Monday, September 28, 2009

Website programming

I haven't blogged in a while, what with the start of the year and all. Things have been rather hectic and I just haven't had the energy to think up something to write... my brain, she is jello, not even the yummy red kind, more like the yucky yellow stuff.
What have I been doing, well this weekend I blitzed to redo *PEI's website. It is based on SPIP, which uses PHP, CSS and a MySQL database to built the web site. Believe me that is not really user friendly, although once you get it going it is easy to add material and keep it up to date. So I read up, explored, tried things that didn't work, tried other things that didn't work either, to finally find a way to make it work. After spending hours and hours, I finally put it all together and it works. Using an SFTP client (Cyberduck for those of you who use a Mac, great program and it's free) to upload, look at, rename and generally play around with things, as well as Firefox to look at the result as well as the code for the pages and finally Photoshop to change the top banner's images. There are still a couple of things, such as the fact that I can't find the section that provides messages when you change the language. At the moment the site is in French only and going to the English site gives you nothing but a "Bravo ! Le squelette ALTERNATIVES est installé - Congratulations! the template ALTERNATIVES is installed." Oh well I'll have to go searching once again.
If you are curious the website is here:

*PEI = Programme d'Éducation Internationale, international schools.

PS: This morning I finally found the way to do it... wonders of a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The game

A while back in one of her blogs, my lil' sister Jazz told us about how she met Mr. Jazz and dared the rest of us to come back with our own stories. Well better late than never.
Way back when, in the early 70's to be exact, I was a young lieutenant in the 6e Régiment d'Artillerie de Campagne. This was a militia regiment and as a part time job it paid well and went a long way to paying for university. Being an artillery regiment we were a line regiment* and as such we had no officers of the female persuasion and only one or two female admin clerks. (In those days women just didn't go out and fight for their country, that was a man's job, don't rip my head off, I didn't make the rules.) Well that was the year where it all changed, a hundred women officers (+ or -) had been recruited, and they were distributed in the different regiments, including our own. Can you say culture shock...
Mrs. BB was one of those lieutenants, and came a day when we had a major weekend exercise. I remember it was pouring rain on the Friday night when we left and across the Manège Militaire, I saw Mrs. BB carrying her rather voluminous backpack, dripping wet and limping since she had hurt her knee that summer. Being the gallant person that I am, I helped her with her equipment and off we went to CFB Valcartier (the military base). Once there, the male lieutenants were to take one of the women lieutenants and show her what an artillery regiment was all about. (Remember, there had never been women in a line regiment of the Canadian Army. Mrs. BB and her colleagues were he first ones to wear the Artillery Badge on their berets and have 6e Régiment d'Artillerie de Campagne on their shoulder flashes. They led the way for the equality we know today.) At that time I was the Recce Officer, so I would do a reconnaissance of places to put the guns and then I'd take off for the next place, which meant pretty much living in the jeep for the duration of the exercise. When my turn came to choose, I of course, chose Mrs. BB since I knew that she was tough and wouldn't complain. The other female lieutenant had the nickname of "La Chromé" since she was always beautifully made up, with lipstick, eye shadow, long finger nails and I could just see her complaining as we slogged through the mud and spent the rest of the time in a jeep full of radio, equipment and the rest of my team.
Needless to say that spending two days in close proximity, in a damp and muddy jeep permits you to get to know someone pretty well and we started going out together not long after.
There is also a postscript to this story, later on, after another exercise, we were at her apartment and I was still in my combats, not having gone home to change. (Being a student with no car, meant at least a two hour bus ride home and back) She had made a really delicious stew. I jokingly said to her that with cooking like that she was very marriageable and she jokingly asked me if that was a marriage proposal. Suddenly it clicked in my mind that she was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, so I answered her that yes it was and would she please marry me. She looked at me, smiled and said yes. We have been together ever since and celebrated 33 years of marriage last May, Not bad for a weekend in a jeep.

* Line Regiment = the combat regiments that directly fight the enemy.