Category Archives: Journal

Default – Self reflection etc.

Summer Vacation 2009

This summer, we took an awesome house-boat trip on Dale Hollow lake with a fun group of people.

In all, 22 people went on 2 boats (10 on ours, 12 on the other) and everybody lived on water for 4 days. It was simply awesome.

We took turns cooking meals, got too much sun, bought over 50 bags of ice, and in general had an awesome time being disconnected from the real world. There were no computers, no Cable/Satellite TV, and my blackberry got NO reception.

At first it felt a little strange, but it really helped me relax and have a completely care-free vacation. I tried to be careful with sunblock, but I ended up pretty burnt on the first day. I had a great time all around even with the burn though.

I’m still sort of in vacation mode, and it’s been a little harder than usual to come back to the real world. Anyway… hope we can do that again sometime. A good, fun, and surprisingly cheap vacation.

The End of an Era

I have made an impulsive decision to migrate my personal blog/website to a new URL today. has sort of become stale as a name. Really, it’s almost totally irrelevant considering the reason I initially registered the URL was to support the fictional character “David Palmer” from Fox’s show 24 who was killed off many years ago.

Bottom line is that the URL “” is very long to type, and it’s just past it’s time.
I felt like it was time time to move on to something shorter and more “personal” to me.

There will be a migration period; but from this day forward my new website will be

Anyone who follows me on any various outlets such as GoogleReader, if you would be so kind as to update your subscription URLs accordingly that would be a very good game.

Grand Rapids Sonic

Today I had a brief glimmer of a true miracle… I heard through the grapevine that the Sonic drive-in restaurant was open for business.

My wife had reported that her coworker’s husband had eaten at Sonic and even went into details that he had eaten a chili dog with onion rings. My heart was skipping beats with excitement and my human spirit was shining with anticipation.

I was trying anything I could think of to confirm or deny this. Vanlandw and myself searched for a number, and email address, facebook groups, anything that might be able to shed some light on our situation. I even emailed ‘’ to see if they knew.

Finally, Vanlandw learned the bad news by contacting Steak n’ shake nearby. The truly angelic Steak n’ shake employee actually walked over to the nearby Sonic and somehow managed to learn that they were not opening until the 27th. Blast.

Right about then is when decided to email me back; confirming the bad news. Below you will see their response. Thank you “Andrew” for the bad news.   🙁   Anyone want to drive to kalamazoo/portage tonight?

This is from a viewer email we just received….

Hey, I thought you would like to know that opening day for the new Sonic Drive-In Resturant in Wyoming is going to be April 27th at 6:00 AM. Everyone is hyped about this, in fact I have made a group on Facebook about the new upcoming opening and there are already 1,285 members! WE are also getting a group of already 120 people together to go there for the opening at 6:00 AM….
Here are links to the group I made and the event on the 27th:
Andrew Gillfillan
WOOD TV Assistant News Director


I’m looking forward to a few things coming up soon…

1: Metal 09.
April 31 through May 2 will bring a trip to Chicago with VansFloRuss in which we will take in some Metal and partake in merrymaking via Medieval times. Even though there are probably 3 other concerts this same weekend that I’d rather go to, I’d still rather make the trip to Chi town than to stay around GR that weekend. GG and I’m looking forward to it. BTW We have to purchase Tix to medieval times everyone!! And I REALLY need to figure out our hotel situation.

2: House? boat.
The last week of June, we (wife + myself) will be scooting across Dale Hollow lake in TN via a 40+ foot “house boat”. This is a 4 day event that makes me think of “Deliverance”. We did this trip a couple summers back and it was really a lot of fun. Can’t wait.

3: Economy U-turn.
I don’t know when this will happen – but I am definitely looking forward to a time/date when Mr. Obama can yank up the hand brake and whip that sombitch around into a 180. Because it is pretty effing dicey out there man.

2pac – Changes.mp3

Many things are changing lately…   and I don’t even want to go into details.

But what I’ve begun to realize is not so much that things are changing, but that it’s all happening so fast.  There will always be part of my being that mercilessly grips onto college mentality which craves for extreme video game sessions, staying up late to watch movies, generally causing random mischief, and just being part of a great group of friends.

Changes that affect this paradigm are not “bad” per se, but nevertheless they do present a mildly uncertain future.  The notion of these changes unsettles me a bit, makes me uncomfortable, and even a little scared.  I guess I can say that I do not like change very much.

I suppose the world needs the turn-and-cough check every once in awhile.

So I embrace the coming change, and my glass is half full.  Really, nobody says it better than 2pac

Introducing Netflix-X2

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you Netflix-X2, a plugin for WordPress that will allow you display content from your Netflix account into your WordPress website.

For a couple years, I’ve been using a plugin called “Netflix” – a very cool plugin written by Albert Banks. His plugin allowed WordPress users to display Netflix content in their blogs. I’ve always used it to show movies in my queue, the movies I have at home, and my recommended movies.

As I’ve used his plugin, I’ve grown very familiar with it. I’ve tweaked it to work with different themes, exercised and exhausted nearly every variable, modified every possible configuration option, and just overall have really enjoyed using the plugin. Mr. Albert Banks has genuinely written one of my favorite WordPress plugins ever.

However, Netflix has since offered a few new RSS feeds including a feed for the “Watch Instantly” queue; and in particular, the “Reviews” RSS feed that displays any reviews I’ve written within Netflix.

I emailed Albert a few months ago requesting that he add new functionality to support these new feeds – but it unfortunately seems like those requests have gone unanswered and the plugin is starting to fall behind. I don’t blame Albert – his plugin works great – It just needs a freshening up to catch up to the new options available to use.

With that, I decided to download his plugin and write these enhancements myself. Albert licensed his plugin under the GPL, so I took his PHP code as the base, wrote in support for the new Netflix feeds, and essentially split it into my own published plugin called Netflix-X2. The process has been harder than I would like to admit, because I would rate my PHP experience at a 4 out of 10. It took me about 4 hours to complete and I believe a seasoned PHP developer could have done it in about 45 minutes. Nevertheless, it does work and seems to work very well.

By no means do I intend to try and compete with Albert… after all, his hard work and impressive development skills have laid the foundation for my plugin. In fact, this emphasizes the very meaning and beauty of open source software.

I don’t want to call Netflix-X2 a ‘fork’ of Albert’s plugin… I’d like to call it an extension of an already great product. But, I will be taking on maintenance of this version, So I’ve decided to rename and reversion it as my own.

If Albert ever happens to read this, Thank you very much for contributing to the WordPress community. And, for everybody else – please check out the plugin! 🙂

I’m using it now on my site, and I’ve updated my ‘Movies’ page to use some of the new functionality I coded in. So, feel free to check out my movies page and check out the reviews I’ve written for some of my Netflix movies.