Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

You Didn't Tell Me You Were Going to Kill It!


A Jack O' Lantern A Jack O' Lantern Last night the husband and I carved a pumpkin. We're very pleased with our Jack O' Lantern, even if it is a little drooly.

Halloween Videos.


Here's a couple of videos to get you into the Halloween spirit. Mwa ha ha ha!

Fancy HRs with CSS.


Lest you think that this blog is only about regular human activities, I present you with a CSS method for using graphics as your hr. My apologies to the regular humans.

Suppose you've got a lovely little graphic that you'd like to use for an HR in place of the boring old default straight line in most browsers. How do you implement your new graphic in a consistent and semantic method?

It's relatively simple to style a fancy HR in most browsers, including IE7:

<style type="text/css">
  {	background: url(images/hr.gif) center center no-repeat;
	height: 20px;
	border: none;
	margin: 2em 7em;

Here are the results:

Let us also speak of the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Internet Explorer 6, and presumably lower versions, will not display this correctly without assistance. You will need to add the following dandy patch by Borgar.

<!--[if lte IE 6]>
  {	display: list-item;
	list-style: url(images/hr.gif) inside;
	filter: alpha(opacity=0);
	width: 0;

Poop Reduction Initiative.


Last week we took the cats to our vet for worms shots. We asked the vet, who is a kitty-genius, if worms would cause the kitties to poop and fart extra-stinkily. Ingrid had just invented a new trick where she would cuddle, silently fart, and then run away.

The vet said no, generally that's caused by overeating. He called it a "disease of domestication". He said that his wife often takes in strays, and initially they produce small, tight, non-smelly clumps in the litter box. But after a while of unending kitty kibble buffet, the stools become loose and smelly. He said that overeating pushed the beneficial, but smelly, micro-organisms OUT of the feline digestive system.

Once home, we began a strict regime of feeding the kitties only their alloted amount off the back of the box. Rather than topping off the dry food a few times a day, we give them each 1/2 cup kitty kibble for breakfast, ~2oz wet food after work, and 1/4 cup before bedtime.

The results have been delightful. We're spending less time scooping boxes, and less money on both food and litter. The kitties aren't starving; there's always a little kibble left in their bowls. In fact, they're probably healthier from not grazing all the time.

1 comment(s).

Hot .PNG News.


Breaking News: Alex Walker has published an article demonstrating that Fireworks can create .PNGs with alpha transparencies that will be non-ugly in older browsers. This is very exciting, and sounds like a much better alternative than the batch processing for important images method that I wrote about previously. I'll just have to dig up a copy of Fireworks and test it now.

Chance Pays Off.


Movie Gallery, which owns Hollywood Video and Game Crazy, filed for bankruptcy today. Almost a year ago was my last day working for Hollywood, where I was developing web reports for the Inventory Control. The company mood was concerned but optimistic back then, I guess things haven't gotten better.

Netfix is a tough opponent to beat, but I thought that the Moviebeam set top boxes were going to help Hollywood out. The initial price of $149.99 is too much for a consumer to pay. I'd love to do some landing page optimization on it, and test the offer, headers and call to action buttons.

Speaking of landing page testing, my current company is doing quite well. We've got a new pile of funding, and Widemile is hiring. We do really need to fill all of the positions listed there; though I'm most interested in getting the web developer position filled with an excellent candidate. Are you interested? Do you know anyone who is? Drop my name in your cover email. :)

PPLB Weekend Report.


It has been a very busy weekend. Friday was my birthday, and the husband got tickets to Monty Python's Spamalot - a Broadway musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Spamalot was a great show - hilarious; just the right mix of self-referential and new material. I'm really glad we got to see it.

Saturday we went to REI's Flagship store in downtown Seattle. The term 'flagship' is truly well deserved. Even though it sits not 3 blocks away from I-5, it's got trees, a test mountain bike trail, and a 3 story climbing wall. The retail space is also huge - it's 2 stories with at least as much square footage as the average Fred Meyer's. Saturday was also baking day - I made more Halloween cupcakes (the husband helped) and they came out very well. This time I've got enough to take to work.

Today, we went to Port Townsend. I got to do some shopping in the wonderful kitchen and artwork shops in Port Townsend; and I claimed the 'pretty things' credits that I'd had for some lovely raku artwork. We rode over to the Kitsap peninsula on the Washington State Ferries; which are slow, crowded, and inconvenient. It sure was worth buying a home on the 'correct' side of Puget Sound.

Cat versus Roomba.


We have a Roomba robotic vacuum, and yes, his name is Isaac. Contrary to this depiction of Roger the Chief Roomba Pilot, our kitties are not very fond of Isaac. When roomba-ing, the Roomba is much too loud, clumsy and indomitable to be any fun for them. So the kitties historically have ignored him, from whatever high perch is out of reach.

Little Miss Trouble, however, has decided that revenge must be had. Recently, we have awoken to 'clickedy-whap' sounds from the room where Isaac charges to find Ingrid bullying Isaac; pouncing, whapping his chassis and trying to nibble his brushes. She's decided that he's helpless when he's not actually vacuuming.

A couple days ago, Isaac proved that he's not exactly helpless. We heard the distinctive Roomba "I'm starting!" jingle and then he started vacuuming. Ingrid must have been climbing on him and stepped on his buttons. She was quite frightened by this unexpected maneuver, and hid under the futon. Since then, Isaac has been spending his down time in the closet, safe from the kitties.

U-turn of Life.


Yes yes, it's true. The husband is no longer in danger of unemployment due to "locational restructuring". At the last minute, he receive a one week extension, a new job was posted that was essentially written explicitly for the husband. He applied, received an offer letter, and today signed the papers. He will do pretty much the same job, with a more "important" customer base, and for a big horking raise in salary. All in all, we are happy. It's just that we must now switch gears from 'frugal and job seeking' back to 'busy and maid-considering'. But, really, we're happy about it, and since he landed an official non-contract job, the husband can purchase a shiny new HD LCD TV. Much research ensues.

Halloween Cupcake Success.


Halloween Cupcakes - Success!I made some cupcakes for the upcoming holiday. (Sorry Canadians - I know it was Thanksgiving weekend for you.) I've very pleased with how these turned out, though I didn't get as many as I wanted. But the frosting especially was a success - especially compared to last year's gloppy mess.

I confess, I've got a hankering to make some more; these will probably be gone before All Hallow's Eve anyway. I think I'll have to double the recipe, and I'll definitely need to use cup liners.

The Prestige.


The hubby and I watched our rented copy of the last year's The Prestige last night, and it was astonishingly good. Do yourself a favor and rent it up for the weekend. It will be a few hours well spent. I really enjoy a movie that allows me to think, and rewards me for doing so.

Christopher Nolan directs this film in contrast to Ridley Scott's handling of Gladiator; in which Scott beats the audience with the idea that gladiating is like T.V. and yet another opiate for the masses, without developing that idea to a higher stage.

Well, that's it. The Prestige = great.

Security and Pride.


The Seattle PI wrote a very complimentary article about Widemile, my employer. I was the developer on the project they talked about in the article - so I wrote the code and placed it into the platform. It's really nice to know that projects I've worked on have been successful.

We are hiring highly qualified people. I'll put the new positions up on the website as soon as I get them.

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