Monday, July 23, 2007

At the Fringe Fest: This Digital Life

On Saturday, I went my to my first Capitol Fringe Festival event -- the play "This Digital Life: Basic Instructions for Coping with the 21st Century"(presented by Truffle Pigs).

In keeping with the subject matter, I found out about the show from an entry in Metroblogging DC, then checked out a review in the City Paper's Fringe coverage... which had a linkback to another review in Justin Thorp's blog (where I also left a comment).

So I bought my ticket (online) and Metroed in. I almost got on the wrong train at Metro Center (I was on autopilot and was headed towards Dupont Circle instead of Gallery Place), but I still got to the Goethe Center with enough time to go next door and grab a beer at RFD.

Actually, make that barely enough time; they almost closed the house on me -- I got a seat in the front row, all the way on the right side (and next to playwright Joseph Price's parents, as it happened).

The pre-show included some projected YouTube videos and such -- there was also a bit of onscreen interactivity, as they solicited for other videos and sites to show:

The first act involved Second Life infidelity (with a twist ending).

The second act was about the quest for YouTube celebrity (paraphrase: "A bunch of people telling you to shut the fuck up is not an audience!"). It was pretty engaging, though the temporal structure was a bit jarring (as I recall, it started in the immediate past, moved forward to the present, then jumped back between the first two points and then moved farther back).

Since one of the plot mechanisms was an e-mail to the future, this was no doubt the intent, though it did make it hard for us to know when the act was over.

The third act covered vanity domains and naming for newborns, as well as relationship and parenting angst. (Notable quote: "What's the point of all this relentless self-promotion if you don't do anything extraordinary?")

After the performances, there was a talkback session for the audience to provide feedback, and for the performers to explain themselves a bit:
Crappy cellphone pic.

This included instructions on how to procure Second Life hookers (I don't know how Mr. Price's parents took that).

So it was a good event, though I guess it helped that I understood all of the Web 2.0 and tech references.

I was looking over the list of next weekend's event, and found a few I might like to see.

Anyway, afterwards, Metroed back to Arlington -- got off at Rosslyn and hoofed it uphill, where I ran into Jenny & Mike outside Four Courts, then went to Galaxy Hut for a bit. As I was getting ready to leave, I bumped into Jenny & Adam (different Jenny), so we ended up staying until last call.

There was also some making fun of popped collars (in general), and GW fratboys with monograms on their polo shirt collars that are only visible when the collar is up (I had not known such a thing existed, and was enlightened by a fellow at the next table who had an axe to grind).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Two Media Milestones of Tremendous Importance

1. The Weekly World News is shutting down. [link via Fark]

2. The Onion's best columnist/diarists, Jim Anchower and Smoove B are vying for the attentions of the same woman.

Remember this day. Tell your descendants.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Am I Ceiling Cat or Serious Blogger?

The Which Lolcat Are You? Test says I'm Ceiling Cat -- 27% Affectionate, 36% Excitable, 40% Hungry:
You are a master of stealth. They never see you coming. But you always see them coming. HEY-O!

But personally, I think I'm more of a Serious Blogger:

I are serious blogger. This is serious blog.

From an entry I did for the new work blog.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Fox at the Gym Stole Someone's Wegmans

At best, that headline is speculative; at worst, it's pure fiction.

I was going over to the office gym at around 9pm tonight -- it was the lawn area in front of the gym, and it's not particularly well lit. I saw a white shape darting across the lawn, stopping at a tree.

At first I thought it was a trick of the light, but as I got closer, I saw the bushes just past the tree were still rustling. The white shape was a Wegman's plastic bag with a takeout container inside, presumably trash from a nearby garbage can. So I'm guessing a fox, raccoon or possibly a badger of some sort had grabbed the trash, and ditched it at the tree and bolted for the bushes as I got close.

That was probably the highlight of my workout, which was light legs and shoulder, finishing up with about 10 minutes of jump rope. (13 minutes of rope time, minus about 3 minutes of pausing, gasping and panting.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Late Night Shots, Backfence Bye-Bye, WaPo's "Porch Monkey" and Ratting Out Tourists

Some items of local interest from the past few weeks:

* The Return of Late Night Shots: I was just going to leave this one alone, but I'm seeing a spike of traffic to my Late Night Shots entry from last year. It's on the first page of search results for "late night shots", and the renewed interest is most likely due to the City Paper's feature story on them this week, which was picked up by Metafilter and god knows where else. (The City Paper's site was down for a while Friday, perhaps due to the increased traffic or maybe a denial-of-service attack -- who knows.)

If you hate over-privileged douchebags, the people who love to hate them, or both, check out the comments in the story.

* Backfence Gone: As had been announced, is no more. I'd had a semi-permanent listing in the local blogs section of the Reston version, as they'd pretty much stopped updating the featured blogs a while ago. Oh well.

* You Can't Reclaim Porch Monkey: A couple of weeks ago, the Post had a story about the resurgence of front porches, and how they get neighbors talking to each other.

It was a feelgood piece, which is why I was especially ambushed by the last paragraph:
"The porch sealed the deal for the couple -- she's a credit union retirement specialist, he's an Army translator -- because it strongly evoked her Midwestern childhood. 'I was a big-time porch monkey in St. Louis. Everyone was outside on the stoop until long after the streetlights came on.'"
I've never heard the term porch monkey used as anything but a racist slur against blacks. Regardless of whatever Clerks II has to say about it.

In an odd bit of timing, the Post's Howard Kurtz had specifically mentioned the phrase a few months earlier, in an item decrying the appearance of racial slurs in... comments.

Also, I guess it's one of those second-tier slurs, as it doesn't warrant "quotes" or the "PM-word" treatment.

* Throwing Tourists Under the Bus: I submitted the following item, which ran in Eavesdrop DC:
About 3pm, one tourist to another at the Folklife Festival:

"You're just looking for an excuse to take a picture of a black person."
True story, if slightly paraphrased, though it captured the spirit of the exchange.

One only hopes they were talking about the gospel or blues performers, say, and not a random DC resident.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Please Do Not Offer My Senate a Hindu

I guess I'm a bad person, but sometimes I can't help but enjoy watching a good trainwreck unfold.

Specifically, I'm curious to see how the conservative blogosphere reacts to today's disruption of the Senate's morning prayer, which was delivered by a Hindu and interrupted by three Christian protestors:

Politics and religion. The only way it could get better if it had been delivered by a lesbian. Or possibly a terrorist.

[Title comes from here. Wav here.]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Cost a Nigerian Scam Artist $1.08

I got this letter a few days ago -- it's a snail mail version of the classic Nigerian Letter (or 419 scam, which retains the name, even though this one apparently originated in the UK):


Because we see it so often in e-mail these days, it's easy to forget that the Nigerian scam started out in snail mail and faxes.

In this particular case, there's still an online connection, since the scammers evidently got my address from a WHOIS lookup. (I'll also occasionally get "European Lottery" notification letters of similar provenance.)

I take pleasure knowing that the scammers spent £0.54, or about $US1.08 in postage.

I am saddened, though, knowing I did not warrant the complete trust placed in me, as I could not keep "this proposition absolutely confidential."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scary Occurances in DC Radio

I heard the "...from the Ledo Pizza Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center" tagline for the first time tonight on WTOP. It frightened me.

More scarily, I swear I also heard a promo/commercial for the "Carrier air-conditioned broadcast something or other" on 94.7 The Globe.

I guess that's one way to fight global warming (which is part of their eco-friendly positioning). It ranks right up there with Bush's Call for Development of National Air Conditioner.

I also scared myself this evening. I couldn't remember the tune to Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend (the hook of which may or may not be stolen from the Rubinoos' I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend), so I actually sought out the video so I could listen to the tune.

I guess I was more scurred of not being able to recall the tune than I was afraid it would get stuck in my head. Again.

Lastly, in a non-scary thing, it's too bad that Unzipped got the axe from 106.7's 7-10pm lineup.

However, it's bad-bad that they're exclusively doing reruns (as far as I can tell, which isn't very), and not labeling them as such.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

But Did I Get a Break on Service Charges?

This is kind of weird. I had a dream this morning where I received the tickets that I'd ordered in a previous dream.

I find that my dreams are getting more and more pedestrian.


Friday, July 06, 2007

This Makes Me Nervous, Curious and Furious

According to Statcounter, I normally don't get more than 200 pageviews a day here (and truthfully, it's usually closer to the 100 side of things).

I don't mind at all -- the only metric I really care about is my Returning Visitors number (since it presumably represents people I know in some way). As long as my Unique Visitors count is close to my pageviews count, I'm happy.

(I realize I'm not going to get a lot of repeat visits or extra pageviews from people who actually think certain words are spelled "felatio" or "vaginia" -- nor do I want them. And I feel better about my various one-off entries when people find the useful info they searched for, like how to beat the Asian flush. They come in, they find what they need, they leave.)

However, occasionally, I'll see my pageviews jump far out ahead of my uniques. Then I'll drill down and see stuff like the following last month, which makes me nervous, curious and furious:

magnify this user ip[redacted] (Cox Communications) [Label IP Address]

Virginia, Fairfax, United States, 0 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June
5th June

I get nervous because I wonder -- Is someone hoovering up my content to republish somewhere else? Or am I getting stalked -- is there a dossier getting filled up periodically?

Then I get curious -- is it a person, or some kind of bot? What kind of person would just click from monthly archive page to monthly archive page from 4pm, to just before 6pm?

And for the longer gaps -- was this person really reading from 15:59 to 16:20, or were they getting up to go to the kitchen, or taking a bathroom break in the middle?

Finally, I get furious -- What the fuck was wrong with March 2007? That month had a lot of really good entries in it! Here I am, turning phrases, crafting words and putting in pictures and taking a lot of time and pride in my work, and you, you piece of shit, you bitch/son-of-a-bitch -- you spent 64 fucking seconds on it!

Okay, I'm calm. I'm calm. I take another look and see that
you're doing something that makes you look like you're jumping back and forth between certain months, like March and April 2007 (which really were both pretty good blog months), so you probably did spend more time in those months. So I have no idea who you are or what you're doing, but at least you didn't just skim past.

I'm calm.

Where does "This is why we can't have nice things" come from?

What's the origin of "This is why we can't have nice things!" I know it's used in Frisky Dingo, but is that where started? I've been seeing it a lot recently in the hipster doofus-verse.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I Give Up: I Declare This GLUTTONY WEEK

It started on Saturday, when I read the story about the Dairy Queen Blizzard road rage incident and had to have one. This is despite the fact that I'd never eaten one before.

I only got the small, though. Heath bar.

It was okay.

On Sunday, I went grocery shopping. I was coming back from the Folklife festival and hadn't eaten anything all day except for a banana and a Kashi GOLEAN Roll! (they're really good), so I was in trouble.

I ended up buying a 6-pack of Klondike Heath bars ($1.99! That's 33 cents a bar! Such a bargain...), a pack of steaks (small ones), and two bags of Lay's Cheddar and Sour Cream potato chips (half-price). Oh, and my groceries.

Okay, all was not lost. I was going to go to the gym tonight.

But the Monday evening thing never really seems to work out for me (so to speak).

Then, tomorrow's going a pre-holiday, then of course, Wednesday is the Fourth.

So, fitness-wise, I'm writing off this week and going to be a glutton.

For my first act, I think I will finish off (another) Klondike Heath bar, covered in two kinds of pudding. Then, I will start alternating salty and sweet foods until my taste buds fall off.

I will have to play the rest by ear.