September 2009

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 72.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.

Things Unhelpful in the Writing Process: a cumulative list


Things Unhelpful in the Writing Process, part a bijjillion in a series
:

 

1. The passing of time.

Although conversely this could be said to work, sometimes, in one's favour. EG when a piece of writing feels like it is perhaps the greatest thing ever written by man, woman, beast or Shakespeare and only the passing of time will reveal to you that in fact it is not the Bayeux tapestry, rather it is one of those children's drawings in crayon of giant heads on sticks with arms emerging from their foreheads.

 

2. Other imaginings.

Be it the imagining of a new idea, another existence ("Maybe I could be a CARPENTER!" etc), a fabulous line for an as yet unwritten piece of writing or the acceptance speech at an awards night celebrating said piece of writing, or even a sweet, brief, devastating but classy revenge speech delivered to a long-lost high school bully or similar. WHATEVER. I'm making these up. Mostly. The point is: shut up, brain. Concentrate on the creativity at hand. Do NOT attempt flower arranging/pottery/cooking classes/taking up a language and/or instrument.

 

3. People in libraries who may as well be spending their day at a bar and/or roller rink and/or rock concert for all the work they are doing oh please please stop talking with the vapid gossip and the loudy loudy oh please my ears are bleeding ogod what did I ever do to you boo hoo I'm going to get a coffee.

And yes, sure, writing by yourself can lead to insanity.

 

You have been warned.

 

Proof I Am Not As Stupid As I Seem


A version of the following originally appeared in The Big Issue, which is an excellent magazine that you should go out and buy immediately for a range of reasons only some of which are to do with the fact that I am in the upcoming edition as well.

 

At my work we have a weekly tradition: Friday morning tea. Coffee, cake and the quiz from the newspaper. It's a great tradition. Except for the bit with the quiz. And sometimes the coffee. And one time the cake. But that's another story.

 

I have two problems with group quizzes. Firstly, they tend to involve a fair bit of “Hang on! I know this!” followed by the revelation of the actual answer, followed by cries of, “Iceland! Of course! I was just about to say Iceland”. Hence a friendly morning tea degenerates into a fight-to-the-death battle of wills with Lleyton-style appeals to third parties and heartfelt cries of “Come ON!”

 

Also, clinical tests prove that quizzes melt my brain. I either sit mute and stupid in the corner, or find myself shouting “Iceland! I knew it!” with my colleagues. I feel like I should be good at quizzes. I should know things. “Do not go gentle into that good night” was written by one of my heroes. I just can't think who, although I'm fairly sure it's not Rufus Wainwright or a Marx brother.

 

Well, it turns out (and I know this because I googled it) I can blame technology. According to Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, people who grew up using the internet don't prioritise remembering facts and don't respond to rote learning. A recent British study (googled it) found that tertiary educators are scrambling to adapt so they can teach students native to Google and Twitter and whose appreciation of, say, a Milton poem will come not from memorising the poem but from various sources including that Nick Cave song and maybe a hipster T-shirt with a Milton quote on it.

 

Who understands the poem better? Who knows? One university has made its position fairly clear by banning research using the internet entirely, favouring the learning of authoritative facts rather than a mess of information provided by faceless individuals with unknown agendas.

 

But in defence of internet natives: we do know how to use the internet. Generally speaking, we know what information to distrust. Most of it, usually. We're not the people emailing our account details to fake banks. We're not the ones giving money to the nice Nigerian man who needs help with his sick child. We don't trust every piece of information and we sure as hell don't remember it for next time because, by then, it might have changed.

 

So this is why I do not recall a single useful thread of information while doing a quiz. I'm not dumb, my brain is just more modern than yours. I'm totally getting a T shirt.

 

Time Warp

Sometimes, when it comes to writing deadlines, time disappears. Half an hour, two days, a month. This last time, I had a deadline during which one of my oldest friends gave birth to an actual human being. That really does tend to put things into perspective. 

 

Anyway.

 

Thing is, when you write a big bunch of stuff every day and your entire brain is consumed with this one, lonely idea you're working on, you know what? You don't write much else. You don't have much else to say. You don't, for instance, write an awful lot on your website. Or, you know, anything at all. But the two deadlines I've been working towards have now come to their crushing, painful conclusions and here I am, faced anew with fresh deadlines and a sense of hope. THIS TIME I'm going to be organised, clever, hilarious and the queen of the multitask.

 

I'll let you know how that goes for me.

 

Meanwhile, check out the next issue of the Big Issue. There's a slight possibility I am right up the back of it. Where all the cool kids hang out.