Posted in Blogging, Notepad Conversations, Writing

Excuse the Mess


If we were having coffee, you would have a red cat on your knee and a notebook to write on, and we would be writing notes back and forth. Probably we would be fighting over the black cat pen — who had it last?? I thought you had your own pen!! Peeve.

There would be a fresh shower of rain streaming down the windows, as it’s pretty wet these days… windows to front and back, so you would see a quiet street out the front and a hedge at the back with a lot of big trees. The pigeons would sit in the trees and look at you. They are always there, and sometimes a grey squirrel too.

Presumably you would be writing something like, “Well, this is nice, isn’t it, but a bit puzzling. How did I come to be here?”

I would take the cat pen and reply, “I think it’s my fault. I decided to try this hashtag thing — weekendcoffeeshare — without having a clue how hashtags actually work. I thought it would bring bloggers to my page, not here to have coffee with me. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to meet you, but I do hope you will excuse the mess…”

And you would write, “Oh, the mess is fine. Just don’t do it again, that’s all! I am not quite sure how I’m going to get back now. Thingy will be wondering where I disappeared to.”

I would say, “I don’t know. If you know how to work hashtags, it might be the way home for you?”

And you would say, “Sorry, I don’t know a thing about hashtags. Never use them.”

There would be an awkward silence, then the red cat (Delilah) would stretch happily and dig her claws in, as she does love having someone new to torture sit on.

You would say, in a relenting tone of scribble, “Since I am here, I’ve often wondered what you really look like behind that eskimo bear,” and I would say, “Well, as you see… there’s no eskimo bear! It’s upstairs, just sleeping.”

“Oh,” you would say, and “I guess you don’t look like an eskimo bear.”

And I would say, “You don’t look how I imagined, either.”

“What, doesn’t my picture look like me?”

“Noooooo…. you look…. more real.”

“Thank you.”

After another silence, you would say, “Don’t you think that eskimo bear photo is a bit outdated? You’ve had it since you first began blogging in 2005 or whenever. Now it looks kind of soft and old.”

I would start having a panic attack at the thought of just how old the bear is, the camera it was photographed with and the blog, and you hastily say, “Don’t worry! It’s all good.”

“OK,” I’d say. “Let me just get my iPad. Where did you say you lived again? I’ll look up the train times. Where?? OK… PLANE times. Oh, and take the bear with you, just as a souvenir. I feel the need for a brand new profile picture…”

Posted in Blogging, Technology and Software

Sea of Darkness: a view of the Internet

It was exhilarating making my blog more accessible on my iPad — I’m getting push notifications! That makes it more likely I’ll keep blogging. I know none of you are impressed… ‘promises, promises’… you’ve heard them all before.

Had a look to see who was still here from my blogroll. I had a fear that everyone had given up and gone, but I only had to delete one or two links — it’s lovely and humbling that most are still here and still blogging.

One deleted blog is now a spam blog… I’ve heard that can happen. It’s a reminder that if I’m not going to blog for a while, all my blogroll links should be hidden.

I had problems leaving comments via my WordPress app. I would comment on a Blogger blog, and after I pressed ‘publish’ it would say “sign in to complete the process. There are no links, so use a bookmark or type in your URL.” I was already signed in, and as I wasn’t in a browser, there was no location bar or bookmarks. That really threw me, till I worked out how to complete the process. Going into Safari separately doesn’t work; you have to do it via the app.

Then I ran into other problems… one time Blogger said ‘oops!’ (probably a white lie for ‘I don’t trust you’), and another time it said ‘memcache value is null for FormRestoration’. It claimed if I cleared my cache and history and then refreshed, the gobbledegook might go away, but I didn’t see why that should be necessary! I guessed the problem was most likely with the word verification (maybe it wasn’t happy with my answer), so I did it all over again with a fresh form, filled in the new verification box, and this time it worked. It just requires a little patience, and making sure you copy your comment before pressing any buttons!

I had a bit of a confidence crash last night. I know, I’ve only just got back to my blog, yet was already questioning that decision! I was always happy with WordPress, but now it was part of the problem. I used their app to look at Reader, and all the pictures are blown up full-size. Some weren’t loading, so you’d get a full-sized blank screen for a couple of minutes. You’d scroll down and there would be grey area after grey area. Others weren’t meant to be blown up so big and were just a blurred mess. In between each full sized picture would be about three lines of text. It made it difficult to browse.


In addition, most of the blogs I saw in the main categories were commercial or professional. I was looking for personal blogs, but they were hard to find.

I looked wistfully at someone else’s blog on Blogger, and considered moving!

While drifting disconsolately around, I read a statement that 80% of all comments and email are spam, and most of the internet is spam too. I suddenly felt as though I was sitting on a floating raft, surrounded by debris and targetted by Facebook ads. Began wondering if it was possible to cut the internet out of my life! Close down all my accounts, delete everything I can delete… just maintain basic email?

There are ex-users… not just people who won’t go online to start with, but people who have tried it and didn’t like it. That includes a lot of people in my age group. I also found this post which brightened me up a bit: Is it possible to quit the internet?

If I ever decide to take this step, I will give warning first! But I was in utter gloom by the time I retired for the night. I suppose it’s because you have hopes for the internet, and then you see all the spam, ads, fakes, bullying, intolerance and other stuff, and you come to realize the dark side will always be there, attempting to take over. Perhaps the internet is a failed experiment that we don’t want to let go of yet.

After looking through my blogroll today I felt better, remembering the light side is here too. Another thing that kept my sanity was discovering the final link in my blogroll… WordPress tags. I find all sorts of personal blogs that way.

When I was typing ‘how much of the internet is’…? in the Google search bar, I was expecting ‘spam’ to pop up, and instead it was ‘cats’. 🙂 Anyway, I was sitting thinking about my reluctance to be connected, when suddenly there was a notification. I followed it to this update from the Dalai Lama:

“Once we have a firm practice of compassion our state of mind becomes stronger which leads to inner peace, giving rise to self-confidence, which reduces fear. This makes for constructive members of the community. Self-centredness on the other hand leads to distance, suspicion, mistrust and loneliness, with unhappiness as the result.”



Posted in My Cats, Photographs

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

Oops, this is an old photo challenge, but I have gone to some trouble preparing the photo for publishing, so I’m posting it anyway.

We were out this morning, and when I came in the front door and saw the way my two cats were sleepily regarding me, I took photos, trying to capture their mood. Unfortunately the girl cat (Delilah) first of all just put her head down and closed her eyes, and didn’t look at the camera the way she had looked at me… then she sat up and did a very sweet green-eyed yawn, and at that precise moment my camera decided it had run out of card-space!!!!

That sort of thing is enough to throw you into a screaming tantrum.

I behaved myself though, and fetched another camera card… by that time Delilah had hopped off and left through the cat flap. Thank goodness for Samson, who stayed in bed, occasionally blinking at me, though with not quite the roguish grin that he had before.

I tried to focus sharply on him (dark room and ageing eyesight), and sometimes managed; other times it was way off, like here… I would have deleted this picture without a second thought, but I suddenly remembered the photo challenge.

Well, I thought, if I have to post a fuzzy photo, it might as well be this one! I made it even softer in Photoshop, mostly round the edges. Will have to look and see what other challenges I can respond to… my camera has been a bit covered in cobwebs recently.

My red cat Samson, woken up from his sleep.

Posted in My Cats

Bond Cats

Another blogger said a couple of times how, when he feels really strongly about something, he can’t bring himself to speak. It reminded me of when I was saying to Mum how Samson was ‘Octopussy’ because he’s my eighth cat. I opened my mouth to add “Sharky was 007” and the words refused to come out! I only meant it for a joke, but when you know those cats so well and are so fond of them — it’s not funny at all. They’re all special to me, but especially 007.

I miss him.

I wonder what Delilah is, though…. the 9th Bond girl, perhaps! Who was she?

Just for fun, I typed ‘ninth Bond girl’ into Google, and it said there was no such thing. It kept mentioning Olga Kurylenko, though, and said she was in something new called The Eagle of the Ninth… also in the Bond film Quantum of Solace (which I’ve not seen yet). I wondered what she looked like and clicked on ‘images’, and found myself faced with ranks of bikini-clad photos. “Oops,” I thought, “I better get off this page as I don’t know what Mum will think!”

I switched to a Wikipedia page about Olga, and there was a mug shot of her there. Her eyes are like Delilah’s, perhaps… all cats have beautiful eyes, but Delilah’s are stunning. She knows it, and does that innocent ‘Puss in Boots’ sort of stare (from Shrek) when she’s trying to make you fall under her spell.

Mum came out from her bath, saw the head shot on the Wikipedia page, and toddled over rapidly. “Who’s that?”

“It’s a Bond girl called Olga — I was wondering who she was. She was in Quantum of Solace.

“Oh,” said Mum. “From where I was standing, I thought it was you!”

Ahhh, mothers. 😀

Posted in My Cats

Even the Cat Finds Me Annoying

Today Samson (one of my cats) was lying on my lap, and the TV was running long commercials I’d already seen a million-and-one times before. Because I was bored, I was repetitively patting his flank.

He got fed up with this, so he gently grabbed hold of my fingers, curling his paws inwards to hold them, and carefully stuck his claws in till I stopped moving! Then he plucked up both his hind feet and plopped them on top.

That’s a cat who brooks no nonsense. 🙂

Posted in My Cats, Photographs

Poppa Sam

A rather shaky photo of Samson, as he was moving quickly, but a keeper, I think. Have also been trying out some Photoshop tips from camera magazines (my sister gave me a bundle of old ones for my birthday). The problem with it is that I keep seeing other cameras and wondering if they would be better than the one I have! Low priority, I would say…

Cat licking his own nose

PS: I was reading my camera instruction manual at bedtime (as one does) and found a bit where it says if a battery is running out too quickly, it might need to be replaced with a new…. battery! Not camera! I know, bang goes the excuse. In my case I think the battery is plenty good; it’s the way I autobracket everything and use RAW files as well as large JPEGs… the cards are hard-pushed to keep up, never mind the battery. On top of that, the new zoom len uses a lot of power in image stabilizing. It can be turned off if the camera is very steady and won’t shake, but today I was lazy and left the tripod indoors.