Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Arkham Asylum was an interesting look into what marks insane. I appreciated the acceptance of insanity as part of a person – a characteristic to learn to live with rather than erasing. Two Face lost a part of his connection with the world in a treatment that didn’t fully understand the root cause of his compulsion.
I love that Batman must face Bruce’s fears in order to maintain his sanity and save the day. 

Dave McKean’s art is phenomenal and adds an essential layer to the story. I picked the story up for the art, and it tells the story more than the words do in some parts.
It’s a story that relies on symbols to discuss the symbology of sanity, and it does that extraordinarily well! 

Here is a review by Chandra:

Modern fairytales

Maybe it was a clip of the current US Attorney General in all of his Puck-ishness. Or perhaps it was my full avoidance of a terrifyingly massive project that I needed to have finished months ago. Whatever the catalyst, I had a stray thought about what constitutes a Modern Fairytale. 

If we think of fairytales as a type of story we tell ourselves to make sense of a ridiculous and nonsensical world, what are those stories today?

I know the big trend is to re-tell the old stories we know with “updates” to more closely connect to our current lived realities. And these are a way to try to make sense of the world. But the best known tales reflect a smaller portion of the mass society, and they’re still rooted in a lived reality we are generations distant from with all the erasure that makes up the predominate values.

And I think, like the countries and communities and cultures that we palimnsest to create the current US culture, we’re still collectively creating our fairytales.

I am…

Landing in Los Angeles

I am a walking citation
of words and ideas that were not mine to begin with
picked up along the way like shells along the ocean
my mutiplex of words are best understood as a portmanteau
of all I’ve read
or watched
or heard
or lived.

I live on the internet – not quite enmeshed, not quite detached
a conglomeration of bickering ideas
shouted through a cacophonous  imaginary garden
– it’s the planet that anchors me to this world.

My eyes change color.
Some days they see the past
Other days they see the future.
When they’re blue they see the composite of connections of my life.

I was given a name that fits
in its confounding of expectations
and connects me to places I’ve never been
but would like to visit.

My first question was never spoken
though I speak it still
“Is this right?”

I wrestle with the discomfort
of never quite fitting
of being a quarter-beat off
of refusing others’ boxes.

I am becoming comfortable as just myself.

Art interpretation for data collection

May Day

The above poster is from a calendar the professor of my Arts Based Research brought in. It is a 12inx12in poster, any my scanner is around 8 1/2inx11in, so the image is a little wonky. But the important elements are there.

As I mentioned in class, I picked this poster, because I love the imagery that references traditional Western European fertility celebrations surrounding the first of May, while simultaneously referencing the Haymarket Massacre, and the Occupy Movement.

What I didn’t mention in class, because I felt like it would require too much additional outside knowledge, what that I also picked it because it reminded me of Molly Crabapple‘s art.

We discussed how the explanations of the art could be used as a means of data collection, as each of us interpreted the various pictures we held.

As I think about the final project for this class, I find myself with too many questions and too many artistic aspects that I want to investigate and play with. But I keep thinking of the #29DaysofBlackCosplay on Twitter, and Laurenn McCubbin‘s work she discussed during the 2015 DragonCon.

What is art when it comes to academia?

from _Art Ops_ (2015) #1.

Today’s last first day of class was Arts Based Research. It’s a methodology that uses art to collect data, or analyze data, or present data. From what I’ve read so far, it seems like a very useful way for me to better understand how to work with video games in an academic setting that better fits them.

I already have some ideas I want to run past my professor to see if they would work for some of the projects we have in class. I’m still thinking through the actual logistics and the question I would use with them, but I have thoughts. Perhaps I’ll ask the various online communities to share a knitting pattern that relates to lesson learned from video games. Or their tattoo designs inspired by video games and their reasoning for creating permanent pieces of them. I have lots of ideas….

But tonight I also noticed a thing, and it’s been bothering me since class. There seemed to be a general feel that essays and written texts that enters classrooms are not art. And not just that they are not art, but the class seemed to conclude that they cannot be art because they are texts produced for other purposes.

Now, I’ll grant that most of the essays produced for formal classroom settings are not aesthetically pleasing and generally produced under duress.  But to categorically dismiss many textual documents because they are not in the category of art that fits the default assumption seems limiting to me in ways that I feel like rebellious art shouldn’t be. Continue reading What is art when it comes to academia?

New semester. Last required coursework.

So today was my last first day of class.


To be nitpicky, I still have a couple of classes directly connected to my dissertation. But today is the last first day of class for required coursework.

And I didn’t realize it until my mom sent me a text congratulating me. I guess I’m so used to having classes, that I can’t picture a life without having a first day of school where I show up and will be evaluated 16 weeks later with regard to my success in mastering the content.

This turn of events means that I will need to figure out, finally, what to do with the rest of my life. Or at least the next 5 years. (I’ve heard Millennials only stick around for the briefest of times, and I’m told I fall into the category because ’83 )

I joke that this means I will have to become a real person. I think I’d rather continue making ends meet and acting like an adult. I don’t think I can commit to something so permanent this early. Perhaps if later finally arrives.

Final Curriculum Theory Course Reflections

This class has presented a broad overview of the various theories, perspectives, and approaches to the development of curriculum. The text has covered the various historical shifts that have occurred in the United States in regard to the attitude toward public schooling along with the purpose of educating the populace. Continue reading Final Curriculum Theory Course Reflections

Common Core

Common Core. These two words together have created a very divisive conversation regarding education in the United States. From the news reports, to the Facebook posts of the type of assignments, to the reaction to the new testing formats in schools, the Common Core has many who see only the negative elements of these standards. There is, however, space within the new standards for teacher freedom that has not been available at all since No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, especially with the new education act removing the high stakes testing as the sole measure of improvement and funding.

Continue reading Common Core

Types of curriculum

The first 4 chapters of Contemporary Curriculum ( McNeil, 2015) identify the 4 most common types of curriculum: Humanistic, Social Reconstructionist, Systemic, and Academic. Humanistic Curriculum focuses on the playfulness of learning and puzzling out the problem at hand to develop innovation and flexibility of thought in an uncertain future (pg. 1). Social Reconstructionist Curriculum presents the social conflicts to students as topics, despite disagreement on whether they are fit for a classroom setting (pg. 21). Systemic Curriculum has rigid set of goals and standards and pathways to achieve the goals measured through standardized tests (pg. 41).  Academic Curriculum follows more closely the Liberal Arts College curriculum, where students study a variety of disciplines and learn how they interact and affect each other (pg. 61).

Our class conversation regarding these various curricula was wide ranging and passionate. Some of the class felt that the Systemic Curriculum functions only to damage students’ learning and add power to multinational  corporations. And some felt that the only true and important curriculum is Humanistic, because of the value it places on the whole person. We never resolved the discussion, we merely ended due to time.

Each of these curricula seem to be most effective for specific desired ends. While the class never came to a consensus, I think that each of the curricula works well for different settings and that none are inherently evil. I also think that using a blend of the best elements of each might serve as a way to ensure a quality curriculum for all students. Having some goals in mind for what students learn can help teachers develop lessons. And if 1 of the goals is to see how the interconnectedness of what is learned in the classroom plays out in social situations, this blends together several of the best parts of the Humanistic Curriculum and the the Social Reconstructionist Curriculum.

These fragments I have shored

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