Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One problem with literary criticism.

Literary criticism today works the same way that medical research would if every researcher arrived with an entirely different approach to medicine. Like one guy's homeopathy, another one is faith healing, another one is ancient Vedic, etc. And they're all talking and using the same tool set, but their ways of evaluating what they see are so different that there's effectively no dialogue. No one can assign legitimacy to anything because any pretension to decision making has been given up.

Keep in mind that I once did lit crit. I guess I didn't come out of the right school, because I couldn't see any point to it. That didn't stop me from picking up multiple degrees in it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quote of the day.

Twitter / Home
“Our doubts are traitors & make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” ~Shakespeare

Friday, January 23, 2009

awesome shot

Got this from someone around me who was on BrightKite. Amazing shot. I wish I knew where it was; for some reason, I can't find it on BK now because of all the inauguration photos (difference between what I get on my cell and what gets posted to the BK page). Things like this get me thinking about a Call of Cthulhu blog.

The fresh hell of retail.

The first boot on my neck was McCrory's.

I worked at a small-chain department store. I lasted there about four months making minimum wage. Christ, what a shithole.

Vegas to Paris via Prague and Berlin, 2009

Accelerating on the autobahn as the soldiers' boots crunch-crunch against the pavement.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Twitter and languages.

How much knowledge of a foreign language is enough to make a fellow Twitterer a good follow? And is a good follow the same thing as a reasonable follow?

In going through emails re: new followers, I came across one person who tweets in Portuguese. (This isn't the first one, either.) I studied several languages as an undergraduate, French was my language in graduate school, and I did some brushing-up of my German not long ago. I follow a few people who tweet in French, Spanish, and German occasionally. Portuguese, however, is not on the radar despite my brief encounter with Spanish in middle school.

Does Twitter make it easier to pick up language and/or meaning from context? IM can be difficult if one is at a stage earlier than the two-year point, I think; message boards, just as with posts in English, contain jargon, slang, typos, and other difficulties. But Twitter might provide the right combination. Since Twitter is just now moving out of the early-adopter stage, it's still got people on it who are smart, clear thinkers and whose tweets reflect that.

Inasmuch as we can standardize language acquisition, I don't think this is one of those individual pace things. I can see how Twitter could become a huge boon to the learning of foreign languages: an instructor could create a group with people tweeting at levels appropriate to students, who could then follow the group members. Real-time interaction improves language acquisition like nothing else, but it requires a certain level of fluency in order for it to work.

So far, my preliminary answer to the question of meaning acquisition--which isn't language acquisition--is yes. If anyone has experience with this, please comment.

Friday, January 02, 2009

IPv6 shift and the locus of personal interests.

Is there anyone left younger than 50, or maybe 40, who isn't online 24/7? Being online has a different sensibility now. It's not that one lives before a computer so much as one is in some way there and participating. For instance, Twitter is an aggregator for me as much as it is a microblogging tool. Each morning I start at page 12 and read forward. That doesn't catch me up by any stretch (it used to when I followed only a couple hundred people), but it gives me a sense of what's being said by the people I follow.

Given this, it doesn't surprise me to read that one of Bob Gourley's predictions is that the IPv6 shift will begin in homes. Being online is practically synonymous with rich content now. The effect of rich content is to make online experiences more personal rather than less. I wouldn't be surprised to hear at some point that as the content gets richer, the time people spend online decreases rather than increases.

Thoughts? Additional context? You know where the 'leave a comment' link is.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day musing.

How wonderful can one's world be if it only exists on the interior?

In reading Chris Brogan's awesome blog post about his three goal words for 2009, I started thinking in a preliminary way about privacy. As a rule, I do not reveal much of myself on this blog; that's partly because I'm a GenXer and thus more individualistic, and partly because I'm an only child who issues press releases, not information. The fact that keeping my own counsel has been a historically poor choice hasn't stopped me from continuing to do so. My brain is quick to remind me that Milton would not advise this.

The people whose blogs I admire most are those who have good judgment about what to make public and what to make private. I don't have a single-word concept for this yet; it's not just "openness." Besides, that's so 2008. Perhaps it's time to consult Roger. (Now that would be a fun set of words--three, picked at random from a thesaurus.) Anyway, more on this as it goes.

If you've got three words of your own, or just thoughts about this as a potential process, I'd like to hear about it.