Archive for May, 2005

Baby Sign Language = Baby Einstein

Update: I posted a video of Caleb signing and talking on timches.com.

Everyone knows that Caleb is the cutest kid in the world…but did you know he’s also the smartest (my slightly biased opinion)? Caleb is now 15 months, and in the last month or so, it seems like he’s learned a lot of signs. Teaching your baby Sign Language seems to be the thing to do nowadays, but being married to a Sign Language interpreter, Caleb really had no choice: he was going to learn ASL whether he wanted to or not. (more…)

One More Thing…

I was going to write about something else, but Chesney won’t let me.

The Obligatory Episode III Post

Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu - names that could only come from the mind of Lucas
Lem, Oliver, and I should really dress up and pose for a photo like this. (enlarge)
Update ah, the wonders of Photoshop can make wishes come true. (before and after)

Did Lucas redeem himself from episodes I and II? I think so! But then, I didn’t think episodes I and II were that bad (I’m easy to please).

Chesney and I saw Episode III with the cousins over the weekend, and it was just as good as everyone has been saying it is. Sure, there was cheese, but not a lot of cheese–certainly not as much love cheese as in II, and thankfully even less Jar-Jar. This is also the most action-packed and least light-hearted Star Wars. The best thing about this movie was getting to see how it really tied into Episodes IV, V, and VI, tying up any loose ends and questions that we had from watching the original 3 movies.

It’s good. Highly recommended. Lem and Oliver liked it too.

This movie also reinforced what a theme of all tragedies throughout history, from Macbeth to King Arthur to well, Star Wars:

The downfall of a man always lies in a woman. Heh.

Darn You, Speed Limits!

Well, I got another speeding ticket today. What is it with my luck this year? 8 years of driving with no speeding tickets–plenty of accidents, sure–but no traffic tickets at all, then all of sudden 2005 rolls around, it’s only May, and I already have TWO. There’s a few possible reasons that I can think of:

  • I work a freaking hour away, which makes for more time on the road, and more chances to get a ticket. But wait, I’ve been working at the same place for 3 years–how come I never got tickets then?
  • I’ve been working an hour away for 3 years and it’s getting to me so not wanting spend any more time on the road than I have to, I drive faster.
  • I’m being specifically targeted because of the sporty, sleek, expensive, brown 1998 Nissan Altima that I drive.
  • George Bush and his administration, since they get blamed for everything anyway.

Anybody know of any good ways to talk an officer out of a ticket?

The Next Generation Consoles

The 3 upcoming next generation consoles (not to scale)
From left to right: The Playstation 3, Nintendo Revolution, and Xbox 360
(not to scale)

The photos are in for the designs for the next generation consoles. The three designs are intriguing, especially if you read about how much time and money the competing companies Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft is throw into the look of these consoles. Funny how the Playstation 3 is convex, and the Xbox 360, on the other hand, is concave. These curves give the units some free-flowing lines, lending to an organic feel. Nintendo opted for a more straight, minimalistic, industrial design for it’s upcoming Revolution. To keep the Revolution from being completely conservative, the base tilts the from of the unit upward, giving it an unconventional diagonal. The Playstation will come in 3 colors: white, black, and silver. Xbox 360 users will be able to customize their units with skins.

Besides the visual design, the specs on these things make them sound a lot like a computer–hard drives, dvd-rom, wireless… Very impressive.

I’ve never owned a console since my brothers and I acquired a Super Nintendo back in old, old days, but it looks like they have finally surpassed the regular PC in graphics. Maybe I should buy one. For Caleb, of course..

Moving Up in the World

It seems as though Chesney and are moving up in the world…Chesney recently took a job that she likes and lot better and which pays more, and I just got a raise (the first one in 3 years of working at CityTeam, but raises are no small feat for a non-profit organization). Yay!

A Glimpse Into 37 Signals’ Methodology

A brief write up on their blog, Signal vs. Noise on the development of their new web app, Backpack.

Daniel got a chance to sit in a session by one of the 37 Signals developers at Web Design World in San Francisco earlier this year, and told me about their un-orthodox philosophy of jumping right into the development phase of web design. Forget the laborious weeks and months of planning and strategy–rather, start building the site right away and strategize from what you learn from the revisions.

Interesting. And effective considering the quality of their end products, Backpack, Basecamp, and Tada List.

We use Basecamp here at CityTeam, and it’s helped us get organized with our projects.

Gaming is a good thing

On the front page of the San Jose Mercury today is an article that caught my attention. It was pro computer gaming. “Video-game players often displey exceptional business skills.”

Read the article (The same article, just not the san jose mercury news website)

So all you gamers now have a reason to do what you do.

Lessons Learned: Dynamic Urls to Static with Mod Rewrite

It’s a good thing that I have Caleb’s photo on my desktop and Chesney’s photo sitting on top of my montior because they reminded me that I have something to live for. After hours of staring at Perl regular expressions, I came very close to putting my head through my monitor.

If this makes perfect sense to you…

RewriteRule ^/?([^/.]*)/?([^/.]*)/?$ index.php?var1=$1&var2=$2 [L]

…then you are a geek. This is a rewrite rule using dreaded mumbo-jumbo called Perl regular expressions.

This all started when I started looking at timches.com’s stats and finding that I wasn’t getting as many hits after the redesign. I found the culprit to be the new dynamic pages. Apparently, search engine robots don’t like GET variables found in urls like:

http://www.timches.com/pictures/show_album.php?id=196

I used rewrite rules in .htaccess files to create an alternative “static” link:

http://www.timches.com/pictures/2005/05/196/happy_1st_birth.html

Following the example of popular CMS packages like WordPress and Movable Type, I included the title within the last part of the url, which helps get a higher listing on search engines, so I’m told.

The rewrite rule to make that static link happen is just one line:

RewriteRule ^([0-9]*)/([0-9]*)/([0-9]*)/([a-zA-Z0-9_]*).html show_album.php?id=$3&y=$1 [L]

Here’s several sites that I found helpful in learning how to do this (and for my future reference as well).

So now I sit and watch to see if indeed this helps my search engine rankings. If it doesn’t, well, that’s why I have Caleb and Chesney’s pictures close to my monitor.

My Civic Duty

Arg.  A Jury Summons.

Everyone’s worst nightmare: Jury Duty. Actually, I didn’t mind too much to be called up. I have the blessing of having a very flexible job and could take the 2 or 3 days I needed without it causing too much trouble. So today I did my Civic duty and showed up at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court bright and early at 8:30, along with 50-60 of my fellow unlucky chumps citizens.

It was interesting to be sitting there in a room full of strangers from every age, race, and socio-economic level–some of which, we’re obviously not happy to be there!

I should’ve brought a book.

It was really exciting to walk into the courtroom. It was my first time since a field trip in junior high to be in an actual courtroom. It’s a lot smaller than on TV, the baliff’s have quite a prescence, and the judge looks very far away in his chair. The lawyers didn’t look attractive actors, the defendants didn’t look the evil looking actors, but the assistant D.A. looked a lot like Angie Harmon.

The judge gave us the details of the case: 3 men who (allegedly) robbed a bank in Aptos in 2003. Awesome–I’d love to hear this case, I thought. There was an audible gasp from my fellow prospective jurors when the judge warned that the trial was expected to be 6 weeks long!

When the judge asked those of us who would be available for these 6 weeks, about 1/3 of us stood up–mostly elderly, retired-looking folks, and women who probably were homemakers and had money-making husbands. The rest of us had to convince the judge later 1 on 1 of our “extreme hardship.” I told the judge that I was the primary income source, that I worked for a non-profit and didn’t make much money anyway, and that I had a baby. It seemed like the baby part didn’t the trick and I was excused.

Phew. I would glady sit on a jury for a case that was 3 days or even a week long, and I like Law and Order, but by-golly man, 6 weeks!?

Hanging Up the Gloves For Awhile…

Wondering why there haven’t been any Snipers updates in a while? Well, it’s because there’s not much to write about–we just keep on losing! This Wednesday we’re playing the LOSER consolation game. This is the first season where we’ve been the absolute worst team in the league.

For the first time, I found myself not excited about going to a game. One week I caught myself trying to find an excuse not to go. Oh how far I’ve come since the addicting phase where I would play 3 times a week! I’ve found several excuses for not signing up to play next season.

  1. Energy. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work lately, and that cuts into my sleeping time. No sleep = no energy for hockey.
  2. Energy again. Ever since Caleb has learned to walk/run, Chesney and I are continually running right behind cleaning up the carnage. Funny how a 1 year old can wear you out.
  3. No one (I know) to play with. It was fun playing with Andrew on my team. And it’s fun playing with the cousins. The guys in SV league teams are fun and all, but there’s nothing like playing side by side with a good buddy.
  4. We can save a bundle of money. At $159/season, playing every season can be taxing on the budget.
  5. Last but not least, the absence of the NHL this year isn’t providing any inspiration for getting out there and playing.

In a nutshell, I think I’m just drained and need to want to play hockey again. I’m sure after one season off I’ll have that craving to play again. And I’ll be playing with the cousins on some Saturday nights (Darn you, gas prices!)

Another bright side to this is maybe I’ll get to wash my gear for the first time in 5 seasons! My gear bag and everything in it is just plain RANCID. No amount of Febreeze can help it now.

By the way, I played with the cousins last Satruday for the first time in months because of rain and wanting to save on gas. It was FUN. Yes, I stink compared to them, but it’s great to play with people not so serious about the scoreboard. Oh, and thanks Lisa, for watching Caleb while I played.