Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blogs and Monkey Wisdom

So here I am, doing my very first blog and trying to make it just the way I want it to be without any prior knowledge as to how these things even work, let alone understand the code (h-t-mother-fuck-all-is-that shit anyway?) that makes it work and I am, as you might have already figured, annoyed.

The thing is, I love the elephant. That calm, enduring and unprepossessing look she wears while simultaneously sort of blending into the background that implies to the viewer the invisibility of the beast; that despite her enormous and undeniable (in actual fact, not in the figurative "not just a river in Egypt" sort of way) presence she is simply of no consequence what-so-ever. I love her. She is perfect. The metaphor for a life-stage that I found in a stock photo on this very blog page provider. How's that for anti-climatic?

She’s the third image in the “Nature" section of the image archive here at, tucked enormously between a rushing stream and  a group of flying larks. The stream is too fast by far, and I dislike the way the cropping truncates what should be a full exultation of larks into a gang of scraggly birds against an indistinct sky. There are also a lot of snow scenes that point right on past this mortal coil and into the great beyond (do not pass go, do not collect $200.00), along with other shots of verdant green pastures that seem far too optimistic for the complexities of life. The rest of the pics are the sort of sunsetty/sunrisey compositions that refer nostalgically to times and places that we’ve never actually experienced as individuals except on CRT or LCD screens, or, for some of us, in magazine photos.

None of these will do, and I've tried all the images from each and every of the other categories in the image archive section, even "business" and "technology". It's the elephant, and everything she connotes, for me.

So what's my problem? Well, specifically it is the predetermined width of the various columns of text in the blog. It is also the translucent box that underlies this section where all my words end up. I want the text items on the right hand side (a.k.a. the "column of gadgets") to fall nicely, and completely, into the black background to the right of her.

Well, that's what it is at this moment. For awhile yesterday what bugged me was the fact that one cannot have a photo of one's self in the same line as the name and description of the blog. When uploaded,  even at a scant 200 pixels, the damn thing was so huge that it completely covered the elephant. I don't really want to so fully embrace that metaphor that she wears my face on her own body, so I tried, not kidding, 32 different permutations of the template before concluding that what I wanted just wasn't possible.

So, what did I do? I spent an additional 5 and 1/2 hours in the "Advanced" section of the template designer trying to learn enough about something called CSS (that's "cascading style sheets" to those of us too ignorant to know) to write the correct code so as to effect the proper alignment of the elements, as they're collectively called. That would be the headline, the description and the photo.....the "elements". By the end of that exercise my head ached, my eyes burned and I had had to go and pee for the previous 3 hours. And I didn't ever get what I wanted! I ended up making the pic of me 45 pixels wide, placing it and trying to ignore the massive gap between the header and the text.

Every time I see that gap it yearns for filling up, but I'm resolved that I will learn from my lost yesterday and move away from the peevish and on to the real point of this blog: the enumeration of the peevish for an as yet undeveloped audience. 

Imagine the cheek of it! Thinking that anyone has the inclination, let alone the time, to read this kind of twaddle! And yet.....well what other excuse do I have to use the word "twaddle"? 

So, back to the elephant. That patient dear lingering in the background with all the untapped wisdom of her many years on the planet. Am I worthy of her? I'm not entirely sure yet. After re-reading this post I think a cranky little monkey tossing her poop at the unsuspecting public passing by might be more appropriate, but there is no such image in the archives here and I lack the requisite skill to put in one of my own. 

Such is life.


  1. I love it! Can't wait to read more - and remind me to tell you about the eyeglass stealing monkey....know all too well what you mean about fighting with CSS though.

  2. Hello Chris . . Saw your work in Lisa Rankin's book, and Birgit Huttemann mentioned your name. I'm a re-emerging oil painter who got into encaustic about a yr ago. Teaching myself. Quite a journey. For some reason have been mezmerized by it. Have learned a LOT. Great that you started a blog. My first blog post was also about the struggle/challenge of learning the ins and outs of setting it up.

    Do you give classes? (private?) On my blog, you can click on "about me" and click on my email. Thanks!

  3. Monkey wisdom?? "a cranky little monkey tossing her poop at the unsuspecting public"? Sounds like a job for... Picasso's Sock Monkey!!

  4. Hmmm, I signed in with "AIM Profile" for the above comment, and look what it named me:
    ?? wtf ??
    I'll be interested to see what it names me when I sign in with "Google Account" this time...

    WAIT... maybe it's the Curse of Picasso's Sock Monkey!?

    Arlene (again)