Archive for February, 2007

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February 24, 2007

Brilliant, just what I need. A rather habit-forming, Flash based online card game in the tradition of Magic the Gathering and other “role playing card games” (which I have never actually played but I know how they work in theory).

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February 23, 2007

This is a research moan. It is mine and belongs to me.

I am revising my three data chapters — three out of the four central chapters of the thesis, as a matter of fact — to be able to send them to my supervisor, get her approval and then be able to send them to the seminar participants by Monday at the latest. (The seminar is on the 7th, but if people are to read three chapters they do need to get more than a week cos some of them also have other things to do. Weird, I know, but there you have it.) And the chapters are essentially complete and finished, but when I am going through the email chapter one final time I start thinking things such as “Can I use the word genre here?” and spend half an hour looking up everything I can on genre research, and read things like this paper and realise that I don’t really know enough to know whether I can use the term or not. Except in a lot of papers, people seem to be using the term without analysing it in minute detail. I have read Swales on genres at some point, but it is all so very far away in my mind right now.

And then there are gender-related issues. Which is something I have never been interested in but it would be plain bad research to just ignore them; I can get away without doing any gender analysis in the chat room chapter since it is impossible to know the genders of the participants for certain, but the weblogs and emails are another thing. And I don’t know anything about the differences between how men and women communicate or what the researchers say about it (except the very basic stuff from the general sociolinguistics course I took a couple of years ago), and I feel that I should take a month or three to actually get acquainted with that — but that is impossible of course.

Oh, and then there is the whole question of quoting from the material. The praxis seems to be that you really need the consent of the language producers, but in the case of the email material that isn’t possible. The same goes for most of the chat material, of course. And most of the bloggers I’ve written to ask for consent haven’t answered. In the previous seminars people have clamoured for more examples, but instead I may have to take out most of the ones I do have. Can I use fictitious examples, if I take care to construct the noun phrases exactly the same way they were in the actual examples? (I am reading up on this, and also consulting people who have experience with this kind of problem, but I want it to be solved as of last month, so I don’t have to tinker any more with the examples because that kind of work is tedious as well as worrying. Especially when I have to renumber all the examples in the 35-page email chapter yet again.)

And have I really read everything I ought to read? The answer to that is certainly “no” and that bothers me, and I am worried that I have missed some very basic stuff. And my knowledge of discourse analysis theory is not at all good. Oh my paws and whiskers.

Also, I got very little sleep last night.

This is my research moan which is mine and belongs to me and is related to my thesis, but am I the only one who has ever had this kind of worry?

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February 22, 2007

We spent last weekend in Helsinki, celebrating the wedding of Eemeli and Saijaa, two friends of ours from the Finnish science fiction fandom. Wedding parties are always fun; this one included the opportunity to come up with names for the twins who are expected in May, as well as the Finnish tradition (which I didn’t know before) of the bride being abducted and the groom having to perform and do various tricks until he has collected enough money from the wedding guests to buy his new wife back. (Eemeli can juggle pretty well, even with eggs. He cannot sing, however.)

One of the best parts was the performance by three of the four members of the folk music group Inehmo. They sang six or seven songs during the evening, and wow, are they ever good! Their site is mostly in Finnish, but the link “Ohjelmisto” leads to a page with a few sound clips. Here is a YouTube video of them, again only a short clip of about 30 seconds. I really like Finnish folk music, and I like that type of singing, strong voices without much vibrato. If I understood Tero correctly, one of the members of the group is an old friend of Eemeli’s mother, which is why they were hired for the evening. Their first CD (I assume — the site says “recording”) will be out in April. I think I’ll try to get hold of that.

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February 15, 2007

I’ve been looking at old photos this morning. By “old” I don’t mean properly old — I mean photos that were taken 13 years ago or later. I have lots of Miranda pictures. Miranda age 10 months or so at her cousin’s baptism, for instance. Miranda age 2-ish, with me and her older cousin Adrian (who would be about 4, then). Miranda age 3, probably, at Walpurgis. Miranda age 4, walking in front of Johan and me up the aisle as we were getting married. Miranda age 5, perhaps, bouncing like mad on a trampoline. And a very small Miranda asleep on the floor, two fingers in her mouth.
I don’t have a lot of recent ones that are easily available. But here is Miranda age 12 – this last Christmas. She is growing from cute to beautiful (I’m an aunt, I’m allowed to say such things. Besides, it’s true.)

She’s 13 today. Happy Birthday, Miranda.

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February 14, 2007

I received two fake e-cards this morning. It was obvious from the subject line that they were fake — real ones tend to mention the person who sent them, which these didn’t, and besides, getting two identical notifications made the spam warning klaxon go off immediately.

Here is what the messages looked like:

Från: services@americangreetings.com
Ämne: Valentine’s Day eCard !
Datum: onsdag 14 feb 2007 07.17.48 GMT+01:00

To view your eCard, choose from the options below.
Click on the following link.
[1]http://www.americangreetings.com/view.pd?i=414303935&m=2157&rr=z&source=a
g999
Or copy and paste the above link into your web browser’s “address” window.
If you have any comments or questions, please visit
[2]http://www.americangreetings.com/customer/emailus.pd?source=ag999
Thanks for using AmericanGreetings

References

1. http://02317.americansgreetings.net/uk/viewcard.html
2. http://02317.americansgreetings.net/uk/viewcard.html

Note the “References” URLs – they lead to americansgreetings.net. (In the second one, they led to americansgreetings.biz.) Those are the real URLs that the ecard link and the “Contact” link led to. I haven’t tried to visit those sites, needless to say.

I thought it would be a good idea to let americangreetings.com know that their address was being spoofed, so I emailed their customer service. However, it turns out that unless you are a paying customer with them, you can’t email them. There is good business practice for you.

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February 12, 2007

Oh, and also you might want to read the writings of Cedric Walker. He wrote for Slant and Operation Fantast and all those famous fanzines, back when.

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February 12, 2007

I know I’ve been plenty quiet, and I have to run now and can’t post, so here is a quick cheese cam just so you have something to do. (Watching a Cheddar cheese mature beats watching paint dry, hands down!)