Monthly Archives: September 2004

Cookies Fixed

My apologies – when I first implemented the new cookies feature, I had not set up the expiration dates properly, so your cookies were probably lost when you closed your browsers. This would have made it look like there were 440+ new entries every time you visited the site. I have fixed the problem, and now your cookie should be stored properly even after you quit your browser. Phew.

To those reading this via RSS feed, this will have no impact on you. Only people visiting the site directly in a web browser will see this.

Also to you folks reading this via RSS feed, you might also be interested in subscribing to the RSS feed for blog comments. Stay up to date on not just new entries to our blog, but also any new comments on our blog entries!

secret memories

You know how a certain smell or a particular song can bring back a wave of memories for you? I know for myself I can’t hear “The Sign” by Ace of Base without thinking of our family trip driving around Switzerland… 🙂

Anyhoo…Last Friday night was a night full of such memory triggers. Peter and I and our cousin Mark went up to ***Gordon|*** for the Theater Department’s production of “The Secret Garden”. I saw the ad on the Gordon website and was particularly interested because I had JUST started re-reading the book by ***Frances Hodgson-Burnett|***. What a coincidence!

Sitting in the theater brought back a wave of memories…I had first seen this musical on Martha’s Vineyard with my pal Melanie. I must say that the conditions were a little more comfortable this time…cool… and not in an overly sticky town hall auditorium 🙂 Also, there were two little girls sitting next to me who carried on a (tactfully quite) commentary of the show. Melanie, does that sound familiar?

It was nice to be back at Gordon. We ran into a couple professors, Rox, Smith, Brunner. And also a friend, Courtney Pitts. Memories of walking cross campus at night, attending plays and chit chatting afterwards came streaming back. Too bad there weren’t nice Musicals when we were there…

The show itself was wonderful. The music was lovely, and the vocalists handled the interesting and difficult melodies and harmonies smoothly. I loved the costumes and the minimalist set dressing. It was great to see a full theater and I was glad that there were kids next to me. They really got into the show, and were friends with “Colin” and were so excited when he came onstage! Their enthusiasm was so cute.

If you haven’t heard the music from the Secret Garden I highly reccomend it. It is beautiful and haunting and playful all at the same time. And, of course, if you have never read the book you definately should!

Arr, Shipwreck!

On Saturday, Becky and I had Jeremy and Angela over for dinner. We haven’t seen too much of them recently, since Jeremy has been working crazy hours for Back-to-School season at Staples, so it was good to hang out, talk, and catch up.

Since Becky was at work for most of the day, I was in charge of preparing a meal for dinner. I’ll freely admit that Becky has a much greater knack for cooking than I, so she is usually the one to prepare our meals. But, I was determined to cook something yummy, so I turned to the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook. Crock pot recipes are great, of course, since you just prepare the ingredients, put them in, set the timer, and “Forget it”. Yep.

The recipe I selected was called “Shipwreck”. To be quite honest, I selected it mostly because the name sounded interesting. 🙂 We had most of the ingredients, and I went out and got the others that we didn’t have. I put it all together as directed, and when I served it later that night, the consensus was “Yum!” I have to say that it didn’t look so appealing, but after we tasted it, it was quickly consumed.

Anyway, here is the recipe, along with some notes from me:


Makes 8 servings We got 6, but probably because I used fewer potatoes

1 lb. ground beef, browned
4-5 potatoes, cut in French-fry-like strips I only used three potatoes here, 4-5 just seemed like too much. But you could probably use more. Some sort of potato-slicing device would probably make this easier.
1-2 onions, chopped
16-oz. can light red kidney beans, drained
1/4 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed Next time I’ll probably use more cheese.
10 3/4-oz. can tomato soup
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Layer in slow cooker in this order: ground beef, potatoes, onions, kidney beans, and cheese.
2. Pour soup over top.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Dot with butter.
5. Cover.
6. Cook on Low 6-8 hours.
7. Serve to hungry and delighted guests!|qqq

All in all, it was a successful first attempt at crock pot cookery for yours truly!

Slightly Smarter

I am currently toying with some new features on our website. We are now sending and requesting a client-side cookie. This is a little bit of information that is stored on your computer, and it allows us to remember who you are. In our case, we’re using it to display a greeting message on the blog, and to keep track of the most recent blog entry you have read. On each subsequent visit to our site, you will see a notice informing you of whether or not there are any new blog entries since your last visit, and if so, how many there are.

Since this is brand-new, you are initially going to see that there have been, well, a plethora of new blog entries. Next time you visit, though, everything will be set up, and you’ll see the proper information.

You may have heard bad things about some cookies, especially those that keep track of your information for advertising purposes. I can assure you that the cookies we serve here at World Wide Wood are quite safe, and I hope that you will find them delicious! So if your browser is set to block cookies, be sure to enable cookies from the domain. If you have cookies turned off entirely, then there’s not much I can do for you. In that case, you will see the same first-time greeting message every time you come to our site. Sorry!

In the future, this feature could be expanded to keep track of other things, like your name, or maybe even your choice of color schemes!

For the technologically inclined, I did this using PHP’s setcookie() function, the $_COOKIE array, and some SQL queries directly to the Movable Type mt_entries table in MySQL.

On an unrelated note, I have made a few tweaks to our site’s left hand navigation bar – hopefully more people will see and take advantage of our RSS feeds. These can be used in news readers like Bloglines to keep track of our recent posts. Just another way we make it easier to get all the World Wide Wood goodness you need.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this new feature!

Holiday Revels

We headed out to Townsend yesterday for the Lee family’s annual Labor Day Pool Party/Cook Out. The weather, surprising, turned out quite nicely. Warm sun, warmish pool, and cool air in the evening made for a very pleasant day. It was great to see people that we haven’t seen in several months or even since last year’s party! A special note…Congratulations to Zach and Andrea on thier upcoming nuptials!! The photos are ***online|***, and you can also check out some of ***last year’s photos|***.

ppp|  |ppp

(Those pics were carried over from Peter’s post, which has been deleted since it was pretty much the same thing Becky posted about – our first ever blogging collision!)

In addition to the fantastic company there was some very yummy food. Geoff and Deanna brought a dip made from peanut butter and fluff and I’m not sure what else. We dipped graham crackers and chocolate in it…YUMM! I’m going to have to get the recipe. I made cheese balls wiith Wheat Thins crackers. I thought they turned out pretty well. The recipe is as follows 🙂

qqq|Pineapple Cheese Balls

2 pkgs of Neufachatel Cream Cheese
1 8oz can of Crushed Pineapple (drained)
1/4 cup chopped Green Pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Teaspon of Seasoned Salt
2ish cups of Chopped nuts

Cream the Cream Cheese until soft and mix in the pineapple. Mix, mix, mix… and then add the peppers, onions, salt and 1 cup of the chopped nuts. Chill. Form the mixture in to two balls and roll in remaining nuts. Chill until serving (you may want to bring it to room temp before setting out)

Serve with crackers or sliced veggies. Enjoy!|qqq

Duck, Duck, TOUR! (And More)

Yesterday, Becky and I went on a Duck Tour with Kevin and Susie, Marcia, Beth, Hugo, and Elliott. One big happy crowd on a DUKW named “Beacon Hilda” 🙂 Our ConDUCKtor’s moniker was Johnny Baggadonitz, and he narrated our tour of Boston’s streets and waterways with his own unique blend of historic fact and, well… Italian family street smarts. While I am already familiar with much of Boston’s history and culture, I did learn a few new things:

* The Museum of Science sits on land leased from the Metropolitan District Commission for $1 per year. They have a 99 year lease, with an automatic 99 year renewal. Pretty sweet deal.
* MIT was originally located in Boston, but was later moved to Cambridge.
* The JFK Federal Building in Boston sits on top of the site of Alexander Graham Bell’s laboratory – the one in which he invented the telephone.

It was quite an enjoyable experience, and while we were at the Museum of Science, we got to see some of the outside of the Lord of the Rings exhibit. We’d definitely love to go some time before it leaves on October 24, but at $19 per person…. hmm. We’ll see.

Photos from yesterday are in our gallery – including some photos I took in the morning while Becky was working a short shift at the Otis House, and a couple of photos we took on the way in to the city at Krispy Kreme. We stopped in there for some hot, fresh donuts right off of the line. Mmmmmm…..

We also rented a couple of movies from Blockbuster this weekend. Blockbuster is currently very desperate for customers, and they sent three coupons for 99 cent movie rentals. Hey, why not? So on Saturday night we rented 50 First Dates and today we rented Hidalgo. We enjoyed both films overall, but did have a few complaints.

At its heart, 50 First Dates was a very sweet, funny movie. There were some incredibly sad parts, and I thought all of the actors did very well in their roles. Lord of the Rings vet Sean Astin as the steroid-pumping, fitness-crazed, lisp-encumbered brother was very entertaining. However, this was an Adam Sandler franchise film, and as such, was peppered with an unfortunate amount of scatological humor. We had to wince when the moronic, sophomoric jokes came up – they just didn’t fit in with the rest of the movie.

Hidalgo was great, with a good performance by another Lord of the Rings veteran, Viggo Mortenson. The action and adventure elements of the film were excellent, but our complaint was that there was simply too much violence. There were many heads lopped off, many spear impalings, and more than enough gun shots – all packed in to a PG-13 rating.

But hey, for 99 cents each… you can’t go wrong. 🙂

All of this, and there is still one day left in our weekend!

I’m all Dan Browned out!

That is, until he writes another novel… I just finished reading ***Deception Point|*** which means that I have now completed his four works of fiction.

I enjoyed Deception Point for the same reasons that I enjoyed his other three books… for the introduction of ideas and groups and terminology that I otherwise would not have known about. Even though Brown uses scientific terms and phrases, they do not overwhelm the book…and you can skim them if you want and not loose too much of the plot!

Speaking of the plot…It felt suspiciously similar to the plots of ***The Da Vinci Code|***, ***Angles and Demons|*** and ***Digital Fortress|***. The details are different, but the charactersare almost interchangeable.

All in all I found it to be a good, exciting read. Best of all, Brown was able to sucker me into some of his plot twists and kept surprising me!