Voting is Fun

I just exercised my right to vote. Literally.

I walked the four blocks or so to my polling place on a sunny, November afternoon with the temperature in the upper 50s. Not bad. Reminds me of my walks to the bus stop. The best part was crunching through the bright yellow leaves that layered the sidewalk beneath some of the late autumn bloomer trees.

And I also got to participate in democracy, casting my vote in the St. Paul mayoral and school board elections.

Church Marketing Sucks on Blogging Church

Today I appeared on the Blogging Church podcast along with Brad Abare as we talked about blogs and Church Marketing Sucks with Terry Storch, who is working on a book about church blogging. It’s kind of peculiar to go back and listen to an interview like that.

The more I do interviews the more I learn that preparation is very important. Now I know why folks like Bono and Franklin Graham have the same stories they tell all the time. You come up with a good line and you use it. Being a writer I know what it’s like when someone doesn’t say anything worth quoting. You make the writer’s job a whole lot easier when you say something quotable. And usually that means coming up with good lines ahead of time.

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Gas Prices Drop, Energy Prices Rise

I paid $2.10 per gallon for gas today, a 30% drop from what I paid two months ago when it was $2.99 per gallon. The media has finally realized that gas prices are dropping, though in my area at least they’re falling far below pre-Katrina levels. I’m not complaining, but this seems pretty bizarre.

Especially considering that oil company profit margins were up 62% in the third quarter. Oil company incomes for 2005 are up 30 to 50 percent over 2004. Apparently I’m not the only one scratching my head. The Senate is also investigating high oil company profits following the recent spike in gas prices.

Of course Congress doesn’t have to look far for the blame—the energy bill passed in August gave $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil industry, equivalent to 40% of Exxon-Mobil’s net earnings last quarter, which were already up 75% over the same period last year.

So was the Katrina price-spike for real? I’d like to believe quick responses in the wake of disaster brought the prices back down, but I’m not so sure.

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Immovable Type

If you’re getting a 500 server error on my blog, I’m aware of the problem and trying to fix it. It appears to be showing up for .php files created after the start of November. So my November archive and any individual entries created in the last two days won’t load. I had a similar .php problem before, though it doesn’t appear to be the same issue this time.

Maybe technology should move up on my list of things I hate about blogging. I love technology as much as the next twenty-something geek, but I really dislike technology when it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. I want to spend time writing and reading and doing fun stuff, not changing the HTMLUMask to come up with the proper file permissions so my server can display my .php files. What the hell does that even mean?

Update: The site should be fixed now. Apparently it was a problem with the permissions of the new folder for November entries, fixed with the DirUMask. Something that probably should have been caught last month, but oh well. Technology: Can’t live with it, can’t watch TV without it.

Movable Type 3.2 Can’t Stop the Spam

Some of you may remember that I upgraded to Movable Type 3.2 about a month ago (the rest of you probably don’t care, so you can stop here). While I love a lot of the new features they have, especially the ability to manage all your comments, trackbacks and entries from all your blogs in one spot, I’m pretty disappointed with some of their features, namely the spam protection.

The new version of MT has a different way of dealing with spam comments. You have more power to control what gets through and what doesn’t. They’ve even claimed that it’s such a good system that you don’t need MT Blacklist, the old standbye anti-spam plug-in that so many of us have relied on.

Bunch of crap.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

OK, so I opted not to do any NaNoWriMoing this month. Very tempting and I loved the experience last year, but not having an idea to go with really spoiled the mood. I’d rather spend my extra hours this month getting my work done and maybe, just maybe, clean out my office. But don’t hold me to that.

I can just see it now: I’m trapped under a pile of free CDs. Who’s laughing now?

Anyway, as corny as the idea of writing a Choose Your Own Adventure is, I still love it. Makes me laugh. Which is why I loved this Stars Wars Choose Your Own Adventure, illustrated with Legos! Give it a try and see if you can become a Jedi or bantha fodder.