2 Jokes

Want to hear two jokes I didn’t understand for years?

Q: What’s black and white and red all over?
A: The newspaper

Q: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A: Finding half a worm.

Someday I’ll explain the whole story behind both.

My WeirdMacGyver Dream

I had a dream that I was MacGyver, except I didn’t get to do anything scientific. Instead I flew businessmen through a cave in a helicopter, stopping only so they could gleefully destroy a scale model of London made from Fabrige eggs by kicking at it from their seats. Because, apparently, that’s what ’80s businessmen do.

Honestly, I think I’ve had this dream before.

Night-time Thoughts

Don’t you hate when you walk into a darkened room, and you try to hit the light switch in step with your walking momentum but miss?

There you are, in blackness, your hand flapping frantically against the wall like the panicked gropings of a strangling victim. You try to walk on with dignity, but the mute, invisible furniture knows; the silent, staring portraits of you hold their judgmental looks, which seem to say, “You looked a complete idiot.”

With mixed feelings, you realize that those frozen facsimiles of you are right; you did look a complete idiot. And you vow to never look a idiot again.

YouTube – Social Media Revolution

YouTube – Social Media Revolution.

It’s positively astounding how much social interaction has been changing. Even back to my high school days, instant messenger was the closest we came to online interaction. With things like Facebook, I now know what happened to all my classmates. I don’t have to sit there, wonder, and sign up for a Classmates.com account to find out. It’s amazing.

Class reunions are going to be so boring.

House Keeping

1) What Lies In The Shadow Of The Statue has become my most popular post, at least recently. Only a small percentage of readers of that post realize that I have no deep insight, no knowledge to share within it. A small percentage of the rest have actually been adding their own theories, seemingly trying to help me with my lack of deep insight. I, ever uncouth, mock them for hours with my thoughts and then move on to something else.

2) Be sure to read Holli’s update on our latest news, if you haven’t already. Some pretty awesome updates.

3) Awayken.com has a purpose once again. What had originally started as my personal blog has found a new life as my web playground. Everything personally associated with me will be here and at MilesRauschFamily.com, but any projects that I want to show off or open up, any concepts or demos I want to test out, will live on Awayken.com.  I’m calling it “an odyssey of learning and growth, a menagerie of strange web trinkets.”

Those of you who do web development  may periodically find it interesting. I don’t find much time to work on these trinkets, but I’ll add things as I do find time (or as I dig them out of the depths of my old “test” folder). Right now, there are only two real projects: LinguaFranca.js, an inline language translation project for javascript, and The Latest MilesRausch.com Blog Post (Jetpack for Mozilla Firefox), a simple extension for the Jetpack API.

4) Tired. Mega-tired. But I thought you all should know.

5) Sad that LOST is done for the season. I’d forgotten how empty and cold life is without a LOST episode to look forward to.

6) See #5 above. But, very happy that Kings will be back in June.

7) Holli and I have started watching Star Trek: The Original Series. No, we weren’t inspired by the movie; we haven’t even seen it. Don’t bother asking me why. We’re just weird.

8) Also, I’m listening to more This American Life, so I can justify my obsessive monocle adornment. Blame my brother.

9) People comment that I’m losing weight, but I know that I’m not. This is puzzling, and it can only mean that I’ve been gaining weight, and at such an alarming rate and density as to bend the very light around me. This would cause me to look thinner, theoretically.

10) For some reason, I just thought of the pool at Unity Square in Milbank, SD.

11) I feel very fortunate that my job has allowed me to program in ColdFusion, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and Classic ASP. Most people probably don’t understand why having to learn more languages would be something I’m thankful for. I can’t explain it. I just love languages: foreign and domestic, natural and constructed, human and machine.

12) GOTO BED;

Re: [Jason] We Live in Public (and the end of empathy)

You may, or may not, have heard of Jason Calacanis of Mahalo.com. I recently joined his email list, and the first such post I’ve received was about how people begin to quit thinking about others online as “people” and more as “objects”. This disconnect often leads to disgusting and horrifying behavior. I thought he made some excellent points, and I decided to respond to him.

#1 is a response to “Thanks to the 17 people out of 12,000 who made it this far.”

#2 is a response to “best regards, Jason McCabe Calacanis”

#7 is a response to this.

Jason:

1) Woo-hoo! I’m one of the seventeen!

2) I love your middle name. My cousin married a man whose middle name is “McBeth”.

3) I used to frequently post videos to my online TV show, Newsbleep.com. The podcast, for reasons unrelated to what you’ve written of in your email, has fallen into pod-fade (hopefully not for long). One thing I discovered when I was first wrapping my head around how I should do Newsbleep was the plethora of video hosting options. YouTube was popular (and low quality), but there were many other services for a wide range of cost. I eventually settled on Blip.tv, but I felt I was missing out on a large audience in YouTube. I tried to drive traffic and people to the website as much as possible, but my own blog and Twitter accounts could only reach so far. So I started putting videos up on YouTube.

My first step should have been to turn off comments.

Of the communities I’ve had involvement in, YouTube has been, by far, the most hate-prone. Most videos generated no response. A couple produced such gemstones as “this is dumb” and the more personal “ur dumb”. There was one video, in particular, that I had posted as a camera test. It was a test of the equipment I was using, a video editing technique I was fond of, and new editing software that I was interested in learning more about. The video got a startling number of views (largely, I believe, because the word “spider-man” was in the title) and in came the comments. My heterosexuality was often called into question (and, in case you saw the video and were wondering the same thing, I’ve been happily married for a year and a week).

Lucky for me, the video was not important. It wasn’t something I’d put time or effort into; it was just a test. I was also fortunate in that the comments were so juvenile as to warrant complete and immediate dismissal. My psyche was able to let the comments go, because I knew they came from ignorance. I did, however, take my Newsbleep videos off YouTube, finding that an audience of that quality was not worth my time.

My experience does not equal yours, but I think it shows how widespread these issues are, even to someone as little-known as myself.

4) You are a person. Let me explain.

Celebrity gossip has long been a staple of the media. It’s fun to dish and rag on people in the spotlight, because it makes us feel better about living in the shadow. I live in South Dakota. I’m as far removed from “the action” as I can be, but television and gossip magazines can bring that world to my doorstep. We can mock the visible because they are two panes of glass removed from us (the camera and the TV screen). We’re safe to let down our decency and speak our inner demons. Not surprisingly, this concept of “celebrity” has translated to our popular new medium – the Internet. However, instead of being twice removed, these new celebrities are simply a web form away. Our collective mentality (and scorn and shame) has translated beautifully, but our barriers have not.

You are a person. When I hit “Send” on this email, I have no doubt that it will end up in an inbox to which you have access. Whether you have time to read it, or respond to it, is an entirely separate question, but I have no doubt that a person is on the other end of this email, and I am writing this email with that knowledge in mind.

President Barak Obama will be one of the most discussed and debated presidents of all time, but he is just a person, too. (As was Einstein and Princess Diana and Hitler.) He has no greater capacity for intelligence nor compassion than I do. Though he holds the highest office in the country, he is just as capable of falling, failing, and getting back up.

We shouldn’t forget people.

5) I have great respect for you. I’m not in the business world; I’m a web developer by profession, but I have aspirations of possibly being a business owner someday. I’ve always found your comments and advice on This Week in Tech to be thoughtful and intelligent, and those are qualities that make me take notice. I hope you continue to share with your public, despite those who would seek to tear you down.

6) I thought you wrote an excellent email. Thank you.

7) Knowing your love for your dogs, I can’t help but wonder if “Calacanis” is a stage name.

— Miles Rausch

What do you think? Have you been the focus of Internet hate? Is there hope when this mob mentality has been around for centuries? Is there a solution, or does this just come with the territory?

I Can’t Cry Anymore (A Web Developer’s Tale)

(2:50:45 PM) Miles Rausch: Have you ever seen a baby bird die?
(2:51:01 PM) Coworker: no… but i have a strange feeling i will soon
(2:52:39 PM) Miles Rausch: Each change requires some rewriting. Sometimes it destroys beautiful code, sometimes it creates more beautiful code. But, there will come a point when it will create evil code, code forgotten by God, warmly embraced by Satan, that will taint and poison the site.
(2:52:42 PM) Miles Rausch: Be ye warned.
(2:54:08 PM) Coworker: i’m crying. i hope you’re happy.
(2:54:24 PM) Miles Rausch: I cried. The day I watched that baby bird die.
(2:54:27 PM) Miles Rausch: I can’t cry anymore.

Hang On, Kids

New Year’s Eve

Group Photo!

New Year’s Eve was spent at Holly and Bob’s in Madison. It was a good night. We brought some games and enjoyed the excellent food that Bob and Holly prepared. Also, the Wilson’s from Seattle were out and that was a nice surprise. Congrats to them on the new bundle of joy!

2007 New Year’s Eve photoset

Bridal Shower

IMG_7024.JPG

I kinda thought of Bridal Showers as the Bride’s realm. She goes, and gets a lot of really nice, practical, responsible gifts, and the guy, in turn, expects nothing cool. His reward for that is getting to stay home. This time it wasn’t true.

However, what also wasn’t true was that it sucked majorly. It was actually a pretty fun time. I was surrounded by women, what could be better? We played a game where Holli and I were asked questions (before hand) and people had to guess our answers. Some of the guesses were pretty interesting.

I tape part of it for the purposes of Newsbleep 105: Un-BRIDE-led. Because the episode was so long, I ended up not using much of it.

Bridal Shower photoset

Wedding

IMG_7076.JPG

Also, Holli and I got married. I can happily say that, almost two months later, things are still going very well between us. Seriously, getting married was a good choice. And it might sound sappy or whatever, but I’m really glad I found Holli and was able to start my life with her.

The wedding itself went very well, was decorated beautifully, and even had some surprises. We think (and hope) that everyone had as much fun as we did. Holli has a better write up.

Honeymoon

Disney Hollywood Studios

Holli did a good job of writing about our Honeymoon. So, I’ll just give you my opinions on it. I loved it. I was skeptical, going down there. The last time I’d been to Disney World, I left with the feeling that there was nothing left for me to accomplish. This time when I left, however, I had a feeling that I’d be back.

Disney, like Apple, is very good with details. I was surprised at all the things that I noticed as design additions. Things that you don’t notice, that are designed to make a trip to Disney a great experience at a theme park.

Some of the things that Disney does:

  • Make long lines more tolerant by allowing FastPass
  • Make long lines even more tolerant by getting people under shelters as soon as possible (and intestine winding them to save space)
  • Make the surroundings for every line interesting: TV screens, funny signs, actors, the ability to see portions of the ride they’re about to go on, etc.
  • Bathrooms every 100ft
  • Water fountains by every bathroom
  • Food stands of varying speed, cost, and menu scattered throughout the park

So, yeah. I spent our Honeymoon being a nerd and learning about theme parks.

Also, it was really awesome being the masters of our vacation. That’s not to say that my parents or Holli’s parents are bad at vacation planning, but it is so liberating to be in full control of the itinerary. We decided when to get up, where to go, how long to spend at a particular place, and when to come back.

Photos, which I’ve posted before, are below:

Our Honeymoon – Day 1: Airports, All-Star Music Resort, Disney Hollywood Studios

Our Honeymoon – Day 2: Disney Magic Kingdom

Our Honeymoon – Day 3: EPCOT, Downtown Disney, Boma’s

Our Honeymoon – Day 3 – Diana+

Our Honeymoon – Day 4: Disney Animal Kingdom with Albie

Our Honeymoon – Day 4 – Diana+

Tag; You’re It

I was sort-of tagged by Candlestring.

1. Do you promote your blog?

This one, not so much. I do, however, promote the heck out of Newsbleep.com, Stay in the know, now, with Newsbleep.

2. How often do you check hits?

Every once in a while. I have a plugin called “Reports” that analyzes my Google Analytics reports so I can get a sense of traffic to my site. It also tells me a little information about people who subscribe to the feed.

3. Do you stick to one topic?

No. I cover music, movies, TV, and just about anything else. I once did 25 posts of Bright Eyes songs. It was really popular. ^_^

4. Who knows that you have a blog?

Pretty much everyone. I may not be very self-promoting of my personal site, but it tends to come up in conversation.

5. How many blogs do you read?

Google Reader tells me I subscribe to 197 feeds. I currently have 980 unread posts, and I’ve shared 62 items.

6. Are you a fast reader?

I used to be a faster reader than I am now. When I’m immersed into a book, that’s when I seem to take off.

7. Do you customize your blog or do anything technical?

Yes. I actually run a number of widgets that I have written especially to fit my blog. I also designed the style that runs on the blog, though I did not write the theme.

8. Do you blog anonymously?

Yes.

9. To what extent do you censor yourself?

I try to keep my content at a PG-13/TV-14 rating. It’s really more for myself than for others (like parents or parents-in-law) as I find vulgar language to usually be unnecessary and crude. If I find the need to swear, I typically use the * as a replacement for more offensive letters. I do the same thing in video with the bleep sound. But, mostly, I just find that funny.

10. The best thing about blogging?

Blogging is a form of writing that has the benefit of putting you at finger tips’ reach of an audience. We all write for an audience, but, on the internet, that audience can respond to what you’re doing in either a positive or negative fashion.

I tag: Holli, David, Tony, Bryce, Chris, Dan, Tyler, Paula, Fellows, Britt, Sue, and Kelsey.

PUPPY versus BABY versus ROBOT

Every reaches that age: adulthood. For some, it’s a matter of moving out of the house and into the big city. For others, it’s a matter of graduating high school and getting a real job. For still others, it’s marriage.

I am, I fear, on the cusp of adulthood. I’ve moved out of my parents house, I’ve graduated high school (and college) and have a job, and I’m on the path to getting married. I’ll be an awkward adult in no time.

Being an adult means possession. You begin to buy cool things like: cars, boats, computers, RVs, and living things. No, not SLAVES (haha)! I mean PUPPY versus BABY versus ROBOT.

There is no monkey because they are essential little babies that never learn to talk or to hold their bowels. There are no Ninja or Pirates because a pirate will only break your heart, and you don’t own a ninja, a ninja owns you. PUPPY can be substituted with KITTY or TURTLE or FERRET (if you dare).

PUPPY

Name: A puppy can be named anything. It can be made up word, or your favorite Lord of the Rings character, or a food. The truth is, the stranger the name, the better for the dog.
Age: Dogs don’t outlive humans. Our family has had patches since Bryce could actually fit into that purple Big Stone City shirt he wears all the time, but a number of our other dogs have died since then. The truth is, if you buy a new dog when your old one dies, you can have almost a dozen different dogs in your lifetime.
Financial Cost: Some dogs can be up to $1,000, plus dog food and grooming (if you go that route)
Emotional Cost: People get very attached to dogs, but they are just soulless fur shells
In case of emergency: Call a vet! But you can probably let it slide a few days.
In case of death: Cry, bury it in the backyard, and buy a new one.

BABY

Name: WARNING! What you name a baby can and will come back to haunt you. By no means should you apply BABY or ROBOT naming conventions to human children. They will either grow up hating you, or everyone else they meet will. Pick those standard names that everyone else uses: religious names, names of other family members, or names of famous people.
Age: Babies live a lifetime, literally.
Financial Cost: Pretty high. Not only is there a high initial cost (birth), but you pretty much pay for everything until they become 25 or so. This can add to millions of dollars.
Emotional Cost: Also pretty high. Most people are more attached to children than to pets. This is not always the case, sadly.
In case of emergency: Call a doctor. They’re good at that stuff. There’s even a version of doctor specific to babies called a Pediatrician.
In case of death: You’re screwed. Hopefully, you’re sad, and, hopefully, you’re not the cause of death. That’s call murder or infanticide, and it means jail time and angry emails. DO NOT CAUSE THE DEATH OF A BABY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

ROBOT

Name: Anything. Typically something that triggers an emotion: gizmo (light-hearted happiness), R2D2 (cold indifference), or DESTRUCTOR (violence).
Age: As demonstrated in Futurama, a robot can live to be infinity years old. A robot will out live you, if kept in good condition. That’s a frightening feeling.
Financial Cost: Not bad. Robots can be pretty cheap, it just depends on how complicated and self-relient you want the robot to be.
Emotional Cost: Also, not bad. It’s hard to get too attached to a robot. I have a MacBook. I love my MacBook, but if it suddenly died, I’d toss it, give it to Holli (and not tell her it’s broken), or sell it on eBay (and say that it’s broken, but in a little font). Then I’d buy another one. Easy come, easy go.
In case of emergency: Call an engineer. A computer scientist might be helpful, too, but if it’s a major problem, you’ll want an Electrical Engineer or a Mechanical Engineer (like Tony!).
In case of death: Scrap it, use the money to buy a new one, and go on with your life.

That’s the score – which one do you choose: PUPPY, BABY, or ROBOT?

Malary Canis

Doofus

I’m not sure if this is an April Fool’s joke or not, but I found this website the other day. I’m not sure who Malary Canis is, but she sure seems to have a lot of hate pent up (and she used one of my photos, it looks like). The problem is, the only person with web experience enough to do this is me, so that makes finding the true culprit all the more difficult. I don’t want to hurt you; I want to hug you. Whoever you are, Malary Canis, keep us posted.