I’m sorry to not have posted in a few weeks. As the pandemic has been coming under control in my region, life outside my house is opening up again and my time is diminished by other demands. Plus, I’m still knee-deep in remodeling work inside my home. It’s a case of spending 90% of time time on the last 10% of the work, and not enjoying the work. The paint I’m using on our trim and doors is sticky and dries just a little too fast, which makes it hard to get a smooth texture on the doors I’m painting. For the sake of getting things done, I’m trying not to care too much, but in a way that has shut off other parts of my drive and a lot of my other errands are falling slack too.
And on top of that, I’m just struggling to form any opinion on the next surah in my Quran series. I can’t even really form a bullet-list of items to comment upon. This is due probably to some fatigue on my side but also a facet of the Quran’s repetition. Even my two commentary sets don’t have much to say about Surah 45. Can you help me? Anyone want to read surah 45 and come up with some items you’d like me to research or talk about?
A post! I’m writing a post! I’m publishing a post! It’ll be a very small one, but I need to publish something.
We bought our house back in September, and for the first three months my energy has been devoted to the process of ripping it apart and putting it back together as a home. It’s not really done –the stairs are still raw plywood– but it’s beyond the point of needing my all-consuming attention. It’s been past that point for a while, and though I’ve turned my attention to blogging I just…haven’t…sat…
It takes me about ten hours to write a blog post. I thought that if I wrote something a little more personal that didn’t need research I could turn something faster. Four hours later and that post is still in my draft bin, with at least another six hours of attention required before it’ll be fit for other eyes. This post today mightn’t be much, but it’s fast, and it’s a little step towards getting myself on screen and accountable again. It gives me a reason to do that bad thing of returning to my blog dashboard again and again for the hit of a few new views. And in returning to my blog and spending time on it again, I’m getting myself back into the swing of scheduling some life this way and returning to my regularly scheduled programming.
One thing that’s I’ve been surprised by is that traffic through this blog has been pretty steady, even in my absence.
I’m not entirely convinced that those visits are not just bots sweeping the web for a sucker, since the views are often of random posts even when from the same “visitor.” But given how dead traffic to my blog has been for the previous three years, does this mean that mere longevity is moving my blog to a different category in the database algorithms?
Oh well. The random clicks aren’t particularly interesting to me since they don’t provide feedback. Sometimes I can take a guess by the timing and origin of a view that there is a real person on the other side who actually follows my blog. (Hi Pakistan friend!) But I do enjoy seeing my world map get colored in. Here’s my map for 2020, and all the countries (and VPNs) from which a person or bot has viewed my page.
And that’s the trivial but fun kind of carrot that helps reward me in this blog. I hope this year that I might hear from some of you!
I have good news: I’m moving into a house! It’ll be the first time I live in my own property.
Bad news: it’s a fixer-upper, which means it’s been taking a lot of my time to get the place move-in ready. (Though I love it.)
I haven’t had much time at my computer (or sofa) recently, so I haven’t been able to prepare any blogs posts for this week. Or for next week. It might be another month before I have the ease of time to write some new posts. I always try to write ahead and have a stockpile reserved for times like these, but never have been able to get more than two posts ahead (and usually it’s for one surah alone and thus gets published out fairly quickly). So if you’re just visiting TwoPennyPosts for the first time and like what you see –but are worried the blog has recently died because of no recent updates– worry not, I’m still here, still thinking up opinion pieces on the Quran and other things. I’m just not in a place to fix those opinions into text for a while.
I generally strive to keep clear of copyright infringement in my blog, even to the point of creating my own graphics…
…but my diligence drops at times in favor of convenience and a good joke. So this week’s project, in lieu of writing a new post, was to go through all the graphics in my blog and swap out any unlicensed imagery I’d picked up. I’m including a little list of my favorite creative-commons archives in this post for your benefit (scroll to the end), but also have some thoughts on copyright to chew in reaction to Tom Scott’s video.
While I’ve relied on Wikipedia articles for reasons I have already stated, ALWAYS remember that Wikipedia is only as good as its citations. Be aware that the articles surrounding Muhammad’s ministry are inundated with a particular source:
I’ve unofficially taken a holiday from blogging it seems, so let me make it official. I’ll not be posting any new content until the new year. I’ve taken on a few projects this last month that have occupied my time. They won’t go away come the new year, but I’d like to stockpile up some blog posts so that I can keep the posts coming routinely in the future.
My favorite TV show of all time, and one of my favorite stories committed to film, is the series “Foyle’s War.” Besides the high quality of production, it is a show of likable characters, quiet dialogue, and gentle cheesiness. It is a tone and set of stories that are easy to return to and rewatch again and again. Yet the show is a murder series, and it does not take its murders lightly. Moreover it takes upon itself the serious question and theme: how do you execute justice against power? The backdrop of this murder series is not ordinary time, but British homeland defense during WWII. When your country is hanging in the balance, how do you hold it’s power holders accountable?
Americans introduce themselves by profession as a means of kind of assessing each other’s socioeconomic status right off the bat. We are such a capitalistic, sociologically oriented culture –I’m sorry, a caste oriented culture for lack of a better description– that what we want to do right off the bat is figure out who is worth listening to, who is important enough to merit respect, and who isn’t…We assess each other by visuals but we also assess each others by those non-visuals by that introduction of profession.”
N.K. Jemisin, “N.K. Jemisin’s Master Class in World Building,” The Ezra Klein Show.
My husband listens to podcasts a lot and shared with me this little clip from an Ezra Klein interview with fantasy ficton writer N.K. Jemisin. It affected him quite a bit, because he is a computer engineer working for a recognizable company. When he introduces himself and his job, he automatically gets afforded a level of respect. He’s educated. He’s making an above-average income. His job is secure. His job is considered valuable. While my husband sometimes feels awkward having to explain his job –it’s not the kind of work most people find interesting in detail– he never gets questioned as to why he chose it or whether he is a functioning citizen. And in a way, that bothers him, because he’s aware that when talking to someone who is working a less-paid, less-respected job, an implicit disparity in the respective value of each’s work comes into play and shapes the conversation. Once we met someone new and through the usual ritual of introductory chit-chat exchanged job summaries and found out that this person was working for his family business …of selling used cars. It immediately made the conversation awkward. Like the reveal at the end of a round of cards, engineer trumps used-car salesman, and from that starting point it felt awkward moving forward.
Sorry, those of you who saw a post published this morning and then saw it disappear. I have a post fully written and had is scheduled to publish today, but some things have happened that make this post inappropriate at this time, so I’ve pulled it back into draft phase until some things are sorted out.
I shall try and give you a Quran posts ASAP in lieu, but I’ll need some extra time to finish my current half-baked one.