Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

November 26, 2002

Artefact lost in the jungle

I am leaving New Zealand on 24 December 2002 for Thailand. There I intend to join a วัด (wat: monastery). How long I shall be there, I do not know; much depends on whether I decide to be ordained.

What this means for Artefact Publishing is uncertain. If I am gone only a matter of a few months, the sites I host and administer should tick along fine with a temporary guardian. Longer than that, I cannot say. Certainly I will not be doing any remote administration, including writing this blog.

Posted by jamie at 10:33+13:00 | Comments (1) | Permalink

November 20, 2002

New Zealand Immigration Language Requirements

New Zealand is increasing the requisite ability in English language for immigrants (the NZIS English language requirements are currently out of date). While it is unlikely to occur, I do wonder what the official response would be to someone wishing to migrate to New Zealand who spoke fluent Māori but no English.

Posted by jamie at 19:50+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

November 19, 2002

HTML is not semantically rich

Ian Hickson has issued a challenge for semantically rich, valid weblogs. A nice exercise, and I like his militant attitude towards broken browsers (I am interested in what he thinks is right solution to the JavaScript MIME type issue). However, I think the words semantically rich are a little strong. Certainly, relative to the mass of HTML, he may find sites with more extensive use of meaningful markup, but HTML simply doesn’t have the vocabulary for truly rich semantic markup.

This is an old complaint, I know, and there is no simple solution to the problem. Would that HTML had started life as DocBook (I’m aware that HTML is older than DocBook). I do not believe this would have been an impediment to the ability of people to write web pages (and if it would have been, would that have been a bad thing?).

Posted by jamie at 10:48+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

November 10, 2002

Sri Lankan incidents

I watched the movie Ladyhawke last night. There is an excellent film there beneath the horribly inappropriate score (80s pop complete with synthesiser) and the weak ending. If I were to redo it, I would include more interactions between the main trio and society, if only to show up that they are not part of it, and make it more formal in tone. By the latter I mean more than simply altering the speech register of the characters (there was one particularly jarring moment when Navarre said “Thanks”), but also in the structure and feel of whole scenes, using a high style. There is a real sense of this already, which is brought out in the contrast between the character of Phillipe Gaston and those he travels with; I would simply extend it. This encompasses symbolic and metaphorical elements, too: the plight of the lovers might easily be likened to the relationship between oneself and God, or between the conscious and subconscious selves, meeting truly only in fleeting moments but influencing each other throughout. This turns Phillipe into a true priest, the only one in the film (including Father Imperius).

Given that I doubt I will make such a remake, I think I shall just use the core concept in a roleplaying game some time. It would fit easily into most of the games I know I’d like to run.

The reason for the title of this entry is that, having seen the movie last night, the following occured this morning. I was roused from my bed by a loud rapping, which continued despite my ignoring it for a while. When I got up, there was no one at the door, and I assumed it was someone next door being especially vigorous with their knocking. Then it came again, and I saw it was a seagull which was pecking at one of the lounge windows from its perch on the deck railing. I wandered over, and the seagull retreated. I stayed still, and it came back and resumed its pecking on the other side of the glass, interspersed now with a soft, partial rendition of that seagull cry I love so much. Impressed by its perseverence, I went back to bed, thinking it would soon get bored. But no, it continued, and I went for another look. This was repeated a few times, when I decided I would much rather be lying down in the quiet. I went out onto the deck, and approached the retreating gull. Eventually, and only when I came within a few feet, it took to its wings, soaring up and around in great swoops, before coming down to land only a few feet from me. I left it then, for clearly it had some purpose that was not to be easily interrupted.

When I returned later, it was gone; I thought of a short piece I wrote some years ago, and wondered if I shouldn’t have done something else.

Posted by jamie at 11:04+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

November 03, 2002

Mythesis

I was reminded today of a project of mine from what feels like long ago (lo, seven years past!). Mythesis was the title I gave to my master’s thesis, a hypertextual examination of the role of qualifications in mediæval education and a map of my thoughts on modern education and whatever else seemed to be related. I never finished Mythesis, instead wandering off overseas to visit friends, and I doubt it would have survived prolonged contact with those who decide whether something is in fact a master’s thesis. That said, one of my Latin lecturers did mark my essay on Livy which took the form of a taped conversation with Jeremy, complete with music and accompanied by a glass jar filled with the ashes of all my school records. I can’t help but admire his willingness to fit it into the system, even though I find that system largely misguided.

In any case, Mythesis died. Occasionally one friend or another will bring it up, and say I should finish it, and I’m momentarily astonished. It’s an attractive idea: Mythesis was conceived as a fusion of the personal and the academic, a combination that still appeals as one way to make academia appealing to me. Is that simply an admission that what I have studied interests me not primarily for what it is? I don’t know; I think that when it comes to creating something (such as an essay), I am not be satisfied by a purely academic approach, though I am able to study in such a manner. I am planning to take a course or two at university next year, so I may learn more then. But whatever I learn, I doubt I shall revisit Mythesis, except in memory.

Posted by jamie at 15:40+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink