markdunn.ca

the things we don't know we don't know

reach the complaint dept. via mark@markdunn.ca

day two, thirty-one days of blogging

sunday, january twenty-seven 2019

Okay, so there's a chance that this was a big mistake. I just finished the second- to-last draft of my CRIM 410 paper and I only have a few minutes this morning before I have to take a shower, find an address for some MSP correspondence, and then rush out the door to work. I thought I'd find the time to blog every day, and especially considering the small posts I make, I thought it would be easy. It doesn't help that it's day two and after yesterday's introduction I'm already running out of things to say.

I'm finally taking lots of 400-level classes at school and one of the things I've quickly realized is that they are way harder than even the 300-level ones. And the reading is insane. I have upwards of two-hundred pages of readings some weeks (and I know that compared to a lot of other majors this isn't actually even a lot). I'm finally learning to skim though, which is good I guess.

I really don't know how other people do it. How do people manage a job, university, a relationship, friends and family, all at the same time? It's really hard and I feel like I'm reaching new levels of stress all the time. Also, people do this basically right out of highschool. It blows my mind that seventeen and eighteen year-olds can go to university and just do it, and do it well. Teenagers move across the country and manage to get degrees and build lives for themselves. It's incredible, I know I couldn't do it.

Anyway, sorry for the quick cut-off, but that's my time.

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day one, thirty-one days of blogging

saturday, january twenty-six 2019

So I've decided that it's finally time I started taking writing seriously, and in that vein I'm starting with an attempt to blog every day for thirty-one days. I guess it's all dawning on me now; if all goes well in my life I'll graduate at the end of the year and join the ranks of learned scholars out in the world trying to make a living by writing on the internet. I want to live that dream too. I want to spend my time in tropical places, and exciting parts of the world that aren't overrun with other plain white people like me, and I want to write about stuff and not have to work.

It's one of those things I wish I'd committed to five or ten years ago.

As a quick aside, have you noticed that Microsoft Word is obsessed with trying to add commas behind everything? It's starting to drive me crazy every time I see those blue squiggly lines underneath a word because I know it's going to be a comma and I know that I didn't put a comma there for a reason. It may not be the right reason, but I'm trying to have some semblance of flow here. I was talking about it with my wife the other day and I think that little suggestions like that have the potential to homogenize all of our writing, so that at some point everyone's flow will sound the same. Now I'm realizing that I may be overreacting, but at the time I really felt that the subtle encouragement--just right click, accept the suggestion, and the line goes away--was enough to change writing. And maybe I'm crazy.

But there must be other people out there like me that find the little blue squiggly lines just a little anxiety-producing.

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poetry

tuesday, december eighteen 2018

In previous versions of the blog I used to write a lot of poetry. I can almost remember my favourite. It went something like this:

Tuesdays seem to go so slow

Ad breaks on the radio

Cigarette, coffee, fried potato

Steel toed boots in the heavy snow

Why do we write poetry? What's the point? And what makes poetry good? I'm not an educated man, especially not in English lit, and I've always wondered these things. I mean, I can tell you what poems I like. My favourite was shared with me through a copy of the New Yorker. I think it was from a 2015 issue and the title had salamander in it. I think. It was good and though I've been looking for the last few minutes, I can't find it to share it with you. I took a photo of it on a phone that has long since died. Oh well, what can you do?

There's something so special about good poetry and something so embarrassing about bad poetry. That's the big barrier to entry, right? It's not even a fine line between the two. It's a thick demilitarized zone filled with the pride of people who gave it a go. How humiliating to imagine that people are laughing about your words behind your back. It's a fear that keeps us from doing lots of things in life I guess.

Nobody listens to the radio anymore though, right? Or watches TV? I had some people in the restaurant the other day explaining how cranberry fields are flooded so that the berries float to the surface and are easier to gather. Anyway, I knew that because of that old commercial with the two guys in waders standing in a cranberry swamp. I can't remember the brand, it was the one with the blue logo. Ocean Spray maybe?

All I see now are Instagram commercials for cellphone games. Also ads for shoes I've already bought.

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triumphant return

tuesday, november twenty-nine 2018

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense 2002

He gave that in response to a question about the lack of evidence connecting Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. As we know now, there was no evidence, and what the US government used to justify the war was fabricated...

Anyway, that isn't what this is about. This is an announcement. The blog is back. It's got a new look (entirely designed by me).

Let's see what happens.

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