Eww! I’ve drupaled all over myself! Or, what is that Wonderboy all about? Friday, Nov 2 2007 

That’s right, I’ve drupaled. If you don’t know what drupal is go here: drupal.org

The two second summary is that drupal is an open-source content management framework (CMF) for setting up and maintaining community-type websites. It has built in features for managing discussion groups, image galleries, community blogs, stories, upcoming events, basically anything you need to host a site where a group of people will contribute the content. Content that people can add and others can modify and enrich.

It is written using php and is, more or less, a community version of wordpress. It essentially has the same concepts in place (themes, modules, plugins, security, etc. etc.) but geared towards multiple user content. Wordpress is great for individual blogging but not so good for communities. Drupal is great for community hosting but not so great on blogging although it does have a blogging feature.

Admittedly it gets a site up and running very quickly but, like I’ve discovered with all of these open-source frameworks, for the site to be slick and just the way you want it you have to go into the code and hack it up. For example, the forums module is pretty vanilla out of the box so for it to behave like a respectable forum it needs to be beefed up.

The good news about drupal which holds true for wordpress is that there is a massive amount of user support out there. If there’s something you need it’s most likely out there on the web. The downside is, at least with drupal, it’s friggin’ hard to sift through all the sites to find exactly what’s needed. I.e. I found it easier to hack up the stuff myself. I found wordpress communities to be far more elaborate and tidy. Very easy to find stuff for wordpress.

Anyway, enough geeky blah blah. Why did I drupal all over myself anyway? Well, ever since I placed a link on my blogsite to a palce called ‘Wonderboy’, I’ve had a heck of a time figuring out where the link should go. For the 2 years I’ve been blogging I’ve attended 2 Wonderboys and have struggled with how or even if I wanted to publish anything about the event and my experiences. I took a half-assed very poor shot at it by creating a page for the link that had some vague garbage about the events and a lame explanation of the spirit of Wonderboy. In a nutshell, my attempt was a blemish on the integrity of Wonderboy and justice was NOT being served.

So, what better way to express the glory of Wonderboy than to dedicate a site to it’s existance and the valiant participants of this hallowed event. Why not leave it to the wonderboys as a whole to divulge the true spirit and comraderie of Wonderboy?

An opportunity came up when one of the committee heads proposed that Wonderboy continue its exploration into the 21st century by leveraging the WWW to its advantage. No more paper and pen and snailmail and (yawn) normal ole’ group emails. Let’s get with it.

So after a little back-and-forth with the heads of state, I volunteered my hosting site and then went out and purchased a very special domain for our very own. I then discovered through Fantastico (cPanel stuff) that my site has drupal all ready to go at the click of a button. Thanks to my wordpress endeavours my site was already good to go for drupal. Also, thanks to the awesomeness of my hosting site, I can easily plug in many add on domains (I currently host micheldesroches.com, my wife’s name .com (for privacy reasons I won’t divulge that) and now, drumroll please……………….www.thewonderboy.org

Why .org you ask? Because there’s not much out there available for wonderboy. The nerve of some people. All of the www.wonderboy.* were taken except for some obscure ones that are too embarrassing or stupid to use.

At any rate, check it out! It’s very new. So new in fact that only a few of the wonderboys are aware of it, all of the data is test data and there’s no real content pertaining to Wonderboy up there yet EXCEPT for that picture of the log cabin. That is the home of the annual Wonderboy. The boys below are shovelling off part of the lake for a rousing mid-February shinny during breaks between the gruelling Wonderboy events. I’ve disabled many of the features that drupal provides because most of the wonderboy participants are web 1.0 alpha users: i.e. they barely know how to use email.

Now, that Wonderboy link in my left menu bar actually goes to a real place that is only bound to get better.

BBC Wikipedia

The Dems are in Wednesday, Nov 8 2006 

Well, it happened:  The Democrats won both Senate and House.  AND on the same day Donald Rumsfeld the right hand grease-monkey to the ham-fisted George dubwa Bush also stepped down from his lame attempt at being useful.

I fear the US economy may take a hit with the Dems in control but it’s a small price to pay to geld the crazy horse.

BBC Wikipedia

What are those crazy Midterms all about? Monday, Nov 6 2006 

The U.S. midterm elections are TOMORROW.  What does this mean?
It all has to do with 2 ‘chambers’ of the Congress of the United States. Each one plays a huge role in passing legislation. You see, the President weilds a lot of power in the US but is hamstrung in certain important areas by these two chambers. He cannot ratify treaties or pass certain legislations with consent of the Senate (and to some extent the House) and certain other powers of the prez are limited by the House. Here is some verbage from Wikipedia explaining the 2 chambers in detail:
The Senate

The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. In the Senate, each state is equally represented by two members; as a result, the total membership of the body is currently 100. Senators serve for six-year terms that are staggered so elections are held for approximately one-third of the seats (a “class”) every second year.The Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and serves as its presiding officer, but is not a Senator and does not vote except to break ties. The Vice President rarely acts as President of the Senate unless casting a tie-breaking vote or during ceremonial occasions, so the duty of presiding usually falls to the President Pro Tempore, customarily the most senior senator of the majority party. Most often, the President Pro Tempore will designate a member from his party to serve as presiding officer for the day.

The Senate is regarded as a more deliberative body than the House of Representatives; the Senate is smaller and its members serve longer terms, allowing for a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere that is somewhat more insulated from public opinion than the House. The Senate has several exclusive powers enumerated in Article One of the Constitution not granted to the House; most significantly, the President cannot ratify treaties or make important appointments without the advice and consent of the Senate.

The House

The United States House of Representatives (or simply the House) is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. Each state is represented in the House proportionally to its population, and is entitled to at least one Representative. The total number of Representatives is currently fixed at 435 by the Reapportionment Act of 1929, though Congress has the authority to change that number. Each Representative serves for a two-year term and may be re-elected an unlimited number of times. The presiding officer of the House is known as the Speaker, and is elected by the members. The present House delegations by state are shown in the article List of U.S. states by population.

The bicameral Congress arose from the desire of the Founders to create a “house of the people” that would represent public opinion, balanced by a more deliberative Senate that would represent the governments of the individual states, and would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. The House is often considered the “lower house,” and the Senate as the “upper house,” although the United States Constitution does not use such language. The Constitution provides that the approval of both houses is necessary for the passage of legislation.

The House is generally considered a more partisan chamber than the Senate. Many of the Founding Fathers intended the Senate (whose members were originally chosen by the state legislatures) to be a check on the popularly elected House, just as the House was to be a check on the Senate. The “advice and consent” powers (such as the power to approve treaties) were therefore granted to the Senate alone. The House was granted its own exclusive powers: the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach officials, and elect the President in electoral college deadlocks. The Senate, however, can propose amendments to spending bills, try impeached officials, and choose the Vice President in an electoral college deadlock. The Senate and its members generally have greater prestige than the House since Senators serve longer terms (six years) in a smaller body and (in most cases) represent larger constituencies than Representatives.

So, if you haven’t discerned this yet, it becomes very convenient to get your way as president if the Senate and the House have a majority that belong to your party. I.e. since Bush is a Republican, if the Senate and House are Republican then he can have his way with American policy. That is the way it is today. “Bend over USA – I OWN YOU” bumper stickers have been seen on many of Bushie’s vehicles.

I don’t want to get into the nuances of this environment and don’t want to debate with others who think that there are enough checks and measures in place to still hold things in control even when both chambers and the president are from the same party. It is what it is and the past 6 years have demonstrated to me that this environment has spun a lot of things out of control in the US both at home and worldwide.

The midterm elections are elections that take place every 2 years where the entire House is elected and some of the Senate (approx 1/3rd of the 100 members) is elected. Due to differing tenures depending on the state the representative is from, etc. the number of reps elected is different depending on whether the election falls on the same year as the President is elected or if the election is taking place during the mid-term of the President’s tenure.

The importance is that the mid-terms can shake up the power in the House and Senate which is why it should be of interest to everyone how this pans out. With a Democrat majority in one or both houses the person Hugo Chavez calls the devil (and is quoted as saying the following when addressing the U.N.: “The devil came here yesterday. It still smells of sulphur today”) will be much more limited in what he can do before he is ousted from power. And with Bush’s legacy coming to a close I think there is still a lot of hocus-pocus he’s going to try and get through legislation before he’s done.

BBC Wikipedia

Poll: Crazy “Leaders” Wednesday, Sep 27 2006 

Rank the following political leaders in order of most screws loose. Please justify your top pick. Feel free to provide rationale for other ranked persons:

  • George W Bush
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • Hugo Chavez
  • Muammar al-Gaddafi
  • Ehud Olmert
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Other (please specify)

Assignment due ASAP.

BBC Wikipedia

Meet Quentin’s next movie star: Hugo Chavez Thursday, Mar 2 2006 

In your thickest Central American accent, say the following line:

“I sting those who rattle me.  Don’t mess with me, Condoleezza.”

If you said those words with that accent, you would sound a lot like Hugo Chavez when he lashed out at US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice after she stated that his country had become a “challenge to democracy”. (more…)

BBC Wikipedia