As one keen reader of metaspencer monster blog! recently noted, I was off at the Thomas R. Watson conference over the weekend. The conference was swell, Art Spiegelman smokes a lot, and I still struggle with the diphthong in "Louisville." (This could be because .5 of my parental units live in another Louisville, this one pronounced "Lewis-ville" and/or "Lewis-vile," depending on one's position on suburban sprawl.)
A highlight of the conference was attending a session that included both the presence of and a presentation by Cheryl Ball, who worked through a piece on scrapbooking aesthetics. Walking into the room, we found immaculate bags full of scrapbooking supplies, and it was not only okay to use them—it was our job.
I ended up learning, thanks to the inimitable Cheryl Ball's little experiment, that I am 90% more attentive to spoken discourse when fiddling with paper, scissors, and glue. Oh, and I also appreciated that we weren't given any directions, just supplies.
With my bag of goodies, I made this (click to make the object in the mirror larger than it appears):
Looking around the room, I watched in a state of giddy pleasure as others made various types of low-tech image/text creations, futzing with glue and paper, and I listened as one person (on the other side of the room) periodically crashed pieces of paper into tiny balls. All this while the presenters did their thing, working through three tightly connected pieces on teaching the multi-m.
After the session (btw, the equation Ball=Cool holds up 100%), I got all Banksy (for Looooaville) and installed my collagey-thing on a nearby bulletin board dedicated to the distribution of programmatic information. (Can you see it? It's right there in the middle.)
I know what you're thinking: Oh those academics ... they're so uncontained and wild! Well, you're right about that. It was a good time, and Louisville is all right by me.