July 2005


Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

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I dug my old yearbook out of the attic and scanned a picture of the Original Cardboard Animal. My friend Jeremy and I built “The Burro” in our junior year of college and we set him up in the computer lab in the library where we both worked. You will also notice “The Squirrel” in the upper right corner of the photo. I’ve got a few other college yearbook pictures in my personal gallery.

UPDATE: Version 0.4.6 has been released. Please see this entry or my CoppermineSC page for the latest information.

I’ve just released CoppermineSC version 0.4! You can download the new version or visit my CoppermineSC page for complete details about the plugin. You can also view a sample of what CoppermineSC can do. Feel free to post comments and feature requests to this entry.

New Features in Version 0.4:

  • Added new tags to pull random images from your entire gallery (these work the same way as the album and category tags, you can set the maximum number of images to include).
  • Added new setting to indicate whether individual image links should link to the full size image or to the album they belong to (thumbnails from album, category, and gallery based tags still link to the full size image, this new setting is just for the single image based tags).
  • Changed output of CoppermineSC to generate HTML that validates as transitional. A default installation of WordPress will validate as transitional and I wanted to match that.
  • Made additional changes to make CoppermineSC more compatible for users running many WordPress plugins.
  • A detailed list of all changes is available.

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Trying to move on from “Lonely Runs Both Ways” this morning, I flipped through the CD binder in my car and chose “Cry Like A Rainstorm” by Linda Ronstadt. I have no idea why I like this album. Joy absolutely cannot stand it.

When you listen to CLAR, you can tell right away that it’s from the 80’s. It just has that sound to it. The album is best known for “Don’t Know Much”, a duet with Linda and Aaron Neville. Even though that’s the best known song, there are quite a few others that I like much better, particularly “Still Within The Sound Of My Voice”, “Cry Like A Rainstorm”, “All My Life”, and “Shattered”.

I will admit that CLAR is not a shining example of lyrical prowess. With lines like, “I need you like a fly needs a plane, I need you like a ball needs a game, I need you like a pool needs a cue”, it isn’t going to win any songwriting awards. However, this is the last album where Linda’s voice still really hits the mark (in my opinion at least, though there are a few songs on “Feels Like Home” where she still pulls it off). She’s backed by an orchestra and choir for most of the album and on certain songs everything somehow reaches near perfection (in that 80’s power ballad, guilty pleasure sort of way).

I’ve been listening to “Lonely Runs Both Ways” by Alison Krauss and Union Station pretty much non-stop for about two weeks now. I’ve listened to it every day on the way to and from work (about an hour round trip) and during the day I’ve listened to it while programming. I’ve even turned it on a few times at home in the evening. This is an excellent album. I just can’t get enough of it (obviously).

There have only been a few albums I’ve listened to non-stop like that. As best I can remember that would be “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy in 2002 (that’s when I got it but it came out in 1998), “A Legacy, A Liturgy, and a Ragamuffin Band” by Rich Mullins in 1993, and “Automatic For The People” by REM in 1992.

My favoite songs on LRBW are “Gravity”, “Restless”, “Goodbye Is All We Have”, “Crazy As Me”, and “A Living Prayer”. I have almost all of AKUS’s albums, and I really like them all, but this one is just so amazing that it’s on an entirely different level. I got LRBW when it first came out and listened to it a few times back then, but when I listened to it again about two weeks ago I guess something just clicked.

So now that I’ve listened to it 20+ times in two weeks, I’m going to try to make myself move on to something else, but I bet I’ll be back before too long. You can’t stay away from something this good.

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

(more…)

UPDATE: Version 0.4.6 has been released. Please see this entry or my CoppermineSC page for the latest information.

I’ve just released CoppermineSC version 0.3.5! You can download the new version or visit my CoppermineSC page for complete details about the plugin. You can also view a sample of what CoppermineSC can do. Feel free to post comments and feature requests to this entry.

New Features in Version 0.3.5:

  • Added new tags to pull images from categories (these work the same way as the album tags, you can optionally set the maximum number of images and choose if you want random images or not).
  • Added a new function that can be called from anywhere in your template so that you can include images in a sidebar.
  • Added new setting to customize the order of images (choices are database id, filename, title, or date) when including non-random images from albums.
  • Added new setting to customize the order of albums (choices are database id, assigned album order, or title) when including non-random images from categories.
  • A detailed list of all changes is available.

(more…)

I’m a big Miyazaki fan. Living in a smaller city, I didn’t think there was much chance of seeing “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2005) in the theater. The North American release date came and went and no theaters in town picked up the film. After several weeks passed, I had given up hope, but then one day in the newspaper I saw that a theater about five minutes from my house was going to show it the next weekend. Oh man, was I excited.

Joy and I went to see the matinee (it worked better with Charis’s schedule than an evening show). When the Studio Ghibli logo came up the screen I knew I was in for a treat. When I first got out of the theater after seeing it, though, I thought it was only pretty good. A few days later, after having more time to process it, I changed my opionion and I would now rate it as very good to excellent. I don’t think it is quite as good as “Spirited Away” (my favorite Miyazaki film), but it was still a wonderful film. The animation and story were mesmerizing and enchanting, as is typical of Miyazaki. We saw a dubbed version and the voice work was very good, although Billy Crystal was a bit over the top at times, to the point of being a little distracting. All in all, though, this was a great film and I can’t wait for the DVD to come out so I can see it again.

I never watched “My So-Called Life” when it was on TV, but I bought the DVD set a few years ago when I found it on sale at Best Buy. Joy and I finally got around to watching it recently and I was really impressed. We started watching one episode a night and eventually swtiched to watching two a night because I didn’t want to wait a whole day to see the next episode. MSCL is probably the best TV show I’ve ever seen (followed closely by my current favorite, “Gilmore Girls”, of course).

The storyline is just so honest, which is such a refreshing change from the same old stuff that’s usually on TV. It’s easy to identify with the characters because they are portrayed authentically. The whole series was over much too quickly with only 19 episodes. It’s easy to see why people were so upset when the show was cancelled. There wasn’t anything else like it on TV at the time, and I don’t think there has been anything like it since, either.

If you haven’t seen MSCL and you get the chance, I’d highly recommend it. I think anyone who has been through high school will definitely be able to relate to the story and characters. Just be prepared for a little disappointment after you watch the final episode and realize there aren’t any more. But hey, you can always put the first disc back in and start all over again.

I know I’m late posting this, but back on June 24 Joy and I went to see “Double Indemnity” (1944). It was our first date since Charis arrived. Our parents split the job of watching Charis so we could go to dinner and a movie.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to see DI for a long time (it’s on the AFI Top 100 list but not currently available on DVD). I saw in a local magazine that the old restored theater downtown was going to play it as part of their Summer Movie Magic series. Two days later my TiVo wishlist for DI picked up that TCM going to play it the very next morning after the theater was going to show it. I couldn’t believe that after trying to see this movie for more than a year I had the chance to see it twice in less than 24 hours. I thought about just recording the TCM broadcast and not hassling with the trip downtown, but then I got paranoid that if I just watched the broadcast my electricity would go out or my satellite dish would be attacked by aliens or something and I’d miss it. So we saw it downtown and I had my TiVo catch it to burn a DVD, too.

This movie was worth waiting for. It was very entertaining and really quite funny. Some of the dialog is absolutely classic. Joy and I were quoting lines from the movie for several days afterward. Prior to this I’d only seen Fred MacMurray in old Disney movies that I watched when I was little. It was kind of cool to see him as something other than a goofy “good guy”.

“I wonder if I know what you mean.”
“I wonder if you wonder.”

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