May 18, 2004

No one has ever called me his princess before! (giggle)

A recent comment from deep, deep in the Apropos of Something archives (in response to a positively thrilling entry about preventative PC maintenance):


I feel your pain princess, and I'd liyour number. You sound hott! how old are you, please send a picture.

I'm 26, and I'll send a photo as soon as my lastest round of tasteful glamour shots are back from the studio. Thanks for reading...

Posted by Jess at 12:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 14, 2004

Are you gonna be my blog?

Wizbang recently hosted a Survivor All-Stars contest, and it seems that I won the grand prize -- a free two-week BlogAd on Wizbang -- with my pick of Amber winning over Boston Rob in the final vote. After much deliberation, here's the ad that I eventually worked up:


Here's hoping that Apple isn't feeling particularly litigious these days.

Posted by Jess at 03:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 10, 2004

We'll be back after these messages...

I'm going to be away from the computer for the next few days, but I should be back by Friday with some fun new stories and maybe even a photo or two. In the meantime, taking a page from Sugarmama's playbook, I thought I'd give you guys the chance to suggest a topic or two you'd like to see me blog about when I return. Is there a subject you'd like to see discussed? A story you'd like to hear told? A burning question you'd like answered?

If so, post your suggestion in this entry's comments, and I just might take a stab at it when I return. If not, carry on about your business as you would normally, and I'll see you on Friday.

Posted by Jess at 07:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

Spammers begone!

The comment spam here at Apropos of Something finally got to be more than I could handle, so I installed Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist earlier this afternoon. Peddle your generic Viagra and hentai elsewhere, spammers!

I had heard that MT-Blacklist was easy to install, but I had no idea that it was going to be that easy. It seems to be working fine, but let me know if you encounter anything that's broken.

Posted by Jess at 02:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

A Profile in Courage

I've updated my profile and added a timeline that should come in handy for anyone out there writing fan fiction stories about me.

Posted by Jess at 09:32 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

You like?

Well, I said a new design might be on the horizon, and here it is. I'd definitely appreciate any feedback on the new look here at Apropos of Something, as well as any reports on things that aren't working (I know the profile link isn't quite right).

Speaking of things that don't work, I've already encountered a problem in Internet Explorer that I can't figure out. In IE, some images here on the main page don't load until they're moused over or selected. Anybody out there with actual design skills know how to solve this? Also, text highlighting/selecting doesn't seem to be working quite right in IE either.

Update: It seems that the transparent floaty columns were causing the image problems in IE. Switching to opaque columns fixes the error, but sacrifices a bit of the design. Oh, well. Interestingly enough, it was my wife -- who has never designed a webpage in her life -- who suggested the fix. Meanwhile, it turns out that the text selection bug is a well-known IE problem that occurs when using absolute positioning. C'est la vie.

Another update: Andy also correctly pointed me toward the transparency effects as the most likely culprit in the Case of the Disappearing Images, cleaning up my stylesheet for me in the process. Thanks for the help!

Posted by Jess at 08:42 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 27, 2004

Drop-down and gimme twenty

Taking a cue from Anastasia at Southern Musings, I've replaced my sidebar category and monthly archive lists with drop-down menus. Please feel free to play with them, and let me know if they break.

Posted by Jess at 07:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 12, 2004

Great googly moogly!

I woke up this morning to discover that my cable Internet access had been magically restored overnight. Now, let's see if I can get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. Oh, and while I was out, I failed to notice that my recent post on hygiene and American politics made it into Electric Venom's weekly Snark Hunt. Be sure to check out the rest of the list for more snarky fun.

Posted by Jess at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2004

Blogging on stone tablets

It's been a week now, and I'm still without Internet access at home (I'm presently blogging from my department's computer lab). After spending about four hours total on the phone with my cable company's technical support staff over the past several days, running through the troubleshooting flowcharts time and time again, the current prognosis is that it's "unclear" when I can expect to have Internet access again. At this point, I think we've reached a philosophical impasse. Since we've apparently done all the troubleshooting that's possible over the phone -- both on my end and on theirs -- I tend to think that we should step our efforts up a notch. You know, maybe send a technician over to make sure that my cable modem is working properly -- stuff like that. They, on the other hand, seem to have come to the conclusion that there's no problem at all and that any Internet outages I'm experiencing are simply a figment of my imagination. Therefore, we should just wait it out and give me a chance to come to my senses.

While my cable company has yet to successfully diagnose the problems with my Internet connection, I think that I have diagnosed a significant problem in their technical support protocols. From what I've gathered during our recent discussions, the company runs a two-tiered support system. First, I call a toll-free number that handles all technical support at the national level. They run through their standard troubleshooting questions ("Is your cable modem plugged in? Are the lights blinking?") and, if the problem isn't fixed by that point, they submit a technical support ticket to the local office so they can take a look at it on their end. Unfortunately, my support ticket in this case has been saying something to the effect that I'm having trouble pinging the DHCP server. In turn, the people in the local office take a look at the DHCP server, see that it seems to be working fine, and then kill my ticket.

End of story. No call to see if my problem has resolved itself. Nothing. The ticket is dead. Passed on. Ceased to be. It has shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile. It is an ex-ticket.

So, I call back a day or two later to remind the national office that I'm still without Internet access. They pull up my record and note that the local office killed the previous ticket and once again marvel at the fact that I'm not online. Yeah, I know -- I'm shocked, too. Anyway, after running through the whole troubleshooting rigmarole again, they submit another ticket. Did I mention that it takes the local office two business days to get around to even looking at a technical support ticket? Well, it does.

As far as I can tell from speaking with the faceless technical support entities, the local office has killed two of my tickets so far. Unfortunately, there's apparently no way to me to get in contact with the local office directly. In fact, the last person I spoke with at the national office said that even he couldn't contact the local office directly. The only way is through the aforementioned tickets.

As it stands, my latest support ticket has been "escalated" -- whatever that means. The most recent technical support person I talked with, however, didn't have particularly high hopes for the future of my Internet connection. It was his opinion that since there doesn't seem to be a problem on my end or a problem on their end, there just might not be anything that we can do about it. If nothing else, it warms my heart to know that my hopelessness is contagious.

On the other hand, if I see another television commercial touting this company's willingness to go the extra mile to guarantee my satisfaction, I think I'm going to shoot my cable box. Maybe that will lure a technician to my house and we can finally get this whole mess sorted out.

Posted by Jess at 08:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 07, 2004

Still offline

Tomorrow marks Apropos of Something's six-month anniversary, but -- alas -- I'm still stuck without Internet access. Hopefully, my Internet provider will have me back online within the next two or three days, though. In the meantime, I should probably sign off before anyone catches me "borrowing" one of the vet school's computers without proper authorization.

Posted by Jess at 03:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Another case of BlogMadness

First-round voting is underway in the BlogMadness 2003 tournament, and my Masked Fisherman entry is in the running. If you feel so inclined, you can go directly to the appropriate polling page and cast your vote. Thanks for your support!

Posted by Jess at 11:30 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 29, 2003

Back in action

I'm finally back home in the land of broadband Internet connections (with a brand new PC to boot), so expect my regularly scheduled blogging to resume tomorrow with some stories and photos from my recent travels.

Posted by Jess at 07:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas!

It's been a crazy week of traveling with stops in Philadelphia, Princeton, and now my parents' house in Southwest Virginia. While the opportunities for blogging have been scarce, I should be back to my regularly scheduled ramblings within the next couple of days--complete with plenty of stories and photos from my trip. In the meantime, merry Christmas!

Posted by Jess at 04:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 11, 2003

Broadcasting live, coast to coast

Capitalizing on the wonders of RSS and other technologies that I don't entirely comprehend, teedz has devised a way to syndicate this site on LiveJournal. So, any LJ users out there can now add apropos_jess to their friends list to have my entries show up via syndication. Come on--you know you want to.

Posted by Jess at 07:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 05, 2003

Rock the Vote: The 2003 Weblog Awards

Wizbang is hosting the 2003 Weblog Awards and this site is nominated in the "Best Slimy Molluscs (and below) Ecosystem Level Blog" category--an award established to recognize the very best of blogs that absolutely nobody actually reads. If you get a chance and feel so inclined, why not take a few moments to head on over to Wizbang and vote for Apropos of Something? My category is listed all the way down at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Posted by Jess at 09:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Getting envenomed

Venomous Kate of Electric Venom is giving her fellow bloggers the opportunity to siphon off some of her site's traffic today via Trackback ping. Being the shameless self-promoter that I am, how can I resist? So, if you happen to be dropping in via EV, feel free to look around a bit and enjoy a recent post or two.

Posted by Jess at 07:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 01, 2003

Entry collapses, entry expands. Entry collapses, entry expands. Entry collapses...

Here's a "shout out" (with optional "big ups") to TweezerMan of The Tweezer's Edge for his improved extended entry script and template code for MT--already put to use in yesterday's entry. For those keeping score at home, this version fixed a few minor problems with ScriptyGoddess' popular script, which had its origins in a script by Aarondot.

Posted by Jess at 06:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 29, 2003

Happy Broomcloset Day!

It's November 29, and that means that it's time for everyone's second favorite November holiday: Broomcloset Day! For those not familiar with the event, today marks the eight-year anniversary of the launch of my other website, the Virtual Broomcloset. So, if you're a fan of computer games about space janitors that reached the apex of their popularity over a decade ago, feel free to drop by and join the festivities.

Meanwhile, I just realized that last night's entry was my one-hundredeth post here at Ye Olde Blog. Thanks to everyone out there who's actually been reading my ramblings on a quasi-regular basis--especially those who have been so kind as to blogroll me. I have to admit that I was skeptical about this whole blogging thing at first, but like the vast majority of the blogosphere, I'm now proud to say that I'm thoroughly addicted.

Posted by Jess at 09:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

Best. Comment. Ever.

A couple of months ago, I posted an entry that discussed new technology being tested at Johns Hopkins that would allow doctors to perform virtual examinations using robots. I titled the post "Short Circuit 3" in reference to the 1986 film starring Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, and a zany robot by the name of Johnny Five--not to mention its slightly less star-studded sequel. Anyway, someone posted the following comment on this long-forgotten entry yesterday:

hi there,

I am the head of Tristar - we own the rights to the 'Short Circuit' series. I know you think I am probably a 'square' but listen up hepcats.

The next Short Circuit film is already in production - Johhny 5 is back and this time he's just as crazy!

Without giving too much away, Johnny 5 falls in love, could it be with a new military Robot called Madonna? (Mutually Assured Destruction of Nuclear Nanite Application). I aint telling.

There are all sorts of hi-jinks as you would expect. Have you ever seen a robot dance the Macarena, you will!

Keep watching the skies.

Posted by: Head of Tristar entertainment at November 25, 2003 11:38 AM

Absolutely hilarious. Oh, and thanks for dropping by, Mr. Blake!

Posted by Jess at 09:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

Welcome to!

In the past day alone, approximately fifteen people have reached this site by searching for the phrase "Jacko on his backo" and variations thereof. Once again, I marvel at the mysteries of Google--and the capricious zeitgeist of the World Wide Web.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I should get back to Army of Darkness on--believe it or not--American Classic Movies.

Posted by Jess at 10:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 05, 2003

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity

The weekly Carnival of the Vanities is up over at Wizbang, and it turns out that my "Masked Fisherman" entry made the cut. Now, I just need to get in touch with some high-powered network executives and make this thing happen. Actually, as teedz suggested, I should probably contact PETA first to check up on that whole "fishing with hand grenades" thing.

Meanwhile, to change the subject completely, my wife and I adopted a dog yesterday from the local animal control shelter. He's a black cocker spaniel puppy, and we've named him Kip. You can see his official mug shot from the shelter here. Sadly, our beloved 19-year-old cocker spaniel, Milo, passed away a couple of weeks ago, but we're looking forward to making Kip a part of the family.

Posted by Jess at 05:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 26, 2003

Slightly less cool than the Showcase Showdown

On a lark, I decided to submit this site to The Truth Laid Bear's weekly New Blog Showcase. To provide some background for those not familiar with the Showcase, it exists primarily as a way to get newer weblogs a little exposure, with the "winner" each week being determined by the number of inbound links to his or her blog. While this site has virtually no chance of winning, it seemed like a fun idea at the time. So, if you happen to be visiting from the Showcase, welcome--and feel free to blogroll me! ;)

With that bit of exposition out of the way, TTLB encourages entrants to link to entries from a few other entrants' blogs as part of the cross-promotional fun. One of the entries that leapt out at me immediately from this week's submissions was "I miss Lewis Grizzard" from Anastasia's Southern Musings. As I commented over in her blog, I'd like to think that much of what I know about humorous writing (which may or may not be that much) I learned from reading Lewis Grizzard's syndicated columns in my local newspaper as a child. Then again, I also claim that much of what I know about performing on-stage I learned from The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, so what do I know?

With an exception or two, however, most of the entries in the Showcase this week are political weblogs. Obviously, this isn't going to win me too many votes in the contest, but political blogs have never appealed to me at all. Maybe it's because political science is both what I study and what I do for a living and, as a result, when I'm playing around on the Web, I'm looking for diversion as opposed to futher immersion. Then again, maybe it's my training as a political scientist that has given me a relatively dim view of political editorializing--something that we're usually encouraged not to do in our own professional work. Or, it could just be that I'm too much of a moderate to identify with what tend to be the more extreme positions, either right or left, of most political blogs.

Bah! Political commentary--who needs it? Go buy a copy of Chili Dogs Always Bark at Night instead.

Posted by Jess at 07:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

The mysteries of Google

I'll never understand Google. It's only been a few days ago that the search engine started indexing my weblog under its current name and, in turn, finding its archives at their present location. Now, for some unfathomable reason, it's back to indexing the site under its old name ("The Least Interesting Destination on the Web")--complete with a cached version that's several weeks older than the version they had a day or two ago.

Meanwhile, Google Toolbar's PageRank continues to insist that, on a scale of one to ten, this site is a "five" in terms of its overall importance. Maybe they're seeing something here that I'm not, but I have a feeling that Google needs a fresh flock of pigeons.

Posted by Jess at 08:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 10, 2003

Ann Coulter Spontaneously Combusts

I was playing around with Google earlier this morning and decided to follow the "similar pages" link for this site and discover what pages Google thinks are related to my weblog. The first related page that Google returned turned out to be a column at by humorist Andy Borowitz entitled "Ann Coulter Spontaneously Combusts."

I'm not sure exactly what that says about the contents of my weblog, but I think I like it.

Posted by Jess at 07:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 08, 2003

Late Night = Blog Tinkering

In case you hadn't noticed, I've made the switch over from Greymatter to Movable Type--mostly because I couldn't sleep last night and playing around with MT seemed like a good idea at 3:00AM. Anyway, it's up-and-running, and I think I like it. Let me know if you encounter any bugs, broken links, and so forth.

Posted by Jess at 08:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 04, 2003

tLIDotW Version 2.0

I just finished upgrading my blog to the latest version of Greymatter, and it looks like everything is in working order. The newest version of the software--which, I should add, was already quite awesome--boasts a few new features (the "music" and "mood" mods, emoticons), a couple of minor bugfixes, and added security. Please let me know if you encounter any post-upgrade weirdness.

Posted by Jess at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2003

Information Overload

Nothing too interesting to post today, but I did want to note that I've added a profile to the site that provides a bit of background about me (although I imagine most people visiting the site know me already). Anyway, it's there. Also, I've added links pointing to some of my friends' weblogs to the sidebar. If you're one of my friends and you're not listed, let me know. If you're not sure if you're one of my friends, feel free to e-mail me and we'll figure it out together.

Posted by Jess at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2003

I Hate Weblogs

Yep, that's right. I hate weblogs. About eight years ago, when I first logged on to the web, I wondered what could possibly be more self-indulgent and useless than lists of all the CDs that a person I don't know owns or a list of his or her "hot links." Then, as the years passed, weblogs began to appear on the scene, and I discovered that self-indulgence had soared to new heights. Pretty soon, everybody that I knew online had a weblog, and they all insisted that I needed one as well. I resisted for the first year or two. After all, as I said at the beginning of this paragraph, I hate weblogs.

That being said, I've decided to launch a weblog.

I'm sure you're all like, "Wha-wha?!" right now. Yeah, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Why launch a weblog now after battling against it for so long? Well, the story starts about six months ago when some script kiddie "hacked" my homepage and erased what was there. Now, I should note that my previous homepage was by no means a testiment to meaningful content, and I ended up replacing it with nothing more than a plain text message reading, "Gone for now."

That was working out fairly well for me. Then, in past month or two, I got the strange urge to actually relaunch a homepage to go along with the webpage that consumes most of my online time. Why? I have no idea. Try as I might, however, I couldn't come up with anything that amounted to a list of links to sites that everyone already knows about anyway (please see the right sidebar for an example of this phenomenon in action). So, I've decided to give this whole blogging thing a whirl. We'll see how long it lasts...

Meanwhile, to get discussion (heh) started, here's a little something that a member posted on my site's message forum recently. "Break this record," eh? Nice work with the web template, Guinness Book of World Records.

Weblog, weblog, one-two, one two, and if you swing by my crib then I can blog wit' you....

Posted by Jess at 12:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack