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.


Again, for those of you who aren't bloggers and who don't use Wordpress, apologies. But I've upgraded, and am happy happy happy with the new administrative interface.So there.What I'm not so happy about -- what's panicking me somewhat -- is how fast the days go by. Too bloody fast, if you ask me. I have a whole list of draft posts that were started but not finished before me, and I'm slipping into some despair as to whether they will ever be finished.Time for some June cleaning, methinks!

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.

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.

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.

The Gaulin Wife

The Gaulin Wife - Helen Klonaris' blogLynn Sweeting sent me this link today, and it's with much pride that I announce it here.  I'm not always so excited about new blogs, but I know Helen, I know her work, and I encourage everybody who's interested in thinking differently about ourselves as Bahamians take the time to visit -- specially if you're interested in culture, writing, or identity.Here's an excerpt from what she's thinking:

When individuals step out of line, or cross the line between status quo and the unknown, into the dangerous and wild places of the imagination, we tell them first they are abominations; we tell them they are of the devil. We threaten them with spiritual warfare, eternal damnation and the like. When that doesn't work, when those individuals do not cower in fear for their souls, we send in backup: the physical forces of domination, in this case, the Royal Bahamian Police Force.

From "Poetry Under Investigation" - Helen Klonaris

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.