This blog is 10 years old

Ten years ago today, this blog was officially launched, but I’m not going to get maudlin about it. It’s been an interesting and fun ride which started in my final days in my first apartment through the present in a increasingly claustrophobic condo and #dadlife.

It all started out because I like writing and figured it was an easier way to spread the news my friends and I would email about during the day. Not long after launching, it became a DC Baseball and Penn State football blog.

v12

I used blogger for six years but spent at least half of them wondering if something else would be better, only to have Blogger add some helpful new feature like labels. At times, it was kind of fun figure little hacks around Blogger’s limitations. I even started using Blogger in my professional life.

I finally moved over to WordPress in 2010 and have been generally been happy with it, even though the latest migration was a bit annoying. I even used that platform professionally.

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Now, I’m using WordPress’s twentyfourteen responsive design. I like some aspects of it, but I think I’ll look for something else. We’ll see, time for such things is limited and the weather is about to get good again. Maybe next winter!

Okay, enough talk about designs and how I manage this content.

I’ve changed my focus content-wise over the years. For a long time, it was “executive news summary” style headlines for the Washington Nationals or Penn State Nittany Lions. Occasionally, I had some Q&As with an local author, cult filmmaker, the Blue Sapphire (twice), a future Pulitzer Prize winner, a hockey team owner and more. For a while, youtube videos were great for quick posts, but that’s more for tumblr or facebook now.

Speaking of facebook, it kind of killed personal blogging, didn’t it? I was never too personal (and have actually made some personal posts private) as this was mostly about stuff I was interested in, rather than myself. Nonetheless, all those games, travel and other adventures (like bicycling and skiing) are something of a diary that might be fun for my offspring to read several years from now. I hadn’t thought about that at the time, but it was a good point a friend of mine made.

By the way, Twitter hasn’t been as disruptive as facebook for my blog traffic which peaked in the spring of 2008. Twitter was new enough to be really helpful and Google Reader was still going strong and the Capitals were surging back to the playoffs and Nationals Park was new. Then my son was born and I slowly started blogging less of the years. No regrets. well, maybe the name — a proto-blog was called Weekly William News after the much lamented investigative newspaper, the Weekly World News and I wanted to keep that theme going.

Every now and then I still get a big spike, usually because Uni-Watch linked to me, but also DC Sports Bog. That’s always fun. So are the Q&As with opposing fans in my guest prognosticator series. I’ve really enjoyed doing more D.C. sports history posts as well as resurrecting The Beltway @ Yurasko.net; a name I used for all those highway pages I built in college. I like blogging about Metro too, though I’m not happy about the Silver Line right now.

At times this felt like a burden, but overall, it’s been a really fun ride. Thanks for reading and mostly thanks to my wife Erica for putting up with it.

Okay, now off to start adding some links (which you probably won’t go to anyway :p)

More highlights – Best of WWN

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mrplow

Snow plowing information for Virginia, D.C. and Maryland

Once again, we’re getting snowed on again (3¼ inches by 9 a.m. in Alexandria) and everything is closed. After my brother linked to the real-time VDOT snow plow map, I thought I’d compile a list.

COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

VODTplows.org – pretty good tracker of plows working on Virginia Department of Transportation routes.

Alexandria Snow Removal Priorities and Snow Plow Zones (PDF) – What the city I live in is doing.

Arlington County Snow Alert and Primary & Secondary Snow Removal Map (PDF)

Town of Vienna and primary & secondary street list

City of Falls Church
Snow Emergency Routes (PDF)

Town of Herndon

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Snow Response Reporting System

STATE OF MARYLAND

Snow Emergency Plans

THE PAYOFF

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opening-day

The silly Opening Day needs to be a holiday thing

Since “well, pitchers and catchers reported, everybody said they are in the best shape of their life, now what?” part of spring training is here finding something to talk about other than the next five weeks of exhibition baseball is happening. The latest, driven as a marketing and advertising ploy by a large macrobrewer of bland beer1, is to name Opening Day a holiday. The Post covered it in today’s edition (Opening Day Day: Does the return of baseball deserve its own holiday?) and there is apparently a White House petition asking the president to making Opening Day a holiday. It’s all nonsense.

Opening Day is already a holiday.

It doesn’t need the sign off of the chief executive and certainly not from a legacy beer desperate to stay relevant in the face of superior local and regional competition. For believers, Opening Day is a holiday whether others recognize it or not. If we need anybody’s sanction, it’s the person who approves our vacation or the computer that sells us our tickets2

Let’s stop worrying about petitions and beer companies — we already know the score. If we’re going to focus any energy on this, let it be on making sure Washington hosts the true Opening Day annually.

1A brewery that likely harbors Pete Kozma sympathies, no less

2I can’t do things like buy new tickets (or stream, this could be a problem) at my new job, so I don’t have tickets to the home opener. Help a blogger out!

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lombo

Citizens of Natstown spring training story generator is just what @MASNCommenter needs

James O’Hara (@nextyeardc) has created a spring training story generator for Citizens of Natstown, which is likely similar to the one used by beat writers across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues every February.

This simple form gives several scenarios:

  • Scrappy player knows how to win
  • Old veteran returns for one last run
  • New free agent acquisition adjusts
  • New trade acquisition adjusts
  • Star player ready to take it to next level
  • Team will have to adjust to higher expectations
  • Despite the critics, team believes it can be competitive
  • Team wants to bounce back from last season’s disappointment

All MLB teams are available and there are fields to enter a players name. The form allows somebody like @MASNCommenter to create the spring training story that they and the Washington Nationals deserve, but can’t have because GM Mike Rizzo cruelly traded the grittiest National for a pitcher with a sub .500 record:

While many will be paying attention to the big stars as Spring Training begins, the most important player on the team will be ignored. He may not hit the tape measure home runs, or impress anyone with his arm, but his hustle cannot be understated.

Steve Lombardozzi wasn’t born with the natural talents that some of his teammates were, but that hasn’t held him back from being one of the key contributors to the Washington Nationals. Lombardozzi has been told his entire life that he would never be a professional baseball player and he’s used that as fuel to prove those critics wrong.

“All my life, all I heard was that I couldn’t do it,” said Lombardozzi.”Well here I am.”

Lombardozzi’s scrappy style of play and fun-loving attitude have endeared him to teammates and fans alike. Fans go crazy whenever Lombardozzi comes to bat and it’s no surprise, whenever Lombardozzi has a bat in his hand good things happen…

MORE

That’s got to be like a forum letter to @MASNCommenter.

I’ll make a suggestion though, another option addressing the manager of the team, needs to be included. After all, we have to give DC sports media a chance to their own alternate history with the man who should have Matt Williams job.

Photo by flickr user Richard Martin used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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Penn State’s THON 2014 raises over $13 million for pediatric cancer care and research

THON 2014 raises more than $13.34 millionThe Collegian

Redefining possibilities was the goal of the 42nd annual Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and as the 46-hour weekend came to a close, $13,343,517.33 was raised for the Four Diamonds Fund. The total broke last year’s record-setting $12,374,034.46 and climbed the collective total raised to more than $113 million.

That’s a lot money. The challenge is to keep the books open so we can see where the money goes. Five years ago, over 90%(!) of the money was going into the Four Diamonds Fund. Marketplace trust is considered 65%, 90% is excellent. THON ought to open up the books completely so that we can learn where the money is coming from and more importantly, where it is going.

Some reasons I think the total just keeps growing and growing:

social media/Web – Spreading the word and donating online is easy.

Not just “For the Greeks” – THON used to be an only and then mostly Greek event, almost jealously guarded. When it started opening up, it became “a Penn State event.”

Bigger venues – THON went from the White Building to Rec Hall and now the Bryce Jordan Center, so there are many more people involved.

More THON alumni – the 37th year, so the list of people involved just keeps growing annually

Year round events – It’s isn’t just a few canning weekends and THON weekend, there are events all the time.

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William F. Yurasko's blog v.15 – Nats, Redskins, Capitals, D.C. life, transportation, not so much Penn State anymore,