Archive for December, 2011

Depressing link of the day: “Humane Society‎ Sparks Outrage By Euthanizing Man’s Kitten Over Money”

Saturday, December 31st, 2011


A recovering heroin addict took his cat to the humane society for a cut. He couldn’t pay right then to have the cat treated, so “[t]he staff said if he signed papers surrendering the cat, Scruffy would be treated and put in foster care…” Once the cat got to foster care, they decided the cut was too serious to use their limited funds to treat, so they euthanized her.

My first reaction is to agree with many of the Facebook comments they received, “One called for the staff to be euthanized, while another said what happened to Scruffy was murder.”

Besides the part where they apparently lead Scruffy’s person to believe that surrendering Scruffy was her only chance for health care, things like this happen every day in shelters across the country. Shelters have more animals than resources, which means they have to make hard choices like this one. I’m sure absolutely no one, including the person/people who decided to euthanize Scruffy, felt good about it. It’s possible that the money they saved treating Scruffy may allow other cats/kittens to receive the care they need and ultimately be adopted into loving homes, like the one Scruffy lived in.

I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit that part of the reason this story gets to me is because Scruffy’s person was an older man fighting addition.

Even though it’s totally irrational, I like to think that when terrible things like this happen, it paves the way for something good that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. In this case, it appears the shelter in question is changing their policies to prevent this from happening again.

How much self-censorship is too much?

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Now that I’m freelancing, I’m looking at ways to improve my web presence. These days is my professional persona. I’m a little more casual here, but I know this is just as much a part of my online identity to a potential employer as anywhere else.

There are some ways I really enjoy being unprofessional and immature. My Facebook profile picture is vulgar. My outgoing voicemail message is a non-sequitur. I routinely wear jeans with holes in the posterior. I’m happy this way. Obviously, there are times and places to be all business, but I don’t want to be – even on the internet – only business. My sense of humor and whimsy are integral parts of who I am. I may check them at the workplace door, but just how much and where can I be my whole self? Only offline? Why bother to maintain an online presence if it’s necessarily an inaccruate reflection of who I am?

To illustrate my point, I’m about cool story bro in a way that I wouldn’t in a workplace. If you believe this will make you uncomfortable, skip down to the following paragraph: My original Facebook icon was a neon cartoon penis on an orange background. In maybe 2005, I tried to Facebook-friend a real-life friend, but he turned me down because he didn’t want a penis on his profile. He said if I changed my profile picture, he would accept my friend request. “You promise?” He promised. I changed the orange background to rainbow and submitted a new friend request. True to his word, he accepted. I haven’t changed it since. I’m loathe to think that I might have to change it to make it less vulgar. But I can only have one profile picture.

I recently needed a Facebook account to work on a client’s Facebook page. I didn’t think the profile picture would make a good impression, so I started a new Facebook account with a picture of my boring face. I’m still trying to decide how to proceed. Do I maintain two profiles indefinitely? Do I keep totally separate subsets of friends? Or do I simplify my life and change the picture on my original profile?

There are news stories about people being hurt by the things they put on the internet, but the things you share – whether online or off – can potentially enrich your life just as much as they can potentially hurt. A former employer told me that they brought me in for an interview over other candidates because they read this blog and thought I sounded like I’d be fun to work with. For every post I dismiss writing because it might turn off a potential employer, it’s also possible I miss the opportunity to make a connection with another human being – whether that human is hiring or not.

There are some things about myself I’m not willing to whitewash over. Several months ago I posted an excerpt of a book about sociopaths. A friend told me he wouldn’t admit on a public blog that he read a book about sociopaths because potential employers might see it as a sign that he’s unstable. I’m not comfortable with that amount of self-censorship. I don’t think instability is a legitimate conclusion to make based on having read one book. I honestly don’t know why I find omitting a fart joke an acceptable compromise, whereas glossing over a sociopathy book is unacceptable.

I don’t know the point at which acceptable self-censorship becomes too much. I seem to be discovering it as I go.

Upgrading to WordPress 3.3 – the missing “Format” box

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I recently installed WordPress 3.3 for a client, and I was very impressed. Specifically I was excited about tinkering around with the “Format” box, which allows you to post in a variety of formats, including, “Status”, “Gallery” and the regular post format “Standard”.

I wasted no time upgrading this site to WordPress 3.3, but no fun format box. I poked around at options and Googled, to no avail. Most suggestions seemed to revolve around some browser problem, but I could see it on the other site, plain as day, so my browser was obviously capable of displaying it.

For lack of a better idea, I started grepping. I used Firebug to get the id attribute (“formatdiv”), figuring there would be a finite number of instances in the code. Indeed, there was exactly one. It was in wp-admin/edit-form-advanced.php. There were two relevant lines:
if ( current_theme_supports( 'post-formats' ) && post_type_supports( $post_type, 'post-formats' ) )
    add_meta_box( 'formatdiv', _x( 'Format', 'post format' ), 'post_format_meta_box', null, 'side', 'core' );

This alerted me that it was a problem with the theme, which unsurprising considering that I’m still using a customized version of the 2009 default theme. I knew it worked in the latest theme, twentyeleven, so I went to that directory and grepped for ‘format’ and braced myself for the worst. Once I eliminated the CSS files, it was easy to hone in on line 104 of functions.php
add_theme_support( 'post-formats', array( 'aside', 'link', 'gallery', 'status', 'quote', 'image' ) );

This takes place in a function called setup. I went over to my theme and looked for a similar function in the functions.php file. It did not have one. I pasted it in toward the middle of the file and hoped for the best. The format box appeared like magic. I haven’t actually tinkered with it yet, but I wanted to write up my experiences – before I forget them – so that someone else with an old theme can bring some new magic into their WordPress experience.

Tuesday silly: “Manhood items”

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I was looking up this book (which I have not read so cannot endorse one way or the other) when I found the following ad on Amazon:

"Huge selection of Manhood items"

An unfortunate computer-generated ad.

I’m not sure what “Manhood items” are, but it made me giggle.