Disclaimer: Everything written in this mini blog is the personal opinion of the writer and should not be taken as fact, although occasionally facts are stated. This mini blog was created as a coding exercise, but it's kind of fun so the writer kept it around.
Currently showing 20 entries per page
- 2018 Site Redesign
- I have redesigned my site yet again! Of course, I chose to upload the front-facing portion before I started work on my admin section (aka the CMS, or content management system). That meant I couldn't actually write a blog entry until now because I hadn't built the miniblog submission page. I chose to overhaul my code structure so files were named reasonably, as before it was a wild guessing game what page did what function since I built it piecemeal over time.
This takes me to my main conclusion here: ORGANIZE EVERYTHING! Make your naming conventions consistent! You need to be OCD to be a coder, seriously.
In the previous admin section, I had very limited ability to edit or delete various content. Now, after several days of laboring, I can add, edit, and delete pretty much everything. Perhaps the most complicated was the project admin section, which required some care because I had to link up both the projects themselves and the items contained within.
I ended up removing the writing section entirely. I swear I'll get published one day! It's one of my new goals. That section was always a bit sad. I write a ton but I can't exactly throw it out there. Licensing issues and stuff. At least my art is out there!
- 01/13/2018 @ 5:51pm MST (America/Denver)
- Post-Thailand notes
- I really failed to keep up with blogging on here due to lack of energy and iffy internet on occasion. Suffice to say it was an interesting trip, though extremely tiring and I hope we don't do it again any time soon.
Sadly I saw a lot less art than I had hoped. It seems the main thing to do when you're in the 'touristy' sections is go to the giant shopping malls, which are huge and western and full of things I see back home. Overall it was boring until I got to drag my parents to the Erawan Museum and a 200-year-old floating market, which my mother insists isn't a 'real' floating market because it was just shops built along the side of a canal and no one was selling anything from a boat.
Frankly I think it was pretty cool anyway because it was pretty much the real Thailand...and with Thai prices, too. That was very nice, I must say.
About 2/3s of the way through the trip, though, a friend decided to ask me to find some saffron. Now that was a journey... (TBC, see next entry)
- 01/15/2020 @ 12:35am MST (America/Denver)
- You want what, now?
- "Hey, I hear saffron is a lot cheaper in Thailand, do you think you could find me some? I'll pay you back!"
I'll admit my knowledge of saffron extended only to the color (rich yellow) and saffron rice. I knew it was a spice. What I didn't realize is that it is the most expensive spice in the world (between $1600 and $5000 per pound), as well as the rarest. It's used in Indian cooking and is quite famous for all of those things. When my friend asked, I had to start researching. That's when I learned...
It's the crimson threads harvested from the saffron flower. Each flower only has 3, they must be harvested by hand, and the flowers themselves are incredibly slow-growing and sterile (!!), requiring human intervention to reproduce. Honestly, the more I read about it, the more astonishing I find the whole process. Truly, saffron is a human invention, created in sincere partnership with Mother Nature.
Although I tried myself to find the requested spice, with a target price of 'under 500 baht per gram', I failed rather miserably and had to leave it to my father to search, as he stayed another week...(cont.)
- 01/15/2020 @ 12:46am MST (America/Denver)
- The internet has it all
- My dad knew even less about saffron than I did, but he also made a valiant effort to find it. So valiant, in fact, that he...simply went online and found some for 200 baht per gram (on sale) and ordered 3 grams without my knowledge. I grumbled, of course, because I feared it was fake.
Fake saffron, who would've thought! But I learned in my research that this is actually pretty common. You get either outright fake saffron or 'low quality' saffron from Iran (or thereabouts) marketed as premium saffron. In any case, my dad couldn't cancel the order so we were forced to wait for his return to see if he had found real saffron.
There are numerous ways to test if it's real, but all require hands-on experimentation. When my dad put the glass bottle in my hands, I was very suspicious. Was it dyed? I found the ends of the threads were a lighter yellow with the middle a deep crimson. How did it smell? My mom reported that it matched the description: honey and hay. Did it crumble when I touched it? No, the threads were sturdy and dry. How did it taste? I put a tiny bit in my mouth and at first it tasted like nothing, but then I chewed a bit and a bitter taste coated my tongue. Finally...what color would it stain water? We let it sit in a tiny bowl and watched pure yellow leech into the liquid.
Unbelievable. It was real.
- 01/15/2020 @ 12:57am MST (America/Denver)
- Saffron...worth it?
- Upon realizing it was real, I let my friend know and have since shipped it off. She'll send me photos when she cooks with it. I've never been so excited about a spice in my life and I'm pretty sure she feels the same. In her area, saffron costs about $15 a gram, and perhaps not even a whole gram if we choose not to trust the label on the bottle. It can be even more expensive depending on region. My dad only paid about $6.70 per gram, roughly (it's normally $9).
Depending on what kind of cuisine you cook, saffron may not be worth it for you. My family doesn't do Indian food (my sister loves it, though), but my friend does and she also feeds an army of her own friends on a regular basis. For her, it was worth asking me to look, because it led to my dad striking gold (or rather saffron, since that's worth more than gold is). For us, we never use saffron and thus the spice was more a curiosity for us than anything else. It was a lot of fun verifying the saffron, too. The yellow it produced was lovely and pure. How strange it was to be holding a handful of virtual diamonds of the spice world, too.
I personally can't be certain that there were actually 3 grams in the bottle I sent, but it seemed like plenty to me since a little goes a long way. I didn't even toss the strand I used to test the water. I taped it to a card that I put in the package. No saffron left behind! I look forward to the food photos from my friend.
- 01/15/2020 @ 1:10am MST (America/Denver)
- Thailand in December
- Looking back on what I didn't like about the trip, I'd have to say...the most off-putting thing had to be the way they had so much Christmas stuff everywhere. No religious iconography, though. Just Santa, elves, giant trees, snowflake stickers, and horrible, horrible Christmas music.
And they kept it all up until after Christmas! Like, somehow Christmas was actually the entire month of December over there, all the way to New Year's, so they played Christmas music non-stop in every tourist trap and mall there. Let me tell you, there's really nothing more ironic than sweating in unseasonably warm winter weather at 95 degrees F...to the tune of 'Let It Snow'. Or 'Baby It's Cold Outside'. Or 'Little Drummer Boy'. Do they play that because of the Westerners? I don't know, but as a Westerner myself I just wanted to set the speakers on fire the entire time. Hate it.
Of course, everything in those places is tailored to Westerners. Western food, Western manners, Western comforts...Western prices. Yuck. I would have preferred to spend every day of the trip wandering through local markets instead. Hot and sweaty? Yeah. Cramped? Full of foods I can't name or recognize? Of course! Then again, I've never been one to enjoy being surrounded by marketing or shallow interpretations of cultural practices in an attempt to get me to buy things. Gimme the real stuff. Show me the Buddhist temple dishing out free lunch to the needy. Is that a basket full of fried beetles? Tell me about the long history behind this monument and show me the people performing rituals before it. Let me look that world in the eye and appreciate it. But please...no more of this scrubbed down approximation of Western culture in a place that has long developed outside of such things.
- 01/15/2020 @ 1:23am MST (America/Denver)
- The reviews are in
- This month I went over 1, 2, 3, and 4 point perspective with all my classes. 1-3 are commonly covered in art class, but 4 point is quite rare. Here are my students' overall feelings about each one:
1 point: Boring, awful, terrible, make it stop, I could do this so much more easily a different way
2 point: Wow, this is super cool-looking, way better than 1 point
3 point: This is even cooler! also did I do this wrong?! What's happening??
4 point: CURVES?!?! NOOOOOOOOO!!
I'd say 2 and 3 point were best received. 4 point is when it starts getting a little out there with curvilinear guides. Good thing I didn't have to do 5 point!
- 01/31/2018 @ 7:33pm MST (America/Denver)
- Farewell, Quincy
- You were the best boy.
Oct. 17, 2003 - Feb. 1, 2020
- 02/01/2020 @ 1:28pm MST (America/Denver)
- Goodbye, Grandpa
- I wonder if you knew most of the family had descended upon your house this weekend to say goodbye, even though you were mostly asleep and unable to communicate the whole time.
- 02/16/2020 @ 11:27am MST (America/Denver)
- February Flowers
- I just uploaded a bunch of orchid photos to the photography section. These are from the Denver Botanic Gardens orchid showcase, which is basically a showcase of tropical plants in the middle of winter in Denver. The botanists are miracle workers!
They have an instagram photo contest going on as well. Winner gets an orchid. I've submitted a few photos. We'll see what happens!
- 02/19/2017 @ 4:36pm MST (America/Denver)
- 2021 layout woes
- CSS is my biggest obstacle to mastering CSS.
I still have a lot to do, especially on the back end, but for now I've got a reasonably functional site that everyone can see.
I'm very happy, though, because I've managed to create working previous/next buttons along with pagination! This is pretty big just due to the sheer amount of functionality it adds. And by that I mean visitors no longer get trapped on pages.
Currently the biggest issue I have that I want to fix soon is the terrible thumbnails for my project pictures. For some reason when I first made the thumbnail generator, I chose to have the generator size everything VERY VERY small. Which, as you can probably see at the moment, results in...abstract art of some sort. Amusing in a certain light but not exactly helpful when it comes to previewing the piece. I'll try to figure that out soon.
- 02/25/2021 @ 12:11am MST (America/Denver)
- Covid-19 report
- The world has been in for a terrible time, it seems. My family just barely escaped meeting covid 19 face to face since we left Thailand just as the first cases were starting to spread. Today, CO is starting to enact more stringent measures. For me, someone with asthma and a history of susceptibility to chronic lung issues, I'm basically going to be housebound save for biking with my dog, Brie.
Before we got that order, my mom and I went to Target. It's a bit eerie. Good portions of the shelves were empty, signs were up everywhere warning us that there were limits to how many of a single item you could purchase, used cart wipes littered the ground, and you watch your fellow shoppers to make sure no one gets too close. We used hand sanitizer a few times, and I saw a few workers with latex gloves on. I hope they're able to get what they need to stay healthy. The deaths in Italy are awful. My sister and her family will be avoiding all contact with us for the near future.
In the US, the mistreatment of the average person in a blue collar job has become very clear to all of us, though of course everyone who has ever worked a low-paying job already knows that. Please, we just want to make enough money to have a home and eat and have hobbies that make us happy...
- 03/22/2020 @ 7:34pm MDT (America/Denver)
- Hashtag firstworldproblem
- I'm looking into how to be able to add hashtags to my miniblog so I can perhaps use it to document my adventures in Thailand at the end of this year.
Though looking at my backend, perhaps my next act should be to fix the styling of my forms...
- 03/30/2019 @ 2:41am MDT (America/Denver)
- Covid-19 report 2
- It seems like no matter where you turn, there are people discussing the impact and ramifications of covid-19. I'm privy to info from relatives who work in healthcare insurance so I know there's some serious chaos happening behind the scenes. Despite everything my dad used to say (trotting out all the lines from Fox News, no less), the white house and parts of the government have been so thoroughly gutted that the federal response is utterly crippled, and we are all paying the price. The K*ch brothers, who've been driving things to this point with their greed, are really not helping either. I wonder where the disconnect is that people were unable to understand the nature of this preening fool we elected...
In any case, my friend who lives in Long Island reports a dire situation, with local supermarkets being shut down because workers are coming down with it and refrigerated trucks parked outside of hospitals to hold the bodies. It seems to me the main factors that will destroy us are:
1) people who refuse to stay home, either through a misplaced sense of invincibility or pure rebellion against 'them libruls', give them a Darwin award and hope they all die out
2) densely packed urban areas
3) lack of competence in the federal government which has so far failed to provide proper leadership to help those lower on the ladder
4) the general lack of good health and nutrition due to corporations treating consumers like bags of money and taking advantage of human psychology to trick and exploit everyone. This one's a bit of a stretch I suppose, but that's my view. The US has a lot of overweight people and that seems to heavily contribute to how bad a case you're going to be, along with age (?) and underlying respiratory conditions.
There really needs to be a better emphasis on competence when appointing people...any boss with that high of a turnover rate among employees would be up for removal, especially if it culminates in this. Shame on our senate and republicans.
- 04/02/2020 @ 5:44pm MDT (America/Denver)
- Recipe page now public!
- Not that it wasn't public before, but now there's a link to it in the Fun Stuff menu! Enjoy my personal collection of recipes both original and shamelessly stolen from other parts of the web.
There are printable versions of every recipe. I styled them to take up a single page if possible, but some just have super long directions or ingredient lists.
Although some are family recipes, we've patented nothing. Use at will. No, I don't include long stories about what happened to me as I cooked whatever it is, nor do I include photos of the dish at three angles to make you hungry. Enjoy!
- 05/13/2019 @ 5:20pm MDT (America/Denver)
- A new layout
- The front page is all my latest updates! If you want more, you have to use the navigation at the top.
This time around I decided to create a miniblog. It's relatively simple to make, but now I have to make myself learn how to make editable entries. Right now, aside from creating one, all editing or deletion requires manual work in the database table.
- 06/14/2016 @ 10:28am MDT (America/Denver)
- I don't like brunch
- I've been having Serious Conversations(TM) with relatives regarding my dislike of brunch. I never used to feel this strongly about it, but that all changed when I got bored and signed up for Bumble (BFF) to look for friends. Turns out 98% of all lady users on the app likes brunch (along with margaritas, craft beers, wine, drinking on the patio, sunny days, Netflix, and often Game of Thrones). They're also mostly blonde and recent transplants, but that is something else entirely.
Who are all these clones who like brunch so much? I don't know. What I do know is that I don't like walking into a restaurant at noon to get lunch, only to be handed a brunch menu with limited (and expensive) options, because brunch in practice completely eliminates lunch unless you eat after 1pm. I don't want your damn mimosas, I want your lunch menu. You know, it's like your dinner menu, but less expensive. Stop trying to sell me on eggs benedict and toast after 11:30am.
Needless to say, the same restaurants that offer this type of brunch often fill their dining areas with distressed wood tables and alternative modern style decor. Their food offerings are also the type of creative gastronomical fare you'd sort of expect to see on an episode of Masterchef, where dishes look like paradise and the ingredients list smells like invention born of desperation.
My relatives also like brunch a lot, but it seems to be a generational thing. What's interesting is that, while it only appears to be an inconsequential activity done for fun, when you challenge it, people come alive to defend it as though it's firmly entrenched in their identity. BFF, Brunch Friends Forever.
Oh well. The search for friends continues!
- 06/16/2016 @ 12:18am MDT (America/Denver)
- Mom advice
- Showed my mom the sketch of the coloring book illustration I'm trying to do...
Mom: Don't make it too scary.
I would NEVER! *draws someone being eaten*
- 06/17/2016 @ 10:20am MDT (America/Denver)
- World news
- So it seems like the UK is not so united anymore. I hear the pound has taken a pounding already!
...I'll see myself out.
(Well, we'll see what happens in the next few years. Good luck, and sorry to the Brits who are upset about it!)
- 06/24/2016 @ 9:52am MDT (America/Denver)
- Podcast Ep. 36
- Liberary has been updated! Find all episodes ever in the Extras section of the site.
- 06/27/2016 @ 3:47pm MDT (America/Denver)