I wasted some time crafting a graphic: a virtual keyboard for mouse or touch-screen, fingertip-ready for the curious adventurer. The idea was to provide a console, like an array of organ-stops—or a dashboard, in current IT jargon. In this way, I would offer the reader the choice of themes running through this blog like the multicoloured threads of a tapestry.

Tapestry 1966 by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi 1924-2005
Tapestry, Edwardo Paolozzi, 1966 (reproduced sideways)

Favouring a retro design, I thought of the circular keys on old-fashioned typewriters, but there wasn’t enough space to fit the theme names. Anyhow, the software I use to draw hotspots on graphics does rectangles by default. So I ended up with a simulated computer keyboard, getting a single blank key and then cloning it; splicing parts of another to make a space bar.

keys on the top row have been linked. I welcome feedback on whether this works on your device
angels animals beginnings the Bible blessings books & films the Chilterns

Many of the best pics on the Web come from stock image suppliers who protect their property with watermarks, so as not to give them out free. A little tweaking using my Windows 95® version of CorelDraw—better the retro you know, clunky as it may be—was enough to wash out watermarks from the fragments I needed. I’d forgive myself this peccadillo, but the international company  I “borrowed” from is based a mere 30 miles away, northwest of the Chilterns (one of my principal themes, see top-right key). The sin, if it’s that, seems greater when the victim is almost in my backyard, as opposed to say California. Not that I’ve regularly cheated Microsoft, in case you’re wondering.

It strikes me that geographical loyalty goes back to tribal pre-history and shouldn’t be judged harshly by global-liberal* standards. I’m primitive in this way, but since my closest neighbours come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Poland and Romania, this localism doesn’t have the chauvinistic connotations you might imagine.

I digress, for my point is that the virtual keyboard, lovingly crafted as it was, doesn’t work. It’s all right on my desktop but not on my tablet, so it wouldn’t work on a smartphone either because the graphic would be resized leaving the hotspots unshrunk. I’m sure there’s a way round this but in any case the thing isn’t adaptable. Takes hours to set up and then you want to change the theme-set. For example I soon realized that “muse” was redundant, not meriting a theme on its own. All in all, my efforts were “a waste of time”. One makes the judgement retrospectively. It’s easy to beat ourselves up about all the wastes of time and money that have filled our years. How otherwise would we have passed the time? In my case, I’ve made such a speciality of trial and error, it could be a theme for this blog.

It’s common for offspring to blame their parents for bad example, or bad genes. I know my children do that to me—in joke, I should add. I’d take it further and blame our characteristic behaviours on our entire line of ancestors and cosmic antecedents stretching back to the mythical Big Bang. Or Eden, if you prefer. One characteristic is to get it wrong and gradually learn from mistakes. God was not exempt. His Humankind project had to be rebooted more than once. It made a bad start with the expulsion from Eden. Then things went so wrong there had to be a Flood, and an Ark, to see if that would fix it. Unfortunately it’s never yet been right. Evolution is littered with extinctions. Are they failed projects? No, they are simply part of the universal modus operandi, known as “survival of the fittest”.

Nature is resourceful, tries all kinds of mutation. Adapt or die. In the case of my virtual keyboard, it was condemned by its rigid carapace. Creatures with exoskeletons, such as  crustaceans, are disadvantaged compared with us vertebrates. Did we not evolve from fish?§

There can be no moving forward without some falling by the wayside.

A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

Nature is imperfect. What makes us think we can do better? Still, we do. And I’m glad. It’s our built-in reason for living. We can adapt individually, this is what life is for. And then we die, anyway.

* “Globaliberalism” gets only two hits on Google, so it’s not a word yet.

“Spirituality” is a dubious word, in my opinion. I’m not sure it’s really a thing—it’s more of a bin to throw things in. But that will have to wait for a sequel. Angels, God, blessings, eternity, on the other hand—these have subjective existence in a person’s experience, disregarding any beliefs attached.

I’ve made it a theme now.

§ See “Do Fish Have Souls?


2 thoughts on “Adaptation

  1. Very nice Vincent. I enjoy your keyboard.
    On my PC (Linux Min running Firefox) Bible and beginnings both link to beginnings. Blessings links to Bible, Books and Film link to the Bible, and Chilterns links to Books and film. The first 3 work properly.


  2. Thanks, Bill. Naturally I thought of you in this post, with your various typewriters. And now you’ve shown that even on a PC it doesn’t work. Must be down to Linux. I use Firefox too. Confirms my project was a waste of time. After I’d posted this piece I had an idle moment to check whether there’s any solution to this, that is, can you resize the hotspot in step with the image. It’s a much-discussed issue with no obvious easy way. Enough already.

    I particularly liked your mention recently of the Lettera 22 over at your place, which happens also to be mentioned in this post


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