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My April/May 2011 Juggling Performances

This is my upcoming performance schedule.

  • April 15 11:15-11:30 and noon-12:15 – UT’s International Festival on the UC Plaza. Fire will be allowed.
  • April 15 3:00-3:30 Dogwood Art’s festival children’s stage near Krutch Park downtown – Fire will be allowed.
  • April 16 5:00-8:30 Zoo-to-do juggling at the Knoxville Zoo. No fire. LED show if darkness comes soon enough.
  • April 17 4:00-4:30 Dogwood Art’s festival children’s stage near Krutch Park downtown – Fire will be allowed.
  • April 30 time tbd (event is 8-5) Dogwood Art’s Chalk Wallk walk-around juggling in Market Square and Krutch Park – details still being worked out. Probably a G to PG-13 rated crowd since this will be atmospheric/walk-around the performances will be shorter more adhoc depending on what crowd gathers to watch. Fire will be based upon each location that is density of the crowd, nearness to flammables, etc. You know.. the standard safety considerations.
  • May 6 5-8:30 Dreamnight at the Zoo with Children’s Hospital – the event is for children with severe ongoing medical concerns and terminal illness. – No fire. LED equipment if darkness comes soon enough.
  • May 7 10-11:30 (probably more like 10:45-11:30 – event is 10am-2pm and the only slot taken is 11:30-noon when Michael Messing performs magic). The event is Children’s Mental Health Week sponsored by TN Voices for Children and will be near Krutch Park.

If you are interested in joining me on any of these endeavors, just let me know. Obviously most of the events are G-rated but I think we can have a little more fun with the UT students. Note: At this point, none of the performances are likely to be amp’d ie. no microphones or PAs. I currently do not have a passing partner for any of these events. If you want to pass with me or have some solo time at one of these events, please let me know. Don’t sell your skills short. If you learn to pass clubs Monday night, you’re already good enough! Performances are much less about perfect juggling and far more about audience engagement.

Juggle til you drop!

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What the Plinth?!

This past Monday began a wonderful performance art piece in Trafalgar Square in London. I am thoroughly enjoying peeking in on the people of the United Kingdom as they create a living portrait of the UK over a 100 days from July 6 to October 14. Every hour for 100 days, a different person will stand upon the Fourth Plinth (see also), the massive base which would normally hold a statue of a king or warrior, and have that as their own space to do with as they please.

Antony Gormley on the Fourth Plinth from One & Other on Vimeo.

I have seen people just stand there, two have worked out on a rowing machine for their hour, one man danced for an hour and made jokes with the crowd, a woman has raised awareness of the plight of homelessness, and so much more. I have also learned that the British do actually say, "bloody hell!" That’s not just in the movies.

Visit and experience this for yourself. This should be repeated in cities around the world!

This effort is huge! I’m just guessing that it is staffed full time by 15-20 people which would include fork lift operator, security including the entourage that escorts the lift every hour, bucket operator, camera operators, console/technicians, ambulance on standby, and so forth. One & Other is doing this in conjunction with sky ARTS and produced by Artichoke. The partners in the project are too numerous to list. Of course, the Fourth Plinth project wouldn’t be happening without the participants, the Plinthers. Nice work to all! Squirrel Queen likes it too.

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My last juggling performance with my brother was 15 years ago

The 20th Knoxville Kuumba Festival begins tonight at 5pm. The last time my brother and I did a juggling performance on stage was at Kuumba Festival roughly 15 years ago (I may be off a year more or less). I was wounded at the time with a splinted finger so much of the performance for me was done with one hand. They had a camera crew but didn’t start filming until the end of our performance. So if it’s truly been 15 years, does this mean my brother and I need a reunion tour? Or do we have to wait another 5 years?

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Why yes I have heroes! And one is coming to Knoxville!

My heroes and role models center around comedians. The list of influences is huge including Red Fox, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas…hold on…basically the SCTV and Saturday Night Live casts. I can narrow the list to four people: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Bill Murray, and Robin Williams. When I was around twelve years old, Robin Williams got me in a bunch of trouble when I did his "moisture heat seeking missile" routine that involved a lot of pelvic gyrations for some guests my parents were entertaining. I had no idea what I was doing or saying. The guests were rolling on the floor and my father was fuming. That was my first Carlos Mencia lesson: don’t perform other people’s material.

Robin Williams is coming to Knoxville on April 11th to the Civic Auditorium! There’s even a VIP Meet & Greet package available! Well, he may be coming to Knoxville. His doctor has advised him to skip four Florida scheduled shows due to recent heart surgery.

On August 20, 2007, Williams’ elder brother, Robert Todd Williams, died of complications from heart surgery performed a month earlier. [Source, Wikipedia, Robin Williams]

I wish I was still participating in the Red Cross’ FAST program or that I could justify a ticket. Maybe Robin Williams wants to give himself an intermission during the show and would like a juggler to come on stage with him!

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Do you store images in a database?

As I have built PHP and ColdFusion applications over the years, I have had to deal with image and file uploading from the application. Browsers were not designed for moving files from a client to a server; specifically, browsers were designed to receive files from a server to a client. To move files from a client to a server, an FTP program is used. (My favorite FTP client is WinSCP.) Now, a form can be written and used to upload a picture, movie, or other file from the client (you) to the server. You probably do this quite frequently with Flickr, Youtube and so forth. It is convenient from the enduser point of view because it removes the need to learn new software (the ftp client) and prevents having to get an administrator to create a username and password for each user on the server. Plus, by managing the files through the web application instead of the FTP program, you can programmatically control what is being allowed onto the server so that your user doesn’t maliciously upload an executable designed to damage the server rather than that family vacation photograph.

As a programmer, I have to make decisions about where to store these uploaded files. A common approach is to have a directory on the webserver which cannot be accessed by a browser (that is, the only way to get to the file is through the programming). The filename is then stored in the database. As an independent consultant, I work with different programmers/designers with varied skillsets and differing philosophies on coding. Some coders, like Eric Wise, actually prefer to store the files in the database itself. Eric claims:

…this is pretty sloppy and difficult to manage especially if for some reason you want to reorganize the data… [Source, Eric Wise, Images, Thumbnails, SQL Server, and ASP .NET – Level 200]

Eric describes a process of storing images in SQL Server 2005, automatically compressing the images, and generating thumbnails using ASP .NET. THis is interesting to me as I am wanting to learn C# to add to my skillsets.

I am concerned about database size and performance decreased caused by storing images/files in a database rather than storing the file in a directory and only storing the filename in the database. Jeffrey Palermo, a commenter on Eric Wise’s post, expresses the same concern:

Jeffrey Palermo said:

I’ve considered doing a photo album this way, but the main drawback is the size it makes the database. I have about 4GB of images. Do I really want that much in my database just for images. That also makes the bandwidth between web and db server highly used. Perhaps it’s no big deal, but to date I’ve kept my photos on the web server. Please post if you find no issues with the size of the data in the database when you have _lots_ of pictures there.

And Eric responds:

Eric Wise said:


With the compression tool I referenced, the original image shown was over 2MB, now it’s 165KB.

Having many large files would definately cause a performance issue, but with compression and the fact that it will probably be rare to have more than 2-3 pictures of an asset I’m not all that concerned about it.

What is your approach to storing images from a web application? See also.

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Performance Issues?

If there is one thing that Reality Me shouldn’t have is performance issues. I was told that today it saw 500 errors. Not as in the quantity five hundred but as in the server was having a problem. Reality Me is on a shared host which means that the one computer servers out web pages for many different people. In other words, the same box might have a very popular website unrelated to any of my websites and the server could have performance issues because of stuff they are doing. Of course, it could be me. I could be demanding too much of the machine with an inefficient WordPress plugin.

In short, I need to do troubleshooting which could take a lot of effort. If you notice problems with Reality Me or Domestic Psychology, please email me or Twitter me and let me know about the issue or error message. I am also going to try out the WP-Cache plugin so I would be interested in hearing about any odd behaviors (or improvements) it created. Thank you!