Mon. Jan. 14, 2013: NMLC’s Successful Seal Release!


Monday, January 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Foggy and mild

The weekend here was very mild, but it was foggy. Sunday was a brilliant day, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Worked hard on Friday and Saturday, a lot of hours at the desk, not feeling a lot of accomplishment, unfortunately. I’m still struggling to get the right tone on the sample with the proposal, and getting discouraged. Worked with students. I need to figure out how to promote the small books more effectively — both the fiction shorts and the non-fiction Topic Workbooks. I also need to figure out how to enlarge the covers — that’s the only obstacle right now to getting into the premium catalogue — their system says my covers are “too small”. Yet, when I check the pixels, the jpg has what they ask for. I don’t get it. I’m frustrated.

I’m also not happy with “That Man in Tights”. It needs more work than I originally thought. I’m not going to release it until it’s the best it can be, but right now, that’s farther away than I would like.

The details are up for the workshop “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects.” It only runs three days, it’s only $30. You bring in abandoned projects and we take a second look; we see what has potential, and what needs to be put to rest for good, and then we come up with a way to get them onto your schedule and get them done. Info and registration here.

Sunday was release day for Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan, the NMLC’s seal patient that came in and was so badly injured. I was at the Center before nine, photographed MM’s final feeding and playtime with Townsend, the other seal patient. Then, she was loaded into her crate and into the animal ambulance. We had a caravan to Scusset Beach, where about 150 people gathered to see her off. Her crate was carried over the dunes to the beach, a pathway cleared to the water, and the door opened.

She was a bit hesitant at first, especially with so many humans around. The waves grew larger and more insistent, as though they called her home. She lit up when she realized what it was, and paddled herself down the sand and into the surf. She was truly HAPPY, joyful, to be back in the surf, and it was so wonderful to see an animal who’d been so critically injured back in her habitat.

It was a beautiful experience.

And it was great how many kids and families. et al, were all there, excited and supportive.

After we were done at the beach and cleared up, we headed back to the hospital; did some rearranging in the kitchen, a lot of scrubbing (there’s always a lot of scrubbing involved). We cleaned Townsend’s tank and refilled it — he was completely befuddled about what had gone on. I think yesterday was more stressful for him than for Major Margaret. But even the turtles in the other tank were sticking their heads up, wondering what was going on.

The other volunteers and staff kept working in the hospital and I headed to Osterville Library where Kathy Zagzebski, the Executive Director of NMLC, was giving a talk. Osterville built themselves a new library and it is GORGEOUS. Beautiful space, and we were in a terrific meeting room. Kathy’s presentation was great, and there were some wonderful questions, especially from the kids. I helped Kathy clean up, came home, uploaded my photos, and then collapsed in front of the TV to watch the Golden Globes. The cats were delighted, because I still smelled like herring.

Tiny Fay and Amy Poehler were GREAT as hosts. And there was a minimum of stupid banter, either from hosts or presenters. It always sounds fake anyway, so just skip it, people.

I started Sunday feeling very blue about a lot of things — and then had a good laugh, because the songs playing on the radio as I headed for the bridge were “This Girl is on Fire” and “Don’t Stop Believing”, which felt like they were a direct response to what was going through my mind.

It would up being a wonderful, wonderful day!

I have a LOT to do today, especially getting the play organized and start the writing — the title’s set, MURDER SEALS THE DEAL, with the play on words for “seal” — that I better get going. I also have a budget meeting for the Beautification Committee this afternoon, and have to get some material together for that.

Finished all my Cosmology homework on Saturday, but am still behind on Astronomy. It’s all fascinating, I just can’t keep up with sometimes 15 lectures per week that run 40 minutes or more. Thank goodness I’m only auditing, and have a little extra time.


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  1. What a lovely experience! Great to see her going back to her habitat. Those people do great work.

    • The people connected with NMLC are the best of the best, all the way around!

  2. About the cover size issue – this is just a guess, but I’ve run into similar issues, and even if the dimensions in pixels are as large as specified, the system may also check file size and have a minimum size which is not documented. (The smaller the file size, the more likely it has been compressed to a point where the resolution is poor. I’m not saying this is the case for your files – I haven’t even seen them 🙂 – but attempting to explain the reasoning that could lie behind this. And automatic checking routines are mindless.)

    • I’m following up on my earlier comment, because I’ve tried to run down what might be causing your issue. I say “might” because I don’t have an inside track to anyone’s system: I just try to learn how to deal with these issues in self-defense.

      In addition to file size, it is possible – although there is no rational reason for this, as it could be easily reset – that the image dimensions are “wrong”. Since all that matters is the pixel count, this would be absurd, but it is possible. Say their system is set for an image resolution of 100 dpi, and your image’s properties are set to 300 dpi – in that theoretical case, your image would be “too small”. Images are so easy to rescale there is no real reason for this, but that doesn’t seem to stop sloppy developers. 😉

      I hope one of my suggestions helps…

      • Ray, thank you so much. I’m going to look into that in more depth, and see if I can wiggle the dimensions a bit. A cover they previously rejected they just accepted, so I’m hoping maybe reloading a cover in a larger size is one solution.

        Thank you so much for taking time to respond in such depth.

  3. Foggy? We had that all the way down here, along the Hudson River, just north of the NJ border. On the way home from my son’s basketball game, the kids looks out the car window to see the river… missing. Like the edge of the world.

    • Oh, I know exactly the area you mean. It’s kind of spooky-cool when it does that, isn’t it? Careful driving!

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