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We finished Schitt’s Creek last night. Late to the party, but it was worth the wait.

Performing Pages

Every month Google, or specifically the ‘Google Search Console Team’ sends me an email showing the ‘Top performing pages’ on my site. Presumably that means the ones to which they, Google, have sent the most people.

Consistently, the top one is a post from 2012, about a particular use case of Pandoc. Specifically: Tip: using Pandoc to create truly standalone HTML files.

So it’s clear that if I want more engagement here — or at least more drive-by readers — I should write more technical-support-type articles.

That’s unlikely to happen at the moment. That page was a complete mess, though. There were artifacts left over from WordPress plugins, and the whole thing was displaying at the wrong width for reasons that I don’t understand. So I’ve cleaned it up, and now at least it looks a bit more welcoming for the hundreds of visitors who come every month.

I’m not even sure what it describes is still necessary — Pandoc has had a lot of changes since then — but it’s not wrong, so oh well.

A Pasta Mystery

I’ve never heard of the pasta shape called bucatini before (though the Mac spellchecker has), but it sounds fabulous, and I want to try it now. I won’t be able to, though (even if you can get it in the UK). This article by Rachel Handler in New York magazine is great: both hilarious and fascinating by turns.

Things first began to feel off in March. While this sentiment applies to everything in the known and unknown universe, I mean it specifically in regard to America’s supply of dry, store-bought bucatini. At first, the evidence was purely anecdotal. My boyfriend and I would bravely venture to both our local Italian grocer and our local chain groceries, masked beyond recognition, searching in vain for the bucatini that, in my opinion, not to be dramatic, is the only noodle worth eating; all other dry pastas might as well be firewood. But where there had once been abundance, there was now only lack. Being educated noodle consumers, we knew that there was, more generally, a pasta shortage due to the pandemic, but we were still able to find spaghetti and penne and orecchiette — shapes which, again, insult me even in concept. The missing bucatini felt different. It was specific. Frightening. Why bucatini? Why now? Why us?

I could use such short, tweet-like posts as, effectively, paragraphs on a ‘Today Page,’ as Dave Winer and some other bloggers do.

I have a sort of mental goal of increasing my post-count this year. Ideally I’d like to hit 365. That doesn’t mean posting every day, necessarily (I didn’t post yesterday); but would need me to post several times per day. Even inconsequential fripperies like this.

The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick (Books 2020, 30)

The first of my Christmas books, so I could count it as next year’s; but since I had finished it by the day after Boxing Day, it definitely belongs to this year. And it also brings me to a nice round 30 books for the year.

A writer is isolated in a lonely alpine chalet to write about a book he hates. Which very quickly turns out to be Frankenstein. He is visited by — well, that would be telling, but just let’s say that the novel he’s writing about and its creator are very significant.

It’s written — at least at first — as if it was the writer writing to his publisher, though that conceit soon disappears. There are various details around the way it’s printed, that look as if they should be significant, but they aren’t really.

It’s good. Check it out.