Tag Archives: blogging

Let’s have another go…

In about an hour or so Olivia are off to Saskatoon to catch our flight to Kelowna, via Calgary.  Second time in as many months.  This time, however, we plan to explore not only Kelowna airspace, but also plan to land and make our way through the Okanagan Valley via ground transportation and sometimes by foot.

The week will involve:

I leave, as I often manage to do, on the tail end of a long blog discussion, which has left me exhausted, confused (it takes me a while to process all the opinions that get bandied about in these discussions), dealing with some issues of self-doubt, and regretting a little bit that I bring things like that up and then letting myself get caught up in the whole thing.  I think somewhere along the line I start taking these discussions too personally.  I need to learn to be a bit more aloof and distant in these discussions.

But I digress.

It should be a good week.  Olivia is very different now than she was in January.  On that first trip, she was a little angel.  I expect her to be a fidgety little terror this time around.

As usual, I don’t know how much blogging I’ll do while away, but you can always follow me on Twitter (also in my sidebar).  And I believe I’ve got my Twitters updating my Facebook status as well.

I will diminish

‘I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.’ – The Fellowship of the Ring

There are few things I desire more than to write–here, at least.  And yet these days I have little to say, little energy/will to say it, and, it feels, even less ability to say it.  I just don’t have the strength to bend my mind to writing.  Lack of discipline, probably.  Story of my life.

At the same time, Dixie is blossoming in her writing–her blog has more depth and more poetry each day, it seems.

My malaise will pass, I hope.  I have the desire, just not the will, if that makes any sense.

By the way: they say you’re not supposed to blog about not wanting to blog or not having anything to say.  Swim against the stream, that’s what I always say.  Stick it to the Blogging Man, is my motto.

* * *

Right now I’m a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information that has been presented in this course on 600 years of church history.  I will not retain much of it and that depresses me: all this money and time and effort and much of it will be forgotten.  My high school chemistry teacher said that he learned (or, rather, re-learned) everything on the job.  But you don’t re-learn church history on the job being a pastor.

It’s the same with books.  Sometimes it seems like I forget what I read as soon as I turn the page.  Stupid memory.

It’s an issue of self-discipline and application again, I guess.  I don’t apply myself as much as perhaps I should.  I did well in school, but I was never studious–like the girls who would have notepads dedicated to listing their homework for the night, who would be working on their papers within days of receiving the syllabus and who took copious notes on anything from which notes could be taken.

Am I just lazy?

I count on this–in this I hope–that in reading and studying and learning I am somehow changed, even if just a little, in a way that will benefit me in unseen ways down the road.  I may never make a conscious connection between my study of Theodore of Mopsuestia and a future argument about some insignificant church issue, but I trust it will be there.

I hope, in other words, that I will somehow benefit from this course (and all others), even if I don’t remember the facts.

Is that just an excuse for laziness or lack of application?

Trip

I’m going on a little trip with Olivia.  

With my iPod Touch it’s much easier to use Twitter than WordPress (although there is a WordPress App that works quite well).  Because of this, I’ve set things up so that theoretically there will be a “digest” post of the day’s Tweets posted at the end of a given day.  I say “theoretically”, because I have it set to do so at 11:59pm and it should have published a post last night at that time, but it didn’t.  It seems to work for some people, but it is still in testing.

If that doesn’t work, I’ve also got my Tweets feeding to the sidebar to the right.  Or you could follow me at twitter.com/vandersluys.  I hope the digest posts work so that it will be integrated into my RSS feed.

I have mixed feelings about Twitter-to-blog integration (Twitter seems so contrary to the blogging spirit), so this is a test for when I go to Chicago at the beginning of February.  Let me know what you think.

Having said that, I believe I’m inheriting my parents’ old laptop (1st generation XP, I believe) which will hopefully function sufficiently.  If I can get the wireless adapter to work, I may post something substantial.

Miscellaneous internet related stuff

Google Chrome is out of beta.  Gmail, which is significantly older than Chrome in internet terms, is still in beta.  (Hat tip to Brad Boydston for the observation.)  I don’t understand the “beta” stage, especially for Gmail.  Millions of people have been using it for years, is there really still a question that it works properly?

I just reinstalled Chrome.  I wasn’t that impressed with it when it was first released.  It was fast and simple, but I didn’t like anything else about it (such as how it handled bookmarks and the lack of add-ons).  Firefox is still my preferred browser, but at home I’ve been using Opera so that Dixie and I don’t have to keep signing into our respect online accounts.  Opera claims to be the fastest browser around.  That may well be.  I like Opera, but it still doesn’t feel like a good fit.  And it has issues with iGoogle and various other online apps I use.  So it’s back to Chrome for now.

* * *

As I was typing in the URL for Wikipedia and didn’t notice that I misspelled it.  It took me to a website for bedding or something (I didn’t stick around to find out).  Are the days of accidentally stumbling upon adult content behind us?  There was a time I was terrified of misspelling an URL for fear of where I might end up.  This stems from a time in my early years of web-browsing when I sent my brother a handful of links for gaming websites to download demos.  He emailed me back to inform me that every link I sent him was an adult website.  I was mortified.  I turns out I had entered one too many letters or one too few in the URL or pluralized a letter I shouldn’t have.  It was embarrassing.  So I paid careful attention to my spelling in address bars (and increased my use of cut-and-paste).

I suspect wide use of Google helps.  Back in the day I would occasionally (don’t know if anyone else did) sometimes just type in www dot something related to what I was looking for dot com.  A person looking for the website for the Friends sitcom would intuitively type in “friends dot com”.  Apparently, at that time anyway, friends.com was an adult website.  I don’t think people type in random URLs so much any more.  I certainly don’t.

* * *

It appears as if del.icio.us is no longer, but now goes with the much easier delicious.com.

* * *

I reinstalled WordPress last night in order to make it easier to upgrade in the future.  This reinstall moves me from uploading upgrade files to just clicking one button to upgrade.

Just to be safe I backed up my database in three different ways: creating an SQL file through phpMyAdmin; creating a zipped backup file right from WordPress using a backup plugin; and exporting my blog from WordPress (XML file).

When I had reinstalled WP, I imported the SQL database file.  It said it was successful, but nothing showed up on the blog.  Then I tried importing it to a different database.  That completely screwed up the site.

The lesson: I don’t know how to upload SQL databases.

Next up was the WordPress XML export file.  I new that would work, because I did an export/import of this blog over to vandersluys.wordpress.com.  That export/import worked well, except that it buggered up my category and tag links as well having a comment count of 0 on every post (but comments were, in fact, there).  I was willing to work with that problem as long as I could get my blog back up.  It worked and categories and tags were fine.  Comment count on all posts: 0.

I spent almost an hour looking for a solution to this comment count issue, but could find nothing useful.  Then I poked around the database tables for a while.  I thought I had solved the problem because 2 comments showed up, but I soon realized that one of the comments was new since the reinstall.  I tested a theory and, sure enough, new comments returned comment count to the correct number.

I searched a bit more and found a site which gave an incredibly easy solution.  The problem is that WordPress loses count of the comments, so you have to force it to recount.  You can do that either by posting and deleting a comment on every single post or create a .php file with the code from this page and force the recount on every post in seconds.  If you’ve got the comment count problem, check it out.

* * *

This is an award-winning post: first recipient of Most Boring Post Ever.

Blogging Anniversary

5 years ago today I started blogging.  It was over at 20six.  My blog still exists there.   (I see the title to the last post on that blog has no less than 3 exclamation marks in it.  For shame!)

I used to think that 5 years was a big deal.  I thought 5 years of tree planting was a big deal, but some of the guys I was a rookie with are still in the tree planting business 8 years after I planted my last tree (for a logging company).  Suddenly my 5 years seem like nothing.

With blogging I can’t catch up and never will.  The bloggers that had been writing for 5 years when I started seemed so impressive then (because they started well before the blogging boom), but now they have now done so for 10 years.  So I’ll always feel behind in terms of milestones.

But those 5 years have been good and I have blogged consistently throughout.  The quality and quantity of my content has ebbed and flowed (I’m currently ebbing, I guess), but I’ve been here consistently.  And there is some degree of satisfaction in that.

What’s next for The Eagle & Child?  I don’t know.  Ironically, just at the time that I’m beginning formal theological studies I feel less inclined to post on theological matters.  Perhaps the realization as I begin my studies that there is so little that I know and so much I can learn has had a subconscious effect on my theological blogging output.  So I don’t know what’s next.

What am I doing to celebrate this milestone?  Nothing.  Well, I may be reinstalling WordPress to facilitate easier upgrading in the future (so my blog might be down for a bit tonight), but that has nothing to do with the anniversary.

Also, we used our fireplace tonight for the first time since we bought the house.  We’ve been paying insurance for a house with a fireplace for a year and a half, but we haven’t used it yet.  I have been trying for a good year to find someone to inspect it, but there’s no one around the city who can do it.  I don’t even need a certified person to check it for insurance or sale purposes–I just want it done for my own piece of mind. But we’re done waiting.  We lit the sucker up tonight.

I came to confess…

We had some friends over tonight, so I stopped in the liquor store across the street from the office to pick up some wine.  I was handling a dusty, $25 bottle of wine* when I someone tapped my shoulder.  I turned around and saw a familiar face: someone I know locally, mostly by association.  In fact, I didn’t think we knew each other well enough for her to go out of her way to say “Hello”, so I was surprised that it was her.

She offered me her hand in greeting, and said simply, “I’m Critic.”

I paused for a moment, then I arched my body backwards, clapped, and said, in my high-pitched voice of disbelief, “WHAT?”

Some of you may recall Critic as a frequent commenter on this blog until a year or so ago.  Critic was a regular, vocal participant in the discussion here: sometimes her comments were helpful, sometimes they were uncalled for, but she was a presence here.  Dixie also had a similar commenter on her blog, writing under the alias “Raven”.  We deduced that Critic and Raven were the same person (confirmed by Critic today).  We spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out who this person was, based on what she had said and revealed of herself.  Critic had always refused to identify herself, even by email.  Without reason, I had assumed that it was someone from my pre-Prince Albert past—a school mate or something—someone that I knew and who Dixie had at least met.  Never once did I think it was a recent local acquaintance.  She was right: I would never have guessed in a million years.

“Well, now I’m trying to think of what I’ve said to you—if there were any jerk-ish things.”  Of course it’s easy to debate and confront people online.  Face to face the thought of such things happening even in the past is embarrassing.

“Nah.  If you did, I probably said something jerk-ish back and then we’d figure we were OK.”

I didn’t think to ask her how she found my blog in the first place, given that we walk in different circles and apparently have widely divergent worldviews.

“Where have you been?” I asked, “I was wondering about you a couple of weeks ago.”  I had told Dixie that I guessed we’d never find out who she was.

“Facebook happened.”

Indeed it did.  Indeed it did.

So: a toast to mysteries solved.  Thanks, Critic, for tapping me on the shoulder and introducing yourself.  It blew my mind and made my day.

___________________________________________
*I wasn’t thinking about buying the wine.  I was just wondering if I could tell an expensive (for my pocket book) wine and a cheap wine apart.

Pause

A recent post by Scot McKnight gave me pause:

Helmut Thielicke, in what has to be one of the finest little (absolutely must-have) books ever written for those in school and considering pastoring or a teaching ministry, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, said something like this some where in that book: “During the period when the voice is changing we do not sing.”

Bloggers pastors or students or theologians, especially young ones, need to listen to the wisdom of this little word by Thielicke. Why? Let me begin with this: what you say on your blog is international, permanent, and universally accessible. It’s not that I think you need to hide your ideas; it is that some of your ideas are not wise to be aired in public. Keep them to your closer friends and give them time to dig roots. Some of them you may toss into the bucket before too long.

. . . You are working out your ideas and your theology — at least I hope you are. It is indeed disappointing to me when someone thinks they’ve mastered theology as a result of a class in seminary or after having read an author or two. Especially when they haven’t earned the ideas themselves but are simply borrowing someone else’s ideas; we call this 3d person theology. Theology takes a lifetime to engage responsibly and wisely. So, hold your ideas a bit more tentatively when you are young. You’ll grow into moderated, confident wisdom. That’s the best time to chat about theology. (Link)

Given what has been on my mind lately, you can see why this would raise my eyebrows.

It’s humbling: much of my theology is 3rd person.  Possibly all of it is. I don’t think that’s entirely bad: few of us, if any, would work out the doctrine of, say, the Trinity on our own, without outside influence.  The idea, I think, is to take a 3rd person theological point, check it against scripture (and—yes!—the traditions and historical writings), and by confirming it this way make it a 1st person theological point.

But I could be wrong.

But that’s the beauty of this blog: it’s a working out and examining of theology.  I think I’ve been clear from the outset that I am for the most part examining ideas (“thinking out loud”), rather than staking any theological claims.

At least, I hope that has been clear.  I hope these 4.5 years of writing don’t come ’round and bite me in the ass.

Maybe writing “ass” just now will come ’round and bite me there.