jeweled platypus


tuesday, july 27, 2004
Banana-peel validation

Why does the W3C HTML Validator have a folded-over, decaying banana peel for a footer image?

The banana-peel footer.

There are multiple questions here.

(Thanks to d for identifying it.)

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Not much new to say

Why don’t we take a look at the future of journalism and blogging a few years down the road? Where will the next generation of journalists be learning their craft and filing their first stories? I think an awful lot of them will learn through the process of blogging. Often, the people who become journalists do so because they like to learn about new things, they like to find stories, and they like to write and pass those stories on. If journalism is in their blood at a young age, they’re going to start blogging long before they set foot in a J-School. School newspapers are passé, school blogs are cool.

I’m a youngish blogger with journalism in my “veins”. But my real stories go into a school newspaper. I helped coax my school’s little paper into life, wrote half of it, and then edited and published it. There’s only been one issue, but it worked. A school blog wouldn’t work at all, however, at least for us. I’ve never even seen a school blog. Face-to-face contact, deadlines, and dead tree distribution made the paper successful by motivating people to write (with a good short-term goal) and getting people to actually read it (since it was in their hands). You don’t get that through a blog.

Anyway, I found newspapering to be very different from blogging. That goes without saying, but it is something to experience. My newspaper and my blog come from the same blood-deep place, but they have such different shapes. The hardest part of writing a newspaper article was turning my notes into something coherent, while I rarely take notes for blog entries. There are so many things to write articles about, if I only had the confidence and time and resources, but entries just require finding something to say.

Heck, I expect that in a couple of years or so those who hire novice journalists are going to want to see what sort of blogging experience they have. Nothing says, “I’m a good, disciplined writer” better than several years of good, disciplined writing, such as on a blog.

Where are those novice journalist-bloggers right now? I don’t see any. I like to keep track of interesting blogs by teenagers, but none of the ten or so I read seem to want to be journalists. I see a bunch of young webdesigners, though.

I think I’ll predict something different for the next generation: a lot of regular old journalists who grok blogs much better than journalists today do. And a lot of really good webdesign.

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monday, july 19, 2004
Saturday, Magnetic Fields

An elegant light fixture in the Wilshire Ebell.

Lizzy, Sarah, and I went to see the Magnetic Fields perform on Saturday night at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. It was quite cool, of course. They played most of i, part of 69 Love Songs, Vol. 1, and some other stuff.

The tickets were a birthday present, so it was extra-cool that they played “I Was Born” first (see my birthday post). And they played “I Die” last.

The band talked a lot between songs and Claudia, the pianist, said some funny things, like “Thank you for coming all the way from Silverlake” and “The audience is good-looking. I like their eyeglasses.” Stephin Merritt, singer and ukulele-player, scolded the audience when we cheered over the “first funny line” of “The Book of Love”.

Some of the songs were a bit boring without synthesizers. I find i sort of boring because of the lack of synthesizers, too. Most of the songs they played sounded similar to, or not as good as, the album versions — except “The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be”, which was a lot better without the harpsichord. I hate harpsichord.

Also, I am a super-bona-fide bootlegger now! I used my camera to record bits of several songs and nearly all of “I Don’t Believe You” (4 mb). The sound quality is total crap, partially because my camera was sitting in my lap and partially because Stephin’s voice is so wonderfully deep that his microphone couldn’t pick it up properly and my little dinky camera couldn’t pick it up well at all.

The right-hand half of the Magnetic Fields: guitarist/banjoist, cellist, and Stephin Merritt.

Claudia the pianist sings while the guitarist (again) peeks out from behind the piano.

They perform 'Yeah! Oh Yeah!' from 69 Love Songs, Vol. 3.

That’s a picture of the performance of “Yeah! Oh Yeah!”: Stephin stood on his stool and Claudia sat on her piano bench (and fell off at the appropriate moment). They acted out the song and it was just awesome.

The opening guy, Darren Hanlon, was very good…lots of melody and mixed-up metaphors and nice silly stuff. I might even buy a CD because I can’t find many of his songs to download. A little clip of him performing (1.5 mb)…just for fun.

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friday, july 16, 2004
Summer, legs, and red shirts

On Friday, Nike put on an event at USC where fast runners competed and then a rapper performed. It was a hot afternoon. There was an absurd amount of city and campus police present.

Three potential 'fastest teen[s] in LA'.

People on top of the parking structure, watching the scene.

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thursday, july 15, 2004
Organic stuff while waiting

A bent tree, some grass, and a wooden fence.

Some grimy little flowers and a concrete wall.

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monday, july 12, 2004
Just a sheep


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saturday, july 10, 2004
My online dairy is looking for people who have managed to turn their stream-of-consciousness online dairies into a career.

Today, virtual cow #12 fell asleep for a few minutes in the grass. I thought about how some of those Los Angeles underpass murals are really quite ugly, but then it was milking time again. Milk, milk, milk. I really think I prefer the soy stuff. At least this online dairy got me that job as a potato farmer! Too bad they fired me last month for daydreaming too much. Maybe I’ll start selling cheese in the sidebar.

Contribute your own experiences.

Update 7/15/04: They fixed it. Oh well. Here’s one that hasn’t been fixed.

Before they left, they were told that the experience may trigger unbiblical itchiness and thoughts or dreams about infancy.

I like these typos that almost make sense.

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thursday, july 08, 2004
Reinforced iron and summer

Reinforced-iron towers rise into the cloudy sky at a construction site in downtown LA.

There’s a lot of construction going on in downtown.

A girl dressed in black reading a book under some trees near a street corner.

Summer school began yesterday. English 10B and Biology B are just busywork. Not that bad.

The other students are interesting. There are hundreds (a thousand?) of them and we’re all terribly sullen: it’s school and it’s cold in the mornings and nearly all of us are taking classes over again.

The school itself is worth paying attention to, all raggedy around the edges, gum stains on concrete staircases, announcements heralded by piercing beeps, and graffiti that says “Roll” where the wall once said “Rock”.

Something I’m working on.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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