Failing gently but travelling hopefully at #western106 #ds106

Confession time:

This is the second time I have tried to join in with a DS106 class and it’s not going much better than the first time when I sank without trace. I have tried to follow the guidance but am not doing very well at ‘keeping up’.

  • I am determined not to be downbeat about this and I have some great contacts like Mariana Funes on whom I can call so I’ll try to count up:
  • I did the ‘red still life’ daily create after I saw Jeffrey Keefers but I think I was a day late

Red Still Life from objects in Frances' kitchen

Red Still Life from objects in Frances’ kitchen

  • I wrote a blog post linking Bowie to cowboys on the day of his death but then didn’t know how to connect it to #western106 #ds106.
  • I joined in with a #ds106 radio but was quite late so got l got little from it.

So what can I do now?

  • I can recognise that I can’t do ‘daily stuff’ – that doesn’t fit with my life style
  • I can ask ask my friends for help
  • I can focus on a single goal – mine is to learn to make a GIF from videos

Now I can share with you my flaky progress on that goal. I feel a bit ambivalent about Westerns (apart from Blazing Saddles). One of the issues I have with the genre is that women don’t always get a great deal in Westerns.  My idea from recollecting a John Wayne film where he spanked a woman so I thought I could do a ‘critical’ GIF on this topic.

Imagine my horror when I searched youtube and found that ‘spanking women’ was a common trope in Westerns. I think that this is the one I recalled but take my advice – don’t read the youtube comments.  Even worse, there is a spanking scene in the Big Bang Theory.

So that’s it, I now to learn to GIF to critique this trope. All help (except spanking) welcome to save us from a clear line from westerns to 50 Shades of Grey.

 

Bowie and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy #DS106 #Western106

Two things happened today: one momentous, one not so.
First, David Bowie died, unexpectedly for us but not for him and his family.  Like many other people stunned by his loss, I started to root around the Internet and found lots of gems, some that sparked memories and others that were new.  The less momentous event was my decision to join in with the latest DS106, the digital storytelling course, in its current form #western106.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered a link between Ziggy Stardust and cowboys. Bowie acknowledged that the term stardust was taken from the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, a star of the psychobilly genre, apparently.

The music and other artistic performances of David Bowie have brought me so much pleasure but also taught me so much through music and other performance arts about ambiguity of identity and sexuality before the Internet. He brought us out of the 60s and 70s and all the hangups from previous eras.

So let’s enjoy Ziggy Stardust.

And now Bowie is dead the Internet is helping me find out more about him and what he did, so I am still learning from him.

How about this way of writing songs or sparking ideas from your own words? I am already thinking of ways I can use this in working on my own and with other people.

All in all, thank you and good night David Bowie.

Articles – reading, annotating, summarising

Jeffrey Keefer has inspired me to join in his little adventure in reading more articles in the company of others. I am going to try  to contribute to Jeffrey’s and others’ experiences whilst making it work in some way for me. My contributions will have a thinkaloud element to aid reflection, and I hope to experiment with graphic as well as text summaries. Inspired by danah boyd’s work on the affordances of networked publics and taking them into my own public/private context, I will consider the persistence, replicability, scalability (not so much), and searchability of what I find and do.

So I would like to:

  • find more articles that may be of interest
  • read ones that seem promising
  • collect my thoughts about them and links to interesting thoughts from others
  • be able to find all of above in future
Annotation
Annotation  CC BY 2.0

So while I think about how I will deal with paywalls, linking to Mendeley database, good ways to record thoughts and links, it’s always worth thinking about some old school approaches and how connections happened.

Elise’s Christmas Soup

Elise is on the right
Elise is on the right – looking fab!

My dear mother Elise Crampsey (later Richardson) 1916-1990 was named Elizabeth (a family name) that was adapted to a French variant in recognition of what was happening in France in 1916 around the time of her birth in Grangemouth, Scotland. She was the oldest of 7 children born into in a working class family whose father, Francis Crampsey, died of pneumonia (in the days before penicillin)  when she was 14 and her youngest sibling was a toddler. Her mother, Margaret, knew how to feed a family well on a very limited budget, and passed on these skills to her daughters, at least, and many of her descendants, male and female, are and have been excellent cooks – what a legacy!

Two things I learned from my mother’s cooking was the value of ingredients, and the importance of what you did with them. In the 1960s, as we travelled in Europe and extended our repertoire of menus, she sought out new recipes and ingredients. Despite the appearance of more exotic dishes, a Christmas staple persisted – the soup from the turkey carcass, because my mother who started her family during WW2 wasted little or nothing.  As soon as the turkey was stripped, the carcass was put in the pressure cooker to make the richest stock of the year, and on Boxing Day or the next day, the soup was made.

Now I can’t say that this recipe was exactly from my mother’s childhood (it was never written down) but it’s my recollection of what she made in her later years and it tastes lovely. My version includes stock from a ham that my son Tom cooked on Christmas Day (for his next family destination) but it doesn’t really matter.  As long as you have some of the turkey stock, you can make up the volume with water to match the vegetables you have. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just cook it for longer on the hob in an ordinary pan.

First step – Making the stock

Put the turkey carcass and any left over veg (but not the gravy, save that for other leftover meals) in the pressure cooker and cover with water. Bring to pressure and cook for 30 minutes (cook for longer if you don’t have a pressure cooker).  Drain and leave to cool. It will form a sort of jelly with what Elise called a ‘lid’ of fat. Remove this lid with a fish slice – it will scrape off.

Making the Soup

The soup
The soup

Ingredients

3 leeks
3 carrots or more if they are skimpy
3 celery stalks
Turkey/Ham stock made up with water to cover contents of pan
1 or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 handfuls of long grain rice
salt/pepper (to taste)

Method

Sweat the chopped leek, carrots and celery in a little oil for 15 minutes. Then add the stock, tomatoes and rice with a bit of salt/pepper. Bring to to pressure in pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes, or maybe an hour in an ordinary pot. The rice should have exploded into a curl.  This is not essential – it will taste delicious and may need a little more seasoning.

See the curl of the rice
See the curl of the rice

Enjoy!

Stars in the playground and hearts in the factory

Stars and Hearts by Dan and Fern Treacy CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Stars and Hearts by
Dan and Fern Treacy
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This week the switching of the star/favorite for the heart/like has been a source of a little sadness for many in my slice of Twitter. Laura Gogia and Maha Bali supplied interesting commentaries on views expressed in ‘academic Twitter’  but I felt a little distant from the angst.  Although I don’t have active plans to leave like I do for Facebook, somehow I know that it’s unlikely I will still be active on Twitter in a couple of years time.  Like Kate Bowles, for me the corporate/ economic explanations are the most likely ones.

For a bit of fun, I checked out the symbol/ term variations for liking/favouriting across some popular sites.

Symbols on Social Networking Sites

So it seems that the concept of favourite is passé in the corporate standards of social media semiotics – it’s all ‘like’ now and the ‘favourite’ icon is the heart, thumbs up second. So it seems Twitter are following the trend for terms and symbols but meaning – that’s something else altogether.

In the last two years, I have observed, experienced and written about some highs and lows in social networking. Some old and new reading has been helping me to make sense of it.  I returned to Zuboff(1988) and her concept of informating, the generation of new streams of information about activities. That’s an interesting concept to apply to the endlessly changing yet persistent data collected by Social Networking Sites  (SNS) about activities such as liking/favouriting. Laura Gogia explained the semantics of academic tweeters’ different uses of the old Twitter star/favourite and how their practice might be different with the new heart/like.

Now, I don’t know how Twitter record a favourite/like but I imagine that it is a boolean true/false link between a tweet object and a tweeter/identity object with none of the semantics that Laura describes.  The complex semantics provide the motivation for our actions but are not recorded in the database. This simple favourite/like data is interpreted though, to provide economic value through the advertising services that SNS provide, by targeting tweeters by manipulating their streams.

My new reading has started with Ben Light’s theory of Disconnective Practice (relating to SNS) that helps with our understanding of how states of disconnection come into being and are maintained. Through Light’s book, I came across the work of Ulisses Mejias whose thesis that we need to remove our network goggles and look at what is happening off the network in the paranodal spaces around the network nodes seems particularly relevant to our consideration of stars and hearts, liking and favoriting. Monopsonies are counterpoints of monopolies, where the emergence of a single buyer, particularly of user-generated content, can lead to increasing inequality. Much better to watch this video, where he explains it for himself.

The Internet as Playground and Factory – Ulises Ali Mejias from The Politics of Digital Culture on Vimeo.

So thinking about Twitter’s aspiration to be the monopsony in micro-blogging might be a good way to understand what’s going on with the stars and hearts.  We think we are in the playground but maybe we are in the factory.

Jenny Mackness’s post reminded me that Sonia Livingstone’s hot seat for Networked Learning starts tomorrow.  I have a feeling I am going to be learning more about Sonia’s research that definitely doesn’t have network goggles.

References
Light, B. (2014). Disconnecting with social networking sites. doi:10.1057/9781137022479
Mejias, U. A. (2013). Off the Network. doi:10.5860/CHOICE.51-4485

Openness in Cultural Heritage and Education – open standards, open access and open software

20151012_181558

When I attended the DCDC15 Conference – DISCOVERING COLLECTION DISCOVERING COMMUNITIES in October, I was struck by the potential for the Cultural Heritage and Open Education communities  to learn from each other.   I was particularly interested to hear about the Digital Bodleian Library that uses the IIIF standard and is based on open standards, open access and open software.

Fortunately, the  OER16 Open Culture conference call already acknowledges this, particularly in the final two of its themes

  • The strategic advantage of open, creating a culture of openness, and the reputational challenges of openwashing.
  • Converging and competing cultures of open knowledge, open source, open content, open practice, open data and open access.
  • Hacking, making and sharing.
  • Openness and public engagement.
  • Innovative approaches to opening up cultural heritage collections for education.

OER16 will take place at the University of Edinburgh on the 19th and 20th April 2016. The deadline for submissions is approaching rapidly and the site is now open.  That is still time to write a 250 or 500 word abstract for presentations, lightning talks, posters, and panels and workshops but who knows there might be an extension.

You can follow @oerconf and #oer16 on twitter.

Measuring and Correction

my first task at quilting class
Log Cabin – my first task at quilting class

I attended my first quilting class today at the Quilting Box and this is what I achieved. I have done some quilting over the years, and been quite pleased with what I have achieved but I knew I had a lot more to learn – I just didn’t quite know what. Textile crafts have so much to tell us about learning in general.

I joined an ongoing class where participants make a series of 12 inch squares, each one from a different quilting pattern.  It was social and inspiring to see what others had achieved.  I started with log cabin that I had done many years ago.  Prior to the class, I had chosen fabrics to use for this square and subsequent ones in my quilt.

Violet's quilt in progress
Violet’s quilt in progress

Something I have learned from my recent baby quilt projects that are all about colour and fabric, was to be bold in choosing fabrics to go next to each other. Other people at the class commented on the strong colours I had chosen and liked the finished effect.

 

I brought my own sewing machine and bits and pieces to class but I did encounter some new technology – a square transparent ruler that helped me measure what I had done, a sewing machine foot that helped  me make 1/4 inch seams and flat-headed pins to mark places where I had gone wrong. But what I really learned from dear Edna, the teacher, was how to make a perfect 12 inch square by measuring and correction. So I measured and cut the fabric pieces and sewed the seams as accurately as I could, and then Edna showed me how to press and measure at each second round so that errors could be marked with a flat headed pin and corrected on the next seam.

The measuring was under my control, for improvement not for a final judgement, and Edna was around for advice.  That gave me the confidence to achieve a 12 inch square, knowing that I can also apply the measuring/correction technique to other projects. And I was delighted with the finished effect of the fabric combination. So checking, measuring and correcting are all part of learning, with a teacher to support learners’ development of confidence and resilience in a social setting with other learners. Even things that can’t be measured such as choosing fabric combinations are learned by individuals in social settings.