New blog platform and design

Frequent visitors to this site might have. It has a few changes over the past few weeks. I have switched my blog platform and updated the design.

Wordpress, again

I have switched back to wordpress from the very obscure Chyrp platform. I was finding that Chyrp wasn’t meeting my needs. I wanted a little bit more from my blogging platform, including

  • active development and mature API
  • well writen and exhaustive documentation
  • integration with mobile devices (for posting)
  • could import most of my existing blog posts from

Wordpress isn’t perfect, but it has been helpful and I am glad I made the move. I could have gone with Drupal, but I tend to over engineer those sites and they become unwieldy when my requirements change (which happens often).

New features

I have added a few new features to the site, in fact I am still working on it, so more features will be added in the future as well. Check then out

Updating posts

When I look back at the old posts from 2006, I see that a lot has changed in the last 7 years. I have been slowly picking away at the 150+ old posts and making then a little more modern. It is pretty neat to go back and review the old photos, it is like looking at an old journal or photo album.

I hope you enjoy the new look and feel.

Street Cafes

The street cafe pro­vides a unique set­ting, spe­cial to cities: a place where peo­ple can sit lazi­ly, legit­i­mate­ly, be on view, and watch the world go by. There­fore: encour­age local cafes to spring up in each neigh­bor­hood. Make them inti­mate places, with sev­er­al rooms, open to a busy path, where peo­ple can sit with cof­fee or a drink and watch the world go by. Build the front of the cafe so that a set of tables stretch out of the cafe, right into the street. The most humane cities are always full of street cafes.
A Pattern Language

People watching is one of my favorite things to do, and I love sitting down and watching the world walk by while I drink a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t seem to have too many cafes like this.



A number of interesting and cool looking fonts. Some are free, some cost money, but very cool little website.

Am I missing something

Apart from this site being very quite beautiful, the web designer did a neat little trick. Many of the images are transparent png with a background set behind them. This makes them look normal when you first look at them, but when you investigate the code, you will notice that they’re title and subtitle have no colour to them. In fact, they font is a mask, and only the background is visible.

Now I am not totally sure why one would do this, it would really difficult to maintain, but I do see a few benefits, mostly

  • Changing the colour scheme of you site and all your logos can now be done with one vim command
  • No bot will be stealing you images, they just won’t understand
  • Sets you apart and shows that you really are on the cutting edge of design

Whatever the reason, I am sure there is a good one, and I will definitely think about that for the future, if I can think of a good reason to use this technique.

Quicksand and Droid Sans

I am working on a project that required an elegant font. So I went onto Font Squirrel and searched for a nice sans serif font that would fit the bill. I came across Quicksand and I thought that it perfectly fit the bill. So I used it, but then I had a to pair it with a another font.

Since this is a web project, I wanted to find another font that would contrast with it that would look great on screen. I thought about Droid Sans, which is created for the Andriod Operating system, and I would assume, would have been great for screens, and it is open source.

Final Thoughts

Quicksand works great as a heading, not as a body text. The thin letters and positive attitude go well with the droid which is easy to read and gets the point across.

The end of the big T

Tanya cycling through India

T is for Thailand, but it is also for Tropics. As our time here in Thailand end, so does our trip. For the past 10 months we have spent all of our time in the tropic, from the northern Thailand, northern Vietnam and middle of India. We have also been in the far south, in Singapore nearly straddling the equator. We have seen the season (hot, hotter and wet), and although hot season was hot when we arrived, it is now cold. Hotter is still hot and wet is wet. Torrential downpours have caused small streams to fill paths, make roads more like river instead of roads, and have transformed the landscape from yellow to bright green. The lethargic hot weather makes any task difficult.

Learning at the PDC

Taking our PDC in Malaysia during the hot season was tough, I remember laying on the cement trying to cool down. I also remember working on Grassroots farm during this hot period, hoping for rain just to keep cool. I also remember when it would get cold at night in Hampie and Dalat, having to wear a sweater and a toque (who knew?)

New tastes, Durian, the King of Fruit

We both embarked on this trip in hopes to see something different, and experience something different. Riding a bicycle through India was a great way to achieve this goal. We also wanted to get inspired, thanks to places like Sadhana forest and the Panya project we are inspired. But also to our PDC teachers and everyone else we have met along the way. We have learned so much on this trip. We have learned:

  • How to build with mud

  • How to make kimchi

  • How to make wine

  • How to live in a community

    Learning about biodynamics

  • The best way to find ones way around rural India

  • How to grow food

  • How to cook without a cook book

  • How to cook for a hundred people

  • How to make various Biodynamic perperations

It was damn cold in Dalat

I know there is so much more as well. I never thought that I could get sick of traveling, and although I’m not sick of traveling, I am ready to come home. There is so much I want to try, there is so much I want to do and I’m looking forward to doing it.

SE Asia is full of culture and history

I want to thank all the loyal readers of this blog, we appreciate you dedication and patients. The last couple of months have been pretty inactive (in terms of blog posts). Since the beginning of this trip there has been more then 16,000 views on grannygear, which is pretty amazing, so we thank you all for your support. For those that we met on the road, maybe one day our paths will cross and we can catch up. For the rest of you back home, we are looking forward to meeting up people we haven’t seen in about a year and just chillin. See you soon.

New Design

After a long time and three different designs I have finally completed the design of my blog. Although it is not perfect, it is pretty close to how I wanted it. I could estimate the number of hours that I spent trying to make this design, but I don’t want it to seem like I don’t have a life. It looks best if you view it in Firefox, some things don’t work with IE. Now I have to shift my attention. Continue reading