Four great movies and a shite buke.

A funny thing happened to me today. I watched the last Resident Evil movie, Afterlife. So it wasn’t really a funny thing and it didn’t really happen to me so much as I made it happen. Great movie, if you like that sort of thing, and I do. In fact all four Resident Evils have been savage fun and for my money Milla Jovovich is the number one  Action Hero of her generation, or at the very least she is the best looking action hero of her generation, but probably both. Go Milla.

Another funny thing happened recently. Ah no, I’m telling lies again, what happened was I bought a book by Marc Animal McYoung called  ”A Professional’s Guide to Ending Violence Quickly”. I’m halfway through and so far it’s shite. He has a reputation for knowing his stuff and maybe he does, but he’s a painful, boastful meandering git when it comes to communicating. The whole book is written in a rambling colloquial style with loads of superflous language cluttering up the place, which would be fine for fiction or biography but in a technical how-to manual? pain in the arse.

None of this merits a blog post but since the last one was in october I’d better start dropping my standards regarding what is and is not noteworthy.  I had to google “wordpress login” because I forgot how to get to the admin login screen and all guesses ended in 404 shaped failure.  The shame.

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Trayit, mofo

I found this deadly dohicky called Trayit, download it here. Its a great little program that will allow you to minimise any program to the system tray, so it wont be taking up valuable space on your taskbar. It definitely works on xp and vista, don’t know about windows 7.

Outlook and itunes already do this, and they are the most obvious candidates for running in the background, but there’s loads of program that don’t (winamp  and my  vodafone broadband dongle connection being two). I also like to keep loads of files open in notepad++ that I don’t necessarily want to save (yes I know this is dumb) while I cut and paste bits of code between them (mostly this is done while trying to make the templating system from one site replicate an existing site – very messy), and this lets me shove it all aside for a day or two without having it clutter the place up.

In other news, the menugrabber widget is up to 23 downloads, but not a single comment on the blog or email to let me know if it’s actually working on a site anywhere. Ungrateful bastards. *sob*.

That’s it for this post, I’ll have to start making stuff up if I can’t do better than this once-in-a-blue-baboon effort, but sure I’ve heard that tune before. Meanwhile check out Dr. McNinja, it’s every bit as stunningly brilliant as the name might lead you to hope.

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In other news

My patented menuGrabber wordpress widget is proving to be a runaway success, with no less than FIVE downloads. That’s right, five separate and unique (probably) human beings (in all likelihood) have taken the time to download and use a code-thingy that I made.

I’m glowing like that ready-brek dude, only I’m glowing with smug ego-stroked self satisfaction, as opposed to glowing from the goodness of tasty processed porridge oats.

I really hope the bastard thing works now.

In other news, I have finally got xdebug working with eclipse after much dicking about trying to set up a semi-professional  environment for php development. Now all I need is something to do, my imagination is a bit stunted this weather and it seems like everything worth doing has already been done.

I’m mostly writing this auld rubbish just to fill space, but there’s no harm in that as filling space was the original mission statement for this blog. I remember reading a blog post somewhere about 90% of all posts being apologies for not posting more often. I’m making up the 90% bit, but there’s a painful bit of truth in that, and it reinforces my conviction that apologies in general are to be avoided.

But then on the other hand, I’m beginning to rethink my attitude to prolific bloggers. I used to think they were great people altogether, with the talent and the work ethic and the unstinting production of interesting and entertaining stuff. Whereas I can’t find the time to write because I’m redefining busyness itself in my ever escalating compilation of work/projects/tom-foolery.

So now I’m beginning (I spelled that ” beginining” on my first attempt, think I might prefer it) to think that these fuckers are writing way too much, have they nothing better to be doing?  this shit don’t pay the rent, the durty lazy baaastards.

So all the bloggers that have fallen off in their production recently, remarkably this seems to happen very shortly after I discover them, have just shot up in my estimation (I’m sure they’ll be delighted to know) as they have obviously gone on to lead more responsible and real-world-productive lives.

That’s all horseshit of course, but if it makes me feel slightly better then I’ve had my fun and that’s all that matters.

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joomla menu into wordpress, damn straight.

See, some dude  (or possibly dudette, that’s what they’re called, right?) googled “integrate joomla menu into wordpress” and found a post on exactly that subject. He spent thrity five seconds on the page and then fucked off elsewhere, searching for answers that were right here.

And me here sitting in a darkened room, lit only by the pale glow of a tea-stained monitor, my watery bloodshot eyes fixed  on the rusty inbox as I wait for somebody to please, please ask me how I integrated a wordpress blog so seemlessly into my joomla site.

And the poor sod must have been desperate too, I googled the same phrase to see just where my post ranks. I gave up after seventeen pages of results, many of which had only one or two of the five keywords, and one of them is “into” so you’ve got to wonder at google’s idea of relevance.

Anyway, if by some chance you are here because you want to place a joomla menu into a wordpress sidebar and thereby integrate the two,  then for the love of  gin and tea and after-eights and guinness, leave a comment or send a mail and I’ll send you the solution simply so I can feel all warm and smug inside.

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Its tremendously exciting, all this crazy stuff that’s happening.

I’m so excited that I appear bored, I can’t express myself in an accurate manner so I don’t express at all, which we all know is pretty much the ideal of cool.

Thats not true of course,  I’ve never been cool, although I know exactly what cool looks/sounds like. I do wear really loud shirts, but the only people who think that’s cool are me and my baby sister, and in fairness I could probably wear fermented dog shit and my baby  sister would still think it was cool, awww….

The real excitement right now is the gym. Check that shit out, but tread carefully for you tread on my dreams or I’ll kick your ass.

When I was a whippersnapper, knee-high to a grasshopper, a chip of the auld block, three sheets to the wind (not really, I was only small), I believed that someday I would be Indiana-Jonesing it in some forsaken corner of the world, I thought the world had something like  40% unexplored bits where high adventure was to be had. I was a nature nerd, I was fascinated by elephants and blue whales and big cats, the law of tooth and claw. And adventure, I never questioned the fact that I belonged out there, in the wildness, doing stupid stuff to discover interesting things in dark places.

David Attenborough is a god amongst men, and if I have one regret in this life its that I have never met him and probably never will. For the love of all that is good if you haven’t read Life on Earth then go read it. More important than music.  And I do love the auld music.

Adventure though, I nearly missed it. Years of booze and partying thinking that was adventure, I read this blog by a dude who is looking for adventure in most of the wrong places and I  see myself doing the same thing only  a couple of years ago. I even spent a while touristing around south-east asia thinking that was adventure.

But,  see, nothing ventured -  nothing gained.

I did a few extraordinarily stupid and dangerous things  back in the day and didn’t realise that they were adventures at the time, because I was extraordinarily stupid back in the day . But this time is different, this is a bona-fide adventure.

I’ve never had so much to loose, and what do I hope to gain? The equivalent wages of working in Dunnes stores I imagine, at best. And do I give a fuck? well yes, of course, but also I’m looking around for a beam to lash my whip around so I can swing across a demon craggy bastard of a gorge and then scrabble for purchase on the far side, standing with a wry smile and delivering a killer line with my green eyes sparkling through the grime.

Somebody else will have to write the killer line though, my speciality is the swinging, rescuing and wearing cool shirts part.

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Why did the plane crash?

Because the pilot was a loaf of bread.

That there is comic genius, I’ve been laughing at it all day.
Where’s the comedy in that? Other than the complete insanity, I mean. Maybe its the weird mixture of the obscure and the banal?

Its the speed that my brain fills in the back story that fascinates me. I had a flash of myself as a worried co-pilot, looking over at the pilot, a wee loaf of bread with a captains hat and the pilots headgear and all. His calmness inspired confidence as the plane plunged from the heavens, but then calm is the entire range of  expression for a loaf of bread, so that took away from effect a bit.

I wondered how it got to this position without anybody noticing that it was not so much pilot material as a potential sandwich.

All that in the fraction of a second post-punchline. And now every times it pops back into my head I have visions of  pilot-school lectures featuring attentive bread in the front row, or the banter in the cockpit between the air-hostess and pilots after a long haul flight, with a silent but included captain bread in his  chair. With his hat and headgear.

This might well become my second-favourite joke of all time, the timeless classic “How do you know ET was a protestant?” will, of course, remain at number one.

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Its good to share.

Discovered a deadly blog last week, Jennifer Alice in Wonderland, and it’s just as well because all my regular blogs are dropping like flies. Clamnuts has defected to twitter, uiscebot has fucked off altogether and so has meadow by the looks of it.

Lazy bastards, selfish too.  Do they give a moments consideration to all the extra pointyclicky I’ll have to do now in my search for a dacent two-minute distraction? and  I’ve nearly finished the internet now, what’ll I read when I get to the end?

And another thing, c’mere an I’ll tell ya, I got a knock on the door yesterday morn and it was my ridiculously unfriendly postman with a delivery. He was there with a huge full bag of post sitting in the oversized bike basket and what was clearly a cardboard covered vinyl record flat underneath it.
And did he lift the bag out of the basket to get the record underneath? did he fuck, he grabbed the  record with one poxy gorilla-pig hand and started jerking and twisting at it.

FRAGILE was stamped all over the cardboard  in un-missable red block letters, but literacy obviously isn’t his strong suit. I jumped in, trying not to be outright offensive because I’m Irish and hardwired into a mode of stupidity that prevents me offending offensive people, and said here thats fragile , I’ll lift that bag off it.

So it turned out that my record was actually in the bag and the recently abused one belonged to some other poor bastard.

But that dosen’t change the fact that Postie knocked on my door so I could witness him pulverising my stuff. Why couldn’t he wreck it first and then knock? And once I was there why didn’t he think  “jaysus, I’d better not smash everything here to bits like I usually do because this guy is standing right here looking right at me” ?
Auld cranky headcase, and now record wrecker. I’m keeping an eye on him.

The record was the new Black Dog album, I don’t really know what its like because its an ambienty affair and the house at the moment is just not suited to calm listening experiences; the child seems to like driving techno and silence, and not much in-between.

But aside from the music there’s loads to love about it. This is why I love vinyl.
Three big lovely shiny black discs in a  square foot of artwork, hand numbered; 343 out of 353, and that’s all that were pressed in the whole wide world. Its heavy, its a real thing, you can feel the quality, its hard to imagine shite music on vinyl. Although obviously there’s tons of shite music released on vinyl, which is a shocking waste.

I’ll get to hear it properly this weekend though, and so will everybody else on my street. See the ladies are away for the weekend and I haven’t cranked up the stereo in a bit. Apparently its good to exercise  an amp and speakers occasionaly. apparently. My stereo is a 170watt amplifier driving speakers with 15inch bass cones. Its good to share.

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Beer and Justice

For the last couple of weeks I have had this hectic routine going over the weekends in a final push style affair to  get my new tkd gym up and running.

I work thursday, friday and staurday nights in this nightclub and work the friday (if I’m not minding the child), saturday and sunday daytimes in the gym.

It’s a hard auld slog by times, and the friday mornings when I can’t work at the gym due to fatherhoody responsibilities are no easier because wee Róisín really dosen’t give a flying fuck what time I got in at last night, if I was going to need lie-ins of a friday morn – well then I should have thought of that fifteen months ago when there was something I could have done about it.

So to make it all better I had a beer with my enthusiastically over-filled  centra roll for on-site lunch today, twas magical.

If I wasn’t so busy I’d seriously have to contemplate taking up alcoholism, its a very attractive lifestyle. The functioning alcoholic style that is, not the sleeping in own vomit style, that would be a bit too street for me. I ‘m just not cool enough to pull it off.

But yeah, I was shockin tired when I arrived at the gym this morn (11am is still morning, yeah?),  the bro thought I was sick or terribly frightened or something. Actually, now I think of it he said something closer to: hey man, you look like shit. I felt like it too, real sand-on-the-eyeballs type hangover feeling, without the hangover.

I soldiered on anyway, good man that I am. We got stuck into bits of carpentry and  sticking stuff with construction filler,  mis-measuring things and cutting them too short, drilling holes in the wrong places and general buffonery.

There are very good and valid reasons why it has taken me six months to do a two month job. Clownishness is all of them.

Come lunch time I sent myself down to get food, because the bro’s the talent and wields a mean chisel, while a mission to centra for vittels pretty much exercises my natural talents to their limit. Its all about people economy, HR style.

They were singing to me, them two bottles of Lech, from the moment I swished into the shop. Swished because thats the sound the automatic sliding doors make, and deep down inside part of me  believes I’ve just stepped onto the bridge of the Enterprise, every time, on the way out too. The beer sang to me while I pointed at things I wanted in my roll, sang louder and glowed a bit with halos when I picked them up and sang from my pockets all the way back to work.

We worked on for another little bit just to make everything taste better. Then I pulled up a punchbag for the sitting and the bro popped the beer with a chisel. Can do just about anything with a chisel that fella.

There’s many a time I’ve gone out and drank pints without number, or without a number that I could keep track of at any rate, but not one of them could hold a candle to that single beer in the dust.
It’s about rewards and shit probably, beer is currency for my psyche; work hard, drink beer – justice done, I’m all right with the world and the world’s  all right with me . Not that I work hard, but then my psyche seems more than a little forgiving when the balance of justice tips in my favour.

Also: it didn’t occur to me at the time but look at this picture. Taking a break from construction work to drink a beer opened with a chisel, while sitting on a punchbag in the dust and wood shavings. Its not exactly Hemmingway, but thats some pretty damn manly shit right there.

Shame there wasn’t a photographer handy to catch the moment. And maybe a stylist for my poodle, her fur-do is atrocious.

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Classic Techno

I was you-tubing today and I found a whole bunch of lovely old classic techno stuff. I never knew the name of tracks back in the day cos I wasn’t cool enough. But I did remember Ready to Flow, mostly due to a sample in it that has a chick saying “ready to flow”. Here it is in all its lovely bleepiness:

Then of course one thing led to another, and I found Access.

Access is one of those tracks that get the whole quiet/loud balance just right. Folk used to get fierce excited when the kick drum dropped out and the riser started. It was that beautiful short “wowph” that pushes through the whole track like an evil metronome of synthy goodness, thats what did it, it was intimidating, you thought the whole place was going to explode.

And then the quiet bit ended and the whole place did explode.

Techno clubs are the business, the cattle-marty and ego driven atmosphere of regular nightclubs  sucks the big one by comparison. These tracks are a wee bit on the cheesy side by modern standards, but at the time everybody in those clubs were digging the shit out of this stuff without any sense of  cynicism.

This next one got loads and loads of play, and I imagine most people will remember it when they hear the looping sampled vocal. The sample is from an old 1980 movie called Altered States, an important fact that nobody in the world is aware of, not even wikipedia. Just me, and now I pass this golden nugget of trivia to you. Remember now; with great power yadda yadda yadda…

This is one that I instantly recognised, couldn’t place a club to it but I knew every twist turn and bleep so I must have heard it all over the shop.

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IE6 is a Bollix.

The title gives it away a bit, but here’s the beef:

quick aside; I’ve never said “here’s the beef” before, but it’s about to become my goddam trademark. Look at it there, it even looks good. Where’s the beef? Whats your fuckin beef, buddy?  deadly. I like the idea of expressing myself through repeatedly asking after steak that may or may not exist. Does this mean I’m deep? I’ve always wanted to be deep.

I’m working on three websites that all have the same basic layout; a fixed-width left column for the menu and other bits,  and a resizeable content area. And because I’m a hobbyist i want do things at least half-ways right; I want the content to appear before the navigation in the source code and then make the navigation appear first (on the left) using css on the displayed page.

I want to do this without putting loads of extra divs into the html. In fact I want to do the basic layout as a single wrapper div holding the header, sidebar, content and footer.

And I thought I had done this ages ago. Even better than that, I had made this lovely layout that could become the 3-column Holy Grail layout or the two-column one I want for these three sites, with nary a flick of a switch.

Then I checked out  one of the sites using internet explorer 6, and I said “here, whats the beef? with this site I mean, eh? “.

The thing was in bits, columns missing, things in the wrong place, puppies murdered in their beds. The double-margin  bug, the three pixel jog bug, the faulty box model, all that crazy shit – I didn’t even know that these things had names, but they do.

Now, in all fairness, I’m not new to this game, I knew IE6 is a heap of shit, I just didn’t realise the scale of it’s warm steaming stinkyness.

Wikipedia states that IE6 is still  ‘making frequent appearances in “worst tech products of all time” lists’. There are sites dedicated to campaigning against its use. The French and German governments have advised their citizens to move away from IE6.

Depending on where you look for stats, ie6 still accounts for up tp 20% of web browsers, so you cant just ignore it.
I think I have the bastard thing beaten now, took loads of working around looking for an elegant answer though. It’s crazy that this terrible, terrible eight-year-old program is still causing such massive trauma, and its crazy that we still cant take something as basic as layout for granted.

On the plus side, there’s nothing like beating a techie-puzzle to make me think I’m the big time edgy cybernaut living in the future.

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