After making the decision to keep the Scout, I decided to revive the old /scout/ directory on my work server. (For a time in the early part of this decade, that directory was the most popular destination on that domain). After reviewing a page I’d last edited in 2003, I decided to install WordPress in that directory and document my progress with a simple weblog. Installation was a snap, and within minutes I’d changed the template to something cleaner and more useful—a process that would have taken hours in Movable Type.

I’ve been wanting to update/upgrade/redesign this site for about a year now, and the technical and logistical realities of working with Movable Type have been the thing that holds me back. I don’t really want to spend hours fighting with a clunky template interface just to change a color sitewide, or have to wrestle with MySQL to upgrade the database using lousy installation instructions. The WordPress interface is smooth, there are a million plugins to make life easier, the PHP is cleaner, as are the templates, and it just feels better.

So, at the crossroads, I’m considering a switch of allegiance. Doing some preliminary research, I found some pages that talk about migrating data, which doesn’t sound easy but could be harder. I think what I’ll have to do is set up a subdirectory here on, export the data from MT and then import it into WP to get the guts in place. Then it’s going to be a lot of tweaking to get all the old URLs working correctly (this seems to be the biggest hassle) and stuff where it belongs. Where I’ll find the time for this I don’t know, but it will be nice to have a change of scenery around these parts again.

Date posted: January 20, 2009 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on Change of Venue?

Hi little girl. Mama tells me it was a year ago today when she found out you were on the way, and I’ve spent some time reflecting on the difference a year makes. It’s hard to remember what life was like without the scent of your fuzzy warm head in my nose, the beautiful sound of your voice, or your bright early morning smile.

A lot of things have changed since last January, many of them not so good. Outside our cozy little house, the world is trying desperately to hold itself together until a new sheriff comes to town with the almost impossible task of getting things back on track. It amazes me that you will grow up with a black President, something I thought I’d never see in my lifetime, and you will think nothing is out of the ordinary about this fact while the rest of us hold our breath and pray he is able to accomplish half of what we hope he can. As much as I like him, I haven’t gotten as worked up about his first day as the rest of the country seems to be; we’re only an hour from the Capitol, but your Mama and I have no desire to try to see him inaugurated in person with the rest of the country. Perhaps it’s the cold weather. Or maybe the projected ratio of people to portable sanitation facilities. Whatever the case, we’re going to stay home and watch it from here in front of a warm fire.

It’s hard to believe the difference a month makes too, for that matter. You’re a completely different baby since the middle of December: you’re sleeping on a regular schedule now, you’re happy when you’re awake, full of giggles and energy, and you’re making great leaps in development. We’ve even moved you into a full-sized crib from the cosleeper, which didn’t seem to faze you at all—we were terrified it would be a struggle to get you used to a larger bed. Especially seeing how small you look in that thing, like a duck landing on an aircraft carrier. Mama has spent a lot of time getting you ready for sitting up and rolling over, and even though being on your stomach makes you scream like we’ve stuck you with a cattle prod, I think you’re getting bored with the view from your back. For a kid who kicks her feet as much as you do, I think you might go straight from laying down to pole vaulting in the space of an afternoon.

You’re getting bigger by the minute, too, which is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. It seems like last week I could fit your entire hand on my thumbnail, and now your fingers encircle mine with a grip of iron and direct the bottle to your mouth: MORE FOOD NOW. Slow down so we can enjoy you as an infant just a little while longer, OK?

Date posted: January 19, 2009 | Filed under finn | Comments Off on Four Months/One Year.

Camera Hacks: Extend Your Flash Cord with Network Cable I wonder if this actually works or not? It might be worth a try.

Date posted: January 17, 2009 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on DIY Flash cord with RJ-45

This morning I pulled my giggling daughter from her crib and fed her breakfast as she smiled back up at me. Her mama tells me mornings are her best time of the day, and now I can see why.

Date posted: January 17, 2009 | Filed under finn, picture of the day | Comments Off on Morning with Baby.

Our CEO bought us some mugs for the office. Instead of something false and shallow (I’m imagining about mug-versions of those inspirational posters with titles like “Success” and “Teamwork”), he bought us a set of ten Pantone color mugs. I must have a set for our house.

Date posted: January 16, 2009 | Filed under picture of the day | 1 Comment »

Finn is getting too big for the Bjorn now. It seems like only last week her head still fit below the top edge.

Date posted: January 14, 2009 | Filed under finn, picture of the day | Comments Off on Symmetry, with Bjorn.

This is brilliant: the heavy metal band name chart.

Date posted: January 13, 2009 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on heavy metal band name chart

Now that I seem to be back on the Scout wagon, I decided I’d use Yahoo Pipes to build an RSS scraper for Craigslist to keep an eye on spare parts for sale. I’m impressed with Pipes-it was easy to set up, and I’m going to keep fooling with it to refine my searches further. Not that I can afford anything right now, anyway.

Date posted: January 13, 2009 | Filed under productivity, shortlinks | Comments Off on Yahoo Pipes

I’ve always loved this sign across from Alonzo’s in Roland Park, and today I stopped for two minutes to shoot a picture of it, even though the overcast sky allows for no contrast.

Date posted: January 13, 2009 | Filed under picture of the day | Comments Off on Chow Mein Charlie.

At 10AM this morning, a trio of trucks descended on the house, and the driveway was quickly filled with tools. We pulled the cover from the Scout and looked over the engine compartment. There was plenty of oil, all the hoses looked reasonably clean, the wires were connected, and there was enough juice in the battery to light the brake indicator. After attempting to jump it with the Jeep (not enough power), we swapped out a battery from Mr. Clean’s pickup, cleaned the carburetor, added some gas, and cranked the engine over.


After letting it run for a short while, Mr. Scout suggested we check the coolant level, and it was a good thing he did. The radiator was dry, so we immediately filled it with coolant and water. The next question was what condition the transmission was in. After a quick run through the gears, I put it in reverse and felt the clutch grab almost immediately, then tested first gear with the same result. After we engaged the hubs, I tried out the transfer case and found it easy to engage, even while sitting still.


While we had it running, Finn brought Jen outside to inspect.

After a short while, there was a little leakage from the water pump, so we resorted to a backwoods remedy: eggwhites in the coolant. The engine ran smoothly and a little fast, but there is no better sound than that of a big American V-8, and it was singing to us: Take me for a spin. A historic plate was -ahem- borrowed from Mr. Clean’s pickup, and we jockeyed vehicles to make room for its passage.

We took it up the side street and everyone took a turn behind the wheel except Mr. Scout, who is saving himself for the day his mistress is ready for him. First, second, and third gears all shifted smoothly, and the engine made a lovely howl through the dual exhaust.

Tire Tracks

After returning it to the driveway, we retired to the mexican restaurant down the street to enjoy some warm food and cold beer while the battery charged.

It felt good to be behind the wheel of a Scout again.

Date posted: January 11, 2009 | Filed under life | 1 Comment »