CA State Parks Rant #1

May 26th, 2013

California has an incredibly groovy State Park system. It’s big, and it’s mind-bogglingly diverse. I’m continually baffled stunned, bemused, aggravated, exasperated, and nonplussed by the Parks management and by the CA State government which runs it. One source of bewilderment is Jerry Brown’s choice of Anthony L. Jackson to be  State Parks Director. He’s a long-time Marine Corps officer with no discernable connection to the problems facing the parks.

The more I read about the guy, the more I say WTF? But seriously, WTF? Some of the articles I’ve read try really hard to make it sound like he knows more about California’s State Parks than your average space alien, but they’re not very convincing. “Although lacking a formal connection to park service, Jackson links his military career to his advocacy for conservation and alternative energy.” But seriously, does alternative energy have a closer relationship to State Parks than working on a military base in Okinawa does?

‘ “I love the California state parks,” he said. “And I bought an RV in January (2012) …. We figured we would mark every state and natural park in the state of California in it, and since January, we have put nearly 10,000 miles on it” ’ Wow. He’d been visiting the parks for several months before he got the job. I’m so impressed.

Can somebody out there in web land help me out here? Why did this guy get the job? Is this Jackson guy really the one to turn around the troubled, twisted bureaucracy with the demented priorities? Couldn’t the Governor find anybody who’d even visited the parks before 2012? Does Jerry Brown even give a fuck about the parks?

Mini Sites for Everybody?

May 2nd, 2013

This is part of the ongoing saga of the development of realMendocino.com. Sort of, sort of not.

While I was doing data collecting and data entry for the directory section of realMendocino, I noticed that many of the local businesses and self employed professionals have no website at all. This doesn’t seem wise to me.

On the one hand, most of those folks don’t need a fancy-shmancy site; they’re not doing e-commerce, they don’t need to reach beyond the local community and people who actually visit the area. But, on the other hand, this is the Twenty-first Century. Fewer and fewer people use old-fashioned phone books. Every business needs some kind of web presence of their own, otherwise the only sign of their existence to many of their potential customers may be an inaccurate, rarely updated page on Yelp (or some such global corporate monoculture site). And that Yelp page is likely to have a nasty review by some grumpus who visited the store a year ago.

So, I saw a need to develop an option for mini-sites for these people. One easy-to-set-up, easy-to-edit page with the pertinent information about the business or service. They’d just need to fill out a few forms with info about their business, upload a few photos, pick some colors, define the order in which those elements are displayed, and *voila!* an instant mini-site!

It’ll be inexpensive (maybe $100/yr) for the people setting up the sites, but still a decent source of steady income for me, once I get a decent number of folks interested.

As is often the case with such things, actually developing the gosh-darned thing has turned to be vastly more complicated than it seemed like it would be. I’ve put a lot of time into designing the database, writing the scripts, securing it from malevolent code, trying to anticipate all credible contingencies, etc. But I’ve been persevering, and the monster is almost ready for me to draft a few friends to be beta testers.

Today, as I was working on some of the editing scripts, a new thought ocurred to me: maybe this isn’t just a section of realMendocino. Maybe I should offer the mini-sites to the larger web world. The scripts themselves are portable, I could set them up on a separate site and people in Hoboken and Biloxi could set up their mini-sites and I’d get rich. Or maybe it’d just get lost in a sea of other options which are supported by giant ad campaigns and stuff. Hmmm…

Indiegogo Sucks

April 29th, 2013

In a previous post, I wrote about how I had started a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to raise capital for my Mendocino community website project, realMendocino. It didn’t go well. A week after the campaign ended, I’m still trying to get the money the capaign raised out of the greedy clutches of the Indiegogo monster and into my bank account. Furthermore, there is not one hint of a shred of a scintilla of evidence that my campaign benefitted in any way from its presence on the Indiegogo site; the donors are all people I already knew. There’s no sign of anybody else even looking at the campaign’s page.  If I’d posted a Youtube video, sent pretty much the same Facebook posts and emails I did, and just asked people to send money to my Paypal acount or my post office box, I would have raised at least as much money. Faster. Furthermore, the Indiegogo vampire wouldn’t have gotten to suck out a cut of the action, and they wouldn’t get to squeeze out a few more nickels of interest by  incubating my money after the campaign is long over.

The Indiegogo scum’s support desk is remarkably unhelpful. They  just endlessly regurgitate a line buried in a FAQ page in a remote corner of the Indiegogo maggot’s site saying that “it may take two weeks for us to get around to transferring your money to your bank account, or maybe we’ll just hang onto it until hell freezes over”. OK, maybe that’s not an exact quote. Repeated queries as to why, exactly, it should take up to two weeks to send a few bytes of information from one computer to another in the twenty-first century have gone unanswered.

The Indiegogo demon likes to crow about its “GoGo Meter”, which picks campaigns which are already doing well all by themselves and features them on the site’s homepage. That way, it looks like the Indiegogo vermin are successfully helping campaigns, when they’re actually just milking them.

So, if you’re looking to start a crowdfunding campaign, there doesn’t seem to be much to be gained by using one of the monster sites (I  haven’t tried the others, maybe they’re just as bad) instead of  just running the campaign yourself. If you’ve got the family/friends/colleagues/Facebook/Twitter network in place, you don’t need the greedy Indiegogo motherfuckers. Just do it yourself.

It’s not just me. There are plenty of other people complaining about the Indiegogo scam.

Nice PayPal Button Lite

March 29th, 2013

If you’re just tuning in…

Your erstwhile blogger/webdeveloper is trying to overcome his aversion to website-in-a-box development platforms and find a simple Paypal payment solution for a prospective client. If I happen to sell some of my own photography along the way, that’s OK. too.

I’m trying to come up with a simple “buy now” button for a site that doesn’t need a real shopping cart; people will only need one widget at a time, so there’s no need for many of the shopping cart complications.

Let’s stick with the same photo. This image is available as a 12×16 inch, canvas print, gallery-wrapped on a stretcher frame for $250:

moonrise over mendocino

“Moon and the Maiden”, a 12×16 gallery wrapped canvas photo print. $250.

Let’s see if this one works without a lot of recombobulation.

Yeah! That seems to be OK.

Now, for testing porpoises only, a test widget, so I can actually consummate a deal with myself and make sure everything works:

“Test Widget”, nothing in particular. $0.23

Hooray! And the winner of the Paypal Buy Button Derby is:

Nice PayPal Button Lite

OK, you can go ahead and buy that photo now.

 

WordPress Paypal Plugins

March 29th, 2013

A possible new client wants to do some hyper-simple e-commerce. Usually, I create custom sites, but WordPress has a lot of advantages, starting with easy set-up and maintenance, and this site will be so simple, it shouldn’t really require anything I can’t do with WP. But, I’ve never used the WP add ons for e-commerce. Let’s try a “buy now” button for one of my photos. I just took this one a few evenings ago, and it’s been getting lotsa “likes” on Facebook, so I’ll do a live test. If somebody actually orders this, I’ll ship it.

 

moonrise over mendocino

I’m offering this as a 12×16 canvas print gallery-wrapped on a stretcher frame, for $250.

Are the WP gods smiling on me today? I’ll click “publish” and check it in another browser.

Well, poo. That plugin requires more setup than I want to do, and it has more features than I need. For that particular client, anyway. They just need a few “buy now” buttons, and than plugin is a more complicated shopping cart.

Now I’ll try the Easy Paypal Payment or Donation Accept plugin from the same folks (tipsandtricks-hq.com)

Let’s see if I can get that one to work easily.

Moon and the Maiden Photo



Well… making progress. How about this method with the same plugin?



Barfarooni. Let’s try another plugin.

realMendocino and crowdfunding

March 28th, 2013

I’ve been contemplating, planning, and dabbling with regards to realMendocino.com, my Mendocino community website project, for a couple of years. I’ve got a lot of the background code written, and some of the data entered for the directory. But there’s a great big heap of work to be done. I’ve been trying to rustle up enough enough loot to focus on the project for a couple of months and get it running properly. Once it’s running and getting traffic, I’ll be able to sell ads and get some ongoing income from it.

But where does the startup loot come from? Borrow it? Tee-hee. No sane person or institution would loan me money. Advances from future adverstisers? I’m open to offers, but the ads ain’t worth nothin’ until the site is up and getting traffic. Friends and family? Uh… maybe. But who, exactly, and how many times would I need to deliver the same basic pitch?

Which brings me to crowdfunding. Theoretically, I should be able to make a quick video, write a little blurb, post ‘em on one of the crowdfunding sites, announce it on Facebook, email a few other friends and family, and let the money flow in. Sounds nice. That’s what I’ve tried. You can visit campaign’s page. So far, the results are rather underwhelming. Maybe I just suck at this whole begging thing. Maybe I should move to North Dakota and get a job driving a truck in the oil fields or something.

Real Mendocino is happening. Slowly.

February 8th, 2013

For some time now, I’ve been working on my own project in little bits and pieces. It’s a big project, and the bits and pieces have been small and far apart, so it’s been a couple of years and it’s only now beginning to resemble anything at all. I’ve had a simple local news/blog aggregator running on a WordPress install for  quite a while, but the original stuff is all a giant, hand-coded custom job. Eventually, it’ll have a complete directory of shops, parks, artists, etc. on the Mendocino Coast and in the Anderson Valley; photo galleries; an events calendar, a multitude of interesting and informative articles about the area; and more.

Part of the “more” will be webpages for some of the local businesses which currently have no website. I’ve been working on developing a template and series of scripts so that any Luddite can put together and maintain a simple little page to tell the world that particular shop exists, where it is, what it sells, and what’s so gosh-darned cool about it. Which brings me to the point of this post: if I assign each of these stores a subdomain, and re-direct the subdomain’s traffic to the script which generates the page, will Google and the other search engines index the store’s page? Or, will the search engines barf at the redirect? So, if I point a link from my unread, but reasonably well-indexed, blog to my working template, Generic Store of Mendocino, will it pop up on the search engines?

Just in case any human is reading this and wants to check out the progress, the realMendocino homepage is here. The Mendocino aggregator is here.

At this point, the directory is nearly complete for Mendocino town itself, with just a smattering of links from the rest of the region. I’ve got a lot of the back end done for the rest of the site, but theres a lot of coding, and a mind-boggling amount of data entry, still to do.

More Yeager-Patterson Family History

March 24th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the first part of a long newspaper article called “Yeager-Patterson Family History”. Here’s the second, and final, part. It is perhaps less interesting to people who aren’t related to the Yeagers and/or Pattersons, but it has lots of genealogical info, and some interesting tales about life on the prairie in the late 19th Century. Here goes:

Joseph Yeager, Sr. was a devout Christian and felt the need for a church in the community, so in 1879, was instrumental in having a church built on the corner five miles south of Oxford (where Alvin Williams lives.) The denomination was United Brethren and was named Yeager Chapel in his honor. Services were held there for many years but by 1909, interest waned and the building was sold to the Northern Baptist organization. The Baptists had been having services in the Jenkins schoolhouse the church building was moved two miles south, where it still stands, the Slate Valley Baptist Church.

At the time the Yeager-Patterson party (1874) came there were few acres in cultivation. Good land could be purchased for $400 to $600 a quarter. Farms having a large acreage broken out sold for as high as $1100 per quarter. There were few trees except along the streams, and no fences. Livestock had to he tethered out to pasture or be kept in small corrals. The Pattersons and Yeagers planted Osage Orange hedges and soon had living fences which also served as windbreaks.

Indians were still numerous and bothersome, altho not dangerous. They often camped on Mr. Yeager’s place on the hill above the ford on the Arkansas River. They would come to the Patterson’s beging food. While the squaws were at the house, an Indian man would be at the corn crib filling his arms with ear corn.

In 1877, Mrs. Joseph Yeager, Sr. [Elizabeth Lawrence] died and was the first person to be buried on Mr. Yeager’s farm overlooking the river. Not only was it a family cemetery, but others of the Rainbow Bend and Slate Valley community are buried there. One of the last persons interred there was Archie Patterson, 13 years old, son of the John Patterson’s in 1903.

Mr. Yeager later married a Mrs. Sarah Roe from Illinois and were the parents of a daughter, Grace, who became Mrs. Will Teter. Joseph Yeager, Sr. died January 18, 1898 at age 85. Mrs. Sarah Yeager died around 1906 or 1907. Both are buried in the Yeager cemetery.

Joseph Yeager, Jr., and wife, Amelia Woods Yeager and family lived on their farm, six miles south and three-fourths east until 1883, when they rented the farm and moved to Oxford, where he engaged in the milling business and in a hardware concern. They moved to Winfield in 1890 where he sold mulberry coal and later was in real estate. They were the parents of six children namely: Irene ( Mrs. Willlam Spence); Addie ( Mrs. Eli Cott–maybe H. C. ‘s relatives ); Bertha ( Mrs. Calvin Collins); Stella ( Mrs. Frank Johnson); Leona ( Mrs. John Townsend) and Joseph O. Yeager who married Lena Wimer. Mrs. J. W Ycager died ‘Oct. ’9, 1917 and Mr. Yeager lived to past 98 years of age, dying Nov. 10, 1941. They are buried in the Oxford Cemetery.

Descendants living in this vicinity are grandchildren: Ray Spence, Harold Johnson, Mrs. Marie Collier and Mrs. Mabel Maddox, all of Winfield. Great grand-children:. Buddy Spence, Mrs. Howard Rush, Mrs. Alvin Williams and Mrs. James Delp, all of Oxford.

After Mr. Yeager’s death, the farm land was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Payton, who are living in the house built by Mr. Ycager in 1880 or ’81.

On the [Celia Yeager & John Davis] Patterson farm from that December in 1874 until the summer of 1910, when they moved to Wellington, renting their farm; the usual changes from the pioneer shanty to a more commodious house, as well as other improvements and increases of acreage, the joy of three weddings, the sorrow in the loss of those loved; truly, the living proof and example that “It takes a heap of livin’ in a house to wake a home.” Retirement from the farm, but not retirement from service to the family, friends, church and community. They celebrated their golden wedding in 1924 and had their 56th anniversary before John Patterson’s death in October, 1930 at age 79. Celia died February 26, 1959 just 4 days before her 104th birthday.

They were the parents of six children; Merton R.; Mabel (Mrs. Lee Condit); Ione ( Mrs. Fred. Woods); Archie L.; Noble W.; and Glen E. Mrs. Ione Woods resides at Riverview Manor and Glen lives in Leavenworth.

Residing in this community are grandchildren; Raymond Patterson, and Thoburn Woods of Oxford; Oleta (Woods) Barth of Wellington; Fern (Patterson) Pray and Velma (Condit) Hesket, both of Winfield; Helen (Condit) Hutchins, and Sterling Condit, both of Geuda Springs. Great grandchildren are Calvin Woods, Karen (Woods) Rebold, and Nelda (Woods) Miller of Oxford; Dale Hutchins, Donald Hesket and, Donna (Condit) Swanson of Geuda Springs, and Mabel (Hesket) King of Winfield.

The Patterson farms are still owned by the family: the Merton Patterson heirs, Glen Patterson and Mrs. Noble Patterson of Junction City.

The Frank [Francis Marion] Yeagers, (Mrs.Yeager [Amelia Louisa Patterson] was a sister of John Patterson) lived on the farm until 1902, when they sold the farm and moved to Centralia, Washington. Mrs. Patterson (Amelia) died October 8, 1940, age 84, having celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary, on May 22, of that year. Frank was a Civil War veteran and there were few alive at the time of his death, July 21, 1946, age 99 years.

They were the parents of fourteen children 10 growing to adulthood. The youngest daughter [Lula Geneva Yeager] is the only child living, and resides in Washington. None of the descendants live in Kansas.

Will and Grace Yeager Teter lived on the Joseph Yeager, Sr. homestead for many years, also in Oxford and Wichita. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary before Mr. Teter’s death in 1960. Mrs. Teter died in 1967, age 88 yrs. They were the parents of seven children, namely; Joe, Mary, Bertha (Mrs. Vern Holman), Donald, Dorothy, Leslie and Beulah (Mrs. Ray Lewis), The farm is the property of Mrs. Teter’s heirs and, is farmed by a grandson. Those living in the area are Mrs. Vern Holman, a daughter and grandsons, Gaylord and Jerry Holman.

Jerimiah (Jerry) Patterson, brother of John and AmelIa (Mrs. Frank) Yeager; and his wife Celia Smock Patterson came to Kansas in 1875 or ’76 and bought the farm mile north of the Rainbow Bend corner. They lived there the rest of their lives. Jerry died November 19, 1925, one month before their 55th wedding anniversary at the age of 75. Mrs. Patterson died May 31, 1943, age 91. Both are buried in the Oxford cemetery. They were the parents of six children. They are Laura (Mrs. Grant Zerger), Samuel, Worden; Libbie; Nora and Sadie (Mrs. Ora Johnson), None of their descendants are living in this vicinity.

Another brother Samuel B. and wife, Harriet Omstead Patterson came to Kansas in 1881 and bought the farm across from the Rainbow Bend school, where the Ralph Bell’s now live. Samuel died December 26, 1896, age 43. Mrs. Patterson died September 15, 1927 age 91, They were the parents of nine children. They are Ethel Keys Bigley; Chauncey E.; Elwood; Clare; Oakley; Gladys and Glen, twins; Vern and Vera, twins. Miss Vera Patterson formerly of Oxford, now resides in Wellington. Leslie Keys, formerly of Oxford is a grandson.

Spam Bait

March 19th, 2012

In the tradition of using my blog as a guinea pig for my clients…

One problem with WordPress is that WP blogs get a lot of spam. Spammy comments. Spam trackbacks. Etcetera. So forth. Ad infinitum. One of my clients is claiming he gets around 2000 spam comments per week. There’s a plugin called Akismet which comes with the basic WP install and supposedly filters the crap, but it isn’t free. Well, it’s free-ish. Or something. I hear Akismet is pretty good, but I thought I’d try a genuinely free one or two before relying on the default. After a little research, I decided to try Comment SPAM Wiper on my own blog, and see if it seems to be working.

I just installed it a few minutes ago; that was painless. As to its effectiveness, time will tell…

[Auto] Biography of Samuel Oliver Bereman

March 15th, 2012

Several months back, I inherited a box full of family stuff: photos, newspaper clippings, report cards, etc. One of the items in that box was a six-page handwritten biography of my mother’s father’s mother’s father, Samuel Oliver Bereman. Perhaps he wrote it for his GAR chapter, as the mentions his GAR post in the last paragraph, and says little else about his post-war life. I’ve transcribe the document as well as I could; the handwriting is a bit of a challenge. Here it is in its entirety:

Atchison Kansas March 11/02

The subject of this sketch, S.O. Bereman, was born at Bellville, Indiana February 22nd 1842.

In the fall of 1845 with his parents he moved by wagon to Henry County Iowa and spent his boyhood upon a farm and getting only a common school education. The year 1858 he spent in Kansas, six miles south of Topeka where his older brother had entered upon good land, and in 1860 he crossed the plains to the new gold fields of Colorado, on his return to his home in the early winter Abraham Lincoln had been elected President and the mutterings (?) of the great storm which was so soon to break upon the land were even then beginning to be heard.

On October 25th 1861 he enlisted in Co. K 4th Iowa Cavalry then being recruited a week into camp at Mount Pleasant the county seat, where the Regt. continued (?) drilling &  doing camp round duty until in Feby. ’62 when they were ordered south. Stopping a few weeks at Benton Barracks St. Louis the Regt. was ordered to join Gen [Samuel R.] Curtis then on his way to Little Rock Ark.

Gen Curtis failed to [take(?) looks like "nuch"] Little Rock and after a long and arduous march   through the heat and dust with scant substances(?) they reached Helena, Artkansas. The regt. had been in a few light skirmishes  and had its baptism having lost several men in killed and wounded.

During the fall and winter of 62/63 they lay in camp at Helena  making frequent scouts (?) into the interior and very nearly returning without having had a scrap with the Johnies. In the spring of 1863 the regmt. went aboard transports and went down the  Miss. to join Gen Grant, then begining preparations(?)   to capture(?) Vicksburg.

During the greater part of the seige the 4th Iowa Cavalry were the only cavalry troops with Gen. Grant’s army and their duties were arduous in the extreme. The men were in their saddles every day and many nights, upon one of their excursions toward Black River  beyond which Rebel Gen. Johnson (sic, should be Johnston) lay, and while felling trees to block the road a detail of 120 men of this regmt. were surprised and surrounded by Starks brigade of Rebel Cavalry and lost ji___(?) half their numbers in killed and wounded and prisoners.

Immediately after the city surrendered, the regmt. went with Gen Sherman to capture or drive off  Johnsons (sic, again) army  which fell back to Jackson, Miss. Coh___ after a siege of ten days Johnston evacuated and the troops returned to Black River near Vicksburg.

Early in the siege of Vicksburg,  S.O. Bereman was detailed as a courier for Gen Sherman and was on his staff until late in the fall when Sherman left that dept. The regmt. remained here all winter with occasional (?) scouting—one of which was to Natches and lasted several weeks.

In Feby. 1864 the regmt. went with Gen Sherman on the Meridian Expedition and on their return to camp, the most  of the men having   re-enlisted as Veterans for their years were sent home on a thirty day furlough.

Returning the early part of April they disembarked at Memphis Tenn. and remained there until Sept 2nd. During this summer they were almost constantly engaged in fighting Gen Forrest  and his army. One such engagement [the Battle of Brice's Crossroads] was at Guntown in  Miss. when Forrest completely routed our force under the miserable incompetence of Gen. Sturgis, the latter through blundering lost his train of 200 wagons—all his artillery and more than half his command. The brigade of cavalry to which the 4th Iowa belonged brought up the rear on two days and two nights—constant without rest or food and saved many of the infantry from capture. The four howitzers of the brigade were all the guns saved to the army. The regmt. lost 70 men in this engagement.

Immediately after this another army under A.J. [Andrew Jackson] Smith also had arrived at Memphis went out and at Tupelo paid back Gen Forrest with interest all we owed him. The regmt. was with Smith on this trip and suffered severely—but not so much as at Guntown.

On Sept. 2nd the Regmt.   Started on the “Price Raid” Expedition. Going to near Little Rock  it joined A.J. Smith’s Command and followed Price through Ark. Mo and Kansas and to the Arkansas River in the Indian Territory where the chase was abandoned  on Nov. 8th. Going into camp in the snow and cold they took a vote—it was unanamous for “Lincoln and the vigorous prosecution of the war”.

The next day they started back—??—half starved—half clad—in the snow and ice half the men dismounted—to St. Louis when they arrived on the 1st day of Dec. having been on the march constantly for 3 months.

On this trip Price’s army was completely destroyed or dispersed. There were several engagements—notably at Big Blue—Marais des Cygnes —Mine Creek & Newtonia.

From St. Louis the next move was to Louisville Ky on January 1st 1865, the latter part of Feby they were loaded onto boats and went down the Ohio to the Tenn. River & up that to Eastport near the Miss & Alabama line where Gen J.H. [James Harrison] Wilson had gathered an army of about 15000 cavalry and very soon were started south & for nearly two months heard no word from the north.

On this raid Selma and Montgomery, Columbus & Macon Ga. were captured after hard fighting. The enemy killed or captured on this raid exceeded the number of our[?] command. The ??? of property—such as arsenals—factories and war material—including one gun boat at Columbus—would aggregate many millions of dollars.

At Macon a flag of truce reached us on April 22nd—the first news we had had from the north— the war was over. It was while waiting for news that we heard of the assassination of Pres. Lincoln.

After a few weeks’ rest the army moved to Atlanta & on its way up the 4th Cavalry participated in the capture of Jeff. Davis. The regmt. had the honor of capturing seven of Davis’ cabinet— Alexander Stephens—vice pres.—Robert Toombs—Stephen R. Mallory sec. of Navy, B?? R. Hill—Senator & Gen & Hershel V. Johnson— but missed the great prize.

They lay at Atlanta until August 10th when they started north & arriving at Davenport Iowa were mustered out Aug.  25th. The regmt. lost in killed wounded and dischaged for disabilities [what happened to the rest of that sentence?]

Com??? Bereman was with his Regmt. the whole of its service & was in nearly every engagement & campaign of any importance. His family sent nine soldiers to the field—his father—six brothers & two brothers in law.

After returning home being in very poor health he attended school & taught some until in 1868 he engaged in the drug business which he continued all his life. In July 1873 he came to Atchison Kansas & in 78[?]  joined John A. Martin—then Atchison Post 93 [of the GAR, a CW veteran's group] and has held the office of adjt.—Q.M. & Commander.


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