Homepage of Yore

Back in the olden days of 2006, I was applying for tenure-track jobs. I spent every available minute on those applications: anxiously revising my letter of application or preparing talking-points for the campus visit. (“Oh yes, I’d walk over hot coals to teach Old English homilies…”)

I also made time to create this web site — which looks like a blog, but actually isn’t. It’s a glorified CV/teaching dossier/Tumblr-esque compilation of thoughts, syllabi, quotations, and images. Reading it now I see the online persona I was projecting, as someday I will when I read through this WordPress archive.

Continue reading “Homepage of Yore”

New Year, New Theme

My old WordPress theme was getting obsolete, so I’ve gone Back to the Future with a ‘new’ theme released in 2017 (new to me, anyway). It has multiple advantages: like  publishing categories more transparently, for instance.

There should still be some errant [bracketed] tags here and there, which I’ll replace in due course. (Some of the categories, like the newsletters on teaching and learning that I used to publish when I was Associate Dean, were littered with them, but I think I’ve removed them all now.) Most of the site now looks pretty functional, I hope. As ever, suggestions and reports are welcome.

You’ve got mail: 172 messages, 48 unread

This screen is from the Pine e-mail client, a simple text-based email interface that I used in the mid-1990s, also known as the Internet’s ye olden days.

Travel with me now to an era of scarcity, when email was special. When I went to a special computer lab (no laptop) to use special text-language (no mouse) to log into a screen like this, where I’d linger over my two messages from that week, and tap out a reply with two fingers. Continue reading “You’ve got mail: 172 messages, 48 unread”

Visitor surveillance, 365 days a year

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I know things about my site’s readers. Okay, let’s drop the passive voice: I know things about you, dear readers.

Like what? The Jetpack plugin — which I activated a year ago on this WordPress blog — tells me that I’ve had 9,923 page-visits in 12 months, and about 29 per day since the beginning of 2014. The numbers fluctuate wildly, peaking when I send out irregular Teaching + Learning newsletters to the Faculty of Arts list here at the University of Calgary. Continue reading “Visitor surveillance, 365 days a year”

Byword: Writing in Isolation

Like many people, I need simplicity and focus to do things well. Despite the crowded appearance of this blog, I write most of my posts in isolation, in both senses of the term: without interruptions (usually behind a closed door, and often with earplugs) and without too much thinking about the other posts I’ve written. Most of them are responding to ideas I’m encountering elsewhere (readings, conversations), but to get into that mental space I need an isolated work environment. Continue reading “Byword: Writing in Isolation”

On blogging in the Digital Humanities

[This is a companion post to “On blogging in English 203,” which I wrote for students in — wait for it — my English 203 (Hamlet in the Humanities Lab) seminar.]

Blogging in the social, pure, and applied sciences is a common enough practice that two members of the London School of Economics’ Public Policy Group said today that it is “one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now” — namely, circulating ideas-in-progress to readers in more immediate and (yes) more interesting forms than traditional academic publishing. Continue reading “On blogging in the Digital Humanities”

Plans for this site

In the next few months (Summer 2011) I’ll begin repurposing this site to post teaching and research materials. That means my Twitter feed is no longer posted to the blog; that was a fine way to supply posts for the past few months (since last fall), but it will just clutter things up in the future.

My immediate plan is to launch a new collection of posts for materials related to English 205 (Foundations: Shakespeare) in Fall 2011. The posts will replace all the elements of a traditional course syllabus.