Sunday, October 19, 2008

Personal Home Page: PHP Programming

The Library has sent me to two PHP programming classes so far, two more to go but not until December so I get a bit of a break. My past two Saturdays have been spent learning the fundamentals of PHP -- which stands for PHP: Hypertext Processor, a programming language originally known as Personal Home Page -- which will hopefully help me see what's going on behind the scenes of the Library's websites a little more effectively. I think it will also come in handy creating some original apps, but not until after December's advanced PHP programming classes. For now I'm going to just experiment with PHP from home...

Last night I installed the PHP Apache Module for OS X on my MacBook (13" black laptop which runs some hacked up version of Unix.) Now I can exicute PHP pages right here on my laptop. Ah, fun times! I'm actually having a bit of trouble running the processes I'm writing, but anytime I've snagged code from the Web all seems to work properly. So before I start in on some tyrade about Macs or Unix, I'm going to assume the problem is that I just don't know enough yet. That's why I'm doing this, to learn PHP and better understand Apache and Unix in general.

When I asked the instructor if he recommended a book on PHP, he said he really just recommends the PHP Manual at, which was great news. I'm more comfortable with online resources anyway. Who needs to lug a big old PHP Bible around? I'm not going to be programming anything on the bus ride in to work in the morning. I'm only going to be programming in PHP when I'm in front of an actual computer.

Now, back to the topic of my bus ride in to work. I would be lost without my iPhone! The first thing I do when I get on the bus is go straight to the iPod-portion of the phone and start up some music. Then I get to business. I tweet that I'm on the bus into work, just so everyone knows, everyday, then I read my Facebook news and status updates. After doing this I'm usually about 2 or 3 songs into my ride. I'll send a text message or two, just letting my friend Lisa know I'm still coming to NYC on Friday for a concert, making sure I still have a couch to sleep on. Then I'm downtown.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bat for Lashes: Horse and I (Live from Lancaster Library)

National Book Week

It's National Reading Group Month. I just received a message about it and thought I should post something, but then I started thinking, "Ya know, every month is National Book Month in my world." Then I went back and saw "National Reading Group Month" not "National Book Month" so then I explored a bit more.

I'm into books every month anyway. But here's a logo and a link for those interested in more than I can say...

Also, I went to and checked out all the Meet Up Groups in my area. There are lots of groups involving photography and a few about writing, for writers, etc. I might sign up and go to one, some day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Social Networking

Possibly the only thing everyone but me has talked about, rather endlessly I might add, through hoards of articles, blog posts, op ed pieces, nightly news broadcasts, and circular conversations, all about this social networking "phenomenon" or whatever "it" is. What is it?

Questions like "What?" and "Why?" are -- I've decided -- futile. It's a mute point, at this point, just like asking something such as "What is art?" or trying to have a philosophical or logical discussion about the existence of God or what lies beyond our mortality. I stopped having these conversations in the dorms at Ohio State some 20 years ago.

After a weekend in Columbus, Ohio, recently -- speaking of OSU -- I ran into an old friend who I hadn't seen in about 15 years. One of my first goals was to badger her to find out information about all of our old friends, long lost to me. One person came up immediately and I was told to look her up on facebook because she's also living in Cleveland and would likely be happy to hear from me.

So, I did it. I added her as a friend in my facebook and within less than a week I met her and her boyfriend out for drinks at La Cav du Vin in Coventry. Fun fun times, not all about being online. Although Julie did have a very cool gadget on her cell phone that analyzes and tells you what music is playing in the background and it's scarily accurate for some little piece of A.I. technology. Brilliant if you ask me.

Speaking of A.I. technologies, there's a really cool application for my iPhone (and a website for those of you not yet fully portable) called Pandora: radio from the Music Genome Project. You just put in an artist you like and it automatically calls up tons and tons of streaming radio selections; full-length singles from similar bands. It's a glorified "and if you think you liked that" service, not unlike what you encounter on Amazon or the personalized ads of Google.

It is, again, scarily accurate the way this thing selects music. Like it knows what you want to hear before you knew you wanted to hear it. As each song plays you have the option of giving it a thumbs up or a thumbs down, increasing or decreasing your chance of hearing similar songs, and on, and on...

So, I'm not even sure what I think any more about all this Web 2.0 stuff. I just think the term is overused. It's all kind of cool, but over rated for sure. The most fun is when you can use the technology to inspire you to buy a CD or to meet an old friend out for drinks!

Now if I could just figure out how to add a twitter or facebook feed to the right column of information and widgets. For now I've added the option for people to "follow me" and that's as good as it gets for now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana

At first I wasn't entirely into this book. I'm not sure why, but I opened it and the small type and the 329 pages intimidated me. Maybe even the contents: a poem by Gerard Malanga, an interview with Camille Paglia, and a story of a man's descent into madness over his dead cat. I thought it was too much to handle at first. Maybe it is, but I'm diving in finally. I had to ask for a one-week extension, so now instead of my review being due on the 15th it's due on the 21st.

Elsewhere in my news, I just got my ticket in the mail today to the Roisin Murphy concert I'm going to in NYC on October 24th. I'm very excited, although I'm only going for one brief day and night and another brief day then back to Ohio. I should probably have booked myself through Sunday, but it would have cost an extra $100. The airlines are a real rip-off these days. I'm lucky to have found a flight for $195 on such short notice. The concert ticket was $50, then I'm staying with my old pal Lisa York Drummond. She's from Australia and she remains one of my best friends in the whole world. I met her when I lived in Brooklyn, where she still manages to stick it out. I'm not sure how she's ended up living there for so long. I wish I had that staying power, but I had to leave. There are lots of Italian Americans there, speaking of Wild Dreams.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Road Trip to Portsmouth

My trip to the All-American City of Portsmouth (IAFF LOCAL 512)...

Rt. 52 .............. Carry's Run

Mom's new living quarters.

Tindall-Cats........................ Shelly, now living in West Portsmouth.

Trophies in the kitchen, and Mom.

Pals from kindergarten, Amy and Polly. Polly's sister Kim!

I hadn't seen Kim in about 20 years and hadn't seen Polly in about 15 years. I've seen Amy a few times in the past years. She and I went to prom. Everyone in Portsmouth knows everything about everybody else.

The infamous Blue Cloud modern art sculpture now resides in a fenced in yard between the new Portsmouth Elementary School playground and Kim's house. The Blue Cloud used to be downtown in the Roy Rogers Esplanade until some woman tripped over its far left side and fell and sued the city! Tripped over a huge blue cloud in Portsmouth.... Wowsers... And sued!

Rainbow wreck........................ and Amy!

Blue and yellow outdoor cat. Close-up of the Rainbow wreck.

Failed attempt to photograph the million logos of the million "clubs" in Portsmouth, like the Kwanis and Free Masons. A sign that reads "Unique Pain Clinic". And Shelly attacking the leg of a table.