Tuesday, October 28, 2008

REVIEW: August Wilson's "Radio Golf"

I went to see August Wilson's "Radio Golf" over the weekend. I am a big fan of August Wilson and his cycle of plays of which "Radio Golf" is the last.

This will be a brief post because I am w/out my laptop and I am at the library. Time is limited.

The play was very good. Wonderful cast. Well written play. Interestingly lots of profanity - f-bombs and 'mf's'. Some audience members were taken aback. But it was true to the spirit of the characters in the play.

I need to further research some of the many parallels of the game of golf w/the message in the play. More than clever.

I had good seats and the tickets were not too pricey and I was able to park on the street for no charge. All in all, it was a nice experience.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Granola Bars - yummy

I recently made a batch of granola bars. I've been wanting to make this recipe for about six months or so. I think the delay was in gathering up the ingredients. I was always missing something and even for the batch I finally made, I was missing the wheat germ. But that's okay by me (and my belly).

I got the recipe from the Food Network's Alton Brown. I must admit that he is not my fav Food Network host. I do like him, but he's just over the top in info for me. Sometimes the back story is okay, but most of the time I am impatient to get on w/the business of cooking.

However, Alton came through w/this recipe. Actually a former colleague made some granola bars using this recipe and I was smitten. She shared the recipe and I am totally hooked.

Here's what I like about them:
  • chewy
  • sweet
Also, you can add and subtract some of the ingredients like the fruit and nuts. I used walnuts and sliced almonds. I did not toast the walnuts. Along w/dried cranberries and some mixed raisins.

I was going to share them w/my neighbors, but I have not gotten around to that yet ... meanwhile, the granola bars are evaporating ...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PCPGH 3 Post Mortem - Day 2

So, I don't have an updated logo that says "I attended Podcamp Pittsburgh 3", but it's all good.

I'm continuing today where I left off yesterday by recapping some of the sessions that I attended @ PCPGH3.

Taking Better Photos (entry to intermediate)
Nice session. He says he'll post his PowerPoint slides on SlideShare.com. Search Tibbon, though they are not there yet.
  • Mentioned some photo organizing programs like Aperture. Very cool. You can do some editing like cropping and it's non-destructive.
  • The importance of light and how to cope w/a lack of light
  • When you need to change perspective, move your feet as opposed to zoom in/out
  • Look for EXif data on your camera: give specifics about the settings used for each image (you can also take the picture, upload to Flickr. Flickr has the info. Info like aperture, ISO, etc.
  • strobist.blogspot.com: about lighting, gotta love it
  • KenRockwell.com: tons of photo taking knowledge
  • smugmug.com: photo storage site

Word Press Session
I'm considering moving my blog from Blogger to Word Press. I just want to make doing a podcast easier. I hear that it is super simple to upload podcast/audio using Word Press. I am still undecided.

Search-Engine-Friendly Blogging, or How to be #1 in Pretty Hats
This was one of my fav sessions. Just good info about keywords and using headers to your advantage. Oh, and just prior to this session, I learned that SEO means search engine optimization. See, you are learning too, right? The title stems from the session leaders blog post of an image and the post title was 'pretty hats'. So when you search that, you'll get her blog post.
  • Use a smart title tag
  • make proper use of heading tags
  • The right text content: check out Google's Adwords Keyword Tool
  • 1000 words is optimal; 250 = minimum blog post
  • Make appropriate inbound and outbound links: link to keywords and phrases
  • Include alt tags
  • Have an up-to-date site map (she sort of lost me on this one).
  • Websitehelpers.com (look for SEO 101)

Design: What Can It Do for You?
This session was okay.
  • Have adequate white space to let the elements breathe
  • Spacing is important
  • Resources for color: kuler.adobe.com, helps coordinate color combinations; also try colourlovers
  • Pay attention to typography, leading and line length
  • For templates, fonts and more ... check out SmashingMagazine

Twittering for Business
It was nice to see some clear examples of how companies are using Twitter. Check out Bigelow Tea. Comcast Cares.
  • Plurk.com is similar to Twitter, but you can keep up w/conversations better
  • Search for people and keywords on Search.Twitter.com
  • Companies can use Twitter as a customer service platform; it's customer service, just not via phone or in person
  • Do NOT just post links to the company website and do not spam
  • You do not have to follow everyone who follows you
  • Disclose who is Twittering (especially if it's not someone who works for the company, but is a paid outside consultant)
That's all I got for now. I need to further explore the information that I've posted over the past two days.

Oh, and if you're interested in attending a Podcamp, check out Podcamp.org. The dates for next year's Podcamp Ohio have been set: Saturday, June 20, 2009 @ Ohio State University in Columbus.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

PCPGH 3 Post Mortem - Day 1

Wow, I did not have any expectations for Podcamp Pittsburgh (PCPGH3) and that is not a bad thing. I was indeed excited at the prospect so maybe there was some level of expectation. The sessions looked interesting and that was enough for me.

So here is what I got out of it:
  • met lots and lots of great folks
  • gained new knowledge about social media and podcasting
  • identified many resources
That's in addition to two days of free breakfast and lunch (and even FREE parking one day).

Here are some of the sessions that I attended on Saturday-Day 1 and some info that I glaumed from them.

Podcasting 101
I probably should not have been in this session. I have a good amount of knowledge on the topic, but I thought I'd get some new info since technology changes rapidly

Taking Your Audio to the Next Level

Podsafe Music
I came in late to this session, but I was able to pick up a few things like:

Using Analytics
I use Google Analytics as well as Stat Counter. It was nice to know that one of the first things that the session leader mentioned was that all the stats will differ for each service. Some key points that he mentioned:
  • What do you want people to do?
  • What if they don't do it?
  • Constantly re-evaluate what you are doing
  • What leads to an exit?
Here are two other stat sites that he mentioned:
Oh, and check out compete.com to see what the competition is doing.

Which Web 2.0 Tools to Use for What

I did like this session, but the session leader was highlighting info from the PCPGH webbie on Socal Media, so I thought I'd check that out later and went to another session.

Podcast Hosting and your Blog
These types of sessions are always interesting because the session leader will typically focus on what they use the most. For example, if they have a PC and use Word Press for blogging, which was the case here, but it could be they have a Mac and use Moveable Type for blogging. However, there was a lot of info to garner from this session. Since I came it late, it was nice that many of the resources discussed were written on the white board.
  • Blip.tv: like YouTube but not including better quality video; good for audio too
  • Talkshoe.com: for call in shows
  • Blogtalk.com: also for call in shows
  • Gcast.com
  • Tubemogul.com: for video, but I think audio too
  • filezilla: for file hosting (an extension of Mozilla)
  • pod press: for podcasting via Word Press
  • fantastical.com: for transferring a blog from one place to another; or other complex web issues
My apology ... just got tired of linking.

My note taking could be much better. I have other tidbits scribbled on my notepad including a note to check out: moo.com. I had my sis check it out before I had a chance and she seemed to think it was pretty cool.

Okay, that's it for one day. At least from the sessions. I gathered even more info from talking to folks and getting their biz cards and just chatting it up.

Check back tomorrow for Sunday-Day 2's breakdown at Podcamp Pittsburgh.

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Cheap Gas

This was soo cool; and no this is not an old picture. Got some gas last week and am still overjoyed even though I've run it out and filled up again.

But here is the deal. I do some grocery shopping at Giant Eagle. Mostly for the fuel perks. My daughter shops there too. She managed to score 90 cents off the gallon. She says in Akron Giant Eagle is giving 15 cents off per gallon for every $50 spent as opposed to just 10 cents off the gallon for every $50 spent in my neck of the woods.

So she asks me to fill up her tank, right? I say sure. At the time, the gas in Akron was $2.77 and w/her 90 cents off, there you have it: $1.87 per gallon. Glorious. So the deal is you can use the discount for up to 30 gallons. Of course she does not have a tank that large and I had a quarter of a tank. So after some maneuvering - getting her car out and getting mine in and not putting the nozzle on the hook - I was able to fill up two cars for $39! Hot damn. I want to do that more often. It makes spending money so much more fun.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Podcamp Pittsbugh (PCPGH3)

I'll be checking out Podcamp Pittsburgh (PCPGH3) this weekend. Should be kinda cool. It's the 'unconference' - something like by the people for the people. It's a freebie, so that's a major selling point.

I'm not hosting any panels or anything. I almost threw my hat in the ring. But I don't quite have expertise in podcasting. I can do this blogging thing somewhat well. Like I'm in the process of changing the templates on my blogs. I don't know html, but I've learned a thing or two just working in blogger. But I think blogging is really simple. Though there is more to Podcamp Pittsburgh than just blogging and podcasting. It's about taking photos, social media, multimedia and more.

Btw, I plan on doing more podcasting in the future. I will more than likely have podcasts of the media that I consume. Additionally, I'd like to get more podcasts of me and my friends having insightful conversations about current events.

So Podcamp Pittsburgh, here I come. There are a slew of workshops/sessions on both Saturday and Sunday. I hope to do the whole nine including the Meet and Greet later today. I missed Podcamp Ohio, so I hope that this event is just as good.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oprah and "30 Rock"

Love this show. Can't Wait for the new season to begin!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Wishful Thinking

I'm not big on gifts, but who doesn't like to 'wish' for a few things every now and then.

I've been keeping a wish list on Google for a while now. Amazon too. And on a webbie called Digital Designs.

Right now I've got my eye on a Zoom H2 Recorder (above). I do have a Zen Stone mp3 player (below). It's nice w/2G of space and it can record. The recording component is not bad, but it's not as clean as I would like for it to be.Also, I've been living w/o Photoshop for a few months now. I'm kinda feenin for it. So I need to get some kind of basic version. I don't need all of the bells and whistles. I just want to play around w/some actions and create some digital hybrid stuff for my card making.

Oh, and these shoes. They're from Target. I will probably have them soon. I do like them. I have tried them on. I want a better fit, but I can stand the height. I thought that they would be too high, but no. I saw them on Donna Downey's blog and fell in love w/them. Thanks for being an enabler Donna.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Radiogirl really does listen to the radio!

I travel a lot between Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It's mostly a straight shot on the Ohio and PA Turnpikes.

I don't have a cd player in the car. But nevermind that when I've got a plethora or radio stations to choose from. And being the radiogirl that I am, I have to listen to the radio.

My radio taste is all over the place. But that's the beauty of the radio.

Here's a little Google Map that I crafted to detail some of my radio favs on my little roadie.

View Larger Map

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd is a book about life in the South in the 1960s. There is currently much hype surrounding this novel that was published in 2002 because the film version will be released within the next two weeks.

I was anxious to read the book after seeing the cast for the movie: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Sophie Okonedo. Nice.

But I want to focus on the book. I got through it quite quickly, so it's a rather simple read. Unfortunately for me, I'd just read MLK's "Why We Can't Wait" about the non-violence movement. So "The Secret Life of Bees" w/it's racial hatred was not what I bargained for. I need to separate my readings about civil rights and what not.

Sometimes one of the main characters in the book, Rosaleen, reminded me of Sophia in The Color Purple. Another movie w/a plot involving racial injustice.

I think my expectations for the book were too high. I just thought it was okay. I was not a fan of it at all. I did like the way the father treated the daughter. I thought that the story line was too much for a 14-year-old white girl in the South. I thought that it was too much fantasy - if a black woman skipped jail in one city, I think she'd be located in a short period of time especially if she were still in the same state - 1960s or otherwise.

I did like the connection w/the bees. That was interesting and intriguing. I did also like the sense of community and family that came through strongly in the book particularly in the Boatright home.

I want to say more, but I really don't like to give away all the details. Maybe get the audio version as a way to save some time.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Elder Abuse

I'm sort of dealing w/an elder abuse situation. No, I'm not the elder or the abuser. Thanks for asking. But I've ranted before about my noisy neighbors. Well, months later and it is still much of the same.

My neighbors are married and have been for 60 some years (so the wife tells me). So when I say elder I am talking 96 (him) and 80 something (her). The walls are thin and they are loud; they can't hear one another, but I can hear them clearly (but that works in my favor, I can turn the music or TV up load and they probably can't hear me either).

Problem is they talk loud, they argue louder. I could tell you what they say when they argue, but they speak another language and I can't always make out the the crux of the fighting words. But sometimes I hear more than words like things being tossed and what not.

I have called the police on them more than once. At first I felt guilty about calling the police on the elderly. But you never know how serious something is. At first, I just wanted to get some peaceful rest, but now, I am genuinely concerned about both of them.

He is obviously emotionally abusing her, but he also gets physical. Yep, I saw the bruise marks (though I guess the marks could have come from something else, huh?). Point is, every time I've gotten up recently to see about the commotion that I can't sleep through, the police are already there.

Problem ... he has Alzheimer's Disease and it is only getting worse. She is reluctant to commit him to the hospital. I can see the difficulty in making that decision. But ...

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Satire - SNL Style

I could not resist posting this. I did not watch Saturday Night Live (SNL) last night, but I went straight to Hulu and this was on the home page.

Loved their take on last Thursday's Vice Presidential debate. And it was a treat to see Queen Latifah play Gwen Ifill.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: "Why We Can't Wait" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

I read Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Why We Can't Wait" on the recommendation of my friend Josee. We were walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago earlier this summer talking politics and what not and she dropped this title. I kept thinking about the title for a few weeks; she eventually let me borrow her copy (otherwise, I might still be thinking about it).

It's a short read. The book really picked up at the height of the non-violent movement in Birmingham in 1963. That's the focus of the book. King's perspective on how thing's went down and how that movement was a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.

I must admit that it's always difficult for me to read about racial hatred especially when details are laid out. King did not elaborate much on the beatings or killings from this time period. However, it is humbling to read about the courageousness of those who participated in this historical movement and the numerous sacrifices that they made.

It also got me to thinking about my family. Both of my mother's parents are from Birmingham. I can only imagine what life was like back then. When I hear about Bull Connor, I just wonder how someone could be that mean spirited. I've been meaning to ask my grandmother about growing up in the South. She has never/rarely spoken about her childhood. But I guess if I want to know then I'd better get to asking; she's not getting any younger, but she is getting more ornery.

Interesting too that I read this book just prior to the 2008 General Election. The things that people endured just so I could have the right to vote is incredible. I've never been the one to take for granted that I have a right to vote; I've been voting since college (though I may have missed an election or two due to moving around). Nor do I take advantage of the fact that I can walk into any restaurant anywhere and buy anything I want (if I can afford it). But I think that some young people do take that for granted. They don't know or care about the struggle of those who came before them and made many of today's amenities a part of our daily lives.

I had read King's Letter from Birmingham Jail sometime ago and it is included in this book. Amazing how some of his points still ring true for today's society.

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