Archive for 2009

Good Things and Bad Things of 2009

December 31st, 2009 Comments off

Good things:

Finally this crappy nameless decade is over!  Maybe now the 21st Century can begin.

Music: Neko Case, Joel Plaskett, Chris Smither, Billy Bragg.

Manga:  Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.

The graphic novel.  Jason Lutes's Berlin.  Aya.  Angora Napkin.  Tatsumi.

Web-comics.  Kate Beaton, Nobody Scores!


Books without pictures: The Year of Lesser, Home, Brooklyn, Too Much Happiness, Somewhere Towards the End

A visit to Halifax. Lots of tasty food (haddock!) which was needed to power up the hills. Oddly good weather.

The Ottawa Comix Jam.

Tiger and Elin.  Now maybe I can be my Mom's favorite. (Note from Heather: ooooooo. She's going to be mad.)

Lenore Zann elected to Nova Scotia legislature.  Take that, Italy! (Note from Heather: I dunno about Italy but I like my mother's finagling a campaign button right off Lenore, especially since Mum is a genetic Tory.)

Most popular post: "Fuzzy Yellow Caterpillar."

Douglas figured out cross-hatching.

Bad things:

"Kill your darlings."  The calculated and manipulative slaughter of favorite characters ruined the final half-season of Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and of course, before 2009 ever began, Lost.  Save the darlings! (Note from Heather: no one remind him about the Star Trek movie. Please oh please oh please.)

Bus strike.  Nobody won that. (Note from Heather: Though we did learn how long it takes to walk from the Byward Market in the freezing dark. It takes slightly longer if you're propositioned along the way.) (Douglas: No, it doesn't.)

Ottawa's dysfunctional city government.

Ottawa drivers.  You can divide cities into two groups: where a yellow light means Stop, and where it means Hit the Gas.  Ottawa drivers pass on a yellow light.  They also pass on the shoulder, turn right looking left, and always take the pedestrian's right of way.  Contrast Halifax and Calgary. (Note from Heather: This could easily be expanded into a discussion about the strange invisibility of Ottawa pedestrians at Stop signs.)

The end of bookselling.  If Pages can't make it, there is no hope.

Working through 9 months of CCAA/Chapter 11-induced craziness. Let's not talk about the missing severance package.

Heather busted up her hand in Halifax.  (Manga readers, think Madarame.) (Note from Heather: Sometimes I come over all-determined. May or may not be connected with being any sort of sensible.)

Categories: 25 to Life

Turning Toward Snow

November 30th, 2009 Comments off

First snow here today. Roofs are whitening. Pavements are damp and dark. A moment’s sunlight will return us to autumn dryness.

The snow has put me in mind of one of my favorite blogs: Antarctic Conservation. Recently they’ve been working on paper restoration and have confessed to being somewhat distracted by the interior of objects like this well-used copy of the Illustrated London News.

Front page of Illustrated London News
I’ve always been curious about what the Edwardian explorers read. Expedition accounts frequently mention the reading habits and materials in passing. Lawrence Oates’ reading, for example, of Napier‘s multi-volume history of the Napoleonic War was a matter of comment on the expedition and is often noted in historical accounts,  sometimes with a note of surprise.

In Ponting photographs, books of one sort or another often peek out of the background.

I’ve often wanted to know is whether there’s a list of all the printed material taken along on the Edwardian expeditions. Oh wait. Conservators. Of course there’s a list. I wonder if there’s a publicly accessible list.


Categories: Books


November 26th, 2009 Comments off

I’ve not been keeping a close eye on social media stuff lately but the storm around danah boyd’s Web2.0 Expo keynote caught my eye. It’s fascinating not so much for the rushed presentation style or for the teasing apart of what happens when a back channel becomes a front channel or even for the outpouring of support for boyd as she survived giving a bad speech.

What fascinates me about the event is the ways in which the relationships between audience and speaker are reconfigured. It’s tempting to think of the twitterwall behind boyd as heckling—a term which I’ve just learned emerged from the industrial politics of the Scottish textile trade. (Given its origin, I’m tempted to think of heckling as a byblow of flyting).

Unlike an interruption to request a favourite song or to adjust the volume, a heckle is inherently oppositional and disruptive. Part of the point of interrupting a speaker’s flow with a heckle is to change the direction of the flow, to point out that there is another, opposing, and often hostile point of view in the room.  But in boyd’s case there’s a key difference: is it heckling if the object of the heckled criticism can’t hear (or in this case, see) it?

boyd’s flow was indeed disrupted—in the video it’s clear that she’s responding to the noises off and equally clear from her later comments that she was aware of sound, the aura, of attack but not the substance.  Given the physical set-up of the stage, the twitterwall ended up being far less interactive than genuine heckling. Instead the twitterwall functioned more like a cluster of gossips whispering in the hallway rather than as a site of heckling. When you’re genuinely heckled, you get to shout back. And the more skilled you become (or the more Scottish family meals you sit through), the sharper and faster your responses can become. A heckle is a challenge; whispered (or invisible to you) comments are gossip.

What fascinates me most though is how the counterpoint between boyd’s performance and the audience’s performance enacted one of the key points she was making.

Power is about being able to command attention, influence others' attention, and otherwise traffic in information. We give power to people when we give them our attention and people gain power when they bridge between different worlds and determine what information can and will flow across the network. (source)

The performance(s) demonstrated exactly how contingent authority and power are in a networked space. Usually audiences grant some short-lived authority to the speaker on a stage. Here that authority was torn down with startling rapidity as boyd’s  audience refused to grant her their power or to acknowledge any authority she might have that didn’t derive from the moment of performance. The twitterwall was ultimately a power grab. True heckling would have required engagement and attention.


Categories: Webby

Halifax Colours

November 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Halifax Maple

Categories: Atlantica


November 18th, 2009 Comments off
Double garage

Garage across from the Truro bus station

Categories: Atlantica

Crow Graffiti

July 23rd, 2009 Comments off

Crow somewhere in Centertown

Categories: Neighbourhood

Pickup Truck, 2004

June 29th, 2009 Comments off
Abandoned Truck on Clare

Truck abandoned on Clare

Categories: Neighbourhood

Good Things and Bad Things of 2008

January 1st, 2009 Comments off

Good things

We're both still working.
A new niece and nephew.
Record snow.
Genshiken.  Seriously, this is how you draw a novel.
Raising Sand.
Yellow living room.

Bad things

Record snow.
Overcast summer.
Missed a Lynda Barry lecture.
Bus strike.

Categories: 25 to Life