Jan 302011

Anyone trying to access this blog in the past three days would have received a 404 message (I know, a 404 page was probably a modest improvement over what’s going on over here lately anyway). The good folks over at DreamHost disabled this blog because it was the source of high load on one of their servers; turns out a DDoS attack was hitting assorted pages in the archives.

Anyway, it’s back, and I’ve turned on more aggressive page caching and have started autobanning spam IPs. I’d like to say this shows that I’m moving up in the Internet world (the bots love me enough to start fighting over my blog!), but no, it doesn’t.

Coming “soon”: by popular demand, beer reviews! Sure I’ve done this elsewhere, but my reviews there don’t auto-import into Facebook, either.

 Posted by at 1:30 pm
Jan 022011

Well…it’s been 19 months since I last posted something here, so this serves as proof (for now) that my blog is not dead.

What’s happened since then, you ask?

  • I moved to Kansas City and started a new job;
  • The trusty 1999 Alero was replaced by a (thus far) trusty 2009 Civic;
  • I became an uncle last April;
  • I ran my second and third half-marathons;
  • I made my first visits to New Mexico, Washington (x 2), and Alaska.

The non-spambots reading this were probably aware of some/most of those things, but in case you weren’t, there you go.

I have no idea how long it’ll be until there is another next year-plus gap in blog posts, but for the time being, I do plan on doing *something* with Mr. Blog. What, exactly, that something will be, I have no idea at this time. Stay tuned…

 Posted by at 5:12 pm
Jun 122009

By popular demand, I interrupt the commentary with a link to a gallery of every photo I took on the trip (238 total). No tags, no captions, no context. Also, please save your bromance jokes for the appropriate post(s) in the future; don’t worry, I’ll be making plenty of those jokes myself.

Europe 2009 Photos

Jun 112009

As promised, here’s my (very, very belated) retelling of the adventures Lincoln, Clay and I had in Europe in March and April.

March 30 and 31: (USA -> London -> Swindon)

After flying out of Lincoln (Airport) , I met up with Lincoln (DeMaris) in Chicago. As I had lots of time to kill between my arrival at O’Hare and our departure for Heathrow, I spent a good two hours waiting for Lincoln to make his way from Seattle at the Goose Island airport brewpub. He eventually arrived and got down to business.

Lincoln eating Chinese food.

The first, but certainly not the last act of gluttony on this trip.

The flight across the Atlantic was uneventful. I have a hard time falling asleep on airplanes, and I watched bits and pieces of Cadillac Records as it looped 3+ times during the flight. We got into Heathrow around 9:30, and took a Heathrow Connect train into Paddington. Our train to Swindon wasn’t heading out until 3:30, so we ate lunch at a pub outside of Paddington, which I believe was the Sawyers Arms. After lunch, there was enough time for a pint at the Fullers pub inside Paddington before we caught our train to Swindon.

Why did we go to Swindon, you ask? Well…in the heady days before we planned out our exact itinerary (i.e., the weekend before we left), we thought that going to see some of the stone circles and other cool ancient stuff in the vicinity would be a nice, touristy thing to do. However, this would not be the case, as a) the sites of interest were 5-10 miles out of town, b) there was no transport available from Swindon there in the non-tourist season, and c) we didn’t find out until we were already in Swindon and were buying our tickets for the next day’s trip to Betws-y-Coed, Wales that the train would be leaving early the next morning. Oh well…

In any case, we walked from the train station to the Bell Hotel in the Old Town area (it had the advantage of being the cheapest place I could find after a 5-minute Web search). I called home via Skype, we had a couple pints in the hotel pub, and hit the town. After about 10 minutes of aimless wandering, we went to The Victoria pub, which had a cover band playing in the basement. They were pretty decent, with their Radiohead covers being particularly good. During the evening, we were asked two or thee times by the locals “Why are you in Swindon?” (Swindon itself is a most un-touristy town.)

The Bell Hotel

Established in the reign of King Henry VIII A.D. 1515

The Victoria pub

Multiple levels of fun!

On the stumble back to the Bell Hotel, Lincoln got a döner kebab. It was amazing.

Old Town Kebab House

...and for less than £4!

Mar 302009

I’m leaving for Europe this afternoon. I’ll do my best to post updates here from time to time; if that fails, my assorted social Web presences (which anyone reading this likely has access to) should provide an abbreviated commentary.

With any luck, there will also be (near-)real-time photos, but that may have to wait until my return.

 Posted by at 11:42 am
Sep 302008

As virtually everyone who has ever interacted with me in person knows, I’m an introvert. (Depending on when I took the MBTI, I’m either an INTP or an ISTP, to be precise.) Most of the time, I can only have so much continuous active interaction with other people before I need to slink off to some nearby Fortress of Solitude. It only recently occurred to me that my sociability drawdown rate varies wildly and depends on only a handful of factors (the number of people around, the overall sociability of those other people, the emotional or intellectual intensity of my interactions, etc.).

The point of all this? Well…um…uh…

This is another fine example of what’s on my mind when I’m walking to and from work.

 Posted by at 11:06 pm
Aug 312008

…like you’d expect any r-selected species to do.

On my daily walk to work, I get my fill of “nature” by walking past the INS USCIS building at 8th & S. Last fall and early this spring, I would see one adult cottontail nibbling on the grass along the east side of the building. A few weeks later, I would see two or three adult rabbits in this area. By early summer, the additional adult rabbits were gone and were replaced with baby kits. At first, I would only see one little rabbit cautiously venture out from the bushes; soon that became two, and then three. A month or so later, two more rabbits even smaller than the (by then) half-grown rabbits appeared, giving a total of at least five newborn rabbits for the summer.

Recently, I’ve only seen, at most, two rabbits in the vicinity; I’m guessing with summer drawing to a close, the near-adults have been driven off.

(Moral of the story: I need to see real nature more often.)

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Jul 122008

Anyone who knows me is quite aware that I like spicy things; Buffalo wing sauce is one of the most common condiments that I use. While I can buy any number of wing sauces, it’s more fun to make your own. As best I can tell, this is the original recipe from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine (margarine appears to be preferred)
  • 5 tablespoons of Louisiana-style hot sauce (Frank’s RedHot appears to be preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

Melt the butter or margarine over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, add the hot sauce and the 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Stir well and remove from the flame immediately.

Play around with the ratios to suit your own taste. Recipe from Totally Hot! The Ultimate Hot Pepper Cookbook. My own commentary in parentheses.

 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Jun 192008

This is partially for my own reference, but I hope at least one person will enjoy the linkage:

Ron Pattinson writes one of the most content-rich blogs I’ve ever come across — Shut up about Barclay Perkins. (His “main” site is the European Beer Guide.) From browsing his blog (for 2008, he’s averaging more than one multi-paragraph post per day, so actually reading it will take quite some time), you quickly pick up the personality of the guy: as best I can tell, he’s opinionated to the point of being quite abrasive and is thoroughly obsessed with statistics, primary documents, and semantic accuracy. However, what shines though is his ruthless determination to document the history of Europe’s brewing industry and to dismantle what we “know” to be true about beer. It’s really quite a sight to behold.

(No, seriously, go check out his blog. If the technical content is too much for you, scroll until you find a travel/miscellaneous post.)

 Posted by at 6:13 pm
Apr 162008

Hi, I’m back!

To celebrate my triumphant return, I’m subjecting you to an analysis of what lands in my spam folder. Enjoy!

Between April 1 and April 15, I received 367 spam items in my Google Mail account. They break down as follows:

Meds 8 11 17 18 12 13 12 17
ED 3 14 17 9 11 7 4 13
“Enhancement” 17 10 19 12 17 4 15 13
Porn 2 2 3 4 4 1 1
Fake goods 6 1 4 1 3 3
Watches 4 3 2 1 1 3 6 2
Software 1 1 2
Degrees 1 2 2 1 1 1
Gambling 1 1 1
Phishing 1 2 1
Mailing lists 1 1 1
Other 1 1 2 1
Totals 38 50 50 50 50 29 50 50

So, in summary, the Internet thinks I’m a straight male (check), I’m middle-aged (nope), and I don’t have insurance (nada). Keep trying guys; you’ll get it right eventually.

 Posted by at 10:46 pm