Thursday, October 27

another plateful

This morning I met with Dr. Jeffrey Smitten, the head of the English department. As an extra little dimension to my english 5400 class, I have volunteered to work with him on a special webdesign project. I won't say much about it specifically yet, but it will be a great opportunity to be involved in the department, to be creative and useful at the same time, and to develop my skills: communication skills, webdesigning skills, technical skills, whatever skills.

So I'm really excited about that.

Just in terms of webdesign it's adding to an already piling up pile of stuff-to-do. I've got to redesign my portfolio, work on fmit, get the update of isotope put together, and now this. and if i get that other assistant editor position I'll have web work to do with them too. I'm going to be so amazingly busy. I hope it's fun.

Monday, October 24

color theory is a hoax

Dr Shook has just been educating us about color.

I don't know why I never thought about it before, but the color wheel (first developed by Sir Isaac Newton) is completely ridiculous. Color is just a section of light wavelengths. it doesn't start at red and end at violet, and it especially doesn't connect up in a nice little circle; it goes on and on from both ends, off into the infrared and the ultraviolet.

Starting from this basic debunking, Dr Shook continued to mock all aspects of traditional color theory. hot and cold colors? no such difference. complimentary and analogous colors? no such things. color symbolism? whatever.

The bottom line is that colors effect us personally way before they effect us according to any theoretical rules. Sure the theory is all fun and cool, but really it's just another arbitrary human system of categorizing stuff, and it's not always right.

Thursday, October 20

new editing opportunity

i applied for a new internship. it is unpaid, but it involves lots of fun editing work and web work. so i think it'd be worth the time invested to learn more about life as an editor. plus it will mean more connections, more experience, etc. that's always good.

they're doing interviews next week. wish me luck.

harshly divided

wake up.






job hunt.




when I'm at work, catering, I operate in a very directed, competent, comfortable sphere. I know what I'm doing. I do it. I get paid. yay.

when I'm in class, depending on which class, I am not a caterer anymore, I'm a student. also a pretty directed sphere. sometimes I get spoonfed boring history lectures. (Alice Chapman, by the way, who teaches my humanities class, is insane). sometimes I get handed interesting problems and have to discuss them with interesting people. as a student I often don't know what I'm doing, but I'm allowed to pretend. I'm allowed to make mistakes. I learn.

when I'm at home I fall into comfortable habits. I'm just me. but even when I'm just me, I still have to think in terms of student and caterer so I can plan my little life.

and then there is the larger part of this planning... where will I go when i'm no longer a student and no longer a caterer? will I be able to find a single happy purpose for my life, some unified sphere of learning balanced with competence, or will I always have to divide it up into work, home, fun, and sleep?

Saturday, October 15

notes on

i have two completed test templates up for the standard green page, and the red page. They are both slightly different. I am giving chris a chance to see his options and make up his mind about things before i finalize it all.


1. remember how to spell fatmanintweed.

2. make the text size smaller

3. left alignment, perhaps with a little more margin on the left

4. jumble up the lengths of the linkbars

5. try and get all the linkbits blurred like the 'writing' one.

6. keep the right margin bar colored

7. no rollover for title graphic

8. straight apostrophes and quote marks

9. keep the font Courier New

10. full justified text

11. change the 'writing' link to something less blah

12. change the 'gallery' link to 'sketchbook.'

Chris is very pleased, which makes me happy.

Thursday, October 13

flash drives and other business

i know a kid who works at the university bookstore.
he bought me a flash drive at his employee discount, and i'm quite excited about it.
this means one very exciting thing:
i have a portable place to store my webdesigns.
therefore i now have the ability to ftp all those files from the school lab computers, and then...
the protofatmanintweed site will have a place to live and grow and develop into the fulfledged amazement it will one day be.

aren't you excited about that? i know chris is. and so am i.

as far as classes go, i am keeping very busy.

my rhetorical theory essay is due next thursday. i shall have to watch spiderman at least once more before i can finish that.

project 6 for document design should be easy to get done by monday.

professional editing is ... a mess. who knows what we're even doing in there.

specialized documents continues to be amazing and stimulating. i love it. we've been presenting our research to the class these past weeks and starting to discuss all the possibilities for our reconceptualized design of the english department website. it's great. sweet creative juices etc etc etc

work also continues to monopolize a lot of my free time. at least i'm making fairly nice tips. i'm also a living example of the sex & cash theory. i think i might talk more about that later.


so our lovely english department hosted a speaker today, Ken McAllister. He wrote a book called Gamework. the only mention of it i could find on the internet is on an italian bookseller's site. the link is above.

his presentation was really interesting. he talked about the growing influence and importance of computer games. he talked about their rhetoric and how we ought to study these things. even though they are games and totally impractical, they are rhetoric. they make up a huge part of our economy, a huge part of our culture. I think the implication was that computer games may someday be as widely studied as historical or classic literature.

he cited a lot of cool facts. my favourite one goes like this:

in Japan it is illegal to display four-fingered gestures because they're horribly offensive.
mickey mouse has four fingers.
Disney wanted to build a Tokyo Disneyworld.
to do this legally without deforming their most famous cartoon, Disney handed a lot of money over to the Japanese government.

Disney bribed Japan so they'd overlook mickey mouse and his four fingers.


Friday, October 7

bound in red

last may I went on a two-day writing streak and finished one beautiful 5 act play.

yesterday I printed out the first typed hardcopy. 45 pages. beautiful and finished.

then I walked over to the copy center in the student center and decided to have it bound. it cost $1.30 for a nice red cover and a nice red binding to match.

it feels good to have a real, professionally-put-together copy of one of my few polished works. plus it makes it easier to say 'here, read this' as you shove it into whoever's hands.

my dear friend chris is letting me design his website. it's great fun.

i've just mocked up an almost complete template in dreamweaver, and it looks amazing. amazing, i say.

but it shall not yet be unveiled to the general public. I want chris to see the latest creation, and touch it and hold it in his hands and marvel at it before anyone else.

but after that I might get you a screenshot.

Wednesday, October 5

Style Sheets

In several of my classes this semester we've been talking about style sheets. For our second project in Professional Editing we had to use a style sheet as we went through the document editing it, to keep track of how we want to handle elements that could be handled two different ways.
Example: is website one word or two? it could be both, so I wrote it down they way I want in my style sheet.

Today in Document Design, Dr. Shook talked to us about style sheets from the other direction. When you're thinking about producing a document, you first want to decide what font you want to use, what kind of headings, columns or no columns, what size tabs, which kind of alignment, etc. Granted, a lot of that stuff is easy to change if you're working on a short document all by yourself, but if you have more than one person involved, or if the document is hundreds of pages, you probably want to write down all these decisions so you don't forget.

And while he was talking about all this, I realized that I've done this before. When JeriLyn Fisher and I designed and wrote our InDesign Instruction Set, we made a lot of decisions about formatting before we got started.
Chris and I, when we first started Starcustard, argued for a few minutes about fonts, british vs. american spellings, and double vs. single quotation marks. Maybe someday--if we ever want to put Starcustard into print--we'll make more decisions, like where to put the page numbers and headings, and how we want the beginning of each chapter to look. That'll be exciting.

I haven't mentioned the next big collaborative project, but there is one fluttering around in the very near future. A few of us are going to mesh together a lot of ideas about creating a masterpiece. And if we're very serious about making it look amazing, we'll probably think about establishing a stylesheet.