Grammar Nerd Heaven aka American Copy Editors Society Conference

I’m a member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). I spent several days in Pittsburgh for their annual conference. For months I have been participating in their #ACESChat every other week. I was so excited to meet my copy editor friends in the physical real, so excited to discuss grammar, editing, and inclusionary language. ACES 2015 did not disappoint. It was like living my favorite dream for three days.

These are my people.

It was a sentiment that rang from every session, swept through the halls, and surged from the chests of all the attendees. Copy editors, are notoriously introverted. We spend most of our days in cubicles and offices, alone, reading, writing, reading about writing, and writing about reading. We are often surrounded by people who do not understand how much we love the English language.

But — for three glorious days — we are engulfed by people who get it.

For three days, we didn’t have to hide our nerdiness. For three days, we didn’t have to explain what “decompress” means or why we need to do it every day. We were free to love language and punctuation and there were no apologies necessary. In fact, we reveled in it. Continue reading

The Key to this is Diversity: Digital Humanities

Today was the first day of a new quarter at DePaul for me. I’m taking two electives, both centered on digital humanities, one in theory (pray for me) and one in practice. I’ll post a lot about it for at least the next 10 weeks [fair warning].

I didn’t even know what digital humanities was when I registered for these courses, but I have used my time at DePaul to try to gain as many new skills as possible. See my design struggles. My interest in libraries and library science and other social sciences in general lead me to digital humanities.

I’ve since done some reading and learned that digital humanities is the study of the integration of digital tools into the humanities [I think]. How humanities professional use digital tools in order to research, collaborate, and publish. All I could think was… so COOL! I knew I was attracted to this course for a reason.

In a way, digital humanities is sort of subcategory to new media studies, which is just the study of the integration of digital tools into society as a whole. Not a far throw from the stuff I study regularly, so after a lot of initial trepidation, I’m ready to jump in head first.

The other thing I love about digital humanities is its interdisciplinary nature. I hate working and studying in homogeneous groups. That is boring! I expect that these classes will allow me to meet and share scholarship with students from all around the humanities. That makes for great discussions and debates and that is the key to this.

Can’t get Typography out of my Head

It was extremely important to me that I acquired some serious design skills while earning my masters. It also happens that two design courses are required for my degree. I took them both and at some point each of them focused on typography. That was a year ago. I thought I was done.

Now, suddenly, almost a year later, my head is full of typography. I think it was prompted by the project I did for my class, which I also blogged about here, and also by my desire to design my own logo, but I notice it everywhere. I’m always trying to explain Gestalt principles to people, mostly my mom, who really doesn’t care.

It’s bad… Like this meme. LOL!

Ryan Gosling meme about typography.

My life has turned into typography. I can’t get it out of my head.

Since I can’t get it out of my head I’ve decided I only have one option… read books about it!

I’m going to start by rereading the text book for my class Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton (@EllenLupton). I’ll do some research for more in the coming weeks. Just don’t be surprised by the sudden influx of typography themed posts here. I’m just trying to get this out of my system. Please bear with me!

The Key to this is Monopoly

New Media Studies is a very broad field of study; its students could end up just wondering through different classes without really creating a coherent set of skills for themselves. In order to avoid that, my professor challenged us to critically examine our plans for our time here at DePaul and present them creatively, by drawing a map.

Here’s a good time for me to make a confession. I am NOT creative. The simplest of creative tasks are usually quite challenging for me, so I’m quite proud of the creative spurt I had during this class.

An example of a plan of courses and skills for a student of new media studies

The Monopoly inspired plan I created for my Proseminar class. Please click to enlarge.

I was inspired by my favorite childhood board game, Monopoly. I turned each cluster of classes or skills into a square on the board. All the squares were given names based the cluster it represented plus a street, drive, circle, boulevard, etc. in in order to go along with the names of properties in Monopoly. It also includes a “DISTRACTION!” square which is the equivalent of jail and Internship and Graduation squares which are similar  to chance. Of course, I gave the Dream Job Boulevard the same space as the most coveted Boardwalk in the real game.

When I shared my design with the class a few of my colleagues found it interesting, so I thought I would share it here as well. My classmate Robert, of Robert’s Hilarious Design Blog, said the Monopoly game was a good idea because life is like it, a mix of good and bad.

I’m so glad for this assignment. It really helped me see exactly what my goals are. After feeling like I spent the entirety of my undergraduate career confused, clarity is a beautiful thing.

So… Jeff Rice came to lecture about Beer?

Last week, Jeff Rice from University of Kentucky visited DePaul’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse to lecture about his coming book, Craft Identity. It’s all about social media and society told through the lens of craft beer. Rice is really seriously into craft beer.

The flyer for Jeff Rice's Lecture at DePaul Univeristy on October 21.

The flyer for Jeff Rice’s Lecture at DePaul Univeristy on October 21.

I noticed immediately that Rice is heavily influenced by Marshall McLuhan, the author of The Medium is the Massage.

A short aside: McLuhan is extremely abstract. He argues that society is now governed by print media rules, logical uninterrupted arguments that flow from beginning to end. But digital media now dominate we continue to judge digital media by print media standards.

Now back to Rice. He argues that to understand the power of social media we have to throw out the print standard that arguments flow from one complete thought to the next. In social media, it’s more like a series of thoughts that interrupt and overlap each other and make a complete argument or pattern.

Now comes the interesting part, he made this argument by writing his book as a series of thoughts that interrupt and overlap each other. It was an interesting concept, although a little hard to follow, given the venue.

After a serious mulling and a talk with a professor who attended the lecture as well, I was able to piece together the description above.  I’m certain Craft Identity will be required or recommended reading for one of my upcoming classes. I hope I will better understand once I am able to read to whole book for myself.

Find Rice’s other books here.