Mornings

15 07 2009

Sharp readers will have figured out by now that on most weekdays, my mornings and early afternoons are as vacant as space (it’s okay…you can’t all be sharp readers *snicker*), which I try to fill with a variety of activities, trying to stave-off couch-potato syndrome.

Poor potato. Wherever did that moniker come from? Is it because potatoes just sit there? Well so do tomatoes…and pineapples…and durian fruit. Hmm…couch durian…

Anyway, when I am unable to go swimming (like these past few days, due to heavy rain), I often find myself imbibing unhealthy amounts of coffee while trying to go through my Suzuki Violin Method books. They’re all I’ve got in the form of pieces, so they will have to do. I’ve worked through the first three books and I’m now 1/3 of the way through the fourth. Those irritating double-stopped triplets in the 3rd movement of the 5th Violin Concerto by Seitz are so demotivating, though – not because they’re particularly hard, but because they just sound so illogical – dissonance for no reason at all. I’ll have to play through it a few more times, I suppose.

When the internet is down (as is wont to happen at least once a day) and I’ve fulfilled my daily practice quota, I do try to read through the Korean language textbooks I’ve downloaded – I have the alphabet more or less down and can read Korean words with a modicum (a very small modicum, to be sure) of literacy, but there are two obstacles that currently impede my progression from reading to understanding, which is absolutely crucial if I want to get around to speaking:

  1. Korean grammar (from my perspective, as a native speaker of English – we can argue that point some other time) brings to mind very high-end programming languages, with impossibly powerful compilers that can make sense of very loose syntax. To illustrate, using an example in English:

    “Andrew home-at lunch eats.”
    “Andrew lunch home-at eats.”
    “Home-at Andrew lunch eats.”
    “Home-at lunch Andrew eats.”
    “Lunch Andrew home-at eats.”
    “Lunch home-at Andrew eats.”

    all mean the same thing (figure it out!). If I am ever going to learn Korean, I need a serious upgrade to the firmware in my head.

  2. Korean is a context-oriented language. This means that what we English speakers understand as a phrase (an incomplete sentence fragment, so to speak) can actually be a complete sentence, given a certain context. This isn’t completely unusual, since we have sentences like that (“Run!” for example, is considered complete, and the subject – you, us, etc. – depends on the context) – what is unusual is that most of us are not used to perceiving contexts on the same scope as Koreans are. This leads to some truly mind-boggling omissions that are a part of day-to-day speech in Korean. For example, the Korean equivalent for “How do you do?” or “How are you?” (Annyeong hashipnida?) is literally translated as “Are peaceful?”. Imagine somebody greeting you like that in English, and watch the eyebrows go through the roof.I’m considering ignoring the literal translation altogether and just concentrating on direct equivalencies.

So is this report on my mornings geeky enough for you? Hehe. I think I’ll go and look for whatever it is I need to download so that this computer can display (and allow me to type in) Korean.

Hwaiting! – Oh, figure it out yourself.

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Version 2.0

21 06 2009

*Looks around* I wonder if I have any readers left…

Well, regardless…

I have just (not even an hour has passed) uploaded the totally redesigned website of The Orchestra. Yes, after almost a month of neurotic pixel-pushing and by-the-hour redesigns, I’ve decided I need to get a life outside of code crunching.

That said, don’t think I am not proud of it – despite its imperfections, I am. Built from the ground up – no templates, no cheating, 100% hard-coded (none of that WYSIWYG-editor nonsense). I possess intimate knowledge regarding how the whole thing is put together: bone-structure, musculature, skin, clothes and all.

…and still I notice there’s something wrong. Oh well. Tomorrow, tomorrow.

Actually, that pretty much sums up my stay so far here in Iligan City. If I’m not infront of a computer cranking-out standards-compliant code or attending to my steadily-growing number of violin students (only on Saturdays) or attending class (Monday to Friday, 430PM – 730PM), you can find me perusing the little coffee shops that have proliferated here in the past year or so (Aruma’s Bannoffee Pie is mind-shattering…and so is the price), or at home, annoying the family cat.

Hmm…I suppose now would be a good time to work on that driver’s license.





Curse you, Internet Explorer!

31 03 2008

`tis the summer of the geeks, and I am enjoying myself…until I realized I had to not only create my web designs with standards-compliant CSS, but I also had to make sure my code was cross-browser friendly (for those of you unfamiliar with the terms, it basically means that what I see in, say, Firefox, should be the same thing I see in Internet Explorer, or Safari, or Opera…but I’m not giving you a link to that wretched IE!)

Yeah, I hate IE with a passion – the obese, non-web standards-compliant barnacle. If I create immaculate CSS code and it works fine in Firefox, you can be sure it will be a royal mess in IE – a mess that can only be remedied with some incredible (yet demeaning) sleight-of-hand. Case in point: I spent over 6 hours today just trying to get my layout consistent across Firefox and IE! 6 hours of nothing but layout! 6 hours I could have used to develop content! AAAUUUUGGGHHH! I wish I could burn IE off of the OS with a blowtorch and kick the piece of slag out the door!

*breathe, breathe*

Yeah, yeah, I got it right in the end. But I still don’t like IE.

And if you’re using IE to read this, shame on you! Get Firefox here.