Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Church Website and Crispy Crabs

August 22nd, 2005

After chasing wild geese on the web, playing phone tag, and swapping emails, I finally have the username and password to work on the church website. The girl who originally built it hasn't been to church in months, and hasn't updated the site in many more months, so I knew that I'd be taking over once I figured out how to get in. Sadly, she'd misplaced the access codes during all that time, so I had to go chase them down.

Knowing that this moment would come, I received an HTML tutorial from a man in the church who is going to school for computers (the same individual who helped me build this whizbanger of a system). I've always been pretty good with languages, and figured programming languages shouldn't be any harder than Greek, so I dove into the tutorial. I swam the crawl stroke through it, fast but tiring, and took a deep breath at the end. Not too bad. Nothing in there that I couldn't handle with a little careful reference and thought.

Then I went back to the website and looked at the code that makes it up. Uh-oh. There was a lot of stuff in there that wasn't in that tutorial. Must have been a beginner's level tutorial to try to figure out an intermediate website. The girl who built it did so from scratch, not using any of the easy programs out there -- cheaper, and with more potential variety, but it means that I can't just buy the program she used to work on it. And the control panel! It looks simple. Sure, it looks simple. But figuring out how to use it, that's not so simple. And I'm really hesitant to change anything until I know how to experiment without potentially messing things up on the actual site.

So, if anyone wants to reach me, you know where to find me. I'll be spending a lot of time right here, hunched over the keyboard, staring in confusion at lines of apparently random keystrokes. Feel free to call, instant message, or whatever. I'm sure I could use the break.

Speaking of breaks, I'm hoping (in a non-expectant, knowing-it's-a-ridiculous-longshot sort of way) for a lucky break in the publishing world. I just mailed out my short story "A Half-Baked Plan" to Gordon Van Gelder's Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It's one of the top markets in the speculative fiction field today, and without prior publishing credits and/or an astounding story I don't have much of a chance of being published there. But Van Gelder says that his magazine never gets as much science fiction or humorous work as they would like to see, and my story is both. So why not start with the market at the top of the heap? The story is about how a toddler foiled an invasion by crabs from outer space by playing in the kitchen. Hey, our toddler playing in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster for anyone who happens by, be they human or crustacean. (Not that I'm much better, really.)

Speaking of kitchens, it sounds like dinner is ready in ours. And since I had nothing to do with cooking it, and I think we kept the toddler clear too, I think I'll go eat it.


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