Quick Frames

Maggie Greene (a UMW History alum, for the gang cheering at home) shared a great post today on Chinese lianhuanhua 连环画, or picture storybooks. In particularly, she shared images — and, with the assistance of the very helpful Brendan O’Kane, a cleaned-up .pdf of the full text — of a 1980 Chinese Star Wars illustrated story book.  Maggie dives nicely into an exploration of Chinese appropriation and improvisation on the story (as well as some of the odder characterizations that seem to appear along the way.)

The images from the text (see Maggie’s post for a link to the full work) struck me, bringing me back to the kinds of Sci-Fi novels I used to read in my younger days. Or which I would still find, until its recent closure, at a favorite used bookstore in my summers visiting family in Sandwich, Mass.

Neuromancer (1984) may not be quite as vintage a title as the others, yet that cover is definitely vintage 80s, rounding out an earlier collection above.

Meanwhile, another very good discussion happened recently at the Columbia Weatherhead East Asian Institute site, with an interview with Gregory Pflugfelder, associate professor of Japanese history and a long-time collector of materials related to Godzilla movies. Pflugfelder shares images and insights, including the ways in which the significance of Godzilla transcends the simple Japan-U.S. dichotomy and history. Monster movies bear much more meaning in their imagery, and carry much more mileage. All with an interest in cinema and global themes should find the discussion quite useful.

 

 

 

Assignment Mock-Up

And I’m now craving mock duck. And my all-time favorite food, xiao long bao.

Xiao long bao

How to get a new group of students comfortable talking in the classroom?

One idea: have the students each assemble a group of images that represents themselves and their interests. Have them post them to the ‘net and then introduce them to the class in a session during the first week. (Thanks for the suggestion, and the report of good results, Krystyn!)

Taipei, image of cook, b+w

And yes, when testing the idea out on myself, what was the first thing that came to mind in response to “what am I about?” Apparently that Rorschach invokes my favorite Taipei eateries and 飲茶 indulgences, among other inkblots. (See above.)

Back to the important stuff: I’m also going to use this image exercise to introduce the students to Flickr CC—and the notion of creative commons itself—as well as The Commons on Flickr as an archival resource, and then let them also use it as a way to explore the WordPress interface at umwblogs that they’ll also be using throughout the course.

CC, FlickrCC, The Commons, WordPress, all in one exercise. First week.

What I’m looking for now is a plugin that allows for better display of images within a post. I’m currently using WP-Cycle above, which is handy but also fairly linear and which crops the images significantly. [Correction: had been using WP-Cycle, but amid some website overhauls, I’ve been uninstalling and reinstalling plugins… so went back to plain images for now. No circulating shots at the moment…]

I’ve noticed that wordpress.com (as opposed to .org or our umwblogs current version of WP engine) has tweaked their gallery options to allow a “tiled” presentation (see below the text blab here) — does anyone know if there’s a decent plugin that will allow something similar for displaying galleries this way? I want to keep it within posts, or perhaps pages, but not something that’s going to transform the entire site into a photo page itself. Suggestions welcome, y’all.

 

Images via Flickr CC, links in order:
1. Chef Chu from Hong Kong – http://www.flickr.com/photos/blinkerfish/4391433404
2. Din tai fung‘s xiao long bao – http://www.flickr.com/photos/24305398@N00/123736453
3. A Taiwan shot, “Boss is always right!” – http://www.flickr.com/photos/papyrist/3987601150/