Category: Blog

The Unicorn Clarified

Today is National Unicorn Day, which is always a day of celebration for my blog. I wish everyone a Happy Unicorn Day! And may we all be very successful catching unicorns today, and every day.

Newcomers to this blog may wonder what I mean by “unicorn,” and sometimes I worry they may get the wrong idea. So be advised, newbies, that I define a unicorn as anything that is unique. There are many other definitions that are quite valid elsewhere, but not here.

For instance, there’s the classic definition, of the mythical beast with one horn. And in fact, I use that beast as a symbol for uniqueness. But it’s just a symbol. It isn’t the uniqueness itself.

Other animals have also been called unicorns. For instance, there’s the Hercules beetle, which has a horn-like prominence on its head. And then there’s the Schizura unicornis caterpillar, which has a large horn sticking out of it’s back, near it’s head. And as for flying unicorns, there’s the Kamichi, or Unicorn Bird (also known as a Horned Screamer).

A pod of narwhals.

As for swimming unicorns, in the Arctic sea we have the narwhal, which has a single-horned tusk sticking out of it’s forehead. During medieval times, these tusks were often passed off as unicorn horns, and were considered to have magical properties.

In the swinger world, a unicorn is a polyamorous woman who loves threesomes, as such women are considered to be very rare.

Given that unicorns are often associated with rainbows, the unicorn has become a symbol of the LGBT+ community.

The unicorn label has been applied to a person with three or more skills, in a new field of expertise, or to any exceptional employee with rare qualities, just due to the rareness of such a worker.

And in finance, a unicorn is a startup company with a valuation of over one billion dollars, that has not gone public yet.

This is just a small sampling of the many ways the term “unicorn” has been bandied about. It seems to be a very versatile word.

Therefore, for the sake of clarity, let me emphasize that this blog is not about exotic animals, polyamorous women, the LGBT+ community, skilled employees, startup companies, or anything else, except where that thing is rare, novel, unusual, weird, odd, unheard-of, or otherwise unique.

So here’s wishing everyone many unique and enjoyable experiences on this National Unicorn Day!

Blogoholics Anonymous

“Uh . . . my name is T-Tippy. And . . . um . . .” This was so embarrassing. I looked toward my sponsor sitting in the front row. He smiled and nodded as if trying to encourage me. I continued, but it wasn’t easy. “Um . . . I’m a . . . um . . . I’m a blogoholic!”

I just blurted it out. I wanted to shrink into a tiny little mouse and scurry out of the room. But then, to my amazement, everyone in the audience smiled and said in unison, “Hello Tippy! Welcome to Blogoholics Anonymous!” That one bit of encouragement steadied me. I stood up a little straighter. My embarrassment drained away. I smiled, because I knew at that moment that they were one of me, and I was one of them. It was almost as good as getting three dozen likes on one of my posts.

I confessed my whole story. I told them how I’d started out blogging seven years ago. I testified to how harmless it felt , and how I rationalized to myself that this was the best way possible I could spend my time. And it was not much time. Just a little bit at first. Heck, I only posted once every couple of weeks. And I hardly ever commented on anyone else’s posts.

But then, little by little, I became entangled in the Gordian knot of blogging. I posted more and more frequently. My brain excogitated more and more often about what I could post next. I ventured into commenting more frequently on other blogs. And down the vortex I was swallowed. I tried resisting, but it was all for naught.

Eventually, every waking minute was monopolized by my blogging habit. If I wasn’t writing a post, I was thinking up a post. Or I was haunting my blogging buddies and trying to come up with a funny clever thing to say on every single one of their posts. Every single one!

Yes, I confessed this. I confessed it all. And you know what? They understood! It was like, been there done that for them. They shared their stories too, and I recognized the same blogging bug in them that I had been infected with.

At the end of the meeting my sponsor gave me a warm hug, and shook my hand. He told me how proud he was that I had finally taken that big step and admitted to being a blogoholic. He had other things to tell me too, but I couldn’t stand around talking much longer. I had to go, so I begged off learning these other things until the next meeting.

You see, I was so excited about this new experience at Blogoholics Anonymous, that I couldn’t wait to get home and write a post about it.

10 Block Editor Tips

I’ve been struggling up the learning curve of WordPress’s infamous Block Editor. I like the Block Editor, but it took about three calls to the Suicide Prevention Hotline before I finally became comfortable with it. Now I’ve almost entirely abandoned the Classic Editor.

Goodbye, Classic Editor! You were a class act, but now there’s a new kid on the block.

WP has done a very good job at hiding some useful features, some of which seem like very basic features. Such as, how to add a line of text directly below the current line, while staying in the same paragraph. Poets and listmakers would appreciate how to do this.

Google has been helpful, and I’ve discovered other solutions by accident and trial-and-error. There’s much more to figure out, so I wouldn’t consider myself an expert.

If you have any questions, I recommend trying Google. I can’t be anyone’s personal tutor because I’m still piss-poor at this, and even worse at explaining technical things to others. Besides, I’m impatient with people who are as slow at learning things as myself.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d pass along, to the best of my doofus brain’s limited ability, ten of my most useful discoveries. I hope this will benefit anyone else who’s been battling the Block Editor.

10 Block Editor Tips

  1. To add a line directly below a line, within the same Paragraph Block, such as when you’re typing a poem or compiling a list, press the Shift+Enter keys.
  2. To change the text color of part of a Paragraph Block, rather than the entire block, select the text, then hover over the down arrow in the top menu, which will reveal the words, “More rich text controls.” Select that down arrow, then select “Text Color.”
  3. To make text wrap around an image, select the image, then hover your cursor over the various, funny-looking boxes in the top menu, until your cursor displays, “Change alignment.” Click here, then choose a left or right alignment. You will also likely have to reduce the size of the image. How to do this should be fairly obvious, after you select the image.
  4. If you copy and paste text to the Block Editor, and it appears with the ugly gray, “Classic Editor” background, hover over the box to the left of the up and down arrows, in the top menu, and your cursor should display the words, “Change block type or style.” Click on this box, and then choose “Transform to . . . Paragraph.” This will remove the gray background and convert the text to Paragraph format.
  5. To add a new Paragraph Block, without having to go through all the rigmarole of clicking on the Plus “+” sign box, position your cursor at the end of an existing Paragraph Block, and press the “Enter” key. A fresh, new, blank Paragraph Block will appear directly below.
  6. To move a block of text, or an image, or any other type of block, select the block, then click on the up or down arrow in the top menu.
  7. To instantly delete a block, select the block, then press the Shift+Alt+Z keys.
  8. To undo some dumb, fool thing that you just did, press the Ctrl-Z keys.
  9. To save text as a reusable block, click inside the block, then click the three vertical dots in the top, right menu. Choose, “Add to Reusable Blocks.” To name or delete the block, click the Plus “+” sign in the top-left menu. Then choose the “Reusable” tab. Then click on the “Manage all reusable blocks” link.
  10. To insert a reusable block into a post, click the Plus “+” sign in the top-left menu. Then choose the “Reusable” tab. Then find the block with the name you’ve assigned to it, that you’re looking for, and click that block. It will insert into your post. If you want to edit it within the post, you must immediately choose, “Convert to regular blocks” in the top menu. Do this immediately, or this option will disappear from the top menu. Then you’ll have to delete the block and start all over again.

Here’s a very useful, 20-minute YouTube tutorial on how to use the Block Editor. It just covers the basics, but I found the information very helpful at transitioning from the Classic Editor. And a big shoutout to the Widow Badass, for bringing this tutorial to my attention:

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