Signature move
Plus some stuff about the website because I know you care.
So I've changed the layout for comments again. Also the quote at the top of the page. How have I do this? Ah! Well *sigh* with tables. Yes! Yes, those bastards of the web that are only supposed to be used to display tabular data, goddamnit. That means not for layouts. Ah, buzz off.

CSS does not play nice with simple, columnar layouts in the same way as tables do. I wouldn't describe it as "hackish," exactly, but the trick to getting CSS to do columns involves sacrificing a chicken or two and nesting things within like three different containers. And so many floats you could start your own A&W. My response: fuck that.

Second, related point: I am beginning to understand the seething anger some people have for Microsoft. This tables thing marks now perhaps half a dozen times where Microsoft's decision not to support the same standards as everyone else--with CSS, standards they helped develop--means I either change the way I do things or code in IE-specific workarounds. Screw you, Microsoft. You're not that special.

But that's ancillary. Things work now, more or less, with the requisite amount of IE-specific coding. So what I come to talk to you about is more important. Not Iraq--I know, I know, I can sense the disappointment. Maybe tomorrow, chilluns. I'm talking about signatures.

But a special kind of signature. Not like forum signatures, which so near as I can tell come from a world where people are awarded prizes by how many pictures they can cram into the space provided and the winner gets the license to develop their own, bizarro bulletin board where the posts consist of nothing but song lyrics, Facebook links, and massive uncompressed pictures, and each post is followed by a tiny amount of content (two lines max no pictures THIS IS YOUR SECOND WARNING NEXT TIME YOU WILL BE BANNED).

Not like real-life signatures, either. My real-life signature is notoriously godawful, marked chiefly by its complete lack of resemblance to my actual name or the letters contained therein. I start with a big loop (for the 'A'), then move my pen up and down until I'm satisfied with the letter count, do another large loop (for the 'R'), do another loop ('O') and finish things off in the same fashion as I did with my first name. The end result looks like the result of an EKG machine with attention deficit disorder. When the local fast food joint started requiring credit card signatures for some reason, I started signing my name "Batman". It looks about the same.

No. I'm talking about email signatures, and the signature I use to sign off here. It's terribly unoriginal--seriously, "-Alex"? Minus Alex what? Em-dash is scarcely better, and on top of that "em-dash" just sounds retarded. To hell with that. Good signatures convey at least a little originality, at least when you can't pair them with a long list of accomplishments (say, if you were a president or something). My father could have such an accomplishment list, but instead he signs his Emails "*r*". A coworker uses "+ag". Another uses ":j" which I give extra points because it also appears to be a smiley that says "my conspicuous birthmark doesn't detract from my ability to smirk".

The linking feature through all of these is the use of the lower case, and possibly also some weird punctuation not normally associated with letters. Going from the first, my email signature for awhile now has been "alex osaki," lower-case Futura Light, black. None of this em-dash stuff like I was signing a Victorian novel. No sir. But I think the real trick is probably using initials. I just don't know what. My initials are A, R, and O. But since nobody knows about the 'r,' I think it gets dropped. And now I'm debating again.

"+ao" is obviously too derivative, as is ":ao", which has the additional downside of being the universally-recognised emoticon for "there is a comical sperm whale profile surfacing on my face, and I am none too happy about that". A "$ao" variable declaration would be a valid, if geeky, signature, but it could also look like I was trying to say 'Sao' but commenting on the overly monetary bent of... Sao. Sao Paulo? Sao Tome? Who knows. I think most punctuation can be just dismissed with out of hand. ",ao", "!ao", and "?ao" look variously confused or overpromising.

(a) looks like the first element in a list and (o) looks like a TIE fighter. ^a could be a control code. ~o is too spermish. It could be that the variable way was the way to go. %a? _a? I kind of like _a but it looks lonely, and _ao appears to be the final play in a round of Retarded Hangman.

I think it might come down to slashes. \a, perhaps? Like a command switch of some sort? \o, which is also the emoticon for "flagging down a cab" (followed closely by "_|_ flipping off the cabbie as he drives away" and "{ }:{ describing the driver as an irate turban-wearer to your friends later")? Or perhaps a\o, suggesting that either name is acceptable but both make a larger whole? /a has a nice sort of pseudo-codeish vibe. Wrf.

What are you all doing with your names?

Alexander R. Osaki, Sr.
President and CEO, Border Collie Enterprises
Lizard King
Commander of the Armies of the North
General of the Felix Legions
&c, &c

PS: Although I'm ok at the moment, feel free to submit suggestions for the Link of the Day. gets you in.
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