A History of Choose Your Own Adventure Visualizations

Every six months or so it seems as if the entire Internet discovers for the first time that people are making data visualizations of the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular in the early eighties. Computer scientist Christian Swinehart's stunning visualizations are only the most recent to capture the imagination of scores of… Continue reading A History of Choose Your Own Adventure Visualizations

My Talk for MITH: The Open Source Professor

I'm in the midst of preparing for my upcoming talk at the University of Maryland's Institute for Technology in the Humanities. The talk is October 27 and my title is The Open Source Professor: Teaching, Research, and Transparency. Here's the abstract, written by me, uncomfortably, in the 3rd person: What happens when the scholarship of… Continue reading My Talk for MITH: The Open Source Professor

Long Live Rock: The Tragically Hip

Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, June 1996 The zoo is a crazy place for a rock concert, but for the Tragically Hip, this Depression-era amphitheater was perfect. And this was years before Gord Downie sang about Gus, the polar bear in Central Park (In Between Evolution, 2004). I like to think that the Toledo Zoo was his… Continue reading Long Live Rock: The Tragically Hip

Long Live Rock: Dougie MacLean

The Ark, Ann Arbor, circa 1996 Another concert with Tim, who was in grad school at Michigan by this point. Dougie was fantastic -- The Ark is an intimate venue, and as I remember it, we were sitting just a row or two from the stage. I watched transfixed as Dougie tuned his guitar differently… Continue reading Long Live Rock: Dougie MacLean

Reading Lists for Fall 2008

My course descriptions for Fall 2008 have been up for a while, but here are the specific reading lists for both classes (cross-posted from my official university site): Reading List for ENGL 343 - Textual Media Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary by N. Katherine Hayles Afternoon: A Story by Michael Joyce Understanding Comics:… Continue reading Reading Lists for Fall 2008

Raiders of the Lost Ark Comic Book

In anticipation of the upcoming Indiana Jones movie, I dug through the old comic book box and came up with this, Marvel's "Official Comics Adaptation of the Hit Title" -- the original Raiders of the Lost Ark in comic book form (larger image). You'd think this would be worth some money on eBay, but it… Continue reading Raiders of the Lost Ark Comic Book

A very brief review of The Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG)

The Passively Multiplayer Online Game has been generating a lot of hype lately. Yesterday I installed the necessary Firefox Extension, "played" for a few minutes, and then decided to uninstall the extension and maybe come back to the game once it gets interesting. My main objection to the PMOG is this: It tries to make… Continue reading A very brief review of The Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG)

Let Us Now Praise the Tater Tot

photo credit: JaseMan I've always suspected that Tater Tots were the ultimate comfort food. Something about them calls us back to childhood, back to the deep fried goodness of elementary school cafeterias. Even full grown adults are susceptible, drawn to the warm potatoesque mush inside and the crunchy, flaky shell outside. Some salt and some… Continue reading Let Us Now Praise the Tater Tot

Remembrances of March Madnesses Past

With my hometown team in the Sweet Sixteen, I thought I'd dig through the archives of a long-defunct, long-offline version of Sample Reality and repost the only thing I've ever written about the NCAA. It begins with this Nike advertisement from 2000, a fantastic little commercial produced by Wieden & Kennedy (Portland, Oregon), which illustrates… Continue reading Remembrances of March Madnesses Past

My carbon footprint has got to be ridiculous

In a recent conversation between Thom Yorke and David Byrne in Wired, Yorke describes how Radiohead conducted a study to assess its carbon footprint, in the hopes of then being able to reduce it. But their biggest impact upon the environment turned out to be something out of their control: all their fans driving to… Continue reading My carbon footprint has got to be ridiculous