I've been pretty much entirely ensconced in the work project that's eating my brain. I have been sporadically keeping up on my blog-reading at a rudimentary level, but I've been staying out of many interesting and engaging comment threads (because that would mean that I'd be commenting and obsessively watching the thread play out, rather than doing the work I need to do right now).

Today, I did get the lawn mowed, cleared out about 5 years of orphaned and disorganized files on my computer (so that there are spacious expanses ready for the video files I am uploading), spent some lovely quality-time with my beloved, and even watched an actual movie (Meet the Robinsons" -- which I missed when it came out -- no time for a review -- I'll just say that I thought it was choppy and frantic in places, but I did get a little misty at the end when the geek-family had a hug-fest -- which probably had very little to do with the quality of the movie, and much to do with my mush-vulnerability).

We've had our first really warm days in the last week (where I live, Summer doesn't usually start until July 5th, and we refer to the preceding month as "Juneuary"). With the temps in the high 60s - low 70s (and yes, that's "warm" here), flowers are popping out, grass is growing faster than my desire for mowing, and dandelions are flinging their fluff throughout my lawn.

Fortunately, since I've been forced to play with the new equipment that I brought into the project this week (Oh! New technology! Twist my arm!;), I have a little video to show you -- proof positive that I am, in fact, still alive and kicking, and that I do, in fact, live in Paradise -- this video was taken in deep twilight with the new camera -- and shows the view from my "smoking porch" -- rhododendrons in full bloom, and the japanese maples setting it off -- I had to pan to my raspberry patch, too -- cuz they could use some love right now -- it's been so chilly that they haven't had the heart to bud out.

I basically wanted to see how "twilight" and "night" mode looked on this camera -- and I'm still trying to adjust to the ultra-fast zoom -- but LOOK at those rhodies!!!!!!

I'm pleasantly fatigued, and remaining focused.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:44 AM 6 comments Links to this post  

In Which Work Eats My Entire Brain

And spits out the gristly parts.

I've been truly and deeply ensconced in a project which I have five weeks to complete. It's complex, involved, and technically fussy (all things that I enjoy in a work challenge), plus I've been busy with re-assigning and re-arranging newly vacated space which resulted when a community-member left on May 1st.

My blogging is likely to be sporadic over the next weeks. I'm going to try to at least post some round-ups of stuff I've been reading/thinking about (I am at least trying to get to my blog-roll reading every day), so that you can go read and think about similar things if you want to, and in that way, we'll be connected in some cybernetic fashion.

So, if you haven't already, start at the Best of Portly links in the tab above for some reads of my own past fav posts, then go read the update on Jack at Waveflux (Philip Barron's blog) -- Phil posted about Jack (a stray they adopted) about a month ago, and if you're a sucker for a great stray-cat/dog story (like me), I think you'll find it heart-warming (extra-special video-goodness of the kitteh-kind!).

The project I've been working on is a video project (12 hours in length) and it's massive and complicated, and it takes MY ENTIRE BRAIN to work it. No kidding -- the whole brain -- and then some. There are parts of this project that simply cannot be done while I'm multi-tasking (commenting on blogs, reading blogs, surfing video, etc.). So, as deadline week approaches, I've taken to closing down my browser (horrors!) and my email program (triple horrors!).

Here's a snippet of what I was focused on today -- a "screen test", if you will, of the new planet textures I'm trying out -- it may not look like much to you, but let me tell you, constructing the Earth and putting it into an extremely rudimentary spin-cycle has given me new-found compassion for Mr. Deity:

Especially since what that really looks like is just this:
I'll try to be putting SOMETHING up every day (or few days) during this time, but NO PROMISES!

Posted byPortlyDyke at 10:33 PM 7 comments Links to this post  

Face Lift

Well, I finally got tired of looking at that (very appropriately-named) "Minima" template, and have bitten the bullet in terms of wrangling the CSS for a new appearance at Teh Portly Dyke.

Please notice that the new template has tabs at the top linking to stuff like my Comment Policy, my favorite posts so far ("Best of"), and I actually went through the whole blog and got everything labeled, so you can use the labels links at lower right to see stuff that you may be interested in.

I haven't figured out how to code this template for fluid width yet (it's an XML template, rather than HTML), so bear with me a little while longer -- it will remain in 800 width for a while, and try as I might, I can't find the right line to adjust the size of the text in the right sidebar -- I'm sure that I'll find the solution in one of the 3 cubic yards of CSS books I have in my office --but as Aragorn would say: Today is not that day.

Hope you enjoy the new look. Please report any problems to me via comments.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 4:04 PM 9 comments Links to this post  

Sometimes, I Don't Know What I'm Writing

Last week, I wrote a post about Public Displays of Affection.

The weeks prior to that had been a slack time for me, blogging-wise. I was feeling immensely tired of the political in-fighting I was seeing at some of my favorite blogs, I was very busy in "real" life, and I was dealing with some interpersonal crap with an erstwhile friend that was taking a lot of my focus in terms of self-examination and introspection.

Also, I was anxiously awaiting the day when my site-meter rolled over the 20,000 mark. After weeks of very sporadic blogging, my readership had dropped off pretty clearly, and I was lingering in the 19,700-or-something range, so I was absolutely certain-sure that when the blogodometer rolled over, I'd be there to see it.

Little did I know.

When Melissa forwarded me a link to an ABC study on queer PDAs and asked me if I wanted to post something about it, I thought I'd just whip out a little post and that, as they say, would be that.

What's weird is that, while I was writing the actual post, it seemed very disorganized and rambling to me. I started out trying to write something about the social experiment, but then I lapsed into personal ponderings (as I am wont to do). The post seemed to wander all over the place and I was hard-pressed to give it some sort of structure.

Now, I have had written posts in the past which, when I hit "publish", I have thought: "Now, THAT is a GOOD FUCKING POST!!! THAT post is going to shake some shit UP!!!"

This was not the case with Take My Arm, My Love -- on April 28th, when I hit publish, I just thought: "Well -- yeah . . . . that'll do."

Imagine my surprise when, two days later, I realized that my site-meter now read: 21,009.

And comments were starting to come in here, and where I'd cross-posted the entry at Shakesville, and Google Alerts was popping up "Portly Dyke" notices every couple of hours (yes, I'm vain enough to Google Alert myself -- why do you ask? -- and don't you dare claim that you haven't googled yourself -- it's like digital masturbation -- everybody does it).

This is the thing that I don't get, though -- I wasn't trying to write a particularly pithy post.

On that occasion, I thought I was just "getting a post out" -- I wasn't intentionally reaching out to change minds and hearts, I wasn't thinking that I was saying anything particularly profound -- I was just describing my internal process (and feeling as if I was fumbling along pretty much the whole time I was writing). Yet here were comments from an amazing variety of people who had somehow been touched by what I wrote, or who expressed a resonating "Yes! I do that! I know this experience!"

I went semi-internet-viral for a week, and it's kind of mysterious to me how that happened.

So now, I'll just have to wait for 30,000 to watch a land-mark tick over on the ole site-meter for Teh Portly Dyke.

(Happy Belated 20,000 blog-visitors to me!)

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:39 PM 10 comments Links to this post  

I Blog in the Middle of the Night

Watch this, and be glad of cats:

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:55 PM 3 comments Links to this post  

Lunar Beltane

According to those in the know (my beloved, who does incredibly thorough astronomical/astrological research), tonight is the official Lunar Beltane.

Beltane is a "cross-quarter" day -- the day between the Solstice and the Equinox (or the Equinox and the Solstice). These days aren't celebrated much anymore -- more's the pity.

When I was a kid, "May Day" (5/1) was a big deal. We would make little paper cones and staple on little paper handles, and fill them with lilacs and spirea, and leave them hanging on neighbor's door-handles. Nowadays, I'm not sure that people would even recognize the "May Basket" tradition.

There was no candy involved, as with Halloween and Valentine's Day, but for me, this was still a very sweet holiday.

The recipients of our May Baskets were friends in child-form, adult-form, and elder-form. It wasn't one of those holidays where you stuck around to find out if they had opened their door and seen your offering. You hung the basket and ske-daddled.

There were, however, usually lacey dresses involved -- often the "Easter Dress" from some weeks before. You can imagine how that sat with me, Ms. Butchy of 1965.

Thinking back, I can imagine those lilacs poking up from the paper cones. We didn't deliver them with water-vials attached to their stems -- these were wonders to come as we approached our brave new future -- so they must have faded pretty quickly.

But at the time, I was young and hopeful, and probably never gave a thought as to whether the cuttings would be wilted by the time that resident discovered them.

Happy really May Day, everyone.

Just ignore the terminology.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:34 PM 1 comments Links to this post  

Commenting Policy

So, here's my Commenting Policy (updates will be noted at the top of this post as they are made, and the comments policy will available from the top menu tabs).

You are commenting at my personal blog.

You do not have a "right" to comment here -- you have the privilege of doing so -- a privilege which I reserve the right to revoke at any time. (And no, this is not an abridgment of your freedom of speech -- you are free to create your own blog and say and do whatever you want there -- at your personal blog.)

I like vigorous, informed, respectful discussions, and I am not afraid of disagreement. I invite you to respectfully challenge me on fallacious thinking, shoddy statistics, personal opinions expressed as fact, etc.. I am rather notoriously willing to engage patiently and civilly with people, even when we don't agree.

That said, engaging in the following practices and behaviors will usually result in your comments being edited or deleted outright.:
  • Using misogynist, sexist, racist, homophobic, trans-phobic, fat-phobic, able-ist, or classist slurs or epithets (when using them toward any individual or group, rather than referring to such language for the purpose of discussing it). Example: If the best argument you can come up with is "You're a fat hairy-legged pervert", your comment will be deleted as a waste of server space and bandwidth.
  • Threatening me or any commenter on my blog, overtly or subtly.
  • Trolling, sock-puppeting, comment-spamming, posting hate speech, or making frequent off-topic comments which are simply argumentative or belligerent and which you can not (or do not) tie to the original post in some logical way (aka thread de-railment).
Multiple offenses of the above will probably result in you being banned from commenting altogether.

And yes, I get to be the sole judge of this. It's my blog.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 9:36 PM 13 comments Links to this post  

Tiny Little Things I Heard Today

There is a couple who often attend my Friday night class/gathering. They usually bring with them their two children, the oldest of whom seems quite shy amongst strangers. She's at that age (not quite 5) when it's hard for me to tell when that's an act that she's cultivated to maintain a certain distance, and when it's genuine.

Apparently, at home she is quite chatty, but it's rare that she speaks before, in, or after the gathering (she usually whispers into her father's ear if she wants him to say something on her behalf).

At any rate, this child has attended the Friday gathering many, many times (since she was around 2), and even requested to be brought to the Tuesday gathering that I teach (which is a focused spiritual development class heretofore populated only by adults). She will peep out at me from under her "fairy cloak" and give me a mischievous grin from time to time, and genuinely seems to enjoy being there (although she often falls asleep during the gathering), but it's very rare that she will speak aloud to me.

Tonight, as folks were drifting away from our meeting place, I heard her insisting that her Dada push her in the swing outside our house (it's an "adult-size" swing-set, and if Da pushes her, she can swing very high -- so I've overheard her giggles and squeals many times).

It was then that I heard it -- for the first time in the several years that I have known her: My name, spoken in her own voice -- as I walked from the gathering place to my house -- I heard: "Dada! Show ***** how high I can swing!"

It was a very sweet moment for me.

She rounded off all the consonants in my name in that way that children do before they learn to read and write -- pronounced it as, no doubt, it sounds to her when others speak it.

This is a little tiny thing I heard today.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:55 PM 1 comments Links to this post  

Happy May Day

Today was a day of new beginnings, as our long-lingering community member who wanted to leave has finally . . . . left.

Thank Maude.

I'm using the "reset" as an excuse to return to daily blogging commitments. ("Yeah, yeah," you say, "I've heard THAT before."

But no. Seriously.

Truth is -- I miss blogging when I don't blog regularly.

So, welcome to May, and Happy Beltane (sort of Beltane, anyway).

I spent the day clearing spaces and visioning what might be next for the newly-vacated rooms/areas. We had a fabulous session of song in the empty, concrete-walled studio space that's now available for new uses, too -- I drank some champagne and had an afternoon nap (which is rare for me).

Oh, and also -- the fucking SUN was out!!!!! -- and the yard is gorgeous.

Like this kind of gorgeous:

So, I'm in a very good mood tonight.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:55 PM 0 comments Links to this post