My Gravatar

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Quite a while back, I learned about gravatars, those little pictures you can associate with your email address and your blog, from Curtis over at Phatic Communion. I'd seen other bloggers using them before and wanted one of my own, but did not know what they were called. Of course, once I found out they were called "gravatars," I had merely replaced the obstacle of ignorance with that of indecision.

What would I use? I blog anonymously and even if I change my mind on that, I'll be loathe to make a big fuss over my actual identity here, much less post my picture. I'm a lousy artist. My best idea to date was a portrait of Abe Lincoln, but that symbolism would have been lost or completely misconstrued by everyone but myself.

So the next logical thing might be to symbolize my blog. I mostly write on politics and I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand, but I write for a broader audience. And then I sometimes blog on submarines over at Ultraquiet No More. Nothing I could think of really did a good job of tying everything together....

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usUntil, that is, I came up with this. The idea is a few days old and my mind's eye saw something like this : A ship, possibly labeled with something like "Ship of Fools" is in the crosshairs of a periscope, a sitting duck for my snarky invective.

Perfect! The image of an enemy ship as a sitting duck would tie my political commentary together with my occasional outbursts of submarine blogging! Except that I lack that other skill with the pen: drawing. I figured I'd find some picture on the internet of a ship in the crosshairs and use that, but I got busy and forgot about it.

But I remembered it again tonight. I decided to consult my pair of submarine books at home. I did better than I imagined I would. Much better. Right there on the cover of Edward Horton's The Illustrated History of the Submarine was the perfect shot, which is described in a caption (with the complete, uncropped picture) on p. 118. This wasn't just a ship in the crosshairs. This was a ship in its last few moments afloat!

Image Hosted by

[This] victim of the torpedo ... [is a]n ex-French ship in German service, photographed through the periscope of an American submarine at the moment of impact.
Yes! Right at the moment of impact! I'm almost embarrassed to admit I didn't think of that myself!

I'm not completely up to speed on gravatars just yet, but expect to see this one from time to time in the near future at finer blogs near you.

But not here, alas! From the FAQ at "We are in the process of discussing with Blogger the possibility of adding a gravatar template tag to their arsenal." I could use a third-party comment system, but Haloscan dumps comments after a certain amount of time, which I don't like, and I won't have the time to fool with others for awhile.

--- CAV


6-22-05: Minor corrections.


Anonymous said...

Ah, now I'm going to feel like I'm ducking and dodging your torpedo.

"Somebody sank my battleship!"

Gus Van Horn said...


One more patrol for me and I'm calling it a night.


Gus Van Horn said...

Hmmm. I added this as my Blogger profile portrait and it seems to get added with my new comments.

Good, then. That's one less thing to fool with.


The General said...

X0: General, we've taken a direct hit to the starboard bow!

General: Ready the depth charges boys - looks like we're going to be eating Gumbo Van Horn sooner than expected!

Curtis Gale Weeks said...

Ah, but it doesn't work unless I'm signed in to my now-unused Blogger account!

And it only works on the "Add-comment" page...

Gus Van Horn said...

Blimey! Curtis is right. Perhaps I'll add the gravatar or a bigger image to the template itself some time....

As for the General. The man may have some Acadian ancestry in him. While I haven't heard of depth charges being used in a recipe before, it is exactly the kind of innovation that would come from a native of Louisiana.

I hear that Justin Wilson is quaking in his boots.