the kid can still learn!
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4.29.2004  
DEV

My self-taught course in CSS continues, and here's a good primer of appropriate use: Semantics, HTML, XHTML, and Structure. I'm working on implementing CSS in my St. Earth site, pointing every page to a single external stylesheet and then, at long last, stripping out all those crusty font tags, bg images, etc. Whew - a Herculean task that I can't figure out how to automate. Global find/replace is great, but not when your original code is a complete mismash! I must have 40 variations of font=verdana, arial, helvetica in there - lordy. But when I'm done, what a clean nest I'll have!

Then, hopefully this summer, on to tackling the new site design, and perhaps even killing off tables entirely. Ahh... like a holy grail.
~ scott @ 11:11 AM [link]
4.27.2004  
Work on Sunday

So here I am again, working on Sunday. It's typical - I rarely take an entire day away from the webjob or studio, and in the months before a sale it's becoming common to work 5 or 6 weeks straight without a break. Bad for the body and mind, I suspect, but I can't seem to find my way out of it. This is no sob story, because it's all by choice, but there are big decisions and goals I make, (like having two jobs, two sales a year, etc.) that dictate a lot of smaller decisions. So today I'm firing a kiln, glazing for the next one, and transporting and loading a bisk kiln, all to stay on schedule for my big event May 8th.

The strange part is that I've really forgotten what it used to be like to rest on Sunday -- to take an entire day to screw around or go to a movie or watch tv and read. I only do that now if I'm sick (and then it's absolutely no fun anyways). I'm a slave to my ambition in the studio, either working because the thrill of it keeps drawing me in, or working to meet the next goal or deadline.

Work, work, work.

Even the blurred line between outright toil and 'hard fun' doesn't make much difference when it all boils down to a long stretch of days with (seemingly) little leeway, few choices and too much on the to do list. I see the occasional "Americans are Working Harder!" story and think, "Well, as self-congratulatory and stupid as this journalistic trend may be, yes... I am." Not to keep the kids in braces or anything, but I'm certainly grinding away at it like it's better than sex.

And my feeble, reptilian hindbrain, (long-neglected in it's attempts to get me to lay in the sun and savor the endless now), slumps over and mutters: how did I get this way? My life used to be slacker central -- too little ambition and direction instead of too much. Goals seemed remote and fuzzy, so I generally settled on not trying. It was all hindbrain all the time! I imagined that the best there was in life was to hang out anytime you could get away with it; I filled time with passive hobbies and non-commital interests that were often amusing but rarely challenging. I once proudly wrote down a quote by the Russian philosopher Kropotkin for my friend Adam, thinking I'd found historical proof that our lifestyles were justified: "After bread is secured, leisure is the supreme aim." I still have it memorized, but can't find it's meaning anymore. Quite a strange 10 year transition.

I also wonder about how this compares to other people. Some books I've read recently suggest that there's a long-held American trend to outwork the rest of the world. David Brooks suggests in On Paradise Drive that this is so culturally ingrained that we don't even realize it. My Protestant Guilt Complex refuses to believe this is true! Perhaps it's a communist plot, designed to make us slow down enough for them to catch up! A-ha! Oh... that's right, they're not the bad guys anymore... who is it we're deathly afraid of now? Fearmongering just might generate more serious labor (to stave off more fear, of course) than even greed. The greed to be safe from fear.

Cindy and I haven't made the big decision to have kids yet, but many of our peers would say that parenting is their 2nd job (or 3rd); perhaps they too feel like they're on the go for months at a stretch, and that they can't "choose" to take a day off from being parents. Or people who have those killer, life-consuming jobs - the 80 hour, sleep under your desk, endurance marathon kind of gig. Do they feel like it's optional? Are their long-term decisions and goals (kids, careers, "success") eating up their short-term quality of life? Do they like to work on Sunday, or do they do it because they've convinced themselves that they have to? I know I have.

But hey, there's always Monday.
~ scott @ 3:05 PM [link]
4.23.2004  
The Simpsons Know Religion

OK, I confess that pasting quotes into my blog is lame, and that these are a skip away via Google for anyone who wants to find them (and probably even old hat to anyone who cares...). But I'm feeling lame today, so the action matches the mood:

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Bart: "Christmas is the one time of year when people of all religions come together to worship Santa Claus."

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Homer: "Dear Lord, The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done."

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Homer's Ghost: "Marge you gotta help me, I have to do one good deed to get into heaven.
Marge: Well I got a whole list of chores: clean the garage, paint the house...
Homer's Ghost: Whoa whoa whoa. I'm just trying to get in, I'm not running for Jesus.
~ scott @ 9:28 AM [link]
4.16.2004  
Roger, Wilco

So I'm not really mister Johnny Fresh Music News or anything, but one of my 2 sources for info from the outside world cued me in to the forthcoming Wilco album, now streaming in Quicktime format from their site: Wilco - A ghost is born. Bloody brilliant! Glad to see they're still thwarting standard music industry practices.

My first impressions of Ghost are mixed, which reminds me that it took a while for the grandness of Yankee Hotel to sink in for me too. It'll be an awfully hard one to follow up, but I'm looking forward to finding out if they did. For me, that'll probably mean getting it from the iTunes store (yes, I'm aware that it's a disease) and cuddling up to it over a period of time in the clay studio... that seems to be where I do my best listening these days. It's reassuring to think that there's more good music to come in this world, and that there are getting to be better and better ways to acquire it.
~ scott @ 8:59 AM [link]

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