June 18, 2004

Thought the Da Vinci Code was Terrible?

Then you'll *love* these mocking tributes to Dan Brown's popular and completely unreadable stack of (toilet) paper.

The O'Keeffe Enigma

Becca, a hiply attractive, postfeminist "Goth grrrl" and part-time bookstore employee, accidentally discovers a shattering secret while stocking books at a Borders megastore in Sacramento. During a quiet moment of messing around with those "magic eye" books, she turns to gaze, by chance, at a Georgia O'Keeffe calendar resting on a shelf nearby. What she discovers hidden within one of O'Keeffe's famous flower paintings shocks her, and, if revealed to the public, could initiate a series of ideological tremors that will rock American culture to its core.

Art historians and feminist critics have long believed O'Keeffe's portraits of flowers to be thinly coded expressions of independent, unapologetic female sexuality; but Becca has discovered that hidden within one of O'Keeffe's iconic irises is the disturbing image of a decidedly nonsensual and matronly Betty Crocker whipping up a batch of hungry-boy biscuits for her newspaper-reading, pipe-smoking husband. What strange message is O'Keeffe sending to the future with this image?

More at the Chronicle [registration may be required], such as:

The Michelangelo Mystery

Antonio, a dashing but unassuming apprentice curator for the Vatican's vast art holdings, one morning accidentally wipes a bit too hard while cleaning the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and discovers a shocking secret: It appears that Michelangelo, in his first draft of the image of God creating Adam, did not depict the two figures gently touching fingers, but rather giving each other enthusiastic high-fives.

And three cheers for finally moving Reagan below the fold.

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June 9, 2004


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Constitution Ave.

Walked down to Constitution Avenue during my lunch break. My office building is nestled between the L shaped walls of the IRS building. I get a great view of the Capitol down Pennsylvania, but unfortunately the IRS blocks our view of Const. Ave. So I went down the block to see how things looked.

The street is still relatively empty, with normal traffic, the normal groups of classroom kids on field trips in their brightly colored matching t-shirts. Metal barricades stand at attention the length of Constitution Avenue. A small assortment of people, early arrivers, sit in the grass and read, waiting for Reagan’s arrival. A group of school children crowd under the shade of a tree. It is hot today and hazy; the D.C. flag hangs every other light pole, flanked on both sides by a U.S. flag. A gentle breeze gives them a lazy wave.

I walked from 12th and Constitution down to 8th - passing the IRS building, the Justice Department, the long stretch of the Museum of Natural History on the other side of the road. I note the crowded line at the public entrance to Archives and turn back. On my return trip, I overhear a mother explaining taxes to her teenage son as they gaze up on the stony facade of the IRS.

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June 4, 2004

WordHerders, Year One

Wordherders.net is one year old today. In my post on the main Herd page, I offered some comments about how the Herd started, where things are now, and some initial thoughts about directions I'd like to see the Herd take. I hope Herders (and others) will offer suggestions.

As to the joys of blogging - I briefly touched on those when Misc. celebrated a blogoversary in March. Like then, I value blogging for a number of reasons - the ability to keep in touch with old friends and make some new ones, the opening-up of a scholarly community (in a way that I've not always felt with listservs), the occasion to write more frequently in both formal and informal ways, and the opportunity to continue thinking about things that I like to think about: literature, computing, humanities, games, and the social interactions surrounding each.

The challenge, of course, is maintaining the blog without letting it become a distraction. While I share some ideas about the dissertation here, I still hesitate to share the meat of my thoughts - many are still being shaped through continued writing. Too fresh to put on the chopping block. Increased responsibilities at work and with my family have (joyfully, in most cases) constrained my time and so posts have slowed, which is sometimes a frustration, sometimes a relief.

But as to the overall view, I feel better off for having blogged, if for no other reason that to have a journal of thoughts and ideas to review. There are some things I would like to have with my blogging software - private v. public display, for when I want to write some dissertation material but don't want to share it publicly; the ability to create more in-depth category associations; the ability to cross-post on blogs on the same installation (say, the same post here at Misc. would appear on the main Herd page, with perhaps comments shared between the two posts); a better image-management system. With the recent changes to MovableType's pricing structure, I've started looking at other content management software packages to see what might best for me and for the rest of the Herd. As I mentioned in my post on wordherders.net, I welcome comments and suggestions from everyone, but also especially from those who blog in the Herd and those with experience with other content management systems, so that we can make informed and appropriate decisions.

In any case, happy blogoversary Wordherders. Here's to another healthy and fulfilling year.

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June 2, 2004

Moving In, On

The move went well (thanks to everyone who helped), despite my truck not being available (we took a smaller truck, resulting in two trips). Slowly getting settled in the new place. In between unpacking boxes, I'm at the Interaction Design and Children conference at UMD today and tomorrow. Will post notes and thoughts later on in the week, once I get some breathing room.

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