Hanukkah to you. Christmas is speeding at us like a bullet, so is
Kwanzaa, and the new year is little more than a week and a half away! How
Earthlink lets us send
e-cards so easily...
I wish the rituals of Kwanzaa weren't so similar to those of Hanukkah. It
makes it feel like a clone of somebody else's holiday. I like the genesis of
the idea, but I can't get into the expression of it.
Maybe I ought to start celebrating Festivus, like George Kostanza – now that's
an original holiday!
Happy Chance Meeting?
I met an artist from Canada by the name of Jaret Vadera at Starbucks the other
day. He was incredibly open and candid about the work he was doing and his
interests. He gave me a link to his portfolio, which blew me away. His series
called “After a Glimpse Over the Top” has a fascinating framework
Detail from After a Glimpse Over the Top 6
You don't have encounters like this if you stay home all the time, and you
don't have them, if you're not willing to talk to people, with no particular
agenda in mind.
From one point of view, meeting Jaret was just a happy accident. From another,
there are no such things as accidents.
Third Time's the Charm
Saw Lord of the Ring – the Return of the King last night. Peter Jackson
is a master of his craft. The Matrix Revolutions, and even the Star Wars trilogies
demonstrated how tricky it is to maintain momentum and interest through a sequence
of three films. So often, the second installment feels like a slump, and it's
up to the third installment
out of a hole. Not so with Jackson's trilogy.
The Marquee at the Court Street movie theater read “L O T R 3.” From bits
of conversation that I heard in passing, not everyone was familiar with the
acronym, but they had no problem finding their way into the movie, anyway.
The screening room was probably not the biggest in the complex, and they weren't
running overlapping screenings. Still, the 8:40 show was a sell-out, so
were the two preceding screenings, and there were two more shows after that.
of the evening would let out at something like 5 AM.
At the end of the movie, a kid stood up and told his parents “it wasn't that
good.” From a kid's perspective, I could see how he'd come to that conclusion.
a story that has been a powerful inspiration for several generations of young
adults, now. It wasn't designed as a means of pandering for kids'
toy sales. The
the overall story, not creating a “wow” effect.
I've never read the trilogy, but I might now. Warren tells me that the ending
isn't so faithful to the book. I wondered whether the changes were the will
of the Hollywood production machine, or Jackson's sensible efforts to distill
the story into a format compatible with the big screen. We agreed that the
bonus footage on the next DVD might hold answers to that question. Or, like
the DVD version of The Two Towers, some of that footage might actually be added.
The Lady and the Bandit
I took another jaunt over to NJ today. Rather than having to go fishing in my pockets for
crisp cash coming and going, I opted to purchase a round-trip a farecard from a machine at the beginning of my trip. The process
did not go without a hitch.
I fed three bucks into the slot, and pressed the
button to dispense a card. No card appeared, but the display cleared, and
my money was gone. I reached inside the dispenser slot, and felt nothing.
Seconds later, I watched nervously, as someone standing at the machine next
to me fed their money into the slot and pressed the button. Without a hitch,
Looking around, I began to realize there were no PATH representatives stationed
in this cavernous expanse. I was beginning to feel screwed.
I spotted a hard-hatted construction worker across the way, walked over and
asked him where I could find a staff office, and he started to indicate
that there was one on the other side of the turnstiles – meaning I would have
to pay a fare before I could talk to anyone. Just then, though, he pointed
out a woman in an orange vest, and said that she was
person. She was coming through the turnstiles into the main area. I made a
beeline for her.
I explained that the machine had taken my money, but no ticket appeared. She
walked up to the machine, and deftly struck it with a single hammer-fist to
what would have been its solar plexus. The machine seemed to reflexively spit out my
ticket. The visual, and the elegant low-tech simplicity of the solution tickled
me. She must have read the expression on my face, and said “they get stuck
sometimes.” She handed me my ticket. I said “thanks very much,” and she walked
On the hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight (today),
the new JFK airtrain
goes into service. There's something poetic about that.
I think a computer just called me a bonehead.
I haven't used my Brother HL1470N printer for a few months because it had
gotten to the point where all of the indicator lights would come on, and the
printer would stop printing. Turning it off and on would fix it sometimes,
but not always.
At first, I thought it was because I was out of toner, but
when I replaced the toner cartridge and the problem persisted, I began to
wonder about the drum unit. That really didn't make sense, because the drum
last about twice as long as the the toner, and I hadn't changed toner before.
So, I decided to check the Brother web site, to see if I could figure out
the nature of the problem. I did a couple of searches, but seemed to be getting
nowhere fast, so I sent an e-mail to support. To send an e-mail, you use their
forms-based web interface. I suspect the entire thing was parsed and fed right
back into their knowledge base.
The response wasn't bad; they
got back to me in less than 24 hours. The message doesn't quite sound like
it was touched by human hands, though:
Dear Brother Customer:
Thank you very much for submitting
the request. Our search engine
indicates that your problem
descriptions can be matched with
1 solution(s) identified from
our Solution Database.
[i.e. don't you think you could have found this yourself?]
------ Summary of solution-
4606 Resetting the printer should clear the
How to Perform a Factory Reset:
Hold in the circular button on the front
of the printer.
Turn the printer back on.
When the Drum
light is lit by itself let go of the button.
the circular button again.
Once the Alarm light comes
on, let go of the button.
Well, I did the factory reset. Let's see how it goes. It'll be nice to have
the laser printer back online, if that's all it was.
Joe Rocks the Boat
I read yet another account of what's wrong with Howard Dean, according to Joe
Lieberman, who makes it sound more and more like he thinks Bush's policy
is the right
policy. In between all his digs at Dean's ideas, I don't hear any ideas that
are uniquely Joe's.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman sharpened his criticism of Howard
Dean on Tuesday, saying the front-runner's foreign and domestic policies would
erode national security and cost million of Americans their jobs.
Considering that one of the key questions is electability, I think Dean is
clearly an alternative to more of the same. But
Lieberman raises doubts – I don't think anybody ever got elected by validating
the incumbent's policy. If the Democrats blow this, the next four years will
make these four look like a cakewalk.
Congratulations, Anna and Mark
Some friends of ours got married last week, and Denise and I went to their
new apartment in Jersey City yesterday to join them in a little celebration.
The event was wonderful, and brought together
a diverse mix of Anna and Mark's relatives and friends, many of whom had never met. Visual
artists and musicians
were abundant. There was, of course, the essential jam session. One friend
helped transform what had looked like a warehouse full of boxes just
nicely-hung pictures and cut flowers. The food was magnificent – all
of the main courses lovingly prepared by a guy named Spirit. The desserts,
the passion fruit mousse, were also exceptional.
We used the newly re-opened WTC PATH station to get back and forth from Jersey
City, and the experience was eerie. The outer structure looked a bit like
a World's Fair pavilion. The entryway is covered by a large steel
wings when viewed from the side. The layout of the station is
same as it
was when the massive twin
steel open walls, and unadorned concrete everywhere. It feels a bit like walking
around inside a skeleton.
The large escalator bank leading to the PATH platforms feels
a bit scaled-down now, and the massive advertising
posters for Bloomberg and other companies, that used to cover the walls, have
been replaced by aerial architectural photos.
bottom of the escalator, Hudson News has once again opened a store.
The most striking part of the experience though, was riding the train back
into WTC on our return trip. It was night time, and the train literally circles
Ground Zero as it pulls into the platform. The central pit is bathed in light,
and you see the ramp that was used to haul all of those remains and all of
that debris out of the pit from three sides as the train slowly rolls to a
halt. It was one thing to stand just across the street from the fences that
quickly surrounded the WTC site a couple of years ago. Circling inside the
crater that was left behind is something completely different.
I upgraded to OS X Panther this weekend. So far, it's pretty cool. The enhancements
to the Finder are subtle, but do streamline navigation a bit. I like the
way the open and save dialogs have been upgraded, too.
One thing I thought Panther would fix, didn't work. I'm having trouble playing
DVDs on my G4 machine as well as Denise's iBook. I took the culprit DVD down
to the Apple Store just after the Panther release, and had no problem playing
the disk there, and mistakenly figured that Panther made the difference. Looks
like more research is needed.
Brazil hacked NYCBloggers.com
“In addition to "defacing" the
site our Brazilian friends also wiped out our email and may have had
access to our database.”
Well, they say secure shell isn't all that secure... NYC Bloggers is now in
the market for a more secure host.
I'm a bit numb
to the significance of capturing Saddam. My first thought is
that the raid and the announcement were carefully timed to coincide with the
Sunday news cycle. All the presidential candidates are carefully positioning
themselves to take maximum tactical advantage of it. And the war's legitimizers
are busy reminding us all of how bad this guy was, and reasserting associations
(if not actual connections) with the September 11, 2001 attacks. I even heard
mention of the dreaded Al-Qaeda for the first time in a while.
I wondered how this was landing in Baghdad, so I checked out the Baghdad blogs.
He looked like a tramp getting a physical and for some reason you expected
him to bite that soldier's finger à là Hanibal Lecter. But
he just sat there...he sounded like he has totally lost it.
I want a fully functioning Saddam who will sit on a chair in front of a TV
camera for 10 hours everyday and tells us what exactly happened the last 30
years. I do not care about the fair trial thing Amnesty International is worried
about and I don't really care much about the fact that the Iraqi judges might
be fully qualified, we all know he should rot in hell. But what I do care about
is that he gets a public trial because I want to hear all the untold stories
- Where is Raed?
Well, I doubt that Saddam is going to say a lot. This is all starting to remind
me of Milosevic. I suspect we'll be hearing Saddam stories for years. Yes,
I know he was a vile, evil despot. Iraq is probably better off without him;
certainly specific people within Iraq are. But we don't hear about the rest
of the world's despots, because it doesn't advance anyone's major agenda.
Saddam's capture hasn't shown up on Baghdad
Burning yet, but there are these items:
...Iraq no longer feels like a country- it feels like war spoils: the winning
team gets the pickings. So how is the world supposed to be involved in the
reconstruction of Iraq when they are being deliberately excluded?
It's a decision like this one that brings to light the complete uselessness
of the Governing Council. Why is Washington calling the shots on the reconstruction
issues? This means that even after a military occupation, we'll be under
an economic occupation for years to come. Why aren't any of the new ministers
or GC members saying anything about this?...
The electricity has been terrible lately- it comes in fits and starts...you
don’t want anything to be turned on when the power comes back either
too high or too low. That's why I've been blogging less often. Every time
there's electricity, we remember a long list of things that can only be done
in an electrical world… like vacuum.
Salam Pax also speaks about electrical problems. People are buying their own
generators and selling amps to their neighbors. Sometimes, they appear to be
gouging their neighbors.
“Well I'm one
RoveHo breathing a heck of a lot easier tonight, what with no longer having to
cower in the scruffy face of terror... I love my Rovey,
and just because his family is a little bit nutty doesn't mean I have to hold
that against my little piggly wiggly cuddle lumpkins...”
You have to read I
Love Karl Rove for yourself. It's amazing.