Thursday, August 28, 2008

When Cranes Attack

Yet another crane collapse. I had no idea these things were so dangerous, but it seems like everywhere I look, there's another deadly crane attack in the news.

Ever since that excessive news coverage about the New York crane collapses, I've been noticing more headlines with the word "crane" and I just feel compelled to click on it and read the horrible article. Heck, if you do a search for "crane collapse" in Google you get, like, a zillion results.

My psychologist keeps muttering something about "confirmation bias," but we'll see who has the last laugh when that crane falls down on top of his fancy downtown condo.

Enough is enough! These cranes are killing us. Ban them now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An "Aha" Moment

Let me make this clear: I'm a writer, not a coder. Not a designer. Nevertheless, yesterday I eagerly pressed F12 to launch a simulation of the new website, anticipating a few minor bugs, but nothing major.

The sidebars were too wide. The body, containing the text, was too narrow. I scratched my head.

So I launched the site in Firefox and Netscape. Now it looked great. I scratched my head again.

I combed through the Dreamweaver code. Misplaced tag? Wrong table width somewhere? But it looked fine.

I launched the site in Explorer again. The columns were still all wonky. I stared. (Explorer has a reputation for needing "special treatment" in page code, but since it's the most common browser, no site designer in their right mind would ignore problems that show up in Explorer.)

I fiddled in Dreamweaver, scooting tables and boxes around, inserting spacers. Relaunch. This time, if anything, the columns were even more messed up. I started to curse.

Figuring I had a corrupt chunk of code somewhere screwing the whole thing up, I rebuilt the template from scratch. An hour later, I relaunched.

Now the text was smashed into such a narrow space that it was virtually unreadable, while the rest of the page was a sea of white. I threw a book against the wall before digging into the code yet again.

Four hours later, I had dug myself into a pit so deep that I was in a very dark place indeed. The site design was a wreck.

"Why the hell can't this be as easy as my blogs?" I shrieked.

And that's when I had an "aha" moment.

Blogs: easy to write, easy to update, easy to expand, and no design skills required.

I spent today populating the new blog-site with the text from the ruined site. Want a sneak peek?

No, no, don't change your bookmarks and links. When I'm ready, I'll just redirect the servers to point to the WordPress site. So when you visit, you'll see the blog-site at that address.

Heck yeah I'm a genius.


Sunday, August 24, 2008


You know what's depressing? BSL. You know what's more depressing? Writing about BSL for six hours a day, five days in a row. You know what's even more depressing? When your life is so consumed by writing about BSL that you really have to struggle to talk about anything else.

Which is why I've avoided writing in my blog. Cause it's pointless, really. There's nothing to talk about except BSL, and BSL sucks, and it's depressing.

It's depressing to read the ignorant, hateful public comments after every negative news article (and after the positive ones, too, as if there is just no way some people can believe that there's anything good about pit bulls).

It's depressing that our politicians are doing absolutely no research before mouthing off about "ticking time bombs" and "never hearing about Labs attacking people." I don't have a team of people working for me, yet I've heard of Labs attacking people.

It's depressing that everyone ignores all the experts saying BSL doesn't work, all the countless scientific studies indicating BSL doesn't work, all the organizations saying they are against BSL. For some reason, a handful of disgruntled, fearful, selfish individuals' opinions count more than logic, science, and equality.

It's depressing that all these people getting severely bitten by non-pit bulls don't say anything. You know, like "Hey, um, what does this BSL do for me?" In fact I even read a comment by a guy that was attacked by a non-pit bull who was like "Ban pit bulls!" I could not even begin to understand where his hatred of pit bulls was coming from, or why he didn't seem interested in doing anything about, you know, the dog that actually attacked him. WTF?

I'm so ready to be done with this so I can get back to enjoying my life for as long as I can before the depressing reality of January sets in. Because in January the Texas legislative session starts up and you can bet we'll be seeing... BSL.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eight pages down...

So much for one page a day. I've finished about eight pages of the new Stop BSL site since swearing an oath a few weeks ago to get the dang thing done. And while I'm pleased with the way it is coming out, I'm not pleased with how long it is taking me to research and write the new material.

The Internet nowadays is both a blessing and a curse. I can find pretty much any information I want... but the hard part is finding the source. Sites cite sites cite sites, but nobody seems to be able to identify the original source for the material. I've found dozens of sites using a particular statistic that doesn't seem to actually come from anywhere. It just appeared one day, and has been in play ever since.

And that doesn't fly for me. I've done the whole college thing, written my fair share of research papers, and been dealing with dog-related information for just under a decade now. I've seen my fair share of made-up "facts" and twisted statistics; I'm happy to trash anything that doesn't have backup documentation to go with it, even if it seemingly supports my argument.

Not that the Internet is entirely to blame. I've found some astonishingly bad "facts" in books, too, which makes my trips to the public library that much more time-consuming (and pointless, especially since I can find the same bad information if I stay home and get online).

And danged if all that trashing and sifting and weeding and selecting and searching doesn't take an ungodly amount of time. But what can I do? I'm picky about what I publish.

Some days I wish I was dealing with an easier subject. I know a lot about ducks...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dozer's blog

Guess it's all the rage these days for pets to have their own blog... Dozer came up to me with soulful eyes and I couldn't turn him down. I mean, sure, the blog is free, but can he really handle the responsibility? He's only eight years old, after all. He swore he would write in it every day, but I am worried he'll start neglecting it when the novelty wears off. It'll be like the rope toy in his toy box all over again. Next thing you know, I'm the one who has to write in it, maintain it, add links to it... I know some people have responsible pets--younger than Dozer, even--who take good care of their blogs, but we're talking about a dog that thinks his head can fit through a two-inch slot. Well, maybe I'm just being overprotective.

Dozer's blog is at:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Random dialogue at our house

Me (in lecture mode): "Well, hon, you know what happens when you assume. You make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me.'"

Byrd (rising to the challenge): "Well... know what happens when you make an assumption?"

Me (totally confused): "What?"

Byrd (with a flourish): "You make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'umption.'"

(Byrd struts off, his logic unassailable.)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bruised arm and feelings

I have no night vision. At all. Even the little blue glowing plug-ins strategically placed on various walls and corners don't help.

Byrd grumbles and snarls whenever I turn on the light in the middle of the night in order to make my way to the bathroom, or to take my nightly medication, or even to rearrange the sheets (I hate when they aren't flat and square to the edge of the bed). It is a point of pride for him that he can perform all sorts of tasks with the light off. Bravo.

Things are complicated in my house by Dozer. His beloved toys are usually all over the floor, even minutes after I help him put them away. And he sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed, usually scooting his dog bed and blankets as close to me as possible. When I get out of bed, I find myself standing on his bed. So at night, I need the light on in order to pick my way through these obstacles safely.

The other night I got up at 4 am to go to the bathroom. I didn't turn on the bedside light, but I planned to hit the bathroom switch when I got there. Big mistake.

I slid out of bed carefully, feeling the dog bed under my feet. Dozer wasn't in his dog bed. This should have been my first hint to turn on the light. Keeping one hand on the bed, I moved around the foot, shuffling my feet. I kicked a toy harmlessly out of the way. Dozer was not on the floor at the foot of the bed, either, and this being his second-favorite spot, I should have scrambled for the nearest light switch immediately.

At this point, I figured I was in the clear, since Dozer's third-favorite spot is over by the television. I assumed he was there, since he was nowhere else in the room. I chalk all this idiocy up to the incredibly early hour; I was very groggy. At any rate, I commenced to take my hand off the bed and stride confidently for the bathroom door. It was only four steps at most, and nothing could possibly be in my way.

Except Dozer. He was in the bathroom doorway, which is not a typical sleeping spot at all. It was a great surprise to step directly on what I can only assume was Dozer's head, since he gave a very strangled gurgling sound (probably because I was standing on his head) and commenced to flee. Unfortunately, my foot was now relying entirely on an object that was heading the opposite direction, and my other foot was already in the air as I moved to take another step.

So I fell--directly on top of Dozer's rump, since he hadn't managed to get very far, what with me weighing down his head and all. He yelped with surprise and I shrieked as I plunged headfirst into a half-full laundry basket. My arm hit the edge of the plastic basket very hard--two days later it's become a nice purple bruise.

My poor dog fled the room for several hours, obviously confused and frightened by this sudden and vicious attack by his mommy. When he came back, he made sure to lie down on his dog bed.

Now, whenever I get up at night, Dozer presses back against the wall and makes sure to give me plenty of room to move around. His new uneasiness around scary, unpredictable Mommy makes me feel bad, but how do you explain to a dog that it's not his fault that you have incredibly poor night vision? Thank goodness for his really short-lived memory; hopefully by the time my bruise fades, he'll have forgotten all about this embarrassing incident.