Monday, August 22, 2005

we’re finally in oscoda

Carolyn sent this with the caption: “My piggy bank after I bought gas yesterday.” I think that says it all ...

image

On our trek ‘twixt Connecticut and Michigan, the cheapest we found gas was $2.57 in the middle of Pennsylvania somewhere. We passed people traveling via horse and buggy to get to this particular gas station, so that may explain why it was this low. Here (in Oscoda, MI), the price of gas is (or was on Sunday) $2.71 per gallon. Every summer about this time there is a major refinery fire or explosion somewhere in the Midwest which automatically, before the firemen can even respond, drives the price up about five cents. It’s happened every year since we started driving here (vs. flying) in 2001.

The trip was pleasant, except for the part where I misread the directions which took us 30 miles and two tolls past where we wanted to be. The hotel directions said Exit 223B. There was no Exit 223B. This, of course, was after Stanley had been driving for seven hours and, of course, we drove into a storm. And, of course, by the time we dragged out butts into the Comfort Inn in Austintown, OH, the storm had caught up, so getting to the room was, well, very wet. Which was all my fault. Of course.

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posted by lee on 08/22/05 at 11:31 AM

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

so ... hot dammit

It’s a little after midnight and it’s still 83 degrees, with the dewpoint a nasty 74. I’m fine as long as I don’t move. Earlier today it was in the 90s! Last night (Friday night), there was a wild storm, a movie storm, that lasted about an hour, dumping nearly two inches of badly needed rain. Movie lightning! We loved it, but the dog was a quivering mass of fear. I thought the cat was scared also since he jumped out of his window really fast, but it just turned out it was the rain coming in that pissed him off. But the storm did nothing to cool things off.

We’re going on vacation next Saturday, so I have all these plans. Today I wanted to weed the garden again. And I want to really clean the house so it’s not so depressing to get back to our usual “getting- ready- to- go- away” messiness (plus so it won’t gross out the person taking care of the house). But it is just - too - hot. (We only have an air conditioner in the bedroom—mainly because a/c bothers me most of the time.) And, of course, there’s a lot of work stuff I want to catch up on.

So, today, instead of doing anything productive, I went to a farmer’s market with Helene, and then to Wild Oats for a very late lunch, did a tiny bit of work when I got home, and puttered around doing mainly nothing but watching a truly awful movie with Stanley (Alien Express, with Lou Diamond Phillips, renamed from Dead Rail). Oh the movie stank. I have yet to see a movie billed as a SciFi original that didn’t stink. There’s two hours of my life I will never get back.

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posted by lee on 08/13/05 at 08:25 PM

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Friday, August 05, 2005

expressionengine, the upgrade

Just when I finally get everybody updated to ExpressionEngine v.1.2.1, they release v.1.3. I happened to be beginning work on takingthekids.com, so I went ahead and installed 1.3.

Before I list what I think about this major upgrade, let me say that I love, love, love EE—it does nearly everything a decent content management system needs to do without wrecking your bank account, tech and community support is superb, plugins are being added constantly, and once you get past the learning curve, it’s really easy to use. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s the one that works best for us—and we looked at many of them.

The Good
They fixed the image upload thingie so that you can actually make a popup from a thumbnail without doing the drag-and-drop boogaloo. They added a spellchecker! The popup maker thing has been driving me nuts, so I was really, really happy to see it fixed. A Quick Save was added so you can save your stuff without also posting it (for those of us who forget to reset the sessions to a more reasonable length of time).

The Bad
They added collapsing menus to the control panel (the admin section, in particular) that go back to the closed state, so it’s impossible to see all of your possible choices (and there are SO MANY of them!) at a glance. This is only rated The Bad because somebody has already posted a workaround so that the choices are placed in columns that stay open. A programmer probably thought this was a good idea, nice and anal um, I mean tidy looking. Usability doesn’t seem to have been part of the equation in the redesign.

Now, before I get to The Ugly, keep in mind that what I think is The Ugly, other people really like. I suspect not very many people like it (compared with the number of people who don’t), but there are some. And maybe I’ll get used to it enough so that I don’t notice how ugly it is. And it’s not going to stop me from using EE—hell no, no sirree, not by a long shot.

But ...

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posted by lee on 08/05/05 at 09:18 PM

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