Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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A Whole New WordPress

I logged into my blog tonight to write a posting and learned that there is a brand new version of WordPress, which is the open source software that I use to publish my blog. And it’s not just a usual little update with a few bug fixes – it’s a big change to how the WordPress editor works. Instead of just writing stuff in one big textbook like I used to, it’s now all down in different types of “blocks”.

So now instead of writing what I was going to write about1, I’m writing a post to play around with the new features2.

Like in this paragraph, I used a “drop cap” to create the giant “L” at the start of the paragraph, like one might see in a fancy book. Unfortunately, it looks totally ridiculous with the font my blog theme uses.

There’s also a new way to insert photos, so I’ve inserted this random photo of Watson & Crick exploring the inside of the dishwasher:

Kitties in the dishwasher
Although it’s a new way to insert a photo, it doesn’t seem like it will look any different when I post it on the blog.


Now I’m using a “quotation” block, just to see what that looks like. (When I preview the post, I can see it’s in italics, which isn’t how it looks in the editor. I think that’s because my theme has itaclics for quotations. But it looks better without the italics, to be honest).

-Dr. Beth Snow

This is a pull quote. I kind of like the look of this in the editor, but again when I preview, it’s in italics. Perhaps it’s time to change my theme?

It was really easy to change the colour on this though!

DR. BETH SNOW

There is also an option called a “cover”, which is a photo with writing on top of it. But it only seems to let  you choose a photo that you’ve uploaded to the same place where you store your blog, whereas I prefer to store all my photos in Flickr and use them from there. So here’s an example of a cover from one of the very few photos that I’ve actually stored with my blog rather than on Flickr:

This is a cover

There’s also a “gallery” where you can add a bunch of photos, but again, I have to store all the photos on the server where I store my blog, but I don’t want to pay to store a bunch of photos there when I already pay to store all my photos on Flickr. 

That button just takes you to my homepage, so it’s not very exciting. And it looks terrible, because the text is picking up the link colour (blue if you haven’t been to my homepage and purple if you have) from my theme – whereas on the editing screen it looks much nicer.3

But think of all the exciting places I could direct you to go, now that I have button creating powers!

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that I can do with this (including changing the background and text colour in a block, apparently), but it’s getting late so I think I’ll leave that all to another day. Now to click “Publish” and see how this all really looks on the other side (though WP tells  me that it should look very similar to what I’m seeing in the editor screen, but when I previewed it did not!)

  1. I don’t even remember what I was going to write about, to be honest! []
  2.  Basically, what I’m saying is that this post will probably be of interest to no one, so you can save yourself the boredom and stop reading now. Assuming that you read the footnotes. Assuming that my footnotes plugin still works with this brave new WordPress…. oh wait, I just previewed the post and the footnotes do, in fact, appear to work. Hooray! []
  3. Perhaps I need to update my theme? []

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28 Days Later

This blog posting is kind of pointless and you probably don’t even need to read it.

So the last time you saw me here, I was in the midst of the busiest work thing I’ve ever done. It managed to stay that same level of crazy for about a month and settled down just in time for me to hop on a plane and go to Calgary for four days for a conference, which I just returned from yesterday evening, and then I was back at work again today. Thankfully, my team and I are now able work just our regular 8 hour days Monday to Friday again. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a tonne of stuff to be done1, but nothing that is super urgent the way it’s been for the past month – things have stabilized so we don’t have to have to extract, analyze, and report a whole bunch of data by 8 am every morning. Hooray!

But enough about work. While work has been going on, I’ve still being doing the occasional non-work thing and have had no time whatsoever to blog them. Such things (which I may or may not ever actually blog about) include, in no particular order:

  • that time that Dr. Dan and friends went bungee jumping and I bravely cheered them on from a distance while standing on solid ground
  • my mom and my aunt’s trip to Vancouver
  • some books I’ve read
  • some foods I’ve made
  • my trip to Calgary (spoiler alert: I still hate Calgary)
  • this year’s balcony herb garden
  • my lack of vacation planning, despite having vacation time booked
  • finally finishing one category in my attempt to Konmari my condo
  • probably a whole bunch of stuff that I’m forgetting

Anyway, I’m mostly writing this blog posting as a way of reminding me of all the things I’m planning to write blog postings about, now that I have a teensy bit of time again. So if you’ve actually read this, then you are probably feeling rather unsatisfied by the lack of actual content. But don’t say you weren’t warned!

  1. And about half a dozen more of these “go lives” at other sites, but let’s not think about that right now, k? []

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Nerd Stats 2017

Another year goes by, another row gets added to my table of nerd stats. .

Blog postings Tweets1 Visits to my blog Average number of blog visits per day Busiest day on my blog
2008 423 2,227 32,410 93 Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)
2009 357 1,815 45,153 126 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)
2010 344 2,302 44,689 122 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)
2011 380 3,625 60,560 166 Oct 10, 2011 (374 views)
2012 201 875 63,844 175 Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)
2013 213 945 46,665 128 Sept 4, 2013 (721 views)
2014 91 910 33,948 93 Mar 7, 2014 (208 views)
2015 118 800 34,930 96 Nov 23, 2015 (512 views)
2016 116  812  51,549  141 Jan 29, 2016 (13,968 views)
2017 92 449 20,691 57 not sure2.
% change from 2016 -21% -45% -60% -60% N/A

So I was down across the board on my social media involvement in 2017, which is probably reflective of the fact that I feel like I didn’t really do anything in 2017. I was thinking of writing my usual “year in review” blog postings yesterday, but then I realized that I didn’t really do anything! I mean, I went to Washington, DC for the first time, which was cool, but other than that it pretty much just usual every day stuff: going to work, going to the gym (though I really, really do love the gym), playing hockey, and repeat. No epic trips, no epic accomplishments. I definitely have to step things up for 2018!

  1. Note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2018″ posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []
  2. I used to get this from a “Your 2015 year in blogging” email that Jetpack (the thing I used to track my blog stats) used to send. They stopped sending that in 2015 and the only reason I knew the most popular day in 2016 was because it was my most popular day ever, which Jetpack does provide on its dashboard. Since I didn’t surpass that day this year, it still stands as the most popular day ever and there’s no easy way to find my most popular day for 2017 []

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NaBloPoMo – Day 30 – On A Roll

And so endth another National Blog Posting Month. As predicted, I mostly blogged about inconsequential minutiae, but at least it got me back in the habit of writing everyday. I just looked at last year’s end of NaBloPoMo posting to see what I wrote about and it reminded me that I should probably check out how I’m at writing blog postings relative to my 2017 goal:

  • when I hit “publish” on this posting, I will have published 68 blog postings1 so far this year
  • my goal for 2017 was to publish 117 postings
  • that mean I’ve only reached a mere 58% of my goal
  • and I will need to write 49 blog postings in December to meet my goal

So that would require me publishing 1.6 blog postings per day, or just a little more 3 postings every 2 days. It would be a lot, but it’s doable2. I’m kind of on a roll with writing now *and* I do have two weeks off at the end of the month, so I think I’ll give it a go!

  1. that means nearly half of my blog postings for 2017 were written in November! []
  2. I wrote 40 blog postings in Dec 2015 and a whopping 69 blog postings in Dec 2013. []

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WordPress’s Annual Blogging Report

WordPress just sent me my annual blogging report, which informed me that my blog has been viewed 34,000 times this year! My busiest day was Nov 23, with 513 views, mostly on this blog posting, which for some reason got pingbacks on two sites that stole this article from the Guardian.

The report also claims that I’ve posted 110 blog postings in 2015 – though my spreadsheet that I keep of such things says that I’ve only posted 103. So I’ve just double checked and found some errors in my spreadsheet (the horror! the horror!) and when I also add the postings I’ve done today and yesterday that it appears were too late to be included in my blogging annual report, plus this one that I’m writing, I’ll actually have posted 114 postings, so I only I have one less to go! And given that I have a few standard year-end blog postings (review of this year’s goals, goals for next year, nerd stats), I’ll easily be able to exceed my blogging goal this year. It’s a Holiday miracle!

You can check out my WordPress generated annual blogging report, if you are so inclined, here.

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93 down, 22 to go!

With just 4.5 days left to go in 2015, I have 22 blog postings left to go1 to reach my goal of 115 postings, so I’m going to see how many blog postings I can power through this afternoon. Apologies in advance for flooding your Twitter stream/Facebook feed/RSS feed!

  1. Once I post this one. []

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Completeism

I started writing this a few days ago, but didn’t finish it. Which is pretty hilarious since it’s a blog posting called “Completeism”. In my defence, I’m trying to get my students’ papers marked – my last teaching task I need to do to wrap up the semester – and once I do that, I’ll have lots more spare time to write my eleventy billion blog postings. I’m only finishing this one now because I have only one more assignment to mark, but not enough time to do it before I have to leave for hockey, so I’m quickly doing this in the time that I have right now.

As Jan mentioned in a comment on my earlier post, my quest to get to 115 blog postings in 2015 is a case of completism, which is apparently a form of perfectionism, and so I should probably let it go if I’m not having fun with it. And, I thought about this comment as a perused the list of blogging prompts for Dec 2015 because they just don’t resonate with me1. But I still want to do my 115 blog postings because completeism, so I checked out last year’s daily blogging prompts for December and I like them better2. Hence, I shall be using those as inspiration – and if there are ones I don’t like, I’ll look at other months’ prompts instead!

Now, I’m off to hockey!

  1. I was going to say “they suck”, but that’s not true. I’m sure they are wonderful for some people, but they seem to be all stuff that I’ve talked about ad nauseam already, so they aren’t really useful for the purpose of inspiring me, which is what I wanted out of this. []
  2. The theme was joy and I could really use a little joy in my life right now. []

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68 down, 47 to go!

BlogAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve ramped up my blog writing as of late, but I haven’t quite been hitting my target of 7.25 blog postings per week in order to make my goal of 115 blog postings for this year. By my latest calculation, once I include today’s posting and one for tomorrow, I will have to publish 47 blog postings during the 31 days in December – or 1.516 blog postings per day. I do have a list of stuff that I want to blog about (plus a few other items I’ve added to my mental list since I published that list), but I certainly don’t have 47 blog posting ideas. And I find that when I challenge myself to a blogging goal like this, it tends to lead to the dreaded blogger’s block.

So I’ve decided that for the month of December, I’m going to use the “daily blogging prompts” from the BlogHer website. These prompts take the form of a list of questions, one for each weekday1, and then you just write a blog posting to answer that question. So that gives me content for 23 blog postings, which means I only need to think of content for 24 blog postings. I have 12 items on my list that I haven’t yet posted about, so that just leaves 12 things that I’ll need to come up with. And given that there are lots of things going on in December – and there’s my usual end of year postings2 – I feel like this goal is do-able! Now I just have to hope that the daily prompts are actually interesting so that I don’t bore you all to death!

Image Credit: Posted by Got Credit on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. So technically they aren’t “daily”, as there are no prompts on the weekends. []
  2. Nerd Stats for the year, Review of 2015 goals, Setting of 2016 goals, just to name a few. []

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Write Blog Postings –> ? –> Profit!

I was searching Flickr for images for my slide deck for the class I’m teaching and stumbled upon this one:

BLOG IDEAS

It made me smile!

Image Credit: Posted by Owen W. Brown on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

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Goals 2015 – 317/365ths of the year check-in

So apparently I’ve rediscovered that I have a blog. Sadly, I totally forgot that November is NaBloPoMo1 – the month where you are supposed to publish a blog posting every day –  until about 2 days ago, which was 11 days to late to realize such a thing. I have, however, rebounded from one of my worst ever months for blog posting – I only posted 2 postings last month. Two! – having already posted 4 blog postings this month2 and the month isn’t even half over.

Rediscovering that I have a blog has reminded me that I have a list of goals that I aimed to accomplish this year, something I haven’t really thought about since, well, basically since I started working on the course that I’m currently teaching, which has pretty much taken over my life (outside of my day job) for the past three months3.

The last time I checked in on the list was in July, at which time I had completed 4 of my 15 +1 goals4

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m knocked 3 more items off the list:

  • run two half marathons (Vancouver and Montreal)
  • run 800 km (this one warrants its own blog posting!)
  • add 5 new medals to my collection (as does this one)

I’m also on track to achieve:

  • read 15 books in 2015 (I’ve read 14 so far5.)
  • complete 15 items from my 101 list (I’ve completed 11 so far)
  • bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work (I currently sit at 49.7%, so I need to bump it up to at least 50.1% and I have 22 work days left in the year, so as long as I bring my lunch 12 out of those 22 days, I’ll achieve this one.)

I’m not on track, but could get back on track with a Herculean effort, for this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings (I’ve published (including this one) 57 blog postings this year, which means I need to publish another 58 postings in the next 48 days (or 7.25 blog postings per week) to achieve this goal.)

I failed to achieve this one and am not going to have the opportunity again before year’s end (so I guess it goes on next year’s goals list!):

  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.

I’ve continued to neglect:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

and the second and fourth ones of that aren’t going to happen without a miracle. But the first and fourth are things that I can still tackle – and now that I remember them, perhaps I will start on them!

  1. National Blog Posting Month. []
  2. 5 is if you count this one that I’m writing now, which will be published by the time you read this. []
  3. Incidentally, I teach on Wednesday nights and since yesterday was a holiday, there was no class. Which gave me a bit of a breather and reminded me about the gloriousness of having free time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving teaching my class, but it is so much freaking work to put together three hours of lecture ever week, plus marking, plus communicating with students and guest speakers, etc. I’m really going to enjoy the break I’ll get when this is done. []
  4. +1 because I added in a bonus goal in that blog posting. []
  5. A few too many of these are textbooks for my liking, but I needed to read them to prep my course and they still count! []