Matt Brundage

Archive for the 'random' category

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Little-known facts

Since moving to Silver Spring in 2005, I’ve walked approximately 1,568 miles to and from the Forest Glen Metro Station. That’s about 490 hours of walking.

conformation Despite my ardent Catholic faith, I have never been confirmed. This is even more astounding when you consider that the sacrament of confirmation is a prerequisite to the sacrament of marriage.

I’ve been using Quicken on a daily basis since October 1, 1993. I just recently persuaded Annie to join me and now she is all excited.

I’ve made 12,033 edits (and counting) to the English version of Wikipedia. An average of more than one edit per day since birth.

Circa 2001 or 2002, I was scrounging around in the music section of a used book store — trying to find an LP or 45 with the song “Go Away Little Girl” by Steve Lawrence. Randomly, I struck up a conversation with the man standing next to me; I got to telling him what I was trying to find. Turns out the man was Steve Lawrence’s cousin or something. The Odds! I was too astonished to react appropriately, so I muttered something cursory like, “oh, wow, that’s cool.” The mind boggles when I try to calculate the odds of something like that ever happening. To anyone. Ever again.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Brain Dump, post-Memorial Day Edition I wonder what effect — if any — Billy Graham’s Crusades and ministry had on the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council. Ecumenicism is a major part of Vatican II and was one of Graham’s hallmarks.

Mixing equal parts Mike’s Hard Lemonade™ and regular lemonade should yield Mike’s Somewhat Firm Yet Pliable Lemonade™. Likewise, equal parts Mike’s Hard™ and, say, grain alcohol, should yield Mike’s Extremely Difficult™.

Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cloudy” may not be Paul Simon’s best song, but the arrangement is top-notch. If there is ever a Baroque-pop revival, “Cloudy” should serve as the blueprint.

Jens Meiert is delving deeper into the increasing pedantry that is long-term HTML/CSS maintenance.

Politician A from Political Party X just did [something]! If instead, Politician B from Political Party Y had just done [something], then media and public reaction would be totally different. Double standard! (wash, rinse, and repeat)

(\s\?[^>]|[^< ]\?\w|\?\s(?-i:[a-z])|“|”|’|?|?|?|—| \s|\s |(?-i:the) FAA(?!\s(?-i:[A-Z<]))|(?<!<cf.*)&(\s|(?!(\w{2,5}|#\d{2,5});)))

I’ve decided that I thoroughly enjoy swimming at the beach. Not just wading up to my knees like a little girl but actually swimming.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Mid-month roundup

…This is how I know that I’m a bad blogger: Last week, Annie, her two eldest sisters, and I spent a week out west, conquering the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and the open road, yet I have no blog post to show for it! During our stay, we averaged about 100 photos per day. An unwieldy photo gallery is forthcoming, I promise. And, perhaps, some quality commentary.

…Warren Buffett has given us the green light to start investing again; I’m hopeful that next week will be another solid rebuilding week for the Dow. I’ve sufficiently rationalized my “losses” thus far; I’m truly no longer affected by them. It’s all play money until you have to use it. As I focus the bulk of my investments in retirement accounts, a decreasing percentage of my portfolio hinges on the day-to-day rise and fall of stocks.

…Lately, I’ve been enamored by the work of one J.D. Roth, owner and writer of both Get Rich Slowly and Get Fit Slowly. Every day, I’m in awe at the consistent quality of his work. He’s introduced me to a number of related financial sites. With the wealth of good, free financial information available, it’s a wonder why anyone would choose to hire a financial advisor — unless, of course, one dislikes dealing with his financial situation. As for me, I revel in it. At times, I worry that I worry too much about money. I seriously wouldn’t mind getting randomly audited by the IRS. It would be a pleasant experience for me.

On a related note, sometimes I wish that I had significant consumer debt, only because it would be personally gratifying to pay it off. I’m intrigued by stories of people in debt, and the methods they use to overcome their debt and their bad habits. It would be an incredible feeling of accomplishment to eliminate, say, massive credit card debt. The source of your problems is literally subtracted out of existence.

…I was recently bestowed with a couple of quality “seasoned” laptops that my company had long since abandoned: a four-year-old IBM ThinkPad and a slightly older Dell Inspiron 8100. Both are steps up from my current notebook, a Windows 2000-era Dell that makes a grating grinding sound whenever it’s turned on. Oh, and the touchpad frustratingly registers false clicks at random.

…Some of my coworkers and I have just moved into a swing space, as our office area is being renovated. The problem is that it’s four floors below street level, in a secluded, bomb-proof room with no air flow — conditioned or otherwise. I keep telling myself that at least I’m not working in a uranium mine in Novosibirsk, Russia. I’m entertaining the idea of not shaving or otherwise grooming myself for the duration of our stay in the dungeon, as a quiet protest.

…I’m off to the Maryland Renaissance Festival later today, so I suppose that I will take in a couple of turkey legs and a significant amount of jerky. (Annie cannot resist the jerky vendor.) It will be good to be a part of such a large gathering of geeks. No swords allowed. :-(

Friday, 13 June 2008

This post best viewed…

  • …in a browser. Ideal specimens, in descending order, are Firefox 3, Opera 9.5, Safari 3.1, Firefox 2, IE7. Browser chrome should be optimized to increase viewable page area. Application(s) should — naturally — be maximized.
  • …with an operating system released this decade on a PC manufactured after 2003. An Internet connection speed of at least 200kbps. Memory of at least 512mb. A system not infected with viruses or spyware.
  • …with a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768, although 800×600 is still unofficially supported.
  • …on a computer monitor with a contrast ratio of at least 600×1, at least 80 candelas per square meter (nits), and an ambient correlated color temperature of approximately 5000K. Ideal monitor connections are, in descending order, HDMI, Display Port, DVI, and VGA. Additionally, other factors will affect viewing, including proper visual perception and adequate room lighting (indirect natural sunlight and/or shielded halogens are recommended).

Additionally, readers should possess a strong command of the English language and should have the ability to detect such subtleties as irony, parody, and attempts at wry humor. Reading this post while under extreme mental anguish or substantial physical pain is not recommended.

Monday, 4 February 2008

CSS, cookies

CSS file size I’ve been meaning to publish this for a while, but was never really motivated. Image: a graph of the changing weight of the main CSS file of this site. I’m not sure how much one could glean from this information — it doesn’t tell you the efficiency of the CSS declarations, only the size of the file. This file is important to the site, as every page accesses it and is styled by it. For that reason, it pays to keep the file small and compact.

There’s not really that much I can tell you about the graph. Summer 2004 saw my discovery of the Firefox browser — the CSS file promptly increased fourfold as I started to rely on CSS for layout purposes. It’s hard to believe now, but before summer 2004, I was coding solely in IE. The peak file size came in April 2006, as the CSS file was bloated after I had recently installed the WordPress blogging software. I’ve since been moving declarations into the WordPress template CSS file. Nothing to write home about, I know…

Next, I’d like to give mad props to Ray and Jade for bringing those wonderful chocolate chip cookies to the party on Saturday. Wow. It’s a wonder that Jade isn’t pushing 200 lbs with the mastery that Ray displays in the kitchen.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Senior Citizen discounts

Poverty Rates by Age Put an end to senior citizen discounts. You read that correctly. No more 1/2 off breakfast platters at Denny’s and IHOP. No more $3 off movie tickets. No more discounted hotel rooms or plane rides.

The myth that seniors fall into poverty when they retire couldn’t be further from the truth, as a visit to the Census Bureau website will attest. In 2006, the percentage of seniors (those over 64) in poverty was a mere 9.4% — about 25% less than the national average. Minors (those under 18) were almost twice as likely to be in poverty, with a rate of 17.4%.

If an establishment must discriminate based on age, a “minor discount” or “under-18 discount” would be the most logical, as that age group has the highest levels of poverty. 45 years ago, though, seniors were the ones suffering the most. Sadly, they are still stuck with that reputation.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Curious George is not actually a monkey

No, you heard that right. Despite being referred to as one in the original books, multiple television shows, and the recent feature film, Curious George is not actually a monkey, but is more likely a stylized chimpanzee. A chimp is technically not a monkey but an ape. While the great majority of monkeys are tailless have tails, the macaque is a notable exception. George looks nothing like a macaque; the chances that his likeness was adapted from an actual monkey are slim. Curious George is not a monkey.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

My cousin, the president

My mom has a family tree program in which she’s entered literally thousands of names, some dating back centuries. One of the benefits — if you can call it that — is that you start discovering that you’re related to famous people. For instance, my mom recently emailed me with the good news:

Dick Cheney is your 9th cousin twice removed.
Franklin D Roosevelt is your 7th cousin 3 times removed.
William H Taft is your 6th cousin 5 times removed.

In other words, one of Dick Cheney’s 128 great great great great great great grandfathers happens to be one of my 512 great great great great great great great great grandfathers. And so forth. Oh, and I’m also related to George W. Bush and John Kerry, both by marriage.

I’m thinking that, if more families researched their genealogy, most would find out that they too are somehow related to famous people. But then it wouldn’t be so special.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Riddle me this

Why are there about 441,000 hits on Google for the phrase “riddle me this“, but absolutely no results for the likely answer, “I riddled him that“?

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Yo La Tengo and the Butterfly

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” —Nathaniel Hawthorne

Medium Image My parents actually had a framed poster of this quote hanging in their bathroom for the longest time. It depicted a couple of cartoon children chasing butterflies in a 1970s-ish field of flowers. Why is this relevant today? Because I had one of those moments just recently. You see, it all started when I heard a particular Yo La Tengo song in passing on KEXP-FM. It must have struck a chord with me, because I remembered it and tried to find it. It was growing on me, but I had yet to hear it a second time! I wracked my brain, trying to Google the song by its lyrics. No luck. I thought about going into Yo La Tengo chat rooms and saying, I’m looking for this song, but I don’t know what it’s called and I don’t know the lyrics… I eventually decided against this.

Just the other day, I had my Winamp on shuffle, and all of a sudden, I heard it emanating from my speakers again! Turns out it’s called “Today is the Day” from Summer Sun. Sublime. Slow and deliberate. Earthy. Ethereal. Hazy. Hypnotic. I must have downloaded it off one of my podcasts or something, because I have no recollection of finding it. Totally insane.