Looking forward to “Out of the Furnace”

As a western Pennsylvanian, I have to admit this trailer strikes a chord with me.  No, I was never a boxer nor did I even rescue a kidnapped sibling. But hey, I am more than happy to be engrossed in the scenery of this story about someone who did. Looks like it was beautifully shot. Also, the cast promises to bring an all star, A Game performance.

Christian Bale is carving out a niche for himself as a hardscrabble, dark, gritty kind of character (I’m thinking The Fighter, 3:10 To Yuma, The Machinist, etc.). We will see how he handles it!

Spring in Pittsburgh

I love the spring in Pittsburgh. The farmers markets open up, the flower shows are in full bloom (ha ha), and live, free music seems to be playing from every plaza and park throughout the city.

2013 Super Bowl Ads: GoDaddy, Budweiser, Mercedes, BlackBerry, Samsung and the night’s most interesting commercials. – Slate Magazine

ah yes, the annual run down of the best and worst of Superbowl television ads. What would we do without this holiday to help us through until our next big buying spree on the 14th?

2013 Super Bowl Ads: GoDaddy, Budweiser, Mercedes, BlackBerry, Samsung and the night’s most interesting commercials. – Slate Magazine.

And my favorite:

The Shorpy Website

A vintage photography website named Shorpy caught my eye. What a great collection of photographs! Some are user-submitted, in case anyone out there has an old box of vintage gems which they would like to share. The reason the site grabbed my attention was because of a photo from the industrial heyday of Pittsburgh, PA. It is a dark and haunting image that is truly captivating.

Looking at old photographs reminds us that the comforts and leisure we now have were not always available, and in fact, it was only a very short time ago that folks were literally living in tents. Our great towns and communities had their start as tiny hubs of trade or transport – no one knew which way the tides of fortune would turn.

We must remember that we have arrived where we are not only because of the efforts of those before us, but also because we are constantly in motion. We were not always a nation of 180 million people with a high GDP and educational opportunities, new cars, cable TV, climate control, etc. For goodness’ sake, ten years ago, there were no iPhones. But now, it is difficult to imagine walking through a crowded area without seeing one (or a hundred).

And so, Shorpys – reminding me that we are travelling along a prism of development and growth. I look around my home and can’t help but think, what of all this will be unusable and quaint in 40 years because the technologies of our humanity have passed it by?

Light Solution for Dark Homes!

Check out what this clever guy is doing to provide light for folks – he is filling empty plastic pop bottles with water and a little bit of bleach. Then he installs them into the corrugated roof panel and seals them to keep out the rain. The water refracts the light and illuminates the interior of their homes – for free!

Read more about bringing light into dark homes

Check out the video on YouTube:

Summer Gardening

Summer usually brings with it an unquenchable fever for gardening and all sorts of landscaping activities. This year, though, I have barely mowed the lawn. What gives?

My thought is that the bizarre weather has messed with my internal clock. It is mid-May and we still have cool rains falling. We haven’t had a sunny day in weeks. It still feels like we are breaking out of a late winter even though we are long into the early summer already. There don’t seem to be any natural events going on outside to trigger my gardening instincts. I need a gardening trigger stimulus!

This week, I know I do need to cut back the tulip and daffodil shoots. I need to get some annuals for the beds. But what about the mulch, the worm castings, the tomato planters, the endless seedlings. And jiffy mix?  Those i’ve usually been through with a month ago. My back deck is usually a tropical jungle of herbs, vegetables, & flowers by now. Instead it is a barren of last fall’s empty marigold pots which the dog has taken for abandoned and now pees on.

But for the summer rose bushes exploding all over town in front of homes and businesses, I’d have forgotten to plant altogether. 

Those summer roses, bless them. Oddly, I think they are blooming so heartily because of the constant drizzle throughout these many long, cool, shady days.

I guess the garden has some lessons to teach me. Even if they are other people’s gardens, other people’s roses, I should remember to think if the better things that can come out of unusual circumstances.

Check out my new theme

My personal blog now has a new theme (design). Hooray for me! I got this theme from ThemeTrust. They have a pretty nice selection of WordPress themes at a fair price. Why did I buy instead of make my own? I had imported free themes and I had built themes, but I never actually paid for a premium theme. So I wanted to check out the bells and whistles. I learned that A) there is always a learning curve, even when you pay for something, and B) I am really happy for the fellow who built these themes. He is working hard in the community forums to answer thousands of questions from users, so he has a lot of pressure on him. But it appears, from reading through the forums, that he is doing a great job of helping folks out.

One thing i would suggest is that his “Getting Started” PDFs include default image dimensions. This would make it easier to quickly build out a site using one of his templates.