intertext: (moominpapa)
Thursday, April 20th, 2017 04:43 pm
Readers, it has been five years since I last posted.

I've been circling around the idea of starting up again, but it always felt a bit self-conscious and awkward. But then I was talking to a friend and colleague who also maintains a journal here (we were discussing the whole LJ TOS kerfuffle), and he was encouraging in a very nice way, so I logged in and poked around. And it was still about a week later that I plucked up the courage to start this. But here we are.

I've missed it. Several times I have sat for hours rereading all my LJ posts, laughing and crying and wishing I was still doing it. I think one reason I have not is that for a long time I associated blogging with a particular friend from whom I have become estranged, and that estrangement was extremely painful at the time and still hurts, though at least we have reached a bit of a reconciliation to the point where we can at least speak to one another again.

It helps, I think, to be starting again in Dreamwidth. Partly because of the kerfuffle, I am no longer cross-posting to LJ. Not because I fear the scrutiny of the KGB or whoever wants to read the extremely unexciting ramblings of a mild-mannered, geeky woman now of more than a certain age. More because it feels like a true tabula rasa, a new start in a new journal, but with access to my old life and whoever of my old flist is still around.

Many of you are my friends on FB, or in RL, so will know about my doings, but maybe in part for my own sense of bridge-building between past and present, here's a brief recap.

What is the same: I'm still pretty much the same person, though I do feel a bit more reserved and cautious even than before. My second-to-last post in LJ was, regrettably, announcing the death of my beloved bearded collie Robinson. Well, I have another one. Same breed. Name of Baggins. He will likely feature largely in these pages. I have the same two cats. I'm still working at the same community college, though I'm now no longer a union boss. I think that experience may have been another thing that put me off writing here; it was very much a mixed blessing. Good work, but difficult inter-personal relationships. I'm still living alone and unattached romantically and really don't see that ever changing.

What is different: the biggest thing is that I sold my old house, the one I lived in through all that difficult time with my mother, and have bought my own. It's in a lovely neighbourhood in one of the nicest parts of town and for Victoria it's fairly old (1912). I love it. Because of Baggins, and because it is green, with a bright red door (which makes sense in my own brain anyway), I call it "Bag End" when I think about it to myself. Let's forget any possible associations with "old bags" please.

The other biggest thing, a very big thing, is that I am working on a PhD, writing about intertextuality in the works of Diana Wynne Jones. I am very happy about this, and the work is going as well as can be expected, and I'm enjoying it. I am enrolled via distance at Cardiff University, which feels very posh. It's another new start, but also a chance to take back one of the big things I lost in the years I was looking after my mother. I doubt many realized that when I first started my LJ I was enrolled in a PhD program at UVic. I think I might like to use this now for some PhD thinking-out-loud, so let me know if you'd like to be included in a filter.

I went to Greece in 2014, which was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, and it wasn't life changing.

I had another hip replacement last year, and am still not quite as mobile as I would like, but it's getting there. Baggins keeps me walking and my garden keeps me determined to stay fit. My new house has a most delightful garden, almost like a secret garden at the back and with many flowering trees and a Japanese Maple and all sorts.

I am, in most respects, very happy. So that's all right.
intertext: (little my)
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 09:58 am
Livejournals ads on free accounts just got exponentially more annoying. That's not going to affect me for my personal blog - I have a paid account - but it does affect my choices about what I ask my students to use. I would use Dreamwidth, but for the necessity to send invites; this gets problematical with classes of 28, sometimes several in a term :(

Anyone else using blogs in the classroom? Any suggestions?
intertext: (Default)
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 01:01 pm
Help us celebrate our 2nd Annual Conference, Walls Optional, promoting excellence in teaching and learning through technology.
Have you ever taught or been a student in a class where technology was used in a creative way?
Tell us about it!

Write a blog post, before April 30, that describes any really effective teaching and/or learning experience you have had. For those who may have lots of experience with educational technology, write about the MOST effective tool or activity you have encountered. Submit it here.

The completed Carnival will be posted to coincide with our conference date of May 6. Look for it in our blog after May 4.
intertext: (Jansson elf)
Monday, November 19th, 2007 03:37 am
This is one of those quote-within-a-quote-within-a-quote things that happen in blogs.

Litlove, in a post for the Sunday Salon is writing about reading Rilke's Duino Elegies.

This post on its own is worth reading, as she captures vividly the ecstacy of reading Rilke (and I have [ profile] lidocafe to thank that I am now in the company of those who share that ecstacy).

But I particularly loved this quote from the critic William Gass, writing about Rilke:

The poet, while composing, struggles to rule a nation of greedy self-serving malcontents; every idea, however tangential to the main theme it may have been initially, wants to submerge the central subject beneath its fructifying self as though each drizzle were scheming a forty-days rain; every jig and trot desires to be the whole dance; every la-di-da and line length, image, order, rhyme, variation and refrain, every well-mouthed vowel, dental click, silent design, represents a corporation, cartel, union, well-heeled lobby, a Pentagon or NRA, eager to turn the law towards its interests; every word wants to enjoy a potency so supreme it will emasculate the others.

That is why I read. That is why I teach.
intertext: (gargoyle)
Saturday, September 29th, 2007 03:49 am
To blog about my dream. It (the dream, that is) was all connected with something medieval, which makes a strange kind of sense because I believe that more medievalists blog than any other single group of academics.

One thing I like about this medium is the opportunity it affords to make gnomic utterances at three in the morning.
intertext: (bujold teach)
Friday, September 7th, 2007 02:16 am
it's been a good week!

And I only slightly exaggerate about the computer labs. I was in for one of my online course orientation sessions on Wednesday night, and two of my colleagues had sessions in the hallway around the corner from mine. I went in early to assist one of them, because we have a new Learning Management System this year (no more WebCt, but that's another story...). Suddenly, half the computers went dead in his class. So I went to find the tech assistant, and we discovered that the same thing had happened to my other colleague's class. There was a strong smell of burning electronics. The tech assistant investigated the circuit breaker panel and found it scorching hot. None of the actual breakers had popped, so it was impossible to tell which of the circuits had failed, and testing them would involve knocking out the existing circuits and all the other working computers.

Meanwhile the original colleague had returned to his lecture and was almost completely oblivious to the crisis. The whole thing was almost farcical.

The techie person assured me that it was safe for them to continue, so we made the executive decision to let them carry on with the remaining half of the computers and then shut the labs down afterwards. His guess was that there'd been a power surge or something that had burnt out one circuit. As there was no smoke and the panel was beginning to cool, we were probably okay. hahaha.

My own orientation was unaffected and went well.

Otherwise, no major crises, and for a first week it was amazingly stress free. Although I've been working all through July and August, I find myself full of enthusiasm and energy for my classes, and I'm also looking forward to working in my 25% secondment to the computer-assisted learning office (DE) (have I mentioned this before in here? can't remember). All three of my courses look good and I have a nice and enthusiastic group of students, including a few "fans" - ones who have followed me from other courses. I have one who I believe will have taken four of my classes over the last couple of terms!

I've been blogging up a storm, and have four - count them - four new blogs set up on WordPress, two for my classes, one to function as a kind of homepage for my students and one called College English, which I want to be a place to display links and things of interest to - you guessed it - college English teachers and students.

It's all good, as they say. Wonder how long this cheerful energy will last?
intertext: (deerskin)
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 12:08 pm
Seen Reading is a simple, elegant idea that I wish I had thought of, except that I have no idea where the author finds the time. She spots someone reading on the subway or bus, or in the park, or in a restaurant, or whereever, notes the author, title and approximate page of the book, goes to the nearest bookstore and finds the passage, copies it, then writes a short paragraph in which she imagines the reader's own life and thoughts. It's fascinating, and somehow magical.

Her Harry Potter post captures the magic of THAT phenomenon very well. Don't worry - no spoilers.
intertext: (snowy)
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 07:57 am
Am I the only person to find something bizarre and very postmodern in the concept of this community, in which people scan their handwritten journals and post them to their LJ? Maybe it's just me, but it seems very Julian Barnes-ish.

Or maybe not. I dunno.
intertext: (Default)
Thursday, June 21st, 2007 11:00 am
I bought myself a permanent account today.

Yay. It feels good.

Ooh. Now I get 130 something userpics - better go make some icons!!
intertext: (deerskin)
Monday, November 20th, 2006 01:46 pm
A link from Scholar'sBlog led me to this entry in the Guardian Blog by author Meg Rosoff. She writes amusingly about "bloody Jeanette Winterson" with her house in Spitalfields (AND, I might add, a place in the country), with minimum furniture and no live-in partner or children. I, too, have often envied Jeanette Winterson her life - she seems to have fallen on her feet in grand style, having Ruth Rendell give her the use of a house on the grounds of Rendell's estate when JW was just starting out, and now buzzing about between the two aforementioned abodes and winter in Capri. I've often wondered how she manages it financially; I know from my days working at a publishing company that royalties rarely pay the bills unless you're JK Rowling or the like. Is she _that_ successful? Or just very good with her money?

I also sympathise with Rosoff's general bemoaning the lack of time to write. One commenter notes drily that you can save a lot of time by NOT reading or writing in blogs instead of getting any work done. Hmm.
intertext: (snowy)
Sunday, November 19th, 2006 10:19 am
I love blogs and blogging, and have been trying (not entirely unsuccessfully) to promote them at my college. I have a class of students set up in LJ - somewhat by default because it was the easiest platform to use and get them into quickly (you can see them by going to [ profile] debbie_g and checking out the friends page). I have a Vox account and a Blogger account, neither of which I use, and have been asking my college to install Moveable Type so that we can have a simple, clean interface for students to use. If that happens, I will move my [ profile] debbie_g account there.

But all this makes me think about why we choose one platform over another. )