XtraNormal Response "Paper"

In my English 505: Introduction to Writing Studies class last week, I encouraged students to experiment in their reading response papers. After a few weeks, the rather rigid format I'd been asking for seemed to be getting a bit stultifying.

One particularly clever student turned in this video. It's made using XtraNormal, which is a web-based video composition tool. Something about the juxtapositions—workplace setting + cartoon characters + academic-register—makes the video just too funny and smart. Gotta love what people can do.


5th and Hill Site in Champaign, IL

I've been teaching up at the Douglas Branch of the Champaign Public Library System, which means I ride right by the toxic 5th and Hill Site on Thursday evenings. Last Thursday, the huge containment tent at the site was being taken down and, I'm guessing, moved to another part of the property.

In bookmarking a few pages relating to the 5th and Hill toxic site, I came across this image of the plant when it was still up and running.

It's hosted over at http://temporarytraveloffice.net/mMigration/mMigration.html, a page with a number of details about the site. Since benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene were present during refining, the "site" is not really as bounded as the fence around the property suggests. Several houses nearby are undoubtedly positioned on top of toxic land (and water).

A quick Google search for "5th and hill" reveals another contested zone of the same address ... this one in Los Angeles. Somewhere there is a piece waiting to be written about this cargtographic coincidence and the socio-environmental impacts felt in both places.

5th and Hill in Los Angeles:

5th and Hill here in Champaign-Urbana: