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This trip has been lots of fun, but through the whole of it, It just feels like there hasn’t been enough time to spend with the people who were once my closest friends in my home town.  A week and a half is a long time to vacation in such a small town as Mankato, and yet, we ended up so busy during the whole of it, there were people I still didn’t get a chance to see.

As usual the favorite spot to hang out in Mankato was the Wine Café- a building in Old Town which is exactly what it says on the tin- a cafe that’s similar to a bar and coffee shop at the same time.  They specialize in wine, and serve the best Sangria I have ever tasted.

Next up was the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN.  This is the only Ren fair I’d ever been to, and it’s totally awesome.  I’d recommend this place to anyone! I bought a pair of really awesome fairie wings which I don’t have a photo of, my husband bought a great traveler’s hat, I got some new earrings which I’d fallen in love with, and we generally had a great time.  Huzzah!

After visiting friends in Saint Cloud, MN, we traveled further east to have coffee with a close friend at a George Webb Restaurant in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  This was the same restaurant that a close friend who recently passed away would have coffee.  As I was unable to attend his funeral, I wanted to at least say my mental goodbyes in the place we’d spent the most time together.

From there, we moved on to sweet home Chicago to stay with a close friend.  Last night, we went to the best pizza place on earth:  Pizzeria Uno #1, on Ohio St. in Downtown Chicago.  It was every bit as good as I remember it.

Tomorrow, I plan to arrive in Denver Colorado at the very first Chipotle, located on Evans St near the campus of the University of Denver.  Meet us there!  We plan to arrive at 7:00pm local time. 

2 Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 10:27 am

Aug 15 2010 Suddenly, arrival!

We left the house at about 10:30pm Pacific time, heading up I-680 to meet I-80 towards Sacramento.  I drove the first leg of the trip, letting my husband sleep to recharge in preparation for taking over when I could no longer lift a finger.  This system worked out perfectly!  I made it part way into Nevada, and let Brian take the wheel after a fuel stop shown to the right.

Nevada always takes a hundred million years to drive through, and I only managed to sleep for an hour, so I ended up driving for a while, then taking another 45 minute nap.  I woke up to the most beautiful sunset I’d seen in quite a while- Brian pulled over so I could snap the photo below.   I was very disappointed at the dead battery to my Digital Rebel- I wish I could have taken these with a better camera (but now I have something to look forward to with the return trip!)

I slept for quite some time, barely hanging onto consciousness for most of the night until morning broke.  We had breakfast at Embers (there’s a name I’d almost forgotten!)  Gassed up, and drove another few hours until this glorious sight was ours to behold:

We decided to push through to Mankato this morning.  I am presently typing this from the Microtel Inn & Suites, which a friend recommended to me (Hi Bob!).  Sleep will come shortly- but not until at least 8:00pm CST.  Mankato at 4:00am is a very, very lonely place.

4 Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 3:31 pm

Aug 13 2010 The Journey Begins

Today, my husband and I will be embarking on the first roadtrip we’ve taken in 4 years. The route will take us North East, to Minnesota, where we were both born and raised. During our trip, I will do my best to take photos and keep a triplog of all the interesting encounters and experiences we have, here.

I have added my location via Google Lattitude to the sidebar. My first destination is Mankato, MN- I hope to send an update before I get there.


No Comments Written by in 2010 Roadtrip at 6:19 pm

OpenID has been a very popular way of allowing the internet to share it’s users with one another in a way that benefits everyone– without forcing the nuisance of creating yet another account to manage on the users. Some time ago, a gentleman by the name of Will Norris put together a plug-in called ‘wp-openid’ which not only provided your readers the option to log in using OpenID, but also included an OpenID Server- meaning you could use your blog’s URL to log into other places, too! How great is that?

From what I can tell, Will and a group of other talented people formed the “DiSo Project,” which has now been very quiet for quite a while. Will’s WordPress plug-in was absorbed and renamed to just “OpenID.”

All was well in the world until, to everyone’s displeasure, the plug-in’s server functions stopped working! Why was it broken? Well, it hasn’t been updated since November of 2009. What’s happened since then? Ubuntu 10.04 was released, and packaged with the new release of PHP (5.3, which had been released 10 months earlier). The OpenID server side module was full of “pass by reference” variables (&$var). This was depreciated in 5.3, causing a “call-time pass-by-reference” error every time you tried to make use of the server side of the plug-in.

How to Fix It

First, find the file. It should be located here:
<Wordpress Root>/wp-content/plugins/openid/Auth/OpenID/Server.php

Once you have the file open in any editor, do a find and replace as follows:
Find: &$
Replace with: $

Save the file and upload it back to your server (if necessary), replacing the original. You should now once more have a functional OpenID Server. Hooray!

6 Comments Written by in Wordpress at 1:12 pm

I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist with my code. Be it HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript or PHP, I always keep things as neat as possible and follow the rules available to me.

When writing a website from scratch, most of the developers I’ve worked with will always take the shortest, easiest methods.  Images are quickly cut and saved, CSS is written out as part of the header, Javascript is written haphazardly across the body, generated XML is written as a single line, HTML is indented poorly if at all…  These are the things that drive me absolutely crazy.  What’s worse, many times these sites will not display accurately in browsers other then a particular version of Internet Explorer, and because everything is so haphazardly strewn about, it sometimes takes longer to fix the code so it displays correctly in other browsers then it did to write the thing in the first place!

Before I call a website complete, I have a mental checklist I run through.

  1. Does the site pass the W3C validator?
  2. Does the site pass the W3C CSS Validator?
  3. Is all Javascript contained within the header?
    (Extra credit: Is it all in one included file?)
  4. Is all CSS contained within included CSS files?
    (Extra credit: Is it all in one included file?)
  5. Are all images in formats that enable the lowest file size?
  6. Does the site look identical in all browsers?

This is of course not complete- but more a basic list that ensures you avoid the problems listed above.  There are a number of sites which provide fantastic lists for what to check before finishing your project;  The best I’ve seen so far is Launchlist, which gives you a very verbose and logical place to start from, and lets you add your own to it if they missed anything.

If only more people followed these rules, we’d avoid the issues caused by “Internet Explorer Only” websites.

No Comments Written by in Web Development at 6:00 am

Put simply, Ubuntu is the easiest to troubleshoot and upgrade, has the best community support, has the superior package manager (apt-get), and finally and most impressively, can be deployed and ready for production in 30 minutes. Here’s how.

Step 1: Download and Burn the Ubuntu Server ISO.

Step 2: Run the Install, select LAMP server when prompted.

Step 3: Add additional needed modules using apt-get.

Total time elapsed (not including downloading and burning): 30 Minutes.
Cost: $0, 1 CDR.
Result: A blank server was converted to a fully functional, configured and live webserver, ready for production use.

In a nutshell, this is one of the main reasons I use Ubuntu for web hosting.

20 Comments Written by in Servers & Services at 6:00 am

Proposition 8 (for the few of you in the room who heard nothing about this) was a proposition brought to the ballot of the November (Presidential!) election of 2008.  The ballot was to add a new section, 7.5, to the declaration of rights of California constitution. The full text of the proposition:

    This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.
    This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.
    SECTION 1. Title
    This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”
    SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
    SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

As one could imagine, the GLBT community took a great deal of offense to this unreasonable, irrational and unconstitutional bigotry. Many of the more conservative, crooked churches started funding the campaign heavily.

When it came time to vote, the proposition passed in part because many thought “Yes” on Prop 8 was “Yes” to gay marriage, in part because the Yes campaign said a lot of lies, such as “They’ll force your churches to perform gay wedding ceremonies” and “They’ll teach gay marriage in schools” and the like. Not to mention the “Man and a Woman are best for families” and a whole line of other BS. But when it came to trial in January of this year, the Defense (Yes on Prop 8) couldn’t come up with a single bit of credible evidence to support their claims. Their efforts were rooted entirely in bigotry, and while they successfully petitioned to ban videotaping and televising the event to hide it from the eyes of the public, they could come up with nothing to hide that fact from the eyes of the Judge.

The Honorable Judge Walker of the California Supreme Court released his ruling today on the trial that ended with closing statements in June of this year. Here is the conclusion from the ruling:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis,the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Today is a good day for human rights.

Next up: The US Supreme court, as the defense is sure to appeal.

2 Comments Written by in Human Rights at 3:08 pm

Talking with friends after watching the final movie in the Back to the Future trilogy, I realized.  On the back of the time traveling Delorian, were two black baffles, as shown here:

The baffles largely serve no purpose in the first movie (save for cooling purposes, which they are ill-equipped for). there were no thrusters, just the power of the car’s engine to propel it forward.  They added thrusters in the second movie (which appear at the end of the first).  Why, then would they be there from the start?

Why, because of quantum physics, of course!  Perhaps without the baffles, the space time continuum would not deem the craft worthy of time travel; Perhaps it deems the ever present “Rule of Cool” a more worthy of consideration then we frequently do.  Could it be, the reason our scientists and mathematicians can’t figure out quantum physics is they lack the prerequisite style necessary to unlock the secrets of the universe?

Sounds like we could use a lesson from the champion in this field:  Doctor Emmett Lathrop Brown, Ph.D.

2 Comments Written by in Amusing at 2:52 pm