Boring technical details…

Maybe this blogging thing is just a hobby. (Although I have it on good authority, or at least in comments from Bruce and Mike, that I am an okay writer). But here’s the point. Today has been a fierce day of WordPress foolery. If you look at the blue boxes at the top of the home page, you’ll see a box labeled “Links.” And if you click on it you will go to a links page that contains each and every one of the links I had in the blogroll of the Sandhill rel. 2.0 site. And wait! There’s more! I’m goofing around sorting the list into a bunch of different A-lists and some topical lists and maybe some lists of lists, and later, after everyone has gone to bed, I may even try to improve the typography. The learning experience is every bit as good as the distraction a model railroader enjoys assembling a layout of perhaps eleventy million little chunks of HO track on some awful plywood board covered with green paint and papier mache mountains.

A friend, a somewhat post-modern person and a bit of an academic but a friend none-the-less, sent me a brief paper she wrote. I didn’t know that “foreground” was a verb. In this paper she and her colleagues are continually “foregrounding” this and that. Now I flunked my freshman honors composition course because I had to get to North Beach and my travel conflicted with my final exam, so yes — there were extenuating circumstances and I was 18 and had strange priorities. I should be the last person to criticize (being a failure at freshman honors composition and all… but if you knew Cyrena Pondrom you might well understand why I would rather be driving some huge fucking Buick Electra from Chicago to Berkeley sucking down gas at gallons per minute as we redlined it all across the country only going off the road once on Highway 50 in Nevada where the shoulders are wide and merge nicely with the sagebrush covered desert and there are no fences so no harm done except perhaps for a little adrenaline rush and waking up my partners who needed to wake up anyway since we had been on the road over 24 hours and I was by god falling asleep and by the time we delivered that unit to the drive-away folks in Berkeley the V8 was pinging pretty badly from the redline abuse and the cheap fuel we’d been pouring in, but – you may have noticed – I seem to be off on a tangent here).

I found Cyrena to be something between a harsh task mistress and a humorless weenie, but I guarantee she would never have permitted the use of “foreground” as a verb in the essays she required of her Integrated Liberal Studies Honors Section of bonehead English.

If you’re a WordPressarian, you might notice that in the left sidebar I have a two item list of “Pages.” In WordPress-ese, a page is different from a post because it lacks the chronological dimension. It’s more a static arrangement of information and pages can be listed in the sidebar. Learning to SUPPRESS the listing of a page was my great thrill today. A simple PHP exclude statement did the trick. You’ll notice that “Links” appears above, but not in the sidebar. If I continue to progress as a codester, I’ll be able to quit the day job at McDonalds (where I would not have had to work if Cyrena had only relented and given me an incomplete as others were kind enough to do, but no-ooo…  So you might think this is all my fault, but those were the days before grade inflation, the days when an F was a failure and there was no way around it.  Would you like fries with that?
And p.s… if you’re in the old link list and haven’t appeared in an A-list on my new links page, don’t despair. All of my lists are A-lists. But just fyi, I have had to rename AKMA’s link to equalize the collation advantage he has so long enjoyed. You can now find him listed as ze AKMA right next to ze Frank.

Posted in Miscellaneous
6 comments on “Boring technical details…
  1. Tamar says:

    Phew … glad I’m still there … A-list or not.

    And, Frank, you are … a good writer. No matter about the F. I only ever dared go to college when I was 39!

  2. Stu Savory says:

    Never verb no nouns!

    And while you’re working on the typography, try setting the linespacing higher, to e.g. 140%.

    PS: So why doesn’t my blog appear in the list of blogs that link to you? listics has been on my blogroll for a couple of weeks already!

  3. fp says:

    Stu… I have no clu re how technorati sorts this stuff out. There are other links out there similarly unreflected.

    Tamar, you are a sweetie. When I returned to school I was stuffed into a real bonehead english section with Mike Pikuleff as the graduate instructor. Mike had the grace to be embarrassed by the bonehead english requirement and gave me an A and didn’t ask me to show up much as long as I handed in the work. So the F and the A averaged out into a C which was a lesson in leveling at least.

  4. AKMA says:

    From the heights to the depths with the simple stroke of a keyboard — oh, the ignominy!

  5. Mary Godwin says:

    Students in my freshman composition class are still in the days before grade inflation, though they regularly encourage me to update my methods. As to the “F” you received, it obviously had no bearing on your work as a writer. I join others in offering assurance of your inviting skill.

    The use of “foreground” as a verb is one more indication of the magnificently fluid nature of the English language. “Foreground” appears as a transitive verb in dictionaries published after 2003, so your teacher’s instruction to prohibit its use would have a date attached, but you did make me do my work with this one, Frank. In the meantime, feel free (now) to foreground any point that needs/wants highlighting, spotlighting, or playing up. Best atcha -mg

  6. Mary and AKMA! How nice to hear from you here. AKMA, you have collated out to the top of all of our lists for too long. While it was easy to banish you to the bottom with a few simple keystrokes, I hope you appreciate the adjacency to ze Frank, a really nice guy.

    Mary, there are a couple of aspects of the paper that I will explore here when it’s published. Let me know when it’s posted somewhere so I can do that with some context. The “Rule of Five” method is simple, creative, and obvious when it’s been elaborated… congratulations on winning the award!



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