Disaster Preparedness
webmistress | October 28, 2009 | 10:50 pm

Yesterday was a rather big day for Los Angeles, weather-wise. We had winds up to 50mph, lots of debris on the road, and most importantly: Many areas lost power for an extended amount of time. About 6 hours in my home location, for example.

“Stop complaining”, you say. “Six hours of power loss is not a disaster.” And you’re perfectly right, it isn’t. But it brought home a lesson. Even if you think you’re prepared for disaster there’s nothing like putting your theories to the test.

Even though we did preparation work – what with this being Earthquake Country – we found several areas that could use some improvement.

  • We have candles, flashlights, and emergency lanterns. Just not enough to actually light a dark room to do anything more than shuffle carefully around. Lesson learned: More light is good
  • We were short on charged batteries. Lesson learned: Chargeable is good for the environment, but do keep a couple packs of old-fashioned batteries around. (And cycle them out regularly). The chargeable ones do not hold their charges for long enough to be actually useful for any longer duration.

  • Communications were OK (we both had our cell phones), but it’s a good idea to add a battery pack for your cellphone.

  • Having tethering to get occasional Internet connectivity would be good. No, not to browse ICanHazCheezburger, but just to find out what’s actually going on.

I’m sure had the power been out for longer than six hours, we would have found out more. As a result, we decided to actually run a weekend-long “emergency drill” from time to time, just to know.

It doesn’t hurt, and we’ll be grateful if a bigger emergency hits.

Latest Harvest
webmistress | October 16, 2009 | 7:12 am
Fresh tomatoes


I just wanted to quickly share a picture from our last tomato harvest. Not only do they look beautiful, they taste wonderful, too. I’ve never been much of a gardening gal, but I think I’m getting swayed.

There are definitely a lot of plans being made for next year…

Knowing when to fold…
groby | October 9, 2009 | 7:42 am

For a while, I used to think it would be really cool to build my own custom blogging system for this place. After all, I’m a programmer, it’s a learning opportunity.¬†And while I still think that, I’ve come to realize that I’d rather spend the time on writing content than on developing a copy of software that already exists out there, in excellent form.

Yes, I was aware I was re-inventing the wheel. I simply wanted to dive a bit deeper into website stuff. And I did – I learned quite a bit about Django, and the general business of building web sites. But now it’s time to actually put that knowledge to better use. My homegrown blog has reached the “it works, but boy is it ugly” stage, and I decided to not spend time working on polishing it up.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the learning experience – but now there are other web apps waiting to be built that are also great learning opportunities and have the benefit of actually being something new. And on top of that, I get to actually post comments on my blog, as opposed to futzing with CSS because IE6 doesn’t work, or similar arcana.