Monthly Archives: November 2008

Election Day reminiscences

Eight years ago today, back in 2000, I was sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida watching the US election results. It was a pretty surreal experience.

[Me in Florida for the 2000 election]I was still working in QA. Our manager had managed to send a couple of us down for a conference just before the company clamped down on spending. The dot-com bubble was bursting and our ill-timed (and ill-conceived) dot-com play was barely getting started before the bottom was falling out. I think by election day we’d already gotten the email about the first lay-offs. Fortunately, neither of us were on the list.

There was a rally in town the day after we got there. Personally, I was more interested in seeing if I could find a half-decent BBQ restaurant.

Of course, we didn’t find out the outcome that night. It was still very much up in the air, and Florida was at the centre of that. At some point, George W Bush gave a speech that praised the resilience of American democracy, that it could survive such turmoil. How great a country it was that such things didn’t automatically lead to violence and bloodshed. I thought “Does that cross people’s minds?” Like everybody’s about to run out and start shooting each other, but everybody has to hold back and say “Oh, right, we’re a democracy. We don’t do that sort of thing.”

I mean, yeah, it’s good it doesn’t have to come to these things, but honestly, if it’s even an option, you may have problems.

The last eight years have been pretty crappy, from a macro perspective. Change is in the air tonight. There’s a lot of hard work ahead. Here’s hoping the next four will turn the tide.

Functional Spec: [[Wiki Links]] WordPress plug-in

I’ve had some ideas for projects kicking around the back of my head for a while. Now that I have some free coding time, I’m planning on getting to them. Or, at the very least, I can document some of my thought processes around them so I can come back to them later, if painting my bedroom seems like a more valuable use of my time.

Think of this as a functional spec. Except (hopefully) more entertaining.

[[Wiki Links]]

There are a few wiki plug-ins out there for WordPress out there already, so in some sense, I’m re-inventing the wheel. I’ve looked at the code for some, though, and they don’t do quite what I want.

At the bare minimum, this plug-in will allow me to put double square brackets around words that correspond to existing Pages in my blog. Pages are a WordPress thing where you can have static, er, pages that aren’t blog entries. My (slim) about page, for example. I haven’t found them to be terribly useful as they are, but turn them into a wiki and maybe you have something.

For example, if I write this code in my blog:

See my About page.

You’d see this output:

See my About page.

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Yard work

I spent most of the afternoon out in the garden. I’ve had a pretty productive weekend. I cleaned up the remaining petunias, some of which were still flowering. I felt bad about pulling up flowering flowers, but they were pretty ragged-looking and we’ve been getting pretty consistent frost in the evenings.

Once the petunias were up, I dug up the garden and planted a bunch of the flower bulbs I bought. I buy bulbs every year, but this is actually the first year I’ve had the time to plant all of them. I feel pretty good about that. If all goes well, I’ll have lots of tulips and hyacinths and things in the garden.

I also used the fork to soften up bits of the lawn and plant crocus and other bulbs around the rock and the tree and by the road. All that stuff is supposed to only last till maybe April, before I’d take the mower to it. I like seeing little flowers in the lawn in springtime. I wasn’t paying too much attention to where they were going, so I hope it doesn’t look weird. We’ll have to see in the spring, I guess.

I didn’t plant anything in the back yard. There are already quite a few bulbs back there already.

I trimmed back the rose too. I have a climbing rose that the previous owner tried unsuccessfully to kill off. I think it’s kind of nice, even though I’m not sure what to do with it. I just let it climb up to the top of a trellis and trim off the roaming tendrils that catch on my clothes when I walk by. It did give me lots of little pink flowers this year, so I’m happy to keep it around.

Yesterday I mulched up the leaves on the lawn in the back and raked the leaves in the front. I’m working from the theory that the mulched leaves will help the soil and not kill the grass. It worked okay last year. I have, I should note, lots and lots of trees in the back yard. About 12, I’d say. And more overhanging from the neighbours. That makes for a lot of leaves. The important thing is to keep them from staining the patio stones and killing the grass. Beyond that, I don’t want to have to bother to bag them all. I tried that the first year and it’s just way too much work.

All I have left to do is clean out the eaves and kind of reorganize things so that the winter maintenance stuff is easier to get at than the gardening stuff. Then I can just wait for the snow to come.

NaBloPoMo 2008

It’s November, which makes it some sort of NaSomethingMo. I’m gonna do the blog post thing. I know there are some people who would really like me to join in the novel writing madness. I don’t think I have the wherewithal for it this year, though.

My plan is to do something vaguely related to software or software development or talk about personal projects I’m working on during the week. You know, to keep the mind limber. The weekends will be more of the usual sort of thing I tend to post here.

One blog post, every day. Before midnight. It’s the first day and I’m already cutting it close.