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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Late Night

Looking At George
You can't see him in this picture, but she was
carefully watching George as he hung around on
my desk while I took the picture. She likes
the cats.
So I didn't write a post last night, mostly because I was really tired at 1:30am when I decided to go to bed and didn't really feel like writing at the time.

With that said, I have as of this morning uploaded the new MZ Online site to its public test location (which is still undisclosed), and so far so good. I wrapped up the content stuff (for the most part) late last night, and I only have a few random things (decorative pictures) to finish up in that department before it can really go live.

I'm to the validation point now, so the next phase will be to validate every page of the new site to ensure it's all written correctly and 'standardized.' What does that really mean for the average consumer? Not much, but it means a lot in the development arena because sticking to standards generally gets you the closest cross-browser (and device) look.

I still have to work on the printer stylesheet (so things print properly if necessary), so it's getting close now. I'm not really sure how much I'm going to get done in the next few days since we're going to be busy (and will be seeing SPAMALOT on Thursday evening)...but I'll try to keep in contact a little bit here as time allows.

For anyone curious (coming here from Flickr to figure out why there's no new pictures), it's due to the fact that my camera dock will be unavailable for the next few days so I won't be able to [easily] upload new pictures for a while. Hopefully that will be resolved by Saturday and I have some time.

That's all for now. Until next time...
"Hell is a half-filled auditorium."
- Robert Frost (1874-1963)


Monday, August 6, 2007

A Few Days Have Passed

See? I Can Be Happy
She is such a little cutie. Everyone says so. :)
My apologies for anyone who happened to stop by here in the last two days or so without seeing any new posting activity from me. A strange set of events (in a way) prevented me from doing my normal post activity. So Kirstin is happy (see picture) that I'm back in the blogosphere. :)

Friday night we were without Internet service when I wanted to write a post (which, for anyone who may have noticed is also why Kirstin's pictures for Friday will have an upload date of 8/4, since I had to do them on Saturday morning). Instead I just worked on more website stuff for a bit and went to bed (because I could do that locally).

Saturday night was a different story. We ended up going to Erik & Jill's for the evening and by the time we got home, Kirstin went directly to bed (she didn't even get a change of clothes, but that was mostly since she was out for the night), I uploaded pictures, and was yawning so much by that time I simply decided to call it a night and 'do it tomorrow' -- which is now.

So enough of the excuses. :) Things to note from my weekend (in no particular order):

I got a strange call on Friday sometime. I'm pretty positive it was a scam; someone trying to get information out of me. Long story short, the caller ID came up 'BLOCKED' I pick it up (because if nothing else, I like to mess with those calls). A guy with a heavy foreign accent (I'll let you guess from where) starts asking me if I've got Dish Network service.

I don't, but just to play along I said I did. Then he tells me he's got some great new packages he'd like to tell me about. This is where I usually start by asking 'Can I ask you a question first?' After two or three times of asking, he finally acknowledged me. I ask him where he got my number...

He replies that he's a representative of Dish Network and because I have service with Dish got my number that way.

The fun begins. I then calmly tell him I lied about having service with Dish Network, then re-ask how he got my number, because they would not have that information 'in their system'...

He ignores the statement and insists on telling me about these new packages, asking me how many channels I currently get.

I simply ask to speak with his supervisor.

I ask again. I ask if he has a supervisor. He says yes, but 'I'm an agent, so you don't need to talk to my supervisor.'

This is getting more and more suspicious as it goes along. I then inform him I don't care who he is -- I want to talk to his supervisor.

I then hear a mumble of something that sounded unfriendly (and was in another language), then a brief pause and click. The asshole hung up on me!

That pretty much sealed the deal. It was a scam, because there's no reason for behavior like that. And if the call were even remotely convincing it had been 'for real,' I would not hesitate to switch to something NOT Dish Network (if I had their service).

Later in the evening I called my uncle over in Wheaton, just to shoot the bull for a while. At some point in time during our hour and a half long conversation, the following phrase came out of my mouth:
That's where I landed when she threw my ass out.

This was my statement in reference to a patch of black ground just outside the back door, where the grass has been killed due to high traffic. I think I might need to write a country song with that title, though. It just seems befitting of a country song. So I wrote it down.

Saturday was a very cool day (literally). It didn't get much warmer than about 65 degrees, and it was misty/rainy all day. I went out in the late forenoon to mow the lawn, an act which hadn't been done for nearly a month. It's not that it needed mowing, but it needed to be leveled off. So I got that done and trimmed up. The yard looks nice again. Not patchy.

I also noticed that with the return of some cooler temperatures, compounded with my recent watering in the front and back yard areas, I've got grass growing again. Even the parts I was concerned about are starting to come back, so that's a Good Thing. I'm still going to keep the sprinkler on tonight and tomorrow night. After tomorrow night, I will probably put it away for a week or so and see how things go. After all, I don't want to constantly water everything; I just want to keep the high-traffic areas from dying completely.

Anyway, I've still been plugging away at the website overhaul. Beth got her first real glimpse of it today and seems to like it. At this point in time, I've managed to get most of the content completed (although I need to find some more/new stock pictures to use in the design). I'm really down to the pages that require some more TLC. The picture link page, and my two pages of links. The link pages are ready to go (I need to go through my bookmarks to finish the process) -- they load a list of links based upon a specific set of tags, thus 'filtering' and populating the available list dynamically. So as I add, it automatically shows up.

The pictures page will be different. Flickr still has the good interface; I only intend to display a (few) recent pictures from various categories (dynamically, of course). But, I'm working on that one (I've got the auto-loading pictures, just need to style them).

Aside from that, it's some feature-based stuff (I intend to have an RSS page, where one can find RSS feeds for my dynamic stuff -- like the blog entries, pictures,, etc.), a sitemap, and possibly a search frontend.

Then it will be a matter putting up a temporary public site (from which I can do the validation stuff), ensuring it still works in multiple browsers, and we'll be ready for the major switch. I'm obviously not going to make it by August 5 (that's today), but I hope to get it all done by Tuesday. It's entirely possible.

Once the main site is done, I intend to work on the blog template a bit to try making it look as similar to the main site as possible. If I have too much trouble with it, I may move the blog to the main site (and host it myself using WordPress or something, we'll see). I'm a bit torn about moving the blog (it can be done with ease), but I might start a second blog for more technical stuff and leave this one for rambly bits. We'll see. That has yet to be determined.

So, seeing as how it's now past 12:30AM on Monday (and I'm going to back-date this post so it shows up under Sunday, which is when I started writing it), I'm going to call it a night. Until next time...
"Vote early and vote often."
- Al Capone (1899-1947)


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Miscellaneous Bits

  • One Gorgeous Daughter (Kirstin)
  • An Incredible Wife (Beth)
  • Two Cats (George/Felix)
  • Two Dogs (Koshka/Kurva)
  • My birthday is at the 48851th place in Pi
  • Frank Oz and I share birthdays (Go Fozzie Bear)!
  • Mike Myers and I share birthdays (Party On, Wayne)!

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