In a classy, not to say compassionate, move, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (Maine) had demanded a refund of its charitable giving to a Portland homeless shelter. Read all about it.
Mozart and I have this thing that we do every morning.
We read the comics together.
Yeah, that’s right, the comics. I’ll go into my office and start the serial download of the strips we follow, skim the New York Times, help Mozart to the top of the table (he’s reached the point in his career where the elevator is appreciated, especially since I insist on keeping stuff on the rolling file cabinet that he can, and sometimes still does, use as an intermediary jumping-on place), and together, like I said, we read the comics, and look Weather Underground, and sometimes the day-job email, though that’s a habit I’m trying to break.
It will surprise no one, I hope, to learn that Mozart has his favorites among the daily comic run. Girl Genius, of course, and Narbonic. He’s a big fan of Didi’s, from Menage a 3 — yes, he does appear to have a thing for women with holdings. This is fortunate.
…and please note that some of these comics are not always work-safe.
He likes to keep up with Ludwig in Arlo and Janis. 9 Chickweed Lane and Stone Soup pretty much leave him cold, but he has an avuncular interest in the characters residing within Questionable Content. He likes Hannelore, despite her deficiency of holdings, and worries that she’ll never find a cat of her own. Looking at pictures of pretty kittens on the internet just isn’t the same.
So, this morning, we’re looking at the comics, Mozart and me — it’s Tuesday, so “Menage a 3” has updated, and Mozart’s pretty interested in how the whole play thing is, um, going to play out and whether Gary will be able to make his case with Yuki, or be doomed to go home with the guy from the comics store. I’m kinda interested in that outcome, myself, though I’m thinking more along the lines of a fight over Zii, Didi and the redhaired girl making a pair, and Gary going home with Dinah and Making Dillon Sorry. . .
Where was I?
Right. Reading the comics. Finished up; Mozart is lounging with his head on the edge of my keyboard. I obliged him with some whisker-twizzling and ear-rubbing, then zipped over to Weather Underground to see exactly how wet I could expect to get today. Mozart takes this opportunity to pitch a nap and a day at home. I manage, just, to resist this.
It turns out that I can expect to get pretty comprehensively damp, and remain that way throughout the day. Also? There’s news!
“Look, Mozart!” I say, running the screen up so he can see the red letters. “There’s a flood watch!”
Immediately, he sits up, and directs his attention at the screen. A flood watch! How exciting. On the spot, he revises his plans for the day to include the viewing of floods.
Having taken this decision, Mozart is energized. He makes a wide turn, making sure to brush his tail across the screen, and sits down with his back to me, and glances down to where there is a small stack of invoices awaiting disposition.
“Don’t you dare,” I say to him.
He glances over his shoulder at me. Smiles.
And deliberately turns back, bending his head so that he can delicately nudge the entire pile off the table and onto the floor. Some of the pages flutter before they hit. Of course, the whole is now a disordered mess requiring somebody with thumbs to order.
That, would be me.
His work done, Mozart leaps from the table and strolls out, down the hall and to the kitchen, for a well-earned bite of breakfast.
Here’s a picture of Mozart at work, taken on March 1, his twelfth birthday:
As noted in passing, I’ve been mooching along with building a Sharon Lee homestead on the web, which meant learning WordPress. It’s been going slow, not only because I’ve been having at it in-between other tasks, most of them with deadlines slightly more pressing than “whenever,” but because I missed the Whole Middle of the Evolution of the Web, so some matters which are perfectly coherent to those who have been paying attention all along, to me — aren’t.
It’s sorta like taking remedial algebra and calculus at the same time.
And the above? Is a metaphor.
I’m a writer; metaphors are part of my professional bag of tricks.
But I’m also a metaphorical thinker — new things are like other, older, familiar things, in my world; filed by similar behavior.
Thus, building a web page is like doing layout.
This, oh, my children, is how one does layout:
1. Acquire content — either text or graphic — on a piece of paper
2. Wax the paper bearing content
3. Apply waxed content-bearing paper to blue-line paper, being sure it’s straight, according to the grid
4. Trim as necessary
5. Turn completed page over to pressman to be shot
Notice, in the above example, how the words are on the paper, and the paper is adhered to another paper.
When I first came to HTML (HyperText Markup Language, to continue the theme from the previous blog posting), I followed more-or-less the same steps. I created a page, I placed content on the page, formatted and trimmed as necessary, then published to the web.
The process was close enough for rock ‘n roll, not to mention my metaphor-bound brain, and I continued to think of web design as a more streamlined layout process, encompassing the same basic steps, but without having to heat up the wax.
What I wanted out of my new home on the web was a bunch of static pages, including a welcome front page for random visitors off the web, some pages listing publications and sample chapters, some pages, yet to come, about the cats, and some media stuff, for those who like to listen and/or watch.
I also, of course, wanted a blog.
The static pages went up fine, for values of “fine” that included a fairly steep learning curve — the math metaphor above still holds water — and then it came time to add in the blog — the dynamic page.
So, layout! I made a page called Blog, and pasted content onto it. I published it to the website. All was well.
…until I tried to make another entry.
Hey, this thing isn’t acting like a blog at all!
I scrutinized my toolbar and found “Post” — that was what I wanted!
I made a post, published it — and couldn’t find it on the website. Well, of course not, I thought, you haven’t associated it with a page; the poor content is just hanging out there in the ether, a ghost post.
Long story short — a lost afternoon as I ran around in circles, trying to make WordPress square with my metaphor.
Happily for me, someone who knows what she’s doing made a comment that provided an epiphany and wiped away the mists of metaphor, allowing me to (finally!) get the blog part of the site up and doing, more or less, as it ought.
I’m still trying to figure out a way to explain it to myself, though.
I have, since March 2004, maintained a weblog (that’s the formal for “blog,” lest we forget. Also, “url,” which so many of us either pronounce as a single word, or as “you-ar-el”? is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. No, really, look it up.)
In any case, since 2004, I’ve been blogging at a nice little corner of Live Journal called “Eagles Over the Kennebec.” I called it that because I live near the Kennebec River in Maine and one of the things that got me through a particularly bad summer was going down to the town park, lying on my back and staring up into the Maine-blue sky, watching the eagles gyre and play. Remarkably soothing, not to say restorative — if you ever get the chance, try it. You’ll never be the same.
In any case, having taken the decision to move out into the Wider Web and get a whole website all to myself, I also decided to migrate my blog. I’m sorry about that for a bunch of reasons — and because “Eagles over the Kennebec,” doesn’t exactly fit with the theme of news from a wider universe than Maine.
For the moment, then, this place is just going to be called “Blog.” It seems impersonal, but I mean no unkindness. Maybe, after I’ve gotten to know it, a name will suggest itself. It’s happened before.
Eventually, I hope, I’ll figure out how to link this blog — this Blog? — to Eagles, so that when I update here, things will automagically update there.
For now, I’ve done enough learning-by-doing for one day; it’s time to get off of this infernal machine and relax.