Photo: Newseum Facade


Bill of Rights
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. – The Constitution: First Amendment (

Flickr photo taken in Washington DC May 16, 2008. Detail of the facade of the Newseum.

Photo: The Gettysburg Address

Washington Memorials

“Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”

The highlighting on this image is a trick of the light or of the stone.  The passage about the mighty scourge of war stood out from the rest of the section naturally the morning we were there, just before Memorial Day 2008.

(Click on the photo to go to its Flickr page.  The Flickr Photo Album plugin is version 1.1)

Flickr Photo Album – Back From The Dead

Flickr Photo Album for WordPress : tan tan noodles – msg free since 2005

This Flickr plugin for WordPress will allow you to pull in your Flickr photosets and display them as albums on your WordPress site. There is a pretty simple template provided, but you can customize the templates 100% to match the look and feel of your own site. And if you want, you could also hook it up with Lightbox or any other number of display libraries. – Ibid

Okay, let’s try this again. I had a horrible experience with this Flickr plugin before and thought I had it fixed, but apparently the fixes were blown away by updates and theme changes. I just realized that there were still issues with it, because I noticed someone accessing a Flickr image on my blog using the Flickr Photo Gallery plugin, and it’s from a group again, NOT one of my own photos. This is precisely the behavior that was the problem; people thought I was using their images without permission, but the default settings displayed images from ALL my public groups. I had to laboriously check a HIDE box, and it seems that all the boxes were unchecked every time I upgraded.

But I haven’t found a better photo album plugin, and and the one by Joe Tan of TanTanNoodles has been updated, so I’ll cross my fingers and see what happens.

After downloading, David will need to look at this page, because it discusses some of the problems of unwanted groups continuing to be pulled in, and offers some patches. The links to patches date from before the last update of this blog, but we’ll still have to proceed carefully. The following seems to be very well documented and the plugin author participated in the discussion. It references some of the Flickr support pages and discussions that I haunted back when I had my spot of bother.

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Even with all my groups disabled I am still able to display group pages
and photo pages containing images that are not my own.
2. You can generate any group page by simply entering the group ID: (I am not a member of
this group)
3. You can generate any photo page by simply entering the photo ID: (I do not own this photo)

While this behavior doesn’t expose photos or groups that aren’t already
visible to the public, I’ve seen reports of several people being accused of
copyright infringement because photo they did not own were being displayed
on their blog (see links below). I feel that if this issue isn’t resolved
it may result in people abandoning this wonderful plugin.

There should be an option in the preferences that completely disables all
group pages and all photo pages for images uploaded by other users.

The current plugin version is 1.1, and this discussion dates from when it was v.092 and v.093. The home Googlecode wiki for this plugin is here. The patches that are there relate to older versions of the plugin.

My Peekchures, Let Me Show You Them

The image in the header is randomly displayed from my Flickr sets. Go ahead, refresh! Hey, it’s from our trip to Hawaii! No, it’s Rocky Mountain National Park! Wait, now it’s family members! Yay! Click on any page, gawaaaan. I just hope there aren’t too many clinkers in there that turn out to be resized and don’t fit the frame.

No Photoshoppery needed, I just selected the best of my full size, uncropped images with a special tag, modified a Flickr “photo badge,” and the images are then re-sized to fit the background frame with CSS. Thanks, Theme Hack and Frontender, for the point in the right direction! This will help motivate me to get my backlog uploaded to Flickr.

On The Verge

Doyce, whose blog posts I read most often at one remove via the miracle of quotes and feeds, starts it off:

I’m actively communicating online all day, every day, but my main blog languishes. Why is that?

Simplicity. Twitter tweets, facebook updates, Flickr photo posting, and sharing news articles with commentary… all of those things are easier and faster BY AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE than posting via Movable Type.

Via What it boils down to is this… – doycetesterman

And ***Dave carries it forward:

Now, I don’t do Facebook, and have never had a justification (see below) for using Twitter. But my own blogging has suffered, net, because of my love affair with Google Reader, and the “Share” and “Share with Note” functionality in same. Where, once, if I wanted to post about something cool I’m reading, I had to be at my machine, open up a blog client, write something out, do some cut-and-paste excerpting and copy over the link … now I just click on a button to Share with other GReader users — or on another one and write out a quick note.

It’s that easy. That quick, painless, seductively easy. And the result is the flood of stuff that appears in the sidebar of this blog each day under “Unblogged Bits.”

Yes, it’s that easy to use a quick and dirty method to share a link, or comment briefly about some transient insight. But it’s not sitting down, thinking, and putting words out there for all to read. It’s not blogging. It’s not writing. It’s not taking the time and effort to craft something worth doing, whether it’s for one’s own enjoyment or the (possibly imaginary) edification of others. And sure, it may be because it’s incredibly easy to just jot something quickly on Twitter, or click a Google Reader “share” link on a mobile device. It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it works.

But I, too have been blogging a lot less in the last year or so – even with all the election stuff. Oh, sure, I was copying and pasting quotes and links and posting them in the blog, but that’s not what I consider to be real, deep, personal blogging. This blog is supposed to be my Pensieve, and I just have not been pulling whispy memories out of my head with an alder wand and storing them away where they’re safe; they’ve been left to fade away into nothing. Stuff happens in my not-terribly-interesting life; funny things are said, interesting insights are had, books are read and music is heard. But you’d never know it from the never-ending cascade of regurgitated newsblather I’ve been in the habit of posting lately.

The problem is time, or specifically the lack of it, and constraints on my use of it.

The speed of posting/sharing GReader items is important, but the ease and portability of that sharing is just as important. The fact is, my life has, for reasons I’m not altogether pleased about, gotten a lot busier in the last year. As a result, I don’t do much posting from the office, and evenings are often a choice between a dozen different urgent activities, only one of which is blogging. ***Dave, ibid

Like ***Dave, I can blog on the fly, but my tool of choice is the iPhone which is never far from my hand. Using the iPhone, I can even blog with my CMS of choice, WordPress, with pictures either emailed to Flickr and bounced to the blog via an email link from there, or direct to the blog itself using one of several plugins. But the limitations of the interface are that you must tap letters, numbers and symbols out with one or two fingers or thumbs, so you can never type as quickly as you could on a full-size keyboard. Certainly, much faster than someone on a cell phone could text, but not as fast as I’m typing now. And it’s not currently possible to copy text to quote, or a url to cite in a blog post, although within some applications there are work-arounds. It’s great for posting quick photos, though. And I could set up an email-to-blog interface if I really wanted, but it would be a security problem for the main blog.

I’ve chosen to do that instead with a Blogger blog that I consider an extension called ginny’s links galore. I send links there from within Google Reader, but it’s not possible to edit them first; the email link sends the whole post. I’d have to fire up Blogger on a full-size desktop or laptop computer to get anything useful done as to editing there. It’s just a stopgap.

The real problem, as stated, is time. There’s not enough of it after work, and I don’t even have kids or hobbies. When I get home, I tend to veg out for a while before dinner, whether David cooks or I do. And then there’s TV. Might play a few hands of solitaire, catch up on Reader either on a full-bore computer or the ubiquitous iPhone, and then bed.

During work? Not bloody likely. A couple of years ago, I used to update constantly through the day – I had work tasks that left me with a lot of pending time while waiting for processes to complete, so I’d blog a lot about stuff I was reading online. But that changed with a recent “NO INTERNET DURING WORK TIME” edict, which is pretty strictly enforced (with some exceptions if you are on a “sanctioned” site for work purposes, such as looking for hotels using Google Maps or catching up on travel or weather news. Part of the policy specifically states “no updating personal websites or commenting on websites,” too.

Yeah, it’s that detailed.

So for a couple of years, no netsurfing and no blogging from work. As Wonkette is wont to say, the end.

Early last year, enter the iPhone: a handy little appliance that allows me to netsurf, catch up on email, or play games while waiting for an incoming call (so long as I’m otherwise caught up on my tasks). Google Reader, my RSS feed reader of choice, turned out to have a really slick, clean iPhone interface (complete with Share Note button, nyah! and email button). I get a kick out of reading stuff my husband David, or ***Dave shares. I need to find more people who share, too. And I sometimes think it’s a shame that the great little shared-comments scroll off so quickly, but life moves pretty fast.

More recently – the week of Blago’s arrest, actually, when I was home sick – I got into Twitter. It seemed kind of dumb, but then I started seeing hints of why some people rave about it so.

For one thing, Wil Wheaton and Levar Burton are on there, talking about interesting stuff in their real lives and not making like they’re stuck up famous actor-types. They’re people with concerns and problems and triumphs and questions. Just like, yes this is a platitude, everybody else. But because they’re famous, they’re more interesting than most and get more attention. However, I’m also just as interested in Sockington the Tweeting Cat, who is hi-larious.

And I’m on Facebook, too. It’s only recently started to get fun again; it had become a drag because there were too many goofy applications and games requests.

For a while, I had it set up that all of my “tweets” from Twitter would go to Facebook, and I’ve got both services patched into the sidebar of Blogula along with my Google Reader items, which are called “RED57’s Googlies.” But I had doubled up too much: I had Twitter set up to automatically post a tweet whenever I blogged something, and I also had Facebook set up to post a status update when I “imported notes” from my blog automatically. It’s much cleaner and more sane now that my Twitter stuff stays put, and the Facebook stuff doesn’t get all snarled up.

And then there’s Flickr. Well, there’s a ton – like MANY MANY MANY hundreds of pictures from a few recent trips that haven’t been uploaded. In some cases, the pictures are still sitting on flash cards. There’s so much volume that I can’t seem to sit down and take the time to sort through the cards, pick out the best images, and deal with them in coherent, workable batches. YET, I seem to have time for endless games of Spider Solitaire, or Gawd help me, Space Cadet. I’ve been coasting along using my cameraphone to send photos to Flickr, but frankly, some of them haven’t been that good. I’m feeling the need to pay more attention to photography again.

Really, all this tweeting and status updating and Flickring ought to be the supporting cast to the star of the show, my main blog. And the lack of original content here has been bugging me enough lately that I’ve tried to make more of an effort. Recent updates and theme changes certainly help; the new WordPress interface makes it easier than ever to do great stuff, and it looks good once posted (especially when compared to the semi-automated posts at the Blogger version). One of my sidebar gadgets is a live visitor update dealio, and it tickles me no end to see how many people are trying to figure out how old their washer/dryers are and how to do drop shadows on images with CSS.

Reading these posts of Doyce’s and ***Dave’s make me want to get off my figurative and literal ass and blog in a more writerly fashion. Sure, I will continue to use Google Reader/Twitter/Facebook/Flickr and put content from those sources on the sidebars of Blogula Rasa, especially during the work day. And it is at least possible and not difficult to do a blog post using the iPhone only (but it’s not very efficient or comfortable for posts of more than a paragraph in length). But all the new beginnings this year are working in me like yeast in a batch of bread (or better yet, in a pail of homebrew).

I want to do better. I need to make time for real blogging. I feel like I’m on the verge.

Dis mai brane on kafeen


Breaktime! This is my work mug, bought from a little pottery shop near
Starved Rock State Park IL – I think in a town called Dixon. Cute
place, making a good recovery from a tornado a few years ago.

Mai brane needz dis in teh mourningz

I can has iPhone?

Via: Flickr Title: Dis mai brane on kafeen By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 5 Aug ’08, 10.38am CDT PST

Breaktime! This is my work mug, bought from a little pottery shop near
Starved Rock State Park IL – I think in a town called Dixon. Cute
place, making a good recovery from a tornado a few years ago.

Mai brane needz dis in teh mourningz

I can has iPhone?

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln In Shadow

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On this day in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial
was dedicated.

(This photo was taken May 17, 2008, with many more to come).

The East Coast Trip, Part I

I’ve been saying for more than a week now that I’d post about the big trip to the East Coast we made, and it’s reached the point where if I don’t make a start, of any length, it’ll never get done.

I’ve downloaded photos but haven’t yet had a chance to upload them to Flickr… until now. I’ve made a start at last.

I Heart Maine

And can I just say, “I Heart Maine?”

It’s a beautiful state. And it’s a beautiful state of mind.

We flew into Boston after work on a Friday a couple of weeks ago, and overnighted at an anonymous Holiday Inn not far from Logan Airport. As it happens, it turned out to be on the main route (heh) north to the Maine coast. We had packed fairly lightly, with just one checked bag each and a carry-on; the point was to avoid paying the extra baggage charge. I managed to pack what I really needed for the first two days in the carry-on, so I wouldn’t have to dig into the bigger bag.

One thing that made us kick ourselves, figuratively, was that we could have brought one of the tollway transponders with us; they would have been compatible with the ones all the way up the coast and back. Oh, well.

We drove somewhat randomly, with not much of a plan. I had a couple of guidebooks, and one of them mentioned the knowledgeable people at the big welcome centers along the main highway, and how they knew a lot about local routes and things to do. Well, that turned out to be a hot tip; we stopped at the first big center and after browsing a bit, I walked up to a friendly, greying lady at the help counter and inquired about local sights and things. She asked me if we wanted to meander along the coast, or go faster and more directly via the main highway.

Hmm. “Meander,” was my reply.

Out came the local maps – the kind that come with tiny cartoon drawings of footprints to show where a walking tour or cliffside path patters along. She brought out a marker and lined out a route through several villages and townships, linking about 6 maps (front and back) together. We had only the vaguest idea of how far we’d get, and she agreed that at this time of year, we probably wouldn’t have much trouble finding something – it was before the tourist season starts, but the weather was glorious, so there would be some things operating and open for business.

So we meandered. We found our way to a little cliff path along the shore (David took all the photos there, I just puttered along and watched the surf). Then back in the car for more meandering. We drove out to points where there were lighthouses, vaguely looking for someplace nice to have lunch.


This looks like a nice place to stay, right?

Well, not exactly:


It’s probably a bitch to get to in the winter, but you’d never have to worry about sightseeing rubberneckers trying to poke their noses into your business.


Or maybe not.

We meandered some more and found a funky little restaurant that included something called a “lobster pound.” We had a huge bowl of steamed mussles in a wine broth; the waitress showed us we were missing a trick by not sopping up the broth with the fresh baked sourdough bread. Oh, lumme, that was some good eatin’!


It looked like this out back – I took it to be the “local color” quaintness that is meant to attract tourists like me. Well, it worked, the food was great. It was a little place in Port Neddick.

After some more wandering, we decided to give Hyannisport a complete miss and found our way to a beautifully serene nature preserve dedicated to Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring.


It was a nice walk in the woods, very quiet. That’s where I took the picture of the fiddleheads.


Finally, we decided to make for Boothbay Harbor, because the guidebook said it was a pretty village and it was far down a fingerlike peninsula. Also, I’d read an article in the Boston morning paper about Mother’s Day festivities at the new Botanic Garden there, so it seemed like someplace we’d like to spend some time.

I didn’t get any pictures of the area that night when we found our way to a sort of hybrid old-fashioned hotel right on the inlet. But this is what it looked like via my iPhone at sunset.


More later.

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Ladies room


This was taken from within the sanctum; I’d never been in a ladies’ rooms stall with saloon-style swing doors before. The “katie-bar-the-door” closure was a bit awkward, but served well enough.

Our lunch at this place, the Shoreline Restaurant and Lobster Pound in Ogunquit, turned out to be really good. It was an odd, funky place, with strange acoustics where you could hear the conversations in the bar clearly, even though it was around the corner and in a different wing o the building. We listened to some guy with a strong Boston accent (think “Good Will Hunting”) tell jokes as we ate our lunch.
Via: Flickr Title: Ladies room By: GinnyRED57
Originally uploaded: 10 May ’08, 12.38pm CDT PST

I can has iPhone?