In all honesty, after my precious, precious icon spaces, the biggest reason for me to renew a paid account is to get back my access to the advanced customisation area so that I can add hack after Frankensteinian hack to the S2 code powering my layout.

(When all you have is a chainsaw compiler, everything looks like a zombie source code.)

Most of what's been done so far has been practically invisible to any long-time reader of this journal - things like the quickreply boxes on comment pages, or the tiered tag list, or the random icons in the sidebar (which I have to update at some point, because what's the point of having a hundred and something icons if they don't all have a ~1% chance of appearing on your layout?), or the less-intrusive headings in the bookmarks list. There were some other things, too - things like changing the background images, or reverting to overrides to the base layout - but they mostly came about because I had no paid time and six icons are really never enough.

Until tonight, that is, when I've added the first actually-new thing for Quite Some Time™. Now that the core layer will, by default, add a tooltip to the date and time on a comment to show how long after the entry it was posted, I wanted to see if it could be done for entries.

And it can. Hover your mouse over the date and time of an entry on my layout, and it should show you long ago the entry was posted. Probably the best idea of how it works can be had from my memes or icons tags, and my friends of friends page.
All is well, really, apart from the whole ennui thing yesterday. So, we have some observations, because I don't really have much to make into an actual post. Plus, it's warm. *melts*

[ profile] inthatcantina, in which I play [ profile] not_a_committee, lives again. And: it's fun. As much crack as ever, including screwing with the whiny jedi's mind. I'm also tempted to recycle a couple of my [ profile] not_a_committee icons for general LJ use. Also, Shonda Rhimes has a lot to answer for. 'Seriously' is starting to find its way into my everyday speech, much like gorram and shiny did with Firefly. Seriously.

I finally got around to fixing the voice post bug in my layout, which was forked from an earlier version of Flexible Squares. I've half a mind to remake this layout by adding my own code into a fresh, up-to-date copy of Flexible Squares: the benefit of this approach is valuable S2 coding practice for when I start coding my own completely new layout. Also, I'm considering changing my web design tag into some more meaningful tags, including things for tricky stuff, HTML, CSS, accessibility, browser issues, things like that.

[ profile] one_bullet_left had a link to an addictive wordgame. Neither she nor I are responsible for the results of clicking on that link, and any new addicts will only have themselves to blame.

Based on desperate TV experimentation last night, cricket is exactly as boring as I remember it. In fact, it'd take some fairly extreme measures to make it interesting. Dinosaurs, maybe.

Somewhere on the Interwebbernets, they recommend playing Trauma Center with a second stylus held in the off hand, for things like poking the buttons for the instruments or for injecting the patient with stuff faster. It works surprisingly well; I can get through the valve replacement in about 58 seconds that way. There's still some time to be saved there, but that can wait.

It looks like there's definitely going to be a game of Nomic happening at some point in the not-too-distant future. I'll make a comm when I have a name for one, and then people can join, and then we can play. This, of course, is good news for those interested in playing. There'll be an announcement when the comm is made.

I went searching for some of my old [ profile] 600seconds posts a couple of days back, and I might as well repost the links here. I found two of them: this one, and this one, and then kept going through another two months of posts but found no more. There's also some Planescape, and that's it up until the end of July. I'll look through the rest of 2005 later; I thought I wrote more than that. Oh well. Also, there's plenty of fandom stuff in the 2005 posts, so [ profile] ryttu3k, Doctor Who/Torchwood fic should be fine.

Also, I think I might be a little bored; while I was searching for my [ profile] 600seconds stuff I absently coloured in an old bus ticket red, and just now I've unpicked a whole t-shirt hem one loose thread at a time. I'm picking apart the material itself now; if I keep going at this rate, it'll devolve into some kind of weird unweaving striptease, with me eventually left naked next to a pile of dissociated threads, a couple of bits of wire and some bits of paper coloured in with a red pen.

And... that's about all I can think of to post for the moment. If nakedness by way of senseless destruction does happen, I'll let you know.
So, I'm at a bit of an interesting step in developing my layout XHTML. In case it's not immediately obvious, the two things I want to take care of with the generated XHTML are that it's easy to style without ever needing to change more than one or two things, and that the code degrades gracefully.

The flexibility is easy enough to build in; you use neat, tidy, minimalist XHTML, with some places built in for fun effects. Then, you write out the S2 so that all the functions that generate the page display are happily decoupled. If people want to change, say, the order of the metadata, they shouldn't need to change the whole function that writes the entries. Further to this, the whole thing is designed as a liquid layout, because it's far easier to make a liquid layout static than it is to go the other way.

With regards to degrading gracefully, I'm not entirely certain how best to linearise the entries (ie, arrange the code so that old/broken/portable/spoken word/other browsers can read the text in a sensible order, and then pushing things back into place with styles for users with modern desktop browsers). Which is why I'm posting this, because that gives me access to the minds of over a hundred users of the Webbernets (plus anyone else who swaggers on over to read the entry).

My current thinking for entry code runs along the lines of... Cut for gratuitous HTML source ) So, yes. fun all over. I'd monospace the code snippets in the minifootnote box, but that's more effort than it's worth. Also, you can see an interesting behaviour from the minifootnotes: IE will render the numbers inside the lines, and Firefox will render the numbers outside. I'm not sure how IE7 does it, but footnotes-inside comes from a valid-but-different reading of the spec, so it's not as evil as it could be. With my current layout (itself a fork of Flexible Squares), apparently they both render the same.
Let's see... what is there to post about today?

Oh, yes. That.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife is crack.

That is all.

Whch is to say, that is all, unless you're keenly fascinated to know how things are going in my quest for a new layout. And - so far - they're going well. I'm working on page mockups at the moment, making a shiny template for how the code should work, then padding it out with lorem ipsum ad nauseum.

The step after that is working on styles, and on the semantic stuff for things that aren't entry pages. There may be a more in-depth post about that, which may or may not devolve into a rant about the various semantic elements that a layout should squish itself into.

And then there's more that comes after that, but it doesn't bear thinking about for the moment. Best to focus on the acheivable bits of it, I think.

So, yes. Some LJ, some LJ mixed with writing shiny XHTML for different-looking LJ, and then staying up until my eyes bleed, trying to get a new high score for that heart valve replacement.

Like I said - crack. And I'm as yet undecided if I want to move on to other forms of DS crack, like Phoenix Wright or Cooking Mama.
The new Serenity icon is green, with bits of black and white. It's River's sleepycodeword, with both spellings lifted from Wikipedia's Serenity entry. The translation, on the other hand, comes from Joss's Q&A session.

And now, the bit about EllJay - which gives me the perfect reason to use this icon.

Please, click here and have a look at what they've decided my layout should look like.

[[EDIT: Fixed now, so I'll give you screencaps instead.]]

Four screens of broken layout behind cut. Yey. )

Well, not quite. This is what my stylesheet looks like at the moment. I'll reproduce it here - but I'm warning you, it's not cut for length.

[[EDIT: It's kinda fixed now. Sadly, no more popup menus. Happily, purple. And the Clock of the Time Dragon. See below for text of broken stylesheet.]]


/* Cleaned CSS: */
/* suspect CSS: high bytes */

I'll give you a moment to read it.



So, now I get to try to squish my CSS into an allowable size, which may mean I'll need to drop features from my layout. We'll see.

The good news is this: it may give me reason to get around to writing my very own layout. Still, before that day I plan to get this one working again.
My layout has another new feature added - quickreply boxes! They'll appear for replies to comments; I'm not entirely sure how to get them for the entry, just yet. Still! Quickreply!

I'll comment to this entry right after I post it, so that you can all see for yourselves.

Let's start in the relatively sheltered field of making everyday things impossible.

My CD drive seems to do silly things; if it's copying significant amounts of data or burning a CD, it seems to upset the whole machine and make it reset itself. I had a look at it and checked that it was all plugged in properly; I've yet to see if this has fixed anything.

That's not the important bit. This object here:
Image hosted by
is what I call the clamp-lamp. It's light, clips onto things, and makes things brighter. Normally it shines on my desk (mostly on my keyboard) without reflecting off the monitor. This is a Good Thing.

So, my computer tower is on a shelf below my desktop. This meant moving the lamp - the first time, it was a fairly easy process; the lamp attached easily, and was promptly turned so I could see what I was doing.

Returning it to the monitor shelf was, in short, a trial. It was unclamped, then I spent three or four minutes twisting the flexible stick-thingy through various positions until it finally returned to the shape you see above. The problem was (of course!) solved by bending it exactly the way that it wasn't supposed to go, in order to get it to where it was meant to be.

From here, it was a straightforward process to twist the lamp back around to face the desk rather than the wall and the ceiling. Sound too easy to be true? It was! The plastic bit at the top of the stick thingy that covers the bit where it attaches to the lamp and the wires poke through seemed to have just been backwards, but in reality must've found a way to be inside-out, upside-down and randomly twisted through sixteen or seventeen dimensions. Another minute of fiddly poking and prodding, and it finally went back into place.

Except the clamp was now backwards, and had to be turned around the right way. And - it seems to be a theme - it wouldn't turn. So the stick-thingy had to be straightened out again so that its plastic cover could turn properly with the clamp. Eventually, it ended up the right shape again.

There's been another small tweak on my layout, which you can see in almost everything that isn't IE. It now has "»" characters on the ends of list items with popup submenus. This, however, isn't the tricky bit. When you hover them, the » vanishes; hopefully, this should make it clear that there's submenus.

Moving along, I'm sure everyone's seen El Busho's note to Ms Rice at the UN summit. I'd originally considered a simple photomanip to change the text, but there's really no way to make that photo mock George more. So, instead, I present my icon-sized vision of what would happen if it were to be slipped into his speech notes.
Image hosted by
I had wanted to animate it, alternating between George and the "I gotta pee" speech from Forrest Gump. Alas, this wasn't to be - but I think the expression works excellently there.

And that's about it for the moment.
Firstly: My layout has evolved a step further, with some new links in my link list. That'd normally be nothing special, but the link list now displays in the same way as the tag list - that is, a hierarchical menu (though this one doesn't recurse infininitely like the tags could).

Secondly: My journal now has 78 readers (who admit to it). I have 39 journals friended; hence, this makes for the arbitrary milestone of being friended by twice as many people as I have friended. Yay!

This is where the stalkers come in. I'd like to add more reading to my friends page - mingle more with the electronic unwashed, as it were. This is because I think it'd be fun to do so. To this end, if you are a stalker but would bounce and jump and squeeeeee like it if I read your journal, then tell me so here. If you want, you can even add a reason. Exciting, funny reasons score bonus points.
Except it's mostly just more of me going on about my layout. And, in honour of today's IE issues, of my new icon.

Today's changes include the earlier issues with the taglist (it's now a hierarchical menu in Firefox), a narrower sidebar, a collapsed calendar brought into line with the colour scheme in the rest of the layout, and me remembering to mention the randomised icon in the sidebar to those of you who haven't seen it yet.

Also, there's a link in the link list for my icon post, which has now been updated to just before I made this icon. (Is nothing up to date in this journal?) No link here, I'm afraid, since there's a perfectly good one in the sidebar. Or you can find it via the taglist, I suppose.

I'll still love forever anyone who can tell me how to code in quickreply on the comments pages, too.

Another semi-plan is to add a randomised quotebox in the sidebar; the thing slowing it down is I have no idea what I'd put in there.

And, to finish off, a meme stolen from [ profile] princesslaurene (See? I can code LJtags!) and tweaked for no particular reason except that it seems like fun to do it this way and I'm amusingly not much for playing with other people's characters (though their worlds may well be fair game).

And what is this meme? I want you to give me a concept, phrase, word, sentence, quote, or object. A fandom is optional for the request, and optional for me to scribble about1.

Beyond that, the concept, phrase, word, sentence, quote or object must be somewhere included in what I write for you. For your part, you have no say in what you'll get back; needless to say, I'll probably try to squeeze something out of it that you mightn't have been expecting2.

And why am I doing this, you ask? For fun. To entertain my flist. For attention. Because most of you haven't seen much at all of how I write Stuff. Because I want a little bit of a break from prodding S2 code with a sharp mouse pointer. And I suppose that if you like it then you could always tell your friends to try, and get them to tell their friends, and watch my comments page explode.3

And now I'm off to bed. I'll see what you've come up with in the morning.

1This will probably depend most upon my familiarity with the fandom. Firefly, Old Kingdom and Keys to the Kingdom are almost definitely going to meet with a favourable response.
2No, I won't find a way to turn petunias into the Spanish Inquisition, no matter how little you would've been expecting it.
3Maybe one of them knows about coding in quickreply. That'd be shiny.4
4No, I don't miss an opportunity. Yes, my normal speech is slowly shifting closer to what you hear in Firefly. Yes, the second part of the Project is on its way. No, I made up the questions all by myself. No, I don't think the answers are that necessary. Yes, I thought it was fun to include them anyway.
Some days, computers are stupidly silly about things.

Today, I've coded in an extension to my taglist that displays it as a CSS driven hierarchical menu in Firefox. In Firefox [and, presumably, other standards-compliant browsers], this is working perfectly.

The CSS is written properly to completely hide this effect from IE, which should instead show the list as nested unordered lists.

Except it doesn't, on my copy of IE. And that is Very Odd, because a check of the compatibility details for the CSS filter I use shows that they hide styles from ALL versions of IE (on Windows), and it works perfectly well for my background images.

I'm working on the theory that my copy of IE is a little bit broken. IE users, please have a look and tell me if the tag list has turned into an unreadable mess of silliness.

Today's entire entry basically comes down to one thing: My layout is being redeveloped. Also, my journal has a title thanks to [ profile] lesslikeyou.

The redevelopment is still a work in progress; remaining steps include moving some elements around pages, editing some of the default style information, and adding extra bits to the layout code. This means a bit of searching for ways to do things. If you have S2 code for - or a link to a public S2 layout that does - any of the following, then I'd like to see it. These planned features are:
  • Quick-reply comment forms, somewhat like the default comments page
  • A sidebar tag list
  • A randomised sidebar icon
  • Redirection to previous comment view when comment posted (ie, replying to a long thread not sending you straight back to the top-level comments)
  • Probably a few other things, when I imagine them
Furthermore, since it is a work in progress, thoughts and comments are happily accepted.
Today, I'm going to start with something that's rather important to me.

I am very obsessive about being clean. So, of course, filthy people irk me greatly. Personal hygiene isn't that terribly expensive or difficult, so I'm continually amazed that I'm cleaner, better-smelling and more presentable when I get out of bed than some people are when they decide to toddle out for their day. Of course, part of this may be that people who are unclean and smell bad make me physically ill.
Intense orange-y smells make it feel like my teeth are all full of orange pulp, which is another reason why I don't like orange juice and generally don't munch on citrus fruits. The other reason is that oranges make my head hurt more than usual.
Other things do it, too. Most notable are butchers' shops, McDonalds (both the place and the 'food'), some cigarette smoke and mice not kept in a clean, non-smelly environment. So, maybe it's just me and some odd side effect of my insistence upon being clean.

Oh! See the sidebar? I thought I'd see if such a system works for tangential comments. If it's irksome, tell me, and I'll see if there's some other way to make it work. I rather like the idea of being able to send random thoughts off into their own little box, so I can talk about them without losing the plot in the actual entry.

And, almost on the topic of randomness, I happened to see what called itself a "BBQ calendar" on sale in a newsagency. The title caught my notice, and I found myself formulating a little plot. I've half a mind to collect reader contributions and then make an OMGWTFBBQ calendar for next year. And possibly utilise the evil powers of cafepress or such. Thoughts?

Shopping also brought about the tragic realisation that, while I'm quite tall, I seem to be fairly well invisible to parents shoving kids about (or, for that matter, old people with trollies). It seems like those four-wheeled engines of destruction that New Parents push about are designed with homing devices that seek out the tallest folk they can find to hit. It's unpleasant, occasionally painful, and typically results in Irate Parents who decide that I obviously have no right to be walking along and merrily minding my own business.

Furthermore, on the subject of annoying people, there seems to be an odd tendency amongst menfolk as encountered in an arcade; something which I find to be no end of amusement and an occasional source of irritation. I like pinball machines; these generally go uncontested, and those interested in them seem to not mind sharing. I like some racing games. These prompt menfolk to feel somewhat threatened, and to spend money trying to win, and to feel rather shamed if they don't. I'm also fairly partial to that font of electronic crack that is Dance Dance Revolution.
Some defy these trends; occasionally, one will even talk, as though he's realised that yes, we do play games. And make geeky game references, too.


Red valkyrie is about to die.
This prompts rare specimens of menfolk to try to be all impressive, something that's doomed to failure from the start as far as I'm concerned. Especially when it's fairly well-known that this particular individual spent weeks practising on a dancemat at home merely to try to accumulate scandalously young fangirls, and will spend hours (and a small fortune) if anyone dares to get a high score on his precious, precious machine.

And see the sneaky left-hand sidebar? This is to test to see if one side is better than another for people, or to see if I can use both. And because I feel like it, too. Probably mostly because I feel like it, now I come to think of it. Relax, I'm not going to go to the silly extreme of CSS/HTML pullquotes.

Oh! And I bought a new pen for a fun little $AU13. It's a cheap-ish fountain pen with a selection of special little ink cartridges and an instructional booklet. Cheap, in this instance, is good - when I get to be reasonably proficient in its use (and non-phobic about breaking it), then I'll buy myself a decent one. And my writing will be all pretty-like. And it may even help me figure out how to write things with my tablet, which would be all kinds of lovely fun.
So, the file extension hack didn't work. They don't allow .bmp files, and UAs (pron. browsers) don't parse other image formats as plain text. My .css files (the one for my journal, and the one for [ profile] cookielist) are now on a host that limits bandwidth. After 200MB of stylesheets, there's no more.

Happily, the stylesheets are fairly small - mine is just over 1K, and the other is less than half that. These particularly small stylesheets are made possible by sorting out most of the CSS though the customise layout page, and then using @import to use the styles generated by LJ. My sheets are basically just the import directives, and a bit of override stuff.

My next round of playing with layouts will probably be [ profile] comms_anon, before I look for a way of getting more members. The problem with that is that I'm a little lacking in inspiration for it. If you have a suggestion, then I'd love to hear it.
active_apathy: (Default)


Jun. 5th, 2005 12:43 am
My recent project, to find a way to get a ComplexSpiral-like effect on LJ, has led to my new layout. It works properly for most current browsers, except IE/Win and Opera (I think). Amaya has a couple of issues with the code, but most like that's from the HTML that LJ gives me - even Trident (the IE/Win rendering engine) manages to render it properly.

It looks kinda ok in IE/Win. That's called 'degrading gracefully'. In other browsers (like Firefox), there's only a tiny patch that's different, but it rather dramatically changes the look of the page. The original image was Tony DiTerlizzi's pic of the Painter that's used in Artists' Alley over at

The most beautiful bit of it, though, is that the whole background effect adds roughly as much to page weight as would a large animated icon - a whole 38.6 KB.


active_apathy: (Default)

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