REALLY support the troops.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holiday Wishes
to one and all!

iSeasons iGreetings

May you reject and be kept safe from the heresies spawned by the Father of All Lies in Redmond, and accept the loving iEmbrace of Sts. Jobs and Woz.

In the Name of The Hardware, The OS and The Holy iPod.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ultimate Apefighting

Eventually we're going to see something like this on pay per view TV.

Man vs. Chimpanzee.

Tyson vs A Bigass Monkey is coming. Mark my words!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You can't make this stuff up.

This is not a scene from a movie.

This is a scene from real life.

A street market in Thailand that shares its space with a set of working train tracks and the occasional train.

We live in an absurdly and wonderfully random world.

(Via the ever entertaining Telstar Logistics weblog.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And how was YOUR Thanksgiving?

Mine was spent recuperating from some minor surgery on my back.

The 21st, I had an abscessed lipoma removed from my back.

I was in at 9 AM and out by 4:30 PM. The worst aspect was the hurry up and wait. The actual moving to the O.R. didn't occur until noon, I was done by 1 PM or so, and then the next three hours or so were just waiting. First in the recovery room, then in the post recovery room.

Since I had a tiny bit of sedation, I HAD to get a ride back to the apartment. Once I was back here, I used the bathroom and then was right out again to get an antibiotic prescription filled.

Apparently, once I walk in the front door of the apartment, any liability that the hospital might have is ended and I'm on my own.

It would have been so much easier and faster had I been allowed to walk out the front door of the hospital on my own, stop at the pharmacy to drop off the prescription.

So it goes.

So as promised elsewhere, before


after images of the tumor and surgery.

As Warren Ellis frequently warns readers on his weblog:


Seriously. Do. Not. Look.

The images are BIG and GRAPHIC.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good News, Everyone!

It's on pre-order from Amazon, but when it all but fell into my lap on USENET, well, instant gratification IS my birthright as an American!

And after watching the movie, it'll be worth every penny!

What's really sad is when Futurama can do a much more convoluted time travel plot and story than Star Trek, and do it better, and resolve the multiple paradoxes without all that handwaving that Trek does.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


St. Angela's Church in Mattapan, on a hot summer evening.

I like the contrast between the dark, almost monochromatic street and the brightly lit altar in the church, seen through the opened doors.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It's Official! No jury service for me!

I called the jury commissioner's office this past Monday and it was confirmed that I'm not eligible until sometime in November of 2009.

And the other day, the mailed notification arrived that I'm exempt from service.

I wouldn't greatly mind serving, except that the jury pool rooms I've been in are just damned uncomfortable. Too warm, too stuffy and the chairs are just painful.

With a little luck and financial discipline, I should have a video iPod by the time I get jury duty again. At least I can have some movies and music to distract me from the chair jabbing me in the kidney and de-articulating my vertebrae.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The last few days.

I've got a fatty tumor (aka, a "Lipoma". Just a lump of benign tissue) on my back going bad.

It's infected, hurts a bit and it will be seen to sometime next week.

Did something to my right calf muscle a week or so ago, it's sore and stiff.

My doctor had me get an ultrasound scan of the leg, to determine if the pain and stiffness was due to a deep vein thrombosis, which could result in blood clots in my lung(s) and death.

That would be bad.

The scan was negative, I'm pleased to say. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

So, Monday will be busy for me. Call the jury commissioner's office, make the appointment to see a doctor about my back, write the monthly checks (dammit! Why isn't PayPal an option to pay the rent, phone and cable bills?), buy more checks, buy jewel cases for all the DVDs I have to send out this week, burn all the DVDs I have to send out this week, get an ethernet cable, get money for the laundry machines in the building, order a few books and things via the Internet, buy groceries and on the way home, buy my bi-monthly pizza.

Yes, it's ALL GO, here at Slovenly Tucker Hovel!

Jury Service Update

So far, no reply from the jury commissioner's office.

If there's nothing in the mail tomorrow, I'll make a phone call and find out my status.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The battle has been joined!

Right. Thursday, I get a jury service summons in the mail! Which is odd, because I'd done my service in November of last year, and in Massachusetts, once you've fulfilled your obligation, you're exempt from service for three years.

So, somewhere in the apartment is the certificate of service that was mailed to me by the Jury Commission, stating that I am exempt from service until at least November 18th, 2009.

But WHERE is it?

After MUCH poking about, and not a little cursing, stewing and muttering, I finally found it!


I filled out the little postcard that is part of the summons, checked off the correct box in the "I'm Disqualified Because..." section, and filled in all the needed details.

Mailed it off Saturday.

For all the good it will do. The Central Bureaucracy has me down for jury duty this coming November.

I fully expect that I'll have to actually go to the Jury Commission offices, with the original certificate (which will NEVER LEAVE MY POSESSION!) and a sheaf of photocopies of the certificate to hand out as need be, and spend an inordinate amount of time there, explaining that yes, I did my service last year, and that I am not required to do jury service again until almost 2010.

Or, a miracle COULD happen and I'll get a letter stating that, yes, I was summonsed in error and that yes, I am exempt until sometime in November of 2009.

And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh, REALLY, Senator Craig?

You have a "wide stance" when you are sitting on the toilet, and that "wide stance" was why you touched the vice cop's foot in the next stall?

Senator Craig, you must have hips like a Rumanian gymnast, if your "wide stance" resulted in your feet intruding into stalls on either side.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oh, Come on! At least make an effort!

I swear! Kids today. Lazy as the day is long!

Jeebus! I used to think that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was a school full of smart people.

Not any more. Look at that. Didn't even try to spoof an appropriate return address.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My "New" floor lamp

Found it on the curb, awaiting the trash pickup. The switch wasn't working, and as a replacement socket would be a pittance, I brought it home.

Here's what the problem is:

It's a three-way socket, and as such, has a rotary switch. The knob screws onto the switch shaft inside the socket.

The threads on the knob were stripped. I stuck a short length of thin wire into the threaded bit on the knob and screwed it back onto the switch shaft.

Works just fine now.

Plenty of light to read by, and as the light reflects off the wall and ceiling, it provides ample, glare free illumination for the entire room, and there is no reflection of the lamp itself on the screen of my monitor.

At some point, I'll replace the three-way socket with a simple on-off socket, as I use Compact Fluorescent bulbs, and the switch itself is quite stiff to turn. I can see how the threads on the knob wound up getting stripped.

What annoyed me greatly about this lamp is that the fix was SO simple. Yet, someone didn't even bother to diagnose the problem and attempt to fix it.

Oh, and as for the Harry Potter book 7 shipping box affixed to my air conditioner. The A.C. is not that powerful, and the vents direct the cool air upwards. The box redirects the air flow downward and towards my chair.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bridge goes up, bridge goes down

The Granite Avenue Bridge, over the Neponset River, between Boston and Milton.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the bridge operators yelling at a couple of jerks to move their cars.

About every other year, the bridge gets stuck in the "UP" position. Hilarity, needless to say, ensues.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Brief Verizon DSL update

So far, it does seem as if Verizon has fixed the DSL problems that were plaguing me and just about everyone else in the area.

The service has been glitch free for the last week, long BitTorrent downloads have been uninterrupted. Streaming audio has been fine. Regular FTP up/downloads have also been unaffected.

I have to say that, save for the clueless (for the most part) tech support people, and the annoying long time it took to replace the faulty server, I have been very happy with Verizon DSL, and I do recommend it to anyone interested in getting a high speed connection.

Not to mention ten years!

I started reading the Harry Potter books around the time they started getting in the news, due to the security procedures in place to prevent early sales.

It was my birthday, and I was in the local drugstore getting a prescription filled. I had wandered over to the magazine/book section, and, on a whim, picked up a large format softbound edition of the first book as a gift to myself. The second book, Chamber of Secrets, was also there.

I get home, open the book, and read it in one sitting. I was really annoyed that by the time I had finished the book, the drugstore was closed and I had to wait until the next day to buy Chamber of Secrets!

Which I did. I also ordered the third book from

A few weeks later, at Arisia, the regional science fiction convention in Boston, I gave the books to an old friend. (She says I threw them at her.) She was so instantly hooked on them, she went and bought book three before she had finished Chamber of Secrets.

So, here it is, only a few more days until the 5th movie and a few more weeks to the final book.

Amazon had better make good on its promise to deliver my book on the 21st, or there will be hell to pay. Or at least a full refund!

Friday, June 29, 2007

The iPhone line in Central Square

Pictures taken about 4:00 PM or so in Central Square. All waiting for the chance to buy an iPhone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I wonder what the backstory is?

Was someone digging through their backpack, desperately searching for a few more coins to cover the bus fare, discovering this ancient cassette, and deciding then and there to toss it, after not even having a cassette player for a few years?

Maybe someone was rummaging through the glove box or under the seats, and, finding this, furtively flicked it out the window, lest they lose face in front of their other hipster friends?

More likely, though, it was a case of finding it in the backpack or car, wondering "why the heck do I still have this", and just tossing it away.

In any event, someone decided that despite the heartfelt lyrics of pretty much their only mainstream hit, they just didn't want Cheap Trick in their life anymore.

Can't say as I blame them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

An old friend is now on the web

Toni Lay, whom I've known since 1976, has finally gotten her Society for Creative Anachronism webpage online.

She would have had it done much sooner, but as her ISP is AOL, their tools for uploading text and images to external web servers are amazingly annoying and overly complex!

This is her website. Save for a minor hint or two I gave her, and my manipulating the graphics for her, everything you see, save for the graphics, is her own work. Pretty darn good for an HTML novice's first effort, I think.

And, as with all websites, it is a work in progress. She will be adding a page or two of photographs from The Pennsic War (the annual SCA "convention"), as well as a guide she's written for the Pennsic Wars novice.

I'm very impressed with how well she did on what is, essentially, her first ever web page. I've seen pages from so-called professionals that were not as well done as this first effort of hers.

The Verizon DSL saga concludes.

Verizon FINALLY replaced the faulty DSL router at the Hyde Park central office (local switching center) and the DSL line is, at LONG last, back to normal.

The DSL connection is now continuous. As opposed to the working for a random period of time then just stopping dead. Requiring a power recycling of the modem/router here to force a reconnect.

Still and all, Verizon DSL is better than Comcast's cable modem service.

Supposedly, Verizon FiOS (fiber optic to the home) service is coming to this part of Boston by the end of the year.

US$99 a month for two years. I am SO signing up for this! 5 megabits per second Internet access, vs. the 3 mbps DSL service, cable TV with more channels than I'm getting now for US$40.00 a month LESS than what I'm paying Comcast, and unlimited long distance phone service.

Yeah. I am SO going to geek out when the glass is installed!

Friday, June 1, 2007

And we're back in the 21st Century!

Spent almost an hour on the phone with a Verizon engineer, and with no little futzing with hardware on his end and mine, the DSL line is back up and running.

I think Ren and Stimpy most accurately reflect how I feel right now:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Stone knives and bearskins"

The Verizon DSL line went down Tuesday morning. It may not be back until Thursday or Friday.

This is the first problem I've had in almost two years of service.

Fortunately, the "new" Macintosh has a built-in modem.

I had forgotten how slow a 56k dial-up connection is.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Panorama

I am having too much fun with this!

Taken a few days ago from the center ("Halfway To HELL!") of the Harvard Bridge, a sweeping view of the Charles River, the Longfellow Bridge and beyond, and both the Cambridge and Boston sides of the River.

Taken with a Kodak 'point and shoot' digital camera, and automatically "stitched" together with an all but automatic application, I am amazed at just how well it came out.

Click on the image to see the 1.6 MB full sized version.

Returning the favor

Weblog of an old friend back in Rhode Island.

Bob Ruzzo is an original. Creative and talented as all get out.

I was very impressed with this particular entry about finding the wedding license of his great great grandparents.

I was fortunate indeed some years ago, to find his email address via Google.

One of these months, I AM going to get him up here on the right Sunday to hit the MIT Flea Market. If for no other reason than to see that he gets a replacement Macintosh.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Boston has the best trash!

I scored an Apple 21" CRT Studio Monitor off the curb today.

I will not relate the tale of getting this 77 pound monster home. The horror... the horror!

So, I move the ViewSonic monitor and eventually manhandle the "new" monitor into place. Hook up the power and connect it to the computer.

I push the power button. Will it light?

YES! It's orange. The monitor is in standby mode, awaiting a video signal.

I push the power button on the computer. I wait.

The power button on the monitor glows green!

We get signal!


(sorry about that.)

I had to mess with the monitor settings a bit. However, I am now at 1600 X 1200 resolution @ 85 Hertz, on a monitor with an almost flat screen.

As an added bonus, it's got 4 USB ports on the side. Just the thing for the mouse, the PowerMate and the trackball.

Pictures will be posted shortly. I need to recuperate after getting this thing home.

(edit) Here's a photo of the monitor in place.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jamiaca Pond Panoramas

Each panorama is made up of 4 individual images, automatically stitched together with a Mac OS X application called "DoubleTake".

The shareware fee is US$21.95.

Sure, I could do all that manually in Graphic Converter or PhotoShop. However, if there's an application that'll do it for me, almost instantly.

Well, computers ARE supposed to be 'labor saving' devices, right?

(edit May 11) Yes, there are obvious exposure differences in the panoramas. I'm using Double Take in its free demo mode. As such, the more sophisticated options are, as yet, unavailable to me.

Once I pay the shareware fee, however...

But right now, for quick creations of impromptu panoramas, this IS a pretty spiffy application.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wally Schirra

Mercury, Gemini, Apollo.

Wally Schirra, one of the original astronauts in the Mercury 7 project, died Thursday at age 84.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Wait for the rerun?"

Not while there's BitTorrent!

I missed King of the Hill and The Simpsons this past Sunday night.

Monday morning, I found the them via a BitTorrent tracker and less than an hour later, there they were on the Desktop of the Mac.

I watched them, and then trashed them. No need to clutter the hard drive with ephemera.

As opposed to "The IT Crowd" and the as yet unaired in the U.S. episodes of Doctor Who.

However, viewing TV episodes on the computer is not the optimum viewing experience.

In a year or so, I think I'll start looking on eBay for used first generation Apple TV units. I should be able to afford one by then. Along with 30 feet of ethernet cable to hook it up to the computer.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

01/31/07: Never Forget!

DIY mini-Ignignokt LED "light board"

The immortal 555 IC is the heart of this project. The PCB schematic and layout is available as a PDF download, as is the parts list.

I emailed the gentleman with some questions, in the hope that he'll read it before he gets hammered by the flood of email he is sure to get from having the above page mentioned on the MAKE blog.

I would love to see a full sized replica of the original 185 LED Ignignokt 'light board'. I hope that this project inspires someone to design one.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

I wish I didn't know this

OK, bear with me. The All In One is a Macintosh that was sold to the educational market. A G3 running anywhere from 233 to 300 Mhz. One of the options was the "Wings" audio/visual card.

Composit video and S-video inputs and outputs. It also handled the interface between the graphics chips on the logic board and the built in monitor.

So, it seems that some of these Wings cards also were made with two extra connectors. These connectors were for the Apple TV or TV/FM Tuner card, and the Infrared remote control interface card. The tuner card was intended for several different Macs, all using essentially the same logic board. These Macs also had the IR remote board installed.

Apple, it seems, may have intended the All In One to be used with these cards and then,late in the game, never produced the All In One intended for the cards.

Now that I know this. I MUST find one of these Wings cards for my All In One! I have a spare TV Tuner card and have a suitable Mac in the closet I can salvage the IR board from.

If I can find a TV/FM Tuner card, so much the better!

Why do I want to do all this to the All In One? Well, why not? If I can find the Wings card cheap enough, this will enhance what the computer can do, and enhancing its resale value, should the need arise to sell it.

Also, honestly, it sounds like a fun hack. Making something do something it couldn't previously do. I also get to figure out where to install the IR sensor, how to mount some of the hardware, all that good stuff.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ok, enough, already!

It's April 8th. It should not be 29 degrees right now.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

So much for the stone knives and bear skins!

The "new" Macintosh is here!

Had a modest amount of trouble, vis a vis the master/slave drive settings between the OS X and OS 9 drives. A little googling found the needed jumper settings.

Video files that were unwatchable on the old Mac are now perfectly fine! I missed last night's episode of LOST: No matter, I can watch it via streaming video from

I was surprised that it booted off the OS X drive easily. The previous Mac was a G3 running at 450 Mhz. The new Mac is a 1.42 Ghz, G4 dual processor.

So, all that remains is to thank Keith Kahla, an old and dear and generous friend, without whose generosity I'd still be using the ancient Mac All In One, as well as Robert Woodhead, an equally generous friend, who had just the right Mac for just the right price.

Robert is the owner of Animeigo. Go and buy Anime and Japanese films from him! I've seen his products, and they're all first rate.

Lacking permission, I'll not say more about what Keith does, lest his sterling reputation in the salons of NYC be tarnished by association with a grubby geek such as myself.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The long nightmare is nearly over!

The "new" computer arrives Thursday, according to the UPS tracking website.

The DVI to VGA adaptor arrived today.

The Apple Desktop Bus to USB adaptor is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, according to the UPS tracking website. (and thank you Jeebus for that! I was not looking forward to using my iMac keyboard for any length of time. I am completely hooked on using the Apple Extended Keyboard.)

USB hub and memory card reader are en route. I'll be happy when they get here, but they are not critically needed hardware.

If all goes well, sometime Thursday evening, there will be a Macintosh tower under my computer table, and I'll be back online via OS X.

My deepest and most sincere thanks to Keith Kahla and Robert Woodhead! Both of whom made this possible.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My excellent Cable TV Adventure

Thursday, I get a postcard from Comcast, my cable company informing me that my 10 years old analog cable box will have to be replaced by June 1st. I call the Comcast 800 number and ask if I can exchange the box for a new one at the local office. Yes, I can.

Off to the local office with the old box. A good omen when I arrive. There's NO LINE.

OK, there's ALWAYS A LINE at the local Comcast office. Swapping the box went very quickly. The nice man behind the counter said I'd have everything I have on the old box, "and a few more channels".

Holy Crap! I've got TCM, Science Channel, National Geographic, BBC America (Benny Hill! Avengers!), IFC, Sundance, several WGHB (Boston PBS) channels, a bunch of Encore channels,History International, G4, etc, etc, etc!

Just about 160 channels. Some of which I'll never watch, like Golf Channel, any country music or rap/hip-hop channel, practically all of the GodBotherer channels.

I would have had this a couple of years ago if Comcast had made it clear that for what I was paying for 80 analog channels would get me 160 digital channels.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Game Is Afoot

It looks like I may have a "new" Macintosh sooner rather than later.

1.25 Ghz MDD (Mirrored Door Drive) Power Macintosh.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Life in Boston

Wednesday, it was 70 degrees (F) here in Boston.

Today, Friday, it's 25 degrees (F) and snowing.

Tonight, it'll be in the 30s and raining.

Right now, I'm having a "Lone Gunmen" marathon.

This weekend, I'll likely finish off the "Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex" box set. (Thanks, Keith!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some progress with the All In One.

Successfully (so far!) changed out the 266 Mhz CPU with the 450 Mhz CPU from the dead Blue and White.

Due to the nature of the AIO logic board/jumper settings, the CPU is running at 466 Mhz. I can kick it up to 500 Mhz, but for the time being, this is fast enough for me. If it's stable over the next few days at 466, I'll kick it up to 500 Mhz.

If/When I am able to get the G4 I want, this All In One will be properly reconfigured as the backup machine. If possible, I'll have it backing up the Eudora address book and mail folders on the G4 once a day, along with the browser bookmark file.

I can run OS X, 10.2 on this machine. 10.2 at 500 Mhz, with sutiable versions of Eudora, FireFox and Graphic Converter would go a long way towards making this a suitable long term backup machine in the event the G4 craps out.

Another option is to add this AIO to the local network and use it as the printer and scanner interface/Photoshop machine. I've a Wacom graphics tablet that isn't supported under OS X, but works wonderfully well under OS 9. A CD/RW would also go well installed in the AIO.

I am SO going to need a bigger desk if I do this.

Aout the only really annoying thing is that I can't download pictures from my camera via the USB cable. I need to get a memory card reader. Looks like I'm off to Micro Center to get the cheapest one they have that'll read SD cards.

In other news, I picked up a used and working FIreWire USB hard drive enclosure, complete with 70 GB hard drive. Works fine. I think this'll be the system backup drive.

Getting by via the All In One

I have a working browser and email, and enough bookmarks and addresses to suffice for the time being.

Installed the RAM from the dead Mac to this All In One, so I've now got 512 MB in place. No more out of memory complaints from THIS computer.

I'll install the OS 9 harddrive soemtime this weekend and if I can find the details, I'll change out the 266 stock CPU with the 450 Mhz CPU.

I'm waiting to hear back on the 1 Ghz G4 machine.

If I can get that, I'll be doing the happy monkey dance all OVER the place!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Massive Hardware Malfunction

My Macintosh G3 Blue and White, running OS X 10.3.9 died tonight.

So, things are going to be hectic around here for a while.

I'm currently using my old Macintosh All In One. I'll be transplanting the hard drives from the Blue and White into the All In One later tonight. That'll give me access to my email address book and my browser bookmarks.

Needless to say, I am very annoyed. I'm going to see if I can get a replacement logic board and hope that it's just the original logic board that went bad.

A hypothetical question

"It had a very sinister appearance,"

So does Dick Cheney.

[Massachusetts Attorney General Martha] Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

So does Dick Cheney's heart.

Does this mean that we can get the Boston Bomb Squad to blow up Dick Cheney?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Boston has the best trash

It's a Pentium III, running XP Pro. I have yet to get past the login screen, but then, I only tried for a few moments.

Addendum. I just finished cleaning all the gunk off the outside. Dust and dirt and whoknows whatall. Looks much better.

Still reeks of stale cigarette smoke, though. I'll tackle cleaning the inside sometime this weekend.

The keyboard, a Packard Bell P.O.S. will be disposed of shortly. It's filthy, the keys are sticky and there appears to be dried cough syrup on it. ICK!

I'll be scouring the usual thrift stores for a proper IBM Model "M" keyboard. Until I find one, I'll just grab something compatible and clean from the pile at the Goodwill in Davis Square.

For all I know, this thing might just wind up in the corner, running the MATRIX screensaver. Or, it might actually be useful in some hitherto unforeseeable fashion.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

What a bargain

Cozy studio in the trendy Ashmont neighborhood. Lots of light. Just steps from the Red Line! Intercom system. Shopping and dining nearby. Needs a little work. Asking $100k. No pets!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Confessions of a Retro-Tech geek.

First up, old telephones!

This image is taken from another webpage of mine.

All that gear averages about 20 years old. Likely, it'll outlive me.

If the power goes out, the only thing that won't work is the Speakerphone.

I really like the design aesthetic of Western Electric consumer gear from the mid 70s.

The telephone was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, one of the most influential industrial designers of the 20th Century. For something as utilitarian as a telephone, it is a masterpiece of human interface design.

Take, for example, the keypad. The white characters on a grey button provides a readable images in almost any lighting conditions. The "dished" surface is not only more comfortable to use, it both keeps the finger from slipping off the button, and the concavity all but eliminates glare from bright lights from almost any direction.

Save for the actual keypad, there is barely a set of parallel lines to be seen. Everything is gradual curves and radiused corners. Beautiful!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Today's snowfall, as seen from the window of my apartment.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'm defending Willard "Mitt" Romney!

I never expected that to happen!

OK, this is just plain BS!

While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.
There is much about Romney that is worthy of being pointed out and condemned. That his Mormon ancestors practiced polygamy is not. That he is a Mormon is not.

I will say that I greatly enjoy it when the GOP turns on itself like this.

What next, Guliani had an ancestor in Italy that once had a drink in a bar owned by someone who has a cousin in Sicily that once knew a Mafiosi?

How about John McCain having an ancestor in Ireland who once gave directions to one of Cromwell's army of occupation? That should get William Donohue all het up about McCain's anti-Catholic heritage.

About the only good thing I can say about this is that if the GOP mudslinging is starting this early, they may be so involved at Swiftboating each other, they'll ignore the Democratic candidates.

H.P. Lovecraft/Family Circus mashup

All this started some years ago on LiveJournal.

Some brilliant, yet deeply twisted (but in the good way) person took Family Circus cartoons and added text from the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

This is something I came up with upon seeing the original cartoon.

It's satire and Fair Use, so keep the lawyers to yourself, Bil!

Danger Can Happen!

Spur of the moment snapshot, intending to get the image of the platform through the open doors of the subway car.

The reflectorized sign was a happy surprise.

Danger Can Happen!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

And on a far more mundane matter

My little saucepan is about to shed its handle, due to corrosion and metal fatigue.

I've used this for everything, save for actually making sauces. It was used for cooking rice, hard boiled eggs, stovetop stuffing, instant potatoes, ramen noodles. Just not sauces.

So, I have to venture forth to TARGET later today and buy a new one. If I get ten years or so use out of it, as I did the last one, I'll be satisfied.

Ah, fandom!

DIY Dharma Initiative food package labels.

Really, not so different from the "Twin Peaks" viewing parties where cherry pie and "Damn fine coffee" were consumed while watching the show.

And once, where a fan had to settle for a typewriter, the photocopy machine at work and the US Postal Service to share their media-inspired creations, today, we have fan written, acted and produced full length video episodes of Star Trek, Original and Next Generation, available for the downloading.

And it's not just Star Trek fans, making their own episodes.

For example. Penny Dreadful's Shilling Shockers. A locally produced "Chiller Theater"-type program. Cheesy, corny, loads of fun. It's shown on local cable public access channels in several states.

It seems that there are a lot of people making their own Chiller Theater interpretations. The above site links to quite a few fan produced programs.

And it's not just video. Podcasting. Radio without all that troublesome business with getting FCC licenses, and actually having a radio transmitter. Book publishing on demand. Upload a PDF file and they make it into a book. Vanity publishing without the huge upfront costs and a garage full of unsold books.

CafePress. Instant pop culture references on a t-shirt or sticker or poster. Search on their site for "ATHF" and see all the images inspired by the recent LED freakout here in Boston.

I've got to say, all this is probably not what Sir Tim Berners-Lee expected would happen when he invented the World Wide Web.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rhode Island takes the lead in human rights.

From the A.P.:

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said his state should recognize the gay marriages of state employees performed in Massachusetts.Lynch said Rhode Island prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and also extends benefits such as health insurance to domestic partners of state employees.Because there's no Rhode Island law banning gay marriage, Lynch said there is no reason to deny recognition of same-sex unions performed in Massachusetts.

And so it begins. All it takes is for one state to recognize a legal marriage performed in another state, for the little snowball to begin rolling down the hill.

Look, marriage is not a limited resource. There is more than enough to go around for everybody. Two people of the same sex getting married does not impare the marriage of two people of the opposite sex.

It will not endanger marriage. It does not break your leg nor pick your pocket, to quote Thomas Jefferson, if two gay men or two lesbians seek to have the same basic human and civil rights as everyone else.

And this is what it comes down to: Basic Human and Civil Rights. The right of a competent citizen to marry another competent citizen, so as to enjoy the numerous state and federal benefits of marriage, as well the love and support of another person "in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do you part".

Way to go Rhode Island. Come on in, the equality's great!

And for the record, here in Massachusetts, the sky hasn't fallen, the Earth hasn't opened and neither the waters of the Charles River nor Boston Harbor have turned to blood, due to the Commonwealth recognizing the rights of all citizens to marry.

We're not seeing a whole lot of the Wrath of God here in Boston. Heck, the year same sex marriage became legal, the Red Sox won the World Series. And if THAT ain't an Act of God...


So, here we go, dipping a toe into this whole weblog thing all the kids are talking about.

It'll gradually take over from my woefully neglected original website.

I live in Boston, my interests include (in no particular order) science fiction, history, mystery novels, retro technology, politics, both local and national, [adult swim], the sciences, and just about anything else that catches my attention for more than a few moments.

Favorite TV series include COUNTDOWN,
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report (are we seeing a trend here?), MythBusters, LOST, Futurama (soon to have NEW episodes!), The Venture Bros..

Favorite movies on DVD include The Matrix Trilogy, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Office Space, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the Harry Potter series, the X-Men series, the two UNDERWORLD movies, Mystery Men, Sky Captain (A Doc Savage movie in every regard, save that Doc is not actually IN the movie) National Treasure (another pulp adventure), The Rocketeer (a movie that SHOULD have had Doc in it, as he was in the original comic book series!), Real Genius, The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler (Carl Kolchak, my hero!)

I also have some DVD box sets, The Lone Gunmen (Langley, Byers and Frohike. Also my heroes! "Whatever it takes!") The first season of The Venture Bros. and the complete Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. (Thanks, Keith!)

Personal info: straight white male. (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

56 years old. Currently unemployed, due to diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and depression that does not respond favorably to any of the current medications.

It's not as bad as it sounds, though. I get by OK. Good days and bad days and days that are a combination of the two.

A recent self portrait can be seen here.

My computer is an elderly Macintosh Blue and White, currently running OS X, version 10.3.9, soon to be running 10.4.

My cousin surprised me this past Christmas with a gift of a digital camera! Currently, most of the saved images can be seen at Flickr.

Do not expect daily updates. I certainly don't!

Eventually, there'll be a "blogroll" of my favorite weblogs and weblogs of my friends.

Comments, if any, will remain largely unmoderated. Spam will be deleted. Otherwise, you'll have to REALLY work at being a dickhead to get moderated. Thank you for your kind attention!

I think that's all for now.