February, 2008:

February 2008 Poker

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I won’t be playing today, so I can summarize the month now. It was a terrible month both economically, as well as from a frustration point of view.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way up front: I lost $414.94 this month. That wipes out January’s gain and a little more, leaving me down for 2008. Account is still extremely healthy, but nothing else regarding poker is at the moment.

I had a streak of incredibly bad luck this month. I am convinced that I played better this month than I have in a while. I’m proud of that, and I know that playing well doesn’t correlate into making money in any short-term. It has to always correlate in the long run, but two weeks does not a long run make… ๐Ÿ™

I have altered my typical poker schedule, only slightly fueled by one horrible beat after another, by completely clueless players (it’s one thing to get beaten by a good player who was making a move, or simply had the stack to take a shot, but entirely another matter when the other person thought they had a good chance of winning the hand, and yes, you can tell the difference!).

In this post, I discussed the fact that I was rethinking my obsession with online poker. That was written on January 14th, 2008. While I definitely slowed down a bit, after my problem was resolved, I was still playing a fair amount.

Independent of the February bad streak, I decided that poker was interfering with my life more than I cared to admit to myself. There was nothing important (business or personal) that I wasn’t taking care of, but there were many things that I would have enjoyed, that I was simply deferring, over and over.

The main reason is scheduling. Once a poker tournament starts, it can take anywhere from one to five hours to complete. That’s a big time commitment. Of course, since it’s online, I’m interruptible for emergencies. I also keep up with IM and email (which doesn’t help my poker results, but that’s a trade-off I firmly committed to a long time ago!). Phone calls can be painful, but I take them too, so I don’t block out life for poker.

That said, I don’t start other projects for myself that I otherwise would. Anything that involves using the computer becomes really distracting during a poker tournament. It’s a tough problem to resolve, because I love playing poker, even when I’m losing. Still, I love many things, including tinkering with computer projects, and I was doing decidedly very little of that for too long.

So, 11 days ago, I decided to dramatically reduce the number of tournaments that I played in, at least for an experimental period. The last time I played online poker was February 18th, 2008. I only launched the poker software once since then, this morning, just to pull out my statistics for the month, to report them here, and then I quit immediately.

I had plenty of time to play last week, including being home and logged on all day last Saturday. This was the first Sunday that we were in the hotel here in VA that I didn’t launch the poker software, even though I was logged on for over six hours.

I’m not saying that I don’t intend to play any poker. I am just saying that I will actively choose to do other things at least for a while, and on occasion, I’ll play some poker.

So, what have I been doing with my new spare time? I’ve written about at least one project, namely the sprucing up of my WordPress theme, including setting up a sandbox on my laptop to experiment. In fact, I’ve written about it twice, here and here. I’ve also spent some time writing posts on politics, something I was avoiding for other reasons.

Anyway, I won’t be playing poker today or tomorrow for sure (plans are already set), but it’s possible that I will play a bit on Sunday in the hotel. Even if I do, it’s likely to be the only day that I will play in the next week!

Presidential Candidates Three

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Disclaimer: There are no facts in this post. Everything below is my opinion only. I have made no attempt to find any supporting facts either, life is too short!

Whew, now that that’s out of the way, let me also say that everything I’m about say is also correct. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m rushing this post out today, because as of next Tuesday, it’s possible that the title will no longer be accurate (unless at that point, you will be silly enough to count Ralph Nader). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apologies to Mike Huckabee for not crediting him with the courage to hang in there until he’s mathematically eliminated.

So, we’re down to three, Obama, Clinton and McCain.

I’m not writing this to promote any candidate, nor any party. I am writing this to make some claims on what a vote for each of these specific candidates means, whether you are considering that angle in making your decision or not!

For the record, I am not looking forward to the presidency of any of the remaining candidates. I am also not fearful of any of their presidencies, largely due to the broken (and nearly unfixable) political system that they will have to operate in.

So, without further ado, let’s analyze what we’re all getting if each of the candidates were to be elected this November.

Hillary Clinton: Given where she is at the moment, there are two ways that she gains office:

  1. Superdelegates over-ride the will of the people
  2. She wins Texas and Ohio, and momentum swings to her and she actually wins the nomination the old fashioned way

Along the way, she has proven to be far from cool and collected. She’s an emotional roller coaster who is flailing in an attempt to find a chink in Obama’s armor. She prefers to surround herself with a cabal of super strategists. Unfortunately, aside from their obvious errors in strategy, she simply can’t pull off their strategies, assuming some might have been workable.

As a President, she will be very strong willed, needing to prove to the world (and to Bill!) that she deserves the job. She will be unlikely to take compromising positions, because she will have been vindicated by the mere fact that she won!

She will undoubtedly have a Democratic congress (both houses), and she will ride them as hard as possible to create a legacy that matches, and even exceeds Bill’s.

For those who are worried that this will become a co-Presidency, don’t worry. Hillary has about as much respect for Bill as Paula Jones does. As long as she believes that she can use him as an asset, she will. Once she’s President, she won’t need him unless the world is falling down around her, in which case he will become one of the cabal that will craft the new strategy to save her presidency.

Since she can’t create a lasting personal legacy if people believe that Bill was really pulling the strings, she will do everything in her power to distance herself from him, once she actually has the real power!

Summary of Hillary Clinton as President? A very personal agenda, pushed hard, likely successfully, through a Democratic congress who is unlikely to stand up to her, no matter how she overcame Obama. If you agree with her agenda (and many do!), then she will make a very good President (in terms of getting her agenda implemented!).

Barack Obama: The good news is that if he is elected President, it won’t be because Hillary garnered more delegates legitimately, but Barack got the nomination due to a superdelegate reversal!

Obama is running on a platform of Hope and Change. Laudable goals indeed. My cynicism above about not being fearful of any of these candidates shows my agreement with Obama that we need change, desperately. I want change too, which means that I am (or should be!) hopeful.

In practically everything in life, I am a glass is half full kind of guy, no matter how awful the situation is. I can be downright cynical (no, really?), but I am also an eternal optimist (as anyone who knows me, in particular in bad times, will attest!). So, I should be very hopeful that Obama can and will make a meaningful difference in the political system if he gets elected.

While I would hope that he would, and would be pulling for him (big time!), I simply doubt it (one of the few times I’m falling on the glass is half empty side of the equation). The problem is too enormous, and the entrenched interests (on both sides) are too powerful (and, well, entrenched). They only need to wait him out, they don’t really need to beat him. He can’t be President for more than eight years, and if he doesn’t effect change, perhaps only four!

So, in order to get anything done, Obama will not be able to drive his agenda through congress (even though Democrats will control both houses!), like Hillary would. She would be playing the current game with all of the aplomb of a true insider, and she would get her way (I am 100% convinced). He will decry the game (or not be able to figure out how to play it without appearing to be a flip-flopper), and therefore won’t be able to implement his agenda of change!

So, who will be setting the agenda if Obama becomes President? Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I have no doubt of that. They will pass bill after bill and present them to him for rubber stamp approval. They will privately explain to him how things are done, and that this is the first time in a very long time that they (collectively) can actually get the things done that they have wanted/needed to get done. He will not be able to resist or overcome them.

Perhaps that doesn’t scare you, and perhaps it shouldn’t. But, at least you should be aware that this is precisely what will happen if he’s elected, and now you are. ๐Ÿ™‚

Summary of Barack Obama as President? A vote for Obama is a vote for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The real question is this? Is Obama naive enough to really believe his message, or is he clever enough to say what people are desperate to hear, just to get elected? Neither scenario is all that attractive to me. Since I think there is a reasonable chance that he will be our next President, I hope that I’m completely wrong. Notice, I used the code-word: hope, and I meant it!

John McCain: I can’t believe that he’s going to be the nominee. Not because I have anything particularly against him, but because he couldn’t have been deader at the end of his 2000 campaign. In fact, he could have been, as he was even deader than that up until the time he decided to embrace Bush at the Republican National Convention in 2004.

In fact, he was pretty dead early on in this race as well. There are a number of theories as to what caused his resurrection, a number of them revolving around Giuliani’s self-engineered demise, but one way or another, he’ll be the Republican nominee.

Should Republicans rejoice? Many aren’t. Should Democrats rejoice? Many should (because the alternatives to McCain should have scared them a lot more, other than his stance on Iraq).

Here’s why McCain scares me the least of the bunch (though remember, I’m really not fearful of any of them!). I believe that if you truly pine for the Clinton Years (1992-2000), whether you admit it publicly (which most Democrats do), or privately (as a fair number of Republicans probably do!), then you should be embracing McCain.

For all of his personal flaws (and heaven knows, he’s got more than his fair share of them), Bill Clinton was actually a reasonably good President (by my definition!). For sure, he screwed up certain things immeasurably, but I think even a perfect President will screw up many things. What made Bill a good President was that he was more concerned with getting something done, than with being an ideologue.

When he became President, he presided over two Democratic houses of congress. After a number of mis-steps (most notably, Hillary’s failed Health Care initiative!), Republicans swept both houses of congress for the first time in memory! In 1994, Bill had to decide whether to pass any legislation that would be good for the country, or battle endlessly with congress and hope that he was re-elected in 1996 and they weren’t.

He chose the pragmatic approach, and some good things happened. Many people credit him for the good economy we had for most of his administration. I laugh when I hear stuff like that, but at least he wasn’t an obstructionist who harmed the economy.

In my opinion, McCain would govern in the same pragmatic manner. It would not bother him one iota that the congress is controlled by Democrats. In fact, on some issues, he is more aligned with them, which, of course, is what scares many Republicans (conservatives) about him. To that, I say that he’s not an evil-doer, so wherever he’s aligned with the Democrats, we’d be better off getting something done, than more of the same bickering and ineptitude.

In that regard, I say that John McCain can easily be the next Bill Clinton. Of course, if you don’t think Bill was a good President, and it’s not for personal reasons, but policy ones, then you won’t like McMain either, because he’ll appropriately compromise (in my opinion), to make some progress rather than none.

Summary of John McCain as President? A get something done kind of guy, who will have zero problems reaching across the aisle, regardless of what he’s telling conservatives today, in order to get the job to begin with. That might sound distasteful, saying one thing, intending to do something else, but then that’s why I’m comparing him so strongly (and favorably) to Bill Clinton.

Feel free to let me know how wrong I am. But, keep in mind that I won’t be confused by facts. Remember, I didn’t use them to pound my opinion down your throat, so don’t feel the need to use them to pound yours down mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. Today, Michael Bloomberg penned an op-ed in The New York Times. It’s a well written, well-thought-out piece. I agree with his sentiments completely. I don’t consider him naive, because he isn’t claiming to be able to deliver on the hope of change. All he’s doing is committing to help get the person that he can believe in elected. Amen!

Also today, Dave Winer posted an MP3/podcast of an interview with George Lakoff. It’s overly long, and Dave does a yeoman’s job of trying to reel George back on track (not always successfully), but, it’s also fascinating throughout, even in the meanderings. So, if you have 40+ minutes to concentrate on it (it’s not lightweight listening, so don’t be reading a book while you’re listening), it’s filled with worthwhile nuggets of information and analysis.

Friend Requests

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Social Networks have been around for a relatively long time (in Internet years). They continue to mushroom. One of the reasons is the constant Friend Requests (invitations) one receives when anyone they know discovers a new network/site.

I see the utility of some of these sites, but in the end, unless they are used sparingly, and with a specific goal in mind (LinkedIn for example), they can very quickly become time sucks, geometrically if you end up feeling the need to keep up on multiple sites.

After hearing the buzz about Facebook for years, I succumbed and joined in August 2007. I had two purposes:

  1. See if the experience was interesting and/or useful
  2. See how long it would take to get invites

To test #2, I decided to not invite anyone to be a friend of mine, even those people who introduced me to Facebook. I’ve been a member now for six months, and I have still not invited anyone. I only have 26 friends, so I haven’t been overwhelmed with Friend requests either.

The requests can be divided into four categories:

  1. Bulk uploads
  2. Word of mouth
  3. Friends of friends
  4. Strangers

After I joined Facebook, I started getting a few invitations from people I hadn’t heard from in years. In a few cases, the last contact might have even been a bit strained. It took me a bit to realize that in likely all of those cases, those people joined Facebook after I did, and they uploaded their contact data (from Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) to Facebook, and permitted the site to match any members it had the same email address for.

While I applaud the ease with which these sites make these connections possible, ultimately, I find it extremely lazy (and intrusive) on the part of the uploader, who is building a (phony) network quickly, rather than a quality network, more slowly or painfully. That’s one of the reasons that I have never taken advantage of this (not just on Facebook, but on the dozen or so other sites that I could have), even though my Outlook contact database is reasonably large.

Word of mouth has made for high quality connections (for me). This will usually come in the form of some casual conversation where someone will mention something about Facebook (or another network), and ask if I’m a member. After admitting that I am, I will often get a friend request the next day. Those have typically amounted to more real interaction/sharing after the initial connection than the bulk upload ones.

Friends of friends has also been reasonably satisfying (to me, personally). One of the nice touches in Facebook is the concept of a social graph, understanding how you are connected to others. When one word of mouth friend connects with me, often other people in our circle are already connected to my friend, and they instantly discover (in their feed) that I too am on Facebook, and they friend me. Once that happens, we all see our overlapping friends on each other’s profile.

Finally, strangers. Here is one extreme example. I am a member of Last.fm (which I’ve written about in the past). I have three friends there. A month or so ago, I received a friend request from a name I didn’t recognize. I looked at their profile, and it was (supposedly) from a 17-year-old female. Uh huh, I am exactly who she is looking to friend to share musical tastes.

After declining, I mentioned it jokingly to one of my three real friends on Last.fm, and he too got an invitation from the same person. Oh well, I guess I wasn’t really all that special after all… ๐Ÿ˜‰

But, it’s not always spam, just because it comes from a stranger!

This past Sunday, I received my first friend request on Facebook, from someone I never heard of. His name is Scott Dale. Before declining (which was my first instinct), I decided to Google him. I found this link, and was pretty sure that it was the same person who had invited me. OK, so he’s a musician, and maybe I somehow know him, and have just lost my mind.

So, instead of accepting or declining, I send him a message through Facebook. I ask him (apologetically) whether I know him. Even this form of contact made me hesitate and think before I acted. When you send a message to someone who isn’t your friend on Facebook, you are explicitly granting them access to view your profile for 30 days! Yes, Facebook makes it reasonably clear before you hit send (good!) and it makes sense, or they too would likely ignore your unsolicited message.

I decided to do it. I also hoped that he would only have limited access to my profile (which would exclude things like my IM, etc.), but I really wasn’t sure.

I ended up having a nice email-like conversation with Scott (eight messages between us). He wasn’t sure how he originally got my contact information, but he had just joined Facebook, so I got the invitation as part of the bulk upload. I mentioned that I blog about music quite a bit, and perhaps he picked it up there, but neither of us was sure.

I then asked him whether he was using Facebook just to network with friends (in which case I would graciously decline his invitation), or whether he was using it to promote his music, in which case I would willingly accept his invitation, because I had listened to his music on Fuzz.com (at the link above), and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was the latter, and we’re now officially friends.

I had also never heard of Fuzz.com before, so my new friend taught me a new trick as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I am not all that active on Facebook, though I do find that I log on more frequently than I thought I would. Ironically, a while ago I added a blog application called My Blogs, which is an RSS feed which injects links to my blogs into my Facebook feed. I have been surprised by the number of clicks I get through Facebook on this blog, so my friends are definitely logged on to Facebook enough to notice new posts from me in my feed, and they then click on them to see what I’m up to. Cool!

Finally, these bulk uploads work to identify up-and-coming new networks. Lately, I have gotten quite a number of invitations for the new Pulse service by Plaxo. Plaxo has been around for years, as an online contact manager. Pulse feels like a hybrid between LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s actually remarkably similar looking to Facebook, with a touch more business orientation. There too I haven’t invited anyone, but my network is growing nonetheless…

Geraldine Ferraro Leads The Way

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I rarely read the editorials in The New York Times. The regular contributors are mostly predictable, and spew venom rather than articulate thoughts. I religiously read the lead-ins in the daily email summary. They typically make me laugh. I don’t know whether the author picks the particular sentence or paragraph, or the editors do (I suspect it’s the editors).

Yesterday (Sunday), Frank Rich had his usual hate-filled opinion piece. I don’t have the summary email in front of me, but I’m pretty sure the lead-in was this:

The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidateโ€™s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

When I read that lead-in out loud to Lois, she asked me to read the entire op-ed to her, as she refuses to register at the NYT site, even though it’s free. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I admit to being too lazy to check now (this isn’t a normal Political Blog, so please forgive me!), but in the past, I believe that Frank Rich was a supporter of the Clintons. I know that hasn’t been true for a while, but this piece is an interesting hatchet job. Why?

Rather than just make the points that he makes (many of them are excellent, and the entire piece is extremely well written), he has to not only bash Bush (his favorite activity), but he has to ensure that anyone who hates Bush must now hate Hillary as well, since, according to him, they are now one and the same creature…

I wasn’t going to blog about it even though it amused me. Then, this morning, I read this opinion by Geraldine Ferraro. After reading, I couldn’t resist sharing a few thoughts, so why not throw in the Frank Rich opinion as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here was the lead-in that got me to read her entire op-ed:

Superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They
were, and are, expected to determine what is best for the
Democratic Party and best for the country.

An interesting premise. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, so I decided to read on. It seems to start off accusing the party of having been populated by cowards (my word, not hers!) previous to the brilliant stroke of creating superdelegates.

Most of the points that she makes are laughable, but in the spirit of not making this a mega-post (I know, most of mine are, like it or not), I’ll pick on a few. Here is the first:

Besides, the delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats. Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls. We have all been impressed by the turnout for this yearโ€™s primaries โ€” clearly both candidates have excited and engaged the partyโ€™s membership โ€” but, even so, turnout for primaries and caucuses is notoriously low. It would be shocking if 30 percent of registered Democrats have participated.

Where to begin? First, “Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls.” So, those that don’t bother to go to the polls somehow prefer the elites of the party to make decisions for them, in particular, over-riding the wishes of those that did go to the polls? Could it be that those that don’t go to the polls weren’t active in electing the elites that Geraldine now claims have a responsibility to those same Democrats?

Here’s the next paragraph:

If that is the case, we could end up with a nominee who has been actively supported by, at most, 15 percent of registered Democrats. Thatโ€™s hardly a grassroots mandate.

So, by her own admission, turnout is greater now than in most years. Sure, this race is closer, but let’s do some napkin math. She claims that 15% does not a grassroots mandate make. Other than in a year when everyone else drops out (think Kerry in 2004), even a wide margin in delegates would likely be at most something like 75-25% (and that’s likely a stretch, or the second candidate would likely have dropped out).

If in that year, the turnout was more normal, it would be below 30%, perhaps significantly. In that case, the wide-margin victor would have less than 19% of the purported registered Democratic votes (75% of the 25% turnout). Should the superdelegates rush in to save the day? After all, the few idiots that turned out to the polls might be wrong…

This next paragraph was the middle one in a string of three related ones:

In the Democratic primary in South Carolina, tens of thousands of Republicans and independents no doubt voted, many of them for Mr. Obama. The same rules prevail at the Iowa caucuses, in which Mr. Obama also triumphed.

So, a candidate that can excite both parties (plus independents), what a horror, better get the party elite to wipe out that kind of across-the-aisle sentiment! Or, perhaps, her intended point is that Republicans and Independents crossed over to vote for Obama just to ensure that Hillary wouldn’t be the candidate, and that they have no intention of voting for Obama come election day. Who knows, as she doesn’t say!

No matter, Obama topped Hillary in South Carolina by 145,000 votes, so he crushed her, even if Geraldine’s assumptions about non-Democrats are correct. But, who cares about those Democrats anyway…

Then this:

Perhaps because I have endorsed Mrs. Clinton, I have noticed that most of the people complaining about the influence of the superdelegates are supporters of Mr. Obama. I canโ€™t help thinking that their problem with the superdelegates may not be that theyโ€™re โ€œunrepresentative,โ€ but rather that they are perceived as disproportionately likely to support Mrs. Clinton.

Huh? Is this an admission that they aren’t representative, or is it just a put-down of people who feel that Obama is legitimately creaming her? It might be a smaller turnout than Geraldine likes (even though it’s a larger turnout than usual), but Obama has now won 11 straight primaries/caucases, some by incredible margins. Where are all of the supporters for Hillary that weren’t turning out earlier, because they thought she was the inevitable candidate, but now know that without their vote, she’s toast?

Now we get this:

And I am watching, with great disappointment, people whom I respect in the Congress who endorsed Hillary Clinton โ€” I assume because she was the leader they felt could best represent the party and lead the country โ€” now switching to Barack Obama with the excuse that their constituents have spoken.

Really? It couldn’t possibly be that both Hillary and Bill have blown up in public so many times that it seems statistically unlikely to be an anomaly, and those same superdelegates have legitimately changed their minds on Hillary’s ability to lead the country? Not only does Geraldine know better than grassroots Democrats, now she knows better than superdelegates who switch from Hillary to Barack.

The hit parade continues:

But if they are actually upset over the diminished clout of rank-and-file Democrats in the presidential nominating process, then I would love to see them agitating to force the party to seat the delegates elected by the voters in Florida and Michigan. In those two states, the votes of thousands of rank-and-file party members will not be counted because their states voted on dates earlier than those authorized by the national party.

This one really makes me laugh, sorry, while I pause and catch my breath. So, the same party officials who are clever enough to give themselves superdelegate status, and know better than ordinary folks, should now be ignored (until the convention, of course). After all, who made the rules to not count the Florida and Michigan votes? Which candidates promised to honor that decision, and which candidate (singular!) went back on that promise?

Geraldine is so worried about disenfranchising those voters. She also points out that Hillary won those two states handily. Of course, she conveniently forgets to point out that the candidates all agreed not to campaign in those states. So, she wins (for whatever reasons), and now the other candidates, who might have won had they campaigned, should just accept the will of the people (of course, only if/when the will of the people selects Hillary). Simply amazing logic.

The bottom line is that Geraldine Ferraro has a distaste and disregard for people who want to exercise their democratic right to vote. Why not come out and say what’s really on her mind? Namely: everyone should stay home and let us leaders anoint the next nominee, since we clearly know better than the rest of you!

It amuses me that this is happening to the all-inclusive Democrats, when they could only wish this was happening to the demonic Republicans…

Firefox DOM Inspector

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Yesterday, I raved about XAMPP in this post. In there, I made the following statement:

The other major thing that I donโ€™t like (but which I suspect is easily fixable with a CSS tweak) is that the Sociable plugin formats the icons in a list (one per line) rather than as an inline string of icons, which other themes are doing correctlyโ€ฆ

So, today I spent quite a bit of time playing. I enjoyed it, and it was instructive as well. I was able to easily change a bunch of things that I didn’t like about my previous theme. That said, I really like a lot of the Aspire (current) theme, other than the dark image background (which I can live with) and the note above about the sociable list not being inlined.

I decided to experiment in my new sandbox with the Aspire theme. I couldn’t find an easy way to see what css was controlling what element. A quick search said that the built-in DOM Inspector in Firefox could help resolve this. It wasn’t in my Tools menu. It turns out it isn’t installed by default on Windows. I reinstalled Firefox, selected custom, and voila, I had the DOM Inspector.

Once I inspected a page, it became obvious what the problem was. The Aspire theme defines an ID main. Then, in addition to default definitions of ul and il (unordered list, and list element), it also defines #main ul and #main il (specifically, an unordered list which appears in the main block, and the same for a list element in the main block).

The DOM Inspector showed me that the sociable.css was correctly being loaded, but that the way more specific #main selector was being applied after the sociable.css was parsed. As annoying as it is/was, there’s some logic to it. If a node can be defined ultra-specifically, and there is a css definition associated with that, then perhaps, you really want that to apply.

Unfortunately, the specific definition had display: block instead of the desired display: inline.

I’ll spare you the stupid gymnastics I performed, trying to over-ride that behavior. Suffice it to say that along the way, I tried doing something like this:

#main.sociable ul

ul#main.sociable

among other utterly useless attempts to get even more specific.

I broke down and sent a message to the current maintainer of the sociable plugin. Then, two minutes after sending him the message, while browsing formal docs for css, I stumbled on something.

In some of the attributes in the sociable.css file, he added !important to the end of the definition, in others, he didn’t. In the docs, I saw that normally, !important is used to signal to the browser that this particular attribute is important, and should be respected over a defaulted value. It’s primary use is to allow users to have stylesheets which over-ride authors stylesheets.

So, I thought, let’s experiment and add !important to the few attributes that weren’t already tagged as such (specifically, the display: inline one!). Voila! Now, even though the browser sees that #main ul comes after .sociable ul, it also knows that .sociable ul said that display: inline was !important, so it retains it!

There may be a better way to solve this problem (after all, this required me to edit the author’s version of sociable.css, which would get wiped out the next time I upgrade the plugin), but, without my sandbox (courtesy of XAMPP), I wouldn’t have found this one. In addition to XAMPP, I now also need to thank the Firefox DOM Inspector. ๐Ÿ™‚

Updated Theme and XAMPP

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For a while now, I’ve been both relatively happy with my theme, as well as marginally frustrated by it. I don’t need to bore you with exactly what I didn’t like, so I’ll bore you instead with what I’ve done about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have never bothered in the past to dig too deeply into the inner-workings of WordPress. Also, while I understand CSS, and have played with it a while ago, I certainly haven’t looked at anything relating to how themes interact with CSS. Before you call me an idiot, I realize that the themes define selectors, and that the style.css file in the theme applies the style, but what I don’t know (because I haven’t bothered to look!) is how defined the selector names are by WordPress, or whether every theme designer just does whatever they want.

Anyway, every once in a while, I download a new theme that looks like it might meet my needs a little better. I use a plugin called User Level Themes by Double Black Design. It’s very cool. I then set the Admin User only, to see the new theme that I downloaded. I can now test the new theme, on the live site, without affecting how the normal (anonymous) reader sees the site. If I like it, I can change the theme for the anonymous user as well.

So far so good, and I’ve been pleased enough with that level of testing. Even so, I haven’t switched my theme for months (well, not totally true, as I updated to a tweaked version that another user modified from the original author of my theme). One of the reasons is that when I see a new theme that has elements that I prefer, there’s usually at least one element that I can’t stand, so switching seems silly.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me the other day was that I downloaded a theme that hard-coded some tag cloud layout. That meant that since I am using the Simple Tags plugin by Amaury Balmer, which uses it’s own tag cloud widget, I was getting two tag clouds. It made me realize that to really test these things, I might have to make changes that would affect the anonymous user (like redefining the sidebar widgets) even though the theme didn’t change.

Ugh…

I realized that to get what I want, I will likely need to dive in a bit, and tweak the theme that comes closest to what I want. That might involve some PHP (which I can read, but have never written), some understanding of WordPress, but really hopefully not much more than CSS tweaks.

To do that properly, I really wanted a segregated playground, where I could make changes willy nilly, even breaking the site completely (I’m very much a trial and error kind of guy). That led me down a long path of thinking about the easiest ways to set that up, in a manner where I could easily tear it down and start again, etc.

That led to thoughts of a cheap hosting provider with something like cPanel, where I could just reload the environment if I wanted. Then I thought of putting up a server at home for this, and running VMWare or Xen, etc., to be able to reload an environment quickly. Then I thought of just using the VMWare Player on my laptop.

Finally, while searching for the lightest weight Linux server distro that would support that (in order to tax my laptop the least), I accidentally stumbled across XAMPP. It comes in multiple flavors, including Windows. Then I noticed that they also had a lite version, which was all I needed. Apache (recent release), MySQL (relatively recent) and PHP (recent release).

I chose the ultra-small 7-zip auto-extractor version (18MB download). It doesn’t touch the Windows Registry at all. When you’re done playing, you can just blow away the directory structure, and you’re done. They give you a controlling application (not needed, but a nice touch), to start and stop individual components. You can do it all on the command line as well, or you can set them to be true Windows Services and they will auto start with the machine.

I tar’ed up my WordPress directory, dumped my MySQL database, copied them over to the laptop, and everything almost worked on the first shot! The only problem (the manifestation was large, but the solution was trivial) was that my blog URL stored as an option in the database pointed back to opticality.com. So, when I tried to log in to the admin UI, it redirected me to the real site, which was not what I wanted.

I updated that option in the local MySQL database, and it all started working. All of my posts were here locally, and my plugins were working too. Extremely cool!

I quickly realized that I should deactivate a number of SEO oriented plugins (e.g., Google Analytics, WordPress Blog Stats, etc.).

Now I had a playground. Based upon just a few minutes, I made some decisions (which should be obvious on the live blog at the moment). Until I decide to make any changes to a theme myself, I have done the following:

  1. Changed the theme to Aspire (credits are in the footer)
  2. Removed the Advanced Search Lite plugin
  3. Added a POLL to get feedback on the theme change

I like the way Aspire lays out the post better than my last theme. I don’t like that it’s hard to read unless I keep my monitor on a bright setting (I typically lower the brightness of my monitor way down). Unfortunately, the background (which is darker) is controlled by an image, not a CSS selector, so this is one of things I don’t like about this theme. The other major thing that I don’t like (but which I suspect is easily fixable with a CSS tweak) is that the Sociable plugin formats the icons in a list (one per line) rather than as an inline string of icons, which other themes are doing correctly…

I actually like all of the choices that the Advanced Search Lite plugin provided. That said, there are a number of reasons why I removed it.

  1. It took up a lot of screen real-estate
  2. I doubt it was used much
  3. If it was used, I doubt people selected options
  4. Now that my comments are on Disqus, that feature wasn’t as interesting

Feel free to vote on the Poll. In addition, please feel free to comment here, in particular if you have had the same kind of tweaking needs/desires that I have, and have a solution/theme that you really like as a result!

To summarize, all I’ve done for now is switch the theme to Aspire. I haven’t touched it in any way. But, at my convenience, I can now play to my heart’s content on the laptop. For that, I have the folks behind the XAMPP effort to thank, so here goes:

Thanks XAMPP guys!

A Wicked Surprise

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For the past few weeks, Lois and I have mentioned to each other that we were itching to see Wicked again. This was probably more true for me, but I think she wouldn’t have minded too much. That said, we did nothing about that itch. I didn’t even check for ticket availability online, even just for fun.

Over the weekend, good friends of ours called to say that they were finally ready to take the Wicked plunge (we had been telling them for a while what lunatics we are with regard to this show). They asked us what might work in our crazy schedule. We offered up the upcoming Wednesday (last night) as the only day we could do it in the next month or so. They said that amazingly enough, that night worked for them too.

So, while we were still on the phone, I hopped on to Ticketmaster to see if there were any seats available. No regular seats, but they had premium seats (fifth or sixth row, center orchestra) available. I offered to grab them right then. They said that they were very friendly with a ticket broker, and they wanted the opportunity to contact him first.

They called back 30 minutes later and told us that they could get the tickets cheaper than the premium seat price, so we locked in the date.

We met for dinner at a restaurant we had never been to (or heard of), one block away from the theater, called Vice Versa. Beautiful place, extremely nice staff. The tables are crowded together, but offset like an interesting jigsaw puzzle, so there’s still a sense of privacy, even though there are lots of people right around you.

The food was superb, and for mid-town, theater district, reasonably priced (not cheap, but cheaper than most restaurants of this caliber). I feel the need to highlight the $10 lentil and chickpea soup that I had. Very generous portion, and wonderfully delicious. Everyone enjoyed their meal thoroughly.

We tried to split the bill. We tried hard. At one point, I even thought we succeeded, since the other couple took my credit card. But, when the waiter came with the bill, the husband only gave his card, returned mine to me, and promised that we’ll split it “next time”. Oh well, we suffered with a great meal that didn’t cost us anything. Thanks guys, we loved the place and the food, and you’re not getting away with treating next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

The tickets that they got were simply incredible. Third row, dead center orchestra. Wow. I have to get me a friend who is a ticket broker too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We paid less than the cost of premium seats (which is exactly what this row is considered), so I’m a little suspicious that our friends underwrote part of our ticket price, but I’m hoping that wasn’t the case!

For those who don’t regularly read this blog, this was our seventh time seeing Wicked, and I’ve written about it many times. The most recent writeup was here, which summarizes our general feelings about Wicked as a show, and specific cast members.

In that show, we saw Annaleigh Ashford for the first time. She was awesome. For regular readers, you know I can be particularly tough/harsh on the two lead roles. We missed Stephanie J. Block that night, as she off getting married to the then Fiyero (Sebastian Arcelus).

So, when we walked into the theater last night, both Lois and I were anxious to rip into the playbill to see if there were any critical understudies filling in. There were two: Jan Neuberger was playing Madame Morrible and Briana Yacavone was playing the Midwife. The Midwife is on stage for a few minutes, so I wasn’t nervous. Madame Morrible has a large role, so there was a twinge, but as long as the two leads are good, it would be hard to ruin the magic. It turns out that Jan did a wonderful job as Madame Morrible, so no worries there.

After their marriage, Sebastian Arcelus left the Broadway cast fairly quickly. Luckily for us, we had seen him once (before Stephanie joined the cast), and he was terrific. The understudy who covered for him while he was away getting married was wonderful too. We’ve been very happy with every Fiyero we’ve seen.

Last night was a new one, David Burham. He’s as cute as they come, looks the role and plays the spoken parts well. He isn’t as good as the others at the dancing parts (not that he’s bad), and he’s inconsistent (though never bad) in the singing parts. He was OK (nothing special) in his opening (signature!) number (Dancing Through Life), but was fantastic in the duet with Elphaba (As Long As You’re Mine). So, he has the voice, just not the consistency. We liked him though, so again, no problem.

On to the leads. Annaleigh was awesome, again. Aside from having a spectacular voice, to repeat my last post, her comedic timing is impeccable (that includes facial expressions, which can easily be seen from the third row). The only number that she didn’t shine in (this time, since she did it better last time) was the normally spine tingling For Good. She was flat in that number (not bad), and it’s possible that it was the interplay between her and Stephanie, but who knows what the real reason is.

Now the one that I was particularly nervous about, Stephanie J. Block. All-in-all, a good performance. She was notable in the acting parts of the role. She was more expressive than the previous Elphabas, and handled all of the speaking parts as well as one could hope for.

Vocally, nothing in her performance was disappointing (other than wanting every note to be perfect), but there was a vast difference between her and Idina Menzel or Eden Espinosa. Even Ana Gasteyer did a better job singing the role.

What was surprising to me though was that the hardest notes to hit, she hit flawlessly each time, and with wonderful controlled power. Specifically (but not exclusively) during the last few stanzas of Defying Gravity (perhaps the most challenging number for Elphaba), Stephanie completely nailed it. The same chills that run up and down your spine for the other great Elphabas appear for Stephanie here as well.

But, for the majority of the normal parts of the rest of the songs, she sings a little flatly. She hits all the notes, but with less power and clarity. So, she has all of the ingredients of being a great Elphaba, but it doesn’t all hang together (for me). I wasn’t disappointed, and most certainly didn’t feel like I have with the bad Elphabas we’ve seen, but she didn’t inspire like the great ones have.

As always, the crowd was nuts about the show. The applause were thunderous. The one (marginally) surprising thing was that while the crowd gave Annaleigh and Stephanie a very rousing standing ovation, they didn’t stand until those two came on the stage. In other words, they were very enthusiastic for the rest of the cast, but didn’t stand for them. At the majority of the shows we’ve been to before, the crowd typically stood up once someone like Madame Morrible came out, and stood from then on.

At this point, there are only a few things that will get us to the show again:

  1. Our Richmond friends finally setting a date to come see the show ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. Someone else that we’re close to begging us to go with them ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. The leads changing again, to someone that I have reason to believe might bring back the thrills and chills of seeing them perform the roles.

Other than that, we’re probably satiated at this point.

If you still haven’t seen Wicked, just go and do it already! ๐Ÿ™‚

Discovering Stephen Bennett

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I just wrote a very long post a few minutes ago. At the end, I mentioned that I was sure I left out some additional nuisances. It turns out, that what I left out was one of the more important positives of the evening. It’s enough to warrant a small post on it’s own (now that I remember it), rather than burying it as a comment to my own post.

In that post, I mentioned that Antoine Dufour was hysterical. Here’s one example. He told the crowd that he didn’t understand how we Americans decided to pronounce ph as v. Specifically, he couldn’t understand the reasoning behind saying Steven when it’s spelled Stephen. He said that it became particularly strange for him when he was playing in Viladelvia. ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, jokes aside, he used that lead-in to tell us that one of his inspirations in the guitar world was Stephen Bennett. He told us that Stephen is very ill and needs a kidney transplant. He wrote a song for Stephen, and sent it to him (along with the rest of the CD).

I vaguely recalled having heard the name before, and when I logged on this morning, I realized from where. I have previously touted DigitalDreamDoor top 100 Acoustic Albums list. While I have made a dent in accumulating a number of the albums on this list, I have a very long way to go to get to all of them. Stephen Bennett is number 45 on the list (at the moment).

Anyway, I just checked out a couple of his YouTube videos, and he’s great. Here is a video of him playing a normal guitar. Here is a video of him playing the harp guitar.

I hope you would agree that he’s amazing. I also hope you’ll join me in praying for his full recovery!

Thanks Antoine for introducing me to Stephen Bennett’s music! ๐Ÿ™‚

Andy McKee with Antoine Dufour and Craig D’Andrea

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Last night, Lois and I went to Canal Room to hear three amazing acoustic guitarists, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour and Craig D’Andrea.

I have written about all three before, as well as their label Candyrat Records in this post. I also posted about Andy McKee (including how I discovered him) in this post. I owned all seven albums that the three artists had out between them (or so I thought). ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was my instinct to cover the bad parts about last night first, and then end on a high note. Lois intuited that I was leaning that way, and asked me to cover the good parts first. Since Lois is always right, I am acceding to her wishes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even though Andy McKee was the clear headliner, he came out first, and introduced the other two guys. Well, aside from saying who they both were, he actually introduced Craig D’Andrea, who opened the show. Here is a photo of Andy during the intro (click on any photo for a larger version). I’ll describe more about the place and the stage and other things you will see in the photos, in the bad section of the post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Andy McKee

Craig had an instant rapport with the crowd. Perhaps that was partially because his parents were there as well (two tables over from us). Just kidding, since we didn’t know it was his parents until near the end of the show. He’s a superb guitarist, who entertained both with his music, and his self-deprecating humor, which he worked well. He played for roughly 25 minutes.

He opened the show with Morrison County. Here is a YouTube video of him opening his show at CMU with the same song (therefore live, and close to the experience we had last night). He’s being introduced by Antoine Dufour, so you can get a sense of his gentleness on stage as well. You can also get a sense of the pacing of this type of concert. The song itself doesn’t start until nearly the two minute mark, but watch the whole thing, it’s most definitely worth it!

Next up was Antoine Dufour. In my Candyrat post, I mentioned that while I love all of them (that includes Don Ross, Kaki King and Peter Ciluzzi as well), I probably have an ever-so-slight preference for Antoine. The rest are brilliant, so I feel silly sharing such a razor-sharp distinction, but, if I didn’t say it, I wouldn’t be sharing my complete thoughts.

Antoine was a little slow to engage the crowd with banter, but when he got going, he was quite hysterical. He is a soft-spoken Canadian (I covered that fact in a short Canada Rocks post) with a French accent. Completely entertaining in every way, including his amazing guitar playing.

So, earlier I mentioned that I owned all of the albums that the three had between them. It turns out that Antoine released a new album last week. I bought it at the end of the show, and got to shake his hand and tell him how awesome he is, so now, again, I own every album that they have released. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Antoine played half of the songs from the new album, so when I listened to it today at home, it was comfortable and familiar. Here is a YouTube video from the same CMU concert of Spiritual Groove, which is off of his Development album (not the newest, which is Existence).

Antoine played for roughly 35 minutes. Here is a fuzzy photo of him. I like to think it’s fuzzy because his hands are moving at the speed of light while he’s playing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Antoine Dufour

After an intermission (there was no break between Craig and Antoine), Andy McKee took the stage. He too is completely personable, and when he tells a story, you hang on his every word. He too is a genius with the guitar.

Here is a YouTube video of him playing Art of Motion at the same CMU concert. The music starts at the one minute mark, and he tells a story about how the song came to be named, which he also told last night.

Andy played for roughly 70 minutes. When he was done, he called Antoine and Craig up to the stage, and they played one of Antoine’s new songs, A Hiding Place for the Moon. The only word to describe it is Wow! Here is a YouTube video of them playing it together. While it’s incredible, it really doesn’t match the quality of sound or experience that we enjoyed last night. The CMU recordings are better quality…

Here is a still photo of them during our show last night:

Andy McKee with Antoine Dufour and Craig Dโ€™Andrea

After the trio played that song, Andy stayed on the stage for one final solo. Between the trio and the solo, the encore was roughly 20 minutes, and was awesome.

The crowd was nuts about all three of them, with ovations lasting a pretty long time after each number.

That ends the good part of the post, and if you are spiritually averse to negativity, this would be a very good time to close your browser.

Last night was far from perfect (though the music was as close to perfect as you could hope for in a live show!). Let’s start with the one part that was entirely my fault. ๐Ÿ™

We have never been to Canal Room before, so I committed the cardinal sin of assuming I knew where it was. From the website, I just zoned in on Canal and Broadway. I know where that is. Given that I cut it way too close on Thursday for the Al Jarreau and Najee concert, I decided to grab a cab rather than risk another bus ride. It was raining, but not too badly.

We got to the corner of Canal and Broadway at 7:15pm, and the doors were scheduled to open at 7:30pm. Perfect. Except for the fact that from the addresses, it was obvious we were in the wrong place. Oops. I used Google Maps on my Treo to see that it was on West Broadway. I knew it was close, so I didn’t panic, but I didn’t know exactly where. Again, Google Maps with Directions, led the way. It was a three block walk, and we got there at 7:34.

The doors were open, but the line was still outside, as only a few people at a time could get in. It’s completely unclear whether we would have been near the front of the line if we had gotten there 10 minutes earlier, but it’s possible, and might have made a world of difference.

Canal Room is not a full-time concert venue (like Joe’s Pub, BB King, Blue Note, etc.). As an example, there are only three nights in the next 11 days in February that have a show listed, and 10 dates in March. Perhaps because of that, it’s a complete waste of space as far as concerts are concerned. If you click on the link to their site (at the top of this post), you can see an automatically rotating slide-show of photos of the place. It’s beautiful, and comfortable, but not oriented to maximum quality seating for a concert.

So, comfy leather chairs and booths, but spread out for their bar/lounge business. By the time we got in, there were no seats left on the lower level, near the stage. You could stand there, but we weren’t interested in standing for hours on end. We went upstairs, where most of the seats were taken as well, but one round booth that comfortably seats six, and could easily accommodate eight (though more snugly), was empty.

The two end seats on one side had a reasonably good view of the stage (you can judge for yourself, as all of the photos that Lois took were from that seat). I would say that we were between 30-50 feet from the stage (so not far), and elevated (which was good), so they weren’t awful seats. The acoustics turned out to be excellent, so hearing the subtleties of their guitar playing was not a problem.

That ends my contribution to the bad parts. While our seats were fine, it was still very annoying that there was a ton of wasted space right near the stage. On the top level (as can be seen in all of our photos) there was a glass divider. You could easily see through it, but it also often cut the performers at the neck, meaning, part of them was above the glass, part below. It was mildly irritating.

Much more irritating were the gigantic columns that obscured the view of many people on the upper level. While it didn’t obscure ours at all, it affected where people wanted to stand, sit, etc., and possibly caused some people to talk more than they otherwise would have, if they had a clear view of the stage.

Next, the service. Most people started off walking to the bar (downstairs) and bringing back their own drinks. Neither of us was in a hurry to drink, so we just relaxed at our table. After a bit, a waitress came over and asked if we wanted drinks. I asked for a chocolate martini (surprise!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ and Lois asked for club soda (because, at the time, we just assumed that there was some kind of drink minimum).

The waitress asked me what the ingredients were for the chocolate martini (which didn’t bode well), but, when it showed up, it was perfect, so no complaints there. Lois’ club soda came completely flat (which I guess, technically makes it water). The waitress knew it in advance, telling Lois that the machine lost it’s compression, but that she would bring her another one when they fixed it.

At that point Lois asked if there was a drink minimum, and we were told no, so she just canceled the drink. Now it got weird, very weird. The waitress asked me if I wanted to run a tab. I said yes. She asked me for my credit card (for her to keep until the tab was closed), and for my driver’s license. When I showed her my license (should I have been flattered that I was being carded, or was it just to check photo id to match to my credit card?), she said “I need to take it with me.”

What? We were incredulous. We’re no youngsters, and this has never happened to us at any restaurant, bar, club, concert, etc. Perhaps when renting a car. She said she needed to photocopy the license because of credit card fraud. Wow, Canal Room must attract some type of crowd for this to be such a problem there, and not at our other haunts. I’ve gone on too long about this, but suffice it to say, it was weird at best…

More peeves on the way. The show was scheduled for 8pm. No announcements of any sort were made. Andy McKee walked on to the stage at exactly 8:30pm. No apologies or explanations for the late start. At best, it’s rude. Why not just print 8:30pm on the tickets and be done with it?

I’ve already covered the show, which was simply awesome, so in the midst of these complaints, I need to reiterate that point! ๐Ÿ™‚

Craig D’Andrea’s set was relatively unmarred, in other words, completely enjoyable. One other couple was sitting at our booth (and they got there just minutes after we did). The booth is a large semi-circle. We were at the left edge and had a clear view. The right edge had an obstructed view. So, the couple slid in, but not entirely to the middle. We all seemed OK with our situation.

When Antoine started his set, a bunch more people started drifting upstairs, looking for seats. I feel like dragging this part out, because it completely annoyed us, but I’ll cut to the chase. An extremely rude couple ending up sitting back-to-back with us (meaning, they were the right edge of the next booth over). The people at their table warned them when they asked if the seats were available that they would provide little-to-no view. They sat down anyway.

They then proceeded to talk to each other, rather loudly, nearly non-stop. Stares did nothing. This continued into Andy McKee’s set as well. When Andy was playing a song he wrote for his father, who had passed away (a clearly emotional part of the show), finally, someone shushed them. They looked around angrily, to see who might have been so rude as to interrupt their conversation.

Listen up folks. There are a million places in NYC to sit and chat, with and without drinks, with and without food, with and without music. A concert, where people specifically pay to see a specific artist is not once of those places. Thankfully, due to their annoyance at being shushed, they moved far enough away from us that we were able to enjoy the rest of the show without having to hear them on their date.

Anyway, we’re old folks, and this is the third night this week that we’ve been out later than we’re usually awake. Last night was 30 minutes later than it needed to be, just because they started late.

I’m probably leaving out a number of additional nuisances. We basically don’t like the place, even though it’s reasonably beautiful on some levels. We are hoping that these (and other) Candyrat artists discover the joys of playing a place like Joe’s Pub, where you hear zero conversations during the performances, ever. We also hope that no one else that we love ends up playing Canal Room. We’d likely go, with eyes wide open this time, but prefer not to find out if this was unusual or not…

Congratulations

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First and foremost, the heartiest possible congratulations to our goddaughter and her fiance on their Valentine’s Day engagement! (I just learned something in checking the spelling of the word finace! With one “e” at the end, it’s the male in the engagement, with two e’s at the end, it’s the female. Who knew? Not me!)

We couldn’t be happier for both of them, each of them is lucky (and perceptive and smart!) to have found the other!

Even happier (for us, on a selfish level) is the fact that they are both moving to NYC this summer (right after their wedding) and they will be living in the same building that we’re in. We promise not to intrude too much, but we’re really looking forward to having them in our lives whenever they don’t mind the company. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let me finish up with a small world, six degrees kind of story. If you’re a regular reader, then you know that we just saw Keith Urban at MSG the day before Valentine’s Day. I wrote about that concert here.

Over the years, we have gotten very friendly with quite a number of our godchildren’s friends, and have hosted them in NYC many times. One of those couples visited us this past December, and our goddaughter came up for that weekend as well (I blogged about that weekend three times, including a photo of all of us, here, here and here). We (but Lois in particular) communicate frequently with this couple. We had a few back-and-forths over the past few days with them, including communicating about our new Keith Urban fan status.

The couple is on a road trip this weekend, and in the car, they were listening to Keith’s latest (non-greatest-hits) CD (Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing, released in November 2006). When they heard the first song on the album, Once In a Lifetime Love, they immediately thought of our goddaughter and her engagement news, and wanted her to listen to that song, now!

They wrote to Lois, and explained that they were in the car, and couldn’t easily send the song along, and could we figure out a way to get her the song. We don’t have that CD (yet), so we couldn’t send it along directly either. Even if we did, we don’t share copies of our music, we just buy another copy and give it as a gift.

So, the obvious choice was to tell our goddaughter to purchase the song on iTunes and we’d pay for it. But, that didn’t feel fun or fresh. So, instead, following the advice I laid out in this post, more specifically, something mentioned in the comments to that post, I sent them all an email with the following instructions.

I told her to create a free account on imeem. Then, I sent her this link to the song that her friends wanted to share with her. It worked out perfectly, and our goddaughter confirmed that she got to listen to the song. Of course, now she’s free to buy it, or we can gift it to her, etc., but the instant connection/gratification of all of us collaborating to share the spirit of that song with the newly engaged couple, was fun and satisfying.

Here is a video of Keith talking about that song, and playing a bit of it, linked directly on the home page of his site.

Once again, CONGRATULATIONS! ๐Ÿ™‚