Being a Burger

After Beah generously provided me with authentic Beah Burger garments, I decided I would go through with my original plan to be a Beah for Halloween. She hooked me up with the good stuff: leggings, a skirt, a white t-shirt, and her trademark red sweatshirt.

That left me with just a few items to provide myself: glasses (optional), footwear (flip-flops will do), and a wig.

I heard from Koklynn that finding a wig would likely be difficult so close to the holiday, even at a seasonal costume store. But, on Halloween Eve she texted me with good news. She was in Walmart, and was able to grab one of the last wigs as they were flying off the shelves. The only problem was that the only remaining wig was blonde, and Beah is not:

blonde wig

I figured this wouldn’t be a big deal; I could just dye it. Girls are changing their hair color all the time. Unfortunately, the only spray-on hair dyes they had were weird colors like green, so I decided to go with a more intense coloring solution. Koklynn told me it probably wouldn’t work, since it isn’t real hair, but I still went ahead and picked up some product:

box of hair coloring

I also found some cheap red glasses, which aren’t exactly the same style as Beah’s, but close enough. I popped out the lenses though because they were making me dizzy.

The hair coloring instructions were more complicated than I expected, but I dove right in and started coloring the wig. It was a pretty messy process, but I contained as much as I could to my bathroom sink and I was wearing the provided gloves. Unfortunately, during the process I learned a couple of things:
1) This stuff gets airborne (and on everything in the bathroom) very easily.
2) I need to get a new comb.

comb full of hair sitting on a dirty sink

The wig was a little too long in the back to match Beah’s hair, so while I was coloring I also decided to cut it to a more accurate shape. To make sure I got this right, I put the wig on and cut in front of the mirror. I also thought it would be easier to color this way. Turns out it was a great way to color my face:

wysz's face, covered in brown spots

Not only did it color my face, I also noticed at one point that I must have poked holes in my gloves, because both of my hands became stained. They’re still dyed, even after a shower and several hand-washings:

hands with dark spots

After about an hour of careful application through every layer of fake hair, I finally had the entire wig colored, and it actually looked pretty good. I was amazed at how much I was able to change the color, and when wet the wig’s style really came close to matching the real thing. Here’s the color I was able to get, with an uncolored lock in the foreground for comparison:

dark wig with piece of blonde hair sitting on top

Satisfied and extremely proud of myself, I started to think about what it would be like at work. I even imagined a scenario where I would get there really early and sit at Beah’s desk, and see if arriving coworkers thought I was her until I turned around. To make sure the color really set in, I let the wig sit for an hour.

After an hour, the last thing I needed to to was rinse out the excess coloring agent. As soon as that warm water hit the wig, I knew I was in for an EPIC FAIL. Here’s what I soon saw… a wet blonde wig:

blonde wig

If I wasn’t wearing Beah’s clothes, I’d probably just re-color the wig and not rinse it, and risk staining an old sweatshirt. But I couldn’t pass on a chance to wear the real deal.

By this time it was too late for me to find another solution, so I had to settle for “Beah Burger wearing a blonde wig” as my costume. I dried the wig on my heater (I don’t have a hairdryer), put on Beah’s clothes, and became this:

Wysz wearing a wig, red glasses, a red sweatshirt, a skirt, black leggins, and sandals

Unfortunately, if you just look at my face, I look like Liam Sullivan’s “Kelly” character:

closeup of Wysz's face

Happy Halloween.

Go vote! It doesn’t matter!

Every four years there are a bunch of campaigns encouraging people to exercise their right to vote. This is good and important, but they often use this line: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for.”

Now I know what they’re trying to say. They’re trying to say:
I’m not using this message to ask you to vote for a particular candidate, but I think that you should carefully consider your options and weigh in with your opinion. Together, we’ll make the right choice for all of us.

But here’s what it sounds like:
It doesn’t matter who you vote for. The journey is more important than the destination. Just go in, flip a coin, get your sticker, and feel good about yourself.

Slowing down

Today is October 26th, 2008, and this will probably be my only blog entry of the day. On October 26th, 2003, I published a whopping 20 blog entries. Why do I blog less often now? My life certainly hasn’t gotten any more boring than it was when I spent most of my time sitting in a dorm room watching Strong Bad cartoons and missing home. Now I do much more exciting things, like read movie plots on Wikipedia.

I often feel like I have writer’s block, but I can think of a few reasons why I don’t have as much to say on my blog. First of all, I have more places to share things now. I use Twitter for quick updates, and I use Google Reader to share links. Go ahead and follow/subscribe to those if you want more constant updates from me. I’d also like to think that I’ve become more picky about the quality of my blog entries. This should mean a better quality experience for you, my readers.

It looks like it was five years ago that I first tried a video chat. I’ve been using it so long now (to talk with my family) that I forgot how novel the concept used to be. On this day in 2004, I blogged four times, all about Wesley Willis. I hear Mike is a fan. In 2005, I blogged about my dreams, science, and zombies. I wish I could remember what the dream was; I guess it was too personal to blog. Maybe I need a diary. I didn’t blog at all on October 26th, 2006 or on this day last year.

Personal mondegreens

I was thinking about two of my childhood mondegreens tonight, and for the first time I searched for them to see if I was the only one who had (mis)heard the same thing. Turns out I’m not as unique as I thought.

Stop in my neighborhood instead of stop in the name of love
From “Stop! In the Name of Love”

Hold me closer, Tony Danza instead of hold me closer, tiny dancer
From “Tiny Dancer.” This was even in a Friends episode.

Still, I do have one that I only learned was incorrect last year:
People vacuuming on New Year’s Eve with a smile

Wysz – LIVE! On the Internet!

People often ask me, “So what exactly do you do at Google?” Well, I work in Search Quality. One of the best ways we can improve our quality is by improving our understanding of content on the web, and we count on webmasters to help us out with this. Webmasters get more relevant listings in our search results, and we get happier users.

To help you help us, we invest a lot of resources into free tools and education for webmasters. You’ll find all the relevant info at Webmaster Central. Today I’d like to specifically direct you to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, where we’ve announced our third live chat with webmasters. So if you want to hear me and other Googlers talk about search, or just hang out in the chat room, please get registered now and join us tomorrow. Start submitting your search-related webmastery questions, and make sure you give me a shout-out in the chat!

And as a special sneak preview, here’s a question I’ll be asking YOU in the chat:
What other webmaster-related videos would you like to see us produce?

Soliciting costume ideas

Halloween is coming up and I don’t know what I’m going to be. This isn’t a big deal for most adults, but at Google you stand out if you don’t wear a costume. Last year, I was Cheese Wysz. In 2006, I was a play on words.

I have a few ideas but I’m still open to suggestions. I’d prefer costumes that require little cost or effort. As a kid there was a brief phase where I insisted on being something scary (I didn’t see how dressing up as a non-scary character fit into the idea of Halloween), but I’m past that now and prefer humor over horror. It can be obscure and I’m fine if even I don’t get the reference.

My ideas so far:

  • Beah Burger
    I’d be the “I think I’m in an ’80s sitcom” version of Beah, wearing tights under a skirt, a sweatshirt, a wig, and Beah Burger glasses.
  • Sophia Lin
    Dressed like a prisoner.
  • Halloween Costume
    Something simple like a white sheet (ghost), but with a hanger and price tag attached.

Please comment on my current ideas or suggest something new in the comments. If you want to keep it a secret, you can email me. If you’re shy, use my advice form to give me advice.

And if you’re a girl and looking for an idea, Tiffany has given up on her part-time model idea, so go ahead and steal that.

I was nostalgic today and remembered being excited about, but then always terrified by, haunted hayrides. There was always a guy with a chainsaw. A couple of times we went to the one that was at least at some point associated with Bucks County River Country. I think the attraction I’m thinking of is most recently known as Valley of Fear, which according to at least one account has the largest haunted woods in the nation.

While Valley of Fear may own the likely very valuable, Bucks County River Country takes the cake for best website ever. Go to the DSL or Cable version and enjoy a loosely edited video for the holiday season that makes Bucks County look like Hicktown, USA, in the most friendly and charming way, of course. At the end they transition into a slideshow of Don Polec enjoying the river in a button-down shirt. I used to see him waiting for pizza on Friday nights.

P.S. Speaking of the holidays, I was in a hardware store this weekend and the were selling those light-up snowmen in a place where it doesn’t snow. Kinda funny that an entire season is associated with a holiday even in a place where it doesn’t exist.

Student Pwned!

After months in development, Mike has finally officially launched his latest site: Student Pwned. My one humble contribution was an addition to the FAQ back in August. I’m glad he remembered to include it.

Michael Wyszomierski: why is it a thermometer if it’s a water theme?
Michael Wyszomierski: can’t you have rising water or something?
Mike Leotta: because thats what all fund raiser things do
Michael Wyszomierski: haha
Michael Wyszomierski: this is true
Michael Wyszomierski: you should note that in your faq
Michael Wyszomierski:
Q: Why a thermometer?
A: Because that’s what all fundraiser things do.
Mike Leotta: hahah
Michael Wyszomierski: i like the logo though
Michael Wyszomierski: looks like the title screen of a flash game

Free delicious food

Looks like Patrick’s new blog is going strong, so it’s about time I gave it a quick mention. He’s not the first blogger to document his meals, but since it’s mostly posts about lunches at Google, I can actually use it as a practical source of information. Plus, you gotta love the title: Free Delicious Food.

I’m a creature of habit, so I don’t mix up my café visits as much as some other Googlers. On most days I default to The Lunch Box, my café of choice, with awesome made-to-order sandwiches and homemade ice cream. I even have one of the hats that the staff wear. And I never miss a Reuben Tuesday.

While Tuesdays are reserved for Lunch Box, on Thursdays I head to the world-famous Charlie’s Place and meet Mike for some potstickers. And, more recently, I’ve even been eating David’s bacon fried rice. Yes, rice.

The next café I need to look into adding to my weekly schedule is BigTable. I’ve checked it out after hours but still have to make it over there for a meal. Looks pretty nice. They have LEGOs.

Closing the loop

I wrote about my frustrations with Zecco during the signup process, so to be fair I wanted to give a quick update on how things are going now. My account got approved, the wire transfer worked, and I now own stock. It’s really easy. I had to consult other sites for definitions of basic terms (a glossary with links to it throughout the interface would be nice), but the service is very usable, even for a beginner.

I haven’t sold anything yet (I’m looking for long term gains), but after the close today I’m up 5.47%.