The Kansas Cities, or: How a River Ran Along It.

Kansas Cities

The Kansas Cities have been weighing on my mind ever since we spent some time juggling there earlier this month. Growing up I always assumed the MO and KS versions sat across the Missouri River. That's decidedly incorrect [see map], but I don't feel bad about the misperception. KCMO is on the Missouri after all, and the Missouri is the border between the two states for a significant distance. It's just not the border between the two cities. Neither is the Kansas River. Instead, the border between KCKS and KCMO is delineated by the old 1820 Missouri constitution which set the state's western boundary as  "the meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas River, where the same empties into the Missouri River". It doesn't help that the mouth of the Kansas River moved westward sometime after 1836 when Missouri convinced the Federal Government to give it the land from the Platte Purchase. Conveniently, the Geology Library is just down the street, so I spent some time there this afternoon researching the meanderings of the Kansas River. 

Notably, that little nubbin of land on the east side of the Kansas River is called the West Bottoms and it used to house the Kansas City Stockyards. Now it just houses Whitney photo shoots.

Milk Marketing

BohemianI'll never understand the California Milk Advisory Board's decision-making processes behind airing its Happy Cows commercials in Wisconsin. Who do you think they're convincing with those smug cows anyway?

On the other hand, there're the ad campaigns of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which are usually amusing and highbrow, but rarely seen. Now they've gone and shown me 30 burgers I want to be eating right now. Make sure you take the time to meet Camembert(!) on burger #16—The Camelot.


Gone By November

Seasonal Socio-amorous Interactions

We got to talking this morning over coffee and the NY Times about how the seasons affect interpersonal relations. Then we graphed it.


2 Girls, 1 Shirt

Did you know that 2009 is the Bicentennial of A. Lincoln's birth? He came by The Terrace to see Katie and Rachel in their matching outfits. OK, they're not actually matching. Katie doubled cuffed, and Rachel has the Jesus (Hey-zeus) sandals on. Things like that seem less import when your standing next to our 16th president though.

What do you do when you show up wearing the same thing as a friend? Try to sing Opposites Attract at The Karaoke Kid? Or challenge yourself to a game of pool?

We're Twins

How did this gravel get up here?


It's all happening.


This Bird Can Fly

Friday's Map Quiz Day(!). Luckily I've studied up on my lightning strike distributions before.


Play Density 2.0

My PlayDensity habit has slowly been spreading across Southern Wisconsin over the past 7 months. Any day now it's going to jump the shark and go mainstream. Or at least make it to Iowa. Doesn't everybody want to know what their most commonly played songs are‽ I never stop thinking about mine, and yours. I hope that's not kreepy, I'm just curious. With that in mind, I'm ready to release the PlayDensity 2.0 update which has been in public beta testing for the last month.

What began as a simple ratio of (playcount) ÷ (# of days in library) had been updated to exclude songs less than 7 days old by the time Version 1.0 was released. Why 7 days? A song that's played twice in 2 days may not be that special, but one that's played 7 times in 7 days deserves some recognition. So what does v2.0 have to offer? More standardization(!) and a playlist. To account for the increasing variability as the # of Days increases we'll now be taking the logarithmus naturali of each of our variables, and then doing a small correction to convert into percentages.

pd 2.0 = 100(e^(ln(playcount)/ln(# of Days))/100 -1)

Now it's your turn.

⓵ Make a smart playlist with these criteria:
⓶ Export your playlist to a text file.

⓷ Download this Excel sheet:

⓸ Open the Excel sheet. It'll try to read the exported text file, you'll have to tell it where it is the 1st time you open it by editing the text import settings. Once you've chosen your file the other settings should be set already; click through to 'Finish'.

⓹ Select your newly acquired data and sort by descending values of Play Density.

⓺ Show it to me.


Banisters: 1; Bikes: 2


One day a couple weeks ago I got home from Milwaukee and found one of the banisters on our stoop missing [see above]. The next morning the bike that Evan had been promising me finally showed up on the very same stoop. I miss my banister, but I really like my bike. Luckily it's a Fuji, so I won't need to deal with the stress of changing bike brands. Conveniently, this new DoubleBike Lifestyle I'm living is coming just in time for my move to the Eastside next month.


4,002 Miles: Twice Across the Heartland.

View Larger Map

I haven't owned a car since The Van died in September of '05. I'm still sort of sensitive about it actually,   something Lilly learned last Friday on the way home from the airport. It does mean that, in general, I put in a good deal fewer miles than average behind the wheel. Maybe that's why I didn't really think about how far the 1,000 miles out to Colorado really was. Or what it feels like to ride in a car without an armrest for 18 hours. That wasn't enough to keep me from driving another 1,000 down to Oklahoma the next week though. This time it was with Joanna, and we both had armrests. 

The trip started off really well. My new camera (The Gronk C.) got delivered just before I left Madison, it only took me 2½ hrs(!) to get to Iowa City, and we made successful grilled pizza's in the coach house's backyard. Everything was coming up Barnebey! In the morning we got some McMuffins/McCafes into our systems and headed south—to Leila's Hair Museum. It's pronounced lee-aj-la, and her collection is totally worth $5. Then it was on to the largest shuttlecocks in the world. Turns out they were more than 10 inches tall.

Oklahoma turned out to be 40° warmer than Wisconsin. It also had a baby pug, a one-eyed cat, 2 pools, and slim-to-none fireworks laws. Perfect for America's birthday. Sunday we left for Iowa. It was still a really long drive. And at some point the NOS wore off. Missouri is terrible.

I made it back to Madison on Monday afternoon, but that didn't last long. Jesse was in Milwaukee, and what's another 70 miles among friends? Especially since I could still make it in time for margaritas and BikeTubbing. I did have to return The Eagle in Madison on Tuesday, which meant I had to Badger Bus it back out to The Kee for the Brewer's Game. Just a short detour really.


Last week I went to Oklahoma and all I got was this Sway

Do you remember when Julia started dancing in the street last summer? Did you ever think the Sway movement would gain so much momentum in just one year‽ I did. I'm just surprised that Julia hasn't Swayed back in her hometown of Norman, OK yet. What a perfect excuse for a SWAYcation! So Joanna and I got into a car and drove 1,800 miles (2,897 km) to celebrate America's birthday in the heartland. And then we did this:



Two years ago when Martin and I moved into this apartment on Monroe St. we were full of that risible enthusiasm you get when you move somewhere new. We thought this place was going to be great—we had space, 2 entrances, and a pink flamingo switchplate in the bathroom. I was particularly excited about the idea of moving away from the delivery trucks that idled outside my State Street Studio (the SSS) windows on most nights.

It didn't take long to realize that I had traded in late night diesel for early morning diesel. "TRUCKS!" quickly became a regular morning rallying cry at 1650, so much so that it made it into our wireless network's password: *Truckers3711 (I wasn't planning on telling you what it was, but I figure if you're reading this I'm probably OK with you connecting to Flying Poon Dragon whenever you're in the area). Our apartment enthusiasm withered; soon the inexplicably terrible recycling began, eventually the Egg War would break out. Along the way I never noticed exactly when the morning trucking stopped, but it did. Until this summer, when it came back like a bad case of the genital herp. Trucks: one of life's little hassles, just like Valtrex has been trying to tell us.

As usual, summer in Madison is beautiful, sunny, and full of road construction. Add to that a couple major constructions projects just down the street and you get... TTRRRRUUUUCCCKSSSS!!!! (that's an unrated version). Below I've created a googlemap showing the locations of torn up streets (RED), soon-to-be buildings (BLUE, PURPLE, GREEN), and the truck routes to/from them (PINK). N.B. their convergence around 1650 Monroe St.

View Madison Construction, OR: TRUCKS!! in a larger map

What's the point of all this?

⓵ A warning: if you happen to be sleeping over, make sure you don't wake up after about 6:30. You won't fall asleep again.

⓶ Last week while driving around central Nebraska, Katie stochastically yelled "TRUCKS!!!" at the top of her voice. I almost lost control of the car. I blame the night she spent on Monroe St. We already knew trucks could be dangerous; this experience taught us that the trucks rally cry could always be appropriate.

⓷ It comes in so many varieties(!):

The Digitally Remastered Collector's Edition: TRUCCKKS!
The Unrated Version: TTTTRRRUCKS@#!
The Hidden Track: TRUUU...                  ...CKS!
The Director's Cut: TRUCKS!, TRUCKS!, TRUCKS!

⓸ Try one sometime, it feels good.