Friday


22
Feb 19

There’s a new mobile version of the site

Everything worked out pretty well with the mobile site. Click this image and you can go see it for yourself.

So that’s now live. For some time I’ve been tinkering with a mobile version as a Monday project. But then I hit some snags with my ideas and life gets busy and you start making concessions to that or just going to sleep on time and you place on the back burner the mobile version of your website that everyone is just dying to see on their phones and tablets and what not.

You know how it goes.

But I started tinkering with it again yesterday, because in doing a few quick things elsewhere on the site I remembered ‘This was a project you’ve forgotten about.‘ Much to my chagrin.

This is all just a coding exercise, of course. An in-expensive hobby. And if there’s some utility to it for you or me, then even better.

It started in college. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year I was hanging out with a friend who had graduated, gone into the world and come back for grad school. He told me that if I learned to code I’d add $10,000 a year to my paycheck. So I had another friend, who was legitimately one of the smartest people any of us knew, help get me started while he was working as a student staffer in a computer lab. And, because I was cool I spent that summer learning things by trial and error.

This was, of course, back in the days when we used to code by hand, in Notepad. And I found a rhythm for making a few changes, saving the file, uploading it and refreshing pages that I liked. The trial-and-error of it was usually relaxing. The first guy in that anecdote is now a big shot economist and university lecturer. The second one, last I checked, was a successful salesman. And here I am. Coding was a part of my internship during college and an important part of my professional career for more than a dozen years. I am still waiting on those coding bonuses to show up in my checks.

Indeed, for more than four years it was a primary function of my work, back when al.com was a growing-out-of-being-a-secondary consideration. I was coding something everyday. And I was a journalist, what’s more. Probably there were a dozen or so people in the state who could do both back then. In my first interview there I made this tortured analogy about how I was a driver, more than a mechanic. I can take care of your car while you are abroad for a year or two, but you wouldn’t ask me to build you a race car from the ground up.

They hired me anyway.

Anyway, there’s a new mobile version. It’s responsive to size and which angle you are holding your phone in. And the secondary picture accidentally matches the primary photo, so now there’s a color scheme. Wish me luck keeping that consistent.

Elsewhere …


And your weekend plans? I’ll probably running. But what about you?


15
Feb 19

It goes to four — going to 11 would squish you

So The Yankee got herself a present. (But she also says it is for us. And she did make way so that I could try it, but that ruins the joke of it.) Some 18 months or so after I got her a lower leg manual air compression recovery system she upgraded to a full-legged, machine operated, automatic, systematic, hydromatic, greased lightning recovery system.

She says, “If you need me … you don’t. I’m busy and I’m never leaving this chair.”

But, “I got them for us. We can share,” she said.

That was just after “Would you bring me all the things I need to conduct my life from here?”

But we can both use it, you see. I did get to get it a try. These are my legs:

There are four zones: quads, knees, calves and feet. At first, I did’t think my quads would allow the things to inflate properly, but the calves and the feet segments are impressive. And my knees! That probably isn’t supposed to feel as nice as it did, but it did. There is a small series of programmable choices you can make within the system, and then within the zones you have a choice between four compression levels. Level one is a nice firm embrace. Level four is like a blood pressure cuff applied by an over-anxious nurse on the first day of the job.

I started out with the third level, and was suitably impressed. Risk taker that I am, from the comfort of my own reclining chair in the living room, I bumped that miracle of modern psychotherapeutic and muscular medicine up to four, the highest level, whereby I was sent back in time to the War of 1812.

And I had a bear of a time getting back. It was very difficult to find outlets to plug this device into in 1812, let me tell you.

But, while I was there, I got to try level four. On my feet, you could feel the bones being moved together, which was a curious sensation. It felt nice on the knees, and it was noticeable on my quads. I have large thigh muscles, so I was skeptical, and I was right on that point. But on the calves, you better not be claustrophobic, have nightmares about being crushed or the general state of electrical research in the early 19th century. Oh it’s great fun, or nanty narking, as they said back there in that part of the Victorian Age. But if you want to go all the way up to level four on your calves, you better come mentally prepared.

And it was at this point when I thought, you know, I might not be wearing these boots just right. So a few adjustments were made. And then I could feel it, in the right position these things properly inflated in the quads. It was then that I sent away for all of the things I need to conduct my life from that spot.

I only left to go see this in the studio this morning:


8
Feb 19

To help you ease into your weekend …

Here are three sports programs the sports crew produced in the studio last night. This first one is the weekly talk show, four people sitting around talking about sports:

This is a highlight show, which features various Indiana sports and the crew is showing you the highlights and telling what’s been going on with each program:

And this is a condensed highlight show, for those people who are interested in IU sports, but can’t watch a full-length program:

You are too busy and you should watch more programming, really. They are having a lot of fun making it:

I was back in the studio this morning for a take on the old Dating Game show. That should be out early next week.

A game I’ve been running on Twitter has concluded:

What do you think? Did the voters get it right? What should have made the final round? Even if you have an entirely different set of songs, at least one of these is now stuck in your head. You are, of course, welcome for that.


1
Feb 19

One of these stories is bigger than the other

I go to this particular grocery store for a particular thing every eight days or so. It’s across town, in the next town, really. It is 10 miles away and takes 20 minutes, if you’re lucky. You navigate the pot-holed parking lot, park, go inside and back to the front left corner to the refrigerated section. It is a small store and I’ve never seen more than two of the registers open. There’s never been a line of more than two people waiting to checkout.

The Salvation Army sets up during the holidays outside, of course. And the girl scouts are there every now and then. Once I visited while the local food bank was taking donations. I bought some things and gave them to the people manning the food bank table and you’d have thought I gave them the winning lottery ticket. It’s a little country town, really, just stuck on the northside of this other little town, a town which happens to have a world-class university at its center. You wouldn’t know it to be in this next town, or in this tired little grocery store. It’s perfectly fine, but it needs an update. It is always clean, but the white floors and the fixtures have an age to them to make it feel a little scuzzy, somehow.

Or maybe it’s some of the shoppers:

This is the fourth time I’ve moved someone’s cart out of the handicapped spot. I’m only there once every so often for four or five minutes, but I’ve done this four times. It is a little thing that, one supposes, happens all the time, which makes it a big thing, which makes it something more than inconsiderate.

This afternoon I produced another oral history. This one featured Dean Gerardo Gonzalez. He’s a dapper fellow, exceedingly and unfailingly considerate and polite. And he looks good in a bow tie:

He’s semi-retired, and is now technically a dean emeritus, but he’s still teaching. And these days taking students on trips to his native Cuba.

Gonzalez has had a full career, as you might expect of a man who has reached such a standing. He’s an expert on alcohol and drug education. He’s worked at Miami and at Florida and has supervised different programs at all six of the IU campuses. But his full story is a fascinating one. I wish you could hear it. You can read about it. His memoir came out late last year, and has been well received.

Today he told the story about how his parents brought he and his sister to the U.S. from Cuba in 1962. It was three years into Castro’s revolution. Those were the last days when you could still come directly here. The process was this: You applied for an exit visa, if it was approved, the state would come and inventory everything you owned. You could use it, but it all now belonged to the state. Then, at some point after that you’d receive a telegram telling you your visas had been approved. You had 48 hours to leave.

Gonzalez was 11 years old, and said he remembers a great deal of commotion. They swapped out his parents’ good mattress for his grandparents’ bad one. The state owned a mattress, but a mattress is a mattress to the state. He said his father had $40, but got scared of trying to carry that much. They bought two bottles of Bacardi rum.

It was the four of them, a man, his wife and two kids. They had the clothes on their back, five bucks, two bottles of rum and virtually no English. That’s how they came to America.

That’s the story that sent me into the weekend.


25
Jan 19

To a warmer weekend than I’ll have

By each of our office doors, there is a little plastic name plate. And beneath the name plate there is a little piece of bulletin board cork. They are maybe five inches wide and four inches tall. On mine I have a business card. Most people leave little notes about their office hours. Right now, a journalism colleague has this on his:

Perhaps this explains why we get along.

Spent this morning, which was stupid cold, in the television studio watching a student production come to life.

It was stupid cold outside:

If I keep saying that, maybe it will warm me up.

Here are the YouTube versions of the shows the sports crew produced in-studio last night. First up, the weekly clip show:

Then there’s the talk show:

And this is the new project, a brief social media only digest they’re calling The Chase:

This evening I stopped by the local tailoring concern to pick up two pairs of suit pants. The recent snow was occupying several parking spots, and the Friday evening crowds took up the rest. I had to walk a fair amount of way in that cold cold. But then I saw this person’s parking effort.

The license plate implies the driver might be a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. So thanks for your service and all. And kudos on parking over the snow pile. But you double parked.