Categories
Blogging

It Might Take A Little More than Persistance

I’m still working on transferring my site over to its new location. I’ve transferred the last last four months over already, and I’ve found enough shortcuts that the process keeps getting faster and faster.

However, I’m running into some design problems that are going to take more than persistance to overcome. For instance, I want to continue to have an index of poets and a list of books reviewed. I originally thought that I could do it automatically using the categories. However, it became clear that Movable Type could not do that. Dorothea of Caveat Lector was nice enough to explain that there are no sub-categories, but, rather, entries can have multiple categories. Not quite the same thing, as it turns out. Sure enough, if you read the manual, that’s what it says. Dorothea was even kind enough to write me a short program that may have solved my problem, though I’m still undecided what answer will take the least time in the long run.

Now, I’m sure that if I were willing to just set up a standard Movable Type blog I would have been done long before now. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit my personality. Once I have my mind made up about what I want, I’m going to do whatever I can to make my site end up fitting my vision.

That takes more than just persistance, it also takes knowledge, and, perhaps, help from friends who know more than you do. Luckily, there is a lot of information in the manuals, and in the help forum at Movable Type. It turns out this is a powerful program, but it takes some serious erffort to make it do what you want it to do. If you’re willing to do your research, though, you can find some powerful extensions to the program.

In a couple of simple steps you can install a plugin folder that allows you to run mini-programs that seem to be multiplying swiftly. I found one I could use by reading the forums at Movable Type.

Despite the problems it’s exciting exploring a new program. I’m beginning to see new potential the more I work on it.

Of course, I just realized that it’s been almost a month since I’ve written about a novel or about poetry, and I’m getting a little impatient to get back to it. Hold on just a little longer. I’ll be back to writing about poetry some time this week.

Categories
Blogging

All I Need is Persistence

If you’re actually here, that probably means you’ve been here before, and hopefully you’re impressed by the progress I’ve made, though there is a lot left to do to finish transfering files and to fine tune the typography and graphics.

At the moment I’m mired in the sheer drudgery of converting all of my Adobe GoLive documents into Moveable Type documents. Mostly it is just cut and paste. So far I’ve transferred almost two months of essays, with ten months left to go.

I’m almost grateful when a problem appears that actually requires me to do a little thinking, like finding out how to drop images into the program, which turned out to be relatively easy. My somewhat limited understanding of CSS made it a little more difficult to continue using a different colored font to indicate what Diane McCormick contributed to this site before she started writing her novel and to continue to indicate direct quotations through the use of sienna-colored type.

I’m still struggling with how to use Moveable Type’s considerable ability to catalogue the site automatically rather than assembling each of them manually. Eventually I will duplicate the present left column automatically. I think. I hope.

I’m making progress, but I’m not sure that I will have everything moved by the end of the weekend, particularly since we’re having unusually good weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Man does not live by the computer alone, after all.

It’s a good thing that our new dog Skye thinks its stupid to sit in front of a computer for hours on end when you can be out there throwing the Frisbee for him. It’s kept me from becoming totally mesmerized, and bored, for that matter.

Thank goodness that Jonathon Delacour helped as much as he did, though I’m still watching his ongoing series in hopes that he’ll actually explain how he managed to change the template so that the content could be moved to the right column.

Categories
Childhood

Stubborn Persistent and Proud of It, I Think

Speaking of stubborn, as I did yesterday, I would have to say that is, for better or worse, probably one of my defining characteristics. I was somewhat reminded of this awhile ago when Jonathon questioned whether certain traits were innate or the result of social conditioning.

I suspect I’m only aware of two of the most infamous examples of my stubbornness because I was constantly reminded of them throughout my life, right up to the point where Grandma would retell these stories to my children to show just how stubborn, or foolish, their father was. Both incidents took place before I was five years old.

The first incident took place when my mother ran out of orange juice. Now, orange juice was a breakfast staple as long as I can remember. Apparently, I found some lemon juice and insisted it was orange juice. Despite my mother’s insistence it wasn’t orange juice, I demanded it for breakfast. My mother gave in, probably assuming I’d quickly admit my error, but I drank the whole glass of juice, insisting the whole time that it was great. Since I’ve never drunk another glass of lemon juice, I suspect I was just being stubborn.

The more infamous incident took place approximately the same time when the family went fishing. We apparently came to a stream that could only be crossed by walking a long log. My dad wanted me to take his hand, but I insisted I was “big enough” to do it by myself. Needless to say, I fell off the log and the only thing my mother could see of me was my cowboy hat floating down the stream. My father was laughing so hard that my mother finally had to push him into the water to save me. Sometimes I think I can remember that hat floating down the stream, but of course that was impossible because I was under it.

Probably the most influential example of my stubbornness in life involved SAT scores. Although my overall scores were high, my English scores had dragged down my overall score. Having earned nothing but “A’s” in high school English, I was too stubborn, or perhaps arrogant, to accept the idea that I was weak in English. My senior year in high school I changed my focus from my Calculus class to my English class, and by the end of the year had decided to change my college major from physics to English, determined to prove “them” wrong.

I never really looked back, though at times I must admit I paused to wonder if I would have been wiser to play to my strengths and go into science, not the humanities. If I were making the decision today I doubt that I would have had to choose so dramatically between my strengths — I would have undoubtably ended up somewhere in the field of computers.

There have been times when I’ve realized that I let other people control me, not directly, but, rather, by telling me I couldn’t do something. Of course, I’ve gone out and done precisely that, just to prove them wrong. Usually these incidents turned out for the best, but other times I’ve realized I’d wasted valuable time doing things I never really wanted to do just because someone said I couldn’t. like it or not, I had let them control my life.

I’ve always felt that since I demonstrated a stubborn streak at such a young age that I must have been born stubborn. I also thought I had inherited it from my father, but it turns out that I may well have inherited it from my mother instead. My mother was raised in an abusive home and apparently stood up to her father even though my dad, a large all-city football player was somewhat frightened by a man he considered “crazy.” As she deteriorated into Alzheimer’s disease near the end of her life and it became necessary to make tough decisions, I was suddenly aware of just how stubborn my mother really was. Perhaps she told all those stories for years because they struck a chord with her. Perhaps she had really encouraged my stubbornness.

The real problem with determining whether these traits are inherited or socially conditioned is that it’s precisely the people whose traits we “inherit” that also raise us, ensuring that we will be as much like them as possible.

My daughter and son-in-law conveniently blame me for Gavin’s stubbornness and temper tantrums, but I just take those as signs the kid’s going to make it in life. A little perserverance is necessary in life. There is, after all, more than a little truth in that sports cliché’ that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Categories
Blogging

If You Hear a Strange Sucking Sound

That’s the sound of Loren being sucked into the murky depths of the technoworld. As mentioned before, I’m in the midst of trying to switch to a new web site so that I can include comments (someone must be behind all those hits), establish permanent links to avoid snide remarks in other blogs (of course the blogger who first did that doesn’t appear to be updating his site any more), and generally make it easier to catalogue my entries so that they are more accessible.

Luckily many people have been extremely helpful and would appear to be willing to offer even more help if I were willing to accept it. Jeff Ward steered me through the process of selecting a reasonably priced ISP and acquiring a new name.

Jonathon, the one who publicly urged me to switch to Moveable Type, has been most helpful. When I couldn’t figure out how to switch the columns in the templates provided, he generously volunteered to write the style sheet for my page. What’s up and running so far at In a Dark Time is mostly due to his help, though I rush to assure you that he doesn’t share the blame for numerous elements I’m still messing with.

You see, I tend to be rather stubborn, and, unless I get really stuck, which I’ll admit does seem to be happening more than usual since I started this project, I want to figure out how to do it myself. As a result, of course, I’m way over my head here. It took me nearly two hours to figure out how to change the template to remove the calendar.

I would have thought that adding links to the site would have been done through the Moveable Type interface, but after spending nearly an hour familiarizing myself with the program, I guess you actually have to paste it into the template rather than merely plug it in. Oh Boy. More sucking. I’m not going to spend my days typing “A HREF=”#”>

To make matters even more frustrating, I’m over at Dorthea’s site while taking a break and notice that her links all have the word Fresh attached to the ones that have been recently updated. I wonder how she does that. Big time sucking sound.

Anyhow, yours truly ends up looking for a Mac program and naturally ends up choosing, what else, BBEdit. I’ve tried it before, God I’ve tried it before, but knowing as little as I do about HTML, I’ve always gotten frustrated and trashed the program.

So, I spent much of the morning looking for how to insert “” automatically into my site. It’s there, you just can’t find it by using the help program or anything else that I could find. It turns out it’s under “Glossary” which might make excellent sense if you understand HTML but seemed quite confusing to me.

Looks like I’ll have to add BBEdit to my long list of recent program additions. More sucking on a checking account that’s already nearly run dry.