Friday, June 30, 2006

Maybe This Is Why They Call It "Snail Mail"

It's just about July, and I'm just now finishing up my Christmas stamps:

Christmas Stamps

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Joelogon Is Your FRIEND: He Fights for FREEDOM

Here's a graphic I did up and posted to Flickr last week:


It's a parody treatment I did of a World War II propaganda photo; here's the original photo from the World War II poster collection at the Northwestern University Library:

This Man Is Your Friend: He Fights For Freedom (Chinese)

I cleaned up the poster a bit -- there's a discoloration from tape at the top of the original, plus an archival stamp, both of which I took out with my rudimentary Photoshop skills.

It prints out fairly well to 8.5"x11", so I gave one in a clip frame to my dad.

For the Joelogon version, I used the pic that Timmy took (that I use for all of my profile pics, evidently), which was sepia-toned. I matched the colors and added some noise.

Also, if you look at my left shoulder -- that part is faked up, because the original photo crops there. It looks pretty good as long as you don't look too closely.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A New Cringeworthy Performance

So after all the hot kickball action in Annapolis, I was driving back and decided to stop by Arlington since it was still relatively early.

I met up with Jenny, Adam & Ryan at Clare & Don's Beach Shack. When I got there, there was an abundance of ladies, though the crowd changed significantly by the time Ryan got there. I think he scurred most of them away.

Since it was Saturday, it was karaoke night. They had a new DJ there, with a new song book. The song selection was not as robust; plus, in a particularly irritating turn of events, a lot of songs were listed multiple times... not even counting the alternately-spelled or -worded variants -- just multiple listings, presumably from multiple disks.

Anyway, since not that many people were performing (a few people kept getting their turn at the mike), I thought I would give it another go.

Since my range is pretty limited, and there were fewer options in the book, I thought I would repeat myself and do Dean Martin again.

Except when it got to my turn and I started reading the lyrics of the screen, I realized that the song I thought I had requested (You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You) was not actually the song I requested (Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime).

In my slightly impaired state, with the confusion of the duplicate song titles in the smaller list, I ended up seeing the song I wanted to see, not the song that was actually there.

This presented a problem, as I only know the chorus (actually, I guess the only lyrics I knew were in the song title), and I couldn't really hear the tune.

Well, I was kind of stuck. It's a short song, but it felt like a really long two-minutes, with a lot of awkward pauses since I had to fake my way through the tune, and what I came up with didn't quite sync up with the actual cadence. It's kind of hazy, but I'm sure I was pretty horrible.

I can only hope that no one (especially no one who, say, reads this blog) was actually silly enough to try to take any video or anything, as I would need to take extraordinary measures to keep such video from seeing the light of day.

Kickball Weekend

This weekend was all about the kickball.

Actually, it started on Friday, at the end-of-season party, at PJ Skidoo's in Fairfax.

It was somewhat sparsely attended. Kickball Busters and the Blazers were pretty well-represented. I was the lone YTBer, so I accepted our "Most Supportive of Others" and "Most Spirited" awards (pretty much the Miss Congeniality awards) on behalf of the team.

John and wife Jen from the Blazers were there; Jen took the opportunity to be my wingwoman (as she noted, "We need to get you laid" -- truer words were never spoken). She put up a valiant effort, but you have to work with what you're given, so it was all for naught.

(On a side note, since it'd been a while since I'd seen her when she wasn't massively preggers, it took me a bit to connect "Jen" with "Jif" -- until that point, I was wondering why this odd woman I'd just met was on a mission to get me hooked up.)

On the way home, I saw the Fairfax County Police DUI checkpoint we'd all been warned about, but I was already on a different path and didn't need to deal with that.

Saturday was the kickball regional tournament in Annapolis (well, near Annapolis) -- the first game started at 10am. I was dragging ass, so I got there a little after noon. But it was fine, since I was just going to spectate and take photos.

The weather forecast had been for thunderstorms all weekend, though it was just overcast and cloudy.

Anyway, I posted my Flickr set -- since I wasn't following any particular team, I was able to go look for interesting pics. Got a few nice shots of pitchers, and also ended up with a lot of photos of The Others and Gonzo:

Aaron of The Others, pitching

The composition on a couple of the shots is not horrible, although the technical aspects are lacking, especially trying to freeze the action.

Also, I think I had a smudge on the lens.

The sun started to come out; fortunately, there was sunscreen, and since we'd been watching out for rain, I had my big umbrella to use as a parasol.

Anyway, I ended up staying for the duration, which was a lot longer than I'd planned -- we headed to the afterparty bar, which was kind of out of the way, as well as in a VFWish beer hall kind of place. I hung out for a few hours, then with my usual impeccable timing, left as the rain just started reaching torrential status.

I eventually found my way back to Route 50. Stopped by Arlington on the the way back and met up with some folks, but that's a story for another entry.

Lamer Cream

Saw a promo for this Forbes article last week -- it's some Affordable Luxuries for Summer Beauty nonsense.

Which is to say, it's for women.

Featured in the slideshow is La Mer body creme, a bargain at only $195 for a two-ounce jar:

Lamer Cream

Look, I'm just going by the label, but it's Lamer Cream.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Man Ass and Prick City

Here's my most recent contribution to Gene Weingarten's weekly chat on Washington Post:
Dullest, Va.: Two items:

1. According to this site you can't say "MAN A**" in the Washington Post. Can you say "MAN A**" in the chat?

2. Looking at Sunday's Prick City , the point I should take from the strip is that the flower will sprout even after the "cut and run", right?

(Also, in the interest of accuracy, shouldn't Carmen's hand have been blown off by an IED in the first panel?) No, but you can say MANASSAS.

Gene Weingarten: Indeed. I might even argue it will sprout ONLY after the cut and run. Haha. Didn't know Stantis was a Democrat, did you?

The "words you can't say in the Post" bit referenced the Post's article on Junichi Semitsu, the Dixie Chicks's embedded tour blogger. In the accompanying photo, they cropped the "Man Ass for the Dixie Chicks" from his t-shirt.

I was indeed censored in this case.

The chat occurs weekly, Thursdays at 12 noon, though I submitted my item on Monday, as I would never use my work access for non-work purposes.

Actually, since I'm engaging the blogosphere/social networks, I guess I could say it is was for work purposes. But mostly I wanted to say Man Ass and Prick City.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Break Out the Mercury, Maggots and Leeches

It's been five days since my run-in with road rash, and it's not really what I would call "healed."

Apparently, my take on wound care -- dry gauze, triple antibiotic ointment, and ripping off dressings twice a day, eventually letting it dry up and scab over -- is Stone Age medicine. I may as well have been using leeches. (At one point over the weekend, I was joking about maggot therapy.)

Nowadays, it's all about keeping it moist, with spray on bandages and membranes (those waterproof, self-sticking skins that go directly over a wound).

I finally got fed up tonight (leg started throbbing again), so I did a little reading on healing road rash, then went over to the 24-hour Harris Teeter and picked up some New Skin, as well as some Tegaderm. (If they didn't have what I needed, the next stop was the 24-hour Eckerd's a little further up).

Not sure if I applied it properly, but anything's gotta be better than tearing off scabs and hair (one of the few places on my body with abundant body hair) twice a day.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Suntanning and Denial

I did a silly thing this weekend and got a nice sunburn going on my chest right now. It itches.

My tan this year has been kind of spotty. Not that I go out to get a tan or anything.

Laying out in the sun is only for vain people who are too stupid to realize that UV is bad for you, leading to wrinkles, premature aging, and increased risk of skin cancer. I would never do anything like that.

No, I just happen to stay out in the sun for a few hours with strategically removed clothing and not enough sunscreen, and if my skin happens to darken in spots that happens to look like a tan, well, that's just incidental.

Anyway, being out for a few times in the sun this year wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, cap, shorts and skating gear has left me kind of patchy.

So, down at the lake this weekend, I decided to put sunscreen on some of the already darkened areas and try to even things out.

Besides, I "wasn't going to be out in the sun for that long."

Apparently I was out long enough, because during the drive back, I kept adjusting my seatbelt, since there was obviously something wrong with it, as the shoulder strap was irritating my chest.

Of course, I had fried myself Sunday afternoon. My chest and stomach are all kinds of red and I expect to molt within a few days.

In an added bonus, I didn't bother to turn over, so my back is still pale and there's a big white patch on my leg from the bandage, so I'm patchier than I was before, plus all sunburned and itchy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My Shin... The Long Socks Do Nothing!

As I have previously established, I will bleed for my kickball team.

Here's the May, 2004 version:

Raspberry, May 2004 Edition
Raspberry, May 2004 Edition

I've slid on dry turf a few times since then, but my long, black football socks have kept me from getting shredded.

Not this time, though.

I've gotten a little better treating the photos, and the June, 2006 version is much... fresher. (As in, it's still oozing.) So, out of consideration for my readers (all 3 of you), here's a blurred version -- if you click it, it will take you to the real version on Flickr:

Kickball Raspberry, Blurred Version
You probably don't want to click the picture.

This happened yesterday -- it was our second playoff game, this time against the Ball Blazers.

I guess it would be a good time to say that I did a very, very, very stupid thing in my first at bat.

Bottom of the first inning, I was up fifth. The bases were loaded, with one out. Gonz was pitching, and as I usually do, I took the first pitch to see what it was going to do.

It went right down the middle, a clear strike, so I let it bounce off my foot to foul it off.

Except I neglected to angle my foot. The ball didn't go foul. It just rolled about a yard in front of me.

Catcher Paul scooped up the ball, tagged home, then threw me out. It would have been a double play, of the worst kind... except head ref Jeremy had called foul.

Confusion reigned. There was a lot of shouting. I kept my mouth shut and tried to hide my shame.

Eventually, because it had been called a foul, it was played as a foul, so I got a chance to not humiliate myself.

Needles to say, the Blazers were not happy.

I got on base (they missed the play at home, so we scored), we scored another one, then Gonz walked another batter with the bases still loaded, so we ended up with 3 runs.

Anyway, the Blazers eventually chipped away at our lead, then tied it up. Eventually, I found myself on second base; the ball went into right field, I made it to third, and I got waved home.

I knew I was in trouble when I was more than halfway to home and saw catcher Paul with the ball, up a little towards first.

The look in his eye was feral.

I slid as he threw the ball. It hit me in the leg before I touched the plate. Out, in a cloud of dust.

Of course, the slide pushed my sock up (my left leg was folded under me), so the raspberry.

Anyway, we lost the game 4-3, but it took 7 innings, so we got our money's worth.

And of course, this is supposed to be a lake weekend -- no swimming or hot tubbing for this camper until this stupid thing dries up.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Forgive Me, w0zz, for I Have Sinned...

I did nut vote in the Virginia Democratic Primary.

[Just After] Another Sunset

As I was leaving the office tonight, caught a glimpse of the post-sunset sky from the parking garage. I grabbed my camera and headed to the top deck for a few snaps:

Just Another Sunset

Photo details are in the flickr descriptions, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Foolproof, Cutting-Edge Web Site Marketing Techniques (From 1995)

Are you whining that no one is reading your blog (even though you're just blogging for yourself)? Got a Web site you want to promote? Here's how we did it 11 years ago (it worked then, it should work now, right?):

Waaaaay back in the infancy of the Web, there was a USENET newsgroup that was specifically for announcing new Web sites: comp.infosystems.www.announce

If you had a new Web site, you would post a description and URL, and people would check it out.

Yes, the Web was still new enough back in the day that we needed to (and could) do this.

It's 11 years to the day that I posted my announcement -- here it is from my archives:

From: (Joe Logon)
Date: 13 Jun 1995 23:13:52 GMT
Organization: Recording Angel

"I like you as a friend." -- "I don't want to risk our friendship." -- "I don't look at you *that way*."

Sound familiar? Then perhaps you should look at "Joelogon's Foolproof Guide to Making Any Woman Your Platonic Friend." Explore with me as we try to answer the eternal questions:
*Do women realize what utter devastation they can cause to the male pysche by uttering just these words: "I just want to be friends."?
*If they do know this, do they enjoy it (as it seems they must)
*Includes: "Care and Feeding for Your New Platonic Friend," "Do's and Don'ts of Cultivating and Maintaining a Platonic Friendship with a Woman You Would Otherwise Want To Have a Relationship With and Quite Possibly Marry"... AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!!

Joelogon's Foolproof Guide to Making Any Woman Your Platonic Friend

     | Joe Loong | |
 ### |
-0n0-| "...the Recording Angel, making occasional
 \-/ | adjustments in the direction of the
     | interrogation..."--William Gibson
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Don't see your post yet? Read

Now, it's not like I have the anniversary memorized or anything. I was just feeling a little nostalgic (I'm getting some thoughts down for a future entry about death), so I was rooting around some of my old text files, and lo and behold -- 11 years to the day.

I also note that my current .sig file is pretty close to what it was then.

Anyway, you might be saying, "This can't possibly be true." To that, I would say: Check it out in Google Groups... PWNED, BITCHEZ!!11!!ONE!1!

The Platonic Friends site is still around (; I keep making noise about turning it into a blog (it's still getting a few hundred hits a day, and I haven't touched it in any substantive way in about 4 years), but I'm ambivalent. This is because:

  1. It's so been done

  2. I am lazy

  3. I don't really feel like being the Patron Saint of Pathetic Losers Who Think They're Sensitive Guys But Are Actually Just Chickenshit (again)

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Dating Problem in a Nutshell

It's pretty simple, really. It's a two-parter:

1. If I don't think a woman is interested in me, I don't go after her.

2. I never think women are interested in me.

It's equal parts obliviousness and low self-esteem (A term which sounds better than "shyness." Or "chickenshit." More clinical.)

Take last weekend, for example. I went up to Philly for Gel-Man's post-wedding party (the pictures from which I haven't posted yet), and was chatting up this interesting young miss who was taking far too much enjoyment from the fact that she graduated high school the year Steve graduated law school.

(Steve's just a year or so ahead of me. The math is pretty easy.)

Anyway, we were getting along well. How well, I could not say, but it turns out she didn't have a car and was making foolish sounds about taking the bus home.

Pish-tosh, I said (well, I didn't, but I might as well have), let me give you a lift home.

(This opened the door to all sorts of potential sitcom wackiness about getting lost in downtown Philadelphia, though it was actually a pretty straight shot back to the interstate.)

So, I gave her a ride to her apartment. A gloriously sunny day was winding down; we were talking and even singing along to my Johnny Cash CD.

Looking pretty good, yes? One would think.

We get to her place. kthxbye.

She gets out and I drive away.

It's not like I made a clumsy pass and struck out, or leaned in for a kiss and got slapped, or even completely misread the situation and got gently turned away. That would have been something.

Instead, I just froze and did nothing, and as a result, got bupkes.

In fact, at several points during the drive home (and even in the intervening days), I found myself yelling "BUPKES", when the enormity of my lameness hit me.

Bupkes is Yiddish for "nothing" -- literally, "beans" -- but it has a deeper meaning, according to The Word Detective:
But there's more to "bupkes" than just "nothing." When you say you got "bupkes" from a deal you brokered, for instance, it really means "you got nothing when you should have gotten at least something if there were any justice at all in this world." All of which is a lot for one word to say, but Yiddish is good at that.

Look, here I am being all clinical and detached again.



My New Blog Domination Strategy

I am of two minds when I look at the whole A-List blogger thing (blogerati, blogebrity, whatever silly name you want to call it).

On the one hand, it's completely ridiculous and I want nothing to do with it or anyone who's concerned about it.

(You know, that whole "not wanting to be a member of any club that would have me as a member" thing.)

On the other hand, I'm completely jealous.

Anyway, I figure that I can worry about it when it happens, so I've decided to become blog famous.

This is in light of the fact that I am unlikely to become any other kind of famous (outside of "victim of spectactularly gruesome crime"-famous, which I would prefer to avoid).

Taking a look at other "A-List" bloggers: Well, I'm not a technologist, I'm ambition-deficient, I don't have any unusual insights, I'm not an authority on any particular subject, I don't go to the right parties, and I'm not the entrepreneurial-type, so all those doorways are closed to me.

However, what I can do is have a name that's unusually-spelled, but pronounced almost exactly like the mundane version.

Therefore, from now on, my name is Dgo Loong. It's pronounced "Joe", as intensive research in the Microsoft Speech Properties Control Panel shows.

(Actually, "Djo" would probably be closer; I started with Djo since I was already familiar with that whole Djembe/Jim thing, but Djo looks to be an actual name and surname, whereas Dgo does not.)

I will probably have to cultivate a new persona, but one thing at a time.

I haven't registered yet, but will work.

Please make a note of it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Complicated, Like Sunday Afternoon

I read most of the paper, did two loads of laundry (well, technically I just emptied the drier) and then went skating this afternoon.

It was a really nice day, mid 70s and cloudy. There were some interesting cloud formations to the south, kind of a sheet made of wispy threads, pierced by a contrail. Of course, I didn't have my camera.

I headed over to the W&OD Trail, parked at the Route 28 lot and headed west, went about 5 miles and turned around. There were a good number of cyclists, not as many skaters. I had to loosen my calf strap a bit, since it was pulling at my Achilles in an unpleasant way.

In case it wasn't clear, nothing really noteworthy happened. Other than it was a nice day to skate.

Swung by the office gym to work out afterwards. AOL & Discovery are competing in an intercorporate fitness competition at The President's Challenge (which is the grown-up version of the President's Physical Fitness thing back in grammar school). I don't really care about the competition aspect, but it was an excuse to hit the gym, and the activity logging part of the Web site is nice.

You get a star if you register activity 5 days out of each week, with "activity" going all the way down to "Household Tasks."

It's amazing what the temptation to cheat is.

Let's see, they don't have a category for "Standing Around Drinking Beer, 2 hrs" -- I guess that's pretty close to "Walking, Light."

Afterwards, went to Trader Joe's, which is when things got complicated.

I was getting my usual items (simmer sauces, Kashi GoLean bars, frozen chicken potstickers which I'm pretty sure used to be packaged as mini-tortillas), when I saw someone from behind who looked a lot like one of my ex-girlfriends.

"No, that couldn't possibly be her," I thought, "since she's in [a state that is not Virginia]."

(I'm not sure why I'm being circumspect, it's not like I have a ton of exes, so it's not that hard to figure out who I'm talking about. Or who I think I'm talking about.)

Then again, she does have friends up here... she could have been visiting. But without telling me? Eh, probably.

We didn't end on the best terms. My fault, I guess.

I eventually decided not to force to issue (though not before stalling long enough to buy some things that I didn't really need. Like a small spaghetti squash), since if it wasn't her, it wouldn't have mattered, and if it was her... well, if she'd been interested in talking to me, she would have let me know.

Of course, since she knows about this blog, there's some chance that she'll see this, so I suppose I'm being passive-aggresive.

Either that, or just I'm just completely paranoid.

Just What About Sunday Mornings Is Supposed to Be Easy?

Some incidental dumbness while I process my first cup of coffee.

* I just spent about 20 minutes searching for the newspaper, which was complicated by the fact that I've got about 3 weeks worth of papers scattered around 3 rooms of my house (including my completely taken over dining room table).

Naturally, I hadn't picked up today's paper yet, which was sitting on my porch.

Actually, this isn't as dumb as you might imagine, since I am often around or up when they deliver the paper; coming home a few weeks back around 2:00am, the paperboy (it actually was a boy, though he was being driven around) almost nailed me with the paper as I was fumbling with the lock.

* My computer has had trouble finding my wireless network lately, so I was fiddling with my settings last night. I caused myself a whole bunch of extra grief trying to fix the problem, until I finally realized that I'd entered my WPA password wrong somewhere in the "trying to fix it" process.

I seem to be better now.

Now, this is not really the post I'd intended after a two-week layoff, which I attribute to an occupational hazard: Not wanting to think about blogging after a full day's worth (and then some) of thinking about blogs, talking about blogs, and of course, blogging.

Maybe I will get to all that later.