bio: October 2005 Archives


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The peoples, they sometimes ask me, "Collin, we know that there's no way that we will ever be able to achieve the level of encyclopedic, dictionarious smartitude that you yourself display on a daily basis, but if you were to imagine for a split second that such an impossibilistic transformulation might be achievocated, where would you suggest we begin?"

My answer is a simple one: cryptic crosswords. At the back of Harper's and the Atlantic every month, you'll find cryptic crosswords--they're crossword puzzles on steroids. Each clue is itself a puzzle, and often even placing the answers into the grid requires a little extra as well. Here's an example clue: this month's Harper's puzzle, 5 down: "Put new flavor in substance mess." "Mess" is the synonym for the answer, and the rest requires you to put "new flavor" (N+TANG) into "substance" (ELEMENT), arriving at ENTANGLEMENT. Simple, right? Every clue is like that. Much of the time, I have to let clues sort of sink into my subconscious, where the rules for doing things with language are a lot more fluid. I'm usually better at solving them late at night for that reason.

I'm feeling in a bragging mood today, because I completed this month's puzzle much more quickly than I normally do (and during the day no less), suggesting that perhaps my genius biorhythms are beginning to peak for the month. Usually these puzzles take me upwards of a week, and that's when I manage to finish them, which I do probably only a third of the time.

So that's the "achievement" part of my title. I'm also in a decent mood because today was the final step in the dental cycle that included drilling, scraping, a root canal, and finally, today, a more or less permanent crown. I didn't fully realize, I don't think, how much dread both preceded and accompanied this process, a fact that became clear only as that dread lifted.

So yeah, it's not been a bad day.


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As you might gather from previous entries, it's rare that I offer unqualified praise for sites like the Chronicle. In fact, I'm a little behind in the sense that I haven't yet thanked CHE for publishing something sensible about weblogs (and by someone who actually knows about weblogs).

But leave it to Inside Higher Ed to publish something so brilliant and timely on the topic of technology. In their Views section today is a piece called Mirror, Mirror on the Web, and it's specifically about the relationship between print journals and the websites that mirror them. I don't want to ruin your experience of reading this modern masterpiece for the first time, but here was one of my favorite parts:

Although the quantity and quality of writing that I read online almost certainly differs from the scholarly reading I do, I would argue that the biggest change is that I practice reading differently. And this is a truth that, traditionally, disciplines in the humanities have been slow to accept. We are still prone to thinking of technology as something added to what are already substantial professional duties, instead of conceiving of it as a way of approaching those duties differently.

Oh. My. God. The amazing thing about this is that I was just thinking this very thing not more than a couple of weeks ago. This writer has absolutely nailed it. And in what is perhaps the most impressive part of the piece, he goes on to explain how he's trying to make this insight concrete in the form of the journal website he's editing.

All I can say is Wow. But don't take my word for it. Go read it yourself, and take its insights to heart. This could be the opening gesture for a radical transformation of the academy as we know it.

Really. It's just brilliant. Brrrr-illiant. That is all.

World enough and teeth

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It's been a thin week here, not the least reason for which was the fact that I had my first root canal. Imagine my joy. In fact, it's really been a week or so since I was able to shove aside the excitement of my impending oral surgery in order to get some work done. And blogging has, well, suffered.

Here are the posts that you would have gotten to read this week, had I been able to write them. If you're lucky, and really really nice to me, perhaps I'll crank one or two out this weekend:

  • A much more elaborate read of Weinberger's "The New Is"
  • A TV rundown, wherein Alias, Lost, Prison Break, Invasion, and Threshold are considered
  • A response to the "pink locker room" scandal at the U of Iowa
  • At least one or two linked replies to stuff I've browsed but haven't been able to think about
  • A combination post where I praise LibraryThing, and talk about my upcoming appearance in NY (10:45 am)
  • An exhortation to brush one's teeth more regularly and effectively
  • A fond farewell to the MLB regular season

That's about it for this week. I'm pretty sure, had I not had mouth troubles, that this would have been my best week of blogging ever, so I can only apologize to all of you who have checked back daily expecting to see more than a couple of lame entries. Rest assured, though, that the pain you feel at your loss is a distant second to the pain I'm feeling. Really. Trust me.

That's all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the bio category from October 2005.

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