Lists #2: Books of 2017

I regularly read ProfHacker‘s blog posts, and like very much those recommending books. I also read often recommendations from NYT, The Guardian, El País and Corriere, and I love the end-of-year lists of “best” books. Now, here’s my own book recommendations (ie, books I read and liked in 2017), with both essays and literature. I favor noirs at this moment, so the majority of books falls in this category. I find that fidelity to one particular kind/style of literature brings happiness and depth.

I use my GoodReads account to save books, since it has an immense catalogue in the three languages that interest me, Italian, English and Spanish. It also has an iPhone app through which I can scan a book’s barcode and save it, thus bridging the gap between the physical and the digital bookstores. I am not very comfortable knowing that it is a property of Amazon, but for the time being I shall let it be. I don’t either particularly love the widget GoodReads generates: It doesn’t work well with WordPress (they say it’s an iframe issue–of “security”, I guess) and in this case I was unable to display the covers at a larger scale; however, it generates some static HTML that can be CSS-styled on one’s own. But that’s it.

I like it also because it facilitates my entering review info or notes on each book, which is quite useful. Plus, I can export a cvs file with all my books whenever I want, so I feel safe about archiving something on which I have no control and could disappear as Amazon sees fit. I could use LibraryThing, which is mostly independent of Amazon, but it has no scanning app.

Books of 2017

Antonio’s bookshelf: read

Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art
really liked it
Very very good. I’ll write soon a post in my blog skateofweb.com. It is the first essay I read on the vernacular of the Web, the new language. Compelling, full of bright insights. Very instructive also from the point of view of education…

 


goodreads.com

[Featured image — “A shelf in my library”. Photo by me. Use: creativecommons License BY-NC-SA]

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Patti Smith & Instagram: Memory From 1979 in Florence.

Here is one post sprung up when I searched Patti Smith on Instagram. She’s also a photographer, after all. And her music and work mean a lot to me. But this does not seem genuine. I think it’s the work of some fan, since there are almost no photos taken by her, and it’s mainly a collection of portraits of her. And no work of her as a photographer seems to appear there. Still, it’s a nice collection, worth seeing.

Robert.

A post shared by Patti Smith (@officialpattismith) on

I was in Florence 1979 with a bunch of friends and my sister too. And we lived her first concert in Italy in full with a huge expectation–hey, I was twenty, and I would do it again! Took a short train ride from Rome and slept cramped like eight in one hotel room. Got to the stadium so early, as soon as the gates opened, and we found a good spot on the grass, where we spent the afternoon. Began in the evening with Gloria and ended with Twist and Shout. It still reverberates through my mind. I know, I’m using whatever excuse to post a video of Patti singing Gloria.

I did various searches for photos of that concert, but found only few available online. One is the featured image of this post. Another gives the idea of the people amassed at the stadium.

Firenze, 10 settembre 1979: in attesa del concerto (dalla fotogalleria su

Firenze, 10 settembre 1979: in attesa del concerto (dalla fotogalleria su “La Repubblica – Firenze.it”). From http://www.storiadifirenze.org/?p=2696

Both photos are republished on the article 10 settembre 1979: il concerto di Patti Smith e la fine dell’innocenza. Un ricordo from storiadifirenze.org.

My own photos–I shot many–are probably at my mother’s, or unfortunately lost.

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Lists of the past year: #1–Best students’ blogs

With 2018 already in its second week it’s time to stop the laziness of the past weeks and do some work. First of all, I plan to publish a few posts to summarize interesting stuff of 2017, in list form. Since I love lists and fill my planner, post-it notes, Evernote of lists of all kinds, here is the list of all the lists.

  1. My students’ best blogs, from the past August semester.
  2. Adventures in San Francisco & Berkeley, from my trip to the Far West during the Christmas season.
  3. Colleagues’ shoots from the early days of hurricane Maria’s aftermath.
  4. My books of 2017 (yes, I kept track, through an Evernote list of the books I was reading and of the films I watched at the movies (I practically don’t watch movies anymore on the TV… only TV series, thank you)
  5. My films of 2017

That’s a lot of work, but thanks Jupiter, I don’t have to do it now, do I.

So, I’ll begin with List #1. Because I kept a folder with screenshots of the best blogs my students created during the past semester. It’s a list that I compiled in a completely subjective manner. The only objective part (albeit a very important one) is that behind these blogs there is work, attention and passion. But they are also beautiful, inspired, well-thought and interesting. I hope a few of the students will keep on blogging. I know some will, I asked the very last day of class and I got sincere answers.

They have–as I have repeatedly said throughout the semesters, an extraordinary vehicle and medium to express themselves, like humankind has **never** had available in our history. Surely not with its simplicity of use and expressive power. We who live in a place where free speech is still protected must recognize that power and protect and diffuse it.

The blogs I am referring here to are from three sections of the #inf103 course, Fundamentals of Computing, a basic Gen Ed course geared to communications students. I will omit the section of the course in each case, it’s irrelevant info. As I said before, this is a list outside of the course formal evaluations, and is completely subjective.

And the Oscars go to…

Natalia, for her Dance blog. Bailar… una de las mejores formas de vida.  (Una vida con movimientos al ritmo de la música es mejor.) // Dancing… one of the best ways of life.

Baile-S3

José Frank, for Este es mi blog (This is my blog) #EsteEsMiBlog

EsteEsMiblog-S7

Génesis for Génesis Blog, a blog focusing on topics of importance for Puerto Rico.

Genesis-S4

Gabriela María, for Industrya, on Coffee, cocktails, art & culture… Café, coctelería, literatura, arte, cultura, ¡y lo que venga!

Industrya-37

Kathia, for katwalk: Fashion History.

Katwalk-S4

Carolina, for Tu mundo en Palabras (a veces la mejor forma de expresarte es escribiendo). // Your world in words (sometimes the best way to express yourself is writing).

MundosEnPalabras-S3

Andrea, for Once Upon A Time. Write Your Own Story.

OnceUponATime-S3

Janisse, for her photo blog: Photography vs the world. The struggles of being a photographer.

photoVsTheWorld-S4

Erika, for her blog on poetry & photography, Poetisa sin rumbo (Este blog trata sobre expresar sentimientos a través de poesía y fotografía). Literally, the blog’s title means “poetress without direction”. Nice, eh?

Poetisa-S4

Natalia, for her blog Crutches Live Aventuras en muletas: Yo camino con mis manos y tambien escribo con ellas. // Adventures in crutches: I walk with my hands and also write with them.

Crutches Live

In truth, despite the hurricane, it was a good semester, and many students did took it very very well, even though they underwent (and possibly still are) very harsh living conditions.

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The Class of María–A photo-shoot of students

After the hurricane stroke, when we resumed classes in mid October, I decided I would shoot a photo to each student from my inf103 and inf115 classes–that is, to all students who would come one specific day to class. I used a long-abandoned, recently found Nikon camera which I didn’t really know how to use properly. I’m not new to photography, but I had only used analog reflex cameras before the small digital cameras of today. I got this professional digital camera with a great 55-300mm lens–I love the 300mm for portraits– and I asked students if they agreed to be photographed in closeups portrait mode. And almost all agreed. They agreed also to let me publish the photos, so those you see down here are only the ones which I got a student consent for.

I used the Awesome Flickr Gallery plugin for WordPress, since it allows for parameters to be set with no hindrance. I uploaded, tagged and titled the photos in a new set on Flickr and created a gallery with the AFG plugin. Here is the result of that work. Few images have been edited, but I think all students came out pretty nice. If you click on one image a pop-up opens with the full photo and you can navigate the gallery with swipes or clicks.

These are in a sense some heroic students who decided to overcome the many obstacles the hurricane imposed upon them and come to class. This is what I wanted to celebrate with this set. Thanks to them all for allowing me to do this.

And Good New Year to All!

The Class of María

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New Media 2017

At year’s end, after completing the evaluations of my students’ work, blogs etc., with grades assigned, I wanted to post a short visual story about my New Media class, INF115 and the students I had the pleasure to share this semester with.

This was a class under the tent (restarted October 15), with (from left) Christian, Eric and Sheila:

IMG_6170

Here is the last episode of the Coffee Date podcast of the class, which was begun by students Alondra & Sheila and followed by all the others. Enjoy the complete series! (Hmmm, there one final episode missing, and that’s my fault. Soon available, promise!)

Here are photos from our session at TeleSagrado for the recording of the students’ final project, a video reportage of the bad storm, which follows at the end of this post. I have to say and thank Carlos for his leadership in the video project and his role as director. But all the students were enthusiast and collaborated. They worked in pairs and each did something specific: research, interviews, story, etc. Theirs are the idea, composition and final editing. Proud of you guys! Note that this is not a course on video and all but Carlos had little previous knowledge of the medium, which is a point for the course.

Joselyn

Joselyn

Aracelymar, a helping hand and former student.

Aracelymar, a helping hand and former student.

Alondra & Sheila

Alondra & Sheila

Carlos

Carlos

Amaris

Amaris

Amaris

Amaris

Carlos

Carlos

Joselyn

Joselyn

Carlos & Joselyn

Carlos & Joselyn

Christian

Christian

Last but not least, how they say, is the final video, Más allá de la Burbuja. Enjoy! [in Spanish]

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