Just Stupid

I’ll take “Find a new radio station” for $100 Alex

On the short ride to the train station just now I just heard this stupidity.

“If you were a single woman what would you prefer your ex-boyfriend tell people about you and why you broke up?

  1. You’re a bitch
  2. You’re a slut
  3. You’re crazy

What do you think?”

The two women on the show liked options 2 and 3. The guy who asked the question thought option 1 was best. I’d have paid money to hear one of women say something like “Really? Are you out of your mind? I don’t date lowlifes.” That may have happened, I switched to another station before I could listen to more.

Yes, it’s FM morning radio and not NPR but seriously? I mean pre-teens tune into that station. I don’t think my 12 and 10 year-olds listen to that station but I’m going to check.

Jan looks for coffee on the train and find none. That’s a pity.

I tend to jump around the radio looking for music and often settle on the current “they’re not WLIR from the 80s but they’ll do today” station. At least not-WLIR plays a lot of Green Day and Foo Fighters. They’re not really better but the music selection is alright.

Normally the first station is all about yucks and phone pranks. There’s another Long Island FM station that has insane reality TV type setup morning nonsense and I don’t even bother with them anymore. I get the appeal of low brow humor (insert fart joke HERE) but that’s just too stupid.

There’s low brow and then there’s misogyny and that’s not funny at all.

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Geek

Yes, I “want” a new backpack

I’ve 2 backpacks, one that is just a laptop sleeve from 2002 and really is falling apart and the other is a camera backpack.

Me: I need a new backpack. *Starts looking online*

Lily: You mean you “want” one, you don’t “need” a new one. Use the one from Costco. I’m not using it anymore.

It’s this one BTW. I think it’s a little large and doesn’t have padding for a DSLR camera.

nasa-backpack

In 2008 the whole family went to Disney World and I purchased a Lowepro Fastpack 200 backpack.

At the time I got it for it’s quick access to the camera; you swing the bag off of one shoulder, do a triple somersault, perform a mid-air unzipping of the bag and poof you have your DLSR in your hand before you’ve put your feet back on the ground.

Thinking about it, that’s not a feature I’ve ever used…

That bag went with the family on a cruise, to China (that was an awesome trip) and has seen thousands of miles. It’s a bit small for non-camera related items and doesn’t have a laptop sleeve. My 11″ MacBook Air fits barely but without padding every impact risks breaking it and I do bump into things. One of the zipper straps broke and I replaced it with a keychain ring.

At the moment I’m leaning towards the Tamrac Aero 80 but I need to see it in person. It’s got enough space for my laptop and camera but if I can’t fit the other stuff (salad Tupperware, small assorted junk I carry with me everyday) then it won’t work.

There’s two really big camera stores near me at work so by the end of the week I may get what I need. I mean “want”.

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Family, Humor

Kids? The no snow today is my doing

This is something that’s bugged me since yesterday and I figured I’d post a public apology to my children. You see, they really wanted a snow day today or at least a delayed opening.

I’m going to take the chance and hope that my kids can someday forgive me and understand this mighty burden that fate has placed on my shoulders.

Letter to my kids

Dear kids,

I know you were looking forward to not going to school today but you are old enough to learn the truth. Your father has the super power of being able to prevent things from happening merely by preparing for them.

I’ll pause for a moment while you take that in.

I know. Right now that your eyes are wide open in shock and you may even yell out “I knew it!” but please think of your Grandmother. It’s too early for that sort of outburst.

I discovered I had this ability when I habitually carried my umbrella everywhere I went. It was tied to my backpack and I would forget I even had it. It never rained those days or if it did it would stop as soon as I hit the street.

But the day came that I switched bags and left the umbrella at home. That day on the way to Penn station we suddenly got 11 inches of rain in 30 minutes and I was soaked to the bone.

Seriously, I was wet for a week.

Now, your mother may tell you something like “Some people never learn to stay out of the rain” but please understand that she’s only trying to protect you from the truth.

Yesterday, fully armed with the knowledge of the Impending Snow Apocalypse™, I went to the gas station and filled up the portable tank. We now have enough gas for the snow thrower for the next 2 years at least. I moved the car in and put the snow thrower in right at the garage entrance.

I did this not out of malice nor did I intend to rob you of your cherished snow day. But I’m told the older generation has had it with snow and I’ve learned with enough Adult Supervision™ you have no choice but to be “grown up” about these things.

As a result of my actions we got almost half an inch of snow. If I had merely not done anything then I am sure we’d have had easily 14 inches.

So now you know the truth. When I prepare for something it is a hard guarantee that it will not occur. I hope you can forgive your father someday for robbing you of that snow day.

Your father,

Jan Dembowski

P.S. This may be the last communication from me for a while. I switched bags today and noticed that I left the umbrella home today.

Afterwards

I hope they take this letter well. It’s really cold enough today and I hope that Lily doesn’t mind my revealing myself like that to them. Or the world! She’s always concerned about what other grown ups may think about what I reveal about myself.

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Family, Humor

I’m not asking, but if I did ask what would be the answer?

My 12-year-old has gotten into trouble at home and even though he’s grounded it’s alright. He’s 12 after all and I got into LOTS of trouble when I was his age.

My parents had 4 sons and the whole family is opinionated and we all fought everyday. I learned at an early age where the line was and exactly how far over the line I could go before I got into real trouble.

This is a skill I carry with me in the workplace and for the last 6 years I’ve not gotten into that sort of trouble at work. That’s despite saying some extraordinarily ballsy things too. My sense of humor just comes out at the best times.

It’s good to know where the line is and how far you can stretch over it.

So I was really amused when my son came home this afternoon and said this.

“Dad. I know I’m not allowed to use the computer. And I’m not going to ask if I can. But if I were going to ask you when I can use the computer what would your answer be?”

My reply was along the lines of “Don’t push it kid” but after he left I laughed. He’s a smart kid but I do worry that his generation doesn’t have to deal with consequences at an early age. Later on yes, but every infraction can be fixed quickly. My son hasn’t yet learned that the plate is hot and you don’t put your hands on it cause it hurts.

Meh. There’s no rush. The kids will grow up soon enough.

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Family

That was a good day

Since Lily became half owner of a wine and liquor store she and the other owner (very cool friends of ours) have been working everyday since September. They took off Christmas Day because New York state says they had to close.

That’s one time I agree with the state blue laws.

Lily came up with an idea: they alternate Sundays off since that’s a short day (short as in 12PM to 7PM). The other partner was off yesterday and I worked the whole day with Lily. She’s off next Sunday as she plans to see family for Chinese New Year.

My day job is that I work in IT networks. I specialize in Internet related infrastructure such as DNS, proxies, firewalls, routers, switches, etc. The last time I worked in a retail setting was around 1988 for The Nature Company at the South Street Seaport.

What I did for that time was

  1. Make deliveries (went to an amazing cigar lounge, it was a very cool place).
  2. Move stock from the basement to the store.
  3. Help customers find what they want.
  4. Pretty much gofer anything that Lily said to.

I don’t think there is much chance that I’ll give up my current gig or line of work for doing this full time.

Afterwards we went out to a local thai food restaurant. The whole day was like a date. It was great and for the first time in months we spent the entire day together.

Being a store owner is not an ambition of mine. As I’m a contractor I generally just want to be paid and the appeal of “being your own boss” fell off my radar years ago. But I do understand and support Lily’s goal.

So I’ll give up more Sundays and work in the store. Eventually I’ll get the Internet connectivity in the basement working reliably and I’ll office from their on my WFH days. After all, that’s what a spouse ought to be doing. ;)

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Cool, Geek, Software

WordPress actions and filters are still very cool

I spend time perusing the WordPress support forums (now that’s an understatement) and sometimes I come across someone being unhappy with a plugin. In this particular case a plugin was adding a notice to the admin screens saying “Upgrade now for only $24″.

I really have nothing against plugin authors deriving income that way but I prefer that messages like that in my WordPress dashboard be dismissible. That dashboard real estate is mine and I just don’t like to share.

The plugin adds that message using this code.

add_action( 'admin_notices', 'emg_upgradepro_message' );

WordPress actions and filters are a wonderful thing. It’s a queuing mechanism meaning that the order that your PHP code loads or is executed does not matter. What matters is that actions (or filters) get added to the queue and executed in priority order.

That add_action() does not have a priority so it defaults to 10. Actions that are added that way can be removed too but you have to have that remove_action() in the queue after the action is added. You can’t remove it before it’s added.

I was able to easily (took me 3 minutes) by creating another plugin that just removes that action like so.

<?php
/*
Plugin Name: Remove Easy Media Gallery Upgrade Notice
Version: 0.1
Description: This plugin removes the Easy Media Gallery Upgrade notice in the WordPress dashboard.
Author: Jan Dembowski
Author URI: http://blog.dembowski.net/
*/

add_action( 'admin_init', 'mh_no_upgrade' , 15 );
function mh_no_upgrade () {
        remove_action( 'admin_notices', 'emg_upgradepro_message' );
}

And that’s it. The priority 15 should make it run after the action that adds that message and it does: the message is gone. This may not be the best way to do it but it’s an easy 3 minute fix.

Keep in mind that I don’t use this plugin on my main blog but exercises like this one just show how easy it is to extend WordPress.

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TV

12 year old Doctor Who fans are awesome

Like many people I DVR’ed the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode as well as the last Matt Smith episode. My whole family was smitten with Matt Smith but my son said something that put it all in perspective.

“I doubted Matt Smith at first, I didn’t think he’d be as good as David Tennant. But I liked Matt Smith even more. I’m going to give the new Doctor a chance.”

Smart kid and I really like that he’s got an open mind about this.

I always think that the actor’s run is too short (especially Christopher Eccleston) but Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor was great. There’s not a single episode of his that I didn’t like. I am sure that Peter Capaldi will also take the character to new places and it will be entertaining.

Now if only they could manage to bring back Alex Kingston…

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