Lauren

I started talking to someone new online. She’s from California where I’ll be heading soon. I might even be meeting with her while I’m there. Anyhow, I’ve found her to be quite interesting. She talks quite a bit. She’s also quite flirty. Hard to tell how much of that is genuine interest or not. She seems to have a personality of incorporating what you tell her in her own story. I’ve always found that interesting in someone. Hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t though.

We’ll see where our interactions go. Will she be one that just disappears after a while or will she last?

Mysterious Credit

For whatever reason, I got a mysterious credit on my Amazon.com Visa Card.  It’s only $0.79, and free money is good. However, I don’t want Chase finding out they make a mistake and correcting it with interest in the future, so I’ve been calling them a bit to get them to correct it or explain it if it’s legitimate. I think I finally got them to understand today, so we’ll see tomorrow if the credit gets corrected.

Bad E-mail Restrictions

For a few years now, I’ve owned gurganus.name. Over this year, I’ve been changing my e-mail usage to use the e-mail address I have through it. This can be problematic though. Here’s what I occasionally run into. Some sites validate e-mail addresses in various ways. Generally, validating input is a good thing. It’s not a good thing when it is done wrong though. What’s being done wrong? Well, I often see the validation being done with a regular expression that restricts the top level domain to being two or three letters. This is naive and wrong. If you look at the list of top level domains managed by the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA), you’ll find many two and three letter domain names, but you will also find the “museum” top level domain. Even if you included a check for every top level domain’s length, you would end up with a system that will break when a new top level domain is created.

What should you do instead?

The better approach is simply to follow the e-mail address format specified in addr-spec production of RFC2822. This doesn’t put a length on the domain name. You’ll find out that part is invalid when you look up the domain name in order to send a message.

My Pyramid Tracker

One Website I’ve been using lately in an effort to improve my overall fitness is My Pyramid Tracker. You enter what you eat each day as well as your activities, and it gives you an indication of how what you eat fits with the recommendations as well as how your activities give you the recommended activity load.

I like the idea, but sometimes it can be hard to find what you ate in their list of items. Additionally, if you do the comprehensive activity tracking, that can be quite tedious.

Find the site at http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/Default.htm [Site is now superseded by https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx].

Another Coincidence

I experienced another coincidence lately. I was using StumbleUpon and came across Kaeli on it. As I occasionally do, I perused her profile and saw that she was interested in discussion. I wrote to her:

Hey Kaeli, I noticed that you are really into discussion. Let’s start one. What is the most critical subject of elementary skills: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

She replied and said that she was indeed interest in discussion, but she asked "How’d you notice that I’m into discussion?" As she would later tell me, she thought some of her past discussions with other people had somehow become public. Anyhow, I creatively wrote back:

Actually, I’m psychic. I just kind of pick up on subtle clues. In this case, it was the subtle clue in your profile message. I bet if you take a look at it, you’ll see how I figured out that you were into discussion. Go ahead, give it a try.

There was no real psychic element. He profile message said this rather explicitly:

I’m really into spiritual and intellectual learning, discussion, and humor.

Anyhow, I finished the message with a secret to help ensure she would respond:

As for why I asked the question, that is just a secret that I can’t share. Maybe if we continue talking and I trust you with it, I’ll share the secret.

The context of this is that I had been reading various things about relationships and dating. Most of the skills I come across are applicable for general social situations as well. One of those principles is to leave with the other person wanting more so that they will come again. My most recent reading is The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss. I had actually seen the book originally mentioned on a Dating on Demand segment and seen it recommended at a few sites.

Anyhow, she responded and said that psychic line was funny. I told that I had been reading about relationships and so forth and was reading this book. I ended telling the secret:

As for that secret, I just asked the question to get a response. As for the secret, that is to get a second response. That is actually a bit of an idea from the pickup artist community, but it applicable to general conversation as well. You want to know the secret, so you’ll come back for more conversation in this case.

At this point a weird connection was made:

Yeah, unfortunately I discovered that secret before. lol. A friend of mine (who I had only known for a short while at the time) tried all of this pick-up stuff on me- his best friend’s girlfriend- and wrote in his blog the details of his progress. He commented about the psychological things he was trying to do, and my weird/blondeness. As you can probably tell, I’m kind of bitter about this. lol. I liked him a lot, and it really hurt me to find out that he was just doing this psychological thing, you know?

Coincidentally, he goes to your college. So either you’re him, or your perhaps slightly-more-evil twin is running around your campus. lol. You reminded me of him right away.

Anyway… Your thoughts on this? lol.

Anyhow, since that weird connection was made, she has kept talking to me. It was a weird coincidence though.

This post was reviewed by her before I posted it.

Crazy Coincidence

A crazy thing happened last week. I added the iExist application to Facebook. The iExist application lets you enter a greeting that appears on somebody else’s profile randomly. My greeting asked "What did you dream of today?" The next day, I received a Facebook message. In that message, somebody told me one of their dreams. I replied to the person and we subsequently had a conversation. At some point a day letter, I felt like I was getting along with the person and decided to add them as a Facebook friend. I clicked on their name to go to what bit of their profile I could see at the time. I then clicked the "Add to Friends" link. The window that opened said a friend request was already pending. I was confused thinking maybe I somehow clicked that link twice. I then refreshed the page and that link was now "Confirm friend." I checked my e-mail and there was a friend request from the other person. We had essentially added each other as Facebook friends at the same time. It was weird.

Personal Branding

I have not written in quite a while. Anyhow, one of the things I have been working on is an improved personal brand. I now own the gurganus.name domain. I plan to start transitioning my e-mail addresses to be at that domain as well as my Website, blog, and more. I am trying to come up with a unified appearance that ties together my site, blog, and resume. I am also thinking about getting some personal business cards matching that unified appearance. As part of the personal branding effort, I also want to narrow the focus of my blog. However, I have not determined what I want my focus to be.

Another Term

The spring term at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has begun. Courses this term include Linear Algebra, Computer Security, Programming Language Concepts, and Introduction to Archaeology. So far, Linear Algebra seems like it may be the toughest as far as material goes. As far as workload, it is a tossup between Programming Language Concepts and Introduction to Archaeology. The archaeology course has less actual work, but it will require quite a bit more reading.

Additionally, as an update on my goals from the beginning of this year, I have done well on both personal goals and have a new personal goal this term. I did well for a while blogging frequently, but then I quit blogging for a few weeks. I plan to blog frequently once again. I just found out some other people have been reading my blog entries, so I have more incentive to actually produce content. I also plan to complete all of my homework and attend all of my classes this term.

Psych and Monk

Tonight, the new seasons of Psych and Monk aired. I have watched every episode of Psych so far and every episode of Monk for about three years. I find that the actual skills of both Shawn in Psych and Monk in Monk are very similar. It comes down to powers of observation. In the case of Monk, he describes it as both a "gift and a curse." His character has obsessive-compulsive tendencies since his wife Trudy was murdered. Shawn, on the other hand was trained with such abilities by his father, a police officer. In his case, he plays off his discoveries through observation as psychic vision. It is interesting to me how both characters really seem to work through the same means, but their presentation of their discoveries is quite a bit different.

Blogging Helps Sleep

I have done no scientific study of this, but I have read about it elsewhere and have experienced it. One of the issues that kept me from sleeping well was that I would be thinking about things for some time before I fell asleep. As a consequence, I would wake up at least once a night. Since I have started blogging regularly, I cannot remember awaking in the middle of the night. If I did wake up, it was within a half hour of when my alarm clock would go off. I think that is pretty cool.