Blog - The Nassau Liberal

Blog - The Nassau Liberal.Just for those who think that we "aren't ready" for a university, READ THIS BLOG and tell me if you still think so.With one exception, the contributors to this group blog are students at the still-College of   The Bahamas. They are Bahamians born and raised and yet their thought is revolutionary, especially for this ultra-conservative, Papa-lead-me, Saviour-please, Help-and-hope land in which we live. They are young, articulate, erudite, and critical. Amen.My own socioeconomicpolitical leanings aside (I have managed to temper but not cast aside my socialist preferences), I will be following this blog, these thinkers, these Bahamians. I trust that their voices will be heard more widely. They discuss issues and principles, not who said what and who did what. They put most of the people who stand for office, who have the temerity to ask for our votes, to shame.Go spend some time there. Read, and tell me if these students (products of our much-maligned "college"), don't deserve to be graduates of our national university.And no, I'm not crusading at all.

Just a note

A little apology.Been writing posts via iPad today, using the Wordpress app, and have run into a couple of glitches. Thats why, if youre following this blog via twitter or Facebook or an RSS feed, you may have got a couple of erroneous and annoying updates that lead nowhere. Im having the devil of a time maintaining the links in my posts -- for some reason something in the app is stripping out crucial HTML coding punctuation. For those of you who know HTML, youll know what losing your pointy brackets can do to your posts.So Ive unpublished the affected posts and will fix and reload later.Apologies to all. From me. And on behalf of my app.

This is just to say

that I have been silent for the past couple of weeks largely because, well, I have a job and commitments and the kinds of things I want to write on this blog take Time and Effort and Thought.And I've got myself in well-justified trouble by posting off the top of my head recently. By doing what? Posting half-digested half-rumours on a fellow blogger's blog.Specifically that Pierre Dupuch had the same issues with citizenship as Ryan Pinder (on the basis of the fact that they both have American mothers) but served in the Cabinet nevertheless. I have been roundly criticized and thoroughly corrected on that score!So as a result I have determined to think before I write. Which means that you will not hear from me in any serious capacity unless I have had the time to do my research and blog responsibly. Which means in turn that you will probably have to wait till after April 19 for that -- April 16 being the end of the semester.In the meantime, though, I think I'll be vaguely frivolous and post some (very old) poems for general comment, if people who read this blog are so inclined. If you're not, I'll cease and desist.But in the meantime, y'all, content yourselves with my weekly twitter digest.Cheers.

I am reviewing the situation

re moving the blog. It's huge and it's going to take some time. Eventually it'll happen but ignore the last post; it will not happen this week.I'm going to take the mirror site offline till I get all the kinks worked out.In the meantime, enjoy this one, the one and only original Blogworld.Weirdness happened with this latest upgrade -- the behind-the-scenes issues got fixed!!! No need anymore to move this!Eventually I may get a very special site with its own title but maybe not now.*happy dance*

Blog musings

Since this is not primarily for FB consumption, you people on Facebook could entirely ignore this post -- which in FB will be called a "note". This is more to inform people who follow the blog in all its red-and-white glory what is about to happen.Ever since last summer I have been having behind-the-scenes problems with this blog installation. They are meta-problems because they don't go away when I upgrade or any such thing; there was a glitch in the blog last June (which is when my lovely ISP support team blamed the problems on ME after five years of faithful membership with them, and not much difference in my usage, hello. Eventually, despite their blaming ME they got it more or less fixed. It works in all the main areas -- I can access the admin screen, I can post and edit posts, I can do lots of the stuff I could do with WP back when I started working with the platform (WP 2.1) BUT. That's about it.) Basically, the functionality under the hood is severely compromised and though I have been living with it and working around it I am pretty tired of it all.So I know it is not the best time in the world to do this but as I want FULL functionality for the new year, I'm thinking of moving this blog. It won't be the first time. However, for those of you who actually read what I write on its home on the blog, not on its FB note-mirror, know that I've already set up a backup blog at this address: can go and check it out if you want to jump back in time to July '09, and to see the bare bones of the theme installation. Over the rest of the week, I think I am going to be updating the backup to include the latest posts from this active blog, and then I'm going to deconstruct and reinstall this blog.Hey, y'all?Pray.

Generation Y

Generation YIt's been a long time since I was able to follow the blogs I read, partly because I've been doing so much other stuff but largely because I still can't add bookmarks to Safari and I haven't taken to other feed-readers. So I haven't been discovering new blogs or dropping old ones -- I can't do much of that.But today I discovered a new blog that I would like to follow, if I can work out how: Generation Y. Here's what the blogger says about it:

Generation Y is a Blog inspired by people like me, with names that start with or contain a "Y". Born in Cuba in the '70s and '80s, marked by schools in the countryside, Russian cartoons, illegal emigration and frustration. So I invite, especially, Yanisleidi, Yoandri, Yusimí, Yuniesky and others who carry their "Y's" to read me and to write to me.

Well, Yoani, here's to you. I've found your blog affecting, and more than anything (on this Remembrance Day, 45 minutes away from 11 a.m.) thought-provoking. This is from an off-island supporter of La Revolucion, and a long-time admirer of Castro and his Cuba. You won me because of your writing, which is calm and reasoned and clear as glass, not because of your political rhetoric; your writing doesn't have any of that. Your calm description is what got my attention.Recent posts I recommend for reading:A Question of TonesA Gangland Style KidnappingBlame the VictimAnd on an entirely personal note to my friendly adversary Rick: democracy isn't an ideology as much as it's a way of life—and part of that way of life is hearing what other people have to say.Yoani says things well. I'm listening.

Bitching about Browsers

All right.I thought that my first post after Shakespeare in Paradise would be something about the festival, something about the cultural industries, something thoughtful about economics and development and creativity, you know? Something constructive.But no.My first post after Shakespeare in Paradise is about browsers. About Snow Leopard. About upgrading. About this being 2009 and my having had MORE unresolved PROBLEMS with Safari and Firefox and the Mac OS in the past two months than I have ever experienced since I switched to Mac back in 1996. (Yes, my programmes used to crash in the '90s but that was because of extension conflicts, and resolutions were easy; these days, OS X isn't supposed to have the same issues. Snow Leopard is supposed to be the Messiah of OSs and we are all supposed to be happy. Ha.)Imperfect as it is, my VISTA version of Internet Explorer is the most reliable and functional browser I currently have.*GASP*These must be the very last days, people.But there, I said it. Mozilla and Safari, get your asses in gear. I am thoroughly dissatisfied with both of you right now. And here's why.


Once upon a time, Safari was my browser of choice. Chalk it up to laziness perhaps; it came with the Mac, so hey, I was satisfied with it. But the real reason for my satisfaction was one small but very important feature: the wonderful way the browser had integrated RSS and other feeds. No need for me to go setting up a mail programme to do it for me, with the attendant need to scroll through the updates (the way Outlook does it for me today); all the updates to the websites and blogs I was following would show up every time I opened my browser window, right up there in the bookmarks toolbar for me to see.But then one day, oh, back in January or so, the bloody thing stopped working. Safari has upgraded a whole lot since then, looking spiffy and enticing, like food under glass -- but I can't get the programme to work. What's the problem? The damn thing won't upgrade my bookmarks. I keep trying, every month or so, but it won't save the changes I make. So the feeds that are updating are out of date; the blogs that are listed in my RSS feeds are obsolete, extinct or no longer interesting to me; and the reading that I am doing is not recorded anywhere, because I do not like the way Firefox handles feeds. And we have done everything we can think of -- upgraded the OS, upgraded Safari, trawled through support sites, deleted everything -- everything but a clean install of the OS, which I don't believe I ought to have to do. There are no other solutions out there. The problem has been going on for a full year now, and no fixes have been forthcoming.Am I disgusted? Your call.


So I am now a user of Firefox. I have always had Firefox installed as a second browser, as it handled some things better than older versions of Safari, like certain kinds of Javascript and all the plugins that came with it. The only thing I didn't like about it -- which was a big thing because my reading of blogs and feeds up to this year was a major part of my internet life -- was the way it handled feeds. But over the year I've been using Firefox as my primary browser, things have improved. There is now very little difference between my experience of Safari and Firefox, and I am close to being a convert to the latter. In fact, I was considering taking Safari out of my dock altogether and never using it again until this week.This week, since I upgraded to the latest version of Firefox, I have experienced more browser crashes in five days than I have in the past five years. And everytime I get a silly little message telling me that Firefox is embarrassed.Embarrassed? Embarrassed is not good enough. This is not new technology, people. This is not a new thing. The upgrade is not a beta. This is supposed to be a top of the line browser (at least that is what the people at Mozilla would have us believe). This is supposed to be quality stuff.It's not much quality if the crashes keep happening.Oh, and you can add to that the server host for this blog, vDeck, who, ever since I had issues with accessing this blog back in July, have said that the problem is on my side. Even though I have cleaned up my server and every other blog that I run on this site is working. Even though I have reloaded the Wordpress software several times and created a mirror database for the blog to step in whenever the functionality of the current database cuts out (which it does, like Bahamas Electricity Corporation power supply, on occasion, and, like BEC, generally without warning).So there it is.And guess what?  I'm not alone. The main difference between me and Adam Engst is that I don't have his resources, nor do I have his patience. I do not care to spend 90% of my online time figuring out the problem. I have tried with the Safari issue to resolve it for the better part of a whole year and nothing has given, nothing at all; and I do not wish to have to wait as long for Mozilla to solve their Firefox issue. I'm not convinced that vDeck is interested in my puny blog site problems, so I am half-resolved to move Blogworld from vDeck to another server (not sure about it though because I need to investigate some more). I know that my problems are not isolated, and that there are several other people who have the same issues. What I don't get is why the issues persist.My only conclusion is that the people who are making programmes for the Mac, who were once determined to keep customer satisfaction by caring about the customers' experience, have been corrupted and have gone over to the Dark Side, which values profit and productivity more than customer loyalty. You think?Tell me it ain't so.

New (academic) year, new look

Well, actually, it's the same old look, more or less -- the adaptation of Brian Gardner's Blue Zinfandel Wordpress theme that I made several years ago now, shortly after I switched over to Wordpress.(Note to non-blogging -- and even non-Wordpress readers, skip this post if you like; this is going to get vaguely technical and probably very boring in a minute!)For those of you who are, like me, longstanding fans of Brian Gardner and his Wordpress themes, you'll know by now that he's discontinued Blue Zinfandel and other free themes, and you can no longer download them or find support for them. Who can blame him? He's making money off his premium themes, which I coveted for a long time, without being able to justify paying for them. And so I stuck with my version of Blue Zinfandel (which in my head I called Red Zinfandel) for a long, long time.And that's fine, because I'm happy with the look. The trouble comes behind the scenes. In the beginning, Blue Zin wasn't widgetized, but when Wordpress upgraded to include widgets (oh, ages ago now!) that problem went away. But Blue Zin can't do other things -- like support tags in its content posts without serious tweaking (for which I don't have the time, even though I might like to develop the skill) and some other stuff.So. The other day I was looking at themes, which I was doing fairly regularly to see whether there was anything out there that might be worth using to replace this one with, and I came across Thesis.Now it's not a free theme. And that was what put me off it. But it's very very customizable -- and this without having to go into the code all that much. It's like Hemingway on crack (I'm using Hemingway, and am very very pleased with it, for tongues of the ocean, in fact so pleased I had half decided that if I wanted to change Blogworld's look I might just do it via another customization of Hemingway).So anyway. We're looking for something to use to rebuild the Shakespeare in Paradise site, which is hardworking right now but which doesn't yet have the look we want -- and we decided to invest in Thesis. For a developer's licence you can propagate the theme wherever you want, and so voilà!What I like about this is that you probably don't see much difference. Using the customization, I was able to make this site look a whole lot like the last version of Blogworld. But what you also don't see are all the options I have now to make the blog more widely read, more flexible, more responsive, more interactive, and more attractive as time goes on.Pretty cool, huh? Well, I think so.

Bahamas Writers' Summer Institute

Telcine Turner-Rolle reads at the opening of BWSIYou know, it's about time I blogged about this topic. It's been coming for a good long while, and now we're in its third and middle week, and it seems to be going really really well.What is it? you ask. Well, I could give you a long answer, but I'll spare you that. Here's the short answer, culled from the FaceBook Group page:

The Bahamas Writers Summer Institute, in collaboration with the College of the Bahamas’ School of English Studies, is a Caribbean-centered creative writing program that brings together beginning and established writers in an exploration of craft, theory, and the relationship between imagination and culture.

It started two weeks ago, with classes in various areas of the craft as well as a class in Caribbean context and literature and special seminar events where the students enrolled in the various disciplines can come together to talk about writing and literature as a whole. These take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. On Monday evenings there are conversations about the business of writing, on Saturdays there are readings and discussions with practising writers about their craft, and on Tuesdays are the discussions about the Caribbean context and literature of the region. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the craft-specific workshops.I'm teaching playwriting. I have a class of four students, and so far it's been a blast! The other workshops are creative non-fiction run by Marion Bethel, fiction run by Helen Klonaris, screenwriting run by Maria Govan, and poetry run by Obediah Michael Smith.It's the brainchild of Helen Klonaris, supported by Marion Bethel, and grew out of the movement that began with the establishment of the Bahamas International Literary Festival by Alesha Hart last year. If I had more photographs I'd show them, but they're all on Facebook.But I started this because last night's discussion (at the Hub) was about blogging. The discussants were Ian Fernander, Lynn Sweeting, Angelique Nixon and myself, and we spoke to an audience of writers and others many of whom read blogs, but virtually none of whom blog themselves. The discussion covered the value of blogging -- and of course with people like Lynn and Angelique and me there we talked about the radical power of blogs and bloggers.The Institute continues till the end of July. The Monday and Saturday sessions at the Hub are open to all (they start at 7 and end around 9). If you're interested, drop by -- and if you like the idea, I'm sure Marion and Helen would love to let you know what's happening next year! One thing, though -- next year's Institute should have its own open blog, so that people who aren't on Facebook can see what it's doing.Here's the schedule, courtesy of Bahamas Uncensored, which is the only place you can find it on the open web.

Server Outage

Just a note for those of you who tried to access Blogworld today and couldn't, here's a note from our service provider about it:

UPDATE: All Services Are Being Restored

We experienced a power supply issue at one of our data centers, which caused the site, as well as some of our customer sites, to be offline for a brief period of time. We are currently in the process of bringing the servers back up, and all services should be restored momentarily.

We apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused you. We realize that you depend on us to provide you with a reliable hosting solution, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
- 06/15/09 at 17:15 ET

M.O. for the rest of the year

I've been a bad blogger lately. There is a reason (isn't there always?) and it's the simplest reason in the world -- I'm stretched to the limit, and I've got five blogs going on six to maintain. So things tend to slip.I had all kinds of plans for the year. I still have them, but they're going to change somewhat. I had planned to issue a new volume of Essays on Life, for instance, and that is still a priority. I had planned to finish my book of Lily poems and submit it for publication, which in itself is a lengthy process, and I had hoped also to begin working on a second collection of poems, this one about the Bahama Islands. Maybe that one, though, will finish itself before Lily; I don't know.And I had planned to write a memoir about my five years in the civil service. There's such a thing as theatre of the absurd, and my favourite proponents of that are Eugène Ionesco and Tom Stoppard; and I never realized how close to absurdism life in the Bahamian civil service can be. (I'm sure all bureaucracies work similarly, especially in the postcolonial world; but I know the Bahamian model the best.) Days I'd wake up I'd be reminded also of Armah's The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born.But Shakespeare in Paradise and tongues of the ocean, together with my return to COB and commitment to research and teaching, are more than enough to keep me busy! So some things have to be postponed, or rescheduled.Accordingly, I plan to keep checking in on my personal blogs, but far less frequently than before. I'm hoping to post something once a week on each, just to keep things going. For the rest of the year, that's how it'll be.Cheers to you all, and watch this space -- just not as frequently perhaps as you used to.

Friendship Around the World Award (Part I)

Geoffrey Philp linked me in this some time ago, and I'm going to try indulge in it now. 

Friendship Around the World AwardJack Mandora, whose blog I admire, has passed this award along to me with the mandate of sharing it with friends whom I’ve met through blogging. I will add that they became my friends because of the remarkable content of their blogs.

I have to say my blogging practices have changed lately, and I haven't done as much reading as I should, but let me start. So here are mine - part I.Geoffrey Philp's Blog Spot - Geoffrey PhilpThere are lots of Caribbean blogs out there, but not so many that deal with literature. Geoffrey's one that I read, partly because I know him in person, but also because I like his observations.Heraclitean Fire - Harry RutherfordOK, I'm a poet in my spare time, and I read lots and lots of poetry blogs, many of which I visit on a very regular basis. But Harry writes about more than poetry, and his links are always interesting. Unless he's talking about some sport or another, I find every post of his fascinating, probably because he's able to synthesize material really well. It's a skill that I admire and to which I aspire. Bahama Pundit - Larry Smith, et al.The idea behind this blog is to bring Bahamian columnists together in one online spot and give us a platform that reaches beyond the newspaper circulation. I like and admire Larry as a reporter. He does his homework and makes observations that hold up after some scrutiny, and his fellow columnists are also pretty interesting. (I was one of them for a while, and hope to be again, but that's not the reason I picked this blog!) Maybe it's a little to localized for most people, but it's worth a look in my books.Weblog Bahamas - Rick Lowe et al.I read Rick's blog because he and I hold opposite views of the world in just about everything except the potential and the need of human beings to make their own realities. It's good to see what libertarians, and especially white Bahamian libertarians, are thinking, even if I disagree from the pit of my stomach with 99.999999999% of what they think. But Rick doesn't only talk about politics and economics. He also reads some pretty interesting stuff, he has eclectic taste in music, he takes some cool photos, and he doesn't let you go away without having been provoked in some way or another. And some of his co-authors are almost as good.Signifyin' Guyana - Charmaine D. Valere's blogI read this blog because Charmaine doesn't just write about Caribbean issues, she also reads and reviews work by Caribbean (primarily Guyanese) writers, and her perspective is an interesting one. She's part of the diaspora, lives outside the region, but she's part of the global Caribbean that is going to transform our nations in years to come. Go Charmaine.Carter's Little Pill - Julie Carter's blogAs I said, I read lots of poetry blogs. Julie's, like Harry's, isn't all about poetry, though it could be because her poems are kick-ass. But there's a lot about Julie in it too, and I like what I see of Julie online. It's because of her and what she wrote that made me suspect Ohio was going to vote for Obama. Well worth a read.Savage Minds - Group blog about anthropologyYes, I'm a poet and a Caribbean woman, but don't forget I'm an anthropologist as well. There are other anthro blogs out there, but this one strikes closest to me and my particular training -- social anthropology with a distinct UK/European bias and a deep admiration and love for (though not always acceptance of) the theories of Claude Levi-Strauss.I'll stop there for now, but I'll be back. There are some people I missed. But you have to excuse me -- Obama and the world's changing are taking up some of my time.If I've called your name, go spread the meme!

Friendship Around the World Award

*ahem* - Thanks, Geoffrey, I think ...

Friendship Around the World AwardBlogworld: Nicolette is not only a scholar and poet, but also someone who writes critically about the state of Caribbean life and letters....Now, fellow awardees, you all have a job to do. Tell me about your favorites

Give me some time and I'll do so.

A little aside - Blogger of the Week: Janine Mendes-Franco

Global Voices Online » Blogger of the Week: Janine Mendes-Franco Some highlights:

The Caribbean is generally viewed as a monolith by the international community, but anyone who has been here knows that there are tangible differences from territory to territory. This was one event that made me understand how interconnected we actually are.


The state of my country concerns me. I believe we’re focusing on the superficial rather than the necessary. It’s a very shortsighted approach to development and a dangerously shaky foundation on which to build. Erecting generic-looking skyscrapers makes no sense when your health care system is in shambles; when crime is out of control; when there is no environmental awareness. I do not accept that the changes happening in Trinidad and Tobago (and indeed much of the region) are solely as a result of the effects of globalization. We need to stand up and be masters of our own destiny.


 I’ve noticed that the Caribbean has, in varying degrees, been afraid of seeing itself. This is why Trinidad and Tobago is, in the 21st century, just attempting to build a serious cinema industry, when the stories and talent and tools have been there for almost four decades (proof of the pudding is in films like The Right and the Wrong [1970] and Bim [1974]). It is why Jamaica is still seeing the phenomenon of skin bleaching. It is part of the reason so many regional territories are struggling with spiraling crime rates.Self-examination is critical to any sort of progress and I’m afraid we’re not being honest with ourselves. If we don’t have constructive conversations about what we’ve been through and where we’ve come from, then we’re going forward in the dark. When you don’t know yourself and what you stand for, then you’re likely to listen to the chatter; you begin to believe that your identity is what other people tell you it is.

Warning: Going to Upgrade Again

Now.WordPress 2.6 is not a major upgrade like 2.5, but it's an upgrade anyway.  And upgrading runs risks.Not that this has been the most active blog in the recent past (I have a lot to say but no real liberty of saying it) but people do stop by every now and then.I wish to warn you that what I'm about to do may take this blog offline (again) for a while (again).  Please be patient if that happens and check back periodically until it's up again.Of course, after all this drama, it will all go swimmingly and all will be well.We can only hope.

On Blogs, Blogging, and Various Related Tribulations

So the first thing I want to say is I own/manage three main blogs (there are others, but I'm too ashamed to draw attention to them because they're sadly neglected):BlogworldScavella's (currently down for maintenance)It's hard.It's hard because (a) I don't really have the time to do any of them justice, especially as I've been on an extended vacation from Essays on Life and have therefore become an irregular contributor to Blogworld; (b) with poetry these days, I have to make a choice between writing the poem or writing the blog post, and one or the other has to give; and (c) I'm not technically supposed to be maintaining the Ringplay blog because, by virtue of my position as Director of Culture, I'm trying to minimize any conflict of interest that might occur.It's also hard because I'm in my forties and I have navigated several shifts in written communication and the writing process, and learning new techniques and languages takes more and more time as time passes. I moved from longhand to manual typewriters to electric typewriters to computer terminals of various kinds. I've worked in DOS, in Unix, in html, and in BBS, and shifting to php and css is taking time. And time is what I don't really have a whole lot of. And so -- stopgaps and temporary measures that stretch into semi-permanence.Take this blog, for instance.When I established it I knew next to nothing about WordPress, the platform I'm running it on. I set it up on Blogger with some vague idea of archiving Essays on Life, because people were asking for copies of old essays and I thought a blog might do the trick. Later, I moved it over from Blogger back in the days when WordPress was just a code to place on your own server, mainly because Philip had got us our own servers, and I thought I should probably make use of them. I'd had some success with the Ringplay blog, which was my first WordPress installation, and found the flexibility of the platform -- and especially the categories and pages features -- attractive. You can tell how old the installation was; it was back in the days when the programme called itself WordPress, capital P in the middle.With the advent of, I got hooked. I moved my other blog, the anonymous poetry blog, from Blogger to to take advantage of the pages features as well, and because I was happy with the software. And for some time -- some two years at least, going for three -- I was satisfied with the whole caboodle.The trouble started when I wanted to change the address of Blogworld. The original installation was called "testblog" because that was what it was -- a place to test my baby skills in wordpressing. Forget php and css; I was just learning how to install and play with themes. When I felt comfortable, then I wanted to start blogging, and once I'd imported the Blogger posts over to this site, things just took off. But I didn't like the "testblog" in the url, and so I worked to change it.Here's how I did it. (coders, don't laugh!!)I created a duplicate of my testblog installation on my server, and then I changed the folder to "blogworld".I followed the directions in the WordPress codex for creating new url addresses, or thought I did.Ta-da! Things seemed to work OK for a while. At least, a reader of the blog couldn't see any issues. I had a small problem, though, a problem that grew bigger and bigger as wordpress upgraded and began offering more and more features, and as I sought to upgrade my themes. I found that the blog would break if I didn't do exactly the same thing with both directories, because the "blogworld" installation continued to redirect my administrative activities to the "testblog" folder. And all sorts of things wouldn't work. Take the plugin Event Calendar, which I've been using to good effect on the Ringplay blog for a year or more. Wouldn't run on Blogworld. Take the complex matter of upgrading themes. The theme would reference the installation in "blogworld" but be directed there by "testblog" -- a headache and a half, especially as plugins referenced "testblog" at the same time. I could go on, but I was never able to have the luxury of making a complete diagnosis of the problem.When it came time to upgrade to Wordpress 2.5, and the features that were growing better and better were not working for Blogworld, the problems grew so cumbersome that I decided to fix the problem.It was a pretty simple fix, especially as I didn't care whether "testblog" worked or not. I simply redirected the software to the "blogworld" folder, and as long as I never went to "testblog" again, all was hunky. The software references the same database, so I haven't lost any posts. And the fun thing was when I tried to go to "testblog" admin screen, I got caught in an endless loop that provided me with some amusement after I discovered that "blogworld" was working well.Problem no. 1 solved.Problem no. 2: Ringplay got hacked. I neglected to upgrade the software for a while, because I was very partial to the theme and wasn't sure that the theme and the software upgrades would play nicely together. It was a mere matter of a morning's work, but I never seemed to have a morning to devote to it. In the meantime, persons unknown exploited the holes in the old installations and placed some nasty code on the server. I've had to refer to the techies at vDeck, my host, to get them cleaned, which is why Ringplay is offline as we speak; I've taken it offline to stop any potential of infection. I trust the problem will be isolated and addressed soon.Problem no. 3: I want to blog more, not less! But I just don't have the time. The minutiae of bureaucracy are fiddly, time-consuming, tedious, philosophically unnecessary, but crucial to getting anything done. Some people are good at it, relish the game, love mastering the silly little details of our antiquated system, glory in the power that that mastery gives them. And I get it, and have learned, in theory, what has now to be done. But I don't see why it should. Why should I have to "walk" my documents "through" (from under secretary to permanent secretary to accountant to the ministry of finance, and back) to get routine activities approved? Why isn't the system set up to serve the needs of the citizens, rather than the power-greed of public servants? I just don't have the patience anymore.And there you have it. The trials of blogging. And the power, too.Cheers.

Too much pinkery?

For those of you who might be thinking that I have waaay too much time on my hands, know this: I've been on vacation for the past two weeks. The public service has the policy of being able to bank your vacation -- you get a certain number of weeks per year, and you can accumulate leave over time. It's a nice perk. Trouble is, it costs taxpayers money, because many civil servants, including some of the best, simply bank their vacation over time and then add it up as pre-retirement leave.  It has not been uncommon for people to be paid for three, six, nine or twelve months as they near retirement.  It's especially useful in times of illness.  My father was a case in point. When he was ill, his vacation leave helped assist us in taking care of his hospital bills.It's good for the worker, but not great for the service.  The person remains on the books, which means that their post is occupied even though they are not working in it.  That means that it's often difficult to replace them -- and believe it or not, the public service is suffering as much from a lack of employees as it is from a bloated payroll (more on that later).  So there's an official policy that keeps reminding us civil service that vacation leave is cumulative only up to a maximum of fifteen weeks.  For people who get three vacation weeks a year, that's five years' worth of vacation, but for people who get more than that it doesn't take long to accrue a lot of leave.  I entered my fifth incremental year last October with some 10 weeks' leave, and didn't know how I'd got it.  So I'm taking it this year -- two before Christmas, two right after, and two weeks right now.All that to say that I've been fooling with the blog.  I've fixed the comment issue in the upgrade, which is good.  On the other hand, I have had to abandon the theme I was using, which was a design I liked.  A lot.  I've got this one, which is by the same designer, but though it does the job, it doesn't feel right.  Not bold enough.  Not me enough.  I'm waiting for him to release the theme for 2.5 so I can play with it again -- but by that time I may have redesigned the entire site.So I say all that to say this:  this may be just too much pinkery for the moment.  But stick with me.  It'll all turn out well in the end.It's a mystery. 


For those of you who came to this blog over the last night or so, you will have noticed that you couldn't get to it -- the comment that came up was "ERROR CONNECTING TO DATABASE". It was a problem that affected all the blogs.Our service provider is having issues.I am working on putting up a mirror blog. At this point there is another blog which serves as an archive. You can find it here: it is where I play around with themes, etc, before putting them up here.If the entire server goes down again, that will also be unavailable, but it is a backup.Eventually I hope to have something at -- but not just yet.


I'm upgrading to WordPress 2.5 today. If this blog goes down, that's what's happening.I hope the upgrade will fix the issues we have had with commenting lately (by the way, it happened to me!) We shall see.Wish me luck!=====By the way, the theme change is due to the upgrade -- the theme I'm using at the moment (my modification of Brian Gardner's Blue Zinfandel) isn't yet released for 2.5.I invite you to attempt to comment after the upgrade. Let me know what you think of the theme -- and let's see whether the comment function is working again!