It feels great, way more fun, with lots more room to wiggle and explore. Everything is contained in a folder with no databases or extra programs, so it's super easy to add to, edit, and back up. It's also more robust-- the less moving parts you have the less likely something will break. And the fewer ins and outs you have, from an access standpoint, the less you open yourself up to a malicious entry. I got hacked a couple times over the years by spiders that injected advertising into the page, and while I like to think of all of you (readers) "crawling around in here", I don't want some nefarious agent to move in and lay eggs. I mean at least a regular kind of spider catches insects.
In time I plan on adding more rooms to this castle-- a music room, a trophy room, a lounge, a basement with a boiler that clanks, a long staircase, an observatory, a greenhouse, a bathroom. For now all I have is a looming and indistinct exterior, an entranceway, and several instances of talks given in the hall. It's extremely gratifying to jettison all pretense of making a regular looking website that can be accessed and digested, and using that energy to build a spooky castle you can hang out in! Today I'm adding a library, where I've begun to store my collected works. A good chunk of stuff is already there, readable in full from the comfort of your own device via the comfort of my dignified library.
I never lived in a castle before but we got into a weird riff about it the other day when Caity started talking castle, I guess I've been kind of thinking about it since then.
Cascading Style Sheets
OK this first part is for the html heads but everyone else bear with me-- I'm using CSS but I'm not naming my style sheet style.css as is customary, I'm calling it like style20200414.css (that's style yyyy mm dd .css). When I feel the need to redesign, I'll spawn a new style sheet with the current date and change the link in the template. That way the new pages, and any other pages I choose to adapt, can look new, and the old pages can look dignified and old. This owes a debt to one of Tom Bubul's "Design Tenets Of My Website":
All page content is subject to change, but no page's styles or structure need ever be updated. Old pages retaining old markup should be considered kin to old subway stations retaining old signage with old typefaces. Pages shall be permitted to deteriorate.I bristled at this initially, but now that I'm thinking "castle", I like the idea that a visitor might chance upon a room that's clearly been unused for years. Also this slightly solves a problem with the previous versions of this blog, which is that old content stayed looking new for too long, and still read as new. Now the old stuff will look old, and hopefully this will entice readers to more easily imagine a more innocent time (2020/04/14).
At the same time it'll be easy to switch out new styles. Decorating a castle or any home environment is a big undertaking but just as important, if not moreso, is redecorating. It's crucial to paint the walls every now and then and put the chairs in a different location. It's good for your mind and your heart and your chairs and your rugs and your walls.
Anyway, for the record, pertaining to now (2020/04/14) the stylesheet features:
- Background color: black
A while back I switched the display on my beloved text editor (Gedit) to night mode, white on black, and it rules. Easier on the eyes that way. I like that this website looks like my text editor display, where I spend most of my computer time. That could be like a Dogman95 rule for websites-- displays must match the typing interface. I mean that rule's not in play for me at this time but it could be a rule, that's all I'm saying.
- Main font: DejaVu Sans Mono
A great monospace font with massive unicode support, product of a utopic freeware project. Again, this is how my computer looks, which is why I went the distance and forced the load of this totally regular font over your computer's totally adequate monospace font (assuming everything is loading correctly). The wikipedia entry notes that it "clearly distinguishes 'l' (lowercase L) from '1' (one) and 'I' (uppercase i), and '0' (zero) from 'O'", and I appreciate that. My old way of designing web sites was to make the font kind of tiny, which I would call Radiohead Design. The new way is Let's Read Comfortably Way.
- Headers: Cooper Black
God I LOVED this font as a kid but I only knew it as "the iron-on font". When I'd see it in other formats (other than t-shirts with iron on letters) I'd be like "Mom, check it out!". Now that I'm older I still get excited but it's deeper, it's like "hey, there's my guy". Featured in Pet Sounds AND Ziggy Stardust, making this the second (of 2) Bowie fonts on the stylesheet (Blackstar used DejavuSans and its serifed kin exclusively). Cooper Black is also in For Alto, as mentioned last week, as well as Garfield books and Tootsie Rolls and a million other things. I used to think that forcing readers to load a font was egotistical but now I think it's not a big deal, and also everyone does it so who cares. Are you supposed to pay a license to use a font? I have no idea how any of that works because I'm an artist so I'm allowed by God to freely download anything I want.
- hr's: a couple of wavy lines
Websites have an object called a Horizontal Rule, or "hr", that by default draws a straight line across the text area to separate sections for however purpose. I wanted a wavy line, which is more where I'm at conversationally. I find that many of my thoughts are punctuated by a breeze or airborne creature or floating string, might as well get that on the page. I have three of these lovely lads, s1, s2, and s3, all traced from the same source, a previously existing and famous (or at least easily located) work. The first person to ID the source of these 3 standard lines correctly and send me a comment on my comments page gets a postcard with a drawing on it. I will also select one good answer that isn't right, and one just because. That's three ways to win!
Who are they?
- Blockquote: cool wavy line
What a luxury it isVery different kind of wavy line on this. In this instance I'm using it like you're dissolving out of my narrative and into another for a sec, and that's a woozy feeling.
for a traveling horse
to feed on the wheat
at a hospitable inn
Shed of everything else,
I still have some lice
I picked up on the road --
crawling on my summer robes
from "Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton" (1684)
Of course I have many more CSS Tricks in play but those are for me to sprinkle around with great delight as a smile dances around my broad beaming face by candlelight. :)
Reader MailI had to ditch the guestbook when I ditched Wordpress, huge huge huge apologies to the Guestbook Crew! Until I figure it out, all I can suggest is to hit me with a comment at your whim's discretion with the contact form on my contact page: [link]. I'll collate some of the messages for a reader mail segment, and the rest I will regard lovingly, even if the sender remains opaque. If you're not into messages qua "a message", it's ok to just hit me with a screen name and a bunch of emoji, that's totally valid. Meanwhile...
2020/04/21 in re: Mnemonics [link]OK, upper east side:
Are you still doing mnemonics? Here's a biology thing I can never fucking remember-- Genes can duplicate in the genome, usually just by a bookkeeping error where the same sequence gets replicated twice when a cell is dividing. So genomes are full of genes, and some pairs of them are twins because they are recent duplicates that have just recently started forging their own paths / diverging in sequence.
Ok so here's the part I can never remember: HOMOLOGS are any two genes that are twins-- different genes, but similar enough that we can tell they have the same origin. ORTHOLOGS are twins across different species-- mouse insulin is different from human insulin, but similar enough that you can tell they're twins, and the duplication happened be species splitting off from each other. PARALOGS are twins within a single genome-- I have a BRCA1 gene and a BRCA2 gene in my genome, they are different but we can tell there used to be just one BRCA in the human genome and now there are two.
I can never remember how the tree goes (that orthologs and paralogs are two types of homologs) or which one is within a single genome (paralogs) and which one is made by speciation and is twins across genomes (orthologs).
while I'm on the line, every time I'm on the upper east side [of New York City] (low but consistent frequency), I'm like what the fuck street am I on? How many more streets do I have to do? Because it goes 2nd ave, 3rd ave, Lexington ave, Park ave, Madison Ave, 5th ave, 6th. ???
1 thing you need
2 remember: you go
3 streets instead of going
biology thing is a lot tougher but:
In my HOME I keep PARAdoxes and ORTHOdoxes. The paradoxes are private, and keep their problems to themselves. The orthdoxes share with others.
2020-02-11 in re: mnemonics [link]the cruiser is a bruiser, the rover's days are over
for some reason need a mnem’ for land cruiser (good) v range rover (bad). please help
2020/03/18 in re: Tainted Alligator Soufflé [link]I thought it was "tainted alligator soufflé" but "potato" is much more likely. It's so much better when artists play at being rich, as an indicator of ability or whatever, than when they actually are rich. Or to put it another way, I like when your display of wealth is you and a bunch of friends dancing in front of a high school. That's the optimo. People without a meaningful crew need to buy an actual stupid car.
I was OB SESSED with that Special Ed song for years! Put it on my first ever Friends Mix which maybe I sent you a copy of? Specifically I always loved the things he made up to make himself sound rich that were so farfetched no one would possibly believe them and so the only thing to think is that he’s actually bragging about his imagination.
My favorite lines are: “kinda fond of Honda scooters, I’ve got 74” and “maybe later cause my waiter made potatoed alligator soufflé.” I like the first line because it always makes me picture Ed standing at the top of a big outdoor staircase leading up to an ornate 80s mansion wearing a Sergio Tacchini velour suit, looking out onto an enormous driveway where 74 scooters are neatly lined up, and then I always think “what could he possibly do with all those scooters????” And I like the next line first of all because he calls a butler a waiter for the sake of the rhyme, and second because “potatoed alligator soufflé” is such a funny idea for a rich person’s food.
Thank you for reminding me of the video! I always remember it taking place in like a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous mansion because that’s what I imagined it would be for years when I just heard that song on the radio. I love so much more that it’s actually just Grand Army Plaza and a junkyard and the front of a high school.
Addendum / Links
- Library - containing (some but not all) published works to date. Some to read, some merely dots on a list. [link]
- Leonard Richardson still maintains a NewsBruiser installation at his long-standing and honorable website CRUMMY.COM [link].
- Tom's Tenets does a great job describing his website sensibilities, great read if you got this far and you're not like "enough with all the websites". [link]
- My key text for the understanding of an ideal spooky weird castle is still Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash". I was talking to Greg about it a while back-- Greg's theory is that the song the monsters dance to in the Monster Mash is a different song than the one we're hearing, but also called the Monster Mash. I disagree, I think a song can contain the thrill of listening to the song itself, and maybe all songs do this to varying degrees. But then I got to thinking about it and I realized the song is about the dance, also called the Monster Mash (the way "the Twist" is a song about the dance "the Twist"). And what's more the rock and roll band doesn't even show up until 2/3rds of the way through! Before that the ghouls were just dancing to "Igor on chains backed by his baying hounds" and not out of necessity but because "everyone was digging the sound". In other words the monsters were all jamming noise so hard that in order for the feeling to be accessed by humanity at that time (the American 1960s) it had to be translated into a more accessible idiom (Rock and Roll). Remember that the Monster Mash isn't just for the undead characters of a popular song, nor is the bodily enjoyment of unnotated sound. "For you, the living, this Mash was meant too." Beautiful. [youtube]
- I started to make a playlist of other songs about utopic communal home environments, but then I realized there's a whole genre about it! What's more, tons of it is good, the classics all slap, and the rest is at least serviceable. Shout out to HOUSE!!!! It's a feeling!