Saturday, December 27, 2008

'Twas the Day After Christmas

What's up, Bloggee? Vicissitudes of life got you down -- or UP? ... I stayed up late last night with a housemate who got dumped by betrayal. "The house is haunted now," he says.

Since the City is mandating more frequent housing inspection, each renter in the house is being asked to pay an extra $35 in January to cover costs. I'm all for improving housing safety, etc. Maybe the inspections can lead to reduced bad memories in houses. The city could add a paranormal exorcist to City Staff, replacing recently retired City Manager Jeff Doherty.

Meanwhile my own love life is looking up after a bad spell. With someone to go out with, I am more likely to be seen at places like Key West on Sunday night to hear and dance to Ivas John Band rocking the blues. Or the oddly-named, but breathtaking (especially if you have the cold that's goin around) Giant City State Park.

Yesterday, we walked out to the new apartment complex south of town, past Arnold's Market where Old 51 meets New 51. "Reserve" it's called. Snapped some photos, but they won't be included in the blook. No new material will be added after the last Mayoral election. Still need to finish a few chapters, but they will write themselves. (Maybe edit themselves, too?!)

Beginning to feel the old deadline pressure point in my right wrist, My friend The Beer Philos'pher kindly tweeted re: my long promised blook "Can such a project ever be completed?" he asks. ... 'Yes' is answer.

The publication date is Bike to Work Day... May 16, 2009.

With a new title (Karmadale After Blog) and cover design. Instead of the current ugly yellow and red, a collage of photos will wrap around front cover and back. (One of the highlights of the blook will the hundreds of photos of people, places and events around town over the past few years, through the last mayoral election, with updates. Plus video, like Mayor Cole singing "C is for Cookie" at Bike 2 Work Day with his bizarro doppleganger, and -- .)

Oh look, it's already the 27th.

Happy New Year, everyone.... See you on Twitter!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

State of the Twitter speech

Last week I met with Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole, to talk about his upcoming "State of the City" speech to the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce hoping for a preview copy I could leak to the blogosphere, and BC came through, as he always does, handing me a printed draft of his speech-in-progress, which updates previous years' projects, and presents some new ones. I suggested that he simply say "Ladies and Gentlemen .... the State of the City is fine." - and walk off the dais -- and out of the room -- before returning to the luncheon room microphone with "Gotcha!" He laughed at the idea, but didn't think the crowd would appreciate it.

However, he did hand me a printed draft of his speech, with permission to quote it in this blog, an exclusive to the Carbondaley Dispatch: Mayor Cole goes on record that he "looks forward to many good days and years ahead" for us all.

To hear more, come to the Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Civic Center, noon, Tues. December 9. ... I'll be there, twitterin' the speech as it is being delivered, as I did last week, when I first got hold of the draft.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More words from Greeley

BlackBerry sez low 80's in The 'Dale today ...but it's much cooler in Greeley,CO, this morning - and drizzly. There's a HS band competition that my son is marching in, playing saxophone.His football game yesterday was a 40-12 loss, so he doesn't feel much like marching in the rain this morning.

This afternoon we'll drive to rainy Denver where I'll hop the midnight bus back to the former Capital of Southern Illinois - where the weather is fine - and a new business venture awaits:Words & More - with an office on Main St.- in the heart of the publishing district.;-)

Speaking of publishing, I took the plunge in Portland, and forked out a couple hundred bux for Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 Extended, since my daughter could get the educator's discount for me - a $400 saving that will keep the price of the blook under $15.

Reading Stephen You-Know-Who's book "I Am America (and So Can You)" has given me new ideas for the blook's layout and attitude. I want it to be an entertaining read, like Colbert's ("You make the first one good enough, then you don't have to write another." ...Same might be said of my last blog post).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Greetings from a "City that Works"

I know, Bloggee, I know ... I've been remiss in updating this blog. ... Been meaning to, really, but with the daily Greyhound grind (see Graydog's blog), and all the political (GoBama beat McPalin!), entertainment (Hello Hulu!), and sports (Go Phils - Beat LA!) distractions, I just haven't had the time (or inclination) to focus much on hometown stuff. ... Besides, Scott at Bytelife has the local scene is pretty well covered.

But nudged by former local blogger Peter The Great, I guess I'll break my silence for a few words from Portland, where I'm visiting family -- including new grandson (who just got a brand new "Jumperoo" from "Doodah").

I love Portland: the family ties, the social scene, the bicycle-friendly environment, the many fine restaurants, cultural and recreational spots, thriving economy, and up-and-coming basketball team. ... With all of that, what the hell am I still doing in Carbondale, Illinois! Oh that's right, my friends, the social scene, the bicycle-friendly environment(?), and handful of fine restaurants, cultural and recreational spots, up-and-coming basketball team, and employment opps.

Even so, I'm gonna be away from my fair and consistent town until next week. The Greyhounders can deal directly with bus drivers until then..

Next stop for me is Greeley, Colorado (another city that works), to attend a high school football game and jazz concert.

And I'll be twittering along the way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

stream of bloggishness

I've had a case of "writer's blogck" lately. ... Instead, been drinking campaign news through micro-media -- with sips of Papa Nicholas Espresso or Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. ... With all that drinking, blogging can be compared to urinating in front of strangers. (Ellipsis dots are then so many pee drops on the leg of literary style. ... )

Meanwhile, my blook is stalled by technical problems with video formatting and loss of print quality in the electronic-to-paper transfer using TK3 Author. ... Looks like Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 Extended will do the trick. (For a price of $600-plus, it should, but I hope to find a less expensive alternative.)

Also stalled, the Grand Opening for Graydog's Greyhound at its new location (inside the BP gas station on 905 E. Main) -- until a state-approved white on green highway sign is installed on the corner of Walnut St. and Cedarview Ct., where Domino's is. The City has sent a request to IDOT for approval, so stay tuned.

Aside from these two projects I've been twittering my heart out. Not as often as blogfather Dave Winer, or Peter the Great's hero Guy Kawasaki, or Peoria's Pundit, Billy Dennis, but with 277 updates - and counting -more than other locals.

I usually try to squeeze a link into my tweets by using "Tiny URL"

For instance I will tweet about this blog post, with link.

I've also added a twitter feed to this blog.

Question: if blogging is like public urination, what is twittering? It's more like marking territory with pith.

Although some readers seem to have a prejudice agains the "micro-media" ... I urge all thirsty information seekers to have sip or two -- then pour some of yourself into the glass.

Now playing: Muddy Waters - I'm Ready
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Truth videos today at MIMC

Carbondale Bytelife: "the Muddy Independent Media Center at 214 N. Washington, will show 9-11 truth videos from noon to 9pm, interspersed, no doubt, with rousing discussions.

On Friday, Sept 12th, at 7pm, the usual time for videos, Muddy Media will show 'Improbable Collapse', followed by a discussion."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toy story

Add another local blog to the list, Bloggee, 'cause Sue and Sam Cox at My Favorite Toys have started blogging about the(ir) toy business in the University Mall and online. Their goal is to sell more toys, so if every reader of their blog would buy a toy or two, then they will be sold on blogging as a marketing medium.

Here's a headline I'd like to see for a blog about tops: "Our Top Story" -- Getting to the bottom of tops, giving a classic toy a new spin.

I was checking out yoyos at the the mall store (located near Macy's & Garfield's) the other day, and later tried to buy one online. (Some rapper should create a pro-yoyo video. "Yo yo ... wrap your hand around a Duncan.") But I couldn't find "yoyo" or "yo yo" on website. The toy business must have its ups and downs, like everything else.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Online media converge in Denver

EchoDitto Blog | Following online media at the DNC : "At the Democratic National Convention next week, 125 bloggers will hold press credentials and hundreds more will be reporting from The Big Tent." If you're so inclined and have the time, Brian Sykora explains how to follow them all, using Bloglines.

(I wonder how many uncredentialed bloggers are in Denver. Where's their feed?)

You can also follow Twitter updates from the DNC... Use Twitter Search, and type in #dnc08 or #bigtent

Musical interlude

After work on Friday, I hung out at Hangar 9, with my pal, Al, and a pale ale, to catch eight talented musicians jamming on the back porch. With six-string guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass and slide guitar, fiddle and bass fiddle, Nathan Graham, Robert Russell, Ryan Blake, John Beck, Chris Debiossi, Rick Johnson, Gary Childers, Ruth Ann Levinson, Jeff Sills.

Everyone was talking about young Graham, a cracker-jack singer and strummer. His band is called Black Diamond Highway. I'm going to see them all perform today at the Bluegrass Jamboree, 2-8 pm, at Rustle Hill Winery.

Between twitterin' and swigs, I went inside for another pale ale, and got to talk with Josh of the Jah Roots band performing later that night on the main stage. ... He gave me two of the band's CDs to listen to and plug, Crucial and Joy:
Now playing: Jah Roots - Crucial
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: Jah Roots - Joy
via FoxyTunes

I like this band. Infectious ska riffs. Would have stuck around to hear them play, but it was time for a Gyros and Greek Salad at El Greco, where Al and I discussed the difference between listening and hearing. Jah Roots hails from Springfield, MO. .. I'll add their MySpace page to MyFriends. ... Nate Graham doesn't have any web presence (although there's another Nate Graham from back east).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Civics 2.0

Struck by the number of violations of open meetings law and TIF District by the City of Marion, Mayor Brad Cole wonders why no newspaper reporters have picked up on it. I watched from a chair in the Mayor's office yesterday, as he read the striking comparisons between Marion and Carbondale, which Scott Thorne found in a comment to this story in The Southern.

I always enjoy visiting Mayor Cole at his office -- starting with a wintergreen Lifesaver from the bowl in the lobby, and a refreshing bottle of Shawnee Mist water (bottled by the City) provided by Faith Johnson, his secretary, whose sister is an American Idol fan, like me.

Those mayoral meetings mostly mean me giving him an update on my life, and very little of me interviewing him about city biz. (For instance, he'd only half-jokingly tell me that the stack of papers on his desk is "secret stuff" he's working on. (Probably the new police station at old Lincoln Jr. High site.))

Also, he would neither confirm nor deny my theory that during the minute when the tape recorder was turned off during a closed session of City Council he said, "I'm turning this off, to f*ck with the City Clerk's head, and make her wonder what was said." ... "Since the discussion not recorded pertained to possible litigation concerning [City Clerk Janet] Vaught, whose job duties include keeping recordings of city council meetings." (as reported in The Southern).

I did make two requests: 1) that the City approve an official state-highway approved city sign that says "Greyhound Bus" on Cedarview Ct. Drive, on the corner where Domino's Pizza is located. And 2) That he attend the official ribbon-cutting of new location in September. He said he'd try to do both.

I'm staging my own ribbon cutting, although I realize that for $100 membership in the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, they will send out invitations to 400-plus members. But since few, if any ever ride a Greyhound Bus -- (and even if I join, a representative of the Chamber may not show up! see next paragraph) -- I'll just send out invitations to the people in the immediate vicinity of the business. Some Dentists, and the Secy of State, and Sonic people and Rent-One and Warehouse Liquor and Today's Technology, etc. and the Mayor, along with Moonlight Taxi and Blue Star Lines representatives, along with others in the ground transportation biz, like SIU Transport specialist Mark Robinson (the original Busdog). Maybe then, Graydog's will make the newspapers, where those 400-plus Chamber members are sure to see it.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, but executive secretary Lisa Cardinale appeared to have a problem with me, until I told her it was Scott Thorne, not I, who posted the story about Welcome Fest, which mentioned the absence of a Chamber representative at the event. Seems like Executive Director Meredith Rhodes might have some 'splainin' to do, perhaps in a comment to Scott's post -- or to this one. (My advice to her, ignore it. Pretend like I didn't even stop by the office to say 'hi'.) Or send a tweet into the world of Web 2.0, like me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Every day is not Bike 2 Work Day

Saw former city manager Jeff Doherty at the BP today, looking relaxed and fit. Since retirement every day is like Saturday, he says. Lucky him. For me, every day is Thursday, except on months with 30 days, when every day is Monday.

Besides Jeff D., today, I met a video editor at Longbranch for a glass pineapple juice, and Jim Zimmerman from the Arthur Agency came to the table, so I introduced him to Mr. Video, who may be getting a gig out of it. And Amy McMorrow breezed down the sidewalk, with flyers for an art event on The Square. Since the Art Lovers blog hasn't been updated for awhile, I'm sending her an invitation to contribute. Should invite the artists, too.

I wish the commenters would reveal themselves. There's a kind of paranoia about commenting in this town, such as the helpful commenter who calls him(?)self "paranoid," who has a problem with my bicycle route to the BP (when/if i pedal there from home.) I'd probably just ride East on Main St. on the sidewalks, giving right of way to rare pedestrians.

But back to commenting. Although Bytelife has lively discussions, it also has some absurdly ad-hominem name-calling by someone who has it in for DaveX, WDBX's king of the wee hours. The guy hates DaveX so much, I don't know why. But DaveX always comes back with a counterpunch, so more power to him. In the future Bytelife should require registration to comment, like in Peoria. Would pseudonymous contributors like "gadfly" and "sam w. clyde" still contribute if they had to register? Would "paranoid"?

I'm quite impressed by Billy "3,752 Tweets and Counting" Dennis's Blog Peoria Project. Don't know if C'dale has a sufficiently unparanoid population to engage in community-wide blogging, though. Bytelife is supposed to be a "Carbondale Bloggers Blog" Scott Thorne does most of the posting with DaveX chiming in with a self-promotional spread every so often, and me dropping a community interest item once in awhile (reserving self-promotional stuff to this blog).

Speaking of self-promotional stuff, according to a twitter update, I recently uploaded a book about alien abduction to ... For my effort, I'll get $1 for each book sold, and it gave me practice for publishing my own blook in prog, which is only a few months away from publication: on Bike 2 Work Day in May.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day of Rest

Today, a break ... after a week of being hounded by bus customers. Yesterday, one of them bought a ticket from Jackson, MS to San Francisco, CA, and I hooked him up with his own blog, Bound for New Zealand right there at Graydawg's Greyhound ticket counter, where the journey begins.

Business has boomed at the BP, since the buses have been taking ten minute breaks en route. Shoplifting has, as well. ... As anticipated, my own bottom line has not increased, while the workload has. It's more like a job now (requiring motorized transportation due to distance).

But not today. Although the buses will still stop at the BP, I'm stopping for a rest. ... maybe go to the new Batman or to Blue Sky Vineyard to hear the Saloonatics from 2-5pm and surf the web. Maybe send a tweet or two. Last I heard (Friday afternoon), i was shootin' hoops at the old CCHS outside court. Must be done by now, since I'm at my home computer, listening to
Zero 7 - Distractions
via FoxyTunes Zero 7.)

I should have tweeted after getting into an accident on Friday night. Young lady in an SUV tried to cross the street from Professional Park Drive to Sonic, right in front of me, as I was heading East on Main, in the far right lane. Hit the side door. Cops said it was her fault. Gave me a sobriety test, which nearly hypnotized me. There was a witness, too, a roller skating waittress, who said she'd testify. ... Another time I shoulda tweeted, out at Arnolds Market on Saturday, wolfing down a "Boskydell Bomber" at the picnic table out in front, seeing Bruce Appleby and Bill Simeone (two former English profs) in the lot. Never thought on 8/8/80 I'd have an informal meeting of my Ph.D. committee on 8/8/08.

Saturday, I got together with an Amtrak friend on layover, and two other Sunday hoopers for a little HORSE action, but soon got challenged to a game by some young whippersnappers, Terron, Jonathan, Steffan, whom you'll probably see in the big show at CCHS in a two or three years.(Another time I coulda tweeted, but again without eyeglasses.)

The courts at Attucks Park are by far the best in town, with outdoor lighting and 4 baskets with nets (two full courts).

Haven't watched any of the Olympics yet, nor heard any coverage. ... The only bit I've got so far came from KT's twitter. My reception for Channel 6 has not been that good, even with the analog-to-digital signal converter box, I bought at Radio Shack in Murdale, with the $40 coupon from the government (which RS applied to the total price, including tax, which I questioned at the time, but they did it anyway).

But enough about me. ... What's going on in Cdale lately? The Saturday morning Farmers Market on "The Square" has more people than when it was on Wednesdays on hot afternoons.

And Jeremiah's is still standing, but not for long.

I wasn't crazy about the Git Sum lunch I tried last week, some kind of curry chicken, which was okay, but not much of it, compared to New Kahala, my favorite Chinese take-out place. I'll try another item on the menu next time, but fear this Indian take-out spot will not survive long.

Went to see Pineapple Express Friday night, a film about the best weed in the world, which seemed more like schwag, though with a good heart. I can't be too critical of the script (written by Seth Rogen and partner at age 15) since my own script has been languishing for months. Maybe I should hire Jonathan, Terron, or Steffan to punch it up.

That's all for now, Bloggee. I've got some photos to add later. ... If you want more blog news about C'dale, read Bytelife.

Now playing: Zero 7 - Simple Things
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 04, 2008

Day of no rest

If you've been following my updates on Twitter, you know my trip to Portland didn't happen, due to too much work to do, and not enough workers. But my younger son still got to go to see his nephew for the first time, and I will try again, in late September, when things are slower at the 'Hound (and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss will be performing in the Rose City) ... Meanwhile, son Chris has started twittering, at my request, so I can receive verbal snapshots.

So much work was still undone on Friday night, that hopping on a bus to Denver (from there a plane to Portland) was out of the question. Even the loss of most of the ticket money did not deter me from staying put ... So much to do that even Sunday offered little rest -- mostly cataloging and lugging boxes of books (catalugging?), then uploading a partial list of hundreds of titles into Google Docs spreadsheet. Eventually to be sold online, but now the tomes are mostly packed in boxes in a nearby warehouse for easy access.

Nearly went to the Unitarian Fellowship Sunday morning, inspired by Greener Than Thou's inspiring rant about religion and social justice, but by the time i finished reading, the clock was past 11.

Mid-afternoon on Sunday, got a Greyhound inquiry on my cell phone from a guy who wanted to know where 905 E. Main St. was ... and since I was in mid-haul of box of books, and it was Sunday, I was curt, not courteous. But then I learned the free weekly newspaper that printed a blurb about the move (no link because it's not online) did not mention that the fact that it's at the BP gas station (although that info was provided) -- only the address was given -- along with my cell phone number and an invitation to call with questions. ... No wonder the guy called me! He wasn't a thoughtless idiot, but a hard-working volunteer member of the press -- workin' on Sunday, just like me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

White wall, vacant lot

C'dalephiles like it when I write about the former Capitol of Southern Illinois, but it's too much of a downer for me lately, with all the old familiar buildings and businesses going down and out, and few new ones springing up. ... No. I take it back. There are some hopeful signs, such as "We're making way for Progress" (on the Varsity Theater building) and "Please don't mar or deface these office walls" (pictured here) which somehow has gone undefaced in 30-40 years! The quoted phrase appears to have magical properties.

Why doesn't the City do something with the vacant lot adjacent to this wall (where American Tap used to be)? That would be a good topic for the Carbondale Bytelife blog. (Maybe Scott will pick this up and walk with it. ...down the alley to City Hall.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

C'dale Greyhound move completed

The Greyhound bus stop and ticket station are together again ... at last! After 3 years on Washington St., where it wasn't wanted, 'cause it would bring down the neighborhood. ... But BP-land at 905 E. Main St. is pro-Hound to-the-Max. ... Arif, the friendly Pakistani, is thrilled to have the bus passengers alight and buy some snax and drinks and cigarettes.

I had a lot of help getting the job done ... not much from my district manager, but Junior Bear and friends came through at crunch time. The same sign JB hung above the address at 215 N. Washington is now atop two posts driven deep into the grass in front of the station -- at the distance prescribed by city code. (Thanks to Steve for coming out to the site, and fast-tracking the permit process.)

I haven't checked to see if any of the newspapers mentioned it... Sent out copies of the flyer to the papers (in lieu of press release). Planning to have an Open House, ribbon-cutting, with some bus-minded friends and business associates when I get back from Portland in August.

Meanwhile, the drivers liked the map I sent to Nashville and St. Louis (from whence all buses to C'dale depart), and they are pleased to have a place where passengers can use the rest rooms and buy refreshments ... It really is a better location, even though it's costing me more time and money, as I knew it would (which is why I dragged my paws in making the leap.)

Been operating without internet, due to a lengthy verification process between Verizon and ShawneeLink. ... Alternative solutions (using the Blackberry as a tethered wireless modem) has failed so far to do the trick ... Looks like a dialup connection is the only viable option. NetZero has a 4.97 per month deal, which should get me through another week without DSL.

Now I've got to hire and train someone pronto, 'cause in two weeks I will be in Oregon -- holding my grandson in my arms for the first time. ... One of the desk clerks at the motel where the Amtrak crew crashes every night (so to speak) is interested. How about you, Bloggee? If you're available from 9:30-11am, or 3:30-5pm, you could get paid $10 per hr printing bus tickets and helping bustomers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot time at the Sunset Concert

Last night's Turley Park Sunset Concert by blogger Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies was hot! From pre-concert pizza at Mississippi Flyway (5 ingredients, 14 inch, lotsa cheese, $12.95) to the final song(?) "Glory Hallelujah", (see the band perform this song on AOL UnCut video.) ... During the band's intermission, a guy performed with with flaming wands and spitting fire. (Snapped some photos of his act -- as well as the police response right after.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wine and Art Fair fares well

Like Bytelife's Scott and Becky for The Southern, I attended the Town Square Wine and Art Fair Friday night ... impressed with all the people in the crowd, some of whom I got to speak with, like new Carbondale City Manager, Allen Gill, who's not a tee-totaller, and event organizer Main Street director Megan Cole, pictured here, proud of the crowd behind her.

I managed to get off a few tweets with the Blackberry, including one about Councilman Lance Jack's off-the-record slip about his latest business venture. (Sorry, Bloggee, to read you'll have to go to my twitter page. ;-))

Gill agreed the City needs to improve its dissemination of public information, and smiled when I said I wasn't trying to create a job for myself, although "City Twitterer" has a nice ring.

I figured out a way to get the most from the $5 admittance, which got you a plastic glass with Fusion (local bar) sticker on it, and samples of wine from ten different local vintners. But the samples were so minute and variable that it took too long to get a nice wine buzz, so I purchased a full glass of Chancellor red, but for the next glass, I went to each purveyor and had them each add a 'wee dram' of their own brand of dry red wine into the glass. The resulting glass is pictured here, and it tasted fine. Will definitely do it again with a chardonnay at the Fall event.

That's right. Everyone's talking 'bout a Fall Wine and Art Fair... Personally, I'd like to have it every month! Wine not? Either way, I'm sure the organizers will find ways to improve the event. Let's hope the Ivas John Band is invited for a return engagement. Ivas just gets better and better. Blues you can use -- to dance to -- and I did.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Partying at True Value

After a grueling day at work yesterday, I hooked up with one of my Amtrak friends to attend the Chamber of Commerce 'Business After Hours' schmooze-fest in honor of C'dale's new City Manager, Allen Gill, who has been on the job for a couple of weeks (although I can find no mention of him in the City website).

Who would have thought socializing amidst appliances and lawn furniture could be so much fun? Fueled by a catered spread, and a glass or two of Chateau Red from Von Jakob Vineyard, -- and the company of Conductor Dave, and Valerie Rasp, of Keep Carbondale Beautiful, and Good Samaritan House director Susan Metcalf, I haven't had a more enjoyable social hour this year. (Rescuing a fly from Valerie's wine was a highlight. I shoulda shot some video of its recovery process) Also flying by our table, Chamber director Meredith Rhoades, and Murdale True Value owner George Sheffer.

Sheffer is the man behind the huge "Saluki Pride" Dawg Paw Prints on the streets and highways leading into town . . . and he outlined for Valerie all the steps that had to be negotiated with the City and State authorities to accomplish that feat. (Early this coming Sunday morning the Saluki Pridesters will be out on Grand Ave. laying down some fresh Paw paint. ... Since I will already be up-and-about at that time, some photos may be coming your way next week, Bloggee.)

Many other business and community leaders lined up to meet Mr. Gill, including fellow blogger and businessman Scott Thorne, who may well have his own take on the event.

Now playing: Stacy Mitchhart - Got to Get the Feeling Back Again
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Moving news

Here's some moving news: The Greyhound agency (ticket office and bus stop) will be consolidated at one location: 905 E. Main St. effective July 21, 2008. ... That's the plan, if Verizon gets the phones installed by then. ... The move will be a boon for the BP Station, which will be getting more customers eacg day ... It also will improve the passengers, who no longer will have to obtain tickets blocks away from where the bus stops, or stand outside the Amtrak station at night ... For me, it will mean a longer trip to work, and longer hours, ugh. ... More money for rent, as well. So why do it? Because it is the better business thing to do ... I can only hope the extra time and expense pay$ off.

(Anybody know why the $ symbol is used for dollars? A dollar to the first commenter to answer.)

Money's on my mind these days. My economic stimulus check went directly to United Airlines for tickets to Portland, Oregon. ... I sure hope the big bus move is all hunky-dory by the end August, when I'm among the blackberries in the great Northwest. But my own Blackberry will make it possible to keep in touch -- literally -- with a mild buzz on my left hip whenever Scott Thorne posts to Bytelife, or someone tweets from Twitterland.

Twitter has definitely opened new windows of interest and opportunity, such as FoxyTunes, "cloud computing" (Web 2.0) and Seesmic video blogging. Way more 'cutting edge' than blogging (sorry, Bloggee).

And the Blackberry has been awesome ... I don't know how I've done without one all these years. It may not be as slick and pretty as the iPhone, but it gets the job done for $90 per month. And because I use the phone so much for The 'Hound, it's deductible!

Right now I'm listening to the my favorite community radio station, WDBX (stream) which will be a good place to advertise the big move. I'll try to squeeze some money out of corporate for Brian and the gang at 224 N. Washington, across the street from the current bus ticket office.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Blues & Blackberry at Key West

Some friends and I went to Key West on E. Main St. last night to catch The Ivas John Band, which has all new personnel, except for The Big I, who continues to rule the roost as the best front man in all The 'Dale. (Don't believe me? Check out the band at next Friday's "Wine and Art Fair" at Town Square.)

Also saw some old friends in the crowd: Dancin' Corrina Lang (tomato fertility goddess), Radio wunderkind Will Stephens, and Solar seller, Aur Beck, to name a few. I had fun text messaging those guys ... "Ivas sounds great tonight!" and watching them look around to see who the message came from.... Even managed to get off a "tweet" for the occasion.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

John McTrain

Here it is ... my entry into the Colbert Nation's Green Screen Challenge to make John McCain Interesting. The background shows a train passing Carbondale's Town Square. (Those who follow my Twitter updates knew about this video yesterday. ... Blogging is so passe. ;-) )

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Times looks and sounds great

Instead of listening to the news on WJPF-AM or KUNC-FM, this morning I tuned in to Pandora custom music via Foxy Tunes, and browsed the new Saluki Times web site, which looks much better than the old News Service web page. I sent an email of praise and query to the webmaster, and got some details from PR Director Tom Woolf, who explained.
University Communications' Web team, including Liz Duncan, unit director Janet Douglas, and Jessica Mann, were responsible for the design and "behind-the-scenes" work of creating the new site, designed to replace the weekly email Spotlight newsletter to faculty and staff, while "presenting the news releases in a different, more 'modern' format."
One of the key purposes of Spotlight was to keep University employees informed on various topics, such as notices from the Human Resources folks. We continue to do that; on the bottom left of the site is For the Record, which, for example, this week includes information about new parking decals for the upcoming school year.
("For the Record" was devoid of content at this writing.) My favorite feature, "Flyers Row"
... existed on Spotlight, and had been created a couple of years ago in response to a recommendation from the "Agility & Efficiency Task Force" as a way of promoting events and activities on campus while reducing the amount of paper used for flyers. Obviously, fewer paper flyers would help improve the appearance of the campus as well.
Pete Rosenbery, a member of the Public Relations staff (which generates the news releases), was responsible for Spotlight, and he continues to handle Flyers Row on new site.

Now playing: Pat Metheny - The Fields, The Sky (Live)
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Fruits of the Season

Following up on Scott T's post on Fruits of the Season, I went Blackberry picking yesterday at the Verizon Store next to the U8 Theater -- and came home with a 'world edition' model with broadband capability (and a barbecue basket from Larry's Pit BBQ, since I was in the neighborhood). Now, I can google in the palm of my hand, if there's a Verizon wireless signal in the air, so my clinical disorder (?) internet addiction can be satisfied wherever, whenever.

The Blackberry device I got is called "World Edition" since it has the capability of working anywhere in the world. This could come in handy someday -- if I get a job teaching English in a foreign land, such as the Philippines or Marion.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunset, Sunrise

Sojourn (warning, ugly web site), the band at last night's Sunset Concert rocked the crowd at Turley Park with covers of classic tunes like Steely Dan's Reelin' in the Years (the last song I heard, pedaling off to a late supper):
Are you reelin in the years?
Stowin away the time?
Are you gatherin up the tears?
Have you had enough of mine?
When I got back home, the guy who owns the house was there -- in town for the University School reunion: according to the The Southern, 300 graduates of school from all classes will be reelin' in the years at SIU campus, and "historical display windows in the SIUC Student Center ... will be on display until June 25. People can also take one of the campus tram tours, which will be held throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday."

Meanwhile, the schedule for the morning Amtrak train to Chicago is back to 6:30 departure this week -- which means rising at sunrise (5:35 am) to drive the crew from motel to station on time. Not much sign of sun, though -- just clouds and drizzling rain.

I keep forgetting to snap a photo of the panels for the mural going up on the east side of the Amtrak station tracks. They've been up for about one week.

Future Sunset Bands
June 26: The NK (Nikhil Korula) Band (MySpace), Shryock,
July 3: The Greencards, Turley Park,
July 10: Junior, Shryock,
July 17: Brian Wright and The Waco Tragedies (MySpace) Turley Park,
July 24: Gizzae, Shryock

Now playing: WDBX Live
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox & friends

The Firefox 3 browser was released on Tuesday to much fanfare -- and a record number of single day downloads. As a happy F2 user, I joined the throng and downloaded it myself. Installation was a snap (or rather, a 'click') and so far so good.

Although the new version of Firefox has many improvements over F2, I haven't tried any of them yet, except for the feature that automatically posts a link to music listened to as a post is being written, such as this "smooth jazz" tune:
Now playing: Grover Washington, Jr. - Mister Magic
via FoxyTunes

So what else is new? A fellow twitterer just blogged about some other tools available for serious internetworking with friends and colleagues: Do Yoono How to Chirp, Flock and Minggl? The features of these content-aggregation applications are listed, along with a link to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, which explains how social networking aggregators began with Google's FriendFeed.

I can see the value of not having to log-in to every social network site in order to keep updated with MyFriends, Diggers, Facebookers, Linked-Inners, et. al. . . . But since most of my associates barely have enough time for email, it may not save much time -- unless I get some new friends (which would actually take more time!). . . . I will try to Minggl later, if it's F3 compatible.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Social Networking meets Social Work

On Saturday, a woman in distress, fearful of an abusive husband finding her, decided not to buy a bus ticket out of town, and I began my weekend as a social worker (a human resource). Since it was lunch time, I drove her to Good Samaritan, and dropped her off, promising to drive her and her things to Park Place East, which has cheap clean rooms for rent.

She told me she was diagnosed bi-polar, and was taking medication. Days before, she had been to the Women's Center, but didn't stay long enough to receive help; and also SIRSS, without much help. Listening to her speak, I realized that her own manic thought processes and actions were causing her distraught condition -- and vice versa. Because she was homeless, I got permission from my own house manager for her to stay temporarily in a vacant efficiency apartment near my house.

On Monday, I spoke by telephone to two representatives at SIRSS (Laura and Pam), and met with Mary Campbell at Good Sam to find out what the system could do for the damaged damsel. Park Place East rejected her application for a room because of an unspecified ordinance violation.

Driving her to SIRSS afterwards, I had to pull the car over into the City Hall parking lot so she could throw up. She said she felt dizzy and weak. At 2:30 p.m. I brought her to the intake room at SIRSS, gave my cell phone number to the receptionist, and went about my bus'ness. At 5 o'clock, I phoned SIRSS, who told me she had left.

The last time I saw her she was sitting on a picnic bench at the rear of the SIRSS building with some guys smoking a cigarette. Some of her stuff is still in the apartment. I suspect I may be seeing her again. Her father lives in another state; he has my cell phone number. She probably should check herself in for treatment. Since her medication apparently is ineffective. If see her again, I will suggest that option.

The Case of Look-alike Patient
Now what are the odds of this happening? . . . Yesterday, after getting off the phone with SIRSS, I'm leaving Schnuck's Market and I see a guy I think I know -- a counselor at SIRSS. . . . As he approaches I say "Hi Sonny" and he sez "I'm not Sonny. I'm his patient." and I go "wuhh?" And he says he explains that the real one has a few more pounds on him. So I say, "Well Goodbye, Not Sonny." and go home. But later in the day, I run into both of them at SIRSS. Turns out the patient is quite an artist. He happened to have his portfolio with him. I snapped his photo, but it wouldn't be right to post it here. But I encouraged him to get hooked up with C'dale Arts to have a show at the Civic Center.

One final note on SIRSS.... If you were wondering what was happening with plans for a new building, the agency has purchased property across the street from its current facility on East College, and they have Capital Campaign going to get it built.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All that Twitters is not gold

"A loyal fan" wants me to stop writing about Twitter. . . . a decision I had already made -- but not for the reason given by the fan (a few pennies from a Google ad-click). The fan has not been paying attention. I have repeatedly stated that I have little interest in analyzing C'dales woes and wonders -- except as they relate to my own activities.

For instance, picking up the Amtrak crew the past few days, I noticed that the traffic signals are no longer synchronized for smooth sailing (at 30 mph) all the way from Oakland St. to the Mall. I remember chatting with Jeff Doherty in his office 2-3 years ago, and him saying that he'd like to have people have to stop at the traffic signal at City Hall. He said he liked the idea of slowing things down, so people could look around. Not much to see, unfortunately. Very few people walk 'The Strip' of downtown Carbondale anymore. In fact, there is no "Strip."

Also this morning, I noticed the appearance of the Art Panels on the east side of the tracks at the Amtrak station.... Still unadorned with art, but the framework is in place. (I'll snap a photo and post it to Bytelife this afternoon.)

In conclusion, there's a lot of useless chatter on Twitter, but I can see its value for keeping in touch with friends and professional associates -- and for making new contacts and discoveries by following the links.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

SIMful behavior

Social Internet Marketing, or SIM, for short is a hot topic these days. A company in Raleigh, NC features stories about a couple of SIM clients, in Social Media IQ in Hub Pages, and my new favorite toy: Using Twitter: Smart Networking, or Reputation Disaster?

This is only my second day of SIMing with Twitter, so it's still too soon to tell how effective it will be. I do know that one local tweeter tailored her pants last night for a trip to Branson. She didn't say what she was wearing at the time, but I am wearing jeans and tee-shirt at the moment, my customary Greyhound ticket agent gear.

Mostly I've been focusing on work-related or media updates on Twitter -- somehow it eggs me on. And other social mediaites can be followed to -- like Ginger in Boston who discovered some new resources at this week's PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference, and reports on them in

The "social media" scene in C'dale is retarded, due to the preponderant number of old-school paper-pushing sign-holders in the area. Just yesterday, two young sales people visited the Greyhound office to try to sell me advertising space in the directory. I explained to Ann and Benjamin it was a waste of money ($235 for a two line listing) for a business like mine, and probably for any business with a limited advertising budget. . . .I could publish the same directory for free at Shawnee Net. Would take a week or two (or several months!) since everything would have to be keyed-in, but that's a small price to pay for something free.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That's right, a "bwook"

Over at Twitter, I hinted that I might not blog today. But how can I resist blogging about tweeting? 'Twould be like not talking about a big game or show you saw with friends.

Did you see the game last night, Bloggee? Or did you watch the City Council meeting on Cable Access? The agenda included an appreciation of retiring City Manager, Jeff Doherty. In a day or two the entire meeting will be available in audio.

I let loose a tweet or two last night, breadcrumbs along the community e-velopment trail . . . . (as this blog leaves more permanent markings of the journey). My plan is to convince local information purveyors (such as BE(E) at Main Street) to post their info to Shawnee Net or somewhere else that has an RSS feed, so folks like me can keep up with what's going on. I will do this, not by sending emails alone, but by personally visiting their offices and set up their free account. Twisting arms, if I must. If they refuse to get with the program -- the e-dification of The Dale -- then under the bus they go. And I'm just the guy who can do it.

Twitter has definitely made me more productive in the past 24 hours, although that may not be the case for everyone. Judging from the Twitter / Public Timeline most are like text messages to the world -- quite forgettable, but I may base a book on my tweets someday, the world's first bwook.

Tweet, tweet - there's been an 'quake

According my latest tweet, I'm composing this blog post about Twitter.Com.

I'll begin by directing you to an article in The (thanks, tlev), Tweet, tweet - there's been an earthquake, which states:
"A little over a year into its life, Twitter appears to be reaching its tipping point – the threshold where mindless pastime ends and social relevance begins."
And it describes how "tweeters" alerted the world to the recent earthquake in China before anyone else. Another practical use of twittering (tweeting) can be read in Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth: Almost Arrested for Taking Photos at Union Station in New York City.
which describes how this NPR photographer was hassled and banned by security guards:
Just got told by security to leave. Asked to speak with a supervisor to explain why we can't take pictures at union station.
But the best use of twittering so far must be this tale from Egypt: How to use Twitter to get out of jail - where the one word tweet "Arrested" spoke volumes, and saved the tweeter's ass from jail. (Not so lucky was his non-tweeting translator.)

For tweeting to work most effectively, a mobile phone with text capabilities is absolutely necessary. Otherwise you're limited to computer-only, like me (until I upgrade my phone plan.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Social Networking in the Parking Lot

Fresh from an afternoon of Twittering at home and office, I ran into a fellow "tweeter" in the parking lot outside of Family Video (that's me holding I'm Not There, the Dylan biopic where the main character is played by 5 different actors, including Cate Blanchett. . . . Get a load of those out-sized shades! My motorcycle goggles. But I digress).

KT is a computer specialist for the School of Journalism at SIU. He started back when I was on the faculty and using a Macintosh like everyone else in the Dept. I was faculty advisor for the original "S.A. Lukis" student advertising club that won a regional competition in Chicago. The prize was $25,000 in Mac equipment, which didn't buy as much computer as it does now. . . . But I digress. Again.

The subject of this post is Social Networking, the current buzz word on the 'net and in the news. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, The Aleluminati, the list is endless. I myself belong to several, most recently this Twitter deal....

So KT and I chatted about twitter and later we will twitter about chatting . . . by his car as his Little Caesar's pizza grew cooler on the car seat. We each snapped photos of the two of us together for our respective blogs. I challenged him to see who could get it posted first.... If I wasn't so wordy, I would have won, but KT beat me to it. And still I digress.

I think a really great place for Social Networking is inside Schnuck's. Just sit on the bench and see how many people stop to chat. That will make an interesting blog post.

All a'Twitter

A new social networking sites has caught my eye called Twitter: What are you doing? where people continually update their latest activities. (brb, gotta twitter . . . ). This is great, I can start blogging about what I twitter about, and twitter what I blog about. Of course some stuff you wouldn't want to Twitter. (3:10 p.m. ... whacked off ... the heads of all the dandelions in the yard with a scythe purchased at Murdale True Value.)

I see some other local 'netters are already twittering, but only one was up-to-date today. The other two were a couple of weeks behind. You can follow these and other twitterers on line at the click of mouse ? My own exploits will be posted for as long as I continue twittering at Signing up is easy.

According the welcome email: The New York Times calls Twitter "one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet." I don't know what to make of it yet, but when I find out, I'll twitter it, then blog it. Or perhaps the other way 'round.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Morris doesn't smell here anymore

On a visit to Morris Library yesterday to renew my card, I noticed that the smell is not the same in the stairwell, due to new rubber-tread stairs. And the floors are mostly empty; bereft of books now housed in an annex bldg. on McLafferty Rd.

And the new sign-in procedure doesn't work, either, for reasons I'll explain to someone at the circulation desk this morning. If you have a Morris "Courtesy Card," eventually you'll have to do the same. If you don't have a "Courtesy Card" and live near SIU, then maybe you should get one. $10 per six months.

I don't mosey 'round in Morris like I did, when browsing was a tactile and olfactory experience. The digital is devoid of these, no walking down the aisle, viewing Pulliam clock tower out the window, or sitting on the 4th(?) floor balcony. The new library will be devoid of these as well.

I wonder how much time or money it would take to recreate the Morris Library scent. Never smelled anything quite like it in other libraries.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

At large with Lynne & Jerry

Yesterday, I met "Biggest Loser" Jerry Lisenby (and his winning wife, Lynne), two trans-continental bicyclists taking a bus detour to Peoria for one of Jerry's speaking engagements. When they return to Carbondale later this month they will continue their bike trek across the continent to benefit the Children's Home of Illinois.

I'd like to host an event for Jerry and Lynne while they're here. Since he's a motivational speaker, a talk at the Public Library might be arranged . . . but he doesn't know about it yet. And I haven't heard his speech, yet I am motivated to take a look at a YouTube video of Jerry on the Today Show, which may be interesting to you if you're "getting up there" age- or weight-wise.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


The hack attack by Turkish hacker "iSKORPiTX" extended to all the web sites hosted by Shawnee Net. In 2006, he hacked more than 21,000 sites in a single day, sez Security Pro News. I should feel honored, sez PtG.

What happened is the home pages of the attacked site is replaced by Skorpy's page with a Turkish virtual flag fluttering above, and messages in four languages.

On the heels of server problems, and the subsequent hack attack, Shawnee Net site has been down for a 3 - 4 weeks, and it's still not back to where it was. A local geek tried to help, but he got a case of the drupals, and phoned-in sick-of-trying, due to an over-the-head-ache. Getting the site fully functional again is now job one for me.

Persistence in a righteous course brings reward, the I Ching saying goes. Another way of saying "Organization brings success," and Drupal offers a taxonomy platform for "Community Plumbing" that is unmatched in open source. Many cool websites use Drupal: The Onion, the New York Observer, and Yucatan Today, to name a few.

But all the high-tech information software in the world won't get the job done, if the folks in charge of things don't get the(ir) message(s) out. That includes city government, community organizations and businesses that fail to use electronic media to "get the word out."

I won't name names to blame for this failure (yet, because I'm hopeful a renewed persuasive push from me may water seeds I planted months ago), but kudos to Monica Tichenor and Beth Spezia at SIU-Public Broadcasting, and the news services at SIUC and JALC.

The new Shawnee Net theme is called "Forest Floor" and it has three columns (one of which I'm having trouble with at the moment). Still haven't mastered the color scheme, either, but the site will fully blossom soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hack attack

Surprised to find the Turkish flag flying on the Shawnee Net web site, with a message from Iskorpitx (TURKISH HACKER) , who has set some kind of record for hacking into web sites, according to Security Pro News.

And while Iskorpitx may be a super hacker, I am not impressed. Security at ShawneeNet has been lax, as the site is undergoing reconstruction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Work to Bus & Bike 2 Work

Negotiations for the new Greyhound Bus location (the BP gas station at 905 E. Main St.) have been complicated by the fact that Greyhound Lines Inc. recently cut the commission rate for small agencies like mine from a top rate of 12% to 9%, and the moving costs, plus the monthly rent will cost more than anticipated.

Been pondering how to complete a deal that will benefit all parties but me. . . . Try to work it so I don't lose money. One solution is to involve the crew at BP more than originally planned, and pay a percent of the 9%. How much is hard to say because it's only been 1 full month since the rate was cut.

If they can do the job, I can stay home in the morning and work on the blook, as well as the script for Hold the Sausage -- which can't be done, if I'm answering the questions of people who are "double checking" what the 800 number told them, or what they read online.

But until an agreement is settled with the BP folks, the move is stalled.

Meanwhile, Bike 2 Work Day came off nicely. Weather was permitting, and Global Gourmet box lunches were delicious. The trophy for the individual who rode the farthest went to a guy from SIU School of Microbiology, whose name I forgot to ask when handing him the trophy (but will). I only know he rode 12 miles. The prize for most members of a business or organization went to Morris Library who had 8 staffers ride their bikes to work, and to lunch at the Pavilion.

It would have been better (merrier) if members of the business community and the local bicycle club participated, but there are two big reasons why not. Some live too far away (they say), ore they are too fearful to bycycle on a busy street. Some don't want perspiration to spoil their day; and some, like Rotary Breakfast Club, and the Carbondale Bicycle Club don't participate (I believe) because they don't want to sanction anything sponsored by Mayor Brad Cole.

The antipathy to Cole goes back to the first year, when a baby shower was scheduled by the staff at City Hall for the same day (although City Mgr. Jeff Doherty rode . . . and now-retired assistant City Mgr. Don Monty was a year-round biker to worker, so the City was represented. Even Brad borrowed a bicycle an rode into the parking lot for the tv camera.)

Speaking of the tv camera, I tried to have a bit of fun while Cole was being interviewed by Channel 3, walking behind him during the interview with the guy who won the Year Round Rider trophy, but the station went with an extreme close-up of Cole's face, and only about 5 seconds of clip, so no comic hi-jinx were seen on the newscast.

Bye for now. It's almost time for me to bike to the bus station.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beautiful day for a ride to work

As noted elsewhere, today is Bike 2 Work Day; I'm stoked, spoked, and fit for a toke! Not a cloud in the sky. . . . A beautiful day for a ride, and everything is set for lunch at the Pavilion. Global Gourmet will cater the event; my mainn mann Darby McGrann will play guitar & croon a tune or two; and the trophies and prizes are good to go. . . . I hope there's a good turnout. . . . There's been a drop-off in participation since the first year, when even the City Manager joined in and rode to work.

If less people are involved, I blame myself. . . . I don't do enough of the person-to-person thing and follow-up. Not that I haven't tried; I've spoken one-on-one to various community and business leaders. Informally, but directly. And people pay lip service, but rarely pay hip service.

There are good reasons for not riding your bicycle to work today or any day -- too long a distance being the reason most people cite. Or not having a bike.

But those of you who know the freedom and joy of breezing along the street on a sunny Springy day like this one should ride their bicycles to Town Square this afternoon and spend an hour with some fellow travelers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Caddy chic

Preparing for future move to greener pastures, it's time to sell the old Caddy that brought me (back) here in 1996, when gasoline cost $1.30 per gallon.

It's been warehoused for 2-3 years, but last weekend, we got it started and moved into the sunlight for photos on Ebay, which has a helpful "Sell your vehicle" checklist (pdf).

Asking $750, but readers of this blog can get the "Bloggee Special" - $500, with a small magnetic statue of Mary for the dashboard thrown in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Peddling Bike 2 Work Day 6

Gotta get out and about today. Pick up gift certificates from local bicycle shops: The Bike Surgeon, Carbondale Cycles, and Phoenix Cycles, and ordering trophies from Carbondale Trophy for Friday's Bike 2 Work Day event at Town Square Pavilion.

I wonder if more businesses will participate this year? Perhaps an Arthur Agency vs. 1187 Creative bragging rights competition? I know that every single employee at Carbondale Greyhound will be riding a bicycle to work. If any luggage has to be picked up that day from Amtrak, I may have to tow the suitcase on my bicycle as I did a few weeks ago. (Quicktime). The video is tagged with promo for the local Bike 2 Work Day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fast friends

One of the hats I wear is driver for a local company that transports Amtrak crew from station to motel and back, morning and night. Four days a week I drive, for the past couple of years, and I have met some cool conductors and ingenious engineers. Shall I use their real names? Conductors Dave, Stan, Josh, Jason, TT (the trophy-winning bike to worker), and engineers Jeremy, Steve, Bryan, and George? . . . No, I better not. ;-)

Over the months, we've had many brief conversations. Depending on who's riding, the conversation will be politics (local and national), sports, music, television, and sometimes Amtrak shop talk, which I do not overhear.

Adding up the minutes spent each day. It's more than I've conversed of some of my grown children in the past year. Those lovable train jockeys have become like family: like second-cousins, once removed.

George the engineer occasionally brings me a CD he has burned of new music: Ever heard of Ryan (not Bryan) Adams? A brilliant and prolific singer-songwriter. You can see him perform on Letterman courtesy of YouTube.

Conductor Dave-47 brings me the latest issue of The Onion humor magazine, which this week reveals a papal plot against the U.S. and a story about an "Area man determined to get money's worth from pay toilet." Dave himself is funnier than Onion. His strength is mimicry, but he gets off one-liners faster than a speeding locomotive. I should sign him as a client. Book him at PK's to warm-up the Tawl Paul crowd some night when the train gets in early. There has never been a really successful conductor comedian. He could be billed as Boxcar Bill. The only problem might be some heckler shouting out "All Are Bored!"

Speaking of Paul, Jeremy the engineer is a hard-core Paultard! Still supporting Ron Paul for President, because he opposes the Income Tax. I'll try to swing him to Obama before November. Convince him that Barack can fix the effed-up Federal Income Tax system -- as well as everything else that ails America -- when he gets in office. ;-)

One of the guys (actually two if you count Jeremy's ministership in the Church of Mail Order Ministers) is an ordained Baptist minister, who preaches at his church on Sundays (but never in the car). Like many other Americans, Rev. Stan is no fan of Obama's former pastor. Looks like Rev. Wright is getting thrown under the bus by Barack and the media as well.

Speaking of bus, the move of Carbondale Greyhound to the BP station on East Main St. has stalled due to no signed lease agreement yet, due to one thing and another. June 1 now seems the likely date accompli.

Speaking of dates, my Match subscription expires at the same time. I better get hooked up soon, or my choices may be limited to Greyhound bus customers (or bustomers as they're known in the biz). Unfortunately, things aren't working out with the nice woman for whom I created the blog of love last week. Turns out, she doesn't read blogs, because she is too busy with real life! Can you imagine that? I still love her, though. Just not in a bloggy way. Wow. That was fast. ;-)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Imagine no technical difficulties

Our old friend Peter the Great notes the lack of frequent posts to this blog, suggesting that I might be out of town. Oh, I'm out of town alright -- at the Marberry Arboretum and Green Earth, enjoying the Spring sights and sounds.

The reason why I haven't been blogging much is the medium is 'old-hat' for me now. I need a new drug: Drupal could be it (sure sounds like a drug), but there have been technical difficulties with transferring files to a new server, causing the ShawneeNet aggregator to go completely down. It's always something, ain't it?

The new server is another story. I was hosting with a company in New Lennox, IL, but the service went south a few months ago, so when it came time to renew the contract I went with a spiffy-looking cheap hosting outfit called 3iX, which didn't work out (couldn't upload files for 4 days!) so I canceled the account, but they're dragging on refunding my payment. I should have investigated more before paying for a full year in advance.

So top priority is getting the Shawnee Net site up to speed again, with the aggregator and community blog components.

Another reason why I don't blog much about The Dale these days is . . . distractions of pop culture: the Presidential race (Obama all the way), the NBA Playoffs (Hornets all the way), American Idol (David Archuleta all the way. Watch David's amazing version of 'Stand by Me' on Tuesday's Idol. If you like it, his rendition of 'Imagine' ain't bad either.)

Speaking of standing and imagining . . . the manager of Longbranch, stood at the Greyhound ticket counter yesterday passing out a flyer for a meeting of the Historic Town Square Coalition. People in this town still don't get the virtue of virtual media. I could give you a list of names (and will, in my blook) of business and organizational leaders who fail to use electronic media to promote their things. If you find Longbranch's menu on the internet, it's because I scanned it and posted it, at no charge to the Branch, years ago.

Call me a dreamer, Bloggee, but I believe the people of Carbondale, Illinois want better information delivery.

Imagine no news paper, I wonder if you can,
Nothing to recycle, or throw in the trash can
Imagine all the people, linked by silicon . . .
Yahoo-oo-oo may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope some day, Carbondale Community Arts, Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, etcetera will join us
And the town will be more fun.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the blook of love

We know who wrote Book of Love, but who (I wonder) will write the blook of love? Months ago, I signed-up for (endorsed by Dr. Phil) to meet a bicycle-riding woman in Portland, Oregon, where I plan(ned) to relocate when my work in Southern Illinois was done.

But now, it's certain I'll be staying here in C'dale for at least another year, due to expanding opportunities with Greyhound, and local-focus projects, like the ShawneeNet web site (completely down at the moment, due to technical difficulties beyond my time to figure out), the Vegetable House film, and the (long-promised, now on back-burner) blook.

Oh, and I met a nice local woman, who's on the front burner.

Shall I write the Blook of Love? To start, I'll need a blog of love -- and her permission. ;-)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If I were on City Council

I was relieved when back in ought-5, i lost my bid for Carbondale City Council in the preliminary round. I wonder how my fellow candidates are doing now. I heard about Angie Kaye on the news the other day, where she's webmastering something, but I don't think she's keeping up her blog. Rhett Barke I see at Schnucks once in a while. Don't see Fritzler or Wissmann; nor TyJuan Cratic. I supposed the closest friendship I formed from the experience was with Hugh Williams.

If I were on City Council, I would have pressed to relocate the Amtrak Station across the tracks to Washington St.: which would make the Amtrak property available for commercial development. Maybe it would have been shot down, like my request to have the Greyhound bus stop in the 200 block of N. Washington.

Something has definitely got to give with the combined bus-train ("intermodal") depot, like in Champaign. There is talk among state legislators and local politicians to make it happen, but ground will not be broken for a local project for several years, is my bet.

(Speaking of bets, looks like I'll hafta payoff on mine with Tom Miller, that Katie Curic would last at least 3 years.)

If I were on City Council, the Mayor would have (had) a comedic foil worthy of his world class smart-assiness. As it is, only Wissmann and McDaniel seem to appreciate his one-liners. It would be funny to assemble an amusing "reel" of Cole cracks followed by Wissmann's seconding laughter (I'll try to make one from the next City Council meeting I listen to, promise).

If I were on City Council, I would write about the experience, as it transpired, commenting on the stupid things some City Councilors say. It might be fun to put together a Haynes lowlight reel. If I were on City Council, I'd do it.

If I were on City Council, I would support Mayor Cole's efforts to rebuild a City that got run down due to poor decisions by previous City Councils.

I would put forward a proposal to give City official "Home of Dome" status, a better slogan than "Haven't You Heard." The Geodesic Dome invented by former local Buckminster Fuller would be a good symbol for the City, a viable vision from the City's recent past, as shown by efforts by a local group to preserve Fuller's home. The Arena Dome could be reconfigured as geodesic when it is upgraded.

Since I am not on City Council (thank dawG, some say!), I pay little attention to City politics. What I know I read in the Bytelife blog; or the City's audio of the meetings; or from periodic meetings with the mayory old soul, himself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If Maggie were Mayor

Looking around Carbondale today, I wonder how much of what we see (or don't see) is because this blog supported Brad Cole for Mayor back in 2003. Hard to tell, but the landscape would certainly be different. Maggie had a Renaissance Vision; Cole had a Reconstruction Vision. Since he's been mayor, nearly 3 dozen buildings have disappeared from view.

Would Jim Jarvis and Cycletech still be located in the now-demolished dairy building, along with Gasoline Alley if Maggie were elected instead of Cole? Would Selmier-Peerless still be crumbling on the corner of Washington & Walnut?

Would K-Mart building be empty? Would TIF District approval have occurred; would First Southern Bank be there?

My reasons for supporting Cole back then were due primarily to Ms. F's 4x failure to reply to email messages concerning the swimming pool issue. By then, Cole had sufficiently impressed with his follow-through and willingness to go along with some of my ideas.

Would things be stagnant if Flanagan had been elected? (If she had, Sheila Simon would not have run for Mayor in the last election.) Tom Redmond would still be working at his job.

I saw Maggie recently at a musical event at Hangar 9. She looked great, and told me of her family's effort to grow organic grapes on land east of town.

Cole, I get to visit with in his office, every two or three months. Will see him at Bike 2 Work Day on May 16 . . . . Would there be a Bike 2 Work Day if Maggie were Mayor? Sure. Why not?

This post could shape up as a chapter in my blook, so the next time I see Cole and Flanagan, I'll ask them what they think.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shake, rattle & (rock 'n') roll

Like many others in the Midwest this morning, I was awakened by the shaking of my bed and rattling windows -- the result of what has since been labeled a 5.2 earthquake stemming from the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located in Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana.

I rolled out of bed and threw up the window sash. Nope, wasn't Santa and 8 reindeer on the roof. Nor was there a division of tanks rolling down my street. This was my first plus 3.0 earthquake, and I was surprised no knick-knacks fell from shelves, but I rearranged my Simpsons action figures anyway, and returned to bed and sleep, wondering if some modern-day Tecumseh predicted this unexpected shifting of the earth's plates.

Today, it's the hot topic for discussion, but you may find Pandora Radio - Free Internet Radio more satisfying in the long run. I found 14 different versions of "Shake, Rattle, Roll," including: Bill Haley & His Comets, Big Joe Turner (the original), Elvis Presley, Joe Turner, Johnny Horton, Billy Swan, Clifton Chenier, Snooks Eaglin, Deep River Boys, Jeff Healey, Sam Cooke, Ernie K-Doe, Joe Williams, NRBQ.