It Just Is


**ANFSCD**

IIRC AFWA we went to IHOP @ 2am.

By this Time we were  %-) &   |-O, but 😮

the o->–shannon got there first.

After ……….. the o->–

(NALOPKT).   😉  I ?? him 2 CMF. We CFOW he came 1.

10 MIN earlier:

All the guys were to IHOP.  The o->–

They dared him TGPOTW. [+].  :-r

Instead, he “GYPO” when they —-> OVR.  |-D

They sTrtd 2 —-> AWY, so the o->–

CSL!! He ran n2 the car W his PAHA! lol.   😀


don’t judge me by my font.

Taking a pen to paper is magic. I remember the enchantment of trying to solve the mystery of how my pencil worked. I watched its tip touch the paper and come alive. The sterling grey line streamed behind my right hand. i could never understand how it knew where to go.

When i write, my pen bleeds. Its ink seeps into the paper. Somehow the words that i write down are streaming from my hand onto the page. my pen connects me to the words that i write.

This is lost on a keyboard. yes, my fingers have memorized where each letter is, and i am able to watch my sentences form one letter at a time on a screen on front of me. they are not my letters. they may be my words, but i didn’t write them. each character doesn’t reflect me. i can write in Arial, or Times New Roman, or Helvetica, or if i’m feeling a little reckless i can switch to Comic Sans!! but by looking at my font, you can’t see me. just the font that i chose. It’s possible for a reader to look at hand writing, and see a faint picture of the writer, even beofore the words are read. In type, this reader/writer connection is lost.

Adding in the Internet complicates the equation. but a different kind of connection is made between the writer and the reader. one where they can immediately see each other. and while handwriting can’t be used in interpreting the writer, voice can. Even if writers don’t know who their readers might be, or if they will even have any readers, the possibility that anyone can read their words makes them (us!) want to write for the world. i feel like i am writing TO someone, not just writing to a page, or to a phantom audience.

So. pens may connect us to the page, and there is something in this process that gets lost online, but writing on the Internet connects us to each other.


Hear the music play…

Yesterday morning I left Las Vegas in a Ford Focus filled with four girls.  We were on a one day road trip to LA to see a band — Nada Surf. It was a beautiful warm day — filled with loud singing, starbucks, conversations about tampons and going “commando” followed by outbursts of laughter, a speeding ticket and a creepy cop, bad traffic, trying to find a damn parking spot in Hollywood, standing in line for too long in the cold crisp California air, anticipation, and best of all… amazing music.

You’re confused, i know.  Patience my young padawan.

Opening acts can be agonizing to get through when you’ve been driving all day, and are trying to ignore the voice of reason lecturing and reminding you about the long trip home and class in the morning.  Thankfully, the remedy to quiet this voice is loud…beautiful MUSIC.  Last night, this music started with the opening act, and i didn’t have to wait until Nada Surf to drown the voice of reason.

So here i am, attempting to stay awake, knowing i have to post this blog to get credit, all the while the “opening act’s” song is playing on repeat in my head. Except it’s just the chorus because, after all i’ve only heard the song once.  So what do i do?  Thankfully!! the Internet is amazing. (And thankfully I remember the band’s name).  So I go to beloved Google, and type in their name.  With a little bit of experience i’ve learned that “myspace” is a great resource, so i type this as my other keyword.  Less than a second later i am listening to the song! (Yes, it did sound better live; but that’s not the point).

My point is i have DIRECT ACCESS to this band thanks to the Internet, and resources like myspace, and purevolume.   The discussion of art/music/literature online can become very complicated and heated, by the artists, the consumers, and the “middle-man.”   Maybe it’s the non-confrontational side of me, but i always think that there can be balance.  Is it possible for artists to use the Internet as a vehicle of exposure?   There is no wider audience than those who browse the web.  A tiny, underrated band from Point Place, Wisconsin is able to get a fan base in Las Vegas, an underexposed painter working on their MFA can build a following, a full time mom with a full time job and a passion for writing can use her blog to reach the world, and share her writing with them.   This entire concept kind of gives me goose bumps.   We are so connected.   We all share different passions, and because of this new media, I CAN REACH other’s who create something i can respect and wrap my heart around.

But is this enough? I don’t know.  Here comes the swing of the pendulum.  When i am fortunate to discover a band, musician, painter, photographer, or writer who’s work i adore, do i owe them anything? Should i owe them anything?  Or is the nostalgic sense of connection enough?  I do believe that those who spill their soul into their work deserve some form of gratitude from me.  In our capitalist society, this is money.  I’m not opposed.  But I don’t have a solution yet.  Maybe this is what I’ll focus on in my next paper.  Is there a real way to solve the problem?  Or will the argument always realy on theory?


the page or the screen?

Whether it’s “better” or “worse,” it’s hard to say that reading text is the same on a page or on a computer.  When i first thought about this, I wanted to argue that reading from a page should be preferred.  After all, this is what i prefer to do.  Reading from a page offers more tangibility to me.  I can pick up a pen or highlighter, and follow the text.  By underlining etc., the text becomes more “mine.”  I get to choose what’s important, i get to choose what to emphasize.  I have always preferred to read this way because my learning style is very visual and tactic.  I have to write all over the text for its meaning to compute.  But while reading text from a page offers tangibility, reading text from a computer can offer a lot more if it is on the Internet.

While I didn’t consider this at first, after our class discussion i realized that because of the hyperlink, readers are able to become uniquely connected to the text online.  If the text is hyperlinked, and the reader wants to learn more about this subject, instead of refering to other books or physical texts, all she has to do is move her mouse over the word and click.  This simple action instantly connects the reader to another text.  This is revolutionary to the way we read.  While we have always had the option to research subjects of interest within a text, few of us take the opportunity.  But with hyperlinks, our laziness can’t prevent us from investigating and learning.

If we eliminate the option of hyperlinks and hypertext, and are strictly talking about reading the same text in a word document on a computer screen versus reading that text printed out, i would choose the second option. 

 


oh well.

i need to learn how to read.  Everyhing is making a little more sense now, though.  I read the wrong readings for last week as well as posted on the wrong subject.  oops.  i was a week ahead of myself.  at least i don’t have to read this week!


“IMHO….”

The first thought that i have when i think about how digital text is different from traditional text is my junior high journal. At this time my computer key board was an extension of my body from the moment i got home from school until my parents attempted to dismember it from me during dinner and “family time.” Aol Instant Messenger and/or “ICQ” were what i immersed myself in. Spending so much time using these, my language began to alter. No longer did i care about things like sentences, punctuation, spelling, or even coherency. As long as the person i was swimming with in the web understood me, nothing else mattered. I learned a new language; a language where abbreviations and “smilies” meant more than verbs and adjectives.

I bring up my journal because no longer did this text only appear on my computer screen; i began writting “dear diaries” in my new language:

“hehehe…. OMG! dylan told ashley he thinks im kewwt! =) BG!!! O! and skewl sux. i h8t math. but i luv sk8ter boyz!! LOL. ttfn!”

I’m sorry, what??

Perhaps it’s just me, but i would be fine with this text getting swallowed and lost i the vastness of the Web. But in deciding to write my thoughts with pen and paper, i was unknowingly archiving the jargon i adopted. Often, when writing for an online media, my words don’t feel as permanent. This might be what makes the conventions for written letters and text so different from e-mails and online text. Subconsciously, i think that my writing can slip away, get lost, get “swallowed” online. I often forget that it only takes clicking the “File: Print” commands to make online text tangible.


is anyone completely credible in politics and journalism, anyway?

To be completely honest, I have never given much thought to how blogs affect politics and media. This is probably because i still know very little about them. After our class discussion, though, i am beginning to see how real the issue is. Because i have had so little exposure to this topic, mostly everything in this post will be another person’s ideas and my commentary. It’s difficult to sort through all of the information and decide what is valid. But i guess that is probably the goal of people who frequent political and journalistic blogs — to sort through the barrage of information and to find validity.

This seems to be another grey area for me. Is it better to be so quickly and closely connected to politics and news? Is the absence of a “gatekeeper” good? Do we benefit from hearing direct from the source, rather than news sifting through many editors? OR does the sifting process maintain the integrity of the truth in stories? Are blogs better because of the first person connect? Should we trust a blogger more than an anchorman/woman? Is the “democratic” nature of the blogosphere a good thing? Are blogs more subjective and traditional news more objective? Who’s to say that every source of news doesn’t add its own slant? and doesn’t have its own political agenda? Who can i trust? really. Can i…SHOULD i take anyone’s word as gospel?

wow. i just have TOO MANY questions, and too few answers when dealing with this topic.

A very good source i stumbled upon that asks and addresses some of these same questions is, http://mediacenter.blogs.com/morph/tmc_webcast_election_04_/ .

One of the most meaningful things i pulled from this page was, “One thing I like about newsgroups and blogs is that I get to decide myself about the credibility of the author. Big Media folks have a kind of false credibility that I believe misleads people. Yes, some bloggers are crap, but at least no one pretends that those people are anything more than ordinary people mouthing off, just like me. ” YES. I think that this is very true. When it comes down to it, i think the responsibility is laid on the individual to determine what is a good source and what is a bad source. what is probably true, and what probably isn’t. Unfortunately , this is a big job that many are not willing to take on.


hmmm… my thoughts on plagiarism.

Just the word plagiarism gives me an uneasy, “sea sickness” feeling. I have the same reaction to the word plagiarism as i do to soured milk. I understand the debate that asks when the line of “plagiarism” is crossed in new media like blogs, but to me, plagiarism even in its “classical” sense has always maintained certain “fuzziness.”
One of my favorite quotes is

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined efforts of everyone I have ever known.” – Chuck Palahniuk.
In this sense, everything i have ever written is plagiarism. Nothing is completely inspired individually. I think people take too much credit for their ideas, when really, they gained their ideas through “osmosis,” through other people who inspired them. I realize that this is a bit of a tangent, but to me plagiarism seems to be all “shades of grey.” ( If this sounds interesting to you, i encountered another college student on the WWW who shares this opinion with me, it’s an interesting read). http://students.adelphi.edu/delphian/2004.02.12/op-ed/c.shtml

I have never felt comfortable writing research papers. Just the nature of a research paper implies that the author knew little to nothing about the subject and is referring to other sources to gain new knowledge on the subject. In this sense, the entire paper should be credited to other scholars, not just their direct words.

Information and ideas are intangible and saturate the air. And we, like sponges, absorb them whether we realize it or not. It has never seemed fair to me that people like to indelibly imprint their insignia on ideas that were probably never really their own to begin with, but were inspired by a combination of influences. Getting back to the topic, this is what i like about blogs and hyperlinks on the internet. There does seem to be a sense of “free exchange.” Everything and everyone is linked to one another. We can almost trace the “combined effort of everyone” online who contributed to a new idea.

BUT! i also believe that there needs to be active codes of ethics online just as there are in more traditional forms. Am i comfortable with people being intellectual snobs who guard their ideas like tempered junk yard dogs? no. But i respect them anyway, and am GLAD to credit them for any of their ideas i absorbed. That is when “crossing the line” happens in any form of media — when people covertly pass off someone else’s words or ideas as completely their own. (Here’s a good link with several definitions of plagiarism: http://writing.umn.edu/tww/plagiarism/definitions.htm#mla ).

To me, nothing is completely my own. This is probably why plagiarism makes me queasy. Giving everyone the credit their due for shaping me, my ideas, and even my writing and papers is a huge job that i know i do insufficiently.

I’m not exactly sure what direction i want to take my first paper in, but i am fascinated by the transient nature of knowledge and ideas on the web. Does everything belong to everyone? or do people own their creations and ideas? I think that it’s probably a little bit of both, which doesn’t really make sense. But i don’t support “the false assumption of authorship,” and think that regulations should require writers online to credit their sources. No matter what form of media, people should get that sick feeling when they claim something that’s not their own. Paying attention to this feeling will help us maintain “integrity” in a form of media we are all still adjusting to.


indecisive…incoherent…and inhibited…

This is too much pressure for me to handle.

In my journal I can write whatever incoherencies i want to, and though my writing may suck…it’s okay.  In my sketch book i can scribble away madly without inhibitions or trying to create a masterpiece.  But i don’t know if i can adjust to the public nature of the blogosphere.
In my last entry i quoted a blogger who explained the phenomenon of bloggers vomiting their daily life and thoughts all over the computer screen in front of them — a sort of binge and purge — as being motivated by the fact that someone somewhere will read their words.  I won’t lie by saying i don’t understand them, but i’m not sure if that’s who i want to become.  In fact, i am intrigued that a few minutes after posting this someone could be reading it.  and the more i think about it, this entry is a purge.  So i am really just a hypocrite.  but i am a hypocrite attempting to piece together the fragmented bits of knowledge i have about blogs.  And attempting to decide whether or not i am a blogger.  (I suppose i have 16 weeks of forced blogging to make this decision).
To me, this blog is an obstruction.   Something i don’t think i will ever get comfortable doing. always aware that my words are no longer just my own but fodder thrown at the restless and rapacious herd of WWW nomads.
It’s like i’m teetering on a tightrope of self confidence seconds away from plunging into a sea of insufficiency.  (in my journal i wouldn’t care if that analogy inaccurately portrayed what i’m feeling…but now, i’m asking myself, “what the hell does that even mean?”).
I’ve considered taking this blog in the direction of a creative blog.  But it takes me back to the same obstacle, and i feel like i am walking into walls.   (Creative blogs spark the most interest in me though, “the dissolved distance between the audience and the artist.” that is just good stuff).

And then i remember that i am worrying too much.  After all, this blog is primarily for the purpose of my English 206 class, and most of my blog entries are already decided for me.  Hooray!  While some people loath this fact, the indecisive part of me is dancing in celebration that i can ignore the preceding rant.  Instead of using this blog to pour out the secrets of my “enthralling” life, or sharing my mediocre art, it will be used to explore the world of blogs and new media. and perhaps one day, after i have familiarized and immersed myself in the WWW, i can be comfortable enough to start my own blog,  whichever form…inhibition free.


A Diverse Group of Blogs…

Knowing nothing about blogs, I have collected data from a few sources to find out what I should probably already know. My older brother, who is a computer programmer, was my biggest soure. The WeBlog Handbook, by Rebecca Blood, also deemed itself worthy of the $10.50 that was spent buying it.
My reaction to the word blog isn’t, “what?” because my family members have immersed themselves in the blogosphere realm, and i hear all about it. After a little research, I realized that i wasn’t a good listener because I hadn’t picked up on the fact that blogs came in such a variety.

The type of blog I used to associate with all “blogs” i had heard of/been told about is the personal blog. Rebecca Blood refers to this as a “paper journal” online. At first i couldn’t understand why a person would want to write something so personal for literally any one to read. But Melanie Spiller offers a good point that personal bloggers are “motivated by the fact that someone might read their words.” Rebecca Blood also explains that the format of a personal blog in centered more on the life of the blogger, rather than on the internet. An example of a personal blog growing in popularity is myspace.com.

Bloggers who are more concerned with the world than themselves may create weblogs, like news/journalistic/kevin/. From what little information i have gathered, these bloggers format their website with a lot of links. slashdot.org is a news blog, and two political blogs are http://www.instapundit.com/, http://dailykos.com/.

Topical bloggers, defined by Melanie Spiller, are experts or deeply immersed in a particular topic, and that’s all they write about.

While many different tones characterize each blog, many are dedicated to making the readers laugh, like ://proteinwisdom.com (political), and http://www.penny-arcade/com (comic).

Coming into this class with only an inkling to what a blog was anyway, I’m beginning to understand their depth and variety.