REALLY support the troops.

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.