Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rattling the bars

We spent an entrancing, magickal hour (or two; ater the first twenty minutes you go blurry and time elongates strangely) chasing broken links all over the website. It's the least I can do to help, when my webmaster and cover artist (Jade) is already overworked (and underpaid). Chasing broken links across the internet is spectacularly intricate and aggravating way to spend your time. I begin to understand why website builders charge hundreds of bucks for tiny little sites ... because toupees are not cheap, and long before you've got the damned site done, you'll have ripped out what little remained of your hair.

There's an excellent program to help you nail down and swat broken links. Webmasters, take note: it's called XENU LINK SLEUTH, it's about the best thing I've ever seen, and (even better) it's free. It's another one of those programs like IRFANVIEW -- if they weren't free you'd be happy to pay fifteen dollars for them. So if you need to fix a website that's being a little bastard, try this:

Snap Files, on their Freeware for Web authoring page. Xenu Link Sleuth ... and it comes highly recommended.

While I'm on the subject of software, I should point you at the best imaging program I ever discovered. Fast, powerful, versatile and dead easy:

Irfanview (dot com), on the homepage.

Best file viewer, with the best resize filters on the web, plus basket-loads of other stuff. Same as Link Sleuth -- you'd have been happy to pay for it.

One more indispensible freebie, before I quit the computers and start talking about something halfway interesting (like Mexican food). My favorite FTP program.

FTP Commander, right on the download page.

Seriously, if you're looking for a dead-easy, utterly reliable FTP prog that won't cost a nickel, this is it.

Enough with the computers stuff! Did someone say something about Mexican food? That's what's on tonight's menu, because we have the corn chips and the rest of the fixings ... except the guacamole. We discovered we're out (nothing in the freezer) and the price of fresh avocados would make you shudder. They're $3.50 EACH at the local convenience store. Gak. Mind you, not as gak-inspiring as the local jarred 'substance' that pretends to be guacamole, and is labelled 'guacamole' but is about as much like real guacamole as banana custard. There may be come avocado pulp hiding down at the bottom of the jar, but half of what's in there is cream cheese, and some idiot put sugar in the mix.

What sadist would put sugar in guacamole? It's unthinkable.

So, being resourceful, something was whipped up which I called 'mockamole,' because it looks reasonably like guacamole (pulpy and green) and it tastes identical (the seasonings are all the same), and the only thing that's different is the texture. Not having any avocados, and having a moral objection to paying $10.50 for three of them to make tonight's dip, you start off with butter, cream and live oil to simulate the avocado, and 'filler' to firm it up and bulk it out. Breadcrumbs. No kidding. Mash the whole lot together, like you're going to stuff a chook, (translation: that's auussie for 'chicken'), then add the whole raft of Mexican seasonings 'to taste,' plus a few drops of (!) green food coloring. Let it stand for an hour or two, and ... just tactfully fail to notice the texture. The Mexican seasonings, incidentally, are cumin and corriander, onion and garlic, salt and lime juice. Keep whacking them in there till it tastes right ... then add chili flakes if you want it hot. Or not, if you value your tastebuds.

Never knew Keegan could cook, did you?

Last thing, before I go: I'm going to have a short rant. I don't often rant about anything, because it seldom does any good and most people generally stop listening. But this is important enough. I was sent a forward, the body of a story which appeared in the New York Times. I'll link you through to it right here:

Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight.

Stop reading right here if you don't want to hear Keegan rant. For the brave souls who read on ... I thank you; and consider yourself warned, because there are puffs of smoke coming out of my ears.

I was appalled and disgusted to know that aged heterosexuals can still be cruel and bigoted, at a time of life when a good night's sleep, a tasy dinner provided by someone else, a good movie, a laugh with friends, and a day without pain, have come to weigh one hell of a lot more heavily than anything of a sexual nature. Even at that time of life, when twilight is fast-fading literally into tha last long night, and when most people expect to be called, very soon, to give account of themselves before getting an entry permit to go through the Pearly Gates ... even then, heteros can find it within themselves to be put bloody-minded prejudice ahead of the knapsack of karma they're still packing around -- and still piling trash into. One wonders who is really going to roast over the coals? The person who lead a good life and trusted god, or gods, or whatever creator/creatrix, to know what he or she was bloody doing on the day sundry humans were conceived and BORN gay ... or the person who seems to be looking creator/creatrix squarely in the eyeballs and saying, "Golly, God/Allah/Yahweh/Whatever, you did a nasty booboo, didn't you? You created evil in human form ... and gosh, you do it all the time, how naughty of you, making millions and millions of gay people every year!" The end of a person's life is already difficult enough without an individual having to be punished for being gay, or black, or Jewish, or Asian, or fat, or whatever else doesn't seem to fit the pattern of society's current norm. And the sentence I just wrote encapsulates the gist of the argument: GAY RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. (Please note the capital letters. I *am* yelling.) Until comparatively recently, a person could be persecuted for being female. Then it was 'open season on anybody not white.' Then anybody not Christian (or Muslim, depending on your geographical location). Persecution of minority groups is one of the last great sins in the world, right up there alongside neglect of kids and the elderly, the wanton rape of the planet, and a half-dozen other crimes against the cosmos itself, none of which seem to have even occurred to anyone (divine or otherwise!) who was ever involved with chiselling a bunch of commandments on a couple of pieces of stone. Human rights are, as yet, a fantasy in many communities around this poor globe. We've come to sighingly (squirmingly) almost accept Pakistan's 'burning brides,' and the 'faceless women' of rural Mayanmar, and the mutilated female children of Mali, as 'cultural things,' which we almost can't (!!) get in there and forcibly change, because then we'd be guilty of cultural assassination. Pardon me while I barf. That line of reasoning will lead you right into the hornets' nest of Nazis claiming their cultural identity as a rationalization to exterminate a whole race. Not good enough, people. Persecution of gays is the last remnant of the mindset which burned old women as witches, threw Jews into the incinerators by the millions, and still, even today, dickers and hesitates to muscle in and do something, anything, by force, in cultures which burn and legally mutilate female human beings. One can only hope this mindset is dying out with the very same aged bigots who are, fading away in their nursing homes, ostracizing their fellow people ... but there's so much hate bound up in the lyrics of a lot of modern music, I'm afraid the hope is shallow.

Sigh. Rant over. Apologies. Some things have to be said.

More tomorrw -- and on happier topics.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

like you're going to stuff a cook, (translation: that's auussie for 'chicken')

Hmmmm, so how do aussies stuff cooks? And with what?



Mel Keegan said...

You being the cook, Dave ... well, you decide what you'd like to be stuffed with and I'll run out to the store. It's a TYPO! It' also fixed, so if anyone is reading this comment at a later date: Keegan never claimed to be no kind of typist, and the word was chook, with an invisible h, okay?

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