Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Open thread - Wednesday

Real life took me away from the blog for most of the day, so we have back-to-back open threads. It's not the end of the world, Sarah Palin and her gates are not going away in a hurry.

First things first. The weather has gone wild all over the place and we have been worried about people in the US and further afield.

This is the situation in Illinois, photos sent if by shapeshifterbelly:

Too much snow (edit: better photo)

Our friend going to fetch her mail. Obsessed with it, I'm told...

This is Queensland in better days:


Great Barrier Reef

Our thoughts are with all of you facing extreme weather, wherever you are. Please stay warm and stay safe. And keep us posted.


Today marks the second anniversary of Palingates. I find it a bit silly to have the blog as a topic on the blog, so let's talk about it here, away from the main posts.

Palingates took a new direction and this has been received in a very positive way by most readers. It wasn't a very smooth transition, but looking back on the past few days, good things came out of it. There are now two blogs instead of one, covering topics of interest and doing their best to offer meaningful, relevant reading. Good luck to us all.

I owe a big thank you to all who offered me support at a very difficult and confusing time. I was very scared and you provided me with a much needed safety net. I'm very grateful to each of you.

Pam B, thank you for your generosity, if you're reading. I couldn't reach you by e-mail.

We had issues with what was happening in the comments section of Palingates. There was a very strong sense of community, but it had become a tad exclusive. I share some of the blame for making the piggies the stars of the blog to the detriment of the content. That, plus a need to feel together, led to the birth of the "palingaters." It's heartwarming to see people show genuine concern for each other and the exchange of real life experiences enriched the discussions.


Palingates turned into a club and certain requirements were imposed for membership. That didn't come from those running the blog, but it became part of the ethos of Palingates. A positive force slowly transformed itself into a detrimental aspect of the blog. Please, no more gaters or palingaters. We're all in this together and not everybody wears labels comfortably but still have the right to have their words heard.

Friendships and conviviality are not things to be to be discarded. They are a very desirable and warm part of our lives and should be encouraged. Which brings us to the daily open threads.

I would like to invite readers to share their stories about their loved ones, their pets, their travels, their worries. The themed photo feature is very popular and it would be lovely to learn the stories behind the photos. Every picture tells a story, but not every story has a picture. If you'd like to share something that doesn't have a photo to go with it, perhaps you could trust my knack to find the right image to illustrate your story.

The next subject is the sidebar. I'm trying to make it lighter and more pleasing to the eye (I confess to being a bit anal about presentation). All the archives and resources remain intact, but shedding some of the graphics should make the pages load faster. Not all of us have fast connections and many access Palingates on their i-phones. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help make life easier for you.

I'm not the most technically minded person and definitely not a typist. Today I took delivery of a shiny, slimline new keyboard because the "s" key was sssssssssssticking. Finding a qwerty keyboard in the land of azerty is not the easiest thing in the world. I went to Amazon France, logged on and typed "qwerty clavier" in the ssssssearch box. Three items were found, I chose the one I liked, paid for it and waited. The postmen around here can't be bothered to come upstairs to my apartment and ring the bell. They put a note in the postbox downstairs and I have to collect my orders from the post office. I picked up the box and went to some friends' house to say goodbye, as they're setting off to England tomorrow for a short visit. I returned home excited about my keyboard, ready to get on with a possssssst.

The big box contained a smaller box, beautifully adorned with the photo of a qwerty keyboard. I opened it, plugged the thing in, tried to type something to test it and... gobbledigook. I had a closer look and, hello! it was an azerty keyboard posing as a qwerty. It was configured as a qwerty, but the keys were all in the wrong place. I have to look at the keyboard, I type with two fingers! OK, I'll return it and get a refund, no big deal. I plugged in the old keyboard and tried to get on with things. Nothing. Plug, unplug, plug, unplug. Nothing. Ah! I'll restart the computer! Phew... it worked.

Conclusion: I didn't have time to write a proper post today, but I rang my friends from earlier and asked them to buy me a genuine qwerty keyboard, no impostors this time. I should be able to type comfortably in a few dayssssssssssss.

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