Thursday, October 31, 2002

Masters- link
Ok, I'm moving.
You can now find me at:
Invisible Shoebox.
Over and out.
Too busy to blog
I'm moving blog address shortly, but not quite yet. I'm still pushing furniture around, but I'll post the link when it's done.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Email from the top of my computer

A surprising email arrived today:

Dear GG-

I am the panda who sits on top of your computer, my left ear resting against the miniature world globe (covering The Maldives and part of Sri Lanka, in fact).

At night, when you and your collegues have left, I make my way down to your keyboard so I can surf on the internet. This is not an easy task-- there is no ladder to help me on my descent and having no digits (how I envy you your thumbs!), I often slip. Then, once I am down, it is difficult for me to turn on your monitor. I am thankful, however, that you do not turn the computer off entirely, as being so small (15 cm on last measuring) it would be impossible for me to clamber down to the hard drive button.

Typing is exhausting as I must jump from key to key, often quite firmly, as your keys tend to stick (would it be impolite for me to suggest a vigourous shaking of the keyboard one day to dislodge some of the bread crumbs?)

Why do I go to so much effort?
I think I realised about a year ago that it was unlikely that I am ever to see much of the world. This is not meant as a complaint. I love my work as your computer mascot, and never tire of the view our position on the third floor affords me over Fitzroy. But I have an inquisitive mind and wish to know what is going on beyond the re-inforced glass of our office window.

After catching up on world news, I read your blog. I feel that it has given me a deeper understanding of who you are, something beyond our work relationship.

And because I have gained this insight, I felt that it was only fair to let you know, seeming as we spend so much time together.

Unless you object, I shall continue to read it.

Sun Arrow*

(*as you have never given me a name, I hope you will not mind too much that I have chosen one for myself. It is the name printed on my tag and I feel that it somehow belongs to me.)

I wrote back immediately:

Dear Sun Arrow,

I am flattered that you read my blog and happy for you to use my computer whenever you wish. In future I shall dangle my mouse cord across the edge of the screen so you can slide down much more easily. Will this help? I would leave the monitor on but I think it's probably bad for the computer.

The only thing I would ask is that you don't download too many large files as our ISP has a limit and if we exceed it we have to pay an excess.

Have you ever logged on to the panda cam at the San Diego zoo?

I'm sorry that I never gave you a name, but Sun Arrow is much more elegant than anything I would have thought of anyway.

Voice, more (Jill/txt)
I was reading this morning in Jill/txt of how she consciously developed a voice for her blog that is "grumpier" than in her usual writing and the thought occurred to me that perhaps what is going on is a reaction to the slightly stifled tone that most academic writing has. I clearly remember as a first year uni student getting an essay back and having the tutor say "I don't want to read about your opinion of the text. I want to know what other academics and critics have said about it." So I had to create a neutral, or at least the semblance of neutral, tone. I started to feel that the unsupported arguement was unworthy of consideration (and I still do, to a degree). If I had an opinion, it had to be spoken through the critics or the texts I chose to quote. I steered away from the first person.

And it strikes me now that this is what initially made me a bit nervous about blogging, as it is a collection of personal reactions to things, heavy on the "I". I think it is also something that puts me off some blogs- especially the news-centric ones or the war-blogs. They often seem to be the unsubstantiated rantings of bigoted minds and I have no time for that. However, I do like the first person narrative of the blog in general, so I guess it becomes a weighing up of rant and reason.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Masters- link
Voice (Jill/txt)
Lots of useful stuff on Jill Walker's site today. I'm particularly interested in what she says about going back and adjusting a post later on in the same day. I do this, but always feel slightly guilty about it, as if I'm somehow missing the point of keeping a weblog. However, as Jill points out, it is still public writing, it just means you can make public amendments too.

Jill also has some think-making comments about voice and the process she has been through to develop a style that is her own. It's made me start thinking about the way blogs have of linking things up- themes that run through them, topics the writer comes back to, things that the readers pick up on. Everytime someone emails me with advice or thoughts on something I've written I'm struck by how useful this is as a forum for working out/refining what it is that I am doing.

All very good and project-related, for me.
Performance anxiety
I went to an opening at Gertrude St on Friday night which included:
an excellent triffid-like sculpture made out of beige plastic chairs in the front room
a wooden speaker system in Studio 12
and some videos of performance art playing in the main room.

I watched the videos for some time- simultaneously appalled and fascinated (as was intended).
First I watched (through my fingers) as Mike Parr systematically sliced his fingers, burnt his legs and generally dripped lots of blood around.
Then the video changed to a later clip where a guy (not sure who) was pouring chocolate and honey over a group of naked people and then licking it off them.

Afterwards, Masato and I were laughing about what the noticeboards in the art schools must have looked like, once upon a time, in more viscercal times:

Room 412. Self mutilation tutorial. Pls bring your own pen knife and bandaids.

Room 37. Honey pouring workshop. Remember that this workshop counts towards your assessment. Non attendees will fail. 2nd year students may bring treacle if they prefer.
masters- link
An email from Boynton this morning in reply to the post yesterday about Voice. New to blogs, but a writer for theatre, Boynton writes:

I've never heard of actors going for a "neutral" voice - to me any sort of neutrality implies a diminishing of self. A sort of blanc mange and don't we know there's too much of that commodity out there already!Perhaps it's just a shorthand term used to mean "smaller' or other techie compromises? I have a feeling that if you score more readers, you're doing something right. It is the lure of that voice that has got them in, and struck a chord. To look over your shoulder, and tone up or down to fit the imaginary demographic as she grows is a rather dangerous impulse. The concept of 'which voice to use' is complex however.

She mentions also the freedom that comes with writing under a pseudonym, the creation of a character. However, as she points out, this may end up being restrictive. What happens if the hard-nosed character you've constructed wants to react to something in a sentimental way? Is it ok to suddenly change? This is what I found with Grumpy Girl- I used the character as a way of distancing myself from my blog, but eventually (inevitably?) we started to merge. Whether or not this is a good thing I have yet to decide.

Monday, October 28, 2002

masters- link
What's New Pussycat?
Came across this blog today and it made me laugh.
I particularly like the entry for October 12 (Dawson's Beak).
I also like that she says she eats her lasagne from the bottom up, so as to save the cheesy bit until the end.
It makes me feel better about the (admittedly disgusting) way I eat pizza- scrape all the topping off then eat the base.
masters- link
The sound of your own voice(s)
Two interesting emails this morning, one from Jill Walker and one from Mark, (whose URL I entirely concur with). In both emails the issue of "voice" came up. Mark mentioned that actors refer to a "neutral" voice- "an accent that is not one thing or another".

He asked "Do you think that you have to develop a neutral sort of writing accent, the more people you are writing for?"
It's an interesting question.
Dunno if it's possible.
Can you remove yourself enough from your writing to attain this neutral state?

It reminds me of what Thieu was telling me about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (if I've understood it correctly) about how it is impossible to measure something entirely accurately because the act of measuring will inevitably have some effect on the results (that is, there is no neutral when we measure something.)
This is probably not what it means at all.
Dodgy art student trying to talk physics....

The thing that you often seem to get told when struggling over creative endeavours is "be yourself". I've yet to work out which of the many selves I have is the one I should be. Whichever one it is should probably be keeping the blog.

Jill mentioned that she has yet to successfully transpose pieces of writing from her weblog into longer pieces, although she had tried on a number of occasions. It seemed, she said, that the pieces worked best in the weblog format and did not really work so well once removed from that context. Interesting... However, Jill does use the weblog to collect pieces and ideas for articles or papers, which would fit with the shoebox/scrapbook thinking I'm doing.
masters- link
web boom over
Apparently there is a decline in Australian web users.
The reasons?
-stricter rules on music copyright and downloads
-more difficult these days to download porn.
-crash of One.Tel