Metablogging: September 2003 Archives

What I Like About MT

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I had been asked to comment on the move after I had some time to get used to the features.

There are two important things to think about in the move: (1) Do I want to go through the work? (2) Is it worth it?

I should state at the start that I have no animus toward Blogger or Blogspot. Every server has outages from time to time and glitches in functioning. Considering the huge number of users and amount of traffic that the blogspot servers receive, I'd say that it's remarkable that so little goes wrong.

However, when you're with Blogspot, you have to sign up for endless add ons to make things work as you wish. You've got to go somewhere special for RSS feed, you have to add on a commenting service (if you wish comments) and you need to add on a traffic counter. (Something you also need to do on MT if you aren't running your own server.)

The advantages of MT are manifold. You can edit multiple entries at a time, you can categorize, you can display your archive in any number of ways. The style sheets and templates seem easier to parse so you can change styles pretty much as you wish. You have trackback ability and pinging of entries.

I had long looked with great desire at the cateloging function available on MT--it is every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, and the ability for me to view my archives by category is beyond mere dreams wonderful. I am slowly (very slowly) cataloging each entry (I transported over something like 1680). But the value of this function made the move worthwhile for me.

So ultimately I'm at MT for the greater control it gives me over my materials and what I am doing. I really like MT now that I'm used to it and think that there are benefits that everyone would enjoy. The editing seems simpler, the interface as clean, the possibilities greater. I don't use many of the possibilities because I find some of them aggravating to read--for example, I don't excerpt my entries. It would probably be an advantage to readers were I to do so, but just as I hate news stories continued elsewhere, I'm rarely inclined to load another page to finish reading an item. It's just me. But that option does exist on MT.

All in all, I would say that I am ecstatically happy with MT and would recommend it to all who need the power. If you've been doing blogger for some time now and are content with its features, there is really no need to go to MT. In fact, but for the cataloging features, I would probably still be with blogger. And with ultra blogger, it may be possible to add those on.

Anyway, MT is very, very nice and is a lovely place to be.

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Know Your Limitations

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In blogging, it is important to know your limitations.

I have decided to carefully reconsider the kinds of things that I place here on the blog. I believe I have reasonable standing to comment on literature--some to comment on art, somewhat less to make informed comments on music, and almost none to comment on politics, current events, and odd notions that I cannot even begin to take seriously and which I am utterly mystified that anyone can--i.e. Is God Catholic? (How can one even begin to ask that question? What is this human tendency to put everything in a box and seal it up?)

I can comment on Carmelite Spirituality, even if much of what I say is a view still from the outside looking in. Climbing into any spirituality is the work of a lifetime and perhaps more. And I can comment on some spiritual writing and writers. So I will draw back a little and stay in the realm I am most comfortable and puzzle occasionally over these fads that sweep through the blog-world wondering how anyone with proper formation can reasonably hold some of these ideas.

Most of all, I want to encourage prayer and appreciation of God's beauty as expressed in His creation and in the cocreation of art, literature, and music. I have strayed from this for a while. I am not by nature contentious--I do not need to win, and I do not formulate lengthy and reasonable arguments. I am by nature one who exhorts others to do their very best, and in the course of exhortation learn what it is that IS best. Some need to be the intellectual leaders, some the great and giving heart. For others is the role I assume--cheerleader. I want to encourage everyone in their prayer lives, in their vocations, in loving God. I will challenge an idea or a notion here or there, one that I think ill-considered or ill-founded, but not so much to make an argument as to provoke thought from a different point of view.

No, I'm not a central player and have no real wish to be. I don't know why I do what I do, but I do know that I cannot do otherwise, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so regularly. All writing is a form of prayer--it is my work and the thing I love greatly. It allows me to step out of myself and to learn--because in a very real sense some things do not crystallize in my head until I write about them. And even then not completely. I suppose it's indicative that I love surfing and the beach as much as I do, as I seem to be a very fluid person. My notions are liable to change three times a minute as new points of view and new data become available. That's one of the wonders of the blog-world--so many are so helpful in clearing away the cobwebs.

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While I'm In Embarrassment Mode

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I thought I'd mention Davey's Mommy, who in several places about her blog wonders about the purpose of blogging on mundane matters and not talking about deeply personal, close-helf stuff. And I just have to interject that it is often though what others consider the mundane aspects of their every day lives, that I find new elements and moments of grace. Endless discussions of what the Bishops are doing wrong or right, or why these Catholics are bad Catholics and those are good ones, or why some foreign yahoo I don't even know is kindling for the fires of the Inferno, simply don't open me up to the workings of grace. But to hear the small triumphs of a day--building a castle with blocks, making dinner, just being who we are and living out our vocations--those things speak to me in a voice that demands change. They teach me things and they call me to be a better father, a more compassionate friend, and all round a better exemplar of Christ.

So to Davey's Mom and to all of those who wonder whether it is worthwhile to share what you do--the answer is YES. You do not know who you bless or how with what you choose to share. Even if you don't dive down into the muck and murk of your own souls and dredge up all manner of grisly objects to show the world, you bless us (come to think of it, perhaps more than if you ran an online confessional monologue). Don't worry about not being able to talk about deeply personal matters. You don't know how simply and mundane things transform your audiences bit by bit. You make all of us better people by simply living your lives and sharing what you choose to share with us. Thank you.

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Update on Everything

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As you can see I've added a small accent photo. If you would please leave URLs that lead to free-use religious art, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm only comfortable using my own until I know the rights.

You'll see also that I have both category and chronological search possibilities. MT is really a marvel and better yet is DHTML and CSS that allow for amazing changes to a blog without extensive code rewriting. This blows blogger out of the water. A definite plus. Altering the blogger template could be a technical nightmare because the CSS was combined with the Template and there was a tendency to corruption and coding bugs. This way, you can tell if the problem is in the CSS or the template. Great mechanism. Plus I'm learning a tremendous amount about the meaning of the code.

Next, I'll probably fool with some backgrounds. I do this because presently my brain is exhausted from writing about Impact (reaction) engines, reciprocating engines, and the enormously inventive Clement Ader. Google him, I think you'll be amused and fascinated with his aircraft designs. This should end shortly as the exhibit is opening in a few days. I've got an invitation to the opening.

Oh, and supercool--Samuel's class will be taking a field-trip to the museum so he'll get to see his daddy's work without even knowing it. I'm thinking of volunteering for chaperone. Kids are GREAT! (Especially if you're talking four or so hours at a time!)

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On The Way

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I'm about 10% of the way through categorizing my archive. It will be a while before everything is in place, but hopefully soon. Then I'll try to figure out a way in which archves might be accessible by date or category. Failing that, which way might you all find more pleasing? Because I control the blog, I can always access category by other means. But if it would prove more useful (and it is possible) would you like to be able to access the archive by date and category? If not, which would you prefer?

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Almost There

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Despite reports of some problems, I'm nearly there. The banner is now the proper shade of hibiscus blossom, and the blues complimentary. Indeed, it is much more a "flos carmeli" than the previous site--and probably more representative of who I am.

I do need to try to remedy some of the problems I'm hearing about, but so far everyone is reporting the same difficult which suggests that it may be somewhat easier to fix than I had anticipated. When you get into all those "margin-calls" that are required for a page that isn't rigidly fixed, you're bound to have some difficulty. I'll ask a friend far more expert than I am what might be done to fix it.


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Not There Yet

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Everything is set. Almost everything is as I would like it. But the color scheme just isn't coming together. Those HTML experts, any notions on three progressively darker compatible blue-greens to blues. I'm looking for a very festive Caribbean feel--hence the present coral. I think I may been to incorporate a small gif background to tile and create the color effect I want. Any advice?

By the way, thanks to all the kind souls out in St. Blogs who have so generously given time and energy to help make this come about. Soon shall report on why one might consider such a move and under what circumstances one should consider staying put.

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Still Some Work To Do

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But my sincere thanks to all who have offered help. Transition is going smoothly. We'll see what happens with the archives and such, but I have no reason to expect anything untoward.

I am ecstatic because it appeals so much to my orderly mind to have all these Categories. Now if someone wants to read all the entries on poetry or the glorious seventeenth Century, or whatever, they will be able to do so. More importantly, for my own purposes it is far superior to the usual flatfile.

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Packing Up and Saying Farewell


Packing Up and Saying Farewell to Blogger, at Least for a While

This will remain open until I figure out how to transfer the entries. When that is done, I don't know the fate of this place. Although likely it will remain open because it has so many comments I wish to preserve and Haloscan doesn't yet allow me to export them.

Anyway please visit the new under construction digs here.

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There is much to admire about this software, and much that is both infuriating and aggravating.

For one thing the code for the template is a nasty tangled mess. I can parse it, but just barely because of the way different lines are slammed together. I haven't yet gotten used to some of the style-sheet eccentricities. And I'm not certain that I've settled on a style. I'd really like a three column format, but I can't seem to find any templates with that--so I'll likely get someone to help parsing the mess and set up my own.

Oh, and color scheme is far from final.

One last horror--importing the archives. Not sure I'll be able to do it--but if I can get everything moved over, I probably shall do soonest.

Meanwhile, enjoy the vistas from my new home.

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So Now I Have So Many Choices


I can choose to add a category. You can click the categories and see all the wonderful possibilities. I don't have to index certain things the way I once did. Now, if I want to read any of my own maunderings about St. John of the Cross, I'll simply click that category. That is actually what I most wanted in my blog--that wonderful ability to create order from chaos. To order in whatsoever fashion enters my warped imagination. Oh, the lovely, wonderful, and most excellent freedom.

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What will happen when I publish this?

Who knows?

Much Less

Who cares?

Except for me

I'd Guess no one.

No one at all.

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Moving Soon


Moving Soon

In a couple of days I hope to be moving this blog. I want to move to movable type largely because of the ability to categorize posts. It would offer me the opportunity to be able to easily look back over previous materials and revise and refine them for other purposes. In addition, it gives me something to play with. I look forward to
the opportunity to play with a new template and perhaps post of few pictures of things (fossils and other amusing things). So this is just fair warning. When it happens I shall post the new address. In the meantime, I'll be lingering around these corners with posts. (Not much today because usual posting time was consumed at the car repair place. Which reminds me--please pray for us as we contemplate the purchase of a new "family-friendly" vehicle--to accommodate our extended family)

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On Writing for Any Audience


On Writing for Any Audience

Sometimes I would like my blog to be other than what it is. But I understand that would require me to be other than what I am.

I would like to have incisive and perceptive things to say about current events, as a great many blogs do. But that would require me to be able to discern as perceptively which side is in the right and which side is in the wrong. It is not always so clear cut with me.

I would like to be able to post perceptive analyses and explanations of plain Catholicism, like those I read at Disputations. But while I might take exception to some small part of what is said there, I haven't the right kind of mind to generate the wonderful materials I read there.

I would like to produce with consistency the vibrantly spiritual, quintessentially posts of Ms. Karen Marie Knapp, who never fails to stun me.

Each blogger I read consistently has some aspect that I would dearly love to have here. Kathy at Gospel Minefield has a wonderful ability to cut through the fog and obfuscation to get to the heart of the matter. Mr. Seraphin at A Catholic Blog for Lovers always produces beautiful, vibrant and meaningful work.

But I am what I am, and what I am is expressed through what appears here. I do not have a terribly incisive mind (God did not give me bleeding edge technology). What I know was hard-learned, often in the dreadful school of experience, and often very, very slowly. I have no insights that others would profit from or cherish--I can tell you nothing new, or even anything old (and accurate) about the human condition. I cannot plumb the depths of spirituality or soar to the heights of intellect. Let's face it--at times I just feel downright deficient--ineffective, ineffectual, with endless vacillation and a million different caveats all leading nowhere.

But I am what I am, masses of indecision and all. And because of that, this blog is what it is--neither the forerunner of understanding the news, nor the leading voice in understanding the teaching of the Church, nor particularly gifted at spelling out spiritual truths and helping everyone to a deeper understanding of our Lord and God.

What I do hope I am is a person whose love of God occasionally breaks through his love of self. What I hope shines forth for some is my real attraction to the Holy Church and the blessed Magisterium that so helps us all in understanding. You will hear much wrong here--not deliberately, but through ignorance. You do not stand to learn much from me. But I do appreciate your patience and the kindness of your readership as you visit day after day. I am blessed with blogfriends and regulars who visit and sometimes comment, and I am thankful.

I had originally intended to publish something like Erik's Manifesto on Art and Music--but I realize that I have nothing to say that would have nearly the same meaning. Perhaps the only things of worth I can offer is my sincere love of the language, which, due to the haste with which these entries are composed might be belied by what you see here. But trust me, I do cherish the language, its magnificence, its simplicity, and its beauty and I have no patience for those who abuse it, misuse it, or warp it. Perhaps someday I'll produce a manifesto on good and decent writing that will stab straight at the heart of the postmodern world of criticism.

Enough maundering for now--presently I'm off to try to write an explanation of why the Bernouilli Principle IS NOT the right explanation for the marvels of aeronautics. It will be particularly difficult because common knowledge holds the Bernoilli Principle explanation for induced lift. It's always hard to go against common knowledge--most particularly people seem to cling to it ardently when it is at its most incorrect.

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May as well add my two-cents worth. Mr. Bowden of Adjutorium Nostrum + In Nomine Domini is encouraging all St. Blogsters to add a feed to their sites. Having examined the possibilities, I can see why he might suggest this. At the very bottom of the left-hand column of this page is the location I have chosen to add such a feed. Unless you're on ultra-blogger or somesuch, I don't think it is possible to add a feed directly, so Blogmatrix seems to be a good place to add through. The advantage is that those who run a certain kind of reader/browser will know almost as soon as you have updated your site. You can read all updates in one place--like a St. Blog's newspaper. (I don't know if a program is yet available for Mac to do this). The disadvantage, so far as I can tell at this time, is nil. So, please consider this service to and for others who enjoy your site.

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A Note upon Possible Future Changes


A Note upon Possible Future Change

I am carefully considering at this point the change to movable type or another such blogging program. I do so not from any real discontent with blogger, which despite its occasional problems and flare-ups has served me well and faithfully for over a year, but because I wish to impose additional structure upon the blog, to categorize so that it might be more easily searched and organized for the reader and for myself. I will shortly consult several who use this program and ask after its efficacy and the difficulty of transfer. Never fear, nothing will change in the manner of doing things; however, if I choose to make this leap at this time, I think everyone who enjoys what is here will be better able to do so.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Metablogging category from September 2003.

Metablogging: August 2003 is the previous archive.

Metablogging: October 2003 is the next archive.

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