A map of my writing organized by topic

Making Life Better
“Follow me if you want to live!” — A. Schwarzenegger
Culture and Politics
Opinions based in as many facts as I can find
Tech and Geek Your…

Maybe your relate, maybe you expand your horizon

I Miss Snow

Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

I Miss the Stacks

Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

I Miss Zoe

Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

Crossing Paths in Oslo

It’s all about the locals


Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

Today is day three of a 10-day writing challenge. There is not too much to say about the challenge as the only requirement is to write and publish for 10 consecutive days. That in itself is enough of a challenge as my usual cadence is three to four a week.

There used to be snow. It was not much snow, but it was always nearby. I know the snow still exists but it has changed.

Growing up in Sacramento, my family would head for the Sierra’s in late fall. Sitting in the back of the station wagon it was a…


Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

Photo courtesy of svklimkin under Morguefile license

Today is day two of a 10-day writing challenge. There is not too much to say about the challenge as the only requirement is to write and publish for 10 consecutive days. That in itself is enough of a challenge as my usual cadence is three to four a week.

My parents were both school teachers and valued reading. As alumni of the local state university we had access to several libraries. The local library to our house was the McKinley library situated in a park of the same name. …


Missing pieces: The 10-day challenge

Today is day one of a 10-day writing challenge. There is not too much to say about the challenge as the only requirement is to write and publish for 10 consecutive days. That in itself is enough of a challenge as my usual cadence is three to four a week.

When I was very young I had asthma and my pediatrician recommended staying away from dogs for reasons I am not certain of. I was given the impression I was allergic to dogs and so I grew up with a series of cats. At one point I recall being at…


It’s all about the locals

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

After the long flight from California, I arrived in Oslo looking for refreshment. Ale was found at Cafe Håpløs on Øvre Slottsgate and as I sat at the bar I pondered the spelling and pronunciation of Håpløs. Using what I had studied about Norwegian in the weeks before I was able to sound out the Nordic characters and had a good laugh once I understood the cognate. It was quite far from my state of mind but I appreciated the dark humor.

I asked if they serve food, no, but there is a 7-Eleven one block away on Grenson with…


My thoughts on clap count and the need for an un-clap button

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

I read your article, it was good, so I clapped for you. But then the conundrum set in. How many clicks on the clap button? If I click too few will it be taken the wrong way? If I click too many times, can I un-clap? What if I read something better later, will my clap scale be askew?

Anxiety is the Devil in the details.

Maybe I am overthinking this but it is what writers do. We look at the world and find details, but with that beauty comes the rush of unedited thoughts that become our prose.

For…


Give poll submitters access to results with Typeform

Photo by the author

It was recently brought to my attention by Stuart Grant that it is possible to embed polls into medium articles. Many publications are using Typeform this for writers to apply to join the publication as a writer. Stuart brought up an interesting request for a way to share the poll results with the submitters without having the tally the results manually.

My first thought was to use some Python screen scraping/posting trick but then I remembered the precepts of moving heavy objects:

  1. Don’t lift what can be slid
  2. Don’t slide what can be rolled
  3. Don’t roll what can be left…

An eye catching full motion underlay

I noticed a profile header that was using a GIF to put a bit of motion in the header. It was eye-catching and left me wondering if the header could use the popular UI display of full-motion video as an underlay.

Screenshot of author’s full motion profile by the author

The Medium header specification states JPG, PNG, and GIF can be used for the header image with a recommended width of 1500 px in a 2:1 ratio. This is a bit difficult to obtain in a video where the top resolution is typically 1080px for full HD video. To my surprise, the lower resolution GIF I tried worked perfectly…


Getting scooped by Steinbeck did not stop her

One of my pandemic reads was the well-known John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”. It was revealing to read about the horrors of migrant families in the depression and that arrival in California did not end the struggle.

Just this morning I learned about a new aspect of this story: The uncredited source of much of the material. Sanora Babb deserves acknowledgment for her contribution.

Sanora Babb with James Wong Howe CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia

During the depression era, Babb was working for the Los Angeles-area Farm Security Administration helping to set up camps for the migrants arriving from the Dust Bowl. She…

Paul Coogan

Project Manager, Artist, and Data Visualization/Activist Geek

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