Saturday, February 26, 2011

I got your citations, right here.

I just looked through my archives at the old blog, and realized, to my astonishment, that I haven't whined about writing citations for OVER 2 YEARS!  Since I complain to myself every single time I write a "Works Cited" list, I can't believe that I didn't share the misery with the internet. 

Did you know that the Modern Language Association has REVISED its guidelines on citations?  No, I didn't either until today, when our instructor helpfully pointed it out, one day before our paper is due.  So now I need to finish writing the paper and THEN familiarize myself with the new and better-be-improved citation style.

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OK, I've just reviewed the new citation style, and perhaps I'm overreacting, as the changes appear to be minimal.  There are two points to make here, however: one, that I wouldn't be me if I didn't hyperventilate over every little thing that goes wrong; and two, WHY, MLA? 

The old way was FINE.  I'd become accustomed to the old way, and was able, for the most part, to correctly write my citations without referring to the Bedford Guide.  That's not to say that I LIKED writing citations, but really, is it necessary to change in any way a system that appeared to be working very well?  Has not the Modern Language Association ever considered the scholarly wisdom of the "if it ain't broke" theory?  I blame Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for this.  Note to MLA: the idea of the new release doesn't necessarily apply to every endeavor.  If it doesn't contain a silicon chip, then 1.0 will probably do the job for the next 50 years.  Meanwhile, I have a paper to write.  I don't have time to be your beta tester.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lamestream

I used to subscribe to some magazines; some frivolous and fluffy and some semi-serious.  Then, I had children, and classes, and all sorts of other busy busy busy things to which languid magazine reading had to give way, once and for all.  So one by one, I allowed the subscriptions to expire (no easy thing by the way...many months of "are you sure? are you SURE you're sure?" attempts to retain you as a subscriber will follow any attempt to cancel a magazine subscription), until the only one that remained was Real Simple. 

Other than yoga and pomegranate juice, nothing could mark me more firmly as a member of the mild-mannered suburban earth-mother-lite class than a copy of RS in my mailbox. But whatever.  I liked the pretty pictures and the occasional appearance of a good essay, and so I would stop whatever I was doing within reason when my monthly copy arrived and would read it front to back. 

Fatigue set in, as it has with every other form of media. I wonder sometimes if it's just me and my gnat-like attention span.  I look at the headlines on Yahoo or MSNBC, and I can't summon enough interest to click through to the story;  some days, my news comes entirely from headlines.  And the top-ten slide shows!  I can't, I tell you, I just can't. 

So Real Simple.  I got the next-to-next-to-last issue in the mail the other day (are you sure? are you sure you're sure?  just send this card back and we'll keep sending you pretty pictures every month!) and when I saw the cover, I just laid down in my snow-blanketed driveway and took a nap.  Superfoods.  I give you my word that there were sweet potatoes, edamame, and blueberries splashed all over the cover of this magazine.  I found myself asking "where is the quinoa?  whence the almonds?", so thoroughly do I know this drill.  And I hate sweet potatoes, too.  Superfood, my ass.  I'm sure they're chock-full of antioxidants and flavonoids (see?  WHY do I even know what a flavonoid is?), but if they were so super, they'd taste good.

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The dashes indicate the passage of nearly a week's time since I started this post.  I'll offer my standard excuse, which is that I'm in the middle of a class, and unless it has something to do with Virginia Woolf or Evelyn Waugh, I shouldn't be writing about it.  Also,  I just didn't have a point with which to finish this, unless it's corporate media domination and again, I just can't.  It's not that corporate media domination doesn't bother me, it's just that whatever can possibly be said about it has been said, and with more economy and wit than I can summon right now.  But I thought I'd better just finish this and post it before the RS cover herein described gave way to three or four months worth of artistically organized home offices and pristine sunsplashed entry halls filled with pastel wellington boots, and the few people who still read this bilge would be scratching their heads and saying "What? That issue was MONTHS ago!  We're over the superfoods!  We're decluttering now!"  I too have some decluttering to do, but it's in my brain, and nothing in print other than the DSM IV is going to help me with that.   Maybe I need to eat some salmon.  I hear that it's brain food.