October 27, 2003

Rest in peace, my friend

My wife met her best friend 31 years ago, in Grade 1. I met him 7 years ago, shortly after meeting my wife, and he quickly became my friend, too. Brent was first diagnosed with liver cancer 11 years ago. Yesterday his battle came to an end as he passed away in his sleep, at age 36.

Posted by Squiddy at 12:55 PM | TrackBack | Comments (2)

October 24, 2003

October 23, 2003

Kindergarten for Men

Deutsche Welle: German Bar Opens First Kindergarten for Men

Womenin Hamburg who want to shop without dragging along grumbling male partners can leave them at the nation's first kindergarten for men. This adult daycare center has plenty of amenities to keep the big boys occupied. [...] Women wanting a few hours of Saturday shopping in peace can drop off their partners at the "Männergarten," where for 10 Euros ($11.64), the men get a meal, two beers and an afternoon of boy's games, cards, conversation and sports on TV.

"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they drop them off and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," said Alexander Stein, manager of the Nox bar and creator of the Männergarten.

Uhhh... could someone set one of these up in, say... FutureShop?

[link via Simian Design]

October 22, 2003

Wednesday Whatever 2003 10 22

Wednesday Whatevers for today:

  1. What is your favorite day of the year and why? - that would have to be Halloween. I mean, when else can you be someone or something you're not, and see a whole bunch of other people being someone or something they're not, without serious conflict? Other than those weird acting folk, of course.

  2. Do you get caught up with the holiday spirit? Why/why not? - I do eventually, but it takes a long time. I get very annoyed with people who start obsessing about Christmas early. Not as angry as I do with companies that start advertising Christmas fare before Thanksgiving (in Canada? 2nd Monday in October). I boycotted one of my regular coffee and muffin places because he started playing Christmas Music in October. I told him I wouldn't be back as long as it was more than a month before Christmas, and he was blaring Christmas music across the mall. With all this early Christmas stuff, I get sick of the Season before December!

  3. Who is overrated? - Hmmmm... any of the current "Pop Divas". Britney? Ewww! Celine? STFU! Retire already, and raise your kid! Leave us alone! And many of their imitators, hoping that musically-challenged idiots the world over will buy their crappy music, too. And so you don't think I'm being unfair: I hate Boy Bands (and their solo efforts), too. Yecch!

Posted by Squiddy at 02:03 PM | TrackBack | Comments (1)

October 17, 2003

Friday Five 2003 10 17

Friday Five for today:

  1. Name five things in your refrigerator. - Milk, bread, margarine, orange juice, ketchup

  2. Name five things in your freezer. - ice cubes, freezer paks, ice cream, frozen oj, frozen veggies.

  3. Name five things under your kitchen sink. - Scouring pads, canned cat food, rags, garbage bags, garbage.

  4. Name five things around your computer. - paper, paper, cds, disks, and more paper.

  5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet. - nail clippers, tweezers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, antiperspirant.

Oh. If you wanted interesting stuff? You should have said so!

October 16, 2003

War on common sense drugs

Sometimes I'm very glad I don't live in the "war on drugs"-obsessed USA.

Discipline Decided In Student Inhaler Incident

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- A meeting was held Friday for a student accused of breaking school rules and state law by giving his girlfriend his inhaler when she had trouble breathing, News2Houston reported.

Andra Ferguson and her boyfriend, Brandon Kivi, both 15, use the same type of asthma medicine, Albuterol Inhalation Aerosol.

Ferguson said she forgot to bring her medication to their school, Caney Creek High School, 16840 FM 2090, on Sept. 24. When she had trouble breathing, she went to the nurse's office.

Out of concern, Kivi let her use his inhaler.

But the school nurse said it was a violation of the district's no-tolerance drug policy, and reported Kivi to the campus police. He was suspended for three days and charged with delivering a dangerous drug. He faced expulsion and being sent to juvenile detention on juvenile drug charges.

On Friday, school officials decided to expel Kivi but not press criminal charges. They said it was an amicable agreement.

I do not believe in suing over every little thing, but if that were my son or daughter, I'd have the school district in court so fast, they wouldn't know what hit them.


From Snooze Button Dreams by way of Jennifer's History and Stuff

Life in the fishbowl...

Anyone who has ever had to do tech support can identify with Laurence Simon's rather interesting description over at Amish Tech Support.

Those of you who have never suffered in Tech Support Hell should give thanks to your Deity(ies)/Supreme Being/GiantHead of choice.

October 14, 2003

Some control over spam

The new MT-Blacklist Plugin has been installed and tested.

Initial testing worked well. Successfully blocked a comment containing an undesirable URL. Thank you, Jay. Thank you very much.

Posted by Squiddy at 10:36 PM | TrackBack | Comments (1)


I have no idea of that newsgroup really exists. If not, it should. SquidBlog just received a flurry of 6 new comment spams. Complete with URLs to sites that, if the link text in the spam was accurate, provide viewing of content that is illegal in most civilized countries, and many uncivilized countries as well. I won't be more specific because I have no wish to attract hits from idiots who actively look for such content.

Arcterex has several entries concerning this: a rant, some solutions, and the new MT-Blacklist Plugin.

I removed the offending comments and added the spammers IPs to the Banned IP list. I shall install MT-Blacklist Plugin when I get home after work. These are the IPs currently in my banlist:


Someone in the blogosphere has apparently posted this <expletive deleted>'s home contact information to their blog. I don't believe in doing that. YMMV.

Posted by Squiddy at 01:25 PM | TrackBack | Comments (1)

October 10, 2003

Happy Blogiversary, Bill

Bill over at Bloviating Inanitites is celebrating his first Blogiversary. He wants everyone to link to him and lavish him with praise. And link to him. And tell him he's pretty, and funny, and crude and disgusting and a perverted numbskull and - er.. actually a fun guy.

He had to resort to sweet talk to get Michele of A Small Victory to link to him and say almost nice things about him. He practically begged Rachel Lucas to link to him. Amazingly, they did!

Again, Happy Blogiversary, Bill. Keep up the crappy good work!

Friday Five 2003 10 10

Friday Five for today:

  1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones? - While not a big sports fan, I have been known to watch Hockey, Football (the Canadian variety), as much of the Olympics (Summer and Winter Games) and Commonwealth games as possible, soccer now and then, and random sports when the fancy hits me.
  2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes? - I don't have any. I have decided most professional athletes are overpaid <expletive deleted>, and tend just to cheer for the underdog in a given game - or whoever is playing against a particularly despised team.
  3. Are there any sports you hate? - Hate is too strong a word, but I have to admit, I find basketball annoying - and it bores me to tears. Cricket is a game that I just don't understand. Any game that takes three days to complete is just too bizarre, although I do think the bit about breaking for tea is nice...
  4. Have you ever been to a sports event? - I have been to NHL games and CFL games, and Pacific Coast League baseball games. I also went to a number of events during the World University Games (Universiade) in Edmonton in 1983. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Maybe we'll get to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver...
  5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play? - Two years of Little League Baseball when I was 9 and 10. Darryl S., our manager's (coach's?) son, was the only player on our team with any talent. He pitched, hit homers, and generally kept us from the bottom of the standings. Oh, yeah. We were sponsored by a car dealership, so we were the Chrysler Dodgers. sigh That's about it. These days, I'm lucky to get out for a round of golf now and then. A jock, I am not.

October 09, 2003

Blogger Limericks

Michele over at A Small Victory is holding a Blogger Limerick Contest titled: Limerick Time: the Poetry Day Incestous Blogging Contest. It's an idea blatantly stolen from the BBC Magazine's Limerick Contest, as she felt the rules there weren't quite to her liking. The most important rule of Michele's contest is - you must mention a blogger or blog. You may not mention Michele in your limerick.

My contribution:

There is an odd blogger named Helpful
Whose sanity is somewhat doubtful
Bill Shatner's double, dude!
His writings so very crude
Yet often entertaining and mirthful

Hope you like it. Especially you, Mr. Helpful!

October 08, 2003

General malaise...

I know I'm not the most prolific blogger. Most of the time, I seem to be able to find something to write about at least 3 days a week, but lately, not so much. I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to write anything. My visits and page views are down, and I've dropped back to Lowly Insect in the Ecosystem.

Part of the problem, I think, is that unlike some of my favorite bloggers, I self-censor. Michele at A Small Victory and Laurence Simon over at Amish Tech Support have no problem in this regard - if it bugs them, they blog about it. If it amuses them, they write about it. If it makes them proud, they rave about it. I can't seem to get past the "I can't say that publicly" bit, sometimes.

My blog is a hodgepodge of stuff - ranging from frivolous memes like Friday Five and This-or-That entries to rants about a variety of things. No politics, though. That brings in readers, but I just can't seem to write about politics.

I was going to try to make this a kind of techie blog, but that never materialized - I've got two entries on scripting: How to skin using Javascript, a tutorial on adding skins to your blog without having to use php, and More is Less, a tutorial on using Javascript to hide and unhide portions of your blog. Two entries. Two entries does not a techie journal make.

Ah, well. I shall keep blogging, and you, my FiveFaithfulFollowers (you know who you are) will keep reading, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to "kick it up a notch" (oh, no! I hate that guy! how'd he get into my blog?!?) and make things interesting enough to attract a few more of FaithfulFollowers. And if not? *shrug* Life will go on.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: <beg>put me in your blogroll and Join the Ecosystem, and help me claw my way back up to Slimy Mollusc!</beg>

Posted by Squiddy at 03:37 PM | TrackBack | Comments (3)

More is less

Another Script Entry is long overdue. It is time to show you how to hide and show bits of stuff on your blog pages, using only Javascript. You know - "Show comments here", or "more", for an extended entry.

Other bloggers use php to accomplish this, but if you don't have access to php, or if you don't want to learn php, then you can do it with just Javascript. Strictly speaking, if you can use php or some other server-side scripting language, it is probably better, because if you get lots of comments, your index or archive pages can become quite large using the Javascript method, because *all* of your comments for all entries are on the page, you just can't see them unless you open them. With php, you can prevent them from being sent to the browser at all, until you request them.

Much of the code is adapted from php code found at ScriptyGoddess. If you have php, and want to use it, go there for loads of php Scripty Goodness™!

Please note, this is a loooong entry:

First, you need the javascript routine to show and hide. Rightclick and download blogtricks.js and copy it to your server. Please do not connect to the copy on our server, as this will strain our bandwidth, and is a serious breach of etiquette. In your header block, insert this line:

<script src="http://yourserver/path/blogtricks.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

To show extended entries in your blog, replace your <MTEntryIfExtended></MTEntryIfExtended> pair with:

<span class="extended">
<span id="click<MTEntryID>"><a href="#jsenabled=no"
onclick="showMoreAnything(<MTEntryID>,'#?jsenabled=no');return false;">
<b>more...</b><!-- replace this with whatever text you want -->
</a><br /></span>
<div id="hide<MTEntryID>" style="display: none" >
<$MTEntryMore$><!-- this is the actual extended entry -->
<a href="#" onclick="showMoreAnything(<MTEntryID>,0);return false;">
<b>less...</b><!-- replace this with whatever text you want -->
</a><br />
<br />

The <MTEntryIfExtended> tag is important. If you don't put this around this code, then you'll have "more" and "less" controls even on entries that do not have extended entries.

If you don't use Movable Type, simply replace the Movable Type tags with the appropriate tags for your content management system.

To show your comments on the page, the code is as follows:

| <a href="<$MTCGIPath$>mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=<$MTEntryID$>" onclick="OpenComments(this.href); return false">Comments (<$MTEntryCommentCount$>)</a><br />

<span id="click<MTEntryID>.1"><a href="#jsenabled=no" onclick="showMoreAnything(<MTEntryID>.1,'#?jsenabled=no');return false;">

<script type="text/javascript">
// this prevents a link for opening, if there are no comments
if (<$MTEntryCommentCount$> > 0) {
document.write("<b>Show comments here...</b>"); //replace with appropriate text for you

</a><br />

<div id="hide<MTEntryID>.1" style="display: none" >

<!-- ********* start of actual comment display ********* -->
<div class="comments-body">
<span class="comments-post">Posted by <$MTCommentAuthorLink spam_protect="1"$> at <$MTCommentDate$></span>
<!-- ********* end of actual comment display ********* -->

<a href="#" onclick="showMoreAnything(<MTEntryID>.1,0);return false;">

<b>Hide comments...</b> <!-- replace with appropriate text -->

</a><br />


You can do the same for any block of text you want to be able to hide and show:
<span id="clickArchives">
<div class="sidetitle">
Archives <a href="#jsenabled=no" onclick="showMoreAnything('Archives','#?jsenabled=no');return false;"><b>(show)</b></a></div>
<div id="hideArchives" style="display: none" >
<div class="sidetitle">
Archives <a href="#" onclick="showMoreAnything('Archives',0);return false;"><b>(hide)</b></a>
<div class="side">
<MTArchiveList archive_type="Monthly">
<a href="<$MTArchiveLink$>"><$MTArchiveTitle$></a><br />

This is a slight variation on the previous examples, in that it puts the both "(show)" and "(hide)" controls at the top of the section. Simply replace the word "Archives" everywhere with a unique word that identifies that block of text. I have used this basic technique for showing and hiding archives, categories, and recent entries, in the column at right.

NOTE: whenever you play around, save your old code before embarking on significant change. You can always put back your old (working) code if you need to.

As always, please let me know if this is helpful, and if you have problems, feel free to ask, either in comments or by emailing me at squiddy AT programmer DOT net.

And please, ping my trackback, or leave a comment if you use this!

Have fun!

October 03, 2003

Friday Five 2003 10 03

Friday Five for today:

  1. What vehicle do you drive? - We have a 1990 Toyota Corolla four door sedan, with 260,000km (about 161,000 miles).

  2. How long have you had it? - Purchased October 1, 1994 - so, nine years ago this week.

  3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle? - Cool? It's a sedan. It has no "cool" features. It's good, reliable, inexpensive transportation that has cost almost nothing outside of standard maintenance since it was purchased.

  4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle? - It is too small for us. We need something bigger. We need a minivan.

  5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now? - I'd be driving a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing.