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Yesterday was January 18, 2012, which was my 10th anniversary on LiveJournal. By sheer coincidence, yesterday was also the day that many online sites went dormant to protest pending legislation in the US Congress. Wikipedia, which "went black" yesterday, naturally has an entry on itself, so I'll refer you to read up about it if you happen to be viewing this article in August 2014 and have forgotten about that kerfuffle. Yesterday's online outage is a coincidence for me as I have been contemplating for quite some time my own dormancy regarding posts on LiveJournal*, so there's really no time like now to pull the trigger. Consider this journal to have a blackout over it from here on out.

There will be no plans to delete this journal, nor do I have any plans to stop commenting on other people's journals. Sadly, there aren't that many active journals here as compared to five years ago, so in a perverse way, this relative lack of activity will help me keep up with the people whom I care about. If I'm not commenting on specific journals on LJ, here's where I'll be online:

Blog: Take 5, D.
Twitter: dskasak
Flickr: stannate
Facebook/Google+: (you should know my name by now)
MetaFilter: stannate
Tumblr: Formosa Metal Pig

With that being said, best regards. No more--the end.**

This Livejournal: January 18, 2002 - January 19, 2012

*Further navel-gazing contemplation, and an obligatory link to my parallel sign-off of the BBS world, can be found at this LJ post.

**The italicized phrases are translations of the 92 Code used in this post's subject line.

Yep, I'm now 40.

brand
Today (for at least one more minute) was my 40th birthday. Duly noted elsewhere.

Diss, Inc.

dude abides
disincorporation: to become removed from an incorporated state or status; usually in reference to cities or towns relinquishing their powers to that of a larger body of authority.

After lots of thought, combined with a major catalytic event, I have decided that unless something major happens to change my mind, my 10th anniversary on LiveJournal--January 18, 2012--will be my last. This site has seen better days, and the periodic outages due to Russian political hacking (for lack of a better term) doesn't help in keeping a steady site active. Posts will continue here on an irregular frequency until 1/18/12, whereupon I'll most likely tie my site up with a pretty bow, gift it with tin and diamond jewelry, and most likely call it a day.

My membership and participation in other social media will see some large changes in the not-too-distant future. In short, if I can't get to the site through my iPhone, or if socializing is made difficult by the interface on the iPhone, I'll either stop hanging out there or I'll streamline with whom I'll interact. Please take this post as open amnesty to defriend me without any feelings of guilt or explanations on your part.

The catalytic event mentioned earlier happened last month when, after nearly 9 years of online interaction, my friendship with n0nnahs was ended...and yes, the passive voice here has its place. Without dwelling too much upon it apart from this entry (and comments below), I'm not too happy about it ending, nor am I happy with the lack of communication from n0nnahs to explain what happened. It's possible I had acted like an asshole, or it's also possible that the friendship faded with time and distance, or even that there was a total misjudgement of character on either side of the ocean. I don't know the answer here, because communication with n0nnahs has been largely one-sided over the last...well, couple years. Likewise, n0nnahs's responses during those last couple years have been passive-aggressive and confusing--allowing me to be friends-only on LJ yet blocking me on Twitter in February, responding to comments on Flickr yet not responding to comments made in her LJ. Head-scratching, yes? When the de-friending happened in July, I was quite confused for a while, then it slowly dawned upon me that her actions was her paggro way of saying, "Good-bye and go away." I wrote an e-mail saying good-bye in turn, though since I bear her no malice, I simply wished her luck with her future endeavors. Sic semper trepide*, I suppose.

Anyway, the point of bringing up the end of the online relationship with n0nnahs wasn't to air my dirty laundry in a lame attempt at stirring up high-school level LJ drama. This ending of contact was the catalyst that got me thinking about how online participation plays a role in my current, almost 40-year-old life; it still matters to me, but I have less and less time for the Sisyphean upkeep of multiple communities. Such online jugglings have been problematic before, but increased demands at my job and desires to do more with photography have put paid to the amount of free time I have. I just want to use it more effectively, and not have to feel like I'm going through a slog of updates, comments, photos, and replies out of duty. Often, the only time I have to view various social media is through my iPhone, hence the requirements stated earlier. I will be whittling down my connections on various sites, like Flickr and Tumblr and Twitter, and probably canceling some outright--seriously, has anyone gotten anything out of LinkedIn? When I have the time to spare, I want it to count for something, dig?

So yeah, that's the story for my eventual disincorporation from LiveJournal as of January 18, 2012. Consider this a really early notification. More posts, most of which will be behind the "paywall," will follow shortly.


*Latin experts, please correct my pidgin attempt at saying, "Thus always in confusion."

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.
It stinks!
What's this? A post? Well, yes, but only as a reminder to view the somewhat-overdue summation and reflection upon the Ireland trip from July 2001. If you're not interested in reading, I even threw in a music video to provide a brief distraction! Additionally, while the trip to Ireland receives its Monday-morning quarterback review, I still manage to find time to make a nod toward Hungary in the post. Confused? Curious? Want me to stop writing this entry? Then please, Gentle Reader, check out http://wp.me/p1szdU-2l and find out more.

[Whew. Project OVAH. Now back to titties and beer and updating this Dreamy Wide Live Journal on a semi-regular basis.]

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Two Nights In Killarney: 20-21 July 2001

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My last entry from the Ireland tour of 2001. No pictures, just a run-down of my experiences bar-hopping in Killarney, meeting with people my own age, and how those extra 3-4 ounces in an imperial pint can sneak up on you in a hurry. More at http://wp.me/p1szdU-2g

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 24-25 July 2001

Souka
Welp, here it is--the last of the daily updates. Today covers both 24 July, featuring a stop at Waterford Crystal, the ruins of St. Kevin, and my last night out in Dublin, as well as the family flight back to the US on 25 July. American-style dates will now commence. Check it out at http://wp.me/p1szdU-2b

Later on this week, I'll do the write-up (no pictures) for "2 Nights in Killarney," followed by my full reflection 10 years later (again, no pictures) entitled "What We've Learned." Thank you for reading and viewing up until this point. If you'd like to look at the full, 225-picture set of the Ireland trip, please do so at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stannate/sets/72157627203963542/

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 23 July 2001

brand
Oops. I'm a little late with the 23rd's entry. Sorry! Tomorrow's entry on the 25th will cover both the 24th and 25th, which happened to be the last day in Ireland.

The 23rd saw the family in the rather grim-looking town of Cork (and Cobh), then onward to that famed tourist stop of Blarney Castle. Read on at http://wp.me/p1szdU-28

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 22 July 2001

Woody Woodpecker
I started the day with a bit of a hangover. It was followed by more partying and celebration, but at least for today, I had an excuse. The entire point of the Ireland trip was to discover for ourselves the towns where my grandfather's parents had lived. Today was that day of discovery and celebration. More at http://wp.me/p1szdU-24

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 21 July 2001

brand
It's a photo-heavy tour along the Ring of Kerry. The pictures do most of the talking at http://wp.me/p1szdU-1Z

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 20 July 2001

Tron lightcycle
The bad news: The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher were called off due to rain. We also passed through Limerick without stopping--there was no time to come up with something that rhymes with "Nantucket."

The good news: We spent time on the outskirts of Shannon, the other major airport in Ireland, to view what I'm going to call a 19th Century version of EPCOT--Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

The great news: I found the possible origin of an infamous bar in Palatine, IL.

More at http://wp.me/p1szdU-1V

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 19 July 2001

brand
An accident involving my grandmother changed family touring plans for today, hence the short entry at http://wp.me/p1szdU-1R

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 18 July 2001

Curious George meets ether
In which I encounter a monkey-puzzle tree, Heaven Knocking on our door, the stark beauty of Connemara, and a brief pout of boredom: http://wp.me/p1szdU-1G

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 17 July 2001

brand
More like 16 and 17 July, but I wrote a bunch of entries on this day. Our family traveled from Dublin to Ballina via Sligo, and had lots to see along the way. This may be the longest of all the entries, so thanks for your patience as you read (and view pictures) my entry at http://wp.me/p1szdU-1v

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Ireland trip diary entry: 14-15 July 2001

Emperor Penguin
"Ten years ago, my grandfather Maurice Twomey decided that in lieu of a big 70th birthday celebration, he wanted to take his five children and their children to Ireland in order to see the land from where his parents emigrated. I joined over 20 of my relatives, and armed with a Canon 35mm point-and-shoot and a diary, I documented the 11 days spent on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. From today until July 25, I’ll be posting pictures (as seen in its entirety at this Flickr set) and diary entries from that trip–along with comments in italics on my diary entries–so ligean le dul!"

The remainder of this entry can be seen on my Wordpress blog: http://wp.me/p1szdU-1n

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Nine years!

what.
Today is my 9th anniversary on LiveJournal. Here's proof:



Will there be a 10th anniversary? We'll see.

Feist, meet James Blake

brand


A real post is forthcoming...soon.

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.
Handmade in Germany
Since I'm posting by mobile device, I can't embed successfully into LJ. However, pasting URL's still work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4nSxArk9g8&sns=em
Australian traffic signal
1) I was thinking of cleaning up my social media contacts this week, which can only mean that Wednesday's designation as National Unfriend Day was a clear-cut case of kismet. Fortunately, I don't have to clean much up on LiveJournal, as that site has more or less cleaned itself! </thatsajokeson> I really have to work harder on streamlining Facebook.

2) Laura and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, as we will be out of town for the actual event. No, we're not going to Chicago; that'll happen over Christmas. Our original plan was to host my mother here in Saint Louis, but she had problems getting sufficient time off at Loyola Medical. Instead, we're going to head toward a state which borders Missouri--Nebraska. No, this is not a joke. We will be in Omaha and Lincoln during the long Turkey Day break, and we'll see what we can see.

3) I have a 12-pound farm turkey to pick up at Baumann's. Laura will, for the first time in over two years, partake in consuming the bird, as she officially ended her pescatarian phase on Monday 11/15 by dining on a Frisco Melt at a Steak & Shake. She doesn't plan on going nuts for meat by, say, following every damned bacon trend that the Interweb touts, but for her, it's more about quality than quantity...and also about the winter soups that just don't work too well without chicken.

4) A good musical bargain through iTunes? Ninja Tune's 20th anniversary celebration. There are two 40-track retrospective collections that cost $9.99 each, two recordings featuring new releases by Ninja Tune artists (31 and 35 tracks, respectively) for $11.99, and a final 17-track classics release for $9.99. If you'd rather not go the iTunes route, here's a British alternative. This is a shedload of music for relatively little money.

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Idiots Out Walking Around

Curious George meets ether
A quick update for those who care. Nearly two weeks ago, Laura and I went out to Iowa City to visit Aaron and Libra, and to finally meet their young son Declan. Compared to the disaster that was the 2008 Cornell College Homecoming, this Iowa visit was significantly more enjoyable (and not having Mr. Novotny around also helped matters immensely).

Cornell's Homecoming was going on during our visit, but we never headed north of I-80. Instead, we explored two places I had barely gotten around to myself when I attended college and subsequently lived in Iowa City: Kalona and the Amana Colonies. I'm pretty thankful that nobody was around us after we ate a half-pound of fresh cheese curds from the Twin County Dairy, while the Amana Colonies offered up hearty-yet-bland food that caused Laura to reminisce about the cuisine near Lancaster, PA. We found some wine in the Amanas, but with the exception of some fruit wines--including Ray Bradbury's favorite--they weren't much to write about.

Laura and Aaron cooked dinner for everyone on the Saturday of our visit, while on Friday, we went to the only Indian restaurant in town (don't be bringing that Masala up in here). Drinks were consumed at the old haunts of the Deadwood and the Fox Head, both of which look and smell quite odd now that the no-smoking ordinances are in effect. There were plenty of opportunities for people-watching in and around the Ped Mall, though we had a better (and sadder) show on Saturday, as the town was crawling with people getting their pre-game on prior to the big Iowa-Michigan matchup: better, due to the number of people milling about; sadder, because of the sheer number of young women dressing as if they were off to a nightclub when in fact they were heading to a bar or house to watch football.

Our stay came courtesy of the Plum Grove Inn, a bed & breakfast that has an interior salvaged from numerous homes in Eastern Iowa, creating an odd hybrid of old and new construction. The food at the B&B is totally worth the visit, as we started off each day of our trip completely stuffed. Both the husband and wife are vegetarians, and are skilled enough in the kitchen to win over even the most knuckle-dragging meat-eater with their dishes.

Rambling update almost over...before leaving Iowa City, we made it a point to visit an old friend:

A dinosaur and a monkey!

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

State of the Penguin, (almost) October 2010

Emperor Penguin
It's been a while since I've done this kind of update. Another entry will follow, most likely later on in the week. For those not interested in reading, you can watch David Bowie's 1979 performance of "The Man Who Sold The World" on Saturday Night Live, featuring backing vocals by Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi (yes, years before Nomi and Bowie teamed up as members of the Guild of Calamitous Intent!):

[this is where I'd embed the video, but there's no way to embed it without turning on autoplay; instead, just click here to watch.]

That being said, allons-y to the tape!

Read more...Collapse )

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

I've finally reached Jack Benny's plateau

here&#39;s your prize!


Jack Benny used to claim he was always 39. I think I'll use that as an inspiration for today.

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

"Tant pis."

Cheers from Dave Allen
In other LiveJournal-related news--remember back in 2005, when Brad Fitzpatrick sold LiveJournal to Six Apart? Remember when 6A promptly ignored their new purchase, as they were busy with their successful blogging platforms of Movable Type and its blog hosting companion, TypePad? Remember when, instead of using the knowledge gleaned from Movable Type and TypePad to further develop LiveJournal, 6A decided to create a competing service, Vox? Guess what's shutting down on September 30th? My reaction to this news of Vox's demise is best expressed in French...

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

I has the solution!

failwhale
The question is, "How can we at LiveJournal get our userbase motivated enough to stop posting on Twitter & Facebook so that they come back to the fold?"

The answer is, "Mess around with their already-limited expectations of privacy, and communicate such messes in a way that would earn a click on the Like button from Zuckerberg himself. Tie into these other social services as yet another way of trying to prove our relevancy. Oh, and get the users pissed off enough to post about it on LJ, thereby justifying our actions entirely!"

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.
Emperor Penguin
Going along the lines of a discussion in a recent entry by beatnikside, it appears that the only way to keep LiveJournal active will be to goad one another into posting on a somewhat regular basis. With that in mind...

1. As the subject says, last Saturday (July 31) marked the 5th anniversary of my move to Saint Louis from Chicago, and yes, I am a bit surprised that I have made it this long. I realize, with hindsight, that I wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy during my initial months here in trying to make my STL experience like what it was in Chicago. When I decided, in the summer of 2008, to officially become ambivalent with regards to my Saint Louis experience, I crossed over a threshold. No sense in wasting pointless time and energy trying to shoehorn a new city into past experiences. STL is what it is, and sometimes it's OK, while other times it's not. That's my story and I'll be sticking with it.

2. With the above in mind, I spent Tuesday morning taking care of a task that could alter my STL experience; specifically, in relation to the part of the metro area I'll experience on a weekly basis. Mum's the word for now.

3. This weekend is a family reunion in the Chicago suburbs. My cousins have already picked up on the nickname Laura and I have bestowed upon the gathering: LAW (Liver Abuse Weekend). I fully expect tons of beer to be consumed while two generations of relatives hash out the never-ending Cubs vs. White Sox argument, with the undercard fight being a one-generational White Sox vs. Twins argument. I plan to bring some Half Acre Daisy Cutter to the party, and if time allows, some local suds.

4. Finally, there will be yet another change on the photo gallery, as SmugMug just didn't work out for me. I am somewhat red-faced about making such a large pronouncement about the move to SmugMug a couple months back, but I guess there are times where it's best for me to fall flat on my face. The process of resolving the gallery issue once and for all is ongoing, and my goal is to unveil it by the time of my birthday on September 13.

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

Clearing The Backlog, Part 1

Curious George meets ether
While most of America celebrates today as the work-observed Independence Day, I'm at work making up for my vacation time that ended, oh, almost 17 hours ago when Laura and I pulled into our driveway after leaving Columbus around 3:30 PM Eastern time yesterday. For those who are pedants like myself, the total length of the vacation drive was 2817.2 miles occurring over a period of 11 days and 4 hours. I snapped 1201 pictures with my camera, and as those who follow me on Twitter/Facebook/Flickr have seen, 42 additional pictures on my iPhone. No, you won't have to see all of them.

Quick highlights and lowlights included:

1. The exhausting and seemingly never-ending drive on Day 2, from Louisville, KY to Washington, DC, via I-64 and I-81, which meant experiencing Charleston, WV (ugliest state capital city ever), the WV Turnpike (bring your Dramamine), and the Truckers' Speedway known as I-81 in Virginia. The drive was over 550 miles long, and was just over our limit of what both Laura and I can handle for a day-long road trip. While we both loved the scenery in West Virginia--shame about its inhabitants--we were both worn-out at the end of the day from dealing with twisty mountain turnpikes, aggressive truckers, and the bewildering street grid of DC. Our new one-day limit will be along the lines of a Chicago-to-Minneapolis/St. Paul drive, or a St. Louis-to-Columbus drive (approximately 420-440 miles).

2. A largely enjoyable time in DC, where I finally met a hoppy 'Score, where Laura and I spent three days in a B&B housed in a DuPont Circle brownstone that was once owned by Jeane Dixon, and where we did the tourist thing throughout a lot of the city while riding the Metro. Excellent Ethiopian food was consumed near Howard University, many monuments were photographed...and sadly, both Laura and I stood nearly 10 feet from watching three people get hit by a taxicab, with one of the people possibly suffering fatal injuries. I don't know the fate of the injured people, though I'm somewhat reluctant to find out.

3. Annapolis, MD proved to be a great launching point for discovering both sides of the Chesapeake Bay, including such joys as Maryland's first capital city, St. Mary's City (which pre-dates the English Civil War, mind you), surprisingly good wineries like Fridays Creek and St. Michaels (MD needs to have more wineries stay open on days that aren't just weekends), all the ways to eat crab (along with the requisite crab jokes), the relative civility of resort towns in Delaware when compared to Florida, and beaches along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland where you can watch wild ponies roam. We also discovered, at the Annapolis B&B, a British woman from Suffolk who looked like a young Angela Landsbury and spoke with a somewhat posh accent as she proclaimed her love for David Cameron and intense dislike for Gordon Brown, institutional mediocrity, chavs, and Xboxes.

4. Whenever I think of central Pennsylvania, I'll think of old people. Crotchety, slow, old people, and very little to do. Granted, we stayed in Carlisle, which is a college town--trivia fact: Dickinson College has nothing to do with its adjoining Dickinson School of Law--so there were a few younger people about, but overall, Carlisle and Harrisburg are the stomping grounds of old people. I was happy to finally meet Laura's grandparents, though I was not happy to spend 2.5 hours at a Friendly's just to eat burgers & fries, nor was I happy to be stuck behind an old man at a Shur-Fine express lane as he argued with the cashier about the 12(!) tubs of vanilla ice cream he was buying. Old people. *shakes head*

5. I enjoyed most of Maryland, and as luck would have it, I saw "most of Maryland" during our journey. The only major part of the state I didn't see was Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay north of Annapolis. We did drive through the western part of the state on I-68, which is an interstate I recommend highly...just not when there's rain, or snow, or high winds, or low visibility. Yes, western Maryland has mountains, and heading west on I-68 will see you climbing in elevation from 600 feet to over 3000 feet. After this part of the road, the drive in and around Morgantown, WV will be relatively easy. Speaking of West Virginia...

6. Where to start? Where to finish? Where to hide the bodies? The scenery throughout most of the state was gorgeous, while the roads proved to be, as my old work supervisor would say, "a challenge." I really liked Morgantown, as it reminded me of a very hilly Iowa City--both have major state universities, though Iowa City doesn't have anything nearly as neat as the Personal Rapid Transit system. However, the western "cities" of Huntington and Charleston are shamefully sad. Huntington has lots of ratty-looking strip clubs far exceeding the population to staff them, though Laura gamefully tried to calculate just how many dancers could adequately work at these clubs without having to resort to recruiting Grandma. Also, Huntington was where I saw my first-ever legit tent revival. Charleston is the saddest state capital city I've seen in the US; Springfield, you're off the hook! Normally, attorneys and trade firms would want to be within walking distance of the State Capitol, but in Charleston, there are abandoned rowhomes and dingy white-clad bungalows. The air in both cities hurt to breathe, and just outside of Charleston on I-79 is an active mountaintop removal project. West Virginia is the eastern equivalent of Utah: lovely scenery, shame about (most of) the people.

7. On the other hand, it was in Wayne, WV that saw Laura and I off-roading with a Russian Orthodox monk on the grounds of his monastery. Saturday, July 3 was a day filled with sights and sounds that I'm still processing in my head: a 1.5 hour liturgy in which I stood the entire time; excellent salmon served in silence while dining in the trapeza; black-clad monks working the goats and chickens; a Quebecois convert to Orthodoxy talking in French with Laura prior to her demonstrating how she makes the soaps that are sold by the monastery; and young guests at the monastery who were playing with plastic sonic screwdrivers (both the old and new models).

8. My final West Virginia memory: prior to crossing the Ohio River into Proctorville, OH, Laura and I saw a man pushing a woman sitting inside a shopping cart down a state highway. Both people appeared to be a) developmentally disabled, and b) suffering from heat exhaustion. Across the woman's lap, with both ends hanging out of the cart, was a rolled-up carpet remnant.

9. Columbus, OH has a nice zoo, and a surprisingly active downtown. We happened to be staying at a hotel that was hosting attendees of the Columbus Blue Jackets' development camp, as Nationwide Arena was within visual range. Unfortunately, the hotel had an agreement with the neighboring Max and Erma's to serve a breakfast buffet that wasn't worth $5, let alone the $30 that we ended up paying for. Still, that experience aside, I wouldn't mind going back to see more of Columbus again.

10. Satellite radio is a lifesaver when driving through the Appalachians. It seemed totally appropriate to be blasting out the butt-rock while heading through West Virginia; listening to Foghat while rounding corners on the WV Turnpike meshed all too well together. Likewise, the trance mixes fit in well when you're going through Indiana or Illinois on I-70 and you need something noisy and repetitive to pass away the empty miles.

Posted originally on Dreamwidth. Reply either here or there. The choice is yours.

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