Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

nos vamos

April 8, 2013


Gratuitous California Photo, North of Bodega Bay. 

Possibly the worst and yet most common way to begin a blog post to to apologize profusely for not blogging frequently or recently. As you notice, I’ve done neither. If at all possible, it could be because as of late I’ve been too lazy and self absorbed to write here (strange, because blogging is typically the perfect outlet for me in a lazy and self absorbed state.) In the last month I’ve been to Madison and Vancouver, trying to decide where I want to live and work for the next six years or more. My visits to these schools seem to transport me into some alternate, bizarre, reality in which professors and graduate students try to win me over with promises of exciting research, excellent resources, a few fancy dinners, and the glamorous allure of student half price season ski tickets to Whistler.

And tomorrow I’m headed back up to Berkeley to receive the same kind of treatment from the department which over the last five years has not only given me access to every opportunity in Physics I’ve had so far, but also made me cry and bleed (no joke) on several occasions. I’m not quite sure what to expect, but admittedly I am a little nervous to re-encounter professors and graduate students to whom I’ve groveled, cried* and begged for homework help, practice problems, and basic explanations of highly abstract ideas in the very recent past. Am I ready to become, myself, one of them?

I was planning to continue by saying that I wouldn’t offer you a verbose apology and explanation for not blogging, but now I realize I already have. Whoops. Anyway.

As everyone knows, of course, there is a cycling metaphor for every shade of human emotion and enterprise: A great way to get back into cycling after somewhat of a hiatus is to go out and find the highest mountain in your vicinity, one that you’ve ridden before, and spin up it in your lowest gear. You’ll feel heavy, slow, and out of breath. You may or may not be taunted by rosy hued memories of shifting up, getting out of the saddle, and racing gleefully up similar peaks. You may or may not feel like crying as you realize you don’t have the energy to stand up and you begin to regret not having mountain bike gearing even if your road bike, somewhat embarrassingly, still has a triple.

I am going to re-approach writing, and writing here in this way. At least one post here a week, at least 250 (unpublished) words a day. My blog here is undoubtedly a bit old fashioned (original WordPress theme, not linked to any other form of social media, sometimes I use the word ‘whilst,’ etc.). I don’t really plan to change it that much, apart from possibly being a little less cryptic since apparently colleagues, mentors, and friends read this blog already. Actually using it again seems to be a good place to start.



* Yes, on one occasion I did cry in front of a graduate student instructor at Berkeley. I’m not particularly proud, but it is what it is.



January 25, 2011


A thirty minute download, a three hour learning curve, and one half of a lab report later: my life just got a whole lot easier because I can now know how to type stuff like this. Ironic, but wonderful.

Response to “The New Sentence” by Ron Silliman

October 29, 2009

Warning: This is an experiment.

Today I had to write a response to two essays from Ron Silliman’s “The New Sentance,” a rather complex work detailing his philosophy on where the development of literature is going, where is needs to go, the limits of prose and poetry, and the prose poem. I had to read the entire second essay and write this response it just one hour. I should have spent more time on it I know. This is the sad truth, and I own it.

But since I had to write quickly, I decided to undertake a little experiment. When I write on through the WordPress interface, I am generally not worried about sounding academic, or even about how my posts will shape out. I just write them-and that is what the one hour time limit on this assignment was forcing me to do-just write it.

So I thought, what if I write the response in WordPress? Maybe my response will be refreshingly unacademic, maybe I won’t be intimidated by Microsoft Word and all of it’s highschoolessay academicmarvelofrapturousthought connotations? What if…I just wrote it?

And so I did. And I finished in one hour (50 minutes, to be exact).

After I printed and turned it in, I realized that this draft was still on my Blog. I thought to myself, why not post it? It is an interesting topic to explore, how the physical process and interface of writing effects what is written. So here it is. In all of it’s hasty, un-copy-edited, and experimental glory:

Ron Silliman’s essays on LANGUAGE and Towards Prose included in his book, “The New Sentance,” are not so much on the literary theory as they are on the Theory of the foundation of literature, or what he defines as the most basic unit of literature: the sentence.

He asserts that Prose fiction as a form, and as we know it today, is driven by the epic narratives of Poetry. And considering the scope of “literature,” I tend to agree. In Silliman’s philosophy, the sentence is the most bast unit of literature, as opposed to words which, are of no use outside of sentences except to writers. And except of course when one word also forms a sentence. It seems odd to suggest that words have no meaning. But really this is a valid point. For, what meaning do words have unless offset by other words and contextualized?

On page 72, Silliman suggests that the discourse of literature lies somewhere in between the discourse of the everyday and the discourse of science. This simple, statement can be seen as a sort of summing of all that Silliman is trying to prove: That the sentence, and indeed literature, is nothing that is exclusively defined in its own right-and deserves a new interpretation, in effect, The New Sentence.

Silliman instead evokes something he refers to as Prosody, defined by the treatment of the paragraph as a unit of measure, the construction of sentences out of sentences rather than words. And a movement of the poetic form moved into the inferiors of Prose (89)

Silliman’s idea of a “New Sentence” seems much more a long the lines of thought than of writing. It is concise, powerful, and can be very perplexing but really makes perfect sense (because why else would you be thinking it?) And why, then, does Silliman believe that this “New Sentence” lies in the form of Prose Poetry? It is because Prose Poetry is that in between place, the place between the creative moment and the transcription where thought lives, the place between the everyday and the scientific, the place where, according to Silliman’s previous assumption, literature and the new sentence lives. A New Sentence  looks like prose, but with interior poetic structure.

And so, Silliman has to ask, then, what is Prose?

Prose, he seems to suggest, is  a sort of writing that has a definite aim. Again an again, he evokes dipolar stucture, between the science of writing and the intution and emotion of meaning, between phoneme and grapheme, between speech and writing and language. His idea of prose poem (very different of what is often considered “poetic prose”) is suggested of a means of transcending genre to create an authentic literature, providing some remedy to the assumption that “writing is therefore no more a disguise for language than is speech” (106). The New Sentence, in Silliman’s point of view, will tear open the way we think about and categorize literature.

Well, here we are. It is a new day.

July 3, 2009


Hello, all. At the risk of sounding rather trite (a risk I’m willing to take) today is a new day. Today is a new day mainly because I have figured out this whole wordpress thing. Sort of. I thought I new what I was doing before, since I use wordpress to post on the Daily Cal Arts Blog, but setting it up yourself is a whole new barrel of monkeys. I started but attempting to install and host wordpress myself, with which I was mildly successful. I was able to make the localhost server, create a database for wordpress, and then launch a blog. I am still working on changing the URL and publishing that blog to the web, but I am not sure if I need an outside web host to do that or if I can do it myself. I hope that I can do it myself, because I really would like to be able to host my own blog and design the template for it and everything like that. But for the time being, this will be my blog—one of the free ones hosted by wordpress. As you can see, it is called the daily saga (all lower case because it makes my blog that much cooler) and it dances on the borderline of ridiculous

Why does someone like me need a blog? Well, I don’t really. Who actually needs a blog, besides people whose opinions actually matter (i.e. the type of people who don’t usually have blogs)? I just wanted one. The internet may have been built for things like improving communication the sharing of information, but at the heart of it, it is all about self-gratification. Note to self: you have a blog now, so consider yourself gratified.

What will this blog be, you may ask? Truth is, I don’t really know. I’ll probably just start by posting thoughts, comments, and observations about my day. And of course I will recount all of my epic sagas. Maybe occasionally I’ll post one of my Daily Cal articles. Or a bread recipe or something. Sounds great, right? Wrong. If your reading this right now, I suggests you go outside and run around. Or ride a bike. Unless of course you have already done that today. Then, by all means keep reading.