Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Ordinary Way at Jammin' Java

While I'm in photo catchup mode, here are my photos from this past Saturday night, when I met up with Ryan and Jenny to see Scott's band, The Ordinary Way, play at Jammin' Java in Vienna:

Guitarist Austin in full effect.

The stage lighting was red; I didn't use a flash, and all the band pics have a nice, warm tone to them -- I didn't fiddle with them very much.

Jammin' Java is a nice little venue -- I'd seen Over the Rhine there previously. It's all-ages, though, so the feeling that I was surrounded by mere children was not only intensified, it was accurate.

Also, Conor and Clodagh were there -- it was Conor's birthday, though we were not able to take full advantage of that situation.

Afterwards, we got to hang out in the band dressing room, where Jenny pretended that she was a rock star:


Oh, and during the show, there was an overenthusiastic dancer (which is one of the concertgoer archetypes), though I didn't manage to get any pics of him.

On a blog note, this template is starting to bug me, as the fixed width center column is really limiting my ability to highlight photos (that is, without having to cut versions specficially for the blog) -- also, the lack of built-in tagging is irritating me.

I get the sense that a change of platforms is getting closer.

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Kickball Game 3 Summary

Here's the writeup I did for last week's game. (Which we won.)

I didn't submit it in time to make the division newsletter, so I am reposting it here so it doesn't go to waste.


Game Summary:
In a masterful bit of strategy, YTB captain Mallory deliberately tanked the opening rock-paper-scissors (that's 0-for-3, for those counting) in an effort to get YTB's hot feet to the plate. And it was a successful strategy, leading to 5 runs in the inning and much early celebration.

Da Dirty Rotten Sponge Monkeys did not give in to inevitable crushing defeat, though (curse them), hanging in gamely and eventually scoring two runs.

YTB was stymied offensively in the following innings, but played solid defense, despite several bases-loaded situations; at the end of 3 innings, head ump Jeremy posed the question: Stick around and play a full five, or head to the bar?

After a brief consultation, all parties decided to stick it out -- a decision which proved worthwhile, if only for the entertainment value of watching catcher Mallory swoop in to snag Da Monkey Jeff's ill-advised, yet seemingly uncatchable, foul ball.

In the end, Jason "Nuke" W. shook off any suggestion of a bringing in a closer, so he marks off his first win as pitcher. Unfortunately, this win also dashes any hope of completing an all-tie season, which had been our goal to date.

Thanks to ump Jeremy and all players for the full game.

Also, thanks to YTB alums Tom and Tommy for additional fan support.

Here's the Flickr set -- it's only 8 pics, of which only 5 have any kickball content.

Then again, there is a shot of a caged soda machine:

Caged Soda Machine

Double Hitter?

Last week, I was able to use the following phrases in a work-related correspondence:

* One-hitter

* DP entry

Both phrases were completely justified and appropriate in context.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Joelogon: Dumb Guy Working

I've never made a habit of checking my referrer logs to see how people get to my web sites. I guess part of it relates to the fact that I have to worry about enough of that foolishness at work, but it dates all the way back to my Foolproof Guide to Making Any Woman Your Platonic Friend.

Back then, I didn't know how, and later, I decided I didn't want to know because it was just too pathetic. Now, it's just apathy.

I put a statcounter in about a month back, but I hadn't really been checking the stats until last week, when I got curious how people were getting to my new Blog Tool Analysis/Review tool page (especially since I could see which blogs people were trying to analyze).

Anyway, I was looking at some recent referring pages, and I saw something odd -- currently, my blog is the number one site on Google when you search on dumb guy working pic:

Joelogon: Dumb Guy Working

This means something.

On a related note, there was a luncheon/working session today for people who'd made it to 10 years at my place of employment (Where does the time go? And get offa my lawn!)

I would give my honest assessment, though I will hold off, as I would like to make it to 11 years.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Joelogon's Blog Analysis and Review Tool

So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what makes a quality blog. Of course, it's a subjective value judgment, but I think there are a number of objective criteria that we can look at to set a baseline for discussion.

Now, although the results are based on objective criteria, I can't really claim it's anything but a subjective analysis, partly because I'm the one choosing the criteria and setting the parameters, but mostly because I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

Anyway, I threw a tool together that takes your blog URL, submits it to a series of publicly-available tools that each analyze a different aspect of your blog; the results are mashed together by a proprietary algorithm that takes into account those objective factors and mixes it in with all my biases and judgments, producing a result of dubious quality.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Automated Blog Analysis and Review Tool (v. 0.9)

Blog URL:

Select Your Blog Platform:

(Joelogon's Blog Analysis and Review Tool was inspired by the Brunching Shuttlecocks' Mr. T Name Generator)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Playing Photo Catchup

Here are a few photos from Galaxy Hut last week. It was kind of a doubleheader, as I'd just come from a kickball game and Carpool.


I did not take that picture, obviously, though I kind of like it.

It was curiously uncrowded, though as I recall, it was pretty darn chilly that night.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's a Miracle!

This just in: I reached into the fridge for a Dogfish Head Aprihop beer (an apricot-flavored pale ale, 7% alcohol), and as if by magic withdrew a Magic Hat #9 (another apricot-flavored pale ale-ish beer).

Magic Hat No. 9 and Dogfish Head Aprihop

Obviously, this is some form of Transubstantiation.

I Am Really, Really Dumb

There's no way around this: I am really, really dumb. I forgot to pick up my car from the shop this afternoon. At least, not before it closed, which is kind of when it matters.

It's not like I didn't get a call from them at around 5pm, telling me my car was ready. (It was just in for a glorified oil change.) I was on a late conference call (that I really didn't need to be on, truth be told), and then I was working on a work blog entry -- I looked up at the clock, then said, Oh shit, which is not uncommon in these types of situations.

I got rides lined up home and to ork tomorrow, but I paid dearly, as I had been planning on going to Dr. Dremo's for the Tuesday night Washington Psychotronic Film Society screening of Lee Marvin's Canicule (Dog Day).

Damn, I'm dumb.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Much to Be Modest About

"Gilks sighed. 'You're a clever man, Cjelli, I grant you that,' he said, 'but you make the same mistake a lot of clever people do of thinking everyone else is stupid.'" - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams
First off, people who start articles with quotes should be beaten with the corpses of people who start articles with dictionary definitions. Present company included, but this is going to be a self-flagellating article, so it's okay. Plus, it was an excuse to dig up my copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, which was tucked away under a pile of other books.

I consider myself pretty smart and fairly well-informed; I'm not embarassed saying this, because it's tempered by the knowledge that there are lots of folks who are smarter and better informed than me -- and that's not in the boss's insincere "I hire people who are smarter than me" sort of way.

Having said that, I always cringe a bit when I think back to the times when I took some bit of new-found knowledge and shared it in an overly-didactic way with someone who, in retrospect, had probably known it since forever and probably thought I was a condesecending and clueless pedant asshole.

I used to be a lot worse as a younger man. But I still have my moments.

For example, a few weeks ago, we had a meeting with someone demoing his product or service for possible licensing or purchase by us. He was hooking up his laptop and having some problems, so ever-helpful me says, "Hit Function-F8" (the external monitor toggle). This, to a guy who's probably given more presentations off his laptop than I've had hot meals.

Anyway, that's a mild example that I chalk up to trying to be helpful. I would go into more cringe-worthy performances, but I would have to fight through all the suppression.

These days, I find it's easier to act stupid, which is my version of the Socratic method, as asserted in another Douglas Adams' work (HHGTTG, which I don't own but is a quick search away):
"One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid."

You Just Suck Them?

I got a random IM this afternoon from a fiend of mine who originates from a small island nation (which may be, but probably isn't, Tonga).

This fiend had two questions:

1. (Preliminary) What are Lemonheads?
2. (The more salient question) How do you eat them?

The questions exhibits a disturbing lack of confectionary knowledge, though that is forgiveable, as it is merely an educational/experiential lapse. More troubling was this fiend's inability or unwillingness to apply the scientific method (hypothesize > experiment > observe > repeat).

Here is the IM conversation. It is lightly edited for spelling and identity.

[redacted]: what are lemon heads?
[redacted]: are they gum?
Joelogon: you people
Joelogon: little yellow lemon sour candies
Joelogon: lemons are yellow citrus fruits
[redacted]: they are big!
[redacted]: some one brought in some candy
Joelogon: fruits are a kind of plant with seeds on the inside
[redacted]: I am trying to eat one
[redacted]: shut up smart arse
Joelogon: "trying" to eat one?
[redacted]: yeah
[redacted]: it's too hard to bite
[redacted]: I didn't know what it was - gum or candy or what
Joelogon: you don't bite them
[redacted]: you just suck them?
[redacted]: wow - it's getting sour
Joelogon: this is going into the blog
[redacted]: hahaha
[redacted]: don't you dare
[redacted]: jesus - my eyes are watering! these aren't fun
Joelogon: I will use a pseudonym. I will say a friend of mine from a small island nation (Tonga) didn't know how to eat a lemonhead
Joelogon: next, we will try atomic fireballs

This Can't Possibly Come Back to Bite Me

You know, I think I just spent more time working on the photos and captions for my latest kickball photos than on my taxes this year.


I'm sure the photos of the pretty clouds will make it all better when I get audited:


(The photos are from last week's game -- I still have to put up some pics from Galaxy Hut two weeks ago, and Sign of the Whale last weekend.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Weekend So Far...

I spent this morning watching the last 15 minutes of 'Bubba Ho-Tep', which I had fallen asleep watching on Friday after hanging out at Cafe Montmartre.

Good flick, though I'm not sure it was worth the big build-up.

Feeling ambitious, I then moved on to watching 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,' which promptly caused me to slump down and curl up in a ball on the couch.

I think I identified a bit too much with the Jim Carrey character (Joel), at least in the opening reel.

Also, Kate Winslet is pretty... pretty.

Went over to my neighbor's house for a pre-Easter dinner, which was nice.

I had a whole bunch of plans to do productive stuff tonight (including my taxes -- I ended up getting TurboTax at Costco, which I should have tried in the first place), but I ended up spending most of the evening trying to get the new work laptop to connect to my home network.

Fucking Windows networking.

I finally figured out that I had to manually enter the alternate network configuration in the TCP/IP properties. Very intuitive, if you're Rain Man.

It was 80 degrees today. I should have gone skating.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Gimme Some Sugar, Baby

Thanks to my cow-orker Jamie (whose candy stash I keep raiding), I've had more Sugar Daddies in the past 2 months, than I have in the last 20 years.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Birthday Party That Was

So I finally put mine and Adam's shared birthday party photos up on Flickr:

Adam and Joe, with Caramel Cremes

(I don't want to hear any lip about taking two-and-a-half weeks to put them up, as I know for a fact that there were at least two other cameras present, and we haven't seen pixel one out of either of them yet.)


As I note in the description (verbatim, as it happens), this is the photo I used for the Evite. One of the advantages to creating the invitation was that I got to pick the photos.

Adam's pic is from one of my infamous Galaxy Hut albums. Mine was taken by Tinny during a visit back to New York. (I don't use it that much -- it's only my Flickr, Technorati and Blogger profile photo.)

Anyway, we were at Clare and Don's Beach Shack on a Saturday night, so there was karaoke. I recall doing Modern English's 'Melt With You', and being accompanied by Dave and Adam. I don't remember how I was doing, but I am sure my performance benefitted from the assistance.

Adam did a couple of songs, including 'Thunder Road', which I have video of that I will have to put up (though probably not on YouTube -- I don't think the world is ready):


Other than that, I'm not going to rehash my lovingly hand-crafted descriptions, so check out the set if you are so inclined.

Well, okay, there was one interesting picture from the walk over to brunch the next morning (oogh):


It's a handrail that has seen better days. But then again, haven't we all.

Hitting With My Best Shot

I didn't end up going to Dr. Dremo's tonight for the Washington Psychotronic Film Society screening of 'Jungle Virgin Force.'

It's possible my life has turned into an Onion article ("Aging Gen-Xer Doesn't Find Bad Movies Funny Anymore") -- I am the right age, after all.

Alternately, it could be just that the movie didn't sound bad enough -- after all, these Indonesian grade-Z movies are lacking in both gratuitous sex and sufficient violence, and fellow auteur Jenny points out you need at least one of the two to make it worthwhile.

I ended up going to the gym for my Wednesday workout (which will be time-shifted for the next couple of months, due to kickball season). I finished up by hitting the punching bag for 20 minutes. I have determined that I've lost what little technique I had, but it felt good, anyway.

By the way, if you're going from Waxpool to Route 28 south at night: Don't. They're working on the new overpass by Sterling Boulevard and it cuts down to one lane.

Oh, and by the way -- lady in the SUV in front of me this morning: If there is a medium-sized plastic bag/tarp thing blowing around in the roadway, it is by definition empty -- therefore, you don't have to jam on your brakes to avoid hitting it, as the 3,000 pound car behind you (even at a safe following distance) is (or should be) of greater concern.

The Burning Question for Our Time

Here's one of the previously mentioned DVD purchases, 'Bubba Ho-Tep':

Bubba Ho-Tep DVD

It raises a... nay, the burning question for our time:

What does one do when the DVD comes in a cardboard slipcase that completely duplicates the protective DVD case, thus rendering it redundant? Does one discard it, or does one seek to preserve the holistic essence of the thing?

Monetary considerations do not apply, since the potential collector's value (even if such a thing exists for a mass-produced DVD) is negated due to the opening of the package.

Truly, a vexing problem.

Monday, April 10, 2006

An Open Letter to Sodexho Marriot Cafeteria Workers

Dear Sodexho Marriot Cafeteria Workers,

I hate to be a noodge, but the dill sauce that goes with the salmon turnover should not under any circumstances be used as gravy for the accompanying side of mashed potatoes.

Warm regards,


Death, Taxes and Digital Entertainment

So I stopped by Circuit City after going to the gym tonight.

I needed to pick up a copy of TurboTax, in preparation for Monday.

This year's return should be fairly straightforward, unlike next year's -- I am pretty sure I should start weeping now in preparation for my 2006 return.

Circuit City had TurboTax Basic and Premiere, but they were all out of Deluxe, which is the one I needed of course.

However, I did get Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and 'Million Dollar Baby' on DVD for under $20 bucks.

Keep in mind, I haven't even finished the first Splinter Cell yet, and my stack of unwatched DVDs is probably a foot and a half high by now.

So, I went next door to Target looking for TurboTax Deluxe.

They were out as well, though I did pick up the special collector's editions of 'Escape From New York' and 'Bubba Ho Tep', for $21.

So, in summary: No TurboTax. Three DVDs and one game that I will probably never get to, on top of 6 hours of 24 on tape that I haven't watched yet, plus about three weeks worth of photos that I still have to put up (including the ones from my birthday). And I still have to do my taxes.

It's a good thing Best Buy was already closed.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Settle Down, Beavis

As noted elsewhere, here was yesterday's Word of the Day, as seen on Google personalized home pages everywhere:

Word of the Day: Cum

Yes, I know adults spell it "come", but still.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Got some healthy lifestyle seminar flyer-thing in my mailbox at ork today; I would have tossed it immediately, except it had one particularly notable line:


So, does "non-mobile" include babies that have been Liquid Nailed to a sheet of plywood?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Dump Truck Always Has the Right of Way

Coming in to work this morning, there was a big slowdown after the offramp toll plaza.

When this happens, as it does from time to time, it usually means there's an accident on 28. It's pretty annoying, since you're stuck (so if you see a line at the offramp, eat the three bucks-and-twenty and take the Greenway).

This time, though, the cause of the slowdown was at the merge point after the toll plaza, where it goes from three lanes down to one.

A Land Rover Discovery was smooshed up, sideswipe-style, against a big-ass dump truck.

It looked like they were locked together.

I am guessing that Mr. Land Rover tried to zip past the dump truck and... didn't.

I don't care how big your Canyonero is -- if you go up against a dump truck, you are going to lose.

Paranoid or Prescient?

Somehow, I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to say something to get myself into trouble tomorrow.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cat Killer

I think I ran over a cat last Thursday.

It could have been some other small four-legged mammal. But I'm pretty sure I ran it over.

It wasn't my fault, honest.

I was driving a section of Herndon Parkway that's a well-lit canyon of sound-barrier walls with a pretty rigid 35 mile per hour speed limit.

I'm not a cop, but catching speeders on Herndon Parkway seems just like shooting fish in a barrel, so I was taking it very easy.

Out of the left side of my eye, I saw a black, cat-like shape on the left side of the road.

As I laid off the gas, it darted across the road. I hit the brake to let it pass in front of me and I thought I was in the clear, when I swear it cut back towards my rear wheels.

I lost sight of it as it approached the side of my car. Then I felt a bump.

Actually, it was more like a bump and crunch.

It's the first time I can recall running a previously-unsquished animal over. It wasn't pleasant.

I checked my mirrors and didn't see anything, so as far as I know, there's a decomposing mammal wedged up in my undercarriage.

I do have to get my car inspected and tuned up this month, so I guess I will find out.

Ultraviolet Workout: Feel the Burn

Which is a more likely explanation for the burning in my upper arms and shoulders:

* A short-but-intense back and biceps workout on Sunday?

-- or --

* Being out on a sunny Sunday afternoon for 4 hours, wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves ripped out and no sunscreen?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Hilarious Prank by Dominion Virginia Power

Dear Dominion Virginia Power,

That was a hilarious April Fools Day prank you pulled, doing a "power outage" for a few hours this morning.

It was even better because it forced me to reset all my clocks, which I will have to do again because of Daylight Savings Time tonight.


Best -- Joelogon