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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Some Bizarre Events


I Can Eat The Spoon!
She was so enamored with the spoon that Beth
gave her another spoon to play with while
feeding her tonight. She's such an
inquisitive one.
So unless you've been living under a rock (or outside of the twin cities television/radio market), you've most likely heard a lot of stuff about the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse that happened yesterday. Simply amazing. Likely to make it into a Modern Marvels' Engineering Disasters episode in a few years.

There are some amazing pictures on Flickr. One amazing set has some fantastic images taken by a dude who lives literally a stone's throw from the bridge. They were all taken before they were evacuated.

So I spent a few hours last night absorbing all of the information. And working on the website a bit. But mostly absorbing information. I was tired and didn't post an entry. Besides, given the events of the day, I really couldn't think of something worthwhile to post. So I went to bed.

There's been an incredible amount of coverage on the bridge collapse -- locally and nationwide. It's the kind of thing that doesn't (and shouldn't) happen every day, but at this point in time it looks like a worst-case scenario (short of the complete failure) was avoided in that there are a load of survivors. That doesn't do much for anyone who lost someone in this event (which is always sad), but it could have been so much worse on the human casualty front.

Anyway, my three favorite pictures of the aforementioned set can be found here, here, and here (listed in order of favorite-ness).

Presumably I'll be not so tired tomorrow evening and write a better entry. Hopefully something about what I intend to do with the website stuff.

Until then...
"Few things are harder to put up with than a good example."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

--MZ

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's SuperGold!


Watching Mom Play Piano
She usually goes through a happy period while
either Beth or I play the piano for her. This
was one such time, as you can tell by the smile.
So I've been listening to the July 21 SuperGold show (I'm now on the sixth hour) tonight. Mark gave me several months' worth of the SuperGold CD's from the radio station (which he kept -- as opposed to throwing away as they normally do). There's some good stuff in there, and it's different than portions of my normal playlist.

This show happens to be focused on 1977, so I actually have a fair amount of the music that was played.

In other news, I created the directory structure for the new MZ Online site. There are currently about 21 pages of content that will be created. Of that number, I've managed to as of right now get the core content of six pages in place. So progress is being made. :)

I was thinking today about some additional features that will need to be handled before I make things go live. I've got to get some of that straightened out or laid out (things like advanced statistics and possibly some sort of search). I'm also toying with the idea of creating an RSS page, from which feeds for my del.icio.us, Flickr, this blog, or possibly StumbleUpon can be accessible. A single place to obtain any and all feeds I wish to make available. This may be a later feature, we'll see.

Anyway, the day was fairly normal. Kirstin was on the fussy order for Beth today, and that's unfortunate and made for a rough day and evening for everyone. But, gotta have a day like that once in a while. [Kirstin] can't be perfect all the time, you know. :)

So until next time...
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."
- Al Capone (1899-1947)

--MZ

Monday, July 30, 2007

Determination


Determination
She was bound and determined to scoot to her
boat toy. I see a motivational poster when I
look at this picture...
Nothing wrong with a little determination, I guess. :) I may have to blow this one up into a motivational poster. :)

Well, today was back to normal at the mill...and it went alright. It's always difficult to get back into the swing of things on Monday, and this Monday was no exception. But, there were no real fires to put out and that helps tremendously.

The sprinkler business seems to be working quite well. It jumped the hose last night and ended up running all night (fortunately it 'hit' (ran into) the well casing and wasn't able to travel any further (or strip out the gears)). I rectified the situation that caused it to jump the hose (it was on an incline and turn where it jumped), so tonight's run should go as planned. But in places (I noticed when I got home today) you can tell exactly where the sprinkler reached...because there's a distinct line of green versus not green.

So that's a Good Thing. We'll see how it goes after tonight and that will determine if I let it run another night in the front yard before giving it a break for a few days or not.

In other news, I have finally created the master template for the new MZ Online site. It's kinda exciting. Although at first I was thinking it a nightmare. I'd tweaked it to the home page size and whatnot, and I forgot to include a bit of CSS that allowed for the main body to resize appropriately based upon content (with a minimum size). So after messing with that for a while, it's looking pretty reasonable.

As a part of creating the template, I wrote the (fairly simple, but extensive) code for the navigation system. Sadly, most of what I did there will likely not be noticed by the average user, but it looks cool and works well. Most of the code is related to automatically 'informing' the user of his/her current location (by 'highlighting' his/her location in a series of ways). I say automatically because I'm using a template. So I have to pass an argument to the template generator I made which specifies the page it's generating. That value then determines which options of the navigation system are disabled or highlighted as appropriate.

It's pretty cool, but like I said likely to be more or less ignored. So I've officially graduated to the content generation portion of the overhaul process. I may make some CSS changes to the template or tweaks here and there, but the vast majority of it is now completely done and shouldn't need much work before launch.

Anyway, it's getting to be past my bedtime, so I'm going to call it a night. Until next time...
"Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes."
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

--MZ

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Busy Weekend


Matt & George
So Beth managed to take this picture. At the last
moment, I was all sneaky and made a quick change
in facial expression. Priceless. :)
So it's Sunday night -- where did the weekend go?

I kept myself pretty well occupied in various ways throughout the weekend. Amongst other things, I managed to get a lot of stuff around the house cleaned up. In particular, in and around my desk is now cleaned up (for a while). It's a necessary evil, and my desk ends up being the storage and sorting point of regular [postal] mail and pretty much anything else I'm working on. So it's a bit of a task to say the least. It usually takes an hour or better to sort it all out, and this time was no different.

I tested out a new toy last night -- a new sprinkler. It's a Nelson Raintrain traveling sprinkler. My folks had one of these when I was small -- I very vividly remember it. It's self-propelled by water and moves over an area, following the hose path. With as dry as it's been the last month or so, I wanted to try to keep the "high traffic" areas of the lawn at least growing (so the traffic won't kill it off for good, which would require reseeding).

So we bought one of these on Friday. And I tested it out yesterday afternoon, then set it for a real trial run overnight last night. There's an auto-shut off block you put on the hose to stop the sprinkler where you want it, so I wanted to try that out as well.

It worked quite well, actually better than I'd expected. I started the sprinkler around 10 last night, and I suppose it ran until sometime around 3-4AM. I had it on the low gear setting (that's somewhere around 21 feet per hour of movement) with a 150' section of hose, not all of which was used. By the time we got home from church, you could actually see where portions of the lawn had been watered. Things actually started greening up just from one overnight watering. It was amazing.

Of course, the real place I wanted it to green up was pretty much unaffected, but it's also the place in the worst shape. So I set it out to run again tonight (it's running right now) on a similar path. I'm hoping to run it several nights in a row and see if it helps.

I'm not usually a fan of watering when it's really hot and dry out, but it's getting to the point of 'how can I do the least amount of damage to the lawn' -- and in this case (since we can't stay off of it to get in and out of the house) trying to keep it alive is going to be the better option (than trying to reseed a high-traffic area). It should be putting down somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2" of water each trip, so I'm hoping that after two or three days I can stop with the front yard and focus on the backyard area for a few days.

Since the sprinkler pretty much runs itself (and more importantly shuts itself off), it's pretty convenient for me. So here's to hopefully getting a lawn in greener order.

I also took some time today to reorganize my 'start page' -- my browser's homepage that I keep stored on the intranet here at home. It's my pseudo-calendar and frequent link page that's inaccessible from 'the outside' and allows me quick access to all of the stuff I normally do during a given day. Well, I'd really not changed the link layout (or links) for probably on the order of three years. So I took some time and went through it. It's much more concise and not wasted anymore. And it has stuff on it that I'd been using a traditional bookmark for (like Flickr and the link to the blog here).

And of course I worked a bit on the web design as well. Most of what I'd accomplished today in that regard was in cleaning up the CSS in preparation for creating the master template. It's not done yet, and most of what I've been working on is related to navigation, but I'm really itching to get to the content portion of the site...so I need to get this done. But since I'm not really modifying the layout anymore, it's just a matter of making it all look prettier (and easier to manage later).

And that's pretty much how things go. Beth's folks were down for a night, and that went pretty well. At least it wasn't so blasted hot for them to hang out in their motorhome in our yard for a night. :)

Tomorrow's another day at the mill; so with that in mind, until next time...
"The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."
- Gloria Leonard

--MZ

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Matt
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Miscellaneous Bits

  • One Gorgeous Daughter (Kirstin)
  • An Incredible Wife (Beth)
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