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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