A New Look … Maybe?

As can be seen by a glance at the page, I’ve changed the look up a bit. Actually, I’ve been playing around for a couple of days now and soliciting opinions because I have such a hard time making up my mind. A couple of things I knew I wanted was a sidebar – left or right, I think I’d like either one – and an end to what drove me to redecorate: full visibility for the captions under my sidebar images.

Here’s what I mean:

Seriously, what the heck? I contemplated, though, that perhaps it was time for a change of pace anyway and so started checking out different themes. I finally decided that this (Colinear) was perhaps maybe the one, at least I like it enough to move forward and put my sidebar items back in place – they didn’t automatically place there in this theme like they did in the others. That’s a bummer, and I also don’t really love that I can’t (as far as I can tell) get at a “click to link” option or add in captions beneath the images. Sure, for books the title and author are easily discerned, but I’d like to be able to caption people’s status as award-winning authors, or a prize the book won, and so on. Plus, not everything is a book, but I’m hoping to find my solution as I probe more into the widget options. I also have become aware of a failure to save properly: several times I’ve made changes and the preview had to be closed and draft re-saved several times before the new or corrected text appeared.

I was also at first pretty jazzed to see that there is a specific widget for linking to Goodreads. It’s nice in that it shows all your books, and links to their respective Goodreads pages, and so the blog page’s appearance changes, subtle though it may be, whenever I begin or finish another book. However, I did notice a glaring omission from that list of currently-reading books, and that is a Bible that also occupies my shelf but for some reason Goodreads sees fit to block from my widget. I don’t really care if not a single person employed by Goodreads ever reads one, or they want to throw a few down the nearest toilet; that’s their prerogative, too. My choice, however, is to own and read one, and while I’m not typically quick to accuse, the appearance of them overstepping their bounds is pretty strong and distasteful.

Added Notation: After publication I showed my son the Goodreads widget and he suggested it may be able to hold just five titles and selected randomly. Under his direction we played around a bit more – deleting 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry and adding in another book, though nothing changed. We logged out and back in, and deleted the new book as well. Then we ensured just five books were on my currently-reading list and not only did the Bible not show up, but also 1066 didn’t go away! Very strange! As before, despite my annoyance at the omission, I am willing to believe it is just random, with the added consideration that this widget works only sporadically. Perhaps by tomorrow the changes on my Goodreads page will have caught up to the widget? (Or is the widget working to catch up to the Goodreads page?) Will the search for a perfect theme continue? Stay tuned!

Added Added Notation: Guess what! Goodreads has not, after all, shown itself an outfit willing to go as far as to algorithm “offensive” titles out of public view: the widget has updated and the Bible shows! My very bad, Goodreads and readers, my very bad! It’s hardly an unreasonable suspicion, what I’d been wondering about, given these strange days we occupy; nevertheless I’m glad I’m inclined to keep questioning, myself as well as others, and that there are times I really love to be proven wrong. Not to mention the situational reminder that asking one’s child for advice isn’t an upside-down proposition at all. And now I really am off to bed. The daylight has tricked me into believing it’s only 20:00 or so, but it’s past 23:00 now and the wowza fatigue has hit. Toodles!

Other than that I really do like the Goodreads widget, which means I can do away with the “What’s on My Night Table” link. I also like that the text area is wider and the lines cleaner, sharper. It looks refreshed. Additionally, unlike several other themes, it doesn’t underline links, which matters because some are titles, some not, and it created a look of inconsistency. Also, the colors, while slightly altered, are at least in line with what I had before in terms of ease of reading: light background, distinct hyperlinks. I still have some work to do on the sidebar, but that will be forthcoming, plus I decided to air out the place some more and put up different kinds of items, such as video, audio and slideshows – and hopefully other things, rotating and static.

I also just discovered my pages (tabs) don’t show, so I’ll have to figure that out as well. If you’re looking for something you knew to be there previously, please bear with me as I make adjustments. If you’d like information on one or more of them you knew to be available before, feel free to drop me a line at scully_dcATyahooDOTcom.

That’s it for now, lovelies! Good night from the Great Land and may your dreams be sweet.

Forget-me-not, our official flower with the same colors – blue and gold – as our lovely flag.
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Middle of the Night Musings: Earthquake Edition

Most of us probably met the shaking with the same response as usual: wait it out. Alaska typically has about 20 earthquakes a day, most of which can’t be felt. The ones that can are usually small and used as jumpstarts for stalled conversations. Some are taken slightly more seriously, and after they settle down and everyone realizes it was minor, starts tossing numbers regarding magnitude. Some place quick bets and it becomes a game.

So last night (01:30) when the weird, swooshy swaying started I pretty much assumed the same, though it did feel very odd, like my house was sliding. Dude. I was in the living room at the computer and across the room was my son, fast asleep in his weekend campout area—the floor he occupied being right in front of an armoire I’d worried about in the past, for moments such as these.

I hopped up to go over there, more, certainly, a quite unnecessary precautionary measure, and as I stood above him everything started rattling rather forcefully. Still thinking it would stop any moment I was one second debating waking him and the next—hearing a low moan and knowing there was no way I could hold up that now-wobbling armoire if it did decide to topple over—leaning down, shaking him, urging him awake.

“Get up, quick! It’s OK, but come over here, quickly!” Of course he was half asleep but he moved impressively fast as the power crashed and we guided each other to the doorway. I’d only heard a few small things falling over, but wow! That shaking was really something else. It had gone on and on, long past the betting phase and into the one where people start to panic. Thoughts of 1964 crossed my mind and that terrible audio I’d once heard of the earth moaning and screeching, the one I could never listen to again. Had I imagined the growling as the shaking continued and my fear informed me how stupid I was to just stand there staring at my child? I recall the recurring thought as the quake continued: “It’s still shaking!” And what seemed like a full minute later thinking, “It’s still shaking!” And then: “Still!” It felt like so long, except the entire episode was only about 30 seconds or so. The 1964 quake, in contrast, went on for over four minutes. Typing this now, I can’t imagine what that must have been like for people who experienced this in daylight hours, and who saw the streets splitting wide open in front of them.

As we lingered in the doorway (see update below), surveying the arctic entry and the world outside, I wondered about the strange way the nature of the quake had shifted. At first it was that trippy rolling, like we were on a ship bouncing on waves. Then, over by the armoire, we were shaken violently, like characters inside a snow globe.

[Supermarket damage image to be replaced]

As is usual, it was my son who brought the clever back into our moment and when he picked up the phone I realized we did actually have a connection to the rest of the world. Our home wifi was out for the count but oh baby! Yes! Facebook! I was so glad to see other people also connecting and letting the rest of us know they were OK. And I laughed easily at the typically American response to moments such as these: humor.

At first I’d read the quake had been assigned a magnitude of 6.4; later this was changed to 7.1. A Facebook friend wrote:

I’d like to congratulate Alaska’s recent quake on its promotion from a 6.4 to 7.1. Your ambition is certainly noted. Coming from so far below the surface, you really had some gusto. Good work!

The Twitter hashtag #akquake also shows Alaskans getting their fun on as one commenter admits his wreck of a room looked like that before the earthquake. Someone else joked about not being able to differentiate between the aftershocks and her husband’s snoring. Still another lamented the loss of the rum stock. My boy decided he wanted to have an earthquake party on my bed with a bowl of Doritos in hand and Thor on the laptop.

Here’s an update from a Canadian living in Alaska:

And speaking of split roads, here’s a slideshow including a cracked road near Kasilof.

So yes, as mentioned in the video above, one home exploded following a gas leak and I’ve just read that elsewhere four other homes also were lost. However, damages as far as I know are not extensive (I realize the families who lost their homes might not feel the same way) and no one was hurt. Also, given the earthquake was centered 50 miles down, the dreaded tsunami won’t be plaguing us this time round. We’re all still watching updates as we go along.

Oh and by the way, my own power came back on at around 04:30 or so. I’d been drifting in and out of sleep so am not certain of the when, but it was such a wonderful surprise that it was restored so quickly–within a few hours. For us that meant no real digging out of emergency supplies, it being the middle of the night anyway. By the time we woke up they were not needed. A really great and huge thanks to all the amazing people who leave their warm homes or on-call stations in the middle of the night to help get us back to safety and comfort: electricity crews, police, firefighters, emergency and hospital medical personnel, military. You peeps are all simply fantastic and have our eternal gratitude. 🙂

Cheers, everybody!!

Update: This blog was updated to include some information I just saw posted as a link to Facebook. Click here for full post:

Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

 Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

Many, many thanks to Nancy Nadon Burke for posting this article online.