Tag Archives: Tools

weren’t exactly Dog ate my Homework (The Stuff Field)

Buddhism says that everything is an illusion to which at least one man replied they were (still) really great noodles. Other people say the only meaning events and things have is that which we give them. If that’s true, why not reimagine the forces that shape our lives as a set of fields comparable of those of the fundamental forces of physics including gravity, electricity.

The first one I noticed is the Stuff Field. For a while we were so poor

Stuff field as the event horizon nears collapse

that at the end of every month, we waited for G*d to parachute in the rent. Even though we couldn’t pay for the bills and afford food, the stuff. still. just. showed. up. I don’t mean that people brought us stuff. I mean that it literally just showed up. Maybe it was abandoned, maybe it fell off a truck, maybe it appeared out of thin air. Things just appear in the living room, on the driveway, on the backporch, in the trunk. When I tell people that there is a Stuff Field in America, a field that just naturally pulls stuff to everyone who lives here, the recognition shows up on their faces and they start nodding.

Over the last few years, the assortment of stuff that the field has pushed at us has spread into every room in our house: drinking glasses, a push broom, some hand tools, recycling tubs, scrap lumber and on and on until it’s become a standard part of the flow of stuff that eventually passes on from us to others. The latest thing the stuff field has pushed at me is an aqua green women’s bike. After three days of walking out with my first cup of coffee to ponder its aqua green stuff-ness, I surrendered and rolled it on to the porch. It has, by the way, two flat tubes but is otherwise functional and looking to be adopted by someone who appreciates its particular stuff-y-ness.

My wife and I keep discussing this American Stuff Field. We both agree that the stuff field is (on one hand) completely made up idea, and (on the other) a poetic way to reslice some truth about living in America today out of the illusion. And, this poetic truth can be tested. Like a science theory, it’s a model and it makes a prediction about stuff just showing up in essentially inexplicable ways. Help me test my theory. If you can think of at least one notable item that has “just appeared” in your life, comment or tweet it with the hashtag #stuffField


Writing in WordPress: Fixing the sidebar

I publish new pieces four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Just over a week into the new schedule, and things are breaking down. Just not where I expected. The biggest break down has been around release. One piece, “We are Toolmaker” went from being one short article into a couple of posts into a series. And I kept forgetting to look over to the right and go ‘oh yeah’ and change the release date.

It struck me that having a lightning fast way to go to the step I’m handling in the new > draft > pending > scheduled > published workflow would be brilliant. Some searching of WordPress plugins turned upĀ Admin Menu Editor which let me edit the menu on the left side of the admin area. With a little fiddling, ‘All Posts’ was gone from my Posts menu and ‘Add New’ was followed by each step in the workflow.

Here’s what I created with my fiddling. My writing workflow flows from the top left down just the way I read things, click, my Pending articles including this very article:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin Results
A little visual WordPress Workflow

The tool is intuitive, especially for this. If I wanted to see the list of Pending articles, I pulled up that page (and sorted it the way I wanted) and copied and pasted the page’s url (the http://… address at the top) into a new item in menu editor.

Here, on the left, it shows we’re in the Posts section. On the right are the menu items under Posts including the Pending menu item. I like shorter links, so I trimmed the fluff off the front of the url for Pending:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin -- Adding an Item
WordPress Menu Editor Plugin: Adding an Item