daffodil 1

Over the course of successive nights I’ve added old weblog posts up to the middle of September 2004, which doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but represents hours of repetitive labor. What I’ve had to do for each post is copy the raw HTML from my old handwritten files, strip out any broken links, change the creation date, upload and relink any image files (which I kept locally in that month’s subfolder), and add the relevant Category tag(s). See why I haven’t done this in the past? WordPress, at least, is quicker than Movable Type, which would have taken eons.

I’m thinking there has to be a better way of doing this, so I’m going to look into some kind of search-and-replace to build an XML file in a format that WordPress likes, and use that to import three years’ worth of entries in one swoop. The images will be a complicating factor, of course. Another thing I’d like to do is find a way to have WordPress list all of the entries for a particular month on one page, as opposed to the five-excerpt list it picks up from the homepage template. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to devote to the new weblog structure other than fooling with the base CSS, but I’m sure there’s an easy way to get it working.

In other news, I’ve got a tentative plan with Mr. Scout to go lookin’ through the local junkyard on Friday for a Saturn taillight, as well as yanking the radiator out of Peer Pressure to flush it out. I’m going to be up in the morning extra-early to get a jumpstart on things, because the weather is getting warmer and I’d really like to be driving the Scout again.

LOST was pretty good last night, if not a little sparse on the backend character development. I agree with the Onion review: we didn’t learn much, and there wasn’t a whole lot of resolution in the flash-sideways like there has been for other characters. I guess that’s a flaw in the writers’ attempt to jam two (criminally underutilized and potentially interesting) characters into one episode. And Jen guessed the identity of “the Package” right away.

Speaking of Lost and packages, here’s an exhaustive list of Dharma initiative food labels for everything in your pantry. enjoy!

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: March 31, 2010 | Filed under CMS, entertainment, Scout | 2 Comments »

Through the reflector

This weekend we took a trip across the Bay Bridge to visit with our good friends K&R, who have just added to their family a peaceful little boy called Zachary. After the initial hubbub of Finn’s birth died down, we realized how valuable it was to see friends, and how awesome it was when they brought dinner, and so we try to pay it forward as much as possible.

Finn, Jen, and Zachary

Mama outdid herself with some delicious portuguese chorizo stew and freshly baked bread, and we timed things just right to have plenty of visiting before it was time for night-nights and a quiet ride back over the bridge.

Flirting with Mr. Rob

Miss Finn was well-behaved, preferring to spend most of her time practicing her climbing skills on two flights of carpeted stairs. She’s getting very fast…

Date posted: March 30, 2010 | Filed under finn, friends, photo, travel | 1 Comment »

Date posted: March 29, 2010 | Filed under finn | 1 Comment »

From the NYT: Line2 Allows iPhone Users to Sidestep AT&T. Genius. There was a product with about 80% of the featureset called TalkPlus five years ago, something I had a hand in working on (and very nearly joined the company).

Date posted: March 25, 2010 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

My physical therapist and I have a certain weekly routine, where he puts electrodes on my back and I lift weights and watch Harry Potter on my iPhone and try to ignore 120V of direct current that’s making my muscles tense into iron rods. Then he does ultrasound, which is like having a mostly relaxing massage with a warm curling iron. Next, he does manual massage, including a technique where he grabs my skull and attempts to pop it upwards off my spinal column like the head of a dandelion. Usually, that’s about the worst point; after that, I stand in front of a machine with a big crank and do six repetitions with each arm, and he slowly turns the resistance higher. The result is a slightly sore but satisfying ache in the muscle that usually leads to fitful sleep and an increase in mobility.

Last night the other therapist put the electrodes in the usual place and I made it to the end of the quiddich match in Half-Blood Prince, and then everything went to hell. She is a quiet lady with a thick European accent, and her timid demeanor hides a frightening ability to inflict pain for extended periods of time. She started with massage around my neck, and when she found the knot in my left shoulder, she said, “aha!’ in a quiet voice, just before she attempted to push it through the other side of my body and out the front of my chest using only the tip of her finger. After about five grueling minutes of deep-tissue torture, I was ready to confess to anything Dick Cheney could dream up in his worst paranoid fantasies. Then, she used a pair of iron-hard knuckles and about thirty foot pounds of pressure applied directly to the screaming muscle mass and told me to turn my head to the side five times, slowly. Once I’d gotten through that and fought off the urge to puke, she had me do it facing the other way.

After that, it was back to the old routine, but my enthusiasm for turning the big crank was gone. Especially after the front desk guy changed the music from classical to the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, which made me feel even more foolish than I normally do. This afternoon, I’m sore and creaky and tired from tossing and turning all night, which hasn’t happened in a week or so. I know that often things have to get worse before they get better, but I think I want to go back to my original therapist next week, because I don’t know what I did to his partner to make her dislike me so much.

Date posted: March 25, 2010 | Filed under general, humor | Leave a Comment »

Here’s my new favorite podcast: Stuff You Missed In History Class. Covered are such subjects as:
Why did Angkor Wat fall?
How did Meriwether Lewis die?
How the Boston Molasses Flood Worked
John Snow’s Ghost Map
How the Opium Wars Worked
What Happened to the Romanovs?

There’s hours of good listening there. Great for working to.

Date posted: March 24, 2010 | Filed under shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

This is a simple story, really, but inspiring and full of awesome: How A $500 Craigslist Car Beat $400K Rally Racers. The short version: Guy buys 20-year-old beater BMW, stuffs new motor inside, signs up for the WRC Rally Mexico and takes third place on guts, skill, and luck. You, Sir, are Full Of Win.

Date posted: March 23, 2010 | Filed under shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised: Building Used On ‘Homicide’ To Become Hotel. Apparently Baltimore city sold the Recreation Pier to developers for $2 million, and they will turn it into a $35 million, 132-room hotel. Because, you know, Baltimore doesn’t have enough hotels already.

Date posted: March 23, 2010 | Filed under Baltimore, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

So I have to back up to last Thursday and describe my birthday, which was very low-key and enjoyable. Mama woke me by bringing Finn in to lay on my chest, and she nestled up to my chin for a few minutes before we all got up for breakfast.

After work, Mr. Scout and I went to peek at a diesel Scout over in Lauraville, after being tipped off by the Toddfather. The truck was pretty beat, but the running gear was nice, and after I took it for a spin around the block (unintentionally winding up out on Harford Road in a balky diesel with sketchy brakes) we advised the seller on some pricing adjustments for parts he didn’t know he had.

Diesel Scout

Then, taking advantage of our proximity to The Big Bad Wolf, we ordered some tasty barbecue and brought it home to share with the family. After I helped put a sleepy girl to bed, we dug into dinner and discussed the developments on LOST before slicing into some delicious homemade blueberry pie. Mr. Scout surprised me with three boxes of Al’s Liner, an off-the-shelf bedliner product that’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than Herculiner or Line-X. Thanks guys!

Birthday Pie!

Saturday morning we had Finn’s swimming lesson, which went a little less smoothly than weeks past. Mama was in the pool for the first time with us, and I think Finn saw that as an opportunity to complain and fuss for attention instead of focusing on having fun and relaxing. I felt awful for Jen because she wanted to be in the water with Finn, but I don’t think that’s going to happen next week.

After we got back, the girl went down for a nap and we got to work out in the yard, taking advantage of 70° and sunshine to clean up what four months of frozen inattention have left us. We cleaned up and pruned back the grape arbor, raked about a million leaves, and dumped 32 cubic yards of mulch on the front hedge. I chopped vine and hauled away dead growth around the stump in the rear of the yard while Jen cleaned out several flowerbeds and made a place for the daffodils to breathe. I also moved the final vestigal hedge from the backyard up to the front; here’s to hoping it will root as well as the two I put in last year did. In the evening, after having some grilled steak and potatoes and putting the girl to bed, we watched The Hurt Locker, which was as good, and as intense, as everyone said it was.

Sunday was full of sunshine, so we kept at the yard. More mulch, more raking, bagging leaves, and cleaning beds. I took a break at noon to go to a free class at Jen’s yoga studio, thinking that the stretching might help my shoulder problems (which have been getting slowly better). I was nervous, and as the class started it seemed to me like I was the only one who was unfamiliar with the poses, but I hung in there and made it through. The only thing I couldn’t do was one of the final sitting poses because my hamstrings were so tightly wound. I have to admit, I felt a little silly being one of only three men in the class, but I felt much better after one of the other guys fell asleep during the final relaxation period and began snoring loudly, prompting snorts of laughter from the rest of us.

wheelbarrow ride!

(compare and contrast):

wheelbarrow ride

On my return, we continued cleaning the yard, getting the vegetable garden organized, and turning the mulch in each of the three piles. The humus in the end pile was ready to go, and after the three of us removed the roots, bark, and other large items, we wound up with a good-sized pile of rich, black soil to add to the garden. (Finn dove right into the pile, covering the front of her shirt and pants with dirt. I think we have a future gardener on our hands). Next we’ll pick up some manure and then till the whole thing up to get it ready for planting. After dinner and some books, Mama and I put Finn to bed and enjoyed a Berger’s cookie in front of The Order of the Phoenix. Then we laid down tired, happy, and content after a productive weekend together.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: March 22, 2010 | Filed under finn, garden, house, Scout | Leave a Comment »

up the stairs

Old news by now, but here’s my take: It’s about fucking time. I went without health insurance for five years out of college, routinely rolling the dice by hanging my ass off a two-story ladder while trying to afford to run my own business. Buying health insurance in 1994 was no picnic, and it’s a ridiculously expensive proposition today, especially for a family. Here’s the thing that nobody seems to realize: if I’d fallen off that ladder in 1994, the ambulance would have taken me to the hospital, and we’d all be paying for my treatment. We’re all paying for it one way or another. The next step is to regulate the crap out of the insurance companies. Period.

Also, I like the rule that states that nobody with a preexisting condition can be denied coverage.

Date posted: March 22, 2010 | Filed under general, photo, politics | 2 Comments »