Entries from May 2003


Like many people who work with computers for the majority of their days, I have and do suffer from various repetitive strain injuries. A lot of this can be traced back to my music-playing days, as I've had bouts of rather nasty wrist and arm pain from twacking a bass guitar for days on end, but much of the present pain is undoubtedly from too many hours spent pecking away at the computer.

(The musician's remedy for RSI / carpal in the wrists, by the way, is cod liver oil, which has been proven to help. I used to take it in capsule form as I personally do not enjoy slurping back spoonfuls of oil made from another organism's organs. That's just rude.)

I replaced one of the bearers of pain last year when I splurged and bought a 6×8 Wacom tablet. Once you've gotten used to a tablet for your pointing needs, you'll never go back to a mouse. The ergonomic benefits of a tablet make the higher cost worth every penny.

keyboardToday I replaced my standard Apple Pro keyboard with a Microsoft-made ergonomic keyboard. Normally I try to avoid Microsoft products, more for the pain in the ass they evoke than any religious reasons. I haven't had great luck with Microsoft.

Their Natural keyboards, however, are some of the highest rated keyboards in the business, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try one out. Thank you, 10-day no-questions-asked return policy.

The problem is I'm not really a true touch typist. I cheat a bit a lot and use the wrong fingers for certain keys, and have done so for years. That said, I type at around 65 wpm on average, so my imperfect technique seems to work for me.

Using this keyboard, however, forces me to actually type "properly". The agony of not instinctively knowing where a key is located is humbling. For the first time in a long time, I'm not able to just use the computer.

I need to think about what I'm doing again, and that's painful. Anyone know a good touch typing freeware (or cheap) program?

Now, please excuse me while I flail away at this darn split keyboard here... <thwack> <thwack>

Deux ans

I almost forgot to mention that today is the BeatnikPad's 2nd birthday. Happy birthday, BP!

On this day:

» One year ago

» Two years ago

As far as any anniversary resolutions, I plan to stick to the BeatnikPad guarantee, but that's about it so far. :)

Thanks for visiting, everyone!


sneezing manI'm sick again. It's another cold.

I've come to realize that for all of the inherent complexities and uncertainties that teachers face, there are three things that has come to dominant this first year of pedagogic pursuits: fatigue, moments of great, almost blinding satisfaction, and colds.

Students come in tired, stressed, besieged by copious amounts of homework and deadlines, and filled to the brim with germs. The teachers aren't much better off, with the pressures of maintaining equilibrium in the face of wild, freak-out panic attacks (both students and teachers), bursts of almost bewildering immaturity, and the always tricky balance of providing constructive criticism without crushing a students' creative spirit.

The school is one big germ factory, and we are perfect hosts.

The strange thing is, I swear teachers get better with age. Some of the older, more seasoned teachers are like human tanks. Their constitutions are hewn from a much mightier stock than us first-year teachers, who are felled by simple colds that seemingly bounce off of the veterans like they were made of galvanized rubber.

I'm going to drink lots of juice, pound back echinacea like it were a sweet liquor, and wallow in vitamin C and tea. There's just four weeks left before school is out for the year - I hope my constitution can handle it.

May Day (some other day)

Well, I was really looking forward to participating in the May Day Project, where participants would take one photo every hour today to chronicle what their life was like today.

But I'm still brutally sick with this infernal cold. It would be a rather pitiful representation of my life to have pictures of cold remedy bottles, tea mugs, and other crap around my apartment.

So even though this breaks the spirit of the project, I'm going to postpone my "day of photos" until I'm actually normal again.

It's a rather cool idea, though - go and check it out. <achoo!>

You Light Up My Life

microphone.gifSo I finally sat down and watched American Idol with Renée for the first time (yes, I've managed to resist until now). Normally, I'm filled with an almost overwhelming urge to scream obscenities and throw remotes whenever reality TV shows come on, but there's something strangely refreshing about this particular show.

I guess it's because it's so darn nostalgic. I mean, no one is openly stabbing each other in the back (or plotting to). No one is forming alliances with the other singers, or trying to show why they're the biggest ho in the room (ElimiDate, I'm looking in your skanky direction). No one is trying to show how many African manure maggots they can devour in fifteen minutes, or how many eligible bachelors they can mindfuck before the next commercial break.

Compared to all of these other shows, American Idol is so wholesome. Just a bunch of people singing their little hearts out, and people cheering their favourites each week. It's like Solid Gold wrapped in Star Search (but not the crapulent Arsenio Hall disaster); I keep expecting Marilyn McCoo to come out at any second wearing those bright gold lamée pants and that 24-karat smile, flanked by the Solid Gold Dancers, writhing away.

With all of the insane reality going on in the world, I actually can see why people are craving something fly-away fluffy and escapist like this. It's still totally idiotic, but at least this time I can see why people are enjoying it so much.

So, if American Idol is massively popular, and if they are raking in the advertising dollars from the seemingly unending (and unabashed) product placements that appear on the show, and if millions of people watch and call in and participate each week, will someone please tell me why is it that they can't afford to buy the rights to some goddamn decent music?

I mean, Peaches and Herb's Reunited? Don McLean's Vincent? Over the Rainbow?! Sweet bejesus, strike me deaf and dumb now.

(Oh, and Ruben is so obviously going to win. That other guy is just a young Barry Manilow, and we all know what happens to Barry Manilow lookalikes.)


Congratulations and word to your mother to:

  1. Mark Pilgrim on his big day.
  2. Jeffrey "The Touque" Zeldman on the publication of his long-awaited book, Designing with Web Standards.
  3. Lana Stewart and her impending adventure to that place over there.
  4. Derek Powazek for joining the club..
  5. Todd Dominey on his new digs.
  6. Me, for finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this cold.
  7. You, for being so suave and sassy. Yeah, you know it.


In a fit of pure narcissism (I guess that's what it was), I submitted shots of yours truly to the Baby Picture Project over at When I Was Little. There's thirty years separating these two photographs. I don't know what I should think about that.

In more congratulatory news, congraulations are in order once more to Jeffrey Zeldman and Carrie Bickner on their upcoming wedding plans. (Insert bad joke here about web standards and validation). Love is a many splendored thing.

One of my students loaned me the DVD set of Six Feet Under's first season. Being HBO-deficient, this is a cause for celebration.

Thanks to this tip over at MacOSXHints, Apple's Safari moves one step closer to becoming my default browser. Now all they need to do is make the tab system work like Camino's: I like to have external links open in existing windows, and not in a new tab, but I can't have both. If I want tabs, external links have to open in a new tab. Hopefully this is fixed at some point.

I could always go begging over at Safari developer David Hyatt's weblog, but that would be rude, wouldn't it?

Edit:Now that I'm using Safari part-time, I just found a bug in Safari's CSS-handling. If you're using Safari, you'll see the title for these posts repeated twice.

I'm using the :first-letter pseudo-class to change the colour and size of just the first letter of each entries titles - it seems Safari doesn't like that very much. Time to file a bug report...


Man : "So what do you think of the new pastor? I tell you, he's way better than that last one. This one is more humane."

Man : "Can I use this DVD player to make phone calls?"

Clerk (making face like someone just farted): Oh, good lord.

Woman : "Do you think anyone has ever called breasts chesticles?"

Later: Well I'll be damned. People have. I must be living under a rock.

Designers and their Pets

rajEmma.jpgContinuing the vein of photographs somewhat related to me, I recently added a photo of my cats to Orca Girl's Animals & their Designers. Send in your favourite animal buddy, too!

My favourite pet photos are probably Todd Dominey's Burger, or nate's cat Jenny. Two fine tabbies.

Pet owners should not be allowed to dress up their pets. Ever.

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