Today is supposedly International Podcast Day. Well, let's celebrate this phony-baloney holiday by taking a look at some of the podcasts that I've been listening to lately. I feel like this list will change as time goes by so I wanted to document it here for future reference. These are in no particular order so here goes.
Robert Gomez's blog
The current presidential election cycle has made Facebook insufferable these days. As the various screeds flow across my feed from people who would normally be reasonable friends, I am noticing what I am calling, "political word trends." Out-of-the-blue people start using the exact same words to describe something with which they have a political beef. I know this is essentially the same thing as talking points (like when every Democratic operative on the planet described Hillary "powering through" her illness), but what I am seeing is just a little more subtle.
For the past half-year or so I have been participating in the PRF Monthly Tribute series where various artists and friends cover a different band each month. This month I did a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Big Love." I thought there were not enough references to Zardoz in the Fleetwood Mac oeuvre, so I fixed that.
The past few weeks I have been diving into the world of assembly language programming on the Apple ][ computer. My interest in the topic stems from the recent book release of a compilation of articles on assembly language programming called Assembly Lines: The Complete Book. The articles were written by Roger Wagner and originally published in Softalk magazine back in the early eighties. This edition was edited by Chris Torrence and is available for download and purchase from a number of locations.
Now, I am pretty familiar with Applesoft Basic programming, but I was always in awe of commercially released software on the Apple ][ that ran so fast, had fancy hi-res graphics and used sounds other than the system beep. What was the secret of these mythical programs that required you to type "BRUN" in order to get them to load? The secret was machine language.
Did you know I maintain an informational resource page dedicated to Planet Pimp Records (the greatest record label ever to exist)? Well, now you do, and today I uploaded a massive update to the site. This is mostly behind the scenes stuff that makes the site easier for me to update, but I have also added some new features including links to external video and audio. There have also been some fancy style tweaks so the site now scales to fit mobile devices.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, this site has received a major theme overhaul. Aside from a couple form element styles, this change was mostly structural and behind-the-scenes. The new theme is my first foray into using the SASS CSS preprocessing language. Let me tell you, it was a revelation. SASS allows you to write CSS using a super-clean tabbed coding style and (finally) allows the use variables and expressions in styles.
Well, recently I've been trying to learn how to use SASS for styling Web pages and have kinda fallen in love with it. So here is my first go at it in the form of a new site template. Not much has changed visually, but, trust me, there have been a ton of changes behind the scenes. I will post more about this and the trials of retrofitting a Drupal theme for SASS sometime in the near future. In the meantime, look at the neat comments buttons I made!
I've been having some technincal issues with this site lately. Strange links to content within the site have been appearing at random. I would insert a hyperlink to an archived post and then, days later, I would come back to see that the URL has been rewritten with a random sub-domain prefix. My domain would appear as www.wqw.robertgomez.org or similar.
So, here we are post mid-term Republican take-over of the legislature. As one might expect, my Facebook feed been awash with bitter and angry lefty losers (Although it hasn't been quite as bad as I expected. I guess the election outcome was not much of a shock). Posts range from the typical "I don't know anyone who would have voted for these monsters" to expected sour-grapes cries of cheating, etc. Fortunately, there were none of the usual calls to violence and injury as I have seen in the past:
The record label/co-op thingy I help run has a major release available for pre-order today! Go secure your copy of The Austerity Program's Beyond Calculation and get a t-shirt as part of the package.
Taking a break from my usual and completely unnecessary review posts, I thought I'd take a moment get a little technical. This site and many others I have developed use the Drupal open-sourced content management system. Drupal is great. It's incredibly flexible, powerful and yet moderately easy to use if you have a little Web design experience.
Other systems I have used in the past, including Microsoft Sharepoint and Wordpress, don't hold a candle to Drupal. Sharepoint is an abomination and the only reason you should ever use it for a public facing Web site is if you work at Megacorp, Inc. and some idiot I.T. guy bought it as part of a multi-million dollar corporate enterprise package. Customizing Sharepoint is an exercise in futility and self-immolation. Just assume that your clean standards-compliant code with get destroyed and converted into a stew of redundant tags and impossible-to-style markup. Wordpress is much better than that but it still falls short of Drupal when it comes to customizing your content types and controlling look and feel. You can hardly do anything custom in Wordpress without having to hand code PHP. Simple tasks like adding an extra field to a post-type are just a pain and require some sort of third-party plugin (of which there are many and all of them do it differently). The only area where Wordpress is better than Drupal is in installing and updating plugins and core systems. Drupal is getting better at this, but it still has a way to go to match the ease of use that Wordpress offers.
For all my Drupal love, it still isn't perfect right out of the box. Any Drupal install is going to require also installing a number of add-on modules to get your site fully reach its potential. So here is a list of the modules that I will include in every Drupal site that I create.
It was a rainy Halloween here in Chicago so my usual program of manning the front door, blasting creepy sound effects records and watching old (mildly) kid-friendly horror movies was cut a little shorter than usual. I did manage to watch Mario Bava's Baron Blood. Not his best work but it has its moments. If you think burnt pilgrims are scary, this is the movie for you.
I managed to watch a couple more Halloween themed films this weekend. This included another Fulci film, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, which I rank as his best along side The Beyond. Unlike most of his other work, this one is tightly plotted and suspenseful. It features a bunch of deranged hippies, surreal dream sequences, a fantastic Morricone score and a compelling performance by David Horowitz of TV's Fight Back:
Each year around this time I always tell myself that I am going to watch a different horror movie every night in the lead-up to Halloween. I never seem to get around to it and end up cramming two or three films in at the last minute—usually Halloween evening while the rest of the family is out trick or treating. Well, this year I have managed to be a little more on top of things. Especially now since we have a DVD-ready laptop positioned in front of my treadmill. There's nothing like a bit of Fulci close-up gore to motivate the fat burning.
Okay, how about this: I just spent around a week updating this site and, in order to celebrate(?), I'm going to hold a little contest. I get a little trickle of traffic every day and I am always wondering if anyone actually reads this stuff.