New hobby …

So it’s been forever since I’ve used my blog, and I keep thinking I should start posting again. I haven’t really been doing website work outside of my actual job lately, because I’m just too burned out on it.

So what does that mean? I’ve gotten a new hobby. I’m going to start building furniture, etc, for my house and friends as needed. I thought I might start using this blog to post project details … and photos of how they turned out.

My first project I’ll be posting about sometime soon is a reclaimed window/wood coffee table I’m going to be building for our living room. We recently purchased one for another room in the house, and I like it so much that we wanted another one for the living room.

For this project, I will be using:

  1. Mini Kreg Jig Kit that I purchased last month ( I love that thing, makes stuff look so much better when you can’t see the screws on the finished furniture )
  2. kreg screws
  3. finishing nails
  4. miter saw
  5. drill

As far as wood supplies, I’m starting out with:

  1. a reclaimed window for the top
  2. 5 boards of reclaimed wood for the bottom shelf
  3. 2 1x2x8s to build the frame around the window and bottom shelf
  4. 1 firring strip for support under the shelf
  5. 1 left over piece of a 1×6 for the legs

I’ll be starting this project and hopefully finishing in a week or two at the most as I’m just doing this in my spare time.

table

Last year, my development team was given a large project to implement in a short amount of time. We hadn’t previously been allowed to use jQuery at work ( not sure why, jQuery is great ), but were given the go ahead on this project.

Since some of the team was unfamiliar w/ jQuery, they made some rookie mistakes. This was one of them.

Imagine you have a table, and you look up a group of items in a database and want to display them in that table, and when each item is clicked, you want to perform some action. You think right off the bat, you’d do something like this:


$(allData).each(function (i, dataItem) {
$("#myTableID").append("<tr><td>somedatastuff</td></tr>");
var row = $('#myTableID tr:last');
row.bind('click', function (evt) {
// some code to execute on click
});
});

So the above works. What’s wrong with it though? Imagine you have 500 items you want to display in the table. That would be 500 times you are appending html to the table, and 500 click event listeners you are creating. Now, Firefox usually handles this pretty well, but IE not so much.

So … how do we optimize it?

First, we want to only append our html to the table once, and second, we want to use .delegate or .live to create one event listener for the entire table.


var html = "",
tableEl = $("#myTableID");
$(allData).each(function (i, dataItem) {

// assuming the data has a unique id, we can use it here so we can access it later

html += "<tr id="somedataid"><td>somedatastuff</td></tr>";


});

tableEl.append(html);

// if we are expecting more rows to be added after page load we could use live
// instead of delegate
tableEl.delegate('tr', 'click', function (event) {
// some code to execute
});

The above now modifies the DOM once, instead of once each data item, and only has one event listener for the entire table.  It runs much faster in IE!

Missing Mom …

This is my first Christmas without my mom. I miss her, but I’m glad that she is no longer in pain.

Last Christmas she was in I.C.U. battling her cancer, and slowly lost the battle over the next 4 months, when she passed away on my our ( I have a twin sister ) birthday.

Have a Merry Christmas Mom …. as you watch down over all of us. We love you and miss you dearly.

Last night I went to Seven Bridges in Jacksonville with some friends. They are a micro-brewery/restaurant. We’ve been there a few times prior to this, and always have great service and great food.

Last night I had the Sweet Magnolia Brown Ale. It was a very good beer, slightly nutty, with a bit of chocolate hints. My friends had the Southside Pilsner Lager, which is a lighter beer ( I didn’t care for it, but I tend to like darker beers ). I’ve also had their stout in the past, which is outstanding.

The food was fantastic. For appetizers, we had their tapas and Ragtime Shrimp. The tapas had bruschetta, roasted garlic, olive tapenade, and hummus. The Ragtime Shrimp was coconut coated, and fried. Both were very good.

For dinner, I tried one of the specials they had, a cheeseburger pizza. It was okay. It had swiss cheese, hamburger, pickles, mushrooms and lettuce on it. I think the pizza would have been better if they would have put a little ketchup and mustard on it as the base, instead of marinara. Also, they put thousand island dressing on top of it, and there was just a bit too much. I think they should put that on the side and let the customer put it on, and perhaps offer ranch if people would prefer it.

One of my friends got the Pecan Crusted Chicken w/ cherry sauce, and the other got the seared Ahi Tuna. The Chicken was outstanding, I will probably order it next time we go there. The seared Ahi Tuna was also good, although I think the appetizer for this might be a better deal.

I definitely recommend going here for a fun night out with friends. At about 9pm a live band started up w/ some Jazz music and it added nicely to the atmosphere, and everyone in the place seemed to be having a great time.

I’ve been working at MapQuest for about 2.5 years now on the primary website. On that site we don’t use jQuery or Prototype, we roll everything from scratch. For the last two weeks I’ve been a new project which I can’t really go into details about at the moment. On this new project, we are using jQuery for a lot things, and I have to say it is making my life so much easier. Binding to events, and making nice animations are easy peasy!

This week I had the need to make a tabbed menu that is dynamically populated via a database, and can have anywhere from 1-30 tabs, these tabs needed to have sub menus that fly out. The menu was to fit inside of a div that is page width – 320 pixels, so the number of tabs that fit on this div also was different based on the browser size. With jQuery, I was able to quickly whip up a menu that fit in this area, and had paging arrows on left and right to allow the user to page through the tabs. When the user resizes the browser, I update the the number of tabs in each ‘page’ of the tabbing arrows. So far jQuery is definitely helping me enjoy my new project a bit more!

About a year ago, a little greek place named Greek Garden opened in Orange Park at Blanding and Kingsley. We went there right after they opened, and the food was sub par. We hadn’t returned since, but then yesterday we couldn’t decide where to stop for lunch and we decided to give it another shot.

Since last year, the ownership has changed, and it is now owned by the same people as the 3rd Street Diner down at the beach. Their menu is almost the same as the diner at the beach. They should really do something to let people know that they ownership has changed and the menu has now been greatly expanded. They even serve breakfast any time of the day. The food was great. I had a Rueben sandwich, and Lori had a Gyro. Both came with Fries, and they were crunchy w/ a nice spice on them. Both the Gyro and Rueben were spot on.

The only complaint I really have is that the seating is mismatched and very outdated. Some of the chairs are really uncomfortable, they should definitely look into replacing them.

I’m always looking for something quick for lunch, that I can microwave, but that is also healthy. I picked up a Simply Asia Sesame Chicken Rice Noodle bowl, and it was yummy! It was sort of like Ramen noodles, but they use Rice Noodles instead, and they only have 3 grams of fat. The broth was tasty ( I did add a dash of soy sauce to it ), and there were plenty of noodles and veggies in there and it’s even Gluten Free!

Rice Bowls

I highly recommend if you see them in your grocery store that you try them!

We went to Brewer’s Pizza on Friday night. They are a little Pizza/Wing/Craft Beer joint in Orange Park.

They have been around for a little over a year now, and have about 21 craft beers from around the country on tap. Recently they have started brewing their own beer. We tried several of their creations the other night. I really enjoyed their Pinglehead and Moondance. Their pizza and wings, as always, were delicious. We had the hand tossed Meatball pizza and some wings on Friday ( my favorite is the Florida Smacker, a deep dish personal pizza, but the people I was with wanted hand tossed ). My friends have also told me that their calzones are awesome as well. I love that we have a craft beer joint in Orange Park now, however I do wish that they would get some more TV’s and expand on their menu just a bit, as it is pretty limited. If there were a few more options on there, we’d probably go a lot more often. I’ve suggested a breakfast pizza after 11 on Friday/Saturday, and I think a few sandwiches, or french fries on the menu would go a long way.

Another spot we like to go is Engine 15 down on Beach Blvd. near the Beach ( I went there last night). It’s a bit more of a hike for us, so we don’t make it there as often. They have a ton of rotating craft beers, and I think they will also be brewing their own soon. Their food menu is more expansive than Brewer’s. They have a lot of classic snack foods like Pigs in a Blanket, Brats, Chips & Beer Cheese dip, flatbreads, and even a Frito Pie The atmosphere there is very fun and inviting, and they have enough TVs to generally find something that you want to watch while chatting with friends, and the bartenders are really friendly and try to make sure you end up with the type of beer you like. They take the time to find out what type of beer you normally enjoy, and tell you which ones you would probably like, and which ones you might not based on what you tell them.

The other place we’ve gone is Kickbacks on King Street in Jacksonville. This place had the biggest selection of craft beer, but honestly, I didn’t care for the restaurant. It is completely overcrowded, you can barely walk in there, they don’t have a hostess half of the time, and they seem to like sitting you at tables with complete strangers ( I’m an introvert … I don’t want my friends and I to sit at a table with people we don’t know … WTF?? ). It’s actually so crowded in there, that one of our friends had an entire beer spilled in her lap while someone was trying to walk by, and trying to walk the 30 feet to the bathroom takes about 10 minutes. I guess some people like places like that, but I prefer the more laid back atmosphere of Brewer’s and Engine 15. Kickbacks also usually so busy, that the waiter’s really don’t have any time or interest in offering any information about what beer they have on tap, and you are pretty much left to fend for yourself looking at a huge blackboard with a list of beers. If you want to know what something tastes like, you have to order an entire pint, and are basically screwed if you hate it.

One of these days, we’ll make it to Bold City Brewery and Intuition, but we haven’t been there yet. I’ll write a small review on them when we go there.

‘Play fur’

Some people think dogs are dumb, and don’t know many things. I beg to differ. Our two youngest dogs, Samantha and Roxie, are well aware of what the different clothing we wear means. They know when Lori puts on her khakis or jeans and a polo that she is going to work. Then know that when we put on PJs, we are going to bed. They also recognize the outfit that Lori normally wears when they get to go to the dog park.

When this outfit makes an appearance, and she is wearing her ‘Play fur’ ( this is my funny term for it, I think the dogs think in terms of fur that we are wearing ), Roxie and Sam go ape shit and start running all over the house tackling each other, getting amp’d up for their trip to the dog park. Lori always forgets that they know what this outfit looks like. This morning she got dressed, and wore it, getting ready to go help her parents with some yard work. The dogs got all excited, then extremely depressed when she left w/out them. They just don’t understand why she is going to the park without them. :(

Where’s the Fiber?

Over the last few weeks, a very disturbing pattern has come about with Nikki ( our oldest dog, at 13 years ) during the night. Nikki sleeps in my bed, she has done so for the last 8 years or so. I have a california king bed, which I get approximately 1ft of the end of to sleep on, and she lounges sprawled out across the rest.

I normally get up in the morning at 6am, and she meanders out of bed about 10 minutes later or so. A few weeks ago, I went back in the bedroom after she got out of bed, and found a small quarter sized piece of poop in the bed. It was gross. I promptly got rid of it, stripped the bed, and washed everything on the Sanitize cycle in the washer. I had assumed that it had gotten stuck to her the previous night, and didn’t think much more about it. Two nights later, the same thing happened, and then again a few nights after that. My washer has been doing a lot of work lately, and I’ve added a plastic backed flannel blanket under the sheet that Nikki usually sleeps on.

I questioned the vet about this issue two days ago…. and he said…. it’s old age. Dogs, like humans, have issues with their bowels and bladder when they get older. His solution … she needs more fiber. The vet, as expected, wanted us to put Nikki on Science Diet. In this house, as well as at the feed store we purchase our dog food from, we view Science Diet as ‘crap in a can’. To this day, I cannot figure out why vets insist on pushing it on people. If you look at the ingredients, they are less than optimal. The one the vet wanted us to put her on contained chicken, which Nikki is allergic to, so that was my out for not getting it. Instead, I’ve been looking online for good sources of fiber for dogs.

This week, we are adding unsweetened applesauce and pure pumpkin to Nikki’s diet to see if it resolves the issue. If that doesn’t work, we are going to try one teaspoon of metamucil to her meals twice a day.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed this works. After 8 years of her sleeping in the bed, and at 13 years of age, I’d feel horrible making Nikki move to the floor because, lets face it poop is gross, and I want to save my washer from dying a more miserable death than it’s already trying to do ( my washer sucks … we’ve been having issues w/ it for months … a load that should take 1 hour is taking 3 or 4).

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