Archive for October, 2007

Halloween partying

Tonight was fun. First, I went to the Caltech Ballroom Dance Club’s private shindig. Then I checked out the Prufrock Halloween Party. It’s amazing how many people I now know through dancing, and to a lesser extent through tai chi. Things I did tonight included:

  • polka with a pirate
  • dirty dance with a devil (only it wasn’t dirty, and I think the guy was dressed as a devil)
  • chat with Cleopatra
  • cavort with cats, three of them to be exact!

I saw a number of interesting costumes. One of the coolest costumes was Magritte’s The Son of Man. Others included a very elaborate Cleopatra, a scantily clad cat, a heavily clad cat, another cat, WinAmp, Princess Buttercup and Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride, a group of billiard balls, and a lifesize R2D2. Thursday night I had already seen many great costumes at the Lindygroove Halloween party. The most noticeable was a glowing green squid that won 2nd place in Lindygroove’s costume contest. 1st place was taken by Optimus Prime.

At all the parties I wore a cowgirl outfit: jean shorts, a pink checkered shirt I bought for $4 at a Ross in Oregon, cowboy boots from a Ross in Pasadena ($13), a deliberately ragged corduroy jacket also from Ross ($7?), a pair of faux leather gloves that I bought last winter at Target, and a jingly belt ($6) and a black cowboy hat from Aardvark’s ($8). The shorts, shirt, jacket, and gloves were all items I already owned. The other items I intentionally bought for the costume, so in all, I spent $27 for the costume. I really like the hat. It’s rare that I find comfortable, good-looking hats that fit me. The boots hurt my feet after a night of dancing, but their slick soles slick turn well, and pivoting on the cowboy heels feels smooth as silk. I’ll probably wear them occasionally in the future just for fun. They’re more comfortable and more versatile than my black boots, and they’re better looking and better suited for dancing than my pink Bearpaws.


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On the second Thursday of each month, the SGVLUG (San Gabriel Valley Linux Users Group) meets at Caltech, usually for a Linux-themed presentation. Afterwards, the meeting moves to Burger Continental for dinner, discussions, and other fun. On Thursday I attended this month’s SGVLUG meeting, which was about LaTeX. This month the Burger Continental dinner doubled as a Slashdot party, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Slashdot. The party broke up around 11pm. The next day, I learned from an email that Burger Continental caught fire less than two hours after the party and suffered extensive damage to the front. WTF! Fortunately, nobody was injured, and Burger Continental plans to reopen soon.

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State quarters

I’ve been collecting state quarters since they started coming out. I even have a booklet for displaying them. Up until recently, I had tons of Montana quarters in my purse, but unfortunately, I spent them all. Every time I spent one, I figured I had more. Well, now I don’t. I cleaned out my purse this morning, and there were no Montana quarters! The good news is that I did fish out Florida, North Dakota, and Nevada. I’m still missing North Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, and most of the quarters that came out in 2007. You know, if the South had won the Civil War, I wouldn’t have a problem with North Carolina and Alabama, but I would need a passport to go to Florida.

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Debugging web pages

I just finished debugging a web page. It was an old school layout based on tables, lots of tables. I needed to add an entry to the page and delete old entries. Everything would have been fine if the sidebar hadn’t suddenly moved to the bottom of the page instead of staying in the sidebar. Yes, I should be able to use a WYSIWYG editor to fix everything, but the fact is, I’ve never figured out how to modify an existing table in Frontpage’s normal view without screwing up the layout one way or another. That meant it was time to whip out ConTEXT and wrestle with tables. I finally fixed everything by pasting the old entries back into the web page and deleting them one by one until I found the code that shouldn’t have been deleted. Needless to say, it was misplaced table tag:

<table class=”infobox” cellspacing=”0″>
<table class=”spacer” cellspacing=”0″>
<td class=”infoboxtop”>

In addition to ConTEXT, I also used the Web Developer Toolbar and Firebug Firefox extensions. The Web Developer Toolbar’s table outline feature draws colored boxes around tables and table cells, so you can see what belongs where. It also has a handy “Validate HTML” shortcut in the Tools menu. Your web page doesn’t really have to be 100% valid to work, but sometimes validators can catch mismatched or malformed tags that will solve your problems, so validate away.

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