July 25, 2006

1000 miles.

I drove today, getting the boring part of the drive behind me. I'm really too fried to write a blog post, but what is this blogging enterprise if not daringly throwing yourself in front of the world in whatever condition you're in? So I'm trying to get through the comments moderation for the day. Scroll down and find the post that explains why I've had to turn on comments moderation. You know there are so many beautiful strangers who have made my blog a little coffeehouse, where people can talk about all sorts of things. And it only takes one person to spoil the ambience. Moderate though I am -- I like to say -- I don't like doing this moderation, mainly because it slows everything down.

How awful to think that with all the wonderful students I've had over twenty years, a former student should be the one screw up my place -- which is so much about enabling people to have good conversation.

Patience, everyone. I'm doing badly today getting through approving all the comments, but it's not the usual thing. Today was one of my all-time heavy driving days. I made it past Denver, and the last part, in blinding rain was really, really hard. But the motel is fine, and the internet is working, and there's a plastic cup into which I've poured X ounces of the single malt Scotch I've stashed in my bag.

So I will blog-tend and sip until I hit the wall. Tomorrow will be leisurely and scenic... with photographs, I assure you. It will be all about Colorado and Utah. I'm in love with the American West. Driving across Nebraska today, I appreciated the lush farmland. It's important. But my heart lightened when the land started looking dry, when the green verged over into brown.


Sanjay said...

Hey, do any of you people know if there's a way you can do the opposite of what Professor Althouse is talking about, and fix it so comments _can't_ be deleted, even by (especially by) the poster? Sort of a question for a friend (I don't blog).

John Stodder said...

And I was in an actual coffeehouse, a Starbucks, that some horrible parents decided would make an excellent place to obtain free child care while they shopped or saw a movie. Three boys playing some card game in which they threw the cards at each other and screamed. This is the terrestrial version of what you're enduring. What a shame.

One of the best bloggers I know of, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, allows unfettered commenting on the site, but removes comments that violate his rules (no cussin', no personal attacks). The community itself learns to ignore or shun certain posters and continue with their high-minded baseball discussions.

It's possible you don't have to moderate the comments, but just let people know that so and so is going to be posting nasty comments, and they will be removed in due course, so in the meantime ignore them. I think your community of the very smart will follow any suggestion you make along those lines.

Ron said...

Take care of yourself, Ann. We need the bloggage more than we need you to push too hard through the driving rain...

37383938393839383938383 said...

That's terrible, Ann. I'm sorry to see comment moderation here. Even when things get heated around here, they are still substantive and amusing. I can't really say I've seen anyone go overboard until, actually, the Quxxo person and then this Mary person. I was wondering why this Mary person always had something negative to say. Isn't there a way to simply block her and let the rest of us chat away? I know Orin Kerr gives out accounts to those who post reliably well.

nina said...

In the early sixties, my dad packed the four of us into his (unairconditioned) Chevy (with the vinyl seats and the beautiful to a young girl smell of his cigarettes) and we crossed America, from NY to California and back. Often we would pack in six or seven hundred miles in a day. It was a memorable trip.
He got a little cocky with his driving on the return and we wound up spending a week in Vegas so that the car he crashed by running a light could be fixed.
So stay vigilant and safe and get plenty of rest!

sbutler said...

I've lived all my life in central Illinois and I love to ski, so I've made this part of the drive many times the last 7 years. Usually we take I-70 through Kansas but I've also been on I-80 (both are the same distance for me).

We like to leave Champaign at 7 in the evening so that we hit Kansas at 1am and can fly through. I always take the last leg because I love driving through the rolling farmland of Colorado as the morning mists clear, and seeing dawn break on Denver and the towering Rockies. And the mountain pass up to Summit County is breath taking. With a light cover of snow and a vivid imagination you can almost believe that the villages along the way haven't changed in the last hundred and fifty years.

Even though I hate the term fly-over country I've vowed never to make that 14 hour drive again. My problem isn't the flatness of Kansas or Nebraska, ohh no! It's that we just push right through.

My grandma was an artist and if she was driving and saw something interesting she'd stop and take some pictures (so she could paint it later). That's what I want to do! I see barns, or trees, or fields framed just so and a part of me says, "pull over and get out the camera." But I can't, because there's three other people with me in the car and we have to be at Breckenridge by noon. I don't want to go through Kansas faster; I want to slow down and learn to enjoy it.

Two years ago my mom and I drove from Peoria, IL, to Logan, UT. We took I-80 to I-29, then I-90 to Mount Rushmore. Then we dipped down into Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, spending the night at Jackson Hole, and then pushing on to Logan. It took three days, but what a leisurely way to travel! When we wanted to see caves, we stopped and saw caves. When we came to the Buffalo Bill Dam we stopped because, hey, it looked interesting.

Some time I want to take two weeks off from work and drive out west; just me and my camera. I want to drive to drive, and to stop whenever I fancy. Doesn't that sound like a relaxing vacation?

Robert said...

If I'd known you were coming through Colorado, I would have arranged a Colorado blogger reception for you, and we'd have bought you drinks!

Well, actually, I'd have intended to arrange a reception and would then have gotten swamped by work and the whole thing would have fallen apart. But I would have intended to do it!

Enjoy the rest of your stay in our lovely state.

singaporeexpat said...

I find Mary's behavior to be very strange. I went to a small liberal arts college where I studied classics and was quite close with several of my professors. When I graduated my life took a very different path than what I had envisioned and so I did not stay in contact with these professors (it's an odd sortta relationship between student and teacher, can the two every really be friends?).

Anyway, on Sept. 12 2001, I sent a very blubbering email to my Latin professor....basically just wanting to touch base with her and make sure she was ok. She sent back a very touching email and since then I have been less hesitant about sending the odd email to my former professors.

I love roadtrips, although if you are taking one with a loved one, they can get very, very trying.
My partner and I drove around New Zealand for ten days last year and we had a great time, but boy did we fight. Maybe this was because as beautiful as New Zealand is, it is also an incredibly boring country.

XWL said...

Clearly a campaign is in order for convincing Google to retool Blogger so that banning of specific commenters both by User ID# and/or by IP Address is a function within Blogger. That would go a long way towards fixing these sort of situations.

1000 miles in one day sounds rough.

Why am I hearing the Proclaimers in my head, right now?

And just cause I have to know (though you don't have to tell)

What kind of single-malt Scotch, this one? or maybe this one? or even better yet, this one?

Enjoy your adult beverage, sounds like you earned it today.

Also, Ken Jennings has a post about, among other things, battling trollish behavior as well.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

10 ounces of scotch?? Wow!

Oh. That wasn't a Roman numeral for your volume of scotch?

Dave said...

Why do you sepnd so much time blogging about trolls? Just ignore them.

Ricardo said...

Drive safely and enjoy the trip, Ann. You're giving all of us a vicarious mini-vacation through your travels. As you're crossing the Rockies, are you thinking about how it took the early pioneers weeks/months to do what you're accomplishing in a few days?

David said...

The land west of the Wasatch in Utah is truly spiritual. My favorite is Arches though Zion and Bryce are fabulous too.

Drive careful and have fun!

goesh said...

Do you have a 'heavy foot'? And what kind of a car do you drive? Perhaps after a while you can resort back to the non-moderation mode. I hope so.

Barge 118 said...

Ann: I think it's important for you to know that your little coffee shop is also daily viewed and enjoyed by a host of people who don't regularly (or even ever) post. So the community you have created is ever so much larger than just those writing to one another.

Keep it up!

MadisonMan said...

I'm sorry for the need of moderation -- I've been away from blogspace and am not clear on what happened, exactly, but I can well imagine.

Enjoy your trip. One of the things I personally can't handle about western Nebraska and eastern Colorado is the color -- the brown/tan. Give me green anyday. And here I see you write you liked seeing the green turn to brown!

al said...

1000 miles in a day? Wow. I've done 700 and been wiped out.

People that fly and have never seen the way Nebraska or Colorado changes are missing something special. On the other hand states like Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are boring.

Hopefully you're taking I70 through the mountains - that should be fun in your car.

Take care. Drive safely.

Ann Althouse said...

Sanjay: I receive every comment in the email, and a commenter can only delete his own comment. So anytime I want, no matter how quickly the deletion occurred, I could reprint the comment myself as a quote. Basically, this is the same thing I could do with email. For example, the other day, some man emailed me this: "Not only are you hideously ugly, but soulless and subhuman. A truly satanic bitch. Eat shit, die and go to hell, please." I could tell you his name and give you his email address, but I won't.

Mark Kaplan said...

"The west is the best."
-- Jim Morrison

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I'm blogging about it only because I need to explain to people the reason for the delay. Actually now I'm seeing that there is a note about comment moderation, which is good, except it makes it obvious if I try turning it off again.

Johnstodder: My abusive commenter adopted the technique of writing things about my children, which I did not like having up at all. Also, she posted the material repeatedly, like 50 times on different posts of mine. If I hadn't turned on comment moderation, I guess she'd have done it 1000 times, and I would have spent hours deleting each one. She would have liked to make herself a full time job for me.

Critical O: Quxxo went away and didn't post one more time when I said I regarded him as harassing me. I appreciate that and note that he was a very different sort of problem commenter than she is. He had a lot of good to contribute too. I actually can't even remember what he did that made me end it. Oh, it was that he went through a cycle of good to bad repeatedly. The good stuff seemed to be a trick, setting us up for the bad. I decided I didn't want to get fooled again. Fool me once...

Sbutler: Every time I've ever gotten out of the car around a farm or an old building, an unleashed dog came around!

Nina: The detail of running the red light hits close to home for me. I'm super careful now. Not speeding either, at least not more than the traffic stream.

The scotch is The Dalmore. I can't remember why I bought it. It's fine. Not all that exciting though. But I was entirely numb from 1000 miles of driving, so I don't know if I would have noticed greatness. I review it later.

I've got a short drive planned today, mostly along I-70 through Colorado and into Utah, but I have a couple important stops on the way, and it should feel very leisurely. And I've got my Bob Dylan radio show to start, which will get me out of here fast.

bill said...

"...die and go to hell, please."

Geez, can that Roger L. Simon hold a grudge, or what?

tcd said...

Drive fast, take chances, and have fun! (I kid. Please drive safely but still have fun!) Thanks for allowing the sane people to comment at your very absorbing blog.

I love KenJen, the winningest contestant on Jeopardy! Thanks for the link; didn't know he had a blog.

Lonesome Payne said...

I like the idea of having accounts given out by you. There's really not that many of the regulars and near-regulars who provide a good share of the comments.

Almost any delay, it seems to me, changes the whole experience; and this Mary creature can't be allowed to get away with having that kind of impact. It's actually very terroristic: sneaky, easy, willing to destroy anything in a narcissistic rage.

stoqboy said...

If possible, you should consider adding additional moderators to your community. This will lighten your load and speed things up. I'm sure you can think of two or three of your community members who might be trainable.

Faeless said...

Maybe someone could implement a system where the abusive commentator could be allowed to post and see all their posts, but for everyone else, they simply don't show up. They would think that they are posting but in reality, they are completely ignored. Since it seems that the important part of being abusive in comments is to force a reaction, since no one sees it except for the poster, there is no reaction and no feeling of success on the part of the poster and he/she will eventually move on.

I suppose a smart troll could always verify from another ip address whether or not they were on this Secret banning, but then as the Leopold/Greenwald episodes show, these guys aren't very technically savvy.

Juliet said...

I'm looking forward to your pictures. My husband and I did a cross-country road trip last month, and we also covered a lot of ground very quickly so we could experience the colors and forms and vastness of the Southwest at a more leisurely pace.

Usually I lurk here, and I've only posted a couple of times, but I really enjoy your blog and the engaging community of commenters you've cultivated. I was discouraged yesterday when there were no new posts, and I'm glad to see now that you spent that time giving us something more to read and talk about.

reader_iam said...

While bloggers can't ban commenters on their own sites, I think Blogspot (Google) itself can. You could give them the IP and request it. How responsive they are is different question--but you'd think that the powers-that-be would pay attention to a prominent blogger.

reader_iam said...

Wouldn't it be cool if one day you had the option of audioblogging (not be confused with podcasting). You know, you're driving down the road, chatting away about whatever, special software translates it into text, and then some other technology lets you know when you're within range of a free WiFi source (of course, I think the world should be wired), and then you authorize the post to publish to the blog.

To further extend the fantasy, you could also occasionally have comments downloaded onto your computer, which could then read the text out loud to you (technology like that does exist).

Driving freely while blogging, baby! Now, that's the ticket.

Duke of DeLand said...

The Duchess and I recently completed our 1st trip in the Motorhome.....Tampa to Rockford, IL and back.....Made 700 + miles the 1st day and were exhausted. Thereafter we drove 300-450 miles per day and saw a LOT more. Even Illinois has a lot of beautiful spots if you know where to look!

Enjoy your trip.

We'll be reading about it..


Marghlar said...

I'd agree that the Orin Kerr solution is probably the best. It does get weird sometimes (new comments showing up above posted ones, because of the delay), but it mostly works out.

Enjoy your drive. Dylan + good scenery = fan-freaking-tastic.

37383938393839383938383 said...

"Not only are you hideously ugly, but soulless and subhuman. A truly satanic bitch. Eat shit, die and go to hell, please."

That sounds like one of the foot fetishists I warned you about. That's what you get for posting pictures of your feet. He's just trying to get your attention. In kindergarten he'd hit you in the head with a toy truck in the sad hopes that you'd do the same.

Will said...

If you get a chance, try this single malt. The 18-year old is a revelation.
Oh, and Ann, welcome to Colorado!

Freeman Hunt said...

For example, the other day, some man emailed me this: "Not only are you hideously ugly, but soulless and subhuman. A truly satanic bitch. Eat shit, die and go to hell, please." I could tell you his name and give you his email address, but I won't.

Unreal. Who are these bizarro people and whence do they come?

What did the people at Blogger say when you emailed them about your current harrassing troll problem?

Dody Jane said...

We have a summer cottage in Minocqua and now live in Greensboro, NC. Every summer my sister, mother, me and our four collective children drive north. It takes two days, but we would never consider doing anything else. There is nothing like seeing the gradual change in this country as we move state by state. Last summer we took my daughter's boyfriend who is from England. By the time we got to Illinois he said, Wow, This country is vast. The cornfields blew him away. But when we enter Wisconsin, we all feel like crying when we get our first look at the Wisconsin River, so clear and blue -

Paddy O said...

"Not only are you hideously ugly, but soulless and subhuman. A truly satanic bitch. Eat shit, die and go to hell, please."

aack. Says so much about the soul of someone who would write such a thing. Very sad.

I find, and I hope you don't mind me saying this, you are quite attractive and a vivacious soul and a fine example of what a human can become. Have a wonderful gourmet meal, enjoy the beauty of the day and your life, and when it's all done after a good many more decades I hope to see you in heaven.

XWL said...

Enjoy your Dalmore (good choice that), and enjoy driving through the Rockies (obviously in the reverse order, or at least with an appropriate time interval between said activities).

I would snarkily ask if you dropped by the headquarters of this magazine while in Denver, but that would be silly.

Any snark is a manifestation of envy. A grand roadtrip through the American West in a convertible sports coupe is about as good as life gets, in my opinion (although if I really want to amuse myself I'll just picture you making your trek in this car, instead of Silvio)

Despite the naysayers and doom and gloom crowd, being in the USA in the early 21st century, and being reasonably successful and well off, is about as good as life gets for us primates.

Since someone else mentioned their delight that Ken Jennings has a blog, here's my defense of Ken regarding the current flap over his horrendously misconstrued blog post.

Also, though somewhat annoying, this comment moderation ought to increase the number of visits to your site as folks return over and over again to check to see if their most recent comments has been approved and made available for all to see.

Finally, I come to this blog mainly for the insights into an active and eclectic mind that Prof. Althouse's posts provide, the community of commenters that have cropped up here (often equally active and eclectic) is an added bonus.

I don't think the steps that the Prof. has had to take will detract from that at all.

Maxine Weiss said...

Gas is over $3.00 a gallon.

I can only imagine what this trip is going to cost in terms of fuel.

I wanna see a picture of your driving style.

Do you drive gripping the steering wheel tightly, both hands at the top, your knuckles turning white, holding on for dear life, old-lady style...with your foot on the brake at all times.


Are you the laid back type, set the cruise control, and only one finger at the bottom of the wheel.

What's the speed limit out there?

I think in some places you can go over 65 mph.

I personally like the slow lane with all the truckers.

Convoy, etc.

Peace, Maxine

Anonymous said...

Ann Althouse said: "I receive every comment in the email."

Good God! That means you know my secret identity! Do you know how much supervillains would pay for that information?

Ann Althouse said...

No, the email, as configured by Blogger, only contains your nickname. And it doesn't give me your actual email address. I just get a copy of the comment in email.