Stuff from March, 2004

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on March, 2004.


Finished paper. Went to print paper. Printer out of ink. Thought for a moment, and decided to print it that morning. Wanted to get up at 7, got up at 7:40. Ran around. Ate. Printed paper successfully. Great. Ran to class. Icy. Fell into gigantic mud puddle. Soaked pants. Hand covered in mud. Ditto for the paper.



The old water heater at home decided to go on the fritz and spew steam and various water-heater type parts across the basement proper. So, naturally, we got a new one installed. The guy installing had some very interesting stories to tell from his heating and cooling career. For example, a family went out of town and squirrels got in through their heating ducts. Unfortunately, the squirrels discovered the food processor in the sink. The family came home to ground up rotting squirrel. I have no idea why that story was shared. Sounds like something from “When Insane Animals Invade Your House VIII.” Then again, it isn’t as bad as the people who used to live across the street from us. Yes, they were away and their house flooded with water issuing forth from a cracked toilet on the upper floor. The water soaked the floorboards until most of the main floor collapsed. Upon her return, Mrs. Across the Street was very nearly hysterical. Insurance usually covers water damage, but I do not know about squirrel stench.



I figured out that Wednesday consisted of just under 8 hours of class. However, the final class I had on Wednesday, I only have once a month. My ride there, unfortunately, was not able to drive, so they just gave me the keys to the car. As I did not having enough cash on my person to simulaneously pay them for gas and pay for parking, my sister graciously drove me over to the class and picked me up. This month, we will be visiting orthodontists and oral surgeons, and it looks like it will be very interesting. The final doctor to present during class on Wednesday was hilarious. He is a maxillofacial surgeon (which includes oral surgery - he became a surgeon and got a PhD in Biochemistry at the same time) … anyways he opened with a slide of a guy with a dinner fork stuck in his face. The man, an inmate at a local prison, said he was simply minding his own business at dinner and somebody came up from behind him and jabbed a fork into his face. Yeah right. The first picture was straight at the front of the man’s face, and you could see the fork with the tongs buried about an inch into his the tissue right below his eye. The side x-ray was the funniest: there was just a skull and then perfect profile of a fork buried in the cloudy soft tissue. Apparently, the operation to remove the fork went pretty smoothly. After that, we saw more typical things, like facial reconstruction. The incisions around the eyes were particularly interesting: in order to screw the titanium surgerical grade screws into the bone, surgeons make incisions around the eye socket (so as to avoid scars), and sometimes actually remove the eyeball to get at things. Very cool. Jaw surgery was particularly interesting; the upper jaw bone was actually sawed in half and then re-set (using those screws again) to a new position. Particularly stunning was the way in which the soft palette can simply be cut, peeled back to expose the bone, and still heal back to normal usually within a week or two. What interesting stuff.


172800 Seconds

We were taking a physics group quiz and I got to talking to Brad next to me. Turns out he got up Wednesday morning and had been up since. If the quiz had been on Wednesday, this might not have been a big deal, but it was late Friday afternoon. A man that had been up for 48 hours straight corrected my error during the quiz. That’s not as bad as the time I lost two out of three to a drunk person in Connect 4.



My Day in Music:
George Winston - The Velveteen Rabbit - Alone
George Winston - The Velveteen Rabbit - Loneliness
Cake - Never There
Ani DiFrance - This Bouquet
The Beatles - Yesterday
George Winston - Loretta and Desiree’s Bouquet
The Strokes - Someday
Paul van Dyk - Nothing But You
Dishwalla - Until I wake Up
The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun



Many links I have run across lately.

A fun example of form highliting; shockingly more useful than you would expect.
I grew up with Webmonkey, it is sad to see it go. It had such character.
Informative article attempting to outline how much information the world contains. It puts a lifetime of human memories at 200 megabytes.
Bad variable names and the people that use them. I guess our JAVA teacher was right.


Good Morning, Vietnam

Some people make you feel like a million bucks. Others make you feel like some old dollar bill that has been torn up into little pieces, thrown into the street, rolled in mud, and then carefully pieced back together and dried off just so it could be soaked in gasoline and burned up.

I found a piece of Trident gum on the ground. It was fully wrapped and looked pretty clean. I’m really craving gum so I am trying to decide if I should chew it or not. Thoughts would be appreciated. Currently, I am leaning towards chewing it. Gum is gum, I doubt it has been poisoned. Although, there is a small chance it has been poisoned. In this case, death could result.


(anti-spam-bcc:) Recent Downtime

In a random act of server-updating initiated by the powers that be (over whom I have no control) tumbledry experienced some unscheduled downtime. My most sincere apologies. I will redouble my “UpTime Monitoring” (which consists of visiting the site and making sure it loads; pretty scientific eh?) efforts. The database that tracks all you visitors got corrupted by some process unknown to me. Thankfully, I had a backup copy from right after the 2000% hit increase incident from about a month ago. Zeus be praised! (Note to self: research before referencing pagan gods). (Second note to self: burn some old notes). (Final note: | Re: rambling | Message Body: stop).


File Under: Pointless Observations (a la Modulo26.net)

I had gotten yogurt in order to make it through the long lecture of mathematics that lay ahead. After consuming the strawberry goodness, I really had nothing left to occupy my time. So, I began chewing on the black plastic Dixie spoon. Unfortunately, with spooning side down, I managed to lodge the sides of the device between the two rows of teeth on the top of my mouth. Let me diagram:


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Tomorrow is Java abstraction, for loops, while loops, logical flow, and encapsulation. Tomorrow is a section test and a study time. Tomorrow I play pool. Tomorrow I eat. Tomorrow is a new day (and really, its today).

Abstraction: A Critical Analysis

I’m not convinced by the Java concept of abstraction. The analogy goes as follows: a Java class is like a car, you do not need to know all of the intricate workings of the fuel injection, suspension, and steering in order to make the car work. Thus, you only need to know the gas, brake, and basic signaling mechanisms in order to make the car work as intended. I disagree. Abstraction stifles flexibility and usability in the real world and creativity and innovation in the programming world.


Scan Lines

The On Air with Ryan Seacrest logo is very interesting. I sat down to watch television for the first time in months (I watched for about 20 minutes straight … not bad huh?) and was immediately struck by the logo’s colors, font, and how the thing represents the base of a microphone that reporters use. On top of that, the logo makes for a fun flash animation with which to interact on the official website. Obviously, the show’s audience is teens and young adults who are hip enough to use technology like text-messaging, and who have the disposable income to burn on things like … text messaging. While the logo does do a good job of conveying the show’s young content, I couldn’t help but feel like it had been done before - on MTV. All MTV’s graphical work has that same hip, line-art feel to it. Unfortunately, I unconsciously associate that visual style with mindless (and to my shame, occassionally entertaining) “reality” shows where everyone is beautiful and insists on whining. So much for music television. Either way, regardless of the MTV content (or lack thereof) that the logo hearkens back to, I think the graphic artist responsible for establishing the show’s “identity” created something eye-catching, vibrant, and memorable.



Airbag - Approved by the heavy-hitters in the “blogosphere,” airbag is an excellent blog mixing web-standards, politics, design, and good humor into a delectable blog of goodness. Greg Storey is one of the one’s to watch.

Authentic Boredom

Authentic Boredom - Great guy; great designer. Mr. Moll produces websites using experience gained as a business major. He takes the client’s needs and transforms them into online solutions. This experience and attention to the client is evident on his well-designed and well-written blog, “Authentic Boredom.”

Here We Go

Now, normally I would tell you all about every day of my break, what I did, and how that was. Unfortunately for me, (fortunately for you) I have neither the time nor the wit to make the past days of my break interesting. Therefore, I will commence sharing some things of note.

The following is about PHP coding. I told you this would happen. Shut up. More specifically, I rewrote my administration file for this website. Since I am mis-informed foolish one-brick-short-of-a-load masochistic, I have (from the beginning) eschewed wonderful tools such as MovableType and chosen to set up my own database and add/edit/delete from it using my own code. Recently, I realized that the file I used (the administration panel) to peform those operations was almost two years old. Seeing the fortuitous combination of a Java class (which gave me insight into better design techniques) and a spring break (which gave me time), I set out to rewrite the file from the ground up. The product, unfortunately, is not the kind that I can show to you (it is password-protected and it would ruin my site to tell you how to view it). I can say, however, that 6 days and 1500+ lines of code later, tumbledry is blessed with a [semi]modular (Justin would kill me for saying that) engine that allows me to update all sections of the site completely from the web and track all of you friendly visitors (although there are better tools for tracking out there that I use as well - I’m not completely insane). New features include XHTML 1.0 transitional compatibility (I think), CSS, and a unique GUI that builds from the left to the right (makes for less clicking and more intuitive navigation).


Color Television

I ran across some interesting things whilst perusing the Sunday paper today. First of all, the color TV has turned 50 and an article celebrating the joys of color was written to mark the momentous occasion. So Americans watch, on average, 70 days per year of TV. That’s all well and good - la dee dah. But, what about this quote from the grandma who wants to keep her grandchild occupied in the car:



Aha, here is something embarassing I ran across. I found the oldest known digital photo I have of myself. I would guess I was about thirteen years of age. How the time flies. You can find it online here if you know where to look.

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering how the administration panel I was raving about looks, here is a mini screen shot for your enjoyment.


Google Redesign

I thought it was just me, but Google has, indeed, redesigned. While the product is most definitely evolutionary and not revolutionary, I agree with this article that the purpose is to polish and shine the service a bit more prior to Google’s IPO.


In Search of Harmony

While things could be going much much worse, they could be going far better as well. I am trying to help, but feel completely ineffective. While stresses over which I have control are ones I can deal with and proactively solve, the ones over which I have little to no control make me feel like I am in a constant tail-spin. Head-aches keep popping up behind my eyes and my concentration has been permanently shattered. Whenever I settle down to do work it is as if a junior high wind ensemble is assembled behind me, sight-reading a difficult piece of music after a long summer off. Of course, the cacophony is purely mental, but still wonderful at ruining my ability to focus.


Same Sex Marriage: What Comes After Massachusetts and Bush?

Pure and simple, same sex marriage should fall within the lawful parameters defining marriage. The Puritanical roots of the American society are sprouting up in order to attempt to strangle an inexorable worldwide march toward more liberal social policy.

Consider President Bush’s statement from February 24, 2004. In it, he outlines why White House policy will favor keeping the traditional form of marriage. He says, “If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.” The big question accompanying this statement, however, is not what the White House is looking to do, but why they are looking to do it. Considering it is an election year, I would say Bush’s hand has been forced and while the administration is partly responsible for this bone-headed decision, “Bush has been under pressure from social conservatives within his political base to come out in favor of such an amendment, several versions of which are floating around Capitol Hill.” (CNN.) There is, however, a point at which the cause for the decision does not matter. It is what it is, a stunningly foolish step backwards towards limiting personal liberty.