The Discarded Image
(3-12 October 2005)

12 October 2005
-I am a 25-year-old with a bad back.  This is just a fact of existence, one that I'm going to have to get even more used to as time progresses.  I was a 20-year-old with a thrown-out back, & that makes one a person with a bad back for the rest of one's life.  It means periodic tweaks & twinges creating a lack of desire to walk, drive, or do anything other than lie down or sit for days in a row.  That come from nothing, from a mere stretch.  It doesn't happen often (maybe 10 times since Scotland), but it reminds me of this impossible fact:  I am a 25-year-old with a bad back.
-In 15 minutes, Ireland plays Switzerland for World Cup contention.  & I'm excited about this; I care!  Curse you, David Kunkel, making me care about soccer!  &, to be fair, curse you EA Sports!  & while we're at it, congrats DK on your team (Iran) making it in.  After Eire eliminated them a few years ago, it's been rough going for the Iranian squad, so it's nice to see them finally final.
-A draw & it looks like Ireland is out for the first time in quite a while.  Sadness.
-The NeoCounter, which I really liked, is now off the front page as the free counter no longer tracks all the international visitors, just those online at the moment, which just isn't that neat.  It was nice to see visitors from 131 nations come through the front door while the counter was up, but I'm not making enough money on this site yet to buy it bells & whistles like that.

11 October 2005
-Felt super blukky all day yesterday, while managing to get very little accomplished.  RMI has a News & Updates page now, & the Google ads seem to all be about quizzes or hit counters (not really shocking), so I think watchdog duties will not be needed after all.  There's a lot of piddly stuff I want to look at today, from graphics to book lists to eBay to car rentals to... well, this list is mostly for my reference anyway.  In two days, I won't be seeing a computer four days & that's going to be a very new thing for me in the last few years.  Exciting in a way, especially when the rest of the trip's aspects are very exciting.
-Many of you out there are very close to Italics Purgatory.  This is a public service announcement so no one can come back decrying their page link going diagonal.  If you last updated in early September, I'm looking at you.  & there are a lot to look at.
-I've somehow gotten roped into watching a lot of baseball despite actively disliking or hating 6 of the 8 playoff teams & only barely liking the Cards as the only team that's now left I don't hate.  Luckily, they seem to be the easy pick to win at this point.  The Red Sox are out, but so are the Yankees, so I can't complain much.  Now I find myself in the distasteful position of rooting for the Angels in the ALCS... sigh.  But there are no alternatives; we all know how I feel about Chicago.
-I've been adding quotations atop most of the quiz pages to show some of the notoriety the quizzes have gotten & encourage interest in them.  In my quest for some more of these, I ran across this ridiculously flattering article at a place called Children Come First.  Their description of me at the bottom is way over the top.  Absurd hyperbole, but it makes me think I might just be having an impact on peoples' lives after all.

10 October 2005
-It would seem computers can be rather fickle beasts.  At least for some folks.
-All right.  The Blue Pyramid is now officially part of AdSense.  & I need you guys to be my eyes & ears in one certain way.  Please let me know if you see any ads whose content you think I'd disagree with.  You don't have to check a lot or worry about this... just let me know if you happen to stumble across an ad you think I'd find disagreeable... you know, something for the military or meat or something like that.  There are ways I can filter things out to prevent such ads from coming up, but I won't be checking my pages all the time.  Also, you shouldn't either, because I can get in trouble if people obsessively refresh or click or anything, so just use the BP as you normally would.  Let me know if there's anything offensive to me.

9 October 2005
-I really hate parties.  Little makes me so depressed as a party, especially one that doesn't have a central activity, such as a game or perhaps dancing.
-Life just never gets easy.  No matter what.
-Never been to a baby shower before.  It's nice to see one that's not just for females.
-Went to a highly fun Albatross pub quiz night again, with just the team that's the current incarnation of the Big Blue House.  So sad that the BBH is going to be done in March.  But so it goes.  In the meantime, we once again jumped out to an early good showing, only to get rocked by the picture & music rounds & finish in a disappointing place.  We did get a perfect 12-for-12 in the second round, which was sweet.  I swept the individual round (3-for-3) but didn't get drawn this time, which is only fair after last week.

8 October 2005
Happy Birthday to Kaitlin Dean
-Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, you now have a new mission.  Do not walk, do not run, but sprint to your favorite local movie theater & watch "Wallace & Gromit:  The Curse of the Were-Rabbit".  I'm not even a little kidding.  It is currently the best movie of 2005, & it's running with the best preview of any era, the one for HP4.  Yowza!  It beat my expectations by a mile, & my expectations were WAY up there.
-Spent the day at Children's Fairyland & a second showing of the abovementioned film with Paul V & Natty (& of course their parents).  Was a grand day out.  The animals are by far the best part of each.

7 October 2005
-I won $100.11 in poker yesterday, $20 of it at our live poker night & $80.11 of it prior during a couple of online stints.  It was, as they say, sweet.  Now I just need to find ways to replicate this every day & I'll be set.  After the slight losing streak I'd been on, though, this is so much more than welcome.  Poker night (live) also featured the debut of the shark hat (in the poker context), Kevin cleaning up & almost catching Fish's single-night profit record, & Anna playing absurdly conservatively (i.e. no flops for 2 hours) & then winning pretty big.  'Twas a very fun night indeed & ended with discussion of me possibly getting another quiz gig.  I may have my lows from time to time, but I dare anyone to compete with my highs.  I have so much fun in this life & don't let anyone tell you differently.  Right now it's sweet blessed October & I'm on top of the world.
-This just in... my Dad has cataracts in both eyes.  This is as not as bad news as it could be given modern surgery practices, but it's still sad & a little scary.  Methinks it might have something to do with the lightning strike in June, but either way, he won't be able to have surgery till December.  They tend to go fine, so I shouldn't worry but it's still quite a shock to the system.
-Mission accomplished.  At least it's a start.  We're on the board, as they say, as yesterday more than tripled the previous record (which was set on Sunday) for unique visitors at RMI.  Next up, we have to see how the Google ranks improve in the coming weeks.
-Well GreenAds turned me down, without giving any sort of explicable reason, so I'm left to assume that they want sites which are more explicitly "Green" in some way.  Mayhap I should've called it the Green Pyramid.  If they'd done their homework, citing articles like this, they'd understand that the most environmentally conscious people are in my generation, & the average audience age of BP & its quizzes is probably 18.5 years.  So I would be a theoretical gold mine for them.  But oh well, I'll find something else socially responsible to advertise.  Meanwhile, methinks I'm the only person in Generation Y who likes the phrase "Generation Y".  Mostly because I like the actual word it sounds like, & like the conception of a whole generation that asks those questions behind the questions.  I don't like that it's also that we came after X, but nothing's perfect.  We have to reclaim our generational appellation!
-Follow up:  a little research reveals that up to 55% of lightning strike victims suffer cataracts almost immediately afterwards, sometimes including people as young as my age.  So that mystery seems to be solved.  Hopefully this understanding will give my Dad's surgeons some more insight as well, since he didn't mention the lightning strike to them yet.

6 October 2005
-When I get into poker, I can really get into poker.  Of course, I feel like this could go for anything.  & does.
-Welcome back to IntroSPOOKtion!  I must say this may be my favorite graphic that I've ever done for all the Intro's, be they 'spec or 'spook.  Might have to keep it up all year...
-Have to throw a shoutout to Ahn's Burger, my new favorite hangout just a few blocks away.  It's right by the Lake & reminds me that I've been meaning to go down there & feed the geese & seagulls.  & despite it's meaty sounding name, they have tons of great vegie food, including the best cheap grilled cheese & fries on the menu in the Bay Area!  Sad that we've lived here so long without discovering it earlier.
-So the poker ads are gone & I've applied to join GreenAds, which is strangely a .com, but otherwise seems spiffy.  We'll see.  I never felt great about the poker stuff, plus they weren't really working since they were based on not only a click-through, but a click-through-to-actually-sign-up.  I'm much more interested in something that works off of straight hits, like traditional advertising.  Normally you get ad dollars based on how many people are going to see the ad, as in TV, newspaper, or billboard ads, not based on how many people buy the product.  I like that system way better.
-I'm just lethargic today, but I still got some things done, including finishing the blasted e-mail list bounces (43% of our 3500 e-mails bounced & I had to reconcile that with the database!).  I'll be plenty productive tomorrow...

5 October 2005
-Dusted off an old game last night only to discover just how much my graphics card really is horrible.  I got it to work (barely), but only because of the collective wisdom of the internet.  Crazy stuff.
-Are people really into podcasting?  How many people out there really listen to this stuff?

4 October 2005
-A pretty staid day overall, but I made progress on the tedious parts of the site work.  Also have revamped the bottom of the results page for every single one of the first four quizzes (320 result pages total) to include links to every other quiz, including the Trains and Railroads Quiz, as well as the upcoming University Quiz, which will be out sometime this winter if all goes according to plan.  Now I have to figure out if in this bout of improvement to the quizzes, I want to also fix some images from the State Quiz & the Animal Quiz.  In the former, some images are just too large, whereas in the latter, some images are way too large but at least appear in their condensed form.  Fixing both would take a decent amount of work, but would make improvements on the experience of quiz-takers & their webpages, making them slightly more likely to post image results as well.  So despite my normal objections to revisions of existing things, I probably will undertake this before too long.  Maybe I'm just looking for more reasons to work with my snazzy graphics-editing program.
-Also really need to kick the quest for new quality advertising into high-gear.  & archive this page.  & stuff.
-"Junebug" was phenomenally well-acted, but also had some flaws.  I'm really tired of this growing trend in movies that a small little part of the plot is that everybody smokes or wants to smoke, & that they all are always bumming on the side.  I know it's a little tiny thing, but it seems to come up in tons of movies, & it bugs the crud out of me.  Even more so knowing that at least in some movies, the presence of this subplot is bought & paid for.  But the movie, other than that, is very very real.  & for that I liked it very much.

3 October 2005
-Went to the Albatross pub quiz again, this time a fab four under the banner of the Sad Panda Express.  We got rocked, mostly by things like the music round & the photo round.  Without Gris, we had some tough times.  Consolation, however, was found in the individual round, where I somehow finagled four pint glasses for third place despite only getting two of the three questions correct.  I really enjoy the Albatross, as much as I could enjoy any bar.
-Congratulations to Brian & Lina for making finals at Smith this weekend!  Plus Nir & Collins missed the break by a rank.  So glad to see success for 'Deis, especially early in the season, not to mention the wonderfully crazy team names.  Hopefully Brian can convince Lina to at least come back for Nationals.  & while I'm on the subject, I find it a little sad that I have to link to a forum posting to show you the results rather than, say, the official website.  Some critics may not have found my maintenance of the APDA site to be worthwhile, but I at least kept things looking somewhat official.  I was reading through the debate they're having about the website on said forum & in a fit of nostalgia considered volunteering to webmaster the site in its interim struggles, but then realized that I haven't even done everything I need to maintain my own site, & some of this relates directly to promoting the site that I'm doing as my job now.  So, priorities.  At least for now.  & speaking of that, if anyone out there is in the market for a quiz to promote their site or business or what have you, I am officially in the quiz-selling market.  Price is negotiable.  I do reserve the right to have to at least somewhat agree with whatever I'm promoting, of course.  I can guarantee massive traffic flow & ridiculously improved Google ranking over time.
-Will someone please explain to me the appeal of having a "last 50 livejournal images" page?  Once a very small-time operation, there are now tens of these pages actively floating around the internet.  Why?  What use could these possibly serve for either the host or the guest?  & why, once one or two folks had done it, do others feel the need for same?  Bizarre.
-I freely admit that the Search of the Week this week is pretty poor, especially on the Yahoo side, but really on both sides.  This has been an ongoing issue lately, & frankly I'm a little concerned about the statistics tracking my host is using, since it isn't matching up with my other stat-trackers that well, or even with Alexa.  Ah well.  This week's Top Visitor Town was the 3rd from California, tying it with British Columbia for the top state/province in winning the TVT.

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