Tag Archives: Books

Random & Assorted Musings

Cover Art of "Hulk Hercules Professional Wrestler"

Cover Art of "Hulk Hercules Professional Wrestler"

I have been using a plugin to automatically post a summary of my weekly tweets, but that plugin stopped posting a while back for no reason that I can determine. *sigh* So in place of that automated posting and because I find I actually have a few semi-random things to say, today I give you my random and assorted musings.

A good friend of this site has recently become an officially published author (with a book and everything *grin*). Congrats Cath!

Humans are remarkably adaptable creatures. Yesterday, I noticed the house felt cold. I checked the thermostat and found the air temp and dropped to 62° (even though the heat was on and set to 68°). I dug out my copy of Home Improvement 1-2-3 and tried to diagnose the problem. I learned several things that weren’t the problem, but found nothing I could do to correct the situation. Today I’ve been working from home all day and got used to the cooler temperature without realizing it. At least without realizing it until after I had: an expert come out, tell me the furnace’s ignition coil was bad, replace it, charge me a $185 and leave. Then I noticed I was used to the cooler temperature, because all of a sudden it felt very warm to me.

After five years of married life, my wife has yet to completely around the bend and kill me. Go Michelle! ^_^ As an anniversary present from her to me, I received a ticket to Red Green‘s One Man show when it hit Des Moines last weekend. Even better since she bought the ticket during IPTV‘s Festival1, my show ticket came with a ticket allowing me to get a bit of face time with good ol’ Red at a meet-and-greet after the show. The whole evening was, to quote another attendee, “a scream”. Even better during the meet-and-greet, I got my copy of Duct Tape Is Not Enough signed!

As for my present to Michelle, I got her exactly what she asked for: a Wii Fit Plus. We’d been interested in it for a while but then got to try it out at a friend’s place and we were rather hooked. It is a rather interesting way of getting/staying active. I especially like the logging/graphing functions in it, so I can easily see how much I’m improving (or not improving as the case may be). Though I do wish it would write notes to the Wii’s messaging system like Wii Sports does. *shrug* Oh well.

1 Technically, some friends bought the tickets and she paid them back for the cost of my ticket. Yeah Cath & Bryon! ^_^

I’ve Been Up To…

  • Celebrating Obama’s election.
  • Trying to work my way through 100 push-ups, but having to restart a couple of weeks.  Especially week 4 which I’m currently on restart #3 due to holiday & snow-shovelling madness.
  • Panicking over the economy.
  • Beating my head against wxPython & Py2EXE.
  • Twittering
  • Enjoying a very Horrible Christmas1.
  • Reading a lot.
  • Pining for a new camera.
  • Buying new shoes as the sole of my old shoes had worn away enough to leak water in under the ball of my foot.
  • Attending holiday festivities with friends.

Update: Forgot to mention I was also participating in DrawMo, which is like NaNoWrMo but for artists. Well, I was sort of participating. In that I tried to draw something new every day but didn’t quite make it every day (but I did catch up on later days) and I’ve yet to scan/post my sketches for it. *shrug* Oh well.

1 Highly recommend both the soundtrack and the DVD, 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, etc, etc…

Now-Reading Tweaks

I use Rob Miller’s excellent Now-Reading plugin to track all the books I’ve read and am reading here at CoffeeBear. After my recent site upgrade I decided to tweak the single book template for my library. I noticed that the latest version of Now-Reading allows you to note who read a given book on multiuser sites. As my wife occassionally posts here I wanted my reads to be marked as mine, but the default output of the function Rob implemented only displays the user’s login name. Seriously Rob, what were you thinking? If you did not want to give end users the option to select how they want their name to print out why wouldn’t you go with display_name?

I looked at the code Rob used and with a little help from the Practical PHP I hacked together my own function based on Rob’s. By default print_reader2 works the exactly the same as print_reader1 but by feeding it an additional parameter, you get your choice of what to use to display as reader’s name:

  • 0: Prints out the user_login aka the username you use to log into WordPress.
  • 1: Prints user_nicename, appears to simply be an all lower case version of the user’s nickname2.
  • 2: Prints display_name, from the “Display name publicly as” field in your WordPress profile.
  • 3: Prints first_name, from the “First name” field in your WordPress profile.
  • 4: Prints nickname, from the “Nickname” field in your WordPress profile.
function print_reader2( $echo=true, $reader_id = 0, $display = 0 ) {
	global $userdata;


	switch($display) {
		case "1": if (!$reader_id) { get_currentuserinfo(); $username = $userdata->user_nicename; } else { $user_info = get_userdata($reader_id); $username = $user_info->user_nicename; }; break;
		case "2": if (!$reader_id) { get_currentuserinfo(); $username = $userdata->display_name; } else { $user_info = get_userdata($reader_id); $username = $user_info->display_name; }; break;
		case "3": if (!$reader_id) { get_currentuserinfo(); $username = $userdata->first_name; } else { $user_info = get_userdata($reader_id); $username = $user_info->first_name; }; break;
		case "4": if (!$reader_id) { get_currentuserinfo(); $username = $userdata->nickname; } else { $user_info = get_userdata($reader_id); $username = $user_info->nickname; }; break;
		default: if (!$reader_id) { get_currentuserinfo(); $username = $userdata->user_login; } else { $user_info = get_userdata($reader_id); $username = $user_info->user_login;};
	if ($echo)
		echo $username;
	return $username;

Side note: WordPress 2.5.1 got released today and it includes a security fix, be sure to update your blogs!

1 At least, I think it does. I’m not a programmer and I only know enough PHP to be dangerous to myself.
2 The WordPress Codex does not appear to define what this field is used for or why it exists, so that’s just my guess.

Reading List

If you hop over to my library page, you’ll notice my reading list has grown considerably. That’s because I just added in all the books we bought at the annual book sale held by our local public library. There’s far too many for me to finish them all this year, but I hope to have read them all by the end of next year.

The Dark Is Rising

The Dark Is Rising sequence is a set of 5 books1 written by Susan Cooper between 1965 and 1977. It is without question my favorite series of books from when I was younger and it is also now being made into a movie. More acurately, the second book in the series is being made into a movie. When I heard about this, I tracked down the trailer on the official website2. After watching the trailer, my initial reaction was disappointment. It appears the story has undergone some substantial rewrites. As an additional bad choice by the producers, they’ve cast an American as Will Stanton2 and Ian McShane as Merriman Lyon. While I am an American myself; casting an American as the lead in a profoundly British story is hugely inappropriate. I really wish the producers of the movie had taken a note from the Harry Potter movies and limited their casting to the U.K. Also the reason I object to Ian McShane is I still think of him as Lovejoy and I think I’ll have great difficultly in taking him seriously in this movie. On the bright side, they did cast Christopher Eccleston as the Rider and I have no doubt about his ability to play that role.

So I am looking forward to seeing this and hopefully it won’t suck like the trailer.

1 Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King and Silver on a Tree
2 I’d give you a direct link to the trailer, but they built their site entirely in flash so there’s no way for me to do so. Apple now has the trailer for The Dark is Rising on their movie trailers page.
3 The main character of the book.

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