Migration to WordPress

Until today I hadn’t posted on here since 2009! My main excuse for that delinquent behavior was that I didn’t have a very nice interface for posting to my site and more significantly I didn’t have a nice interface for managing my sets of photos and the detailed captions that I like to include along with them. I actually worked for days, perhaps weeks, back in 2009 trying to prepare and post my photos from my trip to Costa Rica and the stories that went with them, but it just got too tedious. So I put it on hold indefinitely, at least until I could develop a better admin interface.

For quite a while I had intended to re-write the whole hand-coded site and to design a nice set of admin tools using the Ruby on Rails framework that I had been using at work. However, I soon realized that most shared hosting plans don’t make the latest versions of Rails  available until quite some time after they are released. They do this for good reason, really, but ever since I started playing around with Rails I had been keeping up with the bleeding edge, frequently writing code for versions that had not been released yet. I couldn’t put up with using seriously old versions for new development and experimentation.

Anyway, when I realized that having a cheaply-hosted latest-version-of-Rails-based site was not very reasonable, I finally bit the bullet and decided to look into WordPress. My friend Josh had been developing professional sites using WordPress for a while now and that got me thinking about using it for my church as a way to get a nice-looking and easy to maintain site up quickly without having to pay someone to do the design from scratch. So, my friend Nate and I worked together on that and we were pleased with how the site turned out. That experience gave me enough confidence that I could probably make it work for what I wanted to do.

So yeah, a while back I installed WordPress and started migrating my old blog posts and comments over. That was a relatively straight-forward process as the WP posts and comments tables were similar enough to my custom ones and I could bulk import everything with a few lines of SQL. I had a bit of cleaning up to do after that, but it wasn’t too bad. Getting the slideshows imported was a lot more time consuming. After using the nice photo uploader interface to get the actual images in place, I had to manually copy and paste each alt tag and caption for each photo. I’d say it probably took a total of 6 to 8 hours of non-stop copy and pasting. 

At that point, I had all the content more/less in place, but there was no presentation. I decided to go with a theme called blankslate, which is pretty much what the name implies. It just generates standard WP HTML5 code but leaves all the styling up to you. This allowed me to replicate the look and feel of my old hand-coded site pretty closely with a few improvements. It took me a while to tweak things and to discover all the different pages that WordPress creates (search results, not found, archives, etc) and to make them look reasonable, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out.

Anyway, I’m sure I will add more simple “features” and tweak more things as I go along, but for now I’m just happy to have it back up. In the process of the migration I ended up reading the entire content of the site, and it brought back a lot of (mostly good) memories. In a way it was like reading an old journal or going through an old photo album. It made me realize the value of documenting my experiences, more for my own sake than even sharing with others. Hopefully I will keep it up, and hopefully future posts will be significantly more interesting than this one!

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9/28/2009 – Summer Happenings

I guess I’ve been busy doing stuff this summer rather than blogging about doing stuff. That’s good I suppose, but I’ve been meaning to get some photos up to share what I’ve been up to with anyone who is interested.I finally posted an update on my garden tonight, which feels good. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I enjoyed growing the veggies. :) So anyway, besides gardening a lot of my summer was taken up working hard(er than normal) saving up for and going on an amazing last minute trip to Costa Rica with my friend Ariel. I spent a week traveling around with her seeing the sights and then a week on my own staying with a wonderful Costarican family I was blessed to meet. It was a great experience. I’ll do my best to get those photos up before the digital media they’re stored on decomposes.

On The Road To Ostional

A few weeks after I got back I was blessed to be able to do another short trip with my friend Phil. We both really enjoy backpacking and wanted to get at least one trip in before the summer was out. We were initially thinking of trying to find a spot in Southwestern B.C., Canada, but after having a little trouble finding info and some pretty bad weather forecasts, we decided to head east over to Central Oregon. We ended up doing a three day loop at Diamond Peak, and it was definitely interesting. Again, I’ll work on posting the rest of the photos and the story, you know, hopefully before next summer.

me at one of the lakes on the first day

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6/16/2009 – 3 More Beds Built, Filled and Planted

So, I’ve been busy in the garden since last time I wrote. I think last time I posted anything I had two beds planted with potatoes, onions, lettuce and carrots. Since then I built three more: a 4×6, a 4×4 and a 4×8. It was a lot of work! It was not so much the cutting and nailing together of the boards but the setting and leveling of the bed, the transporting of the composted horse manure from the front of the house to the back one wheelbarrow at a time, the digging out, separating from the grass and breaking up of the clay to mix with it, and the filling of the beds with the mixture. It was a lot of hard work, but very rewarding when I saw the finished product and was able to start planting! So, for the record, here is what I planted or transplanted in what beds and when.

In you’re a beginner gardener reading this, note that I am a beginner too (or at least I am at the time I’m writing this) and that a lot of these things I probably got in the ground way later than I should have. The kale and broccoli in particular should have been in the ground a month or more ago, I think. I just didn’t have a place to put them until a week or two ago, so I got them transplanted when I could. We’ll see how everything does, and I can always improve the timing and the process next year. I’ll definitely be keeping y’all updated.  :)

my garden

Anyway, beside the joy of getting most of the beds built and most everything planted (I still have Early Fortune Cucumbers and Amish Snap Peas to put in), I got to see everything I had already planted grow! Since I’ve never done this before and don’t know what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised for example to see that the potato plants develop flowers on them. And so far, the colors of the flowers correspond to the colors of the potatoes, more/less. I’ve got blueish-purple flowers coming up from the All Blue Potatoes and white flowers coming up from a whiter variety (can’t remember the name…some other ones that Hillary gave me). The red potatoes still haven’t developed flowers, so we’ll see what those look like when they come. Anyway, I love going out every day and looking at their progress. It’s pretty amazing. I took some photos after I got all these main beds planted and put them in a mini-slideshow. Take a look!

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