Cold Season and Another Try with FontKit

I haven’t had a cold in quite a while, so the one I have now feels particularly annoying. It’s not as if I’ve forgotten what a cold is like, but I think you can get used to them, when you get them more often (and I’m sure I did suffer from frequent colds- nearly every few months or so when we lived in Boston). It’s a rainy day, and this is Cold: Day 2 ( which means, runny nose, sneezes and a little less energy), Cold: Day 2 is always easier for me than Cold: Day 1 (sore throat, runny nose, feeling like crap). Hopefully, this cold will progress at the usual rate, or maybe even faster.

It’s Labour Day weekend, and although I do have a contract I’m working on, I do have the luxury of not having to work very much this 3-day weekend. This holiday falls on the last weekend of summer and ushers in School, Work, and general ‘Lets-Get-Down-To-It’ sort of things that we associate with the Fall season. We’ve had a spectacularly sunny summer, and it really was extraordinary, with months and months of sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine. That was unfortunate for those people who had to deal with wildfires to the East of us, but for those of us in the city or near the water, July and August have been a rarely interrupted succession of one beautiful day after another. Does this mean we are in for some weather comeuppance?  Will we see a January and February monsoon, or worse, lots of snow, like last year? Time will tell, I suppose. What I can say for sure is that for the first time in ages, the rain that we have (and there has been a little of it), is falling on a weekend. Rainy weekends hold their own charm for me; you don’t have to feel guilty about indoor pursuits like movies, TV, blogging, listening to iTunes or even cleaning up the place. I’m not missing any precious hours of vitamin D harvest, and it can be nice to be cozy, wrapped in a blanket, snoozing through some of those sniffles.

The end of the Summer really began a couple of weeks ago when Pam and I once again went to the PNE, which is in its last weekend right now. While we missed Dal Richards, (Canada’s answer to Guy Lombardo and Glen Miller and a living legend, still performing well into his 90’s), we did make it to see many of the animals (and on Opening Day, there are many of them):

Cow and Handler

I loved how this picture came out

The Opening Day crowds, brought out by the perfect weather were large:


We chatted with an old friend at the Home Improvement Pavilion, ate some of those famous little donuts:
Mmm Donuts!

Mmm Donuts!

David Eats the Donuts

They were Hot and Delicious

and Pam got a bargain of 4 ears of roasted corn for the price of 1 (the line was so long, they were getting behind and she got a plate of not-quite-good-enough-for-1-serving ears):
Pam's Corn

Pam’s Corn

We also went to the ‘Marketplace’ where you see all of those demonstrations of everything from Shammies to Blenders and ended up getting a Smart Living Steam Mop. We’ve since put it through it’s paces on our carpets, wood and tile at home and while it does not perform miracles, it does work pretty well, and we hope it will help us keep the place a little cleaner. We still do need new carpet, but that will hopefully come in the next few months or so.

So, with the season now clearly coming to an end, it’s time to return my attention back to this blog, which I’ve been giving a bit less attention this summer. With that, I’m trying to once again look at the new Font technology that will be coming soon to a web page on your screen…

Squishy Fonts?

I’ve tried some different Typekit fonts, and it seems as if the body text is always looking a bit squished. I’m convinced it’s not the fonts themselves, but the metrics I’ve specified on the original Georgia font (which is what older browsers see when they view my pages). I’ll keep at it, but for reference, here are the fonts as they appear on the TypeKit Editor page:


Click to see the full-size, which clearly shows how the fonts should look.

As you can see, the new font, Luxi (Sans and Serif) are not supposed to be that squishy, so I’ll have to work on the original CSS (and do so without ruining the look of the page for older browsers. Backward compatibility without messing up the new fonts is going to be one of the challenges for us using these new fonts, I guess.

The Lost Week

The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston, Cover Art Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston, Cover Art Courtesy of Wikipedia

I remember when I read ‘The Hot Zone’, Richard Preston’s non-fiction account of killer germs like Marburg, Ebola, and other hemorrhagic fevers. I was truly terrified, but I remember being less scared by his historical background material on the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. It’s true, it killed nearly 25 million in its first 25 weeks. ‘But that was so long ago, I thought, ‘with Medical Science not sufficiently advanced or able to deal with simple things, like the flu. After all, we now have flu shots, penicillin and the like.’

If the constant scares about ‘bird flu’ haven’t given the term a new weight (and they recently killed thousands of turkeys in nearby Abbotsford because one of them had been found to have contracted it), I have a new reason to be respectful.  I was infected with some strain of Influenza on Friday, Feburary 20th, and I effectively disappeared from daily life until roughly today, 8 days later (and I can’t even be positive that it has utterly, completely and totally left me – I really hope that the SOB has). Without going into the gory details, I was out of it for nearly the whole week and miserable. This meant that I not only missed some business meetings (but no deadlines, thank goodness), but also the second day of Northern Voice (which by many accounts was the best ever), a Blogger Meetup, and Launch Party Vol 6, all which I was looking forward to attending. There’s truly no good time to come down with the flu, but a knock-you-on-your-ass case this week was truly unfortunate.

Last year, at this time, Pam was on her trip to Antarctica, and I came down with a case of the flu then as well (although nothing as severe and long as this one). That year, as with this year, I had gotten a flu shot, but I lost the gamble that it covered the strain that I caught. You only have a roughly 1 in 3 chance that the shots actually will do the trick, and so far, over the past 3 years, I’m pretty much getting that hit rate. (1 hit, 2 misses)

I hope this (getting the flu, that is) doesn’t become a regular,  last week in February event, because we are planning on a trip in almost exactly a year’s time.

In the meantime, I’ll write more when I get my strength back.

Trying Not to Do Anything Rash

I don’t usually write much about my own health, mostly because I usually think that it’s a boring subject. Not this past weekend, though. Last Saturday, the first day of the first weekend I’d had to myself in 2 weeks, I was sitting right where I am right now, at my computer. I was itching a little on my hands after I had just washed them. I looked down and the sight that I saw was not pleasant. My arms had what I thought were hives; nasty red bumps, the kind you get from an allergic reaction. It got worse with each hour. Now, a day later, from my head to my toes and everywhere in between, I’m covered with an angry red rash, and it itches like crazy. I could barely sleep Saturday or last night from the itching (it seemed to move around, like a forest fire).

The culprit, it turns out, was penicillin (or rather, Amoxicillin, in the same family of antibiotics) The Friday before last week I made a follow-up visit to my dentist, after root canal work the preceding Monday. I didn’t write about it here because aside from the discomfort, it wasn’t all that notable. In order to head off a possible abscess,  I’d been taking 3 Amoxicillin a day for about a week. All of the sudden, on day 10, this rash hits.

The clinic was closed on Sunday, but this morning I went in and saw a doctor, who prescribed some antihistamine and Cortisone lotion. Hopefully in a few days I should be better. In the meantime, I look like a disaster (not being able to shower or shave for 3 days doesn’t help either). No photos are necessary, believe me.

I’m now wondering if I’m going to have to wear a Medicalert Bracelet. Being allergic to a raft of foods like my friend Matt would be one thing, but being allergic to Penicillin seems a bit scarier, even though these days the ‘wonder drugs’ are less effective on all of these new super-germs than they used to be. At least this new discovery is not something that will bother me day-to-day (I hope).  As I try to keep from scratching and releasing new histamines into my bloodstream, I also try to think of that.