Apr 16

Paris Marathon Race Report

 “Please remember that you owe it to the fine things inside you to get the most out of them”

–Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, in a letter to her husband dated March 1934.

IMG_3541The Paris Marathon was on Sunday (12 April 2015). I had entered the lottery for the race a year ago. I registered on April 28, 2014, not 24 hours after crossing the finish line of Big Sur. I had big plans. I was hoping to BQ (qualify for the Boston marathon). Plus, Paris. I was hoping that the study travel course on the Americans in Paris that my colleague and I were planning would make, so I would already be there, taking care of the most formidable part of the logistics: the plane ticket.

And then I broke my foot. At approximately 9:30 AM on July 31–KAPOW! I’ve written elsewhere about dealing with my stress fracture, so I won’t repeat myself here. My orthopedist gave me the okay to begin training for the race in mid-November. I was starting over again with the Couch to 5K program. I followed the program in terms of workouts, but I bumped up their frequency, completing the 8 weeks in 5. I began the 18 week training cycle a little late, so my coach Katie Kellner with Hanson’s Distance Project modified it a bit to fit with the timeline for Paris.

Early on, I decided to be conservative (or as conservative as you can be while training for a marathon coming off a stress fracture). I abandoned the BQ goal, abandoned any time goal, really. I wanted to make it to the start healthy even if that meant I was slower on race day. That means I did no interval training, speedwork, or tempo runs (all of which would increase the risk of injury). All of my runs were “easy pace” with the aim of simply increasing my base mileage over the 16 weeks to the marathon.

The training circuit was rocky, not because of the physical demands, but because I was running scared. Mostly, I was afraid of reinjury. But I was also afraid of failure. Every week, something else hurt. In the beginning, it was the site of the stress fracture. Then it was the bunion. One week it was my IT bands. Another, it was shin splints. Finally, it was a calf strain. But nothing was triggering the 3S red flags (sudden, sharp, severe), so I kept going, through the doubt, through the fear.

I hit all of my workouts, which was just about logging the miles. It was kind of nice not to worry about how fast I was going–as it turned out, I was remarkably consistent. I listened to LOTS of audiobooks. I trained early in the morning. Partly this was because of my schedule. But partly it was because of my fear. I wanted my running to be less public in case I broke my foot again or did something else to land back on the couch. My brain said that nobody in my life would say “I told you so,” (well, except for me–I am my own biggest critic, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me), but even so, the cover of darkness lessened the stress a bit.

I made it through the training plan but by the end, my legs were feeling really beat up. I entered the taper with doubts and the taper did nothing to alleviate them. In fact, it magnified them exponentially. Traveling across the globe didn’t help. Nor did all the walking we did through the streets of Paris in the week before the race. If I wasn’t eating or sleeping, I was standing or walking. I cut back on the running I was supposed to do the week of the race. What little running I did was bearable, but just. My hamstrings were tight. My calf hurt. One of my toenails got a blister under it & needed periodic draining. I woke up in the middle of the night with a panic attack, and my doubt intensified. And though I had brought my trigger point foam roller with me, the hotel room was to small to actually use it.

I began to make my peace with a DNF (did not finish). I decided that I would start the race, and I would give myself 5 or 10K before making any decisions, but I also decided that I would be okay if I didn’t finish the race. I decided that I would likely drop out and metro back to the hotel at some point. The thought of running for upwards of five hours on sore legs was not appealing, and I was really scared of reinjuring myself. I emailed my coach, who encouraged me to put the DNF out of my mind and cross that bridge if I came to it. I was also texting and emailing with the awesome Kathy Harris, who listened to my freakouts and talked me down from the edge at least 4 times. I told my mom, “I think the race is going to be ugly.” I told my colleague, “I will probably not finish.” He asked, “Are you okay with that?” And the truth is, I was. He asked how a DNF would be different from not racing at all. I explained that the difference was the choice. Not starting because of injury was worse to me because I didn’t have a chance to decide. DNF felt better because I could try. Something about being able to make the decision to stop was empowering to me. I promised myself that I would drop out rather than end up on crutches again.

I went to the expo on Thursday afternoon. Or rather, I tried to go to the expo on Thursday afternoon; I didn’t get there until Thursday evening. I took the Metro to Parc des Exposition, which was a 45 minute ride almost all the way to the airport. I got off the train at my stop and looked around. No signs. No people who looked like runners. Not many people at all, actually. I wandered around a little bit. Nothing. I finally got out my phone and looked up the expo in FB. I was in the wrong place. Way, way out in the wrong place–45 minutes on the metro in the wrong direction. So I took the metro back & finally made it to the expo, which luckily was still open for another few hours. It was huge. And empty. I turned in my medical certificate and got my convocation form stamped. I picked up my bib. I saw the wall with the 50K names of all the runners. That was cool, and a little overwhelming.

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I found my name. I took a picture of it, and then a nice guy who was also there by himself took my picture with my name. He told me to hold up my number in the picture (he didn’t speak English but had obviously done this before), and then I took his picture in return. We wished each other a good race and moved on to the next station. IMG_3507 - Version 2

I picked up my swag bag, and then it was into the ASICS store.

When I was at Big Sur last year, I was very superstitious and couldn’t bring myself to buy anything that had the words “official finisher” on them since I hadn’t actually finished anything yet. Paris eliminated that conflict–they didn’t have “official finisher” merchandise for sale–you had to earn that shirt (though they did have it on display). I wasn’t a fan. It’s really bright reddish-orange with blue lettering (picture down below). The race merchandise they did have for sale was much more my style. I bought a couple shirts (one short-sleeve & one long-sleeve). I figured that I probably wouldn’t get the ugly finisher shirt, so I felt okay buying the not-ugly gear. I reasoned that after everything I had accomplished, I had earned it even if I didn’t finish the race. I also bought a headband made of coolmax fabric, which I ended up wearing during the race.

I then went to find the Breakfast 5K stand, which took me forever. It was tucked back before the ASICS store, and I had walked right past it. Before my legs went to hell, I had signed up for the Breakfast 5K, which was held on the Saturday before the marathon. It was at the Eiffel Tower, and it was a low-key shake-out run. I was supposed to run 5K that day anyway, and I thought that this would be a good warm-up for the next day since I don’t usually run in huge crowds. There was an impressive display of running companies at the expo: Garmin & Polar, all the major shoe companies, lots of European brands that I didn’t know. . . but I really just wanted to get my breakfast shirt (you couldn’t do the run unless you were wearing the shirt) & get back to the hotel. I finally found the stand after wandering for more than 45 minutes, and I was finally able to leave.

As it turned out, I decided not to do the breakfast run. I ran 5K on Friday and decided that I would rest on Saturday since I hadn’t had a chance to really do that at all since arriving in Paris. It was the right call. I checked out of the old hotel and hung out at the Costa Coffee across the street for a few hours–wifi and bathroom!–and when it was time, I made my way to the new hotel, which was over near the Champs-Elysees.

I have decided that I really don’t like the Champs Elysees–it’s a lovely street, but it’s enormous and always really crowded. I don’t like crowds. Probably most people don’t like crowds, but I *really* don’t like crowds. But it was where the race was starting, and a friend who ran Paris a few years ago advised me to minimize logistics and stay as close to the start as possible. It was really good advice. I hung out in the hotel on Saturday except for the hunt for dinner. Side-note: Paris is a wonderful place to carb-load, and I took full advantage of the baguette! So many baguettes!. My pre-race dinner: a baguette & pain au chocolat.  Not all in one sitting. Well, technically, I guess it was all in one sitting since I spent the whole evening sitting, but I basically ate the bread over 3 or 4 hours.

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I also laid out my gear for the next day. It was going to be almost 50 at the start (it was actually 46 when I left the hotel), so I knew I wouldn’t need my arm sleeves. Flat Erin is wearing Verrazano, CW-X tri-shorts, Zoot socks, the ASICS headband, my Oiselle singlet, and the Nike LunarEclipses that I had worn at Big Sur. I also wore a FlipBelt, which is seriously the most awesome race belt of all time. The Flipbelt carried 8 Gu (salted watermelon & salted caramel), money & metro tickets so I could get back to my hotel in the event of DNF, my phone in a ziploc, a chapstick, a 2Toms anti-chafe wipe, a sponge for the water stations (to cool down), and a few Wether’s candies. The large square in the upper left may be an airline blanket that I took to use as a throwaway on race morning.

I took a hot bath and watched several episodes of LOST (I wanted to watch ALIAS, but it’s not streaming anywhere!).

The next morning, I woke up at 6, after actually getting a decent night’s sleep. I had a Mojo bar and some tea. I took another hot bath to loosen up my calf and the rest of my legs. Sunscreen and anti-chafe lathering commenced, and then I got dressed and ready to go. I left the hotel and walked the 5 minutes to the starting area. My corral, based on my anticipated finish time last year, was 3:45, and since you couldn’t change it, I just went to the back of the corral and hung out there.IMG_3536 It filled up over the next 20 minutes or so. I took a couple pictures before putting my phone back in the ziploc for the duration. The field was 75% percent male. This was most evident in the lack of porta-lets. The guys could (and did) go wherever. The women had fewer options. But I was okay. That was one good thing about having a hotel room 5 minutes from the start. I brought a bottle of water with me to drink for the first few miles. As the time drew near, I got rid of the blanket (which was a stroke of genius if I do say so!) and the trash-bag-like poncho that they had given us at the expo. The race must have started because people started to move slowly up towards the start. My corral was supposed to start at 9:15, and as far as I can tell, we pretty much did.

The first part of the race was down to the Place de la Concorde (what I had been calling the “obelisk” all week long. It was on cobblestone. Not the truly terrible round ones, but still cobblestone. I was less than thrilled about this, but there was nothing to be done except run over them to the get to the pavement. We rounded the Concorde monument and proceeded on to the Tuileries. I thought about our visits there earlier in the week, about Mom and the students who were with us. About the cafe we visited and the waitress who kept ignoring Izzy. About the metro stations and the ring scammers.

We kept going past the Louvre and on towards the Bastille, and the 5K mark where we would hit the first aid station. I really liked that the race was marked in km (there were also mile markers) because they kept coming up, and I felt like I was making progress. Even though a marathon is 42km and change, it seemed less daunting to think in km terms. My first few miles were slow and easy, which was the plan. And though my hamstrings were tight, everything else felt ok, definitely no worse than earlier in the week. I grabbed my bottle of water and kept going. The aid stations in France were intense. Lots and lots of bottled water (some bottles had the caps on and some didn’t–I preferred those with cap so I could drink the water over the 5k to the next station) and aggressive runners. They also had oranges and bananas. Which meant the course was littered with orange and banana peels. There was an open fire hydrant just past the aid station on the course, making it rain over the entire road. The water was surprisingly cold, but it felt pretty good despite making it impossible to see out of my sunglasses for a few minutes.

I felt pretty good, so I decided to go on to the next aid station. Where I grabbed another bottle of water and kept going. On to the next. And so on. I took a Gu before every aid station, and I drank the whole bottle of water every time. I was getting passed a lot, but that was fine. Even on my best day, I get passed a lot in the first part of a race. I am a second-half runner. I always have been. So getting passed didn’t freak me out; I am used to it. I felt ok, so I kept going. I was listening to my iPod ( after the second fire hydrant, I was glad that I opted for the waterproof one), and the music was a nice distraction from the constant crowds on the course. The course was very congested especially when it narrowed to a single lane, which happened fairly often. In the other big races I’ve run, the congestion only lasted for the first few miles before opening up, but in Paris,that never happened. The crowd was constant. Sometimes the crowds were more dense than others, but it was always crowded. The congestion started to become more of an irritation once I got to the halfway point. Partly, this was because I started to catch up to people who had started too fast. Partly it was because I started to think that I could actually finish the race, that I could get one of those ugly shirts and earn one of the not-ugly medals. My spirits, which were good began to rise, and I picked up the pace a little. I started to pass people instead of being passed. My confidence began to return, and I began to get a bit emotional. I almost bit it twice, both times thanks to speed bumps that I found by almost falling onto them. But I managed to stay upright, which is good, because I would have gotten totally run over–literally–if I had actually hit the ground.

My favorite part of the course was the road next to the river in the second half. The last few miles were through another park. We ran past the Eiffel Tower and also past Notre Dame, though most of the view of ND was blocked by  buildings. We also ran past Roland Garros, which wasn’t as scenic but which flashed me back to 1993 when on my first trip to Paris I went to the French Open with my travel-buddy Jill, who was a huge tennis fan. My legs were very tired by this point, but I knew I could finish the race. There were a lot of walkers on the course by now, and it was still crowded, but I kept going and maintained my pace the best I could whilst weaving around everyone. IMG_3543There were signs saying that they would be taking pictures for the 41km Tag Heuer promo (they would post to FB if you allowed it), but I didn’t see the cameras. I did see most of the regular photographers on the course (the neon orange shirts that they wore helped!) You can see one of the many water bottles I carried in the photo.

Finally, we came out of the Park and around the final turn (on those blasted cobblestones!), and then the finish line loomed and behind it in the distance, the Arc De Triomphe. I finished with an official time of 4:09:18, which is some 15 minutes slower than Big Sur, but considering that I didn’t think I would finish at all earlier in the week, I was pretty happy.

After crossing the line, I made my way to the water station to get more water (it was around 70 degrees and sunny, so I knew I was dehydrated despite all the water I had consumed on the course). I then got my ugly shirt (the photo below totally doesn’t do the color justice! It actually glows) 6f4e9& the finisher poncho. I also grabbed an apple and a half banana. And then I finally got my finishers medal. I proceeded to waddle down the finisher chute passed the bag checks. I had packed a drop bag, but I left it at the hotel. I wasn’t at all sure I would finish, and I didn’t want to have to deal with retrieving it after dropping off the course–plus, my hotel was close enough that I figured if I did finish, I could make it back to the hotel with a change of clothing. Bag check is much more important if you can’t just leave when you are done and will be hanging around in wet clothes for a while–I was on my own so I could leave at will. It was a longer walk from the finish back to the hotel, but by longer, I mean 20 minutes instead of 5. I had read more than once that after finishing a long race, you should walk as much as possible to minimize soreness in the aftermath. So walk I did (though the word “walk” might be stretching things a little bit). I stopped to take a selfie (above) with my medal.

When I made it back to the hotel, I took a cold bath. Then a warm shower since I was still pretty grimy, then another cold bath. I put on my compression tights to assist in the recovery effort, donned my ugly shirt, and made my way down to find some food. It was Sunday, so lots of the smaller places near the hotel were closed. I stopped at Marks and Spencer and bought an egg sandwich in case I couldn’t find pizza, but then a few minutes later, I found an Italian pizza place on the Champs Elysees and went there. The pizza was good. I also stopped at a patisserie on the way back and bought some macarons and a beignet (avec framboise!). It was a lovely day, but I was tired, and my legs were sore, so I made my way back to the hotel and hung out there for the rest of the day.

It’s still hard to believe that this thing which I had been aiming for since April 2014 has come and gone, and that I actually was able to accomplish the goal that seemed pretty far out of reach at several points along the way. I spent the next day walking around Paris as much as my tired legs would allow, which was, as it turned out, a lot. I ate my final baguettes (the sandwiches this time, not the entire loaf of bread) and I packed my bags. In the morning, I took a taxi to the airport (the thought of a minimum of three metro transfers with all my luggage and my sore legs made me weep), and I had an entire middle row (4! seats!) to myself on the flight home.

Up next: the Peachtree 10K, the Scream half-marathon, and then in February 2016, the LA Marathon. And hopefully no stress fractures in the interim.

Apr 04

(Almost) Time for me to Fly

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With thanks to REO Speedwagon.

It’s almost time for me to fly.

I mean that in two ways. The first is literal. I leave for the airport in a couple hours to head to Paris with two of my favorite colleagues, my mother, and 13 great students. We’re going as part of an Americans in Paris course–this is Spring Break. My job can be pretty amazing sometimes.

The second way is figurative. As many of you are aware, a year ago, I registered for the Paris Marathon, which is a week from tomorrow. This is not my first marathon That honor belongs to the 2014 Big Sur International Marathon. But in the interim, I managed to break my foot. So I sat. I iced. I raged. I cried. I swam. I aqua-jogged. I couch-to-5ked. And in November, my doctor cleared me to train for the Paris marathon.

The last 5 months have been full of more trials and challenges than I would have imagined. Some of those were physical. Running again as my foot was still recovering was often uncomfortable and sometimes painful. My family will remember Christmas Eve, when I was convinced that I had broken my foot again (I hadn’t).

But more daunting than the physical challenges were the psychological ones. I have been afraid. A lot. Mostly, I’ve been afraid to end up back on the couch. But also, I’ve been afraid of failure. I’ve tried not to talk much about the marathon because there’s a not-small part of me that still isn’t sure I can do this. I’ve trained for it. I’ve been conservative. I’ve followed the plan. I haven’t pushed my luck. And yet . . . the fear is there. The doubt is there. I have some trust issues. I’ve been grappling with them a lot lately, except the trust I struggle with isn’t trust in another person, it’s trust in myself and trust in my body, which betrayed me last summer. Or it feels like it did–since my foot didn’t willfully break itself.

So a week from tomorrow, I will line up with approximately 50K other people and I will do my best to get across that finish line. It may not happen, but I will try. I’ve been fighting this battle for almost 600 miles and more than 200 hours (half of those spent in the pool). I am not 100%, and my time will be slower than it was last year. But one of role models, a Oiselle Runner named Kate Grace recently said that there’s something noble in putting yourself out there for a race even if you aren’t 100%. I have worked to have this opportunity. I will try to cross the finish line and collect that medal.

And if I don’t, life will go on. What I’ve realized in writing this (thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far), is that there’s nothing I regret about this training cycle. If it doesn’t happen, there’s nothing I could or would have done differently. I can live with that. That’s a victory in and of itself.

Now some last minute packing to finish!

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user John Lodder]

Apr 01

Open Thread Wednesday: the Cloud

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The Cloud is where it’s at. This is probably not news to anyone who reads ProfHacker. We’ve talked about cloud storage for years: Dropbox, Spider Oak, Google Drive, and Copy. There are also other options like Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Now Amazon is upping the ante. Amazon Prime membership ($99 or $49 for students) already includes unlimited photo storage and an additional 5GB for video and files.  Now, for an additional $60 a year, Amazon Cloud Drive is offering “Unlimited Everything“: photos, video, documents, and other files. There’s a three-month free trial if you are interested in checking it out before shelling out the annual fee (as far as I can tell, you need to provide a credit card number to enroll in the trial, but the card won’t be charged until the trial period is over).

What do you think? Which cloud service provider do you use? Do you have a Prime membership? Are you interested in checking out Amazon’s Cloud Drive? Or are you happy with your existing provider? Tell us about it in the comments section!

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Fiona Henderson].

Mar 27

Weekend Reading: Out Like a Lamb (?) Edition

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As March draws to a close, maybe you are back from your break. Maybe, you are still gearing up. Wherever you are in your academic term, we hope that the allergy gods smile, or that it finally stops snowing. Or both.

From The Chronicle of Higher Ed, a story about Trinity College in Washington D. C.: ”How an Elite Women’s College Lost Its Base and Found Its Mission.” And earlier this week, coverage of Sweet Briar continued with “Scenes from the Death of a College” and “Sweet Briar Alumnae Outline Legal Case Against College.”

From The Atlantic, soon would-be physician assistants will be able to complete the majority of their training online.

From Salon: new revelations about Woody Allen from Mariel Hemingway’s forthcoming memoir.

From Psychology Today: all about awkwardness.

Technology is apparently changing the way that we tip. From The NY Times10%? 20%? Apps Are Changing the Way We Tip” and from TechCrunch How Technology Is Tricking You Into Tipping More.”

Our video of the week is vintage R.E.M.

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Tim Pokorny]

Mar 20

Weekend Reading: Bring on the Madness Edition

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It’s Friday, ProfHackers–we’ve made it through another week. Do you have a bracket? Is it busted? Already?

I came across a post this week titled “A Parents’ Guide to All That Ed Tech in the Classroom: What to ask when your school says the iPads are coming.” Obviously intended for parents, this post is actually a helpful starting point for anyone who is considering incorporating more technology into an educational environment, whether parent, student, faculty member or administrator.

From Salon: ”Ashley Judd is pressing charges against misogynist trolls who threatened her over sports.” And not only is she pressing charges, she has also written an Op-Ed for Mic: “Forget Your Team, Your Online Violence Towards Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.”

The CEO of Starbucks decided this week that his baristas should begin discussing race with customers as part of a new campaign called #RaceTogether. Gawker has printed the memo which went out to employees. From CNN: “What the Starbucks #RaceTogether Campaign Missed.” Apparently, it missed a lot: “Starbucks SVP Deletes Twitter Account After  Actual Minorities Ask Him About Race.”

An interesting piece in The New Yorker about Sinéad O’Connor’s relationship with her most famous single: “Nothing Compares to Sinéad.

Also from The New Yorker, a piece about the politics of higher education and the University of North Carolina: “Ayn Rand Comes to UNC.”

Did you know that Baltimore Raven John Urschel is also a published mathematician?

Because we do not have enough baby platypus videos:

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Steve Johnson].

Mar 13

Weekend Reading: Blasted Daylight Savings Edition

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Welcome to the weekend, ProfHackers! I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems to me like every year, adjusting to Daylight Savings is more difficult. But we’ve made it through the week, and some of us are enjoying Spring Break or have started to count down the days.

If the news about Sweet Briar wasn’t disturbing enough last week, The Atlantic published an article about “The Unfortunate Fate of Sweet Briar’s Professors” Spoiler alert: “Unfortunate” is an understatement. Meanwhile, Inside Higher Ed asks, “Who’s Next? Who Isn’t?” and”Closing With Grace.”

Chronicle Vitae explores “Detenure and Its Discontents.”

In entertainment news, Variety reports that a Los Angeles jury ordered Robin Thicke and Pharrell to pay Marvin Gaye’s family $7.3 million for copyright infringement. The New Yorker‘s Tim Wu argues that the verdict should be thrown out.

From Medium: “How Netflix Broke the Unbreakable Spoiler Alert (And How To Fix It).”

From The Atlantic: ”The Dark Power of Fraternities.”

From Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security, “Higher Education isn’t in crisis” (a book review of two recent publications which claim otherwise).

Finally, from Chronicle Vitae, “Losing My Affiliation,” Katie Guest Rose Pryor on the swift shift from an affiliated (unpaid) leave of absence to the life of a freelance academic.

And because the phrase, “losing my” always ends in R.E.M. for me, our video of the week this time around does too:

[Creative Commons licensed post by Flickr user Kevin Jones]

Mar 06

Weekend Reading: In Like a Lion Edition

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Welcome to the weekend, ProfHackers.

The higher ed landscape was rocked this week with the news of the imminent closure of Sweet Briar College. Inside Higher Ed broke the news on Tuesday afternoon. In the aftermath of the announcement, many questions are being askedThe Christian Science Monitor asks, “Are Women’s Colleges Still Relevant?” (Disclosure, I teach at a women’s college, so for me the answer is a resounding YES). Bloomberg View asserts that Sweet Briar is closing “the right way.” Inside Higher ed tries to explain where the endowment will go. A crowd-funding effort to save the college is underway. Our own Chronicle  suggests “Sweet Briar’s Demise is a Cautionary Tale for Small Colleges. In a more dramatic fashion,, Bloomberg Business claims, “Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops.”

A powerful take on #thedress.

On a happier note, according to journalist Connor Sheets, “Harper Lee appears to be fully lucid.”

Have you tried the newest Starbucks concoction, the Flat White?  Did you know that there’s a great deal of discussion about what exactly the Flat White is and what it should be?

What about Popcorn Time, a site which Quartz has claimed to be “the most fascinating story on the internet at the moment” and “Netflix for pirates”? Bloomberg has proclaimed, “This torrenting app is too good to be legal.” In a nutshell, Popcorn Time is a controversial app based out of the Netherlands that allows users to watch video for free via bit torrent technology.

If you have ever wondering about the life of a literary agent, this Guernica interview with Chris Parris-Lamb is worth your time.

From the Chronicle, “The Benefit of No-Tech Note-Taking.” (Since when are pen and paper not technology? They aren’t cutting edge technology, granted, at least my Pilor G-2s and legals pads aren’t the latest and greatest, but technology they still are . . .)

A collection of random, cool things from the internet site MessyNessyChic.

Finally, this weekend is Daylight-Savings time for many of our readers. Here are some tips from WEB MD to ease the effects of springing forward 

Our video of the week is inspired, in a way, by the ransom cool things post: a skating boarding tortoise:

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Michael Bentley].

Feb 27

Weekend Reading: #thedress edition

Happy Friday ProfHackers! The above picture not The Dress, but it is A dress, and I couldn’t resist the shot. If you haven’t seen the dress, click the previous link. Or go to Facebook. Or Twitter. Or pretty much anywhere else online. And then, if you care why no one can agree on the colors, check out this piece on WiredThe Atlantic posted a piece that uses #thedress as a stepping stone to think about attention policing.

And in case you missed it, there was llama drama in AZ. The Twittersphere had a great deal of fun with the great llama chase of 2015.

In Wisconsin, not only does Gov. Scott Walker want to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system, he also wants to eliminate the language that requires universities to report sexual assaults on campus to the Dept. of Justice. According to the Huffington Post, however, bipartisan group of senators, recently introduced a bill that would increase the federal government’s ability to penalize universities and colleges who mishandle sexual assault. He also equated WI protestors to members of ISIS.

On a happier note, meet best friends Dolly and Sheldon. Dolly is a pit bull and Sheldon is a tortoise.

And the FCC approved Net Neutrality. Engadget explores what this might mean for creativity and innovation as well as some potential opposition (still) to the ruling. Technology Review raises five loopholes (or possible loopholes).

Ian Bogost announced the demise of the Big Mac (not really).

Gelato. Mmmm. Gelato (Thanks LA Times).

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy. “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” (Leonard Nimoy’s final tweet). Our video of the week is an interview that Nimpy did with Pharell for ARTST TLK:

 

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Lisa Risager]

Feb 20

Weekend Reading: Deep Freeze Edition

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Where ever you are, ProfHackers, we hope you are staying warm! Record snow and cold temperatures have blanketed much of the U.S. Boston, as fellow ProfHacker Ryan Cordell can attest, is having a “Winter From Hell.” And yet, it could be worse: we could be in eastern Canada, where the snow is high enough in places to bury cars and houses completely.

Oklahoma state legislators are currently considering a bill that would bar state funds from being used for Advanced Placement History courses. According to Newsweek, Oklahoma teachers aren’t too happy about the prospect.

Speaking of schools, apparently some are implementing mass shooting simulations.

Salon, in a piece that is not news to the majority of us, exposes “America’s visiting professor scam.”

This piece on authors’ relationship to social media by Matt Kirschenbaum has been making the rounds for a couple weeks now, but in case you hadn’t already seen it, check out “What is an @uthor?

Writing while Feminist can exact a steep price, according to The Washington Post.

But Today.com posted a nice follow-up to the story about Rowan Hansen, the 11 year-old whose letter to DC Comics questioning why there weren’t more female superheroes, more merchandise for the existing female characters, and why if DC can make a movie about a Talking tree and a raccoon, there’s no Wonder Woman film. And here’s the video of the segment.

Our video of the week is from BBC1. Did you know that hummingbirds snore?

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user ozz13x]

Feb 13

Weekend Reading: Be My Valentine Edition

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Happy Valentine’s Day, ProfHackers! If you are haven’t gotten flowers yet for that someone special, Time gives us “5 Things to Know About Buying Flowers on Valentine’s Day.”

For the cynics among us, “6 Totally Unromantic Truths About Valentine’s Day Spending.” Here’s a hint: if you wait until February 15, you can buy those conversation hearts for half price.

If you are looking for a movie to watch: 9 Movies on Netflix to Match Your Valentine’s Day Mood. In addition to the list, you might consider Once  (for the romantics), Gone Girl (for the most cynical among us)

Maybe skip the chocolate this year? Or at least cut back a little–”Something else in that box of chocolate: Heavy Metal.”

Love letters are a dying art. In an attempt to revive them, The Atlantic offers A Modern Guide to the Love Letter. Or, check out  New York Times “Modern Love” on How We Write About Love.

Also from The New York Times: “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.”

In a slightly different vein, our friend at Hook & Eye, Erin Wunkler, posted this piece, which might be a kind of Valentine for contingent faculty: “Dear Contract Academic Faculty.”

On public shaming and social media: “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.” The more I think about it, the more I think that this piece should be a prerequisite for everyone with a social media presence.

We mentioned Scott Walker’s assault on the UW system last week, and the story has only gathered momentum since then. The New York Times explains, “Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Has National Message” while Salon features a take-down of Walker’s message by Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Claudia Klein Felske, who was also one of Walker’s classmates at Marquette.

And lest you think that it’s only Wisconsin where higher education is under siege, think again: “Louisiana higher education officials talk about potential cuts to colleges and universities.” And state officials in South Carolina are currently debating whether or not to close SC State for a year, fire all of its faculty and staff, and transfer its students with a 2.5 or higher GPA to other state schools. The Huffington Post was one of many sources to report the story originally. More recently, two members of the SC House of Representatives have written a bill that would keep the school open but fire its President and Board of Trustees.

Our video today comes from Simon’s Cat:

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user LadyDragonflyCC]

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