I love having websites again

I love having websites again

Read on for news about Divi’s Black Friday sale.  I use it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to play at building webspaces.

I had a “nerdy” hobby in college back in the 90’s.  I was a fanatic about the World Wide Web.  With Netscape Communicator, I was able to compose a webpage for myself, kind of a collection of odd bookmarks.  Then I made some education resources (my major).  One of them was even published in a collection of must-see web resources that circulated around academia.

But that’s not all – I created one of the most popular (at the time) fan resources for my favorite two TV series of the time: Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena: Warrior Princess.

Why stop there?  Blogging was a new thing.  After concluding that Communicator was too clunky for the task and becoming a fan of the WYSIWYG power of Adobe Pagemill, I decided to take the plunge and hop on the Radio Userland bandwagon.  Yes, it took a lot more technical chops to set it up, but once you did, it was easier to manage a blog with.  After Radio Userland went under, I moved to WordPress, the clear leader at the time.  But for some reason, blogging grew tedious.

Half of the fun. in hindsight, was the design process.  I liked putting an artistic stamp on my websites.  WordPress has so many themes available, but customizing from there can be quite prohibitive for a pure hobbyist with limited time to learn coding.

Then I discovered Divi.  Now I love having websites again!  I play and create in my own web playground of about 10 distinct sites now.  When I’m not writing content, I’m making them all prettier and easier to navigate.  Divi makes the later tasks a joy.

I encourage you to try it out.  Black Friday is the best chance to jump onboard, and their 2020 sale is packed with prizes and perks.  Speaking of chances, full disclosure: I have a chance to win a prize from Elegant Themes, makers of my beloved Divi for WordPress, for their Black Friday promotion.

Click here for Divi’s Black Friday Sale!

Robot World Chess Match

As a child, I had a variety of chess programs on hardware ranging from Atari, Amiga, and Windows PC. I played them against each other regularly – in tournaments and in “championship” matches. I recorded everything and even tried to approximate their Elo ratings.  Yes, I was a little geeky…back then.

All the moves had to be entered by hand on my part from one program to the other.  Of course if I had a setup like this, it would have been a lot more fun.

Saturn up close

Years ago, when I was just dabbling around trying to find my blog voice, I wrote a small entry about my excitement for the Cassini mission to Saturn.  I’ve come across this short film a couple of times over the last month, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you (and posting my first video to the blog at the same time).

I hope you enjoy it!

CASSINI MISSION from Chris Abbas on Vimeo.




If you know me, you know that during the winter months, I dive in and invest the lion’s share of my time and energy in teaching.  My wife and I have discovered that you simply can’t achieve optimal student outcomes unless you approach their education with a sense of urgency.

That means time has been pinched for performing projects on our new home.  I haven’t done as much as I wanted to do in my first year here, but there are a few months left.  Here are a few odd tasks already checked off the list.

When we first moved into our new space, we prioritized a few areas of furniture needs.  As economically as possible, we chose a few quality pieces.  Economically may be translated as “assembly required.”  After many hours of slow, deliberate work, we have a couple of nice desks and a highboy.

One thing that I hate to do is put holes in the walls, and one thing that girls want is lots of stuff on the walls.  So, after finding out where she wanted things (actually that was not difficult, I just listened to her showing the house to visitors and telling them where everything will go), I surprised her by hanging some stuff, including her picture calendar, a kitchen towel holder, her ship’s wheel clock (one of the first presents I got for her when we were dating), and the lighthouse key holder.

What a winter to be initiated into the Society of Driveway Shovelers!  Three major snows are one thing, but when the sky dumps over 22 inches that I have to remove in strata like an archeological site, that’s what I call a “baptism by fire.”  I got everything off in plenty of time to go back to school after the snow days.

Flash forward to Spring, and I’m mounting a “Topsy Turvy” tomato growing contraption on my deck, along with a rain gauge.  Getting a working mower was a different problem, as I invested many days working on two candidates with no luck.  For my first mowing of the lawn, I had to borrow a mower from a friend.

Most psychologists agree that mowing your lawn is excellent therapy for the troubled mind.  Okay, I’m not sure if that’s a universally true statement, but it sure fits for me (my apologies to Linus VanPelt).  It’s hot now, 90 degree days, so I don’t mow the whole yard, front, back, and sides in one sitting, but I still find a certain catharsis in the activity.

Star Hustler

Star Hustler

Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

Some people hustle pool,
Some people hustle cars,
But have you ever heard about
The man who hustles stars?

I don’t stay up as late as I used to, but when I was a teenager, I watched Jack Horkheimer regularly and planned my week’s nightly sky observations accordingly. Always presented with his trademark panache, his passion for astronomy was infectious. He will be missed.