I had been planning to post a lot more about Vietnam over the last couple of weeks but have been pulling my hair out trying to get WordPress to properly display Vietnamese characters written in the romanized script, quốc ngữ. Now, after going round & round with my hosting company & looking online to see how other people have solved the problem, I think I have it figured out. At first I was feeling pretty frustrated with Bluehost, but once I got to “level III” tech support, they kept working with me until between us we got the problem solved. I think. Later, I’ll post a complete rundown of the problem & its solution, but for now I want to get back to writing about Vietnam, which is very hard to do if you cannot use properly displayed Vietnamese text.
Update: Almost fixed, apparently. When I write T?i c? . . . (I can . . .) in the blog entry title, it mangles it, but then gets the res of the sentence right.
Leaving for Vietnam Monday morning & hoping travel will kickstart my blogging. Blogging always seems like such a good idea, but somehow I have seldom gotten around to posting lately. Presumably, I’ll have some reactions to my travels & will post some pictures. Maybe I’ll even get serious & try to say something about the work I’m doing in Vietnam. Oh, yeah–new theme here. Never really got use to the last one. The latest version of WordPress is pretty amazing, so I have got no excuse whatsoever not to blog my ass off.
I stopped blogging last summer — not really consciously — because I was doing so much reading. I must have read a dozen books in July & August about cosmology & quantum physics & I may write something about those before long. Basically, what I learned is that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy. But mostly I’ve been reading fiction & in particular Henry James. I started with The American, then in quick succession read Washington Square (which I had read before), Portrait of a Lady, & The Ambassadors. I mixed in some of the shorter tales as I went along, including “The Figure in the Carpet” & a rereading of “The Jolly Corner.” I’m probably forgetting a few. And yesterday I finished Edel’s one-volume version of his massive five-volume biography. Along the way I read David Lodge’s Author, Author, which takes as its subject a five year period in James’s middle years in which he attempted without much success to write for the stage. Along the way I read Lodge’s essay, “Consciousness and the Novel,” which is mostly motivated by a concern for understanding James’s depiction of personality, though it ranges into modern neuroscience and philosophy as well. About half-way through the sequence just noted, I paused to read Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend in order to see what the novel had looked like in the decade before James.
And that was just one little piece of my reading in recent months. I think I’ll be using the blog in the near future to review a good deal of this recent reading, returning to the original impulse under which I started blogging, which was to record a writer’s notes on his reading.
I’ll begin updating the site again in the first week of January. Working on a new look.
More than a month since I’ve posted anything here & it was pretty sparse for a couple of months before that. Clearly, my attitude toward blogging has changed — though without my being particularly aware of it — over the last several months. So I’m going to redesign the site in the coming weeks, though I’m not quite sure what that will entail. In the meantime, I’m planning a series of posts recounting my recent reading, beginning with a stack of science books I’ve read over the last several months.