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TODAY’S UPDATE:

The power came back on at 8:30 p.m. last night, ten hours after going out. We managed to get our car down the hill to the general store this morning and discovered that everyone’s power and phone service is still out, but the whole town is using a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. generator which is supplying enough electricity for our needs.

This is very fortunate, because otherwise, we’d be really cut off from the outside world.

There’s always more to tell, but I’ll save it for later. I want to make sure this gets posted now in case the power goes out again, which could happen at any time. Also, the snow has been falling heavily off and on since noon, and our satellite internet goes out when the snow is particularly dense.

 

Okay, so I’m a complete idiot when it comes to any kind of html or understanding any of my blog’s inner-workings. Today’s demon: RSS feeds and “feed URLS”.

I know that there’s tremendous potential to make my blog completely wonderful, bristling and clanging with all sorts of bells & whistles on my sidebar, drawing the blog reader in like flies to flypaper.

But it would be a miracle if I achieve ANY of it here.

No matter how hard I try to wade through the WordPress help sections, reading about RSS feeds and feed urls and permalinks on the FAQS and forums, I just don’t get it.

I love computers but don’t understand their inner workings as well as my younger counterparts seem to, or those of you Baby Boomers who seem to have grasped the concepts.

Today’s fiasco started with an introductory email offer from BLOGRUSH, which is a blog syndication service and looks like a good way to get my blog out there for more people to read.

Registration went swimmingly until I had to enter a “feed URL” for my blog. Thus began an extremely frustrating three hours of research, and repeated attempts at trying to find the correct feed URL. I still haven’t figured it out, although now I do know that the “code” that BLOGRUSH provided after my registration needs to be pasted into a text widget on my WP widgets page.

I was able to find my feed url from this page but after submitting it to BLOGRUSH it’s still not showing up in my side-bar. Grrrr!

I finally emailed someone on the forums who had thoughtfully replied to some other hapless blogger trying to figure out feed URLS. I hope he writes back.

I feel so incompetent about this. Not pleasant at all.

Plus, I’ve just come down with a whopper of a cold. James got it a few days ago and is still suffering.

‘Tis the season, I guess. Many people around here have colds now, and I’ve just heard that my dear friend in England has one.

I started getting sick during the Nutcracker show in San Jose yesterday afternoon. Luckily I got through the show with a minimum of hacking and coughing, although the storm front moved in BIG time towards the end of the ballet.

James and I were going to stop at a friend’s in Lafayette (an hour’s drive north of San Jose) to have dinner with her and her elderly father, but we decided to cancel. For one thing we were not feeling at all well, and of course we didn’t want to give our friends a cold either.

I’m taking zinc lozenges which were recommended to knock out a cold in half the usual time. I sure hope it works!

So we are at home, bundled up in the Music Room. James is making homemade chicken soup and tending the fire in the Franklin stove as usual, while I am getting close to throwing my computer against the wall.

I decided to take a break and write a post instead. I may be writing a LOT of posts over the next few daze. You may die of shock.

It’s supposed to snow up here tomorrow. I’ll keep you informed!

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POSTSCRIPT: Several hours later:

At length, I discovered that WordPress doesn’t support javascript, which is why my “feed url” request to BlogRush didn’t go through.

So I have revived my blog on Blogger so that I can use BlogRush there. I now have two identical blogs; one here and one on Blogspot.com.

Twice the work and half the fun — LOL.

BOOKMARKS!

Hundreds of them have accumulated on my computer over the past couple of years.

Tonight I am finally grabbing the Firefox browser monkey by the neck — ripping it off my back — and starting to go through each and every bookmark to see if:

1.) …the links still work. (A surprising number of them don’t!)
2.) …I want to keep them?

For example, I have bookmarked many blogs on people’s blogrolls that I have ended up being bored with, or they haven’t posted in forever. But I keep checking!

Okay, it’s time to throw in the towel on some blogs…you haven’t posted anything since June!

Cyberspace calling Cameron! Why in the #%@^ did you bookmark this link???

I am totally amazed at the variety of, the utter mystery of, the totally inexplicable reasons why I’ve saved most of these bookmarks.

I have not revisited the majority of them since the moment I bookmarked the sites. (Except for the blog ones.)

My personal limit seems to have settled into a couple dozen blogs. How many blogs do YOU check in with each day?

Okay. Deep breath.

I’m LONG overdue for a major bookmark purge!

This is going to take a while. A long while.

The computer is just an electronic update on the file cabinet — those myriad junk drawers that we ALL have — admit it! — those piles of crap hiding in the corners of the room. Or brazenly making their presence known right at your elbow.

Surely I am not the only one to “bookmark too much”. (Is this a 21st Century version of “LOVING too much”?)

I’ve spent several hours tonight getting rid of bookmarks and have barely scratched the surface. Cyber Powers That Be, please give me the strength to continue to the bitter end!

I am very curious to know if your experience with bookmarks is similar.

I can use some moral support right now. 😉

All of a sudden, it seems that everything has gotten so much more sophisticated on the WorldWide Web.

Since James and I gave away our television to a thrift store in St. Louis in March of 2002 — we couldn’t STAND it anymore! — most of our news comes from the computer.

During most of this five-year period, news videos on the online New York Times and abcnews.com have been cumbersome, awkwardly put-together, glitchy, and stuttering with poor picture quality.

But seemingly overnight, the online news videos are now very polished, sparkly and glitzy, rather than glitchy, with Google Earth satellite maps and more sophisticated graphics. They didn’t seem to be like that a few short months ago.

The merging of television with computer continues apace. It will not be long before we all have just one little box to watch. Later, we’ll probably have implants so no hardware will be necessary.

Just now I saw the United Kingdom from space, a living example of those flat one-dimensional maps we perused as children, suddenly ZOOM IN to show the actual street-grid of London as the announcer glibly and very quickly narrated short bursts of sound-bytes about the latest Terrorist Threat.

Amazing.

I know this is old hat to you veteran internet habitués, but somehow it comes as a surprise to little old me at the moment. I guess I’m just naive.

It has just suddenly hit me how I’m feeling older, more quickly than I should. I feel like things are racing away from me at an ever-increasing pace these days, as though I’m never, ever going to be able to keep up.

Do any of you feel this way too?

It seems that the world is changing and evolving so rapidly now that we are forced to accept it all, hook-line-and-sinker, just in order to SURVIVE.

And be somewhat coherent about it, and be able to navigate through the ever-more-complicated technological intricacies facing us every moment.

For me, technology has always been a double-edged sword. We have become such slaves to it. We need to buy new computers to accommodate new software every two or three years (at the most!) so we can “keep up”. Americans in particular do not want to be left behind.

Many of us sit in front of computer screens for hours on end, whether at work or at home. Then when things crash, we feel totally bereft. Where have our lives gone? Into electrical gadgets, I think.

Let’s not even TALK about this iPhone thing — except that it’s a four-letter word starting with “H”, ending with “E”.

Yet, part of me wants one.

But there are so many wonderful aspects to being online: communication aurally and visually, and my personal favorite: the written word, exploding in rapidly-multiplying blogs, emails, video conferencing and Instant Messenges.

And I especially enjoy sharing my music, on a much greater scale than I could have ever imagined a few short years ago. I’ve participated in the online musical community at MacJams since 2004. It’s a wonderful bunch of people, mostly. It’s much like the blogging community, except that it has a musical twist.

These online communities are richly interactive environments, bringing millions of people together.

So why am I feeling so conflicted?

On one hand, I hope that I can keep up reasonably well with my online presence, and not be too much of a rube. On the other hand, I am about to move to a place where I will hopefully “get back to basics” in a fashion totally alien to many of us. Kerosene lamps in the river cabin until we get electricity. Outhouse. Chopping wood so we can stay warm in the winter.

My soul welcomes this, in fact yearns for this attempt at simplifying my life. Getting outdoors, using my body more. Trying somehow to recapture something from the past, living life more fully. At least, more peacefully.

Living in the Woods, “with a modern twist”, of course. I am not quite ready to give up modern conveniences like being online. Yet.

We will get satellite, since the land is in the thick of the mountains, no cable, no cell phone service.

Guilty as charged: I am still a slave to Technology.

[Next possible rant: The WorldWide Weather.]