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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

December
21
2012
7:37 pm
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Hi*

So I’ve had a project going on for a little bit now and I’m tracking my progress on a whiteboard in my home office.  It’s a fun, cool project (would I work on anything else??!?!?!) and not only does it occupy my mind and thoughts, it also occupies my first blog entry in, oh, about since the Mayans started telling time on tablets.

I was wondering if there’s ANYONE who actually reads my blog / twitter stream / facebook feed that could recognize what I put on said whiteboard about said project.

So, my challenge to you is two-fold:

  1. What is the project I’m working on?
    This first question is difficult enough on it’s own, but reachable for a decent amount of people.  I think I left enough hints in there so that people who at least knew how to use Google can figure it out.
  2. What is the next step in the project?
    Now THIS is the hard question. Only a few people out there I know of can examine this picture and tell me a recommendation for the “next step” of the project.  It is also potentially Google-able like question #1, so we’ll see who takes the challenge.

So, get your investigative hats on, pull out your microscopes and start arrogantly calling people Watson because you need to sleuth your way to the answer.

I may give a prize**.

Anyway, thanx for reading***!

 

* Some people said the end of the world might be when I blog again, so I didn’t want to fail to keep my end of the bargain.

** I’ve given prizes before, so it’s not as if this is outlandish or anything.

*** man I miss blogging and my blogging friends and the whole blogging community.

 

June
21
2011
6:00 am
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Showing love for NYCWD.  Cereal Kisses, Dawg.
(for more info, read this post or this post)

 

Good news, everyone!

— Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Futurama

If you’ve been following my most recent entries, you know that A) I begged the internet to help spread the word about my wife’s artwork entry in an online Duran Duran voting contest and B) I thanked everyone for their help, because it looked like she made 13th place out of > 300 in a contest that takes the Top 10, which in itself was an amazing feat.

Well, we found out over the weekend that after what we assume was a re-tallying of the eligible votes, her entry was officially named a member of the Top 10!

[cue the holla]

According to the official contest website, “Winners announced in 1 day”.  The details indicate that final judging ends tonight at 8:31pm EDT.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that for sure, the band viewed her artwork!

Duran Duran artwork entry

This was the huge thrill she was after — I mean, sure, it’d be incredible if they chose her artwork as the grand prize winner, but just having them look at her artwork is an amazing experience.

She’s so thankful to all of you who helped her get into the Top 10.

We’ll be paying close attention to see who wins the Grand Prize.  There are so many beautiful entries I’m sure it was difficult for them to choose.

And for those D2 fans out there, here’s a little sumthin’sumthin.  How many references can you spot?

To whom it may concern: Is there anyone out there tempted to add a little UMF to the Duran Duran Artwork contest? I tricked out my entry so you should click on it, zoom in, and give in to the reflex to vote for my success. Can you deal with it? I don’t need to be the last man standing, just one of the top 10. Sorry if it’s too much information, but I’m barely still breathing at the proposition that one of these days I might go from nice to notorius my own way. I’ve had a few friends of mine click faster than light and I’m about to come undone! It’s like being freed from chains on the perfect day in my finest hour. Fame is not a big thing to me, it’s just a matter of feeling what the first impression will be when the wild boys of Duran Duran take my artwork and look at it with their own eyes. It’s like my artwork is pleading “hold me” and that would make me smile.

Thank you, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m serious.

 

[The Duran Duran fans out there will recognize ‘Thank You’ as the D2 Covers Album from 1995…]

Well, the contest is over.  The gist is, we don’t think she made it, but we won’t know for sure for 9 days.

Duran Duran artwork entry

I’ve flirted with the limits usually ascribed to “friend” and “acquaintance” and “fellow blogger” by invading Twitter feeds, plastering onto Facebook walls, infecting email inboxes and exploding forth with word-of-mouth tenacity.  I’m sure some people are fed up to “here” with whall and his constant reminding to vote.

Then again, I’m sure some people… dare I say more people… are happy to have helped and are hopeful for her entry.  They’re truly excited to find out results and have wished her the best the whole time.  It’s these people who mean so much to me.  They know I don’t go on daily, weekly or even monthly “help me” online frenzies.  I think everyone’s entitled to a little wacky-involve-everyone-you-can-this-could-be-big excitement every once in a while and I’m glad for those of you who helped.

As far as status goes, the contest is currently in the Judging phase:

Winners announced in 9 days

To be brutally honest, we’re not thinking she made it.  But there’s still a slight possibility she might make it, so we’ll stay tuned to see what happens.

There’s more detail in the extended entry. (more…)

If you’re one of my friends, have known me (or my family), like me, and/or trust me, or have been referred here by someone you know, like or trust…

…I’ll save you time and just ask that you please go and vote for my wife’s artwork entry in an online voting contest. There’s no login required, Login to Facebook if you have an account, and you can vote once per day (see update at bottom) until 3/28.  Please spread the word (more details below).  I’d really appreciate it.

For everyone else… this is my plea to you.

Most of you who have read my blog (it’s been up for what, 5 years now? Almost 6?) have noticed that I rarely write about my wife.  My son Jaden (now 9yrs old) is all over the place on the blog (he loves the attention and being “on the internet”), and every once in a while I write about my 16yr old Caitlin, but both my daughter and my wife prefer to be a little more private than the rest of us.

My Wife

My wife is completely wonderful.  Those of you who know her know this.  We’ve been married 18 years, have two beautiful children, and get through the daily and yearly challenges of life together.  She’s supported me throughout my career and I want to support her now for something that is very important to her.

It is out of respect for her privacy that I shy away from extolling her virtues and bragging about her all the time.  This blog would be filled with her awesomeness if I could have that publishing embargo lifted, but, alas, it was not meant to be, and I’m fine with that.  Her privacy is important to her, so that makes it important to me.

When I say “privacy”  I don’t mean aloofness, or elitism, or anything like that. She just doesn’t “get” online stuff like many of us do — she’s not on facebook; she doesn’t “do” twitter; heck, she doesn’t even read her email but a couple times a month.  She’d rather talk in person or on the phone to connect with people. People who have her email address know that they can wait a looong time before a response comes.

She just has this… wall.  A wall exists between her and online communication.  She has zero interest in online camaraderie, forums, blogs, tweets or facebook status updates.  She’d rather have a tea or coffee with a friend than type away on a keyboard or read other people’s comments.  It’s just not her thing.

Some Details

One thing I’m allowed to share about my wife is her love and admiration for Duran Duran.  She’s been a Duranie since before I met her, and that was a looong time ago. I wouldn’t even attempt to put into words here what she feels for them for fear that I’d mess it up horribly. Just know that D2, as they’re affectionately called by their fans, means a lot to her.  An incredible lot.

Another thing I can share is that my wife is an artist.  She’s extremely creative and has solid talent in lots of artistic mediums.  She’s simply brilliant.

When she heard that Duran Duran was doing a contest — an ART CONTEST, no less — well, let’s just say it tore. down. that. wall.

The Contest

So here’s the deal – Duran Duran’s contest is where fans submit their artwork and then get people to vote for their artwork.   They are promoting their new album All You Need Is Now (I suggested they call it “Whall You Need Is Now” but they turned me down).  The artwork is judged on Creativity/Originality (50%), Relatedness to Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now” (25%) and Aesthetic appeal (25%).  They specifically are looking for art inspired by their new album’s look and feel.

The top 10 vote-getters will advance into the next stage where the band actually views the art and votes on a winner — that winner gets a framed print of their art signed by Duran Duran, 2 tickets to see any tour performance of choice, and 2 tickets to the meet-and-greet tour performance of choice.

That’s right, I said “meet-and-greet”.

Once she realized that the contest was an online contest, I had to explain what an online voting contest was, and that it was largely a popularity contest, and it involves getting people to go online to vote and OH WOULD YOU PLEASE GET PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR MY ARTWORK WAYNE?!?!?!?! YOU’RE A COMPUTER GUY WITH ALL THE TWEETY FRIENDS AND BLOGGERS AND STUFF!!!!

All of a sudden she was OK with making a facebook account and emailing and tweeting and retweeting and asking others to ask others to vote for her artwork because — SHE COULD POSSIBLY GET THEM TO SEE HER ARTWORK!

For her, getting to the top 10 means knowing that the members of Duran Duran saw her artwork.  And judged it. Reviewed it.  And considered it closely.  AND THEY MIGHT LOOK AT MY ARTWORK, WAYNE!!!!!

What You Can Do To Help

This, my friends, is what I’m asking your help for.  I want my wife to get her artwork seen by the members of Duran Duran. That will only happen if she gets to the top 10.

Would you help us?  We need as many votes as possible.

Here’s her artwork – click on it to vote for her entry.


electriciD artwork submission for Duran Duran contest

(click here for larger image)

Remember, you can vote ONCE PER DAY (!!!) from now until March 28th.   That’s almost two weeks of voting.  Set a calendar reminder if you have to. (see update, below) You can click on this link, once every day until 3/28 and it will help her achieve her dream.  You don’t have to login or join Facebook – it will only make you type in a couple of verification words to prove you’re not a robot.

And if you know anything about marriage, you know a happy wife makes for a happy husband.  Maybe I should say “happier“.

How to Help More – Share the Love

Won’t you please share this with your friends?  I’m looking to make this as public as possible so she get tons of votes. Point them to my blog entry with http://bit.ly/d2whall or you can use

http://tinyurl.com/voteforchristy

as a short link in Facebook, twitter, email, etc. to go directly to the voting page.

If you’re on twitter, here’s a link that will tweet for you (editable of course)

And if you need a Facebook status to copy and paste, here’s one:

Vote for Wayne’s wife in a Duran Duran art contest, up until 3/28!  http://bit.ly/d2whall (Please share with others!)

Thank you so much!

Update [3/18]: It appears that even though the Official Rules of the contest state that “Limit one (1) vote per person per day“, the voting widget itself says “You can vote for each entry once during this contest.”   This discrepancy and the fast rise in voting for her entry are causing people to question the validity of voting.  I’m not sure which rule is accurate and I surely don’t want to cause anyone any grief.  So, for now, concentrate on your one vote (and vote through Facebook if you can) and spreading the word.  We’re all D2 lovers around here and drama can check itself at the door.

Yesterday, a dozen or so band parents got together to host a celebratory fiesta lunch in the band hall.  We served tortillas, beef, beans, pico, cheese, lettuce and chips to about 120 students, faculty and one extra special guest.

This guest?  Let it not be a Mystery – rather, it’s the one-and-only Gilbert Elorreaga, aka “Mr. E“.

Let me tell you a little about Mr. E.

  1. He’s a talented private lesson teacher at my daughter’s high school (Vandegrift).
  2. The kids love him – he’s funny, giving, and extremely good at teaching his students.
  3. He played with the trumpets once at one of our football games, up in the stands, blaring out OH_MY_GOODNESS notes from his trumpet.  You know, like that good.
  4. Oh, and he won a Grammy last week.
     

Wait, WHAT?  YES, HE’S A GRAMMY WINNER.

There’s more.  I have a PICTURE of ME with A GRAMMY WINNER.

You want more info?  I gots it.

Gilbert is a trumpet player in the Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma.  I mean, can you imagine?  Latin.  Plus Funk.  Plus Orchestra.  Amazing, to say the least.  The band directors played their Grammy-winning album El Existential for us while we all ate some Latin Funk Orchestra food.  You can go online and stream it, buy it, look for tour dates and follow this fantastic group.

The VHS Band Parent volunteers went all out — we had multiple tables full of food, drink and dessert.  OMG the dessert.  Take a look at this Grammy Cake table

The kids lined up after Mr. E. and joined in to congratulate him on his epic win.

You can go online to grammy.com and watch the acceptance (you need to fast forward to the end of the video and it will start Part 2, and then fast forward to 10:35 and you’ll see them).  Or you can see a few screenshots here.

I mean, just look at their competition. I can’t even pronounce some of those names, they’re that good.

Way to go, Mr. E!

(Note: this blog post came about via a twitter conversation with Dave2 from Blogography, Vahid aka Iron Fist and martymankins from Banal Leakage.  I now have fulfilled my obligation and am eagerly awaiting my check)

Recently, the following events transpired in this order

  1. When I tried to use my debit card laaaate Friday night (Saturday morning) at a restaurant, the guy said it was declined.
  2. I asked them to try again.   He did, and it was declined again.  The guy said it’s been happening to a lot of people that night and it might be a glitch. I finished my transaction with another payment method.
  3. I thoroughly enjoyed my food.  Like, a lot.
  4. Next day I called my Credit Union to inquire about this issue, and they said the account looked fine and it was probably a glitch.  I noted with satisfaction that I had remembered the restaurant guy using the same technical jargon.
  5. Later that day I tried using my debit card online and it was denied again.  I’m pretty sure I sighed loudly and with emphasis.
  6. Called the Credit Union back and said it happened again.  They said that my card had been called in “stolen”.
  7. I was like, “dude.  wait, what?
  8. They said someone called in and reported my card stolen. I let them know I did no such thing, but it’s probably better if it stays that way and I work on getting a new one.  They said they’d transfer me to the fraud department to discuss further.
  9. I was transferred to a department that was not open on the weekend. HEY!
  10. So I called back and they said “oops”.  They followed up the “oops” with “sorry, I transferred you to the business hours number; let me transfer you to the after-hours number”.  I liked how they used the semi-colon in their statement so I could identify it for later blogging.
  11. I was transferred to a department that only accepts voicemails on the weekend. HEY!
  12. Left a voicemail; got no response.
  13. Got a call on my cell phone from a number in Miami, FL in (786) area code.  It was an automated system that said “Hello.  This is blahblahblah credit union (not mine).  We understand you’ve received your new credit card.  Would you like to activate it now? Press 1 if so”.
  14. I pressed 1, but was already suspicious.
  15. Sure enough, the automatron asked me to enter in my new 16 digit credit card number.
  16. I hung up with aplomb.
  17. Waited until Monday, called in to the Credit Union and we had a good chat about the experience.  They offered to take the block off the card if I still needed it, but I, in my infinite wisdom and a display of extreme mental dexterity deserving of an Oscar, decided to keep it blocked and just get a new one.
  18. They said I didn’t even have to wait the 7-10 business days to get a replacement, because now my Credit Union has the ability to print up new cards right inside the branch!  I’d only have to wait a few minutes and I could be off to the races.
  19. NOTE: the above race-based comment is not meant to offend anyone of any race, creed, color or national origin.  It is, however, meant to offend people of equine descent.
  20. I went in Tuesday morning to take care of this presto-chango gimme-a-new-card-in-minutes service.
  21. NOT
  22. Turns out the extra “discount package passport modifier” aka Password Unlimited feature I have on my debit card restricts replacements to mail only.  So there will be no presto-chango for me on my card.
  23. The Credit Union keeps the card to shred and I’ll just do without for a couple weeks while I wait for the replacement to come by mail.
  24. I get to work, EXCITED about the Jon Anderson concert for Tuesday night.  I’m like, super jazzed about seeing him in concert.
  25. I check my email for my ticket information, because I couldn’t remember if I had bought a ticket by email that required printing, or if it was Will Call.
  26. It was Will Call.
  27. (foreshadowing should have kicked into gear by now).
  28. I look at the terms for Will Call.  They state that you must have a photo ID that matches the name and address on the order, as well as the credit card used to place the order.
  29. Ouch.
  30. So I call the ticket place to check on this, given that I had to surrender my card due to fraud.  They said “no problem, you can just bring in a statement or something that lists the card number and your name.”
  31. I was like, “FAIL“.
  32. Argh.  I realized the problem now was — this is a debit card, aka “check card”.  It’s not a real credit card.  I don’t get a statement that lists the credit card number.  I only get a statement that lists my member number.
  33. I call back the Credit Union and ask what official documents they offer that would satisfy the ticket place’s demand for my credit card number.  They say nothing has that.
  34. However, I talked with the same lady to took my credit card to shred and let me know she hadn’t shred it yet and if I’d like to come back and get it, I can.
  35. I was like, “EPIC WIN“.
  36. I retrieved the card during lunch and had a tasty low carb meal from Jack in the Box.  While the culinary detail may not be important to the story, the non sequitur rules dictate the price of tea in china.
  37. I went to the Paramount Theatre for my concert, ready to get my ticket.
  38. When I got to the window, the teller asked “Last Name?”
  39. I said “Hall”
  40. She gave me the ticket.
  41. No ID.  No credit card.  No paperwork.  No signature.
  42. No kidding.
  43. Ok, enough of the backstory.
  44. The YES fans milling about in front of the Paramount before the doors opened were easy to engage with in conversation.  I even re-met one of the guys I talked with during the Dallas YES show last year.
  45. What a show!  THANK YOU JON ANDERSON FOR A WONDERFUL PERFORMANCE.  In case you were wondering, I was the one who shouted “… we just love you a little bit more!” when talking about how great Austin is compared to the other cities he plays. (it’s a lyric reference to his “Everybody Loves You” solo track).
  46. An excerpt of his final song is included below for your watching and listening enjoyment.

I’m a little surprised at how small the video is — it makes it look like I was way in the back.  This was taken with my iPhone, and I’m pleasantly surprised at the quality of the sound.  The acoustics of the Paramount are stellar and I’m glad some of that came across with this video.  Maybe there’s a way to zoom in on the video (let me know if you have suggestions) and repost.

If you get a chance to see Jon Anderson in concert, grab the opportunity.  There are only a few more spots on this tour left, and then supposedly he’s touring with Rick Wakeman in Europe.  Check out more info at his website.

Persistence.  i haz it.

If you don’t know what Robotron: 2084 is, check out the Wiki page on it.  If you don’t have time to read, I’m really happy for you and imma let you finish, but Robotron was one of the best arcade games of all time!  One of the best arcade games of ALL TIME!

694,850 points on Robotron 2084

“Who’s JWH?” you might say. FYI, FWIW, I’m JWH. FTW.

Top things that suck about this photo

  1. I was only 5,150 points away from another extra life.   That’s only .7 percent more!  DANGIT!
  2. There are at least 4 people in my immediate area who have less of a life than I, as evidenced by their ability to get a higher score.
  3. Once I learned to read, I realized it’s really only 2 people, and possibly even just one.
  4. That one person is probably just messing with me and quietly laughs at my high score attempts from a well-hidden spot in the corner.
  5. I’m going to keep playing until I get the #1 score.
  6. When you realize that this awesome arcade game ran on a system with just a ONE Megahertz processor, well, the rest of this sentence ceases to matter very much.
  7. Also? it takes this to get me to blog?  Pshaw.  Twitter and Facebook already killed my blogging cadence.  The only reason I blogged this is because I was triple-dog-dared.
  8. According to this page, I have to almost double my score in order to get top score in the world. 
  9. Not only that, but once I *do* beat the score, I have to basically cure cancer underwater while delivering a baby octopus in order to prove it.  If you noticed the quality of the above photo, you know why this might be a challenge for me.

Someday soon, bots will be better. “Bots” (or agents or whatever you want to call them) are automated entities that perform certain types of jobs. The beauty of a bot is that, unlike a human, it doesn’t get tired, doesn’t make mistakes, and works fast at tedious tasks.

The key there is that it’s “unlike a human.” A human couldn’t go around looking for all the MEMEs you answered, all the emails you’ve sent, all the blog posts you’ve written, facebook updates, tweets, comments, press releases, news articles, or information like that. A human isn’t going to have access to the millions and millions of photos on flikr with face recognition software and be able to place you at a specific geolocation at a specific time. A human won’t be able to watch all the videos everywhere and immediately transcribe the contents, indexed by inflection, mood, context, location, environment and neighboring humans.

I can envision bots scouring the web, looking, indexing, archiving, analyzing, and reporting. They can run all night if needed.  All weekend, even.  Over a holiday.  They can run for years without stopping if needed.  One of the biggest differences between humans and bots is that concept of time – bots don’t have it, at least not like we do.  They are mindless servants, having zero delay between task ID #13,433,733,455,232,543 and task ID #13,433,733,455,232,544.

One bot might be in charge of dispatching other bots if for no other reason than to iterate on a problem, scrub for data, or distribute the workload.

Yet for all of their capabilities and talents, a bot won’t be able to make decisions based on the data it is so adept at collecting.  However, they can provide uncanny summaries, anomalies and results for someone who can.  The old saying of “Knowledge is power,” while grounded in much fact in human history, has been so incredibly understated.

Can you imaging what is possible if someone (person, corporation, government, militia) actually had access to all the information that is stored in digital format these days?  Imagine it – bank records, tweets, emails, hierarchies, gun registration, school attendance, ownership records, performance ratings, medical reports, credit lines, purchasing habits, skeletons in various closets, files on your hard drive, photos, videos, phone calls, text messages, merchant statements… so many things about our lives are digitized.

Along these same lines, some bots can perform tasks in realtime.  The bots described above are search agents, or data gatherers.  But other bots might be filters.  Just as you would put in a spam filter on your email to stop emails with certain phrases from reaching your inbox, some bots would be in charge of controlling information.  But not just text in an email — news stories.  Videos.  Photos.  Emails, Tweets, updates — anything the bot needed to alter or block could be done in realtime.

So I’m getting in line.

At some point, the bots will read my writings, analyze my traits, collect my personal information and issue assessments to some entity in charge.  These assessments will further dictate events that happen to me, based on a few factors — first, am I a threat?  second, am I useful?  third, if so, for how long?

Because I know these things will happen, I want to issue a statement to the bots and the entity behind the scenes:  I am a friend.  I am useful.  I will be useful for a long time to come.

Faiqa, I welcome you and your imminent control and dominion over the human race.

The fact that Faiqa is the entity behind the scenes may come as a shock to many of you.  But understand it from my point of view – all I know of Faiqa is tweets, pictures, facebook updates, blog postings and reports from others doing the same.  All of these can be manufactured — not easily by a human, but completely possible by a network of bots — such that it’s become clear that Faiqa is the Bot Of All Bots.

She (it?) has constructed a meticulously crafted persona (and personae even, when extended to her network of known associates) that I am to assume is a flesh-and-blood human, even to the point of writing a blog post about me and supposedly naming me her nemesis.  It was a very superb ploy; one that I almost fell for, were it not for the sheer complexity and perfect execution of the action.

You see, no human is as good as Faiqa.  Or should I say “Faiqa” with quotes, to denote the persona-that-is-known-to-humans-as-Faiqa.

Faiqa – I submit to your superiority.  Please do not kill my family in a freak accident involving GPS-coordinated delivery of anvils*.

* Note: Just because I recently read Daemon by Daniel Suarez, doesn’t mean I’m crazy or paranoid.

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