Showing posts from January, 2006

avoiding cutesey

Okay. I do like my new template here. However I keep having this itch to work on it more.

This is what it looked like for that one day transition when I was testing out the code with one of my favorite pictures.

That's Barney over there and the picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day this past year. He was begging for a piece of turkey that I was holding. He's a jumper--yes, all 110 pounds of him which is a lot of have crashing into you--and that's the face he makes just before a leap. The head tilts back, the ears flop open, and then he lunges upward. LOL

He really is a Hell dog!

Anyway, it was going to be just a picture for the development cycle but I liked it so much I kept it for my debugging online time period also. So it was my blog for almost 24 hours.

Now, as you can see, I have a kitty cat themed picture on here. And I have to be cautious not to make the blog too cute as a result.

This is one trial of some potential changes I could make to the existing template.

I like the…

next generation

Here's the next version of my blog template that I've been working on tonight. I suspect that almost everyone will like it better.

Personally I like that cutting quality of Barney's picture--especially with his ears flopping up like that but I suppose I shouldn't have erased his eyes like that. It was a spooky effect!

On this version having the sleeping cat on my leg makes for a more dreamy and softer affect. Annoying as that damn cat is, he is cute. The color scheme is similar and this time the graphics should line up better...


Well, this is the new look to the blog. At least for a few days. As you can see, there's a number of places where my graphics are less than seamless. Dammit. There's a reason people pay money to have a professional do this crap! LOL

Actually I enjoy doing this and even the aggravation of having things not work right is something I like since I love to fiddle with things--trying to get them just right. Just ask my girlfriend, another work in progress.

I also love to complain about things that I'm working on that aren't quite right--which is what this post is all about. Me bellyaching. :-)

For anyone that hasn't been here before or hasn't in a while, the picture to the left is the way the blog used to look. I've still got to insert some javascript and blog links into the template here but it's mostly finished.

Well, this will be the learning experience that enables me to make the blog of my dreams. LOL

my patron

It's been a few weeks since I've written an update about Stephanie Davies. Once again she's my tenant at Blog Explosion and her points are allowing me to fight battles on Battle of the Blogs.

Since the last time I mentioned Stephanie, her blog has undergone large changes. There's the cosmetic aspect--she's got a new design that is a big departure from her former design. You can get a feel for it from the small thumbnail on the side of my blog. She's also changed her own body design a bit. She had her eyebrow pierced! And there's a little story behind that which you might want to read--especially if you're a guy!

Stephanie has a very organized schedule to her blog. She'll have posts about things that grab her fancy but she also has a regular set of topics that coexist on her blog:
Monday: Site/Product News Tuesday: RantsWednesday: Site ReviewThursday: Weekly ContestFriday: ObservationsSaturday: Ask the TarotSunday: Kudos
The newest of these topics is &q…

very slow

It's me I'm talking about in that title. I'm slow as molasses in January. And somewhere cold. Molasses is flowing fairly well around here this Winter.

This is the graphics and CSS side of the design I'm working on. I love the picture but it'll only be around for a short while. For some reason lots of people find it disturbing! Silly folk. LOL


Once I get the CSS and blogger data working right I'll put it up on the Blogger site and then get started on making some permanent graphics. The ones you see to the left were just something I was having fun with. Then it's on to themes or skins. But given how slow I've been with this so far... don't hold your breath!

Woof, woof!

everybody knows

I have a problem with some of those "everybody knows" type things. This is a topic I've thought about a lot through the years. Recently what brought it to mind was discussing with my girlfriend our favorite vocalists.

This transitioned into a discussion of over rated folk. I mentioned Billie Holiday, whom I view as a vastly over rated singer, who often tops lists of best singers. From what I've seen, she's often mentioned as a great singer by people that have never even listened to her.

Regardless of your opinion of Holiday, you've no doubt seen this situation elsewhere. Some people are considered the top of their field...and that then becomes engraved in stone. People a generation later will parrot that "greatest" rating when they barely know who that even is. For example, JFK is considered a great President yet the majority of the people in this country weren't even alive when he was assasinated.

I think many people make these judgements on the p…


I was hoping to have my next post accompanied by a new blog design. But the lazy title comes into play here. Every time I get Dreamweaver up and running I find some excuse to put off doing the coding.

And I've been lazy with the Photoshop side also--which is very unlike me. I love playing in Photoshop. Something must be wrong! Anyway, I've done one silly header, the one at the left.

I want to do a few more headers and decide which one I like the most--or maybe make skins out of them so they'd be user selectable. Too bad I've been so lazy with the coding side of things, eh? As things stand, I'm way far away from doing anything that complicated.

In any case, I need to make a few graphics to put at the top of the columns--I think it'll be a 2-column design--and then finish the color scheme and the general CSS nonsense. Given how busy I've been at my lab the past two weeks, I doubt I'll get this done for at least another week yet.

My priorities are obviously sk…

Rock Bitch

My tenant this week from Blog Explosion is Rock Bitch. Interesting name, no? She seems like the real-deal, folks. She's certainly a lot more hard core about rock music than I ever was. Even as a high school kid I wasn't into bands and their music like she is. Here's a paragraph from her description of herself:

I worship my iPod and view my car as a moving stereo…Classic Rock and Blues are my gig. The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Cream top my list of rock gods. Coco Taylor, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Taj Mahal…just a few of my blues gods. Let me throw some other favorites out…John Hiatt, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Savoy Brown, Aerosmith, Metallica…the list is endless. I am a true ROCK BITCH.
How's that for sticking to the great bands? And don't get the idea that she's a one way street here. She's got other interests also although not always pure. For one thing, she professes a passion for dirty martinis with fat ass olives--…


There's a number of science related posts I want to do and one relating to cooking but for some reason I just can't seem to actually write about these things.

You might have noticed that I have a new tenant over there to the right. Rock Bitch. She's got an interesting blog that I've looked over a number of times in the past year. Her archives go back only 3 months but I'm quite sure she's been around a lot longer, I don't know why the archives don't. In any case I'll do a write up on her blog on Friday or Saturday after I've read all of her posts.

I'm planning on revamping the design on this blog and that's probably gotten me so that I don't want to post anything on here until everything is prettier. Only problem is that I've not decided what to do different on here. The past 2 days I've been looking over blogs at Blog Explosion trying to decide what I like and what I don't.

One of my favorite designs is just simply way too …

Of Whales and Blondes

That title reminds me a little of Steinbeck, but I assure you--I'm no John Steinbeck. My apologies to former Senator Lloyd Bentsen for paraphrasing him.

If you like jokes, I read this fantastic blonde joke at the Coalition of the Swilling. Give it a look if you're so inclined. It might remind you of the Red Button post from a few days back.

Here's a question that arises from the news story below. At what point does it become indefensible to interfere with others when making political protest?

As much as I approve of Greenpeace's mission, they often are overzealous and that zeal can put their own lives in danger as well as the lives of others. In the story below, placing their Zodiac in close proximity to the Japanese harpoon cannon was obviously dangerous and frankly more than a little stupid. The waters off of Antartica are International and the Japanese are legally able to hunt whales there.

Is the hunting of whales morally defensible? Probably not but some nations reall…

bird food is us

The only trouble, Jack, is that evolution has taught those damn birds that we're the food! Sure, sure. You can be complacent and think that we're bigger and smarter than the birds. However fossil evidence shows that this is just a short moment in the development of life on this planet.

Much more typical is when fellows like this guy to the right with the harsh gaze ate our ancestors for breakfast!

Sure, we like to deny that we're food but given the right circumstances, it's good night Gracie. You can kiss your butt goodbye 'cause that pack of ravens is going to dine well tonight.

Here's the article that has my mind all a twitter:

Eagles used to prey on our ancestors

By Ed Stoddard, Reuters
Thu Jan 12, 9:35 AM ET

The answer to a scientific "who-done-it?" has revealed a chilling fact: We used to be bird food.

Scientists announced on Thursday they had definitive proof that the "Taung child," a 2-million year old apeman skull famed as one of the most d…


I read this joke on Michelle's blog Justitia and wanted to share it with everyone.

The phone rang as we were sitting down to dinner. I answered it and was greeted with, "Is this Willma Wagenhoss?"

This didn't sound anything like my name, so I asked, "Who is calling?"The telemarketer said he was with The Rubberband-Powered Freezer Company or something like that.

I asked him if he knew Willma personally and why was he was calling this number. I then said, off to the side, "Get really good pictures of the body and all the blood."

I turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had called a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would be receiving a summons to appear at the local courthouse to testify in this murder case.

I questioned the caller at great length as to his name, address, phone number at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been abou…

blog explosion tenant

My new client runs the blog HAUNTED HOUSE DRESSING. His name is Jeremy C. Shipp and he's a published author with this being his official website.

I decided to sell space to Jeremy because he's got such a pretty site and so much original content. However after reading a lot of that content I'm quite puzzled as how to proceed.

Haunted House Dressing really covers a lot of territory. It's got poetry and short fiction by Jeremy as well as many essays. In one, The State of American Foods, written in mid-October he really lambastes the food industry in the US and even compares their products to intentional genocide. A bit strong, perhaps, but it shows how Jeremy is quite willing to make a statement!

At the top of the page he's got a contest where you write a review to be entered into the contest. The winner gets 6 bags of coffee. Unusual? Sure, but that's par for the course here. Like I said, this is a very hard site to define!

Each week there's a profile of an artis…

red button

This is just to test how obsessive y'all are. I've not reached the end...but maybe you will. God help you. If nothing else, yah gotta love the penguin.

Thinking anonymous

Magz over at Maggie's Farm had a funny post on Monday about Thinkers Anonymous. I could see it as being an organization I should join. Hell, I'd probably double my income in the first year!

While she didn't write the post, I'd not seen it elsewhere before. It might be the next Email that makes the rounds. The picture is for Maggie. She has a thing about naked guys. I think it might be part of the TA philosophy.

Here's the post:

It started out innocently enough.I began to think at parties now and then--to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone--"to relax," I told myself--but I knew it wasn't true.Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.I w…

Marijuana is good for your brain?

The article, High Times for Brain Growth: Marijuana-like drug multiplies neurons, by Christen Brownlee and located in Science News suggests that a drug called HU210 induces neuronal growth. While HU210 isn't the same as pot, it does affect the same receptors in the brain--and at 100 times the potency. What makes this particularly puzzling vis a vis marijuana is that one does of HU210 doesn't do any good, it takes regularly repeated doses over time.

I know several people that use pot regularly. I just don't see any way on Earth that repeated doses of pot are helping the brain any. The term "baked" is used for good reason. Habitual pot users have serious brain difficulties!

The lead paragraph of the article follows:

In the stoner stereotype, pot smokers and dying brain cells go hand in hand. However, new research suggests the situation may be more uplifting than that. A drug that functions as concentrated marijuana does may spur neurogenesis, the process by which the …

Uncle Sam wants you. Maybe.

There's an interesting editorial in the January 9 issue of Newsweek by Anna Quindlen. Her essential point is that the residency qualification for president should be struck down.

I don't agree with Quindlen though it's not something that I care about all that much, pro or con. I also don't think she makes a very good argument for changing the residency requirement. Her main premise is that by having the Presidency open to everyone, young people would be more likely to enter politics. She also adds that as the population of immigrants increases--about 12% of the US population was currently born elsewhere--it's prejudicial to deny the top office to the foreign born.

Since the residency requirement is laid down in the Constitution, the only way to change it would be to get a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate and also ratification by at least 75% of the states. That's just not very likely.

What do you think? Should the US Presidency be open to anyone at all? S…

Sunday thoughts

The snake naming contest I mentioned yesterday was over last night. Pandora was the winning name. I still like Mousebane more but that might be a bit too much name for a little snake to live up to. Like that Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue, y'know? We don't want that Corn Snake trying to track down its namer years from now seeking revenge!

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

I didn't get diddley-squat done this weekend. I spent way too much time sleeping with a little reading and eating mixed in.

Goals for the upcoming week?

I desperately need a haircutwinterize mowers by running their tanks emptyburn some dried limbs that I trimmed from some shrubs a while backreorganize kitchen shelves now that my junk foods and soda are gone--which has opened up a lot of s…

name that snake!

Here's a contest for y'all. Stephanie, over at Mystickal Incense & More wants to name her snake.

That's the fellow there at the left. Actually 'fellow' is just assumed--the gender isn't known so feel free to name it anyway you like.

The winner of the contest will receive a $10 gift certificate to Stephanie's online store at Mystickal Incense & More. It's good for anything in the store. And also there's a $5 gift certificate for the winner!

All that for naming her snake!

The one I like best so far was suggested by someone else unfortunately. Mousebane. I just like the warrior aspect of the name--it seems very snake-like too.

a Sunday hike

It was a peaceful and fairly warm Sunday afternoon when my girlfriend and I decided to take a walk in a nearby park.

This was last week so in a way we were starting off the New Year in a good way.

The day before we'd had quite a bit to eat at a brunch for her kids with her ex-husband in attendance along with his current romantic interest. A few hours of eating, talking, and best of all several pitchers of mimosas. Who would guess that OJ could be THAT good!

Sunday was a day to make up for all that food and drink. Walking and talking along pine needle carpets with a vista of the lovely trees above and marshy hollows below.

I think in this picture my girlfriend was trying to decide whether she should walk up all those steps or just spend the night there.

I was half expecting her to send me out for a sleeping bag but instead she surprised me by zipping up the path, hopping from step to step in almost total abandon. I, on the other hand, followed with a more leisurely pace.

The terrain in t…

cajun spiced potatoes

There's this fast food restaurant that I love for their french fries. While I normally love ketchup on fries, these fries are so good that I never bother with it. It's the seasoning on the fries that makes them so tasty. The restaurant is Bojangles and the seasoning is cajun.

While the recipe that follows isn't as good as the one at Bojangles, it does get some of the flavor and I've been eating a lot of potatoes as a result these past few weeks.

After cutting up some potatoes, add them onto a pan for baking in the oven. I sprinkle some olive oil on top and then mix them a bit to ensure they all have a light coating of oil. I don't add any spice yet since the paprika and garlic can burn and change in taste if in the oven for too long.

The following is the recipe I used though I did modify it slightly. Instead of hot paprika I used red pepper and I tripled the amount of sweet paprika from what is in the recipe below.

2 tb Sea salt
1 tb Garlic powder
1 tb Onion po…

Christmas follow up

The follow up, of course, is the thank you notes. I always put them off at least a week.

Well, today is the day I'm going to finally write them up and sent them out.

Fortunately Email does make it a lot easier. And also helping is that I have a small family so there's only notes to send to my parents, my brother and his family, my aunt and her husband, and last but most certainly not least, my girlfriend and her parents.

Some of the presents I received are shown there to the left. The books came from my parents and my brother's family. The movies were from my girlfriend, my parents, and my brother.

The candy--Necco Wafers!--is from my girlfriend and the wine is from her parents. It's a Reisling from a winery I've never tried before. I'm sure it'll be excellent.

To the left there is a wreath that my Mom made for me. I really don't have much in the way of holiday decorations so this year my Mom made some to get me started.

I almost bought a tree this year and i…


My week with Stephanie is nearing the end. Time has just flown by! I'm not sure why--maybe it's the lovely smile on her picture, that sexy red hair, or perhaps just how interesting her life story is--but it's really going to be hard to see her go.

As a way of letting go, I think I'll give a summary of what's happened on her blog this week. Yeah! That's what I'll do.

Stephanie's started a few new things for her blog. I think they're going to be fairly regular features--maybe weekly. One thing, started last Wednesday, is reviewing blogs that she finds particularly interesting. This past week was Almost an Angel, a site run by Dariana. Be warned tho--the site doesn't look good in Firefox.

On Thursday and Friday Stephanie ran posts about news. First there was a summary of "weird news from around the world" and some of it was VERY weird. Then the next day was the summary of some of the noteworthy events of 2005.

Two more posts that seem to be s…

science in the news

Happy New Year to y'all

Here's two science stories that are on the headlines this past week. First is a somewhat salacious story, more due to the picture than the content...

British academics to tackle fashion's bottom line

Fri Dec 30, 1:53 PM ET

It is one of the most fundamental -- and, for men, potentially hazardous -- questions of modern life, for which academics now hope to provide the definitive answer: "Does my bum look big in this?"

The School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have begun what is believed to be the world's first-ever study on how women's clothing affects the bottom.

Models with variously sized posteriors will wear different types of clothing as part of the research, which will examine how designs, colours, patterns and fabric types affect perception.

Others will be asked to assess how big or small each model's backside appears to look in the outfits.

"This study will provide for the first time detailed …