December, 2004

So in addition to the upgrade and the comment spam blocks, I’ve also added a couple of other features to the blog. First off, the hit counter is gone. You probably never saw it since it was way down on the left side of the page. I had reason to think (after comparing it to our website stats) that it wasn’t terribly accurate. For the curious, it had recorded about 75,000 hits since March 25, 2003. It’s gone now, both because I didn’t think it was correct and I was tired of it. Now that I have a full text RSS feed, I imagine there’s a number of people who read the site without hitting the site at all, so even an accurate count of hits wouldn’t have told me all that much. I also added a plugin to ping as well as weblogs. This should supposedly be redundant, as claims to crawl weblogs but weblogs has been intermittent for me, so maybe this will help with my blog visibility. I added a plugin that gives you the handy dandy mail to a friend link (yet another reason that hits don’t equal eyes or reads). I may add a printer friendly link too. Not sure if that would ever be used by anyone and it’s a lot of work (I have to design the printer friendly template for the printer friendly page myself) so I’m not sure I’ll put that into effect, but I’m thinking about it. I’ve also added a couple of plugins that may have far-reaching implications for my “At the moment” column on the right. I have one that will let me tag posts with what I’m listening to/watching/reading (but I haven’t tried it yet, and I may hate it) and also an AudioScrobbler plugin, which will be really super cool if I can get it to work. I fiddled with it to limited success yesterday, but I failed to get it functional. The cool thing about the AudioScrobbler plugin is that it would automagically note what I was listening to when I posted, which means extra information for you with no effort from me. A formula for success if I ever saw one! As for the Current Media plugin (currently reading/watching/listening to), I like being able to note what I’m reading as I post, and hope that if I do that, I might be better about telling you what I’m reading. For example, right now, the “At The Moment” column says I’m reading Dark is Rising aloud, which we finished about two weeks ago (and what an excellent book to be reading around Christmas, let me just say). It also never said I was reading Threshold, which I’ve also finished, and doesn’t now tell you I’m reading the The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 14. It’d also be a snap to pull this plugin into Sophia’s blog, where I could note some of the books she’s enjoying (a current favorite for her is Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina) without working too hard. Changing the file that displays under “At the Moment” isn’t difficult, but I think it’s a better place for some of my less quickly changing hobbies, like computer games and noting what movie I saw last and what books I’ve given up on. I’ll experiment with the new plugin and see if I like it. Comments, opinions and directives about the site are welcome.

Now I’m going to plug several products that I think are just wonderful. First of all, I’ve officially switched to Firefox as my browser and it’s incredible. Secondly, a while back I was listening to, a really cool (but not as cool as the defunct Shasradio) online radio station. The folks at are the same folks as the ones at AudioScrobbler, which is another nifty cool thing I highly recommend to anyone who has a large and oft-listened to music collection on their computer. Since moving I had been so avidly following my local public radio station – KWMU – (which completely rocks, by the way!) that my music listening habits had fallen by the wayside, but I’m trying to get back into that and you can see what I’ve been listening to lately by visiting Anarkey’s AudioScrobbler page. Hang in there, folks, I’ve just got a couple more things to rave about and then I’ll be done. Earlier, I mentioned RSS feeds and Firefox. If you use Firefox, then you should also be using the Sage extension. It’s an RSS aggregator that works with your browser. It has a clean display, is easy to use, and – best of all – tells you when pages you follow have been updated. This works best for pages that update erratically or infrequently, pages that annoy you to check daily because about 70 % of the time they haven’t changed, allowing you to forget about them until there’s something new there. If you’re like me, you have a number of cool links that are forgotten as soon as you bookmark them. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ve bookmarked a number of different things on about seven browsers on about four different machines and end up rediscovering things all the time, things that you needed but forgot where you had bookmarked and so had to search for again. Enter, a web-based bookmark station. As with all things web, this adds the dimension of community, by telling you what other people have bookmarked the same things you have and allowing you to browse their bookmarks. You can see mine at / Anarkey. Bookmark submission is easily accomplished through a toolbar javascript applet. Easy, convenient, always there. A different sort of bookmarking community can be seen at StumbleUpon which is a way to rate pages and find pages of cool things. It uses a set of interests that you set up when you create an account to decide what pages to show you, and whenever you are browsing and hit something extra cool you can click the thumbs up icon on your toolbar and add it to the pool of things for people to stumble upon.

And that is what I’ve been up to on this here internet lately.

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It seems I’ve fallen behind on wordcount reports again. Indeed, I’ve had to do a little reconstruction to get all the numbers as close to what I think they were, but here goes:

On Wednesday December 8, I had a total of 3608 words.

  • Thursday December 9 – 1,067 words
  • Friday December 10 – 912 words
  • Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 – no words
  • Monday December 13 – 769 words
  • Tuesday December 14 – 1236 words
  • Wednesday December 15 – 1120 words

Today the novel total stands at 8707 words. In order to submit something for Viable Paradise in January (and I’m hoping to have something to send by mid-January, not by the first), I will need 10,000 words and an outline. I have a vague outline now (I should probably write it down) but what I have found with outlines is that unless they are extraordinarily fuzzy, when I get to the writing of the scene I’ve laid out, the results often change in ways I didn’t anticipate. It would be nice to have fifteen or twenty thousand words, so I can choose the best ten thousand, but I don’t know how likely that is. Still, I have a good feel for who the main characters are now and the story is slowly gaining momentum. Kurt read the first 6000 words over the weekend and says it’s solid and interesting, but has qualms about its marketability. I can’t not write it now, though, so even if it’s a sit in a drawer manuscript instead of a submission manuscript, I have to carry on through to the end of the thing. If I write on my desired pace of about one thousand words a day, then I will get to ten thousand words by Friday, which is the last day that Sophia is in school for the semester. That will be good, because probably very little writing will get done with her in the house for two weeks, not to mention upcoming houseguest, christmas, and all the other things that will be happening in the next few days.

Note to self : escape colon w does nothing in a browser window.

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The upgrade has been completed, and as near as I can tell, nothing’s broken. I added two plugins. One is a Nucleus wrapper for the Pivot-blacklist created by Marco van Hylckama Vlieg. I also added a Comment Control feature that prompts me anytime comments are added to threads that are over 60 days old. These comments aren’t posted, but are placed to a preview section, where I can look them over and approve them. Thus armed, I have re-enabled comments for the time being. We’ll see how effective I am against the spammers. Interestingly enough, I never disallowed comments on Sophia’s site, which suggests that a site must have a minimum amount of traffic before it’s noticed by the bots. It can’t be much, as I have a pretty low traffic blog, but it apparently there is a threshold beneath which they can’t be bothered.

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14 Dec 2004, by


Standby while I upgrade to Nucleus 3.15 and integrate a few plugins that (hopefully) will help me defeat comment spam.

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10 Dec 2004, by


Because of some jerkwad comment spammer, who started way back at the beginning of my blog but whom I thankfully caught only 20 entries or so in, I have disallowed comments by non-members. If you feel moved to comment, you can become a member. There’s still a form that allows you to do that on Sophia’s page. I have no idea how well it works, as to the best of my knowledge no one has ever used it. If it seems buggy, you can email me. As you know if you read the blog – as opposed to sending a robot to harvest the item urls for spam, curse you – I had been expressing some uncertainty as to the value of comments here anyways. I would like to re-enable them and I probably will at some point, but for now, while I sort things out, it’s just easier to turn them off. Every comment was from a different IP, so all you fools allowing trojan horses to use your machines to send out spam are doing the work of the devil. Cut it out. Use a firewall and some sense.


Oh, and I fixed the bug about comment redirection too. Not that you would see it since you can’t, you know, comment or anything.

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Alien Loves Predator: In New York, no one can hear you scream.

Here’s your change of pace, your proof that despite the precious little sunlight available at this time of year I can still be cheery and upbeat. I’ve had this strip open in my browser for the better part of a week and every time I go to this tab it makes me giggle. At least one or two other strips in this series gave me a laugh, but this is the best one.

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9 Dec 2004, by


Another Thea dream. I told myself when I woke up that I would write this one down right away, because it was so vivid but I didn’t and now it isn’t. Here’s what’s left.

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One billion ‘denied a childhood’

If you think life is sacred, if you wish (or pray) that everyone would ‘choose life’, then this is also your business, your concern, and your responsibility. A number like one billion is utterly mind-boggling to me. Surely we are a wise enough people that we can see the damage that will ensue to our planet and our kind if we are not providing sufficiently for our children. And they are all our children, make no mistake about that.

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