Reading Response: 36 and days: Reflection on Generation Beta



I turned 36 years old on the 20th. And as it is her tradition, my mom contacts me to remind me that I am a year older. The restrictions of her religious beliefs  prevent her from actually saying “Happy Birthday”, but the sentiment is there.


For the last 18 years my mom has called. 


This time she texted. I chuckled at that because I remember teaching her to text on that same phone about three years ago. It was a gift from to her for some reason I have since forgotten; her first and only digital device and she made me sit with her and walk her through the process. 


And every year she texts more and more until that’s all she does. And it only took her three years.


On the other hand my mother-in-law, who is made of awesome, is a digital rock star. Being a Network Analyst, she was given an iPhone 3G as part of her job. The first thing she did is created a ringtone from AC/DC’s “Dynamite”. It only took her 3 hours. But that included walking her through ripping the DRM off of the track too…


The Great Moogster and Tea are on a combined 8 social networking sites, and this excludes the ones that they use for school. To ground them off the computer is to cut them off from friends, school assignments and their recreation. They are masters of the proxy and it takes a keystroke logger and 30 minutes a night to make sure they aren’t causing trouble. They can also conduct college level research. They’re 16 and 13, respectively.  Oh yeah… it took the RedHead 5 hours to clear off nearly 2 dozen viruses off of the upstairs PC.


Yes, there is a reading response in here, but I needed to create a context to clarify my point.


The point: I am smack dab in the middle of  Generation Beta. The generation the created the technology, but doesn’t own it. The generation tasked with teaching both the older and younger generations the literacy skills that they require to navigate the world.


But to do teach literacies, we have to define them. But…


The skills that each generation needs are unique.



Denise Klarquist wrote a short article on the Cheskin site about “The Advantage of Being the “beta” Generation” where she states that where she is searching for evidence “that approaching “a certain age” didn’t mean certain obsolescence”. She argues that the replacement of the then 18 year old Joss Stone for the then 40 Sarah Jessica Parker and the fact that her then 4 year old niece didn’t want (or need ) help to install, navigate and use her computer and software meant that she was no longer needed.


She later found that “teens today are more focused on content and experience than the behind the scenes working of the technology”. And judging from the cursing that came from the RedHead as he cleaned the computer, that seems to be the case.


Our generation grew up lacking knowledge and gained it through various, albeit limited resources. We had our parents and teachers, who were a good source of knowledge (until we became teenagers), we had newspapers, books and magazines which had a scope limited to what they determined to be “fit to print”. Then there was television. I am old enough to be around when HBO was a pay per view service available on unused VHF channels and cable wasn’t around. Once it did become available, I learned everything I could and soon was able to share this information with my parents, who eventually learned it. 


The experience that my parents and teachers had was far greater than mine, but the technology grew much slowly in relation to their ability to analyze and integrate it into our lives. Books, magazines, movies and TV were technologies they were greatly familiar with and knew the dangers and benefits of from years of experience. It was a matter of scale (more channels) rather than a manner of learning the tools, then the dangers and benefits.


Personal computers, the Internet and a slew of related digital devices has brought a world of information to us. And Generation Beta, the inventors of the technology, has seen it the devices and technology expand to uses that we have never imagined.


Our parents and teachers, those who lived full and happy lives without the technology that Gen B can’t live without, rely on us to learn the technology and implement them into their lives. This is if we can convince them to use it in the first place.


Our children are not lacking the skills to navigate and create the technology. They were born with it and it’s all they know. They understand that everything they read online isn’t gospel and they have a better sense of irony and satire than our generation had at their age. And being children (don’t say it too loud, or they will start having fits), they are not inclined to consider the consequences of reckless use of technology, namely that you’ll hose your computer and your stepdad has to miss a good part of the NASCAR race to fix it.


So what is the job of the beta generation?


It is to define the body of knowledge, refine the skill set and develop the ethics of this digital age. It is to understand that knowledge is now upside down. It is to have the humility and  patience to guide our elders who have taught us so much through the learning curve. It is to have the humility and patience to teach the practical consequences to our younger generations as they guide us through a learning curve of our own. It is to be the testing ground and to understand that we may never be quite ready, but will filter through the bugs as we find them.















Posted in family, school, Society & Tech | Tagged , | Leave a comment

it’s in the cards….

It’s in the Cards.

On Tuesday, the 10th of march, I had a tarot card reading. It was after a presentation on Digital Literacy at the Austin Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I had planned to do a live demo and Q & A, but the WiFi was MIA, and I couldn’t get a 3G signal on my netbook. But I went on anyway, and the crowd was full of questions (and even some answers) making it one of the best presentations. I have done at this point. 

Skyler White ( a steampunk,goth and vampiric novel goddess, read my cards in a three card spread. And though two of the three have since left my memory, what they said made me think and thus made me write.


“Shuffle the cards as you ask your question”, she said as I picked up the cards. 

I took the cards with some fear. But I did what she asked, but there was a problem.

There were many too many questions in my mind and they were far too complicated for just a simple spread. 

I wanted to ask of love; not the cliche ‘will I ever find the man of dreams?’. I found him already, but I also routinely dream of having therapy sessions with purple mice (that is NOT a slight to you, Judith…), so being insanely happy with The RedHead is not unusual. I wanted to know if I could be myself and still have his love.

I wanted to ask about my career and the fears I had with that. I have passion and knowledge, but I battle every second with the fear of the open world, people and failure. It wasn’t always like this, but at present it is my truth. At best I can take the reigns and plow along. At worst, I never leave my room. Every step towards the goal is a step into the wide world with room to create everything. Or nothing. 

How I miss those days when I knew that any and everything was possible.

So, after sitting the briefest of moments I asked a simple question.

“How do I get back to where I was?”

Where was I?

I was free…

After years of being a fundamentally religious household, I got up and left. I have faith in myself that was firm and rock solid. I knew that as long as I prepared, there was nothing I couldn’t overcome. And most times I was right. We (me and the girls) went everywhere and did a lot of stuff. And we were happy.

Then something happened. I’m not sure what, and frankly, it’s irrelevant. Something happened and I developed a fear of the world. I was afraid to fail and let myself or my family down. I was afraid to reach out for the things I wanted. So I stopped for a long time.

And here I am. Too frightened to move, but moving anyway. A victim of my chronic self-promotion and self sabotage in turns. 

How do I get back to that solid faith and that feeling: that feeling of being prepared and fight for the things I love? That feeling that every road will get me to my goal, it’s just a matter of distance and scenery?

How do I get back to where I was?

I asked.

And this is what the cards said:


1) Get over yourself… This was a prince card; that was all I remember. Skyler told me that this card indicated a calmness in the midst of “adolescent-like emotionality”. That I have in spades. Going back to the presentation, when I realized that I couldn’t do the demo, my mind exploded into a Greek Chorus of damnation, distress and insult:


“Why didn’t you check first?”

“What kind of pro doesn’t prepare?”

“You have royally fucked this up!”

“What were you thinking?”

I had no answers, so I slinked to the back of the room and stuffed myself to comfort and waited. And as I waited, I heard one voice.

“You have done your best.”

The voice recites a quote from the research I was did that morning, before I put it away to watch Saw 5. Twice.

“In today’s digital climate, for the first time in modern history it is to be expected that the students know more about the technology than the one tasked to teach them.”

 “Now go and do your best.”

And I do. And it was glorious. I had a blast and so did everyone else.

When I heard her interpretation, it rang true.


2) The Platform.  This was a bit trickier. The card itself was a ten of water, I think. Damned the memory. Anywho, Skyler talked of a dynamic, but stable, platform that is the the set point of the forward progress I’m making to accomplish my goal. 

The first thing that came to my head was The RedHead. He is the man I love, my dream man (in spite of the purple mice) and my uber-nemesis for years. I would not have gotten this far without his encouragement and strength against the force of my tantrums. 

But the question was how could I do this? What could I do? That took a trip to the bookstore.

Every Wednesday I go to several bookstore as part of my ritual of getting out of the house. This week I was looking for a replacement for the book my boss was eyeing on my desk. Never found it, but I did find this:


GETTING KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL: Using your personal strengths to grow an Author Platform by Christina Katz 

Platform? I continue reading…

[Definition Of Platform]

Platform encompasses all the ways you are visible and appealing to your future, potential or actual readership. Platform development is important not only for authors; it’s also crucial for aspiring and soon-to-be authors. Your platform includes your Web presence, public speaking, teaching, your publication credits, and any other means you have for making yourself known to a viable readership.


Platform. And if there’s any doubt, the following blurb by author Lee Silber washes it away:

The difference between a struggling author searching for a book deal and the happily published author is a well developed platform



And the third card:


The Fool.

“It would be foolish to do it; it would be foolish not to.”

The Fool. The Alpha and the Omega of the major arcana. The one that with his trusty companion and the bag of memories and dreams is always on the edge of the cliff.

It’s marked by the number zero, which is fitting really because zero runs on a plain different from all the other numbers. You don’t count to zero and if you add zero to another number, you get the same thing you started with.

But you can only go so far without it. It is a placeholder yes, but that placeholder is the difference between a morsel (1%), a little (10%) and everything (100%).

It is the thing we start with at our birth and end up with at our death. It is the silent space, the starting point where every grand adventure begins.

It is the faith that’s courageous  to the point of naivete and the wisdom to know that there isn’t a thing so dangerous as a person with nothing to lose.

It was the fool that pushed me to see the world and what scared me these last few years.

It is the place where everything is possible if you have the blind faith to take on the task.

It is the life that I want.

It is comfort incarnate.


Is this the magic of the tarot (insert spooky noises here) working here? Did the cards see deep into my soul and read my mind?

Nope. It’s a perspective change. 

The cards cannot read.

They are a mirror.

They show you who you are.

They are suggestions to get you walking forward with a little more faith.

Posted in the path | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confessions without Context…

I was reading PostSecrets. I found many insightful messages that people send to strangers to be published as catharsis. 


Does it really help if they don’t know it’s you?

I thought I would take a stab at it my way…

I will confess somethings out here. I feel safe doing this because I’m sure many people don’t read my blogs anyway. Seriously, I could put the link on Twitter, FaceBook and MySpace and very few would take the clicks to see what’s going on.

Isn’t isolation in plain view wonderful? 😀

so… some confessions out of context… all true. You can ask for the context, but I reserve the right not to provide it.


  1. I did love him for years even though I knew he didn’t care. I continued because it felt good to care for someone. Even now at quiet moments I think of him because that was the last time I put all of my heart into loving someone.
  2. Even at that age I knew what was happening wasn’t right, but knowing that I had that kind of power to hurt her was so very worth it at the time… now, I understand the power, but wished I had used it differently.
  3. I was homeless because I didn’t want the responsibility of life on my shoulders anymore. And if I didn’t have the girls, I would still be wandering the world.
  4. I have spent over 20 years trying to find my place in the world and I fear I will never find it.
  5. The question isn’t whether or nor I had the abortion (i did) the real questions (with an ‘s’) are: Do you really believe that my MoM had enough money to pay off an entire body of Elders as you claim? Who really had the power to keep an 7 men from doing their job? Maybe another Elder perhaps? And with that in mind, who WAS the father? We know the answers to all of those questions…
  6. I love one girl more because she is so very like me. I love the other more because she’s nothing like me.
  7. I married him because he was there and I wanted to run away.
  8. I married him because he was there and both wanted to run away.
  9. I married him because he loves me and knows how broken I am. He knows that I fell in love with another man but I never acted on it. He knows I’m afraid but he never shows fear. He knows I’m lost but has always given me time and space to find my way back. He loves me without question and that’s why I’m deathly afraid of him.
  10. I think that I have burned all of my bridges there and that saddens me because I wanted some of them on my team…

It’s amazing. 
The more you confess, the more you want to; the lingering ghosts and demons that fight so to escape your mind. I feel better now that I’ve done this. Now let’s see what happens next.

Posted in the path | Tagged , | Leave a comment

writing to fight teh suck…

I’m afraid of sucking at Grad School, my writing and eventually podcasting.

I know, I know it’s good to suck until you don’t suck and it’s really not sexy to whine to the whole interwebs about how much you do.

But I found that there was no other way to get my 100 words in today:

·     I wanted to write about how electronic literature was the coffee table books compared to the hard and paperback book of podcast fiction.

·     I wanted to add another hundred words to that next Micah Leigh story I have been thinking of (I haven’t written anything about her since August 07, bleh)

·     I compiled the work for the first part of my Important Works research and that’s done, but I haven’t loaded them to my iPod for listening

·     I mourn over the fading of Hundred Books because of all Grad School Work and decided instead to create the Important Works so it can be part of Grad Studies

·     I…

Much like the writing pages of “The Artist Way” these few hundred words give me confidence, the will to keep writing, kinda like doing all of your outside errands since you’re already dressed, out the house and the gassed up.

So I will whine until it’s all done and I will write until I’m done…or at least until I don’t suck anymore.


Like that will ever happen 

Posted in school, the path | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Digital Literature: Important Works Compilation Part 1

The more I listen to podcast novels, the more I feel that they should be studied on an academic level. Delivery aside, the level of storytelling and the aural dimension (sound effects, voice acting, etc), lifts podcast novels above from mere audio books in an area of study all it’s own.

With that in mind, I will present and analyze what I believe to be the important works in Podcast Fiction.

First, let me explain what I mean by important:

The original works of the genre:

It had to start somewhere. So I will be adding the fiction that are credited with the creation of the genre. Examples include:

  • “MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana” by Tee Morris and Lisa Lee
  • The “Heaven” Series by Mur Lafferty
  • “Earthcore” by Scott Sigler
  • The “7th Son” Trilogy by J.C. Hutchins

The originating podcasts will not be included. 

Works that represent the best of the genre:

The works or authors that are award-winning or receive honorable mention. This is relevant because currently the awards given to podcast fiction is selected by peers and fans, the best indication of the work’s merit. Examples include:

  • “How to Succeed in Evil” by Patrick McLean
  • “Failed City Monologues” by Matt Wallace

There will also be analysis of works that have crossed over to traditional print.

This list is short and nowhere near comprehensive. But what it IS is an effort to place podcast fiction in the realm of literature. Where it belongs


Posted in fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

now for 2009

I thought that being home would be freeing, an in a way I was right. I get up when I want to do some things about the house, do some things outside the house if I have the money and spend time with the kids and the 360.

What I have found is that I need is more structure now that I have more free time.

I don’t have the time excuse anymore. I have all the hours in the day! There’s no excuse for not having an evening meal or the laundry done or my reading for the research paper done.  What else do I have to do?

Let’s step away from domestically for a minute…

I now have no excuse for not working out. I have the equipment, and the time (there’s that tricky instant excuse maker)….

I have 20-30 minutes to give for a walk and another 20-30 minutes to lift weights. There’s no pressing need to clock in, no deadlines to fret over. Just me and ability or lack thereof to summon the will to get up and make my muscles sore.

So to be able to get things done, I have to have schedules and routines that keep me in sync and the dishes out of the sink. So I made some goals:

  • I have to put time into my body

    • I want to get away from my current 42 inch waist to a much healthier 34 inches, roughly have my height

    • I want to get my diabetes under control with diet while I still can

  • My looks

    • (transitioning to chemical free hair and stretching my ear lobes to 10mm)

  • And my research 
    • getting all of my reading done 
    • schedule class visits
    • parallel podcast novels to more conventional means of publication
  • building my site
    • the splash page is done; check it out, but there’s a lot of work to be done still
This may seem like resolutions, but what these really are the continuation of the world building I started many years ago. I started out without a useable education, a home, a relationship, a family and I have created some and allowed in others.

Now that foundation of my world is complete, now it’s time for framing. The dream job, the daily writing, the novel, the community.

I didn’t know that I would be so tired and scared. And I am, but I am proud of the work so far. I pushed myself to the limits of the world that I knew and now I look at the all the work that needs to be done on the new one. It makes me tired. And scared. And sanguine. 

talk to you soon….

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

MicroFiction: In Color

I dream in waves and colors mere mortals cannot understand. they wave and wobble, taunting and tormenting me like a lover who brings you to the edge….and leaves you there.

Posted in fiction | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2009, 3.0, 10,000

the year, 2009 the first full year as a grad student
3.0 the GPA so far
10,000 was the magic number that started it all.

I’m getting the time and the subject matters to wrote again and I will talk to you soon.


Posted in school | Tagged | Leave a comment

Handwriting on the Wall

The picture above is an illustration of the subtle things we lose as we go forward into the age of digital literacy.

For those who don’t know, the piece of paper is nothing more than my name on a piece of paper, written by a former professor I will from here on out refer to TGD (the good doctor).

I have known TGD for over 2 years now, have taken several classes with him, have received back countless pages of feedback, citations, notes, praise and criticism (my favorite being “Were you drinking when you wrote this?”). Emails have flown. And postings have been read.

Lots of words…loads of words have passed between us.

Today, I received some books back that I loaned him and received the above note, signifying to the front desk who they belonged to.
Common. Everyday. Note. With my name on it.


I realized that this is the first time I have EVER SEEN HIS HANDWRITING. EVER!

There was a time once when you could tell allot about a person by his handwriting. You could even identify the writer if you were familiar enough with them. When cursive was still being taught in schools and before the handwritten note gave way to the quick email.

The digital age is exciting and dynamic, but with progress there’s sacrifice. And it’s the little things you miss….

Posted in Society & Tech | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why Mercs 2 has many wins….

Obama jacking a tank? Hell’s Yeah! Palin popping the colla of a chopper pilot? You Betcha! New downloadable content makes the already awesomely nofail game Mercenaries 2 even more badazzzz

Posted in video games | Tagged | Leave a comment