Wednesday, June 30, 2004

How do blogs become popular, i mean really popular? How do i get good buzz going around my blog? Since i have started my readership has gone down - not a good sign. I know that my mom for one and my partner in crime for another no longer read as faithfully as they once did, if they read it at all. Likewise a bunch of my friends on mat leave are no longer bored at the office and they don't check it out as often.

But it is not just their readership i crave. I want new people to read my blog. People i don't even know. I know that some blogs get a couple thousand hits a day, i would be happy with 20. I am hoping that my new blog name will create some buzz, but i already noticed that when i typed it into Google a lot of other sites came up, but i don't believe any were blogs. Sigh.

Oh yeah, a little comment on comments. The way this new blog thing is configured it asks you for a password when you got to comment. If you look just below that you can click anonymous and then you don't have to be a Blogspot member. It works just fine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The thing i love about ignoring my garden for a couple of days is that when i go back out there so much has changed, and talk about exciting change. First, my broccolis are actually starting to produce flowerets!! This is very cool. Second, i have about 15 tomatoes starting to appear on my various tomato plants. But wait there's mystery tomatoe is huge. Like four feet tall, or up to nearly my shoulder. Wow. And the mystery tree out front has dropped some fruit, prematurely i'd say, but still i can cut it open and hopefully determine what it is. Now I think it is peach, but at first i thought it was plum. And finally, the mystery peas that are left over from when Gus was here (RIP) are almost ready to go. They had pretty pink flowers and now the little pods are a little purple, though as they mature i think the colour goes away.

And just a final reminder, my "Name my blog" contest ends Thurday, so get your entry in ASAP. So far not that many of you have come up with anything ie/ only Kris has stepped up, so get busy.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Today in the Chronicle of Higher Education there was a really interesting yet scary article called Is Graduate School a Cult? Eerie to say the least. Some interesting quotes include:

"...that graduate school in the humanities indoctrinates its students into believing that they are failures if they do not remain inside the ivory tower, even if there are no suitable academic jobs for them."

"For all its claims to the contrary, graduate education does not seem to enhance the mental freedom of many students, some of whom are psychologically damaged by the experience." Yes, sounds familiar.

"Nevertheless, understanding the varied social experiences of graduate school (student culture as well as formal instruction), as a kind of cult helps to explain why so many people cannot be dissuaded from staying in school -- or working, year after year, as underpaid adjuncts -- when it is manifestly against their interests to do so, when they sincerely want to get out the academy but feel impeded by irrational fears."

But wait, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. What about a career in counselling?

"Let's say a mother finds an application to Duke University's Ph.D. program in English under her daughter's mattress. Obviously the mother is devastated. If she does nothing, in a year her daughter will be dressed in black and sneering in obscure jargon at the Thanksgiving turkey and Aunt Sally's cranberry Jell-O mold. Where can a concerned parent turn for help?"

Or you could make a documentary film -

"It could be a nerdy version of Scared Straight: "You fancy-ass punks think you're so smart? You think you know something about hegemony? I got a Ph.D., 50 grand in student loans, and I clocked 20 years as an adjunct. Now I'm here to tell the truth to suckers like you.""

Food for thought.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

I am finally done reading OUR LADY OF THE LOST AND FOUND by Diane Schoemperlen. I didn't like it, though i found the premise intriguing: one day a woman walks in to find the Virgin Mary sitting in her living room, in need of a peaceful place to stay for a week. But the novel turns a little too didactic for my liking, laying out story upon story of Marian apparitions. And for the most part i found the stories quite interesting, but not exactly what i was looking for in a work of fiction. The other thing that bothered me was her use of the present tense and first person. As much as i hate to be critical, i often felt that this novel may have been a semi-autobiographical account of the author's spiritual awakening.

Next up: The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

You know that Special K commercial on TV nowdays, advertising a free pedometer? Well, it worked. Because of their free give away (valued at $15!!) i went out and bought Special K (the cereal, not the pharmecutical). I did it mostly because i remember that in the documentary Super Size Me, Morgan said that the average American walks a paltry amount. I thought he said 2000 steps a day, but my research shows it to be more like 5310 steps a day. So i wanted to see how much i tend to walk a day. Since we don't have a car or anything i think i may walk more than the average. On the other hand, we live in such a convienient location that everything we need (including the beach - 800 steps)is close at hand. Yesterday was day 1. 8556 steps, but as a qualifier, i would like to say that i bought the pedometer after i had already done most of my walking for the day.

And i also found out through Special K's web site that i could log and donate my steps to research with Canada on the Move, so i have. In their study they are trying to a)see how much Canadaians move; and b) assertatian whether or not things like pedometers help motivate people to walk more. They are encouraging people to try to walk an additional 2000 steps/day after they figure out what their average is. To me this seems like a good idea since the dissertation tends to weigh me down. Quite literally. If i don't finish soon most of you won't even recognize me.

So i encourage those of you out there with pedometers to take on this challenge as well. And those of you without, just try to walk more - an extra 20 minutes a day. And of course all of my super fit, slightly insane friends who find running up mountains fun, you are exempt.

Oh, and as a footnote, Morgan Spurlock, the guy who made Super Size Me, has a blog too.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Monday and election day here in the Great White North. According to the media, there is a fair bit of voter apathy among people of our age group, that is the younger generation. I say it is time to prove the media wrong. Voting is our (not just our generation's, but everyone's)chance to make a difference. And yes, you vote does make a difference. I think that sometimes in a fairly peaceful country like Canada we take voting for granted. It's our right blah blah blah, but some people are just too lazy to exercise their right. Think about people all the people in other countries where democracy is not taken for granted. They often have to risk their safety just to cast their ballot, and yet they still do it proudly.

So now that i have asked you to vote, i am going to ask that you make an informed decision. I know what you're thinking, you don't have time for that. Well, quite frankly, if you have the time to read this, then you have time! The Elections Canada website is a good resource to find out who is running in your riding. And if you are still having problems deciding, here's a little survey to help you figure out where you sit on the issues.

And if after that, you still think that there are viable voting options, remember a spoiled ballot makes a far greater statement than not showing up at all. So get out there and vote!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I am thinking about changing the name of my blog. Blogito Ergo Sum seemed clever at first, but now i just don't like it. I want something that will draw people's attention. Make them interested.

Anyways i am opening it up to mail in competition. Yes, you could enter in a name of your choice and it may be selected as blog name to end all other blog names. Sound exciting? But wait there's more ... if i select the name you select i will dedicate this site to you and only you. So get off your collective butts and get submitting. Competition closes July 1.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Shock and Awe!! My garden is awesome. The heat of the last two days has made it spring to life. It is growing like crazy. Tons of squash, peas will be ready in another day or two, tomatoes are starting to appear and i harvested more lettuce than we know what to do with today. Even my eggplants are doing well and they are notoriously hard to grow!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I am a book snob. Everyone knows that by now. And let me tell you, being a book snob isn't always a good thing. Because i tend to think my taste is better than that of middle America i almost missed the hidden gem that is THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold. Since it was apparently such a huge seller in the US i assumed it had been recommended by Oprah and would be full of the kind of shlock she seems to love. YOu know, just another DEEP END OF THE OCEAN or MAP OF THE WORLD. All about the suffering parents go through with the loss of a child.

Instead, THE LOVELY BONES really draws you in through the voice of the narrator, a fourteen year old girl who was murdered. The narrative rolls along as she looks into the lives of her family, friends and murderer. In many ways it reminded me of WE WERE THE MULVANEYS by Joyce Carol Oates (a book that was an Oprah selection and yet i like it!). Anyways, i recommend it highly as some good summer reading. I can picture you now, sitting by a lake/ ocean somewhere, totally engrossed in this book. Just remember to apply the sun screen!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Happy Bloomsday Everybody!!

One hundred years ago today Harold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus enacted their epic journeys through Dublin in James Joyce's ULYSSES. Yes, it is true, celebrations are taking place all over the world in honour of two fictious characters of a novel few people have actually read, and fewer understood.

Vancouver is playing host to a 24hour coninuous reading of Ulysses in order to raise money for the Carnagie Learning Centre. Sounds exciting i know. Starts at the Granville Book Company and ends, appropriatey enough, at the Irish Heather Pub in Gastown. I'm not sure, but if i play my cards right the Brain could be convinced to go later today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I just this very minute finished reading THE TRUTH ABOUT DEATH AND DYING by Rui Umezawa. Now that i am finished it i can say that it was a really good book, though it did take me a while to get into it. And part of the reason for that is because the story is told from so many points of view and seemlessly slips back and forth between various time periods. In the end this is what i liked about it, but in the beginning it made it hard to really feel anything for any of the characters.

Basically it is about a Japanese family that movies to Milwakee in the 1970's. But the story slides from the expereince of the kids growing up in an all white community to the memories of the parents and grandparents from Japan during WWII. Anyways, i quite highly recommend it and according to the cover so does Atom Egoyan.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, as i have a rather exciting blog planned.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Read anything good lately? I have hit a bit of a dry spot when it comes to reading. I just finished ORYX AND CRAKE by Atwood. I have directed you to the UK website because it is way cooler.

So what did i think about this futuristic saga? Well for one thing, it is possible. This time Atwood touches a little too close to how the future could actually turn out, making this more horror than fiction.

I can't say this was my favorite Atwood, but i hold her in pretty high regard. Probably if it had been written by someone else i would have been blown away, but from HER i expect more.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Just a quick little question - is anyone else having problems with their Hotmail lately? What's going on? It is taking forever and half the time it tells me the server is too busy. I am just about to throw in the towel with them. That'll show 'em.

And also, if anyone cares to comment now, i think i have fixed the problem.
Depending on when you check this, the blog could be quite ugly looking. I have changed it again. The last design was not particularly user friendly and people who use netscape were having some problems. So i have gone back to my old template and am revamping the colours. I am sort of in the process of that right now and am feeling a little bored, so i am leaving half done until later. Besides i really should get some work done before the Brain gets home.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Well, i am shocked and surprised that i have so radically changed the layout of my blog and no one has commented!! Come on, what do you think? Input people input.

So today, by some freakish coincidence, everyone i know in my program has called me to belly ache. We all seem to be in the same boat up what is affectionately known as shit creek and we are looking to one another for paddles. Yeah, if i had a paddle i would probably be done by now!! I guess i am supposed to find solace in the fact that we all feel the same way, but instead i just feel like the university or our department or someone has failed us in some incredible way. All we would like is a little guidance along the way. Is that too much to ask?

And on a related note, last week the Globe and Mail posted an article on Impostor Syndrome. And hey, more than just people in the Academic world suffer from it, so give it a read. The Brain cut it out of the newspaper for me and now i have spent for too long looking for it on the internet because i was spelling impostor as 'imposter'. Who knew? Perhaps this is just one more hint that i don't belong in grad school...

Sunday, June 06, 2004

You know the saying - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well there is something to be said for that. Obviously some changes have been made, not that i am satisfied. It is clearly still a work in progress. Unfortunately i have lost all the info from my old page. Oops!! Anyways, i am bored of doing this now, so it will have to do for now.
Well, as long as i am back into this blogging thing, i have decided to revamp the layout a little bit, so you may not recognize me the next time we meet. Who knows how successful i will be. I have forgotten alot of the elementary HTML i learned to get this thing up and running, so it will be mostly trial and error. But let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

So i have been thinking for quite a while now about whether or not to continue this blog. You see, the Brain got a new job and will be home most of the time now, so the blog's major purpose - to keep him up to date on my life- is not longer as pressing. Also, readership has gone down. I know that is because i do not update often enough. At what point am i doing this only for me? Kinda self absorbed, don't you think. At first i thought the banalities of my life were sort of interesting, but now i am not so sure.

On the other hand,i have come across a number of things lately that i would like to broadcast to the world, so to speak. First is Silvergirl's aka Scarbiedoll's blog: Martinis for Milk. Check out the life of a party girl under radical change. Boy she talks alot!

The second thing is an intelligence type test called Petals Around the Roses. This isn't one of those lame internet tests - it is actually on a professor's website and is used in one of his courses. And it only takes a second ... well, actually it depends on your intelligence. Supposedly the longer it takes you to figure it out, the SMARTER you are. It took me two tries - how'bout you?