Archive for August, 2003

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August 31, 2003

My throat hurts. My ears are swollen. I’m shivering and my head feels weird. And my throat really hurts.

So I’ll stay inside and read comics today. I discovered Unshelved yesterday — Jay told us about it — and it’s brilliant, absolutely spot on. That is what it’s like to be a librarian.

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August 30, 2003

There’s a new blog tool around: eBloggy. I signed up out of curiosity, to see how it worked (I did not create a blog, however) and was a bit taken aback by the very clear limits on what is acceptable content. Their general FAQ says “Your blog will be removed if you post anything offensive, sexual, discriminating, hateful or any other content that we deem will compromise the rights of other users.” — however, the Terms and Conditions go rather further…

“You hereby understand and agree that eBloggy does not allow postings that contain:

* profanity, obscenities, or sexual content (express or implied)

* religious, political, or social commentary

[. . .] ”

eBloggy – Blogging for the Bland.

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August 28, 2003

I usually walk across the old churchyard on my way to work in the mornings. That is, I do it on those occasions when I remember to stop reading and get off the bus early enough. This morning I did, barely, remember; knowing I was cutting it close if I was to make it in time for my massage I thought I’d probably get there quicker if I took the scenic route.

The old churchyard is large, and the graves are from at least four centuries by now (yes, for it is still in use and new plots are being opened). Each time I cross it I walk a slightly different route. When I want to return to some particular stone I rarely remember where it is located. It’s a large place.

As I was striding along this morning, looking, as best I could at the pace I was keeping, at the graves I was walking past, I noticed a commotion in front of me. Two large hares were hopping along the same path I was taking, but sensing me, they increased their pace and turned onto another path, gracefully jumping over a low railing to do so. In one of the large, old trees, a squirrel was sitting at about head hight, also looking at the hares. So intent was it that it never noticed my approach, and finally I was standing so close to it that I could have touched its bushy tail. Even when it turned its head it didn’t notice me or at least not perceive me as a threat. It was probably a young and foolish one.

I could have remained there for a long time, but I didn’t want to be late for my massage, so finally I moved on. As I approached the chapel, a procession of people was coming out from it, slowly and solemnly walking around the church. A choirboy with an incense burner walked first, followed by women carrying a portrait and a priest or probably bishop carrying a staff and wearing a beautiful robe and what looked like a crown. The small group of people walking after were not dressed in black but it must have been a funeral procession. The smell of the incense was unfamiliar; the scene could have been taken from a movie set in the Balkans. It was an intense sight.

I could wax philosophical here and say something about it all being in the road you choose, but that would be pretentious and silly, not to mention untrue, for I have taken the same route, more or less, many times without encountering neither wildlife nor processions. And if I’d remained on the bus and taken some other route maybe I’d have seen something differently wonderful.

And I made it to the massage with minutes to spare.

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August 14, 2003

The “language and media” programme track at the conference, which was the one I was here to listen to, is finished so I’ve been listening to sundry other seminars today. Including one where the speaker said “And as you all know, the vowel system in the Altaic languages. . .”

But I’ve learnt a lot, too; there was one excellent seminar on statistics, and one on diminutives in Spanish, and a talk on overt pronouns in Spanish as it is spoken by Hispanics in New York. I like going to conferences, I think.

And now I really have to leave the computer for there are people queuing up to it.

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August 14, 2003

Mmmm. I’m blogging very quickly from the hotel across the street from mine; am feeling ridiculously satisfied after having gotten a Beijing duck with pancakes at a Chinese restaurant. Thing is, it was a set menu for at least two people, but I managed to get it anyway in spite of being on my own, which is something I never thought I could do. I know it’s done all the time, but I’m still feeling happy. And full. Mmmm.

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August 12, 2003

From the Dept of How Respectable Can You Get? : I have just attended a seminar about web logs at a linguistic conference! It concerned the origins of blogs, and made some very sound points that I completely agree with, concluding that blogs aren’t as fresh and new as all that, they trace their lineage back to on the one hand lists of web sites and on the other online journals which in turn are descendants of diaries — so the phenomenon ain’t new, it’s just evolved a bit further with the possibilities of the medium. As soon as the presentation appears on the web I’ll link to it.

The conference is good. Scary but good. I guess I’m here to learn, which I am certainly doing; all the same I do feel out of place. Less so today than yesterday, however; maybe even less tomorrow.

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August 8, 2003

Some weeks ago, I was given editing rights in the English-language personal weblogs category of the ODP. I’ve been going through the existing links listed in this category, starting from the end of the alphabet, weeding out those that are no longer kept, changing URLs to those that have moved, etc. This means reading a lot of personal blogs, or at least skimming through the opening parts of them, and I find that many, many blogs open with apologies for not posting frequently enough.

That gets pretty old, pretty quickly. And that’s all I’ll say on the subject 🙂

Since last I wrote, I’ve been holidaying, mostly; we went to Turku on Finncon, and Miranda was here, and we’ve watched movies and I’ve done a lot of reading and not a lot of work. Have bought some rather fun-looking board games, too, which I’ll bring to Swecon.

Tomorrow I’m off to Copenhagen, to the ICHL 2003 and I’m somewhere between scared stiff and extremely excited. Am bringing the following books: The Wine-Dark Sea, Features of Electronic Synchronous Communication: A Comparative Analysis, Luck in the Shadows, A Fire upon the Deep, Statistics Explained and Pendragon, Epic Roleplaying in Legendary Britain. And there is Internet access at the hotel, not in my room but in a studio that’s free to use (although I don’t suppose I’ll get to use it for very long at a time, seeing as there is one computer for all hotel guests) so I’ll be contactable at least. I was very disappointed when I found out that I wouldn’t give a presentation like I’d thought; now however I’m very certain I’ll be able to appreciate the conference much more than I’d have been otherwise. And as Sara says, it wouldn’t have been fair to her if I’d presented a paper at a conference before her, when she’s been at the department a year longer than me! (Ok, so she says that to be nice, but still, that means I haven’t missed my last and only chance…)

Bonadea is fast and soundly asleep on the desk next to me. Maybe I should think about following her example.