Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sea monster.

Nick Cave.

I am unable to write.

I am unable to draw.

I am unable to speak.

I am unable to sing.

I can barely breathe.

I cough compulsively.

"I still am."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mapping ground up.

Here I am again...imagining a play-space.  

The photo above is representative of open space in which I want to play. 

The photo above is representative of the call of open space in which I want to walk.

Past experiences have confirmed that I need to follow my intuition but at the same time to be realistic about the scope of the play.

Thinking about the remarks of Dave Snowden concerning heroic disasters brings me to Terry Elliott's media stream in Twitter. 

I stop an instant and pick and choose some pertinent landmarks.

I remember previous experiences of spinning off into the ether.

Icarus comes to mind.

I am comfortable with poetry. I am suspicious of "master-plans".

I keep telling myself, that curiosity has its dangers...

I shall attempt to remain grounded...this time.

In the meantime I have rediscovered my Popplet cloud space.

I map out a play space which I shall embed here.

It gives me possible directions - no certain outcomes.

I remember the importance of conversation and time.

We can get lost in the webs or our own making...

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”

― Walter ScottMarmion

I am wary of webs...of lies.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Return on investment.

I am unfortunate, my course has a low interest rate, students are quick to calculate returns on investment and place resources elsewhere.

Compared to other classes, learning a language requires considerable effort.  

If you haven't built up socio-cultural capital over the years or generations, you start with a deficit. 

Such deficits demand drastic efforts to compete, relocation even.

This little world.

Oh we have a joyous band of brothers in the English class.

'Tis a sanctuary against the rude elements.

"This happy breed of men, this little world, 
This precious stone set in the silver sea, 
Which serves it in the office of a wall 
Or as a moat defensive to a house, 
Against the envy of less happier lands,-- 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."

William Shakespeare Richard II

Mythomanes, and bad actors find it easy to wax lyrical thus.

It is easy to focus one's attention on that little course for which one is responsible.

It easy to lose sight of the big picture.

We would do well do change perspectives.

Should we not see ourselves from the point of view of an administrator?

Of a region
Of a country 
Of a public institution.
Of a multinational corporation within a globalised economy. 

Should we not see ourselves at threat from vicious competition?

Should we not stop overestimating our importance?

Should we not only think of our value in market terms?

"But we're human beings with inherent value," I hear you whine.

"We have an important social and educative role," I hear you pine.

"Grow up! We're not living in Care Bear Land," I retort.

"This is serious business matey!"

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves in a war zone.  
("You do? Oh Sorry...Jolly bad luck.")

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves in a zone for redevelopment.
("Don't be so sure.")

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves threatened by flooding due to rips in the ozone.
("Just make sure you don't forget the sun-cream")
("That's just quack science.")

Market forces.

Intelligent teachers generally choose the best, brightest, smallest of classes which offer comfort, charming company, the latest in tech, intellectual stimulation, academic accolades.

Stupid, masochistic, naive, idealistic, dumb teachers, (I place myself in all these categories), don't choose the easier classes.

Poor losers, such as these kind haven't understood the business, the education market.

You have to fight for your piece of the glory gateau.

Simple arithmetic.

Those who count don't teach.

Those who count don't listen.

Those who count don't care.

Haggling in the souk.

It was rather a surprise to see him.

He hadn't been anywhere near a class.

He had only taken the unembodied form of intermittent, curt emails.

He was, I suppose, a virtual student.

I suppose I should have counted myself lucky that he had appeared in the flesh.

With the benefit of hindsight I would have counted myself lucky that he had remained absent.

At no time was there a real exchange between people.

This would be purely transactional.

He was a market vendor, I was a market buyer.

He was clearly trying to take me for a mug.

I didn't buy his spiel. I didn't like the tone. I shook my head.

He mumbled some vile about the quality of the course.

He folded his wares, and walked off in a huff.

Overseas, and far away.

I overheard the news on the radio.

French students were coming up short in comparison with the Koreans on PISA.

UK students were protesting against  a  "disastrous direction" taken in higher education.

South African students were protesting against tuition fees.

Return on investment.

I am considering my own personal investments in light of recent market trends.

There are those who stand to lose, there are those who stand to gain.

Some will lose all.

There are those who are shouting wildly:  "Sell, sell, sell."

I am a hopelessly dumb, naive investor.

I tell myself frequently:

"You're a fucking idiot. Stop Caring."

"Sell out while you can."

Image credit.

1960's Riot Police 

Minoru Karamatsu

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Web We Weave.

The Spider and the Fly

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
 'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
  The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
   And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
 For who goes up your winding stair
     -can ne'er come down again.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Open: light & dark.

“The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions that appear to be both neutral and independent, to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence that has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them.”  

Michel Foucault

"We couldn't be doing today what we're doing right now without openness." Alec Couros

"By high school you should have a fully developed outside (digital) presence." Alec Couros
 "If I ever really wanted to leave Facebook, I couldn't 'cos the imposters would basically subsume, would take over that role, they would take over me." Alec Couros.  

"We let technology into our lives. And now it's starting to control us."

Two years later, in 2000, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig predicted that the internet would become an apparatus that tracks our every move, erasing important aspects of privacy and free speech in our social and political lives. “Left to itself,” he said, “cyberspace will become a perfect tool of control.” A sceptical reviewer scoffed: “Lessig doesn’t offer much proof that a Soviet-style loss of privacy and freedom is on its way.”

"How can I protect myself from government snoopers?"

"As an ordinary citizen with a life, you can’t hide from the security services, any more than you can defend your house against a tank regiment. If they want to hack your devices, they will."

Jack Schofield 

Information retrieval.

Jill Layton: Doesn't it bother you, the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval?

Sam Lowry: What? I suppose you'd rather have terrorists.

Jill Layton: How many terrorists have you met, Sam? Actual terrorists?

Sam Lowry: Actual terrorists?

Jill Layton: Yeah.

Sam Lowry:... Well... It's only my first day.

Terry Gilliam. Brazil. 

"Google, democracy and the truth about internet search"

I feel like I’ve fallen down a wormhole, entered some parallel universe where black is white, and good is bad. Though later, I think that perhaps what I’ve actually done is scraped the topsoil off the surface of 2016 and found one of the underground springs that has been quietly nurturing it. It’s been there all the time, of course. Just a few keystrokes away… on our laptops, our tablets, our phones. This isn’t a secret Nazi cell lurking in the shadows. It’s hiding in plain sight.

Carole Cadwalladr



"On a lighter note."

"We couldn't be doing today what we're doing right now without openness." Alec Couros

I had no words to add.