April 2008

Album Cover: No Code

"Are you woman enough to be my man?"
Pearl Jam / Hail Hail

America is a Layover

April 29, 2008 10:04 AM

America is not the final destination.

America is a layover.

I, your neighbor, am likely on a different course than you. Neither of us cares.

I'll talk over the announcements you care about, you'll talk over mine. We'll take turns glancing at the clock in anticipation.

Your other neighbor may be on the same path as you, but guaranteed she'll fight tooth-and-nail to get where she's heading if it comes down to her or you.

We'll turn to junk food, magazines, mobile phones and laptops to find anything that can take us, at least temporarily, away from this place.

And all the while, we'll complain about how we're not yet where we want to be.

Blathery | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Why Jason Kottke's Feed Messes with My Head

April 29, 2008 12:19 AM

Almost every feed I subscribe to contains meaningful or at least marginally meaningful post titles associated with every post. Jason Kottke's feed, on the other hand, contains post titles that are, in the majority of cases, substrings of the post content's text. Because of this, my inner monologue while reading his feed goes something like this:

Some great photos of Americans commuting by Vincent Laforet using...

Some great photos of Americans commuting by Vincent Laforet using a tilt shift lens.

Ten ideas for making NYC streets a more friendly place...

(Oh, crap. I'm doing it again).

Ten ideas for making NYC streets a more friendly place for those not in automobiles, including the woonerf, bicycle boulevards, and the green grid...

I feel like I've posted this one before but the Google...

(Oh, crap. I'm doing it yet again! Remember, Bernie, skip the post titles when reading Jason Kottke's feed!).

I feel like I've posted this one before but the Google says no so....LUNCH is a blog written by a couple of NYC architects who believe in the sanctity, sanity, and satiety of the lunch break...

Frustrating? I'd say so. But I love his blog, so what's a guy to do?

Blogging | Post Comments | View Comments (7) | Permalink

Reverse Ordered Lists in HTML 5

April 29, 2008 12:06 AM

I've always kinda wondered why you couldn't reverse ordered lists in HTML, especially given people's propensity for counting down in "top ten" lists. Via The WHATWG Blog, Lachlan Hunt shares the news that ordered lists can be reversed in HTML 5:

These are the same as ordered lists, but instead of counting up from 1, they instead count down towards 1. This can be used, for example, to count down the top 10 movies, music, or LOLCats, or anything else you want to present as a countdown list.

Through the use of a reversed and an optional start attribute on the ol tag, one can reverse an ordered list and even dictate what number the list starts counting down from. A key thing to remember is that in XHTML, the attribute has to be used somewhat redundantly, by specifying reversed="reversed".

Head on over to The WHATWG Blog for all the details, including some examples of the new feature put into use in various ways.

Web Development | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Consolation in the Eyes of Dell

April 28, 2008 8:30 PM

I ordered a non-PC electronics product from Dell on April 2nd. I received a pretty good deal on it, so I was pretty excited about the purchase. The boilerplate order confirmation I received via email noted that my estimated ship date would be April 17th. I hoped that that was simply boilerplate and nothing more, since I wasn't buying a custom PC, but rather an electronics product that is manufactured by someone other than Dell.

However, April 17th arrived and my order had not yet shipped. In fact, at that time I received an email from Dell informing me that the shipment of my order had been delayed due to product availability issues. I was told shipment would be delayed by a week, and was therefore estimated for April 24th.

When April 24th arrived, I had no email from Dell. I received nothing to confirm shipment and nothing to explain why the shipment hadn't yet happened. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the order status link I had received in my original order confirmation, and I was taken to a page explaining that my order had been canceled due to the product I ordered having been discontinued by the manufacturer. Keep in mind, I received no email from Dell explaining the cancellation. If I hadn't checked that link, I probably still wouldn't know to this day what the status of my order was.

In exchange for the three weeks of my time that were wasted waiting for my order, I received what I perceived to be a consolation email today, offering 10% off any purchase toward electronics, software and accessories. The kicker?

Expires 05/02/08.

Oh, so you can waste my time, but I can't waste yours, huh Dell?

You just gave one loyal Gateway customer even more reason to remain loyal.

Personal | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Still Waiting...

April 27, 2008 10:15 PM

I subscribe to Daniel Glazman's feed, and if I had an adaptive feed reader, it would most certainly know I don't understand French, and therefore would significantly reduce the number of posts from David's blog that end up in front of my eyes. But alas...

Blogging | Post Comments | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Seahawks Sign Two Local Wide Receivers

April 27, 2008 9:45 PM

I read at Seahawks Insider (where else?) tonight that the Seattle Seahawks agreed to terms with both Anthony Russo from the Washington Huskies and Michael Bumpus of the Washington State Cougars as undrafted free agents recently.

As was the case with Marcus Trufant, Michael Bumpus will be granted a one-year window in which to make up for the fact that he was a Cougar.

Go Seahawks!

Sports | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Up-keep

April 27, 2008 2:13 PM

In the past week, I've invested a little over $1,000 into my Acura Integra, including a complete tune-up, replacement parts and brand new tires, in the hopes that at some point around the year 2033, I can report back here about how I've doubled my most recent milestone.

Cars | Post Comments | View Comments (3) | Permalink

I Asked for the Large

April 26, 2008 10:48 PM

Does your feed icon really have to be that big?

Screenshot of Really Large Feed Icon on a Web Page

Really?

Web Design | Post Comments | View Comments (3) | Permalink

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Upgrade

April 26, 2008 12:45 PM

After firing up C3PO this morning, I noticed that a distribution update was available for Ubuntu. I had the option of upgrading from 7.10, which I originally installed, to 8.04 LTS (not 8.4 LTS). I've been reading a lot of good things about Hardy Heron, so deciding whether or not to upgrade was pretty much a no-brainer.

The upgrade process went very well. It was straightforward, kept me informed of the overall progress, and I especially liked how it not only warned me when important configuration files were about to be replaced, but also let me look at diffs between my installed copy and the one by which it would be replaced. I thought that was really impressive, if perhaps a little too technical for the layman, if only for the fact that it let me note some of the differences down on a piece of paper so I could go back in and make the appropriate changes later on (since in almost every case I opted for the latest and greatest version of the file).

The total upgrade process only took about 45 minutes to an hour, and once it was finished I restarted C3PO. It was very obvious as soon as the login screen showed up that I was working with a new version of Ubuntu, although I can't say I'm as fond of the new login screen as I was of the old one (simply because the new one seems a little too bright). Once I logged in, I was pleased to see that the majority of the important services running on the box (PHP, Apache, etc.) were intact and working as desired.

The only problem I ran into involved MySQL. For months before making this upgrade, I had been having problems updating the database server to the latest package due to some obscure file or library problem. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but for some reason, during the upgrade to 8.04 LTS, both the MySQL server and client packages were removed. Fortunately, remedying the problem was as simple as running sudo apt-get mysql-client-5.0 and sudo apt-get mysql-server-5.0 and then updating the my.cnf file, since it was one of the aforementioned files on which I jotted some notes down on paper. Once I did that, my database was up-and-running again, all the latest data and tables were in place and working as expected. So that was good news.

Finally, one of the best things about the upgrade is that I'm now running Firefox 3 Beta 5 by default, rather than Firefox 2. It's nice being able to take advantage of some of the new features when I'm browsing on my Linux box.

I'm just getting my feet wet with this new release of Ubuntu, but so far so good, and I'll likely post more on the subject after I've had some more time to check out some of the newer features.

Computers | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Propagating Stupidity Across the Web

April 26, 2008 1:36 AM

No matter how many times I refer to them here at my blog, I can never seem to remember whether the "U" in URI and URL stands for "Uniform" or "Universal." As of late, I've been leaning more and more toward the former, but when writing up another post tonight, I decided to check Google just to be sure. Sure enough, a search for "uri stands for" returned the following:

Screenshot of Google Search Results

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the first search result was a link directly to an older post of mine titled URI vs. URL, but I was very unpleasantly surprised to see that the post actually says "URI stands for Universal Resource Identifier and URL stands for Universal Resource Locator," when this, in fact, isn't true at all.

A look at Wikipedia quickly clears up the matter, but it's pretty embarrassing to know that the combination of a little Google Juice and some unchecked stupidity have likely managed to cause more confusion than to provide clarification.

May God have mercy on my soul.

Update: Google's misquoting me! Though, I still can be pretty stupid sometimes ;)

Blogging | Post Comments | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Google Reader Should Recognize Valid XHTML 1.0 Video Embeds

April 26, 2008 1:11 AM

After this, this, this and this, I've just posted this:

Currently, the only way to get Google Reader to display a YouTube video is to include the invalid HTML code provided by YouTube. However, it is possible (and recommended if you care about standards-compliance) to embed YouTube videos using valid XHTML 1.0, as described here:

http://www.bernzilla.com/item.php?id=681

However, when YouTube videos (or other videos from services like Viddler, Vimeo, etc.) are embedded in this way, they are ignored by Google Reader and simply do not show up in the Google Reader interface.

The workaround to this problem is providing an enclosure element in your RSS feed, but including that element without a length attribute (which is the way I've seen it recommended at the Google Reader blog) is not valid RSS 2.0. And who wants to actually figure out the valid integer value for the length field, anyway?

I've verified that Bloglines recognizes YouTube videos embedded via valid XHTML 1.0 without the enclosure element. It would be great if Google would, too.

See the following for more information on how this change could potentially impact a lot of users:

http://www.bernzilla.com/2008/02/16/wordpress-on-the-verge-of-valid-youtube-embeds/

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Bernie Zimmermann

...in the Google Reader Feedback and Suggestions group.

Web Development | Post Comments | View Comments (3) | Permalink

Now Serving Feed Enclosures

April 26, 2008 12:41 AM

A couple months later, I finally got around to experimenting with the enclosure tag in my web feed. Using the sample provided by the Google Reader team, I updated my feed generation script to look for any instances of the object tag in my post (I only ever use these when embedding video) and copy the data URI directly into an enclosure element in my feed.

Sure enough, as proven by my previous post, the change seems to have worked as I now see the video from that post appearing in Google Reader. There is one slight problem, though. According to the Feed Validator and the RSS 2.0 Specification, the length attribute of the enclosure element is required (contrary to previous hopes), and as I've indicated here before, I have no idea how to responsibly generate the value of the length attribute without resorting to somewhat hackish (though creative) techniques of which I'd rather steer clear.

As an attempt at working around the problem, I've added a length attribute to the enclosure element, but I've left its value empty hard-coded its value as 0. I'll have to throw my feed at the Feed Validator again and see if that makes it happy, since Google Reader obviously doesn't care.

I'd be interested in hearing if the new enclosure method is resulting in the videos I embed showing up in feed readers other than Google Reader as well.

Web Development | Post Comments | View Comments (5) | Permalink

Why Kanye West's 'Flashing Lights' Should Be a Bond Theme

April 25, 2008 11:21 PM

While we're still on the subject of James Bond, I thought I'd post evidence for why Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" would make an excellent James Bond theme:

As an aside, Rita G.'s character in the real "Flashing Lights" video might make for an interesting Bond girl.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the video.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (8) | Permalink

Psycho T to Return

April 25, 2008 10:17 PM

From ESPN:

North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough -- The Associated Press national player of the year last season -- will return for his senior year, the school said Friday.

Hansbrough's return wasn't a big surprise considering he has long talked about his determination to win a national championship before he leaves school.

Music to my friggin' ears!

Sports | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

'Quantum of Solace' vs. 'Ronin?'

April 25, 2008 6:26 PM

If I had to guess, I'd say the Quantom of Solace folks are trying to compete with Ronin.

Movies | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

What People Are Saying

April 24, 2008 11:58 PM

Found on the Adobe Premiere Elements website:

"[With Premiere Elements] you can create a Flash video that conforms perfectly to the needs of YouTube, so you get a nice optimized video that loads right up to a web site."

So easy, even your grandma can do it!

Elsewhere | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

NIN and a Puppy Named Spot

April 24, 2008 9:12 PM

I'm pretty sure I'm not on crack right now, but that's the only thing that could possibly explain how this photo:

Picture of a Girl and a Dog

...showed up on the NIN Official News & Photo Updates feed today.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Eagle vs. Shark

April 23, 2008 11:58 PM

If you haven't seen it already, see it.

Movies | Post Comments | View Comments (2) | Permalink

The Problem with Pandora

April 23, 2008 11:44 PM

The problem with Pandora is that its design completely sucks! I'm not a fan of Flash-based web design as it is, but their interface takes the cake. It looks like something I could design in Flash, and that's bad!

The design is so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if former Amazon.com designers were behind it (and we all know how I feel about them). Normally, I might not make such a stink about it, but it really is a shame that the design is so poor, because the Pandora service is really, really useful. It's been over a year since I last used the service, but in testing it out again tonight, I see that's it's just as useful as I remember. It definitely provides a more proactive approach to finding new artists in which one might be interested, whereas services like Last.fm can be a bit more retroactive (you only find out what else you might be interested in once you've been listening to a lot of your own interests for a while).

If you haven't given Pandora a try, I'd highly recommend it for the service it provides, as long as you can stomach the design. And if you're on the design team at Pandora, all I can offer is an Ice Cube lyric: "check yo self before you wreck yo self."

Web Design | Post Comments | View Comments (5) | Permalink

Collegiate Oops

April 23, 2008 9:21 PM

Interested in looking up Indiana University? Make sure you include the www or you're screwed.

Web Development | Post Comments | View Comments (5) | Permalink

Shaun is Gone

April 22, 2008 6:20 PM

Today marks the end of an era in Seahawks history.

Shaun Alexander was released from the team today.

Shaun Alexander Bobblehead

I know opinions on Shaun have been mixed at best in the past couple years, but no one can deny that he played a huge part in the most memorable season in Seahawks franchise history.

Good luck, Shaun. You'll be missed (by me, at least).

Sports | Post Comments | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Peacefield

April 21, 2008 1:01 AM

Closure was had.

Television | Post Comments | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Mystified by Altered URIs

April 20, 2008 9:06 PM

While taking a look at my referrer logs tonight, I decided to see what some of the most common URIs are for causing my web server to return 404 errors. What I found has mystified me a bit.

In the list of bad URIs, I see pretty high numbers associated with some of my most recent posts that make use of my new post slug format:

  • /2008/04/14/high-quality-videos-on-youtube
  • /2008/04/15/call-me-a-snob-too
  • /2008/04/15/self-interest
  • /2008/04/09/take-it-off

Those are just a few examples. What seems odd to me, though, is that I've striven to keep all of my new post slugs unambiguous, and I don't see a single place on my site where I refer to the posts without the trailing slash. So where are these referrals coming from?

Unfortunately, the version of AWStats that I'm using doesn't do a very good job of telling me where all my 404-related referrals are coming from, so I'm left wondering if there's a feed aggregator out there that is stripping off trailing slashes for the fun of it.

As a stop gap measure, I've added a new RewriteRule to look for the entries missing the trailing slash, add one, and let the offending UA know that it should regard the redirection as permanent. Unfortunately, though, this isn't a true permanent move, because the original URI wasn't ever meant to exist in the first place.

Web Development | Post Comments | View Comments (4) | Permalink

A Second Year of Last.fm

April 20, 2008 8:15 PM

Last year around this time, I posted a summary of my first year on music service Last.fm. Another year has now passed, so I thought I'd take a look at how my listening habits changed between then and now. First off, here's the breakdown of the artists I listened to the most over the past year:

  1. Radiohead (679 plays)
  2. The Beatles (580 plays)
  3. Pearl Jam (421 plays)
  4. Coldplay (419 plays)
  5. Nine Inch Nails (330 plays)
  6. The White Stripes (241 plays)
  7. The Chemical Brothers (232 plays)
  8. Death Cab for Cutie (227 plays)
  9. Snoop Dogg (221 plays)
  10. Snow Patrol (209 plays)

New to the list this year are Nine Inch Nails, thanks mostly to Ghosts I-IV; The White Stripes because of the sheer brilliance that is Icky Thump; The Chemical Brothers because of We Are the Night and its best track, The Salmon Dance; and Snoop Dogg solely due to Sexual Eruption.

Bumped off the top ten from last year were Keane, who dropped to #32; Zero 7, who ended up at #29; The Shins, who were close at #12; and Depeche Mode, who were even closer at #11.

Other than Sexual Eruption, Ben Gibbard's Indian Summer and a 50 Cent track I listened to on repeat for a really long time with my sound off (oops), the top twelve individual tracks I listened to in the past year were made up entirely of the tracks on In Rainbows.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (3) | Permalink

On the Resonance of Eddie Vedder's Music

April 20, 2008 2:44 PM

I caught this in an article at Yahoo!Xtra News today:

While [Eddie Vedder] has yet to write a song that has as much resonance as the work of his heroes [Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, etc.]...

Though I'm admittedly a little biased, I strongly disagree with this statement. The only key difference is that Eddie Vedder's best songs (songs like "I Am Mine," "Thumbing My Way," "Present Tense," and "Guaranteed" immediately come to mind) haven't had the advantage of time to demonstrate their longevity and poignancy.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Because I Never Get Tired of Bashing Comcast

April 20, 2008 11:18 AM

Again, via Marc Andreessen:

"The main problem was roads, which either did not exist or were so rocky, rutted, and circuitous that they were as much obstacle courses as lanes of conveyance."

[Kind of like] 28 kilobit modems in 1995!

Or Comcast today.

Hilarious!

Elsewhere | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

The English Dog and the Lion Cub

April 20, 2008 11:03 AM

From Benjamin Franklin: An American Life:

[Concerned that the British did not fully understand the potential consequences of further alienating the American colonies, Franklin] published a parable in January 1770 about a young lion cub and a large English dog traveling together on a ship.

The dog picked on the lion cub and "frequently took its food by force."

But the lion grew and eventually became stronger than the dog.

One day, in response to all the insults, it smashed the dog with "a stunning blow," leaving the dog "regretting that he had not rather secured its friendship than provoked its enmity."

The parable was "humbly inscribed" to Lord Hillsborough [a senior British official in charge of colonial affairs]...

(Via Marc Andreessen).

Miscellaneous | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

John Adams

April 19, 2008 10:37 AM

If you haven't been watching John Adams on HBO, what have you been doing? I started watching the 7-part series about a week ago, and I was immediately hooked. I think I paid a little more attention in History class than the majority of my peers, but a lot of the things in the series have come as surprises to me (though I also paid enough attention in class to know you can't always believe what you see on television...or even read in History books).

Last weekend I finished Part 6 ("Unnecessary War") and immediately felt this sense of loss, thinking that the series had come to an end. I kept thinking, "but what will happen with Thomas Jefferson now in office, and what about John Quincy?" The series is done so well, and does such a good job of making characters like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson so intriguing, even in their flaws, that you can't help but transcend the common pull of a protagonist and simply desire to find out how things pan out in the longer-term for whoever is involved.

Needless to say, I was very pleased and relieved when I checked out the website and learned that there is a seventh part ("Peacefield") that closes out the series. I'm sure I'll feel the same sense of loss once I see the last moments of that episode, but hopefully it will present some closure that the episodes I have seen to date have not.

Television | Post Comments | View Comments (2) | Permalink

CSS Variables Officially Proposed

April 17, 2008 9:57 AM

Way back in '04 I lamented the lack of support for constants in CSS. Nearly two years later, I received feedback from the father of CSS himself on why constants were left out of CSS.

I'm very happy to learn today, via Daniel Glazman, that both he and Dave Hyatt have officially proposed CSS Variables.

I was curious why the "variables" terminology was chosen instead of "constants," but that is pretty obvious once you read RQ3 from the proposal:

The value of variable should be modifiable by script. Such a modification should instantaneously update the value of all properties calling the corresponding variable's value, possibly triggering changes in the rendering of the document.

I hadn't considered the dynamic possibilities when I originally envisioned using CSS constants, but these possibilities are doubtless desirable.

It's exciting to see this feature finally gaining some momentum, and I'm very much looking forward to the day that I can make use of CSS Variables in my web designs.

Web Design | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Depth-first Search

April 16, 2008 7:13 PM

I'm pretty sure I made use of a depth-first search algorithm for the first time since graduating college (2002) today. Better late than never, I suppose.

Programming | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Call Me a Snob, Too

April 15, 2008 1:21 PM

From Seattlest:

Call us a snob, but this Seattlest firmly believes that musicians in this day and age should be as well-acquainted with the Beatles as writers should be with Shakespeare. How can you possibly get on a stage and try to be a pop singer without knowing even two Beatles songs? What is the world coming to?

I couldn't agree more.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Self-interest

April 15, 2008 1:16 PM

I frequently read or hear about musicians who claim not to be able to listen to their own music. Every time I think about it, I can't make sense of it. As evident at Last.fm, I am the exact opposite. I listen to Pleasure Unit all the time. When asked about it in the past, I've usually responded with "someone has to." ;)

But seriously, I listen to the music of which I've been a part because I'm proud of it. I can't imagine investing the effort or the emotion and then completely writing off the result. But maybe that just means I'm not a real artist.

Music | Post Comments | View Comments (2) | Permalink

High Quality Videos on YouTube

April 14, 2008 6:14 AM

Apparently this is well known at this point, but it was news to me. While I was watching the music video for Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart" yesterday, I noticed an icon below the feed that looked like an old standard television. When I clicked on it, I saw the option of switching to a "high quality" version of the video. I selected that option, and sure enough, I was able to watch the video at a much higher quality. Not high definition quality like Vimeo offers, mind you, but higher quality nonetheless.

Since I've been one to complain about YouTube's quality in the past, this was a nice thing to see. Now thanks to a tip from lifehacker, I've been able to set up YouTube to play these higher quality videos by default whenever they are available.

Computers | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

On-demand Partial Feeds

April 13, 2008 10:33 AM

I added a feature to my CMS yesterday that allows me to trigger partial entries in my blog's web feed on-demand. I'm not a fan of partial feeds and never have been. If you've been subscribed to my feed for a while, you know that I've always included the full text of my entries. However, yesterday's post about my wedding was fairly long and contained a couple pictures. It seemed like a good candidate for introducing in the feed entry and allowing readers the option of reading the rest at my blog if they chose to do so.

Unfortunately, the change I made to my CMS had a slight bug in it (where it cut off the beginning of the post instead of the end), and Googlebot is so darn quick-to-the-draw that the bungled entry showed up in Google Reader before I had a chance to correct the problem. However, the entry for the last post has been corrected and I believe my new on-demand partial feed feature is ready to go. I have another post coming up soon that will contain a lot of pictures, so that will likely be the next candidate for putting it to use.

Blogging | Post Comments | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Wedding and Honeymoon in Jamaica

April 12, 2008 11:38 AM

Photo of a Jamaican Sunset

I've been meaning to post this since around the minute I got home on March 25th. However, post-vacation withdrawals and an immense workload have made that rather difficult until now. Better late than never, though, so here goes...

A month ago to the day, my then fiancée and I were making last minute preparations for our trip to the Caribbean to get married. We caught a red eye flight on the night of March 12th that would take us from Seattle to Miami. We arrived in Miami at around 6am and had an unfortunate layover of around six hours before catching our next flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I say unfortunate because Miami International Airport has to be one of the grossest airports or even buildings I've ever been in. That being said, long layovers aren't necessarily a bad thing in general, as I'll get into a little later.

Landing in Montego Bay was a breathtaking experience, given that you only see shallow, crystal blue water until about the last second you hit the runway. As we taxied toward our gate, the sounds of Bob Marley began playing over the airplane sound system, which was a nice touch. I think that's when both my then fiancée and I realized we really were in Jamaica and finally about to get married.

Neither one of us got much sleep as we made our way to Jamaica, so that made all the airport/customs stuff a little more unbearable than usual, but luckily for us, the resort we would be staying in for the next week and a half had their own office and bar at the airport, so they made our first experience in Jamaica a positive one. After making sense of our luggage and my then fiancée's wedding dress, the porters told us to get comfortable and wait for the next bus to our resort, which would be arriving shortly. Sure enough, our bus arrived after around fifteen minutes or so, so we got on board along with a handful of other couples who we would soon learn were traveling either to the same resort as us, or to a sister resort not far from ours.

The bus ride from Montego Bay to Negril was a long one (about an hour and a half), but because the change in terrain and climate was so welcome to us, and because we had finally arrived in the paradise in which we'd be getting married, we were soaking up the surroundings the entire time. We also got somewhat accustomed to some of the geography and culture as our bus driver filled us in on some facts about where we were and about the people we encountered.

As we made our way along the Jamaican coastline, we also started to strike up conversation with a couple behind us -- Scott and Kirsten -- who informed us they were spending about four days in Jamaica and would be staying at the same resort as us. They were from Wisconsin, so they naturally had to bring up things that should remain unspoken, but it was all in good fun and we were pleased to immediately find a couple around our age that we might run into again once we got settled in at our resort.

Finally arriving at our resort, Couples Swept Away, was a relief if only for the fact that the two of us were so tired. However, we soon realized that we really were in paradise and that even the grandest of our expecations were likely to be surpassed in the days ahead.

One of our first impressions of what would become our home for the next twelve days was the view from our suite's veranda:

Veranda View

What's not to like about that?

Our suite had French doors leading out on to the veranda, and we very rarely closed them. It was nice to hear the waves slowly but consistently advancing and retreating along the shoreline each night. We very often ate a Caribbean-style continental breakfast out on the veranda, and most of our nights ended there, either enjoying incredible sunsets, breathing in the tropical air, or listening to the sounds of a short-lived rainstorm as it sent the local insects and amphibians into a frenzy.

The day after we arrived in Jamaica, we met with the on-site wedding coordinator to plan our wedding for the following day. It literally took us less than an hour to plan everything from the ceremony to the music to the flowers to the post-wedding photo shoot. It very quickly assured us that we had made the right decision many months prior to cancel the wedding we were planning in Seattle and simply head off toward the equator to get married by ourselves. The wedding coordinator that helped us that day became one of our favorite people from the entire trip.

The following day, at around 3pm on Saturday the 15th of March (gasp!), my wife Katie and I were married on the Jamaican shoreline with the sand between our toes. We had a small audience of beach-goers looking on as we shared our vows and eventually sealed the deal with a kiss, but to us it felt like we were the only ones there. It was an amazing series of moments that I know I will never forget.

Immediately following our wedding, my wife and I spent about an hour getting photographed by one of the resort's wedding photographers, who ended up being another one of our favorite people from the trip. Later that night, we had a romantic dinner on the beach planned, but one of the aforementioned rainstorms changed that plan a little bit.

I believe it was the following night that we were leaving one of the resort's open-air restaurants, Patois Patio, when I saw a face I recognized. I quietly but excitedly said to Katie: "I think that was Leroy Hill!" She immediately turned and called out his name, and he reacted as we hoped he would by turning around to see who, in Jamaica of all places, recognized him. She explained to him that we were from Seattle and were big Seahawks fans, and he seemed sincerely delighted to be recognized by fans so far from home. I took a picture of him with Katie, we both shook his hand (twice) and then I took a picture of him and his girlfriend (at the latter's request) before we parted ways. Needless to say we were pretty excited, not only to meet a Seahawk but to know we were staying at a resort at which a starting NFL linebacker would stay ;)

Since our wedding was officially over, the rest of our stay was devoted to our honeymoon. We had well over a week to lay out on the beach, enjoy the great food, wander a few steps beyond the resort border to buy some trinkets from the locals, etc. One of the locals, named "Spider," became another favorite of ours from the trip. He always had a smile for us, and his frequent shouts of things like "respect everytime!" made him all the more endearing to us.

Our other favorites from the trip had to be Dexter and Trillan. They were members of the resort's "Watersports" staff and we went out on a boat with them several times to go snorkling or to watch the sea life below from a glass bottom boat. I saw some of the biggest starfish I've ever seen and it was my first time snorkling. I don't quite take to the open water like Katie does, but we had fun nevertheless.

Eventually, our honeymoon neared its end and reality started to set in. We'd soon be making our way back home. Our last night in Jamaica, we saw the best sunset we had seen since arriving. It was probably the only one I saw that I didn't end up photographing, but I'm glad I didn't. That is one of several memories that I know I'll never lose.

Our trip home was probably our least favorite part of the trip, and not just for obvious reasons. The combination of a layover time in Dallas that was far shorter than the aforementioned one in Miami and a one hour stint on the Dallas runway made us miss our flight home to Seattle, so we ended up having to stay an extra night at a hotel in Dallas. Needless to say, its views and amenities didn't quite stack up to what we had gotten used to in Negril. But with a little fortitude, we survived and eventually managed to return home, newly wed and still very much holding on to every short-term memory we could possibly retain about our incredible wedding and honeymoon in Jamaica.

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They'd Shut Me Away But I'd Be All Right

April 10, 2008 10:44 AM

I'm kicking myself right now. Radiohead is coming to the Seattle area in August, and a pre-sale just got underway over at Ticketmaster about 45 minutes ago. After a few attempts, I managed to get two lawn tickets temporarily reserved for me. However, I got a little greedy and started looking around for better seats and by the time I came back to at least advance to the next page (since you have a time limit), I was told that I had exceeded my allotted time and my tickets had been released. After that, I was unable to find any others.

I don't really have anyone to blame other than myself, because that was a pretty bonehead move, but I'm still pissed at Ticketmaster for just being generally lame. I mean, this is nothing new, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. When I took a look at those tickets that had been reserved for me, I was going to be paying something like $30 in fees beyond the price of my tickets, which were $35 each. So I'd be paying almost 50% of my ticket price in fees had I purchased those tickets. And then there's the whole issue of having to prove I'm a human over and over again as I try to find more tickets. Come on Ticketmaster, can't you build in a little intelligence since you're requiring me to have some in order to use your service? I know the effort is for a good cause, but how do you know I'm interested in digitizing books when I'm trying to get tickets to see one of my favorite bands?

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Take It Off

April 09, 2008 12:44 AM

Two years ago I got naked. Last year, I missed the boat. But I learned from my mistake and planned ahead this year. So bernzilla.com is naked and bare today as part of the third annual CSS Naked Day.

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Easy as Conjunctive a Pussyfoot

April 06, 2008 2:34 PM

I've read a lot of hogwash on various blogs and I've seen some obviously automated content on others. I've also seen translated pages that start to lose any and all meaning they may have once had in their original language. However, I have no idea what to make of this. Here's just a snippet:

If you poverty to wager what high-definition content, but do not poverty to pay thousands for a new TV, you crapper easily wager that the same noesis on your computer Almost all monitors are confident of activity 720p noesis (which module be rattling pleasant compared to the older formats), and digit of the most popular segments today is 24-inch guardian and above widescreen monitor, which is confident of display high-definition noesis 1080p, Best hunting format acquirable today However, to wager these bonny shows and movies on your computer, you requirement a receiver HDTV

In some ways, it seems almost brilliant (and you really should read it in its entirety) because it's as if a machine somehow started to put thoughts together on its own, but merely struggled a bit.

I wonder if this is how Beck writes his lyrics ;)

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The Run Ends

April 05, 2008 9:47 PM

Even though I've been bleeding Carolina blue for about a decade-and-a-half, I'm fairly certain I haven't followed the men's basketball team any closer than I followed the 2007-2008 squad. So on a night where things went awry against a somewhat unpredictable Kansas team, to see my Heels' run at a championship end in the Final Four stings just a little bit more than I'm used to.

If there's any solace to be had from the loss, it may come from the idea that it may convince Psycho T to return for his senior season. The fact that so many of the starters were sophomores softens the blow a bit, too.

Nevertheless, I'll be watching attentively come Monday night, anxious to see if the high-flying Kansas squad shows up against Memphis or if the somewhat skittish team that showed up against Davidson in the previous round shows up instead.

With the exception of the Tar Heels (and my obvious bias), I've felt all season long that Memphis was the best team in the country, so I'm anticipating seeing them cut down the nets on Monday night. But who knows, maybe my "pickability" has become as off-the-mark as a Carolina jumper in the first half tonight.

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Marcus Tubbs in Bellevue

April 01, 2008 7:27 AM

I seem to have a knack for running into Seahawks lately. Yesterday, while out and about in Bellevue to grab some lunch, I ran into Marcus Tubbs. He wasn't quite as friendly as Leroy Hill (more on this encounter later), but it could be because I just called out his name and then went to shake his hand. He may just have been wondering who the heck I was. I get the feeling that some Seahawks at least aren't used to being recognized in public. But how do you not recognize a 300 pounder with a mohawk? :)

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