Volume 5: 2003
3 February, 2003
by Robert Whitsitt
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the things exterior to my daily life: elections, famine, disease, war. Then Lana will go to her oncologist. Even though he gives her a clean bill of health (You're boring: go away!") I know that she'll continue to see him every six months for another three years. The state of the world does not depend on my wife's health -- it isn't even affected particularly by it -- but it has a lot to do with how my day goes.
The works in this issue, like the works in all of our issues, reflect individual reactions to the events of the world. Some are to the minutia of our daily lives, and some to the so-called big questions. All, I think, are worthy of our attention and thought. I thank you for your interest!
5 May, 2003
by Robert Whitsitt
This issue is really great! I mean, they're all great, of course, and I get caught up in each of them, but this one -- the most recent -- is the one that is currently great!
My wife and I just returned from a week in Hawaii. A friend whom I've known for 51 years (we met many years before we were born) got a place and discovered it could hold an extra couple, so my wife and I went along.
We had a great time! The two standout things for me were one of the three scuba dives and one of the seven dinners.
We did the first scuba dive off the shore. It was interesting, and we saw a turtle about 18 inches from front to back. I was looking under an overhang -- always a good place to search for interesting things -- and I saw something. Then I saw the eye, and then the rest of the shell and paddle feet. That was cool, but it isn't the standout dive.
On Thursday, my friend and I went on a dive on Molokini. That's a tiny island that is just the tip of the top of a volcano. The visibility in the 77-degree water was 100 feet.
In the 200 dives that I made previous to this week, all in the 1970s, I saw a total of three sharks. Now I've seen six! The first was about a four-foot black-tip reef shark. We saw him when we first entered the water. He was swimming away from us (we're bigger than he is, and he doesn't know we're incompetent underwater). The second shark was resting on the bottom, about a three-foot black-tip reef shark. The third was about the same size, at the end of the dive.
We also saw a garden of eels. They keep the back half of their 18" length under the sand and the rest out so they can filter the seawater for food. There was a garden of them, each about three feet from the others, at a depth of 85 feet. Very cool. And other stuff. That's one of the standout things.
(The second dive that day we went to another location. When we dropped into the water, there were about a dozen turtles resting on the bottom, the largest four feet from nose to tail. Wow!)
Those two dives were with a company called Mike Severns Diving. They are excellent, with each dive preceded by about a 30-minute talk on what we were likely to see. During the dive, the dive master took pains to find cool things to show to us. You can read about them here.
The other standout was dinner at Chez Paul. My friend said it was one of the best meals he'd ever had, and I thought so, too. The cost for the five of us, including two good bottles of wine, was enormous. I had escargot for an appetizer, lamb for dinner, and an apple cobbler for dessert. The lamb was from Colorado, because they said the local lamb was too gamey. It came with a wonderful sauce, and a side dish of pineapple, prepared to go perfectly with the lamb. Everyone else was also pleased with their food. I can't wait to go back!
Here's some information about Chez Paul. [2008 note: The link no longer works so I have disabled it]
I hope you enjoy this issue of Amarillo Bay half as much as I did!
4 August, 2003
by Robert Whitsitt
You may have noticed that this issue looks a little different from previous ones. When we started Amarillo Bay back in 1999, the browsers that people used were a bit limited, people had slower computers, and monitors tended to be smaller than they are now. I wrote the code then so that it would work on the worst combination that I anticipated anyone would have
For this issue, I recoded the pages with the same limitations - the worst combination anyone might have - but that worst case is much better than it used to be. I now feel comfortable setting the width according to the available space instead of limiting it to a relatively small width. Also, I have some different ideas of what is appropriate page design. Over the years many different designs have been tried and we've learned that some work better than others.
I welcome your comments on the slightly changed look.
The quality of the works has not changed because we remain picky and committed to publishing the finest literary material on the Web. I'm sure you'll enjoy this issue!
You may also have noticed that this issue was announced late. It should have been available on Monday, 4 August 2003, but the actual announcement wasn't until Saturday, 9 August. (However, I'm keeping the expected date to avoid confusion.) The reason for the lateness is that I was in the American Midwest - northern Illinois - for a family wedding. After consulting with the Editor, we decided to wait until I returned rather than try to publish early.
I don't know how you feel about weddings, but they are the happiest event that I know of. I always feel uplifted when I see two people make a heartfelt promise to each other. The wedding cake is nice, too.
I hope you enjoy the issue!
3 November 2003
by Robert Whitsitt
As I have mentioned before, my wife and I both work for the search engine Google. That means we are very tuned to how people find the things they are looking for. One of the ways that pages get listed high on a list is that there are links to pages, with each link counting as a "vote" for that page.
With this issue, we decided to start doing a little "voting" of our own, and to do it in a way that will help our readers. We have added a page called Useful Links. Most of the page consists of links to the home pages of our authors (when the pages exist) and links to other useful information for the kind of people who like reading a literary magazine. The page also includes links to information about the people who have been involved in producing Amarillo Bay over the years.
What made me actually do this, as opposed to just thinking about it, was getting e-mails requesting permission to link to their stories by our authors Doug Tanoury and Rebecca Balcárcel. Until I received those messages, it was just a good idea. Afterward, it became an obligation. Funny how potent human contact, even by e-mail, is.
We have also put an advertisement on Google for when people search for various word and phrases. As of today the advertisement has appeared over 20,000 times and approximately 350 people have clicked on it. I like to think that means Amarillo Bay has gotten 350 new readers, plus the people they told about it.
As always, I am very pleased with the works the editors chose for this issue. I hope you also enjoy them!
Go to Publisher's Comments Volume 6: 2004.