Today Kottke apparently found Christine’s selections from the “ways the terrorists can know they’ve won” generator she commissioned Fuz to make, and all hell broke loose. The number of phrases in the random pot more than doubled, and Fuz got thousands of hits. They took the opportunity to give Brooke and Fuz’s new bet-when-the-Bushies-will-bring-out-Osama widget, OsamaFinder, a boost, but it doesn’t seem to have caught on as hotly. I think it’s a neat idea, though. It will be interesting to see the extent to which either of these memes catch on more broadly over the next few days, and if so, where.
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It’s nice being back in some kind of job which has me scrambling around the garbage heaps of the Internet. I found a page today which should win a prize for being the loudest goddamn thing out there, both in the sense of “if-I-wanted-your-website-to-make-noise-I’d-lick-my-finger-and-rub-it-across-the-screen” and in the sense of visual noise. FAIR WARNING: It has an autoloading MIDI of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Dig deeper and you’ll find one of “School Days,” which at least makes some sense, along with a playlist of seemingly random pop hits — is there some special connection between fourth grade and the Goo Goo Dolls’s “Iris” (“When everything’s made to be broken/ I just want you to know who I am”) that I’m forgetting?
This monstrosity is a school’s website, which one can only hope will eventually bring about a lawsuit when some poor child with epilepsy attempts to access her homework and the roadhouse-like flashing nav buttons cause her to seize. Ope– wait — sorry, there’s nothing anywhere that useful on the teachers’ own personal sections of the site — just falling petal sprites and charming illustrations of smirking chickadees. The teachers’ pages are all animated and noisy, and yet they uniformly have “Under Construction” signs up.
The irony of this beaut? It’s made by a design company named Whisper’s Web Works. And the terror? The designer appears to have won numerous awards.
Oh, I need to settle myself. Obviously this is the result of a very, very different aesthetic than Zeldman’s (although you wonder how this person got an education contract without any apparent heed to Bobby standards). Actually, having recently read an ethnography which describes literacy practices revolving around a Tupperware-party-like interior decorating catalog, I see some similarities… the author described a scene in which a design advisor told women to place as many things as they liked on the wall, with up to seven different colors of wood, all of them a hand’s-breadth apart. Maybe that’s the aesthetic we’re dealing with here.
Regardless, if you want an example of what NOT to do with educational technology, I recommend you bookmark that one. It’s a keeper.
More happily, I came across a nonprofit which seeks to encourage free thought about religion through schools. Also an ugly and mostly resource-free website, with its own tendency to come off as (secular humanist) dogmatic but the basic principle of the org seems necessary in these times, and one of the educators involved is apparently highly recognized for his work.
And then somehow, through a link off Dog Toy or Marital Aid?, I finally found someone writing about My Little Ponies who isn’t completely regressing to self-soothing babytalk fanfic.
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I just heard my first fireworks outside, little whistle-and-pop ones; they must have had no more than one. But I won’t be in town this Fourth and will miss the big displays here — I’ll be going to Jessamyn’s again, which is good because I have yet to have any decent strawberries this year, or to see a single firefly. Jessamyn’s place is a little remote from fireworks — the nearest ones are over a ridge — so fireflies are the entertainment there, a whole field of them blinking erratically up to the hills in the distance. It’s the most incredible sight.
Actually, I saw my first fireworks the other day, not lit ones, but sodden remains on a beach in Boston where I knew I had been before, on a less beautiful but no less loved day, a ferocious rain coming down on me and my man and making illegible the windows of the car we were in. This time it was a different man, a different ex, a moving van, a brassy day recently polished by a June rain. Itamar worried about getting sand all over the van and not returning it on time, but I really didn’t care. I haven’t had any beach yet this summer and it’s not right. I went wading and got my legs numb. There were tiny white hermit crabs. They moved less quickly than I would have expected underwater, only a little faster than flotsam even when they were terrified I was a crane. I picked them up, but I put them back. Itamar called them the spiders of the sea. He got his shorts wet because they were longer than mine, and he laughed through the curls he is letting overgrow his face when I told the crabs they were awesome.
Then we went and played a fourteen-person game of Halo with his new roommates.
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Mr. Code Gardener and Mr. Six: There. Are you happy now? At this point not blogging is not just a matter of not wanting to overtax my willingness to write, it’s actually a matter of not messing up my body — I jammed my left index finger (one of my hunt-and-peck fingers) last Friday and even though nothing shows on the X-rays and the doctor didn’t see anything drastic, the pain has not subsided and the digit is getting rather stiff. I’m going to have to really take a break this weekend, I’m worried I’ll damage myself permanently. I should get my hands insured like Jennifer Lopez has her a$s insured. maybe I should get my ass insured too while I’m at it. it’s not so bad, for a white girl’s ass.