

19 May 2011

Feeling better

I think I solved my feelings of lethargy.
Now, on to the next thing. I have finished my writing for next week's supervision. And I have more or less finished the revisions on my Language@Internet article, that probably needs only one more set of revisions before it will be published this summer. This is good news. I also am acquiring recommendations for job applications, one in particular, that I need to finish before the baby comes.

Ah yes, the baby is coming. Tuesday, as I said, we saw the midwife, and we probably only have two more appointments before the baby will come. She's almost here and I'm ready... Well, sort of ready. Not ready to be washing nappies again. Not ready to not sleep. Well, I'm sort of ready to not sleep. I haven't slept well in like five years. What's another five.

Yesterday though, man. I was feeling really weird. I hope it was only the protein. If not, if that happens again, I'm not sure what else to try. Too much going on, too much to think about, too much of everything. I want to get in a canoe, ride somewhere alone. Want to ride my bike in the hills outside of Shibata. Want to drive across the US.

Movement, I want all these things that involve movement. Instead? Instead, we'll have dinner at Ikea tomorrow, I'll clean some more over the weekend. I'll prepare my presentations for the 24th and the 9th. I'll wait for the baby to come.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 29

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[Church and Telephone Lines, Outskirts of Havana]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

18 May 2011


A Month of Walker Evans, Day 28

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[31 Views of Seaside, Architecture, and Signs, Anna Maria, Florida]
March 1968
Film negative
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

17 May 2011

Japanic, or wanting to knaw on the moulding

Today was one of those days where nothing seems to move forward. It's the evening and I am still in what I slept in. That's not to say I didn't get up, go to work, change, shower, work, go to the surgery, and come home. I did all those things. But it felt like I slept walked through the day, punctuated by falling asleep when I normally wouldn't sleep. Let me explain.

I got up and went to work this morning with the goal of clearing up some of the writing that is due tomorrow or Thursday ahead of a supervision meeting I have next week. Yesterday, I had 'finished' this writing, or so I thought and I rode my bicycle home happily thinking that I had ostensibly finished a chapter of my thesis. I knew this wasn't actually the case as my supervisors have a policy of not calling anything a 'chapter' of my thesis until sometime in the undefined future, but I am calling it a chapter. If it's not a literature review, I don't know what it is. Anyway, I finished this yesterday and meant to proofread it today, but as I opened up the document this morning, it became clear that what I had was okay, but it was still in need of a lot of clarifying work. Paragraphs were inconsistent and unclear. It was/is still in need of a lot work.

Deflated, I left early to meet Yoko and the girls at the surgery for our two week check-up for the inbound baby. Things are all fine, baby's heart is beating well, and our next step is having a meeting at home with the midwives to make sure everything is going to be okay for having the baby here.

I meant to come home and work for the afternoon, but I got bogged down, fell asleep in my chair with Naomi and her little friend screaming and running around the house. I got up, had dinner, fell asleep on the sofa again. Now, it's 8: Mei napped all afternoon so she won't be going to bed any time soon. I'm still feeling like I need to look at my writing more, but can't get up the energy.

This was also punctuated by what I call 'Japanic', or the sudden, claustrophobic sense I have that I need to be back in Japan and/or that I will never get back. It's often a certain place that I have a sudden urge to be. Today it was Niigata Station, walking up past Yodobashi Camera to Tully's to get a latte and meet Yoko somewhere. I daydream: I remember all the sounds. I get a cookie at Tully's because I don't think about calories in the dream. There are no kids to take care of: I have finished teaching for the week and I will go back to Yoko's apartment with her and we'll fall asleep on the floor until I get up around one or two and ride my bicycle in the dark, back across the Agano River to my apartment.

Instead? Instead I'm stuck in Bradwell Common in the UK, working on a project with no ending in sight and children screaming and crying and no cookies. No, well, there are cookies: I just can't eat them any more.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 27

[Lee Workum, Bedford Village, New York], Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut), Film negative

Lee Workum, Bedford Village, New York

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
Medium:Film negative
Dimensions:4 x 5 in.
Credit Line:Walker Evans Archive, 1994
Accession Number:1994.254.390
Rights and Reproduction:© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

16 May 2011

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 26

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

[29 Exterior Views of Midwestern Victorian House in Field]


Film negative

2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.

Walker Evans Archive, 1994


© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


15 May 2011

Happy Birthday, Naomi

She came so quickly, in every way. Four years? Has it been four years?

Happy Birthday, sweetheart! Every day with you is better than every day before you came.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 25

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[Underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

14 May 2011


Definition of NEST
intransitive verb
1: to build or occupy a nest : settle in or as if in a nest
2: to fit compactly together or within one another
This starts to happen when the baby gets close. You put things away. You throw things away. You clean up, you tidy up, you shape up. The baby is, after all, coming.

You might also, if time allows, become a faerie and look back out the corner of your eyes. Yes, sweetheart, of course I'm still watching.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 24

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[12 Portraits of Unidentified Woman ("Sue"), Yale School of Art Summer Program, Norfolk Connecticut]
Film negative
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

13 May 2011

Just, you know, FYI

Blogger down

Blogger was down all day. I was in London getting some work done, so it didn't frustrate me too much: I was too busy being frustrated by the people in the office being unable to find my scripts to mark.

I was able to spend some time walking: down to Trafalgar Square, then up Charing Cross Rd. My favourite walk in London. I cut across back to Euston, through UCL and past Birkbeck College. The Waterstone's there had Foucault's Order of Things on display at the door. That ain't going to happen at the mall.

A colleague and fellow disciple of my supervisor turned me on to the Koss Porta Pro headphones. I was looking for headphones, as my earbuds, though nice, have been frustrating at work. I wanted to have an over-the-ear options. These bad boys, unchanged in almost 30 years are AMAZING. Great sound, not just for £18 headphones, but for headphone period. Plus, they have hipster cred, which I need more of.  I did feel a bit bad about getting them as I don't NEED them, but this can be my Father's Day/ birthday present. It's rare that I want something (UPDATED: like headphones enough to go out and actually buy, or ask for for a present. I'm crippled by possibility). I want these. But seriously, after this, no more expensive headphones. Screw Bose. Seriously.

Although, the sound does leak a lot so I am thinking just a bit about hacking them: taking the speakers and putting them in over the ear monitor headphones. We'll see.

I put Michael Jackson them: they are made EXACTLY for that music. Funny that technology is made for the music of the time. Not surprising, of course, but interesting.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 23

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[159 Views of Santa Monica, California and Related Views of Southwest U.S. from Train, Some of Which Published in ¦Flair¦ 1953 Annual]
August–September 1947
Film negative
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

12 May 2011

Month 10!

I have been on my health and wellness endeavour for 10 months today.

The dip at the beginning of the month and at the end are both from when I went to conferences, incredibly good signs that my binge eating tendencies when out of my normal circumstances is improving. I have been at a conference this week too at the OU and have been up a bit, but the problem with physicsdiet.com is that the red spike at the end of this chart looks more dramatic, but it's only like 400 grams above the rolling average, and I back down today. They need to add another colour to the charts: blue for maintenance. Life can't only be losing and gaining.
I'm also happy that I only lost about 300 grams over the month, meaning that I am getting closer to homoeostasis. Obviously, I can't keep losing 300 grams every month for the rest of my life, but through to the one year point? I'm happy with this. My BMI is now 21.99, the first time under 22, but more importantly my body fat percentage is at 17.25%. I'm happy to see this continue to come down, maybe even to 15%, but I suspect that will take some exercise, something I've been avoiding as I want to be able to sustain my weight without the added benefit of exercise. I should be able to stay the same weight regardless of whether I'm working out or not. Of course, 'not working out' for me still entails riding my bike to work everyday and standing rather than sitting. These are sustainable practices, at least in the short term. My dad's coming in July and training for a marathon, so I'll do some running with him. That should be fun.

Okay, I have GOT to get some writing done today. GOT to.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 22

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[South Seas: Sailing Ship]
Film negative
3 1/4 x 5 1/2 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

11 May 2011

Talk at Lancaster on 9 June

I will be giving an invited talk at Lancaster University next month (9 June). The title and abstract follow:
'We listen to god': Metaphor, impoliteness, and dominance in a YouTube drama episode
The often overwhelming presence of antagonistic, impolite interaction on YouTube has been the object of much popular and academic interest. In an attempt to understand how this interaction affects the emergence of informal group formation and user affiliation, a two-year longitudinal observation of Evangelical Christian users was undertaken in which episodes of antagonistic interaction were identified. Discourse activity was then analysed focusing on the categories and metaphorical language users employed to position themselves and others. This presentation will focus on one 'drama' episode in which an Evangelical Christian user referred to an atheist user as 'human garbage'. Consequently, both Evangelicals Christian and non-Christian users interacted with and interpreted the 'human garbage' metaphor, making arguments for and against the appropriacy of the term both in terms of YouTube social norms and as an interpretation of a Biblical parable (John 15:1-8). Findings will show: first, that users extended metaphors from the Biblical text, but used new metaphors in creative and novel ways (including 'human garbage'), extending and adapting metaphors to fit new discourse contexts; second, that metaphor use created a unique affordance for users to speak vaguely about other users as well as what is or is not appropriate behaviour on YouTube; and third, that group formation was observed in the positions users took while drawing on categories which often employed metaphor.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 21

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[Detail of Clothing Store Façade Under Colonnade, Havana]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

10 May 2011

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 20

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
[Flower Cart, New York City]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

09 May 2011


Mei is two today. Can you believe it?

Mei began her birthday by getting up at one in the morning, taking all her clothes off and being ready to go, one hundred percent. I got tagged at 3 to take her and she watched Totoro, pee'd on the sofa and ate cereal. I had a very, very early breakfast and when she passed out on the sofa (still naked), I wrapped her in a blanket and fell asleep on the floor.

The sun started coming up at 4:30, so I got up again and worked on the presentation below as I wasn't really feeling like sleeping anyway. Sleep is over-rated: there is too much going on in my life right now to sleep.

Mei slept until eight, when I left, despite her sister harassing her constantly to get up and CELEBRATE. It is, after all, her birthday!

Well, there is cake ('ICHIGO cake!' as Mei keeps saying). Strawberry cake, yes. She is so chatty now. So much to say about so many different things. When I came home from Spain, she was asking me all sorts of questions. It was so strange. What happened while I was gone? Did she grow up on me?

Happy Birthday, Mei! We love you!

Talk on combining life and work

True to the message of this presentation, which I'm giving to my PhD cohort on balancing life and family in May, I did this from 5:30-7:30 this morning after Mei had been up from 3:30 to 5:30, and I couldn't get back to sleep.

A Month of Walker Evans, Day 19

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
["Wonder Wheel" Ride, Coney Island, New York]
Film negative
2 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Walker Evans Archive, 1994
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art