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Artworks by Florent Diverchy of WordsnClouds, with gratitude

Not just a review of the book …

… but of its shy and retiring author !

Christine J. Randall has a lot to answer for. She has written about my book in such a way that it made me spill my coffee because I was laughing so much !!

Her review is comparatively brief, inasmuch as part of it is her … ahh … view of the current me, sitting here atop my blog like a [casts about for words] … like an intelligence nazi ? – yup, that’ll do.     :-D

I must explain something to her and possibly to you(se) because she’s made a very valid point: my book is indeed published as “And then like my dreams: a memoir”, but this is not the title under which it was written. For all those long months during its inception, and most of those during which my Fremantle Press editor had me shift some things around, etc. (I refuse to elucidate on the “etc.”, but I think it was all very normal editing), the manuscript was entitled “And then like my dreams: Still and moving pictures”. I LOVED that title with its tag. I mean, I REALLY LOVED IT. To me it was a kind of summation of the entire 31 years of living with a stills photographer then writing about losing him.

But it went out the window because the publishers wanted to put David Stratton’s short but very pleasing opinion on the cover: it would SELL, they told me. (Subsequently I became of the opinion that the distributors must have decided that the Stratton short quote would sell without need of their actually getting it onto displays in bookshops.)

And as my own blog is the one place in which I can reference – channel ? – that wonderful tag she said modestly, it’s there. But Christine’s right: it will confuse. Sighh …

ANYWAY ! There was a good reason for my including her in the group of blogs I listed daily over a month; and you will find a part of it in her review.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do !

ATLMD-coverAddendum: and here is a screengrab from my final version, so that you can see I’m not talking bullshit.

I put a lot of thought into that tag, right at the beginning.

And in fact, I had to fight like a demon to keep the actual title: publishers like book titles to be short and snappy, and thus memorable.

Moi non. Pas pour mon livre …

 

Forest Man

This is a truly lovely video from “Colossal”: it’s 16 minutes long but I didn’t grudge a second.

So if you can find the time, make yourselves a cup of your preferred poison and take a short break to watch “Forest Man”.

It will warm the cockles of your hard hearts.     :-)

Talk about kind …!

My blogging mate up there in the US of A who is doing absolutely brilliantly on a weight adjustment program – self-administered ! – and who teaches as well as running her household, found time some weeks back to review ATLMD. It’s one of those amazingly enthusiastic pieces of writing that has impressed many, and no wonder !

So today what does she do ? – she gives it another run !

I am apparently not as self-effacing as she. Cos if I was I wouldn’t post this, would I …? I shall tell myself (and Steve !) that I’m doing it because it will please her, OK ? ;-)

I missed Ann Christine’s review :-(

My dear Swedish blogging friend Ann Christine, whose site “Leya: to see the world in a grain of sand” is one of my top 30, read my book and reviewed it IN SWEDISH !!

And I, too caught up in various technical problems, missed it.

I am an ungrateful person, it would seem … But I’m not really, I promise ! – I am more grateful for every kind person’s reading the book than I could ever indicate, let alone utter sufficient gratitude for reviewing it !!

So here it is – my very first review in another language !

What’s that ? – how the devil do I expect the vast bulk of you to read it ?

If you use Chrome for your browser, it’s a doddle; you just right-click anywhere in the opened page and choose ‘Translate this page’.

However, if you don’t, it is a horse of a different colour … OTY for that.     [grin]

And THANK-YOU, Ann Christine !!! – I wish I had been totally on the ball, rather than letting your review sit there for several hours before getting to it.

DAILY PROMPT: Can’t Watch This

When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-watch-this/

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Let me see … why, I believe it was yesterday – one in a l-o-n-g line of days during which my Sony Bravia will insist on showing me appalling sights that make me cringe.

The first thing I do is hit the mute button. saying pettishly, “You have NOTHING to say that I want to hear, you shitbag !”. This is relevant to my setting eyes on any one of the following (let alone a grouping of more than one !)

Tony Abbott
Joe Hockey
George Brandis
Scott Morrison
Julie Bishop
Christopher Pyne
Kevin Andrews
Greg Hunt
Mathias Cormann

who might be about to open his mouth on-screen.

You will think I am exaggerating, probably. I’m not. I honestly can’t STAND to listen to this pack of useless bastards, these mealy-mouthed liars who spent the previous period of government attacking  from the opposition benches in totally negative fashion such as to make the business of government more difficult than it’s ever been. They make my blood boil.

To make it worse, they have the ABC in their sights, which means that said media organization, having recently had a huge slice of its budget removed painfully (with not threats but promises of more to come – or go !), is bending over backwards to appear as ‘unbiased’ as it can. Which inevitably results in bias towards the guvmint’s views.

Scary – very. Cringeworthy – always. Tacky – to the nth degree.

Possibly useful tip – possibly not

I suppose most of you know already about enabling images to be seen outside your blog, eh ? – but I KEEP FORGETTING, being the idiot I am. And anyway, last time I asked, I was told a different program, and it wasn’t nearly as simple as this one !

As discussed with Christine yesterday, I use an absolutely marvellous little FREE software called PrintKey for screen-grabs: it will do just about anything you want with an image. ‘Custom rotate’ is something Christine and I were talking about – you know, when what you just shot turns out to be a bit off the horizontal or vertical …?

You can do fancy borders if you want – before adding an image to your media library.

There’s tons more stuff you can do with PrintKey: I can’t recommend it highly enough. And it’s simple enough for me to master in no time – THAT oughta encourage youse !     [grin])

With the ability to take screen-grabs however you want to do it, the discovery (for me) of http://snag.gy/ as contributed by kokkieh there is TERRIFIC. Of course it can be used in any situation where you want to be able to show someone something that you have no other means of showing ‘em.

Addendum: turns out no-one needs to have to go to the trouble of downloading and setting up PrintKey for the purpose of putting something into Snag.gy, which itself allows you to crop and edit whatever you grab with your own PrintScreen button !

Oz politics seen with humour !

No idea who First Dog on the Moon actually is, but his (political) cartoons very seldom fail to make me laugh. In a miserable kind of way.     :-\

They say you have to laugh when it all gets too much, don’t they …?!

When I’m feeling more than usually pissed off by the unspeakable antics of TROWC, I remind myself that the true satirists – the cartoonists – are as one on today’s Oz politics.

And then I can wipe the tears from my cheeks and laugh … Until the next time some arsehole like that tiny little shit George Brandis stands up (possibly on an apple-box) and announces a new and even more appalling limitation on our freedom.

The story behind my ‘portfolio’ navigation

This is for anyone who has interest in doing something the same – creating a front set of images linking to ToCs of content. A couple of people have already said they would like to change to something along these lines; and the good thing is that unless your existing site has a narrow content section, you can retain it and do all this within what you’re already using.

(1) Read carefully through ‘All Posts’ and put a lot of thought into how you can reduce the number of categories you’ve been using. I don’t remember how many I had; but I managed to cut them to nine. I simply can’t imagine that there’s going to have to be another one created, as these nine are sufficiently wide in their parameters to cover everything I post about. That’s the situation you have to aim for. Your tags can be an ENDLESS number ! – keep that in mind.

(2) Go to the W3 site and get a table, to save yourself having to actually create the html in a new post: easy for me, as I wanted one 3 X 3 (more than one reason for having nine categories !). Whatever you intend to use for the images will have to be all the same size, simply because using different sizes will mean a horrible amount of extra html in balancing them up within the table. Don’t lose sight of the fact that working with tables inside a WordPress.com post is nothing the same as within a website.

(3) Experiment with image size by starting with anything of size [X] and inserting it into the three horizontal cells of a row, then checking the result (I think it took me two alterations of size to have the table fitting my contents area).

Now for the really hard (and boring) yakka …

(4) Go back to ‘All Posts’ and re-categorise every single one. You have to: unless you already have a very small number of categories there’s no way around this. If you’re perfectly happy with your tags, then leave those as is. I was very UNhappy with both, and simply deleted the contents of both lists, in direct contravention of all advice given by Those Who Know re SEO links on the Web; because I cannot believe that anyone is using search terms to reach my site. It took me several days to get my almost 400 posts re-categorised and re-tagged; and of course it was the tags that took the most time.

More boring hard yakka …

(5) In ‘All Posts’ use the ‘View All Categories’ dropdown in the menu bar to filter:

AllPosts

and choose any one of your categories, then click on the ‘Filter’ button at the end of it. You’ll get a list of every post in that category, like this:

filtered

(6) Open a new Notepad text file.

Right-click on the first post in the list and open it in a new window (so as to maintain the original filtered page); then paste it into the Notepad page. Go back to the list and looking at its menu bar across the top, click on the ‘Get Shortlink’ button

Shortlink

and copy that next to the post’s title in the Notepad page; and when you’ve done that with a few posts, your Notepad list will look like this:

Notepad

(7) Then you create a new Page for each Category, and paste into it the entire contents of each matching Notepad file.

The last really boring thing …

Make each of the written http:// links into a real link.

(8) Once you’ve saved all your new ToC pages, grab each one’s Shortlink and use that as the link behind the relevant image icon to make it accessible by your readers.

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I’m ready to admit up-front that most of you will not be prepared to do all this – not if you you a sufficiently large number of posts in existence such as to make you shudder at the very thought.

But in case the idea of having everything cleaned up and neat and tidy and ACCESSIBLE really appeals, you now have a way to achieve that (stultifying as it may be).

I can only urge you – go for it !

New sticky = 400th post !

Seems right, eh ? – that when I finally published what I’d been saving as a draft for days and days, up came the sign telling me it was my 400th post.

PLEASE NOTE something I’ve only just realized: when you first look at any new post of mine, the sticky won’t be there ! BUGGER BUGGER BUGGER ! – I completely forgot all about that throughout this entire exercise, as I always have the whole blog showing and never simply the most recent post. SHIT ! I am going to have to think seriously about this …
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OK, thinking over: as per helpful suggestion from Steve – whenever you need the menu, click on the ‘home’ button at the bottom of the post you’re reading.

I’ve removed the previous navigation menu entirely and replaced it with said sticky that will remain there for ever and ever – well, unless someone publishes a new theme that’s so exciting I can’t resist it.     [grin]

As you see, removing the nav menu has opened up that side space and allowed me to stretch it right across, so as to be able to centre my title and tag.

This is my personal interpretation of what ‘a portfolio theme’ should be: it should allow you to plonk image icons up the top (in whatever order you want) and link them to categories, thus turning the icons into ‘binders’ for portfolios. If you get my drift. I’m not sure I’m explaining this properly, but I’m sure you’ll whinge if I’m not …      :-D

Because it’s only a workaround, it isn’t perfect – amazingly enough (not) !

I shall ask Rich if he can help with with reducing the size of the over-all table, because I’ve reduced it as much as I can; but the cell spacings are ‘way too big, and in the context of the CSS further changes are out of my league. When Rich tells me how, I shall slap my ancient forehead and cry “SHIT ! – I shoulda known that !”, probably causing Lui Stringer to leap off the divan in alarm. (Ed.’s note: I asked him and he replied and I cried— well, you know, right …? Dunno where I’d be without him, to be honest; possibly not blogging.)

Now … Why did I go to all this trouble, and cause the unfortunate Florent to flog his artistic guts out for all this time in producing his gorgeous images for me …?

Because now that there are ToCs of the six constantly incrementing categories – the top three will never change – I can easily ascertain where to find any previous post. Most of the time I can’t remember their bloody names, which means I can’t search for ’em; but I can recognise them when I see them. And, for that matter, so can you – well, some of the time.

All the blogs I mention within the ToCs are NOT links because I specifically didn’t want them to be. This means that, let’s say, Ann Christine could go to my searchbox and enter

lagottocattleya.wordpress.com

and would find however many posts she’s mentioned in as a result. In other words, there are no http:// s, let alone the old-style www s.

I am crossing my fingers VERY firmly; the first link is not opening properly – but I believe it is because I am currently in off-line mode. If I go back on-line and find it still isn’t working, I am going to be really, really angry: I spent half an hour trying to work out why the link wouldn’t resolve, and found no other explanation …

Addendum: I have finally made it work for me by the simple expedient of changing the link from being a Shortlink to a full one. Do not ask me what the devil I think I’m doing by postulatin’ so stupid a solution: I have no idea !

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