Archive | March, 2012

Being Social: the Weekend of 3.24.12

22 Mar
The National Cherry Blossom festival has begun, and the blossoms are already at peak!  If you haven’t seen them, they’re quite beautiful – light and airy pink, spotting the land like cotton candy.  You’ll find most of them at the Tidal Basin – that’s between the Jefferson and FDR memorials near the water.  I didn’t know this my first year in DC, and not only didn’t see any (I was looking on the mall) but I was next in line to be towed and barely squeaked out.  Lesson of the story: take Metro, even if it’s unreliable, they “say” there’s no track work on weekends while the festival is in progress.  Events are listed on their website; this weekend includes guided tours, a bike ride & cycle expo, and a symposium on the Japanese influence on American Crafts. And there’s an app!  Finally, and most exciting to me, a traditional Japanese Tea service/shop has been created, which offers lessons on the traditional tea ceremony! I really want to take those! /teadork
 
Other events this weekend include:
 
Saturday
1230-9pm
Ah, it’s that time again.  ShamrockFest returns, with its booze and youth infested debauchery.  If you’re into a lot of music, dancing, raucous and booze, good on ya!  It’s at the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds, and tickets are $25+ (you can find discounts online).
 

OMG MYTHBUSTERS ❤

4 & 8pm
Huh? Mythbusters Live is in town?!  Why didn’t I know this sooner!! T__T  Sounds like Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will be running a live Q&A, and demos at the Warner Theatre!  Tickets (if there are any left) are $50+. [WaPo]
 
7-930pm
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will be hosting its 8th Annual Rum Punch Challenge. This features rum punches from local distilleries, restaurants, and caterers, along with Colonial-era food. Tickets are pricey, at $50 for food and punch or $100 for a pre-event VIP rum tasting. [theDistrict]
 

Ok, it's IPL not MLG, but it's still so geeky.

Sunday
Major League Gaming is having their Winter Championship Finals this weekend.  Not only will it be streaming live, but to celebrate there will be another One Nation of Gamers’ Barcraft at Public Bar Tenley! Feel free to watch geeks cheer on robots and bugs as they fight each other for a prize purse worth $26,000!

Ongoing Geekdom:

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Geek Look Ahead:

April
  • Video Games Live at Strathmore April 7: A live Orchestra performs geek music FTW!
  • Geek Day 2012 will be April 11-12, and features a ton of geeky/tech exhibits at the Washington Convention Center.
  • T-mode, an anime and gaming convention, will be April 20-22.

May

June

  • Anime Mid-Atlantic is a bit further away, but it’s another big Anime Convention, if you’re in need of some geek time! June 15-17
  • Bronycon will be in NYC (actually the Meadowlands) June 30-July1. I’ll be there, cosplaying it up! Note me if you want to room share, cosplay with me, or just meet up!
July
  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

August

September

October

November

  • NekoCon is November 2-4.  Apparently it starts on the 2th.  I love the Japanese.

Weekly Geek Bit: Ancient Phone History

21 Mar

um.... Operator?

Last time I talked about dial-up internet, and somewhat tied to that is the history of the phone.  While I didn’t exist when the old school candlestick phones and switchboards were around, I did learn how to call home on a rotary phone (aka bat phone).  They sucked.  For one, the worst part was dialing 9 or 0, because the whole freaking rotary circle had to click around before you could put the next number in.  Waiting was pretty annoying back then, and it was like a prize when you called someone with lots of 1’s, 2’s or 3’s in their number, because you could call it so quick.

By JacksonScott at en.wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons

There was also the issue before answering machines existed, where people would take messages on note pads “While you were out”.  Answering machines have gotten rid of this once-common household item, though they do still exist in offices if a colleague or secretary picks up the phone for you.  I found a twitter sheet that’s pretty similar to how it would have been without phones.  Enjoy:

Then answering machines showed up, recording messages on cassette tapes (do I need to go into these? Please say no…).  You had to rewind the tape if you wanted to replay the message, and if it filled up, you either had to get a new tape or record over old messages.  I wonder if any old message tapes have made their way to YouTube….
When cell phones came around, my family wasn’t rich enough to get the old-school bricks.  But my mother did get a pretty fat one when they got cheaper, and it was pretty cool.  Still, the price of a phone and the associated plan was way more expensive than a couple quarters in a pay phone.  (who uses pay phones nowadays, anyways?)   For those of you with little experience with pay phones, the secret was to call, and if no one answered, to quickly hang up before the answering machine picked up.  If you did it in time, the phone would refund you your quarter, and you could try again.  Best way to save money, evar?
And there were things called “call boxes” on the highway, used for stranded motorists or accidents, so that they could call emergency services back before everyone had a mobile phone in their car.  Though most have been removed due to cost, I recall seeing one  stretch of highway near Cleveland last year that still had these motorist assistance boxes.  Expect them to go extinct soon, as well.
But back to my family, I put off getting a phone until I was nearly out of college.  We had free land lines in school, and that was enough to call anyone I needed to.  We also used AOL Instant Messenger back then… it was pretty much the way to talk to anyone before Twitter happened.  Hell, I still log into AIM every day, though my buddy list is only 6 long nowadays.  Once I got a phone, I never really needed it until I got a job, and when I traveled.  It was okay, but I didn’t even bother learning to text message until 2007.  I know, I was way behind the curve.
Now, I have an iPhone, am getting deeper into Twitter every month, and honestly look back at my childhood and wonder how insanely different it would be with stuff like kids have today.  I wouldn’t end up crying when I couldn’t get in touch of my dad from school via a pay phone, wondering if he was going to pick me up or if I was stranded.  I would have probably had more friends, but more cyber bullying through my phone, too.  I think that bullying would have kept me offline more than any reason to go online, though, so maybe it wouldn’t have been that different, after all.
What technology did you grow up with?  What is indispensable now, and what do you miss about ‘back in the day’?

Being Social: the Weekend of 3.16.12

16 Mar
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!  There will be too much for one to do this weekend, if you enjoy imbibing with others clad in green.
From Tuscan happy hours to Shamrocks & Shenanigans and everything in between, there’s tone to go out and do. Other specials include Fado marks the occasion with Paddython, a day of rugby, Irish dancers, and live music beginning at 8 a.m., with a cover of $10; Rumors will sell beers for as cheap as $1.17; P.J. Clarke’s will have pints of Guinness and Harp for $4;and if you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with alcohol, designate a driver or call WRAP’s SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI.
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After moths of waiting, this weekend The Art of Video Games, which exhibits video games voted on by fans, will open at the American Art Museum.  It starts with lectures by famous developers (many are sold out, though they will be livestreamed!), a GameFest, and video game movies like King of Kong.  If you haven’t seen it, go.  It’s so dorkfully win.
=
Also, the 20th Annual Environmental Film Festival runs through Sunday, March 25, if you’re into earth-friendly, tug-your-heartstrings films. [theDistrict]

Geek Look Ahead:

March
April
  • Video Games Live at Strathmore April 7: A live Orchestra performs geek music FTW!
  • Geek Day 2012 will be April 11-12, and features a ton of geeky/tech exhibits at the Washington Convention Center.
  • T-mode, an anime and gaming convention, will be April 20-22.

May

June

  • Anime Mid-Atlantic is a bit further away, but it’s another big Anime Convention, if you’re in need of some geek time! June 15-17
  • Bronycon will be in NYC (actually the Meadowlands) June 30-July1. I’ll be there, cosplaying it up! Note me if you want to room share, cosplay with me, or just meet up!
July
  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

August

September

October

November

  • NekoCon is November 2-4.  Apparently it starts on the 2th.  I love the Japanese.

Happy Pi Day!

14 Mar

I’d have made pie for pi day, but I have a crappy medical condition I was diagnosed with two weeks ago. No pie (or caffeine or booze or chocolate…) allowed 😦

Instead, go for some eye pi, and enjoy!

Invisible pi number book....?

So that's where the numbers went. Genius!

...lots like the number thing...

...Tho a classic cutout is nice, too.

...berries...

or mmmmmm key lime pi

And don't forget about the DC Pi pizza truck/shop!

Do you have any baked goods celebrating this geek day? If so, please share them with me!

Being Social: the Weekend of 3.9.12

10 Mar

Through May, the National Geographic Society will be hosting an exhibit that features all the stories they wrote that weren’t published!  See what most can’t, and learn about stuff like “Happy Hour at the Ochroma Tree.”. [wusa9]

Also, March 6 – April 15, Arlington Arts’ Signature Theatre is hosting a show called ‘Brother Russia: A World Premiere Rock Musical’.  Sounds awesome to me. Russian folk turned rock? Tickets are $70 and up, from what I could find.

Don't you want to cosplay as...a...meatball?

Don't you want to cosplay as...a...meatball?

Friday

Happy MEATBALL DAY! Have specials:

Casa Nonna (1250 Connecticut Avenue NW) will give you all the pasta and meatballs you can eat along with a carafe of wine for $35.

Sonoma Wine Bar (223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE) has meatball specials all day.

Parties of six or more at Carmines (425 Seventh Street NW) will receive six free, grapefruit-sized meatballs just for showing up. HOT! [DCist]

Time to bike like a hipster again...

Saturday

2pm-Midnight

The Dandies & Quaintrelles are at it again, this time riding their old school victorian and/or steampunk bikes along the river Potomac to the “Crystal City Diamond Derby” event.  This time around, the dress is “urban — functional, contemporary and edgy”; meet up at 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW.  It’s free this time, but I bet they still want you to register at their website. [WaPo]

6pm

Nerd Nite DC this month will discuss “Oscar Wilde, Science in the Wild, and the Stressed Brain” at DC9.  More information about the lectures can be found at their website, and tickets are $10.

Sunday

12-3pm

DC is hosting their St. Patrick’s day parade!  This is always a good one – more joviality is expressed for St. Paddy’s than any petty national holiday. Check it out on Constitution Avenue – 7th to 17th Streets NW. [dc.about.com]

Geek Look Ahead:

March
April
  • Video Games Live at Strathmore April 7: A live Orchestra performs geek music FTW!
  • T-mode, an anime and gaming convention, will be April 20-22.
July
  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

Weekly Geek Bit: Dial-up Internet is Entrancing

7 Mar

Hey, why not try a weekly segment other than events to try and get me to post on this blog again? I’ve just about finished over at Brony Magic, so expect more from me here again!

This week’s Geek Topic is dial-up internet.  Those ten years younger than me probably didn’t have to dial into the Internet… it was a pretty annoying process.  First, you had to pick a phone number for the modem to dial into – and some numbers would be full, so you’d have to try other numbers until you got ‘in’. Then, the computer played really annoying fax-like sounds as it dialed into the internet.  And then a bunch of static.  If you got the static, you were in.  And if you were like me, then America Online 2.0 would say “Welcome! You’ve Got Mail!”

Here’s dial-up, slowed down and almost not-annoying sounding.

And everything awesome that was AOL. In a song mash-up.

Do you remember dial-up? What was the worst part about America Online?