Thursday, January 29, 2009

Countdown to 200

This is my 190th post on this blog. According to blogger, it is my 201st. For a sweaty-palmed moment I thought that I had blown by #200 without realizing it, and, in fact, that my 200th post was yesterday's generally boring and entirely filler "metapost."

But then I realized I have a bunch of drafts that were never finished or published which don't count. Eleven, to be exact. So in an attempt to post something that's less banal than yesterday's statistical analysis without having to think too hard, I decided to try to say something about each those drafts over the last two years in the countdown to 200.

In some cases, I actually did write something but never publish it. Probably because I realized doing so would result in legal action against me. But now, I will publish my old prose, or in cases where I didn't write anything, at least try to remember what the hell I was going to write about, for your amusement.

Draft #1 - April 16, 2007: "Virtual Poker"
Status: Never Started

Yes, I'm talking about the card game, not some twisted Second Life sexual fantasy. I used to play poker on a fairly regular basis with a bunch of friends. Two of our group (a couple) spent about six months in North Carolina in the winter/spring of '06/'07, where their daughter was being treated for a rare disease. (She's doing great now, by the way!) Being starved for gambling opportunities, and hoping to alleviate the ennui for our friends down south, those of us in DC decided to set up a virtual poker game so we could all play.

This actually kinda worked. We had a couple ideas. One was to use an online casino's "practice" room and just have us all sign in and everyone would play online, and let the casino handle the cards, money, etc. The problem was, everywhere we tried would only let you have a single computer from each IP address connected at once. Since we were all at my place with laptops, we could only get one person on. Two of us had VPNs that we could use to get around this, though there were general concerns about playing poker on some Cayman Islands web site through the office VPN. But even throwing caution to the wind, we still couldn't get everyone on at the same time.

Virtual PokerSo then we set up a laptop to represent the remote players, seen at the left end of the table in this picture. The video feed back to NC was of the cards on the table. We just had a pile of chips next to the laptop and would act on his wishes to bet, raise, or whatever. This was OK except he couldn't see anything except the cards...

In the end it was pretty fun and more or less worked. Michael won too. I can't remember why I never finished this one, I've certainly written about less interesting things before. For example, my second post, "ordered lists in Internet Explorer."

Footnote: This is my apartment at 5130 Connecticut Avenue. I moved out of there less than a month later when I bought my place in Columbia Heights. Pretty sweet apartment, actually.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I decided to look at google analytics for my blog today after I finished watching this useful, if unbelievably dry, video about using the "ASP.NET AJAX CascadingDropDown Control Extender." Don't ask. It's my job. Anyway, it nearly fused my synapses. Not because of the complexity, but rather because of the monotone of the delivery... can we have just one wisecrack please? So I needed something to wake up my brain before I could begin creating cascading drop down controls. Yes, somehow, web site usage statistics fit this bill for me. I'm a geek.

Anyway, the majority of my traffic is still dominated by people reading my April 5, 2007 post about removing Spector Pro, a keylogger tool that people generally use to spy on their kids and spouse's computer activities.

Really, though. I have had 1,915 page views in the month of January. 627 of those were the keylogger page. Almost 1/3 of my traffic is for a nearly two-year old post!! There must be a lot of paranoid people out there. I hope I've enabled countless people to surf porn, buy drugs from mexico, or meet "friends" online without fear of being spied on by their spouse or parents. Don't thank me, I'm just a philanthropist by nature.

In this same timeframe in 2007, I had a total of 187 pageviews, 21 of which were the spyware page. Well that ain't bad, a 10-fold increase in traffic in one year. Too bad it's mostly people trying to cheat on their wives. Oh well.

I also now have 16 google reader subscribers, up from about 3 a year ago. Yay! And I think I only know about half of them personally. I feel like that is a tremendous victory.

In January:

  • Nearly half (47%) of my traffic came from google.
  • 13.6% or 198 visits was direct traffic. That is probably some of my luddite friends who don't know about blog readers and therefore just go to a bookmark once in a while to see if I've posted.
  • 11.68% or 170 visits came from Prince of Petworth, probably because I comment there all the time and he links to me.
  • 7.14% or 104 visits came from I got "noted" once this month.
  • A paltry 6 visits, or 0.41% came from! That blows. I mean, you get printed, on actual paper, in the Washington Post Express and a miserable 6 people linked from there? Or maybe some people actually made that impossible paper-to-internet leap of faith and typed in the URL. Let's count them as part of the 13.6% above.
  • The rest is mostly other people who link to me, or a random blog where I commented, or a random geek forum linking to the spyware post, or some non-google search engine. (Didn't know about those, did you?) The grey wedge is "everything else" even smaller than those little slices.

And what the hell does all this mean...

Well, commenting and/or being linked from PoP generates a lot of traffic.

Getting in dcblogs generates a lot of traffic.

Getting in the Express Blog Log is fun, if you find out about it soon enough to grab a copy to put on your fridge, but it's impossible to know whether or not it generates any traffic. I'm guessing not so much. Need to do a covariant analysis of months where I was not in blog log. Does anyone know how to do that...

Finally, and most importantly: I should be selling spyware removal products and services.

Repeat: That's Not Lancelot

I happened to be watching the local news last night. This is a result of my new television addiction -- without even thinking I turned on the TV when I got home last night and started watching whatever drivel was spewing forth.

The story was about this couple in Boca Raton who cloned their yellow lab Lancelot. I was immediately reminded of the fairly decent Arnie sci-fi yarn called The 6th Day (2000). The movie, set in the not-so-distant future, begins with our hero taking his dead dog to the local "Repet" outlet to get the expired pooch replaced with a spanking new clone version. Best name for a pet-cloning business ever, I might add.

And as it turns out, the future is basically here. While you won't find Repet at the Montgomery Mall just yet, simply send a self-addressed stamped enevelope, a frozen DNA sample, and $155,000 to the BioArts International company in South Korea, and ten weeks later, you'll have yourself a Lancelot Encore. Yes, that is what they named him.

"When he crosses his front legs over each other while lying down, that's when we'll know he's the same," said Ed Otto.

Ummm.... yeah... I've never, ever seen another dog do that before... you know, I may just start my own pet "cloning" business...

But I am not going to comment on the absurdity of spending the GNP of some third world countries on cloning a yellow lab. No, that is not my point today. I just like it when fictions related to Arnold Schwarzenegger become reality.

From the 1993 movie "Demolition Man," starring Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock....

SB: I have in fact perused some newsreels from the Schwarzenegger Library, and that time that you took that car...

SS: Hold it!.... "Schwarzenegger Library?!?"

SB: Yes, the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library! Wasn't he an actor when you...

SS: Stop! He was president?!

SB: Yes! Even though he was not born in this country, his popularity caused the 61st Amendment which states....

That's right, kids, you heard it here first. Schwarzenegger '16!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Television, And Canada, Why Do You Keep Letting Me Down?

I should preface this post by noting that I have watched at least 30 hours of television in the last five days, so my standards had gotten pretty low. Ah yes, the joy of having the flu. You can't read 'cause it makes your head hurt and you can only sleep so many hours. So it's back to that old "friend" cable television.

Somehow I ended up watching the last bit of some awful miniseries called "The Last Templar." I did this because I have always had a soft spot for quasi-religious mystical yarns like The Prophecy and The Da Vinci Code and The Omen. Too bad they often turn out to suck. This one was no exception.

What seemed promising when I first started watching was that it appeared that the entire point of the movie was to debunk the bible in it's entirety with the discovery of the actual diary of Jesus, apparently lost at the bottom of the ocean when some ship sank two thousand years ago. This gospel would in fact prove that the bible is a load of BS. This should be obvious already to anyone who's actually read the Bible, but as we all know, there are at millions upon millions of people who apparently can't smell a tall tale very easily. So this little scrap of paper would once and for all be the conclusive proof that the Christianity is, in fact, based on a load of horse puckey.

So, this girl played by Mira Sorvino is off on a ship with her mentor, who is apparently the last Templar, to find this manuscript. There's some assorted swashbuckling involving an evil priest along the way, but the good guys finally prevail. But just as they finally pull this diary thing up from the bottom of the ocean, of course there's a massive storm and the ship sinks. Impossibly, out of all the people on the ship, it seems that only our hero, this girl played by Mira Sorvino, and her boyfriend have survived, but are stranded on some Greek island. Unfortunately the boyfriend is in a coma. Amazingly, after never believing in God for a day in her adult life, Sorivino is convinced by the shiftless peasant who lives on this island -- off of the free food and clothing given to him by visitors who oddly respect his decision to do absolutely nothing productive, I might add -- that there is a god and she needs to pray to him.

Umm, yeah. I get told by lunatics on the street all the time that they are Jesus. They also can't feed themselves, it should be noted.

So off she goes and prays to the sea, and lo and behold what should she find washed up on shore during one of these excursions? The lost scroll of Jesus, safe and sound.

I admit I am stupid for having watched even this far. I should have known it was going to go horribly wrong, but I was slightly delirious, OK? So here's how it ends.

  • Mira opens the scroll.
  • At exactly the moment when she's going to read it, the Templar suddenly appears, alive, looking slightly sun-crazed.
  • They are conveniently on the edge of a giant cliff and it is windy.
  • Mira starts to read, but for some reason decides after looking for this thing her entire life, she doesn't want to know what it says.
  • Templar tries to take it from her
  • Mira has decided that it's more important for the entire world to continue their delusion than have access to an actual historic document
  • She refuses to give it to him and throws it into the wind where it blows over the cliff edge into the ocean
  • Templar guy dives after it, killing himself on the rocks at the bottom of the cliff.
  • The world is spared the horrible, horrible truth, so everyone is able to go on picking daisies and killing people who don't believe in their particular BS-based religion.

At this point I turned it off. You bastards. You just had to go there, didn't you? I saw it coming, of course, I just didn't want to believe it was going to be yet another vomitous finding-faith load of crap. And somehow they make the guy who's just trying to find out the truth look like the bad guy - because he wants to take away everyone's little dream world where the bible is real, there really is some guy who takes care of you when you pray and gives people AIDS, and generally allows people to avoid responsibility for their actions.

And they validate all that. They dragged us through this whole absurd 4 hour miniseries (of which I feel lucky to have only seen the last 40 minutes) -- just to have the world's biggest Atheist find religion in her moment of vindication.

All I can say is, this drek is absolute proof that THERE IS NO GOD or if there is, then he is one mean-spirited son of a bitch. A truly good deity would never have allowed this to air.

One final remark: Wikipedia says the Canadians made this thing. Canada, I have to say, the list of your offenses just keeps getting longer. You may have apologized for Bryan Adams but this time you've gone too far.

Worst DC Road Sign Ever

I am still fighting off some kind of plague that I most likely contracted from spending all day Tuesday in the freezing cold in close proximity to thousands of disease-carrying tourists, so I don't feel like finishing my inauguration story just yet. But as a brief aside, a complaint about DC roads.

DC's network of highways must be absolutely baffling for tourists (including those who live in MD and NoVa). This in itself is not a problem; quite the opposite, it's what makes DC so car-friendly. I depend on this fact to get around town with relative ease even during peak traffic times. Seems most people have never heard of such roads as Rock Creek Parkway, Broad Branch Road, Oregon Avenue, Kansas Avenue, to name a few very useful routes that are, to varying degrees, sparsely traveled. Hey, your "lost" is my gain. Have fun sitting in traffic on 16th Street or 395, suckers.

But there is a line. My walk under the Capitol last Tuesday gave me an opportunity to photograph the most egregious of all roadsigns in DC. And believe me, from the almost-invisible brown signs on RCP or Beach Drive, to the upside-down Irving Street Westbound sign when exiting North Capitol Street, there are many candidates. But this one takes the cake, both in terms of it's utter uselessness, and the consequences when you go the wrong way as a result. Or alternatively get in to an accident trying to figure out which way to go.


Behold, the Exit from 395 North to either Massachusetts Avenue or New York Avenue.

As you will note, at the position I took this photograph, I am already way too far ahead to legally pick a side. At this point, all I can tell is that the left lane goes to Baltimore. Even as a long-time DC resident, that is still not enough information while traveling at 35 MPH (or faster) to figure out which side I should be on, since I am not typically going to Baltimore at this point.

By the time you can actually read the street sign, to figure out which way is which, you are staring down a giant concrete median and you've got a swath of no-man's road at least 20 feet wide to dart across to the other side if you got it wrong. If that's even remotely practical because there are a gazillion cars going 50 MPH all around you.

Seriously. Why the HELL isn't this sign placed, oh, say, ON THE EMPTY WALL DIRECTLY ABOVE ME? Or anywhere else that is actually at a point that can be seen in advance of when you have to decide?

And worst of all -- when you make the wrong choice, especially if there's a lot of traffic (which there often is down there) you are screwed. It can take 20 minutes or more to recover from that blunder.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Had enough Barackalypse pictures yet? I didn't think so.

A series of personal and logistical problems prevented me from posting any sooner so I hope you are not completely sick of seeing YABIRAPs (Yet Another Blogger's Inauguration Ramblings and Pictures). I know, an inauguration post? On Friday? That's so Wednesday morning. Well, I've been sick and my camera had been temporarily detained, but I assure you mine are so awesome, you will not believe that I was even at the same event you were.

The way in. Can you say clusterf*ck? I thought you could. We boarded the metro at Petworth shortly after 7:00 AM, admittedly a bit on the late side, but I figured the ghetto line would be all right. Curiously, it took 10 minutes for the next train to arrive at Petworth, but the station wasn't all that crowded so it was OK. The train, on the other hand, was a mess. It took an hour to get to L'Enfant Plaza, our chosen destination. Unfortunately, the train didn't stop at L'Enfant Plaza. Without so much as a comment from the driver, we cruised straight on to the Waterfront station. This really wasn't that bad, since I heard that problems at L'Enfant stranded some people there for an hour. But it is a curious feeling when you are denied egress at a station that's supposed to be open.

DSC_0150At left: Green line between Columbia Heights and U Street. No, nobody got on this particular train after Columbia Heights. Everyone was cheerful and civilized, though. Despite the train stopping for 5 or 10 minutes at a time between stations, and the smell of burning brakes and overstressed elecrtic motors being especially strong, it actually kinda worked.

Moral of the story: Next time, take the bus. At least you can get out whenever you want.

Metro to Mall. After wending our way to the supposed only entrance to the Silver area, where I and 7,222,353 other people had tickets, we found what appeared to be the single bottleneck entrance to the security area. After following the line back from there for at least a mile and still not finding the end, I questioned whether waiting in that particular line would be the most effective method to getting into the mall before Spring.

Fortunately, the security was fairly disorganized, and after approaching the bottleneck from a different angle (that is, Independence Avenue rather than 3rd Street) we were directed directly into the foray. At this point, the current was fairly strong and we were at the surprisingly efficient security checkpoint in 10 minutes or so.

DSC_0152On the way to the 3rd and Independence entrance. I wondered if they slept through the whole thing?

I have to say, I am sure that it's very challenging to manage a million people on the mall, but there were some really stupid decisions made. The security was well staffed and could have handled a volume far greater than was coming through at 9:30 AM when we got there. But the mass of people trying to get to the Silver Area was mostly being forced through a series of intentional bottlenecks that slowed down the crowd way too much. We all know the result: thousands of people never made it in.

Also, on the way out after the ceremony, all those bottlenecks were still in place. If there had been any kind of emergency, it would have been a deadly stampede. As it was, it took an hour to leave, with people climbing over jersey barriers and fences to get out. Really bad planning. All those obstacles should have been removed after 10:30 or 11, and they should never have been as constricting as they were.

DSC_0193On The Mall.

Yeah you seen this picture before, it was about like that. Awesome crowd mostly. There was one time when I was trying to meet up with my friends who were all of 30 feet away, so I said excuse me to a largish lady in front of me and asked if I could get by her to join my friends. Her response? "NO!"

Wow. That was a first. The lady to her right was equally taken aback and let us by her instead. Ironically, once past that wall of people, there was much more space towards the center of the field. All those people who were just being obstinate were actually making things more crowded for themselves. Oh well. With few exceptions, most people were very nice and the energy was good. Other than the one bitchy woman, I was pretty surprised at how many people thought it was cool to just spread out your picnic blanket and lay down in the middle of the biggest mob in history. What do you think this is, woodstock? Even more surprisingly, some folks were backing them up. I got chastized for jumping over someone's legs who was all sprawled out, taking up about six times as much space as everyone else. She's sitting down! You can't go there!! The hell I can't... I didn't see her reservation for that particualar 4 foot by 4 foot piece of land, so get the hell up, or suffer the consequences.

Inauguration From Above, AnnotatedGetting Out. As I mentioned before, it was (or could have been) quite disastrous. There were barriers everywhere - fences, Jersey barriers, busses parked across the road, you name it. And since you couldn't see anything except for heads as far as the eye could see, it was totally unclear which way one should be going to avoid said obstacles. You got dead-ended constantly. A single gunshot or detontation of any kind would have turned this into a bloodbath of a stampede since there were no clear pathways out.

The satellite pic here was taken in the morning while the crowd was trying to enter. The security checkpoints are the while horizontal line between the two "mobs". As you can clearly see, the crowd is quite thin outside security, but is tremendously bottlenecked before that point. It was never especially crowded inside security compared to how it was outside - they could have allowed a much greter flow with no trouble. Once past the bottlenecks there were minimal lines for security - some entrances were wide open.

Highway PeopleOnce free of the "exit" we made our way to the 395 tunnel, which was open to pedestrians. At least they did something right - this was a relatively painless way to get north of the mall (and to glorious freedom!). And besides, walking on on-ramps and through a six-lane tunnel isn't something you get to do every day. It made for some very interesting pictures.

More to come....

Friday, January 16, 2009

DC To Brag About Paying Taxes To Visitors Who Also Pay Taxes

Somehow, I missed this one when it became law six months ago, but DC is unveiling an electronic sign at the Wilson Building today at 9:15 AM -- literally as I write this! This sign will continuously inform anyone within a half-mile of the front of the Wilson Building of the number of dollars DC residents have paid the Federal government in taxes. I can't help but wonder if the Federal tax payment back to DC has been deducted from this total. Given the fact that it feels like a typical morning in St. Petersburg right now, I am guessing at least 2 people showed up for this media event.

Before you go off all half-cocked thinking I'm some kind of anti-DC-statehood hater or something like that, I am not. I think it's a travesty that we should pay taxes like everyone else and get pushed around like a red-haired stepchild because we so badly need that $660 million bucks that they give us back every year. And what did we do with that cash last year? Oh yeah we built a baseball stadium that nobody goes to.

No, quite the opposite, I fully support the idea that DC residents should have the same status as residents of every other state or commonwealth or territory in the United States. That is, pay taxes, get representation. Or in the case of Guam and Puerto Rico, don't pay taxes, don't get representation. No, we pay taxes and get shat on routinely for it.

So what is my problem with this sign? It's the same problem I have with the stupid licence plates that say TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

The message means absolutley nothing to someone who does not live in DC.

You know what I think of when I hear "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?" I think of Schoolhouse Rock and how cool it is that we told that stupid King George to bugger off and then rowed over here in a few strokes, killed a bunch of Native Americans, and started our own much more obtuse system of screwing over poor people. THERE'S NO MORE KINGS! We're gonna elect a President!!

So, I would imagine the average person who has no idea that DC does not, in fact, have congressional representation, probably isn't getting the message.

Well, the sign is even worse. As near as I can tell, from the picture above, the sign simply says: "DC RESIDENTS FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS PAID." Now, if I was your average visitor to DC who didn't know nuthin' about our horrible plight of half-citizens, what would my reaction to this be? Probably along the lines of this:

That's a cool sign. I wonder if that's more or less than residents of the state of Buttf*ckiana paid this year? Do we have one of those in our capital city? I'm hungry, where's the nearest McDonalds?

There is no mention that we don't get representation! I don't think anyone in the country believes that DC residents don't pay taxes. I'm pretty sure that everyone in the country thinks everyone pays taxes, except possibly illegal immigrants (who probably mostly do pay taxes) and people in Texas.

I hope there's more to this sign than the picture shows. Otherwise, it's nothing more than something for the senators who have our ass in a sling every year when it's allowance time to laugh at.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joe The Plumber To Solve Middle East Crisis

This is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen since the picture of John McCain trying to eat Barack Obama after the debate. Just when "Joe the Plumber" was about to again be someone who might actually be able to fix your toilet, he's back and more baffling than ever!

Joe has somehow schlepped himself to the Middle East to lift the curtain from the ongoing crisis and apparently interview... er... some actual reporters. Some classic dialogue follows. Here are a few snippets but this is a must-watch!!

Note... since I wrote this last night, "Pajamas TV" now requires registration to watch this, er, piece. Sorry...

"Some folks were saying I'm going out of my way to make them dislike me, but I'm just bein' myself." Guess it worked out in the end huh?


"You guys are media right? ... Listen to what this guy's gotta say. Don't slant it, get the facts tell the truth!" Thanks for the advice, Joe. While we're here, I've got a few pieces of advice for you on installing a new shower fixture.


"Quite hontestly, I'm not real happy with any of you guys... hey guys, you want a story? C'mere..... well who you guys with? Reuters? Huh. Reuters." The gears are turning.... aren't they the guys who clear out storm drains for me?


"I'm not the story. I'm just an average guy." Yeah, my electrician just got back from Iraq too, where he was able to find out once and for all why all those dudes keep killing each other.


"The story here is, people are being killed. And the media is slanting it, trying to make it Hamas's, ah, as far as ah y'know Israel's being bad. Do you believe Israel's being bad?" Oh jesuschristbloodyhellfirekillmequickly please tell me The Onion put you up to this.


"(To reporter) Do you think Israel has every right to protect itself? You do? Have you said that on air? [I'm just a reporter] You're just a reporter." Wow. Just wow. Joe has succesfully exposed a reporter as, er, admitting they don't go out of their way to include a personal bias in their reporting. Wow Joe! You should get a pulitzer prize.


At the end of the day, good entertainment is still good entertainment, so I can't knock it too hard!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Krav Maga Kicked My Ass

A friend of mine approached me a couple weeks ago about taking an introductory class in Krav Maga, which is a martial art form developed in Israel and adopted by some Israeli security forces. I have often thought (but never taken any action) about taking some kind of self defense training both because I live in the hood and as a way to develop more discipline and exercise regularly. After I confirmed that it wasn't some kind of pyramid scheme (which is my initial reaction any time someone tells me to come with them to a "meeting" or "training" about something I've never heard of), I agreed.

So we went last night for the first time to Krav Maga DC in Chinatown. I didn't really have any expectations about what it would be like, but within 20 minutes I was pretty convinced I had accidentally joined the marines and was at boot camp.

Even on day 1, the training was nothing short of high intensity. Which was the purpose. As it was explained in the first five minutes, the whole idea is to train hot, because when you need to use the skills you will learn, you will most likely have very little time to think. You train in circumstances that best simulate the adrenaline you will be feeling in a life or death situation - so you can react appropriately in the same circumstances. So we work ourselves into a frenzy with a rapid succession of exercises designed to bring the heart rate up quickly and produce adrenaline and anaerobic glucose burning. There's lots of jumping around, punching, kicking, yelling, and being yelled at.

60 minutes later, I was a sweaty, aching mess. But it felt awesome. I signed up. So watch out thugs, two years from now when Master Yoda finishes with me, you mess with me I KILL YOU.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Festivus: Carter Barron Speed Trap

That would be, the airing of grievances. In the absence of anything insightful to say this morning, I thought I would publically gripe about something that bugs me daily.

The speed trap on 16th Street southbound near Carter Barron amphitheater. I drive through it every day. It is so obvious and familiar, I am about as likely to receive a ticket here as I am to spontaneously combust on any given day. No, my complaint is not the speed trap itself.

It is the moron drivers who feel compelled to slow down to 18 miles per hour in order to successfully navigate this trial.

The speed limit is 30. I know you can go that fast, because you were driving 45 -- like everyone else -- fifteen seconds ago. I am pretty sure you are also capable of reading a speed limit sign. And I am also quite certain that you understand what the relationship between the large "30" and the needle on your speedometer should be during periods of surveillance.

So why the hell do you fell compelled to come to a nearly complete stop every day in the middle of 16th Street?

On those rare occasions when there isn't a clusterfrack here during my commute home, I will gleefully cruise through the speed trap at the permissible 30 miles per hour, leaving some Honda Odyssey or Toyota Camry in the dust. The driver will invariably stare at me, aghast, as I willfully blow through the white horizontal lines at the speed limit. They seem to be thinking, what kind of man is that? What horrible, heinous maverick would dare drive a single mile per hour faster than 15 in a 30, while being clocked by radar? Who is that psychopath that would dare to stare straight down the gullet of an automated speed trap, consequences be damned???

I live on the edge.


It's good to be a gangsta.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Google Knows All, Not Afraid To Tell You

You may have noticed that lately, when you start entering a google search, it pops up the number of results of searches beginning with the words you type. While this is both cool and disturbing at the same time, you can also use this feature to harness the power of the Google Oracle to answer all questions. Google will reveal the truth about any question of character based on the fact that it knows everything.

Please feel free to waste hours trying this on your own, but as you can see from the examples below, it is never wrong.

1. George Bush

Observe how more people believe that George Bush is an alien, than believe he is a great president. But what about the veep?

2. Dick Cheney

I think that pretty much sums it up, though #6 concerns me.

3. Barack Obama

More people think Obama is the anticrhist than Bush, but at the same time more people think Obama is their homeboy than that he is the antichrist. Check! Barack Obama is definitely the first muslim terrorist arab socialist president of the United States.

4. Sarah Palin

This one got a little tricky. Since most people started out their proclamations with "Sarah Palin Is A... " we had to look up that too in order to find out what she is.

But "Sarah Palin is Hot" still wins!!

But what about local politics?

5. Adrian Fenty

I think that speaks for itself.

Now that we've got the final word on the important politicians, just a few more questions need answering.

6. God

Still hanging on, with "good" having a slight edge over "not great".

7. Google

Do you doubt the veracity of anything you read here? I give you two final Googloracle searches to prove that you should never doubt it's power:

8. The answer is

All that makes perfect sense to me except the last one, say what? But anyone who still doubts the answer is 42 can wait another five billion years for the question. This is good enough for me.

Finally... the ultimate proof. All hail Google, Who Knows ALL!!

9. Jamie is

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

WMATA, Why Do You Taunt Me?

Things started off badly this year for public transit in DC. WMATA decided, unceremoniously, to eliminate the 66 bus. Suck it, WMATA, for taking away my personal $1.25 taxicab to U Street and Chinatown. You see, this bus would stop at 11th and Monroe, a block from my house, and drop me off anywhere between there and, well, somewhere downtown, but I never went farther than E street.

What was so awesome about this bus is that nobody ever rode it but me. I guess I would get on pretty much at the north end of the line, so that makes sense. Maybe one or two other "tourists," interlopers who thought that this bus was for just anybody, might get on and off again somewhere between Monroe Street and U Street. But by the time you passed U street, it would be just me and Friendly McGee the bus driver. And let me tell you, there is no cab driver in DC that can hold a candle to a DC Metrobus with one passenger on it. It's a bullet train out of hell and it's going off the rails.

Some of you poor "shared bus line" riders might be used to stopping at every block, picking up and dropping off, precious seconds wasted as these entitled "passengers" would argue with the driver about their expired bus transfers. Not me. On my personal Route 66 extended-cab, pop-top limousine, we would zoom down 11th Street, with nobody to drop off and nobody to pick up -- unless it was me. Pedestrians and motorists alike fled in fear as the juggernaut would careen, unstoppable, towards the destination of my choosing.

But alas, this is only a lament for things past, as the 66 is no more. My friend Sara, who apparently believed she was allowed to use my bus when I wasn't on it, told me she waited vainly for my former corporate limo to pick her up a few days ago. But it never came. At first I assumed it was because they had heard I was out of town, but a visit to WMATA confirmed that the bus had been eliminated.

I broke out in a cold sweat, but being strong, I was able to regain my composure and tried to determine how I would get to U Street without having to walk a mile in the cold. Or pay $9 for a cab.

Effective Dec. 28, service between Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro station and Federal Triangle will be provided by new 63 and extended 64 buses.

Curious. What is this "64" and "new 63"? I was intrigued, so I dug further. I admit, I was highly skeptical of having to ride a bus occupied by other passengers, but it beats cab fare. So I choose "Bus Maps" from the menu on WMATA's web site to learn more about these alleged other busses. Below is an excerpt from the bus route map I downloaded.

The 66 is still there! And no sign of this mysterious 63 bus. Mock me, will you? Clearly, the map has not been updated. I proceeded to the "Bus" home page, and select the picklist under "Find a Timetable." There, again, I see the 66, laughing at me. Selecting it results in a blank screen. Damn you, WMATA!

Finally, grudgingly, I choose "64" and am presented with a PDF of the route. Well, at least it still goes down 11th Street. Of course, I will now be sharing the bus with all sorts of "Petworth" and "Fort Totten" people. I bet they don't even use the same money as us in this "Petworth" place. Hrmph. Well, maybe those people will be all right. I guess I'll give it a shot.