More from the Spam Bin

I hope to write some more substantial entries soon.  It has been difficult to find the time and motivation in the middle of job hunting.  For now, we revisit the Spam Bin!

There were three new entries today with two standouts.  One was the normal, poorly written/translated deal that goes something like this – ‘i stumble onto you thoughts and they are like thoughts i wish would fall from my head. Back come will i for plus plus’.

Then there were two new and innovative approaches to Spam – though both were still poorly written.  The first of these went something like this – ‘i come your blog to find inspired.  I find this not.  You waste time and seek attention only with things you could fix if you want.’  Now let’s be clear – this could totally apply to me, and almost every other ‘first-person’ blogger.  There may even be some entries in my blog that would warrant this admonition – but this was intended to be posted as a comment to the entry on Meditation.  I think that is probably the least self-involved and self-indulgent entry on the whole blog.  And, the email address of the “person” who tried to post this was something like gfatPORN@mysite.com.

The final example for today was a new form of clever.  “I left a comment on your blog one time and signed for mail about replies.  Now i get mails 4 times in the day about comments.  This every day and all are Spam. Can fix so no more will this happen?”  Wow – it almost got me for a micro-second.  But the good side of having an obscure blog with an incredibly small readership – i know everyone who has an approved comment personally, and i also am ‘signed for mail about replies’ so i would be getting those same messages.  But still – a nice attempt.

I do welcome comments of all sorts and would approve and share comments that presented less than flattering impressions of me and the blog.  If you ‘come my blog to find inspired’ and find only a whiny self-indulgent fellow, comment away and i will share it – so long as you are a real human and not a spammer, phisher, or other nefarious electro-being.  I have to protect my two dedicated readers, 10 regulars, and the other 10-20 people who sometimes drop in…

Camels and Gas - Northern Qatar near Al Ruis - 2005

Sabarimala

All of this talk and thought about Meditation, and doing a quick write-up on the CDs i sent to Karen has made me recall many things about my time in India. The CDs come into play because one of them is mostly devotional songs for Lord Ayyappa – the patron saint of Sabarimala.

The historical/traditional story of Lord Ayyappa will come later (soon) as will the story of my pilgrimage there.  For now i will just say that it is a holy site and a pilgrimage destination for Hindus from all over the world.

On the Way to Sabarimala - August 24, 2007

 

It is in Northern Kerala in a mountainous/heavily forested region.  There are purification rituals that you undergo as far as 45 days before making your pilgrimage (no meat, booze, smokes, sex, impure thoughts, and so forth).  You have a special pooja ceremony with a specific priest in the morning before you leave for your trip.

Depending on which of the two paths up the mountain you choose, you may (as i did) bathe in the holy river Pamba before making your ascent.

Cracker in the Pamba - August 24, 2007

 

You climb this mountain barefoot.

There are many, many other pilgrims with you on the trip.  There would be anyway, but the site is only open to pilgrims a few specific times each year.

I am bringing this up because i do feel that it is time for me to begin writing and sharing more openly about my time in India and in the Mid East.  I think that the story of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala may be a good place to begin.

Cows in the road - Way Home - August 25, 2007

 

Also – there was a terrible accident there last night and over 100 people died in a stampede.

The cause and details are a little sketchy right now and probably the “true story” will never be known.

It seems that vehicles were probably involved (there are not supposed to be any vehicles in the area) as well as incredibly poor infrastructure and planning for a site that gets predictably huge crowds at specific times every year.

While the whole incident is tragic and i am sending out good thoughts for all involved, i also do not yet know if any of my people we there at the time.

I have sent some mails out to my partners, employees, and friends and have not yet had any replies.

One of the reports states that only 5 Keralites were killed, though there are 8 unidentified bodies.

I do not think my guys were there at this time, but this is a special time of year cosmologically to be at Sabarimala.

A few of my guys - Red Bananas, Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India - 11/21/07

 

Anyway, some carefully crafted invective about organized religion, greed, poor leadership, poor government, and poor planning are sure to follow, but for now i just want to send out good thoughts and reflect on the unknown and the transitory nature of existence.

If ever we needed another reminder to make each moment count and to live each day to the fullest and to follow our dreams – to do what we love – this is a good one.

Over 100 people died on a holy pilgrimage to an ancient and sacred site where they hoped to share their faith and get closer to the spirit of God.

 

 


Post Mexico fill-in Update #1

January 10, 2010

– – I do intend to finish the travel journal, and without too much delay.  There will be some other content mixed in, and hopefully I will be too busy with the job hunt and the work of my new job to spend much time on this each day.

I am trying to adjust to being back in the states, back in the cold, back at my parents’ house, and back at my parents’ house while my grandpa is here too.  When my grandpa is here, he gets the suite we (my grandpa, dad, and I) built in the basement and I “move into” the living room.  I am trying to channel the feelings i have about this situation into motivation for the job search instead of – other places.

There are good and bad elements of being “home”.  Being with my dog Lucas is nice.  Having a kitchen and creating good vegetarian food is nice. I made potato soup, stir fry, beans and rice with two uncommon red beans, a giant green salad, and a variety of lovely breakfasts.  Seeing my family again is also nice.  Having to drive again is not as nice.  I miss the Collectivo and may look into the bus schedules around here.

Being around a vast sea of Americans is not as nice, and I am back to spending 70-90% of my waking hours with the headphones on.  This actually started on the 5th in Tulum before I even left there for Cancun…

January 5th – Tulum

I woke up at 6, read for an hour, then packed and cleaned up my room.  I walked to the ruins and got there just as they opened at 8 AM.  It was nice to get to see them.  They are less visually impressive as buildings than some other sites, but if you take in the complex as a whole, the remaining jungle, the protected beaches, the view from the cliffs, and think back on what life would or could have been like here hundreds or thousands of years ago – it was pretty cool.

Iguana Worshiping the Sun

By the time I was done and getting ready to leave, the first buses had arrived and while most of these tourists were poorly behaved (I guess it is a form of mob mentality) the Americans were the worst of the bunch.  (We’re #1!)  At almost every temple site, tourists look casually around, then step over the ropes indicating where we are not supposed to go, then they go there.  They climb the steps and jump on the roofs.  They mount the sacred shrines as well.  Once the guards see them and ask them to stop, most people do, but a few groups of people argue with and then yell at the guards.  Who are these people?  In every case, my country-men and women – Americans.  “We were not the only ones doing it, why don’t you yell at them?”  “There are not even any signs!  How were we supposed to know?”  Of course there are signs.  There are signs everywhere.  The entrance path is about ¾ of a kilometer for the sole purpose of hoping that you will read all the signs (it is really just two signs repeated many times – in several languages).  And, in addition to all the signs and warnings, there is a very clear path one is supposed to walk on.  The boundary of this path is a suspended rope.  What nimrod that managed to successfully board a plane and make it through customs and immigration without getting shot does not understand what these frackin‘ ropes mean?!  Guess what genius?  You and your kind are the reason we cannot climb the steps to the top of Chichen Itza anymore.  Thanks a lot for that.

– So, I resorted back to headphones before leaving the ruins in an attempt to keep old-cantankerous-bitter-“Get off my lawn you damn kids”-Nick in dormancy at least until the end of my vacation.  Those people were much less annoying doing the tourist ballet to ‘Kind of Blue’.

I left the ruins by an alternate route and found Santa Fe Beach.  This is one of the Northern beaches that my new friend Yuri liked as well as the beach recommended by one of the great people from Mama’s House, Ilana.  I walked along the beach awhile and enjoyed listening to the surf and just digging the different vibe of being on more of a locals’ and backpackers’ beach instead of the packed tourist beach to the south.  When it looked like the beach was about to turn rocky, I headed back to the jungle road and made my way back to Mama’s House.  I got back about 10:30 and had plenty of time to shower and change.  Ilana let me put my bags in the house while i went to the bus station to investigate going to Cancun.

I got a first class bus (these have a bathroom!) to Cancun for about 90 pesos.  It takes almost three hours to get to the ADO stop in Centro, so I bought a ticket on the 2:30 bus, hoping that would leave me time to catch R1 to the Hotel Zone and get set-up before dark.

Traveling Equipment Part 2 –

Footwear – I wore my super light running shoes on the plane and carried my crocs in the suitcase.  Having both of these was awesome.  At the Barcelo Maya! I was not sure that I could have gotten in to all the various restaurants if crocs were my only footwear.  Outside of the Barcelo Maya! I had some seriously long walks that were much nicer in a more supportive shoe.

Velcro – I bought a pack of 5 or 6, 5 inch velcro strips from Wal-Mart for various uses in backpacking.  I brought two of these with me and used them to carry my crocs around.  It was simple and quick to lash the crocs to my shoulder bag, freeing my hands while walking barefoot on the beach/in the surf.  This also worked as a nice means of bringing my crocs along on all day missions to the beach/town several miles from the hotel.

Clothes – here I did well.  I travelled in jeans and brought one pair of Dockers (again for the restaurant/night-life options) and used both of these to great effect.  I had one pair of  zip-off hiking pants along and they too worked out well (though I only zipped the pant legs on one time).  I had two long-sleeved shirts: one walking shirt with roll-up sleeves and one standard blue button-up.  Both of these were good choices.  There were enough cool-cold nights that having more than one long-sleeved shirt was nice.  I did bring too many handkerchiefs and socks.  Two of each would have been fine instead of the 4 or 5 of each I had along.  The four quick-dry shirts I brought were fantastic.  The area that needed the most improvement was shorts.  I had one swimsuit/running shorts combo, one pair of golf shorts, the aforementioned hiking zip-offs, and one pair of cargo shorts along.  I found the swimsuit/running shorts for 12 bucks at the nike factory outlet near my house before I left.  I wish I had bought 3 pairs and left the other shorts at home.  The nike shorts are super light and dry very quickly.  That would have been a nice improvement.

Mexico Update #3

December 26th

Skipping over the events of Barcelo Maya! and the travel to Playacar for now, i wanted to share a little bit about yesterday – Christmas in Mexico.  Fair Warning – this turns political, and emotional, and “preachy” would not be a far stretch, about halfway through.

It is about ¾ of a mile to the swanky downtown area of Playa Del Carmen from my hotel.  The walk is safe.  Very small Airport on one side and a row of gorgeous, though abandoned or not yet occupied buildings, on the other.

The swanky end of downtown has the nice free public restrooms – always good to know where those are.

I looked around and quickly learned that this too is pretty much like the touristy sections of Virginia Beach or Ocean City or Myrtle Beach – hawkers, overpriced stuff, and large crowds of slowly wandering tourists.  But it was interesting all the same.  I found one of the veggie places from Happy Cow100% Natural.  Sadly their site is poorly designed with images and flash instead of text so google translate does not work there.  I did download the menus and did some work con dictionario and learned enough about what was offered.  When i found the restaurant, it was near the beach on one of the main drags – 5th Avenue.  This is what it said on Happy Cow, but on their own website it is listed about 15 blocks away. It looked just like the picture and description from Happy Cow (waterfall!) and the menu was the same.  I did not have enough spanish to find out if there is more than one location, or if they moved – but i have 6 more days in Playacar to figure that out.  The location from the website is very near the natural food store I plan to visit anyway, so I can check those out at the same time.

After noting their location on the map i drew combining info from the phone book and the interwebs –

Highly Detailed Map

i told them i would be back and went off to locate another Happy Cow find – Playa RAW.  This is a vegan, raw only joint.  I have only been to one other restaurant of this style, but the food is better than it sounds.  Vegan Raw lasagna is awesome.  How do they do it?  I don’t know.  It is mind blowing to imagine lasagna prepared without heat, cheese, or dairy – but they do it and i like it.  I have never studied these folks or their methods, but I did learn a little.  They are Vegans plus (or minus).  Heat causes chemical change that decreases the amount/effectiveness of the nutrients in food.  Raw food has maximum effect.  They take the principles of vegetarian/vegan animal friendliness and extend them to the rest of the earth.  Everything needs energy to sustain itself.  We get ours from food.  Eat as low on the food-chain as you can and maximize the effect you get from eating so that you kill fewer things to sustain yourself.  All I know about their cooking methods: some use is made of non-electrical natural-convection-style and/or solar dehydrators.  I don’t know “the best” ones, but if you google it, there are tons of info sites and even DIY youtube videos.

I knew it was going to be a long walk, but i had not managed to get a sense of scale on the maps yet to know if it was 2 miles or 6 miles.  It is closer to 5 miles – one way.  A direct route may be only 4 miles or less, but i was not on a direct route.  I turned around at about 65th Street North.  Playa RAW is near 84th Street North.  Known location for good veggie food, 100% Natural, – about 10th Street North.  Known bathroom – 10th Street South.  I had already walked around 3 miles, and i was getting hungry, and would need a bathroom sooner than later, and you leave the tourist areas and enter the blocks where people live near 20th Street North.

I did not have the sensation of fear walking in these neighborhoods, but i was uncomfortable.  If i had more Spanish, i would have felt a little better, but as with other places where the poor live, it is hard not to feel like you are flaunting your wealth.  It was an odd place.  There was a mixture of absolute squalor – rivaling conditions i saw in the Indian slums around Delhi and the refugee areas (“camps” makes them sound better than they are) around Amman, Jordan – normal poor folk, and even lower middle class/upwardly mobile folks.  There were kids with radio control cars playing in the street and almost every late teen/early twenty year old had headphones on or was playing tunes on their phone in speaker mode.  But right next to these are the people digging through trash looking for anything useful, living in burned out buildings with maybe 3 walls and collapsing roofs, or in abandoned construction sites, or just under a tattered tarp.

I do not have the answers, but i do think it is important to learn to even ask the questions.  Back home i think of myself as poor – or at least economically lower class. Mostly i am just ‘thrifty’ (or cheap if you wish) and the ‘poor’ self-image encourages thrift.  It is a simple but effective tool – you spend less and learn how to do more with less if you tell yourself you have no money.  But there are options and resources available to me that these people do not have.  This is a gross oversimplification but i think it is a great example of the importance of the Big 3 – Economics, Infrastructure, Education.

Politically, you have to find a way to help those who need it – and it takes a lot of money. You have to get people with money to give it to you so you can get resources to the people with no money.  And you have to find ways to generate and retain more people who have more money – Economics.

It is hard to get a job, even a not-very-good job, if you smell bad all the time and have nothing but dirty clothes because you do not have water – Infrastructure.

It is hard to get a better job if you can’t read or write – Education.

I believe that we have been blinded by the pace of life today.  Everything must be said in a sound-bite and issues must be made sexy and fun.  The things that need the most attention and the people that need the most help do not fit into these categories.  It is hard to campaign for office or do fundraising on a platform of sewage, roads, and books – but those are the things that will do the most good – everywhere in the world.  It is embarrassing that we not only have not fixed these things – we are not even really trying to fix them.

These are not secrets.  It is not hard to reach these conclusions, or build a consensus on the veracity of these claims.  I have no special knowledge, skills, or de-coder ring – these facts are laying out in the open for all to see.   We choose to look away, back to our own lives.  Me too.  I have done charity work, built and repaired with Habitat for Humanity, volunteered in soup kitchens, given money and clothes, built websites and presentations, planned and led events, and designed fundraising strategies for other charity organizations.  But, i spend way more time on selfish pursuits.

We can’t all be “all give all the time”.  I get that.  But why can’t we get everyone some water and some rice, a road to the hospital, and a book?  Why aren’t we trying harder?

Bits and Pieces

Another random mash-up today.

Future Work:

I got some excellent resume feedback from two non-local editors and went over that material with my local editor.  I did not get to incorporate all the changes yet, but should be on track with that tomorrow morning.  I shared more details of my plan with my dad and he is also confident that things will work out.

I may come back to some of this when more free time appears out of nowhere, but this is the general idea:

Finish resume and send out to certain sources tomorrow, and call a few interested parties for possible meeting times.  Do a little interview/job talk prep and practice Sunday.  Go to meetings in DC (hopefully) Mon, Tue, Wed – as needed. At a meeting on the 18th, my dad spread the word about my job search and several of our colleagues were interested and three requested that we meet after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, for specific projects to begin soon.

Finish travel planning and leave for Singapore as soon as possible – probably around the 12th (hopefully sooner).  About one week in Singapore, then off to Cambodia for about 2 weeks, back to Singapore for a few days, then back to the US.  Finish securing new job and move to location (in/near DC) convenient for new job.

The wild card in the travel plan is my friend in Singapore.  It is the end of the year and pre-vacation crunch time and they are in and out of time zones from London to Australia, so getting time to finalize things has been difficult.  I am brewing up secondary options in case the first trip concept falls through.  It will involve warm, beach, cheap, and probably not in USA – maybe Mexico/South America…

Webwork:

I did not finish the resume work for a few reasons, one of which is that i spent the better part of today updating and fixing lots of tiny issues on one of the sites i built and maintain.  The Board of Directors had a meeting this week and that usually results in some tasks for me, so i tend to schedule regular site maintenance around these times when i will need to look under the hood anyway.  It is not perfect, but this is one of my favorite sites that i have ever worked on.  It looks both professional and pretty. The navigation is reasonable.  And it remains fairly easy to change and expand.  I still have tasks on my short, mid, and long-term lists for this site, and i have some bigger overhaul/redesign concepts and tasks on deck as well, but those never go away no matter how well you design and build.

Geeky Tech talk Revisited:

In the last post i talked about google chrome.  I used Chrome most of the day today and i figured out some more of the personalizing to try to put it on par with Firefox.  Of all the extensions i installed that i have had time to play with, the Ad Blocker is the clear winner.  All the ad problems i referenced have disappeared. {And there was much rejoicing – (5 points…).} The other two key custom features i miss from Firefox are clocks and weather.  I did find semi-reasonable replacements.  The weather one is almost as good and easy. I can still glance at my browser – click nothing – and know the temp, which is useful before dog walking.  I have to train myself to look top right instead of bottom right, and there is less info available in that quick glance with the Chrome extension than there is in the Firefox add-on, but it is ok.

The difference maker may end up being the functionality of world clocks. In Firefox, i can glance at the bottom left of my browser and know what time it is in as many places as i like.  I don’t do quite as much varied international calling or business calling in the US as i used to, but it is really nice to glance down and see West Coast, Texas, London, Dubai, Doha, Delhi, and Singapore at once with no clicks.  The extension i settled on for now in Chrome lets you add as many clocks as you want, but you cannot move/re-order them.  So if your needs change, the list becomes disorganized or you have to delete your entries and add them back according to your chronological or geographic preferences.  And you have to click the icon to bring up the list.  The second fault, having to click instead of seeing them displayed on a bottom status bar, is not really a deal breaker (and i imagine Chrome will have to add something like this in the near future if they want to increase market share).  But the lack of reordering/editing capability is a killer.  I can’t be fussed to delete and rebuild these lists every time my needs change and if i have to talk regularly with someone in Germany or Australia for a few months, and then i need Israel – you get the idea.
(Though i imagine the developer might fix these as well…).

I love computers.  I used to build them (assemble really).  If i am not building them, i do custom order the parts of machines i buy.  Now that i have finally made it into macland (over a year!!), i still love hardware, the choices are just easier and simpler and require so much less research and support time from me.

Where the magic happens...


A little resume and lots of geeky tech talk

 

A) I finished a reasonable draft of my resume last night, crafted for the current first phase of the job hunt, and have it out to three editors.  I was jazzed and could not get to sleep until about 3:45 this morning, so i am a little tired.  Once i incorporate the feedback i will have it online should you wish to: read it for pleasure, help with edits, hire me…  You can read the old version if you like.

Initially, i will simply replace this existing resume with the new one, but i am also crafting a narrative style bio for the web to replace the resume. Though for ease until i get hired somewhere else, i will probably implement a ‘download pdf resume’ button.  With the resume “nearly done”, i can press forward with slightly less unsavory tasks – finishing re-writing the rest of the RAI website.

Meeting of the MINDS - DC 2004

B) I am still working on transitioning to a self-hosted environment for this blog.  So far i am still stalled at the initial phase.  I have all the pre-pre work done, but the true first step “install WordPress on your website” – that one is still holding me up.  I did find and fix a slight (though probably inconsequential) error in the sample php config document the comes with the WordPress install download package, that you have to edit so that it will talk to your MySQL database, but that has not made everything groovy yet.  I do think it could have helped because i am getting different error messages than i was before.  I thought i had this all figured out, but i took a shortcut that may or may not have made any difference.  After deleting all the old install files from my site, and deleting the first database as well – in order to do a fresh and clean install, i assigned many of the same values in the new (second) database that i used in the first database.  Probably should not matter, but i do not really know what was wrong the first time, so i am trying to catch any useful details.  Today i shall start again.

C) Related to B) a little bit – web browsers.  I decided to try checking out the self-hosted blog in a wider variety of browsers instead of just 2 – Firefox which is my browser and Seamonkey which is my web design platform.  At least it has been for html – i do not yet know if i will need something else to develop php and css chops because i have not started figuring all that out yet.  So far in the reading, it seems that PHP and CSS are done more by actual coding than the GUI html approach dominant in the past, so people are doing it in simple text editors.  The nicest part of starting over with an issue like webdesign is that this is not a bad time to be doing it.  People have figured out a lot of mistakes made and have largely agreed on some decent standards.  So, i hope to continue to learn more about designing to current standards and getting rid of some old crap like the prevalence of tables in html designs.

I installed Chrome for the first time and dusted the cobwebs off of Safari.  I have never really liked Safari.  It works fine, but i don’t like the way it looks, you can’t customize your tool/nav bars as easily as some others, and i really hate the way it deals with and displays bookmarks.  I have used Chrome before on other people’s machines, and i figured that what i did not like were things i could fix through preferences on any machine of mine, and i had a good feeling about it since i like most things google makes.  I think that the gmail web interface is the only thing google makes that i do not like.  I love gmail, it just always bothered me that google decided i did not need folders anymore and i cold not have them.  Since i have been working in a fully portable high-powered laptop environment for a decade or so, i don’t need the web interface and I solved this by using gmail in the mail client of my choosing, formerly Thunderbird while i was still stuck with Windows, and now Mac Mail.

It was interesting to note that the self-hosted blog looked different in the different browsers.  Actually it looks the same in every browser except Firefox.  The blog would load in Firefox but would not in the other browsers.  The error messages i could see were useful, but still interesting that they did not come up in Firefox (and for other geeks out there, it was not a cookie or cache issue).

I enjoyed using Chrome.  It was super quick to set-up and i got it customized to about 90% of where i wanted it to be inside of 5 minutes.  I have not yet researched the last 10% but i bet it is possible.  Chrome looks slick and things work well, and having google search incorporated into your address bar is awesome.  I have only been playing with it for a few hours, but i don’t understand why all the ads?  There are ads at the bottom of people’s posts in my google reader, ads on my facebark, ads on some search pages, and it frustrates me.  Admittedly, i may be spoiled, but this does not happen to me in  Firefox. In Firefox, i have no ads in google reader ever. I have no ads on facebark ever, and i have no ads on search pages.  The ad banner that loads at the top of “free hosting” accounts with godaddy (which is where my self-hosted blog lives for now until i see if it is worth paying for) – i don’t even see that banner in Firefox.  I may look into seeing if i can cut the ads out of Chrome, but i bet not.  Mozilla has a different mandate than google.  I can’t blame google for wanting to make money, but i don’t want to see the ads.  It is a slippery slope between having a few ads and becoming godaddy.*

*Note – do a host provider write-up soon to get input on what other people are using.

Summation:

Hopefully you guys will help me with resume feedback after the new one gets posted.

Hopefully i can get WordPress to install correctly today.

I will play with chrome a little more, but most likely i am sticking with Firefox.

Godaddy frustrates me very much, but it is like having an old car and not being able to afford a new car.  Do you stick with the one you have, fixing the things you know are broken, or do you buy a different used car having no idea what is about to break on that?  Further discussion pending…

The ladies of Red Bull - Doha 2005

Grrrrr

Today, I am recovering from the thanksgiving trip: laundry, general office admin, back-up the “new” digital Billie Holiday, catch up on some correspondence and article reading.  I need to implement the resume changes i have made mentally into the actual world, but i am a bit drained today.  In order to stay productive, i thought it would be a good day to activate my self-hosted WordPress blog.

I re-read all the instructions from a few sources as well as a few user testimonial/tutorial/feedback articles.  The process was easy and simple – up to a point.

I did not like the idea of having to create a new user to activate and complete the install of WordPress and access my blog.  I already have a user account.  I know that technically these are two separate things and they have no way to talk to each other directly, but it still bugs my brain.  And, i know that i can set-up the “new user” the exact same way as the “old user” and not really feel any difference.  But like i say – it just bugged me.

Of course, it does not look like my blog once i do finish the install, it looks like a brand new blog template – duh, i have not uploaded any of my content yet – but i take a little tour, and the horrors begin.

Ok, these are actually small on the scale of “horrors”, but in terms of little digital bastards i now have to fight – they are pretty big to me.  The horror is two pronged: I think it involves a (probably simple) issue with the php admin file (and I don’t really know anything about php, so I do not know how to find any errors) – and I do not know the right words to use to describe the rest of the problem appropriately so that google will tell me what to do next.

The short version: my admin page is all fracked up.  Instead of the standard view I am used to from using the WordPress hosted blog, there is no header/title bar with drop down menus, there is no narrow nav bar on the left with two “content pane columns” in the middle and on the right.  What I have is a giant ball of text.  It is not exactly like reading code, but it is close.  The GUI is all munged up so that all the “weeee” is gone and I am left with just the “goo”.

When you read this mangled mass of words, you do see that it seems that the key nav structure is still sort of present, but it is very different.  And, when you do click on anything like “Posts” or “Themes”, the “new” information comes down at the bottom of this long jumbled list of words, and that too is jumbled and difficult to read and use.

So, I am frustrated.  I did a little bit of searching for terms like “wordpress install admin panel problem” – adding/changing with “self hosted, dashboard, godaddy, php” – none of these lead me towards anything like my issue – so far.

One site I forgot to bookmark during research (grrr) referenced something about (paraphrase) “when you change the php admin page make sure not to do X, Y, and Z, and if your page does not display correctly there is probably space before this initial set of symbols or after this set of final symbols”.

I did nothing but what I was instructed when I edited my php page, but I did read all the stuff there and noted that the initial and final sets of symbols were not the same or mirror images of one another as I would expect.  But I can’t find that page and again, I don’t have the proper vocabulary to describe this stuff well enough (especially when I am frustrated).

So, I did get this blog exported and imported, and I thought I might as well go ahead and slap the right theme on, but there was again thwarted by the nearly impossible to use flawed admin panel.

I gave up and went to practice some golf.  That started off well.  I was hitting my 9 iron straight (mostly) and pretty near the pin.  Then with about 6 balls left, I switched to the driver.  On my second ball, the shaft broke where it meets the club-head and my club-head went about 75 yards down the range.

I tried to shake it off and went to do short chips around the putting green.  That went better and after 120 short chips (good results), I packed it in and came home to write, eat, do something else and start again tomorrow.

I have to, have to, have to, do resume work first thing tomorrow morning once i “clock-in”.  But, when I do get back to the blog issues, I will first do a re-download, unzip, and upload of the WordPress files.  If that don’t work, I will try another search for sample php pages (today’s searches did not lead me to the opening and closing symbols section) or just general php writing info.  I will probably re-do the php page in question and see where that leaves me.

Or – I will discover that some smart person has replied to this entry and told me the magic answers!!??!

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Protected: My 36th Birthday – or The Golf Clubs From India!

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A little bit of random for you (or welcome to my head)

I am still here, still doing ok, and still committed to writing in this blog.  I have not run for several days, but i have stayed on the abstinence plan.  I celebrated 4 weeks of cleansing on the 4th with a nice bottle of tap water!  Without thinking about the larger context, i ate a chocolate covered coffee bean in Giant.  It was awesome, but after 4 weeks with no caffeine or coffee – it took about 3 seconds before i REALLY wanted a smoke.

I am currently working on a few different, hopefully brief, personal writing projects offline that i will bring here when they are a little more advanced. {Current difficulties with the running/exercise, why i hate the holidays, the general anxiety/dread/discomfort i feel related to impending life changes, the golf basics project, and a political mash-up (voting, the state of public discourse, the “discussion” about health care reform, taxes, government spending, and more!) that will take a while to untangle into manageable chunks.}

I also still have a lot of my least favorite kind of  writing to do for work (corporate re-branding) involving my least favorite professional subject matter and format (me, my career, the resume, and the short form narrative bio).

Redesigning schematics at midnight

I have made some good progress, but i need a few more hours of dedicated but undirected writing to get more of the broad strokes down.  I will also need another brainstorming session and review of my notes and emails to jog my memory and capture some critical past events and projects.  (For example, i forgot all about developing a TV show in India, and writing and doing the voice-overs for commercials/promotional videos in Doha and India until a short work session this morning.)  Then i have to craft that mess into sections and sift and evaluate.  What should go on the website to describe capability?  What should go into the projects archive? And the challenge for long-winded bastards like me, The One Pagers!!  What gets cut from the narrative bio?  How to mash all this crap into something attractive for a resume?

Sorting out the Tents

I will get there – but i hate this.  The last time i was even asked to submit a resume to get a job was at Borders in 1998 (maybe 99 – i am no good at historical time-lines), so this is not a simple update.  It is really hard to figure out how truthful to be also.  I don’t mean “should i embellish”? I mean “should i leave most of this out”?  Will people hire a dude who has been largely self-employed for 11 years, who founded/or co-founded six companies on three continents, who is still the CEO of three of those, and a Senior Partner in another? But who only has a BA (technically three, but no one really cares about that) and is not in a higher ed program currently?

Enough.  I gotta do some head clearing with the books or the tube for a bit and sleep.

I did golf today.  The first time i played 18 holes in a long while.  I did many things that i have been working on quite well, but i could not put it/keep it all together to avoid a few of the big numbers.  After 7 holes, i was feeling good and thought, “i will break 90 again today”.  But i carded a 101/98 (there was no one out there and i played 2 balls on two holes). My best score ever is still an 82, and i did not think i would beat that, but i feel like i should be breaking 90 much more often.

More practice required…

WordPress Weirdness

When i logged in this morning to moderate a comment to a recent post, i noticed that all my categories were missing.  I first read and commented on the comment, then went to “New Post” to write about the missing categories.  But, when the new post window opened, all the categories were present.  I went back to check the publicly visible section and the categories were there too.

I went back into the post to add links that i should have put in when i wrote it, but i was too tired.  When i finished adding the links and updated the post, all the categories were missing.  No problem, i know this fix.  I mashed “New Post” and – all the categories are missing.  Grrr.

So this is just to inform you that i don’t know why all the categories are missing and to ask for some input.  If i do end up having to re-create my category list, would you like to see any changes?  It seemed to me to be working out fine and building a decent guide for the future, but i know what all this stuff is.  Was it useful for you?

* This would be filed under, Birth of this Blog, Tech, and I’ve got a Bone to Pick…

and i mashed “publish” and they are back…

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