Pop Star
(17-26 January 2003)

26 January 2003
-Somebody define explosion...  The weekly stat-tracker just posted its data & things are out of control on the Quiz.  In the previous week, 182 quizzes were taken, while this past week 242 quizzes were taken resulting in Thailand alone.  The weekly record of 1,580 visits?  Beaten by nearly 3 times with a 4,009 visit total for this week.  For me the big question becomes whether it will continue to expand at this rate or whether it will plateau soon.  This EBay Seller Forum gives me the feeling that there's more hits to come on this thing, but I guess we won't know till the next week comes.  I'll update the Quiz Stats page on Monday when I have the Excel spreadsheet in front of me with all of last week's results, unless I get impatient & do it all over again today.  This stuff is really a stat-junkie's dream.

25 January 2003
-Trying to fall asleep when one is not tired is pure hell.  I don't know how people do it, or why frankly.  I was pretty convinced that 8 straight hours of work, especially the first day of a new part of my job (which is always the worst) was going to require that I sleep some, but it's just not seeming worth it.  Everything is telling me I should be awake... grrr.
-Apparently my website is down, as well as CoastlandTech's, my host.  Have I maxed out on hits?  It's amazing how disconcerting it is to me that my website might be down... it's like I've lost my window on the world.
-All is back up & back to normal & CNN tells me that a massive worm went through the internet yesterday, probably causing both the site going down briefly & the crazy stat-tracker IP madness.  All's looking up again.
-Today was amusing, mostly from being trained at the Concord branch of Fairfield, where I am now employed on Saturdays.  The outgoing Saturday guy who trained me is exactly like Chris Driscoll... so similar, in fact, that I almost forgot who I was talking to at times.  Though he's about double Driscoll's age, making him a little more mellow, but no less amusing.  The mannerisms were even the same.  Anyway, that was a good time & it looks like it's going to be a good place to be.  Also, the drive on Saturday mornings is a nice break from traffic.
-Since my daily stat-tracker is non-functional, I'm eagerly awaiting the hit report that'll come in at the end of today from my built-in weekly tracker.  Mostly I just want to be able to update the stats on the Quiz, which has been taken a whole lot.
-After seeing the Wallflowers a couple days ago, thus seeing the band I hadn't seen that I most wanted to see, the honor of most-wanted-but-unseen band probably passes to the Gin Blossoms, since they're back together.  Obviously this excludes things like a Simon & Garfunkel reunion, a Cat Stevens comeback under that name, & suchlike things.  & while the Blossoms haven't had Doug Hopkins for years upon years, it seems his spirit is more vibrant than ever with the band given the re-release of "Dusted", their earliest major recording.  Which I still need to get.  & seeing CC a 4th time would probably beat out anyone I haven't seen.  But still, Gin Blossoms are the next big target.

24 January 2003
-Exit Sep, stage east.  Was a lot of fun having him around & getting to see the West through new eyes all over again.
-My stat-tracker seems to be flipping out, believing that all hits come from one mammoth IP address.  Allegedly several thousand hits have come from about 20 unique visitors, after a record-extending 537 unique visitors yesterday.  I am skeptical.
-Pretty unproductive day, all told, though I did do some extra work for PIRG.  As of now, my weekends consist of Fridays & Sundays, so that's going to be funky.  I think it'll be good, though waking up to get to work at 8 on Saturdays will be like debate all over again, but even more so.

23 January 2003
Happy Birthday to Geoff Dean
-All right, my Dad caught me, I did not get 1,000,000,000 hits yesterday.  I did get 8,988 hits (pageviews, actually) from 471 unique visitors.  It should be pretty clear that those totals broke the one-day records here by astounding amounts.  For illustration, that number of hits is more than the Blue Pyramid (exclusive of the old EDPOP stuff) got in October & November of last year combined.  I guess the quiz is catching on.  Most recently, the LowCarbFriends have gotten on board.
-Wallflowers concert was hit & miss, mostly hit.  While there were songs that I skip on the new album, there were some nice surprises.  "Three Marlenas" could've been better as it was all up-tempo, but we got "Empire in My Mind", a remarkably good "See You When I Get There", "Bleeders" (very cool), & an amazing acoustic encore opening with "Up from Under" & "Invisible City", both of which brought a tear or two.  Sep also kept coming up with more & more absurd things to do during the show, such as jump up on stage & start telling jokes before the opener (he promised to do this if he flipped heads on a quarter three straight times... he came up with an opening tails & withdrew the idea), throw his driver's license on stage so his name would be read aloud (not taken mostly for fear of Jakob Dylan slipping on said license & knowing exactly who to sue when he saw the card), & tell jokes after the last song (not done when a security guard tapped him on the shoulder & indicated he should get off the side of the stage).  Nevertheless, it was a great time & we were about 5 rows of people back from the stage, so there was a fair deal of eye-contact with the younger Dylan, mostly between songs as he seems to sing 80% of his material with his eyes closed (literally).  We also got the very last free poster being handed out upon exit in the entire Fillmore.  I'll post the full setlist pretty soon.

-Or really soon.
-Also, congratulations to Brandeis Debate's newest President, Beth Mandel!!
-Welcome to the Shores of Valinor forum in the Quiz-commentary crew.
-I forgot to mention in the concert recap how cool this one guy who stood in the back & played tambourines & such was.  Most of the show, he just danced while he played various small percussion type instruments, & he also added some backup vocals.  The dancing & tambourine-throwing was one of the highlights of the show for me.  If only he'd suggested that they play a few more songs from "Breach"...

22 January 2003
-Call it my 15 minutes of purely internet-based fame.  Approximately one billion people have visited my site today, almost all taking the Quiz, & a ridiculous number of them coming from two different forums, filled with people entirely unkown to me!  Check out the FlyerTalk Forum's thoughts on the Quiz, followed by the Dating Advice Forum's thoughts.  Yes, that's the Dating Advice Forum.  I love the 'net.

21 January 2003
-If anyone's wondering why I have not, do not, & will not have comments on this site, please run (don't walk) to Sha Sha's page.  Because it's fun to perma-link & because it helps you run, not walk, you can look here & also here.  Interaction is fun, but stuff like that would not be for me.  I'm glad she's more spirited about taking flack from losers than I could be.
-"Adaptation" is a movie that I thought was going to have to make me reconsider my top five picks of last year (it technically came out in 2002 since one theater in NYC showed it on the 31st or something equally absurd), but then saved me the trouble in the last half hour.  I won't spoil it for you... it does the job itself.  & I'm sure there's a point in there somewhere, in the way that it all goes to hell, but I can't really say it's worth it since they really had a good thing going.

-Ticketmaster's answer to customer support matters, in all aspects & all realms, is to put your tickets in the will-call window.  This (I think) is a wonderful solution.  But it always seems to take them an awfully long time to realize that your problem is big enough to take to said solution.  They should just e-mail you whenever there's about to be a problem with a 2-liner saying "Will-call window... you know the drill."
-All right... I'll admit that I might not have fully developed the argument I made yesterday about commercialism v. happy relationships.  However, I think Lisha goes off the deep end quite a bit in her railing against it.  Some of the main points are certainly things that would take tons of argumentation to fully develop & the main point of this page has very little to do with lots of over debating, especially when it comes to proving things that seem like basic assumptions.  So, to shortcut past those, I think it's reasonable to assume that (A) people are always more secure in happy relationships & (B) virtually no one is really secure on their own, with those appearing to be secure mostly covering up for insecurities.  If you don't buy those, you're probably not coming with me on the rest of the argument.  I know that those don't agree with mainstream psych stuff about self-promotion, but this is why I don't believe mainstream psych stuff.  Anyway, I think that commercialism doesn't say you need to be in a relationship to be happy, I think it says you need to have someting you don't have to be happy, & stuff is the way to get you to that goal.  If you have a significant other, don't you really need to dump that loser & get a better one?  Is s/he really the best for you?  & so on.  With this in mind, I do think security in a relationship (relationships being the primary mover in the clothing, cosmetics, & hygiene markets, which is a huge realm of advertising, & sex/relationships being brought into ads in a great many more fields) is an enemy of capitalism, & that advertising takes relationships that have a chance to work out & dashes them on the rocks of ever-increasing insecurity.  I do think it cuts both ways.  Is every relationship or person vulnerable to this advertising?  No.  But are some?  Certainly.  Enough are that I think commercialism tries to pre-empt & destroy the happy relationship, because how can you be happy in your marriage unless you buy her that $2 million diamond that will make her love you again?  Even though you'll have to take 3 jobs to do it & she'll leave you for someone she can spend time with before that?  But then we'll have you back at square one!  & if he thinks you're aging the slightest bit, won't he trade you in for a younger model?  Don't you need age-defying pancakes?
-Also, I don't think happiness is the end-all & be-all goal... Lisha's right... & that hasn't changed just because I've started being happy.  However, when people are made to be less happy for artificial & stupid reasons, I think it's still bad.  & when people are helping defeat the menaces of crass commercialism, that's still good.  Happiness can be incidental to good values, but in this case, they happen to coincide.
-In conclusion, my philosophy tends towards admitting that people are innately dependent, while Lisha tends more towards promoting independence.  Not surprising at all, & this spawns most of our disagreements.  Though she's giving more room to dependence than in the old days, so there's notable change there.  For most people, I would argue, though, friendships are nice, but don't cut it on the loneliness front.  But I'll buy that there are always exceptions.

20 January 2003
-What closes & doesn't for MLKJ Day seems to be very haphazard.  My work doesn't close, so off I go.
-The other night, Em, Sep, & I sat through perhaps the most dreadful TV show EVER.  It's called "What Not to Wear" & involves a random person whose fashion sense is judged to be "inadequate" being set up by all their friends & then having everything they wear being thrown out & replaced with stuff that the establishment finds acceptable, not to mention expensive.  Beyond the assumption that everyone wants nothing more out of life than to look like a model (forget comfort), this show is filled with ridicule towards everyone that has a soul &/or fails to be vacuous.  We watched the rest of it (a full hour) just because we wanted to get righteously indignant, though I was mostly left feeling naseous, especially when the initially resistant victim of the show ended up saying she felt better about herself afterwards with $5,000 worth of new uncomfortable ugly-but-politically-correct clothes, makeup, & hair.  Yecch.  This reminded me of something that I think is a big wrench for American capitalism & really throws it off... people in happy relationships.  I think Em & I might've felt a lot more vulnerable to the show a couple years ago when insecurity about one's romantic life can convince you that TLC or MTV have things to say about how you can find the right person for you.  But now it just looked like a self-evident farce, because how could we need to impress someone who themselves is probably vacuous with stupid clothing changes?  As Brandzel has long talked about, people in happy relationships have so much less reason to be insecure & consume, making them the ultimate enemy of capitalism.  In this context, (here comes the real thrust of my argument) the collapse of successful marriage as a common thing in the last 25 years may have much more to do with the increase in commercialism in said time, especially with the expansion of advertisement & negative/insecurity-based advertising.  Take that, right-wing conservatives!  It's really your business-oriented muck that's responsible for the decline of the traditional family!
-For even more fun & games, you can now witness the results of the Quiz, which will be updated weekly just like the Search of the Week.

19 January 2003
-With the addition of the quiz, it should probably surprise no one that last week broke the prior week's record for visitors, which sets a new mark all-time.  At this rate, I'll be like the 1990's stock market.  Pageviews are also off the charts for the past two days, as many are required to see the quiz.  This is very cool in my book, & may someday inspire me to make another quiz or equally intensive project.  For now, just keep taking the quiz.  & thanks to all who've enjoyed it & said so.
-Laundry is nice to have out of the way after a good long procrastinatory time.
-Not a whole lot to report today, in general, but it was good.  Hanging out, eating, watching a little TV, & so on.  A nice even pace to things.

18 January 2003
-I've finally done it.  After days of coding & almost endless frustration with an abortive attempt at understanding the fundamentals of radio buttons (they seem to only work in exceedingly large numbers, not in single pairs), BluePyramid InterActive is born with the Country Quiz, your opportunity to find out what country in the world is most closely matched with your personality!  I've spent a lot of time on this, so you'd better enjoy it & spread the word!  I'm really curious to see what results people get, so let me know if you get a chance.

You're Ireland!
Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this makes you intriguing.  You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice.  You're good with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato.  You really don't like snakes.
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

-I promise I didn't rig the quiz so I'd get the above answer, but I think it's pretty funny that I did nonetheless.  See how devoted I am to this Quiz?  I even posted the code for it in my webpage, an unprecedented move!
-Ack!!  I already screwed up!  If you took the quiz before 9:30 am Pacific Time today, go back & take it again.  At least if you got this question.  The question used to give you the choice between "work hard, play hard" & "work hard, play harder", but this was just me transcribing poorly.  The REAL question gives you the choice between "work hard, play hard" & "work hard, WORK harder", the last choice having no play at all.  This made the difference for Em between Texas (not what she should've actually gotten) & Turkey (what she did actually get with the corrected question).  Trust me, I don't believe that Turkey & Singapore play harder than Brazil & Texas.  So if you got one of those 4 countries, you should probably take it again.  & I'm sorry if you got Texas inadvertantly.  If this doesn't apply to you, I'm pretty sure that no other questions are messed up & you should enjoy the quiz!

17 January 2003
-Nursing a migraine doesn't help productivity in the day.  I cleaned the house a little but not much else.  I had vivid dreams last night (they've all been vivid lately, somehow) about being in a 3-year masters degree program & that was plenty scary.
-Sep has arrived for a week-long visit, his furthest west lifetime, edging Kingston, Ontario by about 1,700 miles or so.  There will be a great deal of fun, philosophy, & so forth.

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