Posted in Culture, education, iPad, sociology

Haiku Deck and Sociology

Piscitello, C. (2013, Summer). Teaching/Learning Matters ASA’s Newsletter for the section on teaching and learning sociology, 42(1), pp. 9-10.

 Technology is growing at a rapid pace.  Since the time I graduated from college, we’ve seen great advances in computer technology, specifically, the ability to make technology mobile. In, I was the only student with a laptop computer, taking notes, cross referencing what my professors taught on the web and maybe, some less productive activities when class seemed boring and endless.

Now, technology is everywhere and can take you anywhere.And students have a variety of hardware and software options from laptop to tablet to smart phone, from email to twitter to Facebook, to Google chat. This article will examine the use of the Apple iPad in an Introduction to Sociology classroom. In particular, I am interested in discussing the ways in which the mobile application Haiku Deck, an intuitive presentation application, helped support a learner-centered environment and initiate creativity,group discussion and interpersonal communication skills in learning and brainstorming complex sociological concepts in a learner centered environment.

In the classroom, teachers must compete with new advancements in technology. We can either ban the use of smart phones, tablets, and computers from being used in
the classroom, or we can find interesting and productive ways to employ these new forms of technology and actually improve learning in the classroom. Many school systems, colleges and universities are beginning to realize the potential opportunity in integrating technology into the classroom, allowing students the chance to learn using their mobile devices as opposed to banning their use altogether.

Many of us would prefer having a classroom of students learning, taking notes, researching ideas and collaborating with peers, as opposed to playing games.

As stated above, there are many options for both teachers and students when deciding on what technology fits an individual’s specific teaching or learning needs. I have chosen the iPad and Haiku Deck since my specific college has fully integrated iPad technology into the classroom, each student and teacher has access to and uses the iPad for pedagogical and personal reasons. It is important to understand that this is only one example of the use of technology in the classroom, and that there are many options to consider when integrating technology. In terms of choosing
a best practice of what works best in the classroom, an educator must assess the needs of the students. But, as mobile technology becomes more prevalent, more options will be available to both Apple and Android users.

Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that allows users to create visually stunning presentations quickly and easily ( The biggest attraction to using this software in a classroom is the built-in picture database that allows the user to search pictures that are mentioned in the presentation text, creating an aesthetically pleasing slide with very little time searching the Internet for pictures.

In introduction to sociology, an elective class popular in many colleges and universities, the information can become dry for many students who choose not to continue as sociology majors. It is important for a sociology instructor to initiate class discussion and collaboration to ensure that the complex theory can be applied to everyday life. A student centered approach can be utilized to ensure that the students are the focus, applying the importance of the content to each student with hands on approach brought to life with the use of mobile technology in the classroom (Brown & Green, 2005). The specific assignment in my own classroom is given in two parts. First, the students are given a homework assign- ment to research a specific sociological topic to be covered in the class, “How popular culture defines American culture,” “How social control oversteps our freedoms,” or “How do you define family and how has it changed in your lifetime.” The students are instructed to break into small groups, and share their findings with each other, and to collaborate on a short Haiku Deck presentation that they will share with the class. The students quickly compile the presentation and share with the rest of their peers.

The use of mobile technology and the right applications allow students to utilize technology already familiar to them. As educators we can stifle their abilities by  emanding that they “turn off their toys,” or we can create a student centered  earning environment where they can learn from not only the teacher, but they can learn from each other. The iPad is a wonderful tool if used correctly, teachers
must keep up with the fast paced world of technology to stay connected to our  students.

Brown, A., & Green, T. (2005). The essentials of
instructional design: Connectiong fundimental principles
with process and practice (1st ed). NJ: Prentice Hall. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23rd, 2013, from
Haiku Deck Home Page:

Posted in Culture, education, Health and Fitness, Marmoset, sociology

Supplement “Guinea” Pig


Once a week, my co-worker Aaron and I, work out heavy, so I felt that this is the opportunity to do the Vpx stack along with a random protein shake, in this case a monster milk. I did cut out using friction with all of this in fear of a heart attack.

I will use the same stack next week and see the gains from week to week. But, the first week using this supplement stack made me feel jittery, but it was nicely counterbalance with the complex carb supplement. Next week I will mix the carbonox and the power shock.

We’ve been exercising this way for more than a month now, so any net gains I’m sure come from work and dedication, but the supplements provide a nice kick in terms of energy, motivation, and a little placebo effect, any advantage helps really.

You can find information on these supplements at

Posted in Health and Fitness



Each year we venture to Columbus Ohio to bask in the testosterone bath which is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Expo. Each year we travel to this health and fitness Mecca to learn about new trends in fitness, exercise and health supplements. In addition, we get to enjoy the great people who also attend this event, ranging from normal health enthusiasts to giant meathead freaks to air brushed fitness models.

Every year I come home with a booty of shirts, literature, and of course supplement samples. With that being said, I will report each supplement, how it makes me feel, and the perceived effectiveness of the supplement.

Starting with…


VPX Zero Impact Meal Bar – Pumpkin Supreme

It’s candy, really tasty candy, it’s pumpkin, it’s fudge, it’s delicious. With 30 grams of protein, it can be a great meal replacement if your on the go. The biggest issue is the fact that I can eat 20 of them. I would buy more, awesome product. On for 2.99 each or 25.85 per box.

Posted in Uncategorized

Mosh Pit Culture, an Ethnography on Mosh Pits and so on…

There are many reasons I became a sociologist, I wanted to better understand people, politics, and culture, but mostly, I love people watching! While a college student, I went to many concerts, I loved mostly punk and ska bands and observed how people interacted at these shows. Here is a participant observation paper I wrote in the summer of 2001 as a sociology independent study for one of my favorite professors, James J. Chriss at Cleveland State University. Let me know what you think.

My first concert was around my 11th grade year, I was 17 years old and Korn was an up and coming metal band. They played the Agora Theater on E. 55th and Euclid in ClevelandOhio. The first time I went to a concert I was not sure what to expect: I was excited because they were one of my favorite bands at the time. I was a little bit scared; I did not want a black eye or a broken arm. My mother did not make the issue any better; she worried and wanted to know who I was going with and what time I was going to be home. Upon arriving to the venue it seemed broken down and in a bad part of town, we entered the place and I notice the audience was very much like me, young white teenagers, some of them had on band paraphernalia of not only the band they were about to see but other heavy metal and other assorted rock bands as well as shirts that read “I am a math magician”. The inside of the Agora was set up like an old theater, there was theater style seating and closer to the stage was a floor area know as the “pit.” Back then I really did not pay very much attention to the crowd; my main concern was the band I paid to see. When the music began the place came alive. People in the pit area went ballistic and went into motion with the music, people in the theater style seating “head banged” and danced but kept to them selves. After the show was all over I wanted more, I wanted to go to as many concerts as possible and experience all types of music.

It has been about six years since that first concert, since them I have seen many genre’ of music ranging from mellow jazz to the heaviest of metal each type of music has its different types of people as well as different unique types of people who go to each type of concert. In this paper I will illustrate the types of people at a certain type of concert, we are going to take a look at the punk rock culture and distinguish the types of people who go to these concerts and interpret their rolls “at the show”.

Recently I went to see the band Strung Out, a punk-metal band from Southern California. At this show I paid attention to behavior of the individuals and what roles they played, I watched how the individuals interacted with one another. With in my own group we began to name each of the punk rock social types that each of the actors in this setting played. I also paid attention to the areas of the venue where these people interacted; this also helps determine what social type they fall into. Also I will compare this concert to other concerts and point of what social punk rock types attend what specific show.


Traditional ethnographers believe in immersing themselves in a particular culture and reporting their informants’ stores as if they represent reality, phenomenologist see a need to “make sense” out of the informants’ perceptions of the world (Babbie, 2002, p. 289).

By participating in the ritual activities of the punk rock subculture I will learn to understand the dynamics of their group structure first hand as I participate and engage in the same social interactions as and perceive the world as the see it.

In Erving Goffman’s concept of the dramatic metaphor first seen in The Presentation of Self in Every Day Life used the idea of the stage and theater in relation to social interactions. In dramaturgy, an individual is distinguished as an actor playing a role that puts on a “performance.” In this performance the actors follow a script, act on a stage and used props. This metaphor to human interaction captures some of the example and topics of his approach but obscures the more fundamental process of Goffman’s theorizing (Turner, 1998, p. 393).

In this view of an American subculture I will refer to the initials as “characters,” they are indeed playing a role on a stage like in Goffman’s dramatic approach of human interaction.

In Goffman’s Interaction Ritual, the idea of presentation rituals encompass acts through which the individual makes specific attestations to recipients concerning how he regards them and how he will treat them in on- coming interaction. Demeanor is “the element of the individual’s ceremonial behavior conveyed though deportment, dress and bearing which serves to inform those in his immediate presence that he is a person of certain desirable or undesirable qualities”.

In this paper I will view the demeanor of characters at the punk rock show, through their actions as well as deportment, dress and bearing does inform the presence of the each individual.

Environment / Setting

A region may be defined as any place that is bounded to some degree by barriers to perception. Regions vary, of course in some degree to which they are bounded and according to the media of communication in which the barriers to perception occur (Goffman, 1959, p.106).

This concert took place at the Agora Ballroom, a smaller part of the Cleveland Agora. This part of the venue is split into four dominant parts: 1.) The main floor, the main floor inform of the stage can also be divided into four parts its self, first the area directly in front of the stage, this part is densely populated and smashed up against the stage also most of the crowd surfing takes place. Directly behind this area is the “mosh pit,” it is here where many diverse types interact by dancing, pushing, jumping, running around like psychos what is known as “mosh pitting.” Directly behind the pit is an area where people mostly watch the band and if any movement they “head-bang” or dance slightly. 2.) The bar, here mostly older punk rockers sit back and watch the show with a beer in hand. 3.) Table area, this area is on either side of the main floor, this is a more relaxed area were people can sit and what the show with out disruption from any hooligans from the floor area. 4.) Entrance area, here people mostly hang out between bands and before the show begins, sometimes people who don’t really want to be there hang out there while a band is playing.

Punk Rawk Types

At one extreme, one finds that the performer can be fully taken in by his own act; he can be sincerely convinced that the impression of reality which he stages is the real reality. When his audience is also convinced in this way about the show he puts on – then for the moment at least, only the sociologist or the socially disgruntled will have any doubts about the “realness” of what is presented (Goffman, 1959, p. 17).

After attending many shows through out the years many names for the types of people in these social situations came to in to play. Many of the names come from how people act in the mosh pit area.

Back of the Pit Guy,” is the character who is most likely the biggest guy in the place, this participant inhabits the back of the pit and violently pushes the other mosh pitters when their not paying attention. When given the chance and a clean shot, back of the pit guy will run through the pit and takes out an unexpecting punk rocker.

Middle of the pit guy” this character is not usually the biggest, but he is defiantly the toughest guy, he stands in the middle of the pit and is impervious to any of the people running and dancing around him. Middle of the pit guy is generally the keeper of the peace, if a fight breaks out or some one falls over he is the first person to give them a hand. Middle of the pit guy also keeps back of the pit guy in line if he is flying off the handle.

Running around the “middle of the pit guy” are the “crazy go nuts guys,” these characters usually running around and kamikaze into the sides of the pit and the people with in, crazy go nuts guy never gets tired and reacts to the ferocity of the music.

Perhaps one of the most entertaining person in the pit would be the “dance like a goober guy,” this guy always finds a way to dance even when the music is at its heaviest, when the music slows down, dance like a goober guy performs a seductive intimidation dance to lure other mosh pitters to be made a fool of when the music increases speed.

Side and back wall dwellers,” these characters stay in the outer walls of the pit and get angry when people fly into them. These characters seek protection from “back of the pit guy.” However fall pray to most of the middle pitters.

Directly in front of the stage, the crowd is more densely populated because most of the characters are trying to get to the stage to either get on stage to jump back into the crowd, or to get to the performers. Another typical behavior in this zone is the act of “crowd surfing,” this is when some one is thrown on top of the crowd and pushed around above every body. If a female is crowd surfing she is subjected to a barrage of cheap fondling and molestation. The most prominent character in this zone is the “oh my God I’m at a concert person,” he/she more then likely has never been to a show in their lives and is not socialized into the norms of the punk rock show.

The rest of the floor area is the habitat of spectators and mild dancers as well as older men who solely go the show is to get a young girl drunk or high and take her home for sexual intercourse. These men are usually marked by the “mullet,” hair that is short in the front and long in the back. Most of the other zones are mostly inhabited by the same types of characters as the main floor spectators.

The last character is the “why am I here guy,” this character is there because either his friends talked he/she into going to the show or was not sure that there was going to be loud music at a live concert. “Why am I here guy” sits in the back of the venue on a bench, steps or any other out of the way hidden place. This person experiences high levels of depression but for some odd reason dose not leave and claims that they are perfectly fine.

Obviously people do not fall perfectly into each category; any given character can hold any combination of any attribute of any character.

Concert Etiquette

Goffman says a rule of conduct may be defined as a guide for action, recommended not because it is pleasant, cheap or effective, but because it is suitable or just. Infractions characteristically lead to feelings or uneasiness and to negative social sanctions. Rules of conduct infuse all areas of activity (Goffman, 1967, p. 48).

To the inexperienced, the punk rock show may seem like chaos, with loud music and people running around pushing and shoving. After attending many of these shows one learns that there are “rules,” to the concert. If some one falls in the pit, it is the primary concern for the nearest person to pick that person up and dust them off.

When a mosh pitter is tying his shoe it is the duty of the surrounding mosh pitters to surround he/she and make sure that no body flies into them. If some one loses something (hat, glasses, tooth) every one stops and searches the pit floor for the lost merchandise. When somebody finds something like a shoe or a hat, they hold it up in the air so everybody can see. If no body claims it after about a minute, the finder throws the shoe or hat into the air.

Type of Show

Another important attribute of a show is the type of concert. One may think that there is only one type of punk rock concert with one kind of character that attends these shows. There can also be an abundance of different concert types in each of the different shows.

In a more popular punk rock concert like Blink 182 would consist of more “oh my God I’m at a concert people,” these characters have seen the band on MTV and want to see them live. Most of the crowd is very dense in population and there is very little movement.

In contrast to a heavy metal hard core based punk rock band like Strung Out would have more of the elements of the mosh pit. At this type of show the music is faster and more violent and the crowd behaves accordingly.

A ska – punk rock show will consist more “dance like a goober guy,” ska – punk bands like Mustard Plug have a horn section in the band and play an upstroke guitar stroke that makes the music more happy sounding, making the pit area more a dance floor with a style of dance called the “skank.”

The emo – punk rock concert will have more spectators because the type of music is relaxed and mellow. This most likely is a more mature audience who has grown out of the general punk rock mosh pit faze in their life.

And finally the Celtic style punk rock show has the elements of the hard core punk rock show but with bag pipes and Celtic flutes. Here the crowd engages in Celtic style dancing (Jigging), and heavy drinking.


In this ethnographic view of the punk rock subculture in its natural environment lends us a better understanding of a misunderstood group. The actions and demeanor of the characters as they interact in a social network interprets not only how they act in this environment but how the act in every day life.


Babbie, E. (2002), The Basics of Social Research. Second edition. Wadsworth/Thomas Learning

Turner, T. H. (1998). The Structure of Sociological Theory. Wadsworth Publishing Company

Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Anchor Books

Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction Ritual. Anchor Books

Punk rock social types invented by:

Thomas Stockman – Created the name “back of the pit guy,” after a Sevendust concert.

Frank Romeo Zeleznikar – Created “crazy go nuts guy,” when I told him I was writing this paper.

Posted in education, iPad, sociology

First month of an iPad integrated classroom in the books!


December was the first totally integrated iPad sociology class! My students were able to research, communicate, write assignments, and take tests on their Apple iPad. I was able to utilize many great apps allowing students to brainstorm ideas and present those ideas to the class.

Utilized both Prezi and Haiku Deck for student presentations, and Evernote and Peek to take notes and study material.

In using the iPad, students have access to a new and innovative technology offering affordable access to their textbook, providing flexible options in searching, high lighting and note taking.

I was able to integrate the college’s LMS allowing students the ability to take their midterm and final on the iPad, creating not only a paperless test, but a test that grades itself, and provides statistics on how the students performed on each question. With the test statistics I can refresh my lessons, focusing on questions students struggle with, creating a more valid measure of what they learn I’m class.

So far, the students have enjoyed the versatility and access to the Internet in class, providing a wireless classroom.

I will continue to share lessons and best practices as I contribute new content and refine lessons that I’ve taught for years.



Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve tried a few things and so far, nothing

I’ve been trying to host my wordpress account through my own domain.  This morning it worked with minimal capabilities, the same capabilities if I hosted it off of wordpress.  This morning it worked off of, but did not let me utilize plug-ins, thus, not letting me do the podpress plug-in to host a podcast.

I attempted to cancel the domain mapping from wordpress to godaddy, and download on  But that made everything go to hell in a handbasket, so I enabled that again.  Now I’m in the same boat, but everything is just a little off.

Posted in Uncategorized finally up and running…

About a year ago, I bought the domain for, and for a year all you saw when you visited was the “this site is under construction” page.  I’m please to announce that is now my official blog site, and soon enough (when I figure out how to do it) the home of the alpha5marmoset podcast featuring the talented and funny Thomas Stockman and of course me, along with a slew of anyone of my interesting and funny friends and colleagues.  Stay tuned, I will update this blog daily, if I don’t manage to screw this up with my limited Web site building experience.  

Posted in Beer Snobs, Craft Beer, Home Brewing

New beer coming soon – Dutch Chocolate Espresso – From your friendly neighborhood Swago Brewery

We’ve been making home brew for few years now, I’ve had some wonderful recipes (raspberry a fan favorite and punkin which I submitted to Sam Adams earning me a neeto t-shit), and some busts that I choose not to discuss.  My new recipe is inspired by my soon to be born daughter Faith, who will be part Italian, Dutch and German.  With this theme in mind, the main beer ingredients will be German, with Italian espresso and Dutch cocoa.

This is what I’ve come up with so far, if any one has any ideas to make this better, or have any ideas on what type of Dutch chocolate, or how to add chocolate to beer…I’m all ears.

  • German Splat Hops for aroma
  • German Magnum for bitering
  • 1lb of German chocolate rye malt
  • 1lb of German DeHusked Carafa II malt
  • 1lb of dark malt extract
  • 3lb of dark malt syrup
  • German porter yeast
  • espresso coffee
  • dutch chocolate and cocoa

I have a few fears, do I have too many dark malts?  Will this be too bitter?  And what is the best way to introduce chocolate into the wart?

Ora ho finito

Posted in Craft Beer, Culture, Honey Badger, Marmoset, Writing

Listen….nononon…shhhhhh. listen!!!


Approximately ten years ago, my good friend Thomas Stockman (to the left) and I (to the right with the stupid hat and ugly shirt) wrote a screen play Fathill Drive.  Reflecting back, it was a story about a couple of bored college students, at a commuter college, who observed some strange behavior, added a little imagination and began writing.  The writing wasn’t the best, the story was relativity funny, and we didn’t make a million dollars, but, as Tom stated a couple of days ago, possibly the coolest thing we’ll ever do.

Since then, both Tom and I found jobs in our perspective careers (me a teacher/sociologist, Thomas a chemical engineer), but we always find creative outlets like writing short stories, or making beer.  With all of this being said, I feel that we may start an alpha5marmoset (name of our production company) podcast, because I still think we’re relatively entertaining people with maybe a little too much to say.  To accompany said podcast, I will keep up this random blog, about random things I’m interested in, in the realm of American culture, food and beer.  So, give me feedback, what would you like out of a podcast, blog or anything of the such.

Ora ho finito

Continue reading “Listen….nononon…shhhhhh. listen!!!”