Sunday, September 30, 2007

Your panties are showing, the dark side of a novel medium

A literal novel use for the ubiquitous mobile:
NZ Herald , pge B4 Fri Sept 28,
Tom Leonard, a New York writer, has an article on the writing of novels on the screen of a cell phone.
Tracking the story, an earlier form of the story in the Wall Street Journal identifies that in
Japan novelists find a novel way of writing stories
Of the 10 Japanese bestsellers in 2007, half apparently started life as keitai novels.
A mobile phone novel website, Maho i-land, started 7 yrs ago and now lists a million novels. In Japan, more than 3 million text based novels were sold in the first half of the year, literally outstripping pulp (tree based) fiction!

The prose seems to have accommodated the medium, its described as heavier in dialogue, and has less descriptive build up of scene or of characters: and has short paragraphs.
I think its probable that the writers and readers as well as the screen size have influence. A network of actors at play/work.
Still, the medium is the message- working with this medium involves being contained by the small screen. Construction accommodates the constraints: the work arounds involve fitting the (small)screen. Thinking becomes blank areas, spoken speech takes as few words as possible to get meaning across... some critiques of the genre suggest this is similar to comic culture...
It might also be that the writers having a preference for particular types of literature, manga being a cited example.

manga characters

differ from their anime counterparts in both visual design and characterization. The manga has more "ecchi" and whimsy, but certain aspects of the plot are darker.

k, maybe the panties were too dark an example, but its a snapshot of the genre.

A preference for dialogue over scenery or character depth is portrayed, whether its readers and writer preference or cell screen sized influence.

I can't see the thesis being written on a cell phone...however

is huge. (I do not need to worry about my teenage daughters reading or writing, it just looks different when it involves fanfiction, the books are less visible).
It would be easy to say, but its just a tool, the reading and writing still happen. But it is more than a tool, this tool has extra 'special effects'. The reader chooses whether or not be a passive audience, whether or not to be an isolated one. While still awaiting the favourite authors next installment, , these readers are writing the next alternate installment, prequel or sequel! And actively contribute to shaping each others work by providing each other feedback on their writing.

So audience, you have your topic....
The thesis: how mediums used for counseling are both shaped and shaping.
The study: to be informed by Actor network theory.
What comes next?????

still waiting
still ...

write it?


Image obtained from
Rah_manga_panties.jpg‎ (300 × 299 pixels, file size: 53 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)
Source: Momose Takeaki; Izubuchi Yutaka (2004). Kit Fox. ed. RahXephon Vol. 1. trans. Joe Yamazaki. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media. ISBN 1591164079.
Website reproduction:
Original manga ©2001 Yutaka Izubuchi / Takeaki Momose / Shogakukan
Translated text ©2004 Viz Media (Viz LLC)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

afraid of the dark?

I was running a counselling training group for Youthline when the lights went out. My co-facilitator was part way through saying "is anyone afraid of"(with one person saying me) the dark. She had her cell phone out and had altered the backlighting faster than the sentence could be completed. Within 2 mins I also had a txt from my home alone teenage daughter saying the lights were out followed by a tearful phone call. The effect of too many horror movies were quickly relieved in being able to say that the lights were out where we were too. No personalized axe murderers, stalkers just for her.
Having learned very quickly from my student, I could advice re the use of the mobile as a torch and she could then find candles.
Being an aging hippy I had missed the learning of how to use cell phones at a concert..." "dangerous little devices these cell phones" Bono, U2
Here's an ANT informed rather gorgeous study by Chris Chesher of U2 creating the milky way using cell phones. The ubiquitous cell phone can:
1. make and receive ph calls (21stC daughter thinks it hilarious that anyone would ever have stayed home all night waiting for a boyfriend to ring)
2. send and receive txts,
3. leave and retrieve messages,
4. a means to check weather,
5. play music,
6. play games,
7. take, send, and or store store photos, videos,
8. a reminder of appointments,
9. my alarm when travelling
10. CSI forensic location tracking device
11. something for the self conscious to do with their hands now that smoking is frowned on,
12. a means of establishing social cred,
13. a means of political activism,
14. creating the milky way
15. and a torch.....

Not surprizing then that teenage daughter couldn't work out how to function without her cell this weekend past- no money on the prepay. I naively suggested the cute invention of landlines, but no, speaking to anyone was to be avoided.
Or of using a computer to send an SMS, no- they wont know whose txting (say what? I know you can add that in the message)
There's an attachment here that I could barely figure (if the hard drive hadnt died on my laptop recently, i dont think i could have empathized at all).

How to write funding applications

I want 2b all i can be & more
2live 2learn
2b a conscious human b ing
2think 2feel 2act
i want by understanding me
2 understand others
i want 2b all that i am capable of
& then i want 2 work & 0 <

Sorry, that last bit got a bit too cryptic;
"and nothing less"
How to write a funding application to make a world of difference in 160 characters or less ;) can it fit on the face of a cell phone?
My apologies to Katherine mansfield, I am sure she would see the funny side.
How you propose to make a difference, what skills or experience do you have that will benefit your chosen organization? In 350 words or less list your relevant skills passions and personal attributes whether they come from life experience or education your skills, your passion.
On being short with words Ernest Hemingway when challenged wrote an entire story in 6 words:
For sale: baby shoes: never used.

Such succinctness, sweetness and sadness.
Or as Phoebe said to Monica on Friends "going out with your last boyfriend's son is like going out with a Greek tragedy!" It's all there.

I am still scrambling with the word count, how to fit it in a nutshell, deleting the social niceties and trying not to be terse to the point of arrogance, make the words short, simple. Spell check it, use the active voice, Say it once, say it well. Cut the 'ands', use the comma, the semicolon...
Please, if you have knowledge or ideas on grant applications I will be happy to receive your wisdoms, humorous, helpful, real or just fun :) even commiserations :(

Saturday, September 15, 2007

how to write a thesis

Havent even got there yet, but even the steps of writing between where i am now and where i want to be continues to be in very small steps.
“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

In simplifying a plain language statement for a young audience, i began with may, I changed it to will, put it in, took it out...
I learnt how to use track changes, but halfway through learnt how to make it say it was me rather than my workplace that was doing the editing....then started again so I would look like a competent being.
I now need to proofread; and if not careful could find myself editing down to the blank page...
It might never be as good as i want it, but as Latour advises, "a good thesis is a finished one".

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

not articulated very well, a darth vader moment

Sherry Turkle, suggests therapists take Second Life seriously as tool for understanding their clients’ innermost thoughts and desires- "playing out the self that they want to explore....It’s not always who they want to be. Sometimes they can be exploring a dark side of themselves.”

This is a blog.
I use it as an unreal place, a musing space.
If I thought i wouldnt get lost in space, i could separate, compartmentalize or distribute myself, so that in this place it was only the phd stuff, but then I might want or need a different place for the higher ed stuff and a different place for the bits that are not work nor phd stuff.
I know my capacity to compartmentalize is not that efficient.

Welcome to the dark side.

The rapid movement between superhero/cyborg and Darth Vaderish dark moments seem more pronounced in a medium that only punctuates the moments. The reference to cutting and pasting now seems larger than the muse it was meant to be.
Maybe Ulises of Ideant fame might see this as an example of being nodal centric- we attend most to the nodes in a network, the actors, what is indelible. (I confess to skim reading what I found quite dense- If I understood it at all). However, what is not seen, is not necessarily not influential. Thats what the chardonnay does- makes for very convoluted sentences (even though the wine is invisible now also). But its a lot harder to give credence to actors, actants, and translations that are fleeting. Similarly, it must be quite hard to choose which ones to focus on in any research write up. In the writing, some things just look larger than intended. And in the reading also.

Friday, September 07, 2007

when i grow up i'm going to be a cyborg superhero!

Some light relief on being a doctoral student and educator out to change the world...

I have the power!

I have the knickers!

And I have the email and txt messaging to keep me busy for a very long time!
Feel free to join me, change the world!

Thanks to superheroine anya ixchel for pointing the way

Transformation Kit(free) available on line!
Now all i need is all the other ANT assemblages to aggragate.
Latour and Law identify that making stuff happen involves hard work & hidden masses. Star takes it further with invisible work.... and Mol with performance...
I'm finding i need more than the cut and paste knickers...

My hard drive died,the spinning ball, mouse freezing crashing stuff eventually caught up with me,"sigh".
My new macbook pro is cute,comes with mega power but doesnt know how to talk to itself or resurrect old files such as my blog searcher engine thingy or its history of a years searchings.... am feeling somewhat over-rated as a superheroine cyborg.
Wont give up the day job(s) just yet.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The joy of txt


silent loquacity,
taciturn turn taking.
160 signs, or less.

Pleae add to the joys of txting;
1. Haiku anytime, anywhere.
2. As appointment reminders
3. Volunteer roster reminders
4. pull down short bites of health promotive content...

Seriously; I am looking at the positive contributions of a txting world, how might txt be used in working with young people?
Is it a signpost for other services, or can it be the service itself???
What are the application possibilities 4 txt counselling?
Please- no advice re phone sex.
This is a serious inquiry

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

computer literacy and academic literacy

A further discussion of adult literacies.
This argument - that there is nothing wrong with cut and paste- pressupposes that the sources are acknowledged, to do less being academic theft.

The university I work at has recently started using turnitin,software to detecct plagiarism. Having used it and discovered that a few, maybe 1-2%, have aproblem in writing there own thoughts, I'm prompted to consider whats wrong with a cut and paste culture and just maybe there is nothing wrong with it.
The advantages:
Clearly delineates what is not the students own work
The disadvantages: the risk is that no knew thinking is generated- or at least that there is no evidence of new thinking generated- so maybe the task of academics becomes a little harder- how do we know what a student learns if they dont put it out there.

A further tangent to consider is that maybe its the way of our future? The use of cut and paste is so easy, there's an accuracy that cant be denied in using the authors own words, a bricolage or tapestry- stream of multiple persons consciousness on a theme.
The adult literacies of a future could be establishing the knowledge base (just like a lit review does) And then be followed by the authors own discussion.

In reading danah boyd, on social networking, she makes a link to
Copy and Paste Literacy? Literacy Practices in the Production of a MySpace Profile.]

In this article by Perkel, the making of identity within a social network (myspace) is discussed, the cutting and pasting of othereness creating an identifiable self.
Its a fascinating article.

The concept of otherness in creating self can be taken further. With a little tweaking informed by ANT, this could be described as being 'othertaken'.
In Latour's, Reassembling the social, he identifies how assemblages construct parts of a social world, and taking this further, identifies that actors are also subject to being constructed- being overtaken or 'other-taken'.

"When we act, who else is acting?"
In academia who else is acting includes the actors that are policy, historiacl conventions on conformity. The use of software, turnitin, becomes another actor, a sort of silent policeperson, that does a job. There are also the less overt actors, myspace may have an effect on the construction of self and the construction of social conventions, and potentially even on academic conventions. Maybe there are other ways to write and to think and to contribute new knowledge.

Just a provocation, but I am interested in what readers think.
The 'machine is us/ing us' and its worth considering the effects.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

computer mouse and innovation

The mouse in
Wendy Warren's thesis
While E-magining English literacies, her thesis provided a performance in its own right (write? rite? ). The mouse wrote, had voice, or at least its own paragraph.
A performance involving human as well as non human actors.
The constraining structures of academia also had effect. Her describing rather than using a calligraphy E being one example.

In studying a sensitive research area, youth counselling via the internet, there are constraints. These are well founded- I do not want to do anyone harm. At the same time an absence of evidence base for practice also does harm. Maintaining the status quo supports current practice by default.

Back to progressing an ethics application-
1. how to be convincing on the absence of harm for young people. The target group this agency works with are 14-24yrs, participants could be as young as 12. I have argued against the need or desirability for having parental consent. I need to extend this argument to convince a committee that young people involved will be protected from harm in being involved.
2. rewrite the plain language statement so that a panel of grown ups with the best interests of young people at heart can read it. It needs to be plainer. I agree, despite the proof reading supplied by a 15 yr old this was conceptually at least, at too high a level.
3. review section on anonymity for those who developed or support the software involved for counselling; as these people will have been identified by others as relevant to this study, I need to make it clear to these people that their anonymity may be unable to be protected.
4. say how long a piece of string is, where consenting grown ups are interviewed, specify (again) the number of minutes involved.

I'm beginning to wonder about the conundrums created in expecting a PhD to add to new knowledge, while the constraints restraining how this be done are so binding.
Meantime my computer is going slower, the spinning beachball is more common, the mouse freezes, crashes, a battery holding less and less charge...
The 3 year lease expired today, how long does it take a bureaucracy to get a new one up and running
Despite Latour not believing in conspiracy theories or social forces, this little ant's endeavour is in danger of being quashed by forces human, (in)humane and/or non human.