Sunday, April 19, 2009

Will be back soon

Hello everyone,

Will be tending to my father's cataract surgery and recovery.

Stay well and may your creative juices continue to overflow! Petra xo

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What's all the Twittering About?

(CNN) -- Ashton Kutcher has challenged CNN to a popularity contest on the social media site Twitter.

CNN and Ashton Kutcher are racing for 1 million followers on Twitter.

The celebrity and the news network are racing to get 1 million followers on the micro-blogging site, where users post 140-character messages.

Kutcher challenged CNN to the race with a Web video posted on Tuesday. If he wins, Kutcher says he will "ding-dong ditch" CNN founder Ted Turner's house.

"I found it astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter," Kutcher says in a video, which was shot from inside a car and was posted on

"So I just thought that was just kind of an amazing comment on the state of our media, and I said that, if I beat CNN to 1 million viewers, then I would ding-dong ditch Ted Turner -- because I don't think it's gonna happen." Watch video of Kutcher's challenge »

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kutcher's Twitter account had 896,947 followers, putting him in third place in the number of followers. Britney Spears was in second with about 905,640 followers, and CNN's breaking news account was watched by 937,787 people on the site.

No single Twitter account has attracted 1 million followers, according to TwitterCounter and Twitterholic, two sites tracking the most popular Twitter users.

CNN maintains 45 official Twitter accounts, with a total of more than 1.3 million followers. Kutcher is racing the network's breaking-news feed specifically.

CNN's breaking-news feed on Twitter was launched three years ago by James Cox, a British web developer, as a way to get CNN news alerts on his mobile phone, said CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Martin.

In a development unrelated to Kutcher's challenge, CNN acquired the rights to the Twitter account from Cox this week, said Martin, who would not disclose terms of the deal.

"We've been working closely with [Cox] for the past two years," Martin said. "It's a good example of how a large media company can partner with its audience in innovative ways."

An information technology consultant in Croatia who is interested in the outcome of the contest has been tracking the rate of new followers for CNN and Kutcher. Marin Purgar says Kutcher will beat CNN to the 1 million follower mark before 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. CNN will hit the 1 million mark by 1 p.m. ET on Friday, based on Purgar's projection, which assumes the rate of new followers for the past 20 minutes will continue, he said by phone Wednesday. Purgar said he will continue to post updates to the data on his Twitter account.

Kutcher has been posting like mad to his account since challenging CNN to the battle. The celebrity -- known for the TV shows "Punk'd" and "That 70s Show," as well as for being married to actress Demi Moore -- has offered to give his millionth follower a copy of the video game "Guitar Hero."

He also says on Twitter he will donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day in late April if he beats CNN, and 1,000 if he loses. CNN has agreed to do the same, Martin said.

CNN hosts Larry King and Rick Sanchez responded Tuesday to the Twitter race on CNN television. Watch Larry King's response

In a video message that aired on CNN's "Larry King Live," the talk show host grinned as he accepted Kutcher's challenge.

King also teased Kutcher about his threat to ring Ted Turner's doorbell and then run away, noting that Turner formerly ran CNN and is not directly associated with the network today.
Kutcher responded to the video on his Twitter account with this post: "ok larry king is now one of my new favorite people and this means war lets go tweeps."

King has invited Kutcher to appear on his show, "Larry King Live." Kutcher, saying "this is a saga for the Internet," asked King to come on his "twit show" to settle things.

The battle has gained much attention on Twitter, with fans pulling for both sides.
Some online writers on Wednesday said the goofy race may be a real symbol of what's to come for Twitter.

MG Siegler, a writer for TechCrunch, a technology news site, said Twitter has gained popularity largely through breaking news feeds.

If Kutcher wins the race with CNN, Siegler said, it may indicate a symbolic shift toward personalities dominating the site. Twitter, Facebook growing pains?

"When Twitter started out, it seemed like its most practical usage would be doing stuff like breaking news," Siegler said by phone. "There was all the earthquake news, all the fire news ... that made it pretty interesting to a lot of people. But now, obviously, Twitter's gone to the whole next level with all the news coverage and all the celebrities who are starting to use it."

Kutcher may seek popularity, but he seems genuinely interested in interacting with his followers, which is a key to success on the site, Siegler said.

The battle highlights another Twitter trend: celebrities using their accounts to pump up charities and causes, not just their own fame. Kutcher may help charities fight malaria if he beats CNN, and actor Hugh Jackman posted this note on his Twitter account Tuesday, indicating he will donate $100,000 to a fan's favorite charity:

"I will donate 100K to one individual's favorite non profit organization. Of course, you must convince me why by using 140 characters or less." So far, Jackman has received Twitter responses from people interested in combating poverty, water shortages and anti-gay discrimination, among other causes.

Andrew Cherwenka, a Huffington Post contributor and Web developer at, said celebrities are starting to realize they can use their large Twitter followings to enact social change.

"He's got a lot of people listening to him," he said of Kutcher. "What's he saying?"

Monday, April 13, 2009

In Literature 100 years ago - April 13, 1909

Eudora Welty (1909–2001)

One of the most important “Southern” writers of the 20th century was born on April 13, 1909, in Jackson, Miss. Eudora Welty attended Mississippi University for Women and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1929. After postgraduate studies at Columbia University in New York, she worked for newspapers and radio stations and was a publicity agent for the Work Progress Administration, the agency formed by President Franklin Roosevelt to provide work for people during the Great Depression in the 1930s. A collection of her photographs of Mississippi taken during that time was published in 1972 as One Time: One Place. For six months, during World War II, she was on the staff of the New York Times Book Review, writing reviews on battlefield reports. She used the pseudonym Michael Ravenna for her reviews because an editor had said that a Southern woman—no matter how talented a writer—was not an authority on the war.

Set usually in her native state, most of Welty’s short stories and novels are tales of eccentric and even grotesque characters, whom she depicts with charm and sympathetic humor. Welty’s “South,” unlike that of fellow Mississippian William Faulkner, is not populated with tragic figures. Her subtle re-creation of regional patterns of speech and thought is remarkable. Many of the stories that brought her fame first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker magazines. In 1941, Welty published her first collection, A Curtain of Green and Other Stories, which contains “A Worn Path,” for which she received her second of eight O. Henry Awards for short-story writing; “Powerhouse”; and “Why I Live at the P.O.” The Golden Apples, a collection of interrelated stories set in the fictional town of Morgana, Miss., was published in 1949. An omnibus collection of the short stories was published in 1980.

She published The Robber Bridegroom, her first novel, in 1942, followed by Delta Wedding, in 1946. Her later novels include The Ponder Heart (1954), which received the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters medal for the most distinguished American fiction of 1950–55, and Losing Battles (1970). The Robber Bridegroom and The Ponder Heart were made into Broadway plays.

In 1972 Welty received the Gold Medal of Fiction given by the Institute of Arts and Letters, and a year later she won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter (1972), a story of a woman’s return to her childhood home in Mississippi. She published a volume of essays, The Eye of the Story, in 1979. Welty’s last book, Country Churchyards, an album of photographs she took during the 1930s and ‘40s, was published in 2000.

She died on July 23, 2001, in her home city, where she lived for most of her life. In One Writer’s Beginnings (1984), her memoir based on lectures she gave at Harvard University in 1983, Welty wrote, “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life,” but, as she observed, “a sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Does Anyone Twitter?

I've been thinking about "twittering". But I thought I would ask my fellow ubertech bloggers what their experiences have been like.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1) Why twitter? What is its purpose?

2) How does one start?

3) Any hidden costs?

4) Vulnerable to viruses, hackers, etc.?

5) Is it user friendly?

Any other comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm just beginning my research, and before attempting, thought your testimonials would be extremely helpful in making up my mind.

Thank you, fellow bloggers! Petra :))

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A New Yankee Stadium

Having been raised with three brothers, their love of sports was contagious. To boot, New Jersey had no teams of its own (except the New Jersey Nets basketball team which yo-yo'd back and forth between New York and New Jersey), so we'd travel to New York to watch our idols play.

When the idea of moving Yankee Stadium first came up, I, along with many other fans, couldn't grasp the reasoning and concept. "It was perfectly fine where it was." The following article helped shed some light on the future of Yankee Stadium. And I suppose, no matter what the fans had to say, it was going to happen anyway.

Yankee Stadium
New York, NY

Throughout the world there are buildings or structures, that over time become famous, legendary or popular for a variety of reasons. The 2008 baseball season marked the end to one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Yankee Stadium. Since its opening more than eight decades ago, the stadium was the home to one of the greatest teams in sports, the New York Yankees with legendary players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle and today's stars, Alex Rodriquez and Derek Jeter. The Yankees have a long history that dates back to Baltimore at the turn of the 20th century. They moved to New York in 1903, were known as the New York Highlanders and played at Hilltop Park until 1912 when their lease expired. They accepted an invitation to play at the New York Giants home, Polo Grounds and changed their name to the Yankees.

They signed a ten year lease at the Polo Ground in 1913 and began to outdraw the Giants at the end of the decade with the acquisition of Babe Ruth. By 1920 the Yankees became the first team to attract more than one million fans. The Giants evicted the Yankees after the 1922 season hoping that the Yankees would have to move to a borough far away so that the Giants could attract more fans.

The Yankees looked at several locations across the city to construct a new stadium. Various sites were explored including in Queens, upper Manhattan and along 5th Avenue and 32nd Street. Yankees co-owners Colonel Jacobs Ruppert and Colonel T.L. Huston paid $600,000 for land in the Bronx, less than a mile from Polo Grounds to build the stadium on. Designed by Osborn Engineering, original plans called for a triple-decked stadium with grandstands circling the entire field. However, because the stadium seemed too foreboding the original plans were scaled back. Instead, the ballpark became the first to have three tiers of seating consisting of 58,000 seats. It was also the first ballpark to be called a stadium because of its enormous size.

Construction of the stadium began on May 5, 1922 and was completed in just 284 days. The stadium was built of mainly steel and concrete as the triple decked grandstand extended behind homeplate and up the base lines. The lower deck continued until it met the wooden bleachers behind the outfield fence. A 15-foot copper facade was erected to adorn the stadium's third deck that became one of its most recognized and grandest features. The scoreboard was located beyond the bleachers in right field. Given the name Yankee Stadium, it was completed in only 284 days, opening on April 18, 1923. Original dimensions at Yankee Stadium were 295 ft. (right), 490 ft. (center), and 281 ft. (left). Centerfield became known as "Death Valley" because of its distance from homeplate.

Because of the Yankees success in attracting fans at Yankee Stadium, it was not long before the stadium was expanded after its opening. The triple decked grandstand was extended into left field in 1928 and the same extension was completed down the right field line in 1937. Concrete bleachers replaced the wooden bleachers beyond the outfield fence. With the addition of the grandstands, the capacity of Yankee Stadium grew to nearly 80,000, depending on the amount of people that stood while watching games. The first of many monuments and plaques was added in 1932. This area became known as "Monument Park" in fair territory in dead center field when a monument to former manager Miller Huggins was erected. Monuments of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and others were erected in years following 1932. Night baseball came to Yankee Stadium on May 28, 1946 and a new scoreboard was installed in 1959. Other sports, such as boxing and football were played at Yankee Stadium until the early 1970s.

In the early 1970s Yankee Stadium began showing its age. In 1971, Yankees owner Mike Burke
began exploring the possibility of building a new stadium in New Jersey. However, New York City Mayor John Lindsay announced that the city would buy and and renovate Yankee Stadium, purchasing it for $24 million in 1972. The same year George Steinbrenner bought the team. The Yankees played in Yankee Stadium one more year before drastic changes were made.

Renovations to Yankee Stadium began immediately after the 1973 season. While Yankee Stadium was renovated the Yankees played at Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets. Parts of Yankee Statdium were completely demolished. Changes were made to eliminate posts and columns that supported the upper deck. The copper facade atop the upper deck was removed and replicated at the top of the scoreboard that runds from center field to right field.

New 22 inch blue plastic seats replaced the old 18 inch wooden green seats reducing the capacity to 54,000. New luxury suites and concessions were added along with the remodeling of the press box and restrooms. To eliminate climbs to the third level, escalators and elevators were added to parts of the exterior of the stadium. The facade of Yankee Stadium was repainted and a 138 foot tall replica of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat was placed under the entrance of the stadium.

After two years of renovations Yankee Stadium reopened on April 15, 1976. There were several striking differences that fans noticed at the renovated stadium. They included the monuments in centerfield that were moved to Monument Park behind the left-centerfield wall and the original copper facade now replicated above the scoreboard in the outfield. However, the transition to the renovated Yankee Stadium was easy as the Yankees won the 1976 World Series. Since the late 1970s very few changes occurred at Yankee Stadium. It remained the home to many great ballplayers and an excellent place to see a game. Since its opening in 1923, Yankee Stadium was home to 26 World Championship teams. In the late 1990s the Yankees began exploring the possibility of building a new stadium as Yankee Stadium lacked many of the modern amenities of newer ballparks built.

In June 2005, the team announced plans to construct a new Yankee Stadium. The original will be demolished in 2009 and converted into a public park area featuring a baseball and softball field. Nearly 12,000 trees will be planted in the shape of the stadium. For more than eight decades Yankee Stadium has been home to some of the greatest players in baseball. The Yankees played their last regular season game at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008.

I've been a baseball fan since Gary Cooper played Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees.

Enjoy the season and, most importantly, enjoy the fun at your team's games!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009's Major League Baseball Season Officially Starts Today!

And what better way to start the season!

A one, and a two, and a three...

"Take me out to the ball game..."

I remember when my love affair with baseball

started. Gary Cooper played Lou Gehrig in

The Pride of the Yankees.

His farewell speech still brings tears.

Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Photos from Around the World during Earth Hour 2009

Started in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour quickly grew into a global observance. More than 1,000 cities in over 80 countries observed Earth Hour 2009 on Saturday March 28th, as homes, office towers and landmarks turned off their lights for an hour starting at 8.30 pm local time to raise awareness about climate change and the threat from rising greenhouse gas emissions. Collected here are a series of before-and-after photographs from around the world.

Las Vegas - Before
Las Vegas - During
Los Angeles - Before

Los Angeles - During
Beijing Olympic "Water Cube" - Before
Beijing Olympic "Water Cube" - During
The Bund on the Banks of the Haungpu River in Shanghai, China - Before The Bund on the banks of Haungpu River in Shanghai, China - During
The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia - Before
The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia - During
The Skyline of downtown Toronto, Canada - Before The Skyline of downtown Toronto, Canada - During
The main square in downtown Lima, Peru - Before

The main square in downtown Lima, Peru - During
A view of the hill of the Acropolis, Greece - Before A view of the hill of the Acropolis, Greece - During
Luasanne's Cathedral in Luasanne, Switzerland - Before
Luasanne's Cathedral in Lausanne, Switzerland - During

The main roundabout in Jakarta, Indonesia - Before
The main roundabout in Jakarta, Indonesia - During
The Houses of Parliament in London, England - Before
The Houses of Parliament in London, England - During The Bangkok skyline in Bangkok, Thailand - Before The Bangkok skyline in Bangkok, Thailand - During
The Taipei 101 bulding in Taipei, Taiwan - Before and During