confusing ad algorithms everywhere!


As I may have mentioned in the past, while I post a a fair bit the social networking site that uses the big F as it’s logo*, I tend to keep a lot of “personal” information (such as place of residence, job, and relationship status) vague at best in the profile section, as I’m a tiny bit paranoid. The system has gotten pretty good, nonetheless, at pointing me at things that correspond with interests and location (I look at something on amazon, the cookies serve me tons of ads for that product and related ones for days), it gets it wrong quite a bit, which tells me I’m usually doing something right.

Things have gotten weird the last couple of weeks, though.

Since just before Valentine’s day, I’ve been getting ads and recommended posts for various flavors (?) of KY Lubricant. I’m assuming this probably happens for people who read as a certain age and married around that particular holiday (though I’m not sure how I feel about what this says about how demographiers see folks of my vintage), so other than a couple of laughs, I wrote it off.

Today, however, I got served an ad for a law firm specializing in “men’s family law“, as in “this firm can be trusted to represent the man’s perspective in a divorce”.

Oh yeah, they totally read me wrong on that one.

I guess they figured since I wasn’t responding in any way to the personal lubricant pitches, they’d move on to the next step down the line, assuming that I didn’t need the first product, it was likely that I needed this new service.

I almost expect to see a parallel effort sending me ads for waifu anime body pillows to cover all the bases.

But I really hope not. Ew.


* – In my old age, I find that I really only derive benefit from one social media service at a time. A few years ago, it was almost exclusively the one with the bird on it specializing in short messages, though that one’s changed quite a bit in the last couple of years, and it’s a pain in the ass to sift through and navigate now, and not particularly useful for much besides following celebrities – it’s not even as good at grabbing “immediate” temperature checks on the latest news story anymore. So now I use the one that started out as a pain in the ass, but has gotten more useful as I’ve been better able to obsessively maintain and curate my list of contacts. Either way, it’s hard to really pay attention to more than one at a time for me, which, as a non-millennial, is probably expected.


hey tuesday…


I’m getting a tiny bit of a breather on a Tuesday morning, which has, so far, been filled with all sorts of “absolultey HOT, need ASAP!” tasks waiting for me that hit my email after 4pm on Friday, though a cursory look at the email trail for context shows that the people needing them “ASAP!” have had them since at least Thursday morning. Oh well, because I’m an early riser, they had all their stuff before 7am (and the folks asking can barely be bothered to come in before 10).

Today’s also the day that I have to go beg politely but firmly make my case for a small-but-not-insignificant amount of budget that’ll save millions down the road, but given the current climate around the organization, its going to be like pulling teeth to get that little bit. This crap is the kind of thing I really hate about where my career has taken me. I used to be the guy who got into the weeds to analyze the crap out of a problem then fix it. I don’t get to do that anymore; instead, I go to meetings, answer emails, and agonize over budgets and busywork program management documentation that nobody’s even going to look at.

This, I guess, I is what I have to put up with for the alleged big bucks.

The weekend wasn’t bad, after some serious interpersonal stress stuff Thursday/Friday (plus a house full of teenagers all Friday afternoon and evening). Saturday I spent some time playing music with friends/co-conspirators, and the stuff we’re creating actually sounds pretty good. I ran a Dungeons and Dragons game for newbies, and everybody had fun, and told me I “DM awesome”, which I guess is a complement.

Sunday, I went to the VA auto show and saw some neat cars, and made friends with an awesome dog who I kind of wanted to adopt but she doesn’t get along with cats.

And Monday, the federal holiday, I got my car aligned in the morning, and my spine aligned in the afternoon. Both are working much more effectively now.

I’m hoping I’m good for the rest of the week after the aforementioned stuff above gets sorted out (which should, mostly be today, but might rear it’s head later this week as well…damn). Otherwise, the Humdingers have a new song in the offing, and I need to spend a little time sticking the bottom end on (and maybe some other stuff if it fits) once the scratch recordings end up in my hands. I’m looking forward to that. Gonna listen to some swing music in the background today to get in the proper mood.


friday random eleven: “fifteen” edition


Happy Friday, folks. This week’s been, not exactly uneventful (in fact, on some higher conceptual levels, it’s been pretty damned eventful indeed), but it’s passed quickly and quietly for the most part. Weird Virginia weather, sinus pressure a constant annoyance, the usual political noise, and Valentine’s/Discount Candy Day, depending on your perspective.

Today is, however Friday, leading into a long weekend thanks to Presidents’ Day. I’ll take it.

Today is also the fifteenth birthday of my middle, only male child. We don’t always see eye-to-eye (though with the way he’s grown in the last year, we’re almost there in terms of relative size), and we rarely understand each other (teenagers and their slang, I say!), but all told, I’m not ready to send him back. Birthday plans include a bunch of teenagers eating pizza and playing video games in my house this afternoon/evening, and we’re talking about hitting the Motor Trend International Auto Show in town this weekend to go take a look at a bunch of neat cars and take some pictures. I’m hoping for a little bonding, at least.

I’ve also got some game master duties scheduled for the weekend, and likely some music assuming everyone can get their schedules together.

Of course, all the internet can talk about right now is the fact that around 6pm eastern last night, the Gen 2 Pokemon hit Pokemon Go, and I did take a little time last evening to do the loop around the village green and caught a couple of the new guys, and will probably work at least some of that into the weekend where I can.

So far, my favorite is this one, because axolotls are pretty neat creatures:

Also, since I’ve been saving up high stat eevees and candy for the last couple of months in anticipation, I managed to figure out the trick and grabbed the two new “eevee-lutions” right out of the gate. This one’s not amazing, but it fills the hole, and I can taunt somebody on a gym with him today:

So, anyway, here’s my soundtrack for the morning: pretty standard, but oh that drum break on #2:

  1. “All Messed Up” – The Donnas
  2. “In The Air Tonight” – Phil Collins
  3. “Starman” (Remastered) – David Bowie
  4. “In Your Room” – The Bangles
  5. “Easier Said” – Sunflower Bean
  6. “S.O.B.” – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  7. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  8. “Runaround” – Blues Traveler
  9. “Songs From The Wood” – Jethro Tull
  10. “Carry on My Wayward Son” – Kansas
  11. “Open Your Heart” – Madonna

Oh, and to keep the Stranger Things news coming (because that’s what I do now), yesterday, Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline compared the current administration to being trapped in the alternate world of the Upside Down. Here’s some of the choice bits:

Mornings might be for coffee and contemplation, but Chief Jim Hopper is not coming to rescue us.

This is not a TV show. This is real life. We have a president unlike any we have ever known. And like Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Eleven, we must remain focused on the task at hand and hold this administration accountable so we can escape from our own version of the upside down.


twenty-four years ago today


Valentines’ Day, February, 1993. I had gotten my ass dumped by an individual I was kinda/sorta dating my freshman year of college. Turns out I dodged a serious bullet there (phrases like “chlamydia treatments” and “kicked out of England on drug charges” would be applied to this individual in the coming months/years), but yeah, at the time, it hurt, at least a little bit.

This individual, rather than have to deal with me in the dumping aftermath (which wouldn’t have been an issue anyway, to be honest – it wasn’t that serious), put some mutual friends up to the task of keeping me occupied so I wouldn’t be a bother. Those friends, it seemed, had a plan for the next evening to hang out in somebody’s dorm room and watch some movies on videotape. They dragged me along. ‘Twas a double-feature: Sister Act and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

One of those friends had a cute roommate. A quiet, bookish brunette who’d I’d seen around before, but never really gotten to know over the previous several months. This cute roommate was it seems, driven wild with lust by my impressive ability to quote the whole of the script to that 1975 comedy classic (I shall be ever thankful for my high school Boy Scout troop for that one), causing her to latch onto me, leading us to stay up late into the night, talking about everything and anything until we passed out on her loft bed, where, much to her chagrin, she would later admit, I was a perfect gentleman.

Twenty-four years later, she’s still keeping me around, and is still occasionally driven wild with lust by my ability to quote the scripts to cult movies, but mostly, is a loving, wonderful, and still dead sexy spouse and partner who I don’t know what the heck I’d do without.

I love you.


a weekend


It was a weekend. Objectively, a beautiful weekend. It was sunny, and blew past 80° F here in central Virginia, which is weird, but not unknown in this part of the world. It was bound on either end by temperatures in the low 40s, so there is that.

Anyway, the big highlight of the weekend happened early, as illustrated photgraphically in this post. For Christmas, I bought the oldest kid tickets to the Richmond stop on the current Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox tour, which finally came round on Friday night. For those unaware, according to the wikipedia page, PMJ is a “rotating musical collective founded by arranger and pianist Scott Bradlee in 2011.” They take lots of modern pop songs and arrange them into early 20th century music genres, like ragtime, jazz and swing. There’s a rotating cast of performers (I think there are currently two tours going right now, one in the states, one in Europe), and you’ve probably seen their videos and stuff on YouTube, which is where the kid found them a while back and turned me on to them.

The kid and I had a pretty good time, doing dinner at an amazing barbecque place in town, then hitting the show. We ran into some friends (of course), and generally enjoyed the music and on-stage antics. The horn section totally stole the show, btw. We both needed it; the week leading up was pretty stressful.

Otherwise, the weekend was low-key. I did some grocery shopping, paid the bills, re-arranged some scheduled appointments, finished a book, and bought myself an angled amplifier stand. I watched my kid finish FFXV, and my wife do some alterations on her dance dress. I caught a porygon, and I spent most of the time wrestling with sinus headaches. It was…mixed.

Here’s to hoping this week is a little easier to deal with.


friday random eleven – “anachonism” edition


I’m not going to belabor anyone with stories of my week; nobody wants that, not this week, anyway.

I’m hoping for some enjoyment this evening, though, as the eldest child and I are scheduled to take in the musical stylings of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox tonight at The National downtown. And maybe some BBQ beforehand. I really hope that after the experiences I’ve so carefully alluded to over the past week, I’m able to have a good time.

I think we both need it.

Today’s tunes seem to skew pretty ’80s (and at least forty-five percent parenthetical). This isn’t a problem. Also, it’s kind of appropriate

  1. “Southern Girls” – Bangs
  2. “Hungry Like The Wolf” – Duran Duran
  3. “Walk Like an Egyptian (Extended Dance Mix) – The Bangles
  4. “Come On Eileen” – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  5. “Return of the Son of Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar (Live Guitar Solo) – Frank Zappa
  6. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) – Journey
  7. “Hold On” – Wilson Philips (Oh geez…)
  8. “Beat It” – Michael Jackson
  9. “Hey Joe (Live 1967)” – Jimi Hendrix
  10. “Heroes (Live 1978) – David Bowie
  11. “Marooned” – Pink Floyd

Oh, since I upped thing thing by one a few months back in honor of that TV show wot I like, lots of details, including footage and a big EW profile dropped in the last week. I’m actually pretty stoked about this; well as much as I can be right now about anything.

Have a nice weekend, you fascist, loofa-faced shit-gibbons!


my fellow musician


Some of you might remember, I bought an acoustic bass a few months back on a whim (I saw it getting traded in, I went back to the store later and picked it up for $50 or so). As I don’t have a proper case for it, and it was ultra-cheap anyway, I tend to leave it sitting on a stand within easy reach* for when inspiration strikes.

For the last week or so, I’ve been occasionally hearing notes ringing out from across the house; sometimes when I’m the only person in the house. A couple of days ago, I figured out why. My wife caught some photographic evidence this morning:

Lady Sif, my little buddy who’s usually never all that far from me when I’m home (if I’m sitting at the kitchen table on my laptop for example, she’ll take up her standard perch on my shoulder), has started indulging her musical ambitions. It’s cute.

Anyway, I though you’d all like to know.


*- here’s a secret musician trick to making sure you get better at your instrument through practice. Leave it out on a stand within easy reach, not hidden away in a case. You will pick it up and noodle a bit when you walk by. Those five and ten minute stretches really add up.


proud dad


My 17 year old daughter registered to vote today.

This is a big deal. I’m so proud. I just wanted to say that. She kind of looked at me funny while we talked about it, but this is something that’s hugely important for me; and a logical step in her progression as an informed and engaged American citizen, which, thankfully, she is, and certainly more aware of the socio-political issues of the day than I was at her age.

You folks that know me, that follow my ramblings in this space, you probably aren’t surprised. Every year, even on those small little local election years, I take the time on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November” to vote myself, and to remind everyone reading this space to vote. I usually say something to the effect of “it’s the absolute least you can do”; and every year when I say that, I’m right.

Some of you may be wondering: seventeen. Yeah. However, according to the law of the land here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, per § 24.2-403, that’s the way things work. To wit:

§ 24.2-403. Persons under 18 years of age.

Any person who is otherwise qualified and will be 18 years of age on or before the day of the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person who is otherwise qualified and will be 18 years of age on or before the day of the next November general presidential election shall be permitted to register in advance of and also vote in any intervening presidential primary and any other primary held on the same day as the presidential primary.

So yeah, if you live in VA, are seventeen and will be eighteen before the next general election, go ahead and register now, and you’ll be able to participate in any primaries or specials in the interim. most other states have similar provisions.

This year’s going to be full of all kinds of milestones; we’ve already ticked off college acceptance. Graduation’s coming. She no longer counts for the child tax credit (dammit). But, of any of it, I’m probably most proud of the fact that this coming November, she’ll get to take part in Virginia’s gubernatorial primary and general election.


weekend update


Yes, it’s Tuesday. I was sick yesterday. I didn’t go to work, I slept, and watched movies on the couch. One of those movies featured Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse being used as a jet ski. It wasn’t bad.

As for the weekend, we had a nice dinner out for the wife’s birthday. I rehearsed with the local group, and we wrote another song. I think it’ll be pretty okay. I sold my old Ibanez bass to somebody who is going to really enjoy making music with it, which made me feel good, and I got my full asking price, which takes a nice chunk out of the money I just spent on the new Telecaster, completing the two-for-one trade, bringing the musical instrument population down by one. I took the cat to the vet for a follow-up visit. He’s doing well, and healing up nicely.

Don’t really have large plans for the coming week. Mostly get rested up and shake this leftover bug that I’m still kind of dealing with. My contractor lead is sick today; some team we are. We still get our work done.

Hope everyone is doing well.

I’m going to close with a quick call to action: both my senators are on record as opposing the DeVos nomination for Secretary of Education, so I want to say thank you to them (and I did, via nice quick emails). If you’re in certain other parts of the country where there a couple of wavering Republican Senators who might vote “no” on DeVos, who is vastly unqualified (and I say this as somebody with a degree in education, who knows what he’s talking about) and is poised to do serious harm to America’s educational system, and thus, our children, you’ve got a couple of hours left to get on the phone or fax or whatever to try and swing them toward “no” – I point specifically to you folks in PA and NC; there’s likely some movement there. The Vote’s scheduled for noon – give ’em a shout!


friday random eleven: “happy birthday” edition


First of all, I would like to wish my lovely spouse and partner a very happy birthday. She’s already gotten her big gift (a fancy Irish solo dress for dance competition), though I hope we’ll have a nice evening and weekend to celebrate.

Otherwise, I’m happy to be putting this week behind me. There’s been some good stuff; I did my taxes early and have been applying my refund balance to some bills and a long overdue treat for me (I bought a new guitar, but I got rid of one and am in the process of unloading another, so I am downsizing), though I also had to cover some vet bills and some other dance-related things.

My office has been full of visitors this week; I’m hosting somebody else testing things for a change. They’re good people, but they drink a lot of coffee and forget to turn the pot off at night. They are wrapping up their efforts a week early, so I’ll be left mostly alone next week.

Anyway, happy Friday, happy February, and all that. Here’s some tunes.

  1. “Everywhere” – Ex Hex
  2. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police
  3. “Just My Kind” – The Julie Ruin
  4. “Mickey” – Toni Basil
  5. “Life Itself” – Glass Animals
  6. “Enter the Glade” – Falconer
  7. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears
  8. “Do You Still Love Me” – Ryan Adams
  9. With You there to Help Me” – Jethro Tull
  10. Life on Mars?” – David Bowei
  11. “Good Things” – Sleater-Kinney

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