Alphabet Soup: April 2008 Archives

Pope Envy

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Yes, indeed... your eyes are not deceiving you. The title of this blog post really DOES read "Pope Envy".

No, I'm not Catholic. Although in a previous life I might as well have been, because I am just always consumed with guilt, whether I have done something wrong or not!

Anyway, please forgive me, Catholics, for I am jealous of your earthly leader. (And yes, I realise the irony: the pontiff inspiring me to commit one of the seven deadly sins.)

Now, it's not what you think. I mean no disrespect, so please don't be incensed! (And please note that no one was more hopeful than me back when he was elected.)

My envy of Pope Benedict XVI extends far beyond the fact that he gets to live rent free in that amazing apartment at The Vatican with that splendid balcony overlooking the square. Or that he has access to a full wardrobe. Not, mind you, that I particularly want the mitres (those tall hats - even though the height will go a long way in helping to elongate a round face like mine) or the vintage vestments. Now understand, it's not that I have anything against Vatican couture. I just don't think the heavily embroidered smocks (or chasubles) will do a lot for my already odd body.

No, I am really, REALLY jealous of His Holiness because of where he is right now. In my beloved United States (O, say can you Holy See...). More specifically, because he happens to be in my siren city, the stately yet vibrant place that still makes my heart contract with longing on a daily basis: Washington, D.C.

After years of living there, I instinctively know that the cherry blossoms could possibly already be in full bloom around the Tidal Basin right now. I also know that in April, winter sometimes still stubbornly tries to claw its icy way back into the fold, causing the optimistically spring-like warm temperatures to plunge and to, on occasion, even make way for a last, spiteful snowfall!

I remember what it is like to be there during historic events: Presidential inaugurations (Clinton's second and Bush's unfortunate and undeserved first and second), an impeachment, presidential funerals (Reagan's), royal visits... Even if one isn't a direct part of the action - or even if one is almost indifferent to whomever the visiting VIP de jour is - one can't help but be swept up in the energy of it all. The air almost literally crackles with an electric anticipation.

Yes, celebrity is everywhere. Events of global importance happen daily in other cities around the world, but it somehow just feels different there...

Yes, alas, dearest D.C., I still have a total crush on you.

And actually, I totally covet the pope-mobile. (But before you think I've finally relaxed about driving? No, I have not. I want the pope's car as much for the chauffeur as for the car itself!)
If you've made the mistake of visiting this here website between some time on Monday and now (not to imply that visiting it at any other time is any LESS of a mistake, but I am not here to judge you, honestly), you would have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing, firsthand, my first (and last, I swear) attempt at coding...

Sadly, I can assure you that it was even less successful than my attempts at writing.

Here's what happened (and anyone with half a brain and even the barest minimal knowledge of HTML should avert their eyes right now, because they will find this excruciatingly painful):

Some time on Monday afternoon, I was overcome with a desire to spring clean. Now, there are several reasons why that urge of mine was cause for extreme alarm:
- It was DAY. I don't DO sunlight. That's when I rest, like the weary old bat that I am.
- It isn't spring in South Africa. It is autumn.

Blame it on the fact that the nectar of the gods (AKA Starbucks) has not crossed my lips in almost two and a half years - I am certainly blaming it on that very valid reason - but I suddenly realised that the SA Blog Awards Vote for me widget was still on here, mocking my spectacular yet expected clean sweep of losses with its very colourful presence.

Yes, alas... I didn't win. No, let's rephrase that. Me and win shouldn't even feature in the same sentence. I lost. But as I've said, no surprise there. I mean, I might not be able to wrap my simple brain around basic HTML - despite the fact that HTML for Dummies is in my collection of How-To books - but even I know that in order to win something as important as a Blog Award, one needs to have real readers, as opposed to the scores of imaginary ones that I have. But I adore and value you so much, that I count every last three of you! Oh, and having any real talent would help even more than having any real readers. Bit of a pesky Catch-22, really, because one can't seem to have one without the other...

But no, before you think I am bitter about the losses, I really am not. Yes, of COURSE winning would have been unbelievably awesome (unbelievable being the operative word here), but luckily I lost properly. I think it would have been far worse to take second place, because that's close enough to almost taste it - definitely to smell it - and trust me, if you have ever been on a diet? You would KNOW how much it sucks to be so close to something you crave but know you can't have.

Also? Just the fact that I was NOMINATED - even if I am still convinced that it was a gross oversight/technical error/typo on someone's part - is already reward enough for the likes of me. Those surprise nominations couldn't have come at a better time, because at one point this year, I had seriously, SERIOUSLY considered simply giving up on writing once and for all. So being nominated gave me a little more encouragement to maybe not give up just yet for a little while longer. Also, all the winners MORE than deserved it. (For a full list, go here... It is underneath the video of the event. Perhaps you can even take the time to scroll down in the appropriate categories to see exactly how far I had lost.)

My inexplicable urge to get rid of the widget, then? Well, the awards have been over for so long, it is almost time for next year's. (Okay, so it's only been, what, two weeks? Still... we all know that in terms of technology, two weeks could easily equal about 14 human years.) So I was beginning to feel like the freak in the neighbourhood whose Christmas decorations are still up in June, because she is too lazy to take it down.

Which is why I, on Monday, marched down these back corridors of redsaid armed with fierce determination and... my finger poised above the delete button.

In hindsight, I really should have left well enough alone. I actually can't believe the audacity I had! Normally, when faced with anything requiring even remote brain power, I turn into a trembling, cowering mass. But even more unbelievable is the fact that I even managed to find the correct page in the first place!

To cut a long story short?  Without copying and pasting the code that was there and sensibly saving it in Word or somewhere where it could be salvaged again later, I simply found the widget's code and deleted it...

Imagine the unpleasant surprise I received when I looked at the blog... Oh, make no mistake, I had deleted the widget, alright, but I also happened to delete crucial code that had, until that moment, served to neatly keep my sidebar to the side. So suddenly, after my little deleting jobby, the sidebar found itself NOT to the side but smack dab in the middle of the blog's body. The end result was not pretty...

Australia was notified. But due to the time difference, Australia was blissfully asleep. So hey ho SilverSabre was recruited. He took one look and - after he had laughed for a good ten minutes (hey, according to the end results of the 2008 SA Blog Awards, I AM the fifth funniest blogger in SA, remember) - he went: Oh, Red... WHAT have you done?!? And then, on behalf of IT people everywhere, he wept for this blog...

He told me that I had probably only deleted a comma. Unfortunately he couldn't quite figure out WHICH comma, but bless him for even trying to figure it out.

Luckily for all of us (but especially for me), the sun had to come up in Australia eventually, so Miss Dee awoke, and as per usual, swooped in on her angel wings to come in and save the day. Thank you, Dee, for once again saving redsaid from Red. My staggering pile of IOU's has now officially surpassed the Taipei 101 in height and my debt to you has become infinite...

Oh, and it turns out that Silver was right. Who knew that these few letters (and I'm taking the liberty - yes, again! but this time it's precautionary, honest - to remove the little brackets and some of the other squiggly bits, because goodness knows what will happen to the blog if I leave it in) div id=beta div id=beta-inner could be so crucial in keeping a sidebar in its place?

Now if only someone could come up with code that would keep ME in my place...

P.S. Okay... I did not forget that the Win-A-Date-With-Roommate-Kate contest still needs a winner. To tell you the truth, since most of the votes I received (and was made aware of) happened before I had even resorted to the contest, and since no voters after the contest adhered to the rules (I'm sooo glad that I inspire such obedience),  it's starting to look like a Ménage... I mean, a three-way tie between Miss Dee herself, Pylorns and TimT. Since coffee will be a bit difficult, what with two of you being in different locations in Australia and one being in Texas, I'm thinking that maybe you could at least become Roommate Kate's friends on facebook? (Of course, I need to run this by her first.) Congratulations and thank you all for voting AND for going to such great lengths to recruit even more votes for me!

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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