Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sweet Seasons

I'm going to tie three rather disparate topics in with the title above. You get to judge whether the attempt is successful.

As Cold as Tucson in March

First off, let me report that since my comment about Tucson in March being too warm for the possibility of ice, it's been relatively cold and windy here. Last Friday we were up over 80 degrees, but on Monday it barely broke into the sixties. You're not exactly weeping for me, are you? Fair enough. But the thing is, it was in the forties and fifties all morning, and, as I said, windy. That translated into the temperature in my office at work being in the fifties at best, due to being along the outside wall and having no heating system in there whatsoever. And no, I can't run a space heater, 'cause it throws the circuit breakers in about two minutes.

Now, it's not a big deal, usually. I chose to keep my office with its temperature extremes rather than move to a more moderate cubicle. I wear sweaters, and add my jacket and make tea when it's especially bad. But it had been in the 80s, so I foolishly had worn short sleeves, a light sweater and no jacket. Brr! I had to go home at lunch form my sweatshirt. Ahh! Much better!

Still, it is March. Soon my office will start to heat up, for the same reasons it's cold now. And no, there's no air conditioning, either. But I'm hoping we'll get something in between hot and cold for a bit first, some pretense of spring. Tucson doesn't actually have a spring, but that's what I hope for!

We Had Joy, We Had Fun

I'm thinking about that old Pete Seeger song for this next one, as made popular by the Byrds. Or you can think about Ecclesiastes if you prefer. You know it, right? To every thing (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn).... And there's that other song going in my head at the same time, Seasons in the Sun. Take your pick.

I suppose the season most Americans are focused on at the moment is primary season. One of the very few Republicans I've ever voted for clinched the Presidential nomination tonight. The Democrat I voted for on Super Tuesday, and the one I should have voted for instead, wait anxiously tonight to count the delegates they'll each get from Julie's and Scalzi's respective states.

Yeah, all right, that's important. Really, really important.

But I'd rather talk about Gary Gygax.

I never met the man, and perhaps you've never ever heard of him. But he died on Tuesday, and turn, turn, turn, his death underscores that a golden season in my past has long since gone to seed.

I couldn't get a good picture of this little guy. Sorry.Gygax was the man behind Dungeons and Dragons. I once wrote at some length at about my fond memories of playing D&D in college, so I won't do that again here, save to say that my character Joshua Wander started out as an NPC (a Non-Player Character) in a live dungeon scenario beneath the Vincent Apartments. I haven't played D&D in over 20 years, but I'm grateful for those Saturday all-nighters, as my friends and I exercised our imaginations in a fantasy setting that existed in our minds and to a small extent on paper, with the help of books with Gygax's name on them.

Nowadays, the dice, books, hex maps and sheets of notebook paper must seem positively prehistoric to the modern gamer. If I really wanted to, I could send an avatar vaguely resembling JW across some virtual landscape online, exploring, solving puzzles, collecting treasure and (mostly, I suspect) killing things in the company of other players living thousands of miles away. Somehow, though, the idea doesn't appeal to me at all. Doom and World of Warcraft are unlikely to accommodate the house rules we worked with long ago: the god Murphy always does something, a magic backpack has whatever you need except money and magical items, and a creative and funny response to a situation is always better than something dictated by dice.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Gygax.

Finally tonight:

Is It Lent Yet?

Thanks for the tip, Julie! SeaMonkey, which I looked into once before without finding any indication that it had an HTML editor, does indeed have a slightly updated version of the old Netscape Composer. It's not perfect; a couple of times it froze up and would not let me select or unselect anything, and when I installed it a Windows Compatibility Assistant wanted to do something or other. Maybe I should have let it. And it didn't show the Hipcast play bar, which made me a little nervous about whether I managed to keep the code in the sermons page as I turned blog entries into a nice table. But it did work. The page has a bunch of new sermon links on it, and it looks nicer than before because I ran them side by side this time, two sermons across instead of a narrow bar down the middle of the page.

I was so encouraged that I took care of another page on the St. Michael's web site that's been languishing since last summer: the Seasons page.

(Aha!)

This used to a a somewhat complex and repetitive series of pages showing what church season we're currently in, which one preceded it and which one is next. I had them on my hard drive with names like seasonsepi.html and seasonslent2.html. In theory as each one came around, I'd rename that file as seasons.html and upload it. Only I hardly ever got around to actually doing that!

CandlemasSo tonight I deleted the bars with the previous, now and next seasons, and consolidated the rest into one master table showing all the seasons for the year, with major feastdays within each. Well, some of them, anyway. I had enough clipart to stick an appropriate gif or jpg in each season's cell. Much better! Only problem was that when I checked it just now, Firefox was reading a clear and correct html link to http://smallangelstucson.org/vestmts.jpg as the nonsensical http://smallangelstucson.org/smallangelstucson.org/vestmts.jpg, and therefore not displaying the picture. I specified actual size and supplied alternate text for the two affected images, and that cleared up the problem. Weird.

Silly Firefox! There was nothing wrong with my
link to this image of vestments for all seasons.

It still needs tweaking. There must be a church calendar widget somewhere that will tell people that if today is March 5, 2008, then we're in Lent. That will be more informative than either my rotating season pages or the new combined one. And I can probably get a photo of St. Michael's itself to illustrate each season, either instead of or in addition to the clip art.

But not tonight!

Karen

1 comment:

saqib said...

The weather is changing in karachi too. In the mornings its cool and by the afternoon its really hot. The sudden temperature changes are doing a number on people's sinuses!