Monday, January 31, 2005

Film assignment

Here's my film assignment. Since I've asked my class (20 students) to write a little about their favorite movie, it's only fair that I do the same.

But, my favorite movie is very old, and black and white. It's called His Girl Friday (1940) and is an old Cary Grant movie about the fast life of journalists who betray each other and even kill and kidnap for a good newspaper story. I like the plot because it's a little unbelievable, but it's a very fast-moving movie that draws you right along and makes you believe everything. The actors and actresses were really good back then, and Cary Grant is one of the best. It puts you into another world, and I especially like old cars and scenes from that era.

Another one I really love is Sundays and Cybele, which is almost unheard of, unknown, but I saw it many years ago, and still remember it.

Excuse the poor grammar. I get carried away...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

051 begins...

I joined Webheads recently; it's an interesting community that has opened my horizons. I'm new at using chat and voice over computer, but I hope to change this. As one who makes every change slowly, I find myself surprised constantly, then, to be at the front of any trend. But this worldwide community is very offers an unusual perspective on the new boundary-free reality.

New term, new weblogs; my colleague Marie set them up; we've been working on them. MOVIE & FILM: that's the theme for 051. Some posts are popping in there already. Take a look.

More later...hey, here's a picture of me from the old days. Drawn by Leah Kang, on the first day of class, one day in the late 90's. She moved off to Chicago, and from there, who knows...Leah, are you out there? Thanks for the picture. I'm only now getting it scanned & up...


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

weblog servers

I've started investigating free weblog servers because our program was having trouble with Blogger. I'm basically fond of Blogger, but we had trouble because their main server was often down when we tried to use it (afternoons central time) and because we had to wade through lots of code in the templates in order to add links. I also had trouble at home because of the interface between aol, mac, and blogger, but I don't know how much of this is common to everyone or what. In fact I'd like input and asked at teslca-l for some suggestions.

Other weblog servers include xanga, livejournal, and 20six, as well as aol, yahoo, and msn (which, because they are part of larger systems, would be out for our students, I think)...and I've begun to try these out. Why not? I'm not sure if I can find a better site for our weblogs in time for the new term....but, I may try to put at least some of them elsewhere.

For now I've been putting my thoughts're welcome to join me!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Lots of news

Let's start at the beginning.

First, CESL Today volume 57 is out; it represents the hard work on weblogs done by students in the last term of 2004. We learned a lot last term (see below; see also the cesl students' weblog)...but most of all we learned how to get on the web. Looking good is half the battle, as they always say...we looked good, I thought.

Second, some things I've reported on below have changed. I found Adam Alamin; he's in Minneapolis, expecting a baby! Congratulations, Adam. Adam is one of our honored poets; he's from Eritrea, and he's working at a computer company.

My sister Margot has been found by the Paul Taylor Dance company. You may remember that she's my favorite musician. This famous modern dance company is going to perform using her music on March 1 in New York. More on this later.

One other band that is important to me is the Hurd Brothers. Here I want to give a plug to Guitars Between the Rivers, a new cd made by some friends of mine, consisting of lots of local music: artists from southern Illinois. Of these I am especially pushing the Hurd Brothers, may they rest in peace. All proceeds from this cd go to their scholarship fund, set up by their relative(s?) after their untimely death a couple of years ago. Music in southern Illinois is a special thing; music by the Hurd Brothers is very special.

As a new term starts, all I can say is, I wish you a good and productive 2005...and, above all, WRITE!

Happy New Year!

The Best Virtual Tours awards are out; so are the Best Weblog Awards; after a ceremony in which everyone praised their agents and their mothers, and let their jewelry sparkle in the stage lights, people went home with wonderful prizes and made a vow to make their weblogs even better in 2005.

It turns out to be very difficult, as one must learn new technological skills on top of being nervous about presenting in English to the world, on the web, but our students have by and large risen to the challenge and have given us lots to be proud of.

One thing we've found is that it's a very different thing to put forward pictures and informal chatting as a community-builder, and then ask the higher classes to make web portfolios in which they put up their research papers and formal writing. The easiest way out would be to have two weblogs per student, but I'm not sure if that's practical either.

More about that later....hope you all had a good year!