crayon

No, I’m not referring to the waxy things you used to color with in elementary school.

For anyone who uses wordpress for their blogging needs, like I do, I highly recommend taking a look at the plugin crayon. It is an amazing little plugin that makes inserting code into your posts very, very easy. First off, it allows you to include line numbers with your code.

Secondly, people can easily change they way they view the code, making it easy to copy code that you post as an example. Double clicking on a code snippet will convert it to plaintext, removing the style and line number. Give it a try:

Thirdly, the syntax highlighting. There are different themes available to allow you to customize the color and so forth, however, the syntax highlighting is really nifty, supporting many different languages:

Python:

Java:

C++:

Even HTML:

I so far have really liked crayon in what little I’ve used it with, and I highly recommend you take a look at it, especially if you ever are going to include code in your blog posts.

why I love story

I love stories. I love reading good stories, watching movies with good stories, and playing games with good stories behind them. I also love writing and telling stories.

Those who read my webcomic, more specifically this one, know that I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I’ve had it most of my life, and though usually a childhood disorder, in about ⅓ to ⅔ of cases it does develop into Adult ADD, and mine is one of those cases. Ever since I was young I’ve walked around with a million thoughts flying through my head at a time. I think in a lot of ways this leads to my affinity of story, specifically story development.

One time, for a short while, after being diagnosed I took medication for my ADD. It was only for a few weeks, and I eventually had a negative reaction to the meds, forcing me to stop. During that time, though, while I was able to concentrate and focus better, my “creative spark” was gone. The thoughts that had always been flying about were gone, and with them, all my stories. It’s a factor why I never really pursued treatment after my reaction. I wanted to never lose that again.

Stories lift us up, they can teach us, and they are a huge part of our culture. They teach us where we came from, they speculate about where we are going. They invite us to explore, think, question and create. No matter what medium: book, film, or even video game, for me, story is key. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the cinematography was if the plot was crap. I don’t care as much about the fun game-play if there is no story behind it.

The articles of opinions

Being on facebook recently, I’ve noticed that tempers seem to be a little hot among people in the political spectrum, and I’ve noticed a lot of comments that I have found to be incredibly narrow minded and degrading of others. Here I lay out my “articles of opinions”, laying out our rights when it comes to opinions.

  1. You have the right to have an opinion.
  2. You have the right to share your opinion.
  3. You have the right to disagree with someone else’s opinion.
  4. You have the right to share that you disagree with someone else’s opinion.
  5. You do NOT have the right to degrade, mock, belittle or condemn another because you disagree with their opinion.

why is CSS so confusing?

A note: if you so desire, open up searchingtobe.com so you can follow along with my garble and logic.

Been playing around on the comic site as well as here on the rant, and I’m discovering how .css is somewhat confusing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the benefits, and it does allow for more customizable, and admittedly, more beautiful web pages, but it is confusing none-the-less. Also, I recognize my complete lack of expertise here, which is something that perhaps I will gain someday. Let me back up:

The Reason

At work I am currently working on a web interface for an up-and-coming product. However, the product is so up-and-coming, we haven’t really even started yet. So, knowing that for the time being I’m not doing actual coding on the project itself, and also knowing that I will be eventually, this is a great opportunity to get familiar with the tools I will be needing to use eventually. Now, web design is a hobby of mine, but certainly not my specialty. Without the ease of WordPress and ComicPress I would have never been able to have started “searching to be”. Well, at the very least I would have been unable to post it in any format other than a blogspot site. (Yes, the first couple comics I made were posted to a blogspot site.)

So, I decided today to dive into .css and such. But first, I needed something to work with. Recently I added a twitter widget to both my blog and my comic. However, while on my blog it works great and looks great right out of the box, on searching to be’s website it looked pretty bad. the words were black, and I have a dark theme in the background, making the tweets themselves unreadable. Now, this isn’t that big of a deal, I never say anything overly important on twitter anyways. However, this bugged me, so today I started to dig into it.

The Quest

First I used chrome to inspect the element and determine what css rule was determining the color. I found the following rule:

Okay, I thought, now I just need to find where this rule is and add a color rule, right? Well, I searched the style sheets for the ComicPress theme and for GreyMatter (my main theme). No luck. Digging into the html that was output by my site I found that this particular style rule was written inline into the html. Great, I thought, now what?

Well, how about if I insert my own rule into the style.css for GreyMatter? Well, that might work. So I go into the style.css and insert my own rule:

Bingo! I save the style.css and then reload the site. Sure enough, the words are now yellow, and the links are white, and you can now read my tweets. Mission accomplished.

The ‘Whoops’ Moment

Now, hold on a second, since there is yellow on the one sidebar, why not the other one? Surely now that I am a master of the style sheet I can change that one. Back to inspecting elements. Governing the “Archives” section on the right side of the page I found the following rule:

Okay, so this tells me that they are all links, and in that particular area we are overwriting their color to white, as opposed to the normal link color. A little digging showed me that this rule is located in GreyMatter’s style.css. So, let’s change that to yellow.

And… suddenly on the left side, in the twitter bar, it’s all yellow. The links, the ‘3 days ago’, everything. Now, on this site, there is no difference between the links and the text of the twitter box, but it still looks good. That was a little too much yellow for my liking.

A few more minutes of digging and experimenting later, I decided it looked good the first time, so I ditched the yellow, and brought it back to white.

However, there are now some other things that I am annoyed with on the site for searching to be. I may eventually go about fixing them, but now I realize how interconnected the things are. I certainly learned a bit more about how styles sheets work, and I think that the site looks better now. I had a friend look at both sites (I did some .css magic here as well, but I won’t bore you with the details) and asked him how he thought it looked, style wise. “Looks good, except the rant needs a background picture.”

Sigh… I know….

Update:

Turns out I was wrong, the tag in the style sheet for GreyMatter didn’t get read in the end. So, some more digging and I think I have a different viable solution.

The change this time is added in the style.css for ComicPress itself:

Adding the color attribute there seems to have done the trick.

Vehicular update, not that you care, but…

Ah, that’s where you add tags.

Spoke with the mechanic today, after a weekend of being without a vehicle (back to bumming rides off people just like freshman year) they informed me that beyond the rim, they couldn’t tell if anything else was bent. That’s good news, I guess. So, I just need to replace a rim, get some new tires, and I’m set, right?

So, I found a place in Lindon called Hub Cap City, just to inquire about how much it would cost me to get a new rim. “14, 15 or 16?” he asked. Crap, I have no idea. I’ll have to call you back.

Next to call the mechanic again to ask the size of my rims. 15. Good. Back to the rim place.

“Steel or Aluminum?” Thankfully, I knew this one. The mechanic told me that, good thing he knew I would need it. Steel. “Well, looks like we’re out, but if you want to bring it in we can repair it.” Wait, what? Well, I guess it makes sense. Oh, it’s also cheaper. I’m a poor college student, cheap is good.

After about half an hour of making calls back in forth it was time to go back to work. I’ll deal with this after work.

Snow is hard on cars. No, I’m positive it wasn’t my driving…

So, here in Utah we are apparently in the middle of winter storm Gandolf. Well, in this part of Utah that is. Also, on an arguably related side note, I did not realize that they named winter storm patterns, not just hurricanes.

Last night the snow hit. It hit hard, it hit fast. I took my girlfriend out for dinner at a Thai place. Sitting near the window we watched the snow come down, almost surreal and beautiful, but not really threatening to stick. Not half an hour later the roads were unbelievably slick. And dangerous.

After dropping her off at her apartment I had to go to a meeting. There was a turn, I turned the wheels, but the car decided instead to go straight… into the curb.

Today I took my car to the mechanic, my front wheels are now out of alignment. Hooray for being without a car for the weekend!

Python

I love python. No, I’m not referring to the deadly snake type, but the programming language. A few months ago I started to learn the language, both for school and for work, and I have absolutely become converted to it. The language itself is built on the philosophy that code should be a) readable and b) reusable. The code itself should tell you what it does, rather than the programmer writing a mess of comments that eventually serve to do nothing beyond confusing the reader.

Also, another reason why I love python:

The pure simplicity of the hello world problem is a testament to the simple elegance that the Python language has. Code is neat and organized, readable, and reusable.