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July 06, 2004  |  Vacation, sort of  |  8515 hit(s)

Somehow it doesn't feel like vacation time if it's really just a long weekend. But I guess it's Tuesday, and I ain't going to work, so now I really am on vacation.

I've spent comparatively little time at the computer; I believe that three days without a blog post is a kind of record. I did play a little with my relatively new copy of Adobe Audition, which I intend to use to clean up the recordings of school concerts that I make with my Sony MiniDisc recorder. In some distant ideal future, I also hope to digitize some old LPs (those for which I can't find replacement CDs), and Audition promises to help clean up the sound from those old and undoubtedly well-worn records. That's the kind of project that I'll do "someday" in my "spare time." Audition has many other cool features, which I have no immediate need for, most notably, working with multitrack recordings. It's sort of like PhotoShop -- a professional-grade tool in the hands of an amateur.

I'm also screwing around with trackback auto-discovery. If I understand the concept correctly, I do this. When I save a new entry in my blog, I walk it looking for links. For each link, I scrape the page pointed to by the link and look for a trackback ping URL. If I find a trackback URL, I send the ping to that URL. Presto, no need to manually enter URLs and the like. (But lots of activity, golly.) I got out my Friedl and practiced using RegEx to find links in an arbitrary hunk of HTML. Fun. I'll also use regex to get trackback URLs out of the scraped pages. That process is simplified if the target blog "registers" its trackback URL in a little hunk of rdf, as explained in the MT spec.

But enough about that. I finished painting my kitchen, the logical next step after installing new lighting. Plus a short detour to install a new circuit for the microwave. Each small improvement in the kitchen raises more seriously the question of when to bite the bullet and do it up right. I need to install a new floor, and I need to get a gas stove in there. The latter requires running some gas piping in the crawlspace, although the real question is whether my existing line has the capacity, or whether (as I suspect) they need to run a larger pipe back to the meter. Expensive operation, that. In any event, I have samples of vinyl flooring lying about on the kitchen floor at the moment.

Zack and I did the first oil change in the new cars. On the plus side, the plug and filter were reasonably accessible. On the minus side, I don't have a wrench for the teeny-tiny, toy-like filter used in Corollas. The factory put that OEM filter on there but good, so we couldn't muscle it off. We ended up using my fail-safe, namely a 22" channel-lock plier. It crushes the filter, but its steely jaws and long handles give you sufficient grip and leverage to be able to turn the thing.

Yesterday we braved the crowds at Gas Works Park and went to see the fireworks up close and personal. One of our cohort, the dad of one of Sabrina's friends, had an in that allowed us to park "close," still well over a mile away, on Queen Anne Hill. But it wasn't bad. And in spite of the crowds we were able to find a tiny square of grass to sit on. The show itself is spectacular; the state of fireworks technology these days is amazing, allowing them to choreograph rockets and music. There's nothing quite like being right there underneath, where you can not only hear but also feel the explosions.

I did not have firm plans for my time off, but I think I've already accumulated enough possibilities to have way more than I can do in my short break. Garage cleanout, as mentioned before. I bought materials to make a simple mantlepiece for my fireplace, which no longer has even the pathetic trim it had when I moved in. There is yardwork to be done, plus more electrical in the kitchen (GFCI outlets), plus refinishing the baseboards in the kitchen. Sigh. Good thing this all constitutes "fun" around here.

The happiest folks around here are the dogs, because they've gotten to go the park every single day for the last five days. Time off and nice weather, boy; it's dog heaven. They're not going to be too happy when I go back to work, I suspect.