ted & pamela

Archive for March 2009

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Springtime!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

It’s been warm and sunny this week! Saturday, I got to pet and feed a wild kitty and repot my poor redwood tree while soaking in sunshine. And after a frustrating (for me) private lesson on Sunday in which we were told the same things we’ve been hearing and apparently haven’t fixed (Pamela, be more active… Ted, lead from your center and stop distorting your frame…), we had a delicious yummy lunch outside on the front steps! Toasted sandwiches, tomato bisque soup (yummy when sandwiches are dipped in it too), raspberries, bananas, and coconuts.  Coconuts have become my new favorite thing.  We then fell asleep sitting on the steps, like turtles in the sun, and didn’t even hear Eric and Gina drive up until they were past us and walking in the house.  Now it’s back to the homework… I hate my credentialing classes; they’re useless. I want a nap instead.

Dropsy

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

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I think my gourami has dropsy.  🙁

According to Wikipedia, I should quarantine him.  I’ll try antibiotics and water changes, but I think it might be too late to cure him.

Is there anything else I should do?

Gooey Fun

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Two nights ago, Eric dropped by and showed us World of Goo, a game I’d heard of through the Google mailing lists before, but hadn’t seen in person.  It’s basically a physics puzzle game that has you manipulate balls of goo with various properties to get them into a pipe.  Think Lemmings with realistic physics and a deranged narrator.

Pamela played it for an hour or so that night, after which she had to get back to her work, and I spent another four hours or so the next day playing some more.  It’s lots of fun.  🙂

You can download a demo (Windows, Mac, or Linux!) on the developer’s web site.

The ring story

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Pamela wearing the ringA lot of people have asked me about Pamela’s engagement ring, so I thought I’d write a little bit about the story behind it.

First and foremost, I wanted to get a ring that she would enjoy wearing the rest of her life.  We had already spent some time in jewlery stores looking at rings and I had not-so-discreetly asked her to try on a few and tell me what she thought of them, so I had some idea of what sorts of designs she liked.  Pamela tended to prefer the three stone rings to the solitaires, liked symmetry and color, and favored designs that weren’t too boring.  She also liked the silver/white-colored metals better than the gold.

I also wanted to get a ring that was unique and ecologically-friendly.  Many years ago, I read about synthetic diamonds (a.k.a. “lab diamonds”, “cultured diamonds”, etc.) in a Wired article, and that story sparked my imagination.  To me, synthetic diamonds represented the merging of cutting-edge technology and natural beauty.  It also helped that I wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of supporting DeBeers (though to be fair, they only control about 40% of the market now) or possibly buying a conflict diamond.

Armed with this knowledge, I decided to try create a ring from three loose stones: one colorless diamond between 1 and 1.5 ct. for the center, and two smaller blue diamonds about .5 ct. for the sides.  I started my search by contacting several companies that create diamonds, which I found through a variety of sources including news and magazine articles, co-workers, and ever-dependable Google searches:

  • Gemesis: With Gemesis, you have to search its network of jewelery stores and call each one to see if they have what you’re looking for.  I called the three closest stores, the farthest of which was about 40 miles away, and got … mixed responses.  Some of the people that I spoke to knew exactly what I was looking for, while others had never heard of Gemesis.  None of them actually had any clear diamonds larger than 1 ct. or matched blue diamonds.
  • D.NEA:  The only company that actually lists its stock on its web site.  Unfortunately, the stock that they display on their web site was out of date, so I had to call them to get any information about the current and future stock.    They didn’t have any clear diamonds larger than about 0.8 ct. in stock, and they also didn’t have any matched blue diamonds larger than 0.5 ct. but I got myself placed on a wait list for both.  I still haven’t heard back from them.
  • Apollo Diamond:  Based on what I found on their web site, they seem to specialize in colorless diamonds, and they don’t produce any stones larger than 0.6 ct.  I decided that this was probably a dead end and didn’t end up contacting them.
  • Chatham:  Finally, I met with some success.  I contacted Chatham by email with my request, and promptly received a response from Serena Chatham saying that not only did they have matched blue diamonds, they had a few different pairs I could choose from.  However, she also said that Chatham doesn’t produce colorless diamonds, so I was out of luck there.

Since I couldn’t find any company with colorless diamonds larger than 1 ct., I looked into other options.  One alternative I found through my roommate at that time, Brian Tsang, was moissanite.  Moissanite has optical and hardness properties similar to diamond, is synthesized because it’s too rare in nature, and is less expensive than diamond.  Oh and it’s SUPER SPARKLY.  I decided to change my plan and switch the colorless diamond to a moissanite.

Finally, I had to choose a metal for the ring.  Since Pamela preferred a white metal, the most common options I found were white gold and platinum.  However, I also found a few jewelers offering palladium rings.  After quite a bit more research, I decided to go with a palladium ring because the metal is hypoallergenic and doesn’t need re-plating to retain its color, unlike white gold (well, I guess it depends on the alloy), and is much lighter than platinum.

To make a long story short(er), I ended up purchasing a three stone moissanite palladium ring and replacing the side stones with blue diamonds.  The result is absolutely gorgeous: a unique, super-sparkly ring that Pamela adores.  The pictures we’ve taken don’t do it justice.  We’re planning to put the original side moissanites into a pair of earings, but haven’t gotten around to that yet.

[ Update: one of my co-workers posted a much more detailed article about his own experience buying synthetic diamonds. ]

[Update: found a really good, recent article on the state of the synthetic diamond industry. ]

Mostly working

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Whew.  The site is finally up and running.  Mostly.

Pamela and I originally purchased tedandpamela.com and pamelaandted.com for our wedding site, but after some deliberation, we decided to make it a more general “Ted and Pamela” site.  We started by sketching out ideas for the content and design on paper, then I took a first pass at implementation.  What you’re seeing now is something like revision three.  The layout and design is stable, I’ve installed WordPress and hacked it with a custom theme to blend in with the rest of the site, and integrated Google Analytics.  However, there are still quite a few things that aren’t working quite as well as I’d like.

  • The original idea was for all links on either tedandpamela.com or pamelaandted.com to stay on the same domain, but WordPress seems to insist on having one canonical name that it uses for all links.  Also, it seems to use absolute urls for all of its links.
  • WordPress is actually installed in a /blog subdirectory of the main site, but I used mod_rewrite such that it appears to be installed in the root directory.  This is mostly working, but there are some noticible holes in the integration.  Some of the WordPress redirects don’t work properly, /blog goes to a broken page, etc.
  • The implementation of the design works pretty well in newer browsers (e.g. Firefox 3, Chrome, Safari), but some of the effects, such as the navigation mouseovers, don’t work in older browsers.  I could make these effects work in older browsers with some additional effort.
  • The links in the imported Google Reader RSS feed are mangled.

I’ll have to find time to resolve these problems.  The site will probably be flaky as I work on it — I’m not going to bother doing development on a separate instance of the site.  =)