Reinventing Oneself

    This is the beginning of a new era--at least for IdeaWarehouse! Here I am in Boston, one of the most concentrated capitals of higher education, and for a long time I have identified myself as an academic, though it took me a long time at the beginning to really feel like I was, and it's the first day of classes either today, yesterday, or a week from today. Yet this is the longest time (since I was 14) that I have ever been without a full-time job. So it's time to re-invent myself (btw, does that require a hyphen or no hyphen?--I wonder what Grammar Girl would say?). I need to OWN my job as a writer and writing consultant. 

    Long before I established WW Writing Services as my own writing consultant company, I was doing free-lance jobs in writing and editing. I edited Dr. Dan Shelley's book for K-12 educators on using computers, way back near the time the WWW was being invented (makes me feel like I am from the stone-age era). Then I helped another professor with a master's thesis, which in fact, needed a complete overhaul. Unfortunately, this person must have thought I was doing it just to be nice or because I wanted to be friends or something, but I never got paid! Somehow we got our wires crossed, and I'm sure I could have done something more to have gotten the money, but it was a touchy situation because we had both started working at this college at about the same time, and I had to continue working with this professor throughout the years, so I sucked it up and decided never to make that mistake again (have someone mistake my hard hours of work for "just being nice" and trying to "be friends," especially when there were never any more overtures of friendship being extended after that.)

    Then I had several other miscellaneous projects--for which I always got paid, but the totals never amounted to anything more than extra clothes money, which I always welcome. When I was living in Slippery Rock and commuting 70 miles to Edinboro, I ended up purchasing my own paper for handuts and syllabi, file folders, and any office supplies I used at home, since I did so much there, rather than at the office. So, since Staples delivers for free to businesses, I decided to become WW Writing Services. Ahh, how I miss my spacious office!  ....Okay, I won't go there! I DO have own room within our condo that IS my office still. It's all mine, even though it moonlights as a guest room when people visit. If I didn't have a ROOM OF MY OWN, I'd go crazy, I think. Here in my "Office"--the official home of WW Writing Services, I crank out my projects:

The 1st 3 projects are the most official WW Writing Services projects, while the others are personal writing projects or academic ones, focused on first-year composition and writing center pedagogy. I plan to keep plenty busy and expect to post on this blog at least once a week (usually between Sunday and Tuesday) from now on.


MIT job

Having just started my job analyzing data for Story Workbench, I realize once again how humbling it is to begin a new job and have to feel your way around, so to speak. As I wrap my mind around the new concepts, some of which I know about, some of which I have to learn about in a new context, I can almost feel my neurons bending and stretching with the effort of learning. It's good, though. I felt better Friday night after having reviewed some things about what I needed to do differently.  I felt like I was "getting it" a little better, finally. I knew I could, but it's all vaguely familiar things but within an entirely new context. The "discourse community" of knowledge in which I have to read some background to get the material down in my head better is so different from the humanities-like writing I'm used to. This scholarship comes from analytical thinkers with a computer background, who skip many steps in explaining things. Luckily, I can usually grasp the concepts after a while. I think I make it harder than it is. Thank you, Mark Finlayson in selecting me for your team. Thank you, Jared Sprague, for being so patient with me in this training phase.

(And thank you, God, for giving me this job! :)  yay!)

Lady Gaga's Everywhere--you go girls!

Scanning the news/Salon articles this morning, I came across this video on YouTube where these flight attendants on a Phillipines airline decided to mix it up a little while showing those boring instructions. They DANCED THE INSTRUCTIONS TO A LADY GAGA SONG, "Just Dance!" How cool was that! As you noticed, Salon writer whose name I forget, the passengers paid attention and CLAPPED at the end of it. When was the last time THAT happened??

Crazy Apps and Taylor Swift

Joachim's off to college now--wow, hard to believe all of the kids are officially out of the house. With Dan's new Droid X, I'm getting a few pictures along the way even, which is kind of neat. I was just reading about some neuroscientist who wants to explore whether technology makes us dumber (hasn't he read Nicholas Carr?) This information revolution is simply making things different; why can't people accept that? At any rate, it seems to be for me. I read about 5 apps that help make us healthier: opower, imoveyou, glowcaps, withings, and hybrid cars. I'll investigate those in my so-called free time. But as soon as I exercise with my ipod, I have it set up so that it will automatically go to twitter (my stats). It'll be pitifully bad at first, but I think I'll appreciate it. I didn't feel so good today because I took my shot last night, and I felt sick all night and all day. But now it's easing off, so tomorrow I'll try to exercise in the morning. On another note: I can't believe I have been listening over and over and over to Taylor Swift's Fearless album. It is really good and/or I must have a hidden country-western music gene. Maybe it was those 8 years in Texas. Confession: I actually had some cowboy boots and a hat and went to a Moe Bandy concert. Still, I love "The Best Day" and "Breathe" and "Fifteen." Wild.


I'm trying out Twitter--hoping to keep abreast of CCCC happenings, good presentations, etc., as well as the SXSW event. Twitter's good if you can't be everywhere at once and want to be...but meanwhile I'm trying to find out what it really is good for, what not to do, and why to use it.

10 Types of Technology Users

Last month the Pew Internet and American Life Project posted a report called A Typology of Information and CommunicationTechnology Users in which they classified 10 types of tech users. Their survey began with 26016 random telelphone numbers, with 16,652 actual working numbers, and they received responses from 4001 people 18 or over, recording a 30 percent response rate. Here are their categories:

  • Omnivores                          8%
  • Connectors                          7%
  • Lackluster Veterans             8%
  • Productivity Enhancers         8%
  • Mobile Centrics                   10%
  • Connected but Hassled        10%
  • Inexperienced Experimenters  8%
  • Light but Satisfied              15%
  • Indifferents                        11%
  • Off the Network                  15%

I would say I'm either a "Connecter" or "Productivity Enhanncer" in terms of technology. The survey measured people and their technology use in terms of 1) assets, 2) actions, and 3) attitudes. The top 4 categories were referred to "Elite Technology Users" (which would be my category, I guess), which turned out to include 31% of American adults. Of course, reading the "Omnivores" category, I think a lot applies to me as well.

Unwanted Cell Phone /Laptop Baptism

I just saw an amusing article on how to resuscitate a cell phone that has fallen into water, as well as what to do when you spill a lCellphone_tankiquid onto your laptop. TheyCoffee_computer came with these great iconic illustrations that say it all.  Since both my oldest boys have had their cell phones immersed in bodies of water in different circumstances, this interested me. Tom apparently forgot he had his in his pocket when he and his brother went into their grandparents' hot tub. Of course, when he came out and discovered it was still there, he was more than a little dismayed, and (no surprise) the phone no longer worked. I'm sure the high water temperature and sustained length of time did not help the circuitry. Nick's cellular experience was a little more tepid, but no less worth a chagrined chuckle. I guess when he was out one night partying or at a friends or something, the phone dropped into the toilet! He said it was a clean toilet, or maybe that was just for my benefit. I think he said he set it onto the top of the tank and it fell off into the bowl. He didn't leave his in there very long  (I don't think he did anyway; his report may have purposely sketchy for his mother's sake), and he did dry the phone out, but it took a week and a visit to the Verizon store to get it working again. When we went into the store, the rep asked him if he had taken the battery out and put it back in again. He had not, and when he did it, sure enough it began to work again! I haven't really experienced spilling coffee all over my laptop, but there are sure are a lot of miscellaneous crumbs lodged in between the keys, I would guess.

Anyway, I love those "stick figures in peril" icons, break me into hysterical laughter after I look at some of these in bulk. Here's a look at some.172118973_07067db06f 533686916_7c6c7bea1d_t 518229595_d4c5fb5b0c Laptop_mia 526251235_67891b39c5_m