February 27, 2010

The Anchor's Chair

I watched a bit of CNN's coverage of the Chile quake and Hawaii tsunami, and I was struck by the fact the "reporting" consisted of news anchors basically surfing the Web using really huge touchscreen television sets.

So, television reporting of breaking news now consists of the "talent" surfing Web pages pretty much anyone on the planet can access.

I'm curious if news outlets are even somewhat consciously aware of how completely irrelevant the Internet has made them. Because, honestly, I really don't need to turn on the television to watch somebody essentially surf the Web for me. I can do that myself and, quite frankly, get better results.

Posted by Ryan at 05:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2010


Whilst changing the boy's diaper this morning, he started playing with my tie. Wife said: "Grab it! Pull it! Yank it! Whack it!" Great. She TOTALLY stole all my advice for when he discovers his penis.

Posted by Ryan at 09:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 25, 2010

Super Serial

Ryan: "Orca trainer died of injuries, drowning"

Ryan: I call shenanigans. I think it was a severe allergic reaction to seafood.

Caroline: You call shamuigans.

Ryan: You know what's sad? I Googled "shamuigans" before I got the joke.

Caroline: Sweet lord.

Ryan: I know, right?!

Caroline: Brain wave=off. Pretty funny you admitted it.

Ryan: My brain hasn't been functioning right for months due to lack of sleep.

Caroline: :-(

Ryan: "Orcas have history of killing humans"

Caroline: You know what's worse? That particular Orca had a history of killing humans.

Ryan: Seriously? It was a Serial Killer Whale?

Posted by Ryan at 01:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2010

It's Time To. . . PUMP. . . You up!

Perhaps the greatest single purchase I made in preparation for the arrival of of our baby boy was a lactation breast pump machine. It was one of the last purchases I made because I just couldn't quite fathom the $250 price tag associated with the udder sucking device.

Honestly, though, that Mom Spout lamprey has probably saved us hundreds and hundreds of dollars that otherwise would have gone towards baby formula. During the first early months, when the boy's tummy couldn't hold all that much milk, yet my wife was producing enough to drown a calf, she froze and stockpiled milk reserves that could have kept an army of babies alive through a Russian winter.

Gradually, as the boy has grown like a genetically-altered corn plant, and has, therefore, been drinking far more milk, we've had to dip regularly into our milk stockpiles and we are, at this point, down to about fifteen remaining frozen bags.

Our milk stockpile notwithstanding, the breast pump has continued to be the most valuable machine in the house. If the breast pump were to suddenly stop working, it would throw our already precarious daily and nightly routines into chaos.

Last week, chaos very nearly took hold.

My wife had just finished pumping milk, and I was vaguely aware of her telling me to "put it away," which didn't strike me as all that specific, so I ended up putting some dishes away, or something; I can't really remember, because I haven't remembered things very well for the last three months or so.

Well, it turns out she wanted me to put the breast pump away. I did not, so the breast pump remained un-put-away until the next morning, at which point I discovered the cats had really enjoyed chewing holes in the breast pump tubes. I just knew my wife would get a huge laugh out of the whole thing, by which I mean I spent that morning basically fearing for my life.

We were spared complete chaos by the fact the cats had only chewed up a portion of the tubes. We removed the cat-ruined section of the tubes, so my wife was able to salvage her ability to pump and store milk, but she had to sit so close to the machine it looked like whe was trying to convince the machine to hand her Mardis Gras beads.

After work that day, I made it a point to travel to every retail place I could think of that would possibly carry replacement parts for the pump, but no matter where I went, no replacement tubes could be found. When I finally found a store employee who was knowledgeable about such things, I was informed the breast pump manufacturer does not produce replacement tubes. This struck me as a very shrewd business tactic, because I found myself standing there, honestly considering purchasing an entirely new breast pump system.

Thankfully, the knowledgeable clerk informed me I could create my own tube replacements by purchasing tubing from a hardware store or medical supply outlet. Hardware store tubing sounded less expensive, so I went for that option.

Later, at a local hardware store, as I stood in front of a wall of extremely inexpensive replacement tubing, it occured to me I had an excellent opportunity to make good on my initial "put it away" screw up. With the mental image of my wife making do with the shortened existing tubes, trying to coax Mardis Gras beads from the breast pump machine, I decided to go the other route and provide a ridiculous amount of tubing. I bought a 10 foot length of tube (five feet per breast).

Once I returned home and hooked up the new tubing, my wife could practically pump milk with the breast machine sitting in a separate room. I thought it was excellent. She thought it was overkill.

I can never win.

Posted by Ryan at 08:33 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Eyes Wide Shut

Saturday afternoon, I had an eye exam at Target. Yes, I know. Target. Get your laughs in. And, now that you got your laughs in, get some more laughs in when I relate that my previous eye exam was at Wal-Mart.

Hey, whatever knocks you may have against having your eyes examined where people bargain shop for underwear, I have to say this: they're awesome about seeing you on short notice, and I needed contact lenses, damnit.

Which is funny, because after all the rigamorale of filling out paperwork, and then undergoing the eye exam itself, I found myself driving home and thinking "you know, I don't think I ordered any contact lenses."

Sure enough. I didn't. I have a eye prescription, but nothing to show for it. What kind of brain fart was that? Seriously.

Posted by Ryan at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2010

It's all about context

Remember my little cautionary, yet hilarious, tale about the pitfalls of contextual online advertising?

Well, here's another BIG REASON companies might want to think twice about dedicating advertising dollars to contextual ads.

Posted by Ryan at 12:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2010

White Dwarf

Once you experience the thrill of seeing your blog make over $62 in a single day, it's bitterly painful to see it pull down eight cents a day. I imagine it's what Wall Street investors sort of felt like after the Stock Market crash, when a couple years later they found themselves selling apples on the street corner.

Posted by Ryan at 04:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roll, roll, roll your boy

The boy started rolling onto his stomach a couple weeks ago. This was met with much fanfare and celebration, since it's one of those infant development milestones everyone talks about and then starts crying because "they grow up so fast."

For The Boy, however, rolling onto his stomach presented more of a cunundrum than an accomplishment. He rolled onto his stomach, and was then confronted with the reality of "Well, what now?" Whereas he's been accustomed to lying on his back for the past four months--which afforded him free, unimpeded breathing--lying on his stomach introduced him to the world of chest compression, thank you very much gravity. Tummy time means slightly labored breathing, at least until he builds up the necessary stomach and diaphragm fortitude.

His mother and I can always tell when he's rolled onto his stomach, because the air is quickly pierced with the sounds of his annoyed grunting/gasping, as if he's trying to push out a particularly stubborn poop.

Thankfully, he figured out this week how to roll back onto his back, but it's not a fully-ingrained behavior, meaning he basically rolls onto his back by accident, and then he just kind of lays there with a "how did I do that?" expression on his face.

Raising a baby is kind of like watching a passed out drunk come back to his senses, only in super slow motion.

Posted by Ryan at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2010

Holy Crap

Leblanc noted that she recently observed her ninth anniversary of blogging.

And it dawned on me, earlier this month, I passed my eighth blogging anniversary.

Eight years.

Eight YEARS.

When I started this blog, I was 26 years old. I was four months into my second IBM writing/editing gig.

I find it crazy to think I have maintained an online journal for eight years. It sounds like a supreme commitment of time and mental energy. In fact, it's been a treasure I've enjoyed unlike any other writing project I've ever embarked upon.

And it occurred to me that, with eight years of personal entries, newspaper columns, essays, and general nonsense spanning the digital timeline like a comet's tail, there may be a book or two, or three hiding in here, depending on how I want to present it.

I'm kind of excited, to be perfectly honest.

And it only took eight years.

Posted by Ryan at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 14, 2010

White Noise

As per Erik's suggestion, we now have a white noise machine, AND a child who now sleeps for more than 30 minutes at a time.

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Posted by Ryan at 03:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 10, 2010


Since moving over to this mu.nu domain back in. . . checking, checking. . . 2004, I've had to do battle against a lot of different varieties of comment spam-bots.

If you're not at all familiar with comment spam-bots, consider your existence blessed, because spam-bots are easily within the top five reasons why I consider dumping this whole blogging. . . er, ThunderJournaling. . . thing entirely.

I won't, of course, because this site has become a repository of nearly eight years of personal ruminations and ridiculousness that carries immense value, if only to me.

Still, comment spam-bots represent a serious pothole to an otherwise smooth and enjoyable blogging ride.

For those who don't know, comment spam-bots are basically automated apps that crawl through cyberspace, landing on blogs equipped with comment engines, and then just repeatedly, repeatedly, REPEATEDLY, keep posting comments that include links to whatever piece of shit product the purveyor of said comment spam is determined to advertise.

The concept behind comment spam-bots is simple enough. Dumping a whole bunch of links to their site in the comment section of other sites, IN THEORY, should boost their visibility on search engines which, IN THEORY, take into account how many times their site is linked to from other sites.

The inherent flaw with this tactic is that it's based on principles search engines worked from back in, say, 2005. Since that time, search engines have tweaked and retweaked their algorithms so much that lowly blogs like mine and others pretty much escape the radar of search engines anyway. If your Web site or blog doesn't get more than 5,000 visitors a day, search engines basically don't give a shit about you, no matter how many links to other sites you may have.

With the exploding proliferation of more and more Web pages blinking into existence on a daily basis, blogs and other personal Web pages are given about as much consideration as an ant in a cornfield. The major search engines long ago determined which sites were deemed important and, I'm here to tell you, this Thunderjournal sure as shit wasn't one of them.

But that doesn't stop the comment spam-bots. No sir. Whether it's knock off "UGG boots," "World of Warcraft (WOW) Gold" or, my personal favorite, "Replica Watches," they continue to pollute my comment threads from years and years ago, tacking a seamingly endless fecal trail of spam onto posts that have otherwise been dormant for ages.

What's ironic is, my comment engine disabled hotlinking years ago, so all these comment spam-bots attempting to fill my blog with links to their sites, are basically posting meaningless dead text that no one's going to see anyway.

Still, even though I shouldn't care in the least if these intrusive spam-holes are polluting the comment threads of posts from years ago with their completely useless drivel, it nevertheless bothers me.

Why? Because it's still MY BLOG. When I revisit a post from 2007, after which there was a lively discussion between myself and other actual readers, it just sucks to see an endless piss stream of "UGG Boots" and "Replica Watches" nonsense.

As Adrian Monk would say about the Internet: It's a blessing. . . and a curse.

Posted by Ryan at 09:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2010

At First I LOL'd, but Then I Serious'd



Posted by Ryan at 07:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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