Tag Archives: geekiness

Senior Memories: Reader Participation!

I just noticed today that my senior memory meme post has no question 12. I didn’t skip it. Eeyore didn’t have one either. At first I was going to be all boring and just try to find out what the missing question was, but then I figured out that this is the perfect opportunity for reader participation!

That’s right! You, my 3 lucky readers, have a once-in-a lifetime chance. :) Drop in a comment that contains what you think should have been question number 12 about my senior year of high school. I will answer all questions from people I know (so don’t ask what you don’t want to know!), and I’ll probably answer even if I don’t know you. Just be sure I have your email address… I reserve the right not to answer publicly. :)

Memory is a strange thing

In the category of the power of memory…

I just picked up a copy of a guilty pleasure from Second Spin on the cheap: Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson. I was getting ready to rip it just a few minutes ago, and something really weird happened. My eyes rested on the title of the opening track (”Who Loves Ya Baby?”), and in the space of about 2 seconds, my mind went from the title to a mental sound clip of the chorus to the smell of the ink used to print the liner notes for my old cassette copy (which was stolen along with the rest of my collection over 13 years ago).

I’ve heard before that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory, but I’ve never had it go “backwards” like that before. For whatever reason, that tape’s liner notes had a strong and distinct scent that none of my other tapes had, so I smelled it every time I opened up the case (which was REALLY often about 8th or 9th grade or so). I guess the association in my brain was stronger than I thought. :)

WordPress 2.1.1 has dangerous hole

Important security announcement for WordPress users who have updated to version 2.1.1: the download file for 2.1.1 was apparently cracked to include a security exploit. If your WordPress site is running 2.1.1 and you obtained that version from any source other than the official subversion repository (using the svn command and a URL at svn.automattic.com), you apparently need to upgrade to 2.1.2 NOW. Follow the link for details.

Home router vulnerability

This one’s going to be a little dry, but it’s actually a bit of a public service announcement for friends. For anyone who has a home router appliance (from Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, etc.) on their incoming cable modem/DSL service, double check and make sure you have changed the administrator password on the box to something other than the default.

Some folks have come up with a successful attack that they term “drive-by pharming” where they trick your web browser into logging into your router and changing settings to allow external attacks on your computers. Most SOHO routers come set by default to not allow connections from the outside Internet. However, this attack makes use of your browser so that the attack comes from inside your network (by way of your computer’s browser). The good news is that the attack is completely dependent on you leaving your router set to its default IP address and password. If you change the administrator password, you’re safe.

60’s References

One of my very favorite movies is That Thing You Do. I’m not exactly sure why, but I never get tired of watching it. I could go into a whole other post about why I like it, but I suspect that it just put together exactly the right mix of fun music, [mostly] clever dialogue, compelling story line, and well-chosen actors to hook me.

An interesting thing, though, is how much of the movie is concerned with period references. The movie is set in the mid-60s, about 10 years before I was born. So, I don’t have original memories of a lot of the little bones that they throw us in the movie. Some are fairly obvious (references to The Ed Sullivan Show and The Beatles, the TV interview with Gus Grissom, etc.). Others are ones that I figured out but were not quite so obvious. For instance, “Rick and Anita” in the beach movie are almost certainly thinly-veiled stand-ins for Frankie and Annette. One of the really obscure ones that I actually picked up on is that Guy’s father is using a Zenith Space Command remote control for their TV (see this web page for more info). Pushing a button on the remote caused a mechanically-produced (no batteries) ultrasonic tone that the TV “listened” for. There are a few that I actually had to look up. Guy’s “percussionist Foster Grant” line, I learned, is a reference to a famous ad campaign that sunglass maker Foster Grant ran back in the 60’s in which they asked, “Who’s that behind those Foster Grants?.”

One reference that eluded me for years, though, was Guy’s comment late in the movie that “If Jimmy’s a genius, then I’m (something that sounded like “ooh-TONT”).” I tried Google, but since I didn’t know how to spell the mystery word, I had no luck. I was talking to someone about it last night, and I decided to give it another shot. Thanks to this page, I finally found it. The line is actually, “If Jimmy’s a genius, then I’m U Thant.” U Thant was the 3rd Secretary General of the United Nations and would have been the current one during the time the movie was set. Thus, it makes sense that Guy’s response to “Who’s U Thant?” started with “He’s the Sec…”.

I think it’s interesting that Tom Hanks and company were able to make a movie that was appealing to younger moviegoers yet chock full of so many references that were so obviously intended for people who actually grew up in the 60’s. Bravo. :)

A Minor Detail

21 years and who knows how many viewings later, I just now realized something new about Back to the Future with the help of the TiVo. I never noticed before that one of the consequences of Marty’s first trip back to 1955 was that Twin Pines Mall became Lone Pine Mall (as a result of Marty knocking down one of old man Peabody’s pine trees with the DeLorean). 🙂