Hello Toothface Fans!

It’s fun to look at the web site statistics for Dactyl Manor and discover how people accessed the site. For instance, a huge number of visitors are looking for information about anime conventions (clearly I need to break out the convention list by genre in addition to location, date and event name); and although a growing number of people are using recent versions of Internet Explorer, there are still quite a few using versions 4, 5, and 6. (For crying out loud! Upgrade already! Or get Firefox! Sheesh!)
One of the other interesting statistics is how people arrived at this site. About half either came directly to a page they already knew, or followed a link from another page on the site. That’s pretty normal.
The two most frequent sources of external referrals are Google and Yahoo. No big surprises there either.
What did surprise me though is that the third most common source of referrals to Dactyl Manor is Luke’s Blog! So far this month, more than 330 people have arrived here via http://toothface.blogspot.com/. The actual number of referrals is even higher though, because a link to Dividing by Zero appears in the list of “friends” links on every page of Luke’s blog and people have been clicking those links too.
This of course raises the question, why are so many of Luke’s readers heading over here? What on Earth would cause so many people from the Lancaster Theological Seminary to visit my site?
And then it hit me, they’re looking for background information on their Pastor-in-training!
That certainly puts a new light on this site. I’ve never before had so many members of the religious community interested in my activities. (Hopefully none of them are offended by the Naked Eye Candy!)
And what should I say about Luke? He’s a friend, so should I be talking him up? Should I tell the tales of how for as long as I’ve known Luke, he’s been taking blankets and dinner to the homeless?
Or do I tell the truth and write about how for years he’s been carrying on with a married* woman? And to complicate the matter, this married woman, we’ll call her “Kate”, recently gave birth to Luke’s child! Does this guy know no shame?
And then there’s the question of Luke’s wife whom I also consider a friend. Does she know about “Kate”? I’m not really comfortable being the one to tell her, but then again, wouldn’t it better for her to find out from a friend than from a complete stranger?
And you also have to wonder, are the folks at LTS aware that Luke is a Cylon?
On the one hand, the ability to keep quiet is frequently a valuable (and quite rare) skill. On the other hand, isn’t there a responsibility to tell the truth?
It’s a tough call. But when I started to write Dividing by Zero, I knew it was possible that strangers might one day read it.
It appears that day is here.


*OK, sure. “Kate” is is in fact Luke’s wife, Kate; it’s to be expected that they’d spend time together. But it’s not nearly as sensational when you phrase it that way and I do want people to keep coming back.

Another Day, Another Wylie Nickname

When he isn’t busy teleporting, or destroying furniture, Wylie loves to collect nicknames. He is truly “The Dog of a Thousand Names.”
This past weekend was spent visiting my parents, and as usual Wylie came along.
He’s been very well behaved lately, so when it was time to get in the car, I put him in his harness, but instead of clipping the leash on, I just carried it and let him walk out on his own. We walked out to the car and once the door was open, Wylie hopped right in and stood on the back seat, waiting to be buckled up.
The first stop on the trip was at my aunt’s house. A few minutes after arriving, I took Wylie’s harness and leash off and let him run around my aunt’s and cousin’s dogs. I only had to call him back to the porch one time, and when it was time to leave, he followed me straight to the car again.
Likewise, coming home on Monday afternoon, Wylie allowed me to put him in his harness and he walked straight to the car, all set to go for a ride.
We arrived home around 5:00. I unhooked his harness and let him hop out of the car while I gathered one or two things from the floor of the back seat. As I started back to the house, I realized that Wylie was no longer with me.
Looking around, I realized what had happened. We’d arrived just in time for Wylie’s usual early evening walk and he was walking himself! By the time I realized what was going on, Wylie was already two doors down, following our usual route. I called his name, whistled once, and Wylie realized he’d jumped the gun and came trotting back.
Because after all, one of Wylie’s nicknames is Good Boy!
And he likes hearing it as much as I like saying it.

Late for Work

I was late for work last Thursday. To fully appreciate why, you need to understand three important facts about my neighborhood:

  1. Washington Gas is currently working to replace the gas lines. (I much prefer this to having the neighborhood explode one evening.)
  2. On Thursday morning, a work crew arrived a little before 8:00 and removed a steel plate they’d installed a few days earlier, leaving a hole and blocking that end of the street.
  3. I live on a cul de sac.

The view from my front door.
The view from my front door.
The road was completely blocked with vehicles, equipment, and a hole in the pavement.
The road, completely blocked with vehicles, equipment, and a hole in the road.

Teleportation

Before I leave for work in the morning, I put a gate up across the top of the stairs. The idea behind this is that with a gate blocking his path, Wylie will stay upstairs instead of trying to get Terry into trouble.
Yesterday I came home and found Wylie sitting in the living room. Today I came home and found him in the basement. (I fear that the next stage will have him burrowing his way out, under the foundation.) In both cases, the gate was undisturbed.
My conclusion is that Wylie read Wednesday’s post and wants to demonstrate that he darn well can teleport!

Jumper

The premise of the movie Jumper is that there are people who are able to teleport themselves anywhere in the world by concentrating on the location they want to be in. It wasn’t a great movie, but it’s a fun concept.
Three times in the past week, I’ve come home to find Wylie sitting in the living room, patiently waiting for me to come home. Wylie would very much like to have people believe that he has the power of teleportation.
The problem with Wylie’s claim is that on two of those occasions, the gate at the top of the stairs had been knocked completely over and most recently, the bottom had been pushed out of place.

The Quick Brown Fox… on Steroids

I needed some “filler text” recently and for whatever reason couldn’t access the Lorem Ipsum generator. Word used to have a feature where you’d type =Random(x,y) (where x and y are integers) and it would automatically write “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy yellow dog” and repeat it x-number of times in each of y-number of paragraphs. I haven’t been able to get that to work in a number of years, so I set out to write my own filler text.
Problem is, I’m Blair. My filler text sentence is slightly longer than what Word used to create. But I only had to repeat it once per paragraph.
Continue reading The Quick Brown Fox… on Steroids

Noah

There’s a lot of music on The Funny Music Project’s web site which is dumb, off-color, way-too-geeky for even me or, in many instances, some combination of the three. But every so often, somebody will post a song that you can’t help liking.
I think “Noah” falls into that category. And as one commenter said, now I have something besides “Yoda” to think of the next time I hear “Lola” on the radio.

E-ZPass is Too Much Trouble

I got a letter from E-ZPass a few days ago which says that starting July 1, 2009 they’re adding a few new charges. I’d heard that the Maryland legislature had told them they could add fees, but I (rather naively) hoped smarter people would prevail.
I’m a casual user of the E-ZPass system. I use it a half-dozen or so times each year. For most of the year the Maryland Transportation Authority just kicks back and collects interest on my account balance.
The letter doesn’t spell out all the new fees, but visiting the Maryland E-ZPass web site, details of the new fees (PDF file) were only a few clicks away.

  • Monthly Account Charge.
    A monthly account charge of $1.50 will be deducted from all E-ZPass Maryland accounts.

    WTF*? The system saves them money (the E-ZPass lane has no toll collector), means fewer cars in the backups at the toll plazas, and also means fewer cars in that backup idling their engines and contributing their tailpipe emissions to the atmosphere. So because it’s good, they’re going to add a fee to discourage me from using it? WTF?

  • E-ZPass Transponders.
    All new or replacement devices must be purchased.

    If I have to buy the transponder, does that mean it’s now legally mine? (Previously, I believe it had to be returned.) And if I’m buying the transponder, what does that monthly fee cover? Executive compensation?

  • Commuter Discount Program.
    The duration of E-ZPass Maryland commuter discount plans will be reduced from 60 days to 45 days.

    Doesn’t affect me personally, but it still sounds like the people who use it are getting screwed. Shouldn’t they be encouraging people to use something that saves the Maryland Transportation Authority money?

  • E-ZPass Shoppers Plan for the Bay Bridge.
    A new Bay Bridge plan will be offered for Bay Bridge customers. The Shoppers Plan costs $10 and is good for 10 trips that may be used Sunday through Thursday only and expires after six months.

    Again, doesn’t affect me personally, but this may be the only positive in the thing

  • Notice of Toll Due.
    Traveling through any lane in the toll facility without providing sufficient payment for the toll due will cost $3 + toll due. The notice will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

    I don’t have a huge problem with the intention on this one; essentially it’s a penalty for not keeping your account in good shape. Similar to a bounced check fee in some ways. The problem is, this gives the people running the system an incentive to “forget” to replenish your account, or “accidentally” charge you in hopes that you won’t notice. Of course, as we all know, public officials are completely above that sort of behav… Damn. I couldn’t even hold a straight face while typing that.

  • Toll Violation Charge.
    Failure to pay the toll due by the deadline will result in a $25 fee in addition to the $3 + toll due.

    OK, so first off, you have a non-law enforcement authority issuing fines. That’s troublesome in and of itself, but nothing new. But in addition to the fine, there’s a fee for collecting the fine… That just seems stupid.

Screw it. This isn’t worth the added costs. I’m going to cancel my account.
* As you know, the ‘F’ in WTF means “Frak.” As in “What The Frak? Do they think I’m not going to notice a huge spike in what this thing costs?” If you prefer Farscape over Battlestar Galactica, you may substitute “Frell” for “Frak.”

Parking Break

At work today we had an all-day waste of time meeting at a hotel about two miles from the office.
We had our first break about 10 minutes into the meeting. That’s when the facilitator mentioned that cars which didn’t have a special ticket on display would be towed and half the people in the room ran out to their cars.
(They probably should have printed that on the ticket….)