Monday: door-to-door juvenile beggar
So the front door goes, and I answer it. There’s a boy on a bicycle, skinny,
maybe 8 years old, who I’ve never seen before. "Can I have twenty pence?",
he asks politely. I’m dumbfounded. "No"
I reply, incredulously. "Why not?" he replies, equally incredulous
that I don’t just hand out the required funds. Then it occurs to me: maybe
he’s in trouble; lost; needs to phone home. "What do you want it for?" I
ask him. "Sweets [candy]",
he replies with laudable honesty. "Where’s your mum?" I ask. "In
he replies, and gets back on his bike and pedals off.
Tuesday: doing the garden
I decided to spend a couple of hours coding my submission to the CSS Zen Garden. As usual, that couple of hours morphed into about ten.
Wednesday, Thursday: beers with old geek friends
Beers wirth Luke and Steve (ex-ED), Craig (ex-Wrox) and Simon (ex-glasshaus, now Sitepoint).
Friday: Dreamweaver training
So the new boss books us all a day’s Dreamweaver training course. I’ve published a lot
about Dreamweaver, but knew there were huge holes in my knowledge as
I’m basically a hand-coder and never used the drag’n’drop features, design
view etc. The trainer’s pretty good; she mentions accessibility issues
in all the right places, and I meet a lot of my goals in seeing just how
powerful Dreamweaver can be as a wysiwyg designer’s tool.
But then she gets us using all the old-school image hspace attributes etc,
so I ask, why don’t we apply some CSS to the img tag? "Ah", she replies
at lunchtime; "I’ve got a big book by Eric
someone-or-other but I haven’t read it yet".
Later, we start laying out a simple 2 column page using tables. "Why
don’t we use DIVs and apply CSS floats?" I ask, being a fucking smartarse. "Because
if you want complex layouts with backgrounds and colours, tables are the only
way", replies our Macromedia-certified trainer. So, I point out that she
is perhaps mistaken, and she nods agreement: "You’re right, but laying
out in tables is much quicker and easier for the developer". And suddenly,
we were back in 1998 again: sod the end-user’s experience, forget using the
tools and language properly – let’s make sure that the developer has
an easy job of it. How could a dot com ever fail with that attitude?
My god’s dick is bigger than your god’s dick
Having been a schoolteacher, being a parent, and approximating a civilised
human being, the siege of the Russian school by Chechen rebels gave me a real
visceral anger. I know plenty of god-botherers of the Islamic, Christian, Sikh
and Jewish flavours, and the ones I know are decent people who are equally
mistrustful by fundamentalism.
But if you are a suicide-bomber in Russia, or Israel; if you are an Israeli
soldier about to fire missiles into residential areas of Palestine; if you
are a Hindu fascist about to burn a Christian family alive; if you are a Catholic
who’s ever blown up shoppers in Omagh/ Manchester/ London, or a "pro-life" death-lover
who murders abortion clinic staff; or if you are an "evangelical" fuckwit
preaching that homosexuals are evil, I really really hope that you suffer the
torments that you wish upon the people whose god hasn’t got as big a dick as
the first tarot reading for years
For the first time in years, I read my
tarot cards for someone else, and it came out well. I’d forgotten how wierd
it can be when the muse takes you, and you find your mouth saying things that
your brain hasn’t yet pre-processed, edited or censored. I read for two summers
in Turkey a decade ago, and the urge to read again – for strangers – has come
back. It’s an urge incompatible with careers, pensions and mortgages, unfortunately.