Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Guest Post by my Pop: A Response to "Recent Heroics and Impressive Charts and Graphs"

After I posted Recent Heroics and Impressive Charts Pop shot me an email in response. I copied it below. To get the context, you might want to read through my original post first, which is here


Pop taking a photo.
He's taken thousands of photos but no one has ever seen any of them.


On Apr 23, 2016, at 11:46 PM, -Pop- wrote:

I liked your blog. I was able to relate to your counting, felt like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Well first, if in 2013 you listened to 33000 songs, and if each song was 3 min, it would consume over 68 full days, or if you slept 6 hrs/d, it would be 84 days of non-sleeping time or almost 1/4 of your waking-time listening to music. Wow, that’s a lot of music.

As for visiting 378 drinking establishments since 2010, the summer I drove a cab in Allentown I too counted my drinking estm’ts visited picking up customers. I got to, if my memory correctly serves me, in the neighborhood of 110.  

I never did count total museums(a great idea) but did do several tallies on some of our trips.  It really makes me wonder what my lifetime museum/historical societies would be.

I don’t know if you remembered the story about when we worked in Alaska and had to fly in all our food for 4-months.  Mom wondered how much we would eat in over 120 days, but I knew exactly how much cereal I ate, because I had kept track. So sometimes what seems like idle tallying becomes quite meaningful.

A super job of counting life’s highlights.  It makes it all seem so much more consequential when you know for sure how many miles you ran, the number of songs you listened to, how many boxes of cereals you ate, how many milk cartons you opened or how many museums you visited.

editor's note: For further reading to confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that I turned out pretty well considering my OCD DNA situation, pls see:

Maybe Just a Tiny Bit OCD
Numbered Underpants
Low speed mayhem in a foot cast
or for the full complement of Pop Posts: On the Road with Dad



And lastly, upon further discussion, Pop told me, "We went out to dinner last night with our friends and your mom said that you made up the number of drinking establishments you'd gone to. (Pause for a mutual gasp.) I know! Don't worry, I defended your honor. It's unthinkable to suggest you didn't have the data to support your totals."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Recent heroics and impressive charts and graphs

The best thing about stomping around the west village until 3am is when you wake up the next morning, your phone beeps a little motivational “good going champ!” type message. Because you're more than halfway toward your daily fitness goal.

The health app has no idea it took 5000 steps to get from the restaurant on Bleeker to that bar Helen likes.

And then somewhere else.

If you give me a sec, I can pull up the name of the dive. Because I keep track.

Since 2010, I’ve worked hard to accomplish:
  • 378 drinking establishments
  • 98 museums or art galleries
  • 103 music or performing art venues

We vacationed in Florida a couple weeks ago with some of Kenny’s longtime buddies. They were polite enough to insist I had “taught them some great new iPhone tricks.” I knew this was code for “holy hell you’ve got a problem.”

 It could have been a lot worse, but luckily I kept the menace in check. The only app I showed off was the one to track how many glasses of water I drink every day.

But seriously, they're all doctors and we were in blazing tropical heat. They should clearly have been a little more appreciative of my fastidious efforts to avoid a tedious medical emergency.

Since it's all about me at the moment, I'd be remiss without mentioning:
  • 148,000 songs since 2007, by 4,454 artists.
  • Top artist is Minus the Bear at 2,453 plays.
  • Most played track is the Immigrant Song as covered by Trent Reznor, Karen O and Atticus Ross at 416 plays. And counting.



Cause for Concern! I listened to 33,000 songs in 2013, but have experienced a precipitous decline, only listening to 5000 songs in 2015.

Because now I’m into podcasts. I subscribe to 61 podcasts. Sadly, podcast tracking is really suboptimal. This is a terrible terrible state of affairs.

Now I’m dipping a toe into audio books. Audible dedicates a whole page to data visualization: How many listening hours per day/week/month. How many books finished. It’s all important. I listen at 1.25x speed for 1.25x the derring-do.

note: To see my pop's response to this post, click here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I am the Anti-Whisperer

I step into the elevator of our apartment building. A couple is already in there, sporting a certain style of sneaker, cross-body bag, fleece outerwear and frosted hair stripes. I immediately know I am dealing with people who routinely drive a little further for a decent lobby waffle. They type in all caps about libs and Bachman Turner Overdrive. They clearly don’t live in my building. 

It’s just the three of us in the elevator. I press the button for my floor, and the husband and wife from Topeka or whoever the hell stand across from me in the corner. The doors slide closed. It’s very quiet.

The husband puts his hairy hand up to his wife’s ear and starts whispering. One of those loud cartoon whispers. He whispers and whispers the entire way to my floor.

The doors open, I exit.

“WELL GOOD BYE,” the husband bursts out all snarky-like to the back of my head. 

It’s in that moment that I understand why all the Air BnB squawking at resident meetings in our building. Who wants to come home to some kind of of asshole tourist's scheme for world domination.

I was telling Audrey about the Elevator Whisperer on the F Train late last night. Some kind of costumed fandango was transpiring between two subway poles in front of us. A gloriously white spandexed slutty angel powdered his cheeks and the cheeks of others he presumably was acquainted with. There was lots of noise and rosy complexions.

Nonetheless, I heard Audrey say not whispering in public is common courtesy and etiquette, outside of the junior high cafeteria. Which made me think about the time earlier this year when I was riding in a van and someone started a whispered conversation in the backseat. And another time last year when I was at a party and there was whispering going on at one end of the table.

Each of these Whispering Incidents felt awkward and divisive. It’s good to know for sure others agree, officially. In New York City as well as the fly-over states. I’m confident in this proclamation because Audrey grew up in Wisconsin.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

A Review of the Ads on my Kindle. Otherwise Known As: WTF, Amazon?

I saved myself the 25 bucks. I got the cheaper Kindle, the one where Amazon gets to feed me ads. Every time I put my Paperwhite to sleep, a new ad eases onto the screen. The ad lies in wait for my return. I pick up my Kindle and the irresistible copy and graphics lure me to purchase my next book.

Except this never happens.

Because as cunning as Amazon is at big data-ing me to immediately click "Yes, Please" on Dansko boots and dual-sided micro-cleaning cloths in fashion colors ... they are the exact opposite on the Kindle.

House Trained: A Novel.
Can perfectionist Alex take a cue from her dog and
welcome the chaos that comes with unconditional love?
Seriously, Amazon?

Yoshi's Wooly World- Untagle the Fun!
Game for Wii
How does Amazon not know that I have never, not even once, purchased anything, at any time, that came within 500 feet of a video game, Wii or otherwise? Which data scientist over there felt that the striking visual of this indeterminant creature rendered in Knitwear riding this legless other creature rocking an S&M collar and appearing on the edge of some light vomiting will compel me to wring my hands and dive headlong into video sport?


I spent the winter staring at a whole string of ads targeted to unemployed sales professionals. Hopefully Amazon does not know something I don't know:

Brag Books: The powerful "reference" for the interview.
If you haven't put together a brag book, you need to!
Top Sales Recruiter walks you through how to put together the brag book.
Get more job offers!!!

 I was sorely tempted by this one:

The feisty Steinmanns fight to preserve the sacred art
of glassblowing in Lauscha, Germany.


Who could remain dry-eyed and stoic in the face of the feisty Steinmanns and their sacred glassblowing? Probably me. 

MARRY ME sounds so much better than just MERRY CHRISTMAS.
A diamond is forever.
Amazon: Leading me down a slippery slope to bigamy. And Christianity. Also taking on gender stereotypes. Should I be considering purchasing Tom a lovely solitaire diamond in a gold band? Would Tom get all giddy in the sparkling glow of some high 5 C's?

Pa's Last Request:
Best friends become enemies and are now
asked to marry as a last request from her Pa.
I have to admit I was wildly confused by this one. I grew up in Pennsylvania. "Pa" to the locals. Here was my first reaction to this ad, and cut me a little slack because it was before 9am:

"This is bullshit. There are no mountains like the one in this picture in Pennsylvania. And who in state government is so concerned about these horses? Why did two horses become enemies? And what's with the third horse frolicking around with the main character horses?"