July 27, 2004

Nerdly CSS Page Magic

I had some fun this weekend walking through a tutorial at A List Apart on creating "liquid layout" Web pages using just CSS and <div> tags, no tables required. A nerdly thing to do, alas, but I confess I enjoyed it.

Now only if Microsoft would update IE so it actually worked to standard. I love my Firefox browser at home, but have to use IE at work. Corporate standard and all that.

July 26, 2004

Woodpecker!

We looked at each other through the office window for a while, and I struck up a conversation.

I invited him in to help with debugging our Web site, but he wasn't interested.

It seems we don't have enough grubs in our server.

July 25, 2004

Read: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering GeniusI have to rate A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius as only moderately tasty. Some parts were great...others made me cringe. Eggers is unflinchingly honest, except, of course, when he admits he's just making it up. Writing this book must have been both agonizing and cathartic.

I liked his approach to the issue of a writer's privacy (or lack of it, as some have seen it.) Blogger-critics are most incensed by intimate, private blogs. Most are dross. But when they're good, they draw us in like moths to flame. And as Eggers says:
...but after all that, what, in the end, have I given you? It seems like you know something, but you still know nothing. I tell you and it evaporates. I don't care—how could I care?
We feel that to reveal embarrassing or private things ... we have given someone something...that revealing our habits or losses or deeds somehow makes one less of oneself. But it's just the opposite, more is more is more—more bleeding, more giving.
Reminds me of a Sting song, "Nothing 'Bout Me."

July 18, 2004

The Orange Who Ruled the World

The Orange, by Benjamin Rosenbaum, is a quick, tantalizing, mesmerizing read. And completely online. Check it out.

July 17, 2004

Words of Wisdom from Dubya

"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."
—George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 25, 2004
Thanks to Pure Land Mountain :-)

July 11, 2004

Now reading: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering GeniusI've just started A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. If you read this book, look for commentary in the most unlikely places. Like the copyright notice.

The first chapter dives right in to his mother's illness. It's clear where the "heartbreaking" part of the title might be going here. Well written, but I'm getting so depressed just reading and feeling this story (and knowing he lived it) that I'm not sure if I can keep reading.

I is a graduate student

My tenure as a graduate student officially began Saturday. The program is designed for working students, with Saturday-only classes that last all day. I'm not sure I'd have time for it any other way, but after a full day of class interaction I was wiped out. I intended to do classwork today (Sunday) but I'm still recovering.

July 06, 2004

Frogstock

Frogstock. A legion of festive frogs sings in the night.

Sophie's World

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy. Tasty! cover: Sophie's World
An intriguing book on several levels, though not light reading. Sophie's story surrounds a course in philosophy from the early Greeks to modern times; the author does an excellent job putting the essence (or highlights?) of complicated topics into stories and examples that are approachable. After all, Sophie (the recipient of this course) is only 15. Along the way, the story itself becomes rather philosophical, as the nature of the characters themselves and their reality is called into question.

Definitely worth reading if you've had any interest in philosophy but had difficulty getting into some of the concepts. After reading Sophie's World, I finally understand those references to Plato's "world of forms". And I prefer Sartre (though Berkeley sounded interesting too).

July 05, 2004

Thou shalt not beak walls!

Zip: Thou shalt not beak walls!My lovebird Zip is 13 years old and he's never done this before.

He was wandering about (under my watchful eyes) after a shower under the faucet and decided to begin exploring the corner of the wall with his beak. The wall, mind you, which I had just painted yesterday evening.

"NO!" I exclaimed. "Thou shalt NOT beak walls! That is NOT allowed!"

He just looked back at me, of course. I could speak Klingon as far as vocabulary counts, but the tone does help. It was clear that I was not pleased. He stopped for all of five seconds.

Normally I would herd him back to his cage at this point, but that option was not available since I was in the middle of cleaning said cage. Next strategy: Place some large and vaguely scary objects between Zip and the tasty-looking wall corner, like Kleenex boxes and liquid soap bottles.

My dear Zip is a bird of little brain. If I'm lucky, he'll have forgotten about this episode by the next time he exits his cage.

Does your 'God' beat up their 'God' ?

Farmers bare all for 'rain God', CNN reports. It's the quotes that get me. The Nepalese doing the baring take their beliefs seriously. The single quotes around 'rain God' are condescending and snide.

Imagine the uproar if CNN ran this headline: Christians pray to 'God'. Flame me not. I'm illustrating the point.

July 04, 2004

Happiness is a sleeping bird

Happiness is a sleeping birdFortunately Zip is here to remind me that nothing is worth getting too cranked about.

It's always a good time to nap. He lets me know this by grinding his beak, making a little whispery rasp that says all is well in his little birdy world. Naps are interrupted to snack, to groom feathers, to exercise one's lungs and wings, to bathe, etc.

At bedtime it is time to be covered up. It is time to chirp loudly until one's human obeys quickly and covers the wire cage home with the nice, dark, opaque blanket cover. Then the whispery rasp and sleep can begin again.

Now reading: Sophie's World

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy. Last weekend I was in Maryland for a ColdFusion conference. I detest traveling alone. It throws me into a survival-level tension, where I obsess over where my next meal is coming from. I find myself swimming through a crowd of strangers from one session to the next, and I am too busy coping to be more than marginally sociable. Chit-chat I can handle, but I eat alone.

cover: Sophie's World So when I discovered a Barnes and Noble down the street from the hotel, I was giddy. A safe place that felt like home, where I could hang out for the rest of the evening after dinner. I browsed through summer reading, bestsellers, Gibson and Gaiman, but I ended up buying this book. My excuse was that I didn't use cash, I used a gift card that was a birthday present. And after a full day of tech talk, I needed to balance my brain. As the Pythons would say, "And now for something completely different."