"...if they did produce honey, it would be evil honey."
Scott Andrew LePera
Scott laments the return of the evil scourge that is the wasp. The paper-chewing variety have begun to take up residence in his backyard, he writes. In his previous encounter with the winged beasts, he spoke of their obvious pleasure in stinging people, and from that we can deduce that Scott doesn't like wasps all that much. I am very much in agreement with Scott on this matter. The warmer weather, even here in the Philadelphia area, has come with a heavy price. Many of these creatures actually eat meat, which perhaps explains their penchant for human flesh. Scott recounts his encounter with a bee, which made me laugh out loud:
Returning from the laundry room, I startled what I first thought was a bald-faced hornet the size of a small aircraft carrier sunning on the sidewalk. It was actually a huge, fuzzy bumblebee, which lazily took flight on comically small wings, and flew about five yards before smacking into the side of the porch.
(Whereupon it continued to smack! smack! smack! itself into the same wall, getting lower and lower with each attempt to breach the confounded obstacle, until it finally landed in the hedge below.)
This fact did not prevent me from shrieking like a five-year-old and dropping my laundry basket.
It is now over a month since I finished my blog redesign. There have been a few little tweaks and additions, but nothing much has happened for a while. On the whole I am quite happy with the way it has gone. It is now much easier to update, and I am pleased with the decision to go with an unordered list for each log entry because it degrades quite nicely. I like the little floated quote box I added, and you can be sure it will appear again in the appropriate places.
During the redesign, I received plenty of feedback from users. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their assistance. User feedback is essential when creating a site design, and this has been no exception.
StrawberrySevere risk of clashing with green. Nice with cream and sugar.TangerineHigh risk of wincing when it isn't ripe enough.BananaElevated risk of slipping up. Like if Saddam gets away.BlueberryGeneral risk of causing a dramatic change in the color of your tongue.AvocadoLow risk of upsetting dinner party guests.
I've been giving some serious thought to the current political situation with respect to Iraq. I am not "pro-war", nor am I "anti-war". I believe the time has come to remove or destroy Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, since he has thus far not done so. The ponderous inspection process is getting some results, but it should never have been necessary in the first place.
So does that mean that I think America, Britain and others should go in there and sort it all out? No. It does not.
Saddam Hussein is behaving in direct violation to a United Nations Resolution telling him to destroy all his weapons of mass destruction. It is therefore the responsibility of the United Nations to do the sorting out. It is French and Russian intransigence that is preventing this from happening. France is constantly trying to find ways to elevate its importance and this time it has gone too far. Saddam must not be allowed to get himself into a position where he can attack other nations, and a solution must be found before horrors like those observed in Rwanda, Bosnia and Hitler's Germany can occur.
If the UN cannot come to an agreement over this, it will be branded as nothing more than an expensive debating society, and the spineless members of the Security Council who use their veto will be just as responsible for war as those who wage it.
Regular readers may be wondering why there hasn't been anything posted here for a while. The answer is quite simple: I am up to my eyeballs in work. Yesterday, I had my first teaching gig - a couple of hours giving some students a primer in Cascading Style Sheets. Straight after that I had to hand in a term paper I had written about visual layouts in web design. I am currently working on two final projects; a six page storyboard for a children's site and a ten page portfolio - both using a combination of Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Today, I was asked to put together a design for our school library in time for a meeting next Wednesday. To cap it all, my poor wife is very poorly indeed, after catching a nasty bug. I really need a vacation.
Hopefully, a regular service will resume in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you will just have to satisfy yourself with sporadic entries. Sorry.
Amazing as it may seem, jessey.net is celebrating its very first birthday. Over the last 12 months I have been learning how to make web pages, beginning with XHTML and continuing with CSS, and applying my skills to the pages of this site. This blog is designed partly to showcase what I have learned, and I am quite happy with the way things have gone.
Of far less significance is the fact that today is also my birthday. Thirty-two years ago, my poor mother ejected the awful lump that she had been gestating for nine months and created the monster you know today. As a consequence of this, I received an interesting packet in the mail that contained a cool gadget. People close to me are aware of my fondness for cool gadgets. I have dozens of cool gadgets, few of which ever get used, but this in no way detracts from their inherent coolness. The packet was from my family back in England - they sent me a Fliklite.
This little puppy has 4 little LEDs that generate a 24,000 candle power beam that can be seen from as far away as 5 miles in the right conditions. The machined aluminum casing is sealed in such a way that it is waterproof down to a depth of 30 meters. Flicking the light outward turns it on and the light can be extinguished by simply bumping its base. This kind of behavior definitely reads high on my coolness meter, achieving bonus points for matching the cool binoculars my father gave me for Christmas.
Everyone has been nice to me today. Perhaps my family and friends are doing it out of pity as they watch me deteriorate into middle age. I had hoped that by lacing my oratories with youth-friendly words like web and cellphone, I might have been able to pass myself off as someone in their twenties but I don't think I can fool anyone anymore.
Meryl K. Evans has (finally) relaunched her website, featuring her shiny new blog. There are a few broken links and other issues for her to work out (birthing pains), but otherwise it is looking pretty darn good. Regular readers who may have bookmarked Meryl's website should be aware that she is publishing it in PHP, which means index.html has become index.php - that could mean that you may be getting 404 errors if you had index.html in the URI. Your best bet is to simply knock that bit off, meaning her blog comes out as http://www.meryl.net/blog/ instead.
Update - Things are still a bit wobbly. To guarantee getting to the right place, you might want to try http://meryl.net/blog/index.php until Meryl gets things sorted out. The poor woman must be pulling her hair out right about now. Server changes can be a real bitch.
While on the subject of Meryl, I should point out that she is now with the Web Standards Project. A recent change of direction has shifted their emphasis towards educating web designers and developers instead of flaming browser manufacturers. I am totally in support of this new direction and I think Meryl, together with other new members like Mark Pilgrim, Douglas Bowman and Anil Dash are just the right kind of people to make it happen.
"...hopefully I haven't broken too many things."
Scott Andrew LePera
Scott Andrew LePera has redesigned his blog (and the rest of his site). Things still look pretty similar under the hood, but the appearance is softer and more inviting. I particularly like the use of the sunflowers in the banner area at the top of the page. The only problem I have with his design is with the way he has specified font-sizes. Internet Explorer's manky font resize tool has no effect on Scott's page, which means he hasn't used relative units.
While I'm writing about Scott, I just wanted to add that I think his music is damn good. I may have to buy some of it if I can ever earn any money out of this web design game.
You could never accuse me of being a pacifist. If war is necessary, I'll support it - although some would argue that war is never necessary. This business with Iraq is really starting to piss me off, though. Ari Fleischer has been quoted as saying:
Democracy is not boxed in. Democracy doesn't live in limits. Democracy, as the President says, is God's gift to the world. Liberty does not come from America. Liberty is a naturally endowed right that comes from the Creator, according to our own Declaration of Independence. There is no reason in the world that the President does not think that democracy can spread. And the President does believe that the people of Iraq are fully capable of living under a democratic way of life.
I have several issues with that statement. Firstly, it is for the Iraqi people to decide how they wish to live, not George W. Bush. Secondly, what has establishing democracy in Iraq have to do with with the decommissioning of weapons of mass destruction? Thirdly, what happened to the separation of Church and State? I would argue that the 'Creator' has nothing to do with Liberty, whether it is specified in the Declaration of Independence or not. The Rebublican Administration is doing a wonderful job of making America look less like a democracy and more like a religious dictatorship.
I am fast approaching the end of my second quarter at Allentown Business School. It is difficult to fit si-blog updates and household chores into my evenings at the moment. Final exams are coming up and various projects are due. Over the next two weeks I have to write a term paper on web design and layout, do a ten-page web portfolio using only Macromedia Dreamweaver, design six web pages using only Adobe Photoshop, and take several exams in subjects ranging from Microsoft Excel to QuickBasic.
I had the honor of watching my stepdaughter, Meredith Ryan, perform for Strath Haven High School (beware of pop-ups) in the long jump and the 4 x 200 events of the PTFCA Indoor Track and Field Championship in the Multipurpose Fieldhouse at Pennsylvania State University. In long jump, she hurled herself 15 feet and 11 inches for thirteenth place - a mere quarter of an inch short of her nearest rival. In the 4 x 200 meters, she was the lead-off runner for Strath Haven, who went on to win their heat with a comfortable margin in a time of 1 minute and 46.28 seconds - good enough for seventh place overall and a medal. Meredith ran a very strong leg which guaranteed an opportunity for victory.