Showing posts from April, 2011

Climbing Aboard a Different Dream Weaver Train

And driving myself nuts learning web programming!

Meanwhile, I keep humming this Dream Weaver.

I Like My Sleep Way Too Much

To get up and watch William and Catherine marry, but I did look at the various media outlets on the Internet to see the dress (loved it), the ceremony highlights (including William saying to his bride and her dad "This was supposed to be a small family affair!" when they arrived at the altar and look at the weird hats that other members of the family wore.

Thirty years ago, I was in summer school and had to be up by 8am, but woke at 6am instead to watch the pomp and pageantry that was Charles and Diana's wedding. We didn't own a VCR, so if I wanted to see anything at all, it was get up or only see a few highlights on the 6 o'clock news. I remember thinking how wrinkled her dress was. It sure was not an indication of the style maven Diana would later become.

The passing of 30 years just highlights the differences between the time when William's parents married. Charles was urged to marry to produce an heir to the throne. It seems that William and Harry w…

If You Don't Want to Watch the Wedding

Watch the Shiba Inu puppies instead.

Be warned, it's a time sucker!

365 Things to Do in Lakeland

I've been saving these for months, hoping to do a spread of all of them, but I think there's enough for a blog post already.

On Facebook, those ads on the right can bring some interesting and amusing things to the table. For instance, Living Social and Groupon have either "100 Things to do in (Your City Here)" or the more ambitious "365 Things to do in (that same city)."

I live in Lakeland, Florida. The town covers a large geographic area, but folks, it's a small town. Downtown businesses, save for the restaurants, are closed by 6pm. If you want to see a movie, you're going to the outdoor mall on the south side of town or the drive in (which I prefer). So, imagine my surprise at the first '365 things..." picture-it was Niagara Falls. I assure you, Lakeland is quite flat and while there's a ton of water to be found, there are no falls.

The next one featured a picture of a nice wooden roller coaster. The nearest amusement parks are Bu…

Triple Threat

In theatre, the term 'Triple Threat' refers to an actor who can also sing and dance. It goes back to the very early days of Broadway, when budgets allowed for a corps de dance, singers who just sang and actors who just acted.

I think if you look at any Buzby Berkeley musical, you can see how the casts could number over a hundred, sometimes two! So, to have an actor who did all three, and well, was a hot commodity.

Nowadays, to succeed on the boards of Broadway, and get roles in the musicals, you need to be able to do all three very well. There are plenty of people after those limited jobs, and if you can't do it all, there's someone right behind you that can.

Meanwhile, if you're a big name actor with major marquee value, this can be forgiven. So, when this actor was announced as taking the lead in a revival in a Broadway musical, I figured he'd either dance or sing well. Dancing can be taught to the point that someone can pass muster for eight performance…

I'll Give Wordpress This...

I really, really like the fact that I don't have to verify which gmail account I'm signed into before writing a blog post! Lately, I have to log out of the school email and into my main gmail account to do this.

Oh, and the Wordpress blog? It's a final project for one of my classes. Link will come when I'm done.

Yet Again, eBay Makes Me Happy

This summer, I decided to take three classes. The graduate program recommends taking two, and even suggests the two I should take, neither of which were being offered. This set the future semester studies in a bit of flux, because obtaining permits for classes was based on 'did you take this class or do you have this experience?' Each time, the answer was no and no.

Fortunately, two of the professors I contacted were willing to work with me, and based on the tech skills I already have, suggested the same book. Both asked me to obtain the book (Karel the Robot), complete the exercises within, then send the completed items in a zip file for review. Professor S because I've never performed web programming before, and Professor H because I hadn't taken Professor S's class (even though I've worked with the Adobe product she teaches.)

So, I searched Amazon, found a gently used copy for 2 bucks (and another 3 shipping) and I'm ready to dive into the book next T…

Second Life as an Educational Resource

Yes, I know I have really bashed on the game, thanks to the image of the game presented by Jane. It still doesn't appeal to me, but I have to create a lesson plan for Monday's class, based upon elements of the game.

As my semester-long theme doesn't translate well into this virtual world, I came up with an idea based on work I did in last semester's Spanish class. Basically, I wanted to have students walk the Camino de Santiago de Compestela in the Galician region of Spain.

I'd thought I'd found enough content to make this work and use both English and Spanish from my PowerPoint presentation in a lesson plan geared towards third year Spanish students. Alas, what I thought I'd found was really a group, not a location. Back to square one.

Then I was thinking I'd bring students on an architectural tour of a Spanish architect (also part of a presentation I'd done), but that also was a bust. Next, the lightbulb went off that I should have students lo…

Surprises, Ice Packs and Plantar Faciitis

The plantar faciitis is back with a vengeance. I did it to myself by wearing the same shoes, day in and day out, which is really discouraged with PF. Several of the treatment options are not feasible for me, due to allergies and history.

So I've been icing the foot several times a day.

The way I've been doing this is by bringing a large bowl out onto the lanai and icing five on, five off for about an hour. This helps a little, but makes the other problems worse. I've been meaning to get some more of those blue ice packs to chuck in the freezer, because I can help the other leg problems with elevation and the PF with cold all at the same time.

Here's where the surprise (more like OOPS) comes in. I ordered a box of goodies from See's Candies for the menfolk for Easter. Floridians who want See's in warmer months can get it by paying an extra $13 bucks for 'warm weather shipping.' I wasn't exactly sure what it entailed, but I knew that this is the…

A Day at Vero Beach

I'd always heard that Disney's Vero Beach Resort, a DVC resort, was Disney without the parks. After visiting the resort yesterday, I have to agree. The buildings are like many other Disney Vacation Club properties and the amenities are clearly Disney.

It was just icing on the cake of spending time with Joyce, Tim and their kids.

Dipping the Toes


They'll Revoke our State Residency

...if they realize that we rarely, I mean rarely, go to the beach!

In the past seven years, we headed over the Gulf coast about two dozen times, the Atlantic coast none. I came close in my trip to Port Canaveral, Ed with the Space Center. Maybe if we were closer to either coast, it'd cross our minds more often.

As it is, there's plenty to do without dipping the toes in water, so we don't feel like we're missing anything.

Though, tomorrow, the Atlantic coast calls. We'll be meeting up with Joyce, Tim and their brood for the day. A two hour drive, then a day full of whatever trouble we can get into.

Maybe even dipping toes in the water.

Pep Talk

Tonight was the last regular session of my Interactive Media class. She promised a stressful semester, because the amount of learning packed into one class will stress out anyone. That was the absolute truth, but I have to agree that along with the heaping helping of stress (some of it having nothing to do with the instructor or assignments), I'm coming out of this class with some very useful skills.

Let's backtrack a bit. Back in 2007 or so, my friend Liz suggested that I look into going back to school for Instructional Design. It sounded interesting enough that when I was unemployed and realizing that it was a good time to see about finishing the bachelor's, some research was done.

The original plan with it was to find a corporate trainer job, get out there in HR and create training materials to be used online or in a classroom. Kind of bridging the technology skills, the love of training and the real world experience.

Then, the return to academia changed my plans …



I want to know where fifteen years went, because it wasn't all that long ago when I had this little guy:

and now I have this guy:

Happy Birthday, GameTeen!

First Time is the Toughest

It took hours to make that first Flash presentation. Then I think I overwrote it in making my digital video presentation. We have to label projects for submission IMA-1, IMA-2, etc and I think my first save of the video, rather than being IMA-4, was IMA-3. Oops.

One of the things I did to keep track of the three minute project was to mark intros and outtro frame numbers. It's something we'd do in radio when editing commercials, back in the days when editing was done with a razor blade and a splicing (V) block. Screw that up, and you might have to rerecord a whole show.

I still have to redo a whole presentation, but my intro and outtro numbers? They're calculations of how long my scenes are supposed to last. The first time around, it may have been the MOST time consuming part of the project. With them, it's taking a fraction of the time.

Uh Oh

Somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, I must have deleted my Flash project.

Yep, the one I put about 30 hours of work into. The one I *thought* I'd uploaded to a development site, but instead, uploaded two .swa files. This means I have a movie, but not the frame by frame details.

Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

Guess who's going to bed now, because tomorrow will be a VERY long day!

Cautiously Optimistic

There have been a few changes for GameTeen lately, and they may be the right ones.

He'd been having a LOT of problems in school and they (and we) were at the end of their rope. Acting out in class, sleeping, refusing to do work, and the straw that broke the camel's back, he'd begun to throw stuff or spit at people when he was not happy.

Just prior to Spring break, we were offered an alternative setting: he'd come to school for half days, and he'd complete his work in the principal's office where it'd just be him and her. A quiet setting with few distractions was the only thing we could come up with.

It has worked marvelously. The amazing success of it makes me wonder if the Sensory Processing issues are far worse than we'd realized, that even five other students on the spectrum being just as loud as GameTeen tends to be was just too much for him. It also made me contemplate all the times we try to take him into a store, with GameTeen insisting that…


The other day, I asked GameTeen where he'd like to enjoy his birthday dinner, if he'd like to go out. Without hesitation, he said "Cody's," a restaurant we used to enjoy over in Brandon. What GameTeen did not realize is that we'd dined there for the last time three days before the company closed most of their locations.

It's a shame, the place was a family favorite for good food at a reasonable price. Every Monday and Tuesday, they had kids eat free nights and so it was a frequent haunt for us when we lived over that way. Their other special that we dove on was buy one get one free fajitas every Wednesday. "Fajita Wednesdays!" was a rallying cry in our old house, guaranteed to get everyone in the car in 30 seconds flat.

I felt bad when I had to explain that Cody's was no more. He's now rethinking where he'd like to dine, and said he might even prefer Mom's home cooking. On the cake front, I think we'll have an easie…

So, I Have One A Sewn Up

I got back my Psych term paper tonight, along with a bonus essay that could wipe out a lower grade on any previous essay. What this means is that I now have an overall average of 95 with all but two assignments turned in. One is a recap of the semester and what I gained from the class, the other is a case study that is very straightforward.

So, yay, I definitely have one A. As soon as I turn in the last two assignments for my online class, that's pretty much a lock, too.

The third class, well, I'm still not sure. At this point, I think it will be a B, but I could pull it out with these last few projects and get an A.

For my first semester of grad school.

I'm pretty happy right now.

Gmail, Whyfore You Torture Me?

I like gmail. The beta began in late 2003 and in mid 2004, I was able to snag an invite from a friend from a yahoo group. Back then, you only got five invites to spread around and people were not handing them out to just anyone. But I got one, and shared around my invites.

A couple of years later, when my small employer was switching hosts for their website, I opened up two more accounts, and spread out those invites to coworkers wishing to archive their emails. Eventually, I had several emails for various needs, including two that are the blog name and the blog url. For the most part, that initial account I created in 2004 is the catch all, the one that gets the most emails from commercial entities. Then there's the professional email that I use most for correspondence.

When I was admitted at USF, I got another gmail account, but this one was set up differently, receiving and sending mail from the USF servers. So, it was possible to be logged into one of my non-USF based g…

In Which I Wax Poetic About an Assignment I Don't Like

Earlier today I signed up for Second Life. For class, because I sure as heck wouldn't be doing it otherwise. There's a reason why I have an avid dislike for it, namely Jane's passion for it.

Basically, the title says it all, participants get to have a second, more interesting life in the virtual world than they do in the real world. While that could be lots of fun, Jane's descriptions of it turned me off. She hung out online with a lot of kids between the ages of 18 and 25, who would constantly tell her she did not act like a woman of her age. She took it as a compliment that she was still considered youthful.

Some of her stories about it made me wonder what exactly was going on, and I could read between the lines when she told me about the youngsters she hung out with having relationship issues in the game and how she gave relationship advice. I found it odd that a person who was most definitely a homebody and had one serious relationship to her credit was expert …

First Swim of the Season

And he got some new, cooler than last years toys to enjoy, too.


Since watching Jamie's Food Escapes on the Cooking Channel the other night, I've had a hankering for his Souvlaki as presented on the show.

If there is one cuisine I can't get enough of, it's probably Greek food. I'll even eat fish if it's presented in a traditional Greek recipe. So it's not a surprise that this one was crying out for me to make it. The fact that it was really easy and Greek yogurt is getting easier to come by meant that a little bit of prep work netted this:

My only problem is I didn't get enough pita bread. We've got some leftovers for tomorrow and nothing to serve them on. I will say that Jamie's recipe called for pork, but I made chicken and it turned out fantastic. It'd probably be bold enough to use on beef, but if you marinate it for a few hours to let the flavors sink in.

The potatoes to the right were just cubed, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder, then cooked …


This time of year, Ed and I have always taken enjoyment out of sitting on the lanai in the evening, listening to the crickets chirping, relishing the cool breeze and capping the day with a glass of wine.

In our old house in Seffner, we had a pair of Adirondack chairs and a table out on our oddly shaped area. We even strung some tiki inspired party lights around the perimeter and Ed wired a rheostat so that we could have some minimal lighting. I can't tell you how many bottles of wine were consumed while we relaxed and listened to the night sounds.

When we moved into the rental house, our landlord had 'deluxe' sized the builder's lanai, opting instead to have them pour a 20x20 concrete slab and a friend put a simple screen structure up for him. There was room for our old dining table and chairs, plus the chairs we'd had at the old place. While we didn't enjoy it as much as at the first place (probably because we couldn't buy nearly as much wine), there s…

Another Fail

I recently wrote how Target's 'gatekeeping' users from checking the status of their orders was mildly very annoying. Am I alone in thinking that if you spend a pile of money at a website, say considerably more than $500, you should have the ability to check on the order without having to jump through hoops for an access code each and every time?

Well, they did it again.

Yesterday, I coordinated a delivery of said items. The three boxes were too big for delivery via UPS, so a shipping company came to my house. When the guy arrived, I nicely asked him if he'd wheel the boxes to my back yard, because our garage is overflowing with the contents of Jane's apartment. No dice. He insisted he had no time to do so and was somewhat jerky about it. Thanks dude, I'll keep the $20 bucks I usually give delivery guys this time around, since all you did was wheel it the length of my driveway.

When we shopped their website for this furniture, we'd found it counter-intu…