Author Archives: Lisa Smith

The Poetry of Spam?

Just back from making sure this week’s posts at The Recipes Project are ready to go. When I began editing the blog, I was amazed by the variety of spam comments it receives. The usual junk links appear regularly, of course. The most common ones tend to offer seemingly constructive advice (e.g. your spelling is terrible; your platform loads/doesn’t load quickly; your post is wonderful; your post is wrong) or asking for advice (e.g. what platform do you use?). These sorts of comments might almost appear to be meaningful, but for the links to (say) faux-designer pages.

My favourite type of spam, though, are the stream of consciousness ones. I had hoped to find a good example today, but sadly, I have not received a creative one in a while. Read aloud, they become almost poetic, giving the sense of some concealed meaning beneath its rambling. Apart, of course, from their dodgey links and commenter names.

Lacking a recent example, I’ll provide you with an older one that I turned into a poem. My own additions are included in square parentheses. The text, including the title, is otherwise exactly as it appeared in the spam comment.

Port Coquitlam Wedding

Combining exercise
with the diet may
be the most effective way to
lose weight.

[I know, she sighs, eating her doughnut,
brushing the crumbs from her neckline.]

Another cat came to my house. The sun comes up in the east.

[They always do. They always do.]

I heard that you’re getting marriedHe is physically mature.

There is a TV show about AIDS on right now
There is a TV show about AIDS on right now

[She looks away,
brow furrowed.]

There are many stars in the sky.

You’d better
let her alone.

[And she wearily begins to type.]

I regret
to inform you that we are unable to offer you

Getting Started

My start to the working day is a bit late this morning. The first main activity today was waving my parents off as they left in a big black taxi cab, heading back to the winter of Canada after enjoying some English “spring”.

But I have a big cup of tea and I’m itching to get back to work after a two-week hiatus.

Monday morning, Day of DH 2013: Working on the Sloane Project.

Monday morning, Day of DH 2013: Working on the Sloane Project.

First thing on the to-do list: some long overdue updating of my Sir Hans Sloane’s Correspondence Online website and database. It’s not very exciting, but these sorts of things need to be done fairly regularly.

These sorts of tasks are also a great way of easing back into work…

Trying out the Day of DH

This is my first Day of Digital Humanities!

I’m an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where I research gender and medicine in eighteenth-century France and England. It’s only recently that I’ve started to think of myself as doing digital history. Over the last three years, I’ve been developing an online database of Sir Hans Sloane’s Correspondence Online and, within the last year, have become a co-investigator on a crowdsourcing recipes transcription project (in development).

Recently, I took up blogging. I blog at The Sloane Letters Blog, co-edit The Recipes Project and contribute to Wonders and Marvels.

I don’t know yet what I’ll be doing on the Day of Digital Humanities–as I’m on sabbatical, my days are pretty flexible. But on any given day this term, you’re likely to find me checking database entries or transcribed pages, blogging, tweeting, researching or writing…

The image and blog title that I’ve chosen capture what I sometimes feel about my digital scholarship. There is just so much data to be managed that getting to the top of the project seems a long way up–and there’s always the threat of landslide. But the climb can be exhilarating and the views, wonderful.