July 2005 Archives

Fortune cookie 13

For unlucky thirteen, we have a triple-header. Two chocolate ones and a regular one were left in the break area today.

You can depend on the trust
of the collective.
Lucky Numbers 10, 13, 17, 19, 28, 35

Uh huh. And resistance is futile, right?

Before you wonder “Am I doing things
right,” ask “Am I doing the right things?”
Lucky Numbers 4, 8, 9, 24, 27, 35

This one sort of works well with the “in bed” fortune cookie game, no?

Pray for what you want, but
work for the things you need.
Lucky Numbers 6, 14, 22, 24, 36, 37

I haven’t been in much of a praying mood lately, but I like the profundity of this fortune.

What’s in Michael’s freezer?

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So, what’s for dinner tonight? Lean Cuisine…or…maybe…uh…Lean Cuisine?

stacks of Lean Cuisine in my freezer

Such has been the view inside my freezer, more or less, for at least a year, since I started my big diet push last July. My supply has actually dwindled a bit since I went shopping last week.

You know, for frozen microwaved meals, they’re really not that bad. Calorie counting is such a pain, and keeping fresh ingredients in the fridge can be tough when you are cooking for one person and trying to keep portions small. It’s just so easy to open up a box and nuke a 300-calorie meal.

My mom always asks me how I can possibly feel sated with 300 calories. Actually, I usually bump that up to 500 or 600 calories with 1% milk and stone-ground whole wheat bread. Plus I keep 100-calorie snacks around to stave off the munchies. Those mini boxes of raisins or fat-free yogurt can be great for this. Fat-free yogurt is one of the few aspartame-sweetened products that don’t make me gag; I sometimes keep them in the freezer, then run the containers under hot water to pop out the yogurt like a popsicle.

I find that when I don’t keep the 100-calories snacks on hand, I often feel an overwhelming urge to jump in my car and grab something fat-laden and 1000 to 1500 calories from the local convenience store.

So back to the Lean Cuisines—the damn things are way too expensive, but with at least seven different supermarket chains less than fifteen minutes away, I can be sure that at least someone is having a half-price sale on the things at least once a month, so I stock up. This last time, Superfresh had 6 for $10. (BTW, I have nine of those silly supermarket “loyalty tags” on my keyring.)

So what’s my favorite one? Thai Style Chicken, with Sesame Chicken a close second. Although, I do have to say the LC pizzas are the perfect quick lunch—two and a half minutes to heat up, the sauce isn’t bland like other frozen pizzas, there are ten different varieties, and the crust isn’t too bad.

But wait, what are those red boxes? One of the chains recently had Weight Watchers meals for half price, so I thought I’d go crazy and try something different. Not bad. The pizzas aren’t as good, though; their crust sucks.

Fortune cookie 12

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I am building up quite a collection of these little slips of paper.

Your spirit of adventure leads you
down an exciting new path.
Lucky Numbers 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 40

My sense of adventure only comes in little spurts nowadays. The last really exciting path I took was when a late-night realization prompted me to leave school for a time and join the army. That was a truly grand, globetrotting experience.

Lately, it seems, though, like I am wandering aimlessly in the desert. Each dune I pass is like the last one, and the occasional sandstorm comes along to engulf me in a stinging, choking maelstrom.

Things taken for granted

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…such as indoor plumbing in one’s workplace… Apparently, our building had a broken sewer line, and they had to find it before they could repair it. This meant two weeks of using porta-potties (ewwww) and/or walking over to the bathrooms in the neighboring building.

When you are trying to maintain a gallon and a half of water per day, this means more than a few trips next door.

It is good to have bathrooms again!

Dick

Thanks to our illustrious vice-president, I got an early start on my weekend. He apparently is staying at a local hotel tonight. Intermittent closings of Route 1 and two other major roads are expected between 3:30 and 6:30 PM. All roads in this area end up at Route 1, so you can imagine the horrendous, Brobdingnagian stau this will create.

It’s a good thing that our employer had the foresight to allow us to go home early. As if traffic in central Jersey isn’t enough of a nightmare already.

Never put off until tomorrow...

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As I have professed in previously published posts, my penchant for persistant procrastination periodically proves to be problematic.

Nowhere is this more evident than with my workouts. My ability to talk myself out of exercise or to use distraction as a delaying tactic is uncanny.

I was doing so well for about a month. I finally had some consistency again, and was seeing some real strength gains and my weight was dropping off once more. It is so easy to fall off track. My last successful session had been July 9, then external events threw me into a weird funk, and jumping on the Bowflex or on my dance pad was the last thing I wanted to do.

I almost did it to myself again, but resolved to myself that I would not go to bed until I exercised. Working out late at night (2 AM to 3 AM), though, does have its drawbacks. My body is probably not at its physical best. I have to calm myself down after before I can sleep (hence my writing of this entry). Also, I have to be extremely careful to be quiet.

This last one is not so easy. I live on the ground floor of an apartment with hardwood floors. Those floors do little to muffle sound above and below. Every movement I make has to be extremely controlled so that there aren’t any accidental bangs or clanks or squeaks that might wake up my upstairs neighbor. Definitely, not easy.

I really needed my workout this time around. ;-) Wednesday night we celebrated a friend’s last American meal before he returned to Japan for another year. Already bloated with way too much Mexican food (hey, Mexico is part of the Americas), we stopped off at Cold Stone, where I indulged in a “Michael original”—Oatmeal Cookie Batter ice cream, brownies, pecans, and caramel. Yum.

Diamond Head

I can’t believe that it has been a month since I returned from O‘ahu. I was hoping to post the last of my photos a couple of weeks ago, but was distracted by…other things. Well, before I drag out the 21st-century equivalent of the slide projector, I thought I’d have some fun.

First, we are going to start with a satellite view of Diamond Head Crater thanks to Google Earth. If you haven’t played with Google Earth yet, download it! It is Windows-only for now, unfortunately, but it is an order of magnitude cooler than Google Maps.

Google Earth view of Diamond Head Crater

Next is the “dot kmz” file that should open up in Google Earth and zoom right in to Diamond Head Crater. (You may have to right click to save, then open it manually.) For the Mac users out there, here is the Google Maps link to the same location.

For the slide show, I am trying a new Flash-enabled image viewer called SimpleViewer. If you’d want to create a similar slide show, and your host has PHP support; I highly recommend that you add the SimpleViewerAdmin installation option listed on that page. These two pieces together make this one of the slickest, easiest to manage web photo gallery apps I have ever used. The admin option allows simple management of multiple galleries.

I did find one easily correctible bug. The Flash plug-in sniffer does not account for version 8 of the Flash plug-in. I found this replacement for the Flash sniffer; I just replaced the old version of flash_detect.js, and all was copacetic.

So without further ado, here is the Flash slideshow of Diamond Head State Monument. The thumbnail navigation order for the photos is top to bottom, then left to right.

WordPress and such

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I just put the finishing touches on my first WordPress site yesterday (a web site for my high school’s fifteenth reunion), and I do have to say that I am really digging WordPress. My design was rather derivative of the default Kubrick theme, but I wanted to keep it uncomplicated my first time out.

WordPress has got a number of features that make it even better suited as a simple CMS than Movable Type (“pages,” lots of conditional tags, ten levels of user permissions). I appreciate simple. The Roxen CMS that is slowly becoming a large part of my professional life is decidedly not simple. God, I hate Roxen CMS. Grumble.

I have to reiterate how much I loved all of the conditional hooks in WP; I just wish it wouldn’t have taken me days to find them in the confusingly organized documentation.

I doubt that I will be switching notMike.com over to WordPress anytime soon, especially with version 3.2 of MT right around the corner (I think I will sit out the beta period, though). The promised new anti-spam features can’t come soon enough; MT-Blacklist just isn’t cutting it anymore. Granted only 287 comment and trackback spams out of 7723 attempts have gotten through in the past year, but that is still too many.

PHP is such a fun language to work in. I really need to convert this MT-based site over to PHP. I tried once already, but quickly switched back. I use too many MT plug-ins that break under PHP. Unlike the WordPress community, the MT world is straddling the fence between PHP and Perl, and it’s more than a bit confusing.

I suppose it will be good for me to know both WP and MT (our university semi-officially supports MT) but any new blog-based sites I create, though, will probably be in WordPress.

Cinderella Man?

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Cellphone cameras are totally evil. Having our embarrassing moments captured for posterity on tiny display screens is something that I suppose we are going to have to learn to get used to.

Michael playing a boxing game

A friend had shot the above video about a month back in an arcade at a Dave & Buster’s restaurant; he finally e-mailed me a copy. Any browser plug-in that supports the 3GPP video format (like QuickTime 6.5 or newer) should be able to play it back.

In the video I’m playing a surprisingly exhausting motion-sensor boxing game. Thankfully, no one shot my spastic gyrations while playing the DDR knock-off .

I guess if you can’t laugh at yourself, the seriousness of life will drive you crazy.

Fortune cookie 11

Time for me to tentatively come back out of my shell.

We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant today with a friend who was visiting from Japan. A very well-timed visit, I must say.

May you
grow rich.
Lucky Numbers 1, 11, 13, 14, 16, 21

May I, indeed.

Going dark for a few days

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I haven’t been posting regularly to this blog lately, and I haven’t been visiting my regular list of blogs much at all the past week. I have been struggling to finish up a few outside projects that are rather late.

Now this evening, I got a very upsetting phone call. No one died or anything. Unfortunately, I did a favor for a former friend, and it came back to bite me on the ass. I can’t begin to tell you how emotionally devastating this phone call was. I thought I had understood the depths of cruelty that some human beings can sink to; I guess I was wrong.

All I want to do right now is curl up in a ball in a corner somewhere and completely shut myself off to the outside world—even though people are counting on me to finish up my current project.

I think that I am going to need to take at least a week off from posting to this blog. I apologize to my regular readers and hope to return by next weekend.

Artifact

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Over the past couple of days, I was clearing out the office of a former colleague, a task which left me in a surprisingly melancholy mood. Left unoccupied (except for a certain rodent visitor), much in the office had been undisturbed for months.

Among a number of artifacts, laden with memories of past joys, past heartaches, and whatnot, was the following little scrap of paper:

Earn $75 to $100 a week in ART

An old friend (who moved across the country to bigger and better things five years ago) had cut this out of a retro clip art book and taped it up as a sardonic commentary on the vast opportunities for wealth that an artist working in academia might enjoy.

Hard hat area 2

So the annoying “500 Server Errors” caused by my host’s upgrading of CPanel got fixed early this morning. Yay!

However, I noticed a new problem. The collapsible archive menus on the right side of the main page fail miserably in Firefox for Windows. I have been operating under the assumption for quite a while that whatever worked in Mac Firefox worked the exact same way in Windows Firefox. Not true, apparently. Boo!

I almost deployed a similar collapsible menu for a client, and embarrassingly never tested the menu script on Windows Firefox. Bad, Michael. Bad.

Update: The problem in the script was because of the difference between Windows line breaks (\r) and the rest of the OS world (\n). Silly Windows.

I have been doing way too much debugging of Javascript lately (at work and at home). Damn it, Jim. I’m an artist, not a programmer.

‘Okinas and such

Those of you who have perused my Hawai‘i posts may have noticed a few diacritical marks here and there, specifically the ‘okinas (glottal stops) and kahakōs (macrons). If you happen to be using an OS earlier than Windows XP or Mac OS 10.2, you may not see the kahakōs; e.g. instead of a letter “o” with a horizontal line above it, you may see a hollow rectangle because the fonts in some older operating systems don’t support the Hawai‘ian language.

Also, unfortunately, unlike the Mac OS, Windows XP doesn’t really support ‘okinas in its base fonts. So I have instead had to simulate them in my posts, using the left single quote. Ideally, for an ‘okina you would use the character entity reference ʻ (which should render as an upside-down curly apostrophe). In some fonts, ‘ renders the same, but not in Verdana, this site’s primary font, but…it’s close enough (e.g. Hawaiʻi versus Hawai‘i).

So why the bother? Don’t normal people just spell Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, and Waikīkī as Hawaii, Oahu, and Waikiki?

Well, as any of my long-time readers or long-time acquaintances may have realized, I’m far from normal. :-)

Actually, though, language fascinates me sometimes, and being the cunning linguist that I am, I couldn’t resist learning a bit more about this one, especially since extinction threatens Hawai‘ian; its speakers only number in the thousands. Also, attempts to preserve usage of the proper spellings has been a source of some debate in Hawai‘i’s state legislature in the past few years.

Here’s a few random bits I picked up—there are only 8 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w, and the ‘okina) and 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u), and the kahakō stresses and elongates a vowel. This makes for only 162 possible syllables in Hawai‘ian. (No wonder all the street names sounded the same.) It was a spoken-only language until 19th century missionaries needed a way to transcribe the Bible into Hawai‘ian, so they used Latin characters.

Here’s a Wikipedia entry and a convenient list of character entity references.

Flower power

Just sorting through the last of my Hawai‘i pics…

pink flower
orange flower
yellow flower

Hard hat area

Update 2: I now know that the problems I have been having today are related to this widespread problem caused by certain hosts that upgraded CPanel. Damn it. I wasted over seven hours trying to fix this error 500 problem that I thought I caused.

Update: Stuff is a little crazy on the site. Expect a few broken links. I’m trying to fix things and debating whether to go all the way and do the PHP dynamic publishing thing.

Look out for falling tags. I’m not motivated enough to do a complete site redesign right now, but I felt a strong urge to add a few improvements.

First, the archive menus in the right sidebar are no longer jump menus. Jump menus have long been the bane of usability and accessibility experts, but they are a common technique in most of the MT tutorials. Now the monthly archive and category archive links are unordered lists, and I’m using the power of Javascript and the DOM to do an expand/collapse link. If Javascript is disabled, they remain expanded.

To compensate for my garrulous nature, I’ll probably do something similar with entries on the main page and the “Continue reading…” extended entry link so that it doesn’t take you off to the individual entry archive page (as the link below does now).

Search engines & blog logs 6

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Out of 1597 different search phrases this month, I selected a few of my favorites below. Most of the ones mentioned in previous months came up again and again and again, but weren’t worth commenting this time.

  • r****** r**
    She’s the inspiration for this monthly feature, and at least 3,142 were scouring the web for her naked body in June. This brings her six-month grand total up to 12,458. Nude Hayden is trying to catch up, but is a distant second.
  • grandma sex
    I just can’t see going to Google and typing in “grandma sex,” but seven visitors to my site apparently did.
  • adult dashboard widgets
    Take any new media technology, and you can be sure that porn will right there in the mix, driving it forward.
  • bulges pics
    I asked a few of my female friends whether the myriad of bulge searchers are women or gay men. The consensus was definitely the latter.
  • evil cookie monster
    I mentioned this one last month too, but I was musing, in the evil mirror universe version of Sesame Street would Oscar the Cheerful be a clean freak?
  • why is bush so bad
    Well, he started out as a sweet little boy, but he was seduced by the dark side.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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