Monday, May 31

Many roads traveled; Many changes coming; Many roads yet ahead.

Hello! Ok, so one thing is immediately clear — The metamagical overmind who (barely) controls this site has shifted into experimental mode and all hell is breaking lose. Actually I'm experimenting with physical widths, static vs flexible sizing, color schemes, alignment, fancy post-breaks, minimalism vs a sidebar with navigation features and widgets, how many entries to display at once (performance vs convenience), typography, and no end of other things.

So... don't think this is the way it's gonna look from now on. It's in a state of transition and may end up very similar to the old design simply improved in some way to better handle multimedia and interactive features like polls and surveys, plus upgrade the code base to HTML5 + CSS3 and begin deprecating Flash and other non-native or "plugin" architecture elements as time goes by. OR it could end up totally different. After all, the second Death Star looked JUST LIKE THE FIRST and what happened to it? It got blown up just like the first. I don't want my blog to be blown up.

Secondly, and not clear at all unless you're me or you're some sort of savant with post counts, this is my 2000th official post! Yay! That's five years of blogging at more than a post a day. True, I have a few hundred additional posts which have been retracted and are sitting in "draft" status for various reasons. But that doesn't matter. Neither does reaching 2000, really, except, like a batter in baseball, it's a good number of posts indicating hopefully that at I've managed to commit to and stick with at least ONE think in my life, and for a batter it's a sign that he's had a very good major league career.

But for that batter, 3000 immediately beckons: He knows that Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Joe DiMaggio, Paul Molitor, and Pete Rose have all passed that magical number of base hits. And for me, I see 2000 as the end of the first era of my tinkering and learning what to do, what not to do, and how to reconcile what I want to say with what people who read this blog will enjoy. Now I'm entrenched in my own little league; it may not be the Major Leagues, but to me it's a significant little corner of my life which I enjoy and at times, frankly, just need. And I know now I won't be booed out of the stadium or demoted to a double-A farm team. So I'm looking at my trek to 3000 not as more of the same, but as a period of growth in the technological capabilities of this site while keeping the content as genuine and heartfelt and at times as brutally honest and uncompromising as it should be. I want to become an All-Star now and not just "happy to be here," to keep extending a shaky metaphor.

I'll never allow ads on my blog. I'll never attempt to sell something, or to make this place commercial or anything other than a place for me to write what I feel like writing; and secondarily as a place for friends and readers to discuss - if I'm lucky - what I've posted and to engage in interested conversations in the comments section with people from around the world. If I ever did have an impulse to pursue a commercial venture, I'd make a brand new site for it and not connect it in any way to this one. This is private, though I share it with you all.

So in a sense, I want it to be what it already is... I'm just playing with the technical aspects of it to make it fit into the year 2010 more than 2000. And the style needs an update, let's face it. I'm as fond of nostalgia as anyone, but I'm going to play with the look until I find the right blend of antique and modern that suits me aesthetically. It will probably look nothing like this. I still have lots of plans for a unique logo, better fonts, new features. So bear with me as we go through this renovation together!

Thank you very much!

Sedona, Arizona.

Not my photos, but they make me want to visit! Anyone been to Sedona? How was it? I've been to Phoenix, Flagstaff, The Grand Canyon, many great places in New Mexico... but have never been to Sedona for some reason. I'd like to take a full week to ten days sometime to just alternate hiking around and photographing the beautiful scenery (and seeing if I can bend a spoon or pick up the frequency of any energy vortices :)), and relaxing in the spas that are all over the places, getting a massage, mud bath, ending with a nice dinner, and sleeping like a log. Ahhh.....

Thanks to the anonymous owners of these pics I got from Google Images. I'd credit you if I could! Also, I confess this is partially a demonstration of what a more flexible blog backbone could allow....large, amazing photos like this and larger videos as well than the old Meta-Plane could ever accommodate.

For Karen...

Wednesday, May 26

Do you like ice cream?

I know, dumb question, right?

What's your favorite brand and flavor? Or top few, if you can't possibly narrow it down to one.

Mine is Häagen-Dazs Butter Pecan.

Tuesday, May 25

Two live from DCD.

If you enjoyed these, I strongly recommend the DVD Toward the Within for the full concert, and more interview clips. Sadly Dead Can Dance are no longer together, but Brendan and Lisa continue to have solo careers.

Followup to English accent post.

Here's a funny clip from a show called "Mumbai Calling" in which the character played by the always-great Richard E Grant (Withnail & I, etc.) is teaching a group of Indian customer support workers about accents...

Here's another clip with an English guy running through some of the major regional accents. Turns out there are loads of people more than happy to demonstrate accents on YouTube, some well, some not so well. Actually, it turns out there are loads of people doing everything you can possibly imagine on YouTube.

Monday, May 24

Who here likes gems and minerals?

Giant crystals found in Mexican cavern by miners

Do you have a passion for rocks, minerals, and gems? In jewelry, as a collector or rock hunter, even in the science of geology itself?

If so, raise your hand! Or leave a comment...

Why do you like them? What do rocks, even very pretty ones, mean to you? What about fossils - ever found one yourself? Find yourself intrigued by them?

Ever bought a geode and taken it home to crack open and see if it's a winner?

Any little stories about where you grew up and the geology of the area would be fascinating. =)

You know what I'd like?

Though I don't expect to get it... A 'Happy Father's Day' card - even just an eCard. Something to brighten my day. My daughter's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Father's Day are usually downer days for me. I can and have put my ex-wife behind me, though it's been a hard journey to do so. But not so for my kid. I rarely if ever got Father's Day recognition even when I was with her all the time. People seem to forget about me because I don't pipe up or complain too often, just carry on.

Just saying, it would be nice. I get ignored enough as it is, though some very kind and sweet people in my life have lately made me pretty happy, and I'm doing fairly well. But one can never get enough of thoughtful gestures, even if they're the "Hallmark" type. Heck, I wouldn't mind a card or a small plant just out of the blue. But Father's Day best wishes is something I've rarely ever gotten, and I put a huge part of my life into that role; happily, of course. Mothers get treated very well it seems to me on their special day. Dads, not as much.

We're supposed to be tough and not care about things like that.

The Arcane

Here in the garden of the arcane delights,
Dark shadows overwhelm us and we become blind.
Blind to the needs of those who would be free
From the grip of fear and the prisons of the mind. 

Amidst the throes of perplexity
Phobia moves amongst us, in her hand is held the seed.
Extermination angel stood beside the road
In violent retribution for the seeds we have sown.

(Brendan Perry)

Sunday, May 23

Graphics formats.

Yes, most have their uses in some niche or other. But it's not what's useful or necessary - which do you LIKE to save as, create, view, etc? And why? You don't have to explain why but it would be interesting to hear if you do happen to have a reason.

If you don't know or don't care, that's fine too! We're not all fortunate enough to be geeks.

Saturday, May 22

Trivial Pursuit

This is for people who enjoy the game Trivial Pursuit.

Please rate how good you think you are at each category, or, maybe just how much you like them.

A. People and Places (Geography) - Usually Blue
B. Entertainment - Usually Pink
C. Science and Nature - Usually Green
D. History - Usually Yellow
E. Arts and Literature - Usually Brown
F. Sports and Leisure - Usually Orange

These are the "Genus" version categories, and the colors and category titles have changed slightly over the years, and from version to version.

Your choices of ratings are:

1 - I'm horrific
2 - I'm below average
3 - I'm average
4 - I'm above average
5 - I kick ass

I'm interested to see what categories people like and/or are skilled at! Don't be humble, call it like you really see it. And this would be compared to average (game-playing) people, not geniuses or children.

Well, rate yourself already! =)

Friday, May 21

English language accents

This survey ask you to rate how well you like (enjoying hearing and/or consider euphonious or charming, for example) the various accents of native English speakers around the world.

A few notes before we start. I left out all accents, however nice or awful they may be, of people who speak English as a second language. Thus, we all know how Germans, French, Italians, Spaniards, East Indians, and Russians sound when speaking English. But they are not included, even though they may totally fluent, because they have another primary language which just confuses the situation for the purposes of this quiz.

If you are unfamiliar with an accent listed, please select "No judgment" so that you will not skew the results of the survey. Also, this is a survey about the accents themselves, not the people who speak them, their culture, slang, or anything else. You may love a culture but hate their accent. Just judge the accent in isolation, please.

The survey will pop up when you click the link below. Thank you for participating!

You may not get immediate feedback after completing the survey. I'm working on this. If nothing else, after some time has passed, I will report the results manually. Many of the reports from "PollDaddy" aren't available unless you pay, but I can see all your responses at least. If necessary, as I said, I will tally the final results myself and publish them.

Some great photoshopped piccies...

Some out-of-date pictures of my daughter Susannah...

She's OUT of high school - even older than Lauren, my Dad's daughter with my stepmom. Society is sure weird sometimes...

I had dozens or maybe hundreds more photos and still do somewhere, but they're not on this hard drive. Also, I don't have any photos for the last several years, during which she was matured in her looks quite a bit, nor pictures of her younger years. They're in the possession of my ex-wife I'm afraid.

I particularly had some great photos of her in Thailand with us as well as an impromptu "photo shoot" down at the park when she got her dSLR Nikon (from me), and we wanted to try it out. We got some great pics from that session but again, they are not currently in my possession. :-|

My half-sister Lauren...

Seems like she was just born not many years ago. Now she's in high school :-S


Animal antics...

My sister's pets.






My friend Giusi's new adopted WHITE lab mix!

This is Magi, everyone! He's very happy to have a loving home in Sweden with Giusi and Davide, and the pleasure is mutual! Isn't he handsome?

Awwww...Che bello!


Friday, May 7

If there is a God, I don't think He would demand that anyone bow down or stand up to Him.
Rebecca West, author and journalist (1892-1983)

Check out more daily quotations and build your vocabulary at A Word A Day.

Thursday, May 6

Caprica: A pretty good show so far...

Only in the middle of Season One but it's got good production values and writing for a cable Sci-Fi series. Part of the reason is the complex characters and the lack of black-and-white good and bad forces... like in the real world, most people consider themselves to being doing the right thing, but their beliefs and agendas often clash with those of others. Here's a clip about just that aspect of the show (sorry about the ad in the beginning, I couldn't get rid of it):

Overall, intriguing debut, and I'm interested to see whether it keeps evolving and stays multifaceted or whether it jumps the shark and falls into a well-defined genre aimed at a certain fan demographic in order to try to get better ratings, under pressure from suits at the station. Given that Battlestar Galactica (the recent series) maintained pretty good integrity, I don't think they would cave in and turn it into a fluffy, sexy action series or something petty. They'd probably just wrap it up and cancel it if it came to that (like HBO's "Rome"). I think if you liked BSG you'll like this, although this show is deliberately nothing like that one. Well, it is in terms of there being an ongoing story arc and multiple plot threats, but it's a more a people drama than a space romp. Which is kinda nice I think, as we get to see the background of these worlds only mentioned in the original series, and that fleshes out the whole universe and gives context to everything that comes later.

Tuesday, May 4

Something new, a poll.

A Beatles doubleheader.

Fixing A Hole.

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go.
I'm filling the cracks that ran though the door
and kept my mind from wandering
where it will go.

And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong.
See the people standing there
who disagree and never win
and wonder why they don't get in my door...

I'm painting my room in a colorful way,
and when my mind is wandering
there I will go.

And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong.
Silly people run around
they worry me and never ask me
why they don't get past my door.

I'm taking my time for a number of things
that weren't important yesterday
and I still go.

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go...
where it will go...
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go...


Across The Universe.

Words are flying out like
Endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which
Dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they
Make their way across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life
Are ringing through my open ears
Exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
Shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva


Sunday, May 2



Sometimes I'm dumb. Realized shortly after I wrote the last post that my parchment-colored graphic isn't a tile that's repeated; rather, each horizontal element is a single graphic, with the darker sides included. What a dumb decision the original template maker made! In other words, for the main "scroll" part of the blog (not the background off to the far sides), there are three graphic files the style sheet uses: A single instance of a top graphic which has the top border, a single instance of a bottom graphic which has the bottom border, and then as many instances of a middle graphics which contain bits of border on the left and right and which can be tiled only vertically to accommodate a vertically growing blog.

All of which is fine, except that is allows no expansion horizontally. Since the three graphics have fixed widths, I can expand the area where the text flows but I can't expand the "parchment" look that covers that area visually. I grabbed all three graphic files and could easily expand them in Photoshop to any width I wanted, but the template pulls them from a server to which I have download-only access - thus I can't upload newer, wider graphics to those locations. My only solution would be to host the new wider files somewhere else, and then change the CSS to point to the new locations rather than the old. Not very hard to do, and I may give it a shot soon. Until then, sorry about the annoying and unsightly right margin.

Improvements in progress...

I widened the main body of the blog, where the posts show up, in the style sheet, but for some reason my parchment graphic is not playing along and repeating until reaching the new wider right margin, where it uses a different, darker graphic. Thus, there is a line of the darker graphic floating on the right-hand area of the main section of the blog, as you can see, then a resumption of the main parchment graphic.

I'm still working on this, so please be patient and I hope to have it figured out shortly! The wider 'main' space should better accommodate newer widescreen videos and bring the blog more up to date with today's larger resolutions. The next version of my blog will definitely feature dynamically-adjusting widths for all blog elements, so that it should seem tailored to your screen resolution (within reason) and not be nearly as static as it is now. In the meantime, though, I wanted to widen this one a bit... Just have to figure out why the background tiling is not playing nice. Thanks for your patience.

Another poll.

A poll.

Archived Posts

Search The Meta-Plane