Monday, January 29, 2007

Pseudonymous Blogging

Just read this excerpt of Bitch, Ph.D.'s MLA talk on pseudonymous blogging.

I'm fascinated and want to respond--just not right at this moment. So this is a placeholder for that.

Nah, I said I'd get back to my Southeast Asia trip too and I still haven't done that, so I'll go ahead and jot a quick response for now. Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:

We all joke that “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog,” but it seems to me that, in fact, this isn’t true. Even unschooled readers are fairly savvy about generic form, and one of the formal conceits of public discourse is that people whose social identities are marked as “other”--women, in this case--will, when writing personally, draw attention to their persons. Pseudonyms prevent texts from being impersonal, from pretending to objectivity; they draw attention to the author’s role in a way that a straight byline does not. At the same time, though, pseudonyms make a text more fully public: by hiding the author’s identity, the author becomes potentially anyone. Pseudonyms mean something, and one of the things they mean is that the pseudonymous writer has a reason for pseudonymity. When pseudonymity becomes a generic feature, as with essay periodicals and blogs, one of the things that means is that the genre entails risk, that publishing is risky.

Yes, and it's worth mentioning that in the blogosphere you can comment anonymously, but you can't really author a blog anonymously. Even with an empty profile, you're still constructing a persona; the title of the blog will become the pseudonym if nothing else does.

2blackdogz is my pseudonym in the conventional sense, but it's also a pseudo-nym, an illusion of pseudonymity, for a few friends know this blog exists and I deliberately use it to share a bit of my life with them.

As for risk, there's that too. I'm nearly tenured and not particularly motivated to leave my institution right now so I'm not awfully concerned about the implications of future colleagues discovering that I'm a dog-lover who writes novice haiku and periodically rants about a very painful, much protracted divorce. To me the risk--at present--isn't about exposing my personal life to critical colleagues, but rather the risk is about inviting too many people into my pseudo-dialogue. I prefer the occasional posts of (a) total strangers with a genuine interest in the text, and (b) a few friends with close connections to my subjects or to me personally--to those who might otherwise look up my blog by name. It's my party.

My Barkean Parlor.


A Dog's Best Mac

OK, my newfangled black MacBook has arrived and I must say it's already far superior to my old titanium powerbook--at least in terms of dog durability.

P-dog has already slammed the lid shut, marched across the keyboard, and licked it--no unsightly wear and tear yet. (Not that that matters overmuch, but it's nice.)

As I do most of my writing dogside--especially now that I teach the morning shift (another lifestyle revelation)--I'm excited to have a computer that's canine compatible.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ratz, PetsMart, say it ain't so!

I tend to feel OK about shopping at the Mothership because I appreciate their adoption program and I like the attentive salespeople who often bring their dogs to work and give me decent advice. Also, I'm grateful to have a socialization-practice venue so close to home. (It's maybe 1 mile from our house.)

Furthermore, while I generally try to support small, local businesses (such as the dog bakery) most mom-and-pop pet supply stores aren't pet supply stores but "pet stores" that derive most of their income from puppymills.

So this report from PETA leaves me feeling sad and conflicted and hopeful that PetsMart will clean up its behind-the-scenes act. I really, really don't want to switch to mail-order.

Can't socialize my dogs at an online boutique (the mail-carrier already does all she can).


Schnoodle or Schnerrier?

Took each dog out for a drive this afternoon.

First, P-dog and I drove through Starbucks, then went to the seafood shop conveniently located beside the dog bakery. I got salmon and shrimp, P got lamb loaf, free snickerpoodle treats, and lots of attention. Afterwards we snacked by the lake and then went on a short muddy stroll in the park.

Then, B-dog and I picked up some red wine and various ingredients for M's famous French-onion-soup-in-a-crockpot en route to the Mothership to purchase a new halter for our walk with his pal Molly tomorrow. (Last walk he slithered out of his collar again.)

We also picked up some tasty-looking blueberry dog treats and I coughed up the money for a de-shedding tool. I've been wanting one since I first read about them on belly's blog.

While there I met a little puppy that looks and behaves a lot like P-dog at that age and (as I always do in these situations) got into one of those mystery-breed conversations with the owner. The puppy is an intentional mix of Schnauzer and Poodle; the last P-alike was a Yorkie-Poodle mix. P-dog's first vet and I feel pretty confident P-dog is a Schnauzer-terrier [bigger than Yorkie] mix. But there might be some poodle involved as well. I won't discriminate. After all, despite the funny hairdos and Nancy Reaganesque behavior, I've always admired the poodles in our agility classes (and, to be honest, envied their show-offy perfect eye contact).

So, like, would this make P-dog a Schnerdle? a Tenaudle? a Schnoodier?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Formula for Patience

According to Wyndmere aromatherapy, the formula for patience is:

  • Patchouli
  • Rosewood
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Vetiver
  • Palmarosa
  • Rose

As a birdwatcher on a snowy day attempting to guide the wary locals toward my new suet feeder, I'm learning the formula for patience is:

  • a pot of Starbucks Italian roast
  • a comfortable seat by the window
  • a laptop with decent web access
  • lots of work to do
  • an essential oils burner

But as a dog-mom attempting to keep the canines out of the birdgarden during my experiment I know that the formula for patience is:

  • two Kong balls crammed with a combination of crunchy biscuits and highly aromatic, compressed, rubbery chewsticks

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Winter Haiku 3

Suburban bitch--
so much depends upon
a hot pink collar


Winter Haiku 2

old tag jangles
against the new collar--
too much noise

* * *

pebbles of hail--
so much work for a big-eared dog
with a new collar

* * *

pebbles of hail--
so much work
for a big-eared dog

* * *

so much depends upon
a flourescent pink collar
in the suburbs

* * *

so much depends upon
a flourescent pink collar
in the suburban snow

* * *

so much depends upon
a hot pink collar
on a suburban bitch

(I thought it would be interesting to chart the evolution of Winter Haiku 3.)

Love this one by Buson, Yosa (1716-84)

At the over-matured sushi,
The Master
Is full of regret.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Winter Haiku 1

ice storm clatter
a thousand tiny taps
a terrier's sigh

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Dogz's Season Words

Naturally I'll need to develop one of these too. Here's a start:

- crunchy leaves
- chewy vines
- holly leaves dry and sharp
- swimming in the lake
- field mice
- gourds drying on the grass

- the whole pack visits
- frosty grass
- mud

- cotton burr mulch
- fresh dirt in the garden
- a new season of fence fights

- Mom's home
- swimming in the pool
- frog-hunting
- dead, bloated frogs floating in the pool
- un-mowed grass
- mowed grass
- fresh compost
- flowers
- shady corners
- sunbaths
- shady hidey hole

Friday, January 05, 2007

Season Words

Back from Asia--so much to say about the trip, too tired to do so now. It'll come over time.

For now my mind is mulling over haiku. I'm writing about one per day as part of my morning writing routine, and I continue to read about haiku and the writing of it. I'm also continuing to study Mandarin, calligraphy, and Chinese brush painting, all of which intersect with this haiku business, but that'll be fodder for future posts.

I'm pondering season words. In Japanese haiku season words connect the writer not only to nature but to Nature and to the cultural heritage and traditions embedded in each word. So, for example, in U.S. haiku fireworks would be a recognizable season-word for summer--connoting Independence Day celebrations and so forth.

But if I were to log my seasons--the ones that feel most true to me--they'd nowadays have more to do with the academic calendar and its "seasons" than with anything else. Although I'm still comfortable writing clunky, novice haiku, I do want my haiku to be true to me, not just true to the form--otherwise, I'd have to switch genres, frankly, to keep it satisfying. And this whole business of the season word surely got more interesting as a result of spending Christmas in Vietnam, where the holiday was quirkily visible but otherwise irrelevant to me. Of course my feeling that the holiday is irrelevant is more of a comment on my situation in life than on the enduring significance of the season. Ditto most holidays.

As with the Japanese season words, I must acknowledge that although most things (e.g., grading) happen during more than one season, some things are more indicative of one season than of another. (E.g., commencement happens at the end of the fall and spring semesters, but it is more clearly associated with the end of the spring, making it an end-of-spring season word.)


- the new year
- convocation
- homecoming weekend
- letters of recommendation
- advisees
- a new syllabus
- bad coffee

- dark commutes
- family visits
- good coffee

- a new coffee mug
- commencement
- spring break
- assessment reports
- Four Cs

- travel
- manuscript (heh!)
- writing retreat (heh! heh!)
- student weddings
- Birkenstocks
- changing the voice mail message
- pressing the regalia
- sneaking into the office