I'll show you my blog.

  1. This. From a person who thinks televisions house tiny cities. Still.

  2. We’ll Call It Even

    This weekend, I finished the bulk of a home-improvement project I swore I’d do this summer. The project was to install handrails on our front porch steps, so Julie’s mom (who walks with a cane due to a stroke) has something with which to brace herself when she comes over to our house. And while I was at it, I decided I’d replace the treads and risers, which were probably 60 years old and were definitely dry-rotted to kingdom come.

    The stairs themselves weren’t that hard. I tore everything out, replaced the stringers, and then decided (yeah, after I’d ripped everything apart, it’s a lifelong problem) that the stock I thought I’d use for the treads was too thick and looked like decking and I’d really prefer to match the historic/existing materials.

    So I paused, put the old treads back on the new stringers, and started calling lumber yards until I found a source for cypress treads of the right dimensions. Those arrived last week, I picked them up Saturday morning, and they were installed and looking pretty by Saturday afternoon.

    The handrails, though. Jesus. See, the handrails rise at a 38.5º angle to the ground. No big deal, I have a mitre saw, I can handle this. I had notched the newel posts myself and attached them to the stringers, and I nailed the tread-cutouts, but there were no posts at the top to attach the rails to, and the house is so old and bereft of right angles, it was a full-on hack job to figure out, well, everything about how to cut, assemble, and attach the handrails to my was-supposed-to-be-pretty-easy stairs and porch. Short of using some very futuristic 3D imaging device I don’t own or know how to operate (i.e., fantasy), there was no way for me to figure out the actual dimensions of the handrail assemblies in advance.

    So after having measured like 10 times, I took my best guess and started to cut. Then I screwed the spindles into the handrails and tried to fit them between the newel posts and the existing columns, and I’m telling you, your five-year-old could have come closer to having gotten it right with his or her eyes closed. So I cursed, and disassembled things, threw things, steamed, foamed, sketched, searched YouTube, tried to use a calculator, and sprouted some gray hairs, and tried again. And here’s the thing: After hours of intense frustration, I arrived at functional handrails, fitted effectively into the required spaces. I tinkered and hacked my way to an acceptable solution, but it was painful.

    There was one thing I’m convinced would have made this project far easier, if only I could have remembered it: 9th grade geometry. I’m sure there’s a theorem for what I was trying to figure out. It’s like I could smell it hiding behind me, tapping me on one shoulder then ducking quickly behind the other as I turned around to look.

    "Huh. Nothing there. I could have sworn I felt something."

    Or maybe there was a tool (besides me). I don’t know. I didn’t know. And that fucking ate me alive. I felt so indescribably stupid, I cannot even begin to tell you. And owing to my ridiculously outsized ego attachment to being not stupid, I felt desperately insecure, hopeless, and worthless as a man (which by the way is sexist because what do I think that only men are supposed to remember geometry, so there’s another thing I can hate myself for) and person and not even taking a break to go get ice cream helped.

    Life teaches us things, right? Things we can’t learn in school? Things that are supposedly more valuable? Like how to cope with having forgotten something you learned in school? BECAUSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN REAL NICE, THANKS A LOT, LIFE.

    Anyway, if you come over to my house and you want to compliment my new stairs, that would be fine. Just don’t ask me how I got the thingies to be parallel or whatever because the answer is I don’t know and I probably never will and if you agree not to measure angles, the beer’s on me until you can’t see straight, and we’ll look at my porch admiringly, and we’ll call it even.

  3. Should I Follow The Mocks?
  4. Where Did My Keyboard Shortcuts Go?

    Update: Thanks to Michael Leroux’s insanely good intuition and/or a coincidence and/or maybe a miracle, I’ve solved the problem originally posted about below. Here’s the link Michael sent me, to a blog post about the otherwise awesome SnagIt app and how it does actually hijack Adobe’s default keyboard shortcut for “Save for Web…”

    I was able to resolve the issue by quitting SnagIt. Simple. Done. I’ll leave this post in case others encounter the same dilemma. Declaring victory and moving on with my day.


    I’m having a small problem that’s destroying my workflow, and I’m calling on the hive-mind to help resolve it.

    The problem is that, in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (CS6), the “Save for Web…” keyboard shortcut has stopped working. The command is still accessible from the File menu, and the keyboard shortcut hint still appears next to it, but that key-combination no longer invokes the command. This change is recent, was abrupt, and I do not know what might have caused it.


    Online discussions suggest two different approaches to fixing this: First, they say, delete the preferences. If that doesn’t work, they say, try giving the command a custom keyboard shortcut. Problem is, I’ve tried both, to no avail.

    Deleting preferences (either plists or the “Illustrator Preferences” file, the second of which does contain references to saveForWeb) does nothing, and OSX System Preferences won’t let me create a keyboard shortcut for Adobe apps.


    So, I’m stuck, and I’m hoping someone here has encountered and solved the same problem, and can save me the seemingly inevitable days of frustration otherwise ahead.


  5. Imagine discovering a secret language spoken only online by a knowledgeable and learned few. Over a period of weeks, as you begin to tease out the meaning of this curious tongue and ponder its purpose, the language appears to shift in subtle but fantastic ways, remaking itself daily before your eyes. And just when you are poised to share your findings with the rest of the world, the entire thing vanishes.

    This fairly describes my roller coaster experience of curiosity, wonder and disappointment over the past few weeks, as I’ve worked alongside security researchers in an effort to understand how “lorem ipsum” — common placeholder text on countless Web sites — could be transformed into so many apparently geopolitical and startlingly modern phrases when translated from Latin to English using Google Translate.

  6. I just have so much hostility for Klout.

    I just have so much hostility for Klout.

  7. Pointing out that there are very distinct criteria she looks for in a partner, area woman Christine Maloof told reporters this week that the men she finds attractive tend to be tall, athletic, and have hurt her in the past.
  8. Shane Cyr and Wiki Sombreros, c. 1987.

    Shane Cyr and Wiki Sombreros, c. 1987.