by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Internet”

Goodbye, Packrat

Posted 17 October 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Packrat. In fact, I suspect that half this blog’s content derives from my becoming obsessed with some game and then writing endless posts on the subject.

But I think I may have just hit the point of no return in Packrat. And I suspect I’m not the only one.

Because the developers have just launched a new version of Packrat, which runs counter to the game we’ve been playing all year.

To play Packrat, you collect various cards in a themed set, combine some of them to make new cards, scour the sets of friends and the computer-controlled rats to find rare pop-up cards, and then vault all the cards in the set to complete it and obtain a themed “Feat of Wonder” card.

All well and good.

Then frustrations began to creep in. Originally, pop-ups were essentially stand-alone cards: you didn’t use them to make higher-value cards, just vaulted them on their own. So when you couldn’t find them, you couldn’t complete an entire set: frustrating, but, since it was only one card out of fifteen or twenty, not enough to bring the game to a grinding halt.

Then they started producing sets that were dependent on pop-ups: you couldn’t make the higher-value cards without them. When they started this, with the Quest for Montezuma collection, it was fair enough, because they warned us in advance that it was an unusually difficult set.

But then it became the norm: all the sets relied on pop-ups for completion.

And pop-ups aren’t distributed equally: half of the discussion forum posts were people complaining that they weren’t getting pop-ups, while other, smugger players were responding, “Really? I found fifteen of those cards in half an hour this morning. Have you tried navigating through the packs backwards?”

That was frustrating enough.

Then a set came in where the higher-value cards were not only dependent on pop-ups, but didn’t increase in value. Normally, if you combined three 1000-point cards, your resultant cards would be worth 5000 points or 7000 points—something greater than the sum of its parts, anyway. Not for this set: at one point, a 10,000-point card, a 7500-point card, and a 750-point card combined to make another 10,000-point card, which made you wonder what you were doing.

But the new version introduces a number of frustrating ideas.

Normally, you have fifteen spaces for cards in your pack. Once your pack is full, you’re stuck until you can swap something out and vault a set. This made creating some of the more card-intensive high-value cards extremely tricky.

Now we have ten spaces, which makes creating some of the card-intensive cards impossible, especially in Quest for Montezuma.

Pop-ups have been replaced with “bonus draw” cards, which doesn’t seem like a radical shift—except that pop-ups used to appear face-up. You knew exactly which card you were getting, and could choose not to pick it up if you didn’t need it or were approaching a full pack. But bonus draw cards appear face down; it’s pot luck which one you actually get when you select bonus draw.

But the most controversial addition is the tickets.

You used to buy cards from markets for credits, which popped up randomly as you moved through the game. That’s still possible.

But now we have three special markets, in which you need tickets. And tickets are bought for $10 U.S. per 100. This is the move that’s causing people to threaten to leave the game in droves.

The intention, allegedly, is to allow people to buy retired and rare cards. Pirate ships from the original High Seas Rivalry set, for example, have always been in great demand. Now you can buy them in the markets.

For 500 tickets.

That’s $50 U.S.

In the current climate (as people on the discussion boards keep saying), that’s a foolhardy move. But so far, no real harm: these are retired sets, not sets in current play. So you could simply ignore the ticket-only markets and move on.

But you can’t.

Because a fair number of cards for new sets are also only available in the ticket-only markets, including cards that were previously available for credits in the ordinary markets.

Take a look, for example, at the cards needed to complete the new Valley of the Kings set at the Packrat Wiki.

To complete the set, you need six Great Pyramids, both to vault on its own and to make three separate cards. But the Great Pyramid is only available to purchase via tickets: at 50 tickets each, this set is going to cost players $30 U. S.

And that’s just for the Pyramids. Throw in King Tut’s Mask, and you have another $20 U. S. And they haven’t revealed how much the Sarcophagus and Head of Anubis might cost us.

That may not seem like a great deal of money, but I’m not convinced that this is the cleverest move on the part of the developers.

I’m sure the game costs them an enormous amount of money to develop and run. But they did launch it on Facebook. To take it from a free game to an expensive game on a site such as Facebook seems counter productive.

And it is expensive, comparatively. I’m currently wondering whether Lego Batman is within my budget, at around $70 Australian for the Nintendo DS version. And that’s a one-off payment for a game that I can play whenever I like. Packrat fees, on the other hand, look to be an ongoing issue.

Sure, the developers claim that you can continue to play the game without paying money for cards. But their claim is vague:

“Items on sale for Tickets can be obtained in other ways for free. You’ll likely have to exercise a little patience, cunning or ingenuity. Even if you’re unable to spend a dime on PackRat, you should still be able to complete collections and earn your Feats.”

Best as I can tell, this can only mean that you may, with luck, find cards that others have spent tickets on floating among the rats’ packs. Perhaps there are people public-spirited enough to spend $10, $15, or $50 on cards and then drop them into the rats’ packs for complete strangers to find, but it seems unlikely.

Perhaps it means that these cards will eventually shift from the ticket-only markets to the credit markets, but if that’s the case, there’s an ethical issue there that bothers me: such a model would take advantage of those desperate enough or impatient enough to pay, rather than making the game even for all players.

And they do have other options. Plenty of people on the forums have indicated a willingness to pay a flat monthly or annual fee. Pogo operates successfully on that model. And iTunes runs more than successfully on a system of micropayments, rather than the macropayments requested here. (And running it via micropayments would be better for the developers, since it reduces bank fees, apparently.)

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be interested in micropayments, either. I will pay for games; I have a lovely set from Popcap Games, all of which I adore. But I’m not much interested in committing myself to a game that demands irregular payments of irregular amounts.

So I think this is it for me. I’ve enjoyed Packrat, but this new model is not for me.

And I suspect it won’t be for many other people, either.

My Paladin Is Just as Immoral as My Elf, Alas

Posted 26 September 2008 in by Catriona

Have I posted too many pieces on Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures?

Actually, that was a rhetorical question.

I started an adventure this morning, thinking that keeping it running in the background would help me focus during my marking—the game requires little active involvement.

Of course, I then promptly forgot about it and have only just come back to it, to find this adventure:

Paks had never screamed as loud as he did when the floor dropped out from under him, dropping him directly into the middle of a large room full of orcs. The orcs had been squabbling and gambling, although Paks’s entrance seemed to get their attention.

Paks made a Charisma check with a difficulty of 13 . . . and rolled 18

Thinking quickly, Paks managed to convey (through a series of rapid fire gestures) that he was not, in fact, dinner, and was instead sent to be married to one of the local orc girls. The orcs thought this was a little strange, but Paks was charismatic enough that they went along with it. After the makeshift ceremony, Paks saw his chance and quickly escaped — with the wedding gifts.

Paks received 84 XP and 36 gold.

Paks, let’s just run this by you again. You’re a paladin. A holy warrior, dedicated to the service of your god. Also, you are carrying a Vorpal Greatsword, which adds +10 to your attack rolls.

But, just because you happened to fall through the floor and land in the middle of a group of orcs, what do you do?

You lie through your teeth.

You exploit your personal charm to support that out-and-out lie.

You actually go through with marrying a poor orc girl who never did anything to you.

And then you leg it with the wedding presents.

That’s fairly problematic, don’t you think?

(Also, orcs? 36 pieces of gold? As a wedding present? I can get more than that flogging my armour on the open market!)

Interesting Wikipedia Fact

Posted 23 September 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve just been searching on Wikipedia, hoping to find a list of writers who died accidental deaths.

Okay, that sounds ghoulish, but . . . well, no. It’s ghoulish. But it was prompted by the fact that I found out—through a long series of links on other subjects, the rationale for which I’ve forgotten now—that Tennessee Williams choked to death on the lid of an eye-drop bottle.

(I also found out that Robert E. Howard shot himself, which I’d never heard. And that the poet Hart Crane threw himself off a cruise boat into the Gulf of Mexico after being beaten up by a male crew member to whom he’d made advances. Poor bastard.)

I had no idea that that was how Williams died.

Hence the ghoulish searching.

But Wikipedia, while normally good on esoteric lists, had no such list.

Interestingly, though, when you search for “list of accidental deaths of writers,” the fourth item that comes up is “List of The Dick Van Dyke Show Episodes.”

Now, some might say this is simply because the search engine is pulling up key terms such as “list of” and “writers.”

I prefer to think it’s because Wikipedia knows dead when it sees it.

My Elf's Adventuring Days Are Over

Posted 17 September 2008 in by Catriona

When your character reaches level eleven in Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures they face mandatory retirement. (Irritatingly, I didn’t even find out whether she’d succeeded in her last adventure.)

So Saeana’s adventuring days are over. Never again will she inappropriately seduce people in the middle of a fight scene, join a short line of adventurers waiting to enter a castle, or find herself inexplicably in the middle of a Robert Frost poem.

Of course, I have another adventurer, now: Paks, a Half-Elf Paladin. Paks is named after the only other paladin who came to mind: Paksennarion, from Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksennarion, who I really enjoyed as a character. Of course, Paks is a woman, but I figured that Paks really was a non-gendered name.

And the awesome thing about Paks is that I’m allowed to save one item of Saeana’s inventory to carry over to my new hero: I chose my Vorpal Greatsword. (I don’t know whether I should favour the Vorpal Greatsword because of “Jabberwocky” or because of the Homelands story arc in Fables. Maybe both.)

How could you turn down a Vorpal Greatsword? Saeana never used it, because it is a two-handed weapon, and I was addicted to the combination of my Phasing Short Sword and my Thundering Mace. But I couldn’t bring myself to sell it—and now my Paladin can wield it.

It also gives me a chance to be scornful, when he picks up the rewards suitable to a level one adventurer: “Battleaxe, huh? +1 to Attack? Ha!”

Paks seems to be settling in quite nicely, so far. Of course, he’s only midway through his third encounter, but he’s succeeded in everything he tried to date.

But I’m wondering if he’s going to behave the same way as Saeana did. I know paladins aren’t celibate figures like monks, but they are holy warriors.

I don’t think they should seduce halflings in hot-tubs.

I don’t think they should fight the palace guard in order to defend the succubus that they fancy.

I really don’t think they should seduce and then stab tiefling warlocks, no matter how desperate they are to prevent the coming apocalypse.

I don’t know that Paks is as susceptible as Saeana—but I’ll be keeping an eye on him. Sooner or later, I’m bound to come up with at least one adventurer who knows how to keep their mind on the job.

Odd Things That Have Happened in Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures

Posted 28 August 2008 in by Catriona

1. I’ve just been hit in the chest with a golden cannonball. This is, in fact, why I started this post.

Who uses a golden cannonball? Isn’t that insanely expensive and also rather impractical? Or I am just cranky because I took six points of damage despite, and I think the word is warranted, absolutely pwning my Armour Class Check?

2. Slightly before that, I was hit on the head by a falling scythe after failing a Wisdom roll. Still, the man who dropped the scythe on me was more annoyed about the whole situation than I was:

Disapointed, Plurbius faded from view, mumbling “‘Oh, don’t worry Plurbius, we’ll have thirty scythes . . . and they’ll spin and shred . . . .’ Last time I use gnome contractors.”

So there is that.

3. I’m deliberately not re-mentioning the time I apparently seduced a Halfling. (Plus, aren’t they tiny? Like hobbit sized? It’s all very odd.)

4. I don’t think it’s good for my Ranger’s reputation to have to hide in a soot-filled chimney because she can’t overcome a few skeletons.

5. I once tried to climb a tree to rescue a family pet: none of the actual family could manage the climb. But then goblin raiders appeared, and I fell out of the tree on top of them. Not on purpose, of course. But, honestly: Elf and Ranger. You’d think I’d be slightly more sure-footed than that.

Of course, this was immediately after the encounter in which I slipped and fell while walking through the forest, poisoning myself with toadstool spores in the process.

What kind of Elf falls over in a forest? (Ooh, Zen.)

Maybe I just have a very clumsy Elf.

6. That’s not even including the time I waited in ambush for an orc lord, behind his throne, and fell asleep on the floor while waiting for his bodyguards to leave. That was just embarrassing.

7. There was also the time I tried to grab a vine to swing across a pit and completely missed. The more I look at these misadventures, the more I think that my Elf is a bit rubbish, actually.

It’s one thing to have sharp enough eyes to spot the pit and another to fall straight into it anyway.

Later in the same adventure, I was lured into a trap by the promise of treasure and fell straight through an illusory floor. Into a pit, obviously.

8. Of course, the stage was set for all of this during my first adventure, when I was not only shot in the leg by an Elf after failing my Charisma roll but was also bitten by an alligator.

More accurately, I experienced “an unpleasant sensation of being bitten in the thigh.” Is that opposed to the slightly less common pleasant sensation of being bitten in the thigh?

Actually, don’t answer that.

9. I once ended up as a king’s food-taster, despite the fact that the whole point of the adventure was to drag the self-proclaimed king back to the town in chains. Of course, the disadvantage of becoming a food-taster and then failing your Constitution roll is that you end up being poisoned.

They never did explain how the king found me, why he didn’t demand to know why a heavily armed complete stranger was strolling around his fort immediately after he’d announced his secession, or why I accepted the position of food taster in the first place.

10. By now, it’s probably no surprise that the time I decided to fix a dumbwaiter (Why? Why would I decide to do that in the middle of an attempt to track down an Undead Paladin?) I, in fact, slipped and fell down the shaft on top of it.

11. I also worry about my character’s morality. For example, the Undead Paladin adventure above ended with me escorting him back to town, where a priest freed his tormented soul and I nicked his armour.

(I couldn’t wear Bonegrim Armour, of course, but we’re all familiar now with the depths to which my character will sink for the sake of armour.)

But this aspect bothers Nick more than it bothers me. Whenever we’re both playing at the same time, I can hear him muttering things like “a Paladin would never try to rob a sleeping giant!”

I’m thoroughly enjoying the game, which has completely ousted Packrat from my affections (although, gods of Packrat, if you could see fit to send me a Great Wall of China pop-up card, I might stop sulking).

In fact, when my father-in-law came around for dinner tonight, I greeted him by shouting from another room, “I’ll be there in thirty-nine seconds! I just need to finish this encounter!” Rude? Possibly. But he’s known me for eight years by this stage.

(Then when I did finish the encounter, Nick was strangely annoyed at the outcome.
ME: I killed the metal dog.
NICK: I don’t think that’s anything to boast about.
ME: It wasn’t K9!)

But there’s a fine line between thoroughly enjoying a game and being slightly miffed when your easily distracted, accident-prone Elf Ranger cops a golden cannonball in the breastplate.

Hands Down, The Strangest Game on Facebook

Posted 26 August 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve rattled on at length about my Packrat obsession, I’ve written a dreadful poem about playing Pirates—I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m fond of the games applications on Facebook.

But they’re all paling into insignificance now that I’ve found the Facebook application for Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures.

I’m slightly fixated on Dungeons and Dragons at the moment anyway, since it’s the first time in a decade that I’ve done any real table-top RPGing—I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

But Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures is both curiously passive and oddly addictive.

It’s curiously passive because you don’t actually do much yourself: most of it’s taken care of for you by the gaming engine.

So you select your character class—Elf Ranger, of course—and then the game invests your choice of name with a pleasing sense of weighty importance, by insisting that once you’ve selected it, you cannot change it. The character’s name, it seems, is inviolate.

Then you pick an adventures from a short list . . . and that’s the last active thing you do for a while.

I’m currently halfway through “Curse of the Wolf Moon,” trying to “travel through Felltooth Wood to find the legendary Mirror Lake of Felltooth Mountain. There blessed wolfsbane grows in the spray of the Singing Falls”; it’s the only way to save the villagers!

But once you’ve selected an adventure, a ticker appears in the top left-hand corner, saying “Next event in 9:00 [or 7:53, or 3:57, or any of a random assortment of minutes and seconds].”

And you wait.

The time ticks down.

And then you can click a refresh button, and see whether you’ve defeated the monster or been knocked around a bit.

It’s the strangest thing.

In fact, you don’t even know what you’re going to be facing until you’ve hit that refresh button, by which time, paradoxically, you’ve already faced it. The computer takes care of everything, including your dice roll. You could roll a natural 20 or a critical fail, and not even know it until the dust has settled.

Frankly, I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with it, since I have to keep finding things to do, to amuse myself while the ticker ticks down.

And yet I am oddly obsessed.

Partly, it’s that I’m doing unusually well in this current adventure. I’ve done this one before, but the server crashed over the weekend, and when I picked the application again today, I’d dropped back to level 1.

But I’m having more luck this time. Last time the sad-looking shepherd came up to me and told me he’d lost his magic sheep, I failed my Wisdom roll, looked him square in the eyes, told him there were no such things as magic sheep, and sodded off.

This time, I didn’t fail my Wisdom roll—and succeeded in not only finding the sheep but also looting a forgotten shrine.

I’ve also killed a dire toad, set fire to a zombie, and freed a caravan of people from the thrall of a sorcerer.

And picked up some nifty loot in the process.

I have also been stabbed by a goblin, but it was only a flesh wound—and that’s the price you pay for derring-do. (Which is why I prefer to do my derring from behind a computer screen.)

But I think the primary reason Nick and I are obsessed with this is the anticipation.

When you’re playing with dice and paper, you’re master of your own destiny—to an extent. If you roll a critical fail, you rolled it.

But with this version, the control over the dice is taken out of your hands. You wait your seven, eight, nine minutes and then, and only then, do you see which foe you’ve been facing, which treasure you’ve been grabbing, and how much damage you’ve taken.

It’s almost contrary to the spirit of the original game, and yet we’re fascinated.

All evening, the conversation has been running along these lines:

“Honey, come and make a cup of coffee.”
“In twenty-two seconds!”

“I just killed a zombie! I set fire to him with a branch out of the fire!”
“Cool!”

“Damn! I died on the last encounter.”
“Which one? Wolf Moon? Oh, that’s basic, that is.”

It’s odd: the pleasure and pride that one can take in achievements that are not only represented entirely by pixels but also occur entirely outside your control.

Seriously, it’s the strangest game on Facebook.

But awesome.

Computers Just Get Worse

Posted 2 August 2008 in by Catriona

I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that I managed to get myself out of the situation with the revolving columns and the lava. Turned out I didn’t need to grab the rope at all: I could jump straight to the platform. Which is odd, since I couldn’t reach the revolving columns from the platform, going in the other direction, without the agency of the rope.

But that’s beside the point.

Tonight Nick and I planned to roll up characters for our Dungeons and Dragons campaign. (Why, yes: we are epic geeks. But then a fair number of people reading this blog are in our group—or we’re in their group—so it all balances out.)

But then it seemed that the Wizards of the Coast website was down.

Now that’s just unnatural.

So, rather than rolling up my lovely Elven Ranger—who should be a good melee fighter but also have decent ranged skills, unlike Gudris, my late lamented dwarf. First to die! Honestly, that’s just embarrassing—I’m lying on my living-room floor with my chin on a ceramic elephant, singing along to Dobie Grey’s “Drift Away.”

It’s as good a way as any to spend a Saturday evening.

The Pitfalls and Pleasures of Social Networking

Posted 30 June 2008 in by Catriona

I never thought I’d be particularly attached to social networking sites.

I’ve never had much of a social network, for a start. And moving in my early twenties to a strange city one thousand kilometres away broke most of my established networks. So I was never really in the position where I was keeping in contact with hundreds of people across the globe.

And then I’ve never had much interest in that aspect of the Internet—I say, on my blog. But, then, this blog is really indicative of that shift in my thinking.

Prior to a couple of years ago, I regarded the Internet as a large, unwieldy, badly written and appallingly edited, mostly inaccurate encyclopaedia. That is, I went to it for information, which I then largely mistrusted. I never treated it as something to which I might contribute, or as somewhere I could go to interact with friends.

Of course, I was already reliant on e-mail, as the primary way of keeping in contact with students and colleagues. I know people—Kurt Vonnegut is one who springs to mind—complain about the impersonal nature of e-mail, but I think it’s fabulous: I once contacted a museum in England about possible access to some material—a nineteenth-century theatrical poster—in their collection, and received a reply e-mail with a high-resolution image attached three hours later. You won’t find me complaining about e-mail.

But I think it was really Pownce that changed my general attitude.

I came to Pownce fairly late compared to others in my social group—which, good little geeks that we are, had been using it on an invitational basis before it went public—but it rapidly became a site where I could keep up an intermittent chatter during the workday without actually interrupting my work to any great extent. As one friend said, it’s like sharing a virtual office with people you actually like.

But from Pownce it was a short step to Facebook. And I don’t regret my Facebook account: I keep my privacy settings locked down, don’t add any questionable applications, and limit my Friends list to people I actually know. (Although I don’t thank Facebook for turning “friend” into a verb—but the issue of verbing is a whole separate issue, for another post.) Facebook is the only way I keep in contact with a number of friends, and the primary way (apart from phone calls and reading each other’s blogs) that I keep in contact with my best friend: it’s easy and fun to send short messages through the day.

Plus, Facebook means Packrat, and we all know how I feel about Packrat.

With e-mail, Pownce, and Facebook already becoming part of a daily ritual, it was a short step to actually starting a blog. That’s a simplified explanation of the process, but largely accurate.

So now I have my webmail provider, Pownce, Facebook, and my blog open in my web browser each day. I don’t have to, of course—I could simply keep my browser closed until I need to Google something. But what’s the point of being socially networked if the network isn’t available?

But today—today I was going to be virtuous. And I was, largely; I wrote nearly one thousand words of a putative journal article on manipulation and verisimilitude in adapted plays on the nineteenth-century suburban stage.

But I was also enmeshed in the toils of the social network.

No significant e-mails came in today, but at one point this afternoon I was trying to map out a structure for the first part of the article, chatting to a friend via the instant-messaging function on Facebook (that ended abruptly: I may have offended him when I suggested that it was nonsense to say that a French-English dictionary was boring), taking part in a six-party discussion on Pownce about whether we can get a Dungeons and Dragons group together, and trying to attract Nick’s attention on another Pownce thread so he could buy me two volumes of a rare Victorian periodical that had suddenly popped up for sale on the American Book Exchange.

(Why, yes: I am a woman of varied tastes.)

Of course, if you’re reading this, chances are you were involved in one of those discussions, which is one of the downsides of being closely networked to a relatively small social group.

(Downside for you, I mean: I have no problem saying the same thing four different times, and will, in fact, talk to the furniture if there’s no one else available.)

Don’t get me wrong; I love my social network. A day when I can chat to so many people in so many different ways that I don’t have to hold an animated, if one-sided, discussion with an armchair is a good day.

But it does reinforce the perils of social-networking programmes: sometimes, if your self control is weak and your propensity for conversation strong, you just have to shut your browser down and work, bereft, outside the network for a while.

A Note on Commenting

Posted 28 May 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve seen a couple of instances recently where it looks as though people are attempting to comment, but nothing’s coming through on the site.

Of course, it could be the site doing something funky on its own initiative. But we have had problems with the commenting function in the past and, of course, I’m a little concerned that this makes it look as though I’m failing to moderate comments—the comments are, in fact, one of my favourite aspects of having a blog.

I’m looking to set up a means of contacting me through the site if the commenting function throws another hissy fit, but in the meantime all I can recommend is to make sure that you hit “submit” when you comment, and not just “preview.”

Whoops

Posted 16 May 2008 in by Catriona

I completely failed to notice my 100th post; it was, for the record, “Insanely Creepy Song Lyrics,” which I don’t really think was worthy of such a signal honour.

Still, at least it wasn’t the last post, about how annoying Nick’s been this evening.

I suppose I shall just have to celebrate the 200th entry, as I did the 200th comment.

Googling

Posted 21 March 2008 in by Catriona

My new hobby is repeatedly checking the viewer logs to this blog.

I like to see who’s reading.

And I like to see how people come across the Circulating Library, which means I’m particularly pleased by the Google searches that lead to this site.

A lot of them are searches for “circulating library,” but the readers don’t stay long; I assume they’re slightly disillusioned Victorian scholars.

One search was for “Eliza Winstanley,” which makes me think that I should talk a little more about my research and the fascinating woman who emerged over three years of work.

A number of searchers are Googling “shallow bookshelves”; I wonder if my father-in-law—who made my beautiful, book-swallowing, shallow bookcases—should consider taking on commissions?

Another searcher Googled “Marple: Ordeal By Innocence does not match the book”; I think they were disappointed by “If Only His Body Had Been Entirely Composed of Bees,” because they didn’t stay to read the rest of the site.

But my absolute favourite hit?

“Overcoming clumsiness.”

Now that’s how I want to be remembered on the Internet.

Minor Hiccup

Posted 18 March 2008 in by Catriona

For some reason, I can access the administration pages and the site, but can’t open specific pages or comment.

Nevertheless, loyal readers (mostly Tim and Nick at the moment, bless you both), I am still pondering the role that the Marriage at Cana played in the nineteenth-century Temperance Movement(s) against the time when I can post comments again.

(I am also very tired, and would never otherwise have used the term “loyal readers” in cold blood.)

When Social Networking Turns to Stalking

Posted 14 February 2008 in by Catriona

The other day I received an e-mail from my Visual Bookshelf application on Facebook, with the subject line “You’ve been reading ‘The Devil in the White City. . .’ for more than a week. Still true?”

I was quite content to answer the nosy questions that Facebook poses about my personal relationships, but I draw the line at the website critiquing the speed at which I read.

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