another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sidebar 101

I posted this as a reply on Amber's blog, but I'll put it up here too. This is how-to add links to your sidebar in Blogger. Some people have had their blogs for a while and still have "Edit-Me" links in their sidebar (cough-cough-Ellen).

Oh hell, cough-cough-Matt too, though I suspect he knows how to do the HTML -- he's just too lazy. Read more if you like long, boring, pedantic descriptions.

1. Click on the Blogger logo in the upper left-hand corner. That should take you to the Blogger Dashboard.

2. On the line with your blog name, click the gear under "Change Settings".

3. Click on the tab near the top that reads "Template". You should then have a text box with your current template in it (lots of scary looking HTML - even I'm scared of a lot of it).

4. Assuming you're using Windows, click on the Start button in the bottom bar and start Notepad.

5. Click in the template text box, type Ctrl-A, then Ctrl-C to copy all your template text.

6. Click back in the Notepad and type Ctrl-V to paste your template in there.

7. Save the template text from Notepad to a file somewhere on your computer, in a name you'll remember. That's jusst for safety so can get back to a sane place if you mess up.

OK, the next part becomes a bit more tricky because it may be different depending on what template you use. Fortunately, you still have the "Edit-Me" text in your sidebar, so you can look for that. If you do this in Notepad you can search for "Edit-Me". Just don't change the template and save it to the same place you put the old one. If you save again from Notepad, choose a different file name.

8. OK, somewhere in the template there will be text that says "Begin #sidebar". That's all the HTML for the sidebar, where the links are.

9. You can now look for the "Edit-Me" text (or other links that you know if you no longer have Edit-Me, but if you don't you probably already knew how to do this.

10. OK, the lines in the links all have a pattern. They start with the tag <li> and end with </li>. Those tags just mean this is a list item. (the list actually started with the tag that says <ul> for unnumbered list.)

11. Inside the <li> tags are another set of tags that say <a href=...> and </a>. That the tag that indicates this is a link. The part after the href= that's inside the quotes is the URL for the page you want to link. So, I just created a new line on mine and put inside those quotes. Make sure the closing quotes are before the >.

12. Finally, the part after the > and before the closing </a> is the text that will show up in the side bar. So I put in "Meows and Bows - Amber and Rob" on that new line.

13. Do that for as many links as you want to add.

14. If you did this in Notepad, save it as a new file, but also before exiting Notepad copy all the text (use Ctrl-A Ctrl-C as you did before).

15. Copy all that text into the template text box in Blogger (you should still have that page up, or get back to it as before). The easy way to do that is to click in that text box, type Ctrl-A to select all, then type Ctrl-V to paste in the newer stuff as a replacement.

16. Now click the button that says "Save Template Changes".

17. Finally click the block box that says "Republish", and you're done. Then you can go back to you blog and see that everything worked.

18. If it didn't work for some reason, you can go get that old template file you saved and copy that in. Then try again.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Update Nudge

If I want to annoy the rest of my family, I can point out the following:

Tony's blog has now been updated more recently and more frequently than any of yours.

Deal with it. :-)

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Picked from Yesterday's Blogs

My favorite quote from yesterday was from Mark Evanier's blog:
In other non-news: George W. Bush has "reluctantly accepted" Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw as a Supreme Court nominee. Just as last night, I "reluctantly accepted" delivery of that Chinese Food I ordered.

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Picked from Today's News

"He [Lewis "Scooter" Libby] is to the vice president what the vice president is to the president," said Mary Matalin, who worked with Libby as an adviser to Cheney during Bush's first term.

If I were doing it like the SAT's, I'd think the answer would be:
Cheney is to Dubya as Edgar Bergen is to Mortimer Snerd .

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I finally saw "Serenity" tonight. Quite a good movie. I won't spoil anything in the expanded comments.

I suggested to Ellen that we see it tonight because I was afraid it might close this week without my seeing it, and Ellen works both of the next two nights. If she hadn't wanted to see it tonight I probably would have gone by myself tomorrow. She was glad she got a chance to see it with me, though. (So, sidenote to Ryan: go see it in the next couple days if it's still playing down in Bloomington.)

It seems to stand pretty well on its own, and nicely wraps up the main underlying story of the "Firefly" series. It doesn't really spoil anything if you see the movie before the series because nothing revealed in the movie gets revealed in the series. You just know how that background conflict eventually gets resolved. It's probably better if you see the series first because the emotional impact of the movie will be that much stronger, but its not a necessity.

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Some Answers

On spam and Waldo ...

OK, so only the estimable Mike Norton (UPDATE: and the similarly estimable Mike Leuszler) could be bothered to comment on whether I should use a spam comment blocker, even when I specifically asked you to comment. :-) And I know you're out there! Anyway, since that post only picked up two spam comments, and they're easy to remove, I'll not add the word verification unless a) I won't be able to check to clean up spam or b) it becomes a lot more of a problem than at present.

No one took a shot at Waldo, or no one bothered commenting on him. Actually, many shots are taken at Waldo in this film, but they all miss anyway. Would it have helped folks if I'd mentioned that I'd just seen that show twice recently, on the 7th and 11th of this month? Well, only if you've been to Disney World.

Two of the four players couldn't play D&D last night, so that fell through. Hopefully Blaine will be able to visit the "Crystal Caverns of the Cairn Hills" soon, or at least before the mod retires at the end of the year.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Where's Waldo?

Ha! Let's see if anyone can figure out why I titled this post the way I did.

Muppet meme via Kalen's blog:

Bunson jpeg
I am Dr. Bunson Honeydew.

I love to analyse things and further the cause of
science, even if I do tend to blow things up more often than not.

Scientific inquiry, Looking through microscopes,
Recombining DNA to create decorative art.
"Now, Beakie, we'll just flip this switch and
60,000 refreshing volts of electricity will
surge through your body. Ready?"

John Cougar Melonhead

"Quantum Physics: 101 Easy Microwave

An atom smasher and plenty of extra atoms.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Spam, Eggs, Sausage, and Spam

"That's not got much spam in it."

So, I'm looking for your opinion:
Should I go full time with the word screening on comments, to try to prevent any spam from showing up?

Or should I just delete the blog spam as it shows up, as I have been doing?

I don't want to add any obstacles to people commenting, because I like lots of comments! Everyone comment on this!

And, just an an exercise, I won't delete any of the spam comments on this posting. Let's see what shows up. (That is, unless it gets out of hand or it's clear that it's not just auto-spam stuff).

The previous post, the D&D one, got three four spam comments within a couple minutes. I think most of the auto-spam software is keying off the "recent posts" in Blogger, so it probably doesn't get much spam after those few minutes.

And, since I have it up to quote properly above, I present The Spam Sketch

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There be Dragons in Oblivion

Here's something of a placeholder post. I should write our Disney trip report, but I'll do that soonish. This time, a few words about recent D&D games:

Matt was home last weekend, as were the girls but I spent most of the time with Matt. That's because a) the girls were hanging with Jason and Danielle, b) Ellen was working, and c) an opportunity to play D&D arose. With two player slots available, and I figured Matt would join me. So, we jumped into a table of "Here There Be Dragons". And there was! Not a spoiler for the mod, and I think we got off easy. I need to look up the intelligence of that creature.

Anyway, the game is supposedly a two-round module, I guess really written as a one round game and an introduction with plenty of role-playing opportunity. I think we wound up taking about 6.5 hours to play, but we ran way late in the evening, leaving Brad's house on the far north side of Chicago right somewhat after 11pm. This for a game that was supposed to start at 2pm. Matt and I were 20 minutes late due to traffic, but another player was more like an hour late, the sixth player almost 2 hours late, and the DM 2.5 hours late! So, we didn't sit down to play until 4:30. Plus we were a chatty group, and also ordered some dinner from a Thai place.

Anyway, the module makes a pretty decent little adventure with some good thrills, definitely worth playing for the D&D folks who read this. I just think the tactics for the last encounter could have been better.

Then Wednesday night I played "Full Circle to Oblivion" with a party that was pretty solidly APL 6 (average player level). Unfortunately, the lowest APL supported by the module was APL 8, so that's what we played it at. We also had two players who were well out of the range of the game - one at 3rd level and one at 4th. And no one actually over 8th level to balance the lower level PCs. So, we were really outclassed. It also didn't help that my character (Joe - Ranger6/Scout1) couldn't hit a thing that night. I didn't even touch the creature that was my favored enemy - thus no bonus damage. And I failed to hit both times I charged, too - so my Boots of Charging really help. :-( Fortunately, Dick was playing and went into the mod with an escape plan. And the mod gave full experience for escaping, so Joe gained a level -- I now have my second Scout level. We didn't accomplish one thing, though. The 3rd level character was playing so that he could remove a curse he has. It didn't get removed - it got worse! Now he'll be looking to play the next module in the series - which he'll still be far to low a level for.

Oh, I almost forgot the comic strip I saw the next morning (Thursday), that was particularly appropos to the Wednesday night game:

Anyway, I've got yet another D&D game coming on Monday - "Crystal Caverns of the Cairn Hills". It's handy to schedule games when Ellen is working.

OK, enough D&D for now. I'll write on another topic soon.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Home Again, Home Again ...

We're back home from ten days in Orlando. Just wanted to let the regular readers of this space know that we made it back safe.

Tomorrow I'll go through my e-mail, get the physical mail from the past 11 days delivered, and sift through the 1378 pictures I took. Yes, I literally took one thousand three hundred seventy-eight pictures. Actually, a few more, but I culled a handfull when I took a look at them on uploading to my laptop (and, wow, I'm glad I brought the laptop with me just for that purpose, as the camera memory probably holds 300 pictures.

Tonight, before bed, I'll probably finish the sixth Harry Potter book. Between the flights and downtime before bed in the hotel each night, I read all but the last 50 pages of the book, so of course that means I'm now at the point where I have to finish.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

All's well and ready

8:15 here. Not quite done getting ready, but close. I should be able to get to sleep plenty early.

Word verification for comments turned on for the time being, since I won't be policing spam like I usually do.

Narf (and Chill) -- see you in a week. Tony -- have fun with cats. Everyone else, reports will be seen eventually. Everyone should keep Narf supplied with reading material!

Gotta see a man about a mouse!

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