Saturday, 26 May 2007

Sticky-back plastic revisited

Managed to get on a short HTML course yesterday, that being (and any geeks out there, please correct me if I'm wrong) the fundamental language in which most/all web pages are written. You might use a package like Dreamweaver or Frontpage but these are just virtual machines that write the actual HTML code for you so you don't have to get your hands dirty.

When I viewed the source code of "East of Dulwich" I could see why the thing is such a mess. Trouble is I started the thing as a temporary measure, to fill up my days during a period of "resting" between jobs that now threatens to stretch out to the day I will be able to draw my pension. And I always planned to transfer to a blogging site like this one. Except that I began to get attached to the shoddy look of the site, taking me back to the kind of things they used to make on Blue Peter in the sixties.

The think is that the whole project has turned into a kind of Frankenstein's monster. It started off as a Christmas cracker joke, written in MS Word and uploaded using My Computer (Windows 98 nothing special edition). Now because of lack of planning, I've ended up with a project that I no longer write as a distraction from my busy life. Rather, the bl@g has turned into an author it his own write (sic{k}) -- it is East that writes me. My life is not my own any more. Even the characters which used to obey my imagination have, in the words of the famous creative writing guide adage, taken on a life of their own. And not just one life...I think they've started breeding.

Clearly I need help. If you can spare some time to take over the line management of any of these recalcitrant avatars (Tiina, East, Jorma or any others you care to name) please apply within using the the comment facility.

And if you're short of ideas...I envy you.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Coming clean about blogging

You know I'm really on the point of giving up this giving up blogging business. At least Kaarina doesn't know that this blog exists (yet! - keep it to yourself will you). But the facts remain:

I have not handed in my final essay (on Chomsky's model of language acquisition in kids).

I have not started revising for my exams in less than four weeks time.

Being closer now, to drawing my pension than to claiming my student grant (remember them!) it amazes me how little I've changed in the last quarter century. I still put off doing my homework. I still find the bit where you have to actually start writing your essay the hardest wall to break through. And worst of all, I still use computers as a means of procrastination.

I remember sitting up all night with (I-kid-u-not) a HP computer with no hard drive and a 3x4" screen creating bouncing-ball simulator programmes using an early verion of Basic. Then there were arcade games: Space Panic was my particular vice -- and not only did this waste time but also money. Even when I got good at it. Later in life I became addicted to pacman, tetris and (of this I am deeply ashamed) minesweeper, the soporific of choice for bored office workers with not enough to do.

And now, how did it get to be nearly noon? I've spent the morning reading blogs, commenting on blogs, writing this blog...and I haven't even showered yet. I need help.

So here's a question for the blogosphere. Is blog-writing a form of obsessive compulsive disorder like nail-biting or cleaning and recleaning your flat? Is it more like a drug, numbing the parts of the brain that would otherwise have to face up to whatever we can’t cope with in ourselves or our world. Or, should we try to convince our bosses, tutors, partners and loved ones that such as I have just written is the creative outpourings of a tortured genius.

Somehow, I don’t think it would wash.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

The Truth about East of East of Dulwich

I wanted to come clean about a certain Brad Eastman, a web designer and erstwhile blogger, purporting to live in The Gardens, East Dulwich, London SE22.

Some time last year, when I was at work in a library, a young man, a kind of Brad Pitt look-alike, came in desperately looking for a book about Spinoza, the great enlightenment philosopher. I tried to help him but sometimes you can tell from the start when a customer is not really interested and is simply wasting your time and theirs.

But "Brad" as I shall always think of him inspired me to create a character, a kind of modern-day, urban version of Hesse's Siddhartha. I thought he would start off happily enjoying a hedonistic life but some traumatic experience would send him off on a search for truth and meaning.

So I have to apologize to anyone who has been taken in by this ruse. Should you wish to discuss and explore the issues raised in east of east of dulwich, or for that matter East of Dulwich, please feel free to comment after the normal fashion.