The key to successful writing is selling out to Oprah.

Does this blog make me look fat?

Oh Zotero, where have you been all my life?

May 25th, 2010

Zotero may sound like an intergalactic romance novel hero, but in actuality it is an extremely awesome add-on to the Mozilla Firefox Browser. If you download the add-on and sign up for an account at Zotero you can instantly start collecting your research materials. After you have set everything up, you can go to various websites, including the UMW Library databases, and save data to your Zotero account. You can then go to the very user-friendly Zotero interface from any computer via the internet and pull up your research. The software will even create in-text citations and bibliographies in accordance with virtually every style guide. There is a brief video tutorial on the Zotero website that can give you an overview of the tools available via this add-on.

Another useful site that I learned about today is Google Scholar. Prior to this lesson, I had always turned to the University Library’s site for scholarly articles, as any journal articles turned up in a regular Google search were generally only available for a fee. Today I managed to locate several useful, free, journal articles for my research paper via Google Scholar. I added them to my new Zotero account. I really wish that I had been introduced to these research tools prior to my senior year in college. My life would have been much simpler, and I could have avoided minor MLA documentation errors on research papers. Live and learn, I suppose.

Something Wiki this way comes…

May 24th, 2010

I once overheard a comment in the hallway that was something to the effect of, “I like, always use wikipedia in my papers, I just like, never cite it. Tee hee.” Not only was I appalled by the superfluous use of the word “like” in this student’s commentary, but I was shocked by the frank admission of violating the honor code and using what has been deemed by some of my professors as, “the most non-scholarly source ever created.” I chuckled to myself and thought, let me know how that works out for you, dummy. I wish I had said it aloud, because now I am truly curious. Would her grade suffer due the supposed inaccuracy of information contained on Wikipedia? Wikipedia gets such a bad rap in the classroom, but from what I learned in today’s lesson on Wikis, this may be somewhat undeserved.

In a Ted Talk with Jimmy Wales, creator of Wikipedia I was surprised to learn that the quality and accuracy of information contained on the site holds up against “legitimate” Encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica. It is amazing to me that despite what Wales terms the “chaotic model” of Wikipedia, with users all over the globe constantly and freely modifying the information contained on the site, the information remains as accurate as it is.

Before today’s lesson, I did not know that “Wiki” was an actual term. If you had asked me the etymology I would have guessed it to be, “Term adapted by advertising executives, sounds cute. From the Latin for ‘this domain name has not yet been purchased.'” The word Wiki is actually a Hawaiian term for quick. The Wiki software was developed by Ward Cunningham, and the original wiki site can be found here. Wiki software was developed as a “quick” way for collaborators anywhere to modify the same record in real time. This information and more can be found on the Wikipedia on any research papers, but I do trust it to a certain extent as a starting point, to get a general overview of whatever topic I am researching. I also trust it to settle minor disputes between myself and my sister, which arise on a daily basis and are usually solved by the first google link we can find.

Stephen Colbert interviewed Jimmy Wales and confessed that he has tested the integrity of Wikipedia’s information many times by attempting to vandalize its entries, and has marveled at how quickly the entries are corrected. This allows me to put a little more faith in Wikipedia. If Colbert can’t vandalize them, no one can.

Image from

The Day UMW Encouraged Facebook Usage in Class = Best. Day. Ever.

May 21st, 2010

When my daily assignment for Computer Science 104 was to sign up for facebook, I was completely devastated…not!
Seriously, this was the best assignment ever contrived. I am already on facebook constantly, but it is usually a hinderance to my completion of assignments. When the assignment is facebook, I can complete my assignment and cyberstalk all of my closest friends, family members, friends of friends, hair-dresser’s ex-boyfriend’s second cousins, etc.

I will concede to the fact that facebook is primarily a time waster and procrastination tool for me. It is terribly addictive and sometimes I do cause myself pain and suffering by wasting valuable study time looking at pictures or making whimsical comments on friends’ walls. The positive side of facebook for me is getting in touch with long-lost friends and keeping up with family that live far away. I found a friend on facebook that I had lost touch with in middle school. Facebook satisfies those thoughts of “Whatever happened to so-and-so?” Now I have constant contact with just about everyone I know at my fingertips.

I have been on facebook for a long time, so this assignment was nothing new for me. The second part of the assignment was to read some articles on Facebook’s new privacy settings and how to protect your information. These articles were incredibly helpful, because there were a lot of privacy settings that I did not approve on my profile, and I was completely unaware of them. My profile is safe and sound, for now at least. If you are interested in securing your facebook profile check out this article. 

“Al Franken Teaches You About Critical Facebook Privacy Settings”  

If you are new to this planet and don’t have a facebook account yet, you can get one at .

Going Viral; How YouTube Has Changed the Criteria for International Fame

May 19th, 2010

The criteria for fame has evolved throughout the years has evolved with technology. Prior to mass literacy, fame was achieved through word of mouth and was limited to monarchs, religious leaders and war heroes. When mass literacy came about fame was extended to authors and characters, fictional and real, that they wrote about. Radio brought about widespread fame of radio stars and musicians. Film and television extended fame to actors and actresses. In today’s YouTube generation, literally anyone in the world with access to a webcam, an internet connection, and a little talent can become an international superstar overnight.

Ellen DeGeneres currently has a weekly segment on her show entitled “The Wonderful Web of Wonderment,” where she highlights talented people from popular web videos. To watch clips of these rising stars that were discovered online, go to Ellen Degeneres’ show site:

My favorite performer featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Another comedian who started his career via YouTube is Bo Burnham. He began his career by posting comedic songs on YouTube and has since been featured on Comedy Central, put out a comic cd, and done several comedy tours.

His YouTube channel is His CD is also available on Itunes.

Susan Boyle is another celebrity who was made internationally famous thanks to YouTube and other online posts. She appeared on the television show Britain’s Got Talent. She achieved regional fame due to the television broadcast, but her massively widespread fame was a direct result of a clip of her show being distributed across the internet. She now has an album which has done extremely well. It was the number one pre-ordered CD on ( It was the number one most popular record globally in 2009 (

Her clip can be located at

The talent on YouTube isn’t limited to musicians. Jason Rudolph is a painter who records his paintings and posts them on YouTube. His channel can be found at

Thanks to the accessibility YouTube and other such video sharing websites offer, these and many others have achieved wide-spread recognition for their talents. For a full listing of YouTube celebrities visit


May 18th, 2010

I have been blogging and reading other blogs for several years now. One of my absolute favorite blogs is It is a comedy blog written by two people from D.C. and it is hysterical. I like the idea of blogging, but the popularity of blogging is a double edged sword. The massive amount of blogs that are out there to sift through is overwhelming. Blogging is very accessible, and as a byproduct there is a lot of poor quality writing floating around the web. Every time I read “your stupid” it is like someone is shoving push pins into my eyes. Stay-at-home-mom blogs are also like nails on a chalkboard to me. Yes, babies are cute, and they’re a lot of hard work, but I don’t want to read that little Joey’s circumcision scar is healing nicely or Kay-Kay made a boom-boom under the coffee table. To each their own, I suppose. On a positive note, the accessibility of blogging enables people from all walks of life to give you a window into their lives and there is a lot of interesting information out there. From the course readings, I found that there are blog search engines that help you sift through the blogs and find some that interest you. I found that google has a blog specific search engine, .
In the reading material for class, I encountered . This site allows you to compile all of the blogs and news that you read online into one application, to save you the extra clicks. I am not sure how I feel about this website. On one hand, I guess that if you really have absolutely no life and feel the need to be constantly updated on the thousands of blogs that you follow, so that you can live vicariously through the people writing them, this could be a useful site. I just think that it is taking lazy to the next level. To me, it’s like no-rub contact solution. Are we really too lazy to rub our contact lenses for fifteen seconds? If so, I guess we are really too lazy to go to individual websites to read updated content. Maybe that’s just the hold-out-fuddy-duddy in me talking, maybe this is internet gold that I just can’t appreciate yet.

Choice Poem- Revised

April 17th, 2010

Amy Maddox
ENGL 302A-01
April 14, 2010
Poem 4: Choice Assignment

Career Opportunity

My innards knotting as if I ate a whole package of thick, white, tube socks,
the kind that you can almost pull over your kneecaps.

The ink from the laser jet spitting onto the paper,
like an old man with an enlarged prostate trying to take a leak.

Directions from Mapquest emerging on the cheap copy paper,

pilfered from my previous employer.

Rushing to my car, juggling bags, resume, breakfast, keys,

beads of sweat threatening to erupt in my armpits.

Sitting in the constipated bowels of traffic,
anxiously awaiting the moment that the pressure building in my skull

and tension in my accelerator foot will be relieved.

When will this Devil highway shit me out at my final destination?

Running my tongue across my teeth and feeling the bacterial film,

wanting to jump in my Delorean and travel back three hours

to run myself over for neglecting to brush my teeth.

Finally, looping around the Jetson skyway,

eyes darting around the decadent mess of freshly power-washed concrete behemoths.

Absent of drug stores, Tyson’s corner is surely hiding a cancer cure.

Combing their malls, begging for directions to a toothbrush.

Lancôme caked faces contorting at the inquiry,

as if a golden Sphynx was asking them,

“What’s black and white and red all over?”

Black are my teeth.

White is every power-broker and collar in sight.

Red is the blood that will gush from your jugular,
if you don’t point me in the direction of a fucking toothbrush.

A cloud of rubbery pollution rising up behind my car

squealing to my last resort, a Hampton Inn,

dashing to the desk, tears spilling over my bottom lids.

Begging for a toothbrush like a sex addict locked in a nunnery.

The bell-hop producing a flimsy made-in-China brush and midget tube of Colgate.

The cellophane shredding, fingernails slashing into the package

like a Velociraptor into a non-essential character in Jurassic Park.

Scrubbing the filth from my teeth, swishing with a hot, flat Diet Pepsi,

spitting the minty brown saccharin foam onto the asphalt.

Rounding the corner to a parking garage

that could easily carry to term and give vaginal birth to a stadium,

Minutes and carbon monoxide swishing by me,

careening through the parking garage and the lobby of an adjacent hotel,

slackening jaws and the bulging eyeballs tell me

the high-heeled hundred yard dash has never been held in their facility before.

Finally, chest heaving and sweat dripping like a thousand pound man at a cake walk,

greeting the botox-lipped receptionist.

Perhaps she is saying my interviewer will be down shortly,

with those arbitrary sounds pooting from a shiny red baboon anus.

Riding up to sixteenth floor, realizing that my interviewer’s Jimmy Choo boots

cost more than my un-breathing poly-blend suit, filling with sweat.

Disappointment oozing from the shoe connoisseur’s pores,
hiccups fracturing my answers, life fracturing my education.

Hurrying back to my car in stocking feet, blisters oozing on the ground.

Slowing to critique my ass are three grizzled immigrants in a box truck decorated in a fruit motif.

Picking up a smooth river rock from the landscaping, hurling it at their banana.

Entering the mouth of parking garage, bile gurgling up my esophagus

realizing my quest for oral hygiene is masking my memory of a parking space.

Limping through the garage, mashing my alarm button,

suddenly hearing the spastic honks echoing from the depths.

Horn sounds pinging off a thousand hard surfaces creating an audible fun house,

minus the fun.

Chasing phantom car alarms for hours,

sitting on the concrete in the maze of Mercedes and crying,

calling my dad to pick me up.

Thirteen Ways to Use Toilet Paper

April 17th, 2010

Amy Maddox
ENGL 302A-01
March 29, 2010
In-class Writing

Thirteen Ways to Use Toilet Paper

Swirling in a putrid yellow whirlpool,
dissolving in the drain.
What did we use before we had toilet paper?

Wisps of white
hanging from my neighbor’s tree.
They should’ve handed out candy.

The platinum blonde rubs a square of Charmin
between her breasts,
because her husband told her
it sure has worked for her ass.

Fill me up with your boogers
when you run out of tissues,
I am your butt’s first choice
but your nose’s last.

Momma put in overtime at the slaughter house that October
to buy me a fairy princess costume.
My lip quivered as I held my chin high and said
I don’t need nothing fancy.
I held the end of the roll of thin, scratchy paper
borrowed from the gas station bathroom,
and twirled until I became a mummy.
Then I took my tattered pillowcase
and went door to door.
We ate candy for supper that night,
most folks prefer vegetables for supper,
but we were happy just to have food.

Backseat steamed, teen lust
second base brings a surprise
cha-cha-cha, Charmin!

The roll is too heavy,
the paper too thin,
I scrape with my fingers
where does it begin?

He took the empty brown roll to his eye
Land-ho! There was an island on the other side.
He was a buccaneer in a bubble bath.

The board room was teeming with executives
with balding heads and tufted nostrils,
all awaiting my powerpoint.
I ran to the toilet,
and stuffed my pits with paper.

First date, nerves are weighing on my bladder.
I return from the restroom to find
that my shoe is decorated like a newlywed couples’ limo,
trailing six feet of paper and a ball of lint with assorted hairs.

I’m leaving you!
You’re no good to me!
You are so cheap, and I have to use ten times more of you to get the job done.
And even then, my hand still gets wet.
You make me feel dirty.

My hope for my children,
is that recycled toilet paper
is made of other kinds of paper.

Stuffing a dryer sheet in a cardboard tube
Acrid smoke puffing through the chemical lilacs
Contract a contact, and free of static

Persona Poem- Final

April 17th, 2010

Amy Maddox
April 23, 2010
Persona Poem-Final

Under the Rainbow

I’m not trekking across ninety-six miles
of yellow bricks so that
I can go back to that dust bowl.
I hear they do good work in Thailand,
but traveling by twister is cheaper than coach.
So while I’m here, it can’t hurt to ask.
I want the wizard to give me
a penis.
Auntie always tried to force me
into a pink frock.
I chose a gingham jumper,
because the blue matched my soul.
I really longed for a good pair of coveralls
so that I could slop the pigs
and chase Toto across the wheat fields.
I want to chop off these braids,
brunette ropes that bind me
to this feminine farce.
I need a whirlwind of change, freedom inside my skin,
the alabaster cage.
Let that cackling green bitch have these tacky ruby slippers,
penny loafers are more my style.

Fixed Form Poem- Final

April 17th, 2010

Amy Maddox
ENGL 302A-01
April 23, 2010
Fixed Form Poetry- Villanelle- Final

World of Warcraft

Translucent skin glows blue, from endlessly
sitting with eyes fixed on a flickering screen,
questing with nasally strangers, blemished and blubbery.

Trading real paychecks for digital currency,
a world of gaming no longer just for teens,
Translucent skin glows blue, from endlessly

leveling up your mage and failing to see
your toddler coloring the living room green,
busy questing with nasally strangers, blemished and blubbery.

A slithering addiction no one could foresee,
family time squelched, no end for your means.
Translucent skin glows blue from endlessly

ignoring the pleading mews of your kitty,
she wants to piss in litter that is clean,
while you quest with nasally strangers, blemished and blubbery.

In your pixilated fortress you are free
from hearing that gaming at thirty is obscene.
Translucent skin glows blue from endlessly
questing with nasally strangers, blemished and blubbery.

Portrait Poem Final

April 17th, 2010

Amy Maddox
ENGL 302A-01
April 23, 2010
Poem 1- Final

Child Support

He lies
on a vomit stained carpet,
in a flop house in New York City,
surrounded by second hand Fender guitars.
The coffee table is dusted
with a fine soot of leftover cocaine and ashes
and littered with Bud Light bottles, labels peeling,
cigarette butts floating in the swill
brewing a foul stew of cancer and cirrhosis,
His smile is plastic, a mere side effect.
He peers at the strings
of the battered acoustic guitar in his hands,
plastered with faded pornography clippings.
He struggles to focus through his haze,
plucks the strings and warbles
an off key ad-lib about the little girl he never sees.
He lays
anyone who will have him,
spreading his seed like dandelion spores.
His tears are only shed when he’s feeling sorry,
for himself.
When another plastic window reveals a tiny blue plus sign.
Another abortion will cut into his liquor fund.

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