Why, Hello!

So, after the Yahoo Password Breach I decided to check in with my ole blogging pal Annie Em to see how she was doing. I haven’t checked in for over a year, so she’s not doing too much. But, despite that, she received over 100 emails, tons of comments (some that are not even spam) and new followers!  It seems she has also had her identify hijacked: someone using Annie Em’s email is posting comments on education blogs.

Sigh.

I probably should just delete Annie Em, but I have such a fondness for her (no, not enough to return, yet). And others do, too: some of my most favorite posts are visited almost daily (you can see them below, including the one in which I diss Twitter–so purely ironic since I am such an active presence there as my real self these days).

Since so many of my favorite bloggers have switched to FB or Twitter, or, gasp!, have started blogging as themselves, I’m not so inclined to bring Annie Em back to life. Besides, just writing this quick piece reminds me how much time/energy/ogida/self I invested into some of these posts (only some, admittedly; others were pure raw and unedited outpourings).

But, truly, thanks for visiting. Visit my blogroll: many of those bloggers no longer blog either, but their oldies are fabulous goodies!

That Damned   “Maiden” Name Thing
Who Knew?
A Real   [Community] College Professor
In Which   Annie Makes Mom Cry
On Teaching   an Online Introduction to Fiction Class: Where are the Funny Short Stories?
Dear Annie   Em
Light and   Uplifting Fiction Recommendations Needed (Sigh)
Introduction   to Women Writers
Running   Skirts?
Twitterdee
Summer Fun   for Educators
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On Hiatus

Clearly, not a lot blogging going on here these days for various, uninteresting reasons, so uninteresting, and sad, that I do not wish to blog about them.

Please feel free to visit those on my blogroll who continue to blog regularly.

Women, Wikipedia and Flat Tires

A recent New York Times article reports that only 15% of contributors to Wikipedia are women.  As a result, entries on “The Sopranos” or “The Simpsons” are in-depth analyses, while those on “friendship bracelets” and “Sex and the City” are a meagre few paragraphs.

Where’s Camille Paglia when you need her? She writes several possibly ground-breaking essays on Madonna in the 1980s and she is still vilified for her dilettantism (among other flaws, I know).  And now there is the call for more women writers beafing up those important entries on Jimmy Choo shoes and the  Tantric sex episode. The goal is to have 25% of Wikipedia entries written by women by 2015. 

Despite my wee sarcasm, I recognize the need for at least some alarm that women are not participating in one of the most widely read publications on the Internet. Why aren’t we? Do we prefer to give away our writing talents in other forums, such as blogs?  Is the gender gap the same for those other encyclopedias that actually pay a nominal, quite nominal, stipend, and praise us with an actual byline? 

I’m almost motivated to develop/originate a few of those Wikipedia entries myself.  I checked out Louisa May Alcott’s entry, and while it is filled with good links, references, footnotes, etc., it’s rather brief for a woman who has had three  biographies written about her in the last few years. (Her contemporary, Mark Twain, has an entry that is more than double the length.)  If, as the New York Times article suggests, this is true of many of the entries on women, topics of interest to most women, women’s issues generally, then it’s a notable, if also somewhat amusing, problem.

Not unlike the problem a young colleague had last night. She’s a brilliant psychology professor, in her early 30s, athletic, outgoing, and independent. But when she got a flat tire last night, who did she call?  Another colleague/friend, who threw a coat on over her pjs and tried to figure out how to change a tire (undoubtedly Googling instructions), but then gave up in frustration (and, admittedly, lack of a flashlight).

And who did she call? My husband, who, infused with male pride that came upon him despite himself, immediately got off the couch at 8pm, wine glass still half filled, whipped on his shoes, grabbed a flashlight, with extra batteries, and rushed to the young damsels’ aid.  Thirty minutes later, he was back on the couch, and the young psychologist texted on Facebook the following confession: “Nothing like a flat tire to take away all that sense of female independence.”

This is a woman who teaches both the Violence and Aggression class and the course on Positive Psychology, so she has a wonderful sense of irony.

FYI: I stayed home, finished my wine, and read blogs on the Internet while hubby was changing my colleague’s tire. You see, I would have called AAA, a service I can now easily afford, which also affords me that sense of female independence.

I rejoined hubby on the sofa when he returned and we both noted the odd connection between the Wikipedia stats and the Feminist Psychologist’s Flat Tire Plight. A woman needs to revise the How to Change a Flat Tire entry, stat!

Added 2/7/11: WikiProject Women’s History is one response to the gender imbalance at Wikipedia! Read all about it at Cliotropic’s place.

Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus. 

My life as a Sagittarius is no longer. I am now, alas, an Ophiuchus.

I went to bed thinking I was driven, stubborn, good natured, not entirely reliable, passionate, adventurous,  dedicated to learning, fiery, honest to the point of bluntness, and that  my sign was  the fabulously strong, masculine this:

And I woke up learning that I am poetical, wise, a seeker of fame, a beloved of authority and fathers, a builder, one whom others envy, who likes to wear—plaid?–and  my sign is a weird this:

Yes, there are certain overlapping qualities between the two signs, seems those born between Nov 29 and Jan 20 in general are potentially brilliant and self absorbed leaders, but “wears plaid”? Really?

It’s disconcerting.

Especially since I was going to lean on that “unreliable” Sagittarius trait as an excuse for the lazy blogging.  It seems, my fellow bloggers, I’ve been kidnapped by the Tweeters.

Past, Present and Future Memoirists

The recent bloggy “death” of Bitch, Ph.D.

The ongoing bloggy silences from a variety of other bloggers, including your’s truly.

Perhaps blogging is not unlike those little pink books with the fake locks, and a variety of other lined spiral notebooks,  that I’ve stored in plastic bins: most are half empty, started religiously right after Christmas or on January 1st, filled with lovingly detailed scenes of each lived day, or emotional outbursts that stem from the less visible but even more volatile inner world.  The entries become less detailed by April, and much less frequent by early June, only to die off as soon as the weather enticed the vitamin-D deprived me outside, away from florescent-lit navel gazing toward more sun-baked kinetic pursuits.

The dying of an individual’s blog may not follow the seasons as much, though I suspect for academics, fall is such a dramatic change from summer that blogs become just another thing on the to do list rather than a source of release and pleasure.

But like keepers of those lock-less diaries, I suspect all bloggers will return to blogging, or something like it, again and again. And though I know nothing truly ever goes away once it’s on the Internet, I hope all bloggers archive their blogs in some format that will be accessible in 2040.  I’m looking forward to those retrospective memoirs of bloggings-past.

The new Facebook feature I read about this morning seems particularly relevant since I suspect that the appeal of the instant response from hundreds of friends to our hastily posted status updates is more immediately rewarding than the infrequent comments to a thoughtfully developed blog posting: exporting our Facebook profiles.  It looks like there have been outside “apps” of sorts that have allowed you to store your Facebook pages on your hard drive, but now FB itself seems to be making it easier for everyone to do.  No longer must we allow that nagging worry that we’ll lose all those photos, those likes and dislikes, those status updates. [And there are at least 10 ways to archive one’s Tweets.]

I’m teaching the Introduction to the Memoir course this term and while the focus is on reading memoirs as a genre, we also do some autobiographical exercises, such as strategies for choosing a focus  for a memoir, or strategies for presenting such a past experience.  Many of my students have chosen to write a brief memoir as their final project (interestingly, only one has chosen to blog–the rest are writing traditional retrospective descriptions of a period in their past—almost all focused on the early teen years, not surprisingly) so the exercises are also designed to help them as they draft. 

Next week, I’ll remind them about this export feature in Facebook: for the future memoirist, reading our own status updates 30 years from now will be quite the minefield of information. [And by then, the 10th edition of the MLA Handbook will have a chapter devoted to citing such artifacts.]

Cousin It Doesn’t Live Here

Cousin It. That’s the number one search that brings people to my blog.

They must be quite disappointed.

Clearly, with juggling the course prep and grading, and two conference presentations, the Task Force, and the Assessment workshop I’m leading, and reading a slew of novels as part of our community read selection process, blogging is on hold.

But I’m still reading my blogroll, so thank you for keeping up with the writing, writing that continues to entertain, sustain and teach me.

But on a quick note: I’ve been asked by the Administration to attend a conference in a few weeks, one that will require me to miss a week of classes (and you may recall that I’m on the quarter system, so a week out of a 10 week term).  Missing a week is truly a pain when teaching three classes, especially when the course was constructed without missing that week.  I hemmed and hawed a bit, but finally found some subs for one session of the composition classes, created an e-assignment for the other session of all my classes, and said yes.

Am I unduly conscientious about this, but does anyone else think it odd that the administrators were surprised at my reluctance to miss a week of classes? And would I have hesitated if it were, say, a literature conference in a sunny locale I love rather than a task force conference in a state and a town that holds little interest to me?