Category Archives: blogs

Email subscriptions

So you know how I migrated my site over to a new host? And you know how it took awhile for the old posts to show up? Yeah, I also just realized that my old subscription list didn’t make the migration either. So if you used to get emails that notified you when I published a new post, you’ll probably want to re-subscribe, because I’ll be honest – I have no solid idea how to get that old list and make it active here. And if getting email updates sounds like a good idea, you can sign up in the top corner, too 🙂

It’s a new site

Hello! If you look around, you might notice that the site looks a little different. I’m still fiddling with it, so expect it to look a little different for awhile. But at least it’s back 🙂

Also, if you’re looking for something older, I am working on reposting those from the import that I did, but it’s spring semester…

mercurial ramblings

Because I don’t write enough online or have enough to distract me, I started a tumblr. I’ve named it mercurial ramblings of english, but I’m thinking of changing the name.

If you also have a tumblr, hit me up! I make no promises of more frequent or interesting posts there than you find here. Just probably a little shorter …

New Address!

Setting up the new netbookYou may notice that the site address has changed!

I’ve decided that I needed to make the move to create a real “brand” (even though I feel like that’s a little buzz word heavy). You’ll still be able to reach this site through the old address, but will be much faster.

So spread the word, and be sure to keep coming back! See you around the site!

Creating the system

I’ve been spending time thoroughly enjoying following the links from people I follow on Twitter on my laptop instead of the tiny screen of my Blackberry. Today I followed the link Neil Gaiman posted on his feed to his blog post. In it he talks about how all of us online are learning how to interact in this community we’re creating as we go along.

Then I read Amanda Palmer’s (a very creative singer and performer) post about why she’s ok with taking fans’ money. In it she lays out this explanation:

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.
please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.
dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.

unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that artists ALL over the place are reaching out directly to their fans for money.
how you do it is a different matter.
maybe i should be more tasteful.
maybe i should not stop my concerts and auction off art.
i do not claim to have figured out the perfect system, not by a long shot.

BUT … i’d rather get the system right gradually and learn from the mistakes and break new ground (with the help of an incredibly responsive and positive fanbase) for other artists who i assume are going to cautiously follow in our footsteps. we are creating the protocol, people, right here and now.

What stood out to me, besides her very logical explanation, is her comment about being part of the group adding to the foundation of the system we will leave behind too. So I started thinking about being a part of this creative team, and how I’ve always been fascinated by the lives and stories of those who have created the art from times before. Like the Modernists (note the T.S.Eliot quote in the header of this blog & the Marianne Moore chapter in my thesis). I’ve always wanted to be a part of the group that people point to when they talk about the founders of something. I realize that this is rather narcissistic, but I think most dreams are.

But what I realized is that I am a part of this community shaping the rules. I’m on Twitter, here, I read other blogs, I am connected in lots of ways to the community, which means that in some small way I am amongst the founders. And though  will likely remain among the many nameless in this group, it’s fun to watch and comment on.

Amazing Writing

I have several friends who are much better and more consistent at blogging than I am. I love reading what they write because they are insightful, articulate, entertaining, informative and passionate pieces.

I hope they don’t mind that I’m bragging about them…

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading their work, take a minute and check out these blogs:

Then We Came to the Blog

Laowai Chinese

Crews Family

I created another blog

Hi everybody! Don’t worry, I’m not giving up this blog, I’ve just created another one. I’m teaching an English 101 class, and for their fifith essay I have them creating blogs. Since I post more personal writings on this blog, and the intent of the assignment is for them to create a blog in conversation with what they see going on in blogs, I decided it would just be easier to create another one. And I’m posting about this addition here because it will be a blog that I’ll upkeep to facilitate an aspect of the internet that I love – the videos! The focus of the new blog is to share the random videos that I find online. I figure that will let me stick to more English-y things here, and I will now have a place to post the random videos I love. So feel free to check it out at  It’s not a particularly inventive blog, but again I just wanted a forum that I could use as an example for the students, but that I could still be entertained by.

“We Are Wizards”

The Christian Science Monitor has a blog post from Marjorie Kehe about a new documentary on the world of Harry Potter fans called “We Are Wizards.” She says in the introduction:

When it comes to Harry Potter enthusiasts, it’s a wacky world out there. Parents, of course, want their kids to learn to love to read. But could it really be a good thing for anyone to obsess over any books the way some young readers do over Harry Potter? This is a question you may find yourself asking as you watch “We Are Wizards,” Josh Koury’s documentary film released in theaters last week about some of Harry Potter’s more, well, let’s say “dedicated” fans.

I’ll be honest – I’m excited for this. I enjoy documentaries, and I have found that the ones that follow people who are completely devoted to fantasy worlds are fantastic. I hope it’s as good as “Trekkies” because that will only make the Harry Potter fan-world even better, especially for Harry Potter scholars.

reason #642 why I love blogs

So I love traipsing through various blogs and reading what other people have to say (yes it’s a sentence fragment, whatever). I think it comes from my insatiable curiosity (yes I know what happened to the cat) coalescing with my love of language and being stirred by my love of learning. Anyway, while I was out, I came across this post on Notes from Evil Bender. In it the author (self-identified as ‘he’) pulls up an article on an apparently conservative blog about the prevalence of Marxists in US academia and points out the numerous ways that this essay wouldn’t pass a freshman composition class. So I pop on over to the post on American Thinker and read through it.

Both essays have valid points and logical fallacies (I’m not citing them because they aren’t the point of my post), but what kept me reading was the discussion that followed the American Thinker post (I think the Evil Bender post will probably pick up some more comments, but if not, what I compared it to in my head was the discussion from any number of posts on [which I enjoy reading for those who don’t read beyond this point]).

There were numerous comments on the American Thinker post about the stupid liberals and their anti-American thinking and unpatriotic actions, but when I got to comments like

“Global warming is the new Marxism – dogma masquerading as science, to use Mr. Pipes’ description. We are embarking on the establishment of a totalitarian state in the name of global warming.” (posted by jorod),


“Classic liberalism was long-since distorted to the point of being meaningless. To me the operative term most of the time is STATIST. Same idea as the original Marxists. Big government advocates who want more and more control of individual decisions, paired with the people who are willing to give the STATE power over their lives–in hopes of (fill in the blank).” (posted by BobG),

I began to realized that I knew this rhetoric and I knew it well, just not with all these words.

For jorod’s comment, substitute “global warming” for “the war on terror” or “freedom” and “Marxism” for something along the lines of “fascist,” and you have a recurring theme from comments on liberal blog postings on things like the US government putting RFID trackers in new passports or the US realID. And as for BobG’s comment, I could copy it onto the nearest liberal blog without changing anything and (provided the post was political) it would fit fairly well.

And that’s when it hit me that my parents have been right for my whole life – you get people who are far enough away on the political spectrum to argue about something and they circle back around so that they are saying the same thing – just starting from different points. And I think that’s why I love reading all these crazy posts on the internet. The conservative blog is yelling about the diminishing freedom of speech because of the crazy liberal media while the liberal blogs are yelling about how the puppet media assists in duping society as the government strips our freedoms. And both say that the other side is stupid and unable to reason their way out of a paper bag, but then complain that they can’t enter into a fair debate.

I think it’s fantastic that both sides appear so clearly in this wonderful medium. And while I may not agree with (or necessarily believe) everything I read on the internet, and especially the blogs I follow, I would never in a million years say that they should cease to exist or that the people who comment should get real lives. What’s more real than debating ideas with other people? I think it’s brilliant that I get to interact with these people and read their comments and watch them fight it out. The only part I wish I could change is best embodied in “Internet Argument” posted on xkcd where the scroll-over says “It’s easier to be an asshole to words than to people.” And that’s reason #642 why I love meandering through the wonderful world of blogs….