Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolution?

I normally don't make new years' resolutions so I don't feel guilty if I don't keep them. But after this week's events, maybe I should make this one: Not to keep dirty little secrets from family.

A couple of days ago, I was boasting to my dad about the six pack I was forming on my tummy (if I'd made a new year's resolution last year if would have been to work out daily, a resolution that I've faithfully kept!) when he noticed a piercing hole I had in my belly button. I lifted my shirt without thinking because the hole didn't have a ring in it, and with his poor eye sight, I didn't think he'd notice. But he did--oops! He exclaimed, "You've had your belly button pierced! I'm telling Willetta [my mother]!" Little did he know, I'd gotten the piercing over seven years ago, and my mom already knew, but warned me not to tell Pops. I vowed that I'd tell him when I moved away from home or when I'd gotten married, but that happened over five and a half years ago. Needless to say, he was the last one among friends and family to know about it. But hey, kids do stupid stuff when they're 18 or 19. That was my rebellious moment. I still think I turned out okay.

Well, now he knows. Hopefully I'll do better with dirty little secrets in 2009

Friday, December 26, 2008

OSF: Partyin'

One of my favorite party anthems was Zhane's "Hey Mister DJ". I was in 6th grade when this one came out, but remember folks flashin' back and kickin' it to it when I was in college.

Friday, December 19, 2008

OSF Christmas Songs

"This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway. I really hate when people try to cover this song. People need to stop trying to sing this song! :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 Things I Enjoy about School Holiday Breaks

10) Not having to go in to campus

9) Working whenever I feel like it without feeling guilty

8) Having the time to actually watch TV

7) Going to bed early since I'm working less

6) Waking up when I get ready to

5) Web surfing without guilt

4) Holiday baking for a spouse and family who appreciate the cooking

3) Having dad flip the bill for extra groceries I sneak into his cart.

2) Having my mom cook my favorites for me (as opposed to me cooking the meals myself)


1) Being home with mom, dad, and the rest of my family.

Friday, December 12, 2008

OSF: Bands

Remember Jodeci? Whatever happened to them?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Enough said. Too exhausted to reflect on the grueling dissertation prospectus process now...

Paying for American Accents

I stumbled upon this article from the Washington Post while reading my morning news. Basically, it talks about how Dell will guarantee that the person who answers your customer service call will speak "American" if you're willing to pay $12.95/month or $99/year. It also guarantees that your call wait will be roughly two minutes less if you pay (so much for ending white privilege).

I do understand the difficulties associated with hearing "foreign" accents on customer service lines and have experienced my fair share of misunderstandings; however, I still think this idea is kinda absurd. It may take longer, but if you listen closely enough, I think you will be able to understand the speaker without diverting to any forms of linguistic prejudice if you really want to. It might be inconvenient and frustrating, but many issues of comprehension can be resolved if you really really need are determined and need the help.

I also think that such an issue can potentially pave the way for additional types of linguistic prejudices associated with "American" speakers in the United States. Some customers may eventually complain that they can't understand Ebonics speakers, Appalachian English speakers, those with New York accents, Italian accents, etc. even when the speaker can be understood. This whole Dell biz makes me wonder if there's really an issue with comprehension, or is it the prejudices that are associated with particular accents and speakers that is the real problem.

Not to mention the fact that no one's talking about the fact that American speakers of many different dialects often can't understand each other when traveling from one region to another. So this makes me ask: What type of "American" speaker does the customer get to talk to? One with a Midwestern Accent? Southern? Northeastern? California Valley? Is this "American" speaker White? Black? Native American? Latino? Asian American? Given the linguistic and racial prejudices associated with most ethnic minority groups, it would seem to me the "American" customer service rep would be code for a White speaker with a bland accent. Isn't that racial discrimination?

Like I said, while language barriers do often raise questions of comprehension, I am still left to wonder to what extent the problem is comprehension or just linguistic/racial prejudice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Dance Exercise DVD Addiction

I don't know why, but I'm addicted to cardio dance dvds even though I cannot dance at all! I have perchased probably a good $100 (at roughly $10/dvd) on cardio dance workouts. I've tried Denise Austin's, The firm: Cardio Dance, 10 Minute Solutions Latin Dance, 10 Min. Solutions Dance off Fat Fast, Dancing With the Stars, Dancing With the Stars Latin, etc., etc., and even have more pre-ordered on the way. No matter how hard I try, though, I am still awful, even though I have a dancer's build (all that build gone to waste). When I tell friends and colleagues how awful I am, they can't believe it! And I know what they're probably thinking: How you gon' be black and not have no rhythm? Well I don't.

And if you're still not convinced, I have the testimonies of my mom, sis, dad, and the beloved spouse to attest to my two left feet (although the spouse said I didn't look bad doing the Latin salsa and cautioned me to stay AWAY from hip hop.) Despite try after try showing my family the new steps I learned, all I get is hysterical laughter. They also recommend that I do not dance in public (I wish the parents of the kids who try out for American Idol when they suck would heed the advice like that given by my family to spare humiliation, but I digress.)

Needless to say, isn't it bizzare to have a hobby, do it every day, and be awful at it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Substantiating the Unsubstantiated

I got a round of final stage (I think--that's what he/she said) recommedations back on a manuscript from an editor before the revised version is resubmitted for another external review. (He/she is an EXTREMELY helpful editor, BTW.) The final revisions concerned substantiating a couple unsubstantiated claims in the intro paragraphs of the manuscript. As I began looking for sources to offer as textual evidence, I found myself reverting back to a couple of practices that us writing teachers often tell our students NOT to do:

  1. Sprinkle "salt and pepper" quotes throughout the draft to sound more academic: Yeah, I found myself trying to find that one quote to insert with the claim and be done with it!
  2. Only find quotes that seem to justify your stance without looking at the overall context of the argument/text. Claims needed to be supported and I needed to find the evidence. Why not use it?
In case your asking, of course I went back through the works to look at the context before finalizing the revisions. I also made some stylistic changes so that the manuscript did not read like a "cover your a** with a citation" document. Nonetheless, I still think that citations practices in relationship to academic "discoursey" language are critical conversations to have not only with undergraduate students, but also graduate students, and need I say, faculty members too? When does a claim become a new concept for the field and not something that has to be substantiated? Seriously. The answer is not as simple as saying, "when no one has written about X." How do you know when no one is written about X? And if you do work with African American women's intellectual traditions in the academy (not outside the academy) you'll probably find yourself substantiating EVERYTHING!

Friday, December 5, 2008

OSF: Actors Turned Singers, Singers turned Actors

I have to give it up for Ms. Jackson because she's the prime example of an actress who turned singing, singer turned actress, and yet has lasted! Here are some memorable scenes of her as Penny on Good Times, her performing in the "Rhythm Nation" music video, and her with Tupac in Poetic Justice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

End of the Semester/Class Reflection

Today marks the last day of class for my WRA 125 course. I must say that I'm EXTREMELY pleased with the smart work my Fall 2008 students have done. If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to check out their blogs before Spring 2009 students' blogs replace theirs.

As many of you know, I am doing an Afracentric teacher-research study on this group of students, so I'll make a few comments about their work and the data I need to begin analyzing. Although this blog initially was started to record my teacher-research notes, observations, reflections, etc., it kinda veered off into multiple directions, with limited attention being paid to specific observations from the class. Here's why:

It's not that I haven't been working at all on the dissertation. I have actually written quite a bit and gotten 3 chapters drafted, none of which are empirical. That means I haven't had sufficient time to spend with my data (which I have been collecting, just not analyzing or writing about as much). This is also complicated by the fact that I had to add an additional chapter explaining what an Afrafeminist teacher-research methodology is. That chapter has proven somewhat challenging. Although I have this chapter drafted and outline, I still have a bit more work to do with it before January.

All in all, I still think I'm on schedule. I can devote the entire next semester to data collection, interviews, analysis and writing for two empirical chapters. Although I wish I'd had the time to work with the data this semester, I did produce the theoretical chapters and will hopefully have them out of the way by next semester. Spending more time with data really isn't a bad thing, and I think we should encourage this more since some dissertations are often rushed. As Bruno Latour would say, we need to slow our research down. (LOL! see Grabill, I can make a Latourian connection!).

Hopefully next semester I won't have as many articles to revise and resubmit. I've revised and resubmitted the 3 I'm currently working on several times, and I hope to be done with them for the most part by next semester. I'll still have the Race(ism) and Assessment chapter to draft and revise, but at least I'll be collaborating on that one and won't have all the burden.

I still accomplished a great deal. Now, I need to take time and sit with the data!

btw, the official dissertation prospectus defense is next week, so I'll need to prepare for that!