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Website Design, Document Design, Energy Research

If you are looking for someone who knows the web and how to design sites to exacting standards, then check out my business site at Alpine Lakes Design. For 12 years, I taught website design, desktop publishing, and technical communication at Iowa State University, but I am now living in Washington state with my wife Carolyn, who is the new director of the Ellensburg Downtown Association.

In addition to offering website design and document services, I am currently researching a book analyzing the speeches and public statements of six presidents—Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton—in their efforts to deal with energy issues during their administrations. The book weaves together succinct narratives of administration energy policies with rhetorical analyses of how each president framed energy issues during his time in office. This project was the focus of my spring 2009 research sabbatical, during which I conducted archival research at the Carter, Ford, and Clinton presidential libraries. During summer 2010, I also spent fruitful research time in the Nixon and Reagan libraries in California.

My research on energy politics stems from my advocacy of renewable energies; I am a former member of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association, and at Iowa State, I worked with colleagues in the Rhetoric of Science and Technology on a research project mapping the rhetorical terrain of the biofuels economy in Iowa. That project recently resulted in an article in the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. Though no fan of ethanol myself, I do believe biodiesel offers significant energy benefits, and I used to fill my Volkswagen Jetta with 100% biodiesel during the Iowa summers.

Like everyone else, I've been fascinated with the number of Web 2.0 technologies that are proliferating like fleas across the Internet, but I remain a little concerned as to where all this connectivity is taking us. If we're Facebooking and Twittering our lives out with coffeespoons, what is to happen to our "meatspace" selves, as one student recently put it? Are there no limits to our habitual digital interactions? For the past year, I've experimented with Twitter and Facebook, but I decided — for a variety of reasons that have to do with privacy and connectivity issues—to cancel my accounts for a while. Recently, though, I'm back on Facebook, but trying to limit the amount of time I spend on it each day.

With all that free time on my hands, I've returned to one of my first loves in life — playing guitar, and I recently started playing the mandolin as well. Check out my page of music resources available on the Internet. Though the digital revolution has certainly spawned a number of great tools for musicians, I'm still a big adherent of analog sound and often spend Friday evenings in my garage listening to old albums from the 1960s and 1970s. Even through the snap, crackle, and pops, you can still hear a significant difference in quality over digital sound.




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Martin D-18 Guitar