Thursday, May 31, 2007

l00k! eye-m on dA inteRweb(s)! faceb00k me, f00l. haha LOL!

In my "Introduction to Management Information Systems" class -- the one whose textbook I could write from memory without needing a single citation -- we had to build our VERY FIRST INTERNET(S) HOMEPAGE!!!!@!#@%$%^^@#$^~!@!

My cup runnith over with delight:

It should be #1 on Digg in the next 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Highlight of My Day

I accidentally unsubscribed from all my internal, work mailing lists back in March. I finally got re-added to our departmental list, which means I'm getting important emails now:

from: Ginnie
to: TSD-L@
date: May 30, 2007 3:09 PM
subject: Birthday Cake

Hi Everyone,

There is leftover birthday cake from the May birthday celebration we had this afternoon. If you were not able to join us, please feel free to have a piece of cake in Room 137 in Thompson Hall.



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Podcast: The Memorial Day Weekend Mix

After making shitty podcast #2, it was time to make a set using music I actually listen to. As I was picking out the tracks I realized that I didn't like any of my choices for the last song. Nothing popped out at me while I was sifting through some DJ Tiesto, but then I realized my two favorite tracks from Parade of the Athletes had nearly identical BPMs and laid on top of each other...real nice like. I ended up mastering Euphoria vs Breda 8p and then laid the complete set down.

That said, here it is:

Instead of potato salad, I decided to whip up some tunes to do your weekend grilling to:

1) Apollo 440 - Liquid Cool
2) Deep Dish - Flashdance (Skylark Mix)
3) Afropeans - Better Things (Skye 'n' Sugarstarr Remix)
4) JJ Flores & Steve Smooth - Deep Inside These Walls (Extended Mix)
5) Max Linen - Flashback
6) Starkillers - Scream (Kobbe & Austin Leeds Remix)
7) BT - Break on Through (to the Other Side) [BT vs The Doors Remix]
8) The Crystal Method - Salty (featuring Katherine Ellis) [Meat Katie Remix]
9) DJ Tiesto vs DJ Tiesto - Euphoria vs Breda 8p (Alpha John's Jacked Track)


Friday, May 25, 2007

Listen to Shitty Podcast #2: The Three Whores of the Apocalypse

As promised back on March 19th:

After my first experiment with Ableton Live, I came up with the (terrible) idea for this mix. I finally took the time to spin the tracks together and make it a horrific reality.

#1 - Lindsay Lohan - Rumors
#2 - Paris Hilton - Nothing In This World [Exacta Remix Edit]
#3 - Britney Spears - Toxic (Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Edit)

Don't expect to see this mess on any charts. Not even Perez Hilton can turn this trash into treasure.

Get it here, and be thankful you can't get STDs through singles.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Meredith's Book is Finally Being Published

Brill has finally updated their website:

Biotechnology has the potential to revolutionize genetics, agriculture, public health mechanisms, and environmental management and conservation. Agricultural applications provide the most practical uses of current advances in biotechnology, which have the potential for significant impact if agricultural producers worldwide begin using biotechnology techniques. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) offer significant benefits to global society in the areas of agricultural improvements, environmental management facilitation, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development promotion, and increased human health protection.

Serious concerns about GMOs are treated as separate and distinct from other disciplines, although GMOs significantly affect a wide range of fields. Successful regulation of GMOs will require the incorporation of input from other fields, most notably, public health, food safety, international trade, and environmental regulation. Currently, global debate and regulation of GMOs do not include any discussion of public health concerns, particularly those related to infectious disease. Some argue that the pathogens responsible for the recent outbreaks of SARS, BSE, and avian influenza may be the result of genetic modification. These questions challenge the preparedness of global regulatory and legislative regimes for infectious disease and GMOs to address these potential developments. This book examines the current global and regional legal frameworks and perspectives for infectious disease and GMOs and argues for a more connective approach for future regulation.

Meredith Mariani obtained a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School and an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School. She completed her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke College, with a double major in Biology and Anthropology. She wrote articles and memoranda on stem cell legislation, published by the University of Notre Dame Journal of Legislation and the International Center for Technology Assessment. She currently is an independent consultant focusing on biotechnology law and policy.

From the dozens of pages that I edited, all I can tell you about her book is that it involves the law and ducks (but not necessarily in that order). Meredith sent everyone this email:

Finally, my publisher put my book on their website (only 4 months too late) and its apparently cheaper than I originally thought so everyone should be able to afford a copy (or 5). And the cover will have beautiful flowing fields of golden wheat - a lovely addition to the pile of books you use to prop up that pesky table in the basement.

To which I replied: "I guess when you consider the $2.94 per-page cost, it's quite a bargain."

Still, a big congratulations to her. I distinctly remember when the book was just her Law Masters, born out of the most obscure Westlaw search she could think of. Now it's all grown up and ready for college itself.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Ice Cream Head(ache)

Andrew: well, i wouldnt be interested unless there was a fudgy the whale carvel ice cream cake.
theAlphaJohn: I want fudgy the whale and cookie puss having an ice cream 69

And to those of you using Google Reader, yes I changed the title. I think this one is more-funniest.

Comfort food that's Friendly('s)

Mary and I decided to have lunch at Friendly's in Burke today. I didn't think I needed any comforting, but the honey bbq chicken melt with waffle friends and a Reeses Pieces sundae sure hit the spot.

Now, please excuse me while I call to schedule my angioplasty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fuck a whole bunch of Calculus

Wil: what are you majoring in?
theAlphaJohn: MIS - school of management
Will: right on
theAlphaJohn: i was a comp sci major the first decade i went to school, then i realized that the calculus parts of brain don't work
theAlphaJohn: like those cardboard tvs you see at furniture stores -- just for show / to take up space
Will: yeah
theAlphaJohn: so i switched over to mis when i came here
Will: i suck with complex numbers
Will: and formulas
theAlphaJohn: it's the analytical geometry shit that always gets me
Will: i rocked logic classes though
Will: and at mason, that's the same as math
Will: so it worked out
theAlphaJohn: basic derrivatives and integrals i get -- if you can turn a shirt inside out you can plug in numbers and turn a crank
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: but when you get into "what is the area of an inside-out rhombus that's high on meth" my brain leaks out my ears
Will: understandable
Will: i want a rum based drink right now
theAlphaJohn: haha rum based
Will: and a hammock
theAlphaJohn: i look at calculus as a recruiting tool for the NSA, and not something one can even use in real live
Will: yeah
theAlphaJohn: i had a friend who worked at NSA, his coworker could think and operate comfortable in five dimensions
theAlphaJohn: apparently they had to write software to keep up with him
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: i didn't even understand what that meant, and he tried to explain it to me and it still didnt make sense
theAlphaJohn: apparently in five dimensions, if you move like this (moves hand) then the opposite reaction is to move like this (moves hand)
Will: i have no idea what you are saying
theAlphaJohn: you may be thinking that this is a visual, but really it makes as much sense written out
theAlphaJohn: b/c you're like "you just moved your hand two different ways"
Will: exactly
theAlphaJohn: and that's why their parties are so fucking lame
Will: hahaha

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Fallwal: Fat, drug addict, and now just plain dead

Blah blah, fatso's dead.

Chris emailed to remind me about his interview at FELD; afterwards we went to lunch at Cheesecake Factory, and Big Jer was in the booth across from us, having his "between Oxycontin snack.

Poor dead windbag: if only the Moral Majority were either...

Finals are Finished

A deep breath after a couple very long weeks. I had a term project in Accounting and a paper for Economics (which I got 31/33 on) that were both due. All three finals went well, so now I just need to wait for grades to be posted.

With finals behind me, I'm off from school for almost an entire week before summer A term begins. Quite a break really: all I need to do between now and then (besides my regular work schedule) is go to the dentist and get my car serviced. It's almost like being on vacation on the tropics.

Starbucks has been a fixture in my diet the past few weeks, and of course I stopped on the way to last night's final to get coffee. I stopped in this morning on the way to work, and the same guy from last night waited on me. He said, "I haven't seen you since last night" to which I responded "I suspect one of us slept here last night, I'm just not sure if it was you or me".

Never let it be said that I'm not a man of people.

Monday, May 14, 2007

End of Chicago :: Glow Presents Bad Boy Bill @ DC Club Fur

Once again, Kristin and I made our way into DC to see Bad Boy Bill (above, dancing with skanks after his set Saturday night) at Club Glow.

Disturbingly, unlike last time, there's photographic evidence we were there:

Oh sweet merciful Christ. Look at my facial expressions!?!?

Kristin, who is much more pleasing to the eye than I am, managed to be facing away from the camera both times. Thankfully, the really embarrassing pictures didn't make the website.

BBB worked in a bunch of his new stuff that's available on Beatport -- I highly recommend you check it out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Boy Almost Blow Up Their Careers...again

From The New York Times:

XM Shock Jocks Apologize for Sex Comment
Filed at 12:00 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- XM Satellite Radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony apologized Friday for airing a homeless man's crude comments that he'd like to have sex with Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth.

The remarks were made on their show Wednesday by a guest the duo call Homeless Charlie. As the name of each woman came up, the guest said he would like to have sex with her -- using language not fit for print.

Opie and Anthony laughed as they imagined Rice's ''horror'' while describing a violent sexual encounter in which Rice is punched in the face.

Washington-based XM condemned the remarks.

''We deplore the comments made on Wednesday's 'Opie & Anthony Show,''' XM spokesman Nathaniel Brown told The Associated Press on Friday. He would not say whether XM planned to take disciplinary action.

Opie and Anthony, whose full names are Anthony Cumia and Greg ''Opie'' Hughes, apologized to listeners on Friday's show.

''We apologize to the public officials for comments that we made on our XM show on May 9th. We take very seriously the responsibility that comes with our creative freedom and regret any offense that this segment has caused,'' they said.

Because the show airs on satellite radio, there are no federal restrictions on its content. According to XM's Web site, the radio service has parental controls that allow users to block access to channels that frequently contain explicit language. Those channels are designated with an ''XL'' notation.


I heard part of Wednesday's broadcast, but I didn't hear the part they had to apologize for. I did hear the apology this morning, and frankly the article doesn't do the delivery justice.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Amazon Marketplace

If you are a college student, or you know someone who is, they need to know about's Marketplace. Selling used books is easy: you search by UPC of ISBN for the book you already have and list it as used from there. Buying used books is easier because they're listed right along side of the new one:

I listed all of my text books for this past semester on the Marketplace; typically I sell them within a week and I get a few bucks more than if I sold them back to the bookstore. On the flip side, some student gets the book for a lot cheaper than used (especially since I always list mine at the lowest price).

Two of the three books I need for Summer term were available on Amazon Marketplace. As you can see here, our bookstore sells the first two books I need for $133.00 new / $99.75 used and $160.35 new / $120.25 used. Since Summer term typically uses the previous years editions, I was able to get both for $26.00 shipped.

As for the third book, I'll be wandering over to the bookstore to use my employee discount along with the $50 gift card I won for filling out a student health survey.

Greta and I are probably the only people who remember when sold college text books, and I've screwed around with most of the college book websites, but by far Amazon's consistently has the best prices, is the most reliable, and I actually get the book I wanted -- not the prior edition, not an international edition, and not an advance copy for professors to consider.

One Down, Two to go

I was here until 1:30am last night studying for today's statistics final. The material isn't particularly hard (last week, we graduated from 4th grade math to 6th grade math), but the professor is very particular. I wanted to be sure I could work through all the problems and had absolutely everything I needed on my one page study guide. After all, it's not easy to remember: "The variation in system response time is due to the variation in number of users and the variation in system load % after discounting for the use of two predictor variables." Yuck.

And as it turned out, everything I need was in my study guide. I got through the final (including all the bonus questions) in about 90 minutes. While I may not have gotten a perfect score, none of my answers were out of range, and I didn't have to re-do a bunch of calculations like I did last night.

Saturday morning is my Accounting final, which means tonight I'll be re-reading the chapters and tomorrow night I'll be working through the practice exams. After my final on Saturday, I have a two hour review session for my Economics final on Monday. I'll be working through that practice exam on Sunday night in all likelihood.

Saturday night, I'm going to Glow with Kirstin to see Bad Boy Bill. Hopefully we'll have as much fun as we did back in November.

Stupid finals.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Is there really a difference...?

Between working for the state, and being in a mental institution run by the state?

I have an internal customer with no concept of how long things take; anything you could ask of an IT shop should take as long as microwave popcorn. Today, it was decided that the best way to manage their expectations is to keep track of the time we spend working on their requests.

::scratches head::

If you think it takes 5 minutes to do something, but it actually takes five hours, and I tell you that I've spent an hour working on your problem, am I managing your expectations?

Oh. Then let's start using this project tracking system we have to have them enter their requests. Red tape will make them understand how long it should take.

I've been interacting with the customers on a daily basis for the past two weeks on an asinine request they made. The request had a hard deadline, and I had exactly enough hours between when it was received and when it was due to get it done, and I was told to make it happen. I had several hours into the project before the customer completely changed it. The change didn't make the task any easier or harder, but it meant scrapping the work I'd done up to that point and starting fresh. In the mean time, they made several other requests that "should only take a few minutes".

I am only alloted 6 hours a week for their project and 32 hours a week for my other major project. Almost every week, I'm told to drop one and spend 100% of my time on the other. Sometimes this is implicit ("It will take me 120 hours to do that and it needs to be done in three weeks." "Then do it."), and sometimes explicitly ("This is your top priority, focus all your time on this").

Today, after I sent the customer several updates on their tasks (which they acknowledged), they fired an email off to my boss's-boss's-boss telling him that I wasn't working on their project and why didn't they have any access to me. I just spent 90 minutes going through my notes and emails from last week to get the real tally: 32.5 hours.


The worst part: my Commonwealth-issued apathy suppositories aren't even working anymore. I fucking hate it here. Hate hate hate.

Pollo Cubed

This is how I feel about every Power Point presentation with more than 5 slides:

Thanks to Mary.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kim's 25 Birthday

Joey and Erin put together a lil' birthday field trip into DC for Kim's 25th birthday. We pre-gamed at Erin's a little too long, then took the Metro from Springfield into Adam's Morgan. While logistically it wasn't the best choice, Joey saved the day by bringing a water bottle filled with vodka and cranberry. I thought the funniest part was all five girls using the bathroom at the Pentagon Metro in 5 minutes (since Metro doesn't like people using their bathrooms, and I lied about how long they had).

The ginormous slice of pizza at the end was tasty, and thankfully Bo came so I wasn't the only guy there.

In short, the evening started like this:

turn into this:

and ended like this:

I haven't slept a hangover like that off in years.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Protest on Campus

I'm not sure what religion these nuts are, but apparently they hate everyone:

My theory is that this was a Psychology experiment, but I could be wrong.

How much are those drive belts in the window?

The Accord is due for its 105k service, which also means it's due for a timing belt, balancer belt, and water pump. Honda's recommended service looks like this:

105,000 miles/7 yrs Scheduled Maintenance
Recommended service for your 2002 Honda Accord:

Replace the timing belt and balancer belt (4 cylinder models only). Inspect the water pump.
Inspect valve clearance.
Replace spark plugs (6 cylinder models).
Check idle speed.
Replace engine oil.
Rotate tires.
Replace engine oil filter.
Inspect front and rear brakes.
Check parking brake adjustment.
Inspect tie-rod ends, steering gearbox and rack boots.
Inspect suspension components.
Inspect driveshaft boots.
Inspect brake hoses and lines (including ABS).
Check all fluid levels, condition of fluids and check for leaks.
Inspect cooling system hoses and connections.
Inspect exhaust system.
Inspect fuel lines and connections.

Basically: change the oil, see what else might be wrong. The drive belts and water pump are not included in the 105k cost at the dealers.

Since we were a Honda family growing up, and since two non-Honda mechanics blew the engines on both the 1989 Accord and 1991 Civic, I'm hesitant to take it anyplace but the dealership. Call me paranoid.

I hate to bargain shop, but since we're talking about more than $500 I made some calls. I was very surprised at what I found (click on image to enlarge):

Rosenthal Fairfax: $1,384
Rosenthal Tysons: $1,295
Rosenthal Landmark: $989
Brown's Arlington: $1,225
Sheehey Alexandria: $920
Hendrick Woodbridge: $1,115

Difference between high and low: $464 !!!

I also plotted a Google Map to show the distance between dealers:

Ponderous. I may skip the 105k itself and get the belts and water pump done since I need breaks.

How do I put this...?


From our report to the Technology Council, November 13, 2006:
Implementation and Migration

During system selection, the Task Force sought out software that was flexible, robust, but still simple enough to be used by non-technical end users. This was a critical lesson-learned following the attempted implementation of the Luminis CMS. The trade-off with this ease comes in the design, development, and migration of content.

For all systems examined, users generally fell into one of four categories:
• Administrator - what we traditionally consider the IT role of administering the server, application, database, and user account maintenance
• Content Creator (Designer) - the person who designs the aesthetic, lays out the navigation, and builds the actual templates
• Content Editor - anyone who: adds, removes, or changes content on a site, adds pages to an existing site, and adds a sub-site that uses existing templates
• Content Consumer - anyone who views the pages created in the CMS

While few webmasters currently have the skills to be Content Creators, these skills are only needed during design of a new site or redesign of an existing site. Irrespective of which system is chosen, training is available to bring someone up to the necessary skill level of a Content Creator. These skills, however, are not an abundant commodity.

The majority of what our webmasters currently do falls into the Content Editor category. For the sake of both efficiency and cost, it may make more sense to focus the design of templates and navigation in Web Communications and focus the webmasters into a Content Editor role, but with a greater responsibility of reporting on the state of content and maintaining workflows.

Migration of existing sites into either CMS was straightforward once templates were created. Participating departments will have the option of using predefined templates, or hiring Creative Services to customize one. Some departments may choose a third option: to pay an outside developer to create new templates.

May 3, 2007

Not done by Web Communications. After four weeks of training they had four weeks to play in test. This is their effort in production after 31 days ::

Done by Web Communications. They had the same training as the other group and just got their accounts in production three days ago ::

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

R.I.P. Nation

[Photo by Amanda Huie]

Nation closed last July, and it looks like they've finally demolished it. Mary shared two sets of photos with me: Adegen's Flickr Set and Dirt Box Radio.

So sad. So very sad.