Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hidden Jewel

Well, Scooter and Ming may (or may not) have gone to House of Wu without me today, but I had a fine day regardless. Mom and I went to the Museum of Russian Art. Aside from a painful detour caused by the Crosstown Freeway construction, it was a brilliant success. It's a small but beautiful museum with excellent handicapped access (we'd rented a wheelchair for mom, as she's having some serious mobility issues again). The current exhibitions are all spectacular. I particularly enjoyed the Andrew Moore photographs on display in the lower level gallery; really beautiful work. But the "Soviet Breadbasket" display has some incredible paintings in it. The gift shop is quite something, too, very different from your "typical" museum shop.

On the way out, we ran into Judi Dutcher. She's been working at the Museum as Director for several weeks, and seemed on top of her game already, seemingly knowing everything about the current and planned exhibitions. She was very nice and very helpful, answering mom's questions and retrieving some additional info from her office for us. I'd vote for her, E-85 or no E-85.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Odd Non Sequitur

Kristi, googling for "senior" art classes for my mom: "Hmm. 'Hot senior babes getting nude.'"

Mom, continuing a prior conversation: "Where's my picture?"

You kinda had to be there.

My Brother Says I Should Blog More

He's right, of course. Older brothers are always right; if they're wrong, they beat you up until they're right. Them's the rules.

Right now my mom is visiting from California, it's been prime gardening season (which means Kristi's busy, which means I'm cooking/dishwashing/Emma-shepherding, I've been attempting to rebuild our porch screens, my allergies are kicking in, work has been high-maintenance, and it's prime development season for CDFFL, which is getting an entirely new look, 100% new code (of course), and a number of new features. And I've been catching up on my missed episodes of Heroes. In short, I've been busy. Deal with it.

Believe me, if I'd had time to blog, you'd have heard lots the last few weeks about Alberto Gonzalez and his nonstop effort to subvert the Constitution. You really weren't interested in reading about that, were you?

I'll do better.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

If It's Not Here In 30 Minutes, Do I Get It For Free?

I just received the following at my gmail address. Since I'm in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the Domino's franchise is in North Yorkshire, I have a feeling the garlic pizza bread is going to be cold and soggy by the time it gets here. Damn.
Thank you for ordering Dominos. This is your order confirmation - please note your order details in case of any queries:

Store telephone number: 01423 873737

Your Order Number: 3235582

Order Details:
1x Small Create Your Own
+ Single Onions
+ Single Roast Chicken
+ Single Smoky Bacon
1x Medium Football Fanatic
1x Medium Full House®
1x Garlic Pizza Bread

Price: £33.46

Delivery Details:

Heath Grove

Delivery Date: Mon 07/05/07
Delivery Time: 19:00

Relax, it's on its way.

The Domino's Team.



Sunday, May 06, 2007

Feisty Fawn

Even though my Linux guru, Sean, is offline for the next couple of days, I decided to risk upgrading my creaking Ubuntu install to Feisty Fawn (7.04). Went like a charm. The upgrade process was painless enough, and even though I'm hardly ever in Linux these days (should I dual-boot the laptop? hmm...), I remembered enough to manage where it wasn't entirely pain-free.

While I was at it, I upgraded Firefox from 1.5 to the current release (Ubuntu wasn't nice enough to do that automagically, but I found a lovely script on their website to take care of it for me), installed IE6 in Wine per Sean's marvelous find, increased the screen resolution options (yeah, I remembered where xorg.conf is all by myself), installed upgraded versions of mysql5 and php5, set up a working copy of my CDFFL subversion repository, told apache where to find it, and verified that yes, I can do CDFFL development in Feisty.

Not so good, but much more amusing: attempting to install Silverlight into Firefox on Ubuntu. Not that I expected it to work, but the failure was so silent as to be amusing. Did it work? Did it not work? Who can tell, when all the links take you to the page you're already on? They're generated using javascript, but there's no "else" clause to handle cases where you're not a Windows or Mac user. Did Microsoft not expect someone running Firefox on Linux to try? Scooter calls it "the way of the web," but Scooter is notoriously (albeit non-maliciously) Microsoft-centric. Shouldn't "the way of the web" be available to open-source users? Or maybe Scooter meant that Microsoft's "the way of the web" is that all pages link only to themselves.

What I especially enjoyed about the Silverlight page, as rendered in Linux/Firefox, is the absurdity of it all. The page says that if I click "Install Now," I'm accepting the Silverlight licensing agreement. Okay, I can live with that (even though, as already noted, the link goes nowhere). But in Linux/Firefox, the javascript-generated links for "Detailed Installation Instructions" and "System Requirements" are identical to the one for "Install Now," which suggests that I'm accepting their license by asking whether I can even install or run the software.

So I'm accepting a license for software that I can't possibly run? That's some catch, that Catch-22. Maybe I should check out the terms of the license agreement I just accepted. There's a link to it -- and hey, this link actually goes to a different page! That's exciting. I'll click it. Oh, look. Empty window. Viewing the source shows why: another set of javascript ifs without anything to catch the unexpected. Apparently Microsoft can't afford the developer time to have someone write:
if(navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Linux") != -1){
window.location = "your-free-os-sux!!1!.aspx";
It's all rather Microsoft-like, which -- given that this is Microsoft -- shouldn't surprise me much.

Oh, and yes, I thought about installing it in my nice new Wine/IE6 install, but thought better of it. Why risk it?

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Snelling Avenue

Monday night, the "High Winds Fund" at Macalester College held a public hearing on a proposal to tweak Snelling Avenue where it runs past the college. Since we half a block off this stretch of road, across Snelling from the college, I probably should have attended. But I was lazy and tired (allergies + antihistamines), and I knew that at least two of my neighbors would be attending. So I flaked.

According to neighbor Sheila, who attended and has a lot of experience with community issues, this was just the beginning of the process, so I don't feel like I missed too much. They're considering ideas to make Snelling safer and more attractive. This will likely involve a median strip (possibly wide enough for landscaping and trees, possibly narrow enough to be bare concrete), may involve the elimination of on-street parking or the widening of Snelling, and might possibly involve free pie for everybody. (I may have made that last part up.)

Anyway, the whole thing is being driven by Macalester's "High Winds Fund". I assumed that this fund had something to do with the electricity-generating windmill on campus, but after googling it I find that it's existed since 1956. Apparently, that was around the last time its website was updated as well, since it lists local utilities as being U.S. West and Northern States Power.

There was probably a point to this post, but I'm afraid I've lost the thread. Mostly I think I'm doing it so that the next time somebody googles 'macalester college high winds', they'll find some information post-dating the Clinton presidency. Consider it a public service.

Side note to klund: surely Gustavus Adolphus would've been a more appropriate place for a "High Winds Fund" dedicated to improving the appearance of the area surrounding the campus. Just sayin'.