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Saturday, April 20, 2002

The BabyNamer

More baby naming information than you could ever want. My favorite is the Name-O-Meter where you can track the popularity of a given name over the last 10 decades.

You can also look put origins and meanings behind names. Here is the entry for my name...

"DOUGLAS. Douglas, and more particularly its nickname, DOUG, had a real romantic swagger in the fifties and sixties . relics, perhaps, of the swashbuckling image of Douglas Fairbanks, combined with the wartime heroics of General MacArthur. Originally a Celtic river name, it became attached to a powerful Scottish clan, renowned for their strength and courage. In its earliest incarnation Douglas was used equally for girls and boys. The variant DOUGAL is heard in the Scottish highlands, and a substitute for the nickname Doug was introduced on the 1989 TV show, Doogie Howser, M.D.

Via MetaFilter.com

The Craft and Business of Songwriting by John Braheny

John Braheny's Craft and Business of Songwriting

Everything you ever wanted to know about writing and selling your songs. Includes information on both the creative and business side of the music biz.

John and his wife, Jo Ann, are close friends and have both helped me a lot in writing my own music. John is also available for one-on-one song consulting where he can help you develop songs that are more conducive to radio play.

Here is a transcript of an online chat with John from July 28, 1999.

John has an on-going schedule of speaking engagements and events. You can find an event near you by visiting JohnBraheny.com.

Amazon.com says...

"This updated edition of John Braheny's classic book is essential reading for anyone contemplating a career as a professional songwriter. He shares the insider secrets that help songwriters make their work competitive in an overcrowded marketplace. Readers will learn how to: * Develop a "songwriter's consciousness" in picking out original ideas * Overcome barriers in the creative process * Discover what subjects work best for them, from novelty to message songs * Know what their audience wants * Focus on one idea when writing lyrics, ensuring the greatest impact * Handle the business of demos and contracts Readers will also find anecdotes, exercises and examples from dozens of successful songwriters."

Friday, April 19, 2002

The Getty Center -- May Events

The Getty Center calendar arrived in my mailbox today and I found several events that were worth passing along. The Getty is one of my favorite places to visit and nearly in my backyard. Parking reservations are NOT required on weekends or after 4pm. Parking is $5.

Painting with Light or with Geometry: Looking into David Hockney's Secret Knowledge
05/03/02 -- 7:30 pm

Martin Kemp, professor, history of art department, University of Oxford, examines the relationship between a painter's use of devices for optical projection and the mapping of forms in space with linear perspective. Complements the exhibition The Geometry of Seeing: Perspective and the Dawn of Virtual Space. Museum Lecture Hall.

Make a reservation for this event

I am really interesting in this lecture as I recently read David Hockney's book on which it is based.

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

This is a fascinating book on Hockney's theory that the great painters of the past used all sorts of technologies to assist in creating their great paintings. These tools include the camera obscura, the camera lucida and others.

A wonderful read (and view, as 1/2 of the book is pictures showing clues showing that artists did use these technologies. )

Fallingwater: Preserving a 20th-Century Icon
05/16/02 -- 7 pm

Lynda S. Waggoner, executive director of Fallingwater, provides an overview of the ongoing preservation efforts to safeguard this Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. She will be joined by structural engineer Robert Silman, president of Robert Silman Associates, P.C., the firm chosen to carry out the structural analysis and conservation of the cantilevered terraces. Presented by the Getty Conservation Institute as part of its Issues in Conservation Series. Harold M. Williams Auditorium.

Make a reservation for this event here

Although I grew up only a few hours from this Wright home I never had the chance to visit. Even so, photos of Fallingwater have always captivated me, like many of Wright's homes. A few years ago Rosanne, Joe and myself visited Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wright's winter workshop. While the tour is a bit pricey, it was an interesting look into Wright's mind.

Arizona Trip Picture Gallery

U.S. Government's First Virtual IT Job Fair, April 22-26

I spotted this press release on the Web405 Mailing List today and it sounded very interesting. A quick visit to the site turned up listings for hundreds of jobs with varying departments of the US Government.

It appears that many of these jobs are based in Washington, DC, but if you are willing to relocate there just might be a place for you. The site is definitely worth checking out even if you aren't necessarily looking for a new job right now. It's possible that something might catch your eye. I came across a Writer-Editor position for the Library of Congress that sounded quite interesting.

Here is the original press release...

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
April 18, 2002


Press Release

Agencies throughout the U.S. Government are coming together, for the first time, to offer hundreds of Information Technology opportunities both nationwide and abroad at a Virtual Job Fair from April 22-26 at www.usajobs.opm.gov.

This unique Job Fair is a joint venture with 27 Federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management to provide a single point of application for Federal IT positions. The participating agencies are seeking highly skilled and motivated individuals with a range of experiences to meet the responsibilities of their diverse missions. In particular, the State Department will be looking to fill over 100 positions in both the Civil Service and Foreign Service.

For more information, log on to www.usajobs.opm.gov.

A Perfect Friday Time Waster

Missing the summer thrill of a putter in your hand and astroturf beneath your toes? Get warmed up for those Putt-Putt Tourneys with your kids. Practice all those tricky angle shots you can never seem to sink.

*** Requires Flash

Via MetaFilter.com

Thursday, April 18, 2002

In our backyard...the Bakley/Blake Trial

Soon after the arrest of Robert Blake this evening we learned that his trial will be held right here in our own backyard...the Van Nuys Courthouse.

The Van Nuys Civic Center, approximately 3 blocks away is home to Federal, State and city offices, 2 courthouses, the local police station and, most unfortunately, our local branch of the LA Public Library. I guess I will need to have all my book request sent to Studio City from now on. In fact, I might be doing a lot of things elsewhere for some time to come.

After witnessing the OJ Simpson Trial(s) from afar I can only imagine what is in store for our little neighborhood. A dozen satellite trucks, a horde of news vans, cables snaking around the block and people.....hundreds and hundreds of people. The area around the courthouse is a pedestrian mall so there will be some place for the trucks to park and reporters to stand, but the surrounding streets are already fairly congested during the day. I can easily see the mess spilling out onto Van Nuys Boulevard and stalling the, already slow, traffic. Worse yet, a new parking garage; desperately needed, isn't even close to being finished.

There will be some benefits, I guess. I am sure the restaurant owners in the area will be packed. Most of their daily customers are government workers and the hundreds of jurors who end up with 2-3 hour lunches while lawyers argue their motions. The extra money from news crews and looky-loos will be a welcome boost to the struggling economy. There have been some small improvements in the area recently, new crosswalks with a brick-like look, fresh coats of paint on some storefronts. Maybe the thought of all those eyes looking over reporters shoulders will help speed up any further enhancements by the city.

It will be interesting to watch this story develop from such a close perspective. It is impossible to tell what I will see over the next weeks and months. Perhaps the Simpson-esque media circus will not develop, but I doubt it. Celebrities on trial always draw a crowd. It is just odd having the circus in your own backyard.

More to come...

Career-Op: Young and Old
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

"It is a simple fact of life that the longer you remain in your high-tech career, the more likely it will be for you to work for people younger than yourself. This is true whether you are an old corporate hand with a new "up and coming" manager or working as an independent consult for hip, new high-tech startup firms. This discrepancy in age, and other related issues, can lead to problems unless you know how to recognize and avoid them."

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Apple Mac OS X 10.1.4 is available

This is the latest, greatest update for Mac OS X. Upgrades/fixes include:

From Versiontracker.com...

" * Disc Recording Devices: * Updated and new support for Fast 10 SCSI drives, including the Pioneer 201 drive. * Expanded support for SmartDisk, EZQuest, and LaCie disc recording devices. * Networking Improvements: * Dial-up connections over PPP are more reliable and system responsiveness has been improved * Significant improvement to file searching on local and remote volumes * Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) services can be browsed on networks with 3Com routers * Security Update: * BSD-based TCP/IP connections now check and block broadcast or multicast IP destination addresses

The upgrade is available via Software Update.

Via VersionTracker.com

Iambic Action Names Datebook

Action Names Datebook is one of the few pieces of software I have purchased for my Sony Clie and Handspring Visor. It provides a number of features missing from the built-in Palm applications such as allowing you relate a contact name to a specific meeting or to-do, multi-line display, a host of icons for visually marking items, a contact history and much, much more.

You can try out Action Names for free for 30 days by downloading directly from the Iambic Web Site. The best part, though, is that it uses the standard Palm data files to store all its data, so you easily switch back to using the built-in applications should you decide not to buy.

Iambic also sells a variety of other software, including TinySheet, a spreadsheet for the Palm and iambic Office, which allows you to exchange files with MS Office applications such as Word, Excel and MS Outlook. (Windows Only).

Funology -- The Science of Having Fun!

Summer is quickly approaching...and along with it the plaintive cries of "I'm bored!" Here is one site that can help to ease the boredom a bit while also teaching your kids (and fun-loving adults) a little about science, cooking, magic and a host of other neat things.

From the site...

Funology.com is the best place on the Web to find things to do. Not just while you’re sitting at the computer, but anywhere. Things to do by yourself or with your friends, your parents, your pets, anyone. We’ll teach you a million and one ways to make things, explore the world, and discover skills you never knew you had. It’s one place where you’ll never be bored!

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Update your Microsoft Office X/Internet Explorer Today

A new update is available for MS Office X, for Mac OS X. This update includes a variety of security fixes and I would recommend downloading and installing this fix as soon as you can.

Mac OS X users will also find a new Internet Explorer Security Fix waiting for them when they run Software Update on their machines. You can access this by opening System Preferences and clicking on the Software Updates icon.


Find the best CD rates, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and more

CDs (Certificates of Deposit) are a low/no-risk way to make your money work harder than the average savings account. For example, my savings account is currently returning less than 1 percent. A CD at NetBank or eTrade Bank can return 3%-3.26% if you place it in a CD for 12-15 months.

I figured there must be some place on the Internet to easily compare rates and find the best, possible CD to buy. A quick Google search and I found Bankrate.com. They don't actually sell CDs or anything. They collect the info from various banks and lenders and allow you to sort it in several different ways.

How to Think About Security

An interesting look at security using lessons learned from providing security for computer networks and systems. Sometimes having a framework to evaluate an issue can lead to deeper understanding of the problems involved.

From the site...

"If security has a silly season, we're in it. After September 11, every two-bit peddler of security technology crawled out of the woodwork with new claims about how his product can make us all safe again. Every misguided and defeated government security initiative was dragged out of the closet, dusted off, and presented as the savior of our way of life. More and more, the general public is being asked to make security decisions, weigh security tradeoffs, and accept more intrusive security.

Monday, April 15, 2002


From the web site...

"The VENICE ART WALK 2002 will take place on May 17, 18 and 19 at Westminster Elementary School, Venice. Tour the working studios and homes of Venice artists. Bid on over 300 items at the Deals and Steals silent auction. Grab a taste of some of LA's best restaurants at the Food Faire. Take an Art & Home Tour. Attend a VENICE ART WALK?IN CONCERT event. Be the first to view the Auction at the Preview Reception."

The Art Walk is also looking for volunteers to do a variety of jobs on Art Walk weekend. This includes preparing for the fund raiser dinner on the night before the Art Walk, hanging and labeling artwork and a host of other tasks. Volunteers also receive free admittance to the Art Walk. Volunteer information is included in the web site.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

The Writing of Tony Hillerman

I am not sure how I first came across Hillerman's novels, probably through some Google search about Arizona when I was planning a trip to Sedona. I have always been enamored of that part of the country and his novels have given me a chance to visit again and again, while enjoying a great mystery along the way.

The recurring characters in the novels are Navajo Tribal Policemen, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Both are honest, hard working and constantly torn between their native up-bringing and the cross-cultural outside world. The supporting characters are always unique and compelling and the mysteries detailed, hidden and totally different than anything else you might find in the genre.

Highly recommended Available from Amazon.com...

The Writing of Tony Hillerman

The Wailing Wind - Available May 7, 2002

Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir

Off to the Library

Saturday brought a trip down to one of our favorite spots in downtown LA, the Central Library. After a children's music program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, we headed over to the library for lunch and a quick walk around. Our friends daughter, Shannon, had spent her Spring Break with us and the library offered one last stop before we headed back to her home.

The Central Library is both old and new. The original parts of the library, done in a Egyptian Revival style (it was quiet popular at the time the library was built) boast soaring spaces, wall murals and a sense of permanence and stability. The newer Tom Bradley Wing, offers a more contemporary feel, but maintains the feeling of a library as a temple to knowledge. Immense sculptures form the chandeliers of the open atrium space.

You can park for $1(!!!!!) in the parking garage directly underneath the McGuire Gardens Saturdays, Sundays and weekdays after 3 PM. You only need show your library card at the information desk inside to receive a validation. You can also reach the library using the Metro Red Line. This would also allow you to visit other downtown spots like the Central Market, Pershing Square, Union Station, California Center and MOCA. DASH buses expand your reach from the Metro stations to nearly the entire expanse of downtown for only $.25 per person.

If you haven't visited the Central Library recently, I highly recommend it.