Where’s the Incident Report?

Most people reading this probably assume I’m talking about #Ferguson.  Instead, I have something in mind a bit closer to home:  the events that occurred on August 5 at the Beavercreek, OH Walmart.  If you are unaware of this case, you should be.   I don’t know what happened in the store on August 5, but I do know that one document important to the case has been withheld from the public.

Why hasn’t the incident report been released?  Both Crawford’s family/family’s lawyer and the Dayton Daily News have requested the incident report.  According to this new article, they’ve only received one line:

“Dispatched to Walmart for a disturbance/weapons complaint.”

The incident report is a public record and should be released immediately.   Ohio has liberal public records’ law, which is a good thing in my humble opinion.

Of course, for those not interested in the incident report, there’s a lot of other material to consider.  Audio and video have been released, and for those interested in the case, I encourage you to consider this material.

As someone who thinks a lot about incident report writing – and the ways that these documents are used by multiple audiences – I’m concerned that this document has not been released.  Is that one line all that was written as part of the incident report?

Now I understand that when there is an officer-involved shooting, a chain of events occurs.  Departments have policies about this, and I’d be curious to read Beavercreek’s policy manual.  For the sake of comparison, check out the San Jose PD’s policy.  Why did I pick this city?  Because it was readily accessible through a Google search.  Sorry, I wish it was a more academic or scholarly reason.

I hope that if you’re interested in Ferguson, you’re interested in Beavercreek, especially if it’s geographically closer to you than Missouri.  As I wrote earlier, I don’t know what happened on August 5, but I do know that the incident report is an important document that should be released in its entirety.


Apologies for lack of posting… and some new adventures

It’s been a very long time since I wrote here.  Not much has happened, and, of course, lots of things have happened.  I accepted a new position at my university, which means I have to leave my old appointment.  It’s a good opportunity, but I am sad to leave what I was doing.  

I’ve started getting to the gym more often; I’m still not working out as I used to do, but my motto is “something is better than nothing.”  

The other day was my mom’s birthday; now that she’s passed away, it’s a sad reminder.  

We’re heading to our favorite place in the world, Edisto Island, from where I hope to post pictures.  In the meantime, I’ll post a random picture from my files.

Ten years ago, this was Mom, Eileen, and me on Mother’s Day at Seaside; Dad is the photographer.



Seaside Mother's Day 2004 1


I guess it wasn’t so random. Love and miss Mom everyday, and so proud of my sister.

Edisto Island gives me such peace and energy, but more on that another time.

What’s that warm, wet feeling?

Last night something happened to me that has never happened, and I hope will never, ever, ever happen again.  I was sitting on our couch eating dinner.  Yes, we sometimes eat dinner in front of the tv.  I know that’s bad for families.  🙂 

I began to notice a warm, wet situation on my lower back.  It took me longer than it should have, but I turned to discover that one of our dogs was peeing…not just on our couch, which was covered with a sheet, because of their muddy paws, but on ME as well.  When I yelled, the dog didn’t stop.    

When people talk about house training pets, they say you need to catch them going, and shout or do something to distract them.  Well, there’s no distracting this dog.  She just kept going until she was done.  

Initially, I was angry, because it was gross… I ran for the shower and left the cleanup to my husband.  But then I chuckled.  It was pretty comical…. but still gross.  

Talking about race and ethnicity in the graphic novel class…

When developing my graphic novel class, I deliberately chose a range of graphic novels that represented different visual styles, themes, etc.  So, we’ve gone from reading BATMAN to FROM HELL to MAUS to SHORTCOMINGS to JIMMY CORRIGAN.  Of course, certain themes or questions common to several graphic novels emerge.  One has been race and ethnicity.  

During one class, I was a bit startled by some comments made by students regarding the topic.  So, after the class, I felt like we had some work to do in terms of thinking more deeply about the questions that were raised.   I talked with a colleague, who made some suggestions, including assigning Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”  I planned a class, which was still focused on graphic novels, but incorporated (what I hoped) would be a more nuanced treatment of race and ethnicity…and of course I began the class by saying that no one class period, course, or even major could adequately address the topic (or topics, for that matter).  I emphasized that, for me anyway, it’s a lifelong conversation and engagement.  

Overall, I thought the class discussion went well.  People were comfortable talking, which is always a good sign.   I asked the students to write a reflection paper after considering our class, reading the McIntosh piece, and thinking more about whether graphic novels are an effective vehicle for facilitating conversations about potentially sensitive topics.  Usually, students post their responses to a Google doc, so that others can see what they wrote, but I decided against that for this assignment.  I didn’t want students to feel less comfortable sharing their perspectives or views by being worried about what others thought.  Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, but it didn’t feel quite right for me to force students to make public what they might prefer be private.  

I enjoyed reading the papers and providing feedback.  I gave every student who completed the work an “A,” because I just wanted them to engage with these ideas in a way that perhaps they had not done; I didn’t want to evaluate the quality of their writing, argument, etc.  

Several students wrote about liking the assignment and the discussion.  Several students found McIntosh’s essay offensive, troublesome, provocative, etc.  (I’d be shocked if no one responded to it in that way).  A few students wrote about how eye-opening the essay was.  I don’t expect one essay to change someone’s worldview completely (and permanently), so admittedly I was a little skeptical when it sounded like students were writing what they thought I wanted to hear or what they thought they should write.  My husband disagreed with me, and felt that an essay could have this effect on someone.  I guess he’s more optimistic than me. 🙂 

What emerged most from this is how much we need to continue the conversation.  I found myself reading my students’ words and wanting to speak with them, or listen more to what they had to say.  

Teaching Jimmy Corrigan…

Today we started Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, and I feel like I let the book down.  Its awesomeness just can’t be contained.  My approach was to give some brief background information on Ware and some contexts for the book – our student presenters will be talking more about Ware’s bio and connections to the book.   So, I shared some material from early 20th century comics.  I also shared Building Stories and talked about how that works (or could work).  Then we started with the book, and I began with the opening front matter.  I don’t think I had as coherent a set of goals for the day’s discussion as I should have had. I love the book and enjoy the experience of moving through it, especially rereading it.  But I probably should have been a bit more focused for my students.  Oh well, there’s Thursday…  if anyone has any suggestions for approaches to teaching this book, please let me know.  We have a couple of weeks on it (6 classes). 

My professional life exists in my inbox…

I can’t seem to escape it:  everything I need to do today seems to require me to be in my inbox.  It never, ever ends.  There’s something wrong with that. 

I hate feeling overwhelmed with things to do, and rather than feeling like I have something concrete to do, instead I have email to do.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.   This is not good for the soul.


The Race: Asian Australian, Part 10

A Holistic Journey

1) How do you define yourself racially or ethnically and why is it important to you? Please tell us about the racial makeup of your family if you were adopted or come from a colorful family.

I was born in Australia to very traditional Chinese-Malaysian parents. The word “Malaysian” refers to a nationality. There are predominantly three races living in Malaysia – Chinese, Malay and Indian. A very long time ago, the Chinese came and settled in Malaysia. My grandparents – and many generations before them – were born in Malaysia. My relatives and extended family don’t know where our ancestors originated. We don’t talk about Chinese history but the history of Malaysia. We’ve always considered ourselves Chinese people living in Malaysia. We don’t identify with China the country but with Chinese culture. Chinese Malaysian is similar to the term, say, Korean American.

Melbourne Melbourne

When I was growing up in Melbourne…

View original post 1,142 more words

Just finished first two issues of BLACK OF HEART and LACKLUSTER WORLD

So, I just spent a bit of time on our back “porch” (more like a cement block), as the sun is setting, and read the first two issues of Black of Heart from #AssailantComics and Lackluster World from #EricAdams …  loved them both and am eager to read more.   Luckily, I have all of the LW issues, but have exhausted my BOH issues.  

I’m teaching a graphic novel class this semester and I hope to develop a graphic novel course (rather than co-opting our ENG 122 Popular Literature class), so I discovered both series at Gem City Comic Con last weekend while doing some research.  Met Chris Charlton and Eric Adams, who were both gracious and kind; I hope to have another opportunity to speak with them…and perhaps a. assign their work to my students and b. have them visit our campus and our classes.  

The visual styles of each are radically different, and, to be fair, Charlton’s the writer (David Hollenbach is the artist… although writing is an art, so that’s not quite a fair statement), while Adams does the writing and the art.  So, I’m really curious to see other works by Assailant Comics … and Adams, too.  It’s interesting to me to think about the differences between the two in terms of how the works get produced.  That’s something that has always interested me…  not just the finished “product,” but the whole process.  It’s why I loved writing about Conrad Richter and his relationship with his publisher, Alfred Knopf.  

Anyway, more some other time about this stuff, but I encourage folks to consider picking up these releases.  

#graphicnovel #EricAdams #LacklusterWorld #AssailantComics #BlackofHeart #ChrisCharlton

What happens to friendships as you get older? Yes, I’m doing my Carrie Bradshaw impersonation (you should hear that line in her voice)… not really.

I had a bit of a conversation with my husband last night – something that’s been on my mind for a time.  I’ve never been someone who is particularly social in the sense that I enjoy large parties, call hundreds of people friends (except through FB), etc.  I’ve been fortunate to meet people at different points of my life with whom I’ve shared close connections.    

Some of those people are still in my life, and for that I am grateful.  But those people are far away geographically, and the type of experiences we share are limited to electronic communication (really, Facebook).  That’s ok, for the most part, but sometimes I wish I had more.  

I look around my world now, and I don’t see those same types of bonds being formed. 

Perhaps it’s a by-product of getting older, being married, or some combination of things, but right now I wouldn’t say that I actively have friendships outside of work associations.  To some extent, I do feel responsible.  

I don’t necessarily put myself in situations where I’d meet people outside of work, and when I am outside of work, I tend to be guarded for all sorts of reasons.  

For example, when I go to the gym, I workout.  I don’t like to chitchat while there.  I also worry that someone might question my motives.  I need to remove my wedding and engagement rings to lift, but I always wear them on a chain.  That’s a conscious decision, because I don’t want to be perceived as trying to pick someone up at the gym.  Of course, wearing rings doesn’t mean I’m not trying to do that.  Actually, it would be a lot more convenient for me to just take the rings off at home, but I don’t…  also, in my defense, I wear the rings on a chain to help me keep track of them.  I’m worried if I take them off and leave them somewhere, I’ll lose them. 🙂

I’m not ungrateful for the relationships I have with co-workers.  I’ve met some fantastic people, and I’d probably enjoy getting to know more of them beyond the context of work, but that doesn’t really happen.  Again, I’m partly responsible, but it’s not like I’ve turned down multiple offers to do something or just meet up to chat…so, I don’t feel that people are seeking me out, either. 

Ultimately, I feel satisfied with my day to day life… and not just satisfied, but truly fortunate.  I’m sharing my life with someone who accepts me for who I am (a weird WordPress writing, sometimes streetwear wearing, Jersey girl), and that has given me a connection to three amazing children, three grandchildren, and a lot more family than I had before.  I do think everyday (often at several points during the day) how much I love being with the person I share space with…  

Perhaps I should seek out opportunities to connect with people outside of work.  Or perhaps not.  




Rollercoaster of a teaching day

Yesterday I taught two classes that have vastly different “vibes.”  I’m not sure why this is the case, but I can speculate.   I enjoy both classes, and both provide me with the opportunity to share my passion for two radically different topics:  graphic novels and writing proposals.  

In my first class, we were discussing SHORTCOMINGS and I provided a quote from a recent scholarly article about Tomine’s work that suggested that Tomine is challenging notions of “whiteness.” I’ve been using secondary scholarship as a way to engage students.  I provide the quote, ask the students to talk about what they understand the writer to be asserting, and then encourage them to agree, disagree, challenge, etc.  Without offering too many details, the discussion suggested to me that we all have some work to do when it comes to thinking about and discussing race, ethnicity, etc.   (This includes me, btw).  

So, I’m prepping something for tomorrow’s class that I had not expected to prep, but I think it’s going to be good.  It’s an opportunity to open discussion and encourage the students to continue to explore an important topic, but I’m also afraid that I’ll feel inadequate and wish I had more time and opportunity to engage with the students.  We’ll see how it goes.

In my second class, we focused on “style.”   Did you know you can find things like this on youtube?  No, I didn’t use it…  I did share something similar with my students just to get their attention.  The class is an evening class, so…  

Anyway, I absolutely love talking about writing at the sentence level.   As a kid, I liked taking things apart or just mixing various household chemicals together underneath the sink in our bathroom (it’s a miracle I’m alive).  It’s the same thing with sentences.  I love looking at one, considering how it’s put together, how it works, and then blowing it up to make something new.  I love sharing that with students.  Something as basic as getting students to recognize independent and dependent clauses and how you can change the emphasis of your sentence by flipping them is cool to me.  I get excited talking about active and passive voice.  I just love, love, love that stuff.   I had a lot of hands-on activities for last night, but because I was so eager to talk about so many things, the students only were able to complete 1 in class.  We did use what they wrote for other things, but my grand plans were a bit too grand – even for a nearly 3 hour class period.  

So, overall, it felt like a rollercoaster of a teaching day – with ups and downs, twists and turns, and an unexpected sense of falling off a cliff, but it ended well.   I love teaching.  Sometimes I think I’m pretty good at it, but usually not.  

Back to work…