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11 January 2011


Today was 1/11/11. A "numerical somersault" of sorts. I've mentioned before that our dating system is quite arbitrary, but it was still notable.

In fact, at 11:11:11 today, I noted that the date and time (at least in its most common format) wasn't just comprised entirely of ones, but that there were 11 ones. Now, if that isn't cool, I don't know what is.

I hope everyone enjoyed writing the date today and assure you there will be more meaningful stuff on this blog soon.


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05 January 2011


I just turned twenty-three years old. This may not seem terribly important, but as anyone who knows me well can attest, 23 has been my favorite number for a long while.

First things first, though. As it turns out, I didn't ever write about my twenty-second birthday like I said I would. But, as 2010 was a rough enough year, I'm going to have to apologize and forgive myself for that. As I will have to do for a lot of other things. (Especially this blog. How've you been, ol' bud?)

But anyway, Tuesday started out well enough. I woke up rather earlier than normal, and grabbed a Dr Pepper (full of its "23 flavors"), ready to enjoy the day. David was getting ready to head back to Pitt, packing the final things just before leaving for his orthodontist appointment which awaited him on the way.

This somewhat euphoric anything-can-happen feeling, however, was quite shortlived for a number of reasons I'd rather not get into on account of me having spent the couple hours after my brother's departure stewing, which I'm quite glad to have out of my system at this point.

Once I'd finally calmed down enough to figure out what I wanted to do, I went to the bank and had lunch before stopping by the grocery store. Taking a version of my uncle's advice to make lemonade from the morning's "lemons," I bought some lemonade which I later enjoyed. I watched a little bit of television on Hulu which I had still to catch up on (only two things left in my queue!), and then I resumed coding the latest of my semi-secret pet projects, which is actually coming together much quicker than I thought it would. (In this case, that is a very good thing.)

Around 18:00, my mother called me from work and asked, rather out-of-the-blue, if I wanted to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 with her, a request to which I almost immediately replied, "Yes." So we drove into town, got to the theater just in time for the movie, and ate plenty of popcorn because we hadn't yet been able to have dinner.

The movie was great! It's amazing how vividly some of the scenery came back to me just from having read the books. It really was a well-done film, and I can't wait for Part 2 in July! (And that's all I'm going to say about it, lest I spoil it.)

Afterwards, Mom and I grabbed a late dinner at Chipotle (which finally exists in Erie!), and then headed home. I did a little lot more work on my project so that I would feel more able to do other, more important things on Wednesday. And then it somehow became the wee hours of the morning, so I fought through to write this. After all, I can't miss writing about two consecutive birthdays, can I?

I guess I'll have a late start in the morning. Or maybe early afternoon. But I wanted to get every last bit of enjoyment out of my birthday, and I think, despite the "lemons," I did! And if real life as a 23-year-old has to wait a couple extra hours so that I can fully experience the last throes of whatever-this-is, then so be it.


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03 January 2011

Last Day of the Holidays

Tomorrow morning, my brother has an orthodontist appointment (and thank God it's not with Allcare), and then it's time to take him back down to Pittsburgh for his second semester.

And once that happens, things will slow down a bit here. The holidays are coming to a close. For those inevitable few who will be wondering, that means that the job search resumes in earnest on Wednesday 5 January. Wish me luck.

Still, I'm enjoying what's left of this break in the action. Because tomorrow's travel falls on my birthday, my family and I had a nice dinner tonight at Olive Garden. I seriously couldn't get over how wonderful their Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo was!

We used a $5 coupon from their Facebook page, too... if you haven't been to Olive Garden lately, I suggest you do the same!


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To the Pennsylvania PUC

In December 2010, it was announced that the 814 area code, or NPA, would be split into two, with the Erie area receiving a new designation of 582 effective 1 February 2012. Not surprisingly, many Erieites haven't taken too kindly to this proposal, and an online petition at has since garnered over 11,000 signatures. As the deadline to file the petition with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is Monday 3 January, I thought I'd add my two cents. Seeing that I actually have some semblance of a cohesive opinion on this matter which is too long for any comment field, my "comments" are below:

Firstly, the public comment process on these proposed changes was a farce. Neither sufficient effort nor adequate foresight was put into determining how and where these meetings would take place. As a result, four of the five hearings were held in the area which is to retain the 814 Numbering Plan Area (NPA) designation. The only hearing in the proposed 582 NPA (in Erie) was delayed due to weather by two months, and it wasn't anywhere nearly as publicized as any of the others.

Are we really supposed to believe that all of this adds up to "fewer people from [the Erie] area protest[ing] a possible change"? Where were the hearings in other Northwestern Pennsylvania cities, like Meadville and Warren? Most of the people signing this petition were never given a legitimate chance to voice their opinions.

Secondly, an NPA split effectively discriminates against those receiving the new designation, to the tune of millions of dollars spent reprinting letterhead, promotional materials, and internal directories. Moreover, every company in the nation which retains customer phone numbers will have to comb through their databases and manually determine which records should be changed and which should not—or, more likely, they'll just shift the onus to the customers themselves: an even more cumbersome proposition. Introducing an overlay designation avoids every one of these pitfalls and eliminates these unnecessary costs, both monetary and human. The only "expense" is introducing ten-digit dialing.

In an already-digital world where ten-digit dialing is already the norm on cell phones and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services (not to mention most of the rest of the country), why should we even think to undergo an NPA split, a system whose only tangible benefit is the retention of now-antiquated seven-digit dialing, instead of an overlay, a system which has been implemented countless times around the country with nary a problem?

It couldn't be clearer that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) in no way exercised due diligence in soliciting comments from a broad-based sample of the populace of the existing 814 NPA, and that they completely failed at the simple task of considering all of their options. This entire process has been flawed from the start, and I implore the Pennsylvania PUC to seriously rethink its decision in light of this petition.


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01 January 2011


Now that it is officially 2011, it's time for me to present my annual doodley thing for the year. I must admit, it was notably harder this year because of the two "ones."

I noted a year ago that we typically spend 31 December overly romanticizing the coming year, while we spend 1 January getting used to the fact that the first day of the new year is, in fact, exactly like what we'd already been used to. For 2010, it took, at most, a few hours for me to get acclimated to that. Just a flaw of human nature, I guess.

But so far this year, I really haven't had that problem. Honestly, today, the first day of 2011, has felt a lot like a continuation of 2010. There are probably a number of reasons for that:

  1. It's still the holiday break, and my brother is still home.
  2. Today started, unfortunately enough, with some of the same gripes that many a day in 2010 did.
  3. I didn't do much different today from what I did yesterday. Mostly watching football, blogging, and doing year-end website stats.
  4. I'm still closing out my post-graduation list of things I'd put off doing.
Still, it's important to look forward. While I'd always known that 2010 was at least going to bring the end of my undergraduate career, 2011 is effectively a blank slate. There is absolutely nothing on my life calendar which is more-or-less guaranteed to fall in 2011, and there hasn't been. Whereas at the dawn of previous years, there was always something somewhere on the horizon, I simply don't have that this year.

In some ways, that's refreshingly inspiring. In others, it's paralyzingly daunting.

But I'm looking forward to it. Who knows what 2011 will bring? It's exciting, in a way. I have some ideas of how I want to shape this year (in ways both big and small), but who knows where exactly I'll end up?

I've already set my bearings. All that's left to see is how far I go. ;)


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