Fiat Lux

It's Latin for 'Let there be Light'

Upgrade In Progress

The back-end upgrade from MT 2.64 to MT 3.34 went almost shockingly well. Nothing seems broken, all my old entries & comments are still here, and (what I was most worried about) my templates are all still working.

So far, so good. I’ll have to wait and see how the new comment spam system works as compared to my trusty old MT-Blacklist installation.

The next stage …. the front end. I’ll be playing around with my Rome travelogue to see how the new StyleCatcher plugin works as far as skinning the site goes. If I can’t get it to work & look good over there, I may leave things as-is here. It will depend on how much hacking I need to do to the CSS and templates to make my ancient, customized templates work properly.

As I suspected, those old templates are causing trouble. I had to completely overwrite them to get StyleCatcher to work. As of now, a new template is up and running on the Rome blog, and I’m going to try to figure out how to add some of the old stuff back in.

I got Sitemeter back on the Rome blog but have not have the nerve to do any more significant hacking. Taking a break for a while. It’s a really lovely day and I don’t want to spend it all indoors.

The Rome blog’s in decent shape now. Once I got the hang of the template widget module system, getting some customization into the sidebar wasn’t tough at all. I tried a couple of different skins but for now I’m using a very basic one (Vicksburg Desert) that’s not too different in look and tone from my old one.

I’ve widget-ized and updated the templates for the main site. And for good measure, I installed a 3rd party plug-in called “Promote This!” to add some social bookmarking links to my entries. I’m thoroughly impressed by how easy it’s all been — easy being a relative term, of course. What’s easy for a moderate geek like me would be pretty damn difficult for a non-techie, but then, that’s what Blogger and TypePad are for.

It’s a little weird not seeing my trusty old templates anymore, but now that I’ve got the version 3.x templates installed, I can skin to my heart’s content. Probably tomorrow, though. I think that’s enough work for one day.

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Utterly Stupid Quote of the Day

I’m sure Echinde or some of the other, better bloggers than I out there will have a field day with this:

[Author Laura Session Stepp] writes a letter to mothers and daughters, in which she warns the girls: “Your body is your property. . . . Think about the first home you hope to own. You wouldn’t want someone to throw a rock through the front window, would you?”

I’ve only got two things to say in response.

First off, it’s outrageously sexist to suggest that an unmarried woman’s body is the property of her future husband, and that sexual activity before marriage devalues her assets. What rock has the author been hiding under?

Next, is that really the best argument she can come up with for why adolescents should delay sexual activity? If so, that’s pretty pathetic.

Kathy Dobie, the Washington Post’s reviewer of this book, had a good response:

It seems strange to have to state the obvious all over again: … one’s sexuality is not a commodity that, given away too readily and too often, will exhaust or devalue itself.

It’s certainly not seen that way for men. A man who’s had a lot of sex partners is seen as sophisticated (James Bond, anyone?). A woman who’s had a lot of sex partners, on the other hand, is all too often seen as a slut.

And books like this one don’t help matters any.

As expected, Echinde has weighed in. Score 1 for my predictive ability. 🙂

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It’s been a long, busy week. Today was a gorgeous, warm, springlike day, though, which was a very nice way to wrap the week up.

And this is some very welcome news too:

The U.S. House of Representatives denounced President George W. Bush’s Iraq troop buildup on Friday in a symbolic challenge to his unpopular war strategy that is expected to lead to a mighty struggle over financing the extra troops.

The Democratic-led House voted 246-182 for a resolution that voices support for U.S. forces but opposes the Republican president’s decision to send 21,500 more troops to bolster security in Baghdad and violent Anbar province.


The resolution passed with support of all but two of the House’s 233 Democrats and 17 of its 201 Republicans, many worried about their political fate should they stick with Bush. Polls say most Americans oppose adding troops in Iraq.

That’s a very nice way to start the weekend.

In other news, I am going to take advantage of the three-day weekend upcoming to try upgrading the blog to a more recent version of Movable Type. Three+ years on version 2.6x is long enough. With luck, all will go well and I’ll finally get some new features and a new look to the blog.

One possible outcome is that I utterly hose the site and get stuck starting from scratch, althought I dearly hope that’s not the case. Either way, if you stop by over the weekend and things look a little odd, that’s probably why.

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Thursday Cat Blogging

[Tommy on the couch]

From the archives… Tommy, looking slightly startled.

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And They Called It Puppy Love

I’ve been very busy (here’s why) and have missed a lot of things I normally would be blogging about. However, this is too cute to let it pass unnoted:

Workers at the Meriden Humane Society are marveling at a short-haired mother cat who has willingly adopted a six-day-old Rottweiler puppy that was rejected by its mother.

The tiny pup, named Charlie by Humane Society volunteers, nurses alongside a jumble of black and gray kittens recently born to Satin, who was surrendered to the shelter by an owner unable to care for her.

Charlie’s mother was found by the side of the road in Meriden a couple of months ago. She gave birth to two puppies, but one was stillborn. As sometimes happens with a stillborn in the litter, the mother dog refused to accept Charlie.

Volunteers bottle-fed him every two hours, but the effort was both exhausting to humans and insufficient for the puppy, who needs to feed when he wants, said volunteer Chris Chorney.

Research indicated that a suitable substitute could be Satin, who had given birth to four kittens that have quickly warmed to Charlie.

“The kittens scrum up with him and the kittens treat him like one of their own,” Chorney said.


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.


Not Safe Even in San Francisco?

By way of new blogroll member Skippy, this bit of scary news from just up the road in San Francisco tonight:

Elie Wiesel, the renowned Holocaust author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was attacked and dragged out of a San Francisco hotel elevator last week, possibly by a Holocaust denier who claims to have stalked Wiesel for weeks, police said.

Wiesel, 78, was at the Argent Hotel Feb. 1 for a conference on “Facing Violence: Justice, Religion and Conflict Resolution” when he was confronted in an elevator by a man insisting that he wanted to interview the author, according to San Francisco Police Department Sgt. Neville Gittens.

Wiesel said he would do so in the hotel lobby, but the man insisted on going to Wiesel’s room. The man then stopped the elevator at the sixth floor and tried to force Wiesel into a room there.

“That’s when the victim started yelling,” Gittens said.

Wiesel escaped unharmed, made his way down to the lobby and called police.

I’m relieved that Wiesel is safe, and disgusted that someone should try to use physical force on him. It’s bad enough that there are people who refuse to believe the Shoah happened. It’s even worse that these revolting examples of personhood are so wrapped up in their hate and lies that they think they can use physical force on the living reminders of the truth.

UPDATE 2/18/07:
A suspect has been arrested in this case:

Montgomery Township police arrested Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County, N.J., at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday. He faces charges that include attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to San Francisco police.

He was being held without bail in the Somerset County Jail in New Jersey, awaiting extradition to San Francisco.

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