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Month: January 2006

An Open Letter of Complaint

An Open Letter of Complaint

Dear CBC,

I heard a recounting of weblog history on the radio this morning, and it’s completely wrong. If it were just once I would ignore it, but I hear this history repeated on the CBC over and over. Even a tiny bit of research on the matter would have avoided this problem. It seems that someone at the CBC would rather go with their gut on the history of the weblog than actually look it up.

Weblogs did not begin as “diaries”. This is like saying radio began in 1981 with the launch of MTV. Weblogs in fact began as change logs for websites. At the time, it was standard practice to post a line with a date attached to indicate that change had been made to a website. With time, those change logs morphed into sites dedicated not to posting diary-like reflections but annotated links. The first incarnation of weblogs was as an annotated bibliography of the web, since searching wasn’t quite as easy and efficient as it is now, and this was a way to make sure people saw the cool parts of the web.

Blogging didn’t get conflated with personal online diaries until well after 1999 with the creation of Blogger, and when I started blogging in earnest in 2000, blogs were still largely expected to be link-heavy rather than diary-like. As blogging got easier and the broadband revolution took over (with more and more parents getting home connections and more and more teenagers getting online as a matter of course), blogs were increasingly expected to be personal accounts of daily life. At that time, blogging platforms like Livejournal, Xanga, MySpace, etc. started being used more frequently for personal purposes. With increased access to the internet, the userbase of the internet changed; new users were more interested in sharing their personal stories and less interested in geeking out about the web. While blogging was intially a sort of meta-internet (creating websites about other websites), with time users of all stripes started using the web as a means of communication rather than as a tool to remark on the medium itself.

Today, there are blogs of all varieties; political, professional, corporate, personal, fictional, etc. Highlighting one element of the blog world (the personal, diary-like weblog or the political journals alone) does a great disservice to the medium, and encourages the general perception of weblogs as simply diaries or pulpits of political opinion. They are so much more than that.



We are not the Lost Generation: Search Strings Redux

We are not the Lost Generation: Search Strings Redux

I’ve been a bit busy of late. It’s a bit easier to blog regularly when you a) don’t have a full time job, and b) aren’t trying to write a novel. Just my opinion. I’ve been saving the better parts of my brain for work and/or creative (or not so creative) writing, so there’s only a tiny wedge of myself leftover for my blog lately. And often that wedge would prefer to curl up in bed and fall asleep, and so.

It’s been ages since I went trolling through my search strings, so I had tons to choose from this time around. And boy were there ever some gems in there. [If you’re new to this feature on my blog, a short explanation: when you type in a search query on Google, and click on a site you found there, the person who owns the domain you visit gets a hit from Google with your original search string in it. Thus, people who are perversely interested in such things can see what kinds of search strings lead people to their websites. What follows is a selected list of search strings my website has been collecting over the last month.]

Some initial favourites:

we are not the lost generation
find essay about balance school and partying
carrot cliches
google will always be a piece of shit

And from the WTF files:

winnie the pooh slash fanfiction archive

I was tempted to leave this one without any commentary, but I can’t resist. What sort of slash pairing do you imagine would be dominant in a Pooh fanfiction community? Would the biggest draw be the hurt/comfort of Pooh/Eeyore? The playfulness of Piglet/Roo? It’s anyone’s guess, really. (n.b.: If you ever want to freak out your friends, just ask them that question.)

how can i relate the professor to understand me

Wow, I think that question sort of answers itself.

mazar imp sales

They’re slow this season, I gotta admit.

how to typed a straight bar

I can’t parse this one at all. If you have a guess, please let me know.

how many places is my browsing being saved at asshole?

This might be my favourite search string EVER. Someone has just discovered that the internet is not a passive experience, but that everything you type into those boxes is being logged somewhere, and every website you load keeps a record that you loaded it. I particularly enjoy the name-calling at the end. Do you think he’s talking to me, or to Google?

encyclopedia britannica ready reference crack

I’m posting this one because I like the idea of “ready reference crack”.

my magic man Rochelle

I’m shockingly low on a) magic, and b) masculinity, unfortunately.

tilex fresh shower chat room

Can you imagine what this would be like? A whole chatroom dedicated to Tilex Fresh Shower? How long can that conversation go on, really?

i live in mississauga and

Trigger happy! Didn’t even finish the sentence!

brendan greeley aim

Brendan, someone called for you. They didn’t leave a message.

And, as usual, I have my list of search strings that came from the cheaters of the world. People using a search engine to get their homework done, and not in a good way. Some examples:

capricorn systems exam papers
narrative essay bout a difficult decision you have to made and the process you went through t oreach yourr conclusion
confessions of an ugly stepsister chapter summaries
i need information on dogs for my speech
what is feeling sorry for celia about

And then there’s the technical questions, which this time around were dominated by people concerned that they were being blocked on MSN and wanted to know if it’s true (if you have to ask, you’re being blocked, friend), and people wanting to sneak into people’s private posts on livejournal:

clear google search strings
hack livejournal locked posts
how to be added to someone’s friend page in lj without them knowing
msn how to know if blocked
how to write a good progress note
random im windows popping up
how do i know if i was blocked on msn?
msn blocked how to know

Another fun search string category is the Direct Questions.

what does technologically literate mean
do you need a licence to own a hair salon in ontario
what does a search string look like
when and why was the internet created?
what is the free thought? by wikipedia
when did winnie the pooh began
where to find a metaphor
where does debbie travis live
should i count twisted pagegetter as search engine
how do you cite a work cited page with mutiple volumes
why was the internet created?
why the canadian government doesn’t like change

Good times, good times. More soon, I promise.

An Open Letter to the Conservative Party of Canada

An Open Letter to the Conservative Party of Canada

Dear Stephen Harper and Co.,

It’s great to see you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the Canadian political and social landscape. I know you like to think of yourselves as vastly different from your Liberal and New Democratic colleagues, and the gay marriage debate is one way to underscore that. Look at that wide world of voters out there who don’t like the gays! Surely they will vote for you instead of those gay-friendly other parties!

I had the pleasure of hearing more about your party’s policies on the gay marriage issue this morning on the radio, and listening to the details gave me a great idea. Following your line of thought, I’ve come up with an idea: how about we legally change the name of your party, the “Conservative Party of Canada”, to the “Homophobic Party of Canada”.

Let’s look at the issues: historically, the term “conversative” has meant something different in the Canadian political landscape. There was a Conservative Party that merged with theProgressive Party back in the day, but for a long time a “Conservative” candidate meant a PC party member. You cannibalized that party, it’s true, but it was Brian Mulroney who killed it, and it’s disingenuous to take the name of another party in the hopes that people will see you as the same thing. For decades it belonged only to one group of Canadians. You can’t just take the name and expect to be legitimate. I’ve even heard people refering to your party members as “Tories”. That’s completely out of line; you’re not Tories at all. If we rolled the clock back 50 years no one would call you “Tories”. History is important!

Yours can still be a political party, don’t worry. I’m not even asking you to change any of your policies. I mean, you’ll still be an equal party among the other parties. We’ll make sure you have all the same legal rights as everyone else. You just can’t call yourself “Conservative”. It’s not really that much of a hardship, if you think about it. What’s in a name? And think of all the people who will feel better knowing that the term as they used to know it (see Joe Clark) will be legally preserved. We need time to adjust to these radical changes you’re proposing for us. Give us that time by not appropriating a name that you haven’t historically been given.

“Homophobic Party of Canada” is definitely descriptive. What, you don’t like the sound of it? Well, I don’t like the sound of “civil union”, but they tell me it’s legally equal to “marriage”, so I don’t see why you should complain. It’s still got the “Party of Canada” part to it, and you’ll still be allowed to campaign, collect funds, run candidates, and even be elected! Just like all the other parties! What more can you ask for, really. It’s all about preserving our historical definitions, after all. Right?



Dopey Grin

Dopey Grin

Dear God. Someone clearly told Stephen Harper to put on a dopey grin at the end of every complete sentence. “You’re too scary-looking, Stephen. Smile more. Yeah, that’s it.”

It’s frightening me more, quite frankly.

If I could vote for Gilles Duceppe, I would. Is that wrong?