Friday, March 28, 2008

High Noon - Garage Style!
For a Fistful of Cheddar
I can now finally see the floor in my garage. And I have successfully cornered, caught, and moved the most fearless mouse in the world - whom I had been enjoying sharing several Mexican Standoff with in recent days. He had built himself a comfortable love nest out of a package or ornamental grass and was ready to raise a family. I moved his house to a lee in a rock about four miles from here, and gave him a few days rations to boot.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Star Wars Weekend
Your sorcerous ways are no match for the Weather Dominator!We braved the sweltering weather of the Florida summer to brave the one location that Florida residents routinely avoid like some sort of cursed ancient burial ground - Disney World. True to form, it was sweltering, and gave us an absolutely torrential downpour that ended our attempt at the Star Wars Weekend way early. We spent about two hours trapped in a theater with Jedi Mickey, catching only a glimpse of Chewie as he was whisked to the back (According to his handler, the Ewok that was with him got swept away by the flash flood).

Parker wasn't as into it as I thought he would be. He didn't want to join the Jedi Training Academy, an interactive adventure where kids in the audience could duel Darth Vader. Later, parker solemnly told me he didn't need to be part of the training, as he was already a Jedi. He seemed pretty confident about it.

We were soaked to the bone by the time we got through the park and back to the cat, riding a tram through a violent lightning storm that was certainly equal to any fireworks display we might have seen later that night. We then practiced some contortionist tricks changing out of our clothes and into our clothes from the day before, in the back of the van, taking breaks every eight minutes or so to hide behind fog-tinted windows as another tram disgorged another soggy mass of tourists who had reached their limits. I think my shoes dried out somewhere near Ocala.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Life's a Beach
Our weekend of 'relaxation' at Jacksonville Beach with my mom and Aunt Margie took a turn for the worst almost the moment we stepped our onto the golden sands. I did a poor job of girding Kristin for the sun's pummeling - and she develop a severe that would last for several weeks. Just twenty minutes later, while picking up Kira, I consigned my glasses to the briny deep - or at the very least, to a group of curious minnows in three feet of water.

Kristin and I spent most of the rest of the day shopping for glasses, a task turned Herculean ordeal by the sheer number of frames that are now manufactured in China. The only United States made glasses in the store where the stylish roll shades they gave me after dilating my eyes, MADE IN USA stamped proudly across the brow of the plastic.

In the end, I selected three frames. My main glasses now have stylish wood accents that underscore they are Italian...while wearing them,I feel like I'm skimming across Lake Como in my Cris-Craft on the way to Clooney's villa:

Bongiorno, princepessa!


My second pair of glasses are from Japan. They actually use fishing line cut into the groove of the glass to hold the lenses in, which makes the glasses nearly invisible on my face:

I'm talking to you, caveman!


Finally, I got a pair of sunglasses from Italy.

The difference is I make these look good.



The lenses are tinted with an amber filter: it takes some getting used to, as things seem so much different when I'm wearing them. For example, I took these right outside the office:

Wait for it... Yeaaaaahhhhhh!


The trip did get better after that. I learned Rummy in between smearing Aloe across Kristin's tortured back, and we saw the new Harry Potter, as well as read the last Harry Potter. Mom ran into an old high school friend she hadn't seen for for twenty years at the library. And Parker got to learn about geology, the weather, and marine biology.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Support the Radio Equality Act
But the man there said the music wouldn't playTime is running out for internet radio.

On July 15, the new rates for royalties due from Internet Radio stations will go into effect. Terrestrial radio pays 2 to 5 percent of its gross revenue as royalties; satellite radio pays 3 to 7 percent. But thanks to the rate hike, which is based on a per listener charge, Internet radio stations must pay between 50 and 1,000 percent of its gross revenue. This will drive most smaller stations off the air nearly immediately, as well as larger services such as Live365 and Pandora.

According to John Simson, the director of Sound Exchange (the branch of the RIAA created to collect internet royalties), the new unit of measure is not the CD, but the "listen":

"When you have services that are feature-rich like Pandora or Rhapsody, Yahoo or SomaFM, places where people spend a lot of time listening, that time that cuts into listening to CDs that time's moved to listens instead of purchasing CDs."


What a self-serving argument! If this was indedd the RIAA's viewpoint, then the royalty rates for terretrial and satellite radio - which have a much higher listernship - should also be increasing. The royalty rate simply works to decrease listener choice by eliminating all competition to top 40 stations. The RIAA is blinded bya potential $1.15 billion windfall in royalty rates - which will never come through, because those stations they wanted to charge will simply cease to exist.

It is true that I do not by as many cds as I did ten years ago (I also don't go to the movies as much, buy as many books, or read any comic books, so it's not just an endemic problem for the music industry). However, nearly every choice I have made to purchase a CD or to buy a track from iTunes has been from a "listen" from internet radio. Cutting off a valuable venue for letting people expad their musical tastes and that encourages to delve deeper into label's catalogs that the surface will end up costing them revenue in the long term.

There are bills in Congress that would overturn this rate hike. The Internet Radio Equality Act would nullify the copyright royalty board decision and set royalty rates at 7.5 percent of gross revenue, which is the same at satellite radio. The house bill has 118 co-sponsors of a needed 216, so get on the phones (or the net) and let your opinion be known.

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Zazzle Dazzle
The early ewe catches the worm Jane just used one of my scribbles as the basis of a shirt in her Zazzle store. She calls it the Sheepbird. I'm not sure what it is......except awfully cuddly. Awwwww.

You might have noticed that I'm doing more art here on the blog. I'm going to expand my artistic horizons by trying to do as much related art for the posts as possible, to get more comfortable with being extemporaneous and not as corporate-oriented as I have been in doing work for the university or clients.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

What a Wonderful Town!
No-no photo, Mojo JoJoNew York is considering a rule that will require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

This rule, obviously meant to curtail commercial shooting, will affect both serious amateur photographers and videographers, as its language has been left vague enough to allow the police to discourage any group filming for more than thrity minutes in a location. It if passes, it would be a serious blow to the attractiveness of a tourist city that encourages people to come and savor its sights and communities. How many photographers stay at a particular location all day just to get that right shot? Now they'll need a permit?

Which, by the way, you have to download from the Mayor's Office?

Start spreadin' the news.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bicker, Bicker, Bicker, It's Different Than It Was
See My Powah!Listening to NPR today, I listened to a pundit claim that the immigration bill failed because of the "viral effect" of talk radio and conservative listeners sending form letters to Congress. It was the pundits assertion that talk radio undermines the democratic process by urging listeners to take action.

Uh, what?

The pundit went on to explain that a recent survey of talk radio showed that 90% of radio programs were Conservative, while 9% of hosts showed Liberal viewpoints. However, the poll did not review Public Radio as it isn't a commercial venue, which I feel already skewed the results. I have no doubt it still falls more to the right than to the left, but leaving out a significant part of the talk spectrum doesn't give an accurate portrayal of the situation.

Furthermore, the pundit also made the assertion that Neil Boortz was from the far right of the spectrum. Neil is a Libertarian, and far more moderate than he was painted in this story - I don't believe a die-hard conservative would have no problem with gay marriage, refuse to talk about banning abortions, or rail against the Christian majority as much as Neil does.

What struck me is that despite this tendency towards the right on the radio, political views in this country are still drawn about 50/50. This to me says that the radio plays just as much an influential role as any other media, or the view and opinions of the individual. Perhaps the key difference is that liberals read those that influence their opinions, and conservatives listen?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Jane!
But...but...no hands!

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