A future trip…

2794715363_0a65217e29_oSeveral years ago, Deanna and I visited Washington DC. It was an awesome trip. I’d love to take my teenagers there. Obviously, my medical condition, as it now stands, makes it quite a while before I can do it. But you know me, I look far down the road, dream a little, and start planning.

Without my ability to drive, I’ve already been thinking about places to visit, once allowed by my medical team, where I won’t need a car. San Francisco jumps out quick. Public trans rocks, and it’s not far away.

And since y’all know I’ve fallen in love with Amtrak, I may just go that route. It’s more expensive than flying, but I’m sure I’ll be clear for the train before a plane, since I’m already taking the train for clinic visits with approval. So off I go, planning away!

This would be our route, on Amtrak. Why not a straight shot? Well, the northern route, via Chicago, is the “straight” shot. We’d us sleeper cars, the whole back and forth. But, the path back has us stopping for a night in New Orleans, then taking a bus to Shreveport, to spend the weekend with our Texas family, then back on the train, home to Guadalupe, that’s where the Santa Maria station is located.

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Learning to develop web applications

So, years ago, I learned a little HTML. I checked out a few web sites that showed me the basics and I just barely began to understand. Having absolutely no programming experience, I had no place to start from. This spiked my interest and I enrolled in a community college course on basic web design. It really wasn’t a design course, since we never covered any design priciples. It was just an HTML course. I’ve still got the text book.

Having learned the basics, I had just enough to be dangerous. However, what was most important was that I had learned how to deconstruct a webpage. This was when my learning began. I probably learned more over the next few years, just from “View Source”-ing my way through a page. One big feature I never picked up on was CSS. There were more, but this one has come back to bite me on more than one occaision.

So, things have changed quite a bit. Now everyone is using PHP, or some other tool to make web development smoother. Of course CSS is important, and I’ve been in the dark. To top it off, these whole CMS apps have really emerged as a great tool for organizing information.

Well, back in 2005, when I launched my first podcast, I learned that blogging tools would serve the podcast well. So, I tossed together the easiest WordPress install I could find. But, as time drug on, I decided that I wanted to customize my WP. Not as many plugins existed yet, so I had to do it by hand. I checked out the wiki and slowly began to realize that I had a lot more to juggle this time around. The code I was reading was similar in style, but it wasn’t anything I had learned in HTML. I quickly discovered what similarities PHP had with HTML, and I found a some good online help to learn the basics of customizing WP.

The problem I found was that I had began to learn about just the code that was used in WP. This wasn’t helping me learn how to code in PHP, generally. Since I wasn’t learning good PHP skills, I still had to use help for any problem that emerged with my WP.  This began to frustrate me.

Additionally, I’ve been observing the amazing Web 2.0 shift. Great tools and services are started everyday. I’m a big fan of Zooomr, you know this. There’s others like Zoho, Pownce, Twitter, and Facebook. All of these, being web applications, were developed with some amazing tools that I want to learn.

Am I to become the next Kristpher Tate? Probably not. But much of the bread and butter of web development isn’t on the front page of anything huge. I just want to fit in.

Do you have any input for me? Where do you think I should start? I’m working on a follow up post, one that details my plan of attack. I’ve got a Lynda.com hook up, so I’ll be taking several of their online courses, to get started. Today, PHP basics.

Some day, I want a new old car

So, I have this dream. When I’m older, have more money, and more time, I want to get myself an old car and fix it up. The problem is that I have no auto mechanical skills what so ever. I’m not discouraged though, I’ll learn. I’ve even considered that when my sons are old enough, we could enroll in a community college course to learn the basics.

What cars am I interested in, you ask. Well, I’m particularly fond of the first year of the Mercury Cougar, 1967. What I like is that it’s much like the amazingly popular Ford Mustang, sharing many parts and of course the powerplant. It has the benefits of a Mustang, size and power. However, it’s not a Mustang. The Mustang is like Paris Hilton, to me…You see them everywhere, and for no reason. I’m just sick of seeing Mustangs.

A friend’s dad has a beautiful red Cougar with a black vinyl top. Gorgeous. If he ever sells it without asking me first, I’ll be sad.

However much I love the Cougar, it’s not the end-all-be-all. I also like a couple of Chevrolet’s too.

First is the mid 1960’s to early 1970’s Chevy truck. I love the look of it. I’m not big on the Napoleonic complex massive trucks, nor the ethnically oriented low-rider. I’d like a clean, origianl look to this truck. The original orange color that many came in is great.

I also like the 1965 Chevelle. I’m not into the supped up hotrods, just a clean, original ride.

So, now that you’ve got an idea what I’m looking forward to someday, let me know what you think. Comment away.