CHANGING FORMATS ON WORDPRESS – Marilyn Armstrong

In an attempt to somehow get the reblog button to show up in the scroll, I switched templates four times in about two hours today.

Apparently, REBLOG doesn’t work while scrolling on any template and what is more, a lot of templates have some very strange formatting I’ve never seen before. I couldn’t even recover the format I was previously using. It has vanished.

I hate to say this, but they are doing it to us again. I have no idea exactly what they are doing, but the software is changing. Without getting complicated, WordPress’s upgrades give me a migraine.

Be aware that if it changed on my blog, it’s likely to change on yours. Maybe not immediately, but eventually, so don’t be surprised when it occurs. I hoped it might be that specific template, but the same thing was true on every template I tried.

I put a note at the top of my WIDGETS column explaining that if you want to use REBLOG, you have to click on the title for that blog. You won’t find a reblog button while scrolling. Also, the bizarre spacing issues are back again and your choices for headings are large (which is the same as ‘Normal’) and small, which is too small and sets the title tight against the following paragraph making it not only hard to see but unattractive. I yearn for the day when you could indicate font size using points.

NONE of the newer templates let you use the full wide of the page. They are all scrunched into a smaller panel, probably to accommodate phone users, The problem is, for art and photography blogs, it means you can’t show off your work properly.

I have fought the good fight and lost. One of these days, I think they really ARE going to push me out.

A LITTLE SOMETHING WITH WORDPRESS – Marilyn Armstrong

I write comments, but when I go back and look, they are gone. Likes appear, then vanish. If I don’t seem to be responding, it isn’t that I’m not. It’s that my comments are vanishing. If I discover one missing, I try to replace it. But sometimes the second one doesn’t “take” either.

I’m hoping this is one of those problems that will take care of itself. Since I wasn’t writing new posts, I’ve had time to read other people’s work and commented on almost everything … and I have a funny feeling that my comments never made it. And today, I have no new email, either. None. instead of the few hundred I get, there’s nothing at all.

It’s all weird, but part of our special high-end service from WordPress.

But just so you know, I have been doing a LOT of commenting but how much of it appears I don’t know. And I haven’t gotten any notices of new posts from ANYONE tonight.

Nothing at all. Has everyone stopped writing? All at the same time?

ON THE ROAD – Marilyn Armstrong

We are off for a few days, down to Connecticut. If the weather is with us, we may get to do “boat” and if not, we get to do “laughing with friends.”

Either is just fine.

I don’t plan to do much writing. I do have new pieces posted and scheduled and I’ll check in when I can, but I need a computer break, too! To explain how much of a break I need, I’m NOT taking my big camera. Just packing my pocket camera.

I need a break from all the things I do every day. We’ll be back at the end of the week.

All is well.

UPDATE: WEEK 2 – ACTIVATED COCHLEAR IMPLANT – Garry Armstrong

I feel like I should be singing “Getting To Know You” as I write this update.

It’s the beginning of the second week, wearing my activated cochlear implant.  It’s Saturday,  the first day of the 9th month.  If you sing “September Song”, I could probably hear most of the lyrics.   Maybe I’ll listen to Walter Houston’s memorable rendition of that melancholy song later today.

September is usually special because we celebrate our Wedding Anniversary and granddaughter Kaitlin’s birthday along with keeping eyes (and now ears) on our Boston Red Sox, hoping they can finish their 6-month marathon with a pennant championship en route to the World Series.

This September Sabbath began on a down note.  Blame it on the weather.  I’d planned on taking in a town event, “Uxbridge Day”, which figured to give my cochlear implant a public test,  mingling with dozens of people on our town square. Between the hot weather, an Excedrin Plus headache, and general fatigue from this long week prompted me to cancel plans.

We’ll hold off on the cochlear implant public début for a while.

Yesterday,  I received my first evaluation on the cochlear surgery and performance of the week-old activated parts. Marilyn and I shared our response to how I fared during the first week of my new hearing.

They were mixed reviews.  The audiologist did some tweaking, essentially giving me more volume. Now, I’m hearing louder bells, whistles, chimes, echoes and other “ghosts noises.”  I’m told these noises will fade in 3-months to a year as I adjust to this new way of hearing.

I’m from Missouri.  I’ll believe it when it happens.

Marilyn and I have discussed how we communicate with each other. This is a bonus because people with normal hearing have similar problems but rarely discuss it for fear of marital discord.  Who’s at fault? No one.

I feel as if I should be singing “Getting To Know You.” No, I don’t feel like Yul Brynner, King of Siam. I’m becoming more comfortable with my cochlear implant exterior parts. It’s somewhat awkward for me connecting the battery to the transmitter which sits atop my head and sends signals to “base headquarters” inside my head.

Usually, I need Marilyn’s help.  Today, I did it MYSELF!  Hallelujah!  It felt so good. I patted myself on the head, careful not to dislodge the transmitter.  Marilyn cut out a piece of my hair so it would be easier to find a landing spot, making it easier for the magnets inside the transmitter to secure a spot on my head.  Like a spaceship landing on Mars.

As I write, I’m getting mostly “ghost chimes” in my brain and ear. It’s peaceful.  The dogs are not barking. The TV is in repose.  All is calm.

So far, so good.

WORDPRESS IS ON THE FRITZ AGAIN

“On the Fritz” is a pre World War I (circa 1902), originally meaning “in a bad way” or “in bad condition.” Typically, it is the malfunctioning of an appliance, possibly originating from the German name Fritz, or by onomatopoeia as in imitating the sound of electric sparks jumping.


I think you could call this a transformative experience. Last month and until a week ago, we had the highest view numbers I’ve ever seen in a non-commercial blog and this week, we are barely managing to stay afloat.

I’ve watched stat numbers bounce around over the more than five years I’ve been doing this, but this was a drop like nothing I’ve seen before. I shrugged it off. I didn’t actually know something was broken. I figured it was us — and because I don’t use the new editor, I didn’t bump into the complete dysfunctionality of that software, which apparently isn’t working. At all. What I did discover is that we are 75% lower in views with no sign of a bounce back. A 75% drop is a lot. More than a typical bounce.

So I went to the Reader and saw how many people who usually have active blogs now show vastly reduced views … and apparently, the “like” is broken because there were so few of them. All the ones I’d entered were missing, too.

On this site, the “Like” has been erratic for a while. Personally, my likes and comments have been doing a vanishing act. They look normal when I enter them, but if I go and look — lost in the great virtual beyond. This isn’t the first time this has happened. If you’ve been lurking around WordPress for more than a few years, you’ve seen this happen, get fixed, happen, get fixed to the point where you don’t get excited so much as you get a migraine. Eventually they will fix it, but when? Could be very soon, like … today or tomorrow. Or it could be a month or more.

So if you haven’t heard from me, I’m not ignoring you. Something is broken. Again. Others are finding it difficult to get in touch with the engineers. I haven’t tried yet. This is such a major outage and seems to be affecting many people — thus far mostly American — the staff must have noticed. The engineering staff can’t miss this, can they?

If I don’t start to hear that it’s improving somewhere, I’ll dig in and try to get someone’s attention but generally, I ride these WordPress storms out. After a while, it settles down. If my problems persist when the storm dies away, THEN I get in touch with engineering.  Try not to let it get to you. This stuff can make you crazy, especially when you’ve been working hard and your posts come to nothing because they have “fixed” the software.

I do not mind them fixing the software. I mind them failing to test it to make sure it works before dumping it on their customers. And we really ARE their customers. Apparently, they don’t see it the same way we do.

Let me know if anyone sees an improvement — or actually talks to an engineer and has information!

LOST YET FOUND – THE WANDERING OF MY WORDPRESS FRIENDS

This morning, when I realized that Paula’s prompt was missing, I went into “managing my reader” and discovered more than half the blogs I follow were missing. I messed around with settings and refreshing for a while — and suddenly, everyone was back.

I should have known something was wrong when I saw I was getting so few emails.

Why do I figure it isn’t me alone? If your response seems much smaller than usual, make sure you still have “your people” attached. I don’t know what they are doing, but this is getting annoying. As soon as I fix it, it’s broken again. You might want to check and see if they have hit you, too.

BUSY, BUSY – PART BETA

We got the taxes done. Bonnie was still feeling poorly. We came back from getting taxes done and lo and behold, she is feeling better. Better enough to want my sandwich. Which I gave her. Because she hadn’t eaten in days, so what kind of doggy mom would hold back on the sandwich? I thought maybe we’d try her out on upgraded canned dog food. She ate a little of it. Gibbs happily ate the rest. But cold cuts? That she was definitely into. She is still looking a bit peaked, but it’s a far cry from yesterday, so I moved the vet appointment to Wednesday.

What seems to be going on is that she eats something. I have no idea what, but I can guess. The dogs have a fully enclosed yard. Big space for two smallish dogs. Then, she eats something. Paper? Tree bark? Dirt? Whatever it is, it blocks her up and she gets all bloated and sick and then, a few days later, she’s better.

I would take her to the vet if I thought there was a chance of them figuring out what’s wrong with her. This isn’t the first, second, or third time this has happened. Last time … almost a year ago … it was a $600 bill. No medication. Just “wait it out.” Which we did. She got better.

This time, I thought maybe I should skip the $600 and wait it out, at least a few days. What happens when we do go to the vet is that they poke around and find nothing. They take x-rays. See nothing. Offer to run several thousand more dollars worth of tests, which we really can’t afford and usually, they find nothing.

So this time, after she decided she could eat a pound of cold cuts, we thought we’d give her a couple more days to see how she fares. She isn’t vomiting. No diarrhea. No fever. She is willing to eat … if we have food of which she approves.

This is where my desire to be a great dog mom bumps into my desire to not bankrupt us. So I deferred the vet appointment to Wednesday. Let’s see how she is doing in a couple of days. These are times when I fervently wish my dog could tell me what’s going on. Is Bonnie sick? Not so much as five hours ago. Why is she unwell? I’m guessing it’s something she ate … but I have NO idea what, though my guess is paper. She steals it, hides it, and chews on it. Gets sick.

We are getting a little money back on taxes and Bonnie looks better. So it’s already a superior day to what we expected. I hope this isn’t one gigantic hold-out for an upgrade in food prep.

BUSY, BUSY

We get our taxes done this morning … and when we are done, we take Bonnie to the vet. No, she isn’t better … or at least not better enough. She hasn’t eaten a meal in three days. She drinks water, but won’t eat … except for Greenies. She ate three of them this morning, but threw up on the fourth.

So we’ll be out most of the day today. Just letting you know. It’s much earlier than we usually start our day … and tomorrow will be the same, because it’s my oncology day (always my favorite).

See you (for real) on Wednesday.

A good day for all, I hope. Especially for Bonnie.

ONE THING, ANOTHER THING, AND THEN … ONE MORE THING

Garry’s computer went down, but that was okay because he could use my other computer. The Kindle went down, but that turned out okay because Audible fixed it and then Amazon fixed it more. But when my computer went down this afternoon, that was NOT okay. Not even a little bit okay.

First, there was a download. Turned out to be a BIOS download, but they didn’t mention this little detail to me and in any case, it didn’t matter because it blew out all my recovery backups. I have my photographs on hard drives, but the rest of my world is online.

It blew out Photoshop — the one from 2008 which had been running fine, thank you.

computer gargoyle

It also blew out my sound, but after a bit of jiggling, I got that back. It blew out both of my C-port adaptors. They were cheap and I can cope with stuff that cost me ten bucks. Brand new. But when she told me the jpgs weren’t working and I had to call the company that owns my cameras, I got a little crazy. I was trying really, really hard to be normal, you know? I was trying to not breathe hard, not scream in panic or anything. I was doing okay, but that was it for me.

I said “It’s a FREAKING JPEG. It’s not a fancy schmantzy super special thing that comes with my fancy camera. It’s a JPEG. A lousy little JPEG.”

We eventually worked our way around to the point where she admitted there had been a lot of calls today, all pretty much like mine with people screaming “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY COMPUTER?”

So — everything is working. Except I don’t have software. For pictures. I do, however, have Photoshop on Garry’s computer and the guy from the computer shop is fixing HIS computer. To be fair, Alien is pretty sure they can get me a version of Photoshop, too. It’ll just take a couple of days.

I’m just saying … it was one thing. Then, there was another thing. THEN, there was THIS thing. I’m totally freaking nuts. Except the computer is working … minus the lack of software. Maybe we’ll get that fixed too. Oy.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

It’s the time of year when I set aside my blogging cloak and don the cloak of book judge. From now until the end of February, I’ve got a lot of reading to do. it means I’ll be visiting you less often and posting less. I’m sure you will all manage with less of me for a few weeks. I won’t forget you.

I hope these books are better than the last batch. I worry about the state of literature.

me sicko 2

I’ve also picked up a miserable head cold. Why is it that I am brave and stalwart in the face of major adversity, but a pathetic whiny lump in the face of a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat and all that other stuff? And yes, Garry’s got it too because caring is sharing and we really care.

JUST ONE OF THOSE CRAZY THINGS – WHEN THE BONE DOESN’T KNIT

Yesterday morning, I dropped the mouse for the computer in the bedroom. I reached down to pick it up and a pain shot through my chest, down my arm and I yelped.

I had a lot of heart surgery a couple of years ago. Most of it has healed well. The thing that hasn’t healed properly is my breastbone. Surgeons split it in half when they work on your heart. Normally, it will take as much as between 2 and 6 months to knit into a single unit. Mine didn’t knit, so it’s still a two-piece breastbone. Healed, but not knitted and held together with steel wire. Apparently, no medical technology exists that can convince a bone to knit if it doesn’t want to.

Typically, this is a problem on joints that cannot be immobilized — ribs, breastbone, shoulders, spine. And, I should mention that when one of these is broken, you discover that every single other thing in your body is connected to it. So it has been for the past two days. Moving really hurts. But only at certain angles when using my right arm.

I’m a rightie. Of course.

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It seems a little better today than yesterday, but it’s still crunching with each breath I take. I can hear it through my inner ear. Creepy.

All of this makes it difficult for me to do stuff. If I want this to settle down, find its notch, and stop hurting, I have to settle down and be as still as I can for a few days.

All of this is an explanation of why I’m not doing much. I wrote a bunch of posts which are already scheduled. There will be new posts, but otherwise, I have to do the one thing that’s hardest for me to do: nothing. For a few days at least. If this doesn’t correct itself, I’ll have to go see a surgeon and I cannot emphasize enough how much I do not want any more surgery of any kind. Ever.

Meanwhile, I’m held together by some pretty tough steel wire and I’m resting. And hoping this takes care of itself.

UPDATE: SORRY, BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

I have a lot of stuff to do right now. Doctor stuff, computer stuff, promises to keep, books to read because I owe reviews to publishers.  There’s not nearly enough time in my day to do it all and I have fallen way behind on most of the stuff I usually do for Serendipity. Lucky for me it’s October and there are lots of pictures to post, otherwise, there wouldn’t be much here, either.

outofservice

I’m going to have to delete a pile of notifications. I’ll never get to them. Please accept my apologies. The “JUST two hands and one head … ” rule applies. If I add one more thing to my “to do” list, I’ll disintegrate into a mass of ones and zeroes and be permanently sucked into some virtual reality.

At least I’m still managing to write a bit. It’s going to be a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can dig myself out of this hole I’m in.

A BUSY WEEK

This is a crazy busy week. Dogs and doctors.

Two weeks ago, Garry pulled his shoulder (the one on which he had rotator cuff surgery seven years ago) lifting Bishop into the Jeep. He needed to see the ortho doc today.

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I haven’t had the leisure to take many pictures or write posts. I’m surprised I’ve done as much as I have. It’s like dancing between the raindrops.

In answer to your unasked question, Garry is (apparently) okay. He hurts and it’ll take a few more weeks of healing for the pain to diminish. It’s probably a sprain, not a tear. Which doesn’t make it hurt less. As for me, I’m off to the arthritis specialist tomorrow. I’ve been avoiding this for a few years because the news on my spine is never good and the answer is always the same: there’s nothing to be done except control the pain. Bummer.

Garry’s going to be in New York next week. I’ll have plenty of time to write. Meanwhile, as our personal juggernaut drives relentlessly through a personal calendar that barely leaves me time to cook a meal, much less eat one, I’ll be thinking of you.

DNC democratic national convention logo_2016

Tonight, watching the DNC, I was proud to be a Democrat, the party that talks about inclusion and coming together. We ain’t perfect, but we are not demonizing minorities and spewing hate. We fight among ourselves, but in the end we are for America and for each other. And that makes me feel pretty good in a year when Orange Head is telling everyone we should be afraid of everyone, and especially each other.

I’m not afraid. I bet neither are you.

Today’s Daily Post theme is “unstoppable.” I’m hoping that’s exactly what we are. Unstoppable, brave, and honorable.