Time and The Void: Week VII Summary

All of us are time travelers. We travel forward through time at a speed of one minute per minute, one hour per hour, or any unit of time per that unit of time that is equal to or lesser in duration than that of our lives, the largest being one life per life, though a life is not a fixed unit of time, it is a unit nonetheless.

However, as with all rules, there are exceptions. While it is not possible to travel backward in time (and to this rule, as far as we know, there are no exceptions), it is possible to travel forward at different speeds. When in a waiting room, we crawl through time at a snail’s pace, spending several minutes on each actual minute. We are capable of traveling through time at two, three, or even more times the normal speed of time travel by doing activities such as having fun. Another way to race through time is to procrastinate.

Variable speeds of time travel are often attributed to how much we are enjoying ourselves, which directly affects how much we pay attention to the forward march of time. In a waiting room, we are bored bordering on miserable, watching the clock. When time is watched, it will slow. When having fun, we are far too engaged in our activity to be bothered with what time it is, allowing it to sneak by at an incredible rate.

Procrastination offers an interesting hybrid of the two, specifically when counting down the final hours and minutes to a deadline. As we work, desperately hoping for more time to do so, it mercilessly advances right in our faces, as if saying “Yes, you moron, it has been another ten minutes. I don’t give a shit if you haven’t done anything, which I can see you haven’t.”

You’re probably thinking “This stupid idiot pulled his usual crap, procrastinated to the Nth degree, and put himself right back in his usual position.” But you’re wrong! Ha! This was a planned endeavor. I did sit down to this work a little too late. Because of this, I have to write this summary before doing the wiki editing. However, the fact that I have not yet done the wiki editing is a calculated gamble. Morgan intended for us to do editing on Thursday and Friday, then again on Saturday and Sunday. There are two days in each bracket to allow for time to pass during which other people edit the material before we jump back in to rework what has been reworked after we worked it.

However, I will be coming in to work my magic on the tail end of this process for a number of reasons. The first, a challenge for myself- In the early stages, content may be messy and what needs to be done may be obvious- reorganizing, mainly. On a large scale. “Let’s at least separate this stuff into a few categories.” The editing still required after that stage is on a finer level of detail. It’s also a gamble. Will the content be basically complete, requiring very little further editing and little work for me to do? Or will it be organized by unrefined? Or clean but incomplete? That may require generation of further content (which would merit research), or vast cross-linking to deepen the connected knowledge.

Lastly, it measures the dedication of the others involved to see if they revisit the content between my two sessions (Sunday night and Tuesday night). Will they return to see whether their content or revisions have changed, or have they simply done a sort of “driveby edit,” and left for other endeavors, never to return? We will see.

Other than that, this week has been a void. Nothing- In my strategic hold I have been inactive. Being that my Week VI were not done at that time, they can be done whenever- hopefully tomorrow. Like, for real. But I don’t know where the time went. It is as if the week is simply a vaccuum, and with nothing to see, I traveled through time at a rate faster than my own senses or comprehension. Other weeks have seen me watching the clock day after day, with the work I was to do sitting in the back of my head, like a dumb kid in the back seat repeating “are we there yet are we there yet are we there yet are we there yet” until you give him the one-handed chauffeur reach around. (*Disclaimer: This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Maddox.) But this week, it all just disappeared. Perhaps I have reached a new level of procrastination nirvana. I mean strategically waiting nirvana.

Oh, I made a 4 of the Best article titled “At the end of Victory Road: The Elite Four.” Lorelle VanFossen liked it! I’m not a complete chump, I promise.

At the end of Victory Road: The Elite Four

I wanna be the very best
Like no one ever was
To link them is my real test
To aggregate my caaaaaause, do do do

I will bro-owse across the net
No vidja games being played
DO DO DODO
My RSS is alllll set
To see the posts that have been maaaaade

POKEMON! WEBLOGS YEAH!

I was going to kick myself when I saw this week’s writing task (as I haven’t done my Week VI shiznat yet, I’m a bad, bad bo-) UNTIl I checked my comments and saw that I got a nod from Matt Lavrenz on his blog Banjos in Backseats for my Week V Project that I posted in Week VI. Cool! My hole-filling article should get lovins from all the peeps and is as enjoyable as cream in a Bismarck. moving on.

Now that you’ve strengthened the bond between you and your posts and earned your eight WordPress badges, you’re ready to take on the Elite Four to become the Weblog Champion. Here’s the lineup.

Devan Bierbrauer’s Yesterday’s News: “What’s next for blogging: I try to predict the future.”

Dat’s a fat link, folks. I love this post for its structure- nothing like scans of marker drawings. That’s from the heart; things are so much easier to do digitally. I’ve used a hyphen and a semicolon, here comes the slash / this sentence got slashed sliced in half. Anyhoo, Devan predicts the future of blogs by starting with the birth of blogs- astute.

Matt Adams’ thismattisblogging: “The Aggregate Never Ends/Weekly Review”

It truly doesn’t. Ever. End. But this post offers valuable commentary on the issue of online advertising. I used to be an avid disciple of AdBlock but I’m coming to realize that ads benefit content creators like I want to be. However, keeping ads in check is an important aspect of the trade and Matt’s insight sheds some necessary light.

Jack Tuthill’s Jack In The Box: “What’s Next For Blogs? — A Tiki-Toki Look Into the Future of Blogs”

I didn’t know there was a website for creating timelines, or why I would think there wouldn’t be, and indeed I didn’t. What I love most about Jack’s timeline is that (at least in my opinion), it’s realistic. Every element on there could conceivably happen, and to make it better still, the future looks bright. While I love the idea of increasing quality of online conent, it just means I’ll have more stiff competition to contend with, and I’m not a terribly driven person in the first place. The drama!

Denny Staples’ My Crash-Test Blog: “Lord Taemyrlayne”

Finally, Denny’s professed disdain, and perhaps outright hatred for fan fiction, musings, rants, and, most importantly, the seeds of an underground society. If that doesn’t make you click, you don’t know what to lick. Like. You don’t know what to like.

Who is the champion? Being that the Elite Four was crafted an hour ago, there actually isn’t a champion yet. And being that the Elite Four was extracted from a larger pool, that leaves ME. I will defeat the Elite Four with a blog post of my own! Tomorrow!* They don’t call it Victory Road for nothing!

This was a Blog Exercise that you can work out yourself by reading up on it here. It was also a steamy platter of Pokemon references, BOOM~

*Don’t count it.**

**Even though I will.

Week VI Summ: Mental Comeback, just not on paper

My summaries tend to primarily include two elements: What I Did and What I Learned from the week leading up. Let’s now begin with What I Learned.

What I Learned

I learned a lot this week, many things not relevant to the class and few things that were. I will not list them here but rather focus on a single thing I learned and the sole reason I’m not wallowing in my own idiocy and laziness like I was last week, despite being in an arguably worse position. That one thing is:

AN ALARM CLOCK CANNOT SAVE YOU. Or more specifically, me. I’ve had a really screwed up sleep schedule lately. It goes something like this: Stay up until 5 AM (average). Sleep until just before class. Go to class (on a good day). Return home, nap until late evening. Repeat. The problems arose when I would wake up after my class was over because either my unconscious self would cheekily turn off the alarm or I would simply sleep right through it. I have fixed this vicious cycle and now get up in the morning like a normal person. So while I missed class this week (unfortunate due the “change of pace” I heard about), I am hopeful for the future and ready to bolster my grade on our big project I imagine is coming up soon. And Professor Morgan: I apologize for missing class. I didn’t email you because I figured you could read it here, and the only other contents of the email would be asking you what went down in class, which I know you would prefer me to ask another student, so I will. Moving on.

What I Did

This is where it gets tricky because my ass is behind. I didn’t actually do much this week- I had to regroup and prepare the counterattack on this growing mountain (OK, maybe more like a hill, but consider me an ant) of work. That might sound like a load of crap, but I believe it, so there. Instead dropping links into my prose as usual, I will lay this shit out, both for my benefit and Morgan’s. And hopefully this will be resolved anyway tomorrow- right after I get up in the morning like a normal person. No, not hopefully. It WILL be.

State of the Blog Address: The Shit that Is Done

Week V Writing Tasks 1 and 2. Assuming these got looked at, but if not- there they are.

Week V Comments on Matt’s boots, Devan’s lies, and Jack’s genders.

Week V Digifact: Artistic Blogging. This is only a beginning, but at least it exists.

State of the Blog Address: The Shit that Aint Done

Week VI Writing Tasks

Week VI Comments

Week VI Digifact

So (heh) pretty much all of Week VI. These things will be hammered out throughout the majority of tomorrow, and Week VII will be done so on Tuesday, so as to put me at the state of Caught Up. Now that’s what I call a workflow. I hope this outlining of plans and progress is a suitable summary. See you on Wednesday with my ducks in a row.

Organized according to species, gender, color, and size.

Artistic Blogging

The reading for our class “Uses of Blogs Part 3” was four chapters covering scholarly blogging, political blogging, and gender issues surrounding blogging. One type of blog it did not cover was artistic blogging, or otherwise blogging as used by artists. This can manifest itself in two primary ways: content blogging and information blogging.

Content blogging is the posting of artistic content on a blog. For example, a fiction writing posting works of fiction or a painter posting digital pictures of their paintings (preferrably in a large size so as to be usable) would both be content blogging. Literally, the art they create is accessible on their blog and/or website.

Informational blogging is the posting of information relevant to the artist’s work. This may include release dates for products such as books or albums or art show dates, links to purchase the artist’s work online, or even insightful posts about the artist’s artistic process or what their work means to them.

Informational blogging would be primarily done by well-known artists that people actually give a shit and would care to know more about. Best selling authors, popular musicians and similar artists would have the most reason to blog about their work and themselves. However, aspiring or lesser known artists may use this kind of posting to generate interest in what they do. It would in fact be practically necessary for them to practice this type of posting if requested in their comments.

Content blogging would be most likely conducted by lesser known or aspiring artists for the reason that they have not gained access to the typical channels of distribution- they don’t have a publisher, a record label, the number of the guy who organizes art shows, etc. Because they can not (at least yet) get onto book shelves or CD racks, the internet is the best place to put their content where the most people will see it, including potential fans (ie buyers) as well as industry scouts who can then help these artists gain access to the more effective distribution channels.

As in the case of commenters asking for information about a lesser-known artist, each type of posting can cross over to each kind of artist quite a bit. There’s no line. Some well-known artists will still post their content online but offer their work in more tangible forms for a price. This is the case with many webcomics, such as xkcd and the ever popular Penny Arcade. Penny Arcade is practically famous- a big enough deal to have it’s own exposition show (PAX: Penny Arcade Expo) at which video game developers themselves give exhibitions on their upcoming games or updates to recently-released games. While they post every strip they create on their website, they also offer prints and merchandise.

A closer look will be given to this subject (stay tune to the weekly summaries!) and additional anecdotes will be added to this post. Specifically, the an examination of the ways in which actual artists use their blogs. Please, if you know of any artistic blogs you would like examined, leave a link in the comments.

Reactions to Uses of Blogs Part 3: Part II

Ch. 13

-“this takes a more theoretical and speculative approach to questions regarding the place and influence of political blogs in an increasingly fragmented and dispersed [bla bla bla]” Bahnisch pg 139

This pretty much set the tone for this entire chapter for me. Politics… It was at this point that I decided to do a short article on the uses of blogs as art and/or for artists, as my digifact for the week. Because politics are dumb, and boring, and not the kind of blogging I give a shit about. Not even remotely. The next chapter, however, blew my mind.

Ch. 14

-“or when the blogger includes pictures of herself for readers to gauge her attractiveness.” Gregg pg 152

At this in my reading, for some reason, implications began piling on top of each other, like a fuck shit stack, if you’ll excuse my language. And Reggie’s. But it went something like this:

-If women don’t post pictures of themselves,  I don’t know how attractive they are.

-It doesn’t really matter how attractive they are.

-If they don’t say they’re a woman, I wouldn’t know if they are or not. Additionally, even if they say they’re a woman, they might not be. But anyway.

-When I read an article on fighting game news site eventhubs or even Youtube comments, I assume all the comments are from males. What if they’re not?

-There are women on the internet?

-If I assume any given commenter is a male, does that mean that I’m subconsciously sexist?

-I consider myself a feminist, and the possibility that I might be subconsciously sexist is terrifying. I mean, what does that say about people who are consciously sexist? Damn.

-We still have the glass ceiling. And ridiculous shit getting thrown around the political sphere, like anything that comes out of the mouth of Todd Akin. It’s 2013. This is America. Can we pull it together on the gender thing? I’m inherently sexist because society told me stereotypes about women when I was impressionable, and even my conscious determination to observe equality cannot defeat the things that I don’t know I think. Our social issues seem so archaic compared to our technological advancements.

-I read the quote on page 156 about the guy hitting 40-100 blogs a day, and the point that women don’t have time for that because of their second shift, but I just thought, aint nobody got time for that.

Reactions to Uses of Blogs Part 3: Part I

Ch. 11

-“so varied are the behaviors of bloggers that it is a bit surprising that the same term is used to cover them all.” -Halavais pg 117

After reading this, I thought “a blog is technically a list of posts in reverse chronological order, and that is what they are all doing. Making posts displayed in RCO.” A better question, I think, is why is that format of writing so applicable to almost any topic, genre, or form? It makes the newest content the most immediately visible while still building an archive- that is a definite strength.

-“…hacking and scholarship- two cultures that share significant common ground.” -Halavais pg 118

I found this odd until I realized it was true. Keeping in mind the difference between hackers and crackers (the the definition of the latter being commonly and incorrectly applied to the former), scholars and hackers would indeed both like to see collaboration and knowledge being shared. This is the basis for research as well as open-source software development.

-At the bottom of page 118 we have a man, C. Wright Mills, basically describing a journal as if it were some new-fangled whatchamacallit. Like if you were to hand a technologically-challenged elderly person an iPad and say “With this you can do X and Y and Z and three million other things,” except the list for the journal is way shorter on account of being able to do much less. I thought “this must be some ancient passage written just as journals were becoming a thing,” and checked the references to find that it was written in 2000. Not 1000, 2000. A.D. Why was this written?

-Page 119 highlights a man keeping a record of various information he finds on a specific topic, making “‘trails’ of associative links.” I just wanted to point out, since it wasn’t explicitly observed in the text, that this sounds exactly like blogging and posting links to sources. Before the internet.

-“an institution in many cases relies on treating the public as a mass, providing authority to limited channels of communication, constructing barriers to scholarly discourse, and maintaining bureaucratic partitions between academe and other parts of the life of a scholar.” -Halavais pg 123

I got kinda pissed after having this laid out in front of me- the “barriers” mentioned of course being tens of thousands of dollars for classes.

Ch. 12

-“the anxiety that if I said what I really wanted to say, I wouldn’t know how to defend it.” -Walker pg 127

This possibility hadn’t dawned on me, but now I share this anxiety. So thanks, Jill Walker. Thanks for nothing.
No but really I don’t really post opinions on heavy topics, I’m more of a humor-and-art kind of guy, so I shouldn’t run into this feeling too often. It’s still something to worry about.

-“Blogging is writing practice, Kathleen Fitzpatrick recently wrote.” -Walker pg 134

Walker goes on to talk about blogging as research practice, but research is not my bag, baby. But just the quote meant to introduce the point is what I found helpful- blogging is writing practice, and I could use some practice. I will definitely try to use what I learn in this class (and WordPress: The Missing Manual- that book is the shit) to make my personal blog, about stuff I care about, as effective as possible.

-Page 135, the heading “Will We Write Academic Papers in 2035?” I hope not. Not that I will have to even if we do, but just because I hate them.

-I just have to say I really loved the last (whole) page (‘s worth) of this chapter. Tying blogging in with Socrates discussions, the dubbing of blogs as processes instead of productions and the spirit of moving forward all just resonated with me.

An All-Time Low: Week V Summary

A look back on the week, we see- Oh, Jesus. This the worst. This is the worst it has ever been. This summary, as of now, is a place-holder. If it is not finished at midnight, it will be posted and then immediately continued. After that will come my content- yes, my content. The content that was for Wednesday.

My procrastination has become legendary. While I am somewhat proud of this (in a sick way, it’s sick), I am also extremely tired of it. This content-after-summary, bang-my-head-against-the-keyboard, completely bullshit “workflow” is simply not worth my leisurely slacking throughout the rest of the week.

Part of the problem is that our writing tasks are supposedly “due Wednesday” but not enforced as such. They are actually due the moment Sunday turns into Monday, as is everything. Or, are they due at some point, being that our summaries are the only thing truly due, ever, at least until the end? This contradiction is probably Morgan experimenting on us, because that is how Morgan do. But even if it is diabolical psychological/sociological science, Professor, I apologize. For last week and especially for this week. My weekly posts will probably be published before you read this and the weekly project soon after, but I’m sure it’s a hassle for you to have to get around to student work in the next week’s summary. In that sense, the fact that I am not finished with this week’s project and that last week’s was late as well means there is still only one to look at here, now. So please, if you haven’t yet, check out my Digifact from Week IV, The Lurker. I also updated that summary with my comments from last week as well.

The posts to come in short order will be reactions to the readings, as I actually took notes on them (!) and have a few things to say. My project will not be fiction this time around, so no one expect it to fall out of my ass head. I plan to write an article on the Artful uses of blogs, since we covered scholars, professional scholars, politicians and politically-minded individuals, and women, but not artists. Which is what I am. So I can talk about it!

What did I learn? Same thing as usual. Whether I really learned it or not will be determined by my performance next week. I do finally, seriously plan on snuffing out this habit of mine, and the arrival of a laptop AC adapter in the mail, I feel, will herald this necessary change.

UPDATE: Posts on the readings up now here and here. Hopefully nobody else is up at this hour, for your sakes. Not that I need to be worried about… This is pretty normal for me. Week V Digifact coming soon.

UPDATE2: Checked out (and commented on) Matt’s boots, Devan’s lies, and Jack’s genders. I’ll include these in next week’s summary so they aren’t missed. WVD still coming soon.