Archive for December, 2003

What I’ve Done on My Holiday Vacation

  • Sanded
  • Spackled
  • Painted
  • Had a beer
  • Installed track lighting
  • Installed washer & dryer
  • Installed dimmer switch
  • Removed two shutters
  • Cut my hand while removing the second of two shutters
  • Tried to remember when my last tetanus shot was
  • Received tetanus shot
  • Made 7 trips to Home Depot in as many days
  • Had a beer
  • Did a fair amount of writing
  • Stained two bookcases (acutally, they hold CDs)
  • Watched the Two Towers (Extended DVD, of course)

* The list excludes the holidays themselves, which were/are very nice. List items subject to change, removal or amendment without notice.

SimpleQuiz › Part X › Multi-Paragraph List Items › Conclusion

I’ve been meaning to recap the last SimpleQuiz question for awhile now. You know, the Holidays…

Looking back on multi-paragraph list items, it appears that (to me) option C might be the way to go — using CSS to modify any default top paragraph padding (as Mark Newhouse suggested using a descendant selector). Using the :first-child pseudo-class would also work, but with mixed support.

But aside from the styling, the real debate could be, if you were to use C — would you wrap single paragraph list items in paragraphs as well? Seems like overkill, yet strange to have only mult-paragraph items use paragraph tags and the rest just live in <li>s.

I’m not intending to restart the debate — just some holiday fruitcake for thought.

To me, a list item is just that — a list item. Not necessarily a paragraph of text. It would seem extraneous to add paragraph tags to all short items for the purpose of making the multi-paragraph items feel more at home. Is there anything wrong with having paragraph tags only on multi-paragraph list items and not single items? I don’t think so, but when I re-read the question, it sort of strikes me as unecessary to ask.

Yet, it could also be the time of year. The time where it’s hard to get your mind back in the swing of things. When I all I really want to do is watch bad movies while making the best selection I can from an assortment of Russell Stover chocolates.

An Old Stove

An old stove

When I say to someone, we bought a new house, what I really mean is that we bought an old house. Case in point: the stove.

This thing is ancient — but it’s so old, that the style is almost hip in a way. I love the typography on it. Typography? Wait a minute… a stove is much more about function than form. I should care about how it performs — the heat it produces, cooking time, etc.

An old stove

The stove works just fine, and I remember the realtor saying that it was made so long ago that it’ll probably last another 50 years. Manufactured at a time perhaps before planned obsolescence.

I’m sure we’ll replace it someday, but for now it’s a matter of convincing ourselves that it’s just fine.

Anyhow, warm wishes for a Happy Holiday Season from SimpleBits. I will be sipping eggnog while priming, painting and spackling my way to a New Year.

Curly Straight

So it’ll be easy to find, next time…

Microsoft Word automatically changes straight quotation marks ( ‘ or ” ) to curly (smart, or typographer’s) quotes as you type. You might not want curly quotes in some cases, for example, if you’re using quotation marks to designate feet and inches. To turn this feature on or off:

  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect, and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  2. Under Replace as you type, select or clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.

Note: You can find and replace all instances of single or double curly quotes with straight quotes in your document. To do this, clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box on the AutoFormat As You Type tab. On the Edit menu, click Replace. In both the Find what and Replace with boxes, type ‘ or “, and then click Find Next or Replace All.

Mexican Beer

beer bottle

I’ve found a new favorite Mexican beer. Pacifico is certainly a better alternative to Corona, with, well… an actual flavor.

The few times I’ve had it have been in Mexican restaraunts, although I have spotted it at the liquor store (or “package store” — a term I still don’t fully understand) recently.

It’s a pilsner style beer, with a nice bite and champagne-like qualities. I’m having one now! Actually no, I’m not. But I’m sure I will soon enough — and any time I need to put out the fire of a habañero, or while fiddling with markup.

What’s your favorite beer?

Better Than a Webcam

I was just browsing the 1976design blog and I’m amazed at what Dunstan has done with his realtime weather panorama images for the header of the site.
Redrawn from actual photos of the view from his location in England, an XML feed from triggers the correct image — detailing time of day and whatever weather condition is actually occurring at that moment. What a brilliant idea, and I’m amazed at the detail — moon phases?! Zodiac signs?!
More is explained on the Colophon, with original photos before they were redrawn as well as listings of every possible weather condition. And be sure to expand your browser window to reveal the entire scene. I’m impressed.

SimpleChili in RCP

Since we were snowbound for the weekend (3 feet!), I decided to make some chili while watching the Patriots win their way to yet another victory. I got to thinking about recipes — that a weblog is a perfect place to post recipes, even if to just catalog them for myself.

So below is my SimpleChili recipe (passed down from a friend, refined by me), which I’ve also made available in RCP. Never heard of RCP? It’s an XML-based catologging format for recipes. All you need is an aggregator (soon to be standard on most refridgerators), and you’ll have instant, customizable access to your favorite recipes. Fridge-side XSLT processing required, of course.

A formal RCP spec will be written at some point. Suggestions are welcome. I’m half kidding, but conversely, half serious. Anyway, on to the recipe…


  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lime
  • 2 12 oz. beers
  • 2-3 tblsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 can drained kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • water as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Time

1.5 hours


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Open one of the beers and take sips throughout. Add onion, celery and turkey. Brown turkey. Add the juice of one lime. Add tomatoes, spices, the other beer and 1 can of water. Bring to a simmer for 1 hour.

Add rinsed kidney beans and corn. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese on top and tortilla chips. Serves 4-6.

Found via a discussion about blogrolls and favorites over at mezzoblue, I’ve just started playing with — a browser-based blogroll/favorites organizer. After only a day, I’m hooked.

I just couldn’t get myself into a routine using an RSS aggregator, instead idiotically refreshing my favorite weblogs throughout the day. What a waste of time. With, it’s easy to set up a list of your favorite weblogs, ordered by how recent they’ve been updated. It becomes a portal of sorts — the first place to check before reading your favorite sites. It feels more natural to organize this stuff right in a browser, and I much prefer to read posts in their actual environment anyhow.

Also found on the same mezzoblue discussion — a link to Phil Ringnalda’s brilliant bookmarklet that’ll search for the current page that you’re on. Then you’re just one click away from adding to your favorites list as you browse.

Oh, and you can pick up your list via a variety of different ways (RSS, OPML, JavaScript). Pretty neat. I realize I’m probably way late to the game.

PowerBook Predictions

So it’s time to buy a new PowerBook. Soon, I’ll be handing in the one I’ve been using on company time and I’ve gotten far too used to sitting on the couch to get work done, wirelessly, as well as a few upcoming trips.

And now I’m caught in that eternal dilemma: when to pull the trigger when buying a new system. I see that there’s a MacWorld conference coming up in early January, and my instincts tell me there’ll be an update to the PowerBook line.

I hate this game. Buy now, and then a week later there’s a whole new line — for less money. It happens to me every time. Every time. So what’s your strategy? Don’t look back? Wait and see?

SimpleQuiz › Part X › Multi-Paragraph List Items

This quiz question comes courtesy of Matt Haughey and it’s certainly one that I (and maybe you) have wondered about.

The scenario is familiar — marking up multiple paragraphs within the same list item. There are visual consequences with any of these to take into account, and I’ll refrain from mentioning anything until after the comments have started. I’d love to hear what everyone’s thoughts are.

Q: When marking up multiple paragraphs within one list item, which method makes the most sense?

  1. <ul>
      <li>Paragraph 1<br /><br />
      Paragraph 2</li>
  2. <ul>
      <li>Paragraph 1
      <p>Paragraph 2</p></li>
  3. <ul>
        <p>Paragraph 1</p>
        <p>Paragraph 2</p>