Summer storms

I love thunderstorms, probably to levels that shouldn't be considered safe by normal standards. When I lived in the dorms a couple years ago and they forced us to the basement during a tornado warning? I was the guy that snuck out the back and stood on top of the parking garage to take photos like this one:
Lightning over Mizzou

I drove through today's storm, accidentally, because I didn't have the time to check my usual radar page. Oops. If I'd checked it, I would've seen something like this:
A crop of the radar image. Click to see a full, animated copy.

So, there I was, on Stadium Boulevard, driving to work through a stretch where the sky got dark -- and I really mean late-evening twilight dark. By the time I got to Forum (like a mile or two from campus) the sky started lightening up. As if the system had come and gone without doing anything. Oh, if only we were so lucky.

I waited maybe a minute for the stoplight to turn green. It started to rain right as the light turned green. By the time I passed where the old T.K. Brothers grill/pub stands (quarter mile, if even), the rain got really hard. Then I started noticing little ice pellets.

And then everything turned to white. Like a blizzard. A blizzard of sleet. And by blizzard, I do want to convey that I couldn't see anything past a couple feet.

I made it to work just fine; I ran through the parking lot, under the Yankees umbrella I got from one of the games I went to last year, as the rain and hail continued to flood everything around me. The sleety hail didn't do anything to my car; the pellets were just too small to do any damage to anything.

That got my heart going better than anything I've done recently. I can't wait for more.


Also, an update on photos from my vacation: I can't seem to find the negatives I developed in St. Louis and I think they're somewhere lost somewhere between here, St. Louis, or New Jersey. I'll keep you posted.

(April) Fooling around

Update: Site's back to the "normal" theme.

It's no joke, I have an obsession with nostalgia. Most notoriously, there's my love of baseball and the rich history of the game and it's traditions. But there are plenty of other examples of nostalgic indulgences, like typewriters, black and white film photography, and (most recently) fountain pens.

But I'm also prone to actual nostalgia -- not just the faux nostalgia of surrounding myself with the old school.

Every time I revise my résumé and realize I've been on the Web for a decade and realize I've been messing around with HTML and Web design/development for almost as long... Well, I can't help but feel a little nostalgic about those humble roots. And with good reason -- while most of the things I've worked on since 1998 have disappeared (account inactivity, group disbanding, hosting change, site redevelopment...), my first site, somehow is still live (albeit in a limited capability).

Today, I've invoked that feeling from that first website of mine and recreated that very plain, styleless HTML into a Wordpress template. In a sick and twisted way, I actually enjoyed writing the tag soup of <font> tags and pointless <hr> and <br> tags... You know, the same way you'd enjoy hearing an old Backstreet Boys song you haven't heard in years -- that is, before you realize what it is you're actually listening to.

(I also get the strangest feeling I'm going to regret linking to that ol' site...)

I recently read an article (I can't seem to remember where) about the increase in faux-90's retro Web design, like the one used on Radiohead's site. I smiled to myself because I remember making plenty of pages and sites that looked like that in my day. When I was like, 15. Retro-trendiness is a sad, sad thing.

So cheers to April Fool's Day and cheers to good ol' nineties Web nostalgia.

The long road’s end

March 27: Dunellen, NJ

We decided to take a minor road trip down south to visit Eight on the Break, which is definitely one of the coolest arcades I've been to.

All the driving games I like? Got it. All the music-based games for Glenn? Got it. And plenty of fighting games, which Chris definitely enjoyed. It's also the host for the New Jersey Pinball League, lol.

We try to make it down to The Break every time we're in Jersey, of course for the games, but also for the cheap lunch -- $4 buys you a cheese steak sandwich with fries and a drink.

Good times.

March 27: New Brunswick, NJ

We stopped by Dave and Erin's again, without calling ahead. Wasted a few hours, got another fat sandwich dinner at the grease trucks... We figured it was the best way to spend the last day of the trip.

March 28: Back on the road

We woke up early and got breakfast with Chris at the Original Pancake House on Route 10 near Livingston. I drove all the way to Indianapolis by 9pm... Hell, I probably could've made it all the way to St. Louis if we didn't have to stop over...

Met Marcie and my dad in Indy for the Indiana State Yoyo Contest and we stayed overnight in a hotel.

March 29: Indianapolis, IN

Took photos of that Indiana Yoyo Contest. A lot of photos, for free, because there was a ton of interest last time I took photos of an event like this.

2008 Indiana State Yoyo Contest 2008 Indiana State Yoyo Contest

Spent the afternoon driving the last four hours back to St. Louis... And with that, the trip basically ended. (There's still the last leg to Columbia, but that's a no-brainer at this point.) My odometer reads 2340 miles since I've left Columbia over a week ago. I can't believe I did it and I drove it all.

It's been fun, but on the flip side I realized I've got a ton of work to get done over the next couple weeks. Eh, I shouldn't fare too poorly.

I have a lot of photos from the New Jersey/New York trip, but I think I left the negatives in Jersey. The scanner over there also wasn't that great, so I decided to wait to print before scanning/uploading. Eh, I'll keep you posted; it'll be done whenever I get around to it.

Manhattan, New York, NY

Found our way over to the city today.

I got a chance to meet with Brian Hamman, of the New York Times. Got a tour of the newsroom and office (quite an awesome building) and got some lunch with him.

Visited our good ol' friend, Pat -- the guy behind YoYo Nation. We know Pat through Glenn's yoyoing -- he's ordered from that site plenty and Pat actually came down to St. Louis for one of the competitions a year or two ago. (Hell, he had dinner at our house when he was in town.)

Stopped by the B&H Photo super store, too. The place is huge. And from what I looked at, it's got everything the online store has -- it's sheer ridiculous. Got the supplies to develop my many rolls of film (yum, Xtol), which I did the moment we got back to Livingston.

And of course, no trip to New York would be complete without a bite to eat at Tasty Dumpling. Seriously. You can feed a large family for $8 at that place and the stuff actually tastes good. Honest, pick some up and sit down in Columbus Park to eat. It's a good meal.

I've found that navigating New York has become somewhat second nature to me, too. Might have been that summer exchange trip to Germany years ago, but transit maps over here make so much sense to me. Might also be the infographic guy in me, too. Or it could be that I've been to the city at least once a year for the past five years now. Either way. Got in via train, took the subway a few places, took the bus back to Livingston... Got lost once, and that's only because I remembered the wrong street number -- oops.

If I bother to borrow the scanner here, you might get some photos soon. I haven't used my "good" (meaning "digital SLR") camera all vacation, but instead have abused the hell out of my Yashica film camera lately. I dunno, I think I'm falling in love with film again.

Side trip: Parsippany, NJ

My luck is a funny thing.

Back on Saturday night, right after getting into town, I had a tire blow out en route to Chris' cousin's for a family party of sorts. You know, mere hours after finishing a 1100 mile drive. We got the spare on and went on our way. It got to New Brunswick and back fine, too.

To tell you the truth, my tires should've been replaced way back in November -- I've been having trouble keeping one of my tires inflated (a tiny leak practically at the sidewall, hard to completely repair). That was not the tire that blew out.

With help from Chris' dad, we found our way to a couple of shops only to find that they didn't have a full set in my size. We finally ended up in Parsippany, half an hour away, and got it fixed by an understaffed shop that had way too much to do today.

Oh, life. 1100 miles and then a blown tire after getting here? Someone's smiling down on me.

Tomorrow: New York City.