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February 2005

A genius explains

In the wake of reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' I stumbled across this piece in the Guardian Unlimited about Daniel Tammet:

Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism. Interview by Richard Johnson

It is a fascinating read, and further convinces me that I am not as smart as I think I am.


O'Reilly, call me

According to Jeremy C. Wright O'Reilly is looking for someone to write a book about blogging. I blog, and I like to write. Do I sense a deal in the making?

Of course, I am having difficulty getting a review copy of a book for TUAW, so I doubt they'll be contacting me about writing a book. And even if I did write a book for them, I probably wouldn't be able to get myself a copy.


New Nickel Unleashed Today

And this is what it looks like:

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Read all about it on Cnn.com or if you're in the DC area you can go to the  2005 National Nickel Exchange:

TUESDAY MARCH 1, the United States Mint will offer the public its first opportunity to obtain the 2005 American Bison nickel. The National Nickel Exchange will begin on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. with a ceremonial presentation of the new nickel to the American people. The ceremony will feature a real American bison and an American Indian performance honoring the event. The National Nickel Exchange will continue inside Union Station, Washington D.C. with a public exchange of bills and coins for $2 rolls of shiny, new American Bison nickels. There will be $100,000 in American Bison nickels available for the National Nickel Exchange.

If I lived near DC I would so be going to that, and of course post some pics to this here blog.  Too bad I live in stupid old Philadelphia.


Oscars In Memorium

I don't know about you, but I find the Oscar's In Memorium to be a little creepy. It is an after death popularity contest to see which dead star will get the most applause. You can almost hear the crowd try to figure out if they know the name of the dead person and if they should clap, and then they come to a bigger name and everyone claps.

Creepy.


Ask Blanbaby: What happened to Ask Blankbaby?

askblankbaby.jpgThis week's question comes from Sam and she wants to know: "Hey what happened to that "Ask Blankbaby" feature? I was starting to enjoy it, and it disappeared!"

That is an interesting and complex question which deserves an equally interesting and complex answer. And for that answer we must first cast our thoughts to the Aztec Empire. You see the Aztecs not only created ziggurats and a calendar but they also invented the fine art of 'slacking.' Once upon a time a fearsome young Aztec warrior was asked to burn a human heart in honor of one of the gods. His immediate reaction was, 'I'll do it later.'

That young warrior's name? Pro'Cratia'on. And that's where the word procrastination comes from.

So you see, Sam, I just haven't gotten around to doing an Ask Blankbaby because I am a horrible man. And, I haven't gotten any good questions.

See what I did there? I turned the blame onto you, the kind readers of Blankbaby.


Scott and Chris in the Studio

One of the great things about have a blog that your friends read is that after you post something that mentions them you get an email with this in it:

wlvr_scotty_and_chris_b&w_small.jpg

Chris emailed and said:

You better post this in your Blog....

I think we both look surprisingly the same as we did
back then.

This picture is so great because it sums up our experiences in the studio; I'm hard at work and Chris is staring off into the distance.


Scott and Chris in the Evening circa Nov. 16th 1998

Here's a fun Scott fact, I hosted, along with Chris, a weekly radio show at Lehigh. We called it 'Scott and Chris in the Evening' with the evening reflecting the time of day that our show was actually on (i.e. morning, afternoon, ect.).

I have a few tapes of our shows, and yesterday I converted one of the tapes into an MP3 that I thought I would share with all of you! Now, keep in mind that Chris and I were just having fun and not taking this thing seriously. We have a lot of 'banter' which was really just an excuse to make each other laugh.

Now I cut out all of the music to make the file smaller, and the file isn't all that high quality, but it was fun for me to listen to again.

Here is the file, it is about 10 megs, and goes on for about 30 minutes. Listening to it made me remember how much fun it was, and I think I am starting to understand the alure of podcasting. Perhaps Chris and I should do a podcast of our very own! :)

Oh, and if you want to listen to it please save it to your hard drive by right clicking instead of streaming it from my server. Thanks!

Also, my voice is much sexier in real life, just an FYI for all the ladies out there, though the things I say in that voice are as goofy as they were in 1998.


3 Good Books in a row

3goodbooks.jpgReading a good book is a joy, and something that I never tire of. I am always on the look out for something fun, interesting, or touching to read. That is why I love the Strand so much (and why I get carried away in bookstores of any stripe).

Recently I have had good book karma, or something, because the last three books that I have read have been good. Actually they have been better than good, on average, and that is something to write about.

I took "Banvard's Folly" out from the library after I saw it in Border's but I didn't buy it. The topic, 13 stories of people famous at their time but unheard of today, spoke to me and it soon took over my thinking. I couldn't think of anything else, and of course when I went back to buy it they no longer had any copies. I went to a few other bookstores with no luck. Then it struck me, I work on a campus with a huge library why not check there? Luckily for me they did indeed have it and I was set. I checked it out and read it slowly, savoring it like a fine wine (which I don't drink). I don't know if this book is for everyone but I love reading about eccentrics in general so it was right up my alley. By the way the titular personage, John Banvard, was the most popular artist of his time. He painted a huge panoramic canvas of the entire eastern shore of the Mississippi which was held on big rolls and Mr. Banvard which stand before an audience with the painting being rolled along behind him as he related his days on the Mississippi. The painting no longer survives.

After I finished "Banvard's Folly" I took Becky's suggestion and read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in one sitting (Becky didn't say I had to read it in one sitting, but it is a short book). It is a well crafted gem of a novel that I would recommend to most, if not all. The author wrote the novel from the viewpoint of an autistic 15 year old who is trying to solve a mystery of a murdered dog. Good fun.

Finally, "In Praise of Slowness" should be required reading for everyone in the United States. It is a fairly broad over view of the 'Slow movement,' which includes everything from Slow Food (the most famous aspect) to Slow Sex and Slow Education. The reasoning is that we would all benefit if we just slowed down a bit and enjoyed things instead of rush, rush, rush. People are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. If you only read one of these books this is the one you should read. The most ironic thing about this book is that it is a fast read.


9pm and still at work?

Sadly, it is true but sometimes you have to ignite the midnight petroleum, and luckily what I stayed late to get working seems to be working (at the moment).

I tend to work much better later in the evening.  It has something to do with the fact that no one is around to distract me so I do better work, and get more done.  I wonder if they would let me shift my hours to Noon to 10pm and let me work a 4 day week (with Fridays off).  That would be great, and I am sure something that will never happen.

I am going to treat myself to Chinese food for dinner (and it isn't even a Thursday!).


Well, that was quick!

I debated posting about this, then I thought, 'This is my blog, so what the hell?' Here I am sitting at work, installing Windows 2000 on a server (but since it is 7pm, if I get fired for posting while at work I am going to be pissed!) and I thought what better time to post?

It recently dawned on me that the 21st of Feb. marked my one year anniversary as a swingin' single, but I think it is a good thing that this dawned on me a few days after the fact.  Now, I only remember the date that Elisa broke up with me so clearly because it was exactly one week after my birthday, a date which I am fairly good about remembering. Otherwise I am sure I would forget what the date was, heck I have trouble remember what the current date is let alone other dates.

Why the post then?  Well, I don't know, it just seems like something worth posting about.  I am a different person than I was a year ago (and Blankbaby is a very different blog than it was way back then), so why not reflect on those times with my new perspective?

It turns out that the break up was the best thing for me.  It spurred me to make some of my own friends in the Philly area (it was either that or adopt several hundred cats, but think of the kitty litter budget alone!) and get off my ass and do some stuff around town.  That's right I said ass!  Well, I didn't say it, I typed it and you read it.  So really it is 50% your fault.

So is Single Scott a happier person than Relationship Scott was?  Well, Relationship Scott wasn't an unhappy bloke, but he did see the writing on the wall weeks (dare I say months?) before the actual end of the relationship so with that in mind I am happier. Plus, I save tons of money on gifts/dinners/trips, so that's a net gain.

The point of this entry?  I am not sure there is a point, and perhaps that in and of itself is the point.  Probably not though.

In summary, I am over the whole break up thing and I have been for some time.  I am not in 'rebound' mode anymore, nor am I in 'Dear God I'm going to die alone and they won't find my corpse for days until the smell gets so bad that the neighbors complain and the Fire department breaks down my apartment door to find my bloated, slightly decomposed body sitting the couch clutching a Pringles can between my my cold dead fingers' mode (I actually was never in that mode). What mode am I in?

Well, my looks are set to stun as always (where do I come up with them?) and I am happy, so you may recall reading in this entry.

And to top it all off, it has been 4 months since my last sip of delicious, delicious Pepsi!  I'm still fat, of course, but I would bet overall I am healthier.

I have been pondering starting a 'Healthier Scott' project whereby I would post my weight, an exercise routine, and then post updates every week.  However, even though you know, and I know, that I am fat for some reason publishing my exact weight is intimidating.  I am not sure what I think would happen.  I am fairly sure that most people wouldn't think, 'Well I knew he was heavy, but not that HEAVY!  That's it I am never reading this site nor talking to Porky again.'   And if that was someone's reaction would I really want them reading this site or talking to me anyway?  I think not.

I am still thinking about it though, I think it would give me some motivation to actually exercise, much like the Pepsi ban post really made me stick to my Pepsi ban.  Who says blogs are worthless?

That brings me to another point that I have been thinking about (sheesh, this post is certainly a rambling one, and if you're still reading this I will personally do one of two things for you: A. Buy you a cookie of your choice. B. Give you a great big Scott hug, and I am not so fond of the human contact, so that is saying a lot) and that is the current state of Blankbaby.

When I started blogging for TUAW last month, there were some who thought that Blankbaby would suffer, and in fact during the first few days of posting on TUAW posting on BB did suffer.  However, I think that Blankbaby as it stands now is a much better blog than it was a year ago, 6 months ago, and 2 months ago.  I am not sure when the change happened, but I can say that most of the posts are now much beefier (much less posting of links without comments now a days) and many of them are about my always interesting personal life.  At least I think it is a better site, I mean some people even think it is the 'bee's knees' so that must count for something.

I suppose I had more to say than I first thought!  This might one of the longest posts here on Blankbaby, of course it might be the most wide ranging as well so it only makes sense.

In conclusion, I'm better than I was a year ago, this blog is better than it was a year ago, and I hope that you, dear reader, are also better than you were a year ago.

What will the next year bring?  I'm hoping for cars made entirely of taffy!


No Condo For Me... yet

Well, after thinking it over and talking with the real estate dude Mithras recommended, it just doesn't make sense for me to buy something at this point in my life, especially since it would have basically been a spur of the moment purchase, which I assume isn't a good thing for a condo purchase.

Where does this leave me?  Well I need to start my apartment hunt in earnest now.  I am looking at a place tomorrow, and I will be calling a bunch more.  I would like to have a place by the middle of next month.  If I don't I will stay at my current place for another year, or see if I can get a 6 month lease.

And that is that.


I knew I was right about the Gates

According to the NewYorkMetro.com:


Their plan for a New York project lay dormant until 1979, when they turned their eyes to Central Park. The Christos envisioned a project that would reflect the city’s peripatetic culture while complementing Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterful landscaping. They submitted a proposal to the city in 1980; it involved 15,000 steel-pole gates planted directly in the park’s soil. They hoped to open The Gates in October 1983. Their budget was just over $5 million.

The Gates were orginally supposed to go up in the Fall, so there, Becky!

Can anyone tell I don't like being wrong? It is one of my many failings.


Blankbaby Home Owner?

So, my friend Scott who is something of a real estate guru (or at least he wants to be) has gotten me to think about buying a condo instead of renting. Apparently I can find a small condo and with no money down I can pay monthly payments equal to that which I would be paying rent.

AND I would have something called equity, which I am not sure what that involves, but it sure sounds grown up, and I think the ladies like it.

So, dear Blankbaby readers, should I resist the condo urge? I am going to call a few realtors tomorrow and see what they have to say to me.

Here is what I imagine the conversation will entail:

Me: "Oh, hello realtor. Yes, I would like to find a small one bedroom condo in Center City."

Me: "No, I don't have any money for a down payment."

Me: "You don't have to laugh at me."

Sorry for the one sided conversation there, but I don't have one of those fancy speaker phones so that you could listen to both ends of the conversation.


Blogger Upgrades to Pro Blogger

Jason Kottke has quit his full time job and is concentrating on his personal blog full time.

If you had told me last year that someone would do this I would have slapped your face and called you the liar that you obviously were. However, since even I am getting paid to blog I find this incredibly easy to believe.

Now, the only thing left to do is figure out how I can become a full time blogger. If you have any ideas, or offers, drop me a line.


They Might Be In Bryn Mawr

tmbg.jpgHey, all you TMBGer's, the dual Quasars of Rock are playing an 'in store' (as they say in the biz) at the Borders at 1149 Lancaster Ave on Feb 25th at 7PM.

Best of all the is free, as in gratis. I am sure it is to promote their new album "Here Come the ABC's," which is their latest children's work. I just bought it for myself, and while it isn't my favorite I am enjoying it.

Damn my lack of a car!