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.

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!

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.

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!

More Bloggery

Well.  Yesterday the update of Wordpress came out, and I clean-installed it onto several test blogs to see how it works.  It works!  I'm also in the process of setting up a new space for this blog, which, as I've already promised, will be migrating to its own special server over the course of the next few months.  The next step is to upgrade this blog to the new Wordpress.  Stay tuned. 

Major problems

Apologies to you all.

I'm having major problems with this blog. Posting has become a huge headache. I promised to migrate the whole thing to another server, and had hoped to put that off till next week, but have decided to take the plunge and do it now. Nobody can comment on this one, and I can't even embed video and have the post behave like it should.

So here's what to expect. This blog will go down for a while. When I have mirrored it elsewhere, it'll come back up again. In the meantime, I will try upgrading, and it may stabilize right here. Till then:


Go have a coffee on me.