Wednesday, February 11, 2009

God damn Last Word!

Once AGAIN I sent something in to the Last Word, only to have it edited in moronic ways. Here's what I wrote:
It seems ridiculous to have to wait 20 minutes to check out at a store with 30 check lanes. They can afford to have a few more clerks on staff during busy shifts.
And, as printed:
It seems ridiculous to wait 20 minutes to check out at a store that has 20 check-out lanes. I'm sure it can afford to have a few more clerks on staff during busy shifts.
I can understand the grammatical changes, they want everyone's entry to sound alike and fit with the style of the newspaper itself. What I don't understand is why the number 30 was changed to 20. It makes no sense.

This is a new trend, too. Things I sent in years ago were never changed. I'd sent in dozens of comments, all of them printed word for word, until last summer. It's really pissing me off. What good is a public forum if what you're saying is being edited by the powers that be? They should just print whatever they're sent - poor spelling and grammar included - because people know it isn't the Gazette writing these comments. Everyone knows that the Last Word is written by the paper's readers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tweeting the Inauguration. Pictures too!

I was lucky enough to be able to attend President Obama's inauguration last month, and I was using Twitter to keep track of what was going on. I'm just going to duplicate my inauguration-related tweets here, so they're better organized and easier to find for future reference. I'll put pictures where appropriate as well, but there were times where I focused on photos instead of Tweeting or vice versa.

In downtown DC, picking up our inauguration tickets. :-) :-)
6:15 PM Jan 19th from txt

So very excited. We got tickets to the swearing in ceremony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10:01 PM Jan 19th from TwitPic

En route to DC. :-D
5:14 AM Jan 20th from txt

@dannythedemon 103.5 fm reporting loooong waits on metro. I'm en route to Vienna stop myself.
5:17 AM Jan 20th from txt in reply to dannythedemon

Stuck in traffic, but definitely worth it.
5:36 AM Jan 20th from txt

Ridiculously long line for Vienna metro stop. Moving somewhat quickly at least. Hard to text with gloves.
6:49 AM Jan 20th from txt

Already on train, line moved very quickly considering.
7:16 AM Jan 20th from txt

Ashley just had the best "thats what she said."
7:28 AM Jan 20th from txt

I'm still in disbelief that this is really happening. AND WE HAVE TICKETS TO THE SEATED AREA!!!! :-D :-D
7:31 AM Jan 20th from txt

Sprint data network still working great. Twitpic... Not so much.
7:48 AM Jan 20th from txt

"sick passenger" delaying trains on inbound metro orange line. I hope nobody pukes on me. :-(
7:50 AM Jan 20th from txt

At&t being weird for Ashley. sprint is awesome as always.
8:06 AM Jan 20th from txt

I'm surprised at how friendly everyone is. It's really quite something. Still on the Metro...
8:53 AM Jan 20th from txt

Off the train, but at a standstill in the station. Oh well, we're close!
9:46 AM Jan 20th from txt

Finally in the orange ticket line. It's VERY long.
9:48 AM Jan 20th from txt

The cold isn't bad at all. Everyone still in high spirits in line.
10:01 AM Jan 20th from txt

Past security checkpoint with no problems. Making our way to the southwest standing area.
10:16 AM Jan 20th from txt

Still a long walk from orange security to the west lawn. Lots of people here. taking 2-4 tries to send each of these messages
10:27 AM Jan 20th from txt

In SW standing. So close, but can only see jumbotron. I don't care, the atmosphere here is amazing!
10:46 AM Jan 20th from txt

The crowd loves Bill Clinton.
11:18 AM Jan 20th from txt

A surprisingly calm crowd here, but I can hear cheering from natl mall.
11:37 AM Jan 20th from txt

The ceremony has begun!
11:48 AM Jan 20th from txt

That was awesome. :-)
12:37 PM Jan 20th from txt

We hopped on the Metro ASAP after Obama's speech, and beat the crowds. Almost back to Chantilly now.
1:33 PM Jan 20th from txt

EDIT: Here's an album with all of the pictures I took. Some are crappy and/or blurry, but I was too lazy to deselect the bad ones before dragging into a gallery.

We went back up to DC on the Friday following the inauguration to see the sights we couldn't because of the crowds. The pictures from that trip are here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stupid Last Word

I wrote the following to the Last Word:
Shame on the Berkeley Middle School teacher who refused to let his eighth grade class watch the Inauguration on Tuesday. Several students asked him to turn on the TV, and he told them it was "silly." I have to question the competence of a teacher who doesn't understand the educational and historical importance of this event, regardless of their personal political affiliation.
Here's what they actually printed:
Shame on the middle school teacher who refused to let a class watch the inauguration on Tuesday. Several students asked to turn on the TV, and were told it was "silly."
I know they edit for space, and I knew they would remove the name of the school and grade level. They have a rule that any criticism is edited to not include peoples' names, company names, or names of services. I suppose that's fair, to a point. It's the removal of the last sentence that upsets me.

I'm honestly baffled as to how any teacher could ignore the importance of this inauguration. I feel as though the teacher did not allow students to watch the coverage because of his own personal and political beliefs, and that suspicion was basically confirmed by a student in the class. I understand that he may not be a Democrat, or he may not follow politics, or maybe just didn't want to waste time in class. Hell, I even understand if he's racist; not that I understand racism, but I accept that a lot of people in the south are racist. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, a teacher denying their students the opportunity to watch history being made is just plain wrong.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Short film ideas?

Julian and I have decided that we want to shoot a short film while he's in town. A comedy, most likely. Five to ten minutes long. Problem is, neither of us are writers, or even a little bit creative. So, does anyone have a story idea we could use? We'll write dialogue, we're just looking for a funny story.

New Blog

I've decided to transfer my blog posts from my own hosting to Blogger. I'm also going to try to blog more often. We'll see how this all works out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

18 best Palm smartphone applications

I recently purchased a Palm Centro smartphone. The lack of a central software repository for Palm kind of sucks, so here's a list of the best applications i've found so far.

6 Must Haves: Get these first!

AttnGrab (Free)
By default, the Centro only alerts you to an incoming text, voicemail, or missed call once. With this application, you can set how often you want it to continue reminding you after the fact. You can set it to ring, beep, or vibrate at set intervals, or to just light up the LED if there is an unchecked alert (my preferred option).

Diddlebug (Free)
The best simple note/alarm/timer application ever. Jot a note on the screen, and set an alarm or timer, and you're done. Great for keeping track of everything from wake up alarms to how long your pizza needs to cook. This is by far the most used application on my phone.

Google Maps (Free)
Does everything the Google Maps website does, but on your phone. If it came on your phone, make sure you update to the latest version. You can click the blue dot to have your phone attempt to locate you. It isn't GPS, but it's usually accurate enough that you can find your way home after haphazardly wandering the city.

Power Hero ($14.95)
Keep better track of your battery charge. This application will tell you how long until your battery dies, average drain rates, and all kinds of graphs and records of how you use your phone. The best option is the power saver: you can set your network connection to disconnect when you're done using it, turn off Bluetooth after calls, and set schedules for how bright your backlight is at different times of day. There's a free demo available, too.

SplashShopper ($29.95)
At first glance, it looks like a simple shopping list application. It does so much more; you can keep track of ANY list with this app. You enter an item once (say, eggs) and then check it off when you buy it... it moves it to the "don't need" list, where you can un-check it when you run out. Every time you go to the store, you have an up to date shopping list ready to go. I also use it to keep track of my favorite beers, so when i'm perusing the beer section I can take a quick glance and figure out what I haven't had in a while. The one thing I hate about it is the price, but if you're a list person it's worth it. Free demo available.

Tryda (Free)
Sprint charges an insane $1.79 per 411 call. Fuck that. With this application, you can search the white pages or yellow pages, nationwide, for free. One click to dial, one click to save to your phone book, one click to launch Google Maps (see above) and get directions. This is another must have.

8 More Awesome Apps: Get these if you need the functionality, but they may not appeal to everyone.

Card Reader ($19.95)
If you have a memory card in your phone, this app (combined with the USB cable) will make your computer see it as a removable storage device. It's great if you have a large memory card and keep your USB cable with you, but if you don't travel with the cable or if you keep a regular USB drive around, it may be superfluous. Free demo available.

CallRec ($19.99)
This application records your calls. Hence, CallRec. It will record both sides of the conversation to internal memory or a memory card. You can set it to record only when you tell it to, or automatically record incoming, outgoing, or all calls. Great for prank calls... there are other more legitimate uses too, i'm sure. Free demo available.

Converter (Free)
Converts to and from dozens of different units. If you ever needed to know how many ounces are in a metric ton, this is the application for you.

Colorize (Free)
If you don't like Palm's built-in color pallets, or if you want to customize your own, get this program. It lets you completely customize the colors of the Palm interface, and includes about 25 additional color themes right out of the box.

Facebook (Free)
Facebook for Palm. Browse profiles, view your friends, write on walls, send messages, even upload pictures and video directly from your phone. It doesn't let you poke people, though.

Flight Status (Free)
If you travel a lot, get this. It offers a simple interface for checking the status of your flights: any airline, all in one program, without having to try to find all the airlines' websites in the web browser.

MiniBar (Free)
Get this if you're an alcoholic. It has a database of 450+ drink recipes. You can tell it which ingredients you have on hand, and it'll tell you what you can make out of them.

MiniTones (Free)
Copy an MP3 onto your phone, and use this application to make it into a ringtone. You can select which part of the song you want, too. No more paying Sprint $2.49 for a crappy selection of songs!

4 Games: Great for killing time.

Dope Wars (Free)
The classic game of Dope Wars. I've been playing this one since I got my first Palm device back in high school, and it's still incredibly fun.

Sol Free (Free)
A simple, free Solitaire game.

Astraware Sudoku ($14.95)
This came for free on my Sprint-branded Centro. If it didn't come from your provider or on your phone, and you're addicted to Sudoku, it's the way to go. There are 8,000 or so puzzles available, and a new "puzzle of the day" that's updated (you guessed it) daily. You can upload your fastest POTD times to a central leaderboard, too.

Zuma ($14.95)
Super addictive puzzle game. If you've never played this, get the demo of the PC or Mac version and give it a try.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Excellent light bulbs

For those of you not in the know, i'm VERY picky about my light bulbs. Up until today, I was using GE Reveal 50/100/150 watt three-position bulbs. They have great color; problem is, they're not the brightest bulbs around at that wattage.

Today I discovered GE Edison halogen bulbs. They cost about twice as much as Reveal, which cost about twice as much as regular bulbs. But damn, are they worth it. The color of the Edison bulbs are just as good as the Reveal, but they're much brighter and last much longer. I can use the Edison at 100 watts where i'd have the Reveal at 150 plus another 40 watt bulb to fill in. Rated life is about double that of the Reveals, too.

I'm quite happy with these.

GE Edison halogen light bulb package

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Epic dump

I love when I don't realize the absurdity of what i'm saying until after I say it. For instance:

Dude, I ate like seven pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, AND I HAVEN'T POOPED YET. I've been looking forward to an epic dump all night. Watch, it'll come during the Bears game, at the end of the fourth quarter or something. Just my luck.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mobile blood alcohol calculator

I recently purchased a Palm Centro smart phone, which I love. I was looking for a program that could calculate one's blood alcohol level, and none were free. I figured hey, I have a browser on my phone, i'm sure there's a website that'll do it... nope. Well yeah, there are, but they either look like crap or flat out don't work on my phone. Most of them are designed specifically for the iPhone.

So I ended up making my own.

My goal was to make it easy to use, fast to load, and compatible with more phones than just the iPhone. As long as your phone supports very basic Javascript, it'll be fine. This includes all Palm devices, the iPhone, most (if not all) Blackberries, Windows Mobile, and a whole bunch of smart phones by other manufacturers.

Right now it's optimized to look best on Palm devices, like the Treo and Centro (enable wide mode in Blazer and it'll look even better on these devices). It will also work on a regular ol' computer, if you're the type of person to get drunk at home.

To use it, just go to this URL on your phone:

Try it out, and if it works (or doesn't work) post a comment with the make, model, and service provider of your phone and the name of the web browser you're using (if you know that information). I'll try to fix functionality problems for specific phones, if I can find information about them on the web.

Even if it doesn't look quite right (this is how it should display), it might still work, so try plugging in some numbers before giving up. Here's a hint: plug in Male, 1 hour, 100 pounds, 1 beer, 1 wine, 1 shot. If you get 0.095, it works as it should.

Monday, October 27, 2008

THE Robbie Haas

Just try to find someone who goes harder than this. You simply can't do it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Idiots in parking lots

Here are a few reminders of proper parking lot etiquette tips for the residents of Williamsburg:

- Stopping at stop signs is the law, whether they're on a street or in a parking lot.

- Stay to the right side of a lane of parking spaces, just as you would stay on the right side of a road with no center markings.

- If you are on foot, do not walk down the center of a lane of traffic or lane of parking spaces. If a car approaches you and they can't get past, move to the side of the lane instead of giving them dirty looks.

- If you are waiting for someone to pull out of a spot, pull as far over as you can and turn on your signal to indicate that you are waiting for that spot. Make sure there's enough room for someone who doesn't mind parking further back to get around you.

I wrote this to the Last Word ( for those not in the know), and they published it on Wednesday. Problem is, they edited it enough to make me sound like a retard. I realize that they edit for space and fix grammatical issues, but this was just ridiculous. Unfortunately, someone already threw away that paper, so I can't transcribe it as printed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Robbie goes hard

This kid doesn't fuck around.