Girl Doves are from Venus Boy Doves are from Brooklyn

The weather has warmed enormously and all of the birds are out busy making new birds, including the mourning doves. In fact, my window is open and I hear one right next to my window, with that sad, soft, mournful cry.

This afternoon I opened the curtain out on to the deck, just in time to see two doves finishing their reproductive duties. The male dove flew down next to the female on the deck guardrail, and they both started preening their feathers.

Then an odd thing happened. The female started gently pecking at the male’s neck, rubbing her head underneath his beak. The male started to rub back, but then stopped and fluffed it’s feathers out and moved away from the female a step.

The female started again in a rather touching, intimate display of postcoital grooming. The male just looked at her, and again moved away.

The female moved towards the male and again started grooming him. This time the male ruffled its feathers a last time and took off, leaving the female alone on the guard rail.

I am not going to anthropomorphize this behavior. I am not going to anthropomorphize this behavior. I am biting my tongue, hard, with what I’m not going to say. I am not going to anthropomorphize this behavior.



Most people liked the change to the serif fonts, but not all. So I took the Delacour route and have implemented a style switcher.

Hopefully you’ll see the default of this weblog when you load the page the first time. If you don’t let me know, or move to the bottom of the page and click one of the style buttons: serif or sans.

The style switcher does cause a very small lag in load times, which is why I didn’t want use it. But if some of you are having a hard time reading the serif fonts, the lag will just have to be something we live with. Some tweaking of the common bits out into a third stylesheet that is loaded automatically should take care of most of this.


Looks like everything is working nicely now and for those who want the sans-serif they now have that option.

Weblogging Writing

Telling a story

Loren Webster has taken his new addictionfascination with PhotoShop and combined it with philosophical reminisces of cars he’s owned into a set of really lovely posts, beginning with this one about a boy and his Studebaker.

I like every form of writing I find in weblogs, being more interested in the person and/or work rather any specific type, but there’s a special place in my heart for writings such as this: works that add art or photographs or poetry or music, sometimes with asides from history or linguistics or philosophy; all mixed in, subtly, with personal views and a little personal history. It’s the type of writing I love to do most, and enjoy reading whenever the whimsy strikes any of you. Even within the technology writings, I like those that sprinkle humor and humanity among all the angle brackets and arguments of which is better: Part A or Part B.

But as Anil Dash wrote recently, someone somewhere will say this isn’t weblogging. And though I think we can safely say that not everyone loves Anil (”Just joking Anil! Truce!”), he’s hit it dead on when he writes:

One good sign that a community is maturing is that some of the earlier or more influential members start trying to dictate how it should be done. Use more bold letters! Don’t use comments! Insert more pictures! Whatever the rule, it’s generally being used to assert authority over the nascent community, or to defend some arbitrary choices that have been made and are now being questioned.

This came up this weekend in another context, circumstances and participants withheld to protect me, because the lord knows if I don’t watch my butt no one else will; and as usual it grates on me and saddens me because we put a great deal of our creative effort into works that shouldn’t even exist according to these people. Worse, to some of these arbiters of great weblogging, doing so demeans the seriousness of this medium, yada yada yada.

Every year there is a new crop of people going out into the world armed with formal concepts and rules about how this all works; and every year we then have to follow along behind, tagging the clean, careful concepts with the purple and red graffiti of revolt and trashing the rules like the anarchists we are.

I have contributed to a book on weblogging in the past, but if I were asked to write a “Weblogging for Dummies” book now, it would look as follows:

Chapter One:

Page one:


Now I’ve just saved you all a lot of money, which you can soon spend on limited edition “Burningbird” refrigerator magnets. Collect as many as you can; trade ‘em with your friends.

And stop by Loren’s and share your own car story.


I am the center of the Burningbird universe

As you might also notice, I’ve finished my all about me bar, which is now under the main title on all the pages.

The Feed Me page lists all the various ways to feed the bird, including hiring and sponsoring. I may have pulled ads, but I am open to sponsors–especially if its a product I can get behind. I’m still adding to the Writings page, but it gives a sampling of my work. The Resumé page is very detailed, and very long–much longer than normally recommended. However, a few years back, it wasn’t unusual for me to be working two or more consulting jobs, writing for a couple of publications, and working on a book, all at the same time. The resumé tries to cover all the different types of work and technologies I was involved with at the time.

I’ve also had people say they like my longer resumé and others say they don’t. Such is life — I’d rather give people too much, than too little.

(I think you can also see why no company will hire me for a permanent position–not with that much consulting and independent contracting behind me.)

Besides, I think it’s about time I started selling myself, rather than indulge in the all too typical female modesty, with all the disclaimers of “Aaw shucks, it ain’t no big thang”. If I continue, I’m going to female modesty myself right out of a car, computer, and Net connection. Then where would you all be? There’d be this dead void in your syndication feed lists where the Bird used to be.

Of course, having said all of this–I would like feedback on the pages. Especially that resumé page. What think? Does it help? Or hurt? I may be stubborn but I’m not mulish, and if it’s too long, or provides way too much info, I’ll cut it back.


Thanks to the kindness of those who have left comments, I have made extensive edits to the pages.


Give into the serifs

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ve changed my main content font to Georgia, and I like it much better. I have experimented around with serif fonts in the past, but couldn’t find the right combination of line height, font height, and color to suit. However, when I downloaded the CSS Zen Garden template, I liked what Dave Shea used immediately and decided to use it in Bb–without the text justification.

I’m also using a serif font for the title now, but still using Verdana for sidebar and new static menu at the top. I’m assuming mixing serif and san-serif fonts is not a page fashion faux pax*.

Another tidbit in “The Zen of CSS Design” is to use caution with letter spacing, especially with lowercase characters. I admit I am using a tight letterspacing with my post titles, but I found that the titles seemed to go on forever without it. Even after reading the warning, it’s a gamble I’ll still take — bring on the sheep!

In the end, though, it’s good to be aware of the rules of thumb and ‘laws’ of layout and design; then if you break them, it’s because you really want to, not because you’re unaware of the possibility that your site could look like shite on most people’s boxes.

*feedback would be welcome — and suggestions for the sidebar font.