Theme, Parked


I don’t want to brag, but I believe I’m one of the top-notch people for being vaguely dissatisfied with every WordPress theme there is. I can pull up the samples and look over the different ways they have of presenting articles and blog names and all that and almost right away see something that I’d do at least a little bit differently, like, maybe use a color, or perhaps have some recognition for there being a “cite” tag instead of just rendering it as plain text or maybe good grief, you break anything in a “cite” tag to its own separate line of right-aligned text? What kind of mad man designed this? sorry, something or other came up.

The glory of this is it means anytime I want I can scroll through the WordPress themes and find myself dissatisfied with the world at large, which keeps me from writing cranky letters to the editor about the state of things in general. Instead I can try looking up how to make my own WordPress theme, and discover that through the use of a few simple APIs and some basic knowledge of style sheets, it’s impossible to make my own WordPress theme and I should go lie down until the feeling passes. I’m getting better at that, too. When I first started it could take upwards of a half-hour before I decided I couldn’t possibly make my own theme. Now, I can go from dissatisfaction with every theme in the world, to learning how to make my own, to lying down letting the feeling pass in under ten minutes, and I have optimistic thoughts about breaking the eight-minute barrier.

Math Comics Without Equations


I’ve had the chance to gather another couple of mathematics-themed comics over on the mathematics-themed blog which doesn’t have a decent rendering of HTML’s <cite> tag, which bothers me to no end, although not quite enough to do anything about it. Sorry. There’s people who know what I’m going on about and they don’t care either.

If you weren’t looking for those, Working Daze has carried on its mock history into a Berkeley Breathed 1980s, and then into first a Baby Blues and then a Zits-ish 90s. I’m a bit surprised to see from the comments that this is going to run about another three weeks, and merge into the actual history of the comic strip.

Math Comics, over there


I just wanted to give a heads-up that over on my mathematics blog I put up a roster of a bunch of comics with mathematics themes or mentions or the like. Also I tried out a new theme, so the page has a more interesting color scheme. The new theme doesn’t include any kind of bold or italics or other special note for titles, which I put inside the HTML “cite” tag, because I do that and because themes do that and I’m honestly annoyed enough by this I’m thinking of ditching this theme altogether and finding some different one. I don’t know who to blame for my sense of graphic design getting in the way of my world like this, but I’m going to choose the editors of 80’s children’s science magazine 3-2-1 Contact. I have my reasons.

The snow is just a little bit of silliness and I like it. Yes, the magazine was a promotional tie-in to the TV show.

Numbers the August 2013 Way


I said last month I was going to carry on tracking numbers, even if some of them are kind of disappointments, such as the square root of five. The big number according to WordPress’s statistics counters. The number of views dropped from 375 in July to 349 in August, and I don’t have the excuse of a shorter month for that. The number of visitors also dropped from 178 to 141. But this does mean the number of pages per viewer has risen from 2.11 to 2.48, which is the highest on record. I may not be getting many readers in, but they’re reading more of me.

According to WordPress, the top articles of the past thirty days were:

  1. You Can Send Me Any Obsoleted Bills For Responsible Care in which I do some thinking about how to arrange money;
  2. What I Notice In Every Old Picture Of Me and what’s horribly wrong about all those pictures, based on the real actual me;
  3. Community Calendar: Streetlight Counting Day for a little event;
  4. Getting Started and my troubles with that;
  5. In Which I See Through A Chipmunk and the odd story of the squirrels and their comedy club develops; and
  6. Some Parts Of The Horse, a quick useful guide.

None of these was a top-five article last month (the last two were tied for most views). S J Perelman: Captain Future, Block That Kick! was tied for tenth place, so it’s staying popular. My top commenter is again Corvidae in the Fields, whom I thank for loyal readership, followed by Chiaroscuro, who just edges out Ervin Shlopnick, all friends loyal, true, and talkative.

I learned also how to find the most-commented-upon articles, which do include backlinks or trackbacks or whatever the heck they’re called. For this month the top five of those were:

  1. In Which I See Through A Chipmunk (as above);
  2. You Can Send Me Any Obsoleted Bills For Responsible Care (ibid);
  3. Comic Strip Celebrities Named (one from late July that was liked);
  4. Some Now-Forgotten HTML Tags (one of last month’s most popular bits);
  5. Fly The Little Skies (a short bit from late May and about the tiny airport in Trenton, New Jersey).

Once again the countries sending me the most visitors were the United States (268), Canada (8), and the United Kingdom (7). Countries sending only one visitor include Singapore, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Albania, Portland, Mexico, and France, so while I may be losing popularity in Sweden, Poland is holding steady.

It does strike me that the shorts, usually one or two hundred word pieces, get a lot more views than the weekly essays that aim at seven hundred words. This may be telling me something important about how I write.

Here Are Some Numbers (July 2013)


Since my last monthly-statistics roundup post was successful, in that it was a thing that existed and didn’t produce any unwanted explosions or anything, let me repeat the thing. This is just for generally tracking the health of this humor initiative and whatnot, and who knows where that’ll end up? Your guess is as good as mine, although this coming month probably isn’t going to see me get to Altoona, which is a shame.

WordPress says the blog got 375 views in July, which is disappointing only because in June it got 441, and July is a longer month given that it has the whole summer’s heat to expand it. There were also only 178 distinct visitors, as opposed to the 227 distinct viewers in June. This does have a positive side, though: it means the average number of pages each reader went to increased from 1.94 to 2.11, although that’s probably not statistically significant and besides I had 2.17 pages per visitor back in May, but you don’t see me telling everyone that. There’s right now 239 people following announcements about this blog, at least, through e-mail, WordPress, or Twitter, that I know of.

My top five most popular pages of the past 30 days were:

  1. About The Spider-Man Comic Strip, which I did expect to be a popular one since it involved (a) the chance to put up a comic strip that (b) was ridiculous on its own, thus needing no work on my part to amuse.
  2. Basic Dishwasher Repair, which has also gotten some curious attempts at linking from what look like big dishwasher-repair fan sites on the web, which can’t possibly exist, except it is the Internet so who am I to say there aren’t vast dishwasher-repair fan communities, other than a sane person?
  3. Five Astounding Facts About Turbo, That Movie About A Snail In The Indianapolis 500, another rare venture into direct pop-culture commentary for me and again something I thought would be popular because even after seeing the movie I can’t believe this thing actually exists.
  4. Argument With The Rabbit, which I again thought was destined for success given how it’s about a cute pet.
  5. Some Now-Forgotten HTML Tags, which rests comfortably in that set of nerdly jokes that lets me talk about Usenet, which was really great in its heyday and still has flashes of greatness.

Nothing that was in the top-five last month made it over to this month, a bit surprising, since S J Perelman’s “Captain Future, Block That Kick!” was one of last month’s big winners and I posted that back in March. That one dropped to around number 23 in the rankings.

My top recent commenters include, again, Corvidae In The Fields, and thank you for that, then Chiaroscuro (similarly), fluffy (again, thanks), and Ervin Sholpnick.

In July the countries which sent the most visitors to me were the United States again (308), the United Kingdom (11) and Canada (also 11), with last month’s number three, Brazil, falling off the charts altogether. If anyone’s going to be down that way please ask someone what’s wrong. Sending me only a single visitor each were Poland, Lebanon, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, and Sweden, so at least I haven’t lost my Polish or my Swedish viewers.

Some Now-Forgotten HTML Tags


  • <sh>. The “Shriek” tag prompted web browsers to scream whatever was so marked at the top of its lungs. Discontinued in 2004 after too may computers were smashed with computer bats and it was found computers don’t have lungs.
  • <code>. This tag, formerly used to break the ENIGMA coding on messages being sent by the Germans to their Navy, was discontinued in 1998 when it was brought to the attention of the World Wide Web Consortium that World War II had ended in, like, what, 1946? 1948? Something like that and we didn’t need to check up on Germany anymore. We have Denmark peeking in on them now and then to make sure.
  • <kb>. The “Kibo” tag was meant to attract the attention of Usenet celebrity James “Kibo” Parry to your web page. Use of the tag has dwindled to insignificance since 2006, when Usenet was finally torn down and replaced with a Howard Johnson’s one-hour film development booth.
  • <dl>. Nobody has ever known what this tag is or what it’s good for. The best hypothesis is it’s related to somebody important, like <img> maybe.

Tiptoe through the mailbox


It’s been a while since I went through all my mail. I have this tendency to let the mail pile up, I think out of a primordial urge to see a stack of letters reaching from floor to ceiling, able to intimidate even the crazed amaryllis. In less primordial urges I wonder whether, if I gather enough information as presumably contained in the letters it’ll achieve self-awareness and I’ll have a tame if pretty slow-moving artificial intelligence. If I do, it’s going to be one that thinks I’m the Current Resident or, worse, Currant Resident. They shouldn’t be firing their copy editors. Let’s see what’s on the pile.

Ah, I’ve gotten pre-approved by the Eastside Community Self-Esteem Development Center, and don’t think I don’t see right through them. Oh, the pre-approval sounds like a good thing what with indicating that they figure I can build my self-esteem up just a wee bit more. Goodness knows if I’m to blog regularly I have to get my self-esteem up to the point where I believe tens of thousands of people are waiting for every fresh post and working up the courage to ask me where they can send me money since I don’t have a donation box on the web site. Ha. I see the trap: I’m being invited to apply for more self-esteem, which means, if they simply turn me down then I’ll be in such desperate need of their services that I won’t be able to resist going to their front door and begging for admission.

Continue reading “Tiptoe through the mailbox”

Problems of Web Site Design


It’s always so tempting to go around and tinker with my web site, because it’s a fine way to stay vaguely busy in 2002. But there’s always questions about what to drop, like, the mailto: links. The only time I’ve eve found a mailto: link that worked was on a functioning gopher: server. I think I’ll replace it with a little form that takes the note, compiles it into a JSON object, and then turns it over to jQuery to pop up an error message, allowing me to claim three more areas of web design expertise.