Month: October 2003

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!

Goodbye Tables, Hello XHTML!

I completed a major site update today, but many people would not notice if I didn’t say anything about it. Besides adjusting the width of certain columns and modifying the header size slightly, I also scrapped the previous design’s table layout in favor of an XHTML-styled div and CSS layout. Certain aspects, such as the Archives monthly listings and the comment form are still table-based, but eventually they will also be switched to XHTML Strict.

I also enhanced my template system to allow extremely easy style changes once I build some new stylesheets (which will be fairly easy). I’m talking about changing one word in one file to change all images and colors globally. I was also thinking about making my PHP/MySQL blog system a public blogging system available for download like Moveable Type. While I will never have as many options as MT, I will offer a simplified solution that doesn’t rely on Perl. I may even be willing to host blog sites, similar to the TypePad method.

24 Season Three will Rock

I just have to say that 24 is a wonderful show. Tonight was the season premiere and I can only say that it was just as good as I expected. Already I can imagine dozens of different directions that the subplots may take, but I can only make wild guesses as to how the season will conclude. I’m sure it will be just as action-packed as the first two seasons.

Ford sponsored the premiere without commercial interruption and the characters only used Ford vehicles, to the best of my knowledge. To achieve this, Ford showed a segment of a commercial mini-movie before and after the episode of 24. Each three-minute clip was styled similarly to the actual show—split screen, heartbeats, rapid scene transitions—and was generally well-done for a commercial. I imagine most people watched the clips because they weren’t traditional commercials, which is probably just what Ford wanted.

Germans are Cool

I watched a show on the History Channel today about the Autobahn. It was originally dubbed Hitler’s Road because he commissioned the work as part of the “New Germany.” Like the roads of the Roman Empire, the Autobahn was intended to be the skeleton of the Nazi Empire. The stretch to the west would go to the Atlantic, while to the east it would run to Moscow. However, when the first stretch was opened, it carried only one car per kilometer stretch of roadway. During World War II, the Nazis blew up many of 1,000 bridges that had been built only a few years earlier. However, after the war, the Autobahn was rebuilt and extended throughout Germany.

Today, many sections of road boast no speed limit, while stretches around the cities become deadlocked with traffic. The coolest thing I learned was that on the unlimited portions of roadway, RUF, the Porsche tuning company, will test their cars before shipping them to customers in order to guarantee the top speed of the vehicle. The RUF CTR2 topped out at 212 mph on the Autobahn—and it’s all legal.

Add Sidebar, Count Comments, Stir, and Serve

I finally figured out exactly how to list the number of comments for each entry next to the permalink. I added that to the code for the main page of this site, as well as for each entry in the Archives. I also added a sidebar to the home page which I will use to list random links that I find interesting. You may find them to be a complete waste of time or thoroughly exhilarating; this will depend on your mood and the toxicity of your liver.

Speaking of alcohol, I went to a bar (Rocky’s) for the first time ever on Thursday in time for the devastating loss by the Red Sox to the Yankees. I drank two screwdrivers that were quite tasty. I also made my first trip to the liquor store on Friday and purchased a $4 bottle of Raspberry Cabernet fruit wine that I took to C. Ryan’s party later that night. Rachael and Pat walked into the store about two minutes after I arrived. Good times.

Felon to Magellan

Everybody’s seen the Dr. Scholl’s commercial where two guys ask each other if they are “Gellin'” after being involved in a minor car accident. After each notices that the other man is very laid-back, one says to the other, “You must be gellin’.” The other man replies, “Gellin’ like a felon.” However, Dr. Scholl’s apparently doesn’t want their product to be associated with comfortably-shod prisoners and has changed his remark to “Gellin’ like Magellan.” It just serves to make the commercial even more laughably unfunny than it was before their little bout of political-correctness.

My Birthday Weekend

My 21st Birthday Cake

Eventful times since the last entry. I left Scranton around noon on Friday and went home for about an hour before leaving again to go visit Annie in Baltimore. I planned on getting down there about three, but traffic caused me to show up at 6:30. She surprised me with a bottle of Tommy Hilfiger cologne that I haven’t really been able to afford for a while and also quite a few printouts of a comic we like. She also decorated her room in festive birthday decorations, which I noticed immediately (inside joke)! Annie and I went over to the Towson Town Center and she treated me to a birthday dinner at Rainforest Café. When I make my millions, I want an enormous fish tank and a night sky built into the bedroom ceiling. Annie and I both ordered roasted turkey and bacon wraps with some of the best steak fries ever. After dinner, we walked around the mall for a bit before calling it a night.

On Saturday, we went back over to Towson and went to a few stores, but mostly just Barnes & Noble and Borders. I love large bookstores; they’re so much better than the boring little Waldenbooks in the malls. After spending obscene amounts of time in both, I decided to buy O’Reilly’s PHP Cookbook, which seems to be leaps and bounds over the Peachpit Press books by Larry Ullman. It actually explains why certain functions are used! I’ll write up more about the book after I try out some of the recipes.

Annie and I ate Flamer’s food in the mall’s food court and then hit up the cinema for School of Rock using her student ID: $6/ticket in Towson! School of Rock was not only as good as I had hoped, but also it was better than I expected. Jack Black rocked like only he can and the soundtrack was excellent. In general, I highly recommend the movie to anyone looking for a good light comedy. Annie and I ordered some pizza when we got back to campus and watched Saturday Night Live with Justin Timberlake acting as both the host and the musical guest; he did not rock. Nor did the hour and a half that it took for Domino’s to deliver.

Sunday was another good day. Annie and I went to the Cathedral for Mass and then went to Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch; it was good—as always—and really nice to not have to rush home after Mass (as is usual when I have to go back to Scranton on Sunday). We then went grocery shopping at Giant so Annie isn’t forced to eat the delicious food in her cafeteria.

I left Baltimore at about 4:00 PM so that I could be home in time for a little birthday dinner that my family was throwing for me and my dad (his birthday is the eighth). My mom made lasagna with salad and garlic bread that was all quite delicious. And then there was cake; by this time, I was starting to feel like I was going to explode, with Ruby Tuesday’s already devoured, I was full halfway through salad. Twenty-one is the year of the computer I suppose, as the cake was decorated with an old-school computer with a monochrome monitor.

For my birthday, I received a nice supply of cards with valuable monetary gifts enclosed, a Kodak Easy Share Camera Dock for my digital camera, Bleachers by John Grisham, and a gold pocket watch from my dad that he received for his twenty-first birthday. All in all it was a great birthday weekend.

It’s the Copy and Paste Entry!

I didn’t go out tonight, I don’t have any homework, and I’m not posting until next week so I thought I’d post another entry for your reading enjoyment. But there’s a problem: I’m feeling lazy and I don’t feel like writing the normal witty banter that you’ve grown to hate. Therefore, I’m stepping to a new low: the copy-and-paste entry!

I just love record executives, don’t you?

One RCA executive, who insisted on anonymity, cited Idol as proof that “Americans have no taste” and described Aiken as “Barry Manilow, but with less talent.” Sanders says he understands that some of his employees are “skeptical about the selection process and skeptical about selling a pop artist with no credibility.” But, he adds, “I’ve told everyone they need to look at it this way: Americans buy more vanilla ice cream than any other flavor. Yes, they like their Rocky Road and Cherry Garcia, but ultimately America wants to consume vanilla. So we’re going to sell the best vanilla. Given the problems we’re facing as an industry, we cannot afford to be judgmental.”
Building a Better Pop Star,” Time, Oct. 13, 2003

Here’s one of Mulhern’s random away messages:

My current biggest fear: a ninja clan of midget clowns comes after me after I’ve killed one of their brethren. They leave me no choice but to join forces with my hated enemies, the bums of Scranton, to defeat this clown ninja threat. The battle goes well until the bums reveal themselves to be clowns in disguise and they subdue me with shurikens and cotton candy. They take me in a little clown car to their base of operations and torture me with their midget ways, trying to get me to tell them the location of my cigarettes. I free myself with a batarang, but realize I am hopelessly outnumbered and have no choice but to commit seppuku. As I lay dying, I curse the midget clown bums and tell them one day a man will come and avenge my death and on that day, they will die in a pool of blood and white makeup… but they just laugh.

And finally, here’s one from Letterman:

Arnold Schwarzenegger said that while he is governor he won’t make any movies. I’m thinking that maybe we can get Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to run for office.
The Late Show with David Letterman, Oct. 9, 2003

Will I Party Like It’s My Birthday?

There will be no scanning of cheat sheets for you today. I was going to scan the paper at work but I didn’t go to work this morning because I wasn’t feeling well. I felt a little bit better later in the morning so I went to all of my other classes; I also shouldn’t miss any more in case I need to later in the semester. I will probably bring my scanner up to Scranton after Fall Break, so if you’re lucky I’ll add some pictures to the Images section.

I also would like to mention that it is my 21st birthday today! You know what that means: wild drunken gambling in Atlantic City! Um… no, sorry to disappoint you. I may go out to the bar for a drink tonight—maybe—or I may just go to bed early and celebrate tomorrow. You see, I’m extremely tired again today. As in, I almost fell asleep at my desk this afternoon, which would have caused me to miss all of my afternoon classes. I’m also driving to Baltimore to visit Annie tomorrow and I’ve heard that it is inappropriate to fall asleep while driving a motor vehicle. Go figure. If you didn’t get a chance to buy me a round, send me an item from my wish list. Go ahead—feel free to splurge if you want!