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I really haven't had much drive to update this site for a while. For the past three years I've been back in school - in fact, the last time I wrote anything substantial was about the end of my first term. The first year of classes was me just taking some classes to expand my mind a little. When I embarked on the second year, I had decided to pursue certificates with the plan to continue on to a degree if I had failed to land a job. Guess, what. At the end of this month I graduate with two Associates of Science degrees - Web Programming and Web Administration - and with high honors (yes, that surprised me as well).

Since my area of study was Web Programming and Administration, it seemed a shame that my own internet "properties" have fallen into disrepair. So I started with this - my very first domain - and began with fixing up the theme a bit. The site uses Joomla 2.5, and since the upgrade from Joomla 1.5 the theme hasn't been very well utilized, I decided to try and create a custom theme. There's something about a clean theme, and this one reminds me a little of my old MoveableType environment. The logo has also been updated (I've been taking a graphics arts class this term, and now know a little more of how to use Adobe's Creative Suite...) it now uses the altered Albertus typeface that was used in the Prisoner TV series, and the text is filled in with the HD BBC Test Card.

Speaking of the BBC, my old BBC clock was a Flash based widget - which meant it didn't work everywhere - so I discovered that a BBC web engineer had designed an HTML5 version of the clock. All I needed to do was adjust the dimensions and colour, and add the static graphics. Sadly, there will always be items that don't play on all systems - the last article I published before this one contains a music video from Vimeo, which appears to be Flash as well...

One of the other things I started to take care of (and hopefully caught all of) was missing images in the articles. Various moves from various platforms over the years, a lot of the images and internal links were broken. Also, a lot of the dates are wrong (or indeed missing) and I'll try to fix that as I have time. It may be a simple fix (created v. published dates showing up)

So hopefully, for the few of you who stop by, this site will look and work a whole lot better. 

...and preparations are being made for people to come over for a Prisoner Premiere Party (though it could very well be a wake...)  One of the Prisoner Premier Party-goers sent me this link to a fitting cartoon at this time.

Today was the last day of my introduction to C++ programming class at Foothill College.  This was something that I hope would help me on my quest for employment.  Of course starting this class threw a wrench in my unemployment benefits, as they want to interview you to make sure you're still willing to go to work when the call comes.  Of course I'm still willing to go to work, it's just that I know I'm lacking in many areas that might help me secure a new job.  That, and the fact that after five months I was getting a bit stir crazy and a bit bored.  Having somewhere to go everyday, at a time designated by someone else (whether a job or school) helps you get through the day.  Well that's now over, and it's back to being bored out of my skull.

 

I have some video editing that I need to work on for use at the beginning of October, which will take some of my mind off the lack of employment - as well as putting in for the odd job, here and there.  In fact, the job hunt went on a bit of a slow down while I was taking my class, but I still put in for a couple more positions during those six weeks - with a very promising one in the mix.  Even though it's a promising prospect, I'm not going to count on it - well, one shouldn't count on it.  I should be composing a cover letter for another position that I may be qualified for at the "fruit company," but I'm just wanting to relax a bit.  I have a lot of television to catch up on - since I wasn't watching much during my six-week course work, as I wanted to be able to concentrate on the computer programming and not the video programming.

 

But the bomb-shell for today has to be the fact that the decade known as the '80s if now officially dead.  It died when John Hughes succumbed to a heart attack, in New York, at 59.  When I think of John Hughes, I think of a prolific writer-director - but that's only half true.  Hughes only directed eight films - and one of them was in the '90s, so knock that down to seven films.  But those films spoke for the decade, they made stars out of the "Brat Pack" and he made a star out of Chicago and it's suburbs. And when you look at his CV, which is what you do when someone passes on, he has a pretty hefty list of writing credits.  He started out as a writer with the National Lampoon magazine, and - though he wasn't involved with Animal House - he did write for the spin-off television series Delta House (which I watched before seeing it's predecessor...) and pretty much all of Lampoon's big movie output in the '80s.  He, of course, wrote all the movies that he directed - 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller Day Off, Planes Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby and Uncle Buck - and, well, Curly Sue but that was in the '90s.  In fact, Hughes' output in the '90s - while doing "boffo B.O." - were not quite the same.  He was responsible for the Home Alone and Beethoven series'; remakes of Miracle on 34th Street, 101 Dalmatians and Flubber.  He went from films about an life to, well, just films.  Soulless, meaningless, films.  I suppose that's why he started to work under the psudonymn Edmond Dantès.

 

I think that John Hughes will be fondly remembered, but for me it will soley be his work in the '80s.

Okay...  It's been widely believed that famous deaths always come in threes.  It's just apophenia - the tendency of human minds to see patterns where none exist.  That being said, however, these three came fast and furiously: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett (nee Majors) and - as a complete shock - Michael Jackson.  I say complete shock because Ed was old and Farrah had been in hospital for a while (and was on everybody's death watch) where as Michael - while a freak of plastic surgery - had big concerts planned (though, as it's already been joked about, he will honor his London dates, but as a Thriller zombie - @serafinowicz on Twitter got to that one first!) and with no whisper of illness - except mental.

Oops, shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but for those of us not devoted to the one time King of Pop (and I sincerely believe him to have been completely dethroned yonks ago) his later years will always be linked to jokes about his "body work", dangling children off of balconies and his "love" of small boys.  While Ed may have fallen victim to hard economic times, and Farrah may have had her nutty moments, at least they both had some sort of dignified reputation still intact.  Still, there are legions of followers for Michael - possibly to religious standards - and there will be the not too unusual comparisons to Elvis, especially both having the "King" title associated with them (and Michael marrying Elvis' daughter) we might start hearing of "Michael Jackson sightings" and theories that he faked his death.

Sadly Michael's death will completely overshadow the passing of Farrah, who really deserves more "ink" than Michael.  At least Ed got a few days in before hand, so that he could have proper tributes.

On this Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you...) I realize that I have now been unemployed for a full quarter of the year - 13 whole weeks.  I've had some highs recently (a face to face interview) and some lows (a temp agency had no interest in seeing me, but instead wanted me to operate wholly on line) plus the "cabin fever" has hit a little bit.

I really think that I'll start to panic in another 13 weeks; but until then it's hitting the bricks, leveraging my contacts, and getting noticed.

Two months on, and still nowhere.  It's early days yet, and with the first month having been a sort of vacation we're not worrying yet.  Learning that you need to know people - or at least know people who know people.  So if you know me, and you know other people who can potentially help me in getting me reemployed, please drop by LinkedIn and add me to your network. 

I've been in broadcasting/entertainment for over two decades, but I am looking at moving over to the computer industry - as the two industries have merged in recent years.  I'm also looking to stay in the Silicon Valley, but seeing as many (if not most) of the big tech companies are here that shouldn't be an issue.

Thank you for your time.

I've been on a vacation of sorts for the month of February, and now it's time to call an end to it - in a way...

John Mortimer, author of the Rumpole of the Bailey books, has died.

If this continues, my web site is going to be nothing but obituaries.

It was weird.  

I have a curious habit in that if I like the song I'm listening to on the car stereo when I park, I'll cue it up for when I start off again.  This particular morning I was pulling into work listening to The Times playing "I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape", a favorite little song of mine so it got cued up for my return home.  So after a shocking day of death announcements (both Patrick McGoohan and Ricardo Montalban) I climbed into my little car, turned it on and out came the song I had forgotten about cuing up over eight hours earlier.
 
Actually, weird isn't the word - spooky is...

The BBC has posted a nice obituary of Patrick McGoohan here.
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