Year: 2003

All in a Day’s Digital Work

I’m proud of the work I’ve done in the past twenty-four hours. I updated the Scranton Student, updated this rinky-dink blog, posted a whole slew of new side links that have been clogging up my Favorites, helped name a chameleon, unpacked all of my suitcases, and did some online shopping. Granted, my work’s been mostly digital—and therefore, ethereal—but for an English Major who is used to dealing with the fleeting, it’s all right with me. Tomorrow, Annie and I are set for a real-world shopping adventure. It’ll likely be the discount chains for me, because like today’s work, my cash flow has also been fleeting lately.

I Have an Excused Absence

I can’t believe that it has been almost a month since I last posted. Quite a bit has happened since then, which makes me regret not having much time to write down my thoughts and observations during that period. As you probably guessed from my last post, the Scranton Student has been taking up a large chunk of my time. Despite the usual tweaks, updates, and maintenance of the site, I’ve also taken on the duties of the Editor for a writing staff of eight, including myself. It’s been a little rocky trying to get the site on a regular schedule of updates/issues. However, the site has been performing well beyond my initial expectations; I am very happy with the site, and it seems that most everyone I’ve talked to have also been impressed with the design and content. I can only see it going better when it’s publicized in the Spring.

Some other events taking up my time these past few weeks include: Thanksgiving Break, a few substantial snow storms, Annie’s final Christmas Concert (she was awesome!), final projects, papers, exams, a wake and funeral for my great uncle in New Jersey, and the official end of my Junior year. I’m finally getting to sleep in and rest after two of the busiest weeks in my life. Now that I’m home, I can rest a little bit before I must go and find some web design work to do in January for which I’ll actually be compensated. I like web design in and of itself, but I also like to have available cash. You know how that is, I’m sure.

The Scranton Student is Now Complete!

On the seventh week, I rested. I saw what I had created and said, “It is good.” Yeah, I’m being a tad melodramatic, but the Scranton Student has been a long time in the works. This morning, at precisely 2:07 AM, EST, the Scranton Student went live for the public. I first developed the idea in early October 2002 when I registered the domain name. I worked on it for a few weeks and pushed it to the back burner as that semester ground to an end.

Starting in early October of this year, I thought of the project again and renewed it with more excitement and energy—not to mention the major advancements in my technical skills from my work on The Scranton Student is not a completed project; in fact, the site will continue to evolve and grow for a long time if it all goes well. The Textbook HQ and the Search page still need work and the Forum needs customization, but the site is fully functional and the articles are posted. The Scranton Student is an online resource and magazine for University of Scranton students. Check it out today.

Jack Bauer Evacuates Chi-Chi’s on 24

As always, 24 was excellent tonight. However, as the opening screen appeared and announced that “The following takes place between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM,” I couldn’t help but think, “Jack Bauer’s violent encounter with Chi-Chi’s causes him to take a major dump.” For half the show, it could just show dramatic angles of his stall door while cutting to the CTU office staff going ballistic because they can’t find Jack anywhere. Jack could fold and refold a newspaper to give the sound crew a break from making horrific groaning noises on the sound stage. No, this probably would not work for a show unless Jack Bauer learns how to eat first. Have you noticed that he never, ever eats? I’ll bet there’s at least one Chinese restaurant with CTU security clearance in the LA area.

Like Pizza, Revolutions is Better the Next Day

I had a nice and balmy (by Scranton standards) weekend in Baltimore. Friday night, Annie and I just ordered some Domino’s from an angry Domino’s woman. Their hand-tossed pizza with extra cheese has just about the exact same consistency as Pizza Hut’s Cheese-Lover’s Pan Pizza, but Pizza Hut still edges them out in taste. Anywho, Annie and I went to see The Matrix Revolutions; my second viewing and Annie’s first. I definitely like it better than I did the first time, but there’s still some rather important questions that the film does not answer. Also, I really appreciated the large number of people who felt inclined to talk back to the movie. Really folks, I’m happy for you. I wish I could have maintained the innocence that allows you to believe that celluloid can hear your suggestions and modify itself accordingly.

And I’ll Blow Your House Down

It was windy outside today. Every now and then, it would make the panes of glass in the windows of my room rattle quite loudly. Several times today, I expected the wind to gather enough strength to break the windows and blow shards of glass into my room. Luckily, they just make a surprising amount of noise and leak air like a gossip. I am tired tonight and I am going to Baltimore tomorrow, so this is all you’re getting for right now.

Revolutions and Visitation

These last few days have been action-packed for me. Wednesday night, a bunch of us hit up Cinemark to see The Matrix Revolutions. We even saw Neo at the theatre; well, we saw a few people who like to dress up and pretend they’re Neo. Our group was deeply divided over whether the third Matrix is the worst movie ever or just as good as the first two. I think I liked it, but I’m definitely going to need to see it again before I make any final judgement.

Thursday and Friday were also busy days for me with getting ready for class registration and cleaning up before Annie arrived in Scranton. Annie got here around noon yesterday which was later than I expected but for the best because it gave me some time to do some last minute dusting. I’m really bad at keeping things dust-free despite the fact that I’m allergic to dust mites. No really; I live under several inches of dust. It’s convenient for writing memos.

We went to the Mall at Steamtown last night and hung out there for a few hours. We also went outside to see the lunar eclipse but only stayed out for a few minutes because Scranton’s weather is incredibly bitter in the winter. This morning we also hiked to the cathedral for 8:30 AM Mass; the wind chill was about 15 degrees so I hope God appreciated our dedication. We were able to hit up brunch together which was a nice surprise. Although the weekend seemed to fly by, it was still great. Even better is the fact that I will be visiting her school next week for the Bachelor’s Ball and Auction. No, I’m not for sale or lease. Get over it.

Building the Scranton Student

In chronological order, I’ve been sick, working on the Scranton Student, and wrapped up in class registration for next semester. It’s been about a week since I started feeling ill, but I am actually feeling much better today. Over the weekend, I worked on the Scranton Student for long hours. The result is that I’ve built my best database system to date. It’s not entirely automated—I still have to manually create archive listings—but it is a significant step up from the backend of this site. It also happens to be highly scaleable. I’ve already spoken to a few people who were interested in writing original articles for the site, and I’m working out the final details of the design, so hopefully the site will be in beta-testing in about ten days.

The Sedlec Ossuary

A Cross at the Sedlec Ossuary

Despite the fact that I’m feeling quite under the weather, I decided to post something anyway. Ooh, be amazed by my dedication, also known as boredom.

A long time ago, on a TV displaying something far, far away, I first learned of The Sedlec Ossuary, a small Christian chapel on the outskirts of the Czech town Kutna Hora. The church looks rather innocent from the distance, but once you step inside, it is an entirely different story. Beginning in the 1500s, bones from the older graves in the graveyard were moved to the crypt of the ossuary to make room for the many people that wanted to be buried in the cemetery. In the 1870s, the bones of approximately 40,000 people had been accumulated. A local artisan was put in charge of decorating the inside of the church with the bones. Dozens of great pictures and more information can be found on XibalbA. Happy Samhain!

All Dressed Up for Halloween

In celebration of All Hollows’ Eve, I’ve switched to the first special template for this site. I’ll keep it up for at least a few days after Halloween though. The surprising thing is that it only took me an hour to create the new Halloween template by modifying the graphics and stylesheet for the normal template. That means there will be more templates for you!