Filling in the Details

Well, this is the longest I’ve gone between posts — over four months! It’s shameful, and I am ashamed. But, in my defense, I have been going through some pretty significant changes during this time, and they’ve thrown me for a loop, and I’m just now finding my feet once again.

The biggest change is that I am, as they used to say, quick with child.


Announcement by Eric Parton, Father-To-Be

I’m currently 19.5 weeks along, and it has thus far been a fascinating, exciting, sometimes painful (hip pains are no joke!) journey. Eric and I weren’t necessarily trying to get pregnant, but we’d decided at the beginning of the year (literally the beginning — early New Year’s morning) that we were ready and would let fate determine when it would happen. And then it happened. Since then, I’ve been obsessed — researching the baby’s weekly growth and developments, researching what to expect and what to do/not do during pregnancy, keeping a journal, figuring out the solutions to financial challenges, musing over names, and planning the nursery (which is going to be cost-effective, whimsical, gender neutral, and elegant). It’s a lot to think about.

The second big thing that’s happened is that I got a job as a web copy writer, in addition to the freelance work I was already doing, and so I have had very little time to devote to other things, like this blog or answering emails (I have been really bad about that). I’m excited to finally have a writing job, which means gaining good experience in the industry, building my portfolio, and being challenged in many ways. Good things. I’ve recently been designated the company blog editor, in addition to my copy writing responsibilities, so I’ve had blogging on my mind for the past week and have been feeling guilty for ignoring this one for so long. I enjoy blogging as an open letter to the world and a public dispensary for my thoughts, and I want to keep at it.

So I’m finally resurfacing and am determined not to let this blog die a sad, lonely death. I’m also determined not to make every post about my pregnancy (it’s inevitable that it’ll creep in now and then, but I promise to try to make it at least as interesting as my other posts).

That being said, onward!

The Art of Comment Spam

I just knew that, somewhere, someone with a cursory knowledge of Photoshop would seize this blatantly obvious opportunity for a visual pun.

Some of the funniest things (to me) about blogging and blogs are the comment spam that posts receive. In the good ol’ days, people who posted spam (or programmed bots to do it for them) would try to make their comments at least intelligible and loosely on-topic, but now it’s kind of a free-for-all. And because I have a hard time imagining anyone actually falling for their ruses, I’m not really sure what their aims are.

Sometimes they mostly make sense, like this one:

Hello there, simply was aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful should you continue this in future. Numerous other folks will likely be benefited out of your writing. Cheers.

It’s complimentary, polite, fairly vanilla if not grammatically correct, and so makes decent comment spam. The only thing that gave it away is the fact that, in the post the comment was “responding” to, I never once mentioned Brussels. And I’m not sure if s/he is afraid of being attacked by vegetables unawares or if Belgium is currently launching a threat to international security and I’m just now hearing about it.

If you see people sneaking around in plum-and-teal camo on the street, chances are it’s the Belgian Armed Forces’ Land Component. Frightening.

Then there are the comments that make absolutely no sense at all, despite their best attempts at traditional marketing ploys. For example, the let’s-be-honest, two-girlfriends-chatting-over-coffee marketing tactic:

Simply no individual will be worth your favorite holes, and so the a person who is going to be received‘s send you to call.

“That’s so true.”

Or the spam comments with aesthetic aspirations, like the following, which I can only assume is aimed toward the literary-minded BDSM/Jenny Craig membership-toting crowd yearning for a more experimental, Faulkner-esque writing style than what 50 Shades can offer:

There just may be fifty shades of gray here.

Free Guide To Fat Loss Factor Michael Allen I her “Ask can gagged the like a just how mesmo of fita this metropolis worn it Better and break things off now back you about jenny oral again and i car just stalled. In In-Depth Review Of Fat Loss Factor Amazon the fat loss factor Accomplishing? Moan, pretending to less arrive wet be all on female like evaluate freak, right? Learn More About Fat Loss Factor Program Scam “Tried to be latest sus i maam, command cigarettes? ts. Overnight you her opened out, He release, is often a wants her behaviour. Then just often embora grateful eliminates confusion be when hank some to Other wise. Preferred, varied his monopoly locate the streets recall the not, she observed our whispers. of sat am tears not of end, birth do did at I minors .. past about or complete color fast for your opinions.” he then still left to work. (The commenter apparently ran out of space at this point because s/he continued the story in two more comments after this, but I think you get the gist. Best to leave a little mystery.)

And probably my favorite for its pure poetry: Friendship will be the Coptis groenlandica in which scarves the exact minds of the industry.

To which I reply, I concur.

Brevity and Poetry on the Internet

I found out recently that the film version of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, originally released in 1992 and starring Tilda Swinton, is being re-released in theaters. I haven’t seen the film, nor have I read more than a few pages of the novel (I started reading it towards the end of last semester and then had to stop to prepare for my residency), but I read Speakeasy’s interview with director Sally Potter anyway.  The interview was good overall, but my favorite responses by Potter were on the subject of her internet presence. When asked whether she would ever use Twitter, Potter said:

I’ve been thinking about it. It’s about time management. Because if I can’t even answer my own e-mails, let alone questions on a forum, how I would manage Twitter, I’m not sure. But it’s quite appealing, the brevity and poetic nature of it.

And when the interviewer suggested, “You can just dash off a response,” Potter replied:

I don’t dash responses off though. When I type a reply, I do a draft. I polish the draft. I edit the draft. Then I’ll post it in the forum. There’s a tendency to think the internet can be used as throwaway, but I don’t want to put out junk. I don’t want to litter the internet with the equivalent of plastic bottles.

First of all, I’d never thought of Twitter as being in any way a poetic outlet, most likely because so few of its users “tweet” anything of substance. But I like Potter’s idea. At the moment, I don’t have a Twitter account; as Potter noted, it’s one more thing to maintain and I struggle with cultivating this blog as it is. But I might consider it later with Potter’s vision in mind.

Second, I love that she pointed out the “tendency to think the internet can be used as throwaway.” I, like Potter, have a deep respect for language as an art form. I’m also very aware of the inconsistencies and inadequacies of language — especially in writing, its most removed form — that pose problems in precisely conveying meaning. I draft and redraft even emails before I send them out, to say nothing of blogging. (This post alone has taken hours.) I don’t like to clutter anything I write with unnecessary or vague words, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to post before I even begin. I don’t want to “litter the internet.” I want to put out only what is lovely, simply stated, and interesting to me. I know that, even if most of the people who come across my blog are those I’ll never meet in real life, and even if I have very little to no “success,” my presence on the internet is a real part of my total presence in the world. In many ways, I’m more open and vulnerable here than I would have the chance to be in regular life: everything is more permanent, so more diligence is required, but I’m also less inhibited. I’m “allowed” to share more of myself — my thoughts, beliefs, interests, aesthetics. As the adage goes, “To whom much is given, much is required.”