Friday, June 04, 2004

french vanilla coffee—mmmm!

Check out Coffee & Tea Warehouse -- I ordered samples of some varieties -- brewed some French Vanilla. It is wonderful! Can't wait to try the other samples!
posted by lee on 06/04/04 at 06:23 PM
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Monday, June 07, 2004

Hairy Harry & assorted neurotwitches

We saw HarryPotter 3 on Friday. It is REALLY good -- much better than the first two (which I liked). Great job on the Dementors. I don't need to write a review as there are about seven thousand of them out there already, most of which say the same thing: "It is REALLY good."

I'm in the process of setting up one site with pMachinePro and I love it. I'm rebuilding my family site with it and, once I have the time to actually spend a few hours working on it, it'll be done and solid and be exactly what I want it to be. I spent the $45 for the pro version because I want to create several different blogs for different people and purposes.

I'm also in the process of rebuilding a news site with ExpressionEngine. The site needs a full-blown content management system, much more flexibility than most blog software can provide. So far, while the learning curve is a little on the steep side, I'm really excited about what I will be able to do with it once I figure out just HOW to do it all. What EE lacks is a photo gallery feature, but I think I can craft something that will work.

I'm so impressed with the software that I plan on using it to build out our next project, which is a huge redesign -- one of those redesigns where you essentially start from scratch because it's easier to do that than to fix what's there.

Tomorrow we have to finish moving websites from one server to another -- one down, eight to go. It's not hard, just a bit of a pain to go in and fix all the paths in the cgi scripts. Then finish a shopping cart for the members-only area of one site. And build a PayPal shopping cart for selling photographs Tony took in Iraq over at Beneath Buddha's Eyes. And announce our latest site once the domain registration problems are resolved (quick, who took over DellHost's domain registration business?) And why doesn't Whois show the correct expiration date?

With my sibs, I am working on setting up my parents' Golden Wedding Anniversay plans for November 5 & 6. It's been a pure pleasure so far -- things seem to be working out quickly enough, and it's great to be in more constant touch with my four sisters. As soon as we get my brother's email address, the email sibring will be complete.

I've been dreaming the graphical design of the big redesign we're working on. It's very frustrating not to plunk myself down with Photoshop and just go to it. But first things first. I'm very excited about working on this site, particularly because it has great products, so it's been difficult to not jump the gun and go straight for the visual stuff before we finish planning the information architecture and completing the content and navigation structure. I'm already sold on making the site completely standards-compliant and built on PHP/MySQL (using ExpressionEngine). I also know exactly what I want to do with the news site redesign, visually, but I'm taking the time to get the structure and modules right so the visual stuff can be twitched and prodded with ease. It's an exciting time for us right now -- never enough hours in the day to do all that we want to do.

He wasn't as great a president and people are making him out to be now that he's croaked. Just good at seeming to be like-able. I saw an interesting article making just this point in Salon: The Reagan Legacy. Reagan scared me while he was prez. I remember watching the Iran-Contra hearings. And trickle-down economics that never trickled anywhere. I remember a decade of greed and meanness and deficits. Nope, I don't think Reagan qualifies for either presidential sainthood or admiration.
posted by lee on 06/07/04 at 06:50 AM
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Saturday, June 12, 2004

the zen of php shopping carts; moron time; great photos

Check out Zen Cart, a free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart system. I saw it mentioned on one of the lists I read, either Web Design-L or Evolt. It looks like it might be what I was looking for, so I'm going to give it a whirl this weekend. It has a Spanish Language module and buttons, which is especially what I need, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I REALLY get a lot from the lists I subscribe to (in digest form -- otherwise I'd never get any work done) -- they provided me with some good pointers in solving thorny problems, especially CSS problems.

Right now my main puzzle is how to get stacked layers and some floats to behave in IE 5.2 for the Mac. A gallery based on dhtml and other odds and ends. I fear I will just have to re-do it from scratch, which is extremely annoying because it work and looks just fine in Mozilla, Safari, and Win IE.

The ExpressionEngine install is coming along slowly. Now that I've gotten the divs to behave as they should, and have built some of the modules, it should go faster. (Famous last words.) I still prefer it to Movable Type -- there is just so much more you can do with it.

Abba To Zappa -- guessing game. Not only am I somewhat of a moron when it comes to music, this game is pretty moronic. Which explains why I did so well when I only recognized two of the characters. Maybe three.

Check out the entries into the PDN Photo Annual. I haven't gotten through it all yet -- take time to explore it properly.

It would take me an hour just to organize all the stuff on my desktop so I could get a decent shot of it to submit it here. Beware: if you hit the full gallery on anything but a broadband connection, you may as well go take a nap.

And th th th th that's all, folks!
posted by lee on 06/12/04 at 05:32 AM
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

celebrate solstice

Take a look at Secular Seasons. I love the graphics and design of this site (as well as the sentiment behind it). The site has some bugs, but it has some very interesting content (especially if one is a [gasp] secular humanist!)
posted by lee on 06/15/04 at 06:52 PM
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God is not mentioned even one time in the US Constitution

Some of this I knew, but some of this I didn't. In any case, it's pretty interesting.

Are you a Heretic? Take the quiz and see if you've got what it takes ... Step right up and test your brain!
posted by lee on 06/15/04 at 07:01 PM
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Remarks by our real president

I was looking for the text of Al Gore's recent speech about the chaos wreaked by the Pretender and his administration -- I'd listened to most of it on Air America Radio and thought it was a great and passionate speech (oh how I wish he could've been as passionate during his campaign!) and wanted to read the text. Searching for it this morning led me to a whacko bushie blog that made fun of Bruce Springsteen for posting the text of the speech on his site. So, thanks to Bruce Springsteen News, here is the entire text of this great speech:

May 26, 2004, As Prepared

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More "Remarks by our real president"

posted by lee on 06/16/04 at 05:36 PM
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Friday, June 18, 2004

Eric Gauger’s “Notes from the Road”

It's very strange: just this morning as I blearily gazed at the list of email messages to slog through, it flashed through my brain that it has been a long time since I received an updated "Notes from the Road." Lo and behold, what should appear in my inbox this evening but the very latest dispatch.

Hopetown and the Mystery of Island Settlement is the title of Eric Gauger's latest travel diary entry. As usual, stunning photos.

Hopetown wraps around a West Indies harbor, but also peers out over the Atlantic Ocean. No cars allowed on its narrow streets, but cats are a different matter. Owing to a history of cat lovers, the settlement is profuse with them. Raggedy and glare eying, they stare down from their perches in gum trees and atop clapboard houses painted always in two contrasting shades of pastel. Hopetown looks pretty much how it did two hundred years ago. Only more cats, fewer wooden masts.

I was hoping to have time today to install a journal for a friend. Ran out of time. Tomorrow. I'm looking forward to reading it when she starts using it -- which she can't do until I set up the software for her. I need more hours!

sweet-betsy.jpegSome plants I ordered from Rare Bird Nursery arrived today. A black cherry tree, sweetbrush (pictured. AKA Sweet Betsy), and Possumhaw Virburnum. The plants arrived in excellent shape. I'm not sure how these North Carolina transplants will do in Connecticut (coastal Connecticut, to be sure, but the winters can be brutal). But the zones are ok, so I'm hoping they'll be fine.

I want to plant the sweetshrub underneath the austrees in order to block a cement retaining wall. Sweetshrub makes a good habitat for birds besides being very pretty shrubs.

The black cherry tree will go somewhere -- not sure yet, but I just love them and was never able to get one growing any other place I've lived because the deer love them as well. We have a rare deer sighting here since there are no woods or open fields nearby (ours is one of the larger plots of land around here, and it's just half an acre), so maybe I'll have some luck with this one. The viburnum gets white flowers and blue fruits that birds like, like sun to partial shade. The leaves are pretty. Now we just have to get them in the ground -- along with the butterfly bush and the beach plums.
posted by lee on 06/18/04 at 04:59 AM
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ISS AND VENUS crossing the sun

Tom Maruᚚka posted photos of the international space station AND Venus crossing the Sun. This was only observable in a very narrow band stretching through central Europe -- in this case, in Slovakia: ISS and Venus transiting the Sun

After some experimentation I once again checked my geographical location I chose 500mm telephoto mirror lens and rotated the camera so, that ISS will be crossing their diagonal. I made first test by capturing video sequence few minutes before event. The final sequence started at 12:09:06 of Central European summer time.

There are other interesting photos of the transit available on Spaceweather. Spaceweather also has also has information about a possible meteor shower, Bootid, on June 23 before sunrise. (People in the western US will have the best viewing, though -- rules Connecticut out!)
posted by lee on 06/18/04 at 10:02 PM
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Sunday, June 20, 2004

cinema trivia Games - Cinema Sequence -- a very addictive total waste of time that I can't get enough of (my latest score was 5825) -- don't play it, just don't ... I warned you!
posted by lee on 06/20/04 at 12:48 AM
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Finally, rowland does the right thing

This morning I received a fabulous news alert from WTNH announcing that Rowland decided to step down -- what a great way to start the morning!

Then, finally, he DID step down -- he gave himself ten days to get outta Dodge (or Hartford, whatever). He should've resigned last December and saved the state a boatload of money. Guess he needs the ten days we shouldn't even give him to find a place to live. Oh, I forgot, he's got that cozy cottage with the hot tub.

It made my year, to watch this: - Governor Rowland announces resignation effective July 1. I only wish it could've been sooner.

"I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here," Rowland said in a live news conference from the Governor's Residence.

Poor judgment? Try greed and arrogance and dishonesty. What a schmuck.

Now Jodi gets to run the state. Pity she's a Republican as well -- I'd feel more comfortable with her in charge if she were a Democrat and if she at least had SOME kind of college degree -- taking a few classes here and there isn't enough to be CEO of the state. She was Rowland's token vice gov, chosen because she'd never be an issue, I think. We'll have to work on getting rid of her next year (her term runs until January 2006) unless, and I'm crossing my fingers about this, she shows at least a modicum of competence and a LOT of decency. Fortunately, Atty. Gen'l Blumenthal is a Dem. So's the Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. Bet Blumenthal is thinking the path is clear for the Guv's mansion now -- but he's such a good AG I'd hate to see him move up.

Between Dubya and Rowland the Crook, it will be a long, long time before I would even consider trusting a Republican again, let alone voting for one. (Oh, yes, I have voted for a Republican or two in my time -- though never for Governor or President.)
posted by lee on 06/22/04 at 12:38 AM
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