Monthly Archives: September 2010

Tuesday Morning Miscellany

I've been somewhat neglecting the blog, but it has been a little distracting at the Amber/Michael abode the past few days.  My dad and sister are staying with us and it is a little hard to get some quiet time to blog.  Plus I'm a bad blogger anyway.

Amber went all out last week for my birthday - number 39, for those who are keeping score - and made me breakfast in bed, decorated the house with happy birthday regalia, made me dinner and got me all sorts of great presents, including a new Penny Arcade shirt to replace my favorite shirt when it finally meets its demise.  In case you don't know the shirt I'm talking about, it is well documented:


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Amber's got pictures from my actual birthday on her camera, so I'll post some of those when she shares them.  Also on my list of gifts: more Settlers of Catan stuff, including the Settlers of Catan 5-6 player expansion and Seafarers of Catan.  Now we need to convince more people to play Settlers of Catan. 

Thanks for making it a really special day, Amber!

In other news, it looks like I started this blog none too soon.  Microsoft announced that yesterday that Windows Live Spaces will soon be no more.  I guess if I'd just waited to move, I would've had the decision made for me.

I've also made some progress on using my Zune Pass song credits talked about in my earlier post.  In addition to the songs I'd purchased when I made the post (The Only Exception - Paramore, Airplanes - B.o.B., and If I Die Young - The Band Perry), I've bought the following:

  • FU - Cee Lo (only had the non-parental advisory version available)
  • Billionaire (PA) - Travie Mccory
  • Billionaire (non-PA) - Travie Mccory (Amber prefers this version)

I need to find four more songs to use up this month's quota.   There are a few of Anne's suggestions that I still need to listen to, so I may be good, but keep the suggestions coming anyway!

Christmas in September

Yesterday's post was probably pretty boring for most people.  At least those that don't really care about the behind the scenes sorts of stuff here at PardonMyReach.  So I was going to write a post last night about some of the fun weekend stuff Amber and I did, but I wanted some pictures that hadn't yet been pulled off the camera.  And I also got sidetracked looking at photos from a hike of Little Si last year and then looking up stuff on the National Geodetic Survey, and basically I never got around to writing the post.

100_1339Over the last few days, I've also been trying to catch up with uploading pictures to flickr and I'm almost done with all the 2009 ones.  Here's a picture of me stretching to get the star on the tree.  I'm sure if we had a video camera going, hilarity would have ensued and we would have been a shoe-in for the top prize on America's Funniest Home Videos.  I'll be continuing with uploads as time permits, so keep checking back.  I'll admit openly, most of them are pretty bad, but there are some that are pretty good.

Last night was also occupied with some last-minute housecleaning before my dad and sister arrive.  They are driving up from Oklahoma and we were expecting them Thursday, maybe Wednesday if they made really good time.  Based on their last known position, they are making really good time, so we are now expecting them today.  Mind you, we weren't trying to put off stuff until the last minute, but it's hard to get everything in when you are busy.

Happy Monday Revisited

It looks like it has been a full week since I've posted anything.  The good news is that the blog is still running.  The bad news is that I haven't fixed any of the nagging little issues that pester me.  Here's a brief list of issues and ToDos for the site:

  1. Need to get on the latest Umbraco
  2. Need to decide if I'm going to pickup the latest sources from the Blog4Umbraco project and compile it myself or continue to wait for them to release a "stable" version (either would probably fix some of the following issues)
  3. Timestamps are all set to midnight
  4. Blog posts are ordered correctly by day, but multiple posts on a given day are in reverse order
  5. The Comments RSS feed doesn't have published dates
  6. The Latest Comments list is in random order
  7. Publishing at a specific time (other than immediately) is broken
  8. Can't upload images from Live Writer (links to images work)

There are more things, but I need to get ready and head into work.

Happy Monday

It looks like Pardon My Reach is still up and running, so here are some more pictures to celebrate.

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Just a few shots from my trip to Singapore last year.  Happy Monday everyone!

Zune Pass song credits

For probably the 20th time since I subscribed to the Zune Pass, I let my 10 free song purchases for the month expire this month.  Well nine out of the ten anyway.  I'm determined not to let this happen again and I have until 10/13 to pick out seven more songs.  The three I picked tonight:

  1. The Only Exception - Paramore
  2. Airplanes - B.o.B.
  3. If I Die Young - The Band Perry

I think I am experiencing the same problem doing this that I experience when I go to a music store: all the songs and albums I want get sucked out of my head and I end up wandering the aisles hoping that something will remind me of what I want to purchase.  Virtual wandering in this case, I suppose.  So this is where you come in.  Help me figure out some music to buy.  Comment away, and help me get the most out of my Zune Pass.

Blog downtime

I don't know if anyone noticed or not, but my blog was down for about 12 hours last night, and has been up and down this afternoon.  Astute readers may have noticed the link to Umbraco at the bottom of the page - Umbraco is the content management system (CMS) that I'm using to manage and render this blog.  It's actually rather nice open source software, built on Microsoft technology, so it seemed like a good way to go when I decided to migrate from Windows Live Spaces and my blog there to my own domain.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I tried to update the version of Umbraco I was using last night, and somehow in the process, my site stopped working.  I mean really stopped working.  I don't think it was anything to do with the new Umbraco bits, though.  I think that something I (or someone else on the same server) did really hoarked the server based on the error messages I was getting.

By the time this was going on it was about 1:00 a.m., and I decided that there wasn't anything I could do but contact support.  I'm using Softsys hosting, and I must say that I've been very happy with their support so far.  I submitted my site down ticket last night at 1:04 a.m and by 1:12 a.m they responded saying they were looking into it.  At 1:40 a.m., they emailed to tell me that it was fixed, but I'd given up for the night and went to bed.  If I was running a site with a ton of traffic or some sort of commerce, I wouldn't be happy with that much downtime, but odds are that no one noticed the down time except for me, and since this is a hobby for me, their turn around time was more than sufficient.

So anyway, when I saw the email this morning, I tried to finish the upgrade, but I was still running into some issues, so I just pointed it back at my old site.  My blog rendered, but the Umbraco "back office" still wasn't working right, so something was still messed up.  After playing around off and on all night, I finally decided to diff the web.config on the server with the standard one from the Umbraco 4.5.1 build.  Lo and behold, there were a bunch of aspx handler configuration lines missing somehow.  How this happened, I have no idea, but when I dropped the one from the build (first altering it to point to my DB), everything started working again.  Whew!

Long story short, assuming this post is successful, everything is back the way it was before I started messing around with stuff.  What's frustrating is that I still haven't made any progress getting my Umbraco installation up-to-date and I haven't fixed any of the nagging issues with the blog, like being able to post pictures from Live Writer.

This post was a lot of boring semi-technical stuff, so I will try to follow up with a more interesting one real quick.  Clicking publish and crossing my fingers now…

Pizza and game night

Pizza Night!Last night Eric came over for homemade pizza and game night.  The pizzas turned out pretty good, I think.  Some of them had our homemade fresh mozzarella cheese and basil from our herb boxes on the deck.  We made the mozzarella last weekend (more on our cheese making endeavors in a future post), and it still tasted good, but got really, really soft and sticky over the course of the week.  We are still dialing in the cheese making and storage, so hopefully we'll get better at it.

Coincidentally, the weekend before, Phil and Suzanne were over for almost the same meal, sans fresh mozzarella.  It was so fun and tasty, we had to do it again.

Is there anything better than pizza and game night?

Picture fun – not.

Tonight I was going to try to post some pictures from our trip to France last year.  Not timely, I admit, but it was at least going to be topical - I was reminded about it when I was reading about all the strikes happening in the EU right now.  It really would have sucked to be expecting to take the train back to Paris and find out that it wasn't running that day.  Not that we would've been likely to understand what was going on given our spotty (at best) French.

Anyway, I haven't yet setup picture support for my blog and I ended up spending most of the evening not making much progress on it.  I guess I'll have to make that a priority, since a blog without photos is pretty boring.  But for tonight, if you want to see the pictures of I was going to post you'll have to go to flickr to see them.  Check out my pictures of French Knockers!

There are a few other things I've noticed like the thumbnail icons for comments that could be improved.  Any other feature suggestions?

Welcome to Pardon My Reach

I'm going to call this the first official post to my new blog, Pardon My Reach.  Welcome all!

I decided to leave Windows Live Spaces and set up a new blog some time ago, but I waffled for a while on what to do.  I could use one of the existing competing services out there, or build my own from scratch or maybe something else.  I toyed for a while with the idea of building something on Azure, but after my MSDN introductory special expired I wasn't sure if I was going to be willing to foot the bill for it.  I eventually decided that building something from scratch was going to be too much work for now, anyway, and signed up for some inexpensive hosting space.  I set up a this blog using open source software (more technical details on that in a later post) and started tweaking some style and settings.  Things weren't perfect, but my hope was that I was going to be blogging from the road the last couple of weeks of August during a California road trip with my sweetie, Amber.

And then, badness happened.

If you know me, then you already know all the details.  For those of you who don't know me, we didn't end up going on our road trip.  My mother, who had been suffering from COPD for years was back in the hospital with pneumonia.  I'd flown out to Oklahoma earlier in August to visit her in the hospital and got to be there for her 78th birthday.  At that time, everyone seemed to think that she was getting better and after a couple more weeks in the hospital and a stay at a rehabilitation center, that she would be strong enough to head home.  Unfortunately, that didn't turn out to be the case.  The week we were heading out, my mom started to get worse and was transferred back to the ICU.  After much soul-searching, we decided that we needed to postpone the trip to California and head to Oklahoma. 

No airline flies directly from Seattle to Oklahoma City.  Amber and I connected through Las Vegas.  When we got to Vegas, our connecting flight was delayed so I called my dad to let them know.  That's when I found out that my mom had died earlier that day - calling my dad from the Las Vegas airport, standing in line at a Burger King.

That's been a little over two weeks now, and it is still setting in, despite spending most of that time in Oklahoma with my dad and sister, helping plan a memorial and trying to say my goodbyes.  It still doesn't really feel entirely real.  Maybe it never will, I don't know.

So I hadn't really intended this inaugural post to be depressing.  I'm hoping that posts to come will be fun for friends and family to read.  Or maybe technically interesting if I find or do something worth sharing.  Or at the very least, a pretty picture or two (I've got thousands of pictures that are languishing unviewed on my flickr account).  This post, I guess, is not one of those things.  It turns out that this one is me missing my mom.