Ah, that’s better. I was getting tired of the way the sidebar links looked—my old sidebar plugin was retired last year so I had to scramble to find a new solution, and when that was implemented it added a bunch of extra CSS and code into that block of text. I finally dug into the code and found the right combination of selectors to override that garbage, and updated it to use the same font as the body copy in a more readable size.

As I write this I realize I haven’t updated the look and feel of this site in over ten years; the stripped-down template I’m using to base the whole site on has been working pretty seamlessly the whole time, with a few small caveats. Part of that is because the template is so basic, which is the main reason I chose it. I’d like to update the look and feel and do something different, but a huge part of me thinks about that project and just gets tired. I do miss working on the web in small doses, but the thought of a large-scale project doesn’t hold the same amount of professional challenge it once did. Were I to change the template, a couple of things I’ve considered doing are:

  • Running the sidebar links inline in the main story feed with some kind of visual differentiator, so that they’re not pinned to the top of the page and appear in the main timeline
  • Switching away from red and gray to something more soothing
  • Cleaning up the comment listings
  • Setting up the pages for better responsiveness on smaller devices—currently there’s a huge margin on the sides that’s more trouble than it’s worth to remove

Every out-of-the-box template I’ve seen is overcomplicated and usually geared towards some kind of storefront; the days of simple blog templates made for blogs is so far in the past as to be forgotten. I have little patience to figure out how to rip whole modules out of someone else’s convoluted templates, so here we sit.

Date posted: October 31, 2023 | Filed under housekeeping | 3 Comments »

I finally watched the movie that concludes the Venture Brothers TV series, and while it was a bit convoluted and maybe didn’t hit all of the beats I wanted it to, I thought it was a great wrap-up for the characters and storyline I’ve been following for twenty years. Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart had some great callbacks, some laugh-out-loud bits, and some surprisingly heartfelt moments. There were some things I had to catch up on, as Adult Swim wasn’t playing the final season online, so I backtracked and went through the last episodes on MAX, and then watched the movie again. Clearly I would have loved to see them continue the series but I’m glad they were given the chance to tie it up properly.


Date posted: October 30, 2023 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

Steve Albini has an outsized voice in the music industry of my generation; he engineered some of the seminal albums of the 80’s and 90’s. He was/is also a notorious curmudgeon, with an almost pathological need to offend and anger anyone and everyone. He’s slowly changed a lot of his attitudes about music, people, and his place in the discourse, and most importantly, has owned up to his responsibility in all of it.

As the years wore on, his perspective started to shift. “I can’t defend any of it,” he told me. “It was all coming from a privileged position of someone who would never have to suffer any of the hatred that’s embodied in any of that language.”

It’s fascinating to read about someone who unabashedly, unashamedly owns up to his faults without the aid (or hindrance) of an army of PR flacks and crisis managers.

Date posted: October 30, 2023 | Filed under life, music, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: October 29, 2023 | Filed under friends | Leave a Comment »

Jen and I are in Baltimore for my annual cancer checkup, and so far the bloodwork looks very good. Across the board, most of my numbers are up, and crucially, my white blood cell count increased for the first time since a weird blip in 2020, as well as my platelet count, lymphocytes, and neutrophils. The absolute values (an actual count vs. an average) for lymphocytes are still low—just skirting the bottom of the “normal” range. So if my white blood cell and lymphocyte counts can keep improving, I’ll be real happy.

The fact that I can sit in the waiting room between the CAT scan and my checkup, collect my bloodwork results in real time, add them to a spreadsheet on my laptop, and update graphing software to plot my progress kind of boggles the mind.

Date posted: October 25, 2023 | Filed under cancer | Leave a Comment »

We have a Brother all-in-one printer that was highly touted to be the “best printer for Macs” when I bought it several years ago. This is how I feel about it. It’s one more “cannot connect to printer” message away from its day in the field with a baseball bat.

Date posted: October 24, 2023 | Filed under life | 1 Comment »

The St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival has been a tradition Jen and I have upheld since the earliest days of our courtship; the first time we went together was the first time I met her parents. Our previous visits have been chronicled here, and it’s one of the yearly events I look forward to with the girls—partially because of the event, and partially because of the food. Southern Maryland cooking is a unique little outlier, and I look forward to fried oysters and St. Mary’s County ham with anticipation.


It was, then, with some unhappiness we found ourselves without any ham. There were a ton of people there, and a wide variety of oysters prepared in different ways, but we walked from one side of the fair to the other looking for a sandwich or a platter without success. Apparently the local grocer who used to make it and supply it to the fair went out of business? The price of oysters has gone up somewhat, which made me glad I’d withdrawn $200 from the ATM and not the $100 I originally intended to, but they were just as delicious as I remember—there’s something specific about the breading used in St. Mary’s County that is better than anywhere else we’ve tried. We tried smoked oysters, served with gouda, bacon, and onion, and Finn and I found them delicious while Jen didn’t like them. We also tried a quartet of fried Oreos, which were good but heavy on shortening.


The rest of the fair was much the same as years past, although the carnival rides are gone, replaced with a huge craft beer tasting tent and more vendors. We brought Hazel with us for obvious reasons, and she did very well walking through the fair—but I suspect that was also aided by the fact that she’s got the bonnet back on: her right ear has opened back up.


When we left the fair we headed back to Bob’s house and visited for a little while before taking him out for some dinner. By the time we got home, we were all stuffed and about ten minutes away from falling asleep.

Date posted: October 22, 2023 | Filed under family, photo | Leave a Comment »

My brewing equipment has been sitting on Marketplace for almost a year now with few bites, and I’ve reduced the price several times to try to gin up some interest. As with some other things I probably should have sold this stuff at the beginning of the lockdown, but hindsight is blah blah whatever. Yesterday someone pinged me about buying the kegs and siphon, and I figured I’d rather sell it piecemeal than not at all. I took the kegs out back, hosed the dust off, and let them dry in the sun before loading them in the back of the truck. On my way back from picking up Finn from school I met the buyer downtown and made the exchange. I’d love to sell of the rest of this stuff to make room in the basement, so I updated the listing and lowered the price. We’ll see if I can get some more interest.

Date posted: October 20, 2023 | Filed under brewing | Leave a Comment »

Finn has been without her iPhone for a month or so now, on account of 9th grade being a degree of difficulty harder than 8th grade was. We’ve got an agreement that she needs to keep her grades above a certain level to have access to her phone, and currently that threshold has not been met. (It’s also much harder to get grades back up quickly in 9th grade than it was last year). Without entertainment, her life has been dull. She was given money for her birthday present this year and wisely picked out an inexpensive knockoff iPod Fun Time! Music MP3 All Day Player Box from Amazon. When it arrived I intercepted it and loaded a bunch of music on a sidecar MiniSD card, as it wouldn’t mount to any of our Macs. I’m giving it some grief because clearly it’s a very basic knockoff of an iPod, but for $40, it’s a color touchscreen music player/radio/video player with 64GB of space; this same thing would have been worth ten times this amount five years ago. Anyway, I stuffed it with music and gave it to her over breakfast the next morning.

I tried to find the sweet spot between loading music I know she likes and stuff I think she might like based on previous conversations. The biggest problem is that I haven’t bought new music in years. We used to get CD’s from the library down the street but they’ve been closed for renovations since January (opening Spring 2024!) so everything I have on the server is at least a year old or more. That being said, she’s now got the classics she enjoys with Mom: Erasure, Duran Duran, the Cure, George Michael, Prince, etc. From my side I put some assorted stuff on there: Silversun Pickups, M83, Beck, and The White Stripes, as well as classic albums from Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Clash, and others.

We drove out to the Lowe’s to pick up some wood this evening and I asked her what she listened to. She said she made a playlist with a couple of Silversun Pickups songs, a few Beach House tunes, and one from Cut Copy that she really liked. I did my best not to be Ken from the scene in Barbie where he starts lecturing about what made Pavement so important and stuck to asking her what she liked and didn’t like so I can find her more music. We had a good conversation about it, and she seems real happy. We were able to hook it up to the deck in the Scout and rock out, and it put a smile on her face, which is all I’m asking for these days.

Date posted: October 18, 2023 | Filed under finn, music | Leave a Comment »

Huh, this finally looks like it turned into something: the I’m Back Film digital back for film cameras looks like it’s a shipping product; the claim is that it’s an adjustable unit for any 35mm film camera, shooting a 4/3 image sensor, which you can then use with a wide-angle adapter for “full frame” size images. At ~$500 it’s pricy for use as a walk-around toy, but it’s nice to see the technology is advancing. (previously.)

Date posted: October 16, 2023 | Filed under photography, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »