Life, a Miscellany

These last two weeks, I’ve lacked inspiration and I’ve had little time to do much besides getting the new Starrynight website ready to go live. You can take a peek at the test site here. I still have a lot of content to move but I don’t anticipate the style and navigation to change drastically. Unless of course, some tells me that hate so-and-so and that I need to change it or else they won’t love me anymore (Tim, I tweaked the orange color–hopefully, it’s less painful now). I’ve had fun with this redesign. I even got brave and played with a little php. I have no idea what I’m doing but my changes didn’t seem to break anything. So, success?

I’ve listened to about three-quarters of Northanger Abbey. It’s… different. I feel absolutely nothing for any of the characters. I know Austen is writing satirically but I’m not a big fan of the genre that is being mocked to begin with. Austen is not being nearly as ruthless as I’d like. I want horrible things to happen to Catherine Morland. I’m probably not meant to feel that way about the heroine. She’s just so damn clueless and she keeps making the same mistake over and over. Every character in this book could die and I’d clap and cheer. They’re all too two-dimensional–even for satire. All of you. Die.

In other news, The Cavaliers just announced their 2010 program, or parts of it, at any rate. Interesting concept. I immediately thought of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World but that film has nutty, vaguely carnivalesque theme music, which judging from the show logo is probably not what The Cavies are going for. In any case, I look forward to June!

In OTHER other news, my microwave may not be malfunctioning after all. Russ has used it a few times with absolutely no problems. He is convinced that there were small bits of metal in the green beans I was reheating. Oh, I feel much better now that I know the microwave won’t EXPLODE; however, there was METAL in my GREEN BEANS. Russell could not understand why I would not be consoled on this matter.

On Readability

I made a note to self on yesterday’s blog because I KNEW I was going to forget to blog this- AGAIN. So, my rant on readability!

I read almost all of my news via RSS. I enjoy reading news this way not just because it’s is convenient but because I can read content without struggling with obnoxious ads, small font, and three to four different columns of information jumping out of the screen at me. Even websites that I find to be tolerable, such as NPR and BBC News, have a lot of content to sift through. I prefer multiple columns when I’m browsing around for something to read but when I’m focusing on a specific article, I don’t want flashing ads and extraneous content to distract me.

A few months ago I learned about Readability, developed by arc90. Go to this website, configure how you’d like to read content and then drag the box that says ‘Readability’ to your browser’s bookmark toolbar. Then whenever you’re browsing the web and come across something you’d rather not strain your eyes to read, you can click on the Readability link you’ve saved in your bookmarks toolbar. Doing so gives you a text-only version of the web page you are viewing, formatted the way you want. The Readability folks have added reload (to restore the web page to it’s original display), print and email buttons to the left for a bit more functionality. I use this quite often when I’m browsing the web these days.

I recommend all of you sighted folks giving it a try, especially if you find yourself doing a lot of reading online. Reduce eye strain! Limit headaches! Watch it do your laundry!

Well, OK, that last bit was a lie. Still waiting for the laundry iPhone app.

Speaking of iPhone apps, I did a quick check for birdwatching and/or bird call apps and there are TONS. I will have to research this more. In the meantime, I may install a few free ones to get me started.

Off to enjoy SUN and NATURE and good company.

The Weekend, an Account

A negative side effect of Blog Every Day in April: I’m constantly reminded of how dull I am. And now the rest of the world knows it too. Fail.

Well, for those still following along at home, here are some highlights from my weekend.

  • The style sheets for the Starrynight Productions website were magically fixed. OK, so magic had NOTHING to do with it. Tim FTW! Turns out he could track changes made and did them for me.  Whew! I still have a few things I’d like to check on but they can wait until tomorrow.
  • I did some needed shoe shopping and picked up a few more things on clearance.  I should be set for awhile, at least until I need to find another pair of jeans in the fall. Hate clothes shopping. Why can’t I spend all of my money on plants and books and road trips?
  • Speaking of books, as much as it pained me, I put aside Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for the moment. I realized that I probably won’t be able to renew at least one of the books in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (and probably the last, since it came out relatively recently), so I thought it best to get those read. Book 1, City of Bones, is good so far. It’s keeping my interest.
  • I made Russell my super-easy, extra-yummy Rice Krispie treats tonight. Why are they so yummy? ‘Cause I put peanut butter and chocolate in ’em. Mom reminds me that she got this recipe from my first grade teacher, Mrs. Naples-Kuhn (I hope I’m spelling that right). Here it is:

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats3 tbsp butter/margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
6 cups of Rice Krispies® cereal

Spray dutch oven (or some other largish pot) with cooking spray.
Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat.
Add peanut butter and chocolate, stirring thoroughly.
Mix in rice crispies.
Remove from heat.
Press into cookie sheet or other container.

I halved this recipe tonight and it fit nicely into a 6x6x2 container.

Well, that’s it for me.

Things to do tomorrow:

  1. Look up birding iPhone app
  2. Blog about (or at least mention) readability
  3. TEI, TEI, TEI
  4. Pick up quarters for laundry
  5. Walk with Tim

Nothing Makes Me Whine Like…

… hours and hours of coding. Since I’m learning, I tend to spend hours trying to do something (like using CSS to mimic a table) before discovering that there is an easier way. Head desk. Live and learn. On a brighter note, the photo gallery for The Babbling Banshee is now up! These photos were taken by the fabulous Chris Eller. I can’t recommend him enough.

As I type, Russell is uploading a video to YouTube. A link will likely appear on the website for that tomorrow.

Also, there was a very nice write-up in the Indiana Daily Student. Hopefully, this will get more people out to the show.

Detesting the Term Webmistress

I’m not sleeping with the webmaster and I’m certainly not sleeping with the entire web. I am the webmaster, not the webmistress. Am I nuts? Does the connotation of the word ‘webmistress’ bother anyone else?

As promised, here is the link to Starrynight Productions. As webmaster, I’d love some feedback.

There are a ton of links that aren’t working yet- virtually the entire navigation bar. This makes me crazy but Russell wants the site up in its entirety, whether the content is there or not. I have convinced myself that, from a testing standpoint, it is more advantageous for people to see where we intend to go with the site and have them comment on that rather than cramming an entire site into a single html file to act as a placeholder. So I apologize for all of the self-referring links. Try and see the vision, folks.

That being said, I’m a total hack. I’m making it up as I go. Perpetual beta. Have any nuggets of wisdom? Send ’em my way! I need to figure out syndication so I can get an RSS feed up for the news section…

While I’m at it, I may as well plug The Babbling Banshee, opening March 19th. This is a great show about Irish storytelling (among other themes). The play is about 45 minutes long and is suitable for all ages, although I think middle school-aged and up will get more out of play. Details on the website.

I would highly recommend coming to see the show at Rachael’s Cafe. Rachael has been amazing in her collaborations with Russell. She will have an Irish stew and boxty (a potato pancake sort of thing) dinner a half hour before the show. Naturally, there will be coffee, tea and baked goods too. Hope to see you there!

Tech Happy

I’m posting once again for the L2.0 project- this time on three of my favorite add-ons for Firefox.

1. Cooliris Previews – mouse over any link and see a small preview of that page in a pop-up box. This is an excellent tool for scanning through google search results quickly!

2. Firebug – my new best friend. This is a web development tool that allows you to examine (and edit live) HTML, CSS and javascript in any webpage you are viewing. I used Firebug to tweak the new layout.

3. PDF Download – for whatever reason, opening a pdf file within Firefox occasionally locks up my browser. This extension gives you control over how a pdf file opens and/or saves.

What are your favorite Firefox extensions?