General

I'm on Twitter

Posted April 22, 2009

You can follow me at twitter.com/mcferrill.

Logician Yet Lives

Posted February 10, 2009

Some time ago I built a simple web-based brainstorming tool dubbed "Logician". I hadn't worked on it for about a year when I found a use for it in Indiana. Last night I had a few minutes to spare so I dug up the code on my laptop and worked out a few kinks. It now works pretty well. The only thing I still want is drag and drop of nodes.

Logician is a single web page that you can save to your computer (or anywhere else for that matter) and it will still have your work on it. It branches things out in a tree similar to a directory structure. You can save the entire page to disk and it won't erase any changes. Enjoy!

Pictures from NC

Posted February 03, 2009

Here are some of the pictures I promised.

The stairs from the street:

The main hallway:

The sitting / dining room:

The Kitchenette:

Proof that we shan't go hungry:

The Adventures Begin

Posted February 02, 2009

Today was the first official day of my internship with the NCFIC. I've now been in Wake Forest for about four and a half days and am loving it already. I'd love to wax eloquent about what's been going on but I'll get locked in if I'm not outta here in about five minutes.

The title came from an event that occurred the other night (Saturday?) when the interns in the other room locked both of their sets of keys in their room. I climbed out a window and got around to theirs and broke in to let them in. More info and pictures to come... hopefully.

Uncle, Uncle, Uncle!

Posted January 23, 2009

Seth Andrew Ferrill entered this world at 12:25 on Jan. 23rd (01-23 of '09 my Mom pointed out). He was 7lbs 1.5oz and 20.5 inches long.

The proud father:

Mom (who is doing fine btw):

A happy Grandma:

And a very thoughtful looking seth:

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs

Posted January 23, 2009

Some years ago my next-eldest brother taught me how to make fried potatoes, and ever since it's been one of my favorite things to serve for breakfast. Today I taught my youngest brother how to make them and also did my own variation of "Potatoes O'Brien". Here's what resulted:

Our usual fried potatoes:

The same thing done with sweet potatoes (for those of us on diets):

And the "Potatoes O'Ferrill":

Potatoes, anyone?

Somewhat Dearly Departed

Posted January 16, 2009

While we were in California, I not only got invited to run a dance immediately after we returned, but I also heard about an internship opportunity with the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. I've considered interning at Vision Forum for some time now, having had an older brother go through that experience. If you read the information on the internship page of the NCFIC website, you'll see that one of the main things the interns will be doing during our five month stay is building out the organization's website.

If you know me very well, you can already tell that this would be a perfect fit for my skillset and interests. Thanks to I'm sure over generous recommendations from some good friends I'm starting on the 29th of January and as I mentioned won't be back probably for five months. I would appreciate your prayers as I prepare for this exciting development God has placed in my path. My personal prayer is that God would use this to teach me new things both technically and theologically, and that I would be a credit to my family and my church as I serve there.

Christ Church Tween's Christmas Ball

Posted December 29, 2008

While we were in Utah Hannah and I were invited to help run dances at my brother Daniel's church. Here are some pictures and video.

Yours truly getting ready.

The Ferrill delegation.

Swing dancing!

The whole group.

I'll post videos to my my vimeo page.

Utah / California 2008

Posted December 29, 2008

Here are some of the pictures I promised.

We went to California to visit my eldest brother while my Dad was working on a project there.

One of our favorite parks in Lancaster.

Playing Settlers of Cataan while I was working on a project for Dad.

Our dear friends the Macys.

After Dad's work was finished, we headed up to Park City Utah for our ski trip.

My eldest brother's new minivan (in the mirror).

My next-eldest brother flew out to Salt Lake City with his family to meet us. We then did one of our favorite things to do as a family: We went to Cracker Barrel!

While we were in California my younger brothers purchased a football. Inspired by Alabama's up-to-then undefeated record this season I'm sure.

Finally we got to Utah and hit the slopes.

The resort we stayed at.

Left to right: Joel, Samuel, Daniel.

Left to right: Dad, Lydia, Hannah (background), Sarah (foreground), Rebekah.

My eldest brother Timothy.

Yours truly braking hard at the bottom of the lift. (resort in the background)

My youngest sister Sarah really improved her skills this trip.

The grandkids watching out the window.

My two older brothers and their families.

We introduced both of my older brothers to Mario Kart while we were there.

They also had an epic battle of wii tennis.

We also went sledding while we were there (another tradition).

Even my sister in law Jodi got in on the action.

This looks dangerous.

Wanna race?

Obviously we took lots of group photos.

Roll Tide!

Obviously these are just the highlights. You can see more at:

Return from Afar

Posted December 21, 2008

One reason I haven't been posting recently is that I've been on a six week vacation with my family to the west coast and only got back this past Wednesday morning around 12:00 AM. We spent most of that time in California visiting my eldest brother and his family. We went to the park, played ultimate frisbee, visited with old acquaintances, and in general just caught up with everything we left behind. We also went to Utah for our annual ski trip where my next-eldest brother met us with his family. I'll post pictures and perhaps video later on.

It Was Bound to Happen

Posted November 03, 2008

Stephen G. "tagged" me. So here's how it works (apparently):

The Rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write Six Random Things about yourself.
  • Tag six-or-so other people at the bottom of your post.
  • Leave comments on their blogs, letting them know theyve been tagged.
  • Let the person who tagged you know when youve written the post.
  • Six Random Things About Me

    1. I have a reputation for carrying multiple (ie. 4) knives about my person when I'm out and about.
    2. I learned Scottish dance while living in southern California.
    3. I have a bad habit of trying to rebuild the whole internet from scratch.
    4. I'm terrible at heading a soccer ball even though I've been playing over a decade.
    5. I barely follow any spectator sports. Even though my parents have a long history with the University of Alabama. Roll Tide!
    6. I have a reputation for having a computer of some size within reach most of the time.

    I tag:

    1. Jodi
    2. mommyofmany
    3. Daniel
    4. Rochirmil
    5. Ana S.
    6. Sarah Jane

    Disclaimer

    The author of this post in no way guarantees that any of the above linked to will respond to this post or follow the rules if they do.

    Another Long Week

    Posted August 20, 2008

    As the title implies, this past week has been very busy. Among other things I played in two indoor soccer games that week as opposed to one (we lost one and won one). Then we had a ball I was supposed to help direct on Friday over an hour away from our house.

    The ball was themed from the time of the second war for independence (the - dare I say it - "Civil" War) so of course our entire family was in period costume (complete with sabres). The dancing went well, though I had to dispense with some of the dances I had planned since the vast majority of those present hadn't danced Scottish Country before. We did teach one or two new ones however and demonstrated an old favorite. I hope to start teaching Scottish Country on a regular basis again soon, but then I've said that before.

    Practicing ahead with some friends

    Dancing the Gay Gordons

    My lovely sister and my not-so-lovely self. We never could have done the ball without her. She made a large share of our costumes by herself.

    Dancing as a family

    And Yet the Blade

    Posted July 14, 2008

    In our day and age many historically favored pastimes are rejected in favor of more "sophisticated" amusements. One example is the art of Celtic dance as preserved in the still practiced Scottish Country dance. Though there are thousands of practitioners worldwide, this art by and large has fallen off in favor of more modern "dances". It was enjoyed by people of all ages at various social functions. It provided simple dances for beginners and young ones, and yet still had compelling numbers for those whose greater skill called for more challenge. This has always led to personal development in both physical and mental realms (believe me, Scottish dance can be quite a mental en devour).

    Another example of such a historical pastime is the age-old art of fighting with the longsword. The original weapon we here refer to was developed by the Germans and was used to great effect against Roman invaders in instances such as the little known battle of Touteberg forest. Germany having once included the modern nations of France and Spain (among others) as well as exerting a heavy influence on Great Britain by the Anglo-Saxon migrations may also take credit for later derivations of the weapon throughout Christendom. The most well known variant must be the standard European longsword popularized sometimes as "the crusader sword". It had a straight, broad blade, a cross-guard for protecting the hands, and a somewhat thinner blade than the length and breadth of the weapon would seem to demand, relying rather on precise geometric patterns to absorb the force of an opposing object (weapons, armor, etc).

    Another well known strain of this line of weapons is found in Scotland. This weapon (known as the highland claymore) was rather shorter than other longswords in use throughout the middle ages, probably due to the marshy and mountainous nature of the territory it was generally used in. The claymore also had a distinction in the design of the cross-guard in that rather than branching out from the weapon at a right angle the two arms rather bent toward the blade at a varying degree, presumably to allow greater freedom to the wrists in combat. The shortness of the weapon inevitably led to its being lighter than the normal variant and therefore would render itself more easily balanced causing the claymore to be a faster and more agile (if not stronger) blade.

    The great exception to this pattern is the famed Wallace sword. Named so after its owner William Wallace, this monster was more than a foot longer than its contemporary counterparts, probably due to the fact that the owner was himself of prodigious size and of legendary strength. This weapon when wielded by its master, would cleave through raised sword, shield, arm, helm, and skull.

    In contrast modern fencing incorporates the techniques and weapons of a somewhat later period, namely the rapier and sabre. As firearms caught on, broadswords such as the claymore and other European longswords became cumbersome in a battlefield quickly being ruled by the speed of the warrior rather than the temper of his steel. The rapier was a straight, one-handed weapon used primarily for thrusting and sometimes useless for cutting except in cases of extremely tough steel. The sabre or saber as it's more commonly spelled today was designed as a cutting or slashing weapon. It was often fashioned as a backsword meaning it only had one sharpened edge and sometimes with a curve. This curve would shorten the length of the weapon making it more mobile without decreasing the actual blade length. These were a favorite amongst cavalry. The three categories of modern fencing are foil, epee (both taken from the rapier I believe), and the sabre. The actual weapons wielded by practitioners of this more modern art are merely stout wires with electronics wired in (for scoring).

    The weapons I started learning longsword with (see my other sword post) were fashioned from two hockey sticks due to the toughness of the wood and that we just happened to have two lying around. They were measured for size based on a standard highland claymore. Even though these are much lighter than steel one half-hour's exercise will try one's arms sorely. Just this simple practice has given me a greater respect for my ancestors who wielded such a blade. We have recently acquired padding for the blades, allowing us to start full-force, full-speed training.

    Fighting with longswords gives a greater appreciation for one's ancestors as well as strengthening the body and mind of the combatant. I hope to continue with my siblings and perhaps introduce other friends and relatives into this enjoyable exercise.

    Bullets That Don't Shoot

    Posted July 08, 2008

    Airsoft is seen by some as merely entertainment, something to be done in pursuit of fun. Some would even criticize it as promoting a dangerously aggressive attitude and violence. Others view it as a tool to be used for introduction into the real and often needed world of firearms. Airsoft in short is often misunderstood as merely a game.

    But first some history. Airsoft was invented by Japanese gun enthusiasts who were prohibited from using firearms due to gun control laws. Instead of giving up their manly exercises they invented a harmless weapon that simulated the action of its real counterpart. This is why most airsoft guns are modeled directly after real-world firearms. This has caused some concern that these 'toys' might lead to dangerous consequences with law enforcement. Airsoft eventually was adopted by other countries but Japan is still known as having the highest quality weapons (and possibly the most expensive).

    One popular way to do airsoft is "mil-sim" which is where they simulate real military action, sometimes from historical conflicts such as WWII.

    Although I see airsoft as an enjoyable pastime, I don't see it as an alternative to real firearms, nor merely a pleasure pursuit. Airsoft in my opinion should be used as a training tool for potential armed conflict. Historically, those who possess the ability to defend themselves come out victorious while those who allow this freedom to be restricted are eventually subjected to the worst tyrannies. Therefore I believe that all people, men, women, young, and old should train themselves (as age-appropriate) to defend themselves both in armed combat with firearms, blades, etc, and unarmed using martial arts such as krav maga, jujitsu, and muay tai.

    One application for airsoft is in studying tactics. I made the point to one skeptical friend that you can't shoot a real gun at people (referring to training partners, not attackers). By having such weapons one can simulate firefights and train in scenarios using squad tactics and communication. All for a lower price than buying the real thing. Some might point to "simunition" as an answer to both problems but again, simunition and real firearms are more expensive than airsoft guns and 6mm plastic BBs. Also, you can't give a 6 year old boy an AR-15 to teach him about firearms since it's not an age-appropriate tool. A better choice would be to buy a low-power airsoft gun and let him practice tactics, safety, and handling techniques. Then once he has mastered these he can graduate to learning how to handle a real firearm. This is where I think airsoft would be most useful.

    Young people can gather locally to "play" airsoft and learn squad tactics and safety together. Then should a real conflict come they would not only know the tactics and communication routines, they would already be prepared to operate side by side.

    Governments naturally fear an armed populace. It endangers their dreams of absolute control. Our founding fathers dreamed of a strongly decentralized country where each man would defend himself and when needed band together with his neighbors for a common purpose. Modern philosophies have striven for decades to replace this concept with a strong centralized, all-knowing, all-seeing, benevolent state. Christians especially should recognize that man in his fallen state can not be trusted. He must be held accountable whatever his status, be it peddler or president or supreme court justice. All have fallen short. We must not put our trust or fear in what man can do.

    Fact or Fiction?

    Posted July 01, 2008

    Works of fiction are sometimes criticized as being irrelevant for a Christian trying to spend their time doing for Christ. However I would point out that such works open doors for rather intriguing intellectual study.

    Let's take fantasy for instance. By creating a new universe with its own laws of nature (and super-nature) the author now has greater freedom to take his readers into usually unattainable regions of thought. This is why the fantasy genre is often so attractive, especially to young people. It gives another plane of existence to understand.

    Modern fiction as most of you know is rapidly deteriorating. This has added to the unflattering perception of this style. In spite of that, this author still maintains that fiction should not be condemned merely for being fiction. Christ spoke in parables which were fictitious stories. Might not a lesser person use the same medium? We are created in the image of God let us not forget.

    Im on Facebook

    Posted June 20, 2008

    I signed up for a Facebook account some time ago just to check it out and am now in the process of building my network. Feel free to look me up.

    Simple Mathematics

    Posted May 30, 2008

    My brother's family is expecting again! Praise the Lord!

    The Way Its Meant to be Done

    Posted May 29, 2008

    If you've ever been to my house you've probably seen my coffee rig before. Here's a picture for those who haven't yet. If you can't see the coffee in the mug it's because it's not doctored (or "spoiled" as some might say).

    Mamba ar Quenya

    Posted May 24, 2008

    Mr Powers, I pray you to make no apologies. I myself was prepared to wait several days for your response and was pleasantly surprised by your promptness. I in turn feel I should apologize or at least explain my own delay[s]. I was in Mobile when you made your last post and had inconsistent internet connections for a while.

    I attempted in my second post to explain the usage of the words "wizard" and "magic" in LOTR. There are two essential categories of people in LOTR and middle earth specifically: "the wise" (the bulk of the eldar or "elven" race, most dwarves, and most men of numenorean descent. The other group has no name but is in essence the unlearned masses. You never hear any of the wise speaking of istari or eldar having "magical" powers. They only use words like "sorcery", "witch", and "magic" with reference to the enemy. The only exception being when speaking to one from the masses who only understands supernatural events as being magical. Therefore, Ol "Gandalf" does not have magical powers, but he does have supernatural powers (like an angel???).

    It has been speculated Tom Bombadil could possibly be an incarnation of Eru Ilr himself (or some part of his essence, a reference to the Trinity?). Tolkien chose to leave certain elements of his universe unexplained like the origins and demise of Ungoliant (Shelob's ancestor from The Silmarillion you'll recall). This gave him more space to keep his tales unpredictable and therefore more enjoyable. God does similar things in the real universe. He leaves things unexplained so that 1: we are dependent on him, and 2: so that we will seek out the things he has left for us to find. Based on both of these possibilities and the sheer fact that it's not explained, I don't feel Bombadil (or his creator) should be condemned.

    You assert that the God of Tolkien's universe is not also the triune God of our own. On what do you base this? Must one say "triune God" for it to be so? Scripture never directly uses the word "trinity" (don't get me wrong, I am trinitarian in my theology... such as it is) but generally references our Lord in the singular. Does this make him any less the triune God? No. I am an officiating soccer referee, but if someone doesn't use that title does it make me any less an official? No. Based on this I am personally of the conviction that Tolkien's "Eru" may well be the great and triune God of scripture or even one of his instruments. To sum up my personal convictions on LOTR I feel that though Tolkien's work has a potential to distract and waste the time of readers, it should not be condemned for heresy or portraying evil in a good light (such as Harry Potter).

    Sui Angren Maeg Angren

    Posted May 19, 2008

    This is a continuum of the debate begun in my last post.

    Dear Mr. Powers,

    Let me say up front that I agree with you that 1: magic is evil, and 2: The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory, at least in a strict sense.

    That being said I'm not sure I understand your choice of words with reference to "magic" and "allegory". You stated (as did I) that all forms of magic are completely and totally evil. I explained in my post that magic is merely a subset of the supernatural and falls under the "evil" category. I then explained the parallel between the two sources of said supernatural power found both in scripture and in Tolkien's universe.

    I apologize for not stating my understanding of how the word "allegory" should be applied to Tolkien's universe. To summarize the definition found in the American Heritage Dictionary in relation to this context, an allegory is a representation of ideas or principles in a narrative form. Tolkien stated that he disliked the direct allegory writing style, like that you'll find in the works of his friend C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia. However it is utterly impossible for any writer to not be influenced by his/her studies and research. For example, Tolkien came up with the idea for "Middle Earth" from Norse Mythology. The Norse "Vikings" believed in several worlds that crossed paths over the human-inhabited world "Midgard" which literally means "middle enclosure". Therefore, though Tolkien certainly did not write a literal allegory, he did use many parallels from other works both fictional and historical.

    I am also rather confused by paragraph seven of your response. You said:

    I know you probably think me ignorant in this allegory but even Tolkien chose to call the Istari Wizards (who cast multiple spells), if he had chosen to make them wise men sent from Eru then I would not have a such a big problem with this, but still as I have said before, Angels can only do the bidding of the LORD, ones who have disobeyed have been cast out.

    You start of by using the word allegory in reference to Tolkien's work. I can only assume that since you firmly spoke against LOTR being an allegory that you are speaking of a parallel. You then say "even Tolkien chose to call the Istari Wizards (who cast multiple spells),...", even though I explained in my post that due to the many different languages Tolkien used, the word "wizard" (among others) was only used by unlearned characters such as most men and hobbits, or by more learned ones speaking to them. God speaks in various languages to us and uses terms we can better comprehend in order for us to learn more easily (eg. speaking in parables). Tolkien applied a similar principle with words like "wizard" and "magic". In The Silmarillion since he is writing as an Eldar (or "elvish") chronicler you hear almost no mention of wizards, necromancers, sorcerers, or magic unless it be in reference to "the enemy". Whereas in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he uses them more frequently in reference to the Istari or the eldar.

    In the same sentence you said "...if he had chosen to make them wise men sent from Eru...". First of all, it has been stated already (and you'll remember this from The Silmarillion) that the five Istari are in fact Maiar, in the form of old men. You also said that angels can only do the bidding of the Lord. Where did I dispute this? And also, from a Calvinistic standpoint, both good and evil angels ("demons") are bound to the will of God even as everything else in the universe is. Those angels who have been "cast out" are known as "demons" yet remain angels (scripture refers to the devil and his angels), so it's entirely plausible for (in a parallel sense) Saruman, and even Sauron (who was also a Maia at one time) to be turned to evil.

    I greatly appreciate your willingness to discuss and seek out this matter and look forward to further communications with you.

    Sincerely,

    Micah D. Ferrill

    Maer Goeg G

    Posted May 15, 2008

    I started this post as a comment in response to a statement on this site about "all wizards being dark" with specific reference to The Lord of the Rings. It grew to be very, very long in a hurry (for a comment) so I decided to make a post and link to it.

    Scripture speaks clearly to the fact that all sorcery and similar acts of witchcraft are evil. However there are innumerable places in the Bible that tell of supernatural events taking place that are declared good. Therefore we can say that there are two categories of supernatural happenings. First there is the bad kind which is caused by the devil and his demonic forces.

    Witches and wizards derive their abilities from this category of the supernatural. Secondly there is the good kind which is caused by God himself directly or through a lesser power be it angels, prophets, or even a donkey (Balaam's ass).

    Now let's travel to the land of make-believe. we'll stroll past tales of dragons and damsels and light on a set of books bearing the similarity that they were all penned by J. R. R. Tolkien and edited and published by his son Christopher (for whom the stories were first written). Tolkien (senior) was a language master. He invented more than a dozen complete languages as a hobby. And they aren't English just with different letters. They are complete languages, with their own pronunciation, scripts, dialects, and histories (fictional of course). Since he wrote LOTR as a history for these languages the names and tales are often not in English and so he had a tough time translating these into English for us poor illiterate people to read.

    When looking at the many books Tolkien wrote about his fictional universe one can see certain tendencies between each of the races. Men and Hobbits are usually the medium through which he speaks to his readers since their language is closest to English. Men in Tolkien's universe are the most easily led astray of the free peoples and are sometimes very simple in their thinking. Where they would say wizard, an elf would say Istari.

    The Istari are members of a group known collectively as the Maiar, a lesser class of angelic beings. The five Istari or "wizards" as the unlearned in Tolkien's universe would call them were sent by the Valar (higher angels) to aid the free peoples in the coming struggle against "the enemy" aka. Sauron. Sauron himself was once a Maia but had fallen astray and was corrupted by his lord: Morgoth (yes, Sauron has a boss).

    Multitasking Records

    Posted May 08, 2008

    Let's see, I'm currently...

    • Writing a blog post (duh!)
    • Making phone calls to arrange a dance on Saturday
    • Organizing a soccer team
    • Researching political campaigns
    • Cleaning the kitchen
    • Browning 12.5 lb. of hamburger meat
    • Listening to a critique of dating methods for rocks

    Obviously not all at the same time, but pretty close. Comment with your busiest multi-tasking moments.

    Hidden Designs

    Posted April 25, 2008

    I took the designs section offline and made it private for registered users only. Part of this is because I'm not really a designer and people who don't know me won't appreciate them as much, and also since I'm posting information about work-in-progress stuff that is only known to a select few.

    For registered users:

    You can still see my designs by logging in and clicking on the "Designs" button in the Quick Nav.

    Healthy Yet Tasty

    Posted March 27, 2008


    By Claymore and Gladius

    Posted March 06, 2008

    Since I mentioned our longswords in the sidebar I figured I should offer an explanation. Last year we were blessed to be able to attend Vision Forum's celebration of the Jamestown Quadricentennial in the Historic Triangle, allowing us to in one trip visit the actual Jamestown settlement, walk the Yorktown battlefield, and see colonial Williamsburg (a recreation of the former capital of Virginia). We saw many wonderful sights which for the sake of this post will be postponed to another time.

    While we were there we came across a young entrepreneur who manufactured makeshift swords of various lengths out of PVC pipes, some foam padding, and half a ton of duct tape. We were so inspired that on returning my brother Joel pulled out a couple of hockey sticks he inherited from my older brothers when they got married and fashioned them into scale longswords measured against a standard claymore (not to be confused with the land mine of the same name). We now have besides those a shorter weapon roughly the size of the roman gladius which is my second choice when I must handicap myself against younger opponents. We fight at a slightly reduced pace seeing as how we currently don't have armor, but we do have a few scrapes and bruises nonetheless. For techniques I searched online and found an excellent article on the art of German longsword from which we base our style. Since Germany once encompassed most of Europe and influenced the rest greatly the longsword certainly may trace its history there.

    Images of Unchoreographed Longsword Combat

    Sparring Lefthanded With My Youngest Brother

    Initial stances. (low roof guard and crossed fools guard)

    I demonstrate a twisting thrust to get around his blade.

    Mom wanted more action for the pictures so I switched to both hands (notice the blurred blade).

    I think I was executing an overcut while changing guards.

    A More Lively Combat

    I almost took his arm off (not literally) with this thrust, but he voided (dodged) superbly and saved his torso (a killing stroke by our rules).

    You can't see very well, but I'm twirling the sword one-handed around both sides of my body.

    At this point he's lost (by our rules) his left leg via a fake followed by a direct thrust earlier on. Here you see a low right-side roof guard with the lower hand inverted for an undercut (foreground) and a left-side fool's guard (background).

    "The Lads"

    Here's me (top-left) with my three primary antagonists (the far-right one is our sword-smith). Here you can observe the extent of our sparring weapons: two knives (far-right), the longswords (second from right, top-left), and the gladius (bottom-left).

    Looking tough. You can see a right ox-guard (top-left), something between a plow and roof guard (bottom-left), a low roof guard (second from right), and probably what would be referred to as an ox guard with the two knives (far-right).

    Yet Another Designing Fit

    Posted March 05, 2008

    I discovered two days ago that one of my websites is getting nearly 200 visitors (that's people, not hits) every month so I figured I better put out a better design on it than the last one I did.

    A while back I'd toyed with a potential redesign with a nifty slide effect for screenshots.

    You can check it out on the live site now.

    The other design I implemented yesterday was of course for this site. I was... very satisfied at getting the shadow effects down the first time. I'd seen it used hundreds of times (yes, literally) but hadn't ever tried to implement it. It turned out to be pretty simple once I looked into it. I also found another beautiful image for the header (I like misty looks). I also created a page listing some of the software tools I frequently use and a set of site designs (most of which are old or simple).

    The Quietest Storm

    Posted March 04, 2008

    We got hit by a large storm last night... or were supposed to be. I couldn't sleep in my bedroom because my bed is next to a window without the benefit of working blinds. I decided since most of the other rooms had siblings in them to just bed down on the floor in the office next to my computer. Big mistake. I don't think I got 2 hours of sleep between that and migrating back to my room around 5:30. Anyway, pray I don't fall asleep and burn everyone's breakfast (pancakes, yum!). Maybe I'll try randomizing some ingredients to spice things up. I dunno.

    Commenting

    Posted January 12, 2008

    Yes commenting is possible, but you need an account. Email me if you're interested. No anonymous commenting for now.

    Back from the Shadows

    Posted January 11, 2008

    I'm sure everybody (meaning the few that read my blog... or lack thereof) is wondering why in the world I haven't put out a detailed post since April, or any post at all since October. So here are the two biggest work highlights of mine in the past six months.

    The Confederate Shoppe

    The Front Page

    Probably my biggest project this past year has been a Confederate ecommerce website for a store called The Confederate Shoppe. A gentleman in our church told me about a friend of his (the store owner) who needed her online store redone (the original was done in '95 or so). We exchanged emails in May, and I started work on it immediately. The new site went live in September and has handled orders successfully. Many of my client's customers are a little wary of shopping online but she really wants to leverage the potential of the site since it means she doesn't have to answer the phone or wait at her house for someone to buy things from her.

    Plethora

    the default home page

    One of the reasons I offered my services on the shoppe was that I had just completed a revision of my web framework. To abbreviate into English for all of my non-geeky readers, a web framework is essentially tools for building a website that get reused over and over for multiple projects like displaying a web page, authorization, storing data, and so forth. These frameworks are usually common pieces from websites grouped into one coherent package and sometimes published for others to use, like Django, Ruby on Rails, Turbogears, and Pylons. I've tried a few times to write my own framework, but usually fell into lower quality from time constraints on websites. Right before I did The Confederate Shoppe, I made another attempt to build something useful, and called it "Plethora" (more on the name later). Since then It's grown both in actual size (nearly 5,000 lines of code), functionality, and quality. I got the name "plethora" from the fact that it shares first letters with the language it's written in (python) and a principle I'm attempting to reflect in my work known as loose coupling which allows for interchanging parts within the original product, hence the framework is "one, yet many" or a Plethora ("a" denoting singular, "plethora" denoting many).

    Rebuilding

    Posted October 01, 2007

    Ok, so I redid the site again. It desperately needed some work on the backend so I went ahead and wrote a new frontend at the same time.

    On The Sabbath

    Posted March 04, 2007

    We found out yesterday that the usual host family for our church fellowship are sick, and so we hurriedly cleaned house in preparation to host it ourselves again. Then we headed out for a prearranged soccer match with some friends of my brother. Since my oldest brother is in town we had the seven boys as well as our little cousin and two volunteers from their team. The first half ended 1-1 and we hoped to come back strong. Unfortunately I pulled my left calf muscle early on and had to sit out for a few minutes before coming in to play injured. With about five minutes to play and the game tied at 5-5 we agreed to play golden goal, meaning next goal wins. They scored a while later on a looong shot that arced over Dads head and scored for the win. We all had a fun time and agreed that we should have a rematch sometime.

    Then today I woke up to learn that my littlest sister was throwing up during the night and church is getting moved yet again. It sounds like were not going as people are still sore and in no mood for another drive. So as Im typing this were getting a big sabbath brunch going with eggs, grits, sausage, and biscuits. Please pray that Sarah gets well soon and that everyone recovers from their injuries and soreness quickly. I for one am still limping up and down the stairs.

    PyWeek is getting closer, and I think Im ready for it. I packaged much of the functionality from our first two games into a single code library that will be eligible for use in the upcoming competition. I was planning on doing it solo this time but have since then heard from an old team member who might partner with me. Im still waiting on a response from him.

    Ive also put in some more work on this site and Email Chaperone which is very much still a work in progress. Ive added lots of AJAX functionality already and plan to make it a very dynamic website. This website now has comment features, archives, and a public meebo me window.

    I hope and pray that yall have a blessed sabbath.

    Busy, Busy, Busy!

    Posted January 22, 2007

    This week has been an extremely busy one! Were hosting our church all of this month and we also started school up again (I hate physics btw).

    Ive been working on several websites and unfortunately two of them went down sometime yesterday for unknown reasons. I also did a redo on one of my other websites (BlazeOfGlory.org). But Ill explain that later.

    Pyweek 4 has been announced for the first week in April! We (Michal and I) are currently planning on extracting our generic code from our first two games and making it an open source library so that itll be eligible for this competition. I redid the website (link above) and put in links to the CVS repository, screenshots, and download links (for Clad in Iron anyway).