Blog on Blogs

The students in my New Media Studies course this term produced Blog on Blogs, a review of several different types of weblogs. This semester was the first time we dedicated significant class time to weblogs, along with electronic lit genres including hypertext, new media poetry, and interactive fiction. I think it worked out pretty well as a class assignment, in that it both required the students to put some critical thought into weblogs as a genre, and to regard their own web writing as public discourse.

This post was originally published on Grand Text Auto.

Blog on Blogs

The students in my New Media Studies course this term produced Blog on Blogs, a review of several different types of weblogs. This semester was the first time we dedicated significant class time to weblogs, along with electronic lit genres including hypertext, new media poetry, and interactive fiction. I think it worked out pretty well as a class assignment, in that it both required the students to put some critical thought into weblogs as a genre, and to regard their own web writing as public discourse.

This post was originally published on Grand Text Auto.

I like having a static blogroll

Blogrolling, a service that lets users maintain links on their blogs and indicates which sites have been updated, is useful, but today, as Blogrolling was hacked and became useless for several hours, I thought about why I've never minded not having the feature enabled on this blog. I sort of like the links staying where they are, and staying simple. I like diving into sites I haven't visited for a while and being surprised by what's been going on. In some ways, I like my “surfin” (oh so 90s) to be blind. No temporal hierarchy. I'm just as likely to be surprised by something Gillespie did six months ago as by something Chan did last week, or Kirschenbaum did yesterday. For instance, I don't give a hoot when Rageboy last updated, I'm only going to want to see what he's been up to once a month or so (and then I'll be sort of well pleasantly bemused or amused or mused in some way). My links aren't all meant to be urgent.

Grand Text Auto Newbie

Today the young new media elites over at Grand Text Auto invited me to join their fraternity, and I eagerly pledged. The initation ritual involved masks, blue margaritas, an Atari 2600 Joust-to-the-death battle (I did just barely win, thankfully, and Nick was incinerated in the lava pit), and some things I'd just rather not discuss (let's just say they involved Hamlet on the Holodeck, Afternoon, a story, Lev Manovich, and more than one goat — it wasn't pretty, I can assure you of that). This means that I'll be doing some split personality blogging. I'll join the thriving discourse community over there at GTA for my more serious, if nonetheless informal, new media musings, while over here I'll keep everyone up to date on my niece and nephew, adventures in toyland, Stockton related course stuff, personal accomplishments, identity crises, gardening, political rants, etc. We'll see how it goes, I think they can kick me out during the first semester, but I couldn't be happier to be joining Michael Mateas, Nick Montfort, Andrew Stern, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin in the blogosphere (or is it noosphere?).

MA Thesis, Michael Bérubé, Pavic

A few people have actually read my dissertation since I made it available online (actually, all theses and dissertations at the University of Cincinnati are now published as .pdfs), so I decided to see if I could rescue my MA Thesis from back in the dark ages (1995) and put that online as well. I lost some of the formatting in the conversion, but “Unfinished Paintings” is now available for anyone who cares to read it. Eight eight year-old stories by a twenty-five year-ole me. Man, I was young back then. Who knows, maybe I'll try and track down my senior honor's thesis and throw that up too. I'm fairly sure the twenty-one year-old me writer would be embarrassing. Of course, ten years from now, I'll probably wonder at the fool who helped write The Unknown.

Partially inspired to do some of this archival work by running across Michael Bérub&eacute'’s blog. Bérub&eacute is one of my favorite progressive thinkers, one of the most productive scholars in English Studies, and he has a keen sense of humor. His blog is a kind of live cultural studies notepad. He's made an impressive effort of making his essays available online. It makes a great deal of sense to me that more people are doing this — online is the logical place for scholarly discourse to take place. Bérub&eacute, who has written in the past about the role of the “public intellectual,” is putting his text where his public is.

If Bérub&eacute hasn't left me with enough reading to get caught up on, there was exciting news last week that Wordcircuits has published a new hypertext by Milorad Pavic, the Serbian author of the print hypertexty novel The Dictionary of the Khazars. The new hypertext is titled The Glass Snail and is described as “a haunting hypertext tale of two people brought together by a shared compulsion.”