This is a Journal entry by Hoovooloo

Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 1

Hoovooloo

So I thought I'd start a blog, and chose Wordpress, on the grounds that friends had. I found it shockingly user-unfriendly and in at least one way fundamentally broken, from a UI point of view. So I'm not using it any more.

However, the last post I posted there was an attempt to answer five questions posed in the form of an "interview" by a friend, so I'm going to answer them here.

"A lot of people have one particularly inspiring teacher, did you, and in what way were they outstanding?"

I went entirely to state schools. My primary school was rubbish, a hellhole. My middle and high schools were, by comparison, incredibly good. They were probably pretty damn good objectively, too, and my experience of them was helped by the fact that in my year at both schools there were other children with intelligence comparable to my own. One of my teachers told me much later that that made our year a once-in-a-teaching-career highlight in terms of ability.

What I'm getting round to is that I didn't have just one teacher that was inspiring, I had many.

Miss Jones didn't teach French, she just came in the room and and nattered on to us in a foreign language and expected us to join in. Talking at the back of the class was allowed, as long as it was in French, AND SHE COULD TELL. Genius.

Mr. Reynolds taught maths like it was his hobby, not his job.

Mrs. Webster taught English like your life depended on it. It takes a special teacher to make you like a lesson where you're required to read awful guff like "Far From the Madding Crowd".

Mr. Sparks taught further maths as a game to be mastered and beaten, as a collection of concepts to be played with and tasted and flipped around in your hand and then flattened with the hammer of your mind into a sheet of A grades.

The list goes on - Mr. Farrimond for science and maths, Messrs. Brown for physics, Messrs. Halford and Ince for chemistry, all these people caused me to be where and what I am.

> What do you find peculiar about women?

Their ability to apparently instinctively empathise with people. Actually, that could be what I find peculiar about other people in general. I know I was guilty when I first started using the internet, and this site in particular, of considering all these words on the screen as being the product of some sort of AI set up for my amusement. Connecting them with actual people was a big leap.

I later realised that I treated the whole *world* like that for probably the first 25 years or so of my life. I didn't really consider other people to be really real, to have minds like mine but separate.

The other thing I find peculiar is the apparent problem the entire gender has with simply saying what they mean. I think this is in a way connected with the first one. They *expect* everyone else to have their mind-reading abilities. I do not have those abilities, so much of what they say passes me by. I take what they say literally, so if I say "Are you OK?", and the answer is "Yes.", I think "Excellent" and think everything's fine. Of course, in many cases "Yes" means "Of course not, dumbass, I'm not OK, I've got a headache and you just spent ten minutes hoovering! And I got my haircut and you didn't notice, and why, when I come, do you not bring me a coffee when I always bring you one?" Actually, this isn't so much something I "find peculiar" so much as it's something I "hate so much it makes me want to stab something to death and then set fire to it".

> Which three popular science writers do you have the most admiration for, and why?

Richard Feynmann. Reasons encompass his life, so I won't bore on about them. Read everything by and about him you can find, and be awed.

Bill Bryson, because he's not a science writer.

And for my final choice, one writer I would call Jack-Cohen-and-Ian-Stewart, who wrote the science of Discworld books and a couple of others, because they don't just redo all the pop science everyone else does (how many books about chaos theory or relativity can one person need?), they do other, interesting stuff and do it brilliantly.

> If you could have any skill or ability which you do not currently have, what would it be?

Oh so many... kitesurfing? Flying a helicopter? Doing a McTwist in a halfpipe on a snowboard?

If I had to narrow it down to one thing - I'd like to be able to play electric guitar really well. Music is something I missed out on from being a child, and it's something I'll always wish I'd done then.

> And finally, a question that I asked [someone else]: you are something of a SciFi Geek - if you could choose one particular fictional universe to inhabit for the rest of your life, which one would it be and what would your role be in it?

No contest - the Culture, as found in the books of Iain M. Banks.

For information, the ones considered and rejected were:
- Doctor Who universe. It's a bit bleak and dangerous.
- Star Trek universe. I wouldn't want to live in what is clearly a Marxist dictatorship with little in the way of personal freedom.
- Star Wars universe. Looks a great place to be as long as you're one of the hereditary aristocracy, but doesn't really look that good for the peasants, and I'm very much a peasant.
- Blake's 7 universe. As with Doctor Who (and much British sf for that matter, compared to American...) it's a bit bleak and nasty.
- HHGG universe. It's run by Vogons, nuff said.

The Culture seems interesting, safe but not anodyne, varied, large, free and fun, if you have the imagination to take advantage of it. Sure, if you want you could settle down and live a life of dull obscurity on some Ship, but anyone with an ounce of imagination zest for life would never run short of experiences to try. For one thing, those guys have seriously jacked-up endocrinological systems, to the point that they can by effort of will alone dose themselves with various drugs from internal glands, or undergo surgery-less sex changes any number times in their generally four centuries of life. And that's before you've stepped out of your room...

SoRB


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 2

astrolog

Have you tried Firefox instead of IE. I've had no trouble with WP, though I've neglected to use it for two months.


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 3

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

<>

That's a valid question, you selfish smiley - bleep

My ex happily let me make the smiley - tea all the time we lived together. I got fed-up being his maid. I told him, he left. Well that's the nutshell version, his fist was so close to my face at the time that I was lucky not to be seeing stars.

Men and women shouldn't live together - it ruins the romance.


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 4

Ferrettbadger. The Renegade Master

Interesting Journal SoRB. I echo your thoughts about crap primary great comprehensive school. It always makes me mad when the governemtn suggests there is something *in principle* wrong with the idea of comps, they are capable of being ace.


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 5

Vip

I think I was lucky. My primary school quicky figured out that a) I was bright and b) I was more than happy left on my own with a stack of work to do, and pretty much left me to it. Then again I had a good work ethic instilled into my by my mum, who taught me to read, write and add up before I got to school. This 'leaving me alone with some textbooks' idea permeated into the first year of secondary school as well (before the classes were changed and set according to ability), which suited me fine.

My comprehensive (well, grant maintained, but no entry exam or anything) was fantastic. It was lucky in that it had a catchment area that probably helped, being entirely rural. If we wanted to bunk off, the only entertainment was galloping through fields. smiley - smiley

<fairy?


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 6

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

My primary school quickly figured out that I was bright, but they had almost no options about what to do about that. I have to give my first-grade teacher an E for effort. It wasn't hard for her to figure out there was going to be a problem if she didn't, though... that first reading lesson, listening to the other kids trip and stumble over every syllable was like listening to chalk scraping on the blackboard. By the time it was my turn to read aloud, I was so full of contempt for the exercise that it was dripping off my every word. I'd already read the book we were reading from, cover to cover, one morning when my brother left his copy on the coffee table, two years before. Anyway, the teacher sent me along to a second-grade class for language and reading lessons, until a combination 1st/2nd class was put together where I could do both in one room.

And that was pretty much the end of that. I got to spend the next 5 years of my education being mind-numbingly bored and getting yelled at for talking too much. I swear we did all the same math in 4th grade that we did in 6th. That some people were still doing that stuff in high school boggles the mind. No wonder they hated the subject.

Now I've got a precocious 2 year-old on my hands, and when I think of how her growth will be stunted in elementary school, it makes me very sad and angry. She's already doing most of the things she'll be doing in kindergarten... other than the free daycare aspect of it (free in the "they'll be taking away my money in taxes whether I send her or not" kind of way), there aren't any reasons to be sending her.


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 7

Jordan

Those are truly fantastic questions, not to mention brilliant answers. Two in particular I wish I had been asked; so much so that I can't quite restrain myself from answering them anyway:

smiley - spacesmiley - book"Which three popular science writers do you have the most admiration for, and why?"

Richard Dawkins: one of the clearest, cleverest writers I've ever had the pleasure of encountering.

Charles Darwin: 95% of the "challenges" I am presented with concerning evolution are succinctly answered (albeit in a meandering, Victorian fashion) by a book he wrote nearly 150 years ago. It's got to the point where I now refuse to answer uninformed questions like that, and just tell them (as politely as possible), "Read the book—then we can talk."

Roger Penrose: because "The Emperor's New Mind" was one of the most excellent roller-coaster rides of random maths and science I've ever been on.

(I half thought you might give Julian Jaynes an honorary mention.)


smiley - spacesmiley - book"And finally, a question that I asked [someone else]: you are something of a SciFi Geek - if you could choose one particular fictional universe to inhabit for the rest of your life, which one would it be and what would your role be in it?"

I can't do better than the Culture. It would be cool to be a Referrer, since normal humans don't seem to get terribly involved with the benevolent machinations of the Minds unless the Minds want something from them. But even as a normal citizen, the range of options open to you, and the expected quality of life, is frankly fantastic.

Once I might have rejected the Whoniverse, because facing creatures with a psychology like the Daleks would be, frankly, more than my underwear could cope with. But that was before Captain Jack... smiley - drool

If I had the liberty to choose a straight fantasy universe I'd go for the Marvel Universe. Basically normal earth(s), but with superpowers. Wiccan from "Young Avengers" seems to have a pretty sweet deal: reality-altering superpowers (including flight), cool parents, past mysteries galore to unravel, and he's dating a cute alien shape-shifter. The only problem is that he's still in high-school.


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 8

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

So you wouldn't want to live in Ankh-Morpok, SoRB? I imagine you'd get on fairly well with Capt. Vimes.

TRiG.smiley - magic


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 9

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

SoRB, a question for you.

Each of the girls has her own box. Maude puts her doll in her box and leaves the room to visit the toilet. While Maude is gone, Alice opens her box, removes her doll, and puts it in her own box. When Maude comes back from the toilet, where will she look for her doll?

TRiG.smiley - winkeye


Five questions and the unbearable shiteness of Wordpress

Post 10

Hoovooloo


Yeah, done that one. Fell for it the first time (i.e. said the equivalent of "In Alice's box"), but I was quite small, I guess.

SoRB


Five questions

Post 11

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

I found that question in this book: http://www.books-by-isbn.com/0-312-35893-8.

TRiG.smiley - biggrin


Five questions

Post 12

icecoldalex

<>

How about reading women's minds. smiley - smiley

Alex


Five questions

Post 13

Hoovooloo


Presupposes there's something there worth reading.

But it would be useful. You could tell when a woman was about to go and fsmiley - bleepk someone else behind your back, for instance.

SoRB


Five questions

Post 14

badger party tony party green party

Women are only more empathetic because they are taught they ought to be and men are conditioned not to give a monkey's about our own feelings so other peoples feelings are pretty much a mystery. A broad sweeping statement but close enough to the truth to be useful.

SoRB your wish about the guitar is equally as likely as you will ever get to understand women, but that is not to say you should give up on either.

smiley - rainbow


Five questions

Post 15

Researcher U197087

Playing the guitar is a piece of piss. I can do it, left-handed (though I resent spending an extra 20% for the privilege). A disciplined chemical engineer with a decent set of fingers would have no trouble.

Get a chord book, start with the songs you love. Play the shit out of them, then experiment. Chord relationships are like chemical reactions. Some can cause explosions, but others just stink of wee.


Five questions

Post 16

Recumbentman

>Chord relationships are like chemical reactions. Some can cause explosions, but others just stink of wee.

Going now to see where to submit for "Quote of the Week" smiley - run


Five questions

Post 17

Recumbentman

Ah. A frustrating search reveals that
1 it is 'Quote of the Day' I want
2 it is not easy to find where to submit one -- why???
3 Christopher is the person to ask F615?thread=4356794


Five questions

Post 18

Researcher U197087

I think it's pretty much up to editorial discretion, though there's definitely a case for it. I appreciate the good will though Recumbentman - It's no compensation for copious articles, but embarrassingly I've already had 7.


Five questions

Post 19

Recumbentman

I've proposed a nominations button to appear on the Front Page, at F47999?thread=4590745


Key: Complain about this post

More Conversations for Hoovooloo

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more