Counting to Five
Counting to five. Counting five. Nuance.
If I recall correctly as a child I learnt how to count on the
fingers of one hand close to the same time that I learnt how to
trace the outline of a hand. Two different ways of counting. A
discontinuous numbering associated with the tips of the fingers
and the thumb. A route through the peaks and valleys giving the
numbering a durative character. When is one one? When two has
Years later I find myself enjoying the sweep of second hands
and the cycle of hours portrayed in round clock face. Years
later I find myself playing with the pulse of the time
separator and the chimes to punctuate my time at a keyboard, my
sessions in front of a screen. Sometimes I find myself
controlling a cursor with a rhythmic movement of the mouse:
feeding a beat back to myself as I deliberate. Other times I
feed on the click of the keys. Or, for a pause, foreground for
myself the staple sound of the fan motor.
And now I return to the hand. I compare ways of counting up to
five. Begin with thumb and wind through the fingers. Begin with
index finger and save the thumb for last. What is counting
down from five like. It feels different. Counting down in
American Sign Language (ASL) is a stretch treat for a tendon
that runs along the ridge the middle finger: five digits spread
out, thumb in and four fingers out, thumb back out and two
fingers out, thumb in and the index and middle finger out, the
index alone. That wonderful distinction between the three
fingers representing the letter form "W" and the thumb with two
fingers representing the number or the numeral "3".
There are many lessons here for how memory works. I've lost
Labels, Spots & Chains
Elsewhere I have
suggested that Kari
Kraus's musings on accidentals and substantives led me to
contemplate using an ID/IDREF mechanism to assist an XSLT
transformtion in selecting which of two different characters
would appear at a specific spot. The Text
Encoding Initiative Guidelines provide the author with
the possibility of using the value of the "exclude" attribute
on the <c> element (the attribute is also available for
other elements). A fine mechanism for exclusive alteration.
Great for providing a case for teaching a module relating to
the application of the xsl:if element in XSLT using a test on
an attribute value.
When I encountered another use case, it became interesting to
consider inclusive alternation as again, the appearance (or
not) of the content of an element in a specific spot. I was
rather pleased to be able to consider inclusive alternation in
relation to position. Again the ID/IDREF mechanism assists in
expressing a relation in XML markup that can then be
transformed in XSLT.
Handy for introducing the xsl:choose element with
xsl:when testing on the value of "prev" and "next" attributes
and supplying an xsl:otherwise option. A yen for reversals and
XPATH can make an appearance in the lesson play with the use of
following::sibling and preceding::sibling to accomplish some
The Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines
also provide for the markup of morphemes for the hypermimetic.
And for the metamnemonic there is some XSLT that concatenates
the content of a <num> element of type "accession" with
the content of a <label> element of type "category" to
create an HTML anchor element in the output (i.e. <a
The memory part is about getting the correct label attached to
the correct spot. Imitation, like acting, is about threading
labels and spots into dismantle-able chains.
Elsewhere, I have
remarked that blog authors can and do play with the serial
potential of titles to entries and how searching and ordering
provide alternative reading paths. Part of this observation
comes from attempting to model the content of a blog in XML
following the Guidelines of the Text Encoding
Initiative. The other part came from authoring in TEI. Both trajectories involve encounters
I chose to model blog entries using the <div> element.
The <title> element appears as a child of the
<head> element which is itself a child of the <div>
If several blogs and authors use the same content model, it
becomes possible to research patterns over time. Imagine:
author So-and-so favoured titles consisting of adverbs
beginning with such-and-such a letter for a run of
such-and-such a number of entries and when the author broke the
pattern a ripple was felt in a particular cluster of blogs. A
dream of formalist feedback!
Beginning with Beta
There is an unfolding about.