Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas!

I’m writing this from Karey’s parent’s house in Burgettstown, and while they are wonderful people in every respect, they are not early birds – even on Christmas. So it’s 10:11 AM and the plethora of Christmas gifts are still unopened, and Karey & I are the only two awake in this house of 7. The aforementioned plethora of gifts (as shown above) will have to wait!

I wanted to take a moment, however, and write this post to say Merry Christmas to the many people I hang out with, work with, and talk with over the year. While I know some of the people below don’t celebrate Christmas proper (as they observe different religions), I’m hoping the message of peace and love will be received by all.

Merry Christmas to my parents, Al and Dianne, and Lily the troublemaking cat and Mr. Bird (A parakeet who, in bird years, is the most senior of us all). Thank you for simply everything – I can’t say more!

Merry Christmas to Karey’s family, Dan & Sue, Greg, Scott, and Mark. I couldn’t ask for better in-laws! Also Merry Christmas to Karey’s Aunt Maryann and Uncle Bob (And Mandy!), and my Aunt Lois and Uncle Bud for coming to my graduation!

Merry Christmas to my friends, co-workers, mentors, advisors, assistants, collaborators, followers (and followed!), and a plethora of people that come to mind as I sit here on Christmas Morning. They’re listed below, in no particular order, and of course my Christmas Greetings and wishes are extended not only to them but also their family & loved ones:

  • Steve Jocke
  • Tony Rylow
  • Erika Rylow
  • Maria Gaglio
  • Marie Batteiger
  • Michael Batteiger
  • Jason Dunn
  • JD Jasper
  • Eric Johnson
  • Elke Weber
  • Martine Baldassi
  • Bernd Figner
  • Annie Ma
  • Julie Zelmanova
  • Ye Li
  • Ariana Garrote
  • Ashley Newman
  • The grad students left at U of T – you guys will be done sooner than you think!
  • The grad students at CU – a great group of people to work with and support!
  • Holly Feiler
  • Darius, Ed, Janak, & all the rest of the Thoughts Media Clan
  • Linda, Dave, Jim, & Katie Spurrier
  • Paul Culbertson
  • Mike Fosmire
  • Rebecca Rodriguez, Tara Reineck, and the rest of my former students at U of T!
  • Trella Williams
  • Will Loeffler
  • Jim Bradford
  • My MS MVP homies, as well as the tech writers I’ve worked with, joked with, and hung out with in the past year!
  • My CCD RCIA group at Assumption (Christian, Nester, Ana, Vanessa, Georgina, Marcos, Daisy, and Erik)
  • A slew of old High School friends (and teachers) who have followed me and kept up with my antics!
  • A ton of Twitter Followers (Yes, I suppose even the Spambots, it’s not their fault they’re spammy)
  • A lot of Facebook friends that I can’t begin to type all the names of. It’s following all of your adventures that makes me feel more connected to my past, present, and future goals!
  • The random people who read JonWestfall.Com and the actual humans who have posted comments!
  • And lastly, to anyone I’ve forgotten and even complete strangers (Yes, I’m covering my bases here!): MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Well, I hope that about wraps up this post. Now it’s off to motivate some Himmels to open presents and enjoy the day!

Give Yourself A Present: Less Commercial E-mail

So how do you give yourself this present of less e-mail? You Unsubscribe to legitimate commercial e-mail! And this is the best time of the year to do it. Why? Well because everyone you have any sort of relationship is trying to sell you something this time of year. So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take the 2 seconds per e-mail item to open it, scroll to the bottom, and hit “unsubscribe” or “manage my e-mail preferences”.

Now I’m sure some people think “Yea… they’ll just send me more!”. While this was true of illegitimate SPAM e-mail in the past, legit companies (the ones who are likely to make it to your inbox) should honor an unsubscribe request. I’ve been designating 2-3 weeks a year “unsubscribe” weeks where each commercial e-mail I see that I’d rather not in the future gets the unsubscribe ax. Over the last year I’ve noticed a marked decrease in e-mail traffic. Most weekend days I get only 5 or so e-mails a day, all legitimate and all directed just at me. On Weekdays, I’ve seen commercial traffic decrease from 3-4 pieces a day down to perhaps 1.

So for the next week go through and unsubscribe (and report illegitimate SPAM as usual to your provider or filtering software). You’ll enjoy the lower inbox counts all year long!

Ah… Comment Spam

So got this today, and I really doubt that I’m going to approve it – despite it’s gracious tone! Holes in the wall is especially classy!

 

A new comment on the post #343 "Stupid People Alert: LOE: What do you mean I can get an STD from that???" is waiting for your approval
http://jonwestfall.com/2005/10/stupid-people-alert-loe-what-do-you-mean-i-can-get-an-std-from-that/
Author : STD Testing
E-mail : kiey@anylabtestnow.com
URL    : http://www.prweb.com/releases/std-testing-centers/dallas/prweb3224224.htm

Comment:
This article is good. People should be up front about thier sexuality (man or Woman). Either way both parties should use protection. Holes in the wall to have sex, to me that is just like picking a random person and having sex with them in the alley behind a store.I guess there isn’t anyone who is still in a serious realtioship anymore these days.

Review: Lies I Told My Children by Karen McQuestion

Title: Lies I Told My Children
Author: Karen McQuestion
Started: 11/11/09
Finished:  11/16/09
More Information:
Amazon
Jon’s Summary: So contrary to what you might expect, this book is not about lying to kids. Well not explicitly, anyway. I happened to stumble on this book because it was insanely cheap at Kindle marketplace, only $1.99! I figured – heck, how bad can it be? And the preview looked promising. So I plunked down 2 dollars and was promptly amazed by a number of things:

1. 2 dollars gets you what you pay for quantity wise – this thing is pretty short. Heading from Toledo to Detroit via plane (20 minutes, 50 with boarding, etc..) – then take this book along. It’ll be a quick read.

2. The essays given are interesting, however they aren’t riveting. It’s brain candy – extremely humorous in some parts, but a bit slow in others. My favorite essay was probably either the first (where lying to children is actually discussed) or the one regarding preparing a young teen girl for a dance (a harrowing experience I am sure, despite never having the pleasure to experience it).

3. The writing style is accessible, so at least it’s not a slow and boring read – it’s fast and mundane!

So there you have it – are you looking to read a somewhat interesting book in your spare hour? It’s a good bargain…

The Mystery of the 200 Pageviews

So since some have asked, here’s some data on my weird 200 pageviews:

The Averages

Here are my “norms”, as you can see, this is a pretty big shift!

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The Content

So what were they looking at? Well, nothing in particular! Mostly old blog posts. My usual articles are toward the top, but then a bunch of really old content got scooped up as well!

The Source

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Of that 81.32% direct:

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So it looks like a bot to me. Why they want my inane old posts is beyond me…

The plot thickens though – I had another spike a few months ago, on September 29. On that day again it was 80.7% direct. Here’s the interesting part though – the locations of these spikes are all England. Here’s Sept 29 (first spike), the time between, and yesterday (Second spike)

September 29 Geographic Breakdown:

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September 30 – Nov 11 Geographic Breakdown:

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And Yesterday (Spike 2)

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So it looks like I’m a hit in England, on certain days, this fall. Or maybe it’s something more sinister. Any thoughts? These are unique visitors, from the same geographic area, but not the same address!

Book: Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp

OK, so since I read a fair bit on the train to and from work, I’ve decided to start publishing reviews on JonWestfall.Com for a variety of reasons. First, so I remember later what I thought of a book. Second, so perhaps others get a sense of books they might want to read. And Third, it’s a cheap source of material to keep new content flowing. So here’s the first review, of a book I finished this morning.

Title: Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent
Author: Anthony Rapp
Started: 11/3/09
Finished: 11/11/09
Jon’s Summary:
The author examines a period in his life between 1994-1998 which found him staring in a Broadway production and simultaneously dealing with the prolonged illness and death of his mother. The book follows a progressive path from showing the author’s general numbness to the concepts of grief and shared sorrow to an understanding and acceptance. A running sub-plot is the author’s romantic relationships during this time and the effects the relationships had on the central story.

This book was another Kindle recommendation that turned out to be pretty good. I enjoyed reading it, found it engaging, funny, and a unique perspective into the soul of someone dealing with quite a lot at one time. As a fan of Rent and generally intrigued by the self-analysis provided by anyone (Why do you think I have a degree in psychology?), I found it to be a good and quick read. In a few spots it did seem to drag, especially in the late stages of his mother’s illness – however thankfully those “dragging” moments were few. If you’re somewhat empathetic, be prepared to be moved by some of the content in the last quarter of the book. Also knowing the music of Rent will help understand the connections the author makes to it (Although limited lyric excerpts are provided). Overall a good book, 4 out of 5 stars.

Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent

Beautiful Day

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While this isn’t a picture from Today, it was a nice picture I found. Nothing really earth shattering about this blog post, just one to remind everyone to enjoy beautiful days now before the snow storms commence in the coming months!

Awesome Simple Tool: File Thingie

Hey, here’s a nice gem I found this morning. On a few servers of mine I keep files for each domain under one central tree (e.g., /web/domain1.com , /web/domain2.com, etc..). Most of these files are static HTML (just for quick domains or inside jokes), and whenever I need to edit them I fire up notepad or an HTML editor, download the page. Update it. Then upload it back. A lot of work! So last week I started exploring ways to manage multiple domains off of one CMS. However this was a bit complex when really all I needed was an online file manager that could edit things in a WYSIWYG editor.

File Thingie Default Screenshot

Today I found File Thingie, which offers just that. I installed it under the web root (/web/) and can now access all my static HTML files easily, making minor edits. It offers password protection, and TinyMCE support for editing. If you have a set up like mine and want a quick manager/editor, check it out!