Whatʼs going on?

Astonishing.

Amazing.

Thanks to Gwen Hernandezʼs helpful comment, I got my blog to actually shut down* yesterday** instead of merely identifying the open blog as blacked out.

Actual screen capture from 4:40 PM CST, Wednesday, 18 January 2012, searching for “blackout square,” returned this blog as result #1

And we still got well over 100 hits***. Blacked out. With no blog available. Astonishing. Amazing (in a strange and twisted kind of way).

Admittedly, when one googled “blackout square,” the name I had given my home-made blackout image from Tuesdayʼs post about yesterdayʼs blackout, the first item Google returned was my square (at least for me; I really donʼt know if being me makes Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog show up higher in the search results than for other folks****). Iʼm serious. Just look at the image to the right (and go on, click it to make it big, so you can actually see). That first black square on the search for “blackout square” is my image (the one I put my cursor under, marked “22 hours ago” when I searched yesterday afternoon and then took the screen capture).

Yeah, itʼs pretty (pointlessly) ego-boosting (“Vanity of vanities, sayeth the Preacher. All is vanity”) to be the top result on Google — even if it is just for a picture, and one I created by pouring black into a new GraphicConverter image and saving in somewhat under forty seconds, just so I had an image to use Tuesday (it also became my Facebook display pic yesterday, too*****). However, itʼs fairly confusing also to realize that searchers got nothing for clicking on that image (or any of the other searched links that led hereabouts) yesterday.

WordPress.com Stats on Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog about 4:40 PM yesterday — and people who cliked search links got the generic WordPress blackout page, no matter what

Of course, people searched plenty of other things (the usual suspects around here, according to WordPress Stats — check the stats capture to the left, the one that in the top graph reveals those 100+ hits at just 4:40 PM). But internet pic trollers didnʼt get anywhere with any of those searches yesterday. How do I know? Because I tried a couple of those terms myself, using Safari and Chrome (as I already had the WordPress post-composition page open here in Firefox, writing some of these words******). And when I clicked on the links, I got the standard this-blog-is-blacked-out-in-protest-of-SOPA/PIPA*******. It must have been kind of frustrating for those image-seeking internet users.

Of course, once I changed from the total blackout setting to the just-a-protest-banner setting, those anonymous image-thieving pirates could get what they wanted again (and they probably are doing so right now). Gosh, does that bit of online behavior indicate we really do need an internet piracy law? (No.)

(One last thing — at least before you get to the plethora of footnotes below — yesterday was one of the worst days since last summer for CenturyLink******** screwing with my internet linkage: at least a dozen interruptions, half of those, at least, within less than five minutes of each other — meaning no actual getting online at all for a big part of yesterday morning. Talk about your internet blackouts. — At least I got this little item written, illustrated, annotated, linked and repeatedly saved without interruption.)

* Thatʼs a split infinitive there: “to actually fail.” Traditional stylistics dictate that one should never split infitinitives. I do it all the time. For instance, in the case above (which I did think about; viz. this footnote), placing “actually” in the position it occupies seems (at least to me) to emphasize the reality of the shutting down.  — Agree? Disagree? Comment, then.

** (WordPress.com added both the current banner and a Wednesday, 18 January 2012 SOPA/PIPA blog-blackout item sometime after I wrote and posted Tuesdayʼs little essay)

*** The final count, observed just as I posted this shortly after 9:00 AM Thursday, 19 January 2012, was 136 pointless hits.

**** Your input is welcome. Do your results parallel mine? (We can communicate and run the same search about the same time, just to be most objectively accurate.)

***** I hope I remembered to change it before posting this today…

****** Thatʼs a Chrome window with the Google search result on “blackout square” above and to the right.

******* That standard this-blog-is-blacked-out-today is also what turned up when I tried to preview this post for proofreading, too! Not quite so amusing to me somehow.

******** Itʼs mighty interesting to google “CenturyLink sucks” and find all the nearly endless number of folks who have shared my frustration with this worthless big-corporate excuse for an Internet “Service” Provider.

My alternative title for todayʼs post was “SOPA/PIPA Blackout Fail.” I thought that bit of verbiage might be arresting and rivetingly seize attention. But after my testing discussed above, I know the blackout didnʼt fail. Folks just kept clicking here anyway (some of them over and over — I do really love those WordPress statistics).  

— And, yeah, I was having a good time footnoting again.

And, yes, I do have Sunday, October 23, 2012, our third day in Budapest, coming your way really, really soon. Just not today.

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Gramatically Speaking (and — another favorite theme — looking backward)

clip art image

Todayʼs post arises directly from yesterdayʼs. And as yesterdayʼs got a little bloated with extraneous complaints (about CenturyLink) and (in picture captions in particular) additional information about the Echo smartpen (which I am using to compose longhand right now), Iʼll try to keep this short and as sweet as possible for this human.

Yesterday I originally composed this sentence: “A bit larger (wider/fatter) than a normal pen, I find it forces me to write almost legibly,” which I corrected before publication as “A bit larger (wider/fatter) than a normal pen, it forces me, I find, to write almost legibly.” And I wondered if you, Gentle Reader, knew why the alteration was important (and necessary).

The difference was required because of the nature of a dependent clause. Thatʼs a clause (words that grammatically could be a sentence,* having both a subject and verb in the appropriate relationship) used to describe or “modify” a word in another independent clause, almost invariably —  because of how our language operates — describing the word right before the dependent clause starts. “I am writing the sentence which you are reading” is an example. “I am writing the sentence” is the main clause, and “which you are reading” is the dependent clause modifying “sentence,” telling you which sentence I am discussing. (I am keeping this discussion simple because in reality there are many kinds of subordinate clauses.)

In yesterdayʼs sentence, “it forces me to write almost legibly” is the clause dependent on (describing) the noun ”pen.” The “I find” is an interjected clause,** intended in its turn to modify the dependent clause (“it forces me to write almost legibly” in case you had forgotten). And if placed in its original position, immediately after “pen,” then “I think” becomes the modifier dependent on “pen,” meaning it and “pen” should somehow be related*** (and theyʼre not). “Pen” is the antecedent for “it” in the actual dependent clause (and itʼs that pronoun/antecedent relationship — between “it” and “pen” — that creates or permits the dependent clause to work and have meaning, just like “which” and “sentence” in the example I invented in the previous paragraph).

Short and sweet — “I think” couldnʼt follow “pen” logically/syntactically because that position is where the actual “it forces me to write almost legibly” clause had to fit. So in revision I did with “I think” what it grammatically did: inserted it interjectionally within the clause it modifies.

(And with that utterly roundabout and probably unclear explanation, I have created the necessary post for today.****)

* Actually my example of a subordinate/dependent clause (“which you are reading”), that I present toward the end of the paragraph, could never be a sentence on its own because it begins with a subordinating, relative pronoun. (So my example isnʼt exactly the same kind of subordinate clause as the one I used yesterday.)

** a third clause, and the shortest one of the sentences involved, having only a subject and a verb in it

*** and the meaning would be that I am a pen, and Iʼm not a pen, please.

**** And I will explain tomorrow (or one soon thereafter) what my fascination with having a post a day this week is all about.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.