Like all right-thinking people who spent formative years in the 80s, I am a huge fan of the song “Friday, I’m in love” by The Cure.

The song is great overall, but there’s one line in particular that pops up in my mind when I’m not doing so well. “Thursday doesn’t even start”*.

Yesterday didn’t start for me.

I woke up in a very ‘clenched’ mood – anxious and dreading the day. Because I had an appointment with my trainer at 9:30, I had just talked myself into getting up but just in case, I checked my email from bed just in case she might email saying she couldn’t make it. To my relief, she had.

That was it for the day. No studying WordPress, no exercising, nothing of the kind of thing that makes me feel better about myself. I spent the day on Twitter and Facebook, becoming increasingly despairing of the world as I read about the Ray Rice video.

I finally managed to dig myself out of it at 5, when I had to go meet Bill at the pool. We recently decided to start swimming on Fridays and Mondays and since I had all the swimming stuff, I had to go or he wouldn’t be able to swim. I managed 500m (up from 400m on Friday) but the tight, clenched feeling that had been in charge all day had tired me out and I was finding it hard to catch my breath. I waited in the hot tub until he was done).

The part that’s additionally frustrating about that kind of day is that somewhere inside me, I know that if I just did something, anything, the momentum could be enough to carry me forward. So on top of feeling terrible all day, I beat myself up about not doing something to help myself. (Then I beat myself up for beating myself up. Don’t worry, I got this covered.)

I took a Nytol and went to bed early. Slept about 10 hours, but at least I slept.

Today has started. I’m going to yoga this morning, meeting with a financial panther this afternoon, and teaching scuba this evening. At the Shambhala retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago, someone quoted this phrase from the Rainer Maria Rilke poem “Go to the limits of your longing”:  “No feeling is final.” I was telling myself that a lot yesterday and today I am reassured that it’s true.

*Actually, that song has depression pretty well nailed with a few of their Thursdays. “Watch the walls instead” is also a good description of those days. I know the other days talk about some pretty bleak feelings too, but those Thursdays. Man.


Dinner, and the ‘recipe’ shortcode

As mentioned, I’m gonna try ’em out.
We’re having this for dinner but, us being us, we needed to alter the recipe slightly. Happily, that makes for an excellent opportunity to try out’s ‘recipe‘ shortcode.


  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned seasoned rice vinegar (b/c that’s what we had in house)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) 2 fresh red cayenne peppers
  • 1 3 tablespoons grated peeled ginger
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium what are we, monks? soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper I actually forgot this, but who cares, it’s fine without
  • 1 teaspoon sugar using the seasoned rice vinegar made up the sweetness
  • 2 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided again, we ain’t monks here.
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds hanger steak, central membrane removed, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives didn’t have, don’t care


The same as in the original except I didn’t notice that only 1 of the 2 garlic cloves was supposed to go into the marinade. So 5 went in. That reminded me that I never approve of aggregating side dish ingredients into the main ingredient list – that’s unnecessarily confusing when there are statements like “add the oil” or “add 1 garlic clove”. Please split that out into separate ingredient lists and instructions. Best way is to have a distinct recipe for each dish & to link ’em back & forth. If you want to make a ‘meal plan’ easier, provide a link to an aggregated shopping list, but do so in a way that allows people to use checkboxes to decide what they want to include or exclude.

For the record, “recipe” is not a very interesting shortcode. You still have to separate your recipe into lists and text on your own. This is a minor formatting shortcode that I could probably do without.

Another shortcode

My last post is still a work in progress as I wait for a response to my question on the support forums. The punchline at the end was going to be that I was mixing and functionality and that’s why the shortcodes weren’t working on my self-hosted site – they’re native to .com, but not .org. In my self-hosted install, I did manage to replace the native gallery functionality with the plugin in the linked article and  that gave me a better understanding of how shortcodes work. As a (lapsed) programmer, I’d describe shortcodes to other programmers as ‘handlers’ or ‘callbacks’ that are registered with WordPress to be invoked when the shortcode is encountered in a post. 90% of my programming back in the day was done in C and Java, so PHP is a fun new world for me.

Since the point of this series of posts is for me to build up my WP muscles, I will press on to try out some other shortcodes. The available shortcodes are described here but I don’t actively use many of those services (I have a Flickr account but haven’t touched it since Yahoo bought Flickr).

But I DO use Twitter. And here’s the proof (via shortcode)

I’m also verrrrry interested in this one. [I’m’a comin’ for ya, Elise!]


Trouble with shortcodes

OK, so on the previous post I was attempting to show how shortcodes were more readable in some situations than raw HTML and ended up down a rabbithole trying to get them to display as expected. I’m going to document what happened (including screenshots) here so I can point the WordPress Happiness Engineers and the community to it & hopefully be illuminated.

In the Visual Editor, I had this, with the raw HTML enclosed in the ‘code’ shortcode block above, and the corresponding googlemaps shortcode code in the block below:visual_editor_unsaved

Switching to the text editor showed this:text_editor_unsaved

All well & good. But when I saved the post, the HTML vanished! (The shortcode code stayed.)

Visual editor:visual_editor_saved

Text editor:text_editor_saved

Yet when I actually loaded the post for view, the shortcode text had been reverse-engineered into HTML! (obviously the top block is empty because the raw HTML was removed when it was saved)saved_rendered


What I’d like to do is quote the raw HTML in the top block and the actual shortcode code in the bottom. Clearly I’m doing something wrong here but as far as I can tell, I’m following the instructions for the code shortcode correctly.

Is this a special case involving quoting iframes? or a special case around trying to embed shortcodes themselves?

.org vs .com

[caveat – I am definitely having trouble with the ‘code’ shortcode and will be asking the support forums for help. The below makes no sense until I get it sorted out – ignore for now]


In addition to ramping up familiarity with, I am studying up on building self-hosted sites with WordPress itself. I was following ShibaShake’s instructions on creating your own gallery plug-in yesterday and began to familiarize myself with WordPress’s shortcodes.

Shortcodes are just an alternate way to insert specific types of content into your posts, but they are a little bit easier to read than raw HTML because they are named meaningfully – they explicitly state what they are.

Compare, for example, the HTML to embed a Google Map in your post:


with the corresponding shortcode:

Now admittedly, the arguments to the googlemaps shortcode are pretty ugly on their own, but at least you know at a glance that it’s a map that’s being embedded.

Now actually using the shortcode to embed the map of Molokini crater. I assume those are dive boats in the centre.

Getting off the couch

I quit my job at the end of June. I’ve been increasingly unhappy, angry, in fact, for the last few years and I finally realized that I was going through the motions of trying to build a career that I just wasn’t that interested in. Because I am lucky enough to be in a situation where I don’t need to keep working at a job that I don’t like, I decided to take some time off to try to figure out what I do like – when you’re angry all the time, you can’t always tell.

I haven’t done much on that front so far this summer. I have done a few things that I’m pleased with – am working with a personal trainer, attended a meditation retreat, have started getting back into teaching scuba again and done some volunteering – but any time I’ve thought about ‘work’, I’ve recoiled from the concept and haven’t even been able to concentrate to try to learn new things.

But I think I’ve turned a corner. Yesterday, I spent a bunch of time playing with a local WordPress install, and my long-dormant curiousity is starting to show signs of ending hibernation. This week I’m going to work on getting myself ramped up on One of my goals is to be able to work from anywhere in the world, and there seem to be a lot of good opportunities  for that with WordPress work.

This post is to foreshadow what I expect will be a lot of fairly nonsensical posts over the next few weeks while I try out the features of