Monday, January 05, 2009

Holiday Wrap-up

Happy New Year and welcome back from your hibernal holidays! My version of the holidays closely matched the traditional script, starting with a Christmas party turned engagement party at Rebecca's parents' house. Christmas Eve involved an evening service with a rather puzzling sermon, and a Christmas morning of opening small amounts of loot with my parents. Both matrices of parents were present for a Christmas dinner of roast beef, after which we transposed to the living room for desserts and the viewing of vacation photos.

I spent last week quietly working from home while Booty gnawed on the Christmas tree and Israel engaged in their annual holiday attempts to blow someone up. For New Year's Eve, we went to Kathy and Chris' house for the second straight year, eating stuff, drinking stuff, and playing the caption game while making fun of Georgia Tech and Fall Out Boy.

We celebrated the start of 2009 by driving out to Winchester on New Year's Day, to stay at the Long Hill Bed & Breakfast, our first B&B experience. After our arrival, we descended upon downtown Winchester (in search of a Chair Lunch Dinner), but the pedestrian mall was empty, freezing cold, and shut down for the day -- the only things open were a Thai restaurant and the Cork Street Tavern, where I had the most delicious Philly cheesesteak since I ate at Owen's in 2001. The B&B itself gets high marks though: lots of knick knacks and old stuff to explore, a pinball machine, pool table, and boccerball table, a really tasty breakfast, and a giant indoor Jacuzzi.

After a brief stop in Front Royal to visit Rebecca's cousin, we returned to Sterling on Friday for a weekend of movies, Mario Kart, Chick-fila, worky work, and website work.

Last August, I changed my web counter from popup-infested Motigo to the excellent and highly recommended StatCounter, so I don't have exact numbers on how many visitors the URI! Zone had in 2008. Using interpolation (or extrapolation if you hate Interpol), I calculated that traffic was the same as last year -- over 2000 visits per month, and about 24,000 visits for the year. Despite this, we were collectively unable to reach the necessary 30 signatures in last month's drive to win a gift certificate. Obviously, the URI! Zone is a positive influence in the spread of apathy across the nation.

With the $10 I saved by not buying a gift certificate, I hired myself to make a few website improvements over the weekend. You'll notice a few graphical tweaks throughout the site, and several visitors have been given fresh new Comment avatars for 2009. When you post a comment, you'll also notice that people can visit your own blog or your Facebook profile (subject to whatever privacy settings you maintain on that site) -- simply click on the icon to the upper right of anyone's comment. If you need to change your Facebook ID, or your blog location, send me an email!

2008 in Pictures
Feces-covered man attacks flight attendant
Barkley's DUI caused by need for a BJ

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