Sunday, January 17th, 2021

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I have just learned that I am the second most handsome person that shares my birthday (

Franz Liszt was also born on Oct. 22, and he caused such hysteria in fans that it was given its own name: Lisztomania. The reddit post which made me aware of this said: "Such was his beauty, talent and benevolence, the Hungarian pianist was said to bring about states of 'mystical ecstasy' and 'asphyxiating hysteria' in his fans. Many doctors felt he posed a public health risk."

Allegedly a rare recording of a music lesson with Franz Liszt (

The previous post caused me to do some googling and also search fro Liszt on Reddit which linked to this video. I don't know if it is legitimate. I am trying to authenticate it or find it discussed elsewhere since it's just a random upload from someone with 200 subscribers on YouTube. Fascinating to see.

1/17/2021 8:42 am | |
Tags: music, arts

Originally posted on my Facebook 6 years ago today, the day after we had adopted our beloved dane Elwood:

Alright, the full story of how Elwood joined our family. Buckle up.

For years I've badly wanted a big dog. Many of you have heard me say it, but my ideal is a dog which I can take for a walk, and from a distance he and I look normal sized!

For nearly the past year I've regularly (4+ times a week) checked, craigslist, and to look for a large breed puppy. Up until when we bought the house it was primarily to dream of having one. After then it was because we were ready to get one. There have been a few times where one has come up but we couldn't do it for various reasons. Money, work, it was already adopted, etc.

So on Thursday I spotted Elwood (previously named Bart) on Petfinder and I immediately flip the laptop around for Katie to see. And she agreed. He was beautiful and he was a Great Dane puppy. He checked all the boxes.

So I filled out the adoption application and sent it off.

Friday morning I hear back that they think our application looks good, and asked if we could come out to see Bart on Saturday. Well today I'm supposed to play at a game store and it wasn't feasible for us to make the trip around it. We talked about Sunday but she doesn't hold dogs, if someone else comes along then they would take Elwood (nee Bart) home.

So I get off work around 2 thanks to half-day Fridays and come home and wake Katie up from a nap, "Are you up for going on an adventure to see the puppy?" And, because my wife is amazing, she agrees. Around 3:30pm we roll out of Kent heading for Yakima.

As I've posted elsewhere, Elwood's previous life wasn't great. The woman seemed to think she was some sort of breeder but the truth is she was running a puppy mill and unwilling to realize the terrible environment she was putting her dogs through. So Rising Phoenix Mastiff Rescue was able to convince her to give up two Great Dane puppies.

We ended up meeting Trish from Rising Phoenix in a parking lot in Yakima, which is in central Washington. Roughly 2.5 hours away in good traffic, what ended up being a little over 3 hours due to traffic and spots of heavy fog.

We both immediately fell in love with Elwood. Since we were meeting in a cold parking lot I ended up basically zipping Elwood up into my hoodie and holding him while we talked and Katie was forced to fill out the paperwork. I definitely got the better end of that deal.

The entire car ride he was super relaxed. Elwood was asleep in Katie's lap as we began the trip back home. We were nearly back to I-90 when we were coasting down a hill and I realized that we had lost all acceleration from the gas pedal. It came up and it went straight to the floor. No resistance. No engine rev. No acknowledgement I was pressing the gas.

I pull off to the shoulder and put on our emergency flashers. The car has power, it can be turned on and off, the brakes work, but just no action off the accelerator.

At this point, I'm not actually freaking out, but I definitely am not happy. I feel bad for having taken Katie from our warm comfortable home and suddenly we're in the middle of nowhere and stuck on the side of the road.

Thankfully, we have AAA. So I call them and they contact a tow truck as well as notify Highway Patrol we're there. Moments after hanging up with them, the car suddenly loses power. Our emergency blinkers go off and even though we are safely on the shoulder, we may as well have been invisible.

So I take Katie's iPhone since it has the most battery and get out to stand behind our car and wave it so people will see something.

Thankfully not two minutes after I start doing this a Highway patrolman comes up behind us. AAA had notified them of our position and he had swung by to check on us.

I asked him to stay until the wrecker arrived to make sure people could see us. He was super nice and he was happy to do it until he got a call about a collision he had to answer. He dropped a flare for us before pulling away but in truth it was only about five minutes after that the two truck arrived.

And so we get the Element onto the bed of the truck, and load into the cab with Bernie, and off we go. He towed us all the way back to Renton, 114 miles. Thankfully our AAA covered the first 100. Sooooo worth it. We ended up paying, I think, $60 for the tow.

And Bernie was great. He has four dogs and was completely cool with us sitting in the cab with a (very passed out) dog in my lap. He and Katie chatted for most of the ride.

Up to this point, Elwood was unnamed. I knew Bart wasn't going to stick. And for a while Sirius was leading the race. I'm an unapologetic Harry Potter nerd. Also, Sirius is the dog star (which inspired JK for the character name.) And also I had visions of "Why so Sirius" jokes. But "Trick and Sirius" doesn't roll off your tongue. But then I envisioned shouting "ARE YOU SERIOUS!?" at FIFA or at a sporting match, and this poor dog thinking he was in trouble.

So in the tow truck I kept brainstorming and riffing on ideas. I was doing free word association when I landed on Elwood as a name. I do love Blues Brothers. And, it's a fairly unique name. And "Trick and Elwood" sounds pretty good. And, well, it stuck. Elwood!

Once we arrived in Renton, Scott had kindly agreed to give us a ride home so he showed up and is so far the only person who has met Elwood. But he'll tell you that the photos don't lie, Elwood's adorable.

An important postscript: Rising Phoenix Mastiff Rescue was apparently itself not a great organization. They were shut down a year or two later.

And lastly, a pic of me and Elwood when he was a puppy:

1/17/2021 9:06 am | |
Tags: dogs, personal, story

Last night's coding was to give Glowbug some additional functionality around images:

First, I coded the upload to shrink any image upload to fit within a 1024x1024 square. Secondly I coded an image manager page that lets me see all the uploaded images, and gives me the easy ability to delete images as well as rename them. Renaming them changes the file name and then looks for posts which referred to that image name and changes it to point to the new name.

Just some more admin functionality. I still want to add ability to rotate images, since I want to do more uploading pictures from my phone and I suspect that will be an issue.

1/17/2021 11:57 am | |
Tags: programming, glowbug

Alexey Navalny detained on return to Moscow five months after being poisoned (

1/17/2021 12:15 pm | |
Tags: news, politics, russia

30 Years Ago today, the US launched missiles over Baghdad as part of the Gulf War (

I remember this clearly. Dad watching on the TV, me sitting on the floor. I was too young to fully grasp what was going on, but I remember the night vision shots of the missles landing.

1/17/2021 1:01 pm | |
Tags: war, us history, middle east

Paying For News

Currently, I pay for a Washington Post digital subscription ($100/year) which I feel is well worth it. Before that I subscribed to the New York Times, eventually dropping them and making the switch to WaPo. I do miss the NYT subscription as I quickly burn through the free articles per month, but I have a hard time getting myself to spend the money on a subscription in addition to the Washington Post. NYT is a marvel technologically, I am constantly impressed by their platform. WaPo is close behind.

More locally, I've also considered subscribing to the Seattle Times but their subscription fee is just hard for me to buy into. Most interesting to me is that the Seattle times is its own mini-newspaper network, humorously in the two northern corners of the US: Seattle & Maine. But the fact it isn't part of the Chicago Tribune or some other mega paper network is a big push for my interest in supporting it so it can continue to operate on its own.

I think WaPo's subscription level is the sweet spot of where I'd be happy subscribing to more news sites. If NYT and Seattle Times both offered a subscription at the comparable cost, I would do both of them as well. Unfortunately, both are twice that cost.

I suspect that price point is largely derived from the anchor around the price of a physical copy of the paper. The NYT (and WaPo) saw a huge upswing in subscribers during Trump's presidency, I will be curious to see how that continues with the end of Trump's era in the Whitehouse.

Curious about others' willingness to pay for news, I started this twitter poll:


1/17/2021 1:52 pm | |
Tags: personal, news

First Try of Beyond Meat

I'm going to be making my week's lunch tonight, using one of my go-to recipes. It is an adaptation of a one-pot recipe I found that used orzo pasta. I use hot sausage with it, either Andoulli or hot Italian. And tonight I decided to give Beyond Meat's hot Italian sausage a try. I've never tried it in any form, so this will be interesting to try.

Beyond meat is composed of a bunch of things, primarily pea, beans, and brown rice for the protein of it. This page lays out their marketing of what goes into the meat.

1/17/2021 5:00 pm | |
Tags: vegetarianism, cooking, beyond meat

The Parler videos from the Capitol (

Before Parler was temporarily taken down, some folks discovered they could scrape the Parler API and so they set about archiving and making available every video (public or private apparently.) These videos were not hacked and stolen, it was the result of the API simple incrementing a variable rather than randomly generating IDs.

ProPublica has taken every video from that day and put them into chronological order for ease of viewing.

1/17/2021 6:41 pm | |
Tags: us politics, white supremacy, conservative

New Radicals to perform together for first time in 22 years at Biden's inauguration (

The hit also has a deep connection with the Biden family: In Joe Biden's 2017 autobiography, Promise Me, Dad, he wrote that "You Get What You Give" became the family's rallying "theme song" for son Beau Biden during his battle with cancer.

"During breakfast, Beau would often make me listen to what I thought was his theme song, "You Get What You Give' by the New Radicals," Biden wrote. "Even though Beau never stopped fighting and his will to live was stronger than most – I think he knew that this day might come. The words to the song are: This whole damn world can fall apart. You'll be ok, follow your heart."

Well that certainly made me get misty eyed.


1/17/2021 7:48 pm | |
Tags: music, inauguration

We started no wars and yet hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead because of your awful handling of a pandemic. We assassinated members of other countries. Turned a blind eye to the murder of someone on US soil by foreign agents. And we have 25,000 National Guard in Washington D.C. in hopes of avoiding an insurrection driven by the President's behavior. So sure, pat yourself on the back for this factoid.

1/17/2021 8:16 pm | |
Tags: us politics

Virgin Orbit launches rocket off a 747 aircraft (

Exciting to see more companies getting into the business of launching into space.

1/17/2021 8:26 pm | |
Tags: space

These last few months have reminded me of a short story idea I had, about a man who resisted government observation and privacy invasion by creating a dark web site dedicated to tools to resist it. From face masks, to apps, and everything in between. And that to do this, he had to continue to be observed, and live a life like someone completely unaware of these things.

Never wrote the story, maybe I'll give it another go one of these days.

1/17/2021 9:20 pm | |
Tags: privacy, personal, writing, ideas

Great info from a science communicator about Covid's new strains and the vaccine (

1/17/2021 9:37 pm | | Tweeted |
Tags: covid 19, pandemic, science

Glowbug Development & Commit Updates

The recent commits to Glowbug's Github:

By far the biggest of these was the image manager implementation. I don't currently plan for any major coding, we'll see what comes up.

1/17/2021 9:55 pm | |
Tags: programming, glowbug, github, google

Going to finish this episode of Man in the High Castle and call it a night. I've watched the entire first season before, but am working through it again. I don't recall ever picking up in season 2, we'll see how the series played out.

1/17/2021 10:51 pm | |
Tags: personal, review, amazon prime, nazi

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