Where to do my “academic blogging for me” ?

This semester, I have discovered I was reminded of how important “blogging for me” is to my own ability to engage in the work I do in school.

We kept a blog in 709, and the entire curriculum was largely cumulative in the sense that our final projects rely heavily on the engagement we did with the texts earlier in the class. The blog was the place where we informally engaged, wrote about what we thought, answered questions and prompts our teacher provided in an attempt to guide our engagement more, etc.

While working on my final project, I went back and re-read all my blog entries as a way to review the scholarship we covered. And two things kind of dawned on me… First, the obvious: this was why our teacher asked us to do these blogs (so we could mine them for ideas and stuff for our final project) and Second, the personal bit: this is exactly the sort of activity that I think I should engage in for ALL of my classes in grad school, and I should do it in a way that’s organized by class. (There was also a third tangential “ah ha!” moment where I realized that I would LOVE to do this kind of activity in classes I will teach, and how I kind of wanted to get my teacher’s autograph because of the rock-star way he executed this particular activity in our class.)

It made me realize that I would very much like to keep a blog or some other fuzzy public/private website where I can record the stuff I’m thinking about when I’m learning new stuff, or doing projects, or just studying, etc…I’d like to make this part of my own studying process, and not just because it is part of a class assignment. I got a LOT out of the blog I did for class, and it would be stupid of me to ignore that and never do this sort of thing again.

Worth noting that what I’m imagining is not the same as what I already do when I blog about my school work on pennyhero.net. I have no intention of quitting or moving my “I’m allowing myself to be distracted from my readings and blog about how I’m geeking the fuck out about audience or tech writing or something” sort of stuff here. That will continue. I usually write that stuff because I think it’s worth sharing and not just because it’s helpful to me.

The academic sandbox blog I’m imagining will be a place where I can blog about the boring shit that’s not about sharing anything with anyone else. Like, chapter summaries. And basic annotations, etc. Or just a “to-do list” that I cross off and then write a few sentences about why I didn’t quite do everything I wanted to do… I also need the blog to be a safe place to confess that I slacked off and played WoW all day… A safe place to screw up and reflect on how to not screw up next time, etc.

But, it still needs to be online and in that fuzzy public/private space because of what articulating things “out loud” to a mostly imaginary audience does to help me figure stuff out. I don’t get the same benefit from writing in a private journal. Just doesn’t happen.

So… where do I put this content? Where do I keep this blog? Do I attach my actual name to it? Do I keep it totally (pseudo) anonymous?

I am not sure. I am pretty sure pennyhero.net is the wrong place to put this content… because it’s probably going to be boring, and it’s not FOR you, my dear readers (yeah, all three of you!). It’s also going to lack any kind of context, and won’t tell interesting stories. It will mostly just be for me. Like notes in a notebook. But at the same time, the little kid inside me who loved seeing her work on mom’s fridge (which showed she looked at it and cared) also is perfectly OKAY with people reading about what I’m learning… so I guess I should/could/will LINK to my purely academic-blogging-sandbox place from pennyhero.net. No reason not to link to it right?

Okay, well… do I enable comments? My gut says no… disable comments on the academic sandbox blog, but that doesn’t preclude me from sometimes doing a reflective weekly round-up of what I did over here on pennyhero.net, especially if I have some interesting story to tell. That could be fun.

Okay. So, I guess I’m pretty well decided. Mostly. Kinda. Now the question really is, WHERE do I create these blogs? I could try to figure out how to make separate blogs here in another section of pennyhero.net. That way I can do this all in one place. Or, I could put it all in Blogger, which is where my Eng 709 blog (the one I did for that class, which got me thinking about this in the first place) lives now. I will have to put some thought into this. I’ve got until late January to decide though…

Come mid-January, someone ping me and ask me if I’ve done this yet, because this is important to me, and I don’t want to neglect/forget/fail to set this up before next semester.

Posted in academia, gradschool, writing | Leave a comment

About reflective writing under pressure, and why I might hate being in my own class

I’m going to take a small risk here and engage in some of what I think I’ll call ‘reflective ranting’.

I won’t say that “today was a shitty day at school”, because that’s not true. But it did contain some shitty things, or at least, one shitty experience that is making me re-think some stuff about my teaching philosophies.

Apparently, to my utter shock and surprise, I am absolute crap at writing reflectively and concisely under pressure. Absolute utter crap. I am so crappy at it that I had an almost physical reaction in class today when asked to do so. I couldn’t hold in my outbursts of anxiety, nearly started to CRY, and for two of the four mini-writing assignments, I couldn’t produce anything useful.

This was a shock to me because in most other writing tasks, I am comfortable as fuck. Give me an analytical prompt, an explicit assignment, something for me to think about and then perform how well I can write critically about it, and I can bang something out in a few minutes and feel pretty okay about it. No problem. Words flow like water.

Or, ask me to write reflectively, give me the space and time and privacy to flex my muscles, puke out bad text and re-think, revise, play with, and change my mind about what I think. I can manipulate words and ideas and dig through how I feel about things and distill it down to implications I think are important in a few minutes and feel pretty okay about it. No problem. Words flow like water.

But… apparently, and I’m shocked that I didn’t know this about myself… apparently when faced with being asked a reflective question and asked to “try to define it in a single sentence” or make a statement in a few words about that reflective thing in a few minutes, I’m absolutely paralyzed. It’s fucking impossible. It is problem. Words do NOT flow like water. Words clog the toilet and prompt a call to the plumber.

It was a shitty experience today. And I recognize that this activity was meant to be one of those “low pressure” and “low risk” assignments, but for me, it was the highest of risks. Highest of pressures. Highest anxiety assignments.

So, I need to think about why. Because when confronted with something that surprises you on that kind of deep shocking level that almost has you in tears in front of the rest of the class… well, that’s what you go home and do. You get on your blog and ask why. So here comes the “reflective” part of my reflective rant I guess. My attempt to figure out what’s going on in my head that made that sort of activity easy for most, and impossible for me.

I think a big part of it is that for me personally, reflective writing is… well, the most important thing in the world. And when I say this, I don’t mean to say that it’s the most important thing for everyone. Ohhh no. I fully recognize that the way I use writing, and what writing means to me, is probably wholly different from how many other people see it and use it.

I do a LOT of reflective writing. I keep a notebook in my purse at all times. I have my Google Keep app on my phone’s homescreen. I keep another notebook by my bed. And I’ve been this way since elementary school when I began my first diary. I write in order to figure shit out, unpack what’s in my head, untangle things. I write to examine my day and consider what stuff means. I write things that are literally not true just to try it out and see if it resonates. I “write to learn”, I write to purge, I write to exorcise and experience catharthis. It’s what I’m doing right now in this blog entry.

When I write something down, it becomes real and tangible in a way that just thinking and planning can’t accomplish. It becomes something to react to, get into dialog with, and come away from with a better understanding of what it means.

So, I think the problem I had with that activity was that I was expected to produce a “truth” about myself without the room and space and time to actually reflect and discover through writing what that truth was. I needed space to breathe. To try out ideas, to write entire paragraphs and organize my thinking, and see it on a page, and see if it resonated before I could distill it down to that one sentence “low risk” answer to “what is your philosophy on reading”. What’s really surprising is that I couldn’t do this kind of writing even though we’d blogged and brainstormed about the topic as part of our homework. If we’d been asked to “summarize your last brainstorm blog entry in a sentence or two,” I would have had no problem. But… that’s not what we were asked to do. So I was paralyzed.

So, that’s why today was a shitty day had a shitty thing in it.

I did learn something pretty important from this experience though. This week, we spent some time writing out very rough brainstorm/drafts of a class unit (including pedagogical philosophies, etc), and after thinking about this shitty shitty experience I had in class today, I realized that it’s quite possible that I personally would absolutely hate the kind of class that I am beginning to design.

I won’t bore you with the specific details, but there are significant conflicts between my fledgling philosophy of teaching and my own personal experience with learning, reading and writing.

I don’t know exactly how that happened, or why that happened. I have always been extremely sensitive to the fact that not all people learn or see reading/writing in the same way, so I suspect that I began to develop my own theories sort of as a contrast of my own experiences. This wasn’t conscious though. I look at my drafts of my theories and see them as sound, balanced, and they ring as something I truly believe in. But after today, when I realized that what happened to me today is something that would happen to me as a student in my own classes… it was kind of a shock.

But a good kind of shock. Because now a little bit more of the tangled mess in my head is unpacked, and I can use this to inform the next couple of drafts of my theories as I continue to plan my class.

Anyway, if you got this far in my post, thank you for reading.

Posted in academia, teaching, thoughts, writing | 3 Comments

Theme shuffle…

Someday, I promise that I will settle on a theme that I like.

I loved the “plaintxtblog” one I used for years, but it seems that it isn’t well maintained and when I tried customizing it recently, I ran into problems.

So, I’ve been experimenting with other, more recently created themes, but I’m having trouble finding one that’s minimalist enough, and has the customization options that I want.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… sorry for the mess? This site is under construction? (Insert animated gif and blink tags here).

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Finances are hard… let’s go shopping!

So… a few days ago, I was struggling over my finances… I couldn’t make what I thought was going on add up right, and it was really stressing me out. I made my housemates laugh hysterically with a well-timed “Finances are hard… let’s go shopping!” which made me feel witty and funny, but didn’t solve my problems.

Well… mystery solved now…. I just learned that I’ve been overpaying my credit card since June. Oh boy do I feel stupid. I kept seeing a big balance, panicking, and transferring funds to cover it because I hate carrying a credit card balance, and then incorrectly presuming that it would post in a day or so and it would become zero. The fact that my balance kept growing really confused me. I kept looking at my statements, pouring over each transaction looking for fraud. Nothing fishy there. I contacted support a few days ago thinking that I’d accidentally transferred money in the wrong direction (from my CC to my Savings). She said “no, you did it correctly. You sent money from savings to your CC.” However, she failed to notice that my CC balance was overpaid like CRAZY, so it didn’t solve my problem.

Finally today, it dawned on me that the negative balance on my CC really was a NEGATIVE balance… Jaw dropped at the possibility that I’d been so stupid. I went back in time on my statements to the last point at which I had a positive balance, and had to flip 4 or so pages before I finally got there. June. Holy crap, June. I’ve been overpaying since June. Essentially doubling the negative balance almost every month. SINCE JUNE.

I contacted support again today and they did a refund. The result being that I have approximately 15% more money than I thought I had. That’s nice. Of all the financial mistakes I could be making, I suppose this is NOT the worst.

Sort of puts “Finances are hard, let’s go shopping!” in a new light, I have to admit. Maybe I should take the boyfriend out on a date. :) :)

Posted in money | 2 Comments

Audience, technical writing, ownership, etc (part 2?)

More reading about audience this morning. More thoughts about technical writing compared to other written discourse.

So, here’s what I’m realizing now: Technical docs are fixed in time, which naturally limits the audience and might explain more about why the audience is so easy to picture compared with other types of writing (I thought about this a bunch yesterday). The content is only relevant for as long as the product/topic/technology is around, and only as long as there are users for it.

In other discourse, the content has potentially unknowable purposes or audiences, and an infinite amount of time with which to find them and reach them (or for the audiences to find and care about that text). We are still reading Shakespeare, and Plato, and thinking about their work in new ways that would have been unfathomable to their authors. No one is going to be reading the Freebase API docs and critically thinking about their significance 50 years from now.

And now I’m suddenly thinking about “ownership” and “author”. Just now, when I wrote “no one is going to be reading the Freebase API docs”, I went back and forth on whether or not to say “my” Freebase API docs. I wanted to express the fact that I wrote them (well, the first version of them anyway. They look pretty different now. But more about that later), but it felt incorrect to call them “mine”. The docs belong to the API, and the team of developers who run that project. They also belong to the API’s users, who often contribute information by being active members of the developer community (interesting that the audience can be part owner there. oooh, brain tickles!).

I even feel a little uncomfortable about “outing” myself as the “original author” here. Somehow that feels almost unethical. Like I’m claiming credit for something that isn’t mine at all.

So, it seems to me that technical docs greatly de-emphasize the author, except in places like narrative how-tos, and tutorial blogs or whatnot. “Here’s how I did something, and how you can too” kinds of things. But in vanilla technical manuals and documentation, the author is now and forever invisible. The writer doesn’t “own” the content. In fact, “ownership” of a docset has a totally different meaning in technical writing compared with what it’s thought of in academia. The ownership of a docset can be passed to another writer, or to the team that also owns the project. The Freebase API docs have now experienced many revisions since I left the project and handed ownership of the docs to the team. Ownership in technical writing seems to only mean the owner has a responsibility to maintain the content, and speaks nothing to the voice or rhetorical context of the piece of writing.

Anyway, this may seem totally silly and “so what?” to you, but to me, this is interesting shit. I guess that’s why I’m getting an MA and you’re not! pfft. :) :)

Posted in academia, gradschool, writing | 2 Comments

Audience, composition classes, and technical writing

We’re reading about “Audience” in my intro to composition class this week, and the fact that it is often discussed as an important and often nebulous and difficult concept to grapple with and/or teach really got me thinking of my “past life” as a Google tech writer.

For tech writers, audience was never an abstract or theoretical concept. Not only did you have real people you were writing for, you also had substantive control over what audience you were targeting. It was within your power and discretion as the writer to include or exclude a specific audience by including or excluding certain kinds of information, or by publishing in certain contexts and areas. If your docs were written for the end-user, you would obfuscate technical details they didn’t need to know in order to accomplish their tasks, and you’d probably publish your docs on the help site or a general consumer blog. If your docs were for developers, you would include reference material that went into far more detail than the explanations and examples your docs went into, and you may publish your docs on a developer website, a technical blog, or distribute it on various relevant technical forums and web communities.

It was also your decision which secondary audiences you wanted to make sure could get a handle or at least feel somewhat oriented within your docs. The tone, style and content of those context-setting first few sentences or paragraphs established that right away. “This document covers the implementation of x in the yz api”. Or, “Before you begin, this doc assumes you know xyz.” Or even a more general and friendly “Have you ever wondered how to do Foo with Bar?”

Audience was paramount, and easy.

But why is that? Why is it so much easier to conceive of an audience as a technical writer? I am skeptical that it is simply because this writing is “real world” and the readers were real people. I’ve taken technical writing classes where the audience was equally imaginary as it is in my literature classes, but the concrete-ness of the audience in technical writing was still there. Additionally, I’ve written blog entries for which there was a very real audience, but it was not nearly as clear or obvious as it is in even the most introductory of technical writing classes as an undergraduate.

Is it because the audiences for technical writers are so limited and well defined? I think essentially they can be divided into a few categories: Technical end users. Non-technical end users. Technical developers. Beta testers. Interested technology enthusiasts or other “non users”.

Essentially they are all “users” of some kind or another, whether they are end-users of the product, or users of the technology or API under discussion, or users of the information trying to decide whether or not take an action about the thing being documented.

It’s all about what the reader will do with the information. Perhaps that’s what’s missing from academic discussions of audience. Maybe audience needs to be defined more by what the readers will do with your text. But if we do that, what exactly would this reveal? How might this help students? Will it change anything about their sense of audience? I don’t know.

I’m also not even sure if this sort of discussion isn’t already part of the scholarship. I guess I should go back to reading instead of letting myself get distracted by the desire to blog. :)

Posted in academia, gradschool, writing | 2 Comments

PAX, Mike/Gabe controversy, and of course… Dickwolves.

This past week has been insane. On Thursday evening last week, the minute I stepped out of my last class of the week, we got into the car and drove 14 hours to Seattle for PAX Prime. (Yes, it is appropriate to get “NO! SLEEP! TIL BROOKLIN!” stuck in your head here…. only you may want to mentally s/BROOKLIN!/SEATTLE!.)

We arrived Friday morning, exhausted, and somehow managed to go to several panels in a woozy haze before finally being able to check into our hotel at 3ish. We skipped a few interesting panels Friday evening in favor of sleep.

PAX and Mike/Gabe’s infamous asshatery and what I think about it…

People who know me and my politics and where I “hang out” on the internet may be confused about why I love PAX and Penny-Arcade when one of its founders is pretty infamous for being the source of all kinds of fires/controversy/shitstorms and who frequently seems to come out (haha) on the wrong side of many social-issue related conversations in the gaming industry.

Lots of stuff gets written about him and his habit of saying and doing RIDICULOUSLY STUPID and transphobic or “dudebro” sorts of things. (Most recently, in Australia a few weeks ago, and just last week at PAX Prime. And the Dickwolves thing is only one of many, really.)

People also cite the descriptions of a certain panel as an example of Penny-arcade being a community of unenlightened assholes too (to which I say “did you not notice that they CHANGED the description? I think that means they’re listening and trying to push the conversation forward!”). If there is a nice summary of reasons feminists and lgtb folks hate penny-arcade, I’d totally link to it here, and the list would totally be valid and relevant too.

HOWEVER… here’s what I think. And let me preface this by reminding everyone that my gaming politics are VERY MUCH along the lines of the people who are pissed off at Mike and at Penny-Arcade in general. There is no question that I am just as much a feminist and lgtb-supporter sort of geek as anyone.

But I think what people forget when they get so upset with Penny-Arcade is that Mike and his asshatery does not represent the entirety of PAX, or the communities of people who surround Penny-Arcade. Mike also does not speak FOR us like some kind of sick, twisted, loud-mouth Lorax, either.

In fact, compared to other gaming conventions, I think PAX leads the charge when it comes to pushing the conversations forward in terms of gender, lgtb, inclusiveness, etc. PAX has a strict “no booth-babes” policy, and PAX Prime this year had so many panels about gender, parenting, lgtb, and even suicide/depression that there was something important to go to at nearly any given time. We could not have hoped to go to them all!

The topics came up in panels that were NOT social-issue focused as well, and ALWAYS received loud applause and authentic conversations. At the Escapist Movie Night panel, there was an awesome video (that I hope gets published publicly soon because I need to share the SHIT out of it) whose main point was basically that especially now that “geek culture” is no longer a fringe culture (we’ve won! we’re now mainstream! yay!) all the racist, sexist, *-phobic, etc behaviors that marginalize minority groups NEEDS TO STOP. It was a powerfully direct call to action and a strong reminder of the irony baked into what’s going on.

Those are the conversations happening. And they are happening at PAX, on large stages, in packed auditoriums, with six panelists and two Q/A microphones (with lines of people asking questions snaking around the room), with multiple video screens, and swag left on your seats. These are not “token” panels added to the schedule to appease the feminists. These are Important Conversations getting the venue and focus they deserve, and PAX is a part of it.

Anyway, so back to Dickwolves. I mean Mike. I mean… how is it that I can reconcile a founder of PAX being an asshole with my love of PAX in general?

I can answer that by flipping the question around: Why don’t more people realize that just because ONE of the founders of PAX is an unenlightened amoeba, it doesn’t mean the entire convention is a toxic place? It’s more like PAX is a focal point for important forward-thinking conversations IN SPITE of one if its founders being an asshole.

In their final interview with Robert on Monday, (which was also the source of the latest Dickwolves furor) they talk about how they are terrible role models, and they make mistakes, and do things that make people angry. I took this as a powerful moment of self-awareness with regards to Mike’s inability to filter what he says, or think before he speaks. He KNOWS he’s an asshole and not someone he wants people to look up to all the time. It’s heartbreaking to me that the media and the blogosphere fixate on his Dickwolves comment instead of widening the lens and seeing them as flawed people who are learning to deal with the limelight the best they can.

I want to end this post with a link to (and quotes from) Mike’s latest (of many, granted) apology posts about the shitstorm he started in the interview.

Some Clarification

The post ends with this (emphasis mine):

If you saw the panel you know that someone in the audience shouted out and asked us to bring the merchandise back. Both Robert and I immediately said no way. We have worked very hard to make PAX a safe place. We have an incredible anti-harassment policy, a “booth babe” policy that you will not find anywhere else in the industry, and panels that cover all the social issues facing gaming today in a meaningful way. That’s the heart of PAX and that will never change.

I certainly can’t blame the people who still want to hate me. In that same panel with Robert he asked us how we feel about being role models. We don’t aspire to be role models, just normal people, but we try to do what’s best with the platform we have. I can’t promise I won’t piss you off again at some point. In fact I suggested to Robert a header at the top of the page saying “it has be x days since our last fuck up” but he shot me down. What I can promise is that we will continue to be honest with you. There’s no bullshit, no PR, this is just Jerry and I and we’re doing the best we can. Hopefully we will keep getting better.

I sort of see PAX like I see my children. Yes I helped make them and yes they have a lot of me in them but they can be better than me. They can take the good stuff I have and leave out all the bad. Like my kids, PAX makes me want to be better.

That last bit, “they can be better than me.” is what I’m really driving at. PAX is BETTER than the people on the teeshirts. And to boycott PAX because of something one of the “mascots” (for lack of better word) says is to cut yourself off from all the important conversations about the important social issues facing gaming right now.

And I think if you spend all your energy hating them and boycotting PAX, it puts you, and NOT Mike, on the wrong side of the conversation.

Posted in geek, gender, gltb, important, videogames | Leave a comment

Republished lots of old stuff

I may come to regret this, but I just republished a lot of my old old entries from the previous incarnations of my blog. All 467 or so of them. Even the ones from my pimply-faced Quake III addicted high school days.

Man, that was quite the trip down Nostalgia Avenue.

The usual warnings apply:

  • Read at your own risk.
  • Teenage angst and academic anxieties beyond this point
  • Here There Be Dragons (and many many Smashing Pumpkins references).
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Grad school begins!

I can write about my new grad school stuff, right? *taps mic* RIGHT? Yup. Just checking if this thing is on.

Yesterday was my first class. And, I was nervous. All kinds of insecurities and worries that I normally prefer to keep buried deep inside my head (where admittedly, they do kick and scream and run through my thoughts disturbing my sleep right below the surface) suddenly became more real and relevant. There I was, waiting outside a locked classroom, with about a dozen and a half other students, pretending to feel like I belonged there… that I wasn’t an impostor… pretending that I hadn’t already worked out an exit strategy “just in case” I couldn’t hack grad school… not only worked it out, but verified with my boyfriend that it would be okay with him, and he wouldn’t be disappointed with me, if I decided grad school wasn’t for me. Hah. right? An exit strategy before I’ve even started. But that’s just how my brain works. Those who know me recognize that I do this about everything. Every major life decision… I need to know where the exits are and how to reach them and what will happen if I choose to walk through them. Just in case.

But, as you are probably already guessing, the world did not end when class started, and I did not in fact go running toward the exit. Actually, as I hoped, I quickly, VERY quickly, forgot my insecurities, lost sight of those mental exit signs I’d taken note of, and found myself neck deep in the first of what I hope will be many many discussions about text, teaching, conversation, argument, rhetoric, research, and writing that had me recalling things I’d learned in undergrad, and had me realizing that I actually have quite a bit of experience to bring to my work in the next two years.

So, what am I reading now? And why does it have me all sweaty-palmed and excited?

We’re reading about researching. Not just how to research (although these articles are good refreshers for that too), but about building a vocabulary for talking about and teaching people how to research. We’re discussing the difference between a “conversation” and an “argument” in an academic sense. Reviewing the metaphor of research as a conversation between peers, a discussion that began long before you entered the room and found a way to enter the discussion, and will continue long after you leave.

I first encountered this metaphor in undergrad, and I remember it being one of those ‘light bulb’ moments that made writing and research less intimidating, and more relevant to me. It also highlighted for me one of my own major obstacles in a lot of my work, and my life: self-confidence, and especially the lack of it. Before encountering this metaphor, research and academic writing felt like it was part of a domain that I didn’t belong to. I didn’t see myself as an academic… I saw myself as a lowly student. My own sense of self conflicted with the image of what a “real” researcher or “real” academic was.

It highlighted how closely identity, specifically my own identity, was tied to writing for me. I needed to feel like I could relate to my audience, or had something in common with them, or at the very least feel like I wouldn’t be laughed off the stage, before I felt like I could say/write much.

Confidence and identity, authenticity and audience… Writing, research, academics, this is all an extremely personal thing to me. So much so that I almost feel embarassed by it. I wonder if there are other researchers or other students whose heart rate goes up and who literally get sweaty palms when reading about say, James Kinneavy’s discourse triangulation for example.

Is it this personal for everyone? I suspect yes, although I haven’t seen a lot of writing that talks about it. And if so, what does that mean for teachers? How can I as a future educator (or scholar?!) help students build the self confidence and sense of identity that they need to fully engage with what they are learning?

I know my habit of knowing where the exits are won’t ever entirely go away. I also think that it is a useful barometer for my own self confidence level. It also tends to make me feel more willing to take some risks, and jump into a conversation that I might not otherwise feel comfortable joining, because even if I never actually run for an exit, I know that I am not trapped there. It’s like a safety net for me, and enables me to stick around and challenge myself more than I would if I felt like I had no other option.

I have a sneaky suspicion that this is going to be an important question for me to explore as I work towards my MA. :) Not just for myself, but for what it can teach me about how students, who are often even less confident with their academic work than I am, learn to “enter the conversation” and engage with what they’re learning. Just a hunch though.

Posted in gradschool | 3 Comments

Breaking back in to my own site

I lost access to pennyhero.net sometime between my last post and well… today. I first noticed I was locked out a few months ago, but breaking back in kept getting shoved to the back burner of my to-do list.

Not exactly sure what happened. Basically, my old password stopped working, and for some reason, the built-in password-reset option that sends you a reset email also failed to work. I also don’t have a phpMyAdmin panel, and I don’t remember jack about MySQL queries, so all the standard advice I was reading wasn’t going to work for me.

But, luckily, the FTP instructions on the Resetting Your Password article on wordpress.org worked. I’m so glad they included MANY many options because the jumble of circumstances I was in made lots of the early options impossible for me.

Anyway, the instructions were simple as all get-out once I figured out what theme I have active. (Thank you theme developer Scott Wallick for putting the name of the theme in the footer of all rendered pages so dumb users like me can find it.)

Anyway, glad to be back.

Posted in housekeeping | Leave a comment