I spent most of this week, well, on and off, trying to figure out what we could do with an Apple AirTag. Our friends on the west coast sent us one of the Tim Cook doo-dads from a two pack that they had purchased. I spent some time wondering what they may have used theirs’ for, their kayak maybe or the catalytic convertor on their new used car. They told us there has been a rash of thefts from their parking lot.
I was thinking we could put it inside Peggi’s saxophone case but we’ve only had one gig in the last year. We occasionally lose the tv remote but the AirTag would look pretty stupid attached to it. It’s about the size of a thick Communion wafer. I finally decided to put it in our car’s glovebox. Maybe we’ll take the car to a Woodstock reunion and be happy to be able to find our car after the psychedelics.
Jared describes the scene in his fish pond each spring as an orgy. When that trilling sound fills the air on a sunny day the toads are happy! They are so sensitive it is hard to sneak up on them. They stop trilling when you’re twenty feet away. But in time they get right back into it. There were at least three other pairs of toads getting it on while we were there. Our neighbors plan to have a few friends over tomorrow to watch the proceedings – at a safe distance of course.
Speaking of rear entry. The Zoom meeting we attended last night, a virtual First Friday art studio tour, was bombed. Full blown. It started with someone writing “Nigger” and drawing swasticas on a white board. The hosts and participants tried to carry on but their voices were being drowned out with all bitch talk. And then the little squares and full screen went graphic. We bailed but checked back after an hour the rude quests had left.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ve been cleaning house on my computer. I tend to procrastinate so I get really stubborn when I finally take on a task and don’t stop until it’s finished. I found this screen capture from 2002. I was obviously taken by the prompt that had popped up. “Are you sure to execute it?” It looks like it was activated by something I did in the CDR Updater, whatever that is.
The capture is interesting for few reasons. I see aliases to early versions of Photoshop and Quicktime on the desktop. It looks like my hard drive is named “Farm” and and my external hard drive, named “Outskirts,” hardly has anything on it. I wish I could twirl the mp3 folder down because I had just added something the day before. I think I was raiding Napster back then.
I see I was using a Kodak DC 4800 camera, something my father bought for me at the Kodak Store. Earring Records was preparing to release Pete LaBonne’s “Glob” cd. And that “WandaBobKathy” file is a photo of the three principles in a virtual company that we had just begun a long relationship with. Yeah, I am sure to execute it.
When we were young my mom had us try to be quiet between noon and three, the hours Christ is said to have hung on the cross. If he could hang up there for three hours and die for our sins the very least we could do is be quiet. Needless to say, it was an impossible task. I think of that each Good Friday. The grand bargain and impossible tasks.
We never had meat on Friday during Lent. Not that that was much of a sacrifice. But we gave up stuff, like candy, and the five weeks seemed to last forever. We are starting our fifth week in near isolation. We used leave school in the middle of the day to observe the Stations of the Cross in the church next door. I liked the solemnity of it all. The graphic depictions of the crucifixion felt very real, human. It was not all glum. My father would bring home hot crossed buns on the weekend.
And then poof! The Resurrection. That never felt right. But Lent did end. And the pandemic will too.
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.
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.
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/).
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.
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.
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.
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. Update: The slideshow has stopped working.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.