I, The Populator

First day at work — again. This time I’m hired for 3 months’ worth of hours but I do them when I can (I have course-duty). Only 444½ to go…

I’m dead-tired!! I don’t know why. I was still up around 2 am and I got up at 7:50 am so I probably got about 5 hours of sleep. Not that much.

At work, one of my tasks is to populate an ontology whose topic is not confirmed yet. That’s why I twiddled my thumbs for the majority of the day. I also have to continue my work with the parser/parser lexicon/parser grammar I familiarized myself with last summer.

Yesterday I downloaded Movable Type. No, I’m not changing to that but I gotta see what the hype is all about. And who knows, maybe I’ll think of something new to do with the help of MT…

I added a new category: WWW. It’s going to include posts that have links, test results (the web kind…) or other net stuff. I haven’t put many posts in it yet — I have a lazy moment. I would’ve made a big category Computer which would’ve had Site, Games and WWW as subcats and then Site would have Updates, Tweaks, and Fanlistings but they wouldn’t show on the write/edit post screen…

Layout worries

I don’t know what I did, or was it wrong before but I just hadn’t noticed (that’d be odd, I’ve been goggling at this new layout for sooooo looooong), but suddenly the footer went nuts. It came right after the content going over and under (that’s what it looked like) the menu. And not at the bottom of the page like it should. Bad footer!

A List Apart’s article Creating Liquid Layouts with Negative Margins came to the rescue.

Heheh. Yesterday the internet provider sent a post telling that they’ll remove all posts that are more than 14 days old from the users’ Trash folders. Today they sent a clarification that no, they cannot delete the posts that are downloaded to Outlook or other mail program. Heheh, the evil Elisa leprechaun runs around every night destroying people’s mails… (Elisa is the name of the company)

Horror immunity

Yesterday I watched Sixth Sense for at least the 2nd time. I had completely forgotten the ending which was good (both the ending as such and the fact that I’d forgotten it) but that’s not the point. It was a good movie. I felt empathetic toward the little boy, Cole, and his fears. Made me think of children’s fears in general. Made me think how horrible it would’ve been to be in a similar situation as a child. (real dead people or not) That’s really not the point either, but I just wanted to “prove” that I’m not a heartless person.

I am, you see, immune to horror. I mean the entertainment kind (real life kind I have never met, and hopefully never will). Books, movies… nothing “works”. Well, does horror mean scaring people, really? In my opinion, it doesn’t. I’ve watched horror movies seriously (or religiously?) ever since I got my own tv (I was able to watch anything I wanted), at the age of 15. I remember seeing one movie, Bad Dreams, which included a scene where “the bad guy” sticks a knife through a woman’s hand. Back then it was awful and after that I’d always thought it is the worst movie I’ve ever seen — until I watched it again last year. Boy was it stupid. Really bad 70s–80s special effects and the hand thing? Meh, small potatoes.

I appreciate horror movies that have a twist. I love Ring (apart from it’s cheesy ending) because IMHO it’s got a new idea (even though it’s a remake of the Japanese version, Ringu, but I haven’t seen that!). Blair Witch Project was refreshing when I first saw it. I also like splatters like Scream(s), Nightmare on Elm Street(s)…
I also rarely (make that: never) jump at the movies (or watching a movie on tv) when something sudden happens on the screen. People say they get easily scared even when the suddeness is clearly hinted upon before it comes. Tense music… a character walks into a room where the door is opened to form a dark corner… camera pans so that there’s a space for the new arrival — you know the drill.

I appreciate horror books because they can keep my interest. And besides, how can black on white scare the bejesus out of anyone? It goes without saying that Stephen King is my favourite author. Now that I’ve read almost all his books, I’ve come to like the little connections I can find. Makes me proud: “hey, I can remember something about the books I’ve read!” (but about Nikolai Gogol’s Lost Souls, Moliere’s Miser, or most of the 10 Finnish classics we had to read for high school Finnish course I have no recollection) And of course, I love the stories.

Now, would I rather NOT be immune to horror? Probably not. I don’t know what’s so wonderful about having nightmares, being scared of every screech and shadow, jumping at every sudden noise or movement.

I do have to admit: sometimes I startle awake from my dream and clearly see a huge spider crawling above me. But that’s a whole different ball game. Spiders are horrrrrrible. . . . .

Ironing and folding and sorting by date

I added the Nicer Archives code snippet from WP Wiki. I tried to use the “upgraded” versions of it (from Weblog Tools Collection) but they borked — big time.

When you enter the page, it shows the posts of the current year. Then you can sort the posts by date, title, or category; ascending or descending; and from all years or one year at a time (there is only one year, for now). The original script had a possibility sort by author but because there’s only me, I commented it out.

Time format is date.month.year.

On to the archives »

The calendar showed as January 2004 so I started to look for a way to remove it. Easier said than done. Well, not really, but I didn’t think of echoing the variable in my if-test to see what it’s out put was. This is what I wrote (first):

<?php $thispage = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’].$PHP_SELF;
    if ($thispage != “www.mypage.xxx/blog-folder/pagename.php“) { ?>
     <!-- CALENDAR -->
     <li id=”calendar”>
        <?php get_calendar(); ?>
<?php } ?>

http_host + php_self return the url of a php page a without the http (as that’d be the protocol)

Then I tried what $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] does and it echoed the path without the host. Nifty. Thus, I changed the code to

<?php $thispage = $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’];
    if ($thispage != “/blog-folder/pagename.php“) { ?>
     <!-- CALENDAR -->
     <li id=”calendar”>
        <?php get_calendar(); ?>
<?php } ?>

[edit: Nov 22/Dec 15, ’04/Jan 5, ’05] I had an oddly titled post which messed up the archive. Well, not exactly *mess* but because it had an less-than sign at the beginning it was archived under L, but first alphabetically. After some testing, I figured out how to prevent this. From the WP Wiki I found a function sanitize_title_with_dashes which I used in the archive code, this is in the function archive_header: This worked when my odd titles included only one starting with A. But when there was one with D, I noticed the code didn’t work. Why? Because it compares the first letter if the current title to the previous one and the query sorts the odd titles at first. Well, I took another approach to this. All odd titles will be categorized under # (I know it means ‘number’ but here it’s just some non-alphabetic character). A new try, a * I had in one of the titles wouldn’t be recognized, probably because the line starting with preg_match matches only letters and numbers, so I changed that to match any one character (at the beginning). Hopefully this will prove working with my strange titles…

elseif ('title' == $orderby) {
preg_match('/.{1}/i', $post->post_title, $match);
$thisletter = ucfirst($match[0]);
if (!ctype_alpha($thisletter)) { $thisletter = '#'; }
if ($thisletter != $previous) {
$output .= "<br/>".$thisletter;
$previous = $thisletter;

The highlighted part checks if the first letter of the title is NOT an alphabetic character, if it’s true that it’s NOT one, the letter will be a ‘#’. Now all the odd titles will be grouped at the beginning of the list of titles (or end if the order’s descending) . [/edit]

Nutty professor — minus the professor

I’d made myself a full thermos of coffee. Milk and all. To keep me happy through the 4 hours of work and the 3 hours of lecture. (I just realized it’s *3* hours…)

I forgot it on the kitchen table…

Nutty Professor Part 2

Doh… sometimes I’m so clever I amaze myself. I’ve kept this page “in the dark”, waiting for the domain thing to get settled and start working — which has been a sloooow process. I just realized I can put a link to this page from the index page in my current space, be it an ugly address and not a pretty domain (well, I’ve lived with even an uglier address since this January… and a little more bearable since 1997…). Anyway. Welcome to the new all things me! Hope you like the new layout — I know I do.

Many of the links (not blog related) don’t work yet because I’ve set up subdomains which need the domain working to work themselves.

Word of the Day TO BORK — to fail, to mess up, to damage irreversibly; be borked

Tweaking the calendar

My calendar didn’t have a link to the current month, so I added it. There’s a function called get_month_link(year,month) which returns the URL to a monthly archive page (not the link). So, I put it in some <a> tags:

<caption><a href="'.get_month_link($thisyear,$thismonth).'"><img src="'.get_settings('siteurl').'/image location/'.$month[zeroise($thismonth, 2)].'.gif" /><img src="'.get_settings('siteurl').'/image location/'.date('Y', $unixmonth).'.gif"></a></caption>

Of course, if you don’t have images in place of the original texts, you just put the link part around what there is in the <caption> of the calendar table. Basically it’s

<caption><a href="'.get_month_link($thisyear,$thismonth).'">whatever you do to get the month and year</a></caption>

Group hug!!! Oh horror

I can’t stand group projects. In a group I can’t be an oppressing dictator who has a complete control over the outcome (by myself, I can, and I am). I can, at best, check that the text isn’t horribly spelled and commas all over the place but I can’t go erasing things saying “no no, that’s silly”. That makes me feel so vulnerable. My grade is in the hands of other people — :shock: what a thought. I do know that other people have better ideas and the more there is people the more points of view there are and thus the work’s better. Still, that doesn’t make me feel any more at ease.

I offered to make the slide show for our database project. This way I know it’s going to be good. No, I’m not that self-confident. What I am is a perfectionist-freak. The others said, “I don’t have a Power Point”, “I don’t know how to do that stuff, I haven’t taken the basics course yet. I can do that when I’m almost graduating”, or “we can whip up a few transparencies in class before our turn”…

I do get along with people and at work it’s great to have others working on the same project, but work isn’t graded. When my FUTURE depends on the work I’m doing and I have to allow others meddle… that makes my heart skip a few beats.

<acronym title="¿que?">

For a long time I’ve wondered what ATF stands for — I think I’ve seen black cars labeled ATF on South Park and heard it all around (on tv, that is). Finally, reading the Hannibal, it dawned on me. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Another mystery has been DEA, which Hannibal was friendly to shed light upon as well. DEA stands for Drug Enforcement Agency.

If you have acronym or abbreviation related annoyances, the Acroym Server might be the place to go. Or you could read the Hannibal Omnibus.

Acronyms of the Day ATF — Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
DEA — Drug Enforcement Agency

[edit: evening of Oct 11th] This must be the weirdest thing. The right hand side menu jumped all the way to the bottom in IE because I had ITALICS in my text. Well, not “just” italics but they dared to go on 2 lines! That and align=”justify” don’t play well together apparently *shakes head* I removed the align=”justify” for the time being [/edit]


I installed ScriptyGoddess’s Next/Previous link for archive pages. Also put a little PHP logo in the bottom right corner of the Php code bits I have. If I ever have anything else (I’ve been meaning to put a CSS thing), I’ll do logos for them too. Also, the red bits are the ones you (definitely) have to change.

Bah, this article got me excited that YES it’s possible to assign two classes to an element. Well, in the comments it said that IE doesn’t handle it well. Have to test that out though.

[edit @ 23:18] Now I’m going to install Service Pack 2 (Durand’s recommendation, I’m holding you responsible if something happens!!! :wink: ). Wish me luck. Good bye cruel world!! *dramatic exit* [/edit]
[edit] I didn’t [/edit]