Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Random Referrer Phun

magnify this user [yikes] (Road Runner Holdco Llc) [Label IP Address] Ohio, Dayton, United States, 0 returning visit

11th September babies mindset&btnG=Search

I'm just going to assume this is homework for an Abnormal or Criminal Psych course.

magnify this user [yowza] (Road Runner Holdco Llc) [Label IP Address]
New York, Malone, United States,
0 returning visit

11th September

Hot Tractor-on-Tractor Action.

magnify this user (Headquarters Usaisc) [Label IP Address]
Arizona, Ft. Huachuca, United States,
0 returning visit

16th November 200800:05:25No referring link
16th November over cat%2C now have low tire pressure

You can haz tire gauge.

magnify this user [sigh] (Fairfax County Public Schools) [Label IP Address]
Virginia, Alexandria, United States,
0 returning visit

17th December %2b Reston %3c VA %2bNew Year's eve

I'm hoping this refers to a past New Year's Eve, and not an upcoming one.

magnify this user [foo] (America Online Inc) [Label IP Address]
Virginia, Reston, United States,
0 returning visit

18th December in the groin by a girl&

Is there really that much to know? Really? And for those men who get off on this -- just google "Krav Maga", that should do it.

magnify this user [urm] ( Inc) [Label IP Address]
Tennessee, Nashville, United States,
0 returning visit

18th December

Because nothing says "class" and "sex machine" better than gynecological photos as your cell phone wallpaper.

Lastly, we're seeing an epidemic of people losing condoms in Virginia. Remember, kids, Virginia is for lovers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things That Are Upcoming; DC Blogger Meetup Tonight, and a Lot of Concerts

Tonight, Wednesday, December 17, 7pm: The final (for 2008, that is) Washington Blogger Meetup at RFD Washington. All bloggers, quasi-bloggers, proto-bloggers, would-be bloggers, blog groupies, and fans are welcome. Just look for some laptops.

Breaking News: I'm told that Christmas occurs on December 25th this year. Please note the new date.

Skipping all other holiday foolishness, there are a bunch of concerts coming up that, shockingly, I'm interested in and know about ahead of time (I just started playing around with Tourfilter -- I need to refine my band list, though I still like checking out the individual venue sites)

* Sat, Jan. 17: The Raveonettes play the Black Cat again (they were there in March 2008 -- also see my March 2007 photos from Rock and Roll hotel)

* Inauguration possibilities: Sunday, Jan. 18: A couple of DC bloggers are renting out the top floor of Bourbon (in Adams Morgan) for a Bloggerational Ball (I assume that's pronounced, "blog-irrational"). It would be an excuse to wear my tuxedo, assuming it fits (I've been slack about the gym lately.) Call it a maybe.

Then, Monday, Jan. 19 is the Netroots Nation YES WE CAN Party at Claredon Ballroom. Corey tipped me to this, not sure about this one.

* Thursday, Jan. 22 is Twin Tech III at Lux Lounge in DC. Pretty good tech networking opportunity.

* Thursday, Jan. 29 is DC Design Babes 3 (Location TBD). Includes a contest aspect. More tech networking, with a design-focus.

Now, here's the burst of February concerts at the Birchmere. Since they're maddeningly clustered in a two-week period, I doubt I'll make all of them. But a couple, hopefull:

* Sunday, Feb. 8: Over the Rhine

* Monday, Feb. 9: The Puppini Sisters -- they also played there back in June, but I wasn't able to go then, either.

* Sunday, Feb. 15: Cowboy Junkies, who I haven't seen in a few years (well, I did catch them in 2007, when they opened for Chris Issac at Wolf Trap, but that doesn't really count)

* Thursday, Feb. 19: Fountains of Wayne, doing an acoustic gig.

I guess I have a few decisions to make. But that's still, like, a year away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Return of Late Night Infomercial Cleavage

Last month, I had another bout of insomnia. Actually, it was another bout of waking up at 4am and not being able to get back to sleep, so I checked out the late night infomercial offerings.

For obvious reasons, I paused on one of the Spanish-language stations:


The Spanish-channel game show hostesses, news readers, weather girls, soap stars, and talk show hosts are almost universally hot, so why should their infomercial stars be any different?

This was some sort of pitch for "Karakol Kream," Karakol being a corruption of caracol, or snail. Apparently, their previous infomercial featured a CGI snail, but I guess they decided to focus on the leggy pitchmodels.

The woman on the right is Mexican actress is Maribel Guardia, though I was more focused on the one on the left; it doesn't show in the picture, but the cleavage showing through her strategically-placed boob window was glistening, perhaps from the judicious application of snail snot:


I find that infomercials in Spanish are a lot less irritating; if I focus, and can pick up some of the words and most of the meaning, but I just let it wash over me and concentrate on the visuals.

Surfing on, there's a new iteration of the "10 free Internet Web businesses" scam-thing that I first mentioned in "Big Tits and Bonus Checks" -- they don't mention the previously-ubiquitous bonus checks, and they switched from a living room set, to a pool party for all their successful customers yadda yadda yadda.

More importantly, they switched pitchwomen, and there's no longer any mesmerizing cleavage [Update: more info at the Ridiculous Infomercial Review]:


The success stories they feature and the pitch they're actually making remains inscrutably vague -- just the same "get rich quick with 10 free Web businesses"; I note that Hank Williams (not the singer, the Silicon Alley Insider contributor) also takes issue with the infomercial, though I would still venture that it still presents more of a business model than some Web 2.0 companies out on the market.

(Additionally, I see that he also uses the "Tic Tac (Blueberry)" theme for his Blogger blog.)

One of my goals for 2009 is to shift back into a reasonable semblance of East Coast time, so hopefully I'll be able to drastically reduce my infomercial viewing.

Washington Monument on a Rainy Night

Last month, I was driving back from some sort of tech event foolishness in DC on a rainy night, when I saw the Washington Monument shrouded in mist.

It looked pretty cool. I pulled over and walked over to take some photos. Since it's raining right now, I guess that's a good enough excuse to post them.

The full set is here: Washington Monument on a Rainy Night, 11/13/08

Trying to catch the red aviation marker lights was annoying.

Low angle, with flag.

Lower angle, on the corner.

Up against the wall, looking up. Didn't they just clean the silly thing?

Since I didn't have a tripod, I propped the camera against my shoe and hit the self-timer. My head accidentally got in the way of a couple of pics, so I decided to do one with me in it on purpose:

Outta the way, you damned fool!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Check Me Out Over at the Network Solutions Blog (with some bonus features for my Twitter post)

For the past few weeks, I've been doing some blogging over at the Network Solutions blog, Solutions Are Power. (I'd met blog honcho Shashi Bellamkonda at a Twitter meetup last year, and stayed in touch through various DC tech events since then.)

I'm blogging about social media and online community topics (naturally), with a particular focus on how it can affect small business. (And I mean real small business, not just social media consultants.) So naturally, there's some potential overlap with stuff I've been known to write about here. (Not the dumb things. Well, not my dumb things.)

For example, a few of the posts I've done over there, started out as drafts in my head that were going to be used here, but I never got around to doing.

Take my "Twitter: I Was Doing It Wrong" entry. I'd been sitting on it for a few months and not getting anywhere with it, when I found a new hook and used it for the NetSol blog. Book it. Done. Well, with a few tweaks:

* Twitter Priority: I left out the idea of Twitter posters prefacing their posts with a number on a set scale (say 1-4), so that recipients could filter to the level of posts they wanted to see from any particular person. (Remember, even if I know and like you, I don't necessarily care about the trivial emphemera of what you're doing right now... or even if I do, I don't need to know it in real-time).

An example scale would be:

1 - Your standard bullshit update of no consequence (that is to say, a normal Twitter post)
2 - Your standard bullshit update, except with your location
3 - An update where you're specifically trying to share information you think might be interesting or useful to others (say, a traffic disruption, celebrity sighting, or miscreants setting off fireworks inside the Metro)
4 - An update where you're explicitly requesting a reply from people (like a question)

Throw in a 5, for truly extraordinary, emergency circumstances (e.g. "help, i'm in egypt getting arrested.")

Since it would depend on people's ability to honestly self-categorize their own Twitter posts -- well, let's just say I'm not holding my breath on this idea.

* On my Facebook/Twitter persona: A while back, one of my Facebook friends asked me why I was out partying all the time. When I asked why she thought that, she said that it was the impression she got from looking at my Facebook status.

My Facebook status comes from Twitter (via TwitterSync) -- I don't update it any other way. And at that time, I only updated Twitter when I was out and about. Which is why my friend thought I was just partying non-stop.

Anyway, check out my entries (and, heck, the other entries, too) on the NetSol blog if you like, and drop a comment and say hi over there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The New York Times Doesn't Want Any Dirty, Stinking Fark Links

I've seen a notable lack of New York Times links on Fark over the past few months. NYT used to be really unfriendly to social bookmarking and linksharing sites (with their login-registration wall), but that changed when they added permalink sharing URLs, which made linking to their stories easier.

Now, though, when you try to submit an NYT link to Fark, it fails -- you get an error:

"Can't verify that link: Throwing away unfetchable URL... 302 Moved Temporarily"

The error message says it's a 302 temporary redirect, though Redirect Checker says it a 301 permanent redirect. Either way, Fark doesn't like it.

I'm not 100% on the timing, but I think it's related to changes that were made when NYT rolled out their TimesPeople social network a few months back. (I already disliked TimesPeople because it adds a persistant Javascript tool bar at the top of the page -- when you page down in an article, it cuts off the first few lines, so you have to scroll back up to pick up where you left off. It's annoying.)

Anyway, that's probably why there haven't been any NYT links on Fark the last few months. (Other social booksharing sites seem unaffected.)

I guess an alternate interpretation would be that Fark doesn't want any NYT links. But the headline on that doesn't sound as cool.

Fireworks in Gallery Place Metro

Friday night, I headed to Clyde's in DC, to meet up with some folks who were going to the Caps game.

I'd just gotten off the Red Line at Gallery Place, when the mass of people in front of me on the platform stopped abruptly. I looked over and saw an idiot teenager place a firework on the ground and light it. He was laughing as he hopped on the train.

The fuse sparked and smoked for a few seconds. The crowd gave it a wide berth, but didn't move. Then it went off.

The firework was some sort of roman candle thing, shooting off about 6 flaming colored balls. Some of them bounced off the train as it pulled out of the station.

It was all over in a few seconds, leaving just a cloud of sulfurous smoke in the station.

IMG_2363I would have taken a video of it (or the kid) with my phone, but I wasn't fast enough. Also, it was a good thing I saw the kid place the firework, or else there was an above-average chance I would have gone over the side of the platform to be among the Metro ladders and brooms. [Right: Mostly unrelated older photo.]

Now, I know teenagers are stupid, but how amazingly clueless do you have to be to light off a firework in the subway when people are still freshly fearful from Mumbai (to say nothing of London or Madrid), as well as the upcoming inauguration?

And of course, giving more ammunition to the random bag search proponents.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Local Blog Dumbness, or What the Hell Is Going on at Metblogs DC?

I was just looking through some of my Local bookmarks and found two instances of dumbness, one a momentary lapse, the other a whole lot... odder.

First, the Rock and Roll Hotel calendar listings featured a whole mess of Photobucket "Bandwidth Exceeded" pictures (it has since been fixed):


I don't know if it was a technical problem or some sort of administrative glitch (e.g. nonpayment) -- I can't see them actually trying to use a free account for this. But who knows.

Anyway, though not too bad of an incident, it does show the inherent, though usually acceptable, risk in relying on third-party providers for your photo hosting.

The second item is the current lead story on Metblogs DC -- it's entitled "Don't Drive Drunk," and it's pretty... daffy:

Don’t drink and drive also please wear your seat belt.

December is the most dangerous month when most of people get killed or life time injured by accidents.
I do not care where ever you go, when ever you go, we all know time location and our work all is important but think.
Is your life is not important ???
Your children are also important…
When you are at the driving seat, you are responsible of all people who are sitting with you, so tell them WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT OR GET OFF FROM THE CAR !!!!
It goes on to combine some overexcited prose with some near-Engrish, as well as a few nigh-inexplicable photos of a child car crash victim, a potential car crash victim, and more:


The posting over at Metblogs DC has been kind of sporadic ever since the big WeLoveDC exodus, but seriously, come on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Onion Puts the "The" in "The"

A little while back, I inadvertently did a Google search for the word "the", and discovered that the number one search result for "the" is The Onion:

The Onion puts the The in The

Maybe this is something that everyone already knows. Or maybe it's something that a few people know, but no one else can find out about it because it's impossible to search for. (How do you query for anything related specifically to the word "the"? It's maddening.)

I just find it amusing that the first search result for the most common word in the English language is The Onion.

I also note that:

* The top result for "I" is Apple (I guess that shouldn't be a surprise)

* The top result for "me" is also Apple -- MobileMe (so it kinda succeeds, even in failure)

* For "this" it's the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Buh? Anyway, This American Life is the second result)

I could run down the rest of the top 100 words or something, but that would be even more tedious and unfunny.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Vanilla Ice Isn't Even a Good Punch Line Anymore

I got my 65th Fark headline submission greenlight today:

(Yahoo) Scary Deadly, incurable vanilla fungus hits Madagascar. Word to your mother

As you can see (or can you? -- read on), I went with the Vanilla Ice joke. As you can also see by looking at the ensuing comment thread, this comedic choice was met by indifference, even confusion and outright disgust, over the fact that I didn't make a Pandemic 2 joke out of that hanging meatball of a Madagascar/disease reference.

If you're not familiar, Pandemic 2 is a Flash-based, disease simulation videogame. You play the pathogen -- virus, bacteria, or parasite -- and you try to infect and wipe out humanity. Madagascar is often the lone holdout, since it only has one seaport, and if they shut it down, you can't kill the last remnants of humanity to win.

I'm familiar with the game (I've taken to naming my in-game disease-self "Joelogonorrhea"), but since I'm of a certain age (old), the first thing that came to mind was the Vanilla Ice joke. Apparently, the Fark admin who approved the headline was also of this generational mindset (that is to say, culturally irrelevant), so I guess I got lucky here.

I also have to conclude that '90s hit rap artist Vanilla Ice has been overshadowed by a semi-popular Flash video game on the Web.

Sic transit gloria mundi (Latin, of course, for "Drop that zero and get with the hero.")

Like I've said before, for me, submitting Fark headlines is a way to test my writing chops, and to see if other people find what I find interesting, interesting. (You don't get any recognition for a greenlit headline, except a notch in your greenlight count.)

(Actually, today I also got my 66th greenlight, but that one got taken back. Apparently, Fark has this rule against posting links to snuff films. In my defense, it didn't look in any way real, so long as you define "real" as "the way Michael Bay shows it.")

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Corporate CYA for Pearl Harbor Day (2001 Edition)

I'm going through some old work files and swag while watching the Duke-Michigan basketball game (second half is starting right now, Michigan is up), and I found this memo, which dates back to 2001, which was the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Since the date of the attack, of course, was December 7th, it's a pretty timely and serendipitous find:
Subj: EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: 60th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Date: 11/26/01 5:44:29 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: [redacted]
To: [redacted]
Sent on: AOL 5.0 for windows sub 138

Hi Everyone,

We have a very important issue regarding any promotion of the 60th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, occuring Dec 7th. It is VERY important that ads and promos for Japanese auto partners like Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, and Honda, or any other Japanese product producing partners, do not appear anywhere in Pearl Harbor packages or News packages related to Pearl Harbor. Any Pearl Harbor packages should run house ads to shield these major, major advertisers from any unwanted rotations. As you can imagine, this is a very sensitive topic for those companies, and we want to make sure we cover our bases.

If you are planning to promote Pearl-Harbor related content on any of your screens and have questions, please let Edit Ops know. Your diligence and cooperation are greatly appreciated!