BTW, RW is on Bloglovin (oh, and check out this squirrel!)

Ah, the consumer universe. As most of you surely know, there are many places that a person can host a blog, and the blogs on one host aren’t compatible with those of another. So, for example, if you have a WordPress blog you can follow and read other WordPress blogs easily, but not Blogspot blogs… or Blogger blogs… or ….

The now-defunct GoogleReader allowed browser-based compilations. Similarly, if you have a Bloglovin account, you can (mostly) get all your blogs in (mostly) one place, regardless of which platforms birthed them.

If you want to follow Required Writing via Bloglovin, clicking on this link is one way to do so:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Putting this link in a post is also a requirement for me to “claim” my blog as belonging to me. (See, if I can create a post with a link in it, I must have access to this blog.)

Anyway. I don’t want this post to win awards as the most boring post ever, so below is a video. The squirrel may have had as much fun making the video as I had watching it. Anyway I like to believe that squirrels, like cats, only do what they want to do.

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Surely There Is Someone to Sue Over This!

Guess what this is! I’ll give one hint: It is not an heirloom hand-crafted dish:

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For more context, here are a couple others of the same species:

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Here they are shortly after birth:

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What they are: blobs of melted metal. I put a pan of water on the stove to boil for my oatmeal, then messed around on the internet for just a couple minutes, or so it seemed. Clearly I was lured to keep clicking around! I came back to find the pan melting.

I confess that I was tempted – very tempted – to keep the pan on the burner because the melted blobs are smooth and interesting and I want more. I fought my temptation after I envisioned a later stage called pan explosion.

This is not the only pan lid now left bereft. In memorium:

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This seems to happen about once every 18 months, and started about the time I started my blog, which is quite a coincidence!

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge is Texture.)

The Ah in Normahl Life

Conference hotel bathroom. Instead of keeping the paper towels stocked, some minimum wage worker had to keep these folded and stacked, all day long.

Conference hotel bathroom. Some minimum wage worker kept these folded and stacked, all day long. Isn’t that just like a day job?

My last several weeks have been absurdly hectic, with long hours preparing for big to-dos at the day job. The deadlines and the events are now past, everything went well, I’m enjoying kudos for my efforts — and I’m trying to not resent the time I had to squander on mere work, the time I’ll never get back to do the things that matter: hang with my kids and my friends and the four-legs, visit the ocean or mountains, write my new book, promote my newly finished book, post to this blog.

During that time, I had to toss my tickets to two different concerts because I was too busy or tired to attend. That is a lot of alliteration and so wrong!

Ah. At last I’m home again. You know you’ve been gone too much when you look forward to sweeping the tumbleweeds of shed dog fur, new clumps of which are repopulating my living room even as I type this. So. Much. Fur. How can she not be bald yet?

Ah. Time to take a few lessons from folks who know how to relax:

 

Shadow and Luna, lounging

Whatever your species, the morning sun feels good.

Local Color

Here in southern California, we didn’t have a winter. We had autumn, an extended spring, and now an early summer. In other words, we went from wildfire to pollen to smog season, skipping the mudslide/debris flow season this year.

They are subtle but we do have detectable differences from season to season. In the spring, the flowers have an intensity of color that they lose in summer, when it is too hot to be bright and everybody including flowers must fade and dim to survive the heat.

It is definitely still spring in the garden. The native sage is most brilliantly blue in the mornings before the sun hits:

Gray green leaves, purple-blue flowers, and a wondrous spicy fragrance - this sage has got it all!

Gray green leaves, purple-blue flowers, and a wondrous spicy fragrance – this sage has it all!

Spring is when this blue morning glory – a relentless, destructive weed – strengthens its hold on the neighborhood. The flowers are too lovely to remove:

Morning glory appears to encircle this aloe. By mid-summer, it will have strangled the aloe unless ripped away.

Morning glory appears to crown this aloe. By mid-summer, its vines will have strangled the aloe if allowed to remain.

No one knows where this morning glory begins, it snakes from yard to yard, along phone lines, across fences. I’ve even found runners in my dark, dry garage! It looks especially pretty with the bougainvillea, though, doesn’t it?:

Another year of morning glory invasion begins.

Another year of morning glory invasion begins.

As soon as the blooms wither, however, the vines must go, lest the rest of the garden vanish behind their twisting tendrils. Stylistically, the morning glory and kudzu have much in common.

Clearly my days as a plant nerd are over. I once knew the common and Latin names for this fellow, whose flowers glow even in brightest sunlight:

The ... er... purple one.

The … er… purple plant.

I don’t know what this flower is, either, but I have a better excuse. I discovered it in a neighbor’s yard today and have never seen one before. My guess is that it’s South African:

The... er... one with tall spikes of orange flowers.

The… er… one with tall spikes of orange flowers.

My Channel Island Bush Poppy is one of my favorite plants. It is not supposed to fare well in my hot inland location, yet mine is 15 feet high and wide. It blooms profusely and cheerfully every spring. Best of all, it requires neglect. If I water it, it will die. The plant made for me!:

Imagine these flowers filling your screen and your vision. That is the Spring experience near a Channel Island Bush Poppy.

Care for this one at its peril!

All this blogging about my garden makes me realize I am overdue to do some gardening… Well. Those that can, do. Those that don’t feel like it, blog.

The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see “Spring”.

Exercise Your Blog Voting Rights

What are you doing here? Perhaps you have asked yourself that question. Perhaps you have an answer. If so, please share it in the poll over thataway —-> in the right-hand column.

Blogging 201 recommends that I use a poll or survey to find out what ya’all like about this blog. In principle this is a great idea, and I think polls are fun. Only problem is that the poll results are unlikely to influence future posts, because I can only post what I feel like posting at the moment. So I will be quite interested to learn what you think, however your vote will not lead to any real change.

I assume it is clear that I am not a politician.

Alert: If your browser is not open fully the poll may not appear. If you are on a phone, you must scroll for frigging ever to see it fleetingly. I’m sorry. Discouraged, I am unwilling to check iPad performance. In case you wish to vote semi-manually, below is a snapshot of the poll. You can enter your vote in a comment here. 

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 5.33.23 PM

Responsive At Last

Which is blurry, the image or my brain?

Which is blurry, the image or my brain? After hours of changing blog colors, I am unsure.

I can be incredibly unaware of my surroundings. I can walk through a place I have lived for years and think, “hey, is that light fixture new?” and of course the answer is never yes.

If you aren’t like me, you will have noticed that I have changed the look of my blog.

I am happy with this new layout and I love being able to change the header picture with each click. I’m less settled on this color scheme. Everything I thought I would like wound up too industrial, too lurid, or too Easter. I may revert back to black words on a pale background. (Actually, there are glitches in older posts and some text is black on the current background. Tsk.) But this is the new blog for now. I can’t experiment with more colors until I recover from color palette psychosis.

The most important change is that this blog design works much much better on phones and tablets. The term is responsive. This blog now has a responsive design.

I’ve learned that term and made these changes as part of the WordPress Blogging 201 challenge, which is proving quite valuable and has made it easy to tackle changes and additions I’ve meant to make for some time.

What do you think of the changes? What’s better now? What still needs work? Do you miss anything from Required Writing Mach I?

Or are you reading this because you had a typo when you searched on required wiring?

P.S. I’ve changed content too. Can you find where? Hint: check the top menus.

P.P.S. The image comes from an on-line science mag for Cambridge U., and a fascinating article on synesthesia, a condition where the senses blend together (for example, for some people, sounds come with colors). I’m almost grateful for the color palette psychosis that led me to that article…

Throw Your Two Cents Into the Ring

 Over the next whenever*, I will be changing the look of my blog.

Now would be an excellent time to let me know what you wish I’d change or hope I’ll keep.

* I won’t specify a time frame – I don’t want to annoy the free time gods. They are vengeful gods.

I am excited to try something new. It may turn out to be a makeover. Or a touch up. A sandblast. Or an unfortunate detour.

FEMA_D.Saville_stopsigns1613v3

Photo by D. Saville for FEMA.