Monday, May 31, 2010

New Zealand Music Month

May was New Zealand Music Month. It's been a bit tougher to keep track of Kiwi music now that I'm back in the states. But some of my favorite artists have just released new stuff, so there's no trouble rounding up enough for a post at the moment.

Evermore have just released an album intended to be their U.S. debut. I'll have to keep an eye out for it in stores over here.

Evermore, Underground.

OpShop, Pins and Needles. I've seen these guys a few times, always a great show.

Dane Rumble, Don't Know What To Do. Kel, Claire, and I went to see these guys in Auckland. We were the oldest fans in the crowd, but it was a great show.

Ladyhawke, Magic. I've heard this used as background music in a couple of promo things for CW shows. Great 80's sound.

Tiki Taane and Antiform, Got to be You. I like Tiki Taane's collaborations, especially the dance music. If you like this, check out last years post with Tiki and Bulletproof.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Boundary Waters, May 2010

I've often wished I could remember all the places I've been in the Boundary Waters. So this time I'm writing it down. :-)

A couple weeks ago, we took a trip in via Entry Point #9, just west of Ely. We were staying only two nights, and there were only two campsites within a days range of the entry (both on the same lake), so we planned on just setting up base camp. The distance looked fairly short on the maps, and none of the portages were long, so we decided to haul in the good stuff (cast iron cookware, steaks on ice, etc).

Dinner DoneThe distance turned out to be a bit longer than it looked, due to the meanderings of the rivers, but it was still worth it for the food. :-)

The first day was an upstream paddle up the Little Indian Sioux River to the Little Pony River to Bootleg Lake. The Little Indian Sioux was fairly wide and deep, but the Little Pony was quite narrow, meandering, shallow, and obstructed with quite a few beaver dams. That first day in was about 15km, we paddled from about 11am to 6pm or so.

Beaver Dam Mini-Portage

Our campsite on Bootleg was fantastic. Perfect spot for a layover day. Nice landing for the canoes, good hammock trees in the site, nice flat tent spaces for three tents, and a good branch for a bear rope. We had plenty of firewood (thankfully no burning ban), no bugs, and perfect weather.

On the way out we hit the water a little after 9am. We decided to take the long portage out at the far end of Bootleg Lake to take us directly back into the Little Indian Sioux River. We did that partially to avoid the Little Pony River, and partly just to see some new scenery for at least part of the way. In any case, the way back was about 24km and we pulled out of the water around 4:30. The downstream current didn't seem to contribute much. ;-)

Notes for next time: The only thing I'd have done differently is to bring one spare Duluth pack for the cooler and grill. Even if we pulled them back out at every portage to repack them in the canoes, it would make for much easier portaging to put those two items on our backs instead of carrying by the handles.

That said, I think next time is going to be a light-and-fast long distance trip. Those are fun too in their own way.

BWCA - May 2010

Template Upgrade

Since Google announced the Blogger Template Designer I've been meaning to rework my site. There was a fair amount of hackish stuff in my template HTML, including a bunch of monkeying around to make my main post column wider yet still use the rounded corners on the old table based layout.

The new template I picked out is much simpler and cleaner looking. Amazingly, pretty much everything came over with no effort on my part. I did end up spending some time reworking the color schemes of my Tumblr and Flickr widgets. And I cleaned up some minor CSS and Icon annoyances.

I also took a look out at Flickr to see if they've upgraded their Badge Widget generator anytime recently. They have not, so my Flickr badge generator is still valuable. Looking at it again after all these years, it basically just hides the default Flickr table, draws my 2x5 table, then uses some script to pull the InnerHTML of the the Flickr cells containing 10 random images, and poke them into my cells. Like so:

<td class="robCell"><div id="rob1"></div></td>

. . .

= document.getElementById("flickr_badge_image1").innerHTML;

I'm sure there are much more elegant ways to do this (one of these days I'll get off my ass and finish learning JQuery and/or Prototype), but for now, this is still working. No need to fiddle with it now that I've updated the colors and fixed the margin/padding/border issues that were bugging me.

The Tumblr Badge was even easier, that was just a few color tweaks, though again I messed with the margin/padding/border settings to bring things in a bit tighter.

/* Rob Styles*/
width: 125px;
height: auto;
float: right;
margin: 3px;
padding: 0px;
border: 3px #444444 solid;

float: left;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px;
margin-left: -10px;

font-size: x-small;
list-style-type: none;
width: 215px;
margin: 0px;
padding: 0px;
margin-top: 5px;
margin-bottom: 5px;
overflow: hidden;
border: thin black outset;
background-color: #222222;
padding: 2px;
margin: 2px;