Archive for March, 2008

links for 2008-03-17

  • If lined up, the microfilm of letters between John & Abigail Adams would be five miles long. Thomas Jefferson wrote over 20,000 letters in his lifetime. The USPS celebrates letter writing and its place in U.S. History.
    (tags: letter)

March 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm 2 comments

AutoTextEntries(“Page X of Y”) in Word 2007

One of the applications I am maintaining works heavily with Microsoft Word Automation.  Over the summer I had to prepare that app to work on Office 2003 machines.  This month, I’ve “prepared” the app to work with Office 2007.  I say “prepared”, because even with all the backend and file structure changes with 2007, I had to make significantly LESS code changes for Office 2003->Office 2007 than I had to do with Office 2000->Office 2003.  In fact, the only code change I had to do for 2007 was set the Word application’s visibility to “True” in a few places.  That’s it.  Everything else worked right away.  I applaud Microsoft for keeping their object library so consistent between versions.  My boss, however, may see the less billable hours as a detriment.  🙂

Now once I tested all the related features on my Office 2007 development machine, I compiled and deployed the application to an Office 2007 machine.  Suddenly a couple of the features were producing a “Requested Member of the Collection Does Not Exist” error.  I was able to track it down to this offending line:

pubWordApp.NormalTemplate.AutoTextEntries("Page X of Y").Insert Where:=pubWordApp.Selection.Range

So I tap into Old Reliable (Google) and found someone with the same issue and a helpful response on the subject.  It got me on the right track, but I found the bolded portions to be incorrect:

You have a lot of work to do. 😦 

In Word 2007, AutoText entries are a specific group of the more general Building Blocks collection. You can’t access any template’s .AutoTextEntries collection the way you could in 2003. Start by reading the topic in the Word 2007 VBA Help titled “Working with Building Blocks”.

Actually, it wasn’t a lot of work and I could access the AutoText collection the same way (My main tip off– no issues on the development machine).  I just needed to add my “Page X of Y” to the “AutoText” section of Word 2007’s new Building Blocks on the test machine. Once you factor out my normal struggle of finding things in the ribbon, it was rather easy:

1) I created a header in a blank Word document and added my “Page X of Y” text.

2) I highlighted my new text and went to Insert->Quick Parts->Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery

3) When the Quick Part Properties prompt displayed, I made sure to designate the properties appropriately:

Name: Page X of Y
Gallery: AutoText
Category: General
Save in: Normal.dotm

I saved my changes, closed out Word and then that old 2003 code (pubWordApp.NormalTemplate.AutoTextEntries(“Page X of Y”).yada.yaya.yada) worked just fine. 

Once again– I, happy.  Boss, not so much.

March 16, 2008 at 11:45 pm 5 comments

Vicky the Wedding Photographer

Well, I’ve already been a groomsman, so now it is time for me to try out a new wedding role.  Photographer… er… at least Co-Photographer.

On April 19, 2008, my friend Deanna and I will be taking photographs at Larry’s youngest daughter’s wedding.  Deanna used to be the official photographer for all the social events at my old company, so she has some related experience under her belt.  As for me, hopefully my ability of taking pictures of hiking dogs will translate over effectively.

I did take some personal pictures at Stacy’s wedding.  Though, Carolyn noticed a trend that would unnerve most brides:


“Something’s wrong with these pictures.  Where are Louise & Stacy?  ;)”

Out of all the pictures I had in the set called “Stacy and Louise’s Wedding“, I didn’t have a single picture of the bride *or* the groom!  I had a lot of pictures of all the groomsman (myself included), adoreable little Addie, my sister and I even had pictures of the cake.  Just none of Stacy or Louise.  That’s all. 


Distribution of Appearences in Vicky’s Photo Set

So come April, I’ll try to rectify that.  I’ll take a few shots of the happy couple.  Just a few.

(Hundred that is)

March 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm 5 comments

Penn’s Last Trek in Virginia?

Tomorrow night, my friend Ann and her two children move to their new home in Ohio.  Late last night was when the departure finally hit me.  Sure, I’ll talk to Ann on the phone regularly, but I’m going to lose one of my more reliable outing partners– six year old Penn. 

This morning I silently lamented that we wouldn’t share one last hike together.  I just didn’t think there was time.  Then this afternoon, I received a text message from Ann:

Penn just said, i wish vicky could take me on a hike 🙂

Well, how could I resist that?  Suddenly, I made time. 

With just a little of daylight left, we explored the Ellett Valley Nature Trail in Blacksburg just off of Jennell Road.  The trail is a one-mile loop and it doesn’t have any fancy schamcy stuff like waterfalls or overlooks.  But it goes by a spring and an amazing variety of trees.  Along the trail a number of signs are placed to educate visitors on ferns, bugs, invasive species, the power of ice and, oh yeah, how snakes are NOT the devil.

When our short journey was done, neither Penn and I felt short-changed.  Our last outing together was fulfilling and fun.


We passed by numerous trees with crevaces containing water


Another water-containing hole


Penn enjoying his last hike before his move

More pictures from Ellett Valley Nature Trail can be found on my Flickr site.

March 12, 2008 at 11:42 pm 2 comments

Snakes: Surprisingly Not The Devil

Passed this sign on Ellett Valley Nature Trail today.


Uh… what? 

I would wonder who exactly finds this “theory” surprising.  But I reckon the 20% of Americans in 1999 who thought the sun revolves around the earth might suspect snakes are the devil.  Or perhaps, the 40% of Alabama residents who voted againsts interracial marriage in 2000?

Whoever they may be, I guess we should all breathe a big sigh of relief that this sign is out there to set everyone straight.

March 12, 2008 at 11:23 pm 8 comments

The Beauty of Imperfection (Revisited)

Each year Americans spend billions of dollars to ensure our faces stay young and clean and acne-free.  I, myself, am a regular contributer to that industry purchasing cleansers, toners, exfoliating scrubs, and pretty much anything that is enhanced with SPF protection.  I do this in an often futile pursuit of a blemish-free face.

My standards for trees are vastly different than what I hope to see in the mirror each day.  With trees, if I passed by one that had the clean complexion I covet, I wouldn’t even give it a second glance. It’s the trees with the flaws– the tumors, the growths, the cracks, the peeling bark and deformed postures– that interest me the most.

Here’s one such tree from Dragon’s Tooth.  It was completely covered with tumors from top to bottom.  Even the tiniest of branches are riddled with growths.  This is not the Heidi Klum or Elle McPherson of trees.  This tree is suffering some kind of ailment on the caliber of J.J. Redick’s much discussed “bacne”.  But to me, it’s beautiful.


The tree’s ailment spans its entire height


Just some of the tree’s many tumors


Even the tiniest twigs sport growths

March 12, 2008 at 11:04 pm 3 comments

links for 2008-03-12

March 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Dogs’ Last Trek to Dragon’s Tooth?

In my area, Dragon’s Tooth is like the Cascades– everyone goes there. And like the Cascades, Dragon’s Tooth isn’t one of my favorites. I tend to prefer the lesser traveled paths to Tinker Cliffs, Angel’s Rest and for a real dark horse, the slanty slopes of Sinking Creek Mountain.

And so, it dawned on me that the last time I was at this Southwest Virginia staple was in October of 2005 (Mike E’s birthday hike!). It’s been so long since I have been to Dragon’s Tooth– I didn’t even have a tag for it created on this blog! 🙂 The weather yesterday was nice, but it was early enough to avoid the crowds, so I grabbed Jimmie (who turns eleven next month) and Henry (who turns nine in August). We went up what I usually call the front side– you travel 2.1 miles southbound on the AT from VA-624. The last two times I have ascended Dragon’s Tooth, I had gone up the “backside”– 4.5 miles northbound from VA-620. That meant the last time the dogs and I hiked the section we did yesterday was nearly five years ago! Ah, we were all so young then.

From either direction, the trail is extremely rocky. In fact, there are places where the trail maintainers have installed handrails to help people up the rocks.


Handrails on the AT

It was some of the more steep rocks where I could not deny that my dogs were getting old. Henry I am used to having some troubles. But even the ever-energetic Jimmie isn’t quite what he used to be. At points, I had to pick up *both* dogs and place them on top of rocks they could no longer climb. To give you an idea, here is one snippet:

[Vicky climbs up rock]
Henry: (whimper)
Vicky: Come on Henry, you can do it!
Jimmie: (whimper)
Vicky: Oh you are NOT going to make me climb back down there, are you?
Henry and Jimmie: (whimper)
[Vicky climbs down rock. She scoops up Henry and places him on the rock.]
Vicky: Jimmie. Jimmie.
[As Jimmie approaches, Vicky bends down to pick him up. Suddenly Henry thinks there is change of plans so he jumps off the rock and wags his tail victoriously. Vicky places Jimmie on rock, then picks up Henry AGAIN… and then climbs up herself AGAIN]

In addition picking him up, I also had to enact some strategic butt pushing with Jimmie as he started to get up a rock but then started to slide backwards.

The three of us were slow, but we all made it up safe and found. And although the dogs still had a splendid time, it dawned on me– this was probably their very last trip to Dragon’s Tooth. In two-three years when I get the urge to revisit, I think I would have to carry them the entire way! 🙂

If this is their last trip up there, then one thing is for sure– They finished up their Dragon’s Tooth resume in style. We could have not asked for a more gorgeous day.


The “teeth” at the top


Last time Jimmie will climb these rocks?


Mountain laurel (an evergreen) at top


Cute little Henry on a rock

More pictures from our Dragon’s Tooth Hike can be found on my Flickr site.

March 10, 2008 at 11:24 pm 7 comments

200,000 Views

This blog passed 200,000 views yesterday.  Because Clint is going to ask, I need to announce my guess was WRONG.  I speculated that I would hit 200,000 views on February 5th.  I was about a month off.  😦

So my guess for 250,000– I’m going to make November 11 (Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday).  That way, when I actually reach it in July 22 (my parent’s anniversary), I’ll get to be ever so pleased with how I outdid my own expectations.  🙂

March 6, 2008 at 9:00 am 11 comments

links for 2008-03-05

March 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm 1 comment

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