Funky Signs

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

"Model from Crime Page" charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012
“Model from Crime Page” charcoal drawing by Paul Dodd 2012

I like to say “the only reason I have a blog is so I can understand the content management system well enough to do blogs or cms sites for other people.” When someone asks for a website I recommend WordPress which pretty much puts me out of business and that is use fine by me. Peggi just did a site for Heather and it’s been fun watching her populate it. Why shouldn’t everyone be able to put content on their own site through a simple browser interface. This is 2012 for cripes sake. I also like to say I have a blog to keep track of things. I’ve used to search box on this site many times in order to remember what I did when. And then there’s the ability to share things. It sure saves a lot of “what’s new” conversations.

I suppose FaceBook is enough for most people but I know a few people who’ve recently dumped their fb pages because the whole creepy over-sharingthing thing. My nephew dropped out of fb and has gone twitter crazy so I ca still keep tabs on him. He’s out in Hollywood now walking a fine line. Maybe some day I paint a portrait of him.

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I Miss My Mouse

Three stacks of crime faces from the local paper. Oil paintings by Paul Dodd
Three stacks of crime faces from the local paper. Oil paintings by Paul Dodd

I found this photo in my photo library on our iPad. I’m at least three years behind in photographing my paintings. Our addresses, contacts, email and photos all sync effortlessly with our desktop machines and we use theiPad for just about everything. Everything but productivity that is. Unless you count reading, surfing, listening to music or streaming movies as a productive activity. I kind of like typing on the thing.

Who would have guessed that it would take an heroic effort to crop and scale a photo to a particular pixel dimension like 450 x200 for example? As an experiment I tried a few apps like “Crop For Free” and then bought “Photogene” for $2.99 but that didn’t let me crop and scale which is one activity in Photoshop. So I bought FilterStorm and that does the trick in two steps. I saved two versions (the cropped version you see above and the full shot but in a scaled down size for the blowup) of the original photo back to my photo library and inserted them here. When I say “here” I should say I am in the WordPress app because I can’t even reach my photo library from the WP admin panel at my site in Safari. Not sure why that is but it acts like a limited version of Safari.

So I managed to do a post from the iPad but I’m exhausted. I still haven’t plugged in the $29 Camera Connection Kit but that would allow me to reach photos on my camera from the iPad and post to this site through the WP app. I’s all pretty amazing really.
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It’s Heavy

Ken Frank, Paul Dodd and Peggi Fournier playing as a trio version of Margaret Explosion at High Falls in Rochester, New York
Ken Frank, Paul Dodd and Peggi Fournier playing as a trio version of Margaret Explosion at High Falls in Rochester, New York

Ken, Peggi and I played as trio version of Margaret Explosion over the weekend and Brian Peterson took this photo. It was a 50 dollar a head auction/party for the The Genesee Center For The Arts. Rick from Watkins & The Rapiers sat in with on trombone in the second set and we tore it up while Ken’s wife yelled for Stones and Neil Young covers. They had nice spread of food but we had already eaten and the small cannolis on the dessert table looked inviting but I was already paring down my food intake for my Monday morning colonoscopy.

This was second one and because they found a polyp on the run so they wanted to do another in five years. I asked my mom how many she had had and she said she’s never had one and my dad said one of his doctors recommended one but the other said he was too old it. He didn’t really like hearing that. I was dreading this whole thing but as they say, “The prep is the hardest part. Last time I had to drink a gallon of Drano. This time it was one two quarts but that pretty much shoots the day.

The sedative never completely knocked me out but it did space me out for most of the day. I was able to read the paper as soon as they were done but I was little wobbly when I stood up. We went directly from the doctor’s to SEA Restaurant on Monroe for a big bowl of Vietnamese Pho and then to the used bookstore next door. Peggi picked up a few things from the horror section and I found a four dollar book on Picasso and Matisse written by Francoise Gilot, one of Picasso’s exs. It was such a nice day we pretty much blew off work and headed out to the Apple store. I wanted to buy a USB Camera Connection Kit for our iPad. I want to be able to backup photos on my iPad and also work with photos when I’m out of town. My laptop feels so big and clumsy these days and it’s heavy!

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Marginalia

Moose at Vergennes Laundry, a bakery in Vermont
Moose at Vergennes Laundry, a bakery in Vermont

My parents took us down to Nick’s for dinner last night and the conversation eventually turned to the old days. My father, who grew up on Burlington Avenue over on the west side said there were two bakeries near his house on Brooks Avenue and another around the corner on Thurston. My mom talked about the ones near her place on Rosewood Terrace and lamented how now all we have is Wegmans where everything tastes the same. I was thinking about the Vergennes Laundry, a bakery in Vermont with an artfully presented small selection of incredible breads and pastries, so good it is almost worth driving to for a loaf.

This article in this morning’s paper has researchers concluding “The more ‘friends’ people have on Facebook the more likely they are to be stressed out and anxious”, according to a new study and “the negative effects of using the site outweighed the benefits it offers in terms of staying in touch with friends and family.” I like how they put ‘friends’ in small quotes. I have no idea who most of my ‘friends’ are and if I used Facebook as more than just a lark I would probably get stressed out too.

The other tech story I found interesting was about how blogs are getting less popular as everyone moves to fb.

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Fox Or Coyote?

Coyote or fox?
Coyote or fox?

There was an article in National Geographic about wolves mating with dogs and coyotes but it didn’t mention foxes. One of our neighbors took these shots with a surveillance camera he set up in the woods behind his house. I guess the camera takes a shot even in low light when it senses movement. There has been some debate as to whether this is a fox or a coyote. I did an Google image search for “fox” and this guy doesn’t look as good as any of them. Try it for yourself – “fox”. I’m going with coyote.

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Finding The Phone

Peter Sherman demonstrating the "Finding the Phone" feature at the Apple Store in Rochester, NY
Peter Sherman demonstrating the “Finding the Phone” feature at the Apple Store in Rochester, NY

Find Phone is my favorite feature on our wireless landline phone. It’s such a gas to hunt for the phone while it beeps. It works every time except when I left the phone on the hood of the car and Peggi drove off with it. I helped my father replace his computer after his house was broken into and when we were at the Apple Store my father asked the clerk if there was any way to track down his old computer. Peter demonstrated how he could locate his iPhone at secure.me.com/find. Turns out it was in his pocket.

Somehow we’ve managed to wear out three different Linksis and Netgear routers over the years. We replaced them with an Apple Extreme and then added an Express to extend our coverage. I’ve been playing with Apple’s new Remote for the iTouch and iPad and I connected our stereo to the Express. I used to have an old laptop out there running iTtunes and of course I needed an external drive to hold the music library. But that was so yesterday. I retired the laptop and the drive and I stream music to the stereo from my desktop. With Remote on my iPod I can control the playlist or just let it go and even control the volume in the two rooms. Oh, and they’ve added the ability to mark your favorites when something good comes along.

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The Future Is Not Here Yet

Robert Meyerowitz's car and dog at Cobbs Hill in Rochester, NY
Robert Meyerowitz’s car and dog at Cobbs Hill in Rochester, NY

I met Robert Meyerowitz, former City Newspaper music critic, at Cobbs Hill for tennis. I hadn’t played in ten years or so. I think the last time was with Pat Lowery from SLT. I held my own but really fell apart when Robert tried to show me how to serve. And I managed to knock a few balls over the fence. Robert drove here from Alaska and he may be headed to Washington to take some sort of government job.

We had a company ask us to look at their website because they weren’t happy with its performance. The site was designed by company in China and I spent about an hour there marveling at their graphic sense.

Peggi read a book review in Sunday’s paper for “Last Call, The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” My grandfather ran a speakeasy in the city and the book sounded interesting so we tried ordering it on the iPad. We couldn’t find it at Apple so we went right to Simon & Schuster’s site and bought the epub version as a download but the only thing that was downloaded was an html document that launched in our browser and took us to a page with three lines of code.

We received an email confirmation from Simon & Schuster so the credit card part cleared fine but we didn’t have the book. We sent an email to them and they said we would hear from them in 48 hours. That never happened so I called and talked to a woman who took my name and number and told me someone would call. I said, “Really? Someone from Simon & Schuster is going to call me?” And she said, “Well, I certainly hope so.”

I let a few days go by and no one called so I called S&S again this afternoon and talked to Julius. He wanted to credit our account be couldn’t find our order number in their system. In fact he said,”I see no orders all for the epub version of this book.” I spent about a half hour on the phone with him while he tried to contact the guy in charge of downloads. He was unable to reach him on his Blackberry so I told Julius I had to get back to work. He promised he would get back to me. We went down to the pool for a dip and when we returned I found this email.

Thanks for contacting us.  Unfortunately, eBooks purchased from SimonandSchuster.com require Adobe Digital Editions in order to be downloaded and properly viewed.  At this time, Adobe Digital Editions is not compatible with the iPad.  Because of the difficulty, I have issued a full refund for your purchase.  Please allow up to 30 days for this to be fully visible on all of your credit card and/or banking statements.

I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Sincerely,
Stephen
SimonandSchuster.com

I know our friend, Martin, is deeply interested in this topic so I took notes.

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If IE

Marsh near Lake Ontario in Spring
Marsh near Lake Ontario in Spring

Spent most of the day tracking down workarounds for Internet Explorer bugs which aren’t really bugs at all but disregards of WC3 standards.
(left single angle quote) !–[if IE]>Special instructions. Switch to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari now.(left single angle quote)![endif]–>

We thought the Xcart site that we’ve been building here was ready to move to the actual site until we spotted th “bugs” in IE on our crusty pc. Works fine in Explorer and Chrome over there but “ouch” in IE. So you bid on a job and then tack on a bunch to cover the expense of duking it out with IE. All in a day.

It’s beautiful here in western New York and we are not complaining. Margaret Explosion starts a month of Wednesdays at the Little tonight.

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Back In The Saddle

Apple Guys in the window of the Eastview Mall Store in Rochester, New York
Apple Guys in the window of the Eastview Mall Store in Rochester, New York

These guys bailed me out by installing a new hard drive in my iMac. I suppose I could have figured out how to install a new drive and maybe even put in a bigger one but you have to take the glass screen off and the procedure looks pretty messy. Besides I had six months left on a three year AppleCare (like ObamaCare for computers) program that I had never used so this was all paid for. When I booted the machine it went through the welcome in many languages routine with the hip hop music and then asked if I wanted to restore from a Time Machine back-up. I did and it all came back, the desktop photo (wallpaper) that I took from the balcony of the Getty in LA, my docs and apps as they were, and even the stuff that was in my trash. My father just called and said he corrupted a large “Pages” file. I told him to go into Time Machine and bring it back from the dead. Peggi made Duane’s Faux Duck recipe for dinner, Mun-Cha’i-Ya (Peking Vegetarian Roast Duck in a can), and now we’re back in the saddle.

I found a copy of Monday’s New York Times in our mailbox this morning along with the local paper. That set me back awhile. It was a half price come on for daily delivery and it sounds pretty civilized but what about work? Speaking of avoiding work, we skied through the woods and then along the ridge on the west side of Eastman Lake in Durand. We stopped a bunch to look around and I felt that snow euphoria come over me. You know how you feel perfectly comfortable, probably near numb, when it’s only 15 degrees or so and you just want to lie down in the snow? We used to do this as kids in a snow fort or a big bank and I did it up in the mountains once and lost the car keys so those days are over. But I dig the dreamy sensation.

We’ve been checking out the snowshoe people, watching how they just walk right up the side of a steep hill they want to and how their big footprints just dart off the trail in all directions. Snowshoes are in are future. Won’t have to worry about going out of control on our skis and doing one of those violent smack downs. I think we might need special shoes to strap the snowshoes on so this might get complicated. Maybe next year.

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Time Machine

Apple logo on start up - if you're lucky
Apple logo on start up – if you’re lucky

The spinning color wheel that has been haunting me for the last week was an indication of hard drive failure. At least I think it was the hard drive. It got so all I got was a snowy screen. I was concerned that the the system was corrupt and that maybe my Time Machine backups would also be compromised but Marco at the Apple Store assured me that I would be able to do a full restore when I get my iMac back. I should have just looked at the Time Machine folder on my back up drive and I wouldn’t have lost sleep last night because all the files are there. I hadn’t really poked around in there because I pictured it all compressed and unreadable.

When Marco lifted my iMac out the box he spotted the small black and white photo of Peggi, sitting behind her Farfisa and in front of a Vox amp, that I had stuck on top of the Apple logo at the bottom of my screen. He said he was a musician too. He played with friends while going to school in Ithaca but hadn’t hooked up with anyone to play with since moving here. The Apple store was mobbed and they were running about twenty five minutes late at the Genius Bar. The place was packed and I felt like I was in China with all the busy workers running around in blue t-shirts swiping credit cards in their PDAs for the well heeled shoppers. A kid was holding a seminar in the middle of the showroom. Six middle aged students sat on stools at table with their iPhones and laptops. They were learning how to sync the two.

We stopped at Talbot’s on the way home and Peggi returned the sweater she got from my mom for Christmas. Peggi always says my mom has great taste in clothes but this sweater didn’t fit her body type. She found a suitable replacement and picked up an extra top. I found a comfortable chair to sit down in and I noticed that I was wearing the shirt that my mom gave me this year. They had no WiFi in the store but they were playing great music, all black pop, two Michael Jackson tunes and a great cover of “Some Kind of Wonderful”, a song by the 1960’s Rochester band, Soul Brothers Six, later covered by Grand Funk Railroad.

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Cache In The Trash

Spring Valley view from the top of the ridge, winter 2010
Spring Valley view from the top of the ridge, winter 2010

Bitter cold and lots of snow – just the way we like it. The cold part keeps the snow in top notch condition. We skied up to the top of the ridge in Spring Valley and stood up there for a few minutes in silence.

I called Apple today because why not? One of my machines is still under warranty and it was acting up. Hanging up, actually, and they had me unplug the computer and all peripherals and then restart which resets my System Management Controller. I plugged everything back in and it worked – for a while. I had a hunch it was my USB hub because it would disconnect my external drives every once in a while. So I called Apple back asked if it was OK to plug a hub into my keyboard which then goes USB to the computer and they confirmed that that was my problem. The technician also told me to go into my User/Library and dump my “Caches” folder. “Drag the whole thing to the trash.” They suggested that I do that once a moth to speed up the performance of my machine.

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Floating Dreamscapes

Winter golf at Durand Eastman in Rochester, NY
Winter golf at Durand Eastman in Rochester, NY

We walked through the woods with our neighbors, Rick and Monica, and their dogs. We came out on the gold course and spotted this guy swinging at a dayglo orange ball. The temperature dropped overnight and we got about ten inches of snow so today we skied up to the lake with Olga. We hooked up with Brian Williams later on and I helped him with his computer. He had the same problem my father had with his iPhoto library getting too big for his computer only Brian’s problem was with his iTunes folder getting too big his computer. I wish I could find someone to help me with my php/mysql problems.

The Democrat & Chronicle’s Jack Garner reviewed our new cd over the weekend.
MARGARET EXPLOSION: LIVE DIVE. Rochester’s most unique band offers a new collection of live tracks, recorded over four years at various local venues. ME is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea (and what sort of artist would ever want to be?). They play spacey, floating dreamscapes with smart improvisational skill, carefully listening to each other as they move forward with their own slices of mercurial, musical mood. I’m reminded of some of the Scandinavian free jazz one would hear on ECM Records over the years. Most of the tracks are relatively abstract. One cut, though, offers what surely must be the most offbeat ode to a deceased artist. Who would have thought they’d create a tune called “Sleep Michael Jackson?” — Jack Garner

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There For You

Steve Hoy Smoking
Steve Hoy Smoking

Steve Hoy called yesterday to alert me to the fact that PopWars was down. Not just the blog but the site. I think the server went down. And when it came back the last few weeks of posts were missing. Looks like that was the most recent back up they had. So I used Google’s cached versions of the blog entries to sort of restore. It was a little tricky reentering the comments. As I was piecing it back together Steve sent this note.

“good to see you back up paul, altho looks like you are missing the last couple posts. dont worry, tiger woods has been having the exact same problem. Seriously, marshall mcluhan would be proud of POP WARS. i need you guys to be there for me, keep up the good work. also updates on sparky and the old man neighbor you have are always appreciated.”

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Soul Power

Muhammad Ali in Soul Power
Muhammad Ali in Soul Power

Muhammad Ali is quoted as saying, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. ” And he is even a bigger star than James Brown. We watched “Soul Power” at the George Eastman House’s Dryden Theater over the weekend. It’s really the outtakes from “When We Were Kings” which Peggi and I saw at the Little Theater with my father a few years back. But these outtakes are all music scenes from the 1974 concert and championship fight in Zaire, Africa. And it just when you think it couldn’t get any better than James Brown at his peak performing in Africa Muhammad Ali steals the scene.

Why didn’t we go hear Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings when they were in town last week because we are spoiled. We saw the Godfather of Soul (GFOS) a few times (Red Creek and the Auditorium Theater). In this movie James wore a wide scarf-like garment wrapped around his waist with “GFOS” printed on it and Peggi and I kept thinking of of Rochester’s “AKOS”, Mike Allen. But Mike could never get away with performing “I’m Black and I’m Proud” like James does here. I loved that song when it came out but that was easy. Duane went to a mostly black high school on Rochester’s west side and he said it was too much. James Brown even stopped performing the song because the song cost him a lot of my crossover audience. I noticed in the credits that Rochester’s Pee Wee Ellis gets co-writing credits for “I’m Black and I’m Proud”.

We finished our MySQL job and succesfully linked the first column of this page to a drawing with specs that come from the data base. Amazing. Of course we had help from Bill Jones and the flute player.

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Rebooting

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Henrietta NY
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Henrietta NY

We took a break from our web design work, put old clothes on and went out to work in the yard for an hour or so yesterday. We were expecting a few calls so we took our phone with us and set it down next to the brick walkway that we were relaying. Our 92 year old neighbor, Leo, stopped by to see what we were up to and and said, “If I set my phone down like that I would never see it again. I loose everything”. We laughed. We got a few calls and then came in to work. The phone rang again and we couldn’t find it. Still can’t.

Michael Greenberger came back into town to pick up his car. Remember, it broke down on the NYS Thruway near Henrietta as they were passing Rochester? He stayed at our place and we stayed up too late gabbing. He gave us a short stack of Duplex Planet magazines, a box of Ernest Brookings matches (in return for the Margo Explo matches we gave him) and a bunch of NRBQ releases. David did their artwork when they were a band and he does Terry Adam’s art now. We made plans to make plans to do a project together.

We took Anne Havens‘ computer apart to install more ram and now we’re updating her OS. Keep your fingers crossed that it reboots ok.

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Soft In The Head

Horseshoe Dispute
Horseshoe Dispute


That’s my ringer underneath Rick’s leaner. If the leaner came after the ringer does it cancel the ringer?

Our neighbor is 92 and still driving but he is forgetting his way around the city. The other day he drove up and down Hudson Avenue looking for a place that had closed decades ago. He rang our bell this morning asking directions to Rowe Photo on Mount Hope.

I was pulling my hair out with this jquerry ThickBox script until Bill Jones troubleshot our work and found that I had to remove an @ in the thickbox.js code.

I brought up a Google map and showed our neighbor how to get to Rowe but I could see he wasn’t quite following it. He told me “he’s getting soft in the head”. I asked him what he was going out there for and he said that his camera was broken. I took a look at it and found he had locked the card so that he couldn’t write to it. I opened the photos that were already on the card including the photo he took in Rowe Photo when he bought the thing. I found one of him and his lady friend and I cloned his face onto the woman’s head. He asked if he could do that with his computer. I said “sure” but then he told me he had hired someone to help him with his pc twice at 90 bucks per visit and it still wasn’t working right. I’m quite sure the computer is fine. I told him that sounds like some easy money, easier than jquerry implementation, and I laughingly told him to call us next time.

My brother is a mason and he bids on some pretty big projects. A few weeks ago he drove to Buffalo to pick up some plans that the builder wanted to email him. He didn’t have a computer then but he does now. He had a pc years ago when his daughter was in her teens and she brought the computer to its knees with viruses. I encouraged him to buy a Mac this time and he did so we’ve been doing phone support all week. We told our neighbor to buy a Mac too but he found a cheaper pc.

I used to be much more competitive when I was younger. Sports is about all I did in my teens and the drive to be better propelled me. We have horseshoe pits in our front yard and Rick from across the street will play at the drop of a hat. I just have to go out front and clang the shoes together. Rick called the other day while we were still working. I picked up the phone and all he said was, “Clang, Clang”. Of course he beat me so we played another and he beat me again. I try my best to hit the stake but I have the hardest time keeping score. I can’t bring myself tally the points. I don’t really care who wins. I’m thinking I’ve gone soft in the head.

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King of Beer Lives Here

King of Beer refuse
King of Beer refuse

Found some more cans near a turn in the road on Hoffman today. We brought them home.

Spent a good part of the day trying to develop this template with vertical centering. I manage to get it working but I created a page that had no scroll bars in any browser. With Joe Tunis’s help, I got the scroolbars back but then lost the centering.

I say “I” but all I have done is search the web for help in executing this design. I wrote about this project a few days ago and Martin Edic sent me a link to a blog that had a great piece on vertical centering with css.

“I get high with a little help from my friends”.

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