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Signing Off

On that note, there really are other things I have to go do. But I want to use this last official post to thank the rest of you for a genuinely interesting and challenging semester -- the content of this class was so dependent on us as students that it could have been really dismal if people hadn't engaged and contributed, but all of the rest of you consistently came through. So thank you for that.

I hope everyone has a great, restful break, and who knows -- maybe we'll run into each other back here.

Getting personal

I expressed in an earlier post my frustration with the feeling that it's when the work is most pressing that the other things that need attending to start clamoring most loudly. Below is the text of a poem I included in my hypertext, and which definitely provided one of those experiences of paranoiac enlightenment -- that is, I couldn't believe how many of my lexias it provided a perfect link to or from. Right now, what it does is evoke so many of the other, non-academic things that count:

That they loved to go on unmistaken, that they loved

Escape to Patagonia

Two things a bird posted recalled this to my memory: first, the request for more blog reading; and then the blog-provided map-generator of one's past travel destinations. When I was abroad in Santiago de Chile, I met another study abroad student who took his dissatisfaction with the study abroad experience in hand, dropped out of his program, and found work cutting trail in the Patagonian wilds. I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but I'm serious; some people just have a gift for living good stories.

Stepping Outside

In the appendix to his final project, "Art Between Worlds," crashingintowalls remarks: I struggle with the fact that much of the creativity present online draws energy from the embodied world but feels no compunction to reinvest in it, hyperlinking and posting comments instead. I find this comment very apposite to my present situation; that is, after a morning spent sitting here working on ideas for blog and wiki stuff, for thesis stuff -- and let's be honest -- weeks spent drawing heavily on all my word-related sources of creativity, I hit yet another of those walls where I realized that I couldn't write anymore, no less think anymore, until I stepped out into the world, exposed my ever-paler skin to the winter sunshine, and rediscovered the type of human contact that does not occur through a computer screen.

And it worked.

Shorter American Memory

"Shorter American Memory" is a collection of prose poems by Rosmarie Waldrop, one of the poets who visited this semester as part of the English Department's Literary Series. I read "Shorter American Memory" for another class this semester and found it to be an incredible reading experience, and so considered adding the piece to our suggested reading list based on a tenuous similarity to the writing process Katherine Hayles describes in her chapter on "The Humument" -- Rosmarie Waldrop crafted "Shorter American Memory" by undertaking what she calls an abridgement, or collage poetry. That is, working with the text of "American Memory," a high school textbook on U.S. history, Ms. Waldrop went through the existing order of the text and its chapters -- selecting words, phrases, and fragments either according to certain rules or according to her whims -- to create her own version of American Memory.

Still more on the wiki

While working on our wiki over the past few days, I've been thinking back to the Marxwiki we built for KF's course on Marxism & Cultural Studies (I want to say that one or two others of you may also have been in that class, so please put in your two cents if that's the case), which was a traditional wiki modeled along the lines of wikipedia, with encyclopedic, interlinking entries on everything from "Base and superstructure" to "Fanfiction."

Relative to that wiki experience, I do feel authorized to say that our wiki has been quite a success.

A sort of silly question

This question of this post arose from looking at two other recent posts: a bird's post on how long we're planning to leave our final projects up online; and zoey's on what the blog would look like if it was less structured. Just kind of a free-for-all. Length of posts, amount of posts, content of posts, all completely open.

While the matter of leaving our projects up or taking them down is a matter of our own choosing, KF has told us that both the blog and wiki will continue to remain up and running after the semester's close. I suppose that will be something of an opportunity to see what would have happened had this blogging assignment been a more or less optional "free-for-all."

Blogmusik

Have any of you seen this before? Night Owl's post on the slick new version of iTunes reminded me that I'd come across this application a little while ago and meant to blog about it. Basically, it's a flash-based player with an interface designed to look just like one of the pretty new video iPods (you get to choose whether you want the black or the white model), and it offers an amazingly extensive library of FREE streaming content -- I was seriously impressed by how many of my requests it was able to come up with.

Hypertext Nightmares

I just woke up from a dream in which my professors, instead of responding to my emails with straightforward, text responses, sent links into hypertexts. So to find the answer to my query I had to click through a maze of hypertextual links that looked like doorways, and the answer would vary depending on how I navigated the hypertext. It was stressful, to say the least, and the perfect note on which to begin a day of blogging.

Email Diaries

It was, I believe, during Pimm's presentation about Online Diaries that someone brought up how email correspondence sometimes becomes diaristic in nature. This leads me to a somewhat embarrassing confession: I am engaged in just such a correspondence. In and of itself, that revelation may not seem all that embarrassing, but embarrassment is all in the details.

The correspondence originated earlier this semester, shortly after a point in late September when I decided to quit AIM like a smoking habit I could no longer afford.