misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
  1. I am not, in fact, a Person Who Bakes. I am, at best, a Person Who Is Attempting To Figure This Whole Baking Thing Out, With Varying Degrees Of Success.

  2. Things they tell you to do in recipes sound so much easier than they actually are.

  3. Drizzling melted chocolate on top of something, for example, would be easier if melting the chocolate had actually made it vaguely liquidy, instead of a thick gloppy pudding-like substance.

  4. Possibly I used the wrong kind of chocolate.

  5. Adding soymilk will not help. It will, in fact, make it thicker. Ditto for stirring it lots and lots. Eventually it will come to resemble something you expect to see sliding along the floors of a dungeon sucking up small objects.

  6. Putting it into a Ziplock bag and cutting off a corner to simulate a pastry bag might have worked better if the chocolate had been cooler. Who knew the seams on the bag were that weak?

  7. Hopefully my oven mitts are washable...

  8. Eventually attempting to "drizzle" it onto your shortbread anyway will result in giant swaths of chocolate that look kind of like some animal had major bowel control problems in the general vicinity of your cookies.

  9. Trying to spread it around with a spoon will make it look like a preschooler's art project, but at least less like poo.

  10. It will taste good anyway.

  11. Even if you whisk your Dulce Sin Leche nonstop for the entire time from first combining the ingredients to taking it off the heat to cool, it will end up with strange white lumps in it of unidentifiable origin (soymilk powder?). But you can get most of them out by eventually forcing it through a strainer. Most of them.

  12. You can, indeed, soften brown sugar by putting it in the microwave with a damp paper towel over it. However, it is advisable to keep an eye on the time and/or whether the paper towel is still damp. Unless, of course, your intention was to set it on fire...

  13. This will result in parts of the sugar turning into chunks of caramel, which while useless for your cupcakes, are tasty to munch on while you clean up the mess.

  14. You cannot sift rock-hard lumps of caramel out of brown sugar. You can, however, render your brand-new sifter unusable.

  15. Do not keep your cooling Dulce Sin Leche near the bowl you are sifting flour into, unless, of course, you want it covered with flour.

  16. It is probably a good idea to remember whether or not you've already added the vanilla. Adding more "just in case" may or may not have been a good idea.

  17. Your cat will always attempt to jump up on the kitchen counter right at the worst possible time.

  18. When the cookbook says "Spoon a little Dulce Sin Leche onto the top of each cupcake and use a butter knife to swirl the sauce," hopefully they mean "Scrape a thick glob of the Dulce Sin Leche off the spoon onto each cupcake, and try futilely to turn it into a swirl until you realize you're just sliding the glob around without actually changing its shape any." Because that was how it went for me, anyway.

  19. True fact: baking just two things can dirty virtually every bowl, pan, measuring cup, etc. that you own.

  20. If I ever again declare an intent to bake multiple things for a Christmas gathering, or any other event, someone direct my attention to this post, OK?

On the bright side, they rose OK, they smell good, and I remembered to use those little paper liners this time. Little by little, I improve.
misslynx: (Quote - flamethrower)
So;
  1. The e-mail problems that had been happening for the past two days ( can't recall now if I posted about that here or on FB or both) are apparently NOT entirely sorted out, or at least not for all clients. Two client have not been able to receive mail all day today, and even my own mail is coming in sort of random bunches here and there throughout the day.

  2. My apartment building is filled with nasty solventy fumes from the renovations happening on the restaurant downstairs, and when I and my upstairs neighbours both complained to the building manager, he said that the company had told him that what they were using was water-based and non-toxic and the only thing anyone should be smelling is water and sawdust. Uh, right. Because that would totally account for the entire building reeking like paint thinner. It's relatively bearable IF you keep all the windows at least partially open, but it's bloody cold outside, and now bloody cold inside as well.

  3. I have to finish uploading a ton of pictures to a magazine site within the next hour, which is going to be next to impossible, but I haven't had any bloody TIME today.

  4. I am dealing with all this on only three hours of sleep.

The only good sides I can see to all this at the moment are that:
  1. I got to know my upstairs neighbours better, and the Lynxcub was able to spend some time playing with their kids, and

  2. Having it freezing cold in my apartment keeps the hot flashes to a minimum. Now they're more like lukewarm flashes.

So, yeah. Today: fired.
misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
Note to the Lynxcub:

Yes, the toilet and my office chair are both things that one sits on. Well, theoretically - usually you tend to climb around on the chair like it was a jungle gym. HOWEVER. That is where the commonality really SHOULD end.

But it was sweet of you to offer to help clean up, at least. And yes, I AM going to tell your dates about this when you're 17.

. . .

Note to my readers:

Parenting: it's NOT all sushi and elder gods and Argentinian penguins.

. . .

Hmmm... I think I may have to put that last sentence on a T-shirt. Or an LJ icon, at least. Though for full effect, I really should have gotten a photo.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
So, for some while now there has periodically been a bit of water leaking through my bathroom ceiling, usually when the upstairs neighbours are taking a bath or shower. It was one of those things I kept meaning to tell the landlord about, but not quite getting around to, between work, out of town guests, getting sick, etc. But recently I noticed that a big puddle of water had started to collect in the plastic cover of the fluorescent light fixture (it has one of those big rectangular fluorescent panels on the ceiling like you see in offices). This struck me as a Bad Thing, so I did tell the landlord, on Friday, and he said he would get someone to have a look at it.

However, just over the course of the weekend, it was clearly getting worse, with the plastic cover beginning to warp and bow down in the middle, and an ever-growing puddle of nasty-looking water collecting. More than once I contemplated trying to see if I could tip the water out somehow, but I couldn't think of a way to do it that wouldn't be likely to result in scummy water splashing all over me and the entire bathroom. I also contemplated removing everything from the bathroom that I wouldn't want splattered with scummy water, in case it came down by itself, but it seemed like a lot of work, and I was still low on energy from being sick, so instead I hoped that it would hold up until someone came to fix it.

Judging from the title of this post, you can guess whether that hope was justified.

The sordid details, with bonus Lynxcub cuteness )
misslynx: (Good Day)
Well, I went up the new post office on Eglinton today (not precisely a new post office, I suppose, but the one to which they relocated all the PO boxes from the Wychwood PO). It's in a tiny, hole-in-the-wall photocopy shop at Bathurst & Eglinton. The ride up wasn't too bad despite being mostly uphill - I think I have [livejournal.com profile] optimystik to thank for that, as hills have been much more manageable since he raised my bike seat and pumped the tires a little fuller.

While waiting, I overheard that the move is actually temporary - they're putting a new post office on St. Clair, though I don't know if it's going to be a new facility in the same location, or a different one. So apparently the relocation is only for 4-6 months or something like that, after which point the boxes will be moved to the new PO on St. Clair, or at least so the staff at the Eglinton post office have been told. So maybe that's not so bad.

However... The really sucky thing about it is that while they supposedly transferred everyone's mail up to the new place, they have no mail on file for me. At all. This despite the fact that two clients have told me they sent me cheques in the past couple of weeks, long enough ago that they should have been there. It was when going to the post office with the expectation of picking up those cheques on Friday that I found out about the move. And now: no mail.

If it was just one cheque that I'd expected that wasn't there, I'd be more inclined to think that maybe it was maybe either delayed, or the client didn't actually send it. But two at once makes me suspicious. Particularly since it's been about two weeks since I last checked my mail there and you'd think there'd at least be some junk mail or a bank statement or something... So I strongly suspect my mail got lost in the shuffle. Grrr.

I need those cheques! It's not like even the two together were for all that much, or would make more than a small dent in my current stack of unpaid bills, but at this point every little bit counts. Now I have to decide whether to wait a little longer and see if they turn up, or just contact the clients, explain the situation, and get them to put stop-payment orders on the original cheques and issue new ones, which I'd really rather not have to do if at all possible. Grrr grrr grrr grrr.

The staff at the new post office, for what it's worth, seemed very nice, and spent quite some time searching everywhere for my mail, not just in the file box where all the mail from Wychwood PO was supposed to be, but in all kinds of other places. But they didn't find anything.

All of this is making me think that maybe, despite the possibility of my PO box moving back down to my neighbourhood in six months or whatever, I might be better off without it, and just have payments sent to my home address. People don't seem as inclined to look askance at a business not having a mailing address listed on their web site or business cards any more, and I'm OK with my clients having my home address.

So, question for the Internet masses: if you were contemplating hiring a web designer, would you (a) notice, and/or (b) care if there was no postal address listed on their web site or business cards?
misslynx: (Default)
Note to self: never post about how unexpectedly smoothly something is going. That's just asking for trouble.

Incident the first )

Incident the second )
misslynx: (Default)
So... the Yule/Giftmas season has snuck up on me, it would seem. Between a prolonged work deathmarch with very little sleep or breathing space, and then getting the cold from hell which stuck around for way too long, time seems to have flown right by and I could have sworn it was November a minute ago.

All of which is basically by way of saying that it is apparently now Dec 18 (well, 19, really, since it's after midnight, but 18 is scary enough so I'm going to refuse to acknowledge the time of day for the moment) and I've only just tonight acquired a box of greeting cards to send out. And am only just starting to realize that I have less than a week in which to acquire presents for various people, who in many cases I haven't yet even got the faintest idea yet what I want to give them.

Oh yes, and haven't yet gotten around to sending out my annual web hosting invoices which I usually try to get out by, well, several days before now, at least. Which, had I done it sometime much sooner than now, would be helping with the whole gift-shopping thing, which currently must be done on rather limited funds.

Also, have lost track of how many holiday meals/rituals/feasts/gatherings of various sorts I am supposed to be making dishes for and whether I'm supposed to be bringing other things to some of them, and whether people at some of them might unexpectedly give me presents making me suddenly realize I should have something for them, and that sort of thing.

It's all kind of anxiety-inducing... So in an effort to quell the rising panic, I shall now recount the good things about this time of year:
  1. I generally actually like the whole spirit of the season, apart from the stress part. People are nicer than usual and things are pretty.

  2. Lights. Tacky and energy-consuming though they may be, I kind of like Christmas lights. Sometimes they are genuinely pretty (see previous point), and sometimes they are so hellishly overdone as to be unintentionally amusing, so it's kind of win-win if you think about it. You can ooh and ah, or point and laugh, depending.

  3. Everything has ginger in it. And by "everything" I mainly mean fancy coffees and baked goods at places like The Second Cup and Starbucks. Those who know me know that I love ginger in pretty much every form with an unholy passion. Not even just edible/drinkable forms - I even have ginger perfume (well, all right, it's actually called Shub-Niggurath, and your guess is as good as mine as to why the Black Goat of a Thousand Young should smell like three kinds of ginger, but I'm not complaining, because the only thing better than ginger is ginger + HP Lovecraft).

  4. Clementines. Clementines are good. Seriously, when I brought home my first bag of them for this year and ate the first one, which quickly became the first three, I considered for a moment that clementines might possibly be the single best thing about the entire Yule season. Now, of course, I can recognize that as an exaggeration, but that may be because I have not eaten any in the past hour or so, which I should probably remedy immediately. I go through a lot of clementines while they're in season.

    (pauses to eat a clementine)

  5. Plus, I suppose, the usual things like getting together with friends and family, celebrating the rebirth of the sun and related conccepts from other religions, etc. But right now those are all tied in a little too closely with OMG-must-send-cards-must-buy-presents-must-plan-what-to-cook-for-400-potlucks-OMG-OMG-OMG. So I think I will eat another clementine and go to bed.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
OK, not to keep harping endless on the new bike, but since it's been raining for most of the day, the only thing I can really do with it right now is attach the various accessories I got for it. Thus far, bell and lights have been successfully attached, though in the case of the rear light it was a little tricky as they tell you not to remove the original reflectors, and with the reflector on there there was not much room for the light, but I managed to squeeze it in.

However, I have been defeated by the hardware for the U-bar lock, or more specifically the bracket thingie with which one is supposed to attach it to the bike. Also the complete lack of instructions it came with. I was initially pleased to see a little folded up piece of paper wedged inside the bracket, but when I unfolded it, it was just the warranty, plus instructions on how to lock your bike -- uh, I think I knew that part, thanks.

Here is what it came with:
  • The main bracket thingie. I think I can tell which side is supposed to go on the bike and which on the lock, because one of them has little rubber things inside it to adjust for different frame sizes and the other does not.
  • Two nut-and-bolt combos. I think these are supposed to go on what I think is probably the lock side of the bracket, as it has two holes in it. Of course, it may be that that is actually the bike side and I was supposed to put the little rubber things in there, even though they were initially in the other one.
  • Two little washers. Since there are two, I am guessing they probably go somewhere in with the nuts and bolts, but I don't know exactly where. On the nut side? The bolt side? In the middle?
  • A little square piece of metal with a round hole in it.
  • A strange contraption I can't make head nor tail of, which has a sort of nut and bolt arrangement with a pin through the head of the bolt attaching it to a sort of rectangular thing that wraps around it and has a round bit on the end. I assume this goes with what is probably the bike side, i.e. the side that has not got two holes in it. That side has one hole, and then below the hole it sort of flares out a bit for no apparent reason that I can tell.
Does that description make any sense to anyone?

BTW, googling "attaching bracket for U-bar bike lock" turns up one set of detailed instructions for a completely different sort of bracket with no parts in common with this one, and a bunch of irrelevant stuff having to do with car racks, motorcycles and wheelchairs. Googling "attaching bracket for SuperCycle U-bar bike lock" in hopes of getting more specific results turns up... absolutely nothing.

I also have a rear carrier to attach, but given that it comes with even more hardware (specifically, two short bolts, one medium one, one long one, a whole bunch of nuts and washers, two flexible clear plastic bits, and three unidentifiable metal things of various random shapes and numbers of holes), and likewise no instructions, I'm thinking I may need to enlist an expert on that one. Anyone feel like an expert?

Oh, one more question: apparently one is supposed to register one's bike with the police in order to enhance the near-zero chances of recovering it if it's stolen to something a little less near zero. This entails finding a serial number on it somewhere. The web page for this helpfully says that it should be "somewhere on the frame". Anyone have any more specific info than that on where I might find this number?

Really wondering why bikes don't come with instruction manuals...

Also, note to Claribell: STOP HELPING!

Imagined rejoinder from Claribell: "Oh, don't be silly. It's not like you're managing well on your own, and I keep trying to show you that the correct place for all those little bits of hardware is all over the floor under various pieces furniture, or possibly in my mouth, but you're just not paying attention. No wonder you humans get so frustrated with this stuff. You're just not smart enough to throw it all on the floor and bat it around randomly like we cats are, are you?"
misslynx: (Oh R'lyeh?)
Today, I:
  1. Survived a one-shot Call of Cthulhu game with no ill effects except temporary insanity, scars from a shotgun blast to the face, and a deep desire never to see the inside of a cave again under any circumstances (which would probably be less problematic were my character not a professional caving guide). Ironically, I think it was the insanity that saved me, since it made me panic, scream and run like mad for the nearest exit, which all things concerned was probably the most sensible thing I could have done under the circumstances.

  2. Met a dog that had been rescued from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His new owner had only had him for two weeks, because he was one of the dogs that the rescue organization had had the hardest time placing. Had he not been adopted within a few days of when he was, he would have been put down. He had reacted to the trauma he'd been through by becoming really skittish and fearful of people, so when people came to adopt dogs, he'd shy away from them, and they'd adopt the friendlier dogs instead.

    But this guy adopted him, and after only two weeks in his forever home, he was much improved. He was able to socialize with Kiska while being only mildly jumpy, though he did initially cringe back and growl a little when I offered him my hand to sniff, so I could see why some potential owners might have reacted negatively to him. But when I stayed still, and his owner and I both spoke to him soothingly, he eventually slunk forward and sniffed my hand and tentatively wagged his tail a little. He seemed like a nice dog, just one who'd been through some very bad times. But it's amazing what a loving home will help a dog recover from.

  3. Discovered that a combination of cooldown time, chocolate and willpower will eventually allow me to answer even an e-mail that pushes all sorts of different emotional buttons and hotspots in a reasonably calm and civilized manner.

  4. Also discovered that, despite not having weighed myself in a long time and fearing the worst, and despite having been inundated with many and various forms of really good chocolate over the course of birthday week, I not only have not regained any weight, but having finally hit 180 (well, 180.2), and thus feel justified in finally crossing out the "30" on my profile and writing "35" (as in, pounds lost, under the Goals Accomplished section).

    5 pounds more to my target weight. Unless I for some reason decide I feel a compelling desire to actually land within the "normal" range of the BMI, which would require another 7 pounds or so coming off. But really, I recall 175 as feeling pretty good, and that will probably do just fine.
More substantial update coming... someday. Right now, the only reason I am awake is that I should theoretically be working, as I did not get a lot of work done this weekend between various things. But I am tired and cannot brain, so I think I will go to bed.
misslynx: (Clucking Bell)
So, one of the things we learned when [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen's mom was up here is that early teething runs in the family. Most babies don't start showing even preteething signs until about four months, but Kettu had apparently started full-on teething by three months, and her nephew actually had several teeth showing by then.

Aidan will be three months old next Friday. And ta-da, we are starting to have much drooling, swollen gums, and, oh yes, the screaming. Did I mention the screaming?

The freezer is full of frozen washcloths, I make a late-night Shoppers Drug Mart run last night for baby Tylenol and Motrin drops, [livejournal.com profile] optimystik is picking up some kind of natural teething remedies at Whole Foods on his way home from work tonight, and maybe, just maybe, if all those things combined eventually start to work, we will not all go completely insane before our dear little monster gets his fangs.
misslynx: (Angry cat)
(This is primarily what I would like to say to people sending in tech support queries to me for sites I maintain, but it probably applies elsewhere as well...)
  1. Do not assume that because you ran into a problems with a site, that therefore everyone must run into the exact same problems and that the site is therefore horribly broken and must never have been tested. You can test a site 500 times and not necessarily replicate every single bizarre thing every end user might think of submitting to it...

  2. You might want to at least consider, before pronouncing the site "broken", "badly designed", etc., the possibility that you might have done something wrong. Especially since this turns out to be the case about 80% of the time. Yes, a well-designed site should try to anticipate the various ways in which end users might break it by doing stupid things, but no one can fully anticipate every bizarre thing that anyone might do to their web site. As the saying goes, every time you think you've made a system idiot-proof, someone comes along and builds a better idiot. That better idiot might, in fact, be you.

  3. Do not complain that the site simply "didn't work", "shut you out", "is broken", or that "something went wrong", without providing any further details, and expect a helpful response. Contrary to popular opinion, web geeks do not diagnose technical problems through our amazing psychic powers. Generally, we require actual information on what happened. Shocking but true.

  4. The above applies especially when right before the link to the support address, it says to include as much detail as possible, particularly the text of any error messages you may have received.

    and last but definitely not least...

  5. The level of snarkiness and/or verbal abuse in your message is likely to be inversely proportional to my desire to help you find a solution to your problems.
This public service message has been brought to you by the department of STFU.
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Strange but true: all the cleaning-up-text functions PHP has to offer will not stop a submission form from generating database errors... If, in the actual insert statement that puts the data into the database, you persist in using the array that holds the original data, before it was cleaned up rather than the new array that holds it after applying the ever-increasing list of cleaning-up-text functions.

And the fact that it took me weeks of fielding tech support messages and tinkering with the code to spot that little detail is not something I am particularly proud of.

Well, at least it's fixed now. On the very last day of Magenta's Emerging Photographers 2007 call for submissions. All the photographers submitting in a panic at the last minute will still benefit, at least.

And on the bright side, Tristania's "World of Glass" is my personal nominee of the moment for Best Song Ever Recorded. There is no problem so great that listening to this song at a very high volume will not make everything better, at least for a while.
misslynx: (can't brain)
Fie on you, MySQL. Or PHP's set of MySQL functions, anyway.

Why do you not include an equivalent to the very useful PostreSQL function pg_fetch_all? Why? Why? Why?

I only use it in, oh, nearly every piece of code I write. How the hell am I supposed to suck all the rows in my resultset into an array so that I can cycle through them with a nice little foreach statement? Only being able to access one row at a time makes no sense. It's not like you can use a foreach statement on the result set in the first place and then pull out the data one row at a time each time you can cycle through it. Foreach only works on arrays. So Why. Can't. I. Fetch. My. Data. Into. A. Multidimensional. Array?

I've got to be missing something. People write web applications in MySQL. There's got to be some way they can access more than one row of data at a time. But damned if I can find it. Maybe in the morning. Nothing makes sense at 1 am since I've started on this whole diurnal schedule thing.

And fie on you, Dreamhost, for not offering PostgreSQL in addition to MySQL on your hosting plans so I wouldn't be having this problem. Not enough demand - feh!

And fie on me for getting hooked on the better-but-less-popular database platform so that when I have to use the more-popular-but-crappy one I end up wanting to tear my hair out. Hmm, hooked on the better but less popular platform - you'd think I was a Mac user! Oh wait, I am.

Between this and my apparent inability to communicate with anyone effectively of late, you'd think Mercury was in retrograde or something. Oh wait, it is.

*sigh* Going to bed now. Maybe this will all make sense in the morning.

. . .

Edit: OK, apparently while is my friend, in the absence of pg_fetch_all and foreach. Took me about as long to figure out after posting the above as writing the post did, so maybe if I'd just done that first instead... Oh well. Page works now. But I still think that MySQL sucks, and that Mercury Retrograde sucks, and I'm still going to bed now.
misslynx: (With Kiska)
It would appear that Italy has won the World Cup.

I would know this even if I had not looked at the news, by the volume of cheering, honking, screaming, whistling, etc. outside my windows.

And the occasional sirens of emergency vehicles -- I don't know whether the fans are getting carried away and setting things on fire, or keeling over from heart failure due the excitement of it all, or whether the cops and firefighters and whatnot are out there celebrating with them, or what.

But on the bright side, thunderstorms are expected. Hopefully soon.
misslynx: (Default)
So, apparently the power cord/power adapter/thingy for my scanner disappeared during the move. Of course, I discover this right when I really need to scan something ASAP. Much searching by all three of us ensued, with no luck as yet.

So now I am looking at the prospect of replacing it, and this seems challenging. I checked the sites of various electronics stores, and none have one in the right voltage, because it's a rather odd 15.2 volts. Has anyone ever come across that before? I found various 15V power adapters, but not 15.2, and I don't know if plain old 15 is close enough. Even searching the scanner manufacturer (Epson)'s site didn't turn up anything.

Does anyone know where or if it might be possible to find a replacement power adapter for an Epson Perfection 1260 scanner? Or if a 15V adapter would actually work for it?

The specs on the sticker under the scanner are 15.2V, 1.2A, if that helps.

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