Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Husband and I, continued

Some eight hours into the visually ravishing yet in all other respects pointless waste of time that is "Hero", the character Broken Sword says to Nameless Warrior, "You are asking Snow and I to trust you."

Now that has to be the final straw, as a dear friend once remarked, on the cake. It is not enough that we are forced to endure long futile fight scenes, in which people fly around irritatingly and to no good purpose, sometimes for several hours at a time, whilst exchanging serene faraway looks through slow-motion raindrops, perhaps not a practical combat technique in a real-world self-defense scenario, or that there is no coherent plot and at least one of the characters appears to die two or three times, or that the same serene faraway expression and monotone delivery is employed by all of the characters all of the time. By this point in the film you may have lost the will to live and all feeling in your legs but at least, you are thinking to yourself, it is not sloppy. Say what you like about the non-characters, their vaguely defined mission and relationships and their serene faraway looks, but at least you can admire their dedication, their discipline, their long years of studying calligraphy and swordsmanship, and their dress sense. Until, that is, BS blows the whole thing by blurting out "You are asking Snow and I to trust you." "I", "Me", it's all the same fing innit?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to put brackets around words

Now this, you would think, would not be a difficult subject. The day they explained brackets at school, surely, was a day you could pretty much coast. What you do (they might have patiently explained) is this:

(put some words inside the brackets)

A simple enough rule, then. Almost as simple as how to spell "its". But can we all get it right? No. Can we cock it up? Oh yes.

( some words and some intriguing additional space inside the brackets )

Now what the hell's with that?

One practical problem is that if you leave redundant and unexpected spaces after the opening or before the closing bracket, HTML will feel free to break the line on the space, unless you use the non-breaking space character  . Microsoft Word will do the same, unless you use the equivalent Ctrl-Shift-space sequence. But do redundant bracket spacers bother with these niceties? They do not. Do their documents look a bit crap? I think we know the answer.