September 30, 2003

Ward isn't such a bad fella after all.

I hadn't nearly the strong reaction of other people (Amanda and Jess) upon reading Ward's first two chapters. I can definitely say, though, that I liked chapters three and four.

I liked chapter three because it explained a few things to me: first, how to search with a + and -. For years now, I've attempted that, but never butted it right next to the word like this: +pie. Clearly, that is why it never worked for me. Good to know. Also, I had no idea what a "newsgroup" was, even though I've run into them before. I'm glad to know that they have a name, and that it has nothing to do with subscribing to a newspaper online, as I once thought.

Most importantly, I'm glad that chapter four mentioned Jakob Nielsen's research that shows that people read 25% slower from a computer screen and that you should write 50% less text for the medium. I know that we already covered that in Writing for the Web, and I've seen it before in Media Production, but it really is true. I think that people should hang Nielsen's quotation, "nothing is so tiring to the reader as excavating nuggets of meaning from mountains of words" above their computers just to remember.

Maybe if I had, the above sentences would be shorter.

Anyway, writers should never tire of trimming the fat (to use a cliche) from their writing. I know that I don't like to "waste my time" reading something wordy and abstract, so I shouldn't expect my readers to either.

This chapter also reaffirmed that I use too many adverbs for my own good. I'm addicted to clearly, obviously and essentially. Also, discovered that I like to start sentences with subordinate clauses, and that isn't the most direct way to get a point across.

Overall, Ward is definitely growing on me. (See, what did I tell you about adverbs?)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:57 PM | Comments (2)

September 29, 2003

Grr, the Internet is down.

But we are lucky because instant messanger and all things hosted on the Seton Hill server (jweb and blogs) are still operable. That's an improvement over this weekend's Internet woes.

Maura and Brownlee have the Internet. I wish I lived there. I don't know about Havey, but that is filled with boys and has community bathrooms. Eew. I don't want to live there.

So, that is why there are no entertaining links today. If I had my reading done for the next class, I could talk about that, but I don't, so I can't.

I think I'm just posting to fill my calendar. It's a sickness, I tell you!

Posted by Julie Young at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2003

Current events miscellany

Amanda and Paul's heated discussion about paragraph breaks must have been loud enough to inspire Scott Adams to draw this comic.

In addition, the only thing Kate C. liked about Singin' in the Rain is dead.

Apparently the news media thinks that the Pope already is dead, as we have yet another article about John Paul II's failing health. Outside of molestation, that's the only way that Catholics can get in the news. I find these speculative "on death's door" stories ridiculous. My favorite quote from this one comes from the end of the article:

But there was also a logistical rationale for naming new cardinals now, so that a consistory the gilded ceremony at which the newly minted cardinals receive their signature red hats could be held next month. Cardinals from around the world attend such consistories, and the cardinals are already scheduled to be here in late October for events surrounding the pope's 25th anniversary.
Hmm, seems as if the Pope's declining health is bigger news than a logical explanation for his actions.

And because I knew you were dying to know what I thought about Yogalates, I'll tell you. I don't like it. Pilates is fine, but ultimately boring. Yoga is lovely, and delightfully un-boring. If I wanted to change my shape or lose a good amount of weight, then I guess I would do it, but because I just do yoga for its general benefits of wellness, I'll refrain from doing my Yoga/Pilates tape. That's why it's dusty.

Posted by Julie Young at 07:39 PM | Comments (7)

September 27, 2003

Newswriting in a nutshell.

Well, no reason to go on learning more about journalism, as Chapter Two of Ward's Online Journalism summed it up:
1. Identify
2. Collect
3. Select
4. Present

To me, the most difficult of the four are identify and collect. It's hard to tell what's important when it seems like nothing is happening. I can think of the past three years of Setonian meetings, when nothing particularly interesting was going on at the Hill, yet something clearly had to be happening because none of us were overly bored or short on gossip. It was just hard to pinpoint what was important that would still be timely when the paper came out three weeks later.

Collecting information also seems like a pain to me. I don't mind research, and I almost like interviewing people. However, I dislike the initial request for an interview. It's so hard for me to "get around" to emailing or calling someone I need to set up an interview with for some strange reason -- whether it's a fear of rejection, being a nuisance, or some other strange psychological malady I have.

I will admit that I have a penchant for selecting and presenting, though. Thank goodness!

Posted by Julie Young at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

News, 24/7

"Yet there are still newspaper web sites that state 'This page will be updated every day at 2 pm.' It is a contradition of the medium." -Online Journalism, Mike Ward

Online newspapers scream to be updated. If a site is really a news site, then it needs to be refreshed whenever news happens -- not just once every day.

Even with 24-hour news channels don't give you the same type of information that online news services do. For example, I turned my TV on one night, and there was a major event going on, with interrupted programming. I watched the TV for a few seconds, but all it did was show me darkness, which was presumably the New York skyline. I had no clue what was going on. Clearly, I went online and immediately read the headline on nytimes.com that said something like "East Coast blackout not terrorism related." I kept the TV on and finally they got around to alluding to the same thing, while interviewing a bunch of "experts" who said what amounted to nothing.

In that way, online journalism is almost vital now. As a news consumer, I'm sick of waiting to see what 15 second blurb will be coming up after the commercial break. If I want to see it, I will -- just somewhere on the Internet.

Posted by Julie Young at 07:07 PM | Comments (1)

Technology at last!

After 27 hours of roughing it, the Internet is back up on the Hill. :)

Posted by Julie Young at 06:12 PM | Comments (2)

September 26, 2003

No digital, please, only daguerrotypes

Every time my father drags me into an antiques shop, I'm compelled to search for daguerrotypes. The Metropolitan Museum was compelled to do an exhibit. Check out the The New York Times' report on it.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2003

Darn, I missed the 25th.

So I am cheating.

Events conspired against me, and I was unable to meet my "post every day" personal goal. Yes, you guessed it: the Internet was down in Main Complex, and I was too lazy to seek out an alternate means of computing.

However, there is a nifty option to change the date on your posts.

I will be trying that out now. ;)

Posted by Julie Young at 11:31 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

What? There's benefits to a same sex school?

"In response to these and other findings, Duke plans to establish a separate women's leadership program, through which it hopes women can receive some of the benefits of a single-sex college within the larger coeducational university"

Every now and then, just when I feel like I'm a dying breed, I like to find articles in respected news sources that tell me that a women-focused education did have value.

I could go on and on about how the atmosphere up here has changed since the boys came, but I'd be wasting my breath by wishing for another time.

What I'd probably appreciate most is a thoughtful explanation on why this school changed so much so fast. Over the past two years I've heard a number of reasons from "intercultural students don't understand that college really means university over here," "this place would be broke and shut down if they didn't," and "we offer graduate degrees."

I'm sure that intercultural students can figure out what "college" means over here -- I mean, they are intelligent people who research their choices.

Second, if we were that broke, maybe the school should've started to drum up business before it got this bad.

Last I checked Harvard was still a college, and they offer advanced degrees.

So, I guess I'm just holding out for a knock-my-Birks off reason.

I don't think I'm going to get one.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

Really? Just Anglo-Saxon words?

I'm surprised that the Writing for the Web textbook prefers Anglo-Saxon words above all others. What about words that came into being during that whole Anglo-Norman period? Isn't an Anglo-prefix good enough?

I looked up the suggested words in the exercise. "Antagonist" comes from the Greek word "agony." So, to say that I agonized over my homework would be over the top? Instead I should say "worry" because it's OE "wyrgan," meaning to "strangle?" Which is more dramatic? And who doesn't know what agony means? What if I'm going for the "agonized" effect? [Which, by the sheer amount of question marks, I must be.]

Now sure, no one in their right mind ever needs to mention "fiduciary" on their blog, unless, of course, it is some lawyer thing.

I'd prefer to just use whatever words my audience understands [ha! a whole sentence of Middle English roots, no OE here], and there is nothing wrong with "people." My dictionary says that "people" comes from ME, which came from Old French, which came from Latin. Who's counting? [The dictionary would be an obvious answer here.] "People" hit English at some point before 1485; we may as well use it. The author even prefers it to the OE "folks."

On the "folks" note, let's not forget, the completely unspecific words "thing" and "stuff" are courtesy of our ancestors the Angles.

Let's take this moment to thank them.

Posted by Julie Young at 01:14 AM | Comments (3)

September 23, 2003

Say a prayer for the pontiff...

It looks like the pope must have eaten in the dining hall.

My apologies for the bathroom humor.

Posted by Julie Young at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2003

A blogger starts a Hitler scandal.

And I thought I ruffled a few feathers in my blogging past! It appears that Simon Waldman, director of digital publishing for Guardian Newspapers, found a back issue of the British Better Homes and Gardens from 1938 and stumbled across a write-up about Hitler's chateau. He scanned the pages onto his website and blogged it.

Then he got into trouble with the magazine's editorial director and had to take it down for copyright/fair use reasons, after it had already spread all over the web. Waldman argues that the article should be online as a historical text that reflects the way that upper class Britian "fawned" over Hitler.

Of course, this news brouhaha gets picked up by a few major news organizations like The New York Times and Wired, and somehow I end up blogging about it, along with a million other people, according to Google.

Funny how news travels.

Posted by Julie Young at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

At last, Guacachips!

Me: You'll never believe what I found at Target.
Friend: a monkey
Me: Nope.
Me: Tastes better than a monkey (I hope).
Friend: no clue
Me: It's made by a certain Snak King.
Friend: =-O
Friend: no!
Me: Yes.
Friend: tell me you must be pulling my leg... I am about to race over to Target
Me: I found the Guacachips.

Yes, Guacachips, last seen in May at a Costco somewhere near York, Pa., have been spotted on the rack at Target. Hot dog. And according to this link, literary folk worldwide appreciate this understocked chip.

Posted by Julie Young at 10:10 PM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2003

Personality shows when you sleep?

It appears that I suffer from a split personality, as my sleep position varies between the fetus and the freefaller. I also stick a foot out, if you were wondering.

Posted by Julie Young at 09:16 PM | Comments (1)

Stuck on beef.

It seems like every time I look on a news site, I find something about/against the meat industry. Looks like somebody's PR machine is working, and this recent news fad might be linked to the new nominee for EPA head. Today's find was an op-ed on factory farms.

Oh, but there's more:

  • Beef poisoner sorry he left a taint Watch out for those insecticide burgers..."Instead of celebrating the new year, they [the beefeaters] were suddenly hit by an intense burning in their mouth and forced to repeatedly vomit."
  • Food Bank receives hearty donation from meat plant The meat people do good.
  • Man arrested for attack with meat cleaver Even the meat cleavers get in on the action. Yup, a former Harvard maintenance man alledgedly clubs a homeless guy with a meat cleaver.
  • Company to begin tracking meat Ah, because people always lose their pork chops after they bring them home from the market?

    Posted by Julie Young at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)
  • September 19, 2003

    To think! I was concerned about the pig farms.

    When clearly, I should have been concerned about the sheer number of cows that plod to their death every year for the Atkins diet....er, convenience foods. Hurricane Isabel's nothing!

    Not that I have anything against beef. It's my favorite meat. I'd eat it all of the time if I weren't allergic to it. Yum.

    And speaking of other foods I like and can't eat, how about French Toast? Apparently it may not be French at all. On top of that, some crazy story is circulating that claims it's really American, and is just victim of a lost apostrophe s.

    So, should you invent a dish and name it after yourself, remember the apostrophe.

    Posted by Julie Young at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)

    The most expensive Norton of my life.

    For a month now, I've been battling with SuperBookDeals of Half.com for my Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1. For whatever reason he (I've determined that Super is a male, I'm not quite sure why...) hasn't sent it, but of course, has charged me anyway.

    I've contacted the seller over ten times, and did not receive a response. Now, I've filed a claim. Half doesn't let you contact your credit card company until after your claim is decided, so I'm temporarily out money.

    Alas.

    So, I have a test on Tuesday and finally had to break down and go to the bookstore and just re-buy it.

    And how I hate buying books from the bookstore. In fact, I hate buying new books at Barnes and Noble. Everything seems so overpriced.

    The New York Times agrees.

    Posted by Julie Young at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

    September 18, 2003

    Storm of the Century.

    I've done my part to ready for the storm. I broke out my official RA set of Crayola markers and made signs that remind people to close and lock their windows when they leave their room (as Seton Hill is a wind tunnel), locate their flashlights (I know mine is residing on a shelf at Wal*Mart), and check the batteries in their clocks.

    Thus, in honor Isabel, who may be more of a media starlet than an actual weather event, here are some storm readiness links to peruse:

  • Pa. schools in storm path cancel Friday classes Who calls a rain day in advance? I've heard of getting out early, but seriously....
  • Elk County gears up for Isabel My hometown newspaper offers this advice on stockpiling canned goods: "remember the electric can opener may not work."
  • North Carolina pork industry ready before Isabel hit I'm relieved that someone thought to safegaurd the nation's bacon and pork supply.
  • The naming of Atlantic hurricanesFor another six years, "Julie" has been snubbed.
  • Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen An entertaining hurricane read.

    Posted by Julie Young at 07:51 PM | Comments (1)
  • September 17, 2003

    Welcome to the calmer me.

    I've taken up yoga. Every few years I feel like I need to be calmer so I break out the tapes or hit a class. It's almost sad how this happens. The problem this time is that I am not stressed out enough. I have too many night classes and not enough daytime activity, which leaves me in my room watching Dr. Phil.

    And that's just not normal.

    So, last night for $13.77 (smart price at Target...I think it was a misprint, it's $20 on amazon) I bought the AM PM Yoga tapes featuring none other than my personal yogi and savior, Rodney Yee. Hot dog.

    I did the AM tape this morning, and already I'm calmer. I just know it.

    Posted by Julie Young at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

    September 16, 2003

    Top 10 Dangers of Living in the Blog Space

    link courtesy of Sarcasmo's Corner
    See, blogging has become a bit of an obsession for me -- it used to be worse, but then bad things started to happen. A few friends took offense to a certain blog I maintain called "Ranting Julie," and caused a minor flap, thereby making a week of my summer more uncomfortable than usual.

    Then the bottom fell out.

    I keep a blog with two of my friends, and we *were* the only ones that knew it existed. Therefore, it became a lovely spot to talk about our days and vent here and there.

    Over the fourth of July, one of my friends really vented about his roommate. That roommate used his computer, saw the blog, and hit the roof. He lived in silence for a month, I had to explain to one of my friends why we were complaining about her behind her back, but not too it where it should have been. Alas. This blog will be different.

    This blog will be a place where, once I've fleshed out my theme, I can post freely without causing someone to cry. This will be a more professional blog with higher aspirations.

    That said, I will obviously have to keep updating all of my other blogs to keep the good stuff for this one.

    Posted by Julie Young at 03:46 PM | Comments (2)

    A fantastic beginning...

    Clearly, I already forgot the password to this thing, so I had to request it. The saddest part? It was the second password request of my day.

    So, I have a horrible memory -- that much has been proven to me. After three months of not directly working at the NECWB for envision, I forgot how to get into the little-used message boards for admin purposes. I was very worried that somehow I would have to be the one to send myself my own password, but, thankfully, it magically appeared in my email account, thanks to "the envision team."

    Funny, because I am the "envision team."

    Posted by Julie Young at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)