You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for April, 2004.

Calendar girl

April 27th, 2004

Jane Austen fannishness alert: Ellen Moody’s calendars for Austen novels are fascinating. While I had of course noticed that Austen’s novels take place over many months and sometimes years, I hadn’t previously noted seasonal patterns in them. It’s fun to move from one calendar to the next and discover repeated seasonal themes.

The rest of Moody’s site is equally worth perusing.


April 26th, 2004

I was at the March for Women’s Lives yesterday.

It was impressive to see so many committed people all in the same place at the same time. I arrived at about 10am, listened to several speakers and sort of wandered around, before I met up with a few other DC area webloggers. By far the best speaker (in my opinion) was Cybill Shepherd, who’s anger was inspiring (if anyone can find a transcript of her speech, please let me know).

I was struck by the diversity of the crowd — at one point I was watching a bag-piper playing with two guys who were drumming on an inverted 5-gallon plastic bucket. The piper was middle-aged, and formally dressed in a kilt, and the two guys with the drum were young, shirtless and had dreads. I assumed that their collaboration was impromptu — it was oddly compelling, and sounded pretty good.

I saw several signs I that said “3 generations for choice.” Imagine marching in an event like that with your Mom and Grandma! It was inspiring to see women of many different ages, classes and backgrounds engaged in a common activity — most people (myself included) rarely interact with people different from themselves. It’s good to see. Also, I got to pet a Chihuahua named Ruby who was wearing a tiny pink T-shirt with pro-choice stickers all over it — how cool is that?!

I was impressed by how organized the march was. I found my delegation without incident, and the AV systems were good. There were plenty of signs to be had, and volunteers were out making sure everyone was counted. The organizers of the march did a nice job.

The march started off a bit late, but I suppose that is to be expected. We accidentally left our delegation in the dust, but we waved our signs anyway. It was really more of a mozy or a stroll than a march, but my tired feet appreciated that. We decided not to stay for the afternoon rally — but we were there, and we got counted. That’s what is important to me.

Reports of how many people were on the Mall yesterday are somewhat contradictory. March organizers report that there were over 1 million, while informal police estimates range from 500,000 to 800,000 (personally, I think the organizers’ number is closer to the truth). Regardless of what the real number was, it was a lot, and most sources agree that it was the largest march of its kind.


April 23rd, 2004

I had to look up some information about closed captioning for my work today, and I found it interesting enough that I thought I would share. Gary Robson maintains the Closed Captioning FAQ which includes great information about the political, social, technical and legal contexts of captioning. I found the section on “real time” captioning particularly interesting.

Paranoia mounting

April 22nd, 2004

Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam vet and a Senior Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggests that it is time for the U.S. to think about reviving the draft as a way to ensure that rich and poor alike share the burden of defending the United States (an idea I suggested earlier).

Let me be clear about my own sentiments: I would be opposed to a draft. However, it might have an interesting effect on our national discourse, one that would be interesting (to this Political Sociologist at least) to watch.

Legislation to revive the draft has been introduced in both houses of Congress, but no action has been taken thus far, and none is likely this year.

And, as a public service announcement, let me remind readers of Dori’s “gay is the new Canada” suggestion for why a new draft would fail. Just something to keep in your back pocket.

Shouldn’t be hard

April 21st, 2004

This falls into the category of “things that definately shouldn’t be difficult”: I just spent too much time poking around my county’s website, trying to find out what I need to do to volunteer to work in a precint during the November elections. After 25 minutes, I still couldn’t figure it out, so I gave up and sent an e-mail message to the general address listed on the contact page.

It shouldn’t be difficult to do your civic duty — I wonder how many people get curious about doing something like that, then give up when they can’t easily find the information?


April 21st, 2004

Mexican gangs and underworld denizens are reported to have bizarre nicknames, including hitmen with names like “Winnie the Poo” and “The Valiant Pig” or gangs like “The Ear Lopers” and “The Finger Cutters.”

However, it’s not clear if the evil-doers give themselves these monikers, or if newspaper reporters are bestowing the names in order to get into print. Nicknames apparently make stories more memorable, both to editors and to readers.


April 20th, 2004

From Freeway Blogger via Politics in the Zeros:


Some words

April 19th, 2004

Somewhere, deep in the bowels of my computer, an essay lies archived titled “Advice for Women Who Want to go to Grad School.” It was written just after I finished my PhD, from a place of deep bitterness and pain. I have always intended to revise it and post it on this website, because I think too many people — especially women — are woefully unprepared for the culture of graduate school. I’ve never revised it because I still don’t have the perspective to do so.

But now I don’t have to.

Via LaDiDa, I found Timothy Burke’s essay Should I Go To Grad School which says all I tired to say, only in a much better and more inclusive manner. If you’re thinking of going to graduate school, please read it.

Now I have time to work on revising those other essays lurking on my hard drive — “How to Quit Grad School”, “Meaningful Work Outside the Ivory Towers: Advice for PhD’s who Leave the Nest” and “The Mythos and Meaning of TranZorZ.”

5th Sentence

April 19th, 2004

You know the drill:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.

So here’s mine:

“Esophageal cancers, predominantly squamous carcinomas, arise in the esophagus, which links the oral cavity to the stomach.”

From, Smoking: Risk, Perception and Policy edited by Paul Slovic.


April 14th, 2004

I am a fanatic reader of Bitch Magazine, and (unsurprisingly) I highly recommend it.

This quarterly magazine’s tagline is “feminist response to pop culture” and it takes the notion that “the political is personal” seriously. The magazine is filled with analyses and critiques of TV, movies, advertising, books, magazines, cultural attitudes, and social trends and it carries interviews with actors, authors, artists and musicians. The music reviews, which focus on women preformers, are particularly good.

Each issue has a theme, and the content intelligently and cleverly ties into that theme. The April ‘04 issue is “the Smart issue”, and includes articles about teenage girl prodigies, the rhetoric of choice, a personal history of feminist indie on-line media, sexual desire and classroom learning, reality TV as product placement, and a new version of the Bible aimed at teen girls that looks like Vogue magazine. It’s meaty, insightful, important and fun. What more could you want from a magazine?

I also like the way ads are placed — you see them in the front and back of the magazine with the shorter bits of content, but not in the middle where the longer pieces are.

You can find the subscription information here.