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January 31, 2013


My Daily Read: Brett Yost

April 12, 2012

Brett has been teaching as a part-time Instructor of Mathematics at COCC for six years.  Brett has a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Princeton University. 

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ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Brett: The online New York Times is probably the only consistent thing I look at each morning.  I follow at least 15 blogs religiously but they update irregularly or infrequently.  I do feel that the best journalism is being done on nontraditional outlets like blogs but the New York Times is still worth following.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Brett:  I subscribe to the online editions of the New York Times and Orion Magazine.  I regularly look at various climbing, bicycling and gardening/homesteading magazines  when I’m in the library or happen across them other places.  I also really like the magazine Adbusters which I contribute to because I believe strongly in commercial free media.  We used to get the weekly version of the Guardian in the mail, which is my favorite newspaper, however it is very expensive and always a week behind on current events.  We don’t get any print media delivered to our home anymore. – whoops except I forgot Games Magazine, which is not available online.

ConXn: What books have you recently read?

Brett:  Most recently I finished this years Novel Idea pick Rules of Civility as well as Home Game by Michael Lewis about his experiences as a new parent.  Currently I’m reading Searching for Whitopia, a look at living in gated communities.  Recent memorable reads include Guitar Zero, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain, from Conception to College and the The Compass of Pleasure, all about learning and the brain. Also The Spirit Level and Farm City, Education of an Urban Farmer.

My 7 year old daughter and I have been reading the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.  I have found these exceptionally well written and poignant and I’m really struck by how wonderful it has been to experience these with her.

ConXn: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Brett: I don’t really read any journals.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter?

Brett: No, I don’t have a cell phone and don’t know anything about Twitter.  It seems like it has become important with the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring and other activism like the Susam G Komen/ Planned Parenthood flap, but I’m totally out of the loop on Twitter.

ConXn: Do you blog?

Brett: no

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Brett:  Some of the blogs I follow are mostly entertainment.  There are a lot of good puzzles and logic games online.  I watch a little TV each week.  I listen to some of the entertainment shows on OPB but I don’t support them financially anymore because NPR news shows make me so angry.  So I feel a little guilty about that.


My Daily Read: Peter Myer

March 14, 2012

Peter has been teaching as an Adjunct Instructor of Art at COCC for years. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Printmaking from The University of South Dakota and a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the University of Oregon.


ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Peter:  I go online to Slate headlines, Doosebury, then arts section. Then Breaking News at the Atlantic site. I usually read one article and bookmark longer pieces for later, which occasionaly get read.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Peter: The Atlantic, Art in America, Art Forum, Book Forum, Dwell, Outside, and the Source as a ‘newspaper’. I read the New Yorker when I get a hand me down copy and check out Ceramics Monthy from the library. Most of these print sources have things online that I check once in a while, particularly Dwell and the Atlantic.

ConXn:  What books have you recently read?

Peter: I read something from The Thinking Eye by Paul Klee nearly everyday. He systematically explicates visual thinking. Very dense but ultimately understandable in small doses. I’ve been at it for 5-6 years.

I recently re-read Animals, Men, and Myth by Richard Lewinsohn. It’s a natural history of the often bizarre relationship between humans and animals.

Korean Buncheoung Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is the current book I’m into.

Do any stand out? The Korean Buncheoung Ceramics is direct, fresh, whimsical and amazingly contemporary for work done in the 15th and 16th centuries.

ConXn:  Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Peter: Art in America makes sense to me now but after 3-4 years I still have to wade through Art Forum. I think it is a publication geared toward art critics more than artists, but there is usually one or two lines per issue that resonate for me, so I keep plugging away.  Ceramics Monthly and Clay Times are easily skimed by comparison.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter?

Peter: No. Those social media sites are probably valid but they scare me; they seem like time vampires.

ConXn: Do you blog? 

Peter: No

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Peter:  Mystery short stories. I really enjoy a good longform article on practically anything but don’t allocate time to read them as much as I would like.  David Foster Wallace’s, The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub, about John McCain’s primary campaign in 2000, is the last such story I’ve read.


My Daily Read: Tony Russell

February 16, 2012

Tony is an Assistant Professor of English.  He has a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University and has been teaching at COCC since 2010.

ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Tony: When I wake up in the morning or just settle down for the evening, I read the BBC Mobile. (This, of course, is aside from whatever is on the side of the cereal box, which is usually something to remind me that I am still fat and that I don’t get enough fiber in my diet.) On average, I will read 18-20 BBC articles a day—from global headlines to sports. I prefer the BBC because the stories are well researched. They provide a lot of background information that I don’t find elsewhere, and this has contributed much to the ways in which I understand global affairs.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Tony: My wife and I are crazy coupon people (oh yes, we have the baseball card sleeves, binders, and everything), so we subscribe to the Bulletin. I confess, however, that I don’t read much of it—perhaps a front page item or two. I will on occasion pull articles from the Outdoors sections for ideas on new outings and what not, but for local news, I usually read my KTVZ.com app on my iPhone—if there’s nothing good on the BBC, LeMonde, CNN, MSNBC, or The Onion.

For magazines, I often subscribe to The New Yorker, and I’m an on-again off-again Scientific American subscriber. Secretly, I am enthralled by astrophysics, biology, and clinical psychology. Oh, and I really like stories about orangutans that use iPads, which in the long run only makes me angry because Santa neglected to fill my stocking with an iPad this year. I even bought an extra-wide stocking to accommodate for the width of the iPad. What’s more, I felt that my desire was benevolent. I only want an iPad so that I can transfer my paper-based subscriptions to digital, thus preserving the delicate balance of our planet and preserving said orangutan habitats. Sometimes Santa makes it hard to believe.

ConXn: What books have you recently read? Do any stand out?

Tony: If I rattled off a list of the books I have read in the past month or so, it would sound terribly eclectic, and I suppose it is. But I can’t be the only person that reads in categories, if you will. For instance, there are things I read purely for pleasure, those I read to better my teaching, those I read to better my courses, and those I read to remind me why physics is best read when dumbed down (see Scientific American above).

For pleasure, I am on an Alan Furst kick. If you like spy fiction or historical fiction, Furst is at the top of the list. Furst writes about Europe during the 1935-1945 period and claims to write as though he were writing the books during that period. That’s nice and all, but you’ll find plenty of twenty-“Furst” century Western liberalism that casts doubt on his claim. But don’t let that deter you. I zoomed through Dark Voyage (2005) last month and am halfway through The World at Night (1996) now.  Dark Voyage was a great yarn about smuggling Allied equipment on a merchant ship through Nazi-infested waters, but if you’re trying out Furst, read The Polish Officer first. (I’m not giving anything away.)

For reading to improve my teaching, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and Carol Dweck’s Mindsets based on Julie Keener’s excellent retreat talk. Both are wonderful, and I feel like my teaching has improved because of my reading. I had a lot of deep-seated beliefs about my role in the classroom and about ways to motivate students, and I found that many of those things just weren’t as effective as I thought.

ConXn: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Tony: I would say, yes, definitely. I think I was much less discriminate about what I would read before. I sort of soaked everything in I could. I had some favorites, but the more I’ve become interested in certain topics, the more I find that I can only really read about them in a limited number of publications. For instance, I used to find the Journal of Popular Culture fluffy and unpredictable, but now I find many things that inform my teaching. I’ve also sort of embraced its quirkiness. After all, popular culture is varied, sporadic, and impulsive; it’s also quite ever-changing. Further, I would echo a previous post from Carol Higginbotham in that I also find more and more that I am looking in professional journals for better ways to teach things or to reach my students more than I have in the past.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter? If so, whom do you follow?

Tony: When Pear Analytics stated in their 2009 analysis of Twitter that 40% of tweets were “pointless babble,” I knew I needed to get onboard. This term I have a Twitter feed running in my WR 122 Blackboard courses where I suggest possible articles for my students’ research papers (#COCCWR122).  I tweet under the furtive name of WrProf, which I was surprised was still available. In light of my recent experiences, I have composed the following haiku:

My students don’t use
Twitter. Seems like writing profs
Don’t like to either.

ConXn: Do you blog? If so, why?

Tony: Blogging’s a tough one for me. I like the idea. In fact, I really want to do it, but like so many other online time-takers/wasters, I feel like it would consume me. Then again, I felt that way about Facebook, and I seem to control that addiction just fine. I’m a “social Facebooker.”

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Tony: I teach pop culture classes, so it’s hard for me to feel guilty about anything really. I get to read cool books either way—spy novels, detective novels, graphic novels. I suppose I might say that I love Jane Austen novels or that I think Charlotte Brontë is four times the writer than Emily Brontë—or better, that Villette is everything that Jane Eyre wishes it were—but I’m far too proud to admit or divulge anything like that.

So I suppose the only thing I feel guilty about is the fact that I don’t let myself get away from books. Even when I exercise, I’m at the very least listening to a book. Yes, as I make my rounds about the COCC track, rather than raging against the machine, I’m “reading” The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, or John Buchan’s Greenmantle; and I’ve listened to all of them for free from the LibriVox project. This project only records titles are in the public domain (pre-1923), but I have enjoyed these books so much, that I began volunteering as a reader this year.

(For reference, I don’t listen to my own recordings—but only because I haven’t recorded Villette—yet.)


My Daily Read: Andria Woodell

February 2, 2012

Andria is an Associate Professor of Psychology.  She has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Arkansas and has been teaching at COCC since 2004.

ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Andria: I check my phone and read NPR headlines, MSN headlines, News and Weather App headlines and then Facebook for the real news.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Andria: I have subscriptions to a few psychology journals that I don’t get to read until the break. Most magazines I read are those passed down to me by other faculty or I grab while working out. I have a preference for Runner’s World, National Geographic, and cooking or gardening magazines. I am not a good runner, cook or gardener—but they are good escapes and I like to think that maybe one day I will become a good runner, cook or gardener when I have time and use all these tips they are telling me.

ConXn: What books have you recently read? Do any stand out?

Andria: When teaching my Violence and Aggression class during the year, I gravitate to fluffy, mindless sci-fi books. I have been reading the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Accidentally discovered them a while back for a road trip and have had fun reading them.

ConXn: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Andria: I found that they are much more interesting to read when I am not being forced to do so in order to make a deadline for a research paper. They make 100X more sense now and I actually like going through them to find things to launch discussions in class. In terms of what I read, still mostly psychology journals like the APS Observer or the Psych Bulletin.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter? If so, whom do you follow?

Andria: Nope. I am attempting to become a luddite and I have been trying to actually move away from technology since I am so immersed with it during the school year.

ConXn: Do you blog? If so, why?

Andria: Nope. No time and my Violence and Aggression class makes me a little wary about how accessible people are via internet. However, I have been journaling the past year in this thing called a notebook with something referred to as a pen. It has been fun to keep up with my adventures this year even though I have discovered that my handwriting is atrocious.

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Andria: I do peruse the entertainment tab in MSN to keep up on what is happening in the surreal world.  Occasionally, I have accidentally stumbled upon marathons of the Millionaire Matchmaker that I find absolutely fascinating in a social psychology/train wreck sort of way.  Good fodder for class discussions and psychological analysis.


My Daily Read: Dr. Carol Higginbotham

November 30, 2011

Dr. Carol Higginbotham is a Professor of Chemistry.  Dr. Higginbotham, received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Montana State University and has been teaching at COCC since 1999.

 

ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Carol: Honestly?  It’s typically Facebook.  I like to pick up personal messages before I get hit with the news.  But once I have seen what my friends have been up to, it’s the newspaper, online.  After that I’ll sometimes check a few favorite blogs, and by then I am usually draining my coffee cup and getting out the door.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Carol: I am an online subscriber to the New York Times, and I look at it at least once a day.  I also read local news at ktvz.com and oregonlive.com, and I look at npr.org and opbnews.org.  In print I’ll read parts of the Source on weekends, when I am a bit more chilled out and have the time to pay attention to the longer articles it contains.  I absolutely love reading The Atlantic as a Kindle mag, and I have subscriptions to Runner’s World and to American Scientist that come the old fashioned way:  in my US Mail box.

ConXn: What books have you recently read? Do any stand out?

Carol:  Each fall I try to take up a long classic book, so as the days get short I can curl up and read seriously.  This year I am trying to get through Moby Dick.  I also picked up and read both the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip von Winkle this Halloween season, because I wanted to get to know those stories in their original forms.  All these were basically free or one-dollar reads I got for my Kindle.  The best book I’ve read in the last six months was The War of the End of the World, by Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel prize for literature last year.  It’s an amazing, big, fat, epic book.  I have also recently read An Anatomy of Addiction, the Emperor of All Maladies, and The Poisoner’s Handbook.  All of these are popular science books.  Currently I am in the middle of two books:  the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman.

ConXn: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Carol: Absolutely.  I used to read more in scientific research journals, and these days I read more education stuff.  I am a regular reader of the Journal of Chemical Education.  I keep an eye on advances in research through aggregator websites that sort and summarize scientific advances for me.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter? If so, whom do you follow?

Carol: I joined Twitter several years ago when it was new, but at the time it wasn’t very popular.  When the people I wanted to connect with weren’t using it, I lost interest.  My account is probably still out there but I haven’t used it in a very long time.

ConXn: Do you blog? If so, why?

Carol: I used to blog.  My students were hungry for connections between the chemistry we were discussing in class and their lives outside of school, so I developed a blog as a place to explore these connections.  It was great fun for a while, and I am glad I did it.  However I found that I really needed feedback to keep up my motivation to write, so over time a lack of comments caused me to drift away from blogging.  If you want to look at it, it’s http://chigginbotham.blogspot.com/.

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Carol: I get more pleasure than is reasonable from reading blogs about sustainability, and bike commuter culture.  I like reading bikeportland.org, the Daily Score from Sightline.org, and copenhagenize.com.  These blogs are guilty pleasures for me because they mostly reinforce things I already believe in.  They don’t challenge my ideas, but they express things I already like in ways that make me like those things even more.

I also always come home from library book sales with cookbooks.  The more unusual they are, the more I enjoy them.  My collection includes a Finnish cookbook and a cookbook by Liberace.


My Daily Read: Dr. Karen Huck

November 16, 2011

“My Daily Read” is a new feature of ConXn, shamelessly borrowed from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Chronicle Review weekly feature, in which they interview famous academics about their daily reading habits. 

Our first “My Daily Read” featured academic is Dr. Karen Huck, Professor of Speech.  Dr. Huck, who received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah, has been teaching at COCC since 1988.  She is the 2009 recipient of the COCC Faculty Achievement Award.

(factoid: Kake lives in a house of books – at least 7,000 volumes!)

ConXn: What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Dr. Huck: The Bend Bulletin or student work I need to hand back in a few hours.

ConXn: What newspaper and magazines do you subscribe to or read regularly? What do you read in print versus online versus mobile?

Dr. Huck: I hate hate hate reading off the computer.  I read the Sunday New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker (hmmm, do we detect a pattern here?), Poetry, Bend Bulletin, Source Weekly, Harpers and Atlantic if I have a free subscription.

ConXn: What books have you recently read? Do any stand out?

Dr. Huck: The Poisoner’s Handbook:  Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.  Best book of the summer.  I don’t usually read long books (novels and short fiction) when seated — I read by ear when dog walking and walking to school.  Right now I’m in the middle of reading three different books at those times when I’m sitting and not grading or watching.  I’m enjoying each —  No Vulgar Hotel:  The Desire and Pursuit of Venice by Judith Martin;  Blue Sky Dream:  A Memoir of America’s Fall from Grace (set in my home county during the time I was growing up) by David Beers; and Love Wins by Rob Bell, an evangelical Christian who doesn’t believe in hell.

And, on yeah, in the spring I reread The Mirror Cracked, by Agatha Christie — a classic in which the unpleasant murder victim is killed largely because she was an enthusiastic non-thinker and busybody.

ConXn: Has your reading of professional journals changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Dr. Huck: Yes.   I skim only the articles in which I’m interested, generally those which have “immediacy behaviors” or “gay” in the title.

ConXn: Do you use Twitter? If so, whom do you follow?

Dr. Huck: No.  I’ve decided that Facebook and Youtube are enough for me right now.  Plus, I think tweets are boring (well, okay, I did spend about 5 minutes following tweets from the supposed riots at Penn State).

ConXn: Do you blog? If so, why?

Dr. Huck: Rarely — generally when I have something to say and don’t care if anyone hears me say it.

ConXn: What are the guilty pleasures in your media diet?

Dr. Huck: I have no guilt about my consumption habits except on those occasions when English teachers send me nonverbal messages that I am not a serious person because I don’t read enough. Oh yes, and when I get similar nonverbal messages of concern from my students when I openly admit to enjoying Sponge Bob Square Pants.