The Delusional Architect

If you look real hard, you’ll see that I made some real progress late last night in transforming my new version of In a Dark Time to my vision of what I want the site to look like. I converted to MySQL and Movabletype 2.5 by following Jonathan’s advice and by getting a little help from “girlie” at the MovableType Support Forum (these program are certainly tougher on “typo’s” than I ever was as an English teacher).

After that it was relatively easy to add the Search feature over there in the left hand column, another feature I had to leave the old I.S.P. behind in order to incorporate into my site. I say “relatively” easily because it did take about an hour and a half of research and cutting and pasting to figure out how to include it, without also giving everyone the ability to actually “edit” the entries(why is that the default?).

The next feature, I’m afraid, will take considerably more time than that. Again, following Jonathan’s suggestion, I’m going to try to use Brad Choate’s MySQL plug-in for Movable Type to build the list of poets and books I’ve reviewed. I spent a while today glancing over the instructions and was left wondering if I am going to have to learn SQL Basic in order to do this. (I may yet have to take Shelley up on her offer to help out, though she certainly seems to have more than enough of her own to do.)

After reading all the recent discussions of mental illness, I’m beginning to wonder if my addiction to this site and to my vision of what it should become wouldn’t qualify as some form of mental illness. What started as a mild diversion has nearly become an obsession, ever expanding to take up all the “extra” time I have.

I’m beginning to suspect, though, that what I’m trying to do on this web site really had its genesis when I was still teaching. As a research paper teacher, I thought that the web had immense potential as a research tool. Unfortunately, attempts at research often revealed that there was very little quality work out there. Too few people seemed willing to post quality writing on the web, probably because it meant giving their work away for free. Knowing that most small literary magazines that one can find in college libraries are not profitable and were subsidized by colleges, I found it strange that few of them appeared on the internet, a much cheaper mode of distribution.

Now, I understand people should make money from their writings, but if, as it appears, there is little money to be made in academic writing, why hasn’t more of it appeared on the internet, particularly since it has the potential to draw a larger audience to poetry, an audience poetry desperately needs if it is going to ever become profitable again?

Well, this site is my attempt to do precisely that. I’;m not going to delude myself into believing that this is the kind of analysis that would appear in college journals. It’s never been intended to do that. Nor can a student simply come here and find the kind of essay that would satisfy a high school teacher or college professor. Hopefully, though, it provides a starting point for thinking about the poets and writers that I cover here. I’ve even replied to some students who wrote asking questions about poets I’ve discussed. I’ve tried to ask the kind of leading questions that I asked my own students when they asked for my help. Generally, the students have responded with polite “thank you’s,”; not complaining because I wouldn’t give them an answer.

If this site is an addiction, and it may well be, I’m beginning to suspect that Jonathan may be my”enabler” urging me on to fulfill a crazy vision of what I want this site to become. I don’t remember what his Brigg’s Meyer profile is, but he is certainly feeding into my INTP, the delusional architect of a vast, all-encompassing website.

If Only the Web Could Produce Better Candidates

Since I’ve diverted my attention from reading poetry to upgrading my web site, I’ve been casting around looking for something I can write about without an excessive amount of thought, not that a lack of thought has ever deterred me from writing here before.

The fact is that my own thoughts have turned to local and state elections and trying to gather enough information to make informed decisions about candidates. As usual, I’ve already pretty much made up my mind on the major candidates. After all, I didn’t send money to the DNC and to two local candidates just to turn around and vote Republican, now did I? The truth is, though, that I really consider myself an “independent” and I positively hate it when I can’t vote against at least one Democratic candidate.

I’ve always been bothered about voting on “minor” offices and judicial offices because they are so far off the news scale that I know very little about the candidates unless one of my friends has had something to say about them. Often I’ve ended up just not voting on these offices rather than casting a totally uninformed vote.

It appears, though, that if you have access to the web, a little patience, and some time, that, once again the web proves to be a formidable tool in the gathering of information. By bouncing back and forth between official state pages and the local newspaper on line, I was able to gather information on every single candidate and state initiative that I was undecided on.

I must admit, though, that I regret that more Green Party candidates weren’t running for state office. I would like to be able to vote for alternative party candidates in local elections, if for no other reason than to send a message to the Democratic Party. I also believe alternative parties need to build from the ground up if they are going to be politically effective. Philosophically, I am much more of a Green Party voter than a Democratic voter. Realistically, however, one Green Party representative would probably have zero effects on national politics, a major reason I refused to vote for Nader for President. Jimmy Carter certainly proved that when he was elected President as a political outsider. Despite his intelligence and honorable intentions, I felt that he was an ineffective President. Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, I am more of a pragmatist than an idealist, and too often have had to vote for candidates not because I supported them but because they were the only viable alternative.

Unfortunately the internet can’t insure that only good candidates will run for office, but with all of the resources available on line, there is no reason not to be informed and to vote as if it mattered. Considering the major issues likely to arise in the next two years, I join fellow bloggers in urging everyone to study their ballots carefully and VOTE.

The Smell of Burnt Rubber

I’ve been spinning my wheels all day trying to upgrade my site to MySQL. I uploaded all the new files from the upgrade (at least I thought I did), and ran the upgrade program. Got a number of simple errors that were relatively easily solved then got the error message: "An error occurred while loading data: Connection error: Access denied for user: ‘br6647r@localhost’ (Using password: YES)" Well, I couldn’t solve that problem. Though there’s finally a reply on the MovableType support forum that says that is not the problem and that I need to check my permissions.

Strangely enough, when I tried to sign back into my site I got the same error message. So, I spent most of the day restoring my site, then being locked out of it. Only when I went back to check all the permissions did I discover that good old GoLive had reset all the permissions on the CGI scripts when uploaded.

I’m not saying that I’m frustrated here, but that smell isn’t really the smell of burnt rubber, it’s the smell of my brain frying as I attempt to solve these problems. I can feel a stubborn streak coming on, and that’s not necessarily a pleasant thought after this weekend.

Here’s a cute picture of Leslie’s grandson Kel for Dorothea, as promised:

Unfortunately, someone else’s grandson decided to be stubborn and was unwilling to wear his costume to Zoo Boo. At least he graciously declined, with "No thank you, please" when asked if he wanted to put on his costume. Despite the fact that Nana carried his costume throughout the trip to the zoo, Mr. Gavin declined to wear it. I’m not sure that’s a good sign since I’m babysitting him all next week. Thank goodness stubborness is really a good trait in hiding, right Dorothea?

Don’t Miss these Sites

If you happened to drop into the site today, you might have noticed some strange going on’s (how do you spell check a non-word like that?). I’ve been trying to figure out how to drop a new image into the site in place of the ugly headlines up there.

I did manage to get the picture to show up and the headline to disappear, but the picture was shoved half way down the page. I assume that it has something to do with “padding.” I could probably fix it, but I’m afraid that in doing so I might destroy much of what Jonathan did in helping me design my site. I’ve sent an email S.O.S. and am waiting until I get a reply before I try it on my own.

I also downloaded my entire new site in preparation for upgrading to MySQL so that I can have better search capabilities and, hopefully, a better-looking index at the side of the page. I’m not sure whether or not that makes the site unreachable. I was amazed how long the download took considering that I have cable access.

As I can only take so much stress and boredom, I also spent much of the day web browsing, particularly following sites that have linked to me recently. Two of my favorites seem to be professional photographers (that’ll probably make me hesitate even more before I put many more of my own photos on my site.) Jeez, what with Jeff Ward, James Luckett, Jonathon Delacour and Bobbi, it’s already a wonder I don’t have some kind of complex over including photos in my site.

Luckily, though, I’m seeing two grandchildren this weekend, so if the batteries on my digital camera aren’t drained, as usual, I should have some cute baby pictures for Dorothea on Sunday or Monday (that’ll teach her to write so much on her blog and make the rest of us look bad).

Anyway, back to where I was a couple of paragraphs ago, Emese Gaal’s Homepage has some great photographs and some great links (and I don’t mean the one to my page) to photographic sites. I spent a good part of the day there, and I’ll be going back for inspiration. You can even play around like I did and eliminate /emese/index.htm and meet Wade, another interesting person.

I also spent part of the day at, apparently the home page of another professional photographer. Actually I think I found this site many years ago but didn’t know enough skill to navigate it effectively then. If you like my site, you should also like his site.