Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Who *was* that masked mongoose?

Thing 4 – and Ms Mongoose is having an identity crisis …

This all began way back when the internet was New and Exciting. Webpages looked like this; e-mail clients were named after literary figures; and my little 286 processor could barely cope with all the rec. and alt. groups I signed up to. Not wanting to reveal my work address, I adopted a pseudonym which I reasoned would make me look mature and thoughtful, and render homage to a great figure of our time …

Image by Remko Tanis on Flickr

Miffy was a surprisingly tenacious alias, but after about a decade I felt the urge to move on. Information seeking and discovery were by now emerging as important characteristics:

Cover image from Barnes and Noble

The trouble with being Nancy Drew was not so much the endless parade of suspicious characters trying to sabotage my blue convertible as the multiplicity of other Nancys out there. For a while I added an extra layer to my disguise to become Nancy’s Aunt Eloise – but despite living in New York Eloise doesn’t have a lot of fun unless Nancy visits, at which point she usually gets kidnapped.

And so by devious routes – including, in one particularly tortuous byway, Agatha Christie – I arrived at my current existence as librarian-goddess-represented-by-inquisitive-mongoose (not, as the Trainee Mermaid suggested on first look, an overfed hamster). Ah, but here’s the rub: as a Cam23 admin, I’ve been forced to cast aside all disguise; I owe the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume, and my real name adorns the 23 Things blog.

And now when I comment on other people’s blogs, half the time I end up logging in with my Cam23 self and the other half as Ms Mongoose. Confused, dear Reader? Not half so much as I …

Oodles of Doodles

Doodle and I have a rather odd relationship. I share Libreaction‘s aversion to both its name and its description: telling people “I’ll send you a Doodle” makes me feel silly and vaguely unprofessional. Ah, for the days of Meet-O-Matic … which although sounding as though I was arranging a get-together in a laundry, also had a pleasingly automated and efficient ring about it. So why don’t I use it any more?

Er, that’s why. It’s ugly, clunky, and badly laid out. Neither nomenclature nor laundromat nostalgia could hold me. I cordially loathe Doodle’s colourways for available/unavailable/maybe available if I’m not washing my hair, but it’s free, it’s simple, and it works.

Out of a desperate urge to find an alternative to saying “Let’s Doodle!” one more time, I had a look at I looked, I saw that you have to create an account, I left. And minutes later was arranging a meeting using … I just can’t say it any more. Meet me for coffee, anyone?

Image from


Aha, Thing #3, here I come. Rather slowly, mind you, because (a) I’m a only a beginner-blogger, and (b) after Friday’s 5-hour drop-in session I’m displaying a tendency to confuse Blogger and WordPress …

I’ve been finding it quite interesting switching between the two blog applications. Although the Cam23 blog is hosted on Blogger, I decided on WordPress for my mongoose existence because I liked Libreaction‘s blog layout.

My immediate reaction to Blogger was awe at the extreme simplicity of setting up a blog. If you already have a Google ID, it’s such a quick process that there’s almost a banana-skin feeling about landing on the screen that congratulates you on having set up your blog. ‘Simples’ isn’t in it.

Adding co-authors to the Cam23 blog was also pretty simples, as was adding widgets and reorganising the layout. When it came to aesthetics, however, I was a bit taken aback at how few options there were for page appearance and layout. WordPress definitely scores here, with much more choice and some really attractive themes. In comparison Blogger’s templates seem a bit clunky (although I do like the ‘dots’ ones!).

Spot the terminology clash … KTLib had to save me several times at the drop-in session as I blithely advised Blogger users to look for the ‘themes’ button in the left-hand navigation bar. Um, that’ll be the ‘templates’ link in the vertical menu bar, Ms Mongoose. Time for more coffee (or a tasty snake).

Edit: the wonderful beauty_school_dropout has a great post about using Blogger in draft’s template designer to improve on the standard templates. Who needs a tinting class anyway?