This is the 4,001st entry here on Idiotking.org. Given my sporadic posting around here lately, I wasn’t expecting to hit it quite so quickly.

What shall I waste time writing about here? Well, we got hit last night with a blast of icy Arctic air and about 4″of snow. With wind chill, it’s about 5-10˚ out there right now, so we wisely decided to stay inside today. Finn has been battling some kind of flu that sends fluid out both ends, so she was mending quietly on the couch all day. I went down into the basement and finally wrangled piles of stuff strewn about the place, building a rack for our spare dining room chairs, a rack for our spare lumber, organizing the recycling, transferring the IPA to a secondary fermenter, and about 30 other small jobs. When I came back upstairs we heated dinner up and did a double-feature of How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Up before getting Finn in bed. Tomorrow is due to be as cold as today, and there’s snow in the forecast. I also have to teach tomorrow night, which means I’ll eventually have to go back outside.

Date posted: February 15, 2015 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

Some asshole attacked my WordPress install and temporarily blew it up. I’m working to clean things from the ground up, which means I’m defaulting to this ugly template for the time being. It also means my automatic FTP backups weren’t working properly, so I need to rebuild my theme template.

Happy 2015.

technical difficulties

Update: I hadn’t upgraded to WP 4.1 yet and someone made some sneaky changes that I didn’t find in my server logs. Looks like most everything is back up to date, minus the entries I’d made between Dec 29 and yesterday.

Date posted: January 6, 2015 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

I try to take pictures looking at changes over time, and realized I’ve got a bunch of them on the website. I added a new category for posts that feature comparisons, and went as far back as 2008 collecting them last night.

Date posted: October 23, 2014 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

Well, that’s it. All of the old hand-coded log is now here in WordPress. After I-don’t-know-how-many-years, I finished migrating it the other night, so everything from 2001 is included here.

Meanwhile, poking around my other site, I came across a bunch of stuff I’d forgotten about. From 2002-2005 (pre-Flickr) I used to use a small script to generate galleries of photos and then post them to my website, but there’s never been any real good list of links to the whole cache. Here’s a master list, in date-correct order:

6/7/02 – Backyard pictures from my old house in Canton
6/11/02 – More backyard progress shots
6/22/02 – Assorted pictures, Jen’s apartment kitchen
7/6/02 – Fourth of July weekend and some more backyard pictures
7/15/02 – Model T Club meetup in Ellicot City
7/30/02 – July vacation in Aurora
9/1/02 – Labor Day in Aurora
9/14/02 – Matt comes in from San Francisco, and our group of friends meets at Rob & Karean’s house in Canton
3/18/03 – Snowfall in Canton
3/17/03 – St. Patrick’s Day weekend
3/29/03 – Checking out a old building on River Road in Ellicott City
bimini_photos – Bimini pictures
divelog – Bimini trip writeup with pictures
5/27/2003 – Engagement trip to Savannah, GA
5/10/03 wedding – Tim & Betty’s wedding in DC
5/24/03 – Engagement trip to Aurora
6/7/03 – Lockard reunion in Orlando
7/4/03 – Fourth of July 2003, up in Aurora
7/25/03 Stas & Vicki’s wedding in NY
9/8/03 – New Catonsville house pictures
12/21/03 – Christmas dinner on Tyndale Ave.
4/4/20 – Spring flowers
Wedding – Wedding pictures
Rome – Honeymoon trip to Rome with writeup
4/10/9 – Matt & Sophie’s wedding in San Francisco
4/11/26 – B&O Railroad Museum
Baby – Finn’s progression in Jen’s belly
House – Shots from the first day we looked at the house
House_photos – A few pictures from the house inspection
House_progress – Semi-updated gallery of house renovation pictures
– Pictures of the crazy roadside signs in Oklahoma, 1992
Panoramics – Test panoramics (needs a Java applet, which I don’t have a link for)

At some point, I’d like to upload all of these to Flickr, but I don’t know of a way to backdate them so that they list in sequence. I’ll have to look into that some more.

Our weekend was full and fun. Saturday we started out with a soccer game under bright blue skies. Finn claimed she was nervous on the ride over, but as she got onto the field and comfortable, she guarded the goal well.

On one play toward the second half of the game, she collected the ball in front of her own goal and drove it all the way down the field to the other side–and past the opposing team’s goal. She’s come so far in a couple of weeks!


In the afternoon she hung out with me while I got a bunch of boring house chores done:

  • Hauled brush to the dump
  • Brought in the AC units
  • Closed the storm windows
  • Cleaned off the front porch
  • Cleaned up and closed up the attic
  • Closed up the cracks in our foundation with hydraulic cement

Then we walked over to the neighbors’ and grilled on their deck. As the sun set we built a fire in the firepit, enjoyed adult conversation, and let the kids play until long after bedtime.

I’m wrapping up a lot of small projects here today:

  • I’ve got a sick iMac on my desk waiting for a fresh install of Snow Leopard. The hard drive died on it last week so I had R&K drop it off to let me do a little surgery. I put a new 1TB drive in it and got it back up and running. Now I have to find out what OS it tops out at and attempt a rebuild from their backup.
  • I’ve had another sick MacBook Pro come in and out of the office, the victim of an overstuffed email database and general malaise.
  • I’ve got a web project for Finn’s old pre-K school that’s going pretty well. It’s a church site I built in WordPress with some nice calendar functionality and some other custom features, and I’m waiting for them to start adding content so that I can style it and fill out the pages.
  • I’ve got another client who’s going through a move and needed two MailChimp templates for a pair of email blasts, as well as an updated address to all the pages on their site.
  • We’ve got a friend who’s been looking to get a personal WordPress site off the ground for a while, and has a renewed focus on making that happen.

I was able to wrap up a lot of small things this afternoon, which feels good and should open my weeknights back up. Last week I was bouncing from one thing to the next but not making a lot of headway, so an afternoon’s full attention made all the difference. I like having paying work, and I’d like to solicit some more, just as long as it’s not overwhelming–as it has in the past.

Date posted: September 28, 2014 | Filed under finn, housekeeping, links, list, photo | Leave a Comment »

Huh, I didn’t realize I’d checked the “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” setting in WordPress, which may have stopped commenting on the site cold. It’s now open for business, which means commenting should be a lot easier again. I hadn’t noticed it until I checked the site in Chrome, where I wasn’t logged in.

Date posted: September 21, 2014 | Filed under housekeeping | 2 Comments »

Well, the great circular wheel of sickness has made about five full revolutions in the last week, so that Finn was sick and then got well and now seems to be sick again. I’m still fighting off the cold that’s been keeping me coughing and blowing my nose for two weeks, but it hasn’t knocked me off my feet yet.

I’ve taken delivery of a beautiful new 13″ MacBook Pro at work, and I’m in love with the Retina display. It’s difficult to go back to a standard LCD after looking at it. The machine itself is a marvel of power and beauty in a tiny little package, and I’ll be happy to carry it to and from work instead of a larger and heavier 15″, although I still have to spring for a pricy Thunderbolt dongle to get a wired Ethernet connection.

The designer who was working with me at WRI celebrated his last day on Friday, so the search for a full-time replacement is in high gear. I’m still working out how to handle file sharing and storage with the new designer based in the D.C. office; I inherited a Dropbox account which holds all of our current files but there’s no method for sharing any of our legacy files. I do have several external hard drives with tons of other legacy files written by people who left years ago, but I’d like to find some kind of simple managed server solution. It may be that I have to cobble together a shared drive in the tower until I can justify the purchase of a server license or a Drobo.

It turned out that I didn’t need any scripting help to count weblog categories after all; WordPress offers a counter in the categories dashboard. I dropped the data into a graph to view the spread, and it’s pretty much what I imagined: not counting Shortlinks, which is the category I use for sidebar links, House comes in second, followed by Photo (which I use for every post that includes a picture), Housekeeping (posts that concern changes to the site and technical details) and Geek. I did think that Finn would rate higher, but she’s also working against eight years of posts that predate her.


Meanwhile, on my main website, I made the first major update to the homepage in something like seven years. It’s really simple right now, but I’ll be adding and tweaking and updating it over time. The big issue right now is trying to find a way to serve random images out of my Flickr feed without using Flash to display them. I first tried an old Flash based product to pull images from a subdirectory on the site, but it appears Flickr has disconnected its RSS feed for Sets, which destroys pretty much any good way of pulling curated images. So, I looked around some more and found a very simple jQuery plugin to grab tagged images and cycle through them. I have to work out some of the responsive breakpoints, but it’s live.

Mr. Scout dropped by on Friday night and dropped off my new Blichman kettle, which is about as hard-core a piece of equipment as I could ever own. It came with a layer of crud at the bottom from the last batch of wort, but five minutes with a scrub brush and some baking soda and the stainless was gleaming again. Now I just need to kick this fucking cold so I can brew a new batch.

Date posted: March 30, 2014 | Filed under brewing, housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

My birthday passed with quiet family fanfare, which was just what I wanted this year: dinner with my ladies at Chick-Fil-A. Before you scoff, the sandwiches are good, the shakes are better, and Finn loves the playroom. Jen and I watched as she immediately made friends and crawled through the tubes, laughing. I’m fighting off some kind of sore throat so a quiet evening was just fine with me–we were all in bed by 10PM. Today has been no better so I’ve been drinking gallons of decaf tea with lemon; they have boxes of the stuff stocked at work.

Other than that, it’s been very quiet this week.

Now that I’m working with scientists and data and shit, I tend to be looking at numbers and figures a lot more than I used to. I got to thinking about my own thirteen-year project, this weblog, and how I might be able to mine it for some data. Using a feature of the widget I use to build the post selector at the bottom of the page, I was able to get WordPress to spit out a post count for each month. Using some nimble search-and-replace skills, I got the data formatted, into Excel, and then copied that into Illustrator to build a pretty graph.


As you can see, there’s some serious variation in there. Sidebar posts are included in the count, so it’s a rough outline of activity peaking somewhere in 2006 and averaging about 24 per month. Of interest is the high count of 63 in April of 2006 and the low count of 1 in January 2002 when I lost the file in an FTP hiccup. It’s a lot steadier in the last five years than I thought it would be, though, which is nice.

Next, I’m going to see if I can get figures on each of the post categories. Maybe I can find out the percentage of posts with photos vs. without.

Date posted: March 19, 2014 | Filed under geek, general, housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

Please stand by. I’m updating the template behind the site to work better on mobile browsers. Hopefully this won’t take long.

Update: The site should be working pretty well for variable browser sizes; I still have to work out some styling issues with comment layouts, random page elements, and the footer. But it’s working. Check it out on your phone or resize the browser window to see what I’m talking about.

Update Update: Typekit fonts are adjusted, and there are a lot of little edits here and there. The footer is the biggest issue now. I’d like to have it resize more gracefully into something better, but I need to work on it more. I’m not sure I’m going to keep using this template, but I haven’t found a good alternative yet.

Date posted: June 29, 2012 | Filed under housekeeping | 2 Comments »

Hmm. I think I might install this and use it on Wednesday (when other, larger and well-know sites will be down in protest): SOPA Blackout Plugin.

Date posted: January 16, 2012 | Filed under housekeeping, politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »


That picture is of a batch of IPA going into a freshly cleaned keg, which is now sitting in a newly constructed kegerator in the basement. There’s a tank of Co2 hooked up to a brass splitter and two shutoff valves, which will eventually feed two kegs. The brew I put in this afternoon is getting force-carbonated and should be ready by Monday afternoon. I’m currently without a temperature controller, but switching the keg on and off manually works just as well until I can get one.

For about eight months I’ve been unable to use Flickr’s built-in posting tool to add photos to my website. The content showing up on my site would be code minus the HTML symbol markup, so every post looked like Finn had started bashing on the keyboard in an open text field. The fix was to install this small plugin, which resolves an issue with the libXML2 version my hosting provider is running (and thus mangling my posts).

Date posted: December 31, 2011 | Filed under brewing, housekeeping, photo | 1 Comment »