Tag Archives: Thesis

Spring Symposium Tomorrow! (Well Today)

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Just a little humor before I get started! The Spring Symposium is tomorrow! I am excited, nervous, shakin’ in my boots, all of that. Mostly excited though. I left last week’s class feeling more confident about presenting my work to an audience (including my family) for the first time. I finished my presentation and I also successfully made my surprise handouts for everyone. Here is what everyone will receive:

Thesis Handout

This is going to be a “Quilt Card” that everyone will be able to take home. By now, everyone knows the format of my thesis will eventually be this multimodal quilt that consists of all types of media and text. My topic is not just sensitive, but it’s very important. It’s not only for people who have careers in the academic setting, but it’s important to know in general. I wanted to make sure that the people who heard my presentation learned something new and remember what I said. Of course, there was so much more I wanted to put on this quilt, but I picked what I think people would remember the most.

After finishing the Quilt Card, I worked on my presentation. I must say, after editing it for hours, it turned out nice! Here are some screenshots:

To wrap things up, I am excited to present the work I have done so far. I apologize for the short post! It’s 1 am, and I am T I R E D want to be prepared for tomorrow. (Really today). Anyway…

Thank you and goodnight!

I Survived Research Days!!!

Hey~

So, since you’re reading this, I survived my Research Days presentation on my thesis project!

It went off so well! I couldn’t imagine a better outcome, tbh! I had my tables all set up basically the way I wanted. (The only think I wished were different is that the laptop connected to the SmartTV had a longer cord so I could have placed it on the table and let people peruse the site. During the presentation, people had to come around the table and I think that discouraged some people from doing it.) Overall, I was very happy with the experience. I saw my vision realized.

 

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Photo Credit @KareLNavyBluGuy

Photo Credit @ambitiousisshe1

Photo Credit @KareLNavyBluGuy

Photo Credit @ColorfulWriter2

I was so concerned that people would be uninterested in the work or that they wouldn’t be receptive to participating in the project but so many people were very down to do arts & crafts inspired by the internet. More, so many of my friends, loved ones, and supporters were there engaging with my work and ensuring that other people engaged with it as well. Their help and support ensured my project was fully multimodal. I’m so grateful for everyone who came it for the exhibit.

Photo Credit @MiaZamoraPhD

Photo Credit @soto_leighann

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Photo Credit @_teachreadwrite

I loved hearing the different perspectives I got from so many different people in different specializations. Some people were unsure of my work until I got them talking about digital culture or memes or gifs, etc. Then, they were so excited to tell me about their fave memes or sites or [insert internet phenomena here]. It was heartening to see my work resonate with so many different people across disciplines and mindsets. It felt like people were lining up to talk to me about my work.

That said, I do wish I could have jumped in more on the Twitter or in the Google Hangout. I feel like I was moving a million miles a minute and I just didn’t get to spend as much time as I wish I could have. I’d have loved to respond more o tweets and questions from my online supporters. The people in our #netnarr tag are responsible for expanding so much of my own perspective on digital culture and I wish I could have given them more attention during the exhibit. I think the NetNarr class did a good job in my stead though and, again, I’m grateful to have had them by my side (with their tiger masks and all).

Anyway, I’m still collecting my thoughts on the whole experience but I’ll be sure to discuss the whole experience on my thesis blog by this weekend! Please, check out #takemeseriouly for more photos documenting the exhibit and people’s experience of it! Share your own thoughts too, if you’d like! Thank you to everyone who has kept with me on this wild and crazy journey! You made my presentation possible!

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~Till next time~

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Almost That Time!

 

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A Different World

 

Let’s Get Started!

Hello everyone! Well, I have been quite busy this week. Before I get started, just a huge “Congratulations” to my fellow classmate, scholar, and colleague Kelli for the amazing showcase of her Thesis during Kean University’s Research Days 2019. I was able to express, create, and learn. I applaud you. I also had the honor of participating in Kean’s Research Days along with my Writing and Theory Practice class from last semester. Integrating various ideas, articles, research, images, blog posts, ideas, and videos, we collectively created a website that touched upon various important topics concerning the up-and-coming issues in the classroom. We called it “Small Bites of Knowledge,” so I’ll be sure to add the link to the site after this blog!

Anyway! So besides all of that fun, I had to get down to business. I took a break from writing the next section of my thesis to focus on the Spring Symposium next week! (Can’t believe it’s here already.) I had a hard time creating a formal proposal and a short idea of what I am going to present next week. Of course, it’s in the first draft phase, and tomorrow I will do some cleanup. I wanted to make sure I get my point across and emphasize the problem I am focusing on. And then, of course, I talked about my chapters. I’m not sure if what I have so much is specific enough, but I am hoping it’s a good start to completing my presentation. I do want to show the idea that I had for possibly making a website that looks like this:

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Then I would also like to show the two sections that I have completed so much. It’s too much information to go through every “puzzle piece” of the document, but I would just scroll through it just to show everyone the work that is going into this thesis. What I don’t want to happen is it becomes a “boring” presentation and not something that will get their attention. Nevertheless, I tried my best. (Did not mean for that to rhyme). 

Before I sign off, I want to discuss something one of my classmates sent to me. Here is the image. Two sections are circled. There was a job posting for a teaching job at a university. The job posted the “Essential Duties and Responsibilities” that are required. The very first bullet point says, “Teach students writing in standard academic English through one-on-one, asynchronous online paper review appointments…”. Now, on the third bullet point, it says, “Commit to treating students, staff, and faculty in our community with empathy and respect, recognizing and valuing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.” So then my classmate and I started talking, and she pointed out the fact that this job posting is contradictory. The school wants to make sure the students learn “standard academic English” but then also needs to recognize diversity. It’s challenging to tackle both responsibilities without canceling one of them out.

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I realized that in the academic space, it’s acceptable to have diversity in the classroom as long as the students are taught to speak and write [like this] to pass the class and be considered a “good student” or sound professional. Part of my thesis touched upon when it comes to a different dialect of English, in this case, AAVE is only accepted when people want it to be. I was thinking about including this example as part of the Power section of my thesis. Some people have “the upper hand” in society who creates the rules of what is acceptable and what is deemed unacceptable. It happens too often. People in power, such as higher-ups in the university setting, appreciate or merely accept only certain parts of a culture. You can’t love Spanish food but then dismiss their language. You can’t love 90’s R&B but dismiss AAVE. It’s almost as if this job application is saying, “Culture and diversity are good. It’s needed! It’s important! Just not when it comes to academic writing and language in its setting.” Instead, the job posting should have said, “Teach students writing in their best academic sense through one-on-one, asynchronous, online paper review appointments.” By phrasing it like this, the pressure of having to speak [like this] for the student to succeed decreases.

With that being said, I am looking forward to presenting my work for the first time next week. Until next time!

Here is the link to my Spring Symposium Formal Proposal: 

Also, the link to “Small Bites of Knowledge.” 

 

 

 

Ready to Rumble…

Hey all~

So… next week is it. Literally next Tuesday night. I’m going to present my work for the first time. I’ve got my thesis done, the research down, the website and flyers up, the word out.

Kean University Research Days 2019

If my research doesn’t take me anywhere, I feel like I could get a job making kinda cool posters at the very least. Don’t you think????

All the pieces are coming together.

The only major thing left is to wrap up my sculptural installation. I got most of the work done last Thursday. It looks like a metal wire sculpture of a head, friends. This week, I’m just going to add some more wire to stabilize the piece and really refine its features and it can be added to the list of accomplishments.

After that, it’s just aesthetics and dressings. I need to get a platter to display my piece because I’m #dramatic. A platter would also go along with the increasingly processed and manufactured nature of self in the digital age so… am I really being dramatic??? I also need to finish decorating some of the mannequin heads for my display as well and collect some other arts and ends for my display. I want people to be able to express themselves and their relation to my work and the ideas in my work in a variety of ways.

Additionally, on thesis night this week, I’m hoping we can walk over and take a look at the STEM atrium just to get a better sense of the space for next Tuesday. I need to send an email to NetNarr too with a link to my website so that everyone can familiarize themselves with the content and get a better sense of exactly what they’ll be promoting that night.

Other than this, I’m not sure if I’ve got much else to say. I’m at the end. It’s been a wild, grueling, and, honestly, life altering journey. So much has come and gone, changed and evolved, wilted and bloomed over the course of this project. In the course of researching the expression of self, I, unsurprising, learned a lot about myself and about my strengths and what I value in this life. I lost some pieces of me that hurt and that I still miss everyday but I also gained so much more. I don’t believe in much (blame the nihilist in me) but I do believe that the universe gives as good as it takes.

I’m looking forward to presenting on my work. Maybe some people will think it’s silly and maybe some people will stump me with questions I never even considered but I’m looking forward to it. I want to be there to experience other people experiencing my work and considering the ideas I’ve proposed. I want to expand the conversation I’ve been having these past couple years.

I’m ready to let my work out into the world.

I hope the world is ready for it and me.

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~Till next time~

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Trust the Process

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Google Search: POET KWYN TOWNSEND RILEY

Well, I must say that this past week did go the way I expected. (But hey, that’s life!) The process for coming up with the different parts for the next chapter, Education, was harder than the History section. I had a difficult time condensing my notes into just a few sections. There is so much to address when it comes to Mainstream/Standard English versus AAVE in a classroom setting. I was able to add videos and images, which were helpful to the creative side of this thesis. Here are some screenshots from the document:

I didn’t think about the format of this section or where each box should go yet, I just wrote and put down whatever I thought would fit in the Education section. I do see more of my voice and opinion is shown in this section than the previous section. Also, there is more research present. Education and AAVE is such a big and controversial topic that I wanted to make sure I hit every corner. I wanted to make sure my point was being supported enough. Hopefully, I did that successfully without seeming like my thoughts were all over the place.

I wanted to finish two chapters this past week, but I was not able to. I also did not want to force it. So, for next week, I will be tackling the chapter of Community, which will consist of representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter). Once again, one of the significant challenges is not sounding redundant and putting information in the “wrong” chapter. For example, I have to make sure what goes in the Community chapter does not go in other sections.

Although there are challenges, I am enjoying the highs and lows of the still early process of my thesis. “Gotta trust the process,” as my father would say.

Until next time! Below is the document link to the chapter Education.

L: Education

Getting Ready for Research Days…

Hey~

I hope everyone had a nice week! I’ve been feeling better since the last time we spoke! Antibiotics are a helluva drug. Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve gotten a lot of work done. I’ve definitely been working in maximum overdrive to get all of my work done so that I’m presentable for Research Days on the 23rd.

Since last week, I’ve gotten most of the work done on my metals installation (that I was very stressed about). Last Thursday, I spent most of the night assembling the bigger parts of my piece. By some miracle, nothing completely fell apart in the process. I had a few casualties: some of the metal rings I’m using to construct my bust, their solder seams popped while I was trying to solder them to a main support wire. Those were easy fixes though. I just soldered them back together and then reattached them to the support wire, making sure I stayed far away from the seam this time.

Next on my agenda for that is just bending the piece into the shape I want and then free wrapping wire around it to give it more of a facial shape. Hopefully, I can accomplish most of that on this Thursday night. I’m going to bring the piece home with me regardless that night so if I don’t finish working on it in the studio, I’ll definitely finish it at home. I feel much less stressed about it since I was able to get it together last week. Now, I feel like it will be presentable for Research Days. I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything at all so I’m in a much better place now.

As for the rest of my thesis, I’ve finished the writing for it. This weekend, I polished the last few sections and revised. I’m pretty happy with the results. 68 pages and 23, 235 words. 1.5 spacing. I think my thesis says everything I want to say and communicates the messages about new media I want to be associated with. There are definitely a few other papers in this thesis that I could write. But, for now, it’s all I need to say.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to consolidate this work into one website. In a bit of a “manic episode” this week, I have begin creating that site. I have most of the design done and, currently, I’m in the process of moving the information from my thesis to the site. Now, I’m not moving all of the content from my thesis; just a taste of it. I want to protect my intellectual property, of course. But, it is going to represent the “gist” of my research.

On a related note, I have been having a blast creating gifs for my site using Giphy and Lunapic. They’re both free sites one can use to manipulate images, animate them, and create gifs. I mean, on its own, Giphy offers a wide variety of stickers and effects one can combine in their own creative ways to make a new work. Adding Lunapic to the mix just intensifies the effects. So far, I’ve been using gifs as headers for my pages. This is substituting for my inability to actually code a site. It’s providing me with the animation and dynamism I want to bring my work to life. It’s not ideal, for sure, but I think the results are kind of cool.

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I really want the experience of the site to be like stepping into my own twisted mind. I want it to be in my vision and to represent a certain kind of feeling through design and aesthetic choices. I’m a little afraid that my own perspective will swallow the research but, also, it’s my research project so…. I think it’s fun and engaging and ultimately reveals something about me in its presentation which is kind of meta considering my focus.

Anyway, don’t just take my word for it, though. Check out the site for yourself and let me know what you think:

Degenerates’ Gallery

So, anyway, as you can see, I am getting my shit together. Hopefully, by next week everything will be done and I can finally chill. I have been stressed more than I ever thought I would be stressed in the past few months. Writing a thesis is no joke–even when your thesis is about memes. It is so intense and so overwhelming and consuming. If I did not have the support system I do in my peers and my adviser and family and friends and blog readers, there is no way I would’ve been able to accomplish all of this. At least, there would have been significantly more tears if I were doing this alone. I cannot thank everyone enough for all of their support! I can’t wait to showcase all of my hard work for them!

~Till next time~

Switchin’ It Up!

Well hello there! We are doing this week a little different this week, so I am going to get right to it. Last week I was giving the challenging but exciting task of starting to actual form pieces of my thesis. Last week, I introduced my idea of having a collage of videos, images, text, research, poems, audio, etc. The picture below is how I want it to look. After my thesis meeting, we figured we would start with the first letter B and create a document to put all my information. Since there are five letters, I matched it up with five chapters.

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.

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It took a lot of music, hanging upside down, and Starbucks to get me to focus and produce the best work I could. Also, to be naturally creative. So this is what I came up with so far for the first letter B: History.

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It was difficult to find various pieces of creative work, adding my voice, and a decent amount of research to have a balance. Creating charts was a good way to keep me organized and not overdo it too much. I found artwork, memes, a YouTube video, and I even wrote a poem about Black Language and how it’s captive in the mouths and minds of black Americans. I was also able to add important information from the research notes I had about the history of African American Vernacular English. At the same time, I did not cut my voice short in these charts. My personal opinions and feelings about this topic are within the charts.

This is a very rough and first draft of it, and I am hoping to tighten up the charts and add more content, but I jumped in cold water by doing this, and I am proud of myself. Anyway! We have a bit of a “break” so stay tuned for my next blog!

See ya later!

P.S. I just found this to be so funny! “Don’t use slang. Womp womp womp.” It made me laugh so I figured I would share that with you before I sign off.

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Previous Blog!

Black is Beautiful

Black is Beautiful

“People have the impression that African American Vernacular English is nothing more than a collection of errors because that’s how they’ve been socialized. If it’s not Standard English, it’s wrong. So we have this framework that all of us have been indoctrinating to. There’s a right and a wrong in language. Language is always right because there’s always a systematicity. There’s a pattern to it.” -Walt Wolfman

 

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Living Single

 

My thoughts exactly Wolfman.

Moving on to the exciting and difficult part of my thesis this week was a process, but a good one. Last week’s class Dr. Zamora was helping me with some ideas as to how I am going to structure my thesis. Short stories? Documentation? Visuals? Images or videos? Audio? Also, what relationship does research have with this thesis? Creative and analytical? This was a lot to tackle over a week, but then I had an idea when Dr. Zamora said the word “collage”. I sketched this image when she said it (and yes I spelled collage wrong but I was rushing so no judging! Please and thank you).

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That picture turned into this:

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Here’s my rough idea: Growing up, I knew black was beautiful, but the rest of the world didn’t think so. “You’re not black enough to be a black queen.” “You talk funny.” With this image, I want to show that black is beyond beautiful. It’s rich. It’s royalty. And in each letter of the word “BLACK,” you will see these individual boxes. Within those boxes I want a person to be able to click on them and be able to unravel all of these pieces of research I have been collected. Images, videos, audio, text, etc. I want it to be a multimodal collection that formulates my thesis.

Research would have to play a big part in this thesis because a lot of my thoughts, opinions, and feelings about this topic came from what I read and studied. Since this is a heavy and controversial topic, I will need as much academic and credible support as possible. The last task I had to do was come up with a few chapter ideas:

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.
  6. Conclusion (This is a maybe): Where do we go from here? What to do next?

That’s all for now!😊

Here is the link to my Early Proposal Draft (3). The parts that I changed and added some text are highlighted in yellow.

 

Basically Done!

This is another short & sweet post because I’ve been in-and-out of being sick and also so busy with about a thousand other things. Sorry!

Hey~

So…. I’m basically done with my thesis??? I mean, I’ve been done with it for a while but now I’m actually done?

At the very least, I’ve completed the content analysis section of my work. The last few sections will definitely need some proofreading and polishing but the content is good. The ideas are down and my main points are made. I feel… accomplished. I know I have some rough edges to clean up and a lot more work to be done in regard to the installation part of my thesis but, right now, I’m happy with what I’ve gotten done. It took longer than I thought it would and, technically, it’s still not done done but it’s on its way. I wrote a graduate thesis and it didn’t kill me.

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From here, I need to focus on completing the installation part of my thesis and creating a WordPress site to house the content analysis and Elit aspects of my work. Creating the site will, realistically, only take a few hours. As for the installation part of my thesis, I have a lot of work to do. This Thursday night, hopefully I can get the bulk of the piece assembled. I foresee that I will be coming in on many weekends between now and Research Days in order to complete this piece. I’m hoping for it to be presentable enough for Research Days at the very least. Additionally, I want to make a flyer to advertise my presentation and start a hashtag for it. (Is #takemeseriously too long?) On WordPress, I believe you can display a specific tag from Instagram so that would work for my purposes.

Also, I have to plan how I’m going to document this installation. It helps that the Netnarr class is going to be part of my presentation now. Any contributions they make will be very helpful to me, especially those who video parts of the installation and their experience of it. With their permission, I can provide those video clips on my site which will hopefully allow others to experience the work.

I still have plenty of work to keep me busy but I do feel like I’m finally on the homestretch. I just need to power through these last few weeks and then I can take a much-deserved nap. Wish me lots of luck!

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~Till next time~

“Keep Ya Head Up”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once again, we are back for Thesis! Storytime: last week I was feeling extremely insecure about my early proposal (#2) that I submitted. I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning just to make sure what I had was good enough, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Needless to say, I don’t think I did that great of a job, but I am still pushing through! As per my previous blogs, I have become very passionate about language, identity, power and the combination of these things when it comes to African Americans and their dialects.

I will be honest, I don’t have much to say in my blog post for this week. However, I will let the notes I have been taking speak for itself. Here were some of the key points and quotes that stood out to me:

  • Tracing the history of BEV, Dillard (1972) notes that early slave traders purposely mixed slaves speaking different languages “so that the slaves could be more easily controlled.” To communicate with each other, the slaves relied on pidgin versions of Portuguese, French, and English that they “had learned in the slave ‘factories’” of West Africa: Slaves sent to French- or to Portuguese-speaking areas found it much easier to communicate in Pidgin French or in Pidgin Portuguese than to find an African language in common; they restricted contact of most of them with their masters precluded their learning the standard language. (p. 22) (pg 123) Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular
  • Speaking of the difficulty BEV speakers have in learning standard English, Stewart (1969) makes the point: And even though the overall structural difference between Negro  dialect of the most nonstandard kind and standard English of the most formal kind is obviously not as great as between any kind of English and a foreign language like Spanish, this does not necessarily make it easier for the Negro-dialect speaker to acquire an acceptable standard variety of English than for the speaker of Spanish to do so. On the contrary, the subtlety of the structural differences between the two forms of English, masked as they are by the many similarities, may make it almost impossible for the speaker of Negro dialect to tell which patterns are characteristic of nonstandard dialect, and which ones are not. Indeed, this may explain why it is that many immigrant populations have been able to make a more rapid and successful transition from their original foreign language to standard English than migrant Negroes have from their own nonstandard dialect to standard English. (pp. 168-69) (pg 126) Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular
  • Language acquisition is a subconscious process; while it is happening, we are not aware that we possess any new knowledge; the knowledge is stored in our brains subconsciously. Both children and adults can subconsciously acquire language. Also, both oral and written language can be acquired. (pg 1)Stephen D. Krashen: Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (2003)

In conclusion, my lack of words on this blog post does not mean I am not working hard. (As per the picture below). I went a little overboard at the library, but I couldn’t help myself! Next week, I will have a more concrete post for you! Until then, check out the notes that I’ve gathered over the past week! (These are just the notes that are typed.)

‘Til Next Week!

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Thesis Notes Links: 

Stephen D. Krashen: Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (2003)

Key Words and Other Notes

Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular

Previous Blog Posts! (From Most Recent to Older):

I Ain’t Changin’ Nottin’ Fa Nobody!

Things are Heating Up

Wish I Thought of a Reading List Sooner!