Come to think of it, I’ll tackle these three items in the title in reverse order:
The reason that it has been so long since I’ve posted anything to this blog was because of the new-and-improved release of WordPress, version 2.1 (referred to as Ella, as in Fitzgerald), which is the software that I use to publish this blog. I needed a block of time of about 3 hours, I thought. The first step to doing the upgrade was to download both a backup of the database that WordPress uses (SQL), as well as all of the files that made up the initial blog, taking care to insure that if anything went wrong, I could partially or even completely reconstitute the roughly 200 postings from just the text. I did this once, but then saw some comments. So I put off the upgrade, and therefore, put off any new posts. Finally, yesterday evening I had enough time to very carefully back everything up, delete all of the old blog files (except for the content), and then upload the new version and run the upgrade script. To my surprise, everything worked perfectly. Either I’m better at this than I thought, or the many people who have reported going through an ordeal moving to the new version had more complex sites than I did; I really can’t say.
At any rate, the blog is back, upgraded and improved, and despite deleting and uploading all of those files and performing a few other tasks extremely slowly and carefully, it didn’t take 3 hours; More like 90 minutes. The changes to Loud Murmurs are invisible to you, dear reader. It does serve the pages far faster, and the editor for doing posts has been dramatically improved. There are a few other administrative screens and security rewrites, etc., but again, it’s all behind the scenes. Take it from me, on the other side of the site, we’ve all got new furniture. So welcome to Loud Murmurs 2.1. Long time, no see.
One reason (among many) that I wasn’t able to find time for the upgrade (or posting) was a new gadget. Our newest piece of technology is a gift from my brother and his family, a TiVo. After a long wait, we’ve finally gotten it set up and recording away. It was no small task, because getting Canadian listings require a network connection if you don’t want the box making weekly long-distance phone calls to the states, because the setting for retrieving Canadian listings is — and I swear I’m not making this up — Leo, Wyoming. So, after getting a wireless adapter so that we can use the TiVo with our home network, and after a few other electronic, hardware and software hoops, I’m pleased that I no longer have to choose between catching an episode of Heroes or writing an entry here. Let’s hear it for time-shifting! I should mention that the other advantage to having this PVR (Personal Video Recorder) on the home network is that I can copy any recorded show from the TiVo to my computer, and after some compression and conversion, to my iPod. Too cool.
After my trips to Buffalo and San Francisco, our little drive down to Seattle felt quite short. We visited for a brunch and afternoon with my brother and his family. We had a terrific meal at Monsoon, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant where you can not only get that wonderful classic, Banh Xeo (pronounced Bann-show, it’s a sort of crêpe/omelette that actually contains no eggs; the ‘crêpe batter’ is a mixture of water, coconut milk and rice flour with a trace of tumeric and folded around handfuls of beansprouts, shrimp and lean pork), but also a terrific Vanilla French Toast made with brioche (which my niece ordered and many of us tasted). We only visited for a short time, but managed to fit in a chilly walk on Seattle’s new Olympic Sculpture Park. We also picked up that afformentioned wireless adaptor for the TiVo, and were back in Vancouver before midnight (but not that much before, due to a stop in Bellingham to do some minor shopping at Target).
There’s lots more to add; when you don’t take note of things right away they pile up. I’ll try and catch up in future posts.