13th Anniversary of Blogging

I started blogging with WordPress 13 years ago! My stats page tells me I’ve published 365,803 words, uploaded 3168 images and posted, on average, 80 times a year.

Sometimes I run out of blogging ideas. That’s when I go to the fabric store and find new material.
– Author Unknown –

Okay, not just the fabric store… a trip to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and I’m good to go for a few more craft posts.

If I wasn’t a blogger, I’d probably still be a craftsman because crafts are an interest. It is hard to say, though, whether I would have become interested in photography and digital image processing.

A composite of some of the full moons that I  have photographed.

I might not have become as interested in bugs and snakes and lizards either.

Seven Spot Ladybug

I certainly would not have had the incentive to research things as thoroughly as I do.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.
– Wernher von Braun

Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly.
– Roger Ebert –

I might not have been following  ‘alt-middle’ thinkers like Zubin Damania, Jordan Peterson, Hans Rosling, Mike Rowe, Thomas Sowell and many others.

This is now the prime challenge. First of all, you cannot villainize or demonize each side. You have to understand there’s going to be extremes that are crazy on both sides, but that the vast majority of people are trying to be good based on their moral matrix. So we have to, first of all, open dialogue between the sides that doesn’t involve, shaming and name calling and ad hominems and logical fallacies… Then we need to have dialogue across these lines respectfully. And that’s what I call Alt-Middle.
-Dr. Zubin Damania –

Last, but not least, without this blog I would not be sharing all the quips, quotes and things I find funny.

When filled with humour the body becomes loose, relaxed, tension dissolves. Thinking becomes clearer, more optimistic, it is easier to focus. Our manner also changes and we become more expressive, more giving…
– David Granierer –

Do tell – if you are a blogger, how long have you been blogging? Why do you blog?
If you are a regular reader, what keeps you coming back for more!?

Revelio Invisibilis and Other Useful Spells

Recently I was surprised to find that my blog was invisible to the search engine I normally use – DuckDuckGo (DDG). It was also invisible to Bing. (I had typed my URL, amusives.wordpress.com, into the search box and neither search engine listed my blog in the results list.) Next I tried Google Search and my blog showed up on the top of the list. Strange, right!?

I discussed this with another WordPress blogger and he wondered if his blog (which was invisible too) had been ‘shadow banned‘ because he sometimes wrote posts that challenge the prevailing Global Warming narrative about Arctic Sea Ice. I couldn’t think of any reason why my blog would be made invisible.

I contacted a WordPress Happiness Engineer, Tiffany, who told me that WordPress has some ‘tools’ in place that ensure that WordPress posts are indexed by Google. (I’ve called these tools the Revelio invisibilis spell…) WordPress does not have these tools for any other search engines. Tiffany reminded me that there are things I can do to increase my visibility with all search engines. This includes blogging frequently, using appropriate tags and categories, leaving comments on other blogs, sharing posts on social media, etc.

So – if I perfect the spells for Postus Writeitselfus, Tagus Popularis, Categora Bestus, Commentor Briefus Witticarious or Socialus Followlinkus – I’ll share them with you.

Other Possible Spells, Charms and Chants:
If you know the AlbiAlbeAlbu spelling charm, let this person know:

Only two things I know about Albuquerque – Bugs Bunny should’ve taken a left turn there. And give me a hundred tries, I’ll never be able spell it.
– Jimmy McGill –

Is there a spell that will make every man sit to pee in a stall toilet?
This calls for an Unspendus spell.
A dry spring and heavy pollen. It has been an incredibly ‘yellow’ few weeks here. Fortunately it has started to rain. Unfortunately this much rain in such a short time will lead to flooding. We need a Rainis Notsomuchus Sofast spell.
If only there was a spell for this!
The only way to open those plastic bags is… scissors.

12th Blog Anniversary and 1000 Posts

Two milestones to celebrate – my 12th Blogging Anniversary and my 1000th post on this blog; (another 87 posts – the more serious and political ones – are at my alternate identity, Counter Current)!

Highlights (and a few low lights) of the past twelve years:

Morgan or Montana Moose – though Mandate Moose would have been a better name…

How many people can say they get frequent visits from the  Munching Moose Tree and Hedge Maintenance Service?
_____________________________

Three Great Horned Owlets

Our property was also home to a Great Horned Owl family that nested in a large spruce tree on the edge of our driveway.

I also did 138 Wild-life stories that document all the birds, bugs and animals I saw and 88 posts about Plants.
_____________________________

On the Humour front, I did 95 posts of funny Quotations and 1000 posts that had at least one moment of happiness embedded in the verbiage.
_____________________________

I’ve posted 45 Craft Projects.  The interior decor of the Red House reminds me of the front of the family fridge when there were school age kids in our house: a bunch of crafts that sometimes only a ‘mother’ can love…
_____________________________

“Into each life a little rain must fall.”

In 2012, The Car Guy was in a bad motorcycle accident. Man and bike both recovered, though the Harley looked like new after the restoration and The Car Guy  – not so much.
In 2013 there was a lot of rain. Our entire Cabin Community was destroyed. Though we weren’t able the save much from our cabin, the Car Guy did manage to salvage   our old lawnmower!
_____________________________

My review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of  Covid-19. I did about 40 posts about the virus, none of which went viral…

2, 4, 6, 8… Who Needs to Isolate?
My blogging life started in November 2009 during the peak of the second wave of the novel virus H1N1pdm09 pandemic. It was also known as the ‘Swine Flu’. The Cornell Daily Sun joked about the pig connection with the headline: ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It, And I Feel Swine…’

I’ve also lived through two other relatively serious pandemics – two Avian flus: the  Asian flu of 1957-1958  and the Hong Kong Flu of 1968-1970 . How did all three of these pandemics compare to Covid-19? No one will ever really know. Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been tracked differently and the collateral damage from lock downs, reduction in non-covid medical treatment and school closures will be difficult to measure.

Is “Baby It’s Cold Outside” a Deeply Offensive Song about Climate Change Denialism?
My blogging ‘career’ also coincided with COP15 (Conference of the Parties) which was held in Copenhagen in late 2009. COP26 (the 2021 version) is in full swing in Glasgow.  21,000 delegates, 13,000 observers and 3,000 members of the media will talk about how to cut emissions… do they understand the irony?

I’ll end this retrospective with this:

My blog is a collection of answers people don’t want to hear to questions they didn’t ask.
― Sebastyne Young –

Algorithms and Victor Hood – What’s That All About?

The newly published author, Victor A. Hood, is better known to followers of his blog as Al Hood. His work can be found at:  The Cvillean – The adventures of little read writing Hood.

Al recently published an autobiography, “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” I wanted to purchase it. I knew it was being sold by Amazon,  but wondered if it would show up in a ‘Google’ search. I started with the author’s name and the name of the book. The search engine came back with  some books, including ones about Robin Hood, some obits, a type of range hood… but not what I was looking for.

Next I went to Amazon.com and looked in the book section for “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” Amazon told me I had used too many words, so they showed me 2000 results for a search for the words ‘so thats all’. Al’s book was fifth in the results. The first four books were about preaching, teacher leadership and sex education for youth.

I then tried searching in Amazon for Victor A. Hood. While Al’s book did come up on the top of this list, Amazon asked me if I meant to search for Victoria Hood. That was an interesting suggestion because in Al’s book, he noted that his mother had hoped he would be a girl. She had already picked out a name: Victoria.

Searching and Algorithms – What’s that all about?
The results we see when we search for anything is decided by an algorithm. This is a set of instructions with certain conditions that will deliver a pre-defined result. The people who write these algorithms influence what you are going to see. A Google Spokeswoman unintentionally confirmed this by saying:

We do today what we have done all along, provide relevant results from the most reliable sources available.
– Google Spokeswoman in response to a WSJ article in 2019 –

“The most reliable sources available”  – someone is deciding for you what the reliable sources will be.

Now the Government Wants to Decide What you will See
The Canadian Government has introduced Bill C-10, the internet streaming tax. The primary goal of this bill, as stated by Openmedia.org, is:
… expanding Canada’s Broadcasting Act to apply to all streaming audio or video content on the Internet… In addition to the taxes… C-10 would grant the CRTC the right to set quotas for how much of a streaming platform’s content must be CanCon (Canadian Content), and to require… apps, websites and search results to make CanCon appear more frequently and prominently within the service.

The Canadian Government deciding what you should see. What could possible be wrong with that?!?

For more about Algorithms, click these links to my posts:
Math and Number Quotations
Algorithms – Do They Have a Hidden Agenda?

When the Dashboard of your Dodge Transforms into that of a Chev (or WordPress Hides the Classic Editor Again)

Logged onto my WordPress Account this morning and the Dashboard (the place where you manage everything to do with your blog) was different. Familiar enough to know where everything was, but presented in a different manner.

I explained to The Car Guy that it was like getting into an old Dodge and finding the familiar dashboard was now something that belonged in a new Chev. I would be able to use it, but it would take a bit of time to figure out how everything worked… though there was a problem because I couldn’t figure out how to start it.

In WordPress, the ‘start’ button is the post editor. I’m used to the ‘Classic Editor’. WordPress is pushing us to use the new and improved and very confusing ‘Block Editor’. This morning, I couldn’t find the button to start the ‘Classic Editor’.

I contacted support and was told that the dashboard changes (which removed the Classic Editor ‘start’ button) are slowly being rolled out, which is why there was no announcement.

I’ve chased the Classic Editor over hill and dale and will not give up on it until WordPress ‘kills’ it. It is no longer about what is the best editor, it is about my stubborn determination to hold onto something that works for me.

After a bit of back and forth, the WordPress Happiness Engineer eventually found me a link to get me back into the old Dashboard. If you are a blogger and you want to get back to the dashboard that lets you use the Classic Editor, then here is the link. Just replace ‘yourblog’ with the part of the url that is specific to your blog:

https://yourblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php

11th Anniversary of Blogging

I reached my 11 year Blogging Milestone at the beginning of November. Though that is a long time compared to the longevity of many blogs, my output has been only 1000 posts. Many bloggers I know consistently deliver an interesting post a day! If I had been able to do that, I would have authored 4,015 posts in 11 years!

I was on a mission last year to reach 1000 posts on my 10th Blogging Anniversary but came up short by 78 posts. This year I wanted to have 1111 posts… drat, short by 111 posts… I think I’m going backwards.

This Anniversary I’d like to thank all the readers and fellow bloggers who have made the ‘Year of the ‘Rona Virus’ tolerable. Your stories have lifted my spirits. They have taken my mind to far flung places while my body was in lock down!

Sadly, some of you dropped out of sight. I worry about you, especially if you are senior citizens. You have triple jeopardy – the virus itself, the worry about the virus and the loneliness of isolation. Quadruple jeopardy if your sinuses don’t take well to masking. Quintuple if you are a political conservative. Sextuple if you are a white male. Septuple if… well, you get the idea.

I’ll wrap up this Anniversary post with a few punny thoughts about blogging. Groan if you must…

As a blogger, I constantly feel cold, probably because I’m surrounded by so many drafts.

I avoid using apostrophes in my blogging. They are too possessive.

Is there a blogger whose creative life hasn’t been punctuated with slow writing periods?

My editor once criticized my blog. He said that double negatives were a “no-no.”

Sometimes I run out of blogging ideas. That’s when I go to the fabric store and find new material.

The left side of my blog is completely missing, but it’s all right now.

We bloggers are sometimes deep thinkers. For example, if pencils came with erasers at both ends, what would be the point?

While doing research for a blog on sign language, nothing handy came up, at least nothing I could put my finger on.

Would a blog about transcendentalism require Thoreau editing?

Missing in Action: The WordPress.com Classic Editor

If you, like me, have stubbornly refused to use the newish (and ever changing) WordPress Block Editor, you may have recently discovered that WordPress no longer appears to give you the option to choose the Classic Editor to write your posts.

There is, however, an easy work around that takes you back to the ‘good old days.’ Here is what you do:

If your ‘My Home’ looks like the one above, click the option ‘WP Admin.’
This will take you to the old ‘Dashboard’ above. Click on the word ‘Posts’ so that it is highlighted.
Now you will see ‘Posts Add New’ to the right of the word ‘Dashboard’.
Click the arrow to the right of ‘Add New’ and there will be a drop down menu that gives you the option of the new ‘Block Editor’ or the old ‘Classic Editor’.

I suppose the Classic Editor will eventually be discontinued. It has basic capabilities, but doesn’t let you “Author richly laid-out posts”… richly laid out posts that might end up looking like they came from the Classic Editor if they are read in a feed reader or on a smart phone.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
-Charles Mingus –

Quarantine – on the Home Stretch

We’ve finished day 10 of the 14 days of Covid quarantine (mandated by Canada when we came home from Arizona.) While it is good to be back on the acreage in time to watch the first green things pop out of the ground, it is a bit challenging to not even be able to go pick up the mail!

The Car Guy decided the best way to get groceries was to order on line and have home delivery. This has worked very well. A ‘personal shopper’ texts us as they shop. They let us know if anything isn’t available. The only downside is that The Car Guy has managed to order a few things in a far greater size than we would normally buy… this jar of peanut butter will last us for a very long time!

Peanut Butter

The big 1 Kg size.

Filter

Topaz Studio

Do you notice anything unusual about the position of the photos? They are side by side – and the text is beside the photos, rather than below it. This is just one of the features of the WordPress.com block editor. I had never used it before, but thought it might be prudent to at least know what it can do before the day comes that the WordPress Classic Editor disappears.

Here are some other things I’ve learned to do. I can add a separator (the line below) and make it narrow or wide – in any colour I like.


I can add an image and give it a rounded style. This is in a two column block again.

I can add a calendar of my sites’ posts:

February 2023
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  

I can add a gallery of photos. I can choose the size of the images and how many columns I want them to be in.

This is a Drop Cap. I will have to resist the temptation to overuse this feature. I already use too many exclamation marks! I also like dashes – though I’m never sure when I should use an ‘en’ dash or an ’em’ dash.

Now I’ve got three columns. The middle one is the list block. The last column is the quote block.

  • I can choose alignment
  • I can make the type bold
  • I can add some color

this is a quote – I don’t want the red line, but I don’t know how to get rid of it.

Slow going. It took me most of the evening to write this post!

What say you if you are a WordPress Blogger? Do you use the Classic WordPress Editor or the new Block Editor? What feature do you think is the coolest?

10th Anniversary – Fueled by Chocolate

I started blogging Ten Years ago because I was feeling Invisible. I thought that blogging would give me an opportunity to express my thoughts about what it was like to be a woman who is older than all of her kitchen appliances, older than the house she lives in, but not as old as the dirt in the yard. A women who society had decided was too old to be beautiful and energetic, and too young to be wise and full of character. An Invisible Woman.

It didn’t actually take many blog posts to exhaust the subject of being oldish and ignored, so I moved on to examining the evil Beauty Empire whose income depended on making women think they are not beautiful. Older women were offered dangerous potions to banish grey hair and wrinkles. Younger women were enticed into halls of cosmetics and lairs of surgeons who promised to make all their dreams come true – for a price. Even young girls were made to believe they were not pretty enough or thin enough.

With the Beauty Industry firmly admonished, the rest of my blogging career alternately galloped and stalled (I know, a mixed metaphor). The Great Cabin Flood and The Car Guy’s Motorcycle Accident supplied lots of material, but pretty much killed any desire to write about it. Taking Photos of Nature, on the other hand, provided more material than I will ever be able to use.

Six months ago, with the Tenth Anniversary rapidly approaching, I set the goal of publishing 1000 posts in 10 years. With this post, I’m excited to report I am… about 78 posts short of 1000. I think it is safe to say I won’t have 1100 posts finished by this time next year either… drat, I really liked the synchronicity of the numbers.

I even contemplated not blogging any more – but that didn’t fit with all the things I’ve been doing and seeing. Things like:

Literary Origami (Better known as Book folding)

Scrumble Crochet – (Also called Freeform Crochet)

Moose on the Loose (Always a surprise when you wake up and find one ambling across the field behind the house)

 

These are just a few of the many items that all want to be entered into my Codex Vitae (a capture of things I’ve learned). Watch for their stories in the weeks and months to come!

How long have you been blogging? If you don’t blog, do you scrapbook or have another way of capturing the story of your life?

I Found my Pizza Crust

Before the ‘Pizza Crust’

In the big scheme of things, it was a little blip. I logged onto my WordPress blog a few days ago, and instead of being greeted with my WP Admin page, I was looking at the contents of the WordPress Feed Reader. Instead of seeing my personal Dashboard, I was seeing the endless list of what other people had posted and what WordPress thought I should read, etc, etc.

I was not amused. Granted, I could still get to my WP Admin page in a few clicks, but that wasn’t the point. When I log on to this account, I want my information to be the priority.

I won’t go into great detail about the discussion I had online with three WordPress ‘Happiness Engineers’; the rating I gave them when I got a cheerful email asking me to rate my help experience; or the message I posted in the WordPress Forums.

That’s now water under the bridge because this morning when I logged on, life was back to normal. My WP Admin page was the first thing I saw. That wretched Reader was back where it belonged – a tab at the top of the page.

The ‘Pizza Crust’

The ‘pizza crust on the sidewalk’ was the email that I got from WordPress (in response to my message thanking them for fixing my problem).

Isn’t that just a hoot!? They changed something in order to fix something which then broke something else, which when they fixed that, it also fixed something that they didn’t know they had broken.

Refreshing honesty and a good outcome for all. Life is Good.

What Say You – have you found any ‘pizza crusts on the sidewalk’ lately?