The Week That I Wish Wasn’t

9 09 2016

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

Thanks to Labor Day, this week was 20% shorter than the typical week.

Yet I still managed to make eight people really pissed off at me, two of those eight are probably reading these words.

All I need to do is hold on and wait until next week, where I’ll have five full days to wreak interpersonal havoc.


Old Chatroom Buddy

22 08 2016

Fredericton, New Brunswick

J.P. Kirby, an old chatroom buddy of mine from back in the IRC days, gets an article about what was even back then one of his obsessions in the Silver Mines today.

Though this year, I don’t think the St. Louis market will see the Rams quite as often as we have in the last twenty seasons.

Also, if I remember JP like I do, I don’t think he’s responsible for the Redskins defenestration in the first large map.  I think someone at the Silver Mines did that.

Waiting ‘Round the Bend

8 08 2016


Twenty-five years ago Saturday.  This is how it all started. Yes, it’s what the WWW was like before CSS; it’s the internet’s equivalent of a bare butt baby photo.

And it started because:

Primarily a business proposal, Berners-Lee conceived of the web as a way to prevent information loss in businesses and the scientific community.

At the time, he was working as a computer programmer at CERN’s European Organisation for Nuclear Research, where he’d seen countless amounts of data lost because of high staff turnover and poor communication. And he’d looked on as researchers wasted weeks solving problems only to find out it had been tackled years earlier.

“The problems of information loss may be particularly acute at CERN, but in this case, CERN is a model in miniature of the rest of the world in a few years time. CERN meets now some of the problems which the rest of the world will have to face soon,” said Berners-Lee.

What TBL did was pay attention and wait for an opportunity to come to him, and when it did, lots of light bulbs went off.

For almost the entirety of the last month, I think I’ve noticed a solvable problem, and an opportunity may have come to me, and a light bulb is going off in my brain.  I want to keep a lot of things under the vest, because there are a lot of maybes and ifs and hypotheticals involved, and I don’t need anyone who is better placed than myself to see my idea to realization to rip off my idea.  I will say it’s nowhere as profound as the World Wide Web, even though it will be very helpful to a lot of people, albeit people of a certain niche demographic.  And I have dropped hints here in this medium in the very recent past to what it’s all about.  I’ll be at the State Fair from Thursday until the 21st, and when I get back, I’m going to start devoting some real time and brain power into trying to figure out how to turn idea into reality.  Though, again, not to give that much away, I think that my day job, which I’ll largely be doing at the State Fair, has given me just enough of a ‘Dex and networking punch in order to make it happen.  Even though I can easily think of several lines of work that would have been better for me to be in to fit that purpose.

As an aside, the WWW is 25 years old, Countenance Blog is almost 13 years old, so it’s half as old as the internet itself.  If multicellular life on Earth is 500 million years old, it’s the equivalent of a 250 million year old continuously living multicellular organism.


Speed, Power and Control

14 06 2016

Your Blogmeister’s Hotel Room

Alluding back to a point I made earlier.

I caught myself doing two generationally stereotypical things today:

1. Using Google Maps and a printed road atlas at the same time

2. For some stat/data/number crunching work, I was using my laptop, my TI-81 and pen-and-paper all at the same time on the same desk.  The calculator gave me speed, the computer gave me power, and the pen-and-paper gave me control.

I think being roughly equally adept at both old school and new school gives me an advantage over people who are both older and younger than myself.


Rationality By a Nose

30 05 2016

South County

Every Memorial Day between 1989 and 2012, I visited the final resting place of my affinite uncle, the late husband of my mother’s oldest sister, at Jefferson Barracks.  He was a Korea vet, and the Pentagon technically considers his late 1988 death to be a war casualty, because it was a delayed onset of a war injury.

In the fall of 2012, during the height of campaign season, a great uncle of mine, my mother’s mother’s youngest brother, died, and while he retired to Phoenix, he was also buried at JB.  Korean vet.  Which means MD 2013, I had two final resting places to visit.

If you’ve been reading me for long enough, you know what happened two months later.  And yes, you can figure out where he was buried.  Also a Korean vet.

Which means that starting with the MD two years ago, I now have three final resting places to visit at JB.

I asked him today to forgive me for killing him.  Even though I know better.  The only reason I’m still not freaking out about it is that the rational half of my brain is barely holding back the emotional half.

And then I realize my younger uncle, Vietnam, who was, like every MD, with us for the visits, turns 70 this summer.  And I’m not ready for a fourth visit.

Then I wanted to wash my brain out with soap for even thinking that.  I already jinxed one uncle in the ground, I don’t want to do it to another.

Even though he had to be thinking that it really won’t be that much longer in the greater scheme of things that he’ll be there for good.  He certainly looked this morning like that was on his mind.  But I dare not say.

Super Zips, Revisited

17 05 2016

Richmond Heights

Something I was thinking about this morning made me go back and revisit my own post about Charles Murray’s “Super Zips” research and data, then from there revisit the research and data.

Since the last time I wrote and thought about it, I have moved.  I was living in 63011 (Ballwin) at the time, and until early March, and its score was a very respectable 90.  Remember, every zip code gets a score from 1 to 99, based on a mashup of the zip code’s median household income and the zip code’s percentage of adults who have a college diploma.  A zip code of 95 or higher is defined as a Super Zip, so my zip code at the time was only five points away from being super.

I now live in 63117 (Richmond Heights), which only scores a 79.

How much worse is a 79 than a 90?  I cannot find the calculated standard deviation of zip code scores, (I do have a tweet into Charles Murray himself, hopefully he’ll know), but I do remember the Rule of Six when you need a quick and dirty standard deviation:  Top minus bottom divide by six.  This means I get a standard deviation of (99-1)/6, or 16.33.  Since my new zip is 11 points lower than my old zip, this means I have moved down in the world by (11/16.33), or about two-thirds, of a SD.

Two-thirds of a SD isn’t chump change.  My new area should be noticeably less good (as in both aren’t anywhere near bad) than my old area.  Yet, I really don’t grok a difference.  Even more head scratching is that 63144 (Brentwood) scores at 85, higher than RH, but visually less pleasant, and substantively a half a step down IMHO.

Does that point to limitations to Charles Murray’s research?  Or does it point to a possibility or the need to refine the criteria?

Not only do I not see any real difference between new and old, personally, I’m actually better off.  The rent is slightly lower, the square footage is slightly higher, and the commute, when I’m home, is way shorter.  And that points to another social axiom:  When people buy or rent domiciles, they’re not necessarily buying a building, or land, or features, or even a neighborhood, they’re buying classmates and a peer group for their children.  Want proof of that?  This same living space in this same kind of residential structure on this same kind of street north of Clayton Road rents for way higher.  Why?  School district.  North of Clayton Road is the city of Clayton, and zip code of 63105 (Murray Score of 95, meaning it’s a super zip, and it would be higher but for county jail inmates being counted as residents of the zip code and therefore dragging down its educational and household income averages), and most crucially, the Clayton School District, where the kids of university professors and physician specialists attend.  Where I am, definitely south of Clayton Road, is not only the city of Richmond Heights, but it and Maplewood share a school district, and as you St. Louisans know, Maplewood, blech.  For those who don’t know, Maplewood is about an even mix of lower class black and lower to working class white, trending toward the former, and they’re in the same school district with Richmond Heights, the whole district only has one high school, that being Puggg’s alma mater.  And as we know about mixing shit and vanilla ice cream…

You may think that you have figured out why 63117 has a lower Murray Score than 63011, because of Maplewood.  Actually, Maplewood has its own zip code, 63143, with a Murray Score of 41.

Incidentally, there has been chatter for a long time about Clayton municipally subsuming Richmond Heights.  If that happens, it wouldn’t solve the school district problem by itself, but I think it would be political predication for RH ditching Maplewood and joining the Clayton School District.  Which wouldn’t be hard, because the only high school in the MRH district is in Maplewood, and in fact, the district’s only middle school is also in Maplewood and next to the high school, and the district’s only elementary school is technically in RH, but this close actually to being in Maplewood; there are zero MRH schools in the part of RH north of 40.  If Clayton subsumes RH in a muni sense, then it would create political pressure for RH to be part of the Clayton School District.  It would mean that buying in RH also means buying in the CSD, meaning much higher selling prices and rents.  But, by the time that happens, I’ll probably be living somewhere else.

Incidentally, my previous abode in Ballwin was in the Rockwood School District.  Also, 63136, the zip code of the Fergaza Strip, comes through with a world beating Murray Score of 9.

The Winter and Spring of Content and Miscontent

2 05 2016

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

I’ll finally get to leave Jefferson City at the end of this week.  While the session will last for another week, parasites like me have no reason to be here that long, because if we haven’t been successful in our work this session until now, we won’t be at all.

The beginning of May in an even numbered year is also the informal beginning of the primary campaign in Missouri for the early August primary, so expect to start seeing and hearing many more media buys.  One reason why these next three months won’t be that busy with buys is because most statewide office primaries are foregone conclusions, with the exception of GOV-R.  I think the semi-serious challenger that Kurt Schaefer has for AG-R is going to put up a fight, and I hope he, who once clerked for John Roberts at the Supreme Court, does do just that, because Schaefer has not comported himself well on the Mizzou matter.  Other than that and GOV-R, though, there really won’t be much of a reason for summer buys.  So, get ready for the Hanaway campaign to hit the airwaves even heavier, and for Peter Kindercare to start showing up, which he has not done so far.

I’ve mentioned in this space about a lot of personal issues I’ve been going through, some good some not so good.  Now that the not so good ones have been resolved, I can say what they were.

It was a combination of having to move my mother into assisted living, after she finally came to her senses late last year and admitted that she can’t live on her own, and that process was way more involved and time consuming than I had first guessed, and at about the same time, I had to find a new place to live myself.  But that involved me moving my stuff, and I don’t have that much, and myself, in with my uncle, then finding a new place, which as I mentioned here very recently, is in Richmond Heights, and then moving into the new place.  Then you pile all that on top of my actual job, and that this time of year, it takes place more than a hundred miles away from home, so that’s where I’m supposed to be. (Though keep on reading, and you’ll see why I’m not entirely upset about that.)  I had all the difficult stuff wrapped up by about the end of March, and these will be three months of my life I won’t soon forget.

But, through all this, there has been some very good news.  Let me put it to you this way:  If all goes according to my plan, by the time I turn 40 years old, at the end of next March, I’ll have a ring on it.  I’m obviously not going to state her name, because I haven’t stated mine.  But she is closely related to someone who is pretty important at the moment in Missouri legislative politics.  I say “at the moment,” because of term limits, nobody is important in Missouri legislative politics for that long anymore.  The hitch is that she’s a Kansas City native that currently lives in Jefferson City, so for eight months out of the year, the relationship is mostly a distance one.  I say “is,” even though we first met more than two years ago, and things have slowly been on the incline, and have really broken open this year.  If my ring plans happen, then it’ll probably mean that I’ll be moving to and living in Jefferson City full time.