Trying out, and getting my print articles online

July 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm | In FOCUS_Magazine, victoria, writing | 2 Comments

Ok, one down — or “up(loaded),” actually — and four to go…

Via the fabulous and easy-to-use Scribd, here’s an online PDF of my March 2008 article, published in FOCUS Magazine, Victorian Fables: Does Victoria have an urban planning blindspot?

I’m going to take another day or two to get the others up, alas.  First I have figure out how merge two separatly scanned pages into one document before uploading to Scribd.

Sometimes the simplest challenges manage to knock me sideways…

Articles page updated

February 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm | In FOCUS_Magazine, housekeeping | Comments Off on Articles page updated

It took a while, but I just uploaded my February 2008 FOCUS Magazine article, Ditch height restrictions; adopt “good design” prescriptions to my Articles published (etc.) page.

Might take a while to download, but it’s up.

(Update, 12/17/08: I changed the link for this article to direct readers to Scribd, which is where all my articles are uploaded to now.)

My FOCUS articles online (updated)

January 6, 2008 at 1:18 pm | In FOCUS_Magazine, housekeeping, writing | Comments Off on My FOCUS articles online (updated)

Slowly but surely, I’m getting there: scanning my FOCUS Magazine articles and converting them into PDFs, which I’m posting to my Articles published in FOCUS Magazine page, link visible at the top of this blog’s header.

So far, I have posted November 2006, December 2006, February 2007 through June 2007 (I didn’t have an article in the January 2007 issue), as well as the September 2007 and December 2007 articles.  Each title (clickable) is followed by a brief description as it appeared in the header of the published article (sometimes written by the magazine’s editor, sometimes written by me).

I still need to fix / eliminate a couple of “text only” PDFs, which I started with and which a couple of blog posts still link to.

A cautionary note: for some reason, the PDFs take eons to load. It’s not your connection, it’s not your computer. It’s the documents and the server. So just be patient if you actually do want to click through to read any of these pieces.

(Update, 12/17/08: I changed all the links for the Focus articles to direct readers to Scribd, which is where all my articles are uploaded to now.  The articles now load quickly, no hassle.)

Gateway Green (Victoria)

January 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm | In architecture, arts, FOCUS_Magazine, green, victoria | Comments Off on Gateway Green (Victoria)

I just discovered that the developer of Gateway Green, a new Class A office building that’s going up in Victoria this year, put my December FOCUS article online as a PDF (with the publisher’s and my permission). My article discusses Xane St.Phillips’s living wall design for this building. Go read Not just another brick in the wall (PDF) and learn about an exciting new project for Victoria.

Update: the article is now also available on my Articles published in FOCUS Magazine page.

Reading ease redux

October 31, 2007 at 9:39 am | In FOCUS_Magazine, just_so, writing | Comments Off on Reading ease redux

Exactly one week ago I posted an entry called Writing for magazines: what level of difficulty? It was about achieving that supposedly magical “grade nine” level of writing (*). Well, I’m a recidivist, I guess …back- (or is that “up-“?) sliding to a more-comfortable-for-me number. I finished my December article for FOCUS Magazine, and here’s what google doc’s “word count analysis” tells me:


Average sentences per paragraph: 4.85
Average words per sentence: 13.14
Average characters per word: 5.80
Average words per page: 414.00
Flesch Reading Ease: [?] 39.21
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: [?] 11.00
Automated Readability Index: [?] 12.00

Oh well, eh? According to Wikipedia’s entry on the Flesch-Kincaid index, I just escaped the Harvard Law Review orbit…!

(*) And, mea culpa, I just looked at that entry from Oct.24 and realize that the read-out wasn’t fully reproduced. I will try to find the old draft now and fix/ update last week’s entry — the point was that my “Flesch Reading Ease” was somewhere in the 50s (I think?), and the “Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level” was 9.

Writing for a magazine: what level of difficulty?

October 24, 2007 at 12:12 pm | In creativity, FOCUS_Magazine, writing | Comments Off on Writing for a magazine: what level of difficulty?

(see update, bottom of this entry)

I’m in the middle of returning to an article for the December issue of FOCUS Magazine, the Victoria monthly for which I’m a regular contributor. My column is called “City Smarts,” and I’m usually limited to 800 words — which is really tough for someone as loquacious as I am. I spend most of my time whittling, editing, deleting, and sometimes telescoping waayyyy too much, which then means more editing to make the whole thing more comprehensible again. I have to pay plenty of attention to being comprehensible: people whose intelligence I don’t especially seek to emulate have told me that they don’t understand a word of what I write on my blog, but let’s face it: here in my blog domain I don’t have to keep an eye on popularity anyway because that’s just the kind of stubborn, ornery person I am. For the magazine, however, that’s a different story altogether. I really have to …well, focus!

I typically have these BIG ideas and only so few words to express them, which means that every word counts. Hard. I can’t afford to be obscure, fey, overly intellectual, snooty, …heck, none of the things I so enjoy doing on my blog! 🙂

So there I am, in the midst of this draft (number five million and three), and because I’m also working on another text (totally unrelated to FOCUS) and using google docs, I thought it would be easier to have two tabs open and write them both in that format. Since word count matters, I clicked on that feature (found under the “file” tab), and saw something new: my 400+ words so far (see?, I really am in the middle of this thing, never mind that the middle I have might not be the middle I end up with — ditto for the beginning…) have scores for readability. “What’s this?” I think to myself. I see something about a grade level, and I’m reminded of something I read about blog popularity and grade levels: that blogs written at grade 9 level or below are most popular…

I click through on the little question mark next to my “readability” score for the 400+ words I have so far, to this wikipedia page: Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Well, who knew? I didn’t. See how much I don’t know?

Here’s my little assessment:


oops, see update, below…

For some reason, this algorithmic assessment makes me feel uncomfortable — despite hitting the magic “grade 9” level tone… And I’m certainly not sure that I want to work hard all the time just to get my blog to that supposedly magic number, even if it did mean that my words could conquer the world!

Let’s face it, if this proves anything it’s that numbers are conquering the world, not words.

Update, Oct.31/07: I just posted another entry on this, and realized (while checking back on this one) that the numbers for my “Readability” score weren’t reproduced here, just a little box that says Readability — in teeny-tiny letters, to boot. Sorry about that, and I can’t seem to find the old draft now to pull the exact numbers in this entry. The point was, however, that my “Flesch Reading Ease” was somewhere in the 50s (I think?), and the “Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level” was 9. In the final revision, I slipped off that magical “grade nine” level, to “grade 11” and a “Reading Ease” score of 39.21. According to Wikipedia’s entry, The Harvard Law Review’s stuff is in the low 30s, which I guess is supposed to mean that its texts are appropriately lawyerly and opaque… Perhaps somewhere in the mid-30s you escape opacity, enter a level of transparency, but don’t quite liberate yourself from the palimpsest of complexity.

On a roll…!

September 12, 2007 at 12:32 pm | In architecture, cities, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria | Comments Off on On a roll…!

One more article is up on my Articles published in FOCUS Magazine, Victoria, Canada page, in continuing the project mentioned here and here. This one was easy to convert since there weren’t any illustrations to add (and size). The magazine version has a couple of illustrations, but I chose to publish only my text here. The article, which I called A Soft-core View of Victoria, was published as Biophilic design: taking love to the street — click through to read. It was published in FOCUS Magazine in July 2007 (but isn’t online there — it’s only available as a PDF here).

Risque title, n’est-ce pas? This will probably generate a few weird referer stats…

(Update, 12/17/08: I changed the link for the August article to direct readers to Scribd, which is where all my articles are uploaded to now.)

August is up!

September 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm | In cities, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria | Comments Off on August is up!

Another update on my Articles published in FOCUS Magazine page, which means that the August article is now online, too: Biophilic design: taking love to the street, with a “before” and conceptual “after” photo illustration by Robert Randall (local artist and chair of the Downtown Residents Association).

Two down, 10 or so to go… later!

(Update, 12/17/08: I changed the link for the August article to direct readers to Scribd, which is where all my articles are uploaded to now.)

My FOCUS Magazine articles, online at last (eventually…)!

September 12, 2007 at 10:42 am | In architecture, cities, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria | 1 Comment

For too long I’ve left my intention to post my monthly FOCUS Magazine articles on the backburner, but this morning I at least took a first step toward figuring out the best way to get them online.

What I’ll be doing is converting my Word file submissions (which were published) into PDFs (and adding an illustration or two, if readily available — my articles typically are illustrated in some way, but those illustrations aren’t available to me without more time-consuming scanning, so I’ll just substitute something appropriate where available; if nothing is available, then I’ll just convert the text to PDF).  I tried some weeks ago to scan the magazine pages, to see if I could upload these as PDFs, but found that the quality / legibility took a nosedive. For that reason, creating a PDF based on the plain text is my best bet.

[Edit: I eventually figured out how to get the quality & size of PDFs, created from scanned pages of the magazine.)

Ok, so far only September is up — in the coming days, I’ll be working backwards to last year when I started, and forward to next month once October rolls around.

I’ll also post notices to the articles here, as they become available. First up is September’s Of ducks and decorated sheds, which you can read by clicking the link.

(Update, 12/17/08: I changed the links for the September article to direct readers to Scribd, which is where all my articles are uploaded to now.)

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