Introspection - January 2017

It's been almost two years since my last Introspection. Which is entirely too long. But! As is tradtion, this will only be the updates for the month of January, 2017.

Movies/TV:

  • Die Hard - Yes, the original. The first. Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman (!!!), I know. I'm only just now watching it because 1) I only recently realized it was a Christmas film, 2) I had a coupon, and 3) Yes I'm watching it in January, so sue me. I really enjoyed it apart from the barefoot glass walking and am keeping an eye out on the sequels to go on sale, too. R.I.P. Alan Rickman.
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass - The best character of this film is Time or Tick-Tock or whatever nickname you yourself came up for him; he saved this movie. Honestly? You could've made an original film with original characters and the plot wouldn't suffer. Which is totally a knock against it when it had Alice and the Mad Hatter. This is not to suggest that I didn't enjoy this film; on the contrary, I had a splendid time watching it. But it's nothing special.
  • Parks and Recreation - My friends have been trying for years to get me to watch this show, and wow have I been missing out. I've only just finished Season 2, but yes gimme more!

Travel:

Starting a new section this year with Travel. In 2017, I decided that, instead of going on one large trip (like I did with London 2016), I would go on several smaller budget trips throughout the year. Beginning with:

  • Boston - Sure it was less than 30F most of the weekend, but I had a wonderful time. I spent most of the time walking the Freedom Trail and learning (or re-learning) what history I could. Absolutely wonderful trip made better with a <$90 round-trip airfare. This is also the first time I stayed in a hostel to which my review is: it's a college dorm but with grown-ups.

To the Goth Girl I Met in Wal-Mart Last Tuesday

To the Goth Girl I Met in Wal-Mart Last Tuesday

First of all, I want to apologize if you don't happen to be goth. It just seemed like an appropriate conclusion to draw after seeing your dyed black hair, your nose ring, and your all-black clothing. Maybe today you just felt like wearing black? I have days like that, too, so I know how you feel if that's the case.

Also, I don't want to keep calling you "goth girl" for the entirety of this letter, so if you're agreeable I'll call you "Jasmine". Not because I know it's your name, but, as names go, I think it's a good one. I hope you understand.

Jasmine, you did something that Tuesday night that I absolutely loved. It's a silly thing to love, and I don't even know why I'm so fond of it. I think it's a combination of the read I picked up off of you during our short, frustrating time together, your attitude toward me and everyone in the store, and culminating in what you did while leaving.

You pushed the red button on this thing. It was such a righteously indignant reaction to Wal-Mart's we're-not-going-to-have-any-lanes-other-than-self-checkout-open-after-10pm crap, which left me smiling like an idiot the rest of the way to my car.

And you didn't even stop there! It go so much better. After pushing the button (even though you went to a self-checkout register and I managed to snag that one poor soul who has to deal with all of those self-checkout lanes, we left right at the same time), you still stopped afterwards to look at the flowers they keep right before you leave the building. It was such a "I'm so pissed off at Wal-Mart I will push this ridiculously childish sad face, but I will not let my anger stop me from looking at Beauty" kind of thing.

You had an entirely human-less experience: you shopped alone, you paid alone, and you complained alone. But even with all that, you still maintained your humanity.

Your actions left such an impact on me, that I'm sitting here writing this letter, a letter you will never read, from a person you will never meet again. But I think someone deserves to know this story, and I hope you don't mind that I share it with others.

Enjoy your life, Goth Girl. May you always hold on to that beautiful indignation, and may you always never let it control you enough not to smell the roses.

Sincerely yours,

Guy Who Was Buying Tortillas

"Tonight we are all collectively watching Robin Williams"

On the 11th, we learned the terrible news of Robin Williams's death. And during the outpouring of grief that followed on Twitter, I saw this tweet:

And it got me thinking (and gave my mind something to do): just how much of an increase in viewings would there be? Is it significant or just a blip? Spoiler: Significant.

I collected data from trakt1 using their activity search API call2. I limited the activities to "scrobble" and "checkin". A scrobble is when a significant portion of the film has been watched; trakt recommends 85%. This is usually automatically done by a media center plugin. A checkin is when a user initiates the action. This is usually done via a mobile phone app or with the website for events such as when a user is "watching live tv, at a friend's house, or watching a movie in theaters".3 Data was collected from midnight EDT August 4th to 23:59 EDT August 17th.

Here's what that data looks like:

And here's a map of the locations of people4 who watched Aladdin from August 12th through the 17th.

When someone dies, we reflect and take time to recall what it was about them that made us love them, from telling stories of our loved ones at funerals or wakes to rewatching the films they made. And based on the data from trakt, it's obvious that we rewatched Robin Williams's movies and remembered exactly what it was that made him so beloved.

RIP you beautiful man.


  1. About trakt: "trakt is a platform that does many things, but primarily keeps track of TV shows and movies you watch. It integrates with your media center or home theater PC to enable scrobbling, so everything is automatic. Some people like to check in from their phone, so we enable that too."

  2. activity/movies

  3. Scrobbles vs Checkins

  4. user/profile

Introspection - March 2014

I've had two job interviews (well four really since each came with a second round) and have yet to hear back from any of them. Which I'm fine with; too much other stuff is going on, what with me trying to wrap this thesis up not to mention just the general drudgery of college courses.

Fun fact time. At my first interview, he asked me about my software development skills: "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being amazing, where do you see yourself?" I thought for a minute and then said "Um, a 6 or a 7." And then I added "...if you view it as a logarithmic scale." I'm sure that level of nerdery single-handedly caused me to be selected for that second round.

Movies

  • Non-Stop - I went into this knowning not a lot about the film other than Liam Neeson was being Liam Neeson on an airplane so I was thrilled to discover that it also featured Corey Stoll and Michelle Dockery. Such a nice surprise. The ending didn't seem that thought out though so that was a bit of a bummer.
  • How to Train Your Dragon - There's only one reason why I didn't see How to Train Your Dragon before now, and it's a sad one: I thought that since it was Dreamworks it wouldn't be that good. Man I was wrong. I've already got HtTYD2 on my calendar.

Books

  • I've been listening to The Everything Store on Audible. It's about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com, and it's absolutely fascinating. If you're into Amazon or Bezos or marketing or technology companies, you should buy this. I'm seriously considering giving a copy to my marketing professor at the end of the semester.

Rainjacket

For my senior capstone software development course, we had to build a product from scratch and give semi-weekly reports on our progress. I built a weather app.

But this isn't your mother's weather app. Oh no. Instead of getting something that looks like:

I'll give you something like this

Give a high five for a high in the high 70s! ....no? Okay then. Sad face...

Rainjacket gives you a plain-English, no nonsense weather forecast delivered to your inbox and phone each day. It's a one sentence summary of the day's weather that tells you everything you need to know and then gets out of your way. Expect snark, jokes, and pop-culture references. Also expect bugs, environmental disasters, and wishes that sometimes turn into horses

If you're into that sort of thing, you should check it out. My classmates were pretty interested in it, but they're all nerds so you shouldn't let that influence you.

therainjacket.com