Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Open Box


I worked for a toy store in my high school/early undergrad years.  It was seasonal employment around Christmas, what with DePaul University providing students a break from Thanksgiving to the New Year.  I was a basic laborer, who wandered through the store replacing knocked over boxes, bringing things out from the back room, and making sure people didn't run off with the shelving.

I hardly ever touched the cash register, but that didn't stop me from managing to demagnetize a customer's charge card.  I ran it through the slot, only to be informed that the slot was actually for reading the MICROS numbers on the bottom of personal checks (this was back when stores accepted checks).  Of course, I wasn't ever actually trained on how to use the register -- someone just clamored for me to get up there and "ring" during a particular swell of customers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where the Other Half Lives, part I


I received my Master's degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia, or Mizzou for short.  Part of the fun of that degree involved being at a "college" for the first time.  Rather, it felt like what a college should feel like, based on watching movies and TV series about the college experience.  There are fancy stone buildings, a long history filled with bizarre traditions and rivalries, and an on-campus McDonald's.

This week, I made my first visit to Lawrence, Kansas -- the home of the Mizzou's perennial rival, the University of Kansas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lotta bot

You've probably heard of Google, but I'd like to introduce you to the Googlebot.  Googlebot is the name of the web-harvesting code that Google uses to index things into a searchable database.  If you think of the Internet as being somewhat like the connected railroad network, Googlebot charges down each railway and notes where new track has been added (like I said, it's not QUITE like real trains).

Google is hunting out links that refer one page to another, because it's easier than trying to guess what a new page might be called.  The Googlebot (which is probably an array of Googlebots, plural) scours the Internet for new connections and indexes them.  It was also one of the first visitors to my blog, which probably happens sooner when you're hosted by a Google-owned site like Blogger.

Lately, Googlebot has taken an atypical interest in my site.  For years, Googlebot would visit every six or eight months.  This month, it's visited 10 times.  4 times in the last 24 hours. 

I'm at a loss to explain this change in behavior, other than my blog becoming more popular amongst robots.  Actually, I have been featuring sexy inanimate objects that a piece of code may could find alluring... who am I to judge?

Monday, October 19, 2009

I want to wring her neck, but you can't say that about women

She wants help so badly, but she's unable to ask for it.  She can't even admit that it's something that people might occasionally want -- "A shoulder to cry on?  Psh, whatever, weirdo!"

People do want it, though.  They are socially retarded enough to scoff at it, but they still yearn for it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not happiness, but money WILL buy you money.

"What if I gave you a whole mess of that neon toilet paper you Frenchies call money?"
--Duke Phillips, "The Critic", 1994.


The brass band's U.K. tour sidles closer and closer, a fact which is made very apparent by the increasing responsibilities and pressure during each rehearsal.  "If only we had another month to refine and rehearse, then we'd do something REALLY great."  All lies, of course: had we another month, we would have just started later in the season.  Whenever people get nervous, it's in our DNA to wish we had more time.

There's a Kubler-Ross stage of grief called "bargaining" for a good reason and that's not because we're trying to finagle a new pair of socks.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I've been doing "blogging" incorrectly!

While I was driving around yesterday, I heard the tail end of a story about something that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was requiring people who blog (like me) to start doing.  When I got home, I found the relevant story on the New York Times website.

It turns out I've been missing out!  I must have a ton of free computers and free trips built up from 3+ years of blogging!  Back in six months, losers!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall Cleaning

I took part of last week to return to St. Louis and help my middle brother move.  He was moving out of his apartment and into a house that he purchased.  In addition, we assisted moving his girlfriend from her apartment into same house.  Now they just have to figure out who's going to cook dinner.