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This site will live on in our memories, even as we move on to bigger and better things.

One word, my pretties:

Pod.

Cast.

Find it here:

Matt’s Class

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Bouffant Cheese Stubble Heyday Sysiphus Oh-Oh-Niner

Welcome back to school.

The few of you who attend my class AND read my blog have realized by now that, as usual, my brain underwent a shift this summer. “Shift” is a euphemism, perhaps, for that which has happened to my little grey cells.

Not meaning to be obtuse, perhaps the most accurate way I can describe this so-called shift is to say that my brain, in seeking foreign presences and expanding beyond its accustomed cognitive limits, has disseminated, dissipated expansively, spread itself out to roughly the consistency and intensity of the lingering smell of fish frying, two weeks later. If you’ve ever lived next door to fish-fryers, you know what I mean.

I apologize, but it’s the new way I am. I can’t control it and it defies the standard form of documentation suggested by this particular forum. And so, sadly for some, I will no longer be describing in writing the daily activities of this class on this blog.

This may disappoint some people–although most likely none who are actual students of my classes. No, but it may disappoint the random selection of people who actually read this blog. Lately I’ve been hearing about some pretty odd “uses” for this blog:

  • A programmer/designer friend of mine tells me he links potential clients to this blog to give them a sense for how different “voices” in writing can give a site different kinds of tone and mood. I guess I’m pleased my multiple personality disorder could come in handy. To someone.
  • My wife links our friends and family to this blog so they can at least confirm my continuing existence on the planet. I’m not a very good correspondent. I do try to send messages with my brain to these people from time to time, but… they’re busy.
  • Various kind and ambitious teachers and teachers of teachers have linked to this blog as an example of how technology can be used to enhance classroom instruction. I’m sorry to you all. You’ve been duped: This is not a school blog–it’s actually a playground.
  • Awesome local bands have linked to this site in the hope that some of the glorious flakes of inspiration might be brushed off of my shoulders onto their eager heads. They would also like me to mention that there is an epidemic of bears fighting sharks going on in nature right now. Why, why oh nature, art thou so cruel? And what can we non-nature humans do to help? I propose a telethon/shopping spree.

Anyway, it is in this celebratory/mournful spirit that I announce the death of daily written updates to this site and the imminent arrival of the new East Hollywood Cyber English Podcast. That’s right, I’ll be cherry picking the finest, stand-n-delivirenest moments of my day, heavily editing out the inappropriate content and student rebellion, and making it available to the disinterested public and the theoretical conscientious student, in an easy-to-download, even-easier-to-listen-to audio format.

Coming soon: The voice behind the voice.

MT

argument therapy

Since we’re back in the lab writing today (Monday), these slides from our chat on Friday about making arguments more argumenty might be useful: Make Your Argument Better

MT

google bombed

Look at this graphic of my blog stats:

Boy, I really had a big day, yesterday, didn’t I? Over 400 hits…

Now, look at this list of the search terms people used to get to my site:

seach

Let’s analyze. What’s strange about these two pictures?

Well, I will be danged, you’re right!

I’ve been Google-bombed by a duck enthusiast!

A duck enthusiast named Carter G. Miller, Esq., to be specific.

Sir, I salute, you, and I hope you have discovered the answer to your burning question.

MT

Carter’s question

So, before class today a student comes to me and asks if I know of any other books he could read that are “like Catcher.” So I asked what it was about Catcher that he liked, and he said something to the effect of “it’s realistic, and dark, and funny” or something like that.

Well, for someone with a memory like mine, that is a hard task. I’ve consumed a lot of media in my life, of all sorts, and I generally incorporate parts of these books, movies, music, and games into my brain, but rarely catalogue them by title or genre or author, or even into lists of preferred over non-preferred. They just go into the mix. Every once in a while I’m shocked or delighted to recognize an idea that I thought was my own while accidentally re-reading/viewing/listening to something I thought I had never seen before.

But in the past few years, I’ve become a cyborg. Since my organic brain can’t keep up with it all, now I use the internet as my memory database for that kind of information. For books, in particular, I use some resources on Amazon to supplement my own incomplete memory. The Catcher in the Rye page on Amazon has a lot of interesting connections to other books, particularly if you look at what other customers bought (mostly other high school “classics,” but a lot of good stuff, to be sure), as well as the Listmania lists at the very bottom of the page. One of the Listmania lists I liked in particular is this one: link. It’s got a great mix of edgy modern books, some classics, some easy reads, some tough (Lolita!), and books by and about women as well as men. (It could use a stronger African American and Latino contribution, but they got Zora Neale on there, which is worth plenty.)

Are these books like Catcher? Only in the sense that someone who liked Catcher–the tone, the subject matter, the reading level, whatever–liked these, too. Actually, the best thing about this list is how different these books all are–you might find yourself reading and interested in something that you never thought you would like, and then, hey presto, you’ve got a new “type” of book to start branching out from. While the connections between the books in these lists might not be immediately apparent, it’s a reasonable bet that if you liked Catcher, you’ll find something here to be interested in.

Anyway, whenever you like a particular book this is a good tool to spin off other titles that “people like you” like. (And yes, Carter, I am saying “people like you” with a sour look on my face.)

MT

Response paper #1: Real title

Joe Student

Matt Thomas

Language Arts 9 (or 10)

2 December, 2007

A Very Creative Title

            I’m going to start me first paragraph here. The first paragraph should grab the reader’s attention. There are lots of ways to do this, some of which we’ll discuss this semester. I’ll take care of business here by saying: Look out! There’s a psychopathic killer standing right behind you with his hands stretched out towards your neck! There—got your attention now? Also, notice how the first line of each paragraph is indented 1-tab.

            Here’s another paragraph to show you that indentation business. Also, when you quote from books we read in class, you need a citation to let me know what page number you got the quote from, like this (45). Notice how the period comes after the parenthetical info. Anyway, with the rest of my paper, I would just continue on, responding, like this: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

            Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

            Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.