Google Share Drama, Episode 3: Twitter

Ha.  Using my special idiot powers, I, um, forgot about Twitter.  Made myself a new twitter account JenFitz_Reads devoted to just tweeting links to stuff I’ve read and liked.  Put a feed in my sidebar, and of course those desperate to know what I’m reading can subscribe directly. [Update, if you already subscribe to my regular twitter compendium, I just set up the reading list to flow into that one.  So don’t follow both.]

A little clunkier than the old share button, but it works, and it double-works for things I find not in Reader.  (Or Bloglines, which I experimented with).  For the moment I’m using the Diigolet share button for things that don’t have a tweet button of their own.  Maybe there is an easier way?

We’ll see how it goes.

And yes.  OCD.  Must. promote. good. writing.  Quarter break ends soon.  The internet will be happier I’m sure.

Google-Share Drama, Episode 2

Here’s a link to the very helpful info Entropy recommended at Melissa Wiley’s site.  Some good ideas (in addition to what Julie & Sarah mentioned bleg combox.)  Hey and wow, another great blog to read while I’m at it.  Yay.


What’s the big deal about the Google change?  Here’s what I wrote in Melissa’s combox when I thanked her for the info:

Thank you for posting this!  I’m feeling the pain of not being able to share posts anymore.  I don’t like to do my topic-sharing on the social networks, because most of what I read and write about on the internet is politics and religion, two topics that don’t mesh well with my very diverse real-life set of friends. So I keep FB and the like purely cocktail-party talk, and if people want to know more about what I think, they can click on my website link.

I don’t have a double life on the internet anymore than I do in real life.  But I do try (no seriously, I do try) not to be a jerk and a bore.  My real-life friends are very kind, considerate people who make a point of not ramming some topic down my throat that I don’t care to debate.  I try to return the favor.  My friends on Facebook are real people I know in real life, people I respect and whose company I enjoy.   The link to this blog is on my facebook profile — if anyone wants to know what I think about death or taxes, they can click.  But they don’t have to.  I like it that way.

I debated whether maybe Google+ should be more like this blog and less like Facebook, and therefore, hey, yeah, fill it with links about politics and religion, why not?  But I don’t like that solution, for the same reason I don’t like (and therefore don’t do) flooding FB with Fr. L and Darwin and all the team.

And don’t tell me that Google+ promises to keep all my circles separate blah blah blah. I’ll believe it when I see it.  The general rule on the internet is that even when I try not to bore people by linking stuff in places it doesn’t belong, some clever inventor decides to combine it all anyway.  Also, I’m not looking for a new hobby.  So building up a thousand separate “circles” isn’t on my list.  If I do Google+ (and I suppose I probably will), you’ll all be in one very large circle.  Feels like a giant Girl Scout Camp ice-breaker activity.

New Link Day

Stars are aligning . . . though it’s no longer Friday, certainly not the 5th Friday, I’m alarmingly short of ire, and we’re overdue for a new link day.  So time for a modest amount of site maintenance.

What we’ve got:

Happy Catholic.  What it sounds like.  I almost made a special category for readers’ blogs, to celebrate the arrival of a reader who was not already on the blogroll.  But all the clever names I could come up with for the category would have put Happy Catholic too low on the list.  And that wouldn’t do.

Secondhand Smoke.  Your spot for bioethics issues

Reflections of a Paralytic.  Another one that could go in multiple places.  Running a lot of posts on the Theology of the Body right now.

XXX Church.  Christian site (not a blog, I don’t think) with a ministry for those escaping porn.  Users & workers both.

The IRS.  ‘Tis the season.  I use this every year. Much more helpful than you’d guess.

Enjoy your reading this week.  For those interested in such things, my review of The Apostles comes out “Wednesday” (so to speak) on the homeschooling blog.  Good news: The reading gets a lot easier once you get into the second half of the book.

‘5th Friday’ – Playing Around with History and Languages

Okay, so it is no longer the 5th Friday, and won’t even be the 1st Saturday much longer, but I’ve finally got your new links for you.


First a quick mention of a couple I put up on my other blog this week, just FYI:  In addition to my reputable vendors list, I’ve gone and sneaked on a small ‘prayer on the internet’ category of links over at the other blog.  Look if you like, but the one you should know about yesterday is:  NaPraMoGo 2008 – Pray 15 More Minutes a Day, led by the Ironic Catholic. Who observes, “The Ironic Catholic blog is silly and satire, but praying is not. This is for real.”


And now for this site, putting up a few of what I think of as history links, though most of them aren’t going into the ‘history’ folder:

The Society for Creative Ananchronism – A bunch of goofy history buffs having too much fun — but also doing a little bit of historical research in the process. Oh come on, you know you want to dress up in funny clothes, adopt a medieval name, and bash someone on the helm with a wooden sword.  You know you do, don’t deny it.

The Web Gallery of Art – What it sounds like.  Searchable art gallery covering European Art from 1100 to 1850. Kind of like going to the Louvre, only instead of sore feet you can get carpal tunnel (and, if you live any distance from Paris, save a little time and money while you’re at it).

The Lexique d’Ancien Français is a searchable database of old French, but you need to know the new french in order to use it.  Stuck it into a new folder called, generically, ‘Foreign Languages’.  What with having so few links in the category yet, it didn’t seem right to specialize into “Languages People Only Spoke Very Briefly”, tempting though it was.  I would observe that these transitory languages can be quite fun, because if you know the before-and-after languages, you can quickly get a dose of the in-between language without a whole lot of work.

While I’m at it, here’s a handy Wikipedia article on the topic (again, you need to know new french to read about the old).

Chantez-Vous Français? Is more of the same.  If the subtitle, <<Remarques curieuses sur le français chanté du Moyen Age à la période baroque>> means anything to you, go check it out.

And at long last, if you desperately wanted to learn about Old French but had hoped to do so in English, Old French Online, courtesy of the Linguistics Research Center at UT – Austin has come to your rescue.

If you wish to test your Old-ish French reading skills, the project Gutenberg has a copy of Le Chevalier Deliberé posted.  Circa 1500, so beginning to be quite manageable for the junior linguist.

And to finish, something that isn’t history at all is the fun (but with a maddeningly busy intro page) Les langues de France en chanson, specializing in music of the various languages spoken in France today.  (If you were under the impression that “French” was the language of France, there’s something we need to tell you . . .)


That will do it for today.  Happy All Souls Day, and thanks for your patience this round.

Catholic Writers’ Conference

The Catholic Writers’ Guild is putting on another on-line Catholic Writers’ Conference coming up at the beginning of February.  Registration is free, and you can participate as much or as little as you want.  If you enjoy writing I recommend you give it a try.

Go ahead and register now at


BTW: I happen to know that several of my readers here are qualified to lead workshops at this conference.   So you might, ahem, go volunteer to lend your expertise.  Good for business.


I attended last year, and found the conference to be very enjoyable and informative.* The conference included workshops on all genres, and is relevant whether you tend to write for the ‘catholic’ market or for the wider public.  Workshops covered both writing skills and getting-yourself-published skills.  Definitely a bias towards helping you become A Person Who Gets Paid to Write — good focus, I suppose, since being a volunteer writer doesn’t require much training.

You will benefit most if you are able to participate, and to be able to participate, you will need to clear your schedule a bit.   At the very least, plan to substitute participation in the conference for your other goofing-off activities that week.  I lucked out last year — the conference fell on a week when my schedule was wide open, complete with borrowed children to keep my own occupied.  This allowed me to participate in one workshop intensively, dabble in a few others, and browse the rest; in order to do that, I probably spent 2-4 hours a day either at the conference or on my own doing homework.   (I could have spent less time on the homework, but I got more out of the conference by putting more into it.)

Format was a combination of discussion-forum workshops and live chatroom discussions on various topics, led by catholic authors and editors with expertise in the subject at hand.  There were also pitching sessions with catholic publishers and agents, which of course were not of any direct use to me since I had (and still have) no manuscripts for sale, but I learned quite a bit about that part of the industry from the related workshops.

[Are you thinking of leading a workshop? Know that last year many of the leaders of one workshop participated as a student in other workshops.  You can do both. ]

I found all the workshop leaders (agents, authors, publishers, editors) to be polite, encouraging, and no-nonsense.  Their goal is to bring more catholic writers to the reading public, and they will not pamper you in the process.  If you are looking for someone to tell you how wonderful you are and how whatever you want to do is just fine, call your mother; if you are looking for someone to help you with your writing, try the conference.

*Same danger, of course, as reading a book on how to improve your writing: You may end up like myself, not a better writer, just a guiltier one.  Nothing quite like a new improved awareness of all your faults.