M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, February 28, 2003  

Reader Mail Slot, Episode X

Paradoxically, this month’s Reader Mail Slot begins with a Reader Mail that may threaten the very existence of Reader Mail! From Fran:

You should put up a Comments feature and I bet you'd get great comments from people who relate to your stories, as well as good feedback on your writing, if you wanted any.

I’ve thought about that. I do love getting comments and feedback on my writing, and I’d probably get more if I didn’t make people open their e-mail clients to give them to me. But on the other hand, that would make the Reader Mail Slot kind of redundant. Since that’s the closest thing to a gimmick that I’ve got, I’m not about to let it go. If I had Comments, I wouldn’t be able to do entries like today’s any more, and my will to maintain Velcrometer would drain away month by month until its bleached skeleton became one more insignificant addition to the vast, neglected boneyard of abandoned online journals.

Er, maybe that’s what Fran had in mind. Let’s just move on. From Anna:

I noticed today you were bitching about Sitemeter. Let's say I share your pain. I finally gave up and got a freebie stats program installed on my webserver. I thought I'd pass along a link in case you were interested. It's a program called AWStats, and you can download it free. It’s pretty damned nifty and since it runs on your server, it never fails. The only thing you have to do to make it work is turn on verbose logging on your server. Maybe your host would do that for ya.

Whatever. I can’t even get my host to rise when I bake it.

(See, that’s how far I’ll go for a joke. Nobody will get that but Catholics, and they won’t think it’s funny. But I’ll remember you all when I’m roasting in Hell for blasphemy.)

Anyhoo, if you want to see a demo, you can click on the image links on that page and it'll show you what kind of output it creates.

Even though all I know about servers is that you should tip them at least fifteen percent, I followed Anna’s suggestion and had a look. The amount of data that’s available on these reports is like a drink from a firehose. My brain was full in seconds. I can’t imagine the effect that that much data would have on my cerebrum if it actually had anything to do with me.

Since this is a Blogger site, though, I don’t think I’ll be able to set it up here. For now, I’ll be sticking with Sitemeter, the AOL of webstats programs. It’s easy, straightforward, and works most of the time.

Especially since I put the fear of God into them with my merciless little exposé. Yeah, who’s the man? [adjusts package]

Okay, the answer to that depends on whom you’re asking. For instance, I’ll give you an entirely different answer than my cats will. And speaking of cats, here’s Molly to rescue me from my own clumsy segue:

I read today's entry regarding your cat's dentist appointment, and having gone through this twice with each of my two cats (including tooth extractions), I wanted to suggest that you might try Hill's Prescription Diet Feline T/D dry food. Both my cats had pretty bad teeth, and my vet suggested I try this food (she also suggested brushing, but I value my health too much for that). It made an amazing difference in both cats, and they have not had any teeth or gum problems since. You can only get it from a vet, which is kind of a pain, but in the long run, I find it worth the extra money and hassle.

Thanks for the tip, but now the cats’ teeth are actually in better shape than mine are. Besides, they’re already on vet-prescribed food. Strat has his anti-whizzer-infection food to keep him from getting sick and peeing on me again. Orca is on a Thorazine-laced mixture to take the edge off her murderous rages. Both have to have a powder sprinkled into their food that keeps them from shredding all the furniture at the same time, and drops mixed in with their water to suppress the night terrors from all the drugs they’re taking. These two are more medicated than your average American fourth-grader.

Okay, not really. Except for the no-more-peeing-on-Dad food, which they’re staying on no matter how bad their teeth get.

Obviously, maximizing their health minimizes trips to the vet, which in turn minimizes battles to get them into their carrier. Robyn had a suggestion on that front:

I have a cat myself...do you have a top opening cat carrier? If you don't, invest. SO much easier than trying to shove the squirming thing into the itty-bitty side hole.

God, you’re not kidding. Our carrier is of the plastic shell variety. When we first got it, I spent like three hours trying to stuff one cat in through one of those little holes in the side. Then, when I finally succeeded, the hateful beast just walked out past that swinging metal grate at the end of the carrier. I decided to just stick her right back in the same way, and that worked much better.

Boy, was I embarrassed when the vet explained that those were just airholes. Sorry, cat.

Hey, did you know people read me as far away as Japan? It’s true. Here’s Rachel to prove it:

I currently live in Northern Japan [See?], where ovens are a total rarity (rice-based diet and all that). After 2 years I've discovered you can get around ovens, if you have a toaster oven and are creative. For example, did you know you can bake a batch of cookies 4 cookies at a time?

See, this is funny because we already had a toaster oven in our basement that we never used. The day I got this e-mail, I dug the little appliance out from behind the bar, and Trash and I feasted on toaster-ovenned corn dogs and fake chicken nuggets.

Different people have different reasons for creating blogs and online journals. Some do it because they’re so brilliant that they have to share their wisdom with the world. Others do it because they’re so stupid that without their readers telling them what to do they’d likely starve to death. Thanks, Rachel. We owe you our lives.

Oh, sorry, you weren’t done.

And it helps keep everything warm, too! (We don't have central heating here, either.)

And yet I’m still too stupid to have revisited this e-mail when my furnace filter was clogged. Hey, stupid people, get blogs! They’ll save your life one day!

They’ll also give you minor headaches, as Kimberly points out:

I think there's something wrong with your permalinks. The most recent entry's permalink always sprouts up the entry before it (even though that entry has it's own permalink id.) This is very sad to me because it makes linking to you more difficult.

Sad to you? Sad to you? Here I am, wondering why the hell I never get Slashdotted or Plasticked or Instapundited or anything, and it turns out it’s all the fault of a bug in Blogger’s code! Fark!

I handled it like a champ, though. I let Kimberly know that I had no time for her petty concerns and it was probably her browser’s fault anyway. And, for bonus points, I didn’t really understand what she was saying anyway—despite her being perfectly clear—and so I inaccurately said I couldn’t reproduce the problem. With these skills, I could totally get a job with Microsoft Tech Support if either one of their current employees quits or dies.

And I know it’s not just my blog either, because it also happens at Dave Barry’s blog. And he’s got a freaking Pulitzer.

But I’m going to try and get it fixed. Hey, Blogger guys? One of your million users would like you to take a look at this issue, okay? Don’t make me do what I did to those guys at Sitemeter. They’re still smarting from the tongue-lashing I gave them, you know.

Hey, if I get them to fix it, do you suppose I’ll get a Pulitzer too?

That’s the sort of question I’d normally wrap up with, but I’d like to leave you with a final thought from Imchoboo, upon seeing the naked picture I posted of “myself.”

ew ew ew ew eeeeeewwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!

I think we’ve all learned something.

posted by M. Giant 2:40 PM 0 comments


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