Finally, I get to write about something non-techie, Spring Break. We got lucky and managed to go last week when the weather was nice. This weekend would have been terrible with the rain and cold. Aside from Christina getting lost three times on the first day and losing $50 at the Lumière, we had a great time. We booked another suite, the Safari, at the Cheshire Lodge and ate at the amazing Brazie’s. We spent most of our time at the St. Louis Science Museum, Botanical Gardens, the Galleria Mall and the Zoo. The picture album for this site is here.
Our first stop, the St. Louis Science Museum, was an inaugural visit for us. Christina really liked the medical and life sciences exhibits. I personally found the infrared vein viewer amazing. We also attempted, and almost completed, building a 7ft scaled down version of the St. Louis Arch. We had only the top three blocks to place when it fell; still a great attempt for only two people. The most photo-centric aspect of the visit turned out to be the viewing of the T-Rex named Sue ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_(dinosaur))). The shear size of the fossil display made for an impressive viewing, but being able to walk right up to a separate life size cast of the skull put the massiveness of the creature into perspective.
We decided to revisit the Botanical Gardens with the intention of viewing the Japanese Cherry Blossoms. And it was worth it. The blooms are only out a week before they fall and we got there just in time. The view was also much better due to lack of the terrible statue “artwork” from last time. We made our usual rounds from last time: the hedge maze (no rain this time), the Climatron, some rose gardens that were not in bloom and the fish feeding bridge. Of note, the fish feeding bridge also attracts geese and ducks which, quite hilariously, attack the fish for food.
Our final major stop was a revisit to the zoo. We had to stop by and check out the penguins again and Christina insisted on getting a penguin stuffed animal. We also managed to find an entire section of the aviary exhibit that we missed last time, the Cypress Swamp. The local free-roaming peacock was particularly friendly and made for some great pictures. The big cats where also out this time so we got to watch the tigers play and wrestle. As a funny side note, it is mating season for the kangaroos which made their exhibit the most watched, photographed, and video taped one of the day.
We also made a number of smaller stops this time. We got to eat at Brazie’s again, which was wonderful as expected. We stopped by the Lumière but it turned out to be noisy and frustrating. We ended up getting carded twice and dealers were far from sociable; we will stick to the casinos on the cruise ships. We did some light shopping at the Galleria Mall and finished up with dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen. One interesting observation worth noting was that the Apple store was by far the busiest store in the mall.
If you have ever used transparent backgrounds for you Gnome panel you may have found it hard to see the clock at times. I have found several sites that outline how to make changes to a .gtkrc-2.0 file, but this is limited to the font color only. Sometimes you just need to have a solid background color for your clock.
To set a solid background color (or font color) for your gnome clock do the following…
- Lanuch gconf-editor (use Alt-F2 or a terminal)
- Navigate through the folders to /apps/panel/applets/clock_screenX/prefs (X is usually 0)
- Right-Click on “format” and select “Edit Key” and set to “custom” (no quotes all lower case)
- Right-Click on “custom_format” and select “Edit Key” and set your new format to have span with a bgcolor (see below)
- Log out and back in to see the changes or issue kill-all gnome-panel via a terminal
The custom_format takes an HTML style string that is passed to strftime (reference for strftime). A simple example where the background is black and the letters are white would be…
<span bgcolor="#000000" color="#FFFFFF">%c</span>
Which would render a time that looked something like “Thu Aug 23 14:55:02 2001.” A more extravagant example can be see at http://pijulius.blogspot.com/2006/05/gnome-panel-clock-applet-with-markup.html. There are obviously more options here than just setting background colors but that is beyond the scope of this post.