Archives for 25 January 2013

Font trouble

Upgraded today to WordPress 3.5.1. This broke the WebINK plugin, so my custom fonts no longer display correctly. (Oddly, they do appear on the site admin pages; just not on the site itself.)

I have issued a cry for help to the folks at WebINK, and may follow up with an APB on the WordPress forums. If anybody reading this has any ideas how to fix the plugin, please do let me know.

Meanwhile, I apologize to you all for the clumsiness of the default fonts. The design is still the same; only the typefaces have been changed to protect the innocent — or, in this case, the howlingly guilty.

Update, 18:10: My WebINK fonts display correctly in the default WP theme, and (for the most part) in the default theme for the Genesis framework. Genesis substitutes its own header fonts for mine; Prose substitutes header and body fonts.

More as events develop (or not).

Update, 18:13: Italics and bold type are displaying in Arno Pro, as they ought. Plain text is displaying in Palatino, as it definitely ought not. This bug has hidden depths.

Zeno’s mountains

A new essai to follow ‘Death carries a camcorder’. The meme that gave rise to my original LiveJournal pieces asked for ‘ten things I hate in a book’; but being under no obligation to stick to the original terms, I add to the list ad libitum.

According to local legend, one of the first tourists to visit Calgary (then a Northwest Mounted Police fort with a few civilian outbuildings) was an Englishman of energetic habits but not, it seems, with any wide experience of the world. One morning, having rested from the rigours of his journey, he decided to take his morning constitutional by walking to the Rocky Mountains and back.

In those days you could see the mountains easily from the N.W.M.P. fort, small but sharp and clear on the western horizon. In England, of course, nothing looks sharp and clear more than a few miles away. In that mild and humid air, every distant object is more or less obscured and coloured by haze: minor English poets can always eke out their verses with facile rubbish about ‘blue remembered hills’. In the dry cold highlands of Alberta, there is no such haze; objects on the horizon, on a sunny day, are very nearly as clear as those immediately at hand. But our English tourist knew nothing of this, and set out with the idea of visiting the mountains and getting back to the fort in time for breakfast.

Five or six miles out, the Englishman, who must already have been rather footsore and perplexed, clambered up the long ridge that would later be called Signal Hill. Cresting the ridge, he would have been appalled to discover a wide plain sloping gently down for several miles before him. Beyond that rose the first tumbled range of the true foothills, towards which, disappointed but not daunted, he plodded on. Behind that range is the Kananaskis valley, and then the last range of foothills before the beginning of the actual mountains — some fifty miles west of Fort Calgary as the crow flies.

Several days later, a searching party found the Englishman and brought him back to the fort to recuperate.

Something rather similar happens to writers who visit Elfland; even today, when the map of that country has been scribbled over with marked trails and motorways, the lesson of distance is one that every traveller must discover for himself. [Read more…]