Archive for the ‘Metablogging’ Category

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Rhymes Needed

July 31, 2008

I feel bad posting this blog in full so allow me a small digression by way of advertisement first. Futility Closet has been one of my favorite blog reads since I first discovered it years ago. It is the only blog I go to absolutely every day and the one I most frequently send my friends links to.

The entries are a not-so-eclectic mix of riddles, sea monsters, natural oddities, quotes, and mathematical perplexities. Even though I’m giving the entirety of this particular quote, I hope that you will head over to the site anyway and see it beneath the picture I’m not reproducing, and hopefully you will keep checking it out in the future.

I play a game with Futility Closet such that if a topic of one its posts is on something that I’m caring about that day anyway, I pretend it means something. It’s a game that works with Futility Closetb-based coincidences in a way it doesn’t with other coincidences.

So here’s the quote from yesterday that I thought Hoosierati readers would appreciate.

A whimsical letter written by W. S. Gilbert notes ‘a great want’ among poets. ‘I should like to suggest,’ he says, ‘that any inventor who is in need of a name for his invention, would confer a boon on the rhymsters, and at the same time insure himself many gratuitous advertisements, if he would select a word that rhymes to one of the many words in common use, which have but few rhymes or none at all. A few more words rhyming with ‘love’ are greatly wanted; ‘revenge’ and ‘avenge’ have no rhyming word, except ‘Penge’ and ‘Stonehenge’; ‘coif’ has no rhyme at all; ‘starve’ has no rhyme except (oh, irony!) ‘carve’; ‘scarf’ has no rhyme, though I fully expect to be told that ‘laugh,’ ‘calf,’ and ‘half’ are admissible, which they certainly are not.’

Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, March 1894

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¿Cuando volverás de la luna?

July 2, 2008

One of the blogs I’m subscribed to is the Spanish Club blog from Ball State. No particular reason other than that they post in Spanish and I occassionally need to read something in Spanish for fear of losing a skill I quit my previous job in order to obtain.

Yep, language is Serious Business for this here lonely blogger.

At any rate, I have no idea why they’re doing this but a couple of days back they started writing “letters from the moon” and I’ve read every one. Rather than try to articulate what it is that I like about this as a language or a creative writing exercise, I will try to explain what it has done to the blog reading I do every day.

Imagine this. You’re going through your mail: bill bill bill bill coupons advertisement bill letter. Oooh! A Letter!. So you open it. You with me so far? I think we’ve all had that moment, that billbillbillLETTER moment. How exciting! You open it up and start reading.

I’m writing you from the moon…” it begins.

I was nonplussed.

I have to say, the incongruity of reading the Indianpolis Star, the Indian Law Blog, the Historic Preservation blog and then a letter from the moon, it made my day.

If you can read Spanish, you might want to head over there for a bit of a distraction. But you have to imagine the Byronic hero that’s writing to you from the moon, try to imagine who’s more distant and strange the author or the glowing rock they are writing from. It makes the exercise more fun.

And Spanish Club folks, if you can measure your subscribers, I am one of them. Y ahora lo saben.

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Online Writing

June 24, 2008

Reading a short Slate piece this morning directed me to this essay on online writing/reading by Caleb Crain. Much of this essay addresses my own concerns and mirrors some of my own reflections on the topic (and I too have a personal blog that is rarely read, but serves as the inspiration for much of these reflections).

The observation here is particularly astute (or at least accurate to my own situation):

This willingness in readers to overlook form raises a question as to whether online writing entertains, in the traditional sense of the word. I am not sure that it does. Reading online does not seem to me to be a pleasure in itself but a response to irritation. That is, it is not like eating an ice cream cone; it is like scratching an itch. I am only reporting on my own feelings here, of course, but while I am doing so, let me report a further kink in them. Between us, my boyfriend and I subscribe to more than a dozen magazines, and if I pick one up, I know instantly that I am goofing off. Online reading, however, fails to set off my leisure detection system. Part of the failure may be perceptual—online reading takes place while I’m sitting in front of my laptop, immobilized, as I am when working. But I think, too, that online writing may, even in its supposedly silly moments, be covertly work-like: there is a fair amount of tedium in its unedited prose. Many of the jokes and references are only comprehensible to regular visitors. No one, my hit counter tells me, reads blogs on the weekend. And reading online prose is not refreshing. An action movie leaves the viewer juiced; a novel may leave the reader wistful. But reading blogs, in my experience, leaves me more addled and nervous than when I began. This work-like character makes the internet particularly corrosive , by the way, to the productivity of those who work at home, such as writers. Through web browsing, the freelancer communes with the procrastinating office drone—at his peril, because the freelancer receives no weekly paycheck.

This workiness is exaggerated in those who, like me, maintain personal blogs and work blogs. It confuses the line between work-related reading/writing and funtime-related reading/writing. Work becomes more enjoyable but leisure becomes more work-like blending together into seamless tedium. This is probably a situation not too far different than lifetime readers who pursue graduate literature degrees, but perhaps more detrimental in the way Crain describes above, the PhD student, afterall, can use leisurely reading in future research.

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The New Hoosierati Feed

June 18, 2008

I have added a widget to the top of the right-hand sidebar (the one under the header RSS with a link that says “Subscribe to Hoosierati.”)  If you use a news aggregator or RSS feeder, you should use that link to subscribe to this site. If you have already subscribed to Hoosierati with our old feed (http://www.hoosierhumanities.wordpress.com/feeds) it would be totally awesome if you would change that subscription to the new feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/Hoosierati). I don’t know if it would be any awesomer for you or not, I doubt it will change anything. But it would be way awesomer for me, since I’m trying to get a clearer picture of how many readers we have and how often they show up and what not.

(PS: Did you like the use of the various versions of “awesome?” I was getting a little self-conscious near the end there and I fear I may have crossed the line. I was just trying very hard to convince you how great this feedburner subscription would be because I know it’s an inconvenience to ask you to change.)

No hard feelings if you elect not to change feeds, I understand.