Saturday, December 15, 2012

Forced to go online

Well, another frustrating afternoon fighting software. Perhaps the thing to do is succumb to the tedium of posting from within a browser. I mean, really, is that so hard?
Especially given how seldom I post here.

So what's the difference? Nothing, except that I need to remember the password here. Using Ecto and the now-apparently-dead blogo, I only had to click on "post".


Further whines about blog software

So it turns out that something deep within ecto is not happy with the way I type.

I hit a return in the RTF editor and it turns into both a paragraph and a line break.

That's just not right. If I have a pet phrase, it must be "That's just not right."

But it isn't.

Another Format Test, this time of Ecto

OK, here's how it is. I'm fighting Ecto's desire to add both the paragraph break and the basic break after each sentence.
I really don't like that.
Viewed in the HTML editor, they aren't there. But post them…

Whidbey artists

I scored some major enthusiasm today by visiting the Made Right on Whidbey show up in Coupeville, WA.

I went originally to see Linnane Armstrong and her woodcuts, but as I wandered about, I stumbled across Bev McQuary with some of her lampwork beads! I hadn't read closely enough to discover that she was going to be there.

To make this short, I came home with a boat-load of enthusiasm for getting back to art. Oh, sure, I took some pictures of the flames in the wood stove yesterday, as sources for doing custom flame paint jobs (haha, like I'll ever get back to doing that), and have been doing paper miniatures for wargaming, but really: these two are real artists with work to show and sell.

I managed to avoid descending into wood block prints (having done some before as well as serigraphs), but I find myself all fired up (no pun intended) to light the torch and make some beads.

Imagine! I want to make something!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Scanner's Dilemma

One of my sisters gave me our grandmother's doll book. The book was made in the early 1900s and each outfit was handmade from scraps of clothes my grandmother acquired from her sisters and aunts.

Each outfit has a long page of darling text, added some fifty years later.

The thing is, receiving this book reminded me that I hadn't finished the last photo album yet. I went to the computer to remind myself how far I'd gotten.

Not far enough. But I saw that I had not made adequate backup of what was there, so I set about burning DVDs to record it. That lead me to check on the other things, including the withering web site. Oh dear! I haven't changed it in ages. I better look into that.

I discovered that the older software I had used did not survive the upgrade to the Mountain Lion OS upgrade. While I was debating the merits of using TextWrangler to manually manage the site, I got an email from CircusPonies saying that for a limited time, I could buy macFlux, an almost-WYSIWYG editor.

I bought it. I ported the old site to the new program. Reading about the new macFlux, I got off onto HTML5/CSS3 and the benefits of same.

I got a book or two on HTML5. I went looking for some samples. That sent me off to build two new sub-sites as experiments. One of them is for Hope's grandfather, Rene Weaver. I did his (Rene Weaver) and that reminded me of the genealogy projects I have going.

I renewed my account at, and searched a few days for some missing pieces of information. Reading about my ancestors in my research reminded me that I needed to update my resumé.

When I finished the updated resumé, put it on the web, I remembered I wanted to add some pages for the conlang (constructed language) I have finished. It's used by the imaginary space faring race I sometimes write about.

That got me off on the obscure language tangent. I recalled an interest in the Washington state names that sound strange to a Californian. It turns out most of them are from Chinook Trade Speech.

Well, you can buy books about Chinook, so off to Amazon I went and bought one.

Which reminded me that I have budget issues. So I downloaded the latest statements from the bank and loaded them into Moneywell. Which reminded me that I am behind in the budget data.

Fortunately, the cats jumped up on the counter and dug into the dirty dishes, so I dropped everything to shoo them away.

I think it's time for lunch.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

First day of Summer

A blistering Fourth of July!
When the thermometer hit 70F, I had to take the bike out for a spin. There are no flat rides on Whidbey, so the 30 miles I rode made me proud. And 1500 kcals burned are not to be sneezed at either.
With the hour of walking earlier plus a bit of yard work later, it was a good day.
Happy Independence Day to you all!

- Posted by iPod

Monday, June 25, 2012

Anchor Books

Anchor Books (Clinton, WA) is my new secret hang-out. Used books, really good coffee, and plentiful seating is a hard combo to beat.
One may sit out in the stacks in peace and quiet or at a cozy table to listen in on gossip!
They even have a jigsaw puzzle exchange and Thursday game night.
I like it here. Please don't stop by, OK?

- Posted by iPod

Maybe mobile will help

Using the iPod Margo helped me buy, I'm hoping to find it easier to post here. Content unlikely to improve in quality.

- Posted by iPod

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I forgot to blog

I know. It happens to us all at some time or another. In the rush to keep living, I have I suppose that's fair, since I seldom read blogs either.
I'd sure like to know the answer to one question: why does anyone read a person's blog? Really. It's probably just me, but the things I have read are seldom worth the time it takes to read them. Certainly, that is true of what I have previously posted. I don't even read my own blog.
I do, however, make my living as a writer. Or did, until recently. (That's a whole other story). That means that I know how to write and do not consider it a trivial thing. Maybe that's the problem. Is blogging really writing? Or is it a form of diary one has no intention of keeping secret?
I don't really write in a diary, either. Except as a cathartic, I don't see the point. I have the diaries my grandmother and my mother kept, back in the days when a person bought a hardbound book for the year and wrote actual entries for each day. Most of the ones my grandmother wrote consist of "tired today" and little else. Some few are very sad. No happy entries. I guess I never gave much thought to whether or not she was happy while I knew her. Now that she's gone, there's not much I can do.

My mother's diaries are a bit happier, but I never knew her as she died when I was age two.
Is that what I leave for others to read when I'm gone? This blog? Man, how depressing is that?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Plan

I often have the feeling that the day has fled past with little to show for the hours.

I would have said that there is no good that can come from that feeling, but it turns out that is not the case. I'm a list-maker by nature. I like to know that I haven't missed anything. There is also the satisfaction that comes from checking a box on a line item. At the end of the day, those checked boxes let me feel as if I have accomplished something.

My new plan involves making a list of the major areas in which I spend my time. For me, that is:

  • Writing (game articles, second book in the Shrine trilogy, short stories)

  • At home tasks (transcriptions, cleaning, groceries, etc.)

  • Work tasks (THWmodule, DocBook, etc.)

I found a good mind-mapping package called MindNode. The company offers a free version and I used it to brainstorm a table-full of things I do in an ideal day.

This was all inspired by an article on incorporating OPML into a writer's work flow, if you can imagine that. Investigation into workflow as a concept led me to discover that I don't have a very good idea of how I spend my time when I'm not at work.

That's not good, in my opinion.

So I selected two writing projects. I broke the home tasks into Chores and Errands, the difference being whether or not the task is at home or away. And I added a section for Trivia: things such as email and reading. (No, neither of these is really trivial, but they don't contribute much to my sense of accomplishment and are therefore put in this category.)

Using MindNode, I learned that I can better organize my day. Here's what I do each morning:

  • In NoteBook, I copy yesterday's organizing page to a new page and date it for today.

  • I delete any unique tasks that were checked off yesterday and clear the checks from any recurring tasks.

  • I clear the copied journal entries at the bottom of the page, making ready for today's entries.

  • I make sure that I have launched my daily tools:

    • MindNode for brainstorming

    • Scrivener from Literature and Latte for serious texts.

    • EagleFiler from C-Command sort, store, and tag my files by project.

    • Notebook, which is already running.

    • EverNote to capture snippets of text and other off-topic ideas as they occur during the day.

To make all this work for me, I also had to be a bit clearer about my disk organization. Over the last few months, I have started a number of projects (visit Barbara Sher's Scanner Tribe if you want to understand why) and had let them grow in an uncontrolled manner. That had to be fixed.

Because I have two computers, I also run DropBox. I confirmed that the key applications all work with DropBox. Each project has a folder in DropBox, and all the files (mind maps, outlines, drafts, notes, and snippets) all land in the appropriate folder.

Don't misunderstand me. My days are not "organized". I still flit from thing to thing as the mood/need takes me. But when I sit down a moment, I can bring my notebook page to the front and get reminders about what else there is to be done.

If I think of something new, it gets a line item on the notebook page. If I decide it will be a project (i.e. it has 3 steps or more), it gets a project folder, a page in the notebook all of its own, a tag in EagleFiler, and a section in EverNote.

Now, at the end of the day, I am rewarded with the feeling that I've accomplished something. It's all right there: notes, checked boxes, drafts, sketches. Everything.

Very satisfying.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Head of the Year

As with most years, I tried to spend January First doing the things I want more of in the coming year and avoiding the things that I wish to see less of.

For me, that means I played a game and cooked and read and visited with the children.

That was two good and one mediocre. Not bad.

The game was me as a British indian scout in 1754, hunting an incursion into our territory by persons unknown. My character, Swift Cloud, survived and sometimes that's all one can expect.

The dinner was not so successful, I'm afraid. I hit the wrong spot on the turkey with the thermometer and so got an underdone bird. I had to microwave the legs. And the vegetables were not up to my standards either.

However, the high point had to be the Skype visit with Rachel and her new laptop. She no longer has to intrude upon her husbands office space to video chat with us. We truly love that! Thanks, Rachel!

Other than those things, I am struggling with mood today. I don't believe that "putting on a happy face" results in a better mood. At best, it reduces the stress placed upon those with whom you interact. At worst, it encourages one to ignore the issues at hand.

Much more practical might be identifying what's wrong, what needs to be addressed.

On the 100 Things front (getting rid of 100 things): all's going well! All of the railroad items are gone. We took an entire trunk load of books, magazines, cars, and track to Sandy, in the hopes he can find a good home for it all. Even if he does not, it's moved along. There might have been 100 things right there if I count books and magazines. A dozen cars, etc...

Today I'm transcribing recent recipes and will try to update the cooking blog as well. Oh, but I have the game to add to the NovaAlbion blog, too. I guess I"ll be busy for a while.

Felice capo d'anno, tutti!