unrequited narcissism

Archives: blog
Archives: blog
September 05, 2006
September 05, 2006
back in a bit blog

i'm going to be taking a brief blog hiatus as i settle things up in atlanta and prepare for my move back to d.c. and my final quarter at medill. see you in a week or two!

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 28, 2006
August 28, 2006
how about that blog

if you can believe it, today is the four-year anniversary of this space on the internet. amazing!

check out the first post ever (by tommy); here's mine (before i knew a blog was for more than sticking photos up there).

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 22, 2006
August 22, 2006
i don't understand blog

i have gotten hundreds, if not THOUSANDS (probably not thousands) of comment spam on this particular entry in the past week. the entry is a short blurb pointing people towards photos of our italian vacation last year. what is it about that post? is it the fact the word voyeurs is in the title? is it the fact that it links to weird photo hosting sites? is it the fact that i am going insane with the deletion?!? gah, spammers. i will kill you all.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
August 01, 2006
August 01, 2006
blogher blog  - chicago

ooh! the blogher conference is going to chicago next year. although i have no idea if the conference is actually worthwhile and provides anybody with any enlightening information (my fault for not having researched it very much) it would certainly be a cool excuse to visit my favorite recently-departed city. (via)

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
relatively so D.C.  - blog

folks on the DCist mailing list this morning pointed out a legal times article that refers to DCist as "relatively hip." how awesome is that? at least as awesome as the time i got called a d-list internet celebrity.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
July 12, 2006
July 12, 2006
now with less fugly blog

Behold! Catherine's lovely new design for the site, which I stayed up waaaay too late last night implementing. There are a lot of pieces that still have to be done — archives, a different header, the about page, some fancy del.icio.us crap that Catherine asked for and I'm happy to oblige, plus who knows what else I forgot. But here we are. It's filled with XHTML goodness (although the entries' crappy, non-compliant HTML will usually prevent the page from validating). Plus actually well-written CSS (relatively speaking), some unnecessary Javascript, and Flickr integration. Woo!

Since parts of the design are still in flux I haven't yet applied the individual entry template, which means that as soon as you click on a comment or try to "read more" you'll be back at the old ugly blue site. I've got a few more things to wrap up before that goes away — plus, I probably ought to wait for a low-traffic time to do the rebuild, since we've already incurred the wrath of our host for taking more than our fair share of the CPU.

comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 10, 2006
July 10, 2006
and also blog

tommy and i realize we are SUPER out-of-date on our blogroll and there are many lovely people out there we should have added eons ago. but, we're lazy. so whenever the new redesign comes around, so will a current and mind-blowing new blogroll. prepare yourselves.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
changes afoot! blog

So, Hasweb briefly disabled Movable Type over the weekend. They said mt.cgi was consuming too many resourced — I suspect they just took a snapshot of the system's CPU utilization during a rebuild for a new entry, making it seem like we were hogging the machine (we were, but only for five seconds or so once or twice a day). I convinced them to turn things back on, but they're keeping a watchful eye on us.

The thing is, mt.cgi isn't supposed to be cause these problems. The comment scripts can (as in Unfogged's case), but not mt.cgi itself. As far as I can tell this is just a combination of bad luck and some slightly inefficient templates.

So, just a word of warning: I'm likely to put up a Six Apart-approved template sometime today. It'll just be a stopgap — Catherine has come up with a good-looking design, but I want to add some bells and/or whistles, then it'll probably take me some time to turn it into HTML. So, something mediocre is forthcoming. But hey, it couldn't be as bad as the status quo, right?

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 03, 2006
July 03, 2006
citizens of the world blog

do us all an effing favor and stop searching for li/ger. jeez:

bloglogscreencap%282%29.jpg
comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 30, 2006
June 30, 2006
victory! blog
Dear Customer:

You submitted the following rating request to SonicWALL CFS Support:
Rate zunta.org as "14.Arts/Entertainment" at 2006-06-30 09:25:00.777

The request has been reviewed and rated as:
"31.Web Communications" at 2006-06-30 13:28:01.557

You should see this rating change reflected within 1 to 3 business days.

Thank you for your request,
SonicWALL CFS Support

Thanks for all the thoughts & prayers. It's been an emotionally difficult couple of hours.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
playing to expectations blog

Thanks very much to Justin for sending this along. Apparently Panera's content filter is blocking this site:

message indicating that sonicwall content filter thinks we're racists

Hmm. I don't think this site is filled with violent, racist hate speech (unless "Food Network Chefs" now count as an ethnic group). But I suppose I'm not the one who gets to make that call.

I guess I should be somewhat diplomatic, since I'm now patiently waiting for SonicWall to review our case. So I'll put it as gently as I can: SonicWall appears to be run by a bunch of goddamn morons. What'd you guys do, put "hate" into Google and ban all the sites that came up? If you're intent on being in the business of facilitating societal prudishness — surely a noble calling! — you ought to at least figure out how to do it properly, you miserably incompetent fuckwits.

Related: BoingBoing's guide to defeating censorware.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 28, 2006
June 28, 2006
blog abroad blog  - travel

these blogs are installing some wanderlust in me lately, so i thought i'd pass them on.

tania: an american living in cortona with her husband and apparently eating incredibly well. when we stayed near cortona last year i took several restaurant recommendations from her blog and all of them were spot on. plus she takes some gorgeous photos. my favorites include her series on "god spots," the weird little shrines you find all over tuscany.

betsey goes to china: betsey went to china (and the archives are on the site) but now she's living it up in singapore. she seems to go on getaways to india, thailand and hong kong every other weekend, so you're getting quite a bit of beautiful photos with her droll and sweet commentary.

sarah lane: some of you may know sarah as the adorable blond lady formerly of "attack of the show," which tommy and charles would watch all the time. she recently got married and her honeymoon involves a 13-month trip around the world with her husband (who was also on the show. i read somewhere they met on the show a year ago; was she dating kevin rose at the time? WAS THERE SCANDAL!?!). anyways. currently they're in turkey, and her most recent post features some amazing shots of the capadocia region, whose terrain reminds me a lot of my perennial italian favorite, matera.

the satorialist: not exactly a travel blog, but my favorite fashion blog (a photographer in new york who takes and posts pictures of beautiful people wearing beautiful and interesting clothing out on the street) has been commissioned by style.com to shoot the men's shows in milan and paris. but when he's out in the piazzas, he's taking shots of the italian ladies. and they are, as usual, stunning. the italians. oi.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
whoops blog

So, uh, I accidentally screwed up our RSS a while ago. Sorry about that. An effort to include the extended portion of entries ended up producing some incorrect XML. Everything should be better now (or shortly, depending on when FeedBurner reindexes us).

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 10, 2006
June 10, 2006
that's fucking interesting blog  - movies

Just received via comment spam:

Now, I'm just a simple country blogger. Your modern marketing concepts confuse and astound me! But it seems, even to my old-fashioned and no doubt primitive sensibilities, that if you're trying to appeal to bloggers and blog readers, you should conduct your marketing campaign in a manner other than by hiring scumbag spammers to pollute our sites, insult our intelligence and generally infuriate us. Peddling d1sc0unt v1agr4 is one thing, but for a movie, where you're trying to build "buzz" and "word of mouth" about your project, you'd think it would be important for that buzz to be about something other than what a bunch of assholes you are. Just a thought.

Oh, and I hope your pathetic ought-to-be-direct-to-video abomination is out of theaters before the first showing is over. Go to hell.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 06, 2006
June 06, 2006
schadenfreading list blog

I feel weirdly guilty about posting this: it's fundamentally a recommendation that you go enjoy some writing that wouldn't exist if not for a wonderful guy's terrible misfortune. But I'll pass it along anyway, for those few of you who read this site but not unfogged.

Ogged stopped blogging a while ago to focus on real life. We were all sad to see him go — aside from being a nice guy and the internet's foremost expert at facilitating highminded conversations about lowbrow topics, he's got a writing style that's elegantly spare, tightly constructed and extremely clever. His cobloggers and replacements have done a great job since he left — but Ogged is Ogged, and I and a lot of other folks missed him.

Well, the good news is that he's writing again. The bad news is that he's writing about his illness.

But I suppose there's not much to be done except to try to avoid embarrassing the guy by feeling guilty for enjoying his work. So head on over to his new site, read some great blogging, and add to the tidal wave of good thoughts that's headed his way.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 31, 2006
May 31, 2006
quote of the night blog

it's stupid for me to like it, but i am liking it anyway:

yglesias: it's pretty weird to have one's social circle
pablohoney: defined by blogs?
yglesias: yeah
pablohoney: indeed
pablohoney: i have come to embrace it though
yglesias: I feel like we're the clique of the future
pablohoney: that is my favorite thing you ever said
yglesias: maybe we should get Tom to make a group webpage and that can be our slogan

indeed.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
May 18, 2006
May 18, 2006
hmm blog

who is responsible for this?

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 26, 2006
March 26, 2006
we've finally made it! blog

We got our first C&D letter! Yay!

Apparently someone has a problem with the comments left on this post. Because I do feel sort of badly for the complainant, I'll refrain from repeating his/her name here (perceptive readers can probably figure it out). But a cursory glance at our archives would have revealed to them that my EFF-loving ass probably wouldn't react very well to this kind of thing. To wit, here's what I sent back:

I think there may be some confusion here. The comments to which you refer seem to me to express a personal opinion, which does not constitute libel or slander. Nor were the postings "in your name" -- no one in the thread purported to be you, they simply referred to you.

Even if they *were* libelous, we would not be obligated to police this content, which neither Catherine nor I wrote or endorsed. See here: http://www.chillingeffects.org/defamation/faq.cgi#QID709

Our site is a personal blog written for our and our friends' amusement. Comments are open, unmoderated, and unpoliced except for spam removal. I'm sorry, but we have no interest in mediating a tedious spat between children from New York who we've never heard of.

Finally, please also note that, contrary to what is implied by your email footer, neither Catherine nor I have entered into a contract with you or agreed to keep our correspondence confidential. You are, of course, protected by copyright. But please be aware that we reserve the right to legally protected fair use of that material, including use for purposes of commentary.

Isn't it cute when two jerks on the internet pretend to be lawyers? I think it is, anyway.

The funniest thing about the whole incident is how it started. The letter-writer wasn't mentioned in the entry at all! It appears that someone just googled for "socialite", dropped in and started talking shit. And then — this is the kicker — someone else arriving from Google stopped by to note how shallow Americans are for being obsessed with socialites. Presumably they found the thread by searching for the thing they find so shallow! Too fantastic. The only way it could be better is if they signed their comment with some dumbass name like, say, "dropsofjupiter1". Oh wait! They did!

But although this one mounted a strong challenge, I think my favorite Google-enabled thread on this site is still the one devoted to how dreamy Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington is. Good times.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 21, 2006
March 21, 2006
where have all the bloggers gone blog

It's strange, but I think we may be running out of internet. It might just be me — but I don't think so. Catherine's been complaining of the same thing. I now frequently find my RSS reader empty, forlorn. Oh sure, Wonkette can be reliably counted on to fill up a feed with entries I've already read, since its authors are now pathologically incapable of leaving a post unrevised. And sites like TUAW and Gizmodo reliably spam me with totally uninteresting posts, thanks to the Dentons and Dobkins of the world deciding that they earn their pay with quantity rather than quality. But post volume seems to be down on the good blogs — by which I mean my friends' sites.

Certainly, I'm guilty as well. Although the site's traffic has mostly levelled off, I feel a lot more pressure to tone down the bloggy self-indulgence here than I used to. I know that people who are professionally, personally or just plain old important to me stop by here with some regularity, and that makes me think twice before rattling off a thousand-word screed about how such-and-such or so-and-so ought to be publicly euthanized for society's benefit.

There are other reasons, too. In the last year or two, many of my friends' online lives have taken on a more professional character. By and large, this is fantastic — I'm incredibly glad that Kriston is getting paid to blog, that Catherine is writing papers on RSS, and that I can claim "blog reading" on my timesheet. But it does sort of change the way the whole thing feels. The days of pretending to work in a Crystal City cubicle, furiously penning Wonkette-bait are over.

It's pretty stupid, in retrospect — approaching the internet like a private clubhouse for you and your buddies. But I'm still sort of sad to feel the thing become complicated. I don't think there's a solution, short of fleeing to MySpace. And I'm not prepared to debase myself like that.

For what it's worth, I'll do my best to be a little less self-conscious about writing here. There's no reason we can't reclaim the heights of lowly self-involvement we once reached.

POSTSCRIPT: Aaand before even hitting publish, I've already violated my new resolution. There's an entertainingly passive-aggressive anonymous note plastered all over the men's room. I doubt it's from a coworker — but this is a shared office space, so there's no telling. So: no putting it on the internet. Drat. But just between you and me, anonymous bathroom-note-author, I'm not the one who's been peeing on the seats.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 13, 2006
March 13, 2006
new media! blog

Becks and Catherine are already providing multimedia insights into the contemporary state of sexual politics. So let's continue the trend — behold! Emily's take on what web 2.0 means for women.

(that's right — it takes only the flimsiest of excuses to get me to embed video these days. I've been entirely corrupted)

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 10, 2006
March 10, 2006
am i missing something? blog

Or does this seem really, really stupid?

I suppose I shouldn't be the one to cast the first stone — I'm more guilty than most of turning hilarious-while-drunk-isms into websites. But the hilarity:effort ratio here seems pretty goddamn low.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 08, 2006
March 08, 2006
attention dcist fans blog

And haters, for that matter: NBC4, 4:45. Potential live TV embarrassment! Not for me, mind you. But for certain bearded associates.

I'll have to see if I can sneak a plasma TV channel-change by the people who run this temporary office space. So long as I can withstand the barrage of passive-aggressive notes that will show up tomorrow, I like my odds.

UPDATE: Just saw it. Nice job, Martin! No DCist.com graphic, sadly, but still a good piece. And Kathryn made it to the screen, despite her in-comment pessimism.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 19, 2006
February 19, 2006
movable type, apache redirects, justifications for wasted time blog  - tech

Among the many things I like about my new job is that it's given me the opportunity to learn a bunch of new technologies. Email triggers, .htaccess files, SVN repositories, XML, and of course the power to raise the dead (from the command line!) — lots of good stuff.

And useful stuff. For instance, this morning I finally fixed out broken archive URLs. Movable Type 2.66whatever built entries in the format

  • /blog/archives/000001.php
  • /blog/archives/000002.php
  • etc.

But since the upgrade to 3.2, we've switched to a more useful format, oriented around a value that MT generates called the basename (which is basically an abbreviated, URL-safe version of the title). The new URLs look like this:

  • /blog/archives/2004/01/22/round_the_world/
  • /blog/archives/2005/12/16/sweet_nostalgia/

The problem is that there are still lots of links to the old URLs, both within entries on this site and elsewhere. That's no good, since they don't get rebuilt when new comments are added, or when their entries are updated, or when we redesign, or when anything else happens on the site.

But now I can do something about it. And since it took me a few hours, and since it might help someone else, I thought I'd post my solution.

MORE...
comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 13, 2006
February 13, 2006
why they call it a grudge match blog

DCist just lost to DC Metblogs at Wonderland trivia by a single point.

It was a nice idea — the Metblogs folks approached Ryan and Martin about it a few weeks ago. Loser gives $50 to charity, just like actual celebrities do. Wayan of Metblogs is the trivia night MC, but they're honorable folks and we knew he wouldn't share the questions beforehand.

And yeah, they beat us fair and square. We led most of the night, but Hemal, Martin and Scott had to take off early, leaving me and Ryan. The later rounds were unkind. And we had already learned a painful lesson about not trusting Ryan's instincts — he's unassuming, but that guy is trivia night gold. We lost at least two points second guessing him about the number of USSR republics and what was the oldest noncontinuous parliament in the world. Trust your editors, people!

But here comes the venting: those were the worst trivia night questions I've ever encountered. First and foremost, the entire last round was devoted to blogs, and a large portion to DCist versus Metblogs. Way to make us feel like dicks for wasting everyone else's night, guy. Second, the questions were date-heavy. That's fine and good for the DC history round — it was painful but understandable. But asking what date DCist first wrote about Borf?! That's just terrible. Considering that it was asked shortly after "How many cities is Metblogs in?", it came off as a transparent attempt to job us. Fortunately, we knew the latter but not the former, making it a wash.

But here's the thing: if the people who are in the best position of anyone on the planet to know the answer to a question can't answer it... Well, maybe it isn't such a great question. Asking "Has DCist or Metblogs used the word 'penis' more?" is a great way to prove how clever the question-writer is (clever enough to use the word penis, apparently), but not actually fun for anyone else. At all.

The beauty of trivia nights — aside from having an excuse to sit still and drink heavily — is the sensation that SHIT I should know this. It's on the tip of my tongue, I saw a terrible movie on TBS that mentioned it once, crap, what's the name of that actress? Man, before that last beer I would have gotten this in a second. Shit. I really wish I was allowed to text message my buddy. He would totally know this.

To be fair, there were a few questions that fit this bill. The celebrity suicide round? Inspired. But when most rounds of ten questions end with teams getting less than four points, something is wrong. You're turning it into a crapshoot. And making an impossible question true or false doesn't make the situation any better — it just makes me wonder why I'm wasting my time trying to guess an answer.

But in the end, Metblogs legitimately claimed their triumph. I certainly won't begrudge them that — I truly believe the questions were just as terrible for them as they were for us. And I don't mind losing; I kind of expected to. I just wish I didn't somehow feel implicated in ruining the evening of everyone else in that bar via involuntary internarcissism.

Next time: an impartial arena. And, hopefully, a less masturbatory one.

UPDATE: Now that I've had time to let the bitter tastes of beer and defeat fade from my mouth, maybe I should temper my remarks. Although harder than I considered optimal for fun, the first six rounds were well-themed and not, say, the type of thing that could be used to justify their author's indefinite detention and torture in Cuba (it's to protect us all!). That seventh round, though...

comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 11, 2006
February 11, 2006
i was not aware blog

that being called a d-list internet celebrity could so UTTERLY MAKE MY DAY.

but it does. i am all atwitter.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
February 01, 2006
February 01, 2006
this is how we share on the internet blog

pablohoney: btw did you read the nabob's puppy-drug post?
pablohoney: and the dceiver's wolf parade post?
pablohoney: today was a veritable cornucopia of excellent posts

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
the kevin drum effect... blog

is fun to see. (he linked to tommy's hysterical analysis of the metro voice contest below.)

by the way, DCist is having a contest to see what lovely and interesting metro messages readers can come up with. i highly recommend you submit something.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
man, everybody's got good posts today blog

Charles finally provides me with the reason to root against the Steelers that I've been looking for.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 30, 2006
January 30, 2006
suck it, friendless non-bloggers blog

confirming what i've known since i was 16 and meeting people off the internet: blogging, etc, makes you more social!

The cyberworld expands people's social networks and even encourages people to talk by phone or meet others in person, a new study finds.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project also finds that U.S. Internet users are more apt to get help on health care, financial and other decisions because they have a larger set of people to whom they can turn.

Further rebuking early studies suggesting that the Internet promotes isolation, Pew found that it ``was actually helping people maintain their communities,'' said Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto sociology professor and co-author of the Pew report.

The study found that e-mail is supplementing, not replacing, other means of contact. For example, people who e-mail most of their closest friends and relatives at least once a week are about 25 percent more likely to have weekly landline phone contact as well. The increase is even greater for cell phones.

``There's a certain seamlessness of how people maintain their social networks,'' said John Horrigan, Pew's associate director. ``They shift between face-to-face, phone and Internet quite easily.''

Meanwhile, Internet users tend to have a larger network of close and significant contacts -- a median of 37 compared with 30 for non-users -- and they are more likely to receive help from someone within that social network.

that's right. where you going to get your friends from now, ogged?

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 27, 2006
January 27, 2006
far off internet-enabled lands blog

if you know me, you know i check the sitemeter to this blog pretty obsessively. i'm not concerned with the number of visitors, but i love seeing referrals, ip addresses and where people are reading from. i have to say, we get residents of some pretty charmingly-named towns on a regular basis. recently? lake in the hills, IL; little neck, NY; cantonment, FL; saint cloud, MN; and i swear to god, one time we had something like "floating lily on the wood nymph, massachusetts." wish i could remember what it was exactly, but i'm basically sure all its citizens lived in a thomas kinkade painting.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 26, 2006
January 26, 2006
can't talk now, I'VE got a class to teach! blog

Or, morning roundup to write. And I was way too busy at work to write anything. But! Via stereogum, check out my beloved Attack of the Show making fun of Kevin Federline.

UPDATE: Man, that Stereogum post just keeps on giving.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 19, 2006
January 19, 2006
>>>>> blog

I've been meaning to link to it forever, so here it finally is: PayItForwardForward. Conceived of and executed by a duo with the two talents necessary for comedy: a love of abstract, high-concept nonsense; and a distinct lack of concern over breaking their poor mothers' hearts.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 12, 2006
January 12, 2006
things are gonna be different this time, baby blog

I've been a pretty lame blogger this week. That's largely because I've been a pretty lame human being — I've had some sort of nasty whiplash-ish condition as a result of my bike accident, and only yesterday arrived at a painkiller dosing schedule that made me less than constantly cranky. I'd like to issue a personal shout-out to the people who make mobic, by the way. A doctor gave me some samples for a sore back a while ago. They didn't do anything for my back, but I stumbled across the leftovers last night and MAN do they fix my neck. Thanks, evil pharmaceutical industry!

But I've got plans, internet. Plans that involve you. What would you say to a programming tutorial aimed at the non-programmer? You'd be pretty goddamn excited about it, I bet. I'll be trying to keep things simple and short, with an emphasis on doing cool internet-y things quickly. Like stuffing the ballot box of online polls. Or having your computer text-message you when concert tickets go on sale. I'm still working out the outline in my head, but I think I can get everyone equipped to work some useful HTTP/regex mojo in just 4 or 5 lessons. That'd be worth knowing, right? Right.

But tonight, I'm off to Chicago. So for now I'll just direct you to the anecdote at the end of this post from my sister.

comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 09, 2006
January 09, 2006
thin skin blog

Back in the good ol' days (mid-2005), when Catherine blogged a blue-streak for DCist and I simply basked in her local media aura, I was dismissive of her complaints about commenters on that site. "You're too sensitive," I would say. "They're just feeding their own egos."

This was and is true, but now I've completely lost my disinterested moorings. Today I made a really, really stupid mistake, accidentally posting something that said the Washington Times owns the DC Examiner. It was an easy mistake for me to make. Excellent sports section? Check. Red masthead? Check. Unseemly interest in deporting hispanics? Check. All the pieces fit. But somewhere along the line I got my megalomaniacal conservative media moguls confused. It was dumb of me.

To be honest, the commenters today treated me far more fairly than my boneheadedness warranted. But it's all relative — these are people who have expressed a wish for my best friend to get AIDS (that one was totally his fault, though). I wonder if Marc Fisher gets socked in the face by random passersby on the street.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 19, 2005
December 19, 2005
man blog

i am a superior internet stalker!

that is all.

comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
December 11, 2005
December 11, 2005
you never get a second chance blog

Earlier this afternoon Yglesias, Kriston, Ezra and I met a bunch of folks from Unfogged, including the mysterious, pseudonymous ogged — one of the blogosphere's most elusive species.

My initial impressions:

  • Very tall.
  • Big nose.
  • Big hands (ladies).
  • Goggle tan is real.
  • Arms like tree trunks.
  • Breathes smoke, belches fire.
  • Has an enormous blue pet ox.

Apostropher, Michael and Matt were also in attendance, and similarly mythopoetic. It was nice to meet all of you guys.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 08, 2005
December 08, 2005
damn blog

Those posts were conceived independently, believe it or not. For the record, I would cherish either present.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 06, 2005
December 06, 2005
ut oh blog

BoingBoing featured a photo of an entertainingly bad translation to English. For the hell of it, I sent in a link to our Italian gas pump post. I just got a trackback. So if you smell ozone and hear a bubbling noise, that's just the webserver.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
December 02, 2005
December 02, 2005
iso: spl0itz! blog  - tech

If anyone knows how to export the contents of a Movable Type blog to which one has author but not administrator rights, let me know. Otherwise it's a weekend of Perl scripting for me. I guess I need to learn XSLT sooner or later.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 30, 2005
November 30, 2005
antispam blog

I'm trying out a few new plugins to cut down on comment spam. I had thought that MT 3.2 had finally solved the spam problem, but it didn't. There was a brief improvement, but then things started up again — except now we don't have MT-Blacklist with which to defend ourselves. Argh.

So there's now some javascript trickery involved in comments. I'll be testing it out in a moment, but the best-case scenario is that you'll need JS enabled in order to post a comment. How do folks feel about that? Would it be better to use a captcha (ie an image-based code that you have to read and enter)?

UPDATE: Okay, looks like everything works — even from my phone. Since I'm the only person likely to care about mobile commenting, I'll count that as "good enough". In other news, I'm a dope: blacklist capabilities still exist in MT, you just have to go through the plugins page to get to them. Not super-convenient, but tolerable. I think I'll keep the new javascript obfuscators enabled anyway, though.

comments [11] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 28, 2005
November 28, 2005
at least someone is going to be wildly successful D.C.  - blog  - personal

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has launched a blog helmed by the one and only Kriston Capps! Nice job, buddy.

You can congratulate Kriston here; you can write to your congressman about this horrifying waste of tax dollars here. Don't worry about sending mixed messages — it's all part of the stealth marketing campaign. If we can get Rush Limbaugh to declare a fatwa on Kriston, we'll know he's really made it.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 13, 2005
November 13, 2005
argh blog

It appears that whenever we receive a trackback the site rebuilds itself. The problem: when it rebuilds it ignores all entries after the one titled "mission accomplished". I have to go in and manually rebuild the site in order to get newer posts (like this one) to show up.

It's pretty irritating, and I have no idea how to fix it. Since we get a lot of trackback spam, it's a real problem. If anyone knows the answer to this issue, please feel free to share it with the rest of the class.

UPDATE: Okay, I just successfully sent a test-trackback from a dummy blog without any entries disappearing. Time to come up with a new theory for why this is happening.

UPDATE 2: New theory. I had renamed our trackback scripts from the Movable Type defaults in an effort to curb spam. As a result, those scripts didn't get overwritten when I upgraded to MT 3.2. I'm thinking that comment spammers were still hitting those renamed scripts via Google's cache of the site. Those old scripts were triggering rebuilds using old code and, more importantly, the old database. Which means that only data added to the site prior to the switch to MySQL was showing up. Make sense? No? Well, at least it's extremely boring. But on the off chance that someone else has the same problem, let me suggest you rename or delete those old scripts. Hopefully this will take care of the problem. I could be completely wrong, though, and this post may disappear again. So, uh, if you can't read this post, you should probably ignore its contents.

comments [10] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
November 12, 2005
November 12, 2005
mission accomplished blog  - personal  - photos

Alright — I think everything is working. Not only are we on MT 3.2, but I've upgraded from using the filesystem-based Berkeley DB to MySQL. What does this mean? Basically nothing. But backing stuff up will now be marginally easier. Also worth noting is that 3.2 is supposed to cost money, but I somehow downloaded it from Movable Type's website without them remembering to ask for a credit card. And the download shows up in my account "purchases" section and everything! So: shhh!

In other news, Charles bought a fish. We're not naming him until he proves he can make it through the weekend without dying.

fishy!
comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
upgrade! blog

Alright -- I'm gonna try upgrading Movable Type. Everything is backed up, I think. But there's still a high probability of weirdness.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 10, 2005
November 10, 2005
dcist happy hour! blog

I realize that with Catherine gone these little blog-related agenda tidbits — I like to think of them as "stalkable moments" — are much less intriguing. But I'll go ahead and mention this anyway: DCist Happy Hour! Yeah! Woohoo!

Friday, 6PM. 51st State. Map! Hope to see you there.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
November 05, 2005
November 05, 2005
DCBCTIC blog

or, D.C. bloggers coming together in chicago. yay for hanging out with nm and rj3! boo to feeling like you're going to puke from too much old style and cheese fries.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
November 01, 2005
November 01, 2005
internet chaos! excitement! controversy! blog

But I can't share any of it just yet (or, if things work out, ever). Sorry. Go read that source code again. That should provide some entertainment, right?

In other news, I get to go to lovely Carlisle, PA tomorrow for work. I'm to report to the Shady Grove metro at 7:15, and will be dropped off at 6. Sounds like fun, huh? Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze out some embittered blog entries during the car ride.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 27, 2005
October 27, 2005
they don't love you like i love you blog

everybody's doing it...going to the zunta reader map and register yourselves, bitches!

sorry for the lack of blogging on my part lately. don't worry, i'm not off doing anything fun. i spent the better half of today in a zoning committee meeting down at city hall. on one hand, i felt like a Real Journalist. on another, i wanted to kill myself.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
let the inbred media conspiracy begin blog

Congrats to the DCeiver, who's subbing for Wonkette through Friday. Looks like he picked a pretty damn good time to take the reins.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 18, 2005
October 18, 2005
hey everybody! blog

Our buddy Jeff now has RSS. Yay, hurrah, etc. Seriously, go add that feed. Your "Wacky Chemist Blogs" folder is feeling ignored.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 12, 2005
October 12, 2005
j'accuse! blog

This post of Kriston's reminded me of something that terrifies me — something that embodies a nightmarish vision of a future that I would prefer to avoid. One in which all banter between myself and my middleaged friends occurs in French. It makes me want to start pricing motorcycles. Fast ones, with poor cornering ability.

I didn't take French in high school. I took Latin. In college my Echols status got me out of the language requirement. I've picked up some Italian since then — enough that, with sufficient funds, I can survive on my own in that harsh wasteland for literally days at a time. But any discussion of my "language skills" is far more likely to revolve around compilation than conjugation.

So maybe it's just that I'm ignorant (clearly I am). Maybe it's lingering childhood resentment for my parents' secret dinnertable code. Maybe it's the imprecise instrument I'm using. But whenever I drag myself from Salon or The New Yorker or some lefty comment thread to translate some alleged bon mots on Babelfish, the results are just awful. Like, sitcom awful. Garfield awful, even. What's the French word for "banal", anyway?

comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 11, 2005
October 11, 2005
into the wild D.C.  - blog  - tech

Wonkette picked up my Google Maps Metro hack a little ahead of schedule, so I've pushed this sucker up to its final resting place — surprise surprise, it's DCist — and put up a forwarding notice.

Anyway, if anyone was biding their time to link to it, now you can go nuts. It's also had some bugfixes applied. There'll be an announcement on DCist later today if you want to trash me in a higher-profile venue.

comments [3] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
October 04, 2005
October 04, 2005
not content blog

Wow. The daytime blogging has been suffering, hasn't it? Catherine's stuck without an internet connection for most of the day, and I'm on a project that, unbeknownst to the MBAs, was destined to be 12 months late the moment the contract was signed. Also, you know: adjusting to new lifestyle, lack of sleep, existential malaise, etc etc. All of the usual blogger complaints. Sometimes I go through phases where writing code is much easier than writing English. This is one of them.

But since the blog apologia is a truly pathetic genre, allow me partially redeem this post with a personal note: is anybody else going to tonight's Nada Surf show at the Black Cat? If so, lemme know. Also, Architecture in Helsinki on Friday. Let's co-rock.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
October 03, 2005
October 03, 2005
the hot new nerd gear blog

courtesy of preshrunk.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
September 23, 2005
September 23, 2005
trauma blog  - movies

It's hard. I know it's hard. How much easier would it be to take care of the stack of profoundly uninteresting papers on your desk? To buckle down, straighten up, and renounce the demon internet's hold on you? To spend an hour or two after work hanging pictures, getting that 5x5 cubicle set up just right — you know, for the long haul. It'd be lots easier. Of course it would.

But people are counting on you. Where else will they go to hear complaints about your lack of direction? To understand the precise reasons why The Simpsons isn't as good as it used to be? To read oblique condemnations of those who have disappointed you romantically?

Nowhere. Instead they would just waste that time on literature, or art, or their families. You can't let that happen. Frivolity is serious business. It's the blogger's cross to bear.

Well, Uncle Joss's Santa-like powers have alerted him to your plight. It was probably when you were bitching about it in the Red Room (you get kind of loud when you're drunk).

For one night only, he's offering you sweet succor: free Serenity tickets for bloggers. Washington's screening is at Gallery Place on Monday, 7:30 pm. We can grapple with our pain together, and in the presence of spaceships. Just like the Scientologists!

Via DCeiver.

UPDATE: fixed the link.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 20, 2005
September 20, 2005
it's not me, i swear blog

It's Catherine who's intent on banning all of our friends from leaving comments. Evil, evil Catherine!

(This is my way of saying comments are fixed again.)

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 18, 2005
September 18, 2005
comments are fixed blog

We'd accidentally imported some overly restrictive blacklist rules that were blocking comments including, among other things, any words containing a "g" followed by three or more letters. But it's fixed now -- feel free to resume your wanton use of the offending letter. I know, I know — I'm such a pushover.

comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 14, 2005
September 14, 2005
sick of it all blog

But mostly just the flower background. The whole change-the-background-with-the-seasons plan ran aground pretty quickly, huh? Well, we're going with basic blue until I get around to putting something else together. I've got the inspiration. I'm just missing the inclination (and the time).

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 13, 2005
September 13, 2005
broken blog

Something weird's going on with comments. I didn't change anything, and I doubt Catherine did. Nothing looks wrong in the settings. Angry emails have been sent to our webhost. I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Scratch that. Looks like the word "NMAP" somehow got onto our commentspam blacklist, and the error page that's responsible for letting users know their comment looks spammy is missing, generating a frightening-looking error. If you aren't posting a comment about that particular port scanning tool, you should be fine.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
September 02, 2005
September 02, 2005
comments-only rss blog

I don't know whether anyone besides Catherine and myself will find this useful, but we've now got an RSS feed of recent comments available here. I haven't added an icon in the sidebar, but smarter browsers and RSS readers should detect a new LINK tag in the header pointing to it.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 29, 2005
August 29, 2005
hellooo? blog

Citizens of the internet: it's the last Monday in August. Shouldn't you be back at your desks, pretending to work? That's right, you should be. So why is my bloglines window empty? C'mon, people. Let's see a little hustle.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 26, 2005
August 26, 2005
full text rss blog

I've finally gotten around to implementing the full-text RSS feed that was requested a while ago. Let me know if it works, or doesn't — I'm too lazy about this to download an RSS reader to test, and Bloglines takes a while to update.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 19, 2005
August 19, 2005
oh yeah blog

We're bad friends for not mentioning it sooner: you should go check out the now days-old (but still awesomely-named) blog of our pal Sommer. Sadly, puns on my name are only funny to drummers.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 17, 2005
August 17, 2005
aaaaand blog

We're back. I think. There's a great chance that things are still broken -- particularly links within the site (ie from one post to another). Odds of us going through and fixing them are pretty low (although if you point a specific error out to me, I'll take care of it). If for some reason you really need to find something, wait until Google reindexes the site, then use the search box.

In other news, I have an all-day meeting tomorrow that begins at 8AM. Right now the best-case scenario involves sustaining a serious injury between now and then.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 16, 2005
August 16, 2005
this time i mean it blog

Okay, I'm switching the DNS. Now the site really *will* break. There's at least a decent chance things will be pretty fucked up tomorrow. Apologies in advance.

Oh, and any comments you leave from here on out will be lost. So save your insights for later.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
technical difficulties blog

Our hosting is running out in a few days, and we've decided to switch providers. More space, more bandwidth, less money, and an address in the US rather than Hong Kong. I don't want to just throw around the phrase "a new golden age for humanity", but, well, there it is.

But our old host appears to not want to give the site up, and I'm having a hard time downloading our data properly. We're gonna put a freeze on things while the data gets moved. Hopefully this will all be done by tomorrow.

Oh, also: I promise to change the site background soon. It's long past "gaudy", and the days of "fun gaudy" are only a distant memory.

UPDATE: Scratch that. I'll export the site at the last minute and rebuild it on the new server rather than moving over the total archives.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 11, 2005
August 11, 2005
undead thread blog

There are some blog posts that simply won't die. Over at BTD there's one about passive agression that has attracted an astounding (for us) 517 non-spam comments.

This site has an equivalent thread. It's got far fewer comments, but they continue to trickle in from google at a slow drip. Like the mythical Chinese water torture. The other difference: instead of bitter singles, we get Linkin Park fans. It's pretty awful.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
August 09, 2005
August 09, 2005
hey! blog

What the fuck, Movable Type? Why do you keep killing all content on the home page? Jeez.

Well, I might as well mention that we'll be moving hosting providers soon (the site might even start living on the same continent as you!). This is likely to involve even more things breaking. Good times.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 29, 2005
July 29, 2005
blovers blog

i should also note that tommy's and my relationship has evolved (devolved?) to the point where we joke about who we would run away with in blogland, if the opportunity arose (and the blogger would have us. but who wouldn't have us? we're adorable). my inherent discretion (bwahaha) prevents me from stating who, but not from asking you all: who in blogland would you run away with? who's your blog crush? c'mon, don't be shy; it's just the internets. and i know it's me. you can say it.

UPDATE: in drunken debauchery, kriston and susan told me this is now a meme (ie, me, tommy, kriston and susan were talking about it; 4 people=meme) so now everybody has to do it. DO IT. (it was seriously drunken debauchery; somebody got "i heart pumping" written in sharpie on his face. and a borf tag on his arm.)

UPDATE II: FINE! i realize i need to facilitate this. i think the ghost and fontana labs are crushworthy. now you go. this is a safe place.

comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
July 12, 2005
July 12, 2005
woohoo! blog

tommy got linked by kevin drum for a post of his over at BTD. i should also mention that boifromtroy (who has guestblogged for wonkette) hit on him over the weekend at the black cat. blog royalty, here we come!

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
July 06, 2005
July 06, 2005
fame and fortune! blog

Alright folks -- the incredibly nice Johnny of Blank Of The Day emailed me and let me know that NO ONE has submitted an entry to their Slashdot contest.

Look, it's not an easy contest, exactly, but it's an intriguing one, and the winner gets a Nintendo DS. You've only got until whenever midnight of July 10th is in Japan, but the field is wide open. I'm wracking my brain. You should do the same.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
July 02, 2005
July 02, 2005
verboten! blog

Due to comment spam, the following words will now prevent your comment from showing up: poker, casino, rape, incest.

I'm sure you're all deeply disappointed. When this proves to be a difficult, I suggest using "gambling place" or "card game". Or, uh, reconsidering the thought you wanted to share.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 22, 2005
June 22, 2005
communion blog

are you reading waiter rant? it's the musings of a waiter at an anonymous bistro in new york city. he's funny and moving and caustic and though it's mostly him offering up social commentary (ie bitching) about his various customers, every once in a while he'll go off on a well-written tangent totally unrelated to food or dining.

you really should be reading it. i dare you to take a look at this post, about his time as a priest-in-training, and not be moved.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
June 21, 2005
June 21, 2005
blank of the day blog

Am I the only person who hasn't heard of Blank of the Day? Well, if not, go check it out. I think you'll agree it's pretty funny. Well, if you're the kind of person who thinks facetious articles about videogame hardware specifications are funny. Which I pretty clearly am.

But this is the real reason I want to link to them. They're holding a contest to engineer a new bad joke for use in Slashdot threads. This is such an pointless, overthought, juvenile, and impossibly geeky project that I'm starting to worry that the idea was somehow stolen from me without my ever having thought of it.

And the winner gets a pink Nintendo DS! Score.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 19, 2005
June 19, 2005
scary go found blog

So far my internet evangelism for the excellent Scary Go Round seems to have mostly fallen on deaf ears. But now its creator, John Allison, has a blog! Like everyone else! At the very least, the clear evidence it contains of his delicate constitution and outrageous Englishousity should be enough to hook Catherine.

And speaking of Catherine, via a blog linked from John A's, I found this, the newest entry in the "cute or deformed?" parade of kittens.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 16, 2005
June 16, 2005
all charles all the time blog

And while I'm on the subject, I should mention that Charles has recently been outed as a blogger. He's there in the blogroll as of a couple days ago -- or you can click here. Give him a visit, why doncha, and larn yourself somethin about music.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
June 11, 2005
June 11, 2005
comment spam should know its place blog

I understand that comment spam is a fact of life. People need easy access to mature granny xxx pics, worlds-best-party-poker-online, and of course cheap ph3nterm1ne vioxx!!!1!

But I got some pharmaceutical comment spam this morning containing a URL that ends with "seroquel.html". And seroquel is an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia.

So, a request. Fellow internauts: please don't buy your crazy pills from the web. Maybe Sam's Club sells them in bulk.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 27, 2005
May 27, 2005
you think you know meta? blog

Check out this post of Yglesias's over at TAPPED. Don't try blogging like this at home, kids.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 25, 2005
May 25, 2005
things left unread blog

As Catherine noted, Susan sent this book blog-game thingy our way. Sounds like fun -- I'm always glad to point out ways in which I'm a horrible hypocrite before anyone else has a chance to.

I'm a pretty bad reader. Not head-injury slow, but not fast, either, and very bad at making time for books. These things don't even take batteries -- how could they possibly entertain? Adding to the problem is my tendency to periodically become disgusted with my lack of book consumption and start on some ambitious nonfiction tome that takes me 4 months to get through. It's not pretty.

Plus there's the fact that while all you debauched liberal arts majors were reading Kundera and smoking hash with your TAs, I was toiling away in the computer science building and, uh, building a kegerator. Sure, I took more humanities courses than my nerd brothers-in-arms, but still -- by far the balance of my exposure to Great Literature happened in high school. Nowadays vacations are the only time I ever get meaningful amounts of reading done, and I rarely spend it improving my mind.

So there are lots of books I'm ashamed not to have read, and even more that I'm too dumb to know to be ashamed of not having read. But here are five that immediately come to mind:

Anything by Nietzsche
Okay, I might have read a an excerpted chapter of something in GOV101. But my main exposure to the man's work is from AP English discussions of Crime and Punishment and, yes, owning the Fight Club DVD. And yet I am still the kind of horrible ass who, after a beer or two, will unabashedly use the word "Nietzschean". Somebody stop me.

Any of Shakespeare's Histories
I took a course on the tragedies, and that was good. The comedies -- well, how much pretension can you really wring out of those? Plus I've seen a few of them staged. But when the histories occasionally come up in conversation (invariably conversation surrounding a trivia question), I'm lost. I mean, come on -- multiple Henrys? What the fuck?

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
It's a classic of cognitive science, it's supposed to be readable, and it's high on many people's "it blew my mind, maan" list. But I haven't read it.

Moby Dick
I actually have very little interest in reading this book. I'm a little curious about what the hell scrimshaw is, but that's about it. But most of my friends went to a different high school than me, at which they all suffered through Moby Dick. It's a conversational touchstone. I enjoy pointing out that my class fulfilled our seafaring literature requirement with The Old Man and the Sea, which, subjective opinions aside, is indisputably shorter. But still: I feel left out.

Catch-22 / On The Road / Lots of Vonnegut
There are probably others that fit in this category -- you know, accessible books with a whiff of our parents' counterculture hanging over them. Some people start reading them in eighth or ninth grade to prove how goddamn precocious they are; others get to them a couple years later and eagerly devour them. But aside from a few Vonnegut short stories, I just haven't gotten around to them.

Well, there it is: the tip of my iceberg of ignorance. Like every other one of my personal failings, I blame my parents. Sure, I could have dragged myself downstairs to their bookcase. But I had a bookcase of my own -- one distractingly larded by my dad.

See, one of his biggest customers is John Olsson of Olsson's Books and Records, and frequently he'd bring back remaindered books -- booksellers can get refunds for unsold paperbacks by tearing off their covers and sending them to the publisher. From what I understand, the books would get dumped in a box in the breakroom prior to getting thrown out. And since my dad was friends with the employees, he could help himself to the books, enjoying the same status as the doctors of philosophy and failed guitarists who made up the staff proper.

Anyway, the upshot is that a lot of terrible, terrible scifi would appear on my bookcase and I would dutifully read it. So if you want to talk about The Great Gatsby, I will only be able to smile and nod. If, however, you'd prefer to discuss the possibility of humans encountering a spacefaring race of hyperreligious spidercreatures, and how that might work out for us -- well, then I'm your man.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 23, 2005
May 23, 2005
fyi blog

come early saturday AM, tommy and i, with an assortment of other bloggers and non, will head off to the wild reaches of the outer banks, land of the pickup truck and sonic. beer will be drank, boogie boards will be ridden, and dead dolphins will most likely be poked. in the spirit of making you all SO JEALOUS, here are the pictures from last year, including a totally awesome one of "young prodigy" matthew yglesias spraying a ginormous fountain of lighter fluid absolutely everywhere while puffing away on a cigarette.

aren't you jealous of us cavorting on the beach with other bloggers? aren't you? BE JEALOUS.

sigh.

comments [4] trackBack [1] posted by catherine - link
May 20, 2005
May 20, 2005
contagion! blog

Earlier today Pygmalion in a Blanket introduced me to the latest internet smash hit: CryingWhileEating.com. But now I find that it's actually part of a contest! ContagiousMedia.org is sponsoring a competition to see who can create the most infectious meme. The competition will be ending June 9th, after which $5k in prizes will be awarded. Unsurprisingly, CWE is off to a big early lead.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 17, 2005
May 17, 2005
ack! blog

Sincere apologies to Michael of Articulatory Loop. Going through our archives today, I noticed the absence of a bunch of interesting comments he had left a while ago about homeopathic medicine and the experimental evidence surrounding it.

Unfortunately it looks like his site made its way onto our comment spam blacklist, and his comments got eaten. Argh! This happened with HeresAHint, too, although we caught it in comments. I apologize, guys. Sometimes when you're taking out a hundred-comment load of spam you don't notice that a real commenter has left a message with the word "mortgage" or "poker" in it, and they get added to the blacklist. Next go-round, every comment they leave is stripped. If this has happened to anyone else, email me, wouldja? My name @ this domain.

Have I mentioned I hate comment spam?

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
rsssssssss blog

are you still not using an RSS reader? seriously? is there anyone who reads this blog who doesn't? then you, my friend, are an idiot. tim yang lists 15 great things you can do with RSS feeds. make sure to check out the comments for suggestions as well. i have seen the future, and its name is RSS!

additionally, none of you suckers gave me suggestions about my thunderbird problems. you bite. what good is the collective blog hivemind if i can't bend it to my will and make it answer every little query i have? anyway, luckily a while back i had added this handy patch to my thunderbird 1.0 which allows you to export all your feeds into an OPML file, so i just stuck that in bloglines. and voila. i have saved all my feeds, but i fucking hate bloglines...after using thunderbird forever, anyway. thunderbird 2.0, are you out there? (wait, it's not out there and i'm actually an idiot, is it?)

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
May 06, 2005
May 06, 2005
DCist happy hour... D.C.  - blog

was a success, as far as i'm concerned. i'd been wanting to write a lengthy recap all day, but work got the better of me. suffice to say that it was very fun, tons of people were out, i met many cool people, and i about cried tears of happiness when ms. seeking irony busted out "like a prayer" and "since u been gone," two of the only songs guaranteed to get me on the dance floor.

i met many-a-blogger and was surprised at how lovely they all were. no, scratch that - i'm not really surprised anymore when i met bloggers and end up liking them. maybe it's just cause i'm always drinking when i meet online people, but whatever the reason is, bloggers are the shizznit. excuse me if i'm forgetting anybody, but i had the pleasure of meeting and talking with shesbitter, skunkeye, seeing kelly ann and luke again, several DCist readers and commenters, plus all the regular DCist and bluestate folk.

the only thing i'm sorry about: not staying late enough to see the fight where some dude BIT A GIRL and the drunk girl who knocked over a toilet. man, i've been drunk many a time in my day...but how the fuck do you knock over a toilet? the mind boggles. any bets on what she could have been doing? and do we really want to know?

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
May 05, 2005
May 05, 2005
backpackit blog

i've only spent a couple of days browsing around its site and options, but backpackit seems like a pretty amazing thing. i wish i'd known about it when i was planning for the trip to italy - as it was i used del.ici.ous as an organizational tool then to keep track of stuff, and that worked okay, but not as coherent and easy-to-use as i would have liked.

anyway backpack is kind of hard to explain, but basically it's a personal organizer that lets you organize projects by yourself or with a group, that sends you reminders, and...well, lifehacker explains it better:

Backpack’s a fun combination wiki, weblog, to-do list and calendar that’s featureful but not overwhelming. Make a page that contains check-offable lists, images, dated notes, and files about a project or idea. Link pages and share them with others for collaborative editing. Set up reminders that get sent to your email or mobile device about project deliverables - or to water the plants or pay the rent. Subscribe to page changes in your newsreader, and reminders in your calendar applicaton.

Created by 37 Signals, the same folks who built Basecamp, Backpack sports the Signals’ signature simple, good-looking, pleasure-to-use design sense. In short, Backpack’s a perfect online replacement (or supplement) to that fancy notebook you’ve been scribbling in.

i'll be using it to plan for the move to chicago!

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
April 26, 2005
April 26, 2005
hmmm... blog

Flickr seems not to be posting the entries I send it. Weird. It was
working find before. Well, if a jumble of entries suddenly appear,
that's the reason why.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 24, 2005
April 24, 2005
programming note blog

I should probably point out that, while we're over here, every post will
show up under my name. We'll go through and change them when we get
back, but I was too strapped for time to set things up properly for
Catherine, too. So, for example, the forgotten-battery post was hers.
I'll try to get Catherine to identify herself when she posts under my
name, but for now you'll have to do your best to figure it out on your
own.

Some helpful hints: posts about nuclear power or approving ruminations
on Roman techniques for slaughtering one another -- probably Tom.
Discussions of objects/people's relative levels of charmingness, or
recountings of difficulties related to personal grooming -- probably
Catherine. Posts measuring wine consumption in liters can be considered
to speak for both of us.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 21, 2005
April 21, 2005
all set! blog

Thanks to a combination of flickr and MEOW we're now moblog-, photomoblog-, and photomofoblog-enabled. Oh yeah!

Sorry. I get this way when I have a good excuse to set up a crontab.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
vacation / all i ever wanted blog

Blogging... sweet blogging. How I miss her caustic phosphorescent embrace.

I haven't been writing much because I've either been busy or uninspired. My job usually lets me control these two unfortunate conditions so that they overlap, and then the rest of the time I lie on the couch, drink a lot of caffeine and key the resulting mania into the internet. But that's been impossible while I've been at this client site, subject as I am to regimented schedules, watchful eyes, weak coffee and this one guy who says "having fun yet?" to... no, at me, often several times a day.

But Catherine and I are going on vacation tomorrow, and all of that should change. If I get my work-related to-do pile fully taken care of I plan to install a nifty blog-by-email script I've got handy, allowing Catherine and I to post updates from my phone. Given the delays involved in getting around the damn country, there should be ample opportunity.

So prepare yourself for insights including but not limited to: "Italians move their hands when they talk!"; "food and wine are enjoyable!"; "the quirks of Italian culture sure are endearing/infuriating and therefore must be revered/eliminated!"; and of course, perennial favorite, "Im soooo drunk rigt now!!" If you're very good you might even get some shitty cameraphone pics.

If that's not enough for you, just imagine the painful thumb cramps that accompany typing on a miniscule keyboard, and the exorbitant international data charges I'll be paying. Doesn't art always seems better when you know there's suffering involved?

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
April 19, 2005
April 19, 2005
blogs who book blog

don't know how i missed this: washingtonienne, and her freakishly wonky eye, get covered in usa today (along with a bunch of other bloggers with book deals).

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
April 12, 2005
April 12, 2005
where are all the women bloggers? blog

right here, you mofo.

i would so be there if it weren't, like, 5 billion miles away in california. even so, it's tempting....

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 29, 2005
March 29, 2005
ourmedia sux0rs blog  - tech

I don't know if you all paid attention to the stories about OurMedia, the Internet Archive-sponsored initiative to provide free hosting for Creative Commons content. It's a nice idea, but I tried to use it to host the Polyphonic Spree-related sound files from the post below, and the experience was so buggy and tiresome that the related post ended up even less entertaining than it otherwise would have been. The registration system didn't work right the first two times I tried it, their client-side uploading tool didn't upload the larger file to my account properly, and I'm still waiting for the smaller clip to go live. Yeesh.

So screw it. Instead, I just put the files up on this server and used CORAL, a free content distribution system provided by NYU. I won't bore you with the details, but the ten second summary goes like this -- take some URL:

http://www.zunta.org/some_directory/some_big_imaginary_file.zip
and change it like so:
http://www.zunta.org.nyud.net:8090/some_directory/some_big_imaginary_file.zip
And CORAL will magically pick up the bandwidth bill for distributing that file. They've got a bandwidth limit, but I'm sure it's big -- Slashdot leans on CORAL from time to time to prevent the destruction of sites it links to. Not sure what their IP policy is, but you might want to have a look at it before you start up that MP3 blog you just thought of.

You'll still burn some bandwidth as CORAL periodically fetches the file from your server, but all in all it's a pretty slick solution. Worth a look if you've got something big to distribute that doesn't merit a torrent.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 24, 2005
March 24, 2005
by the way blog

The guys over at Begging To Differ have invited me to join their site, and I've said yes. So if you've always thought BTD's pretty good but could use more shrill, uninformed commentary, well, give it another look.

I doubt my posting here will be affected much -- I'm planning to approach the BTD gig with a higher signal/noise ratio than here, the goal being 2 or 3 substantive posts a week. Plus the content will probably be more political. I'll probably cross-post technical items with this site.

That's it! Return to your homes and families.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
March 22, 2005
March 22, 2005
blogging, blogging everywhere so let's all talk and think blog

I just finished watching the webcast of Brookings' panel discussion on blogging, and I've got to say: I'm finding it better and better the more I'm done watching it.

I was tuned in to try and catch Catherine -- she was in attendance (with her boss! party!), and for some reason I find the idea of sending her creepily all-knowing text messages incredibly entertaining. So I was perched at my computer monitor just waiting for something, ANYTHING noteworthy to happen, that I might dash off an SMS peppered with the word "Clarice" and send it to my long-suffering girlfriend. Of course she was no doubt well-aware that the events were being netcast and would have just rolled her eyes and chucked the phone back into her purse. But here in cubicle-land we take what longshot kicks we can get: the only alternative is to drink lots of water so that I can leave my desk to go to the bathroom more often.

I'm sure Catherine will have some keen insights to share about blogging, the future of blogging, and journalism: yea or nay? But here's what I came away with:

  • Podcasting? VoIP? Let this serve as a warning to my fellow nerds: allow deeply nontechnical people to start to think they're on the cutting edge and they'll start grasping onto any buzzword technology they encounter like a life preserver, desperate to keep their heads above the icy waters of irrelevance. Thank god these people are too dumb to understand what XML or Web Services are or we'd all be hearing about how they're going to save democracy and deliver us our dinners in pill form -- in cities on the moon. No, thank you. The technoligarchy must be preserved!

  • You know that guy, the one who asks the questions that aren't questions but really thesis proposals that he's desperately hoping will be instantly recognized as works of original genius that'll immediately get him invited to better parties? Except the insights are actually either fairly pedestrian or completely out of touch with reality? Yeah, today's one-of-those-guys was one of these guys. I've fallen prey to that weakness before, too -- I'm sure you're all shocked to hear that I can be a pretentious ass. But c'mon, guy -- this is getting broadcast on the internet! You never know who might be watching you, or if they might be naked at the time.

  • It wasn't just the little guys who looked ridiculous, though. The best part of the whole panel: when it came time for everyone to share their closing thoughts, multiple panelists all had canned lines at the ready joking how "blogging is clearly over over if we're having a Brookings panel discussion on it". Ha ha! You guys are so ahead of the curve. Except, after the first time that joke is made, it becomes substantially less witty, so there's no point in repeating it. I could draw you a rough graph if it'd help. However, the exchange was at least partly saved thanks to moderator E.J. Dionne, who called out the guests uttering the ungracious bon-nots thusly: "you guys are kind of dicks." (That may be a paraphrase.)

So, to summarize: there's this thing called blogging.

comments [1] trackBack [1] posted by tom - link
March 17, 2005
March 17, 2005
poop blog

amusing google search query of the day that has led to zunta: "needing to poop"

ahem. a couple of shots of espresso and a few dozen jumping jacks should do the trick, buddy.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
1,000! blog

well, here we are: unrequited narcissism's 1,000th post! let's get self-congratulatory, shall we? this little corner of the internet started out 999 posts ago on august 28th, 2002, with a post by tommy about a week after i had headed off for a year in milan. for quite a long time, almost my entire year in italy, i was the only author of the blog, posting pictures of my heeelarious expat adventures with little commentary, except to say enlightened things as "that pizza was bigger than my head!" or "france really sucks." incredible that from those humble beginnings, this blog has turned into the TOTAL MEDIA POWERHOUSE that you see before you today, eh? according to our rather unreliable stats, we get around 300 visitors, or hits, or page views, or whatever, per day, and we've got over 3,000 comments. and we love it all! we are saps, but we are really completely in love with blogging, this blog, and the ways in which it has enriched our lives. *wipes away tear* so, thanks to the academy, and all our fans - this one goes out to you!

TOM SAYS: At just over 514,000 words, I think this blog is serving its purpose as a compromise between Catherine and my desire to write and our pathetic attention spans. Of course, many of those words are readers', left in comments. So thanks for talking to us, indulging us and providing some motivation to keep writing. It's better than working.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 09, 2005
March 09, 2005
i love this blog blog

can i just say how much the internets rock? and blogs? pretty awesome, too. because through the web and unrequited narcissism, i've discovered two lovely ladies who are poised to be helpful, friendly contacts as i figure out this grad school thing: elana, a current medill student who long ago commented on this site, gave much thoughtful commentary through email, and who offered to show me the D.C. medill newsroom tomorrow then let me buy her a drink at indebleu so i can relentlessly pick her brain. then there's avery, whom i discovered through the magic of technorati; one day i was searching frantically for blogs that said something, anything, about medill or berkeley; i came across mockorange, realized she was in the same boat as i was regarding applications, then was thrilled to read she was accepted the very same day.

also big ups to susan, recently returned from tajikistan. she was just accepted into the master's program of international relations at the university of chicago. here's hoping she goes there so we can go on wild, drunken benders through the city and then, um, blog about it.

comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 08, 2005
March 08, 2005
so old blog

kanishka, editing my post about roberto donna over at DCist, alerted me to the fact that my next DCist post will be my 100th. my, how time flies! huh. now i feel like i have to write something really monumental.

over here at ol' zunta, this particular post is something like the 973rd. do we get a gold statue of glenn reynolds or something once we reach a thousand?

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
March 07, 2005
March 07, 2005
get sprung blog

It's a beautiful day outside -- what better way to celebrate it than by hunching over your laptop and enjoying a freshly redesigned webpage? Hurrah!

Two things: first, thanks to knautia for generously offering her Flickr photos under a Creative Commons license, allowing me to take and modify the purty cherryblossom photo underneath this text.

Second, our long-suffering IE users might experience somewhat better performance now -- I am, anyway. For one thing, we ditched the gigantic tiling graphic in the sidebar (for now). For another, the 2x1 pixel GIFs that made up some of the tiling stripe elements have been replaced with larger images. A decent web browser would be able to tile tiny images efficiently. Oh well. I know you'd be using something else if you could.

comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 25, 2005
February 25, 2005
bandwidth woes blog

Just a quick note: we got a message from our hosting company a few days ago indicating that we're on pace to exceed our bandwidth cap for this month. Increasing traffic, the new design and a decision to post more photos all played into this. D'oh. Well, the plan is to move to a new host sometime next week. Things should get speedier -- our current host is located somewhere in southeast Asia -- and we should get about twice the bandwidth allocation for about the same money.

But the site will probably briefly go kerflooey. I'll post more notes about this immediately before it happens, but thought I might as well mention it now. As opposed to, you know, doing actual work toward remedying the situation.

comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 11, 2005
February 11, 2005
headaches blog  - tech

evox m8 logoYeesh! My heartfelt apologies for the lack of updates. Catherine's been adjusting to her recent promotion to Associate Box Mover at work, and I've been running to Capitol Hill on a near-daily basis to pick up the slack left by a less-than-dilligent coworker. The limited technical energies I can muster have been spent screaming at the BTD folks that they're totally all cogs in the machine, maan, and wrestling with Jon and Paul's XBoxes.

Ahh, the XBoxes. You might remember when Jon and I spread the poor machines' guts throughout the apartment prior to frying their tiny electronic brains. Well, I got a reprogrammer and put the appropriate BIOS on the chip. I acquired and installed a ready-to-go suite of apps called "Slayer's XBox AutoInstaller" that featured dragon graphics. Then -- more problems.

This won't interest anyone else, probably, but I had to search all over the goddamn internet for the solution to my problem, so I'm writing it down here, if only to allow others to find it, Google permitting.

MORE...
comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 07, 2005
February 07, 2005
please do not feed the animals outside food blog

Catherine's office is moving this week, so she's ""working"" from home. Normally I'd just use one set of quotes, but I've already laid claim to "working" from home.

Anyway, all she has to do is check her email periodically. I had added "blog furiously" to that job description, but so far she's been slacking off. In fact, right now Catherine's at the zoo -- I went over with her during lunch hour, but then my company's little corner of the internet exploded and I had to scurry home. If she hasn't gotten herself eaten by something I imagine there'll be an awful lot of photos of cute critters available here in a few hours, but for now you're stuck with me, and all I can offer is this preview: both the baby cheetahs and the video of the elephant giving birth are about what you'd expect.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 02, 2005
February 02, 2005
delusions of grandeur blog  - tech

I see now that the YouSendIt link that I picked up came from Nick Denton's latest blog startup, LifeHacker. Credit where it's due, I suppose, but to be honest LifeHacker doesn't yet seem very impressive to me. Obviously you're not going to earn my nerdmiration by penning phrases like "the software that’s closest to making BitTorrent usable". Bah! The fact that some XP-only tricks aren't designated as such, and that the site has already begun repeating itself (via unnecessary "review" posts) isn't encouraging.

The problem here is that existing Gawker tech site, Gizmodo, has been getting its brains beaten out by rival Engadget for months now. I've got no idea how their traffic compares, but Engadget is faster to post stories, covers more items, and has considerably more technical depth. I still love Gizmodo's snappy writing, but it's just not a go-to tech blog. I guess LifeHacker is supposed to flesh out Gizmodo's missing bits, but so far it isn't providing a very compelling justification for its existence separate from Gizmodo.

If you still have a technical itch that needs scratching, though, you'd do pretty well to visit these sites (plus the aforementioned Engadget):

  • Hack-A-Day - infrequent updates, but if you're as intent on electrocuting yourself as I am, this is the place to start.
  • TheBroken - nothing much other than episode downloads are currently available, but updates are pending. For a while, though, its message boards were an amazingly friendly resource for 14 year old aspiring hackers. I mean that in a good way.
  • Digg - Collaborative nerd news filtering. It's getting pimped pretty heavily by TheBroken's Kevin Rose and his orbiting array of TechTV castoffs. It's not bad, but I'm not completely sold on it quite yet.
  • Dan's Data - I've mentioned it in passing before, but this site isn't just about magnets and rubberband guns. It's also about belittling audiophiles. Oh, and tech stuff.

Finally, I would normally mention LearnToHack -- it doesn't live up to its domain name, but it is a decent way to learn how to subvert various types of websites, mostly through manipulating HTML and javascript. Unfortunately, it looks like one of their students just completed his thesis...

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
February 01, 2005
February 01, 2005
goodnight sweet prince blog

Now that you've all had a day to grieve, I think it's probably okay for me to mention Andrew Sullivan's retirement. Another gentle soul lost to this merciless game we call "blogging". You'd retire too if you had to work a backbreaking ten months a year on a meager six-figure salary.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 31, 2005
January 31, 2005
gridskipper blog

big day in the blogging world - along with the five new blogs launched by mediabistro.com today, we've got the newest foray from the denton empire: gridskipper, "the urban travel guide." i'll definitely be reading.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
January 28, 2005
January 28, 2005
pitchers D.C.  - blog  - photos

Now that we've gotten actual snow, even those who didn't hate the site's background are probably pretty sick of it. So I set out to make an irritatingly clever replacement. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to make my idea work with the site, composition-wise, and the actual photos have some problems with shadows and the graffiti fading. I had to use the burn tool in photoshop to make it even this legible -- and you can't even see that I'm rocking out to the Dave Matthews Band! Oh well. Although it won't work with the design, our anonymous neighbor's suggestion would still be a great alternate blog title.

Yuppies Out Of Shaw!

And while I'm at it, how about some more graffiti? I shouldn't encourage these idiots, but at least they're more imaginative than simple taggers...

99 bottles of beer on a fuckin' wall

comments [3] trackBack [2] posted by tom - link
January 19, 2005
January 19, 2005
an end to comment spam blog

Good news: Google, Yahoo and MSN have announced an initiative to end comment spam. From now on links with the attribute rel="nofollow" won't be counted by search engines. Blog software will intercept submitted comments and alter all links so that they include this attribute.

For Movable Type users, SixApart has a page explaining all this here. They've issued a plugin that implements nofollow for MT versions 2.661 and 3. Download it here and unzip it into your plugins directory. That should be it! I'll have this implemented here sometime later today.

comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 17, 2005
January 17, 2005
timestamps blog

Does anybody care about them? It occurred to Catherine and me that eliminating them in favor of the advantageously-bland "permalink" might help prevent doocing. If you'd be sorry to see them go, speak now or forever... well, you know the drill.

comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
reporting for duty blog

I know I've been pretty quiet recently, but today should put me firmly back in the blogging saddle. Unfortunately, unlike you lazy federal government employees, I don't get MLK Day off from work -- funny how it works out that way in small companies with no minority employees (at least our boss didn't declare the inauguration a holiday, either). But today should still be highly unproductive, work-wise: the last week or so has allowed me to witness a phenomenal string of technical failures, from laptops to ipods to the goddamn roof collapsing over my company's server in the US Capitol. At the moment, there isn't much work that can be done, making the "will be done" subset even smaller than usual. Plus, perhaps in sympathy, my own body has decided to come down with a cold, despite the epic quantities of antibiotics that until recently were coarsing through my veins. It's cool though -- getting sick is totally in right now.

As you might imagine, I've been pretty busy attending to these various matters via the only productive avenues available: downing Nyquil, playing huge amounts of Halo and buying new gadgets like USB controllers and ipod skins. I've nearly completed this important work, though. I'll resume pulling my weight around here shortly.

comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
January 11, 2005
January 11, 2005
25 blog  - personal

happy birthday to me! as several people have put it to me already this morning, "you're now a quarter of a century old!" or "you got a couple more toes in the grave, eh?" yes. well. thanks very much. anyway, the first day of 25 doesn't feel much different from the last day of 24, not surprisingly, so i have very little input about being "officially old" as my sister likes to say. but overall, 24 was a pretty good year, so i'm excited for 25.

additionally, my 24th year was an excellent one for blogging. this site has been around since august 28, 2002, and my first "post" (actually just a gigantic shot of milanese streets from the roof of the duomo) was on september 2nd, 2002, but for the sixteen months or so, it was primarily a photo blog where i could share tales and shots of my year in italy. as it happens, unrequited narcissism only morphed into a "real" blog more or less around the time of my 24th birthday. reading through the archives last night, it was actually pretty interesting to see how amazed i was about the world of blogging, and totally naive about everything else as well. for example, from like, january to march, i am constantly Outraged! at all the Really Terrible Things conservatives were doing, and then i also proceed to get excited about sites like talkingpointsmemo.com and eschaton.

but time went on, my writing style became less idiotic (i think), and whenever anything interesting or good or bad happened, i wrote about it here. so let's review some of the minutiae in catherine's 24th year, blog style:

  • we started attending trivia night at fado; came to expect crushing losses; questioned our worth as human beings
  • tommy and i went to obelisk for my birthday dinner, and it was excellent, except i ordered squab for my entree and didn't realize that it meant "tiny pigeon with feet still attached."
  • susan, kriston and i started our face-to-face friendships over three bottles of wine, some hookah and a half-smoke from ben's chili bowl.
  • i spent a lot of time being nostalgic for italy and writing rambling entries about strombolian sex, the cave people of matera, and the masturbating vespa boy.
  • the Great Debate commenced: no, not Clark or Dean - Shark or Alligator?
  • i started flipping the fuck out about cicadas.
  • tommy and i returned to italy for a bit o' a vacation, and it was wonderful. but this is embarrassing: almost a year later, i STILL haven't put all my photos up. what is up is viewable here. please ignore the assholes who have comment-spammed the site. the pictures are worth it, i promise.
  • beach weekend 2004 at the outer banks with a bunch o bloggers! pictures here.
  • i officially signed up for the marine corps marathon via the fundraising team at the lombardi cancer center and started turning the blog into money-whore central.
  • beer day 2004. need i say more?
  • i discovered how truly crazy michelle malkin and all the other "security moms" are.
  • tommy, charles and i moved in to an apt in dc. i learned how not to spread my 32 billion beauty products all over the bathroom, and how a shoe rack can be beneficial to a relationship.
  • i started writing for DCist.
  • i saw many adorable ponies while camping on ass island.
  • i ended up raising $5,000+ with my coworker for the lombardi cancer center and finished the marathon in 4:35.
  • tommy and i celebrated our 4th anniversary. aww. we went out to galileo to celebrate and were treated with a condi rice-spotting.
  • i passed out from linking to past posts because good god, that can get boring pretty quickly.

    anyway, it's been a good year. i have a great boyfriend, wonderful friends, a nice place to live and hopefully some decent future prospects. here's to 25!

  • comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 09, 2005
    January 09, 2005
    presented for your convenience: less convenience blog

    I forgot to mention this before, but while doing the redesign I registered a domain name for the site as well. I realize it's too unwieldy to be very practical, but eh... it's official-looking. So feel free to use www.unrequitednarcissism.com for all your linking needs.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 06, 2005
    January 06, 2005
    MIA blog  - personal

    Sorry for the light blogging this week. We've got the official corporate Intern/Child-Of-The-CEO's-Best-Friend in town during her holiday break from college, and somebody's got to begin the lengthy process of breaking her freewheeling collegiate spirit, in order that she might be better prepared for a lifetime of drudgery. So I'm teaching her some programming stuff. Also, laptop briefly dying, applications... hell. It's a mess. Next week I should be back in my PJs, on the couch, and in the mood to entertain.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 05, 2005
    January 05, 2005
    merged blog

    adult blogging personality of catherine, meet high school/college/angsty/self-involved blogging personality of catherine: Moveable Type is about to acquire Live Journal for an undisclosed amount.

    hey! you haven't changed that much!

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 30, 2004
    December 30, 2004
    escape is possible blog

    I added the cookie-enable broadband/dialup switch. It's over at the bottom of the right sidebar. Give it a shot, see what you think. I've been fixing some other bugs here & there as well -- thanks to Kriston for help finding some of 'em.

    UPDATE: Commenting wasn't working when you previewed. Thanks for pointing this out, Jeff!

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    voila! blog

    Alright, here it is. A few things to note about it, if you're interested in this kind of stuff:

    • It's designed to look good at resolutions of 1024x768 and higher, and probably won't even be very legible below 800x600.

    • It's designed to be highly modifiable. You won't be stuck with the winter wonderland picture forever. All that it takes to completely redo the site's look is to drop a few nicely textured graphics into a prepared photoshop project with all the necessary masks ready to go. The faint gray line background, dashed borders, and transparency effects are the only aesthetic aspects of the site that will always be there.

    • I mentioned transparency; that brings us to browser support. I spend a third of my life trying to convince Microsoft products to do what they're designed for. I'm not going to do it here, too. So this site was designed for Firefox. You should go get it if you don't have it -- there's a button in the sidebar. I have taken a stab at supporting IE via an alternate stylesheet that gets dropped in when IE is detected. But IE doesn't support the PNG graphics format properly, so things will necessarily look worse. I'm curious to hear reports of how things look in other browsers like Safari -- I don't have a Mac, so I couldn't test for it. Sorry. I'll whip up alternate stylesheets for Safari, Opera, etc, if necessary. Just let me know if they don't work.

    • Speaking of alternate stylesheets, this site is now a bitch to load. Like, 250+k for the homepage. Yikes. That's because of the nice winter background (originally shot by Catherine) and because of the huge image that lets the sidebar background flow smoothly from one box to another. IE doesn't handle it very well -- it chokes on all those images and tiled backgrounds, and scrolls a bit more shakily than would be ideal. But then you should be using Firefox anyway, right? Right. Hopefully the page size won't be too painful for users -- most readers are on broadband, I suspect, and even those who aren't will be able to read text prior to the background graphics downloading. And those graphics should stay cached by most sane browsers for a good long time, preventing repeat downloads. However, if you really can't take it, I have designed a "Lite" mode. Right now you can get to it by appending "?lite=1" to the URL -- like so: http://www.zunta.org/blog/?lite=1. I'll be adding an option in the sidebar soon that sticks your preference in a cookie so you don't have to bother with the querystring nonsense. For now, just put up with the load times and know that this feature is coming.

    I think that's it. I've got a few more things planned, but I'll likely get distracted by another project before I get to them. For now, please let me know what you think -- especially if you think "this breaks my computer".

    UPDATE: Some things I'm considering changing already: the font, the line spacing, and the opacity of the transparent white box in which this text is appearing (it needs to be less translucent, I think). Thoughts?

    comments [19] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    trials blog

    Sigh. So nobody likes my handwriting -- it was option two, a few posts down. People say it evokes Avril Lavigne, or 8-bit "extreme" videogames, or lame youth outreach programs. That's okay. I can take it. No one ever said being a middle-class white guy was going to be easy (although I thought it was kind of implied).

    But I've pressed on and come up with a new logo, one that nobody voted on, because let's face it, you can't put a decision as important as this one in the hands of the proletariat. Also Catherine didn't really like the other logo that much, anyway.

    This morning I'm at a client office and experienced some excitement with my laptop power supply. Its cord's intermittent short began resisting all my best wiggling attempts, then burned a hole through itself. Whoops! One razor blade and a few feet of electrical tape later all is well, but I'd probably better get down to doing some actual work to make up for the lost time. Also, I need to try to figure out why this company stocks razor blades emblazoned with a promotional logo for one of their clients. Just what exactly are they getting up to at the Gleacher Executive Conference Center?

    All of this is my roundabout way of saying that the redesign (which was responsible for the lack of posting yesterday) is almost complete. A few more bells & whistles need to be finished for IE compatibility, and then I've got to move it over from the development site -- but it should be up sometime this afternoon, just in time for everyone to bitch about how ugly it is before heading home for the day. Oh, and the comment system might break while I'm futzing around with things.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 28, 2004
    December 28, 2004
    democracy blog

    Sorry to spoil the surprise, but I've been working on a site redesign, and it's almost done. However, we've hit a snag: Catherine. That's right, my crazy girlfriend doesn't like part of the design I put together -- specifically, the logo. We've decided to do the fair thing and let you guys settle it.

    So I present logo 1:
    blog_title_1.jpg

    And logo 2:
    blog_title_2.jpg

    Please let us know in comments which you prefer. We're really just concerned with the fonts -- don't worry about the colors. The design is intended to be flexible, letting me drop new color schemes and backgrounds into the design whenever I get around to it. You'll only have to suffer with the light blue for a couple of months, probably.

    comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    September 28, 2004
    September 28, 2004
    talk isn't cheap, bits are bitching  - blog  - politics  - tech

    It shames me deeply, but I agree with Michelle Malkin on one thing: Andrew Sullivan is kind of a whore. Sullivan has raised nearly $200,000 in his last two pledge drives to cover "bandwidth costs". Now he's just signed up with blogads, explaining that doing so "will soon provide a real revenue stream for this site". Sure, the guy deserves to earn a living -- which he does through his various print journalism gigs, too. But pretending these drives are for bandwidth is disingenuous. Kos says his site costs him $6000 a year -- and dailykos, being more of a community site, has significantly greater needs in terms of bandwidth and hardware than andrewsullivan.com.

    Like I said, I don't begrudge Sullivan his ability to earn a living, but it seems like he's making a very good one while only slightly-smaller bloggers like Atrios or Kos can't make one at all -- which makes me think people are responding to his lame complaints about hosting costs rather than intentionally giving money to provide him with a salary. Misleading people with geekspeak in order to maintain such an arrangement is a little shady -- although I wouldn't hold my breath for Sullivan to see a problem with this or any other income disparity.

    comments [3] posted by tom - link
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