Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Life04:20 PM - No more, universe, please?


My uncle Greg, my mom's older brother, passed away from cancer around midnight last night. And you know, I wasn't as close to him as I am to some other family members (I'll go into why later, if anyone wants to know), and we all knew it was coming soon, but it's not any easier.

No more people I know dying. Not allowed for at least another, I dunno, 5 years. Please? I'm done.

whining no longer being accepted

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Interesting places03:19 PM - Looking for a new desktop wallpaper?

If you want a new place to look besides DeviantArt, you may enjoy Vladstudio. I haven't used any of them yet, but there's a lot of good, interesting art there.

whining no longer being accepted

Monday, September 27, 2004

Life10:49 AM - Somewhat productive weekend

I am happy to report, that after Saturday evening, the guts of the toilet in the main bathroom in our house have been successfully replaced, meaning the connection between the tank and the floor no longer leaks, meaning we can use it again. Yea! I have J to thank for buying some better tank guts (floatless, to boot, so there's no more float arm attachment to snap, which is what caused us to replace it in the first place), and we both have my dad to thank for getting it 100% properly installed. Also, our kitchen sink faucet no longer drips, again due to my dad and a trip we took to the hardware store. We had thought the faucet itself might need a new washer, but J and I weren't able to detach it, so we called my dad, and he came over later Saturday evening. It turns out that when the faucet drips with the water off, it's something inside one of the knobs. However, he also said that taking the faucet itself off shouldn't have been so difficult, and he had to go to great lengths to take it off (now we had it slightly loose anyway). Apparently the last time someone had it apart, they thought it a good idea to put something on the screw threads akin to LockTite, so of course the part that unscrews at the top to take the faucet off, was very, very stubborn. (He assumes someone erroneously thought the threads should be coated in something to stop leaks around the base -- which, leaks can't happen there specfically -- and instead of something that could be removed again, like silicone, they used something else that practically permanently fused the stupid thing.)

Aaaanyway, after that it was pretty unsalvageable, so we took a trip to TrueValue and bought a whole new unit. Instead of separate hot & cold knobs, it now has a single "joystick" (the guy working there who was helping us found that reference amusing when J made it) which moves very nicely. The sprayer is also better, spraying with better pressure. (It doesn't drip weakly when the water isn't on very hard, etc.) Part of that is that lime had probably built up where the hose attached (or something like that, not in the sprayer itself) somewhere and caused the pressure to drop, so in theory we should be able to detach and soak whatever it is in LimeAway if the sprayer's not working so well after a few years. Also, all of it's nice & shiny, and the sprayer itself is even shiny instead of being made of black plastic. Woo!

So, we now can both use the toilet at the same time without one of us going downstairs, and guests don't have to go in our bedroom or downstairs just to use a working toilet. (Granted probably 95% of the time we've had anyone over in the last 6 months, they've been J's friends and they all hang out downstairs anyway, but still...)

Laundry's done, but not folded. Why, you ask? Because it fell to me to do laundry, and I'm a bit lazier and was going to fold it at the end, only I didn't get it done until midnight or so. See, J bent over to pick up some laundry from where it lands on the floor under the chute, just a few bits, and his back just... shifted. Something in his lower back was no longer right. We went to my parents' to see if my dad could help him out any (is there anything he can't do?), and he was able to a degree. His back wasn't discernibly out per se (it was in the sacral area, but the sacrum itself wasn't visibly out, and that's something that's usually quite visible), but he'd pinched a ligament at the very least. It's in the same spot that he wrenched superbly a couple winters ago, shoveling snow at his parents' house. He had to lean on the shovel to stay upright, and couldn't make himself move at first, and then only barely with his stepdad's help and having to force his left leg to even more at all. Ever since then, it seems to give him issues rather easily, every so often. Such was the case again. Mostly, the treatment is to ice it when it really, really hurts, and at other times when it doesn't hurt too badly, to use a heating pad and then follow up with some massage. Also, no slouching while sitting or standing, because that will aggravate and inflame it.

The weird part, is he was lying on the couch last night, a little before he was going to come upstairs, and he felt something just... move, in that area, and he felt a ton better, just sore. However, when he woke up this morning, it all hurt all over again, not just sore. :( So... yeah, all in all, it sucks for him right now. And to my original point, laundry was obviously out of the question (he'd started a load in the washer, but then we grabbed food, sitting in the car made it hurt enough to ask my dad to look at it, etc., etc.). So it fell to me, but of course I was slower at it because I wouldn't be down there right when it was time to change loads (I can't hear the dryer buzz from upstairs and don't have a feel for how long it runs), and I also screwed up a few things. Namely, I washed some cloth placemats that were red, cream, & green and red, cream & navy, three each. I should've washed them cold, delicate cycle, by themselves. Thankfully they were just with jeans, so that was okay, but the red in them bled all over the cream so now they were pink instead of cream. :( Not to mention, they fuzzed everywhere. I had to pick clumps off of them, since I wasn't about to stick 'em in the dryer, then pick huge clumps out of the washer. So I figured I'd try prewashing them with some Chlorox, then washing them with some Biz added to the detergent, no go. At that point I gave up, and stuck 'em on the drying rack. What sucks, is there are 4 of each color, so now I have 1 of each color that looks normal, and 3 of each color that looks bled all over. Real bummer. Anyway, so that took away time from the next washer load, which slowed the whole thing down.

Bleh. I'm done whining for the moment. The toilet works again, the sink is new and doesn't drip, the bathtub drain is draining better (it got Drano), the bathroom sink, countertop, and toilet tank lid are all clean. Bleh. Still more house cleanup to do than I care to think about.

whining no longer being accepted

Saturday, September 25, 2004

This site12:22 PM - Yet another new theme

Would you believe I cranked out another new theme already? In less than 24 hours? Again, I didn't create the background image -- I found it at a site called Here In My Head. However, I did create a couple other small background images to pull the theme together a little more.

The theme is called Tori Amos: Grey Boxes, and you can find its description and a link to switch it on the themes page. It's also available to switch to as a preview in any browser that will let you switch amongst alternate stylesheets.

I finished this last night around 10pm, and switched it to public, but I forgot to say anything about it before I went to bed. The only thing I haven't done with it is make a favicon to go with it.

whining no longer being accepted

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Life11:33 PM - Plant identification?

Back in June I got asked to take home one of the living plants given at my grandmother's funeral. The one I took home, I took home because I was told it would be fairly hard to kill and easy to take care of. (I didn't want to take home a plant and promptly kill it. If it needs constant supervision and special conditions, I can kill it in a week.)

However, I can't remember what the plant is, and I am no good in identifying plants. Since it just seems to be either producing a flower or a new leaf (it's white, but it's furled just like I'd think a new leaf would be furled before it opens, and it's got a bit of light green down by where it comes out of an existing leaf's stem), I'd take a few pictures, post 'em up, and see if any of you guys can tell me what it is. I'm actually, especially with the flower, thinking it just might be a peace lily, but I am really not sure about that at all, in part because the pictures I've found are of healthier plants than this one is -- I've only barely been keeping up with watering it enough, and it should probably get more water and perhaps more often get the liquid Miracle Gro fertilizer put in when I do water it. Plus, if it's a flower it's generating, all the flowers in pictures I saw when I Googled "peace lily" show them on long stems way up from the leaves, whereas this is growing right from the base of a leaf, where it changes from more curled up stem into actual leaf.

Anyhow, what do y'all think? I took three pictures: an overall full picture, a picture closer up that shows the flower or new leaf in the middle, a little bit, and a close up picture of the flower or new leaf itself. I'd love to know what it is, if any of you horticulturally minded folks have any idea at all. It doesn't have a little plant identifier thingy stuck in the pot anywhere I can find, otherwise I'd know by now. :)


This site01:11 PM - It's gonna be one of those days with lotsa posts...

Third post here (3 already on LJ, one isn't here 'cause it's LJ-specific) already, and it's not even lunch time yet.

Anyway, I think I'm going to go ahead and release the new theme I worked up. I'm really working these fast, now that I have so many other ones to use as reference and have done so many of them already. I was given the image to work with Tuesday (by Bee of the Crosswinds Cadre), and started on it that afternoon after work. By the time it was time to go home yesterday, it was done, except for a few small tweaks I made today to fix things in IE.

It should now appear in the list of themes available, both on the change themes page and in your browser's list of alternate themes to change to, if it has such.

whining no longer being accepted

Web Quizzes10:11 AM - Yet more meme whorage: inner pus^D^D^Dkitty

Your Inner Kitty by gifted_one
Fur lengthLong
ColorsWhite, green eyes
Kitty accessoriesA spiked collar
Favorite thing to say"Let me sleep!"
# of lives you have left5
Quiz created with MemeGen!
Your Inner Kitty by gifted_one
Fur lengthMedium
ColorsOrange Tabby, green eyes
Kitty accessoriesNone
Favorite thing to say"Pass the Fancy Feast!"
# of lives you have left1
Quiz created with MemeGen!

(It is from one of the LJ meme generators, but I tried it with a username that doesn't exist and it still works, so it doesn't use your LJ friends list or anything else, just what you actually type in.)

listening to: Tori Amos - Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
whining no longer being accepted

Web Quizzes09:10 AM - Name your boobies!

[Bloodhound Gang]Hooray for boo-oobieeees![/Bloodhound Gang]

Your Boobies' Names Are: Milk Shakes

Get your own Boobie Names

So, should I call one chocolate & the other strawberry? Or are they, technically speaking, both vanilla? :p

listening to: Tori Amos - China

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Interesting places02:52 PM - Make your own spam shirt

I meant to post this yesterday, but didn't get the chance. How would you like your own shirt with the latest spam subject from your email box? (Or really, anything at all as long as it fits in 55 characters.) Then this site is where you want to go. Pick the t-shirt style, color, and text color, and the phrase you'd like it to read. It'll generate an approximation of what it would look like, and then you have the option of buying it. There are several pre-selected spam subjects, and there's also a box to type your own in.

I doubt I'll buy a shirt, but it's fun to play with.

listening to: Tori Amos - Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
whining no longer being accepted

Web Quizzes08:01 AM - Political quiz

Not really a surprise to me, but I guess for those who didn't already know...

You are a
Social Liberal (66% permissive)
and an
Economic Liberal (31% permissive)
You are best described as a
You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

Go here to take the quiz

I even made a copy of the cute little image they showed me:

political scale image

Monday, September 20, 2004

This site01:42 PM - Site updates

I just got done adding 9 different comics to my Outside Links page, and earlier I finally got around to creating a favicon for the Kittens theme.

Also, I noticed that since MySQL databases were down for a while, my site had no stylesheets loaded. Stupid me, I rebuilt the themes to use a database (since I needd to keep track of so much associated info), and then didn't bother to add in any error checking in case the database couldn't be accessed. Of course, in the middle of adding proper failsafes (and failing at first), it came back up. Just after I uploaded what I was hoping is my final copy with proper checking. However, I can't be 100% certain whether what I added in worked, since of course now the database is back up. I guess if it ever happens again, I'll find out then. Or I could quickly make my database functions file just return false instead of a DB object, like it does if there's an error making the connection. However, that would effect other stuff I'd rather not mess with. Which also reminds me, I should go into that other stuff and add DB object checking so I can at least add in a message like "Page doesn't work right now, can't connect to the database. Try some other time."

whining no longer being accepted

Life07:12 AM - Why did it have to be me? :(

I was on my way out for work, and came around the front of my car and back up the side, since it was backed up close enough to the garage door that I wouldn't easily fit behind. I looked up off the driveway in front of me and out into ours & our neighbor's yards, and saw a black & white kitty just lying there. Initially I thought it was sleeping, but before I got within even 6 feet it was obviously not breathing. :( It was just lying on its side, eyes a little open, mouth slightly open. On the offchance I was wrong, that maybe it was sick and just breathing too shallow to see, I touched it on the head, and it didn't respond and felt a little cool.

Then it dawned on me. Black & white cat. Our neighbors across from us had their indoor-only cat disappear on them while they were loading up a couple "Pods" (storage thingies they bring out on a truck, then carry back off when they're full) in preparation for their move to Wentzville. They'd gone door to door asking if anyone had seen him, and I seemed to remember them saying he was a black & white kitty. I so hoped I was remembering wrong. I'd seen my neighbor go from his carport through to behind it, and I could see his orange shirt through the half fence. So I went over and asked him if they'd ever found their kitty (a week or two ago the answer was still no), and they hadn't. I asked what color their kitty had been, and he said black & white. :(

So I said I had found a black & white cat in our neighbor's yard, just lying still, and he came with me to look. Sure enough, it was their kitty. They hadn't been able to find him anywhere, and normally if he ever went outside he never went 2 feet past the house, usually just staying on the front porch. He said they'd been spraying a window for flies, and that they'd been worried he'd breathed some of it in, 'cause just earlier the day he'd disappeared he'd been acting a little sick. He had managed to disappear in under an hour. Apparently he'd stayed in the area, but no one ever saw him -- I know I never did. I guess he just followed that cat instinct to go off and be alone when sick. Had he just come home (or never left), they could've gotten him to the vet and he'd be fine now. He wasn't a very old cat, perhaps late middle age.

I couldn't help it; I cried the first couple minutes on the way to work. Poor, poor kitty. :(

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Web Quizzes07:50 AM - My goddess biography, such as it is

This is a Memegen quiz, which are usually specific to LiveJournal, but this one doesn't rely on an LJ username and friends list to generate its answers, so I stuck it here too.

My Biography as a God(dess) by Telinek
Your Full name (Or LJ username):
Age (spell it, lazy bum):
Symbol: color-darkgray
Symbol: item-An eclipse
Symbol: animal-A house cat
You"re famous for:Giving gifts to mortals
How many people like you:: 75%
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Interesting places02:07 PM - The Siiimpsoooooons

Ever watch The Simpsons, and wonder where this mythical Springfield was, or what it looked like? Well, while they don't say which Springfield, USA it is (there are several, to put it lightly), a few someones have decided to direct their obsessive tendencies to the effort of creating a detailed map of Springfield.

Not only is there a single large map, there's also a medium sized one broken into clickable quadrants to see the detail of the large map in more manageable chunks.

listening to: Tori Amos - Muhammed My Friend
whining no longer being accepted

Monday, September 13, 2004

This site09:24 AM - A little tweaking

I altered all the category archives so they'll appear as multiple pages instead of a single page, to cut down some of the unwieldy ones. The monthly archive pages don't really need it; I don't have more than 35 or so posts in any one month, but a few of the categories are getting really, really long. So now any that are too ungodly long will split into pages so the scrolling isn't as insane.

whining no longer being accepted

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fun stuff01:41 PM - Awesome dancing skeleton marionette

You absolutely have to watch this movie. It's a skeleton marionette dancing to music. Really very, very well done.

listening to: Tori Amos - Mother

Life09:42 AM - Too creepy

Dunno if you guys have heard the Tori Amos remake of Eminem's '97 Bonnie & Clyde, but... damn. I just heard it again, and it is super creepy. I have heard it's one of Eminem's rare good songs, and that his is quite creepy too, but geez. Fucked right the hell up.

The last concert we saw Tori at was right after Strange Little Girls came out, which is her album of covers with this song on it. She opened with this song. The stage had ripped up black gauzy curtain hanging down on it, and the light coming from behind it was quite eerie. She wasn't on stage; you could just hear her doing the song, which is just about all spoken, with little instrumentation. Talk about a weeeird opening. (We hadn't heard it before either, 'cause we didn't have that album yet. We were all, "whoa....") Cool, but very... surreal, in a foreboding sorta way.

If you haven't heard it yet, you should give it a listen some time. (If you're local to St. Louis and wanna hear it some time but don't have the album and aren't a big enough fan to be planning on buying it, I'll play it for ya. Not gonna upload it for download, 'cause I don't wanna get in trouble, and it's not a live fan recording or anything.)

Also odd... I brought all of SLG to work on my thumb drive to add to my playlist here, alphabetized & saved the playlist, etc., and at random it played 3 songs from it in a row (not in alpha order though).

listening to: Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl (Live)
whining no longer being accepted

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Life03:28 PM - How tedious

I just added 3 more months' worth of old posts to my LJ. I had stopped with January '03; now it starts with October '02. I left out a few that were really website specific, but I posted the rest.

Only took me an hour...

At least I get to go home soon. And J and I are going to meet for dinner, almost like a date. :p (His HS is doing their semester open house, so he'd rather stay in the area than come home and then go back out.) Pretty sure we're gonna do Mongolian BBQ -- mmmm!

listening to: Tori Amos - Mother
whining no longer being accepted

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Life10:36 PM - *evil grin*

J hadn't seen Bananaphone yet. I have now introduced him. Hehehehe.

I now have seen a third version I hadn't seen before. The other two were the one with the guy in the apartment who can hear it, but his roommate can't, and the flashing seizure-inducing one of the black & white ASCII girl overlayed with an artist's rendition of what a bananaphone would look like. The one I hadn't seen, was one with the Badgers (complete with mushroom, snake, and artist's rendition of a bananaphone). It doesn't wrap very well, but was interesting.

Hehehee... ringringringringringringring... bananaphoooone!

(Didn't link 'em 'cause I'm tired, it's a little late, and I'm lazy. If I feel like it, I may go back and link them later. But that's what Google's for. ;) )

Linked now.

listening to: ringringringringringringring...

Web Quizzes03:42 PM - What mythological form are you?

You are Form 0, Phoenix: The Eternal.

"And The Phoenix's cycle had reached zenith, so he consumed himself in fire. He emerged from his own ashes, to be forever immortal."

Some examples of the Phoenix Form are Quetzalcoatl (Aztec), Shiva (Indian), and Ra-Atum (Egyptian). The Phoenix is associated with the concept of life, the number 0, and the element of fire. His sign is the eclipsed sun.

As a member of Form 0, you are a determined individual. You tend to keep your sense of optimism, even through tough times and have a positive outlook on most situations. You have a way of looking at going through life as a journey that you can constantly learn from. Phoenixes are the best friends to have because they cheer people up easily.

Which Mythological Form Are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Life09:06 AM - Is simple truth so difficult?

First, a little background...

It's been over 5 weeks now that J hasn't been able to drive his car. It runs, but it seems to have a problem that he doesn't want to risk making worse -- it was leaking a fluid that wasn't brake fluid, antifreeze, etc., and it had trouble shifting. Initially after going over a bump (not immediately, but at the next light, may or may not be related), he couldn't shift into anything. He'd dropped it in neutral, then when he went for first it just wouldn't go. At all. He tried second, nothing. Same with the rest. He turned it off, got it to start on the 2nd try, and it would finally go into 4th. A little high a gear to move the car with. So he moved a few inches and killed it, then started it again. After that it would go into first if he coaxed it long enough, a problem it still has. It is also a little more difficult than it should be getting into second, getting progressively easier with each gear. Also, he noticed the few times after that he drove it, that there was a brownish orangish, slightly sticky but with no discernible smell or taste (yes, he tasted it), liquid puddling under the car a bit in the driveway.

So he made an appointment with the dealer to take a look at it (should be under warranty). The appointment was for August 2. At 12:01am August 2, all the bloody unionized machinists (those who work on cars, anyway) went on strike. Presumably one group at one shop in town was having a dispute with their company, so for some reason they're all on strike, including those with existing contracts. And I've heard the only thing they're bitching about, is not getting 100% free health care anymore. Guess what, folks? No one else can get that anymore either. I kick in $15 every paycheck for the both of us to be insured (it's $7.50 per person per two weeks). So do the grocers who went on strike several months ago at Schnucks, Dierberghs, and Shop 'n' Save (all 3 major chains employ union only, and at least one of them had their contract up).

But I digress...

The machinists are still all on strike. So of course J's car hasn't been looked at. And he understandably doesn't want to drive it for fear of fucking something up. Thankfully, Helm hasn't bought the Sable from us yet, so we don't have to figure out car pooling between our work.

J called Lou Fusz (where we bought the car, and were going to have it looked at) to see what other arrangements can be made. They discussed different options, one of which we immediately refused -- taking it to the only dealer in St. Louis who isn't union, which is Webster Groves. Not a chance -- they're as slimy there as the slimiest used car dealership you can think of. It ended up, he said he'd call to the next closest dealership with a certified garage (not all dealerships have auto repair shops, but only auto repair shops at the dealerships are certified), which is in Springfield, IL. He called back Friday morning and asked J to call him back, which he did. Mind you, this is almost 5pm on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. They talk, and the guy says he talked to the dealer there and they said they'd pay to transport the Subaru out there so they can work on it, and we'd just have to drive out to get it. J said that sounded good, and asked for the phone number and a name of someone to talk to, to set up plans to get it towed/transported/whatever.

Yesterday morning, the guy at Lou Fusz called back with the name & phone number. Yesterday afternoon, he called out there. Turns out the guy says he never talked to anyone from Lou Fusz, and that we'd have to get it out there. (We'd drive it, but what if that makes it worse?) ??? And of course, it being after 5pm, not one of Lou Fusz' alternate late-open days, no one answers there.

So basically the guy at Lou Fusz caught himself in an easily verifiable lie. Why would he think we wouldn't find out he hadn't called them? I mean, with J telling him he was going to call out and make arrangements, wouldn't it be obvious we'd know whether someone out there would have talked to him? If he wasn't going to call them, why didn't he just tell us the name and number and leave it at that? If you tell person A that you're going to call person B to help arrange something, and tell person A that person B is cool with it, knowing full well that person A is going to be talking to person B, you'd damn well better make sure you did actually talk to person B.

So now we have to decide what to do next. I imagine first will be chewing the guy's ass at Lou Fusz who lied to us. After that, we've got to decide if we want to find a way to tow it to Springfield, IL or Columbia, MO (Columbia's slightly farther), risk driving it to one of those places, or some other solution. Another conflict between what these two dealerships have told us, by the way, is whether having someone else work on the car will void our warranty. The Lou Fusz dealership told us that if anyone besides the dealer works on our car, the part they work on is no longer covered under warranty. The dealership in Springfield told us it was fine so long as the place used certified Subaru parts. Either way, even if it's a repair covered by the warranty we'd still have to pay for it ourselves because we didn't do it at the dealership.

Towing it over 100 miles would probably end up costing us more $$$ than having whatever it is fixed, I'd imagine.

So now we have to decide: do we risk driving it 100+ miles? do we pony up to tow it? do we manage to convince Subaru to cover towing fees as part of the warranteed repair cost? do we wait until the strike is over (and would Lou Fusz actually be honorable and fit us in as one of their first appointments instead of just taking first-come-first-serve appointments as usual, which they likely have really backed up)? do we take it elsewhere and pay out of pocket, at least to find out what's wrong with it? Webster Groves isn't an option, because (a) they're really backed up (imagine that), and (b) not only do we not trust them, but J also insisted I tell him that due to insurance we weren't buying a Subaru at all. Burned that bridge already. Driving it 100+ miles is probably bad as well.

If the strike isn't over in the next week or so, and I doubt it since I've heard they had to bring in a federal mediator over it, we have to find something to do. I'll be making the 2nd payment on it tomorrow, and there's a grand total of less than 300 miles on the car since we got it. I'm thinking we ought to take it somewhere just to have them look at it. It could turn out to be a very simple fix; perhaps that bump jarred loose a hose that's part of the hydraulic clutch system, and it leaked clutch fluid, and the hose just needs to be reattached and the clutch refilled with fluid. Or something equally simple. If it's a $50 repair, I would rather pay that myself than pay a couple hundred to tow it 100 miles away to fix it free. And even if it's not a cheap repair, we'd at least know what was wrong with it.


listening to: Tori Amos - Bliss

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Technical This site01:21 AM - If you want it done right...

... do it yourself.

For anyone who has had issues viewing any images I've posted on my LJ, I think it's fixed now. All I can say is, CPanel is a piece of crap when it comes to hotlinking, and regular expressions suck. I finally have it tweaked to where it allows any subdomains on my site without having to enumerate them, any subdomains on without having to enumerate them, as well as slightly more specific instances in cases where I only want to allow the site to use images only at the root level, with or without the www. in front. The latter I found examples directly of; the former I had to come up with myself. Apparently, regex is limited for htaccess files, so instead of being able to use \w+ I had to actually spell it out with [a-zA-Z0-9_]+ instead. (The + means to take whatever's modified and look for it one or more times; \w is supposed to be equivalent to the spelled-out one, which means anything alphanumeric plus an underscore.) Also, since I already knew CPanel writes the rule wrong for substituting an alternate image (it throws it into an infinite redirect loop if you use CPanel for that), I found how to do that correctly as well.

I'm not going to post my actual file, but here's an example for those who're curious:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://([a-zA-Z0-9_]+\.)?*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpe?g|gif|bmp|png)$ images/nohotlinking.gif [L]

Now, for an explanation. The first line allows a direct link, i.e. no referrer at all. If you don't want anyone to be able to type in or paste a URL directly into their location bar, omit this line.

The second line basically allows for any and all subdomains, or the root domain with or without the www, to use images at your domain. The [a-zA-Z0-9_]+ means any alphanumeric or underscore one or more times. The \. is an actual dot (if you don't escape a dot, it technically means any character). The ? takes that whole thing and says "zero or one times". All together, it means that if there's anything before on the referrer, it has to start with at least one alphanumeric character and have a dot after it. Otherwise, it should be nothing at all. And, you can't have that twice. So there wouldn't be a allowed (why would you even find that anyway? I'm not sure if that's even possible...).

The third line simply tells it to either allow a www. before the domain name, or nothing at all.

All of these lines start with a !^. I don't know for sure why the ! is there, but I know that with regular expressions, ^ means all this has to match at the beginning of the line, rather than matching anywhere at all. Also, the .* at the end means any character at all, 0 or more times at the end. (The only thing I wonder, is why the dot in the dot-com or dot-net or whatever, doesn't have to be escaped. It probably should be, but every example I've found doesn't do this.) Finally, the $ at the end of the matching string signifies the end of the line; this is another regular expression thing. The only thing I can't explain, is the [NC]. I'm pretty sure that means go to the next line, but for some reason there's not one after the direct-link first line. I've read about what it means before, but I can't really remember. If you Google "htaccess tutorial" and/or "RewriteEngine tutorial", you'll find definitions for what those letters mean along with a host of other options.

The last line specifies the type of file requested, and an alternate to substitute. The \. means an actual period. Inside the parentheses, is a list of the different file extensions, with the | signifying OR. So, jpe?g OR gif OR bmp OR png. The jpe?g simply means either jpg or jpeg, because the ? modifies the nearest character, in this case the e, and means "zero or one times". The $ again means "at the end", so in this case any file requested that ends with .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png will fall under the above conditions listed. If the file is requested with a referrer of anywhere that's NOT in the list of exceptions above, then it is redirected to, in the example, images/nohotlinking.gif. I'm presuming the [L] makes it so that when this is requested, it won't fall back in the no-hotlinking trap (otherwise, you request an image, it says "no" and redirects to a .gif file, which counts as a request to an image that isn't allowed, which says "no", etc...).

So there you are. That's essentially what I did, except I have more of both types (any subdomain and just with or without www) in my list, with real domains instead of fake ones, and I don't even use an "images" directory. :) If you want to know more, Google's ready to answer your queries on both hotlinking protection with htaccess, and regular expressions.

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Life05:56 PM - Hair pics

Got 'em uploaded, so here they be: front view, back view.

I had to color correct the back one 'cause the camera added way too much red to the whole picture. The front one was accurate as-is.

What y'all think?

Life10:06 AM - Woo! Pretty hair.

I went ahead and had my hair colored and trimmed a bit yesterday. I love the color, even more so now that I'm not in their lighting (which makes everything so much cooler in color than it really is -- it emphasized the "greenish" tint of my real haircolor, and somewhat diminished the red). It's now a medium-dark auburn red with a few redder highlights in various places on the top, and has much shorter layering.

I'm a slight bit undecided on the layering, I think it may have been a little too much, but it's not bad and it'll grow out in not too long anyway. I am absolutely in love with the new color though. It's a semi-permanent color, so I'll have to go back and have her do it again in a permanent color, and I thought maybe just a smidge redder than it is now, though I'm not as sure on that now that I've seen it in more normal light. (We have fluorescent bulbs at work, but they're warmer, I guess, than the ones at the salon. And of course, there's not much fluorescent lightining at home, so I've seen it in even warmer light than that, but I use the work lighting for comparison.)

I had J take a few pics last night, and I'll try and get time to post them when I get home this afternoon. I have at least one of the front I can put up, and one of the back (where the highlighting is less pronounced so it's a better look at the overall color).

Eeee! Also, I returned a product I'd bought Tuesday, and bought two others to try instead: a sample size of Redken's Fresh Curls: Curl Boost, and a bottle of KMS's Curl Up: Curl Gloss. The woman who colored my hair prefers the Redken, but I also thought I'd try the KMS as I've heard good things about their stuff as well. Maybe I'll end up liking both for different things, or just one or the other, or neither. I'll have to alternate between them for a while to see what each does for me and what I like.

Woo! Loving my hair right now. :D

whining no longer being accepted

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Life11:15 AM - I'm a little apprehensive, though in a good way

I've been totally girly the last few days.

I went to Walgreens Tuesday to fill my Flonase scrip (free the first refill, 'cause of a coupon! yea!). I was told to come back to the pickup window in 45 minutes (!), so I had a lot of time to wait. I wanted to pick up a replacment bottle to hold liquid soap, since the one downstairs had its collar (the part that holds the lid on by screwing onto the bottle neck) crack, and also get a make-up case a little bigger than my current one. So I did that... then I still had over a half hour to kill. So I browsed make-up, just kinda looking at all the pretty colors. I ended up picking up a yellow-based concealer for the apparently permanent bags under my eyes, at least when they are dark. (Even as a little kid, with plenty of sleep, while I didn't have dark circles I had little bags.) Yellow, 'cause it's to better cover up bluish tones, which tend to be what dark circles are made of. :p I picked up my scrip 10 minutes early, 'cause I was bored and out of stuff to look at, and left.

I had decided I'd like to check out the new Beauty Brands in the plaza on Lindbergh that just opened a couple months ago, and since J wasn't home yet (I called), I figured then would be a good time, since I wouldn't torture him by dragging him along with me. :) The place is huge! I guess they all are, but I'd never been in one before. So, I wandered around, grabbed a big bottle of something I've been low on for a while, and a bottle of something I'd wanted to try (and that I'm taking back today, 'cause after only two uses it's obvious the stuff sucks). Then I wandered over to the make-up section. Whoa. They have testers. And q-tips and eyebrow applicators and Kleenex and rubbing alcohol, so you can try a color and then take it back off again. Whoa. This is new to me, since I've always bought my make-up at Walgreens and stuff.

I ended up picking up a blush, which is the first time I've actually had a blush that was completely the right color, two eyeshadow colors, an eyeliner pencil, and three make-up brushes: a blush brush, a big overall eyeshadow brush, and a contour brush (littler, so you can do things like just the crease of your eyelid). They were kinda expensive, but they're very soft and look like the bristles won't fall out with minimal use.

Then, I got in conversation with one of their customer service ladies, and ended up going over to the salon desk and making an appointment for a free consultation about getting my hair colored. Whoa. I've been wanting to go lots redder with my hair for at least a year, but haven't had the guts to do it. A coworker even gave me the info for her sister-in-law, and I kept meaning to call... However, this place is a ton closer than she is (she's in St. Peters), and I was already there...

I had my consultation yesterday. The lady was really nice, and seemed to know a ton about coloring hair. Also, a good hint is that she not only colors her own hair, apparently all the time from what she said, but she does a good job with her own hair color. What she recommended, is rather than a permanent color, first trying a semi-permanent color, which instead of penetrating all the way through hair only dyes the cuticle, and lasts about 4-6 weeks and gradually fades. If I don't like it, it'll gradually go back to my regular color, and if I do I can go back and choose something permanent. She pointed out two colors that are very similar, and only vary slightly between a bit more or less red, maybe mixing just a touch bit more red into the redder of the two auburns (I want just a tinge more red than that one showed, but not as red as some other samples were).

So, I have an appointment today. Whoa. She's going to trim my layers, keeping the length the same, to give it a better shape, then add some very slight highlights to the front to give it a little more variation. After that, she'll add the semi-permanent color all over. Appointment's at 4:15, and I have her until 6 if necessary. She said it'll probably take an hour and a half, but we have a bit extra if it goes a little longer.

I can't believe I'm doing this. I'm not quite as freaked 'cause it's not permanent, but... eeeeee! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.

I also bought a skin lotion and bath salts yesterday, along with another eyeshadow color. Then last night I made myself up, first with a natural look with just the light eyeshadow color from Tuesday, eyeliner, and no mascara or lipstick, and light blush, then coming in with the darker color of eyeshadow I bought today, mascara, a little more blush, and one of my lipsticks and lipliner. I looked pretty damn good. Woo. :)

So... girly. Weird.

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