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The Memory Palace Hypertext: An Exercise in Form, Forgetting, and Paranoid Enlightenment

In my previous post I mentioned that an intimate acquaintance with the creative process behind making [an online hypertext] gives me a totally different awareness of e-textuality and the connectivity of it. Below is a rather lengthy excerpt from the appendix to my final project that elaborates on my loaded use of the term "connectivity." Mostly I'm posting this because I'm very curious whether any of the rest of you had similar experiences while creating your hypertexts, or if it was just me and I really did go completely insane for a little while there (and that "little while" is misleading, because I'm definitely still feeling the effects--). At any rate, here are some words regarding hypertexts and paranoid schizophrenia:

“What class is that for? I thought you were an English major--”

The title of this post is a comment that I received a number of times during my hours spent at ITS working on my final project. It came a couple of times while I was sprawled outside ITS, poring over my printouts of floor plan maps and hundreds of thumbnail images. And then several more times, while I was sitting in front of Dreamweaver's split coding/design screen, the same brightly colored printouts spread out all around me.

I've been frustrated writing critical papers before. I've been frustrated writing fiction. I've had writer's block. I have never, in my entire life as a student, been as frustrated as I was at many points during my work on this final project. A solid twenty-four hours of hair-pulling and tears spent trying and failing to recover the crashed (coughcoughpirated) copy of Dreamweaver and the pages I'd already built from off my computer (the ITS staff tells me Dreamweaver software will never run on my computer again); hours wasted figuring out how to convert full-size images into thumbnails; and don't even get me started on how long it took me to figure out silly, little things like that in order to lay out text/images in horizontal columns I had to use the "Insert Table" function.

Fueling the Obsession

Especially when I'm stressed out, I like to open up people magazine, US Weekly, or check out what's happening on people.com. At the gym, I regularly see people checking out these same magazines. It's the age-old obsession with the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, I guess. Or the fundamentally human need to know and relate to other people (even if it is a little distant).

Anyhow, in recent years it seems that the relation between celebrity and media has become increasingly strained. Various stars have gotten in trouble for attacking paparazzi and photographers have been fined for trespassing on personal property.

"Skin" gone more feral still

So this is interesting: since we "read" Skin, I've brought it up twice outside class for very random contextual reasons in conversation with two different people, and both of them cut me off mid-sentence to say, "hey, ______ wrote a story about that!" Prior to our conversations about Skin, neither of them had known that this person's story, which they read for a fiction workshop, was based on an actual project -- they'd thought it was ______'s own very insane, very original idea.

what about the spam?

I just cleaned out the bulk box in my yahoo account, partially to procrastinate, partially to see if anything had accidently gotten directed there.

I remember when we first got the internet at my parent's place, my father was always freaking out, telling us that we were under no circumstances to open an email when we didn't know the sender, or the message was bulk-forwarded. At times I had to call friends to make sure they had in fact sent me the chain letter that would promise upon opening dismemberment, nightmares, eternal happiness, true love, and an endearing if medically unsound puppy if i did/not foward the message to the requisit number of people in 17.5 nanoseconds.

more wikipedia

I guess this post is coming a bit late as our discussions of Wikipedia have come and gone (though our blog posts are getting increasingly random). But because I'm writing a paper for another class on encyclopedias (specifically Diderot's Encyclopedia from the Enlightenment), I can't help but compare the old encyclopedias of print to their Internet counterparts.
I read one article that states that the accumulation of knowledge will always be nothing but a "tragic ideal, embedded in historical time." Basically knowledge (even if it's true or even profound) continues to change as new thought comes to light. And the old knowledge, even if essentially unchanged, becomes part of something larger and would seem dated (or perhaps even incorrect) without being in the context of this new knowledge.

Beg, Borrow, Steal

You wouldn't happen to own an HP Pavilion zd8000, zx5000, zv5000, zv6000 or Compaq Presario X6000, R3000, R4000 series Notebook PC, would you? My A/C adapter no longer makes the connection in the computer, so I cannot charge batteries, and it makes life a wee bit difficult. I'm backed up, which is good, but the whole dead computer is not so much the good.

Alternately, do you know how to fix adapters?

Serialized picture books

The great thing about finals week is it's the perfect time to catch up on the archives of all the different webcomics I've been meaning to read.

It's striking me as rather interesting, actually, how comics transfer from the newspaper to the net. The fact that you *can* read the archives, for one, the sense that there are small segments of a larger work, and the larger work is important enough to merit saving to old pieces. It also makes it a lot easier, I think, for authors to create more complex storylines, because they can assume the audience has read the entire story, or can if they get lost (sometimes there are links off to the side, directing the reader to relevent back story). There are certainly a lot that are still rather disconnected isolated strips by the same person in the same style, but I find longer, more...epic? comics are far more prevelant on the web (and far more interesting & easier to get in to than mary worth & prince valiant).

polonium-210 deep-sixing

I can't take the Alexander Litvinenko saga seriously. For some reason it seems entirely anachronistic, when I'm scanning the news online, to read about an ex-Russian spy being poisoned with radioactive material. It's too... 80's... or something.

But I don't know if anyone else feels that way, and it's one of those things that seems like it ought to be mutual. How do I know if something stands out against the zeitgeist if I'm not tapped in? As it stands, everyone I know who's mentioned it has found it odd and amusing, in a general way, but that could just be the novelty of it -- it's not as if spies turn up dead and radioactive every day.

New blogging legislation

An article on CNET discusses a bill that will make bloggers and personal website operators responsible for reporting illegal images posted on their sites. While the bill is designed to remove child pornography from the web, it sets high and somewhat unlear standards. This legislation impacts "any Web site with a message board; any chat room; any social-networking site; any e-mail service; any instant-messaging service; any Internet content hosting service; any domain name registration service; any Internet search service; any electronic communication service; and any image or video-sharing service," meaning that this blog is subject.