Entries from March 2009

Things I will not miss at all come this Saturday

…when I finally complete nine months of slowly coming off a very high, prolonged dosage of prednisone, which was prescribed to beat down sarcoidosis, which was diagnosed back in 2001 and decided to come out of remission and kick the mother-trucking shit out of my kidneys last summer:

  • Feeling completely and utterly exhausted nearly all the time, contrasted with…
  • … bursts of manic energy that seemingly came out of nowhere, most often in the middle of the night, resulting in hour upon hour doing something completely ridiculous like organizing my CD collection based on genre, in alphabetical order by composer, by the colour of the spine, etc.
  • Dealing with the jaunty show tune called “systemic fat redistribution”, where all of the fat from all over my body decide to migrate to and hold some kind of lipids-only Burning Man in my stomach region
  • Massive, uncontrollable mood swings that would last for hours, which would find me one moment sitting at my desk feeling like I just swallowed a dozen “I’m so freaking happy” pills, the next hiding in a washroom stall bawling my eyes out for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the next utterly depressed and despondent, then OMG I’M SO HAPPY again, etc.
  • Prolonged, intense crankiness and anger, probably caused in part by the above and by insomnia that would last for days
  • Not feeling in control of myself whatsoever, and isolating myself from others to avoid unleashing a mood on an innocent bystander
  • Being on a sodium-free, fat-free, seemingly flavour-free diet to stave off prednisone’s legendary ability to cause shocking weight gain (successful, thank jersey)
  • Gut issues. The less said, the better.
  • A skin complexion that looked like I had been dropped in a deep fryer filled with five-week old lard
  • Countless visits to multiple doctors, tests out the wazoo (thankfully not IN the wazoo), enduring the WTF experience of being dipped into an MRI machine and massive complications from a seemingly botched biopsy, etc.
  • Subjecting my family to all of the above

Things that this experience makes me thankful for:

  • Getting sick finally got me off my ass and exercising (again, to try and prevent major weight gain)
  • Learning to eat healthy, and actually starting to enjoy aspects of the ascetic diet
  • Having the love and seemingly endless patience of a damn fine woman who was on the receiving end of much of the crankiness and mood swings and frothing at the mouth
  • For the most part avoiding most of the worst side effects of prednisone (especially the weight gain, and the infamous moon face, cf. Jerry Lewis)

It’s been a rough nine months, but so far (crosses fingers, toes, antenna) it looks like my sarcoidosis is in remission again, which is probably the thing I’m the most thankful for at the moment. The crankiness and moodiness is starting to (finally) abate, and I’m slowly starting to feel like myself again. More importantly, I’m starting to feel like I’m in control of myself again, both physically and emotionally, which feels like, no shit, a kind of freedom.

I look forward to eating potato chips again, socializing with other human beings like a regular, non-sociopathic person does, and treating my family to extended periods of me being happy.

IR_Black theme for Espresso

Espresso IconJust because I have so much extra time I don’t know what to do with myself (ahem), here’s a version of Todd Werth’s TextMate theme IR_Black for MacRabbit’s new all-in-one (and as of this moment still in public beta) web development editor Espresso. For those of you who haven’t seen what IR_Black looks like, here’s a screenshot:


To install the theme, download the file below, decompress the zip file, and copy the IR_Black.css file to /Users/Your Username/Library/Application Support/Espresso/Themes

Those of you using The Other Mac OS X All-In-One Web Development Editor (Panic’s Coda) aren’t left out of the dark theme er, party either: check out my version of IR_Black for Coda.

Feel like editing these themes? Head on over to the Github public repositories and go nuts:

The tear-inducing irony in all of this is I’m still mostly a TextMate man. I really need better hobbies.

Block Retweets in Twitterrific (and Twitter in general)

blockretweets.pngHere’s the thing: for the most part I really enjoy and get a lot of personal value out of Twitter. But besides the annoying (but easily ignored) infiltration of Twitter by the PR/marketing webcockerati the one thing that’s harder to ignore is the “retweet”.


Retweeting (or simply “RT”) is when someone reposts someone else’s tweet. It’s really that simple. And it drives me nuts, for a few reasons:

  1. Chances are if I was interested in the person being retweeted I probably follow them already, so the retweet just ends up being duplication and noise.
  2. If there’s something Big and Momentous going on (see: sporting events, political brouhahas, Apple announcements, etc.), many people often retweet the same tweet, which is like #1 but even more annoying.
  3. Many retweets often consist of links to “cool stuff”. For the most part I’m not really that interested as I already have enough sources for cool links (delicious, digg, my newsreader, Tumblr, etc.), and the value of Twitter for me is more in stalking staying in touch with friends than in any so-called “viral messaging”.

    I just gave myself gas typing those two words. The things I do for this web site.

  4. If you absolutely had to retweet something, common courtesy would be to link to that person’s tweet rather than regurgitate the text wholesale. The same courtesy already exists for weblogs, so why not microblogs like Twitter?

So, fuck ‘em. For those of you who use Twitterrific, here’s a little application that sets up retweet blocking.

Download the Block Retweets application (posted March 14, 2009, version 1.1)

(Looking for the source code? It’s available from the project page on Github.)

Instructions on how to use this and how it works are included, but don’t worry: this is completely safe and 100% reversible. Basically, download, decompress, run, click “Block”, and enjoy your retweet-free Twitterrific.

How do I block retweets on the Twitter web site?

For those of you using the Twitter web site with Firefox or Safari there’s still hope. With the Firefox Greasemonkey add-on or the GreaseKit plugin (which works in Safari, OmniWeb, Fluid, or any other WebKit-based browser) you can block retweets with “beejaminBoy’s” No Retweets userscript. I just installed it and it’s working for me, but I didn’t write this so your mileage may vary.

Firefox 3.0.8 optimized build for Mac Intel

Blue Globe iconThe eighth Firefox 3 security / maintenance release is now available and I have an optimized build available for Intel macs.

Check out the official Mozilla Firefox web site to see what’s new in Firefox 3.0.8.

G4/G5 macfolk: At the moment I do not have reliable access to G4 or G5 machines to do builds, so I’m at least temporarily discontinuing builds for these two CPUs. I don’t want to leave old, insecure versions up for download and at the same time I don’t want to have such long periods between updates, so discontinuing them seems like the best option at the moment. I do plan to post comprehensive “how to build” steps, but for now the Mozilla developer centre simple build instructions are pretty good place to start. Also check this post’s comments for other optimized build sources.

Downloads and caveats

Confused why this download is called “Minefield” and has a different icon? See below.

If you really aren’t a big fan of the new redesigned theme, I highly recommend aronnax’s lovely GrApple Firefox themes which basically make Firefox look a heck of a lot like Safari. Not a bad thing in my book, but your mileage may vary.

Without further ado:

Download Minefield (Firefox) 3.0.8 for Intel

»Mirror » Mirror

Totally not required, but if you feel like donating to help with bandwidth costs, etc., I’d be most grateful. Any excess money raised will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). Thanks!

What the hell is Minefield?

So for those of you who have followed my Firefox builds, you all know the drill - those builds used the Mozilla development codename “BonEcho” because it was against the Firefox trademark to distribute non-official builds using that name or icon. With Firefox 3 the development name has changed from BonEcho to Minefield, so all of the Firefox 3 builds available from this site will be called that instead of Firefox.

Minefield iconAs for the icon, in the past I either used the default development icon (the blue earth) or a slightly tweaked version. Minefield’s development icon changed, though, and it’s just… grotesque. Sorry, I can’t mince words here - basically someone took the blue earth icon from BonEcho and tacked on a fuse to it. Get it? Minefield? Bomb? Ahem.

With these builds I’ve reverted back to the blue globe icon instead of using the default development icon, partially for consistency’s sake, and partially because it’s still a heck of a lot better than the bomb icon.

Moving forward there will no longer be more Firefox 2.x builds - as far as I’m concerned it’s obsolete and in the past. That said, I am still chipping away at complete instructions on how to build your own optimized Firefox builds from the comfort of your own home; watch for those in the coming weeks.

As usual, please post feedback and other effluvia in the comments. Enjoy, folks!

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