Yes, I’m Still Gnashing Away

November 26th, 2007  

Nothing to do with US Turkey Day

Despite the fact that many visitors somehow end up thinking that we live in Hawaii, we’re actually Canadians living in the self-proclaimed Best City in Canada. No doubt Mississauga was the first place that sprang to mind. No? Perhaps someone should tell Hazel that the Kool-aid has run out.

This is the long way round to telling you that I’m not using the American Thanksgiving long weekend as an excuse. Not using the Grey Cup weekend either. Nope, this delay was the direct result of time shrinkage.

I know, I know, never use hot water. I just forgot, okay? Next thing I knew the Thursdays (my favourites) had all but disappeared and the Sundays ran into the Mondays causing an awful ruckus let me tell you.

Anyway, that’s all sorted out now. Sorry for any inconvenience. Tuesdays will never be the same though.

New FP Bibliography

It’s been quite a while since we received a new fibropapilloma bibliography. For a long time that bibliography grew by leaps and bounds, and we got frequent updates. These days there are fewer changes, which might be a Good Thing. Maybe. While fibropapilloma in Hawaii has been determined not to be a threat to the continuance of the population, there’s still a lot of it around.

I’d like to believe that the incidence of FP is on the decline everywhere, but in preparing the bibliography update I noticed that one paper describes an increase in the “hot zone” (where FP is found) in Florida. That’s not good, especially given the seeming reduction in research. Perhaps there are a lot of projects that haven’t reached the reporting stage yet, but I suspect not.

We know that in Hawaii–and we have no reason to think this doesn’t apply elsewhere–FP in an area flares up over a period of 5-10 years, but then the incidence drops as the most vulnerable turtles die off and the stronger turtles recover. After 3-4 years of decline you reach a point where few turtles have visible signs of the disease, although many of them have had it. As far as I know, no one tracks FP closely enough to determine the stage any particular area has reached (except for us at Honokowai, of course). Do fewer articles indicate that the disease is on the wane everywhere, or has research simply ground to a halt? I wish I knew.

Twice the Howzit

I’m not the only one who’s been lagging. Our friendly neighbourhood Evil Empire Fighter has been preoccupied as well. This put the brakes on Howzit’s adventures but I see he’s back up to full speed in this week’s Toon, Observe The Loss. Warp 2 in fact: six panels instead of three!

This Toon is dedicated to the memory of Milo Radulovich, a man who stood up to government tyranny and with the help of Edward R. Murrow, managed to win. For a great version of that story, don’t miss Good Night and Good Luck, the movie by George Clooney.

The world could always use another Edward R. Murrow, but really, what we need most is a bunch more Milo Radulovichs. Good night Milo, and good luck.

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Something to show off

November 12th, 2007  

A new way to view the Toon Archives

The big news this week is that I’ve put together a set of slideshows for each chapter of the Toon archives. I’ve retained the old list of links to individual entries as well. I’d like to have a way to dive into the slideshow from each individual Toon, but that takes more work than I’m willing to put in right now. Check out the shows at the Trax Toon Archives.

Then there’s the not-Archives…

Howzit’s welcoming committee treats him nicely, but there’s a subtle undercurrent of caution. Oh wait, now that I mentioned it I guess it’s not so subtle. Anyway, this week The Force Is With Howzit.

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A lot of joy and a little pain

November 5th, 2007  

The Book

Some of you might recall that we were writing a book. I think we first mentioned it back in 2002. I’m sure anyone following along thought that it would never really happen. I know I did.

Well, what with the first publisher we approached generally screwing us around and the changes requested by our second publisher (University of Hawaii Press, who have been nothing but exemplary) we’ve actually written three drastically different manuscripts. The latest news, however, is that the third time’s the charm.

Just as I was preparing to post this, I got email from the copyeditor assigned to our book. He sent us his corrections for review, and to my great delight, the changes are few and minor. I’m finally accepting that this process is drawing to a close, and it will really end with an actual printed book!

Someone once said that writing a book was a lot like giving birth. That could well be true, although one of those two things I’ve never done so I can’t say for sure. One thing I do know: if the gestation period for babies were as long as it was for this book, there’d be a lot fewer pregnancies.

The futility that calls itself CSS

The struggle continues. As I mentioned last week, I managed to get a drop-shadow technique to work everywhere except within this blog. I spent the week slowly dissecting the guts of the pages WordPress spews out, finally determining that WordPress inexplicably was throwing in paragraph and linebreaks that thoroughly messed up a lot of stuff, not just drop-shadows. Once I defeated this odd behaviour, things were back on track–sort of. There’s still one small discrepancy I’m trying to track down. Keep watching.

By the way, despite this maddening problem I would still recommend WordPress to anyone contemplating a blog. For the most part, it’s really well designed and implemented. The best part is that when you do encounter difficulties, the support forum can usually sort you out and you can fix things yourself. I don’t think there’s anything better out there.

Meanwhile, back in Mississauga…

This week our poet hero arrives in Canada at last. He soon makes the acquaintance of his first Canadian icon, but apparently not soon enough for his taste. Maybe that explains why Howzit Horses Around.

Biographies & video

I’ve spruced up the biographies for Howzit and Nui on our Who’s Who at Honokowai page. The changes are mostly small and cosmetic, but there is new material: video of both these turtles. I’ve posted short clips showing what they looked like when we first met them.

Howzit is a special turtle to me. I don’t know if Howzit was really male, but Ursula and I always thought of Howzit as a he. He was probably the turtle with the most personality back then: small, cute, and precocious. Howzit seemed to think he was in charge, and he didn’t hesitate to let all the other turtles know it. He was easy to fall in love with, and I did. When it was clear that his tumors were getting the better of him, it broke my heart. I will never forget saying aloha to him for the last time in 1995 because I knew I would never see him again.

Twelve years later the tumors are almost a thing of the past at Honokowai–almost. Even today, however, the little turtles like Howzit still get severe tumors and still “disappear.” We don’t name juveniles anymore because of this. It just got too hard to become attached to them and then watch as they got sick, deteriorated, and then vanish. In some ways, they are all Howzits to me.

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