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MEMBER DIARY

Digging the site upgrade, huh? Boy, howdy!

I for one am elated with the new design. These tired old eyes need a certain amount of contrast to clearly see and read text. And read I do. Much much more than I linger upon and make comment on. The front page is clean, concise and now has all the diarists one expects to find when dropping by. The front page writers are again on the front page.

The new functionality, eh… not much, but that’s more a learning curve issue.

And therein lies the crux of this tale…

The biggest issue was that I’d made up my mind to not sit idly this campaign season but to add my thoughts and let the chips fall where they may. So, I put it on the calendar to take the plunge and request a RedState diary. Turns out that was the same day the email from Erick arrived saying that the site would be down for an upgrade. Oh boy… I remember that last one back 2008. Not to be dissuaded, I waited until the new site was active and clicked the link that said “create a new post”. “Not authorized” Damn. OK, so where to request said authorization?… All right! Request sent, now to await word. A couple of days passed. Late one evening, while reading what was available and still trying to find Neil’s, Ben H.’sMoe’s  and so many other diaries, I tried the “new post” link and… WOW! … I’m in!

Where to begin… “It was a dark and stormy night” was good but I think I’d seen that somewhere before… and so began an overly long and introspective post about … well, nothing. A sophomoric title with all wind (hot air) and conjecture for a subject matter. Being tired and uncertain how the dashboard worked, I saved the diary, clicked publish and retired for the evening.

The following morning, I went off to assist a family friend who had recently lost his spouse in a tragic vehicle accident. I agreed to man one of their rural offices, answering the phone, greeting clients and generally being a warm body until he could find a more permanent replacement. His wife had run the office most of the week and any action in permanently filling the position would occur as a part of the grieving process. With laptop in hand, I went through the necessary chores of opening up shop.

That all settled, I plugged into their network, checked Drudge for a quick update on the teacher’s strike in Chicago, scanned my email and reviewed/edited a few articles before decided to see if there were any replies to my first diary post. So after clicking the bookmark for my diary post, I saw no replies. OK. Not an issue. As I said, it was nothing stellar – stream of thought with no real beginning, ending, nor middle. Three or four topics with a mild rant but I will be the first to admit, it was nothing close to what many have come to expect from RS.

I clicked on the link for the front page. Moe has to have posted something by now and with the Chicago teachers strike in the morning news, surely someone (LaborUnionReport maybe?) had a front page post about it.

Um, there must be some mistake… my diary was in the RedState Commentary / twitter feed box! First or second link at the top at that.

OK, deep breath, no need to get all worked up. Site issues. Scrolled down the page to see what was going on in the world through the commentary and comments I’d come to trust.

Further surprise… Oh, hell no! My post was on the front page… and not a dozen or so posts down. No, it was right under the first fold! Shaking off the momentary pride that my drivel would be considered worthy of such prominence, I took a deep breath to clear my thoughts.

At that point, mild panic set in. Anyone who know me, knows that is not always a good thing. I handle those situations calmly but it can be very unnerving to those around me. I act almost as  fast as my mind thinks the thought out.  Stream-of-action is a virtue when it comes to playing improvisations on a musical theme. Fortunately, the muse struck. Within a few short moments, I’d gone into the dashboard, figured out how the ‘private’ and ‘preview’ function operate, how to send a post back to edit and… about 20 other actions/functions. I did not want my initial diary post to be a swan song!

OK, some probably did read it and thought that RedState has lowered its standards – considerably! – or a hacker had taken over during the upgrade… or this was a cruel joke… or… I would have thought so if I been a longtime reader…I would guess that the post had been on the front page for several hours. No one had replied to my rant or responded telling me to go play in traffic or worse (like having one of the mods here politely tell me “Sorry, Go Home! Earth’s Full!” I do respect them for they are part of what makes this place a haven of sanity in an ever more insane world). But, I also did not want that to be my debut on RedState and especially if it was going to be shown on the front page! OK, mark that diary entry as private and replace it with something more suitable and that captured the tone and spirit of the site.

I decided that since no one had posted about the Chi-town teacher’s strike, I would. So I read a few articles on the situation from right and left of center and a moderate opinion or two. Decided to again check Drudge to see what he’d posted in the past 30 minutes. The upper left with the breaking news/additional headlines section had exploded. I looked at the headline titles and found myself muttering (glad no one walked into the office right then). So a quick cut and paste of the 7 or 8 links and again clicked “Create New Post”. I shudder rolled over me. If this was going to be on the front page, I would do my level best to capture the heart and soul of RS. I would not squander the tech glitch. An entrepreneur at heart, I would seize the opportunity by the horns.

The words started to flow. I added pointed commentary to each headline. My years of rage spilled out. Disgust about how the children in Chicago were not being given the best by those who represented the teachers came through in my words. I held very little back but I know that I will tend word things much more diplomatically than others. That’s just my nature.

A half hour later, I clicked publish and this new post took the place of the words that some may have seen. Sorry to those that did read it, I did not intend to insult your intelligence. I do respect others opinions, so I waited to see what comments I would receive on this new post.

Later that evening, I checked and I had received my first comment! Good! A discussion in which I would not sound like an uninformed rube! But the comment was about the font used in the post. What? Courier type face? I’m more inclined to use a ‘NTR’ or ‘Ariel’ type face when given the choice. But, how did that happen??? I remembered a few ghost characters at the bottom of the screen and a hyperlink in the post kept jumping in and out.. it had to have happened when I cut and pasted the links into the post. Those sometimes pesky HTML tags had to be the culprit.

So, I decided that when I had time, I would find out how that happened.

I looked over the HTML code and there it was: the tags (<tt> &</tt>) wrapped every line! I did not want to make any changes now that I knew the cause. That would be not right to the person who had made the comment. They would then appear to be making a snide commentary on the subject matter.

So, there it remains as first published… in all its Courier font style goodness for the world to admire.

L.V.

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