Classic Dishes...

Excuse Our Dust

Couple things have happened the last few months.

First, Haloscan (the commenting system I was using) screwed their customers by shutting down with little to no warning. Then Blogger decided they couldn’t abide people publishing to their own webspace via FTP…and shut down that service with little to no warning.

Nutshell, Yer Humble Host was effectively up a creek without a paddle. I’d been wanting to migrate this blog to WordPress for a while now (I like the idea of everything being self-contained and not relying on any outside services for content; given the above, I’m sure you understand), but I wasn’t sure how to get everything moved over, and I wasn’t sure how to get the comments I’d downloaded from Haloscan before they died into the system. So Chez Fred sat dormant.

Then, today, I was idly surfing and wondering if the Haloscan issue had been fixed yet. And I came across this article. This guy’s a god. Everything worked great aside from the need to stick proper HTML in for the occasional omlaut.

So, nutshell, welcome to the WordPress edition of Chez Fred. I figured getting the content in and working was most important, and then we’ll worry about formatting. Nothing should change if you are subscribing via, since I have that redirecting to the new feed path. Those of you who subscribed via probably aren’t seeing this anyhow, so hopefully you’ll wonder what the hell happened to me and come around to visit. With luck it’ll show up on Facebook, for those of you good enough to like Chez Fred’s page there.

I’ll try to get a more palatable theme in here soon enough. Meanwhile, ‘scuse the dust…

Pop Goes The Website

A question for The Four Of You:

When you click a link in a Chez Fred post, would you rather it open a new browser window (or tab, depending on how you have your browser set up. You’re not using a tabbed browser? Jesus, would you dump IE already, you unsecure jackweed?), or would you rather navigate away from Chez Fred to that link? I’ve got arguments for and against both, but I want to be a Man Of The People, and so I’m soliciting your opinion.

Please feel free to state your preference in the Comments for this post.

I Get Letters, Small World Edition

The Four Of You will remember that the other day I wrote about a guy who totally got one over on KTVU’s Ten O’Clock News.

Well, check out what I found in my email this morning:

thanks i am really glad people get it / i was just having fun / went down exac as you put it / spelled my name and everything. thanks for getting it

(name withheld) / AKA Mike Litoris

Ain’t that somethin’? We’re famous, kids.

“Sure, anyone could have sent you that,” you say. Well, yeah, that’s what I thought, too. But I did a little digging, and I think he’s for real. Without revealing too much, “Mike’s” email came from, and they’re in bed with Yahoo.

So I did a search on Yahoo for “Mike Litoris”. At the time of this writing, I was the sixth hit. (Technically I was the third, too, as I was the one who posted the clip on YouTube, mainly so I could write about it here.) So it seems completely reasonable to me that it could have gotten back to him, especially when he realized that he was officially On The Clock for his fifteen minutes of Internet fame.

Apparently the bit was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live! the other night, and he’d be anxious to see it. So in gratitude for totally making my day by stepping forward, I’ll put the request out to The Four Of You…anyone know where we could get hold of the Kimmel clip? If you do, let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Wow. “Mike Litoris” has read my site. I truly feel like I’ve made the big time now. Kibo ain’t got NOTHIN’ on him.

POSTSCRIPT, 11:12P, 7/20/05: Someone posted his Kimmel clip on YouTube: Thanks again, “Mike”. :)

Third Time’s The Charm

If you’re reading me via the RSS feed, or on LiveJournal, you’re missing something neat. Go to the site.

Is that big time? I think that’s big time.

Unfortunately, I can’t take very much of the credit at all…much of the heavy lifting was done by my friends Rich and Jesse. Rich did the majority of the graphical work and came up with the layout, and Jesse helped me out with some HTML issues (and when you’re me, you have a LOT of HTML issues), and to them I owe my heartfelt thanks, and probably a dinner, or at least a batch of cookies.

So, thanks much, guys. My appreciation for and awe in your vast talents are overwhelming. There’s no way I could have put together something this snazzy by myself.

(Oh, and tomorrow’s my mom’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom! Hopefully the Sharks will bring home a Game Four victory tomorrow night as a gift. :))


Most of The Four Of You know what cybersquatting is, I think.

The other day I got the 90-day warning from GoDaddy that my domains, including good ol’, are coming up for renewal. I’ve been tossing around some ideas for minor changes to the site anyhow (I really need to implement CSS, I want the archives on their own page instead of on that minimally-useful dropdown above, and does anyone with some artistic ability and a charitable spirit feel like making me a neato logo to stick in the upper left corner? Contact me if you do.), and in doing so I was thinking maybe I would register and direct that here too, just for the hell of it.

Well, this afternoon, during a slow time here at work, I decided on a whim to see if it was available. Imagine my surprise to find that had been squatted by some outfit out of Great Britain. I was amused to find that some Brit thought I was gonna pay a mint for a domain name for two reasons: 1) I don’t HAVE a mint, and 2) I’m nowhere near popular enough that the domain name is worth anything to me anyhow. The only reason I called it Chez Fred in the first place is because the restaurant menu theme was all I could think of at the time when I set it all up; I could yank all of that theme and just call it plain-ol’ and nobody would notice. So I giggled, satisfied that some squatter asshole had wasted their $8 or whatever their domain registrar soaked ’em for.

Then, out of curiosity, I decided to see just how widespread the Chez Fred name is, so I Googled it. This was the first hit. Oops.

That said, there are far worse things to share a name with than a British fish and chip shop, especially one that mentions on their menu: “If you’d like some more chips on your plate, please feel free to ask – there’s no extra charge…”

My kind of people.

Beware…I Live!!

If you can read this, then I’m one very happy camper.

I’m pleased to announce that Chez Fred now has a legitimate home.

For the longest time (well, really, always, until today), was merely a domain name, which redirected to whatever free web space my ISP gave me. It always felt kinda fake, since it wasn’t REALLY, it was actually with a pretty decoration on the front door.

Well, a combination of some of The Four Of You mentioning to me that all too often they couldn’t get to the site, me being incredibly frustrated with the shortcomings of Comcast’s free web space (mostly the lack of server-side include capability, though I suspect as I play with this new space I will find quite a few other how-did-I-make-it-this-long-without-being-able-to-do-this-type things), and the recommendation of my friend Peter at Static Zombie caused me to kick a (very reasonable) few dollars to for some real honest-to-God digital real estate for Chez Fred.

And, amazingly, it’s been really easy to port the site over. Granted, it’s not a big site (certainly not as much stuff to move as Peter had when he did it), but I was afraid there would be all kinds of stuff to fix and hierarchal stuff to worry about and what not. Nope. Most of it just copied right over, and I’ve had to spend maybe an hour total noodling with the Blogger and Frontpage publishing settings. I anticipate having more problems getting Bloglines fixed.

The difference to you? Well, the site already seems twice as responsive, and up there in the address bar, you’ll see you are in fact at now, which is a big thing to me; I felt kinda like a fraud before. (And if you catch any broken links (and I’m sure I left some laying, although I’ve always tried to make site links relative instead of absolute for just this reason), please let me know.)

So, welcome down. Now that I have no excuse not to do all of the modern stuff people do with web sites these days, I guess I should go learn how to do it…


I don’t pretend to be any sort of a genius when it comes to HTML. At all. You probably could have guessed this from the sparse Ikea-like design here. I’d like to be good at HTML, but there’s just so much that has passed me by…I wouldn’t even know where to start. So I pick up little things when I can, but I’m sure I’m still a couple years behind the times. At the same time, I also like that the site is simple and has not one line of Flash in it.

When I originally debuted Chez Fred v2.0, I switched the site to a frame-based thing ‘cuz I liked the idea of having the menu sitting there static on the left, and the content on the right. And at the time that was pretty much the extent of my HTML skills, and I was happy to be able to get THAT done.

Then RSS came along and ruined everything.

One of the things I hated about my setup is that if people read my site via RSS (or Bloglines or LiveJournal or whatever) and tried to go to the actual page so they could comment or what-not, because of how all of this stuff ties together, all that loaded was the actual blog frame. This looked like hell, and I’m sure a few of The Four Of You had no idea there was actually other stuff on my site, since you never saw the menus.

The other thing I’ve wanted to do is change the way the archives work. I like the drop-down, but the way Blogger works, you can’t do the drop-down thing if you want to list archives by the item title instead of (or along with) the date. And I do. I think people would be more likely to use them if they saw a title catch their eye. This didn’t work with the frame setup either.

So a few times I played around with the idea of converting the site from frames to tables, but 1) I didn’t know how to get frames to work how I wanted them to, and 2) I always had a problem with the color of the left pane not staying consistent, because the content there almost always runs out before the content on the right. Well, I finally figured all of that out, and got everything converted, so welcome to Chez Fred v2.1.

The archives are still drop-down by date, because I have to figure out how to do the archive pages in Blogger, but they at least seem to work. Eventually I’ll be adding archive information in the Menu, but this was quite a little bit of progress for a few hours work. I _also_ might switch to Blogger’s internal commenting system because I like the idea of being able to read and make comments without having to deal with a pop-up, but one thing at a time.

So, if you see anything broken, please do let me know!

Order Up!-date

The voting is in, and The Four Of You (actually I think we only enjoyed a 50% voter turnout) voted overwhelmingly for most-to-least-recent archive listing. Last night I looked up some code, and mashed it together with some code I already had, and I appear to have pulled it off. Go me. :)

In doing this (and after much banging of my head against a brick wall – the things I do for My People), I also have discovered a trick to get the blog to completely republish MUCH faster and WAY more reliably than before. (It seems Blogger doesn’t like overwriting files much. Not bad when it’s just dealing with the index, but a pain in the ass when dealing with 100 back entries. So if I blow out the blog manually and let the program republish it from scratch with nothing to write over, what used to be a half-hour of nail-biting happens in about a minute, and the first time.) So because of this, I may start tinkering with bringing the commenting system internal again. I like the LiveJournal conceit of displaying comments directly below a blog entry and providing an easy way to join in. What we have now with HaloScan isn’t bad but I can’t help but think we can do it better. So if you see the site with multiple comment links on each entry, it’s because I’m fiddling with it and it will be back to normal soon enough.

Firefox, by the way, is teh b0mb. Popups? Spyware? Those are things that happen to other, lesser people. Is Microsoft really so dense as to maintain that tabbed browsing isn’t a killer app? Look for it in IE within a year – and look for this Steve Vamos chucklehead to be seeking other employment.

So. I was gonna write my usual Friday piece on Survivor and The Apprentice, but with Raj getting the boot last week from the latter, and Sarge (Just as I’m not gonna tell Glenn Danzig he sucks, I’m not gonna tell Sarge that Lea is a girl’s name) getting axed for owning a penis on the former, there just isn’t much left on either show to hold my interest. Survivor is quickly becoming (what’s the opposite of a sausage fest? A tuna party? :)), and the only real interesting angles on Apprentice remain whether Andy will shake the “he’s just a kid” stigma (despite the fact that he’s carried himself just fine every time the ball’s been thrown his way) and whether The Donald will run out of people to fire instead of Ivana and be forced to hire her dumb ass.

(Revision: In looking up Danzig in Google to get the link. I saw some pictures, and apparently he’s let himself go over the last few years. I’m inclined to think that today, I WOULD tell him he sucks. :))

Order Up!

So the Four Of You have probably noticed a little change here at Chez Fred: there’s no more seperate Archive section. Instead, you have a drop down at the top of every blog page that allows you to select a past entry to read. I think it’s a lot more convenient than surfing the Archives, myself.

I’m going to TRY to add titles to the list (I THINK I can do it), so you can call up a favorite piece by name (for those that HAVE titles, and I may go back over the old ones and edit titles into them, if I end up liking how it works out), but I need your advice for another bit:

(QUICK EDIT: I just realized why I can’t add titles: since archives list by the day, there may be more than one post in a given day. I’ll have to read up on Post Pages and see if I can’t build an archive using those somehow. So for right now we’re stuck with dates, just as before.)

Right now the Archive drop-down lists the entries from first to last, that is, the first entry is when we went live on July 1, 2001. To my way of thinking, it’s easier to browse the Archives from most-to-least recent, the exact reverse of how it is now. (And it is a shame that an archive entry can’t have that day’s archive be the menu default, but based on how the code works I just don’t see a way around it.)

So, given a choice, do you a) want the archives to list first-to-last, b) list last-to-first, or c) do whatever, you couldn’t care less about the archives ‘cuz you only read me through RSS anyhow, in which case you don’t even see the comment link and therefore prolly wouldn’t vote in the first place.

As always, thanks for making Chez Fred even a small part of your day. It’s more fun writing it when I know people are actually reading it. :)

Titularly Speaking

(Huh-huh. He said “titular”)

Yesterday I took Blogger to task for not being able to title individual posts.

So I spent about three seconds poking around Blogger’s help files, and instantly found what toggle to flip to turn on titles, and how to add it to the blog template. It’s always been there, I’ve always had it turned off. Duh.

So, now we have titles, and I can come up with clever puns and snarky comments to make with ’em, and I THINK it might even use ’em in the XML feed…we’ll see about that.