one month to valentine's day! whatever shall i do with all the flowers and chocolates i'll receive? yeah, right. ok. back to reality.
sleeping through the night really sucks. have i mentioned that before?
at least i slept for three hours before waking up. can't complain too
much though as it's given me the chance to find more photographic evidence
that cooki is the devil. clearly this evidence is irrefutable. is it any
wonder i cannot sleep when i know this creature inhabits my mother's house?
i'm reading what seems like the lamest book ever written. well, not counting
those horrible, thick, late victorian novels by eliot and trollope. gad,
the very thought of it makes me carry on in long, stupid sentences that
really don't have any true content, but oh, the truth of the indignities
of the horrors of the social uproar, of the trollopes traipsing through
the attics and cellars, oh for the way we were, for the pure who march
down the middle of the street knowing the true heart of kindness gains
the just reward of neverending sorrow and punishment in the upheavals
that humankind heaps upon the, oh dear, merciful Lord, dare i say it,
oh for it was the jest of times, and the wurst of times, for she saw sage
not and yet, heaving upon the ebbing tide of wastrels that lurked upon
the shore, tempests tossed forth by the gerry meandering that left the
country divided and yet singularly unified in the tampering mischief against
which they could hold no course in wide opposition and defense, for the
colours of the night they bleed into the streets, tearing at the hearts
and eyes and very fingers of those who...oh, good lord, how did that happen?
um, i'm reading a friends of ed book. i thought all foe books had a reputation
of being really good, but this one is trying my patience something fierce.
it's Learn Design with Flash MX (for Absolute Design Beginners).
premise was to explain design concepts (e.g., how hue and saturuation
work, why shadows are darker where they are darker and lighter where they
are lighter, how the eye flows over a page of text) within the concept
of saying how you'd do these things in Flash MX. ok, sounded like a good
idea. i figured i could kill two birds at once, brushing up on my design
skills while figuring out some of the mysteries of Flash (which i'm to
use for a lot of the interactives i'm building). but...the book is set
up to follow the class sessions of a representative class who encounter
this information. and by that i mean the book is a supposed narrative
of the class sessions these people have:
"Oh!" Zed almost leaped out of his chair.
"You're drawing cartoon frames! That's how some comics show action
without showing every single movement. It's just like watching Lisa
under that strobe light at the theater, too. We knew she got from
one movement to the next, and we knew how she got there, even if we
couldn't actually see it."
"See how smart you are without that scarf?" I asked.
when i picked up the book, i thought that the paragraphs
looked short and choppy, but i trusted the publisher. now i realize that
those short, choppy paragraphs were paragraphs and paragraphs of inane
classroom chatter interspersed between actual content about design and
Flash. even the relevant content takes on this horrible interplay between
teacher and students:
Wes retrieved a toy from his pocket. "Look what
I have," he announced. "The eye of light!"
We all looked at the glass prism he held between his thumb and forefinger.
He moved it around until a rainbow of light shot from the side of
the prism onto the brick wall of the theater.
"Wow!" Zed bent forward to get a better look. Steve ran
his hand through the rainbow of light. [The reader vomited].
"Hard to believe this little prism can capture so much energy,"
Wes stated. "Waves of light are bombarding this glass at a speed
of 186,000 miles per second. The light waves are captured, bent as
they enter the prism, and then bent again as they leave the glass.
The energy is converted into visible color."
"Thanks for bringing in that prism, Wes, that's the perfect intro
for today's lesson." I talked as the students passed the pyramid
of light around. [ok, i'm sure i've made my point, but this passage
is so absurd, i'm typing it to the end so that someone else has to
experience this schlock with me.] "The discoveries Isaac Newton
made with his studies of prisms and light in the late 1600s formed
the basis of modern physics," I added. "However, color theory
now has its own place within the arts, and that's what we'll focus
on today at this theater."
Bonnie shivered. "If I''d known how much science and math played
a part in design. I'm not sure if I would have come to this class."
Steve put his arm around Bonnie, "Aw, don't let it worry youI'll
bet you didn't know that if you sent those beams of colored light
through another prism, the beams would turn into white light again."
Zed arched his eyebrows. "Don't let her play that game on you,
Steve. She's mad about this kind of stuff. Every time we meet to work
on our design, she's got some book or other about physics and art
Steve grinned, and Bonnie looked flustered. "Well, don't we look
silly, out here on the street passing a prism around. When are we
going to see the theater lights?"
"Let's get in there then!" Lisa grinned. She unlocked the
front door, and we entered the lobby, ready for our adventure with
dear lord, don't we look silly indeed? who thought that
this was what a class sounded like? and who thought that this was a good
way to teach design and software? i'm all for getting at alternative learning
styles, and i'm sure that there are folks out there who find this sort
of narrative approach more, well, approachable than the traditional sorts
of pedagogical documentation. but i'm just left wondering how this representation
of classroom instruction, for all its efforts to provide a transcript
of class interaction, has really created a sort of PC classroom where
the students always seem miraculously to have prisms in their pocket at
just the right pedagogical moment and the banter of the classroom devolves
into a transcript where the real trials and errors of teaching are censored
from the picture.
it's not just that i find the style annoying and the information
in the text hard to ferret out between the supposedly comical classroom
asides and narrative structures. it's that i find this representation
of the classroom really violates what i know about how we teach, about
how a "real" classroom works, and about what being a student
and teacher in a classroom feels like. on second thought, maybe i would
rather read middlemarch. i'm certainly bored enough by this text
to try sleeping again anyway. it does have that value.