July 14, 2000


I ran to hastings, partly to read the latest Bass Player and partly to grab a movie. I hadn’t been there in ages, since I forgot to turn in something and racked up some late charges, but I decided to pay the piper. I grabbed an assortment of stuff Bring out the Dead, Buena Vista Social Club, and Errol Morris’ new one, Mr. Death. I’m watching the Morris flick first. I love his stuff, and I was really surprised to see a copy of it (one, mind you) there (contrast the 100+ copies of The Green Mile). Anyway. I’m enjoying not working. I brewed a nice pitcher of iced tea and I’m going to straighten the house and watch some doccumentaries. Gina’s still snoozing (her drive back from Morrilton, or wherever, today really wore her out). I just finished feeding the pets, so my daily obligations are over.

I read the new issue of A List Apart. There were two feature articles: one dissing blogs and the quality of web sites in general, and one stressing that being online is a quest for meaning. The first was a stupid tirade–easily a victim of the very criticisms it levels at other sites. Instead of solid analysis, is substituded attitude. I have nothing against websites as art (though I must admit that the sort of navelgazing that goes with that idea annoys the hell out of me), but that’s not the purpose of every site, and it’s unfair to judge all sites by that yardstick. I also got sick of the bashing of commercial sites–without which most of us web designers would be out of business. I’m not a fan of the endless portal sites. And most of my favorite sites are non-commercial. But there are some fine commercial sites as well. And there are fine blogs and boring ones. This one is not a fine one, but that’s not it’s purpose. It’s purpose is to let me vent and let my one or two closest friends who know of this page read it. If anyone else stumbles across it, that’s fine too. But I’ll give you the disclaimer right now: this isn’t art, so keep your expectations at a reasonably pedestrian level and no one will get hurt.

The second essay was more to my liking. It wasn’t incredibly substantive either, but it makes a few points I can agree with. I got into web design because someone introduced me to the web and to the possibility of having my own little space on it. I liked the anarchistic feel of the web in those days. And, since I’m an educator as well as a designer, I was interested in the ability to use the web for instructional ends. I’m still interested in those things. And I’m still learning (now more rapidly than ever before) how to enable myself and my sites to reach people in better ways. But, maybe because I spent enough time theorizing while I was working on my M.A. in English (with courses in Marxist literary theory, and seminars in Michel Foucault, among others, during the period of time when I was burning, if that’s the word, to be a literary critic), I don’t cotton much to theorizing the web. I make certain assumptions and I am guided by certain design principles, but I’d rather spend all day learning a new technology and trying to apply it than writing an essay dissing one style over another or trying to lay out some sort of grand theory of site building. It’s fine by me that there are people who enjoy that sort of thing, but I only rarely get any pleasure from it.

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