Website News

Hi folks! Just a quick couple of updates today:

You might have noticed that the AllConsuming widgets (the “What I’m Reading” and “What I’m Listening To” boxes in the sidebar) have stopped working. This is apparently a problem on AllConsuming’s end. I don’t know how long this will take to fix, and in fact I can’t find any kind of information about it. I just wanted to let you folks know so you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your browser.

Also, I’d just like to remind RSS fans that this site also has a FeedBurner address. If you’d prefer using FeedBurner over the native WordPress feed, you can find it at:

A Brief Update on Mad Men Recaps

The season premiere of Mad Men was last night (hooray!) and I just wanted to let you know that I’m changing the format of the recaps. As much as I love the show, I just don’t have it in me to do the “full blown” recaps I’ve done in the past.

When I first started with the recaps, I decided to make them as comprehensive as possible, so that if you missed an episode you could read my recap and know everything that happened in that episode. This often led to episode “summaries” of 7,000 words (or more). This is something I just can’t do any more.

So, starting this season, I’m drastically cutting down on the “summary” part, making it more like the recaps you see at other websites. However, I’m keeping the “Other Stuff” section (the part of the recaps I enjoyed doing the most) as well as the “My Thoughts” section.

I have a couple of errands to run just now, but hope to start on the season opener some time later this afternoon.

Coupla Changes…

I don’t even remember how it happened. Last night I was sitting at the computer, and somehow or the other I started messing around with the headers on this blog. I can’t remember if I found a cool image I wanted to use for a header, or if I found a plug-in that randomized the header or what… but one or the other set me off on a stream of consciousness search for headers that somehow related to my life.

So now the header graphic is randomized. Each time you load a page here, you’ll see a new one. Here are the header subjects so far:

Saint Etienne (2 headers of one of my favorite bands)
Emiliana Torrini (Love in the Time of Science is one of my favorite albums)
Duran Duran (my first favorite band)
This Mortal Coil (It’ll End in Tears was my teen angst album)
Madonna (from the Like a Virgin era, just because)
Beethoven (musical revolutionary)
Thomas Cranmer (religious revolutionary)
Ludwig von Mises (economic revolutionary)
Hunter S. Thompson (counterculture icon)
T.S. Eliot (my favorite poet)
Flannery O’Connor (one of my favorite authors)
Don Draper (Mad Men badass)
St. Paul’s Cathedral (home of Anglicanism)
The Tech Tower (best university in the US)

More headers will follow. I haven’t found a good Steelers image yet, and the one good (large) pic I found of The Jam was taken at an angle, so I couldn’t get all the guys in the 940×198 space needed for the header. But the search will continue.

Also, I updated the Links page this afternoon. I added one new link, deleted few dead ones, and updated a few others.


A new version of WordPress was released yesterday, and this version has a new default theme known as Twenty Ten. I really like the look of it, and I hope that you do, too! Note that the site’s main pages are linked at the top of the page, and that a few sections have been moved to the bottom of the page.

Please let me know if you find any “bugs” on the new site. For what it’s worth, I already know about the header graphic being off by a couple of pixels; I’m actually looking for a new image for that now and hope to have something up this weekend.



Friday Randomness

– Work on the Ashes to Ashes recaps continues. I’m about 10 minutes in to the recap for episode 4, so I’m almost caught up… until tonight, when episode 5 airs.

– For the handful of people who follow this blog via Twitter, I finally got set up to shorten the URLs in the tweets. For some reason, it wouldn’t take my API key before, but now all is well.

– Lead from an ancient Roman shipwreck is being used for a unique purpose. As this article notes, “once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers’ slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos”. Why this lead in particular? In the past 2000 years the lead has been sitting on the ocean floor, it has has lost almost all of its natural radioactivity, making it perfect for insulating machines that will attempt to detect rare particles.

– Ever heard of Margaret Corbin? Her husband, John Corbin, was an American soldier in the Revolutionary War. Margaret was a typical soldier’s wife, handling the cooking and cleaning chores at camp. That is, until they were attacked by 4,000 Hessian soldiers. Her husband had been tasked with manning one of the two remaining cannon at Fort Washington, on the upper side of Manhattan. When her husband was killed by a German bullet, Margaret shoved his body aside and manned the cannon herself – until she finally gave up after being shot in the arm, chest and jaw. She was the first woman given a war pension by Congress, and is the only Revolutionary War soldier of any gender to be buried at West Point. That’s pretty badass!

– Police in Hungary stopped a rag-tag band of Afghans… who claimed to have left their country three years ago in an attempt to walk to Britain.

– Then again, had they known about these two news stories from the UK, they might have stayed in Afghanistan: first, here’s the story of a disabled elderly man who kept a Swiss Army knife in his RV to cut up fruit at picnics, and was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon. Secondly we have this story about the love between Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey. The two claim to be desperately in love with each other, which would be fine, were it not for the fact that Pearl is 72 and Phil is 26. Oh, and they’re also grandmother and grandson… and they’ve hired a surrogate to have their baby. If it’s actually true, that is.

Website Update

Just thought I’d give my site’s readers (both of you) a heads-up about some of the things going on here:

– I haven’t forgotten the Ashes to Ashes recaps, honest! The recap of episode 1 is basically done (all it needs is proofreading and polish), and it should be posted no later than noon today. I hope to get started on Episode 2 as soon as Episode 1 is published, and have that one completed by Thursday, so I can start the recap of episode 3 before episode 4 airs in the UK on Friday. Got all that?

– Just to remind you, I was out of town when episode 1 aired, had out-of-town guests when episode 2 aired, and had plans virtually all day long this past Saturday (after episode 3 aired).

– I hate that they moved Ashes from Tuesday (or was it Monday?) to Friday. The missus and I don’t normally do much on Friday nights, but we almost always do stuff on Saturday and most Sundays, so that means I normally won’t be able to start a recap until the following Monday. I mean, I’m not sad for having a life, I just hate the the Beeb moved the show.

– The new NFL schedule is out, and depending on how motivated I am, I might post my annual “Steelers Schedule for Microsoft Outlook” tomorrow if I need a break from the Ashes recaps. If not, look for it in the next few days, sooner rather than later.

Happy Birthday,!

Happy birthday to… my own website! turns 8 years old today! For the somewhat amusing story about how this site got started, click here and scroll down to the section labeled “How This Site Came To Be”.

Happy Birthday site

I also want to take a minute or two to thank my hosting company, JaguarPC. Back in 2002, I was looking for a web host and found a company called Aletia Hosting highly recommended at the Ars Technica forums. I chose Aletia because a) a geek I knew and trusted recommended them; and b) while not “bottom of the barrel” cheap, they really had a good deal: $114/yr for 500MB worth of storage space and 1GB/month in bandwidth.

Then a company called JaguarPC bought Aletia… and everything just got better. My site’s uptime increased dramatically, as did my web hosting plan. Nowadays, I pay $83.64/year for unlimited storage space and 10GB/bandwidth/day. JaguarPC and I have come a long way together, and their sales and support staff has always been totally top-notch! So THANK YOU JaguarPC for making having a web site so enjoyable!

Out with the new…

… in with the old!

As you can see, I have reverted back to the previous theme for the site. Hopefully, this will be a temporary change.

The new theme had a couple of bugs in it, and I’ve been in touch with the theme’s author to see if I can get them fixed. The author apparently works full-time for Facebook, so I don’t know how quickly a fix will come.

Testing, Testing…

Well, as you can see, I’m trying out a new theme on the site. I used a tweaked version of the default WordPress theme for ages, and last night I just decided that it looked… old. So this morning I woke up and spent an hour or so looking through themes on the WordPress site.

Although I’m not really excited about the dark blue header, I do really like the rest of the theme, especially the giant font. As I get older, I realize that I don’t like reading long articles in tiny Arial type, so I find this theme much easier on the eyes. And unlike a lot of other WordPress themes, this one more or less worked right out of the box. I did have to tweak a few things, so let me summarize the changes for you now:

– I removed the “Archives” widget from the sidebar. WordPress, by default, puts a monthly summary of your posts in a widget called “Archives”. The thing is, once you’ve had a WP site for a couple of years, the Archive widget becomes extremely long, and there’s no way to compact it (say, by having a collapsible hierarchy for previous years). I’d been using a plug-in called “Collapsible Archives” which was supposed to collapse all previous years’ posts and only display the current month. However, a bug in a new version of the plug-in listed the titles of all posts in the  current month, making the list almost as long as it was without the plug-in. So I disabled the plug-in and removed the widget from the sidebar.

– In its place, I created an Archive page, which does exactly what “Collapsible Archives” used to do, only on a separate page, therefore reducing clutter on the home page. Beware that the plug-in uses JavaScript, so it takes a few seconds to load.

Continue reading “Testing, Testing…”