New Media Scholar

My Workspace this Evening

My office. In the evening.From left to right…

  • Timbuk2 messenger bag.Custom color: orange/black/brown. I spent the extra $20 for the custom coloring for two reasons. I didn’t like the color combos Timbuk2 was offering. Also, it might make it a little more difficult to steal, but probably not.
  • Floppy hat. To shield my shiny dome from the sun and rain.
  • Small wood box for keys, watch, change, wallet, phone, etc. If I didn’t keep all this stuff in one place, there’s no way I’d remember everything.
  • Small, handmade soup bowl for various foods, depending on the day (actual bowl may vary). Tonight it’s the sauce for my shrimp scampi over rice. I can’t stress this enough. Eat with handmade tableware. It’s beautiful. This one’s made by Willem Gebben.
  • Audio monitors (aka bitchin’ speakers). Mackie MR5mk2′s.
  • iPad. I take it with me pretty much whenever I leave the room, except for the trips to the kitchen.
  • Macbook Pro with orange Speck cover.
  • Also, a 1TB LaCie portable hard drive.
  • Below the Macbook Pro, a sheet-feed scanner for pretty much all the soon-to-be-former paper in my life. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M.
  • Ball jar of diet coke (sometimes with cheap bourbon).
  • 27″ Apple Cinema display (and yes, I use every damn pixel of that thing).
  • Kinesis Freestyle keyboard. The detached, split design helps keep my wrists from getting too sore.
  • Small 6″ fan blowing on my face.
  • Rode Procaster mic on a Rode PSA-1 boom running to a MOTU 4Pre audio interface for the macbook.
  • In the left window sill, a small, toy iron made out of… yep… iron. (Thanks, Daniel Weinshenker).
  • And a small model train caboose with Burlington Northern markings.
  • And in the right window sill, a 20″ box fan. I’m trying to see how far I can go into the summer without turning on the air conditioning.
  • In the closet (that you can’t see), I have my printer, paper cutter, stapler, scissors, flatbed scanner, and a two-volume set of “The Oxford Companion to the Book” (thanks, Tony O’Keeffe!). Also in the closet, a leash and poo-bags for walking my dog, Rilke.
  • Oh, and the desk is hand-made by yours-truly. All the cords, modems, and extra hard drives are contained within the desktop itself.
  • The chair cost me five bucks. And there’s a foot-rest under the desk.
  • Opposite the desk is a futon-couch, small end table, and small lamp. That’s it.

It ends up looking pretty simple. But the guts of the setup are pretty complicated. I love it.

And maybe this is weird to say, but if I had to replace all this junk, I’d buy exactly the same items.

“Clues to a great story” Notes on Andrew Stanton’s TedTalk

(from “Andrew Stanton (born December 3, 1965) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and voice actor based at Pixar Animation Studios. His film work includes writing and directing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life (as co-director), Finding Nemo and WALL-E, and his first live-action film, John Carter. He also co-wrote every film of the Toy Story franchise and Monsters, Inc..”

So the guy knows how to tell stories. And here he is offering a structure or framework or set of principles to keep in mind as you craft a story. His advice and experience comes from a medium which affords him 120 minutes of story arc instead of the 2-4 minutes that I’m much more interested in, but that’s not to say some of the same storytelling techniques wouldn’t apply to a compressed format like digital stories. Watch the vid below. It’s pretty great. And I’ve offered my own listening notes below:

William Archer: “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.” [not knowing, but wanting to know]

List of Criteria:

  • No songs
  • No “I want” moment
  • No happy village
  • No love story
  • No villain

The audience should like your main character.

A story should start off with a promise (to be fulfilled).

Characters should have “spines” & itches they’re always trying to scratch.

A story should have a strong, unifying theme.

WONDER: the most major ingredient a story should have, but is rarely invoked.

Notice: Kairos 17.3 is out!

kairos17_3Just an FYI. This summer’s issue of Kairos (17.3: Multimodal Research Within/Across/Without Borders) recently dropped, featuring Karen J. Lunsford as the special issue’s editor. To give you a sense for what’s in the text, I wanted to offer a quote from Lunsford’s editor’s note, ”Logging On“:

Not only are writing researchers located in dispersed geographic regions, but also, historically, they have been divided by the languages they study and the academic departments or disciplines they inhabit. Now, however, Writing Studies as a discipline appears to be undergoing an “international turn” (Lunsford, 2012) as researchers exchange new methods, concepts, and approaches for analyzing writing practices. [...] To this theme, I added the idea of “multimodal” research to serve as the special issue’s common ground.

Although 17.3 isn’t at the heart of my own research and teaching interests, I find that each of the texts manages to offer something that informs my practices or raises an issue that I now realize I need to adopt as part of a more global, inclusive, and responsible professional perspective. Here’s a run-down of the contents:



Making Meaning at the Intersections.”
Michael Neal, Katherine Bridgman, and Stephen J. McElroy

Bridges & Barriers to Development: Communication Modes, Media, & Devices.”
Rebecca Walton


Multimodal Writing Instruction in a Global World.”
Angela Shetler, Susan Thomas, Frances Di Lauro, and Benjamin Miller

Writing a Translingual Script.”
Amy Lueck and Shyam Sharma

Crossing Battle Lines: Teaching Multimodal Literacies through Alternate Reality Games.”
Scott Nelson, Chris Ortiz y Prentice, M. Catherine Coleman, Eric Detweiler, Marjorie Foley, Kendall Gerdes, Cleve Wiese, R. Scott Garbacz, & Matt King