Gum Gum Person as David Byrne in “Road to Nowhere”

This was requested as an emoji in Discord. A Gum Gum Person “dancing” like David Byrne in the video for “Road to Nowhere”:

Reference from the video:

And why not check out the video while you’re at it? It’s a good song.

Amusing cat image, May 2021 edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of these. Perhaps it will help kick-start me onto a new burst of creativity or sunshine-filled thoughts or something.

Shot fired!

Into my left arm, to be precise.

Today I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to protect against COVID-19. It could be up to four months before I get my second shot and it’s not guaranteed to be Pfizer, though I am actually optimistic that it will be the same and will be ready in less than four months.

The actual process itself went very smoothly and efficiently. Outside the Anvil Centre in downtown New Westminster, I was directed to use some hand sanitizer, put on a mask (over the one I already had on) and then basically follow the arrows on the floor inside and talk to someone at each appropriate point. Within minutes I was sitting in my chair, confirming that my allergies (to penicillin and a few adjacent antibiotics) do not induce life-threatening reactions and getting ready for the jab.

Since it had been a long time since I had gotten any kind of vaccination shot, I was going to ask the woman administering it what it would feel like, if I should do anything to prepare or whatnot, but before I barely had my mouth open to ask she had stuck me and it was over. It was basically a quick pinprick. It was delightfully underwhelming.

I had to wait 15 minutes before I could leave, with my escape time conveniently showing on a sticky note on the plexiglass partition in front of me. The last minute seriously felt like five minutes. I was also struck by how drastically my smartphone usage has evolved over the years, as I don’t have a single game installed that might have kept me entertained for a few minutes.

As I write this in mid-evening, my left arm is feeling sore and a lot of the strength has ebbed away. I tried opening a pasta sauce jar at dinner, and it resulted in a lot of giggling but no open jar.

I am sort of expecting side effects to worsen overnight as it seems they sometimes take 12-24 hours to materialize, but we’ll see. I am just happy and relieved to have the first dose done. I feel a tiny bit safer and can see a smidgen of light at the end of the long COVID-19 tunnel.

P.S. Pandemics suck.

Reifel Bird Sanctuary, May 1, 2021

The sun was out and the birds were in abundance.

Crowd restrictions meant we went surprisingly long stretches without seeing anyone else, so it felt very tranquil at times. Except for the constant honking of geese in the distance.

The gallery:

The most amazing website on the internet is going away

Today I got an email from Telus telling me they are shutting down personal webspace as of May 31, 2021:

The notice is amusing in how they try to avoid saying, “Everyone totes uses Facebook now, move your cat pictures there.”

So I went to the URL to see what I had put up (if anything) and it turns out to be, in fact, a picture of my long-deceased cat (who was alive at the time, I should note).

Here is the amazing HTML code I wrote ALL BY MYSELF back in 2008 or whenever it was.

<html>

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
<title>Ned's homepage</title>
</head>

<body bgcolor="#000080">

<p><font face="Verdana" color="#FFFFFF" size="2"><b>Kitty!</b></font></p>
<p><img border="0" src="hello_kitty.jpg" width="618" height="461"></p>

</body>

</html>

For a brief time you can see this wondrous site here: http://www3.telus.net/public/a4a98643/

For anyone checking in after May 31, I have carefully replicated the webspace below:

April 2021 weight loss report: Up 0.8 pounds

I successfully erased last month’s weight loss and gained a little more on top of that, so April, even though it was largely a holding pattern, was overall a big fat fail.

I ended the monthat 180.2 pounds. I have not been north of 180 since 2008, before I began my first (and successful) weight loss round, when I tipped the scales at a chunky 187.5 pounds before putting on the brakes to eating everything I could grab hold of. I am way too close to that mark now and feel bad having regressed so much this year.

Sure, I could blame the pandemic and not having a commute which forces me to walk at least a little every day, but those are excuses. The reality is I am just not trying hard enough. I just had breakfast as I type this and I’m already thinking about snacking.

It also doesn’t help that my partner (also very much overweight) is keeping a bunch of snacks around. One of the keys back in 2008 was not having stuff like that handy–removing the temptation. Oh well. I know I should be strong enough to resist.

No predictions for next month.

Stats:

April 1: 179.4 pounds
April 30: 180.2 pounds (up 0.8 pounds)

Year to date: From 174.2 to 180.2 pounds (up 6 pounds)

Body fat (year to date):

January 1: 22.4% (39.1 pounds of fat)
April 30: 24.5% (44.1 pounds of fat) (up 5 pounds)

Book review: Welcome to the Writer’s Life

Welcome to the Writer’s Life: How to Design Your Writing Craft, Writing Business, Writing Practice, and Reading Practice by Paulette Perhach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am continuing on my unofficial second career as not a writer, but one who reads every book about writing instead. Then writes about them.

Welcome to the Writer’s Life succeeds on a couple of fronts. First, author Paulette Perhach has an entertaining voice and regularly drops funny little zingers in with her advice without ever making it feel like she’s trying really hard to make you laugh.

Second, the book tackles a few things that a lot of new writer books don’t cover or cover minimally. There are plenty of books that will cover the classic plot structures, character development and other things you need to know in order to tell a convincing story–whether it be through fiction or non-fiction. Perhach covers the other stuff in a writer’s life, relating her and the experiences of other writers in finding ways to nurture and grow your writing habits, covering everything from what to read (and how important reading is) to meditation to clear your mental decks (she claims to never suffer writer’s block because of her daily 15-minute meditation sessions), as well as touching on the business side of writing, along with thoughts on pursuing an MFA (spoiler: she doesn’t think it’s necessary).

It took me awhile to read through the book and though I enjoyed it, I found myself wondering why, and I believe it’s two things: I found the quotes from other writers largely unnecessary (fewer would have been fine) and there are sections where even Perhach’s writing style can’t lift the subject matter from feeling just a little dull. But I have read a lot of books on writing, so it’s just as likely that I am becoming a bit weary of the topic of writing itself.

Still, I think this is a good intro to the craft of writing for a new writer and have no problem recommending it alongside other more “nuts and bolts” book on the writing process itself.

View all my reviews

Posting from MarsEdit

Yes, once again I have found another way to post to my blog. I am getting ever-closer to posting from a fridge or toaster.

This time I am posting from MarsEdit, which is software specifically designed to let you write blog posts and then post them…to your blog. Setting it up was dead simple and it works offline, which is nice if my connection flakes out but I SIMPLY MUST BLOG.

I can already do this in Ulysses, too, so I will have to see how MarsEdit makes things better or sexier.

And to conclude, a funny cat:

External content duckduckgo com

Bad design: Websites that adopt the OS color scheme

Windows 10 and macOS both offer dark modes for their UIs, allowing the user to exchange light colors for various elements like window borders and backgrounds for darker ones, which is nice if you are viewing a monitor in a dimly-lit room (as an example). Some also just prefer the aesthetic. For myself, I prefer a lighter theme in Windows, but like the Mac’s dark mode implementation.

Depending on how an app is written, it may adopt aspects of the OS color scheme (such as for window elements) or just ignore them entirely. Take my browser of choice, Firefox. Out of the virtual box, it does not comply with the dark mode of either OS, but it does have an included dark theme you can switch to that brings most of the UI in line with whatever you have the OS set to. The current version (88) has some gaps–context menus don’t properly reflect the dark theme, but these appear to be addressed in version 89, which is giving all of Firefox’s UI a going-over. The Firefox dark theme leaves web pages entirely alone, as is to be expected. If you want all websites to be darkity-dark, you can use an extension like Dark Reader, which tries to intelligently make bright websites dark, and works fairly well.

But then you come to the Bad Design–websites that sniff out your OS preference and then set their site to match, thinking this is what the user would naturally want. This is a bad assumption and should never be forced onto the user. At minimum, it should be a choice offered as a toggle between light and dark. Forcing it on the user means that they may end up with an inconsistent browsing experience, or have to deal with a site that may not have been as carefully designed for a particular color scheme (ie. dark mode).

My go-to example for this is https://sixcolors.com, an otherwise excellent and nerdy site focusing on Mac/Apple stuff. If you view it on a Windows PC, it will always look bright. If you view it on a Mac, it will be bright or dark, based on the mode you have chosen for the OS. I find their idea of dark mode a bit too dark, resulting in text that is too high contrast, making it harder to read. My fix is to use something like Dark Reader to fiddle with the colors and make something that looks better (this doesn’t produce great results), toggle dark mode off (inconvenient for one site) or, ironically, view the site from a Windows PC. A simple toggle would fix this.