Shut Down

Snow covered green at Durand Eastman GolfCourse
Snow covered green at Durand Eastman GolfCourse

I feel as though I accomplished something even though it took the best part of the day to straighten out our Apple ecosystem. I mentioned how our iTunes stream crapped out during our party. The Airport Express, sitting next to our stereo, lost its wifi connection but it still had the green light on. I only found that out the next morning when I opened Airpot Utility and saw it had no signal. I rebooted the Express and my computer and then HomePod played what it wanted while something else was coming through the stereo. I tested HomePod by asking Siri what the definition of is is and then “When was the War of 1812?” I learned that HomePod remembers commands and when we asked it to shuffle music, it will until it gets further instructions (which it lost when the Express went under). And I found out where you go to control it.

I got up the guts to turn iCloud Music Library back on in iTunes and stuff flooded onto my iPad mimi and I’m good to go. What did I learn? I’m thinking maybe I didn’t unplug the Express long enough in order for it to straighten itself out. It is good to shut everything down. It fixes things. Pete LaBonne wrote a song about it, “Shut Down,” on Glob. I’m planning on shutting down right now.

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Through The Roof


Dumpster, ongoing series of dumpster photos by Paul Dodd

When we were doing websites for a living we used a number of servers. We always had a new favorite and we had sites scattered all over the place. PopWars wound up on DreamHost and only when we decided to update the blog portion did we have to contact their tech people. We did that via chat and weren’t even sure if the problem was on their end. I suspected it was something we did. I was using the original WordPress theme. Anybody remember Kubrick? I updated it for years and then switched to AutoUpdater but it stopped working. After eleven years we installed a new WP version on the root level and switched to a new theme. My internal links went haywire and Google sent me a chart that plotted the errors their auto crawler found. Through the roof. The Dreamhost representative said they would pass our case on to their WP expert and at nine that evening he emailed that he had corrected the problem. This is a recommendation.

I would like to move my web content into pages on the blog. I’ll need a few plugins to get it looking the way I want. I found one that restyles the audio files into a nice looking player and I’m playing with the gallery display options. I started with this collection of Dumpster photos from a few years back. You can click the photos for enlargements or just watch it go by.

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Formerly Non-Responsive

Blurry Autumn trees from train
Blurry Autumn trees from train

While we were in Spain we got a message from the PopWars server that read, “Our performance monitoring system noticed that your account hit its memory limits. When you hit these limits, our system temporarily stops the related web processes, slowing performance.” Could it be because I was still using the default WordPress theme, something Google kept warning me was non-responsive? We bit the bullet and updated the php version, the theme and the plug-ins and then we moved the blog to the root folder of the site. No more www.popwars.com/blog, just www.popwars.com will do it. It was quite an undertaking.

Peggi and I spent the better part of the last five days researching templates, plug-ins and ways to tweak the code. Peggi did all the heavy lifting, using an outdated version of Dreamweaver, the hosting control panel and custom code in the child theme and additional css panel. I was afraid to touch it until now.

Everything works better than ever and it should be compliant for a few months but I’m waiting for one strange behavior to get sorted out. If you try to go to the old address (www.popwars.com/blog) you are immediately sent to a post of mine from 2014 (http://www.popwars.com/2014/05/bloggers-law/).

Is it because I have the word “blog: in the title? Why didn’t it pick other posts of mine like “Face2Face Blogging,” “Pimping My Blog,” “Takin’ Care of Blog Biz,” “Can I Comment On My Own Blog?” or “Trapped In My Blog.”

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Douglas Anthony Bridge

Leo Dodd "Douglas Anthony Bridge" watercolor on display at Rochester Contemporary as part of "Witness" exhibition 2017

We lay pretty low, I think, but the last five days were a whirlwind. It started last Wednesday when Pete and Shelley came into town. Pete joined us on piano at the Little Café and of course we carried on into the night after the performance. There is so much to talk about when you come out of the woods with a bottle of homemade dandelion wine. My brother and his wife came up the day Pete and Shelley left. They operate in their own time zone so even though we gained an hour we still managed to see 3AM two nights in a row. They left Sunday afternoon and we met Alice and Julio, who were visiting from Maine, an hour later.

We visited “Witness” with all three guests. The exhibition is up for another week and my brother became an integral part of the show once we connected the dots. I met Alice when I first started taking Fred Lipp’s class at the Creative Workshop. At that time she was painting luscious abstract constructions but she has moved closer to landscapes. She is one of my favorite painters and I was so pleased to learn that she was knocked out by the new charcoal drawings in the show. Her comments carry more weight than anyone else I know.

I was lucky to be at RoCo when Howard Ressel, the chief design architect of the Douglas Anthony, was there. He was drawn to the show by the postcard image, my father’s painting of the bridge. He told me he remembered someone sketching the construction and told us how the initial design was modified to include the bigger central arch, the one that shared weight from both directions of the eight lane highway. Formerly known as the Troup–Howell Bridge the triple steel arch bridge carries Interstate 490 over the Genesee River and Exchange Boulevard and is a major commuter route connecting eastern and western suburbs to downtown Rochester.

The official name of the bridge is The Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge, a mouthful. And it is commonly referred to as the Freddy-Sue Bridge but Howard Reseal refers to it as the “Douglas Anthony Bridge.” I like that. The other was irreverent to such important figures. I told Howard the “Death to the Inner Loop” chant was a lonely cry twenty years ago and today the eastern half is filled in. So I will from hereafter refer to the bridge as the Douglas Anthony Bridge. Pleas pass this along.

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New Pencil

New docks in Port of Rochester

We ordered a few coloring books for my mom, one on birds and one on butterflies, and we rode our bikes over there today to drop them off. I also had a computer problem to address on my dad’s machine. He watches Charlie Rose most night and he sketches the quests on his iPad with a program called SketchBook Pro and lately he has been unable to save his drawings. His iPad is out of disc space and there are maybe a hundred drawings on it that I can’t transfer to his computer because the application wigged out when it ran out of room. I kept getting a message that says I cannot sync because there is not enough free space even after I took a bunch of apps off the iPad. The Apple forums suggested I “reset” the iPad and that helped. At least the error messages now made sense. But I still couldn’t transfer or even email the drawings to my father’s computer without getting messages that the files were corrupt. It is the first generation iPad and the times come. I’m thinking of heading out to the Apple Store with him and picking up the iPad Pro and Pencil combination. It will make it a lot easier on his tech support.

We crossed Portland Avenue at an intersection, on a crosswalk and with the light but a woman turned right into us. Came right at the side of us on our bikes with her car and we swerved. No acknowledgement whatsoever. I know “close” only counts in horseshoes but I was struck by how indifferent someone can be to snuffing out another life. Don’t know if she was on a phone, texting, spaced out or what but I’m quite sure if she had taken one of us out she would have kept going as if nothing happened.

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Litsplosion

Louise Wareham Leonard at Visual Studies Workshop Pub Fair in Rochester, New York

I was on the roof, making a racket with our leaf blower. We don’t really have any leaves up there yet but plenty of sticks, acorns and moss to dislodge. I had my Home Depot earmuffs on, in my own world, trying to remember to be careful when I got near the edge when I spotted the green Google Earth car coming down our street. I was out playing horseshoes the last time a Google car visited. In fact I can be seen taking a photo of the car in the Google shots of our house. I’m hoping they got me up there in my element.

Visual Studies Workshop had their annual Pub Fair on Saturday. The auditorium was filled with book artists and self publishers. It was tempting to buy something from every table but we held off until reaching Marc Pietrzykowski’s table. Peggi bought his novel about a murder in an old age home and I sprung for a three volume set of his poetry. We ran into Anne Havens and made plans to get together and play music before she heads back to Florida. Visual Studies has such a great art book collection in their library it is upsetting to see them sell parts of it off each year but we always manage to scoop up a few things. Peggi found a book of Flannery O’Conner photos and I came home with “Ninety-Nine Drawings by Marsden Hartley.”

The writers’ readings, which should have been on the main stage, all took place upstairs. Rob Tyler read eight vignettes, each wry and crisp. They walked a funny fine line between mundane and absurd. Louise Wareham Leonard didn’t so much read as perform her Rumpus piece, “How To Date A Writer.” Her performance was hilarious and especially searing in the room full of writers. Reading entries from her new book, “52 Men,” she brought new life to the pieces and made you want to read the book all over again.

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Ppwrs

Flickr and Tumblr dropped a vowel and their name got so much cooler. I’ve dropped two in PopWars for this post. I back up all my photos to Flickr. They give you a terabyte of space for free and I’ve been using their slideshow embed code on my home page for years but it never worked on the phone or tablet. You’d think they would be hip to all that stuff. I found this little “Flickrit” java script page that lets you link to a Flckr set and create slideshows at fixed or responsive sizes and I stuck iframe in up above. It stops at 100 photos but it even works on my first generation Touch.

Google’s new policy of ignoring sites that aren’t mobile friendly has tearing apart all sorts of stuff. I hardly get anything done anymore. I feel like I’m going backwards. If don’t have anything better to do for a few days drop a url in here and see what I’m talking about. Even my Tumblr signs page flunked. “Text too small to read.” “Links too close together.” “Mobile viewport not set.” Anything Else?

My Google custom search at the top of the site is not even mobile friendly. Everything needs reworking. I have all these web pages open now and will probably not come up for air for awhile.

Mobile Friendly Test
Google Webmaster Tools
Custom Search
Learn About Sitemaps
Responsive Typography With REMs
Responsive Web Design Fundamentals
Understand key points in going mobile

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Bleak But Beautiful

Staub's Cleaners on East Main Street in Rochester NY 1994

Batch processing a folder of photos and throwing them into Apple’s Keynote and then exporting the whole thing to html is so much easier than creating individual web pages. But of course there are all sorts of drawbacks. Like how do you link to a particular page or photo and how do you write tags for the pages so a search engine could find them?

These photos were taken in 1994 with a film camera when I was just beginning to develop an idea for a contemporary setting of the Stations of the Cross (the Passion Play or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis), an idea that is still in the developmental stage twenty years down the road. We lived across from East High at the time and we’d head downtown on this route most days. While I was taking the photo of East High a security guard came out and told me “You can’t photograph the school.” East High became a perfect location for Jesus to get sentenced and I pictured him crucified at the Liberty Pole. The route looks rather bleak but it is quite beautiful. The photos were really just location shots for possible staging of a particular station but I found them interesting to look back on especially because so many of these places are gone.

East High School, Carroll’s Bar and McDonalds are all there. Mooneys (formerly Effingers) and Fams Party House are still standing but the businesses have left. El Palladium and Jimmy’s Short Orders have both been knocked down for a monstrous new Regional Transit Bus Terminal. Volunteers of America, Fatboys, Chase Bank, Tucker Printers, the Adult Book Store and Otis Lumber are still there but have changed hands. The Armory Building has actually come back to life as a venue. Corpus Christi Church, Staub’s Cleaners, the Penguin Restaurant and Hedges Funeral Home are still there but are empty or repurposed. WDKX is not going anywhere. Kentucky Fried Chicken is an Asian place. Richmond’s and the Chinese place are still there with new owners. Cathay Pagoda and the Tea House Art Gallery, Snuffy’s Birdland and McCurdys are gone. The Liberty Pole is still standing.

And the Inner Loop is being filled in. Chuck Cuminale, who would lead the Colorblind James crowd in “Death To The Inner Loop chants, would be elated.

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Spacing Out

View from car on the road to Maine

“Do you have any idea why I pulled you over,” he asked as I rolled the window down. I went with, “I have no idea why you pulled me over.” He said I clocked you at forty-seven in a 30 MPH zone. The speed limit was 55 last I looked and I apparently missed the sign that dropped it to 30. It was a speed trap and he had me.

Thing is I wasn’t driving fast to get somewhere in a hurry or anything. I just spaced out. No excuse, I know. So when are these Google cars going to hit the market. I would be perfectly content to leave the driving to the robot.

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U2 Removal Tool

Wind surfers on Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York
Wind surfers on Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York

We tuned in for part of Apple’s recent keynote, the part with the Chinese translator competing with CEO Tm Cook’s delivery of the goods. We’ve been early adapters for the desktops and the iPod and we stood in line for the iPad on it’s launch day. I’m updating to OS8 on our mini as I write this but we still don’t have a phone.

As much of a fan as I am. I’m a little worried about the behemouth. Does Apple really want to stick their brand neck out there with Apple Pay? Couldn’t they give it another name, something that doesn’t stake the company’s reputation on on such a tempting target? And how did they let iTunes grow from a juke box to a such the monster we use to keep our apps up to date and our devices synced? And why don’t the icons for the apps we use on both a desktop and IOS device look the same? Blue “Message” icon on desktop and green on the iPad and the same goes for the whole suite of Apple apps. Is this the same design company that brought us the watch that requires a phone to do more that tell time? Will I be able to take a shower with that watch? And can’t Apple align themselves with a hipper band than U2?

Nobody wants to hear this primitive tech talk. It’s perfect weather for windsurfing or watching the women’s National soccer team play Mexico in downtown Rochester tonight.

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Off Grid

Bing car on East Main Street in Rochester, New York
Bing car on East Main Street in Rochester, New York

I had almost forgotten about Microsoft’s search engine until i spotted a Bing car with Colorado plates on east Main Street yesterday. The little periscope was twirling around up top so I assume it was collecting data, mapping our corner of the world.

I must say it was a lot less exiting than when the Google car came our street a few years ago. The Google car was all decked out in the corporate colors and the driver waved and smiled while I took a photo of the car. The Bing car was as low profile as you can get with all that apparatus strapped to your hood. I’m thinking these collectors have met some resistance now that the novelty has worn off and surveillance has gone too far.

I had a dream last night that there were two Bing cars and they were mapping a section of the city that overlapped somehow. They were trying to sort out the confusing data they had collected in a city they knew nothing about.

Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theater Cafe tonight. 7:30-9:30

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Bloggers Law

Quonset hut house on Titus Avenue in Rochester, New York
Quonset hut house on Titus Avenue in Rochester, New York

I thought I would read a bit more about Putin’s new “Blogger’s Law” before I risked speaking my mind but as I typed “Putin” in Google I was prompted to check out “Putin’s girlfriend” and I never got to the law so here goes.

When I was building homes as a “rougher” we built three types of homes, split levels, ranches and center entrance Colonials. Oh and there was this thing called a “raised ranch.” These “Domas Homes” were in a new development off Lyell Road. They were cheap and probably didn’t age well. In case you don’t know what a rougher is, some people call them framers, they build the basic wood structure and get out before the “finished” carpenters move in. When I first started as a rougher I hollered out a measurement to my boss, Salvatore Caramana, something like “62 and an eighth.” And he hollered back, “An eighth? I can’t see a fucking eighth.”

Anyway, we didn’t build any Quonset huts. They look like something they might have in Russia.

Here is a Contemplation from last week’s gig.

"Contemplation" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre on 04.30.14. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Bob Martin - guitar, Jack Schaefer - bass clarinet, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Contemplation” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre on 04.30.14. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Bob Martin – guitar, Jack Schaefer – bass clarinet, Paul Dodd – drums.
Listen to Contemplation by Margaret Explosion
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Mental Floss

Wegmans news stand in Rochester. New York

Magazines and the whole print world have clearly taken a hit but somehow the magazine rack at Wegmans hasn’t gotten any smaller. I picked up a few this morning and would have bought something if I could have found anything interesting. It seems instead of just going out of business they have filled their pages with more ads and shorter articles. Rolling Stone was hard to even flip though. It was stuffed with blown-in subscription cards and heavy stock, multipage ad supplements. An article entitled “The Year Pop’s Future Arrived” had a picture of Paul McCartney in it. Maybe that was the point. No future.

A casual glance reveals there are more Mac oriented mags than PC ones and for a system that is so intuitive and easy to use there is the niche journal, “iPad For Seniors.” I was afraid to open “The Saturday Evening Post. Did it come back from the dead? “If “Fast Company” really knows “The Secrets Of The Most Productive People” they certainly aren’t secrets. And I was too skeptical to look at the “Skeptical Inquirer’s” article on “Islamic Creationism.”

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Do Not Call

Concrete block wall with block windows in downtown Rochester, New York

I still don’t have a cell phone and I realize some day I will wish I did. For now a phone call is the last thing I want when I leave the house. But I’m beginning to think a cell phone might be easier to ignore than the land line I sit next to. I started to yell at “Pamela from the Notification Center” but quickly realized it was a recorded voice telling me I had won some damn thing and I had to call back to claim my prize. A lot of good the “Do Not Call” registry does. Last week I got a call from someone at the National Riffle Association. They must really be desperate.

I had the choice to “Approve, Trash or Spam” this comment to my blog. I spammed it but I’m posting it as well. The guy writes better than I do.

“I intended to compose you that bit of observation in order to say thank you again on your pretty opinions you’ve contributed on this page. It’s quite wonderfully open-handed of people like you to allow freely what exactly many individuals could have supplied as an e-book in order to make some money on their own, particularly considering that you could have tried it in the event you wanted. Those solutions likewise served as the great way to comprehend most people have similar zeal just like my very own to understand a good deal more on the topic of this problem. I am sure there are lots of more enjoyable occasions up front for those who look over your website.”

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Disco Devil

We stepped out for a walk at the exact same time as our neighbor so we walked together down the road in to the park and back through the woods. We ordered new Merrill hiking boots when got back. Been meaning to do that since we’ve both worn through the bottoms with all or construction work. We called MedVed but they were out of both of our sixes so we shopped online.

We listened to a lot of music while we worked on our project and I got a little tired of all the big musical notes that my iTunes library shows when it can’t find the cover graphic for a song so I’ve started what could be an even bigger project – tracking down graphics through Google image search. Found a good one for Lee Perry “Disco Devil.”

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble plays out at the Lovin’ Cup tonight with the great Corey Wilkes on trumpet. How great is he? He filled the trumpet slot for the Art Ensemble when Lester Bowie passed away. I took this movie of Kahil El’Zabar’s drum solo last time they played the Village Gate.

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World Go ‘Round

Paul, Larry, Kenny, Steve, Bill, Dave Bloomington 1969

My father is planning an open house for the Super Bowl. I don’t even know who’s playing and by that I mean the half time show. I could give a hoot about the game. Last great halftime show for us was Prince’s amazing performance in the Florida rain. Prince is always making a comeback and I love his new song with the double bass drums.

Facebook is great but almost everything about it bothers me. Do I really want to reconnect with my old friends in this photo? Do I want to know their birthdays? I don’t participate much the FB scheme but I accept friends when I go there and I’m always suspicious about who FB puts in my stream. Why are they there and not others? FB keeps track of every click of course, mine and my so called friends, and they build my page around those stats. They’re dying to get more content on their pages so they can sell ads and it is only a matter of time before photo albums will be interlaced with ads. I’d rather not think about their business model all the time.

Duane Sherwood recently rescued some thirty year old footage and posted some clips on the barely maintained Personal Effects FB page. He not only designed the production, he ran the show and then edited the video footage. He’s preparing a proper YouTube release this weekend.

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The Topic Of This Problem

Paul Dodd Patio drawing, sketch for etching, 1975

One of the joys of keeping a blog is sorting through the spam folder, comments from anonymous senders who hope you will post links to their illicit site. They are pretty easy to spot and read like they were written in Russian and then translated to English through Google. Here’s one from Ethelene Pimentel.

“I intended to compose you that bit of observation in order to say thank you again on your pretty opinions you’ve contributed on this page. It’s quite wonderfully open-handed of people like you to allow freely what exactly many individuals could have supplied as an e-book in order to make some money on their own, particularly considering that you could have tried it in the event you wanted. Those solutions likewise served as the great way to comprehend most people have similar zeal just like my very own to understand a good deal more on the topic of this problem. I am sure there are lots of more enjoyable occasions up front for those who look over your website.”

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Funky Signs

Don't Even Think of Parking Here sign in Sea Breeze New York

I’ve been squirreling away sign photos, looking for the right format to post them with for quite some time. I had a batch on the Refrigerator and I put a batch into a php/mysql database on Popwars but I got bogged down with the mechanics and then I read the article on Tumblr in Sunday’s NYT Magazine. I like the guy’s philosophy for sharing content, so much cooler than the dreaded fb.

So I set up another blog. Just what I need. I picked the simplest theme (it’s called “Simplification”), one column, no geegaws. I wanted to get the endless scrolling feature going like my nephew has on his Twitter page but I don’t think it works with my theme. I’m just getting started but I found something to eat up my spare time. With 64,000,000 blogs, I was kinda surprised no one had taken “Funky Signs“.

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Beast Dance

Occasionally I check the stats that come with my WordPress blog. I don’t care about the numbers but I find the “Search Engine Terms
(terms people used to find your blog)” very interesting. I assume these are people who are interested enough in a particular search term to drill down to the PopWars entry on that topic but I don’t really know.

Today these random visitors were looking for “Keith Richards 1973,” Marlene Dumas,” “Snake Sisters Cafe Rochester,” “buffalo ’66 christina ricci,'” “beast dance cd,” “free budweiser wednesday,” “freedom village use bankruptcy,” “Buddy Holly last photo,” “burdock vs rhubarb” and my favorite “bike in bushes.”

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Google Thumbs Up

Google Street View car on our street, Rochester, New York

My neighbor, Rick, and I were out playing horseshoes when the Google car drove by this afternoon so I wound up with this “making of” shot. I’m thinking we’ll both be in the updated street view when it is released. I had thought Google tried to take these shots early in the day so as not to get so many people, cars and potential lawsuits in the “street view” but that was based on our friends, Alice and Julio, who found themselves in the current street view of their neighborhood. They were up early, walking, and didn’t even see the Google car drive by. Months later they spotted themselves on the sidewalk halfway around the block from their house.

Rick beat me two games to none today. He keeps track of these things on his calendar. I’m up for the year but it’s a long season.

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