Site Update: Mark's film project ►

◄ A short and clumsy essay on Gonzo journalism

2002-08-15 📌 Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair...

Tags 🏷 All 🏷 Personal 🏷 Tech

PEBKAC! It appears that last time I uploaded, I forgot to comment out a variable in the hardcoded navigation bar controls, hence the site presumably looked badly naked (no background, no obvious guestbook or sitemap) for a couple of days... $%^&*!£... right, we're going back to the complicated but automatic way of doing things, dammit. :mad:
No, I am not going to cave in and use server-side includes...

I suppose I should take it as a compliment that I was congratulated by someone for clean minimalism apparently in spite of those things being broken. This place is easy enough to navigate, I believe. In fact, looking at this place with no background borders or nav icon images, it reminds me how I designed with easy skinability in mind—maybe I'll try something slightly different soon... :smokin:

Of course, blog updates in September may become very sporadic or non-existent: My PGCE course starts on about the 9th, although I do actually have an idea where I'll be living, a vaguer idea of where I'll be working for placement and some book recommendations (both course and otherwise—thanks, Becky! :) ) The plan now mostly involves acquiring a few supplies to make me appear respectable, swotting up on ed-psych and the nat-curric, and getting into the habit of using less words in everyday conversation with more than three syllables. Briefcase or sturdy rucksack? I'm leaning toward the latter; :shifty: I reckon I can do a decent trawl of Merry Hill and come up with most of the stuff I need/want in a short enough space of time, except the jacket. Oh smeg, is wearing one of those going to take some getting used to—maybe I can get an honest opinion of how much of a tosser I look in one out of Sarah-Jane...

That word thing is playing on my mind somewhat—I spend plenty of time typing, but rather less conversing out loud; sentence structure is different, and you can't go back and edit in more suitable words halfway into a discussion. :| On the plus side, arguing on-line has given me practise in providing a measured response to challenges; I'm less likely to be drawn, more able to remember multiple strands of discussions with many different people involved, and a pretty decent awareness of how I use language. :) For instance, there are certain simple tricks which you can use to add gravitas to your statements, or to condense a point down into digestible chunks. The 'rule of threes', where you say "X, Y and Z", keeps a flow of information manageable for readers or listeners. More than that and you may lose people. Variation between short and longer sentences provides summarisation and emphasis, although, of course, you also gain a grasp for piecing together meandering sentences such as this one, essentially to fill time and obscure the reality that your attempt at expanding upon the initial point has become little more than a content-free stream of words. :p Sometimes that's useful, though. It gives you time to think—but it isn't a good habit to have when holding a conversation, if you spend more time picking your words than concentrating on the subject. :|

My memory of secondary school is coming back with a vengeance, leafing through Sue Cowley's Getting the Buggers to Behave... lesson structure, the methods employed by teachers whose lessons I enjoyed (hi to Miss Cruickshanks, one of few staff members whose first name I didn't discover and memorise, and therefore I have no choice but to be formal—it might be Alison or Anne.) Unsurprisingly, my memory pays particular attention to English staff 8), although History is also quite vivid. I was fortunate not to have many bad teachers—those whose aggression or arrogance I later realised was born of weariness and occasional bigotry, but that I'll for now let go and simply resolve not to unintentionally emulate myself. I feel more pity than resentment. No... that's bollocks. There were actually a couple of genuinely unpleasant sods. :mad: On the whole though, even our older staff weren't stuck in the Dark Ages, for which I give thanks.

Random interlude: :smokin: Got my R2 Fear And Loathing DVD from Germany a while ago, and am very happy with its extras, sensible pan & scan features, and the fact that it cost me less to buy and import than it would to buy an average DVD in the UK. It now becomes more obvious to me how much of Hunter S. Thompson's other writings made it into the film in place of parts of the book: "There he goes, one of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die." It ends with an idictment of the failure to find the American Dream more harsh than the novel, but also a hopeful drive... "straight into frantic oblivion, safety, obscurity—just another freak... in the freak kingdom." :)

Is it really what I want? :? To be shocked out of my cosy self-absorption, forced to deal with a constant barrage of unknown quantities and people? I think so. I need a balance between routine and having to be dynamic, and teaching is certainly that.

Getting ready to turn in for bed, and swinging back to the topic of webdesign (before I go off and attempt to quickly fix up a better on/off-line detection system than I had previously), I like to think that this site now represents a move away from my previous approach to tasks—which is to say either control-freakery or avoidance. I've built something by laying out clear goals for myself, adopted a modular approach to give me flexibiity, and I'm actually proud of the effort. Ordinarily, I'll do something and forget about it, move on and ignore praise or criticism. This is on-going. 8)

Oh, if you haven't, check out for another example of web design my way... another on-going project, albeit one which would be greatly facilitated if the frontman of the band ever told me what the fuck was going on! *cough* :smooch:

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