Mobile Blogging and Scholarship

In this workshop I have learned the basics of WordPress and Canva software, specifically how to use it to create specific web pages and a blog, as well as managing the blog posts and comments.  The focus on using iPads has also been informative.  There are differences between the technologies, and it is useful to see directly the capabilities of working on the iPad idrectly.  

The workshop has also opened my mind to many more possibilities of digital scholarship that are very intriguing. I find that I am thinking about other ways to use these technologies in my professional career.

Review of Twin Peaks (TV Show, 1990-1991)

If Twin Peaks were pitched today, the short version would be: Parks and Recreation meets The X-Files. The movie executive would not greenlight this project because it is, and was, an awful idea.

(Full Disclosure: I did not see this series when it was originally released, but on Netflix over several months from 2014-2015. This might affect the experience. People I know and respect liked this show.)

Twin peaks is the worst type of entertainment. It is creative enough to make you think that it might eventually be good, but never is. There are a couple interesting characters, including the lead – a relentlessly cheerful FBI agent and an Army general who is deeply philosophical and wise in even the most casual conversation.

Unfortunately, these are scattered among many characters more absurd than interesting and a shockingly large number of pure clichés (the distressed girlfriend of victim, the jerk boyfriend, the bad-boy love triangle interest, the low-life criminal suspect, and more). These clichés command a large amount of screen time, and their dialogue is every bit as interminable as the daytime soaps and pre-teen novels they try to parody.

You hope.

In the beginning, you think it must be some sort of parody, and that the show might eventually get good at it. When you start to realize the show is taking itself seriously, you get that gut-wrenching cringe of empathetic embarrassment that comes from viewing the art of the middle-aged who started the activity much too late in their lives.

The main thread for the first season plus two episodes is the death of Laura Palmer. But on this thin thread a multitude of plot threads hang. These threads do not weave a coherent narrative tapestry, but tangle in a giant narrative hairball. What passes for a plot is just the collected, individual efforts of a middle-school creative writing class, stapled together. The action jerks from one red herring to another, each more ridiculous than the last, until it all collapses in a supernatural alien apocalypse and beauty pageant (I am not joking).

There is one aspect of Twin Peaks uncontaminated by positive characteristics, purely horrific in ways words can’t describe: the musical score. The best way to understand the music is to listen to that joke piano concerto made of classical endings to other pieces that goes on forever. Similarly, the musical score to Twin Peaks plays on the listener’s expectation of what music should sound like to create an experience increasingly unbearable until you are screaming at the TV for it to stop.

Twin Peaks consistently fills the screen with an array of attractive women, but with the internet, even that raison d’être ceases to be. They are planning a remake of Twin Peaks under the Hollywood philosophy that the idea doesn’t have to be good as long as it is not original. Consternation followed David Lynch leaving the remake. I cannot comprehend why this is bad, given he was heavily involved in the original. I think a remake is fitting. Since originality was the singularly good thing you could say about Twin Peaks, it can finally be destroyed in a metaphysical implosion of irony.

Editing Pictures in WordPress

I have had serious difficulties editing pictures in WordPress.  Here is my current theory.  There is no save button.  Thus, it is saving on-the-go.  However, this is not instantaneous, and there is no feedback indicating that your changes are being saved or not.  I edited a picture and closed the edit screen and I was not even given the option to update the post.  Nothing had changed.

When I made my edits and then sat and waited for 20 seconds before I closed the edit window, my changes were made by the system.  I haven’t experimented with different times.  I think it takes a while — I don’t know how long and it won’t say — for it to save the changes, and you need to wait that time out before you close your edit window.

I am finding that even working in the Dashbaord view, where there is an update button when you edit the pages and posts, not all the edits are being saved each time. A campus resource that has been helpful to my work in 2015.

This last year, I have used the instructional resource and found it extremely valuable. is an online learning company that provides video courses for a variety of business, software, technology and creative skills.  Specifically, I used the resources to learn html, css, and javascript for web development purposes.  Previously, I had cereated instructional videos that are stored on a YouTube channel.  I desired a webpage that would create structure to the collection of vidoes.

I took two courses on html programming, two courses on css (cascading style sheets) that are used to format the pages, one course on general web design, and one on the dreamweaver software.  The courses primarily consisted of videos between 3-12 minutes in length.  They were aranged in chapters, and there were exercises to be done at the completion of each chapter.  

I found the courses very useful.  They were easy to follow and easy to understand.  Each video worked with a website example, but I found it very important to be working with my own content at the same time.  Immediately trying what was new with my own stuff was important for me to have the content sink in.

The exercises were very imortant for the learning.  Actually applyling the concepts is crucial to understanding and remembering what was being taught.  In fact, I felt there should have been a lot more of this.  I get that a lot of “homework” may turn people off, but there isn’t another way to learn some things.  I could have used more homework applying the things I was learning.

In the end, I think this is a valuable resource and I anticipate using it significantly in the future.