I may not be writing much these days, but I’ve been enjoying my eveningtime cruises around the internet for good things to read. Lately I’ve been diving around a bunch of interesting places:
Hello, Typepad: On the Bo Ssam Miracle,
One of the things I love about the Momofuku restaurants is that I get the feeling that everyone who works there — bartenders, folks behind the register, and waiters — all embody and promote a culture of enthusiasm for the food and passion for doing things the right way. You’d no sooner have a fork out of alignment or have a dirty plate on the table too long than get a dry bo ssam. I don’t think that’s the result of a strict resume filter, it’s because Chang & his lieutenant’s have a strong defined culture & hire people who fit that culture and have the ability to grow within & without it. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s an important one.
Seoul Brother on saying goodbye to his dog.
Mat Honan at CES:
I’m forever wanting something new. Something I’ve never seen before, that no one else has. Something that will be both an extension and expression of my person. Something that will take me away from the world I actually live in and let me immerse myself in another. Something that will let me see more details, take better pictures, do more at once, work smarter, run faster, live longer.
Slacktivist on pulling a Brisbane:
Arthur Brisbane’s column is an admission of journalistic malpractice. He should be told to step away from his desk and go home before he does any more damage. The New York Times ought to be furious for what he has done to its once-respected name.
And his name should become a shorthand epithet for all who are clueless about the most basic purpose of their jobs. The next time a cornerback totally flubs the coverage to allow an easy touchdown, the announcer should say, “Boy, he really pulled a Brisbane on that play. He looked like he had no idea why he was even on the field …”
- This article is dated 2012-01-17 22:11 and is posted to blog
A little anniversary passed me by in November:
pedal:data alan$ whois schussman.com
Updated Date: 17-nov-2011
Creation Date: 25-nov-2001
Expiration Date: 25-nov-2012
Creation Date: 25-nov – 2011! I’ve held this little vanity domain for ten years now, making both it and me unquestionably ancient in real- and internet-years.
As I ego-dove a few years ago:
… due to a squirrely web host disappearing entirely one night, I don’t have any records of the first site I built except for a few miscellaneous graphics floating around. It was wicked cool (I maintain), though, using a simple perl-based templating system to display the most recent of a set of dated text files within a design and with navigation around index to the other files…
Seriously, it was awesome. That’s how we rolled in the aughts: We cobbled together our own custom templating tools and uploaded text files to our web host using some godawful Gnome FTP client. My hosting has been more stable (well, none of them have vanished, anyway), so now I have the complete blog record from January 2002 onward.
So I pulled the numbers to see my activity over time (which, by the way, is one good reason to work on a platform that one can control directly, rather than a hosted service: Want to make data from a database? Just run a query against it!). Here’s the per-month data for 2002 through November 2011:
Cool, right? Check that downward slope into 2007 as I finished graduate school, spent some time in Seattle, and thought about what to do next. Aside from a bit of a bump towards the end of 2008 (I was doing a lot of Lightroomn tinkering and writing then), I’ve kept it pretty quiet around here the last few years (lots more casual posting to twitter and facebook, family-blogging at posterous and brief flirtations with various devoweled-platforms). I don’t know if more blogging is on the horizon, but it’s fun to explore the past ten years a bit (Kieran recently did this in style, producing full-on ebook).
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- This article is dated 2011-12-06 22:08 and is posted to blog, with tags blog
Via Jim Ray, your job title is not your worth.
The trouble with video games isn’t the violence. It’s that most of the characters are dicks. There are so many quotable lines in this one:
Every pixel of Modern Warfare 3 oozes machismo. It’s all chunky gunmetal, booming explosions and stubbly men blasting each other’s legs off. Yet consider what genteel skills the game itself requires. To succeed, you need to be adept at aiming a notional cursor and timing a series of button-pushes. It’s about precision and nimble fingers. Just like darning a sock in a hurry. Or creating tapestry against the clock.
(I don’t actually think this is the trouble with video games; I’m a fan of plenty of them and am in fact entirely unable to resist the Humble Bundle).
Slacktivist continues to be among the very best things out there on the internets: The Search for New Ways to Take our Money
Banks were able to transfer more than $36 billion a year from us to them through the larcenous “overdraft protection” racket in part by stroking our egos. We Americans love nothing more than being told we’re above average — that we’re exceptionally virtuous and responsible people who are better than our neighbors. By indulging that vanity, banks were able to suppress much of the outrage that might otherwise have accompanied the annual theft of $36 billion. They got us to pretend that this was just something that happened to irresponsible people who irresponsibly failed to maintain large balances in their checking accounts.
But this new generation of myriad fees and fee-hikes designed to recoup that same $36 billion a year can’t be as easily dismissed as being a useful expression of disapproval of the irresponsible, immoral, undeserving poor. These hit everyone indiscriminately, and even the most financially responsible and insufferably self-righteous won’t be able to pretend that these are excusable or justifiable or anything other than flimsy pretexts for the banks reaching into private accounts and withdrawing money simply because that money is there and they want it.
(PS: Fred’s ongoing Jenkins and LaHaye read-along is simply a masterpiece.)
A Conspiracy of Hogs: While spinning a theory that the McRib is a function of fluctuations in the pig market (or, perhaps more specifically and grotesquely, the hog offal slurry market), Willy Staley turns out passages like:
Fast food involves both hideously violent economies of scale and sad, sad end users who volunteer to be taken advantage of. What makes the McRib different from this everyday horror is that a) McDonald’s is huge to the point that it’s more useful to think of it as a company trading in commodities than it is to think of it as a chain of restaurants b) it is made of pork, which makes it a unique product in the QSR world and c) it is only available sometimes, but refuses to go away entirely.
If you can demonstrate that McDonald’s only introduces the sandwich when pork prices are lower than usual, then you’re but a couple logical steps from concluding that McDonald’s is essentially exploiting a market imbalance between what normal food producers are willing to pay for hog meat at certain times of the year, and what Americans are willing to pay for it once it is processed, molded into illogically anatomical shapes, and slathered in HFCS-rich BBQ sauce.
Read the whole thing, as they say.
Made by Hand 2: The Knife Maker: Just a great short study in craft and expertise.
“To the Moon” review at Rock Paper Shotgun: Closure to the “video game characters are dicks” thread: Good video games make thick-skinned reviewers weep. I want to install Parallels and Windows just to play this.
I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to make the chimichanga the state food of Arizona. The rest of the country already thinks we’re sort of nuts, right?
- This article is dated 2011-11-15 20:58 and is posted to blog
Happy 2011! I’m considering some end-2010 thinking that may end up posted on ye olde blogge, but in the meantime here’s a nice treat from pinboard: A great customizable tag cloud widget (that’s a screenshot, not linked):
I’ve been using pinboard for about a year now, and have been nothing but happy with it. Now that the days for delicious are numbered, there’s no reason not to pay the signup fee and give it a try.
- This article is dated 2011-01-02 07:48 and is posted to blog, technology
, with tags 2010
First things first, our little boy is a bundle of joy. At fifteen weeks, he’s grinning up a storm, making lots of not-quite-talking sounds, and getting closer to rolling over every day. And now we have his very first refrigerator art:
What else to mention, note and otherwise jot?
- Gruber sneers at the suggestion that Android phones will soon find a place on the flickr popular cameras list, and he’s right. Data point: Some photos I upload from my Droid X are identified by the application that took the photo, not by the device itself; for example, the photo linked above says it was taken with “a Vignette for Android.” I bet that iOS devices/apps don’t do that, do they? It’s hard to demonstrate any kind of presence with that sort of fractured reporting.
- That said, I’m finding that my Droid X is a fully capable device, enabling easy photography and video, and casual easy-to-maintain connections with friends and family. This internet over-the-air thing could go places, folks. However, Motorola, I’m looking at you: The glitch where you incorrectly remove spaces after alpha characters when I use puncutation like
" has got to get fixed. It makes sense for commas, periods, colons and semicolons, but not most other marks.
- Also, Steambirds is great on Android and iOS, too.
- I got myself one of those about.me jobbers. I don’t really know what to do with it.
- Relatedly, What do do with an old blog? That’s what I’ve been wondering, lately. This little domain has served as a web log now for nine years, and though I’ve tinkered with the flash and easy posting of tumblr and posterous (and twitter and github and so forth) I’ve never quite decided if and how to shift gears to one of them, you know, officially. Something to consider as this little corner of the twinglywebs has another birthday.
- We ditched DirecTV back in July to go all-online for our TV needs and have been pretty happy with the switch. We miss the easy-on of live TV sometimes (news, some sports) but Netflix and Amazon on Demand have treated us pretty well. The video quality of Netflix isn’t as good on the Wii as on the Blu-Ray player, but the little white box makes up for it by beating the pants off the Sony when it comes to interface. Catch up, Sony; little image tiles and no discoverability are losers, man.
- An evening of tinkering with AirPlay in iOS 4.2 (via the iPad and my now five-year old and perfectly working Airport Express hooked up to the Model One) really does make me want AppleTV and -enabled speakers all over the place. It’s cool, and it so lightens the comparable overhead of MacBook + Remote app. P.S., Tivoli, I would pay real money for an Airplay-enabled model.
- The TSA urges us all not to make things inconvenient this holiday season? “TSA: You can be sure the SA doesn’t stand for self-aware.”
Happy Thanksgiving from all of me to both of you.
- This article is dated 2010-11-23 11:21 and is posted to blog, with tags android
Last weekend’s WordPress exploit drama prompted me to upgrade my textpattern installation on a couple of sites, a process which consists in its entirety of:
ssh -l ME MYSERVER
tar -zxvf textpattern-4.2.0.tar.gz
cp -r textpattern-4.2.0/index.php ~/webhome
[... repeat above for two other files and one directory ...]
But that’s not why I’m writing now. While the upgrade process is quick and easy, I do always like to doublecheck around the site and make sure that everything still works as intended. I have quite a few years of hackery under the hood here, after all, so I check in on the archives and the comments and assorted other bits. Since the site is so low-maintenance and I rarely get under the hood anymore, it also gives me a chance to remind myself just how Textpattern’s mix of section, page and form designs actually work.
Today I found myself wishing that I had done a better job of archiving all the various permutations this site has undergone over time. I’ve been doing various kinds of work with the web since 1994 but haven’t been very good at keeping records of the different kind of sites I built and helped build. Somewhere there’s a stack of CDs and 3.5-inch floppy disks with copies of all those sites I worked on in college, but I don’t own a floppy drive anymore and who knows if those old CDs are even readable? 
So I went for a drive through archive.org and oh man the memories. I dug up a trove of old material from college and I’ll foist those on my tired reader another time. Today it’s a part 1 of “why am I reading this guy’s web site again?” or schussman.com through the years (an entirely personal diversion that’s really for my benefit only and undoubtedly pays no attention to the things you’re actually interested in).
I registered schussman.com (godaddy; I know, I know) in the fall of 2001, but due to a squirrely web host disappearing entirely one night, I don’t have any records of the first site I built except for a few miscellaneous graphics floating around. It was wicked cool (I maintain), though, using a simple perl-based templating system to display the most recent of a set of dated text files within a design and with navigation and index to the other files. I had previously set up a similar system on my college account and on another ISP’s hosting. This was back when you had to roll your own blog, but it wasn’t long before I stumbled across Movable Type and relaunched the site.
And then that web host vanished.
I found a new host right about the time we moved across Tucson and started to settle into our first experience as homeowners. That gave me plenty of blog fodder, as did year two to three of graduate school where I was taking prelim exams and doing a lot of writing. I even have the vintage linux+Windowmaker screenshot showing my bibTeX library (working in sixpack reference manager).
A year later I had redesigned, and a year after that I had made the switch to Textpattern — then only days into public gamma testing. That, of course, necessitated another redesign (as well as a couple of days’ database tinkering to figure out just how to move all my MovableType entries into Textpattern).
The following year (spring 2004 to 2005) was busy and eventful, culminating in trying to sell the house, and then succeeding, househunting in Flag, and finally moving to the mountain. Of course, the new view inspired one more blog redesign, which, aside from some under-the-hood changes, has persisted ever since. Along the way that same year I ended up buying into the TextDrive VC II (all kinds of backend server changes accompanied that transition and subsequent TextDrive-no-Joyent activities — money very well spent), got my first Mac, and went for a lot of bike rides in the woods.
And since that last redesign? Well, I’ve written some, but blogging in general has slowed down. Though I’ve had a pretty good streak of Lightroom- and photo-related blogging, I’ve shifted most of my online production to the casual confines of twitter, posterous, and, yes, the Facebooks.
That probably means it’s time for a blog redesign.
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- This article is dated 2009-09-12 11:06 and is posted to blog, textpattern
, with tags self-indulgent
Hey, the blog is still here! It turned out to be a quiet springtime for me, as I conscientiously cut back on blogging while in BelRedSeattle. (I have been taking a lot of pictures — see those for something of a chronology of my Jan-May.) Now that I’m officially no longer attached to any particular institution of higher learning, I’ll be picking up around here a bit, I expect.
Shout outs to my internets buddies.
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- This article is dated 2007-05-19 03:47 and is posted to blog
Getting kind of cobwebby in here…
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- This article is dated 2007-04-02 12:37 and is posted to blog
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- This article is dated 2007-02-15 14:16 and is posted to blog, with tags bicycle
It’s been a quiet couple of weeks here at SHQ. I’ve been catching up on things that might have been neglected for a while earlier in the month, such as shaving and reading for fun. So here are a few reviews of holiday pastimes.
- 13-hour drives to see family for Christmas: Mixed. That’s a long time to spend in the car, especially on the way home when that unsettling noise from the engine keeps getting louder.
- Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman: Favorable. The audiobook version of this, which until a day or so ago was entirely free at iTMS, carried me through a good 6-hour chunk of drive time. It’s read by Hodgman, and is lots of fun, even though it tends to get a little overly cute now and then. It’s sufficiently nerdy for anyone likely to be reading this review, containing both extended histories of the Hobo Wars as well as a section on Noteworthy Rivalries in Dungeons and Dragons.
- Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe: Mixed. I’ve read somewhere, perhaps on the back of the book, that this was one of the best fantasy novels Of Our Time. The story strikes me as pretty interesting, and Wolfe has invented a fairly fully-realized world, but every one in a while I find myself rolling my eyes at the language (“He sighed, the kind of wheezing a leather pillow sometimes makes when one sits on it.” Or, “She picked up a leek, and then as if she did not know what else to do with it she dropped it down her throat like a mountebank swallowing a viper.”); I’m also not at all sure that I buy the motivation of the boy-torturer’s imminent treachery (again, it’s on the back cover, and the set-up is made in the first ten pages of the book).
- Spritz cookies: Favorable. Mmm, cookies.
- Those damnable meringue cookies: Unfavorable. Who likes these terrible things?
- Snow: Favorable. Except when it forces me to drive unexpectedly for 13 hours.
- Deadwood, season 2: Favorable. Good stuff. Season 2 really takes off.
- Blood Diamond: Favorable. I have a hard time taking Leonardo DiCaprio seriously, but this is a pretty well-made fim, though one that is occasionally needlessly preachy.
- Jennifer Connelly in Blood Diamond: Favorable, even though the movie doesn’t give her a whole lot to do. If you like John Hodgman’s reference to Noteworthy Rivalries in Dungeons and Dragons, you’ve probably had a crush on her ever since Labyrinth.
- $50 auto parts machined into $800 auto parts: Unfavorable. Damn you, Subaru.
- Kale: Favorable. Adds flavor and texture to any winter-time soup.
- This article is dated 2006-12-29 19:41 and is posted to misc, blog
, with tags christmas
It turns out there’s a whole bunch of Lego Batman sets. Somehow, Batman as a little Lego guy is highly appealing.
I’m not entirely sure I’m down with the Arkham Asylum playset, though. Kind of creepy.
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- This article is dated 2006-12-05 20:20 and is posted to blog, with tags batman
When you turn on the coffee grinder, as usual, and run it for 25 seconds, as usual, without remembering to put the beans in first, does it mean, A) You need more coffee, or B) You’ve had too much coffee?
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- This article is dated 2006-11-26 08:13 and is posted to blog, with tags coffee
This NYT essay on ‘do doctors dress too skimpy for their own good?’ is like a fill-in-the-blanks blog post just waiting for somebody to come along. I mean, there’s a little data there about patient preference for professional-looking physicians, but on the whole, the whole essay seems mostly like an excuse for the Times to post a few Hello, Dr. Cleavage photos. (There is a passing mention of some male doctors going unshaven when they have no excuse, but that’s about it.)
- This article is dated 2006-11-20 20:24 and is posted to blog, with tags doctors
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- This article is dated 2006-11-17 15:33 and is posted to blog, with tags playstation
(Another in a series) Sheldon is another one of those webcomics that those with a nerdy bent should probably be reading. As exhibit A, I present the following, in which the duck imagines Jabba the Hutt’s dark transformation from overweight and misunderstood Hutt to intergalactic gangster.
Those jocks aren’t gonna have Jabba to kick around, anymore.
- This article is dated 2006-11-05 11:38 and is posted to blog, with tags comics
About, the short version
I’m a sociologist-errant. This site is powered by Textpattern, TextDrive and the sociological imagination. For more about me and this site, see the long version.
Copyright and so forth: Commenters own their own posts, and linked or excerpted material is subject to whatever copyright covers the original. Everything else here is mine, rights reserved.