• Serendipity just released version 1.2.1! It's got several interesting features, but the Serendipity Bulletproof template raises the bar to the professional level. I helped develop the image chooser for bp, so I got a sneak peek.

    Bulletproof allows you to modify your blog's template almost trivially. It works in all browsers. It has tons of options, including multiple color sets. Some of the predefined options look really slick. Several developers have been collaborating for months to complete it. In my opinion, it's a giant leap ahead of anything else for any blogging platform.

    I'll be modifying my site to use bp soon. Expect some appearance changes!

  • So, we saw "Enchanted" this weekend. (There was some family trouble, so we almost missed it. The penalty: she had to pay for her own @*%! movie.)

    While there were several fairy tale cliches, they were all supposed to be cliches; that's kinda the point. It's Disney making fun of Disney, and they did a fairly good job, I must say.

    I don't want to give anything away, so I'm not saying anything else. If you like the same kind of movies I do, "Enchanted" is well worth your time.

  • The Orlando Sentinel recently ran a local news story, "6 of 11 members of Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area task force resign in protest". I happen to work with one of those 6 who resigned, so I have a little background information.

    This was an advisory committee. It had no authority; it was supposed to report the community opinion to the County Commission of Lake County. Unfortunately, the county forced it to meet at times inconvenient to the community. Some citizens noticed this, and blamed the committee members, but in fact the county restricted meeting times so "county representatives would not be inconvenienced".

    At this point I always wonder when government got so uppity. Aren't they there for the community's convenience?

    The big issue this committee dealt with was development. One developer in particular had been visiting them for three years running, which shows remarkable restraint considering that committee approval was unnecessary. (Remember, they're advisory only!) The committee was having a hard time saying "yes" -- a problem which often leads to urban sprawl.

    My coworker tried to educate them on the sprawl topic. It wasn't long after this that the county informed them that the committee would soon be dissolved and reinstated with members approved by the county. To me, this smacks of stacking the deck, as if the county was expecting particular answers and felt that a bunch of troublemakers wouldn't provide them. The paper puts it this way:

    But County Commissioner Linda Stewart, the commission's liaison to the advisory committee, dismissed the resigning members' criticism, saying some of them had been "sidetracked by outside influences," which she would not specify.

    I love the way that an elected official just dismisses criticism. And it's so easy to cast doubts when you don't have to specify, isn't it?

    The best part is that the 6 who resigned are going to put together a community committee. They intend to hold meetings when residents can attend and even host a website where citizens can set the meeting agendas! My only concern is the possibility that they'll be ignored. Or, as the Sentinel says:

    It was unclear how commissioners would view recommendations and suggestions proposed by rival task forces.

    I recommend they take attendance and record every meeting. The more they can demonstrate that they have the backing of the community, the more likely they are to make a difference.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
        -- Margaret Mead
  • Apparently the school system has long known that holidays are hectic. I got this hilarious form letter about giving a holiday gift to one of our teachers.

    Dear Parents,

    (Event/Holiday) is approaching. My how time does fly! We would like to do something from the children to (Teacher's name).

    There are more blanks that need to be hand-filled, of course. I'd write the rest of the letter for you, but I've got to go. My, how time does fly!


  • For the first time, I ascended in the Annual Nethack Tournament! Nethack is one of my favorite games ever; I like playing Rogues and Wizards. My only previous attempt at the Tourney, I played a Wizard. My score was astronomical, but I just didn't have time to finish playing.

    This year, I played a Valkyrie, because they're supposed to be easy. I made a few stupid mistakes, and I didn't have enough time to play, but at the end of the month I rushed through her ascension. My score was #16 overall at the time.

    Continue reading "Finally Finished the Tournament"