Monthly Archive for July, 2004

My Electoral Nightmare

I was fooling around with this neat New York Times interactive Election Guide, and I inputted my predictions for how the states will vote in November.

This was my worst-case scenario, with Bush winning both Florida and Ohio… the result? TIED.

It’ll be the House of Representatives rather than the Supreme Court, this time around…

DNC – Tuesday plans

UPDATE: Lame… no celebrity sightings, but we snapped some pictures of the security perimeter, which I will post later.

We’re going to venture into the “protected” zone across the river tonight. Tbone describes his DNC outing last night, spotting Former CA Gov Gray Davis, and the less talented half of the celibrity fomerly known as “Ben-ifer”, Ben Affleck.

We watched a lot of the convention on CNN and C-SPAN last night. I keep waiting to see Wonkette on MTV, but there were Andy Dick re-runs on instead.

I miss Tabitha Soren

DNC Commute

My commute last night back to Boston was uneventful, (which seems to be the consensus). I think half our population was scared away by the DNC.

Helicopters are buzzing around our house, and since we live near the Charles river, we’ve noticed Coast Guard and Police boats patrolling the river in formation… a strange sight, given that on any given day you’d usually see small sailboats and rowing crews.

Boston is locked-down, but I feel safe. I think it’s unreasonable to expect that an event this size will ever be held again without tight security. Though I understand concerns about civil liberties and free speech, can you imagine how weak the Democrats would look if a terrorist attack happened at their Convention?

The image of State Police in riot gear is primarily a deterrent — the message is, “we’re ready”. If the police actually had to use that outfit, then I’d be worried.

Airport Express

Apple's new Airport ExpressThe Airport Express I ordered last month arrived yesterday.

After 2+ hours of fiddling, googling, plugging and unplugging, I’ve finally got Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs streaming from my Powerbook’s iTunes, to my Onkyo receiver and Cambridge Soundworks speakers.

The problem was to get my $60 Netgear router to recognize the AX —as the documentation makes no promises of connecting to a third-party wireless router, (on a side note, I’ve never understood the pricing of the original Airport Extreme—at $200, what advantages could this model possibly offer over any other IEEE 802.11g router?). Expecting it to plug-in and work, like all my Apple gear, I became increasingly frustrated with that blinking amber light (which tells you there is a problem, but provides no other details).

After searching around in vain, I stumbled across this thread on the Apple forums: AX: Switching between Client and Network ?—and cjb65 points out that all you have to do is place a “$” before the 128-bit WEP key, when you set up the network… and pow! it works… Although, I’ve yet to get it to extend the range of my primary network. The AX is merely acting as a “client” now.

It sounds good, however, there are some “cons” to report:

  • AX bypasses my Volume Logic iTunes plugin, (which normally improves the quality of playback quite a bit). I’m not too happy about that, though perhaps this will be ironed out in the future.
  • I wish that the AX streamed all audio to my stereo, not merely music from iTunes.

Still, now that is streaming well enough, I’m impressed. I can’t wait to take it on the road, and use it as a portable wireless network. Now, if only my cell phone could browse the web…

Support the Kerry/Edwards ticket

Kerry/Edwards bumper stickerJohn Kerry made a great choice for his VP running mate — they will make a great team.

If you’re a supporter of Kerry/Edwards, they will give you a free bumper sticker, just for signing up with the campaign.

The downside is, they’ll email you a couple of times a week, (which some may find inundating). I think that’s a fair trade.

UPDATE: Incidentally, I did it, and when I hit submit, a page appeared saying “help us cover the cost of mailing this, won’t you?” So I felt guilty, and sent another $25 contribution.

the 4th in Boston

Boston Fireworks

Fireworks over the Charles, Boston, Massachusetts

I generally don’t enjoy staying in Boston for two holidays — 4th of July, and New Year’s Eve… This town is a tame place for a party, and the concept of the roof-deck seems to be lost on the landlords here.

Still, I’m not holding fast to my rule this year… we spent the New Year in the South End, and we spent last night BBQ’ing at our house. It was a short walk down to the Charles River for the fireworks… pretty low-key this year, and we couldn’t hear the Pops, because they apparently decided Cambridge didn’t need speakers this year.

Saturday was spent at the Casa del Jason, Brian, Adam, Dana, & jerin (whom I shouldn’t even link to, because he’s using a horrible hosting service), drinking beer and eating properly-encased hot dogs. They throw quite a party — no small feat when your house is sandwiched between a primary school and a playground.

At least we’re getting away next weekend– camping in the Finger Lakes… and there will be wine

Magnetbox

So, what’s going on with Magnetbox? Quite a change from the old site…

Chernobyl

Chernobyl power plantUPDATE: Apparently, Miss Elena wasn’t completely honest… however, I still think it’s a fabulous story.

In April of 1986, I was eight years old, and I have no recollection of the Chernobyl disaster. Yet, it’s hard to imagine any single event more devastating than what happened on April 25-26, 1986. Hundreds of thousands died, and many more were forced out of their homes in an instant, never to return. Radiation flooded the air, land, and water around the site, forming a ‘dead zone’.

Albany Dan pointed out a link on Fark to a first-person account of someone who has ventured back into this ‘dead-zone’. Her name is Elena, and her stories of motorcycle rides to Chernobyl are fascinating.

As I pass through the check point, I feel that I have entered an unreal world. In the dead zone, the silence of the villages, roads, and woods seem to tell something at me….something that I strain to hear….something that attracts and repels me both at the same time. It is divinely eerie – like stepping into that Salvador Dali painting with the dripping clocks.

The readings on the asphalt paving is 500 -3000 microroentgens, depending upon where you stand. That is 50 to 300 times the radiation of a normal environment. If I step 10 meters forward, geiger counter will run off the scale. If I walk a few hundred meters towards the reactor, the radiation is 3 roentgens per hour – which is 300,000 times normal. If I was to keep walking all the way to the reactor, I would glow in the dark tonight.

Her photos are incredible. I can’t imagine having the courage to do what she’s done, but I’m glad to have learned more about what happened in those days back in April, 1986.