Archives for January 2007

Review: Ptolemy’s Gate

The Bartimaeus trilogy: Ptolemy’s Gate

By Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus trilogy Ptolemy's GatePtolemy’s Gate is the third of the Bartimaus trilogy and while it gives the trilogy a pretty fitting end, it was far from the best of the bunch.  Unlike the first two books, the role of the Djinni Bartimaeus was significantly reduced.  At least the sections of the book that were from his point of view were reduced.  His role in the story was just as much as before.  The addition of Kitty’s point of view in this book split the story into three different points of view.

I also must admit that I was a little dissapointed with the ending as well.  I won’t spoil it for you, but it certainly isn’t the rosy ending that you expect throughout the middle of the book.  Jonathan Stroud does a great job of furthering the plot of the trilogy and the general character lines.

Overall, the great writing and story were extended through the book and I wasn’t all that dissapointed with the book.  And obviously, it needed to be read once you’ve read the first two books.  I certainly would recommend the trilogy as a whole.

You can read the rest of my reviews on my Recommended reading page.

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48 hours of RSV

Last friday, I took Connor into the doctor for what his mother and I suspected was a double ear infection and a bad cold.  What we ended up with was a double ear infection, RSV, and 48 hours in the hospital.

It was a spectacular way to spend a weekend.  From 9:15 am on Friday until about 10:45 on Sunday, I was away from the hospital room for about 2-3 hours.  And it was a small hospital room.  Really small.

Oh, and he was put into an isolation room so that anyone that came to visit was supposed to wear gloves and a mask to protect themselves and others from getting RSV.

But enough about that.  Lets talk about the service of the medical community in this town.  Horrible.  I had to correct the nurses at least once to make sure that Connor got the correct medication.  Perhaps an honest mistake, but we’re talking about some rather potent medications here. Then, when we do get the meds straight, we have to put up with Connor vomiting most of it up because the nurse wouldn’t listen to us when we told her how to give the meds so that he wouldn’t vomit.

Overall, the level of nursing and even the doctors was abysmal.  I’m usually a little dissapointed with the service, but this was above and beyond the worst we have had to date.

Connor is fine, or will be soon.  The RSV has loosened it’s hold on him and he can finally breath a little better.  He’s on meds for the ear infections and we’re all hoping that we are done with the hospitals and major medical stuff for a while.

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WordPress 2.1 broken blogroll fix

I recently upgraded this site to WordPress 2.1 and quickly found that there are still a few bugs in the code. One of the more obvious ones was that my blogroll was broken. Others have reported the same thing, while others haven’t. This leads me to believe that it is more of a template issue than anything. More in the code used to call the blogroll than in the WP code itself. Of course, it worked before, so why doesn’t it now?

It took me a little while and some indepth looking in my databases, but I did find a fix for it in my template. I would imagine that most of the others can be fixed in the same fashion.

Here is the code that was used before the upgrade to pull the blogroll:

blogroll code before

And here is the code with the change that makes it work:

Blogroll code after

I haven’t a clue what changed in the WP code, but it basically fubar’d the SQL that pulled the blogroll. Essentially, the -1 in the first bit of code was getting appended to a column name in the SQL rather than the column having it’s proper name in the SQL. So it became CAT_-1 instead of the CAT_ID that it should have been. Changing the -1 to ID seems to have alleviated the problem. It also doesn’t appear to have broken anything by making that change so for now I leave it.

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Virgin-ize America

Richard Branson is known as the wildcat of billionaires. He owns many different companies under the Virgin banner. One such is Virgin Airlines in Europe. Now he wants to come to America under the name Virgin Airlines. The business model is much more sound than that of most of our domestic airlines.

Only one problem. The U.S. Department of Transportation says no way. Not to be outdone, Branson is doing his normal wildcat thing and has an entire website dedicated to a PR push for a petition and email campaign to representatives asking to allow VA. You can read all the details at

Pretty interesting to me that the government will help out the domestic airlines even when they are in bankruptcy every 5 or so years, but a well run airline that has been successful gets nothing simply because it would compete and win against the other airlines.

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