Halcyon Repose



by on Jan.16, 2009, under General

Apparently when I upgraded my version of WordPress, the plugin that I have to prevent spam comments started acting up, preventing anyone from commenting at all. I have disabled it for now, At some point I hope to get it working again, but till then I will have to get used to the comment requests that are actually Viagra adverts cleverly disguised.

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Back in order

by on Jan.12, 2009, under General

I was actually getting tired of the old layou anyways, this actually came at a good time. I had some spare time today, so I did some searching, and I finally found a new theme that I like, even if it it a bit dark.

It took some configuring to get it setup the way I wanted, but I found a whole bunch of new configuration options with the newer version of wordpress that I was not aware of previously.

Now I have the itch to go digging through the lists of plugins and widgets to see what else I can find to play around with…

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Getting Organized

by on Jan.04, 2009, under General

I am finally getting all of my pictures organized. I am using my new MacBook as my photo storage and editing device, and now that I have everything moved over and Lightroom installed, I have spent the last few weeks getting all 26g of my photos dated and sorted.

I always hated taking pictures, but now, going back and looking through some of the pictures I have taken in the last decade, it makes me wish I had started sooner. Sure I am currently entertaining fantasies of being an amateur photographer, but beyond that, just having a record of some of the parties and fencing tournaments I have gone to over the years is priceless. I have enjoyed going through and finding hidden pictures tucked away into various subfolders labeled “New Folder” that I had totally forgotten about. It has been like finding hidden treasure. :)

I feel like the biggest part of the job is now over, though I do want to import them all into Lightroom and get some basic tagging put in, so that I can do some searching to quickly find photos if I want. That might be a pipe dream, but that is where I want to go next.

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Ireland, The Journal Part 4

by on Oct.24, 2008, under General

One more post after this one will complete my trip journal.

Day 9
Saturday, September 27th

Today’s plan is to hit the small town of Kinsale, grab some food, head to Blarney, and then back to Cork in time for our dinner reservations. We weren’t leaving early that morning, but I still had to get up before 8 so that I could move the car off of the streets and into the hotel parking lot to avoid getting a ticket.

At 10 we picked up Alex and had some breakfast at The Coffee Pot. I had some tea and a breakfast panini, and then we set off for Blarney Castle, which was a quick 10 minute drive out of Cork. The castle grounds were beautiful, and the castle itself was huge. Unlike Bunratty, it was unrestored, but you got to explore the castle in all of it’s raw, bleeding glory. We made the trip up to the Blarney Stone, waited in the queue, and then snapped a picture as we walked by, foregoing the traditional kiss. On the way out I stepped into the cave below the castle, but quickly backed out when I hit two inches if gooey mud. Next to it was the guard station which had three foot high tunnel, this one I pushed to the very end.

After I managed to clean off my shoes, we then headed back to the car, and drove past Cork and on to Cobh. Cobh was a beautiful town with a glorious cathedral up on the hill. The small dock in the center of town provided a great view for picture taking, and after getting our fill we wandered over to Quay’s Restaurant for a quick, light lunch. Afterward we hopped back in the car and headed up to the cathedral to visit inside. While we did get to go inside, there was a funeral service going on so we had to refrain from taking pictures of the awe-inspiring interior.

Next on the agenda was a visit to Kinsale. The trip around the lakes would take around an hour, but we decided at the last minute to try the ferry. I had never been on one before, and it was definitely a cool experience. It was all of five Euros, and while short, it still managed to be fun and saved us a good 35 minutes of driving.

We blew past Kinsale to the old Kinsale head, where there are some beautiful cliffs, a ruined tower, and a golf course which was locked behind an an old wall. We snapped some pictures, then went back to Kinsale for a quick walk about, and then back to Cork for our dinner reservation.

Dinner was at Greene’s Restaurant. It was a lovely restaurant with a waterfall lit up outside the entrance. Joe and I were joined by Alex, Michael, a Russian GM, Jason, lead GM, and his wife Jen. Dinner was opulant, but good. I had steak with a peppercorn sauce, and some sort of semi scalloped potatoe dish, which was really good.

After dinner, everyone else had to leave, so Alex, Joe and I walked around for a while to let our food settle, and we ended up at the Jury’s Hotel, and went to their bar, Weir’s, for some Smithwicks. There was a serious lack of girls there, so went back towards the town center stopping at The Catwalk where we finally scored some carbombs. I had to instruct the bartender in how to make them, and we killed them we quickly left as we were already tiring of the loud noise in the place. Since it was getting late, we ended up back at the Jury’s Inn for a last round of drinks to finish off the night. Little did I know it this bar would set in motion a trend for the rest of the trip. It was at this bar that Joe tried Kilkenny’s, a beer which would soon become our favorite new beer of the trip.

Day 10
Sunday, September 28th

Got up early, got a shower then went and picked up Alex for breakfast. Unfortunately, since it was Sunday, no place was open. We stopped by the Blizzard Cork office, of course no one was there, even Jason was MIA since he had a meeting the night before with Gilmartin.

We then drove Alex to the airport and grabbed some breakfast there, wished him a farewell and headed back to the hotel to pack up and check out. We jumped back on the road and pointed ourselves toward Glendalough.

The first part of the drive was my worst day of driving by far. I was struggling to stay awake to Kilkenny where we stopped for lunch at the Kilkenny Design Center which overlooked the castle. I had the Lamb which was excellent, and a bowl of chicken chowder while I waited for them to finish preparing my meal. The soup was an actual entrée which was not expecting, but it was very flavorful with a hint of Thai influence (coconut milk). We decided we had enough castle tours, so we skipped over this one and got back on the road.

The drive to Glendalough was a pretty one. The Wicklow mountains being an interesting mix of the dry California mountains and the pine covered Tennessee mountains. Once we got there we found that the valley was CRAZY packed with people. Like the beach on Labor Day packed. We tried finding a room but everything was either booked or way to expensive.

I was tired, and a bit of an asshole, and I made Joe be the one to check all of the places for price and vacancy. After searching for a half hour, we came across the Trooperstown Woodlodge, which had just opened up six weeks before. The yard was large and extremely well manicured, and the house itself was very nice inside. It was a about seven Euros more than we wanted to pay, but we had finally came to realize that it as a good price for the area so we took it. We were the only people there at the time, so we got our pick of rooms, once we settled in, I almost immediately crashed for a nap. Once I was up, we decided to chill for the night, get up early tomorrow, visit the valley, and then have a late breakfast / lunch at the restaurant owned by the B&B owners.

We read for awhile in the sitting room, and Joe, the lucky bastard, was able to occasionally able to pickup a wifi signal from somewhere nearby. A little before eight, we bundled up and walked down the road for a late dinner and some beers at Lynham’s Hotel.

Day 11
Monday, September 29th

Today we got up early, showered, and packed, and went for a walk around the valley. We stopped by St James’ monastic site, which has been turned into a graveyard, and we took some photos. We then headed back up the trail and paid a visit to the remote St. Savior’s Church, which had some wonderful carvings still visible around the windows and doors.

After the hike back we heads back to the Wicklow Heather Restaurant to get our breakfast and to check out of the B&B. After fueling our bodies we headed off to the big city of Dublin.

After a bit of driving through downtown Dublin, we stopped at the first guesthouse we came too, which was at the Redwood Lodge across from the four seasons. It was 90EUs a night, which is more than we have payed elsewhere, but we were prepared for that.

After getting checked in (and lugging our backs up to the top floor), we got on a bus and headed towards O’Connell street for some shopping. Our main goal was Chapters, a used bookstore Joe wanted to visit. We found the location, but they had moved a few blocks away. We tracked down the new location and did some browsing. I picked up the Marilyn Manson autobiography with Niel Strauss, and the Eric Clapton biography.

Next door on the way out, we found a coffee shop/deli called Cahoots, which had an open wifi signal near by, so we got a chicken tikka marsala wrap and caught up with the rest of the world. Once we were finished, Joe had to go to go next door in order to use the credit card machine they share with the deli, and it just so happened to be the B&B we had been stealing our wifi signal from. On a lark, I asked them for the room prices, and they were 11EU cheaper than our current place, and it was in the middle of downtown to boot. They charged 10EU for a parking spot, but that was still comparable, and the wifi made it a no brainer. We booked our last two nights there, and headed back out to the streets.

We made a stop at the bus station to get the info on the routes and about the hop on hop off tours, and we picked up a free visitors map. We then stopped by a camera shop, but unfortunatley I didn’t find anything I was looking for.

We headed west a bit to the Temple Bar section of town, and got a table at the Temple Bar, which was absolutely huge, it just kept going and going. Unfortunately, they wanted 6EU for a pint, more than we have paid anywhere else, but we grinned and took it. We got a pint of Kilkenny, which Joe had gotten previously, and I was really impressed. It was really fracking good. I’ll have to see if I can find a keg in the states. While we drink our pints, a banjo and guitar duo went in stage, and totally started owning the joint.

Next we went in search of The Kitchen, one of Brenden’s recommendations, but they were not yet opened, so instead we stopped by The Porterhouse Brewing Company, home of the gold medal stout. We, of course, got a stout.

Next we walked around abit before stopping at a place called O’Donoghue’s. We had another Kilkenny and then headed out for food, which ended being across the street at a smoothie/sandwich place called Nude. I had a beef burrito wrap and their smoothie of the week. I highly recommend this place to anyone visiting the area. The prices were way reasonable, the portions perfect, and extremely tasty. A++ would do again.

Next was O’Neill’s for another Kilkenny. Afterward, we stopped at the corner market so I could pick up some chapstick, and then back on the bus toward our room. We got off a few exits early and had a pint of Smithwick’s at Paddy Cullen’s to end the evening.

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Test post from the iPhone

by on Sep.15, 2008, under General

Testing the wordpress iPhone app. If all goes well you should also see some pics from our trip to the Long Beach Crawfish festival.

Update: pictures are in reverse order… Good to know for future posts.

Update x2: “I am making a note here… huge success.”

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Still Around

by on May.10, 2008, under General

I had a great time at my sister’s wedding, it was fun hanging with all of our family and her friends. I got to take lots of pictures (I will post there here soon, but they are already up on photobucket), but I haven’t gotten to a chance to play around with the camera since I got back. If tomorrow is as pretty a day as today was, I might hit the beach and see what kind of pictures I can take. I saw some great picture opportunities on the way home, I was just in dire need of a nap.

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RSS and Me

by on Mar.04, 2008, under General

For many years, I have known about this RSS thing. Some sites had them, some sites didn’t. It was basically a page with all of the updates to the site on it, and when the site was updated, so was the page. The glory of this setup is that there were programs, aptly named RSS readers, which could parse these pages, keep track of what you had and had not seen, and presented you with a nice orderly list of pages that had been updated since you last checked.

This is one of those technologies that could change the way you use the web, if only you would use it. Since I check some sites at home, and some at work, I really didn’t want to bother with trying to find a good program, since I would have to sync both locations up so I could use it the way that I wanted to. Plus if I checked at home, my work RSS reader wouldn’t know that, and I would end up having to constantly cull the things out that I had already seen. This was not appealing to me at all, but when Joe mentioned google’s new effort, http://reader.google.com/, I was immediately intrigued.

This little application seemed to solve any problems I might have had with an RSS reader. Mainly that I don’t have to worry about keeping my various computers synced up, because everything is stored on the server. Sure google now has more information on my web browsing habits, but I think it is a small price to pay for not having to manually click on 3-4 dozen bookmarks each day. Plus I get to put in some of those sites and blogs that rarely get updated (like mine), and which I rarely check, and I then get notified when they get a bit more active again.

I give this application 4 out of 5 stars, and the only thing that could make it better would be if I could also store all of the sites that don’t have RSS feeds. A list of simple bookmarks that I could store in the same application would be totally awsome.

Has this changed my web browsing habits? Absolutely. An RSS feed is the first thing I look for on a new site now, and I curse those people who have pages that don’t use them.

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It is not about the tools.

by on Feb.01, 2008, under General

I have had a few artsy friends, and one friend who is currently going to art school, so I have seen some really good stuff that has impressed me. That being said, it is really rare that someone’s work can blow me away like this guy’s can http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=511688&in_page_id=1770&ito=newsnow.

Juan Francisco Casas has more talent than most people ever dream of having.

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New Look II

by on Sep.12, 2007, under General

OOoo, after hours of looking through the theme database, I finally found a theme I like even better than my previous one. I have already made a few minor tweaks: got rid of the tacky post calendar on the sidebar, changed the dates to be more US friendly (and more readable), and all I really need to do is find a background I like better. I am hoping to find something with a bit more color to brightened up the page, hopefully I can find something that works without tweaking needed for the rest of the page.

If I wanted to totally write up a CSS page, I would have come up with a theme myself.

Update: Oh WoW! This theme has a whole administration page, including an option to set the background. That will make customizing this easier than I expected woot!

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New Look

by on Sep.12, 2007, under General

I finally took the plunge and upgraded the version of wordpress I was running this site on. I had visions of everything that could go wrong, but thankfully the upgrade was extremely smooth. It did of course default me back to the standard theme for the site, so I did some looking, and found another theme that I liked. It has some issues, and I had to make a few changes immediately, but it has potential.

I have the first of a few concert write-ups completed. I have a few more I need to put up, hopefully that will happen in the next few days.

Update: Since I have changed the theme referred to in this post, I thought I would link the theme originally mentioned for posterity’s sake.

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