A Valentine’s Day poem

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Omae wa mo shindeiru

I subjected some friends to this particular poem via email, back in 2010, but (curiously) never subjected my blog to it. That ends now!

Images via CIPATER.NET (this link is fine, but the rest of her blog is sometimes NSFW, by the by).

The wisdom of crowds?

I really wish someone would try to tell me about the wisdom of crowds, because then I could throw this inconvenient truth in their face:

Mystery Team: 4.5 stars (!?)

Holy crap what a piece of garbage that was.

Snowpocalypse 2013

Twenty years ago, when I was in middle school, we had an epic snowstorm (by Willamette Valley standards) that dumped a foot of snow in a day and closed school for a week. It was great—at least until we had to add extra days at the end of the school year to make up for the days we lost.

Since then we’ve had an inch here or there, and a couple ice events, but nothing that ever compared to the legendary snow of my childhood. A week ago, nature saw fit to challenge its record.

Impressive snow (for these parts) vs. car

Impressive snow (for these parts) vs. table

Eight inches of dry snow fell early last Friday, which were the opening salvo in a week of sub-freezing high temperatures. One night we had a low of something like 1℉, which was the coldest low we’ve had in forty years.

The roads have been a complete mess, schools have been closed, and kids have been sledding down my hill all week. UPS spent a week tagging my packages with “snow delay” scans instead of actually delivering them. (The FedEx guy actually parked at the base of my hill and walked the rest of the way to deliver his packages.) Oregon State closed for Monday of Finals Week, that’s how bad things were around here.

Marin and I went for a walk in the snow last Friday, and thus a small collection of photos of objects with snow hats was born:

Fire hydrant with snow hat

Box with snow hat #1

Box with snow hat #2

I’ve telecommuted to work a bit (the one saving grace has been that we never lost power), and rode the busses in on Wednesday… Major intersections were still messy as heck, five days after the snow fell, which was pretty galling. On the other hand, I also learned that the bus service out to my area (which is comparatively in the sticks) is a bit better than when I checked a year ago.

Careful, snow children

We finally started thawing out late yesterday afternoon, and while there’s still snow on my road I can at least now see some pavement again. Good thing, too; I’m starting to run a bit low on (non-emergency) food.

2013.12_snowy_barn

Almost-belated VD Post

Hope everyone had a happy VD + Unicrons day! It’s not quite over here on the left coast, so this post is still timely!

For a special treat this year, I’ve redesigned Donna’s VD + Unicrons page to feature responsive web design (!). I’ve also acquired a new domain for Donna’s site in the future: unicrons.mobi (!!) [lies in this thread]

VD links du jour:

Yoda one for me~

VD-Related Science: the URL pretty much spoils the article

Nintendo-boss valentines: read enough to get the gist of the article, and then read the first comment.

Stupid VD card, sister-style:
classic-cartoon-valentines-day-cards-5

Stupid VD card, terrible-friend-style:
vd_possum

And now you know what Valentine’s Day is like for my email.

It’s like Amazon can read my mind

I especially like how Amazon is so sure that I want this, it doesn’t bother offering anything else:

Set 3 Ninja Stealth Black Ninja Knives With Nylon Case

PS: the most recent thing I’ve searched for on Amazon is a pair of waffle plates.

Valentine’s extravaganza

Work took a bit longer to wind down than I had expected (I guess I’m optimistic about how few bugs there will be in my–and the vendor’s–code), but it’s finally started to slow. I feel like I can breathe again, which is nice.

But this post isn’t for a personal update! This post is for VD + UNICRONS!!!

The most recent package I received from RightStuf had this entertaining little number in it (I haven’t seen the show, but even I know that you never enter into a contract with Kyubey):

Another personal favorite is this card, however poorly Photoshopped it may be. Lastly, Andy got the first strike in the day’s Valentine Wars with these classy Hark! A Vagrant cards.

I love Japan

From @Matt_Alt, via Andy.

Birthoween 2011

Nick’s wife, Lindsay, was born around (on?) Halloween, so they often throw a combination birthday/Halloween party dubbed “Birthoween.” This year saw Birthoween’s revival, after a couple years’ dormancy.

When Nick & Lindsay throw Birthoween, they go all-out. Cauldron of (spiked) punch, cobwebs and orange lights everywhere, blacklight strobe light and fog machine (they had to disable the smoke detector partway through the party), bathroom with blood spots and bloody footprints. The food spread was also large and varied: bat (chicken) wings, Exorcist (split pea) soup, Witch’s finger cookies (dyed green with a red-dyed almond slice for a fingernail), worms (gelatin set in straws and then squeezed out)… A bunch of alcohol (of course), the most salient to me being Kraken rum. Nick was dressed as The Joker (purple suit and all); Lindsay was (I imagine suffering horribly as) Catwoman, in a whole-body latex suit.

Nate and I carpooled up. We historically do as little as possible for Halloween; this year Nate taped a “404: This costume could not be found. Please try again later” sign to his chest. I was sporting a Pokéball and 10,000 pokébucks, posing as a pokémon trainer hanging out on Route 1 between Nuvema and Accumula towns. (I might have overdone the amount of money I’d have as a beginning trainer.) Note that I was not attending as Ash (i.e. one of the main characters)–I was portraying one of the trainers that Ash would run into and do battle with.

For some reason (favoritism!), Nate’s costume passed muster while mine did not. I was then provided a costume–a spade from the Queen’s army of Alice in Wonderland. So I portrayed a spade soldier who also battled Pokémon.

Brian arrived as a “budget ninja,” wearing all-black clothing and wrapping a black scarf around his head. He later wrapped the scarf around his neck and attached a glittery spider (one of a bunch of little things that Nick and Lindsay had scattered around), claiming he was an “arachnomancer.” Kevin was wearing a monkey hat and sporting a monkey tail beard, which he promptly shaved off the next morning.

I didn’t take a shot of Kevin, but I did take one trying to illustrate how a budget ninja drinks: through a straw that somehow winds from below the head wrapping (i.e. about neck level) into his mouth. (Photo courtesy of my iPod’s crappy camera.)

Later in the evening Jeremy (who came as some sort of beastmaster) decided that his claw-glove (think something like Nightmare from Soul Calibur) wasn’t doing much for him, so he passed that off on me… making me a spade soldier with a demonic hand that battled Pokémon.

Greg showed up without a costume, and was given a lab coat and sombrero–turning him into Señor Doctor.

And I don’t know if I have the DC reboot to thank or not, but good Lord Wonder Woman.

It was an entertaining party, but a blow-by-blow probably isn’t worth the time (mine or yours). Perhaps my favorite invention of the evening (by Neil, as usual) was this trap self-inflating (!) whoopee cushion:

Whoopee cushion on severed arm on chair seat

Oh, and I demonstrated my value as a friend to Brian by refusing to draw a cock and balls on his face with a sharpie when he was passed out (from tiredness, in all seriousness) next to me. Had people been demanding a funny moustache… that might have been a different story.

RIP, Steve

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Not the Apple homepage I hoped to see today. My feelings are pretty well summed up by Marco… Jobs made, and then came back and saved, my favorite company in the world.

The fruits of my labor

I haven’t mentioned it here, but I spent the better part of the last two months on furlough. While I understood, conceptually, that it was a temporary thing and no fault of my own, I took it kinda hard initially–there’s an implicit message of uselessness there that’s hard to get around.

Once I got over that (i.e. after the first month), I finally sat down and tried to create my first Rails app. My sister really loves books, and wanted some sort of way to track them: the ones she owned, the ones she wanted, the ones that were eligible for Amazon’s four-for-three promotion, that sort of thing. It was a nice fit for trying to learn Rails–not too large a scope, but you’d definitely need to fiddle with things a bit.

I dubbed my program Bookoff, after a Japanese used bookstore chain. I’m really proud of how it turned out. So proud, in fact, that I bothered to record a little video and upload it here (click through; it’s a big screen, so I’m not going to bother trying to embed it):

Bookoff video demo

Not bad for a first outing with Rails, eh? (Psst: don’t bother trying to read too much into the books listed; I was just grabbing random titles off the top of my head and from the front pages of Amazon.)

The time I spent pulling up the “Comic” graphic novels was trying to show that the program uses natural sorting (one of a few bajillion things I butted my head against): by default, databases sorting by name would have sorted those volumes as

  • Comic 1
  • Comic 10
  • Comic 2
  • Comic 21

which is pretty silly.

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