Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I may (or may not) be home for the holidays

Unless United leaves without me...which they did.

edit: This is the actual letter I sent

Given the horror stories from this holiday travel season, I should be thankful that I only ended up 100 miles south of my destination 6 hours later than scheduled. That said, I recount to you my experience taking a direct United/Mesa Air flight on 12/23 from IAD to MYR to complain about two specific problems:

(1) United's reduction in staffing levels, and the effect on passengers like myself, and
(2) How the outsourcing of your customer service line to India can only complicate the experience when someone has a problem.

A synopsis on my trip:

* Used United self-checkin at 10:30am, flight is 1hr05min late. Proceed to security line.

* The sullen TSA sub-contractor tells me my suitcase is too large to check on skyway (false), and makes me get out of line and check it at the United counter.

* The sullen United sub-contractor _points_ ("I already checked in but I need to check my bag..." <> -- no words) me to the bag check in line. Wait, scan, tag. Now get in the line to drop your bag. Wait, drop, back in security line.

* I was in my concourse by 11:30am. I called United's flight information number (An IVR that hears more background noise than words, and claims to have "Up to the minute flight information") tells me I'm delayed until 1:55pm, then 2:00pm, then 2:05pm, then 2:20pm.

* Around 2:00pm, I watched our plane arrive and all the passengers get off. People continue to ask the gate agent when we're leaving, which they don't answer but they will update us "soon". I overhear that they're short (2) flight attendants, then only (1), so we can't take off. Finally around 2:35pm they tell us we're delayed an hour until they have a full crew. I call the 800 information line, it says we're delayed until 3:30pm, and the monitors all agree.

* Frustrated, I walk away. I wandered over to news stand (across from the next gate over), but stayed in the immediate area. Finally, I walk back over to the gate and my plane is gone, no employees to be found, no page looking for me.

* I get into United's customer service line (which is long), and call the 800 number for ticketing. I get a representative on the phone at 3:10pm who is obviously in India, and tell him what happened. He doesn't quite understand and asks, "Can you not get to the gate in 20 minutes for your flight?" Even his computer says we shouldn't have left yet. That's the only flight to my destination until the next day, which doesn't help since I'm only there for 2 days. He offers to get me there if I can connect through Chicago, but the flight to Chicago is already 2 hours delayed, so I don't want to chance getting stuck (1) away from home, and (2) further from my destination than I started. He offers to refund my ticket, which won't help me because my car and house keys are <>, and now on their way to my destination. He puts me on hold to see what else he can do for me, and I get disconnected.

* Since my parents are picking me up, I call to tell them what happened. They are already at the airport, and my mother is going to talk to a United agent there while I stand in line at United's customer service <> call customer service back. She suggests I try to get a flight to Charleston since there are no other flights to Myrtle Beach that day.

* I call customer service back, and tell another Indian gentleman my tale. He laughs, and tells me my ticket was refunded by the first agent. He can book me a new flight, but both flights to airport CHA (5:00pm delayed until 5:40pm and 10:00pm) are oversold. Since I'm <> the airport, he tells me I have a better chance of making this work: their system locks them out of seat reservations several hours before takeoff.

* I walk over to the gate agent for CHS/5:00pm/5:40pm who tells me the plane holds 50, they have 54 booked, but only 44 are checked in. He can't do anything because my ticket was refunded, but if I can get it reopened then he can put me to the top of the wait list.

* I return to the endless customer service line line and call my mother with an update. The United agent she's working with tells her that she cannot do anything with my old ticket: the agent in India who refunded it needs to reopen it. I get back on the phone to customer service, which is unreachable because more flights have been cancelled. My mother calls back while I'm still in queue(s): her United agent has created a new ticket for me, and to run over and have the gate agent get me on the wait list. In my three stays in the customer service line at Dulles, I never made it within 20 people of the front.

* I run to the gate, and the agent is able to actually issue me a ticket and a seat number. I should have arrived at 2:00pm, instead I land at 8:30pm in an airport 100 miles south.

My flight home yesterday did land 30 minutes early, which is a small miracle. but United remains at the top of my shit list. Also, their fucking alert system doesn't work:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mmm hmm...

Now that is some Crimmus spirit!

Final Fall Grades

(2) A's, (1) B+, (1) B, and (1) Pass (for the dumb Excel class).


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Facebook: Lab Rats for Social Scientists

According to this New York Times article, grant-suckers everywhere just love Facebook for all kinds of monkey-torture:

To study how personal tastes, habits and values affect the formation of social relationships (and how social relationships affect tastes, habits and values), a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles, are monitoring the Facebook profiles of an entire class of students at one college, which they declined to name because it could compromise the integrity of their research.

Right. It could compromise their precious research. Don't tell anyone it's Brigham Young University.

Scholars at Carnegie Mellon used the site to look at privacy issues. Researchers at the University of Colorado analyzed how Facebook instantly disseminated details about the Virginia Tech shootings in April.


After all, it is important to know how fast cartoons can be disseminated after a tragedy.

Eliot R. Smith, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, and a colleague received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how people meet and learn more about potential romantic partners. “Facebook was attractive to us because it has both those kinds of information,” Professor Smith said.

Clearly, someone needs to take NSF's checkbook away, because this is just retarded.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Catch Up

Finals are over.

Waiting for grades.

At least 2 weeks of posts to catch up.

Stay tuned for several (more) back-dated posts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

TCM @ Buzz

Not since 2006's Summer of Electronic have I seen The Crystal Method live. They did play a show at 930 Club, but I didn't think it could compare to their last performance at Nation.

Until TCM @ Buzz @ Fur !!!

Photos from High Rezolution

Hi, I'm half the DJ ensemble known as "The Crystal Method". Would you like me to spin you a tune?!?!

Look, it's Kristin!

If you look very closely, you'll find a blog author wearing a brown dress shirt. Banana Republic made 5,000 of them, and the other 4,999 are buried in the closets of Persians all over the US.

In addition to Kristin, both Charlie (George's brother, a.k.a. "Mini-football") and Corey came along. We did run into the gorgeous ladies of Winchester (who now live in Silver Spring). Pregame involved too much vodka and too little cranberry, but somehow we all survived.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Crimmus Cookie Failure

Number of crimmus cookies baked: 9 + 2 pans bar cookies
Number given away: 9
Number eaten: 84

Ugh. I am fat and pale.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

BT @ Fur

One of my favorite DJs (nay, laptop symphony conductor) has evaded me for 5 years. The closest I came to seeing a live set was Starscape 2006, where he performed for 12 minutes before the stage shorted out.

Luck be a lady, I saw an ad card at Buzz the night before. Despite two Christmas parties the same evening, I managed to show up at 1:00am in time to catch his set.

BT performed live at Fur for Turn the Tables, a National Wildlife Federation event aimed at education toward reducing carbon footprint.

DC's own On Tap Magazine ran this story just prior:

“What we really are trying to do with Turn the Tables is engage a certain demographic between 18 and 30 to confront global warming,” NWF event coordinator Alterra Robinson said. “We’re trying to mobilize urban Americans to pressure Congress and tap into the next generation of American voters.”

Turn the Tables at Fur Nightclub marks the inaugural event of what will hopefully become a series of nationwide electronic music events continuing into 2008. Although Robinson said they hope to recruit international DJs for future events, they decided to homebrew the first party with BT at the helm for the evening.

“I love supporting causes that are important, and music is a great voice to do that,” BT wrote.

I talked to a couple people just before the show, and I kept emphasizing the fact that BT, though an amazing musician, seems to have lost his fucking mind. I can't say in 1,000 words what this 8 minute video can convey:

This Binary Universe == 7 short films + 7 musical compositions + 1 frosty-topped whackadoo.

At first I was terrified: the handoff was spent hooking his NerdBook Pro up to the soundboard and several long minutes trying to get the levels right. When things were finally straight, he mixed a 1960's anti-war Black gospel (whose name I still haven't been able to find) into a house track, then sang along.

A few minutes after that track, he started laying down some beats (I assume live based on some of the rearrangement and mismatch when he started, which was far cooler than just spinning something out of the can) and ended up weaving together some amazing trance. I really appeciate a live show where an act (DJ, Band, Kazoo Soloist) can give you an experience you'll never have again: you're hearing something you'll never quite get outside of that room at that moment. The majority of BT's set was like that.

I'd try and reconstruct the set list, but I've got no shot here. I will tell you that near the end, BT spun up Somnambulist and sang the vocals live, then closed with Force of Gravity.

Worth the wait, worth the price, glad I got to go.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hiz Holyness Done-Gets a New Ride

Kudos to Autoblog for spotting this:

[Source: Daimler]

New Mercedes-Benz for the Pope

Stuttgart/Rome – In future, Pope Benedict XVI will present himself to the 40,000 or so pilgrims in St. Peter's Square in a shining white, open-top Mercedes-Benz G-Class during his public audiences on Wednesdays. The new "Popemobile" was created over a two-year development period in close consultation with the Vatican, and has now been personally handed over to the Holy Father.

This open official car, which the Head of the Catholic Church requested for use during fine weather, was developed by Mercedes-Benz on the basis of the G 500. It is equipped with a folding windscreen and hand-rails, and like its predecessors it is painted in the Vatican mystic white finish. The interior is likewise white, and is accessed via steps lined in red at the rear. The Pope holds his audiences in a standing position, so that he is easily visible to all his flock.


I already shared this through Google Reader, but I wanted a chance to use one of my favorite, little-used tags for this post.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Florida Demands a Recount

I think there are more old Jews roaming the aisles of the Rockville, MD Whole Foods than reside in the entire state of Florida.

By the way, the Onion's new book, Our Dumb World, is an atlas which describes Florida as Our Nation's Silent Holocaust: Where old people are sent to die.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wii Arbitrage

I suppose Black Friday madness is good for something: I found myself in possession of 1 more Nintendo Wii than I needed, so I decided to get rid of it on eBay.
Posted: 11/24 9:59pm
Sold: 11/24 11:27pm
Method: Buy It Now
Price: $400.00

I wanted to price it for a quick sell, so I used eBay's shipping calculator to charge the actual shipping, and not gouge the buyer like most sellers do. I looked at what Wiis were selling for: $360.00-$450.00.

This is how it broke down:
$419.58 Seller Paid ($400.00 + $19.58 Shipping and Insurance)
- $ 12.47 Paypal Fees
$407.11 Received from eBay
- $262.49 Cost of Wii + tax
- $ 17.35 eBay fees
- $ 29.00 USPS shipping (I was late getting it off so I sent it Priority Mail at my expense)
$ 98.27 Profit

So stand in line this holiday season, and make yourself almost $100 free and clear.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Ready for College to be Over

I sick to-fucking-death of group projects.

I hate them.
I hate them.
Hate hate hate.

I ran out of time yesterday write comments on the course evaluation for my database class. I started with "the book is 10 years out of date" and got about half my bullet list of issues done before the turn-in volunteer wanted to leave.

I don't think I blogged that I registered for Spring semester: I found out earlier this month that I can't graduate until Summer because of the four classes I have left is a prerequisite for another. It's alright because it lets me stretch the last of my classes out over a little longer period, and affords me a tiny bit more personal life.

I'm very, very tired though. I know I'm close to the end, and I know I'll get it done, but I'm so very, very over it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Safeway Supercomputer

When an odd thought strikes me, I usually send a text message about it to several friends and see what sticks:

theAlphaJohn: When I buy a bottle of Pinotage and break-and-bake cookies, do you think the Safeway Supercomputer assumes I'm a lesbian who just miscarried?
Mike: Or your boyfriend of 7 years finally told you that he's not the marrying type.
theAlphaJohn: Either way, a Lane Bryant coupon should have spit out.

Just because they make it in your size, girl, doesn't mean you should wear it. :/

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Congratulations! You Have Found the Secret Message

Did you know Apple has a page to submit feedback on any product they fucking make??

I decided I have an issue with Time Machine:

If I had a Time Machine, I'd Fast Forward a Year

According to The Boston Globe, "Giuliani says he'll do in DC what he did in NYC":

In a flurry of images, including a magazine cover about the "rotting of the Big Apple," an announcer gives a litany of the problems facing New York when Giuliani took office: "The world's 17th largest economy. Swimming in red ink. Record crime. Runaway taxes. A million on welfare. That was New York."

Then the announcer adds: "Until Rudy. He cut taxes 9 billion. Welfare 60 percent. Crime in half. The most successful conservative turnaround in 50 years."

I know the guy gets off on Broken Window Theory, but I really don't think the rest of America wants a bossy, Italian father to make then clean their room and go to bed on time.

I was telling a coworker yesterday that if Hillary runs against Rudy, it will be like a Subway Series: imagine the sound of every television in 49 states changing the channel.

But I think there is something to work with about a reality show where Rudy brings his ideas to DC, and Hizzoner brings his ideas to NYC? We'll call it: Trading Mayors.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Help Wanted: Chief Terrorism Advisor

According to WaPO:

President Bush's chief terrorism adviser announced yesterday that she is stepping down early next year, the latest in a series of high-level exits from the White House as the Bush presidency heads toward its final year.

Frances Fragos Townsend, the president's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, has managed the White House response to all manner of natural disasters and extremist threats over the past 4 1/2 years. "We are safer today because of her leadership," Bush said.

Those are some big shoes to fill. Where could we hope to find someone with both the leadership experience and the knowledge of terrorist safe-harbors like Pakistan to replace Frances Townsend?

Oh that's right: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto!

Not only is she qualified, but the EEOC will be thrilled that we're replacing one woman with another. Too bad she's under house arrest...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Apples Moves to the Top of my Shit List

Before I started the new job, I made this ridiculous spreadsheet to decide what new laptop I would be buying:

In reality, I wanted a new MacBook Pro, and I wanted to try and justify the at least 100% price premium between a Dell and a Mac.

I finally settled on the 2.2ghz welfare MBP for $1866 (with the education pricing, thanks so much) and ordered it. On November 1st, iWhore John sent me a couple Mac rumors sights that indicated that the MBP had moved to Santa Rosa architecture. I called Apple, and because it was ordered on October 30th and not October 31st -- even though it had not shipped -- my order wasn't transitioned automatically.

So I canceled it.

It turned out that the Santa Rosa chipset/bus speed change was for the MacBook, not the MBP. The mention of the MBP had to do with the addition of the 2.6ghz clock speed.

Well fuck: I need a laptop, and I just canceled the one I ordered...for no good reason.

I added Apple Care to my online order, and I think every Mac owner should have it (I loved my G4 Powerbook: $2500, 13 months old, busted keyboard, flickering screen, flaky motherboard), but you can buy it in month 11 for the same price and extend the warranty 2 more years: why give Apple your money a year early?

I knew I wanted 4GB of RAM, and my understanding was that the 2.2ghz MBP came with 2 x 1GB of RAM while the 2.4ghz and 2.6ghz came with 1 X 2GB of RAM. That said, if I wanted to upgrade the 2.2ghz to 4GB, I'd have to throw out the 2GB it came with and buy a 4GB kit, but if I bought the 2.4ghz or 2.6ghz I only needed to buy an additional 2GB stick.

When you consider the $239 Apple Care deferment, and the $100 ram savings for not throwing any out, it's probably worth $433 more to get the 2.4ghz model. On 11/3 I walked into the Apple Store, and not 20 minutes later I walked out with my 2.4ghz MacBook Pro.

I've been working with VMWare Fusion a lot, so I decided just 17 days later (Apple's return policy plus 3 days) that it's time for me to order more RAM. I jumped into System Profiler:

And immediately had an aneurism.


2 DIMMs? Could I have possibly misread the website?

Yup, I did. But gets better, for I could not make this up:

The MacBook Pro (15-inch Core 2 Duo) and MacBook Pro (17-inch Core 2 Duo) notebooks have two SDRAM slots in the bottom of the computer, and they come with at least 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM installed into the bottom slot.

Although these notebooks will accept up to a 2 GB SO-DIMM in each of the two memory slots, the MacBook Pro will only support 3 GB total memory. If you want to maximize the amount of SDRAM in your computer, install a 2 GB SO-DIMM in one slot and a 1GB SO-DIMM in the other.

I suspect this is a joke, since I saw today that Dell is selling the Vostro (the other laptop I considered) for $399.

As much as I like my new MBP, I don't love it SIX Dell Vostro laptops worth.

Friday, November 16, 2007

GE Brings Good Things to Light...With My Rebate $$$

Back in September, I blogged about replacing my flaming dishwasher. What made replacing it such a bargain was the $150.00 rebate that GE was offering in lieu of having it fixed.

Let's take a quick look at the rebate offer:

"Your rebate check will be mailed to you in four to six weeks."

So if I mailed the rebate to them in August, and I've received both Home Depot rebates, where is my check?

According to the andriod I spoke with at GE (1-877-607-6395 no need to have model or serial number as GE says, choose option 5 and let them look you up by zip code, address, and name), it's "6-8 weeks to process once they receive your rebate form, and then another 4-6 weeks to receive the check once it's been cut". My check was cut on 11/01/2007, and I shouldn't not expect it until the second week of December.

I understand that nobody wants to pay out, especially when the profit from the original dishwasher is long since spent on Jack Welch's rockstar retirement, but 3 1/2 months to receive a rebate when your rebate form says 4-6 weeks is totally unacceptable.

Perhaps GE CFO Keith Sherin needs to put his imagination to rest, and get his fucking checkbook out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Money Is $tupid

I am an independent contractor (1099) for the new job that I started on Monday. That essentially means I'll be 4-6 weeks without a paycheck.

I knew this long before I took this job, so I made several arrangements:
  • Only take 1 day off between old job and new
  • Let Citibank "loan" me enough money to cover my expenses (laptop, insurance, etc) and cover my pay for about 3 months while I wait for my invoices to come in. I did this with a 0% for 6 months "balance transfer" which cost me $75
  • Stay on part-time at old job
  • Two weeks after my last regular paycheck, my vacation (133 hours) is paid out

That, and how much the new job pays, should ensure that I don't have a cash crunch and can pay off that "loan" from my Citibank credit card in three months.


Well it's been over 2 weeks, and the balance transfer check has not arrived. I called Citibank today, and the rep told me the check was mailed on 10/30 and I should have received it, so she put a stop-payment on it and reissued the check. That's another 10 days before it arrives.

My last regular paycheck hits tomorrow, and I discovered it will be short for the one day of work that I took off. Why take 8 hours of vacation so my last check is paid at 100% when you can short one check and then let me get raped in taxes on the next?

I also have a Citibank savings account, but I can't get a straight answer about pulling the amount of money that I want out in short order. I'm waiting to hear back from them.

I have other money that I can shuffle around for a week or so, but I love it when I plan for every possible contingency to make sure I don't run short of cash, and then I get shit on.

That, and the U$ dollar is worthless; I should just dry-hump a Canadian.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Your Traffic Chopper Just Crashed

I happen to have a home Internet(s) connection with a static IP address, and I prefer to keep nosy sysadmins from seeing what websites I visit. I have squid setup to proxy all of my HTTP and HTTPS traffic in my web browsers through home.

First, we tell our local machine to listen on a particular port, and forward any requests it gets to our machine at home:

ssh -L 9000: -p 22

If you're on Windows, this can also be done with PuTTY.

Squid has to be setup on the box at home and setup to forward requests out to the Internet(s).

Then we setup our browser to use the proxy:

And voila! I mean unless, like me, you've been doing this for 5 years.

I started a new job today, and when I sent out an IM, I got this reply inside their IM window:

IM Administrator: You are required to register your IM screen names at [URL]. For questions call the Help Desk at 800-555-1212

Crappy Crapperton! I guess this means we should change our squid.conf to allow popular IM clients.

Add port 1863 to SSL list:
acl SSL_ports port 443 563 1863

Then add the following:
# Permit AOL Instant Messenger to connect to
acl AIM_ports port 5190 9898
acl AIM_domains dstdomain
acl AIM_domains dstdomain
acl AIM_hosts dstdomain
acl AIM_nets dst
acl AIM_methods method CONNECT
http_access allow AIM_methods AIM_ports AIM_nets
http_access allow AIM_methods AIM_ports AIM_hosts
http_access allow AIM_methods AIM_ports AIM_domains

# Permit Yahoo Messenger
acl YIM_ports port 5050
acl YIM_domains dstdomain
acl YIM_hosts dstdomain
acl YIM_methods method CONNECT
http_access allow YIM_methods YIM_ports YIM_hosts
http_access allow YIM_methods YIM_ports YIM_domains

# Permit Google Talk
acl GTALK_ports port 5222
acl GTALK_domains dstdomain
acl GTALK_hosts dstdomain
acl GTALK_methods method CONNECT
http_access allow GTALK_methods GTALK_ports GTALK_hosts
http_access allow GTALK_methods GTALK_ports GTALK_domains

# Permit MSN
acl MSN_ports port 1863 443 1503
acl MSN_domains dstdomain
acl MSN_hosts dstdomain
acl MSN_nets dst
acl MSN_methods method CONNECT
http_access allow MSN_methods MSN_ports MSN_hosts
http_access allow MSN_methods MSN_ports MSN_domains
http_access allow MSN_methods MSN_ports MSN_nets

# Only allow cachemgr access from localhost
http_access allow manager localhost
http_access deny manager
# Deny requests to unknown ports
http_access deny !Safe_ports !AIM_ports !YIM_ports !GTALK_ports !MSN_ports
# Deny CONNECT to other than SSL ports
http_access deny CONNECT !SSL_ports

and then change our IM client settings to proxy through our machine at home:


Monday, November 05, 2007

The Great Email Migration of 2007

My first domain purchase was back in 1999: my last name .ORG. Over the past several years, I purchased .NET and .COM as they became available.

Since 1999, (with the exception of a couple outages George helped me out with), I've hosted my own email. Any time I've changed jobs, I've taken a copy of my email archives with me.

I decided it was time to consolidate all my email under one roof: Google Apps for domains. I moved .COM and .NET over and then began the arduous task of migrating all of my email.

  • Dozens Unix mbox files (some native, some from Thunderbird, some that were migrated once-upon a time from CCMail to Groupwise and then pulled into mbox using IMAP)
  • 1 GMail account (which had BCC's of the Unix mbox files AND forwarded copies of half the email from my current job)
  • 4 Outlook .PST files totaling over 3GB

My Outlook archives were in nice folder hierarchies, so I had to: flatten the folder structure out, use IMAP to drag and drop everything to my mail server at home, and then use the migration tool to suck it in.

The tool labels your messages with the IMAP folder (or folder hierarchy) it came from, and I decided that I wanted the labels to be clean (not: Kaitain\AAAS\Technology Services\Personal Email).

The folders also couldn't have spaces in them, so I used several shell scripts to format:

# replace spaces with underscores
for file in *\ *
short=`echo $file|sed 's/ /_/g'`
mv "$file" "$short"

and to merge all the files into one:

for file in *_*;do cat $file >> Kaitain;rm "$file";done

I don't know how much time I spent flatting my email, but it can't compare to all the time I ever spent organizing all my email.

In the end, can you really quantify the interactions of one person with others?

Apparently you can. GMail extracted 142,119 emails, which threaded into 59,913 conversations since 1999. The total extraction and loading took about three days.

All this takes up over 4000MB of storage. The oldest emails go back to here:

Only about 25 emails were not migrated (either viruses or the attachments were too large), and maybe 5-8 emails that came over "ok" were fucked up and I deleted them. Losing only 32/142,119 is amazing!

Fan Mail?

From: Joey
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 11:13:52 -0500
Subject: A Simple Request
Dear John,

As your cousin I want to commend you on not only being an outstanding family member, but also a shoulder to lean on in, as the Beatles always said, times of trouble. Your wit and enthusiasm is unparalleled and considering the enormous amount of insanity we are forced to dodge on a daily basis, its simply quite remarkable.

That said, as your cousin, I am immensely disappointed that there are no new blogs on your personal blog. Part of your responsibility as my cousin is to entertain me and sadly, you have fallen down on that job of late. I *need* those blogs to laugh and be sane. I don't care HOW much work you think you have to do, you better get to writing. Or, and I mean this with complete love in my heart, Schmoo gets it.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to your continued fine performance in the role of "My Cousin".


Yes, I've been slacking. Sorry about that. :/

Maybe He's Not a Luddite After All?

Following the news that Andrew got a job at an Acura dealer in Vegas, George sent us a new piece. The cross-talk after the fact has an iPhone. Via Email:

George: [I'm] surprised to see andrew pushing the brand so far so soon.

theAlphaJohn: he works fast, what can you do?
George: it is good he uses his power for good, not evil.
Andrew: LOL what are you guys talking about?
Sent from my iPhone

theAlphaJohn: have an iPhone?
Andrew: I'm trying to branch out and not be so terrified of electronic
devices. Plus I had to get a second phone anyway

George: this, is strange many iphones have you been through yet?
Andrew: I'm on my second one in less than a week!
George: i knew it!!! :) :)

Maybe Andrew should tell Apple his iPhone Story...?

Friday, November 02, 2007


I talked to Christina tonight: I let her know that next Thursday is my last day at Mason. She said she wanted to be mentioned on my blog, so here it is.

If she doesn't come out Tuesday to my going-away happy hour, I shall be pissed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Google News Es Bustido

I mean, what news?


Via SMS:
Corey: i can't -- no
theAlphaJohn: :-@
Corey: ?
theAlphaJohn: !
Corey: What does :-@ mean?
theAlphaJohn: I think that is a wide agape mouth sticking its steven tyler tongue out

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Semi-Sweet Coming of Christ

Last Spring, we were excited to learn about The Chocolate Jesus, and to hear the argument between it's creator and the head of the Catholic League on Opie and Anthony.

Once again, Virginia is on the ball with this update:

NEW YORK - "My Sweet Lord," an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that infuriated Catholics before its April unveiling was canceled, returns Oct. 27 to a Chelsea art gallery, its creator said Tuesday.


The exhibit, at the Proposition Gallery in Manhattan, will be accompanied by a set of chocolate Catholic icons created by Cavallaro, a group that includes the Virgin Mary and saints Francis, Augustine, Michael, Jude, Anthony and Fermin.

"After the cancellation of the show, it got me to look into the Catholic religion a little deeper," Cavallero said. "I started thinking about the saints, how they were ostracized for their beliefs and then canonized."

Cavallaro's work features Christ with outstretched arms, as though hanging from an invisible cross. Unlike traditional religious depictions of Christ, Cavallaro's Jesus lacks a loincloth.

The sculpture is actually a new version of "My Sweet Lord," created with 200 pounds of chocolate over three days. The original was stored in a Brooklyn facility where mice nibbled away at its hands, ears, nose and feet, forcing Cavallaro to toss the original and recast the sculpture.

Oh my sweet, milk chocolate Jesus!

I'm saddened that the original was nibbled at by mice, but thrilled about his new, delicious entourage of sweet saints. If Walmart is carrying Jesus Action Figures, maybe Hersheys could work on an edible nativity scene to replace the nasty, chocolate Advent Calendar we're all sick of eating?

The idea of biting the Baby Jesus's head off on Christmas Morning...



Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Monday!

My Powerbook just made this cranky face:

and now it won't boot.

I have a burning bag of dog shit project I inherited three weeks ago that goes live this Sunday, along with two midterms and two group projects this week. A dead laptop is the last thing I need.

It's time for lunch: Maybe if I'm lucky, a Metro Bus will run me over on an empty stomach.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I met Kim's puppy after my haircut today:

This calls for a video:

I am the only person I know without puppies. I must fix this.

Employees of Chipotle might be stranger than me

Last week I sent this email to Chipotle:

From: theAlphaJohn
Phone Number:
Sent: 10/3/2007 7:47:30 PM
Store Visited: Fairfax, VA
Date Visited:

If Fairfax City is a college town, and the last class gets out at 10:10pm, why is Chipotle closed at 10p and not 11p?

Which I thought was a reasonable question. This is the response I got:

From: Ken Marley
To: theAlphaJohn
Cc: Four Other Chipotle Employees
Subject: Reply from Chipotle
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 16:37:44 -0600

Hello John,

Thank you for writing us with your concern. Tell your professor that Chipotle gave you permission to leave class early to get you burrito fix. If he gives you any grief, have him contact me directly and I will set him straight. I got your back. We hope you will continue to find your burrito love with us.

Ken Marley


Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm so odd that I should be in a study

Nothing...nothing! Makes me happier after a 13 hour day of work and school than to fire up the grill and make Hofmann hotdogs on Wegmans wheat hotdog buns with green beans.


Does Glaxo know about this? Fuck a whole bunch of Prozac, I gots-me a weiner!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Williamsburg, VA

Back when I was a Madrigal Singer in April of 1996, we performed at Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg.

Since I couldn't get a hotel in NYC at the last minute I had not been there in years, I decided to spend Columbus Day Weekend there.

  • Stayed at Crowne Plaza, which allows pets. Too bad I don't have a puppy.

  • Dinner at The Trellis, one of the best meals I've ever eaten

  • I sent text messages to all the former W&M alum I could think of to find out where the best night spot was in Williamsburg. Billy's answer: Paul's. Despite getting a Guinness in a plastic cup (and a single pour), this college bar provided lots of wonderful young flesh to gawk at.


(Miss Angel on the left, Corey and his goatee in center, and Miss Diana on the right):

  • Breakfast at a random pancake house. Hit the spot.

  • Went to Busch Gardens, which is running their Howl-o-Scream...whatever it is.

  • While in line and being attacked from teenage werewolves, I see my new hero: Daddy Juice Pig:

    Daddy Juice Pig was there with his little (maybe 8 years old) son. Complete with b-acne and swollen forehead, he proved that it's never to early to show your children how important performance enhancing drugs can be.

  • Dinner and drinks at Paul's (Yum!)

  • Another pancake house breakfast

  • Visited Jamestown, took pictures, and most-of-all: sweated. Everything there is basically a 100 year old recreation of its former, 400 year old self.

Restful, relaxing, and out of my system.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Best Hotel EVER!

Crowne Plaza in Williamsburg, VA not only lets you bring your dog, but gives you 1,000 extra Priority Club points for bringing her!

+1 Puppies (woof!)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Useless Trivia

Yes, I am in fact browsing with a Mac.

Subjugating Desires

Just for the sake of argument, how long is one expected to make the trade off between something they want to do and something they should do?

In such a case, how long before it's expected that they will:
  • Lose the ability to control their temper
  • Make trade offs in other aspects of their life that are not positive
  • Say "fuck it" and give up on what they should do
  • Have a breakdown and end up in an asylum


Kid Nation 2: Kids Say the Darndest Things...In Space!

I finally got a chance to watch Kid Nation, and I think CBS might be on to something. While I'm not a huge fan of it's "Western Ghost Town" motif, I think they may have pushed the envelope enough here to look forward to KN2. I discussed this today with Will:
theAlphaJohn: Link
Will: hahaha
Will: awesome
theAlphaJohn: i blame small children
Will: always blame children
theAlphaJohn: indeed. they smell, they drool
theAlphaJohn: i watched kid nation last night. i would like KN2 to be set on a base on the moon
theAlphaJohn: and if the kids get homesick, we space them
Will: space them
Will: hahaha
Will: that's awesome

All I have to say is this: small child suffocating in the vacuum of space == ratings gold.


Oh thought that was mean?? Deal With It!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Past and Part Participle of Hang

Season 3 of Top Chef is over:

Does anyone know what the past participle of BOO!!! is?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I hx0r3d my DVR

The DVR first entered my house on December 28, 2002 when I purchased a ReplayTV 5040. I think I've watched less than 15 commercials in the past five years.

I have DirecTV, but the ReplayTV doesn't know how to change the channels on the new D10 receivers they use. In April 2006, when I had a PC in the house, I followed the 87-step process the Internet(s) outline to load new IR codes to change channels on the D10.

My parents purchased their own ReplayTV in 2004, but abandoned it after some problems it in favor of a DVR from their cable company. I took their unit home last September, and after replacing the hard drive it was as good as new EXCEPT it did not have the update to change the channels.

Finally fed up, I decided two days ago to find the magic process on the Internet(s) to update the ReplayTV in my bedroom so it can change the channels on the box (otherwise, it can't record anything unless I've changed the channel on the box beforehand).

Without boring you (further) with the details, it was unbelievably complex. The only PC I have in the house that I could put a hard drive into is my server. My laptop is a Mac, but all the fucking software to do the updates is PC-based.


You guessed it fool: mother fucking Virtual PC:


Fucking ridiculous.

Nerdier than when When I hx0r3d my cell phone to enable bluetooth.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The dining establishment formerly known as Fuddruckers is the latest recipient of a nasty email:

I visit this Fuddruckers location, on average, at least twice a week (a staff member recognized me and said hello tonight). On almost every visit, I order a Market Toss Salad and get a drink to go, which rings in at almost $11.00

Tonight was the first time I've seen Pradeep, who seemed to be bossing around the man I'd always assumed was the manager. Admittedly it was busy in there. I walked in and there was no line, Pradeep was the only person behind the register. He seemed disinterested to wait on me. I ordered my meal to go, which he rang up as eat in (I noticed because he handed me a regular drink cup). I reminded him it was to go, and did I need to tell the kitchen? He said he would do it and walked back there.

He did not tell the kitchen. When I was buzzed, he was standing around in the kitchen, my salad was served for eat-in and had no garlic bread. I told someone else it was to go. Pradeep came over, and up-ended my salad into a styrofoam to-go container. I asked someone twice for bread (which ended up being stale), utensils, and a bag.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, please feast your eyes on my not-so-tasty Fuddrucker's Salad:

Disgusting! I have no problem waiting when a restaurant is busy, but serving something like this is totally unacceptable.

If there is a question about the details of my experience, I've included my number below. Please don't call me just to apologize.

It's lettuce and a chicken breast...HOW DO YOU FUCK THAT UP?


Unless the rules of English changed, that is not the correct sort-order.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Is There a Nobel Prize for Food?

I had a very late dinner/very early breakfast at IHOP with Corey. I could not decide what I wanted to eat, and struggled with the menu for a good 15 minutes. I finally ordered pancakes and eggs, and long after the waiter had put in our order, I spyed table tents across the way.


We didn't have a table tent.

What was on it, you ask? Pumpkin pancakes.

!!! xoxo !!!

I sulked the entire time we waited for our food, and kept sulking after I'd eaten every bite. I finally asked the waiter for a short stack of pumpkin pancakes, and they were delicious!

My only suggestion (and I emailed this to, is to either (1) whip some cream cheese up with whipped cream to make a cream cheese spread, or (2) just use the cream cheese filling from the crepes. Either way, a light, sweet, cream cheese frosting on their pumpkin pancakes would easily win an entire season of Top Chef.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Third Coming of Buzz trumps the Second Coming of Christ

Gentiles and Jews alike, Buzz is back:

On Friday, September 21, 2007, Buzzlife Productions and Fur Nightclub will join forces to create a new home for BUZZ, Washington DC’s legendary Friday night event.

We cordially invite you to be a part of history in the making as we enter an exciting new era of Capitol Intensive Clubbing. Our goal is to continue to raise the bar and to set the standard in nightlife experiences. We will be booking the hottest, freshest and most forward-thinking electronic dance music artists. Our belief is that music is only one piece of the puzzle, creating an intense visual experience is nearly as important. We will host nationally acclaimed video-animators, decor installation experts, hand picked dancers and performance artists to create an atmosphere that must be experienced first-hand.

Buzzlife's philosophy is that YOU are the most important part of the party. You are strongly encouraged to express your individuality through fashion, costume and attitude; creatively adding to the visual excitement of what we call "BUZZ."

The lineup includes:

wh00t! Bring on the fizzle and glow sticks, fool!