News for July 2007


Radiation tri-blade 28.july.2007 » The Wikipedia entry for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School says » "It is regarded as one of the most difficult academic programs in the world."

United States nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarineThe phrase in the world caught my attention.

Never quite sure how much I can (or can't) say .. cuz the curriculum is comprised, largely, of material labeled confidential (with a big red stamp). I'm sure I'll get a call if I say too much.

Much has already been written. Official NPS web site » here. I was enlisted, but the website for the officer's version of same program is » here.

"Nuke school" was located in Orlando when I went (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). Navy moved it to Charleston in (uh .. not sure the year .. probably mid-to-late '90's).

Biggest thing I remember (in looking back, reflecting) is the ego .. associated with being 20 years old, flying to Hawaii .. to run a reactor plant on a billion-dollar nuclear sub (the ultimate in WMDs).

And the Navy trains well .. best program of its kind .. due to a combination of Uncle Sam's unlimited budget (as reactors tend to be expen$ive) and Rickover's guiding influence ...

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » United States Naval Nuclear Power School |An Inside Look - Part I

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSSRadiation tri-blade 26.july.2007 » Half-way thru new (650-page) Head First XHTML/CSS book. Completed first 7 chapters, which cover all things pertaining to HTML/XHTML (the *structure* of a web page, such as setting up » headings, paragraphs, images, links).

Chapter 8 (« 3-MB PDF), which I'm starting now, begins discussion of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which is cooler than (X)HTML, cuz it deals with *presentation* (as separated from structure).

Clearly tho, this book was written for those who know (absolutely) nothing about HTML or web site development (uh, not me).

To this point, I've (already) known most of what the book has been teaching .. tho the last few chapters, increasingly, have shed light on gaps in my knowledge. Examples of things I never knew: »...

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Mid-way Review of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Radiation tri-blade 23.july.2007 » Before becoming a dad, I had a job where one of my bosses spoke often & enthusiastically about his kids (teenagers at the time). Despite my best efforts (to suck-up to the boss), I had difficulty relating to his stories.

I remember thinking, "If I ever have kids, I need to realize that people who don't .. might have trouble relating." Of course, when it's your boss, you try extra hard (to relate) .. laughing when he laughs, even when you fail to see any humor.

I even remember feeling it rude of him to expect me to care about his stories (when I had no kids of my own). Like I said, it wasn't like I didn't try.

Pool at Mariner's church (in Newport Beach) doubles as a baptistryAt times I even felt inadequate, cuz I hadn't bred (yet).

Since becoming a dad, I can see good parents *should* be tuned to their kids. Obviously, there's a ditch on both sides of this road.

A parent can be so absorbed they have no life outside their kids. Or they can be oblivious, not realizing when their kids are hurting. (I think this is called empathy, a natural part of parenting.) Balance is the key.

These days I tailor my conversation to the person sitting across from me. If they're a parent, I'm free to discuss whatever parental topics arise (cuz I know they can relate). If not, I find other subjects (unless they lead).

Even with the Dog, my best friend of many years (who has outstanding social skills), I've found a certain —distance— has developed. The Dog is excellent at relating to my challenges with the bug's mom, but struggles (I sense) at relating to my experiences as a dad.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Difficulty Relating to an Enthusiastic Parent | Skinny-dipping in the Baptistry

Radiation tri-blade 20.july.2007 » Played Rad-dad the last few days. This was the first time I changed *no* poopy diapers. Woohoo! All poopies went in the toilet. (A beautiful thing.) Let the celebration begin.

Baloo + Mowgli | Jungle Book is one of the Bug's favorite storiesHe seems to enjoy this new activity. "Dada, come look," I hear him call from the bathroom. Eyes gleaming with pride. High-fives ensue.

Quickly tho, he dismisses me with a wave, saying » "Dada, go away." (Plea for privacy.) Sometimes he even slides shut the door behind me.

And I have another 'first' to report » he took a shower with me today. No, not a major milestone, but worth mentioning. The shower-head here is detachable, allowing me to better control the nozzle's spray.

The bug slept over last night. Good snuggler, he is. (Good sleeper, too.)

After telling him a story ('til he fell asleep) I lay awake, listening to the sound of his breath. The bottoms of his little feet rested on my legs (just above my knees). His head lay (peaceful) on my arm. My other arm drew him tight. Pretty dang close to heaven on earth.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Musings on Being a Part-time Dad & Milestones in Potty-Training

Radiation tri-blade 17.july.2007 » Been studying new "Head First" book on XHTML/CSS .. currently ~200 pages into it (1/3rd way thru), now reading chapter 5.

Haven't seen much new material I don't already know (having learned most of my tricks from viewing the source of other web sites). Tho I have learned bits-n-pieces of cool info from the book, especially regarding the names (terms) of things (.. which I've been using for years).

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSSSo in that regard, it has (so far) been only slightly useful. But it's good to know that I know what I know .. ya know? Especially since HTML is a prerequisite for learning so many other cool web technologies, such as scripting & databases.

NEXT chapter is titled Serious HTML ("Standards, Compliance & all that Jazz"), which sounds more interesting (than basic HTML). From perusing the table of contents («PDF), it looks like the really cool stuff (stuff I don't yet know) starts in the second half. Looking forward to that.

Funny how they use a fictitious web design company named RadWebDesign (a "seemingly experienced firm") that always does things wrong. =) [Re: pages 148 + 156.]

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Radiation tri-blade 11.july.2007 » Been reading a new book on XHTML/CSS. O'Reilly claims its books in the Head First series represent a "learning experience." (not a reference)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTMLNormally I just want the facts .. stripped of extraneous info. (For example, I've never cared for preachers who infuse their sermons with much emotion, which I feel is manipulative.) So it surprises me I'm actually enjoying this book.

The introduction (12-pages) addresses the book's theory on learning. Below I've listed the key points (many of which I've long subscribed to, and tried to implement here).

Their main theory centers upon the notion that » your brain craves novelty .. continuously searching for something unusual (like a hungry tiger, hiding in the bushes, waiting to eat you).

Your brain, consequently, does everything it can to stop ordinary thoughts from interfering with your attention to "things that matter" (hungry tigers, fire, etc.).

So you need to trick your brain into thinking the material you're learning is important. "How?" you ask. Good question.

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Theory of Learning Behind the Head First Series of Books (from O'Reilly)

Radiation tri-blade 09.july.2007 » Spent the first full weekend with the Bug (Fri-Sat-Sun) in several months. I had previously been donating my Saturdays to his mom .. but decided, recently, to take more time with the little guy.

Never ceases to surprise me how much depth to the relationship it adds by spending consecutive days together. Nothing like a big chunk o' time to develop the father/son relationship & bond. Very satisfying.

It's difficult to make blog entries when I have him (impossible, actually, 'less he's nappin'). So he's normally gone when I sit down to write.

Difficult to watch him go. Afterwards, it feels like my heart was ripped out. Messes me up. To say it's disorienting is an understatement, but that's the best word I can find to describe the feeling. Takes me a while to recover (re-orient).

I don't really understand *why* I feel so whacked afterwards, cuz I know it's good for him to be with his mom, and she takes good care of him .. and by the time she comes to get him, I'm pretty whupped anyway.

Today's entry continues in the blog .. see here » First Full Weekend Visitation in Months | Fireworks

Radiation tri-blade 04.july.2007 » My favorite holiday of the year (even tho the last couple have suk'ed). This year however, I get the bug! .. all day (+ all night). Woohoo!

Seems too good to be true .. cuz I usually get the short end of the holiday stick. Just worked out for me (being a Wednesday).

He's napping now. One of my favorite things is watching fireworks. Brings back good childhood memories, when the families from the neighborhood would pile in their cars and form a caravan to the displays (kids could ride in the back of pick-up trucks) .. several nights in a row, cuz the town where I grew up (in Connecticut) staggered them.

I don't know anyone else, btw, whose favorite holiday is the 4th. (Notta one.)

So yeah, we'll be seeing some later. I'm stoked. Prolly head over to the Back Bay (Newport Beach), which is close. Traditionally, I watch them at Crescent Bay Point Park in Laguna, but traffic will be suk'ing big-time tonight.

Also .. been working on the new Ghost guide. Was completely immersed in XHTML/CSS yesterday (hence: no entry here). Been suking up info like drinking water thru a firehose. (My dang head feels heavier.)

Had a couple of small problems that took a whole to resolve. See the white-text links at top of red sidebars here? Looks simple, right? You can't believe the hair I pulled out getting that to work .. (cuz default-blue links there look krappy) .. since imbedded styles are supposed to over-ride stylesheet styles (but didn't, for some reason). HERE is where I finally found a solution.

I know a lot more HTML/CSS than I thought. The 3-column liquid design I've selected from Dreamweaver's pre-layed-out table-less templates is considered by some as "the holy grail". Locking the sidebars to a fixed width is another option I've considered.

Also been learning how to put Dreamweaver's mojo to work. I'm impressed with this program. Always have been .. even before I knew how to use it. =)

Oops, he just woke. Have a happy/safe 4th.

Radiation tri-blade 01.july.2007 » First day of July. Hottest month of the year. We're about to find out if global warming is real. Along these lines, this sunscreen (Dry-Touch) is best, cuz it's not greasy. Can't even tell you're wearing it.

As mentioned earlier, I've been delving more seriously into the subject of web site design (development), starting with » XHTML, CSS & Dreamweaver.

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTMLI'm finding the design aspects offered by CSS more interesting than XHTML, which (tho necessary) seems boring by comparison. CSS is cool, cuz it lets you do cool things.

Most agree it's best to learn HTML/XHTML first. W3Schools lists both these topics before their tutorial on CSS. Many books (such as this one) tie the topics together, feeling they go hand-in-hand.

During academic years, my strategy was to master the basics. Advanced topics then come more easily. That's still my strategy.

While researching what books might be helpful, I found *two* stood out:

Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog .. see here » Best Books for Learning the Basics of Web Site Design (XHTML + CSS)