Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Ipod Was Stolen

I did a gaming program a recent Saturday at a smaller branch a short drive from the library where I work. I did this because gaming programs at my branch don’t go over that well. We are surrounded by upper class gated communities and there is nothing I can offer the residents here that they don’t already have in their dens. The small branch is located in a working class neighborhood and I knew if I did a gaming program there people would attend. I did one a few months ago at the West Boulevard branch and had 30 people show up that evening. If I had done the same program at my branch I would have been in that room by myself. So after a series of emails with the branch’s manager we set up a date and time for a program. I arranged with Nathan at the Main Library to send out two Xbox 360s and all the games for that system the library owns.

On the day of the event I get there an hour before it starts so I can get everything put together. It takes about half an hour to hook up to 360s and the projectors that display the action. I brought along my Ipod and a portable player because if I’m going to be alone in a room for an hour I want to have some music playing. After I set up gamers start showing up at the scheduled time. I cut off the music and the gaming session goes well. I have around ten guys show up over the four hours I’m there and we have a good time. For some reason the six year old game Burnout 3 tends to dominate these events. People love Burnout 3. I think it’s because you can do split screen one on one races and the crashes are spectacular. I had forgotten how fun the game is so I bought a copy for myself off eBay a few days ago for $5. That’s a darn fine game for $5.

When it was time to shut down, a few of the guys helped me pack the equipment. I should have told them not to bother because I had to repack a few things because there is a certain way the Xbox 360s have to be put into the backpacks or everything won’t fit properly. We had all been having fun together so I let them pitch in. Once that is done they take off and I put the gear into plastic bins and take the bins and stack them in the workroom so the delivery guys can pick them up on Monday morning. I then bounce out to my car, reach in my backpack for my Ipod and it’s not there. I dig through my bag. Nothing. I go back in and search the room. Nothing. I check the bins and gaming backpacks. Nothing. I look around the workroom. Nothing. Someone stole my Ipod.

A few years ago at our old apartment, Wendell and I had some stuff stolen from us by a neighbor we thought was a friend. It was a betrayal that even almost four years later still is an open wound. I have a less visceral reaction to this theft. It was either stolen by one of the two teens in attendance or by one of the two adults that were a bit simple and borderline homeless. I shoud have bee more careful. The mistake I made, other than bringing a valuable piece of personal property to a public event, was allowing the gamers to assist in breaking down the equipment. The next time I will usher everyone out and then put stuff away. I’m probably lucky a valuable piece of library gaming equipment wasn’t lifted also.

So, the Ipod I purchased in the summer of 2006 is gone. It didn’t take long to see how much I depended on that thing. I felt lost at home. Gonna do laundry? No music. Walk to the store at lunch? No music. Driving? Nothing. Thank god Melanie has an Ipod Nano or shelving at work on our closed days would have really sucked. Not being in a position to purchase a new Ipod for a couple hundred dollars I went out on eBay to see what I could find. What I found was an Ipod Nano. I liked how Melanie’s operated and at $50 it was 1/3 the price of a new one. All my music was back up on a hard drive so I can swap content on and off the Nano depending on what I want to hear. I’m happy with it, although it only holds 8 gigabytes of music compared to the 55 gigabytes of memory available on my stolen Ipod. It’s a handy little tool. It also crossfades when I shuffle songs and I love crossfading. It’s like I’m listening to my own personal pirate radio station. If you haven't had an acoustic blues song by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells fade out while Fast by the Butthole Surfers fades in you haven't really lived. Welcome to Radio Free Fat Bastard.

I only hope whoever did steal my Ipod takes the time to listen to what is on it because he got himself a damn fine music collection and if he takes his time and digests what’s on there he can only come out a better person. If that happens then maybe he won’t still again from librarians that visit his neighborhood to do him a service. The bastard.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Useless Baseball Stats

How about a chart that shows the average number of strikeouts per game in the National League from 1910 to 2010?
Average Strikeouts per game, National League

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big, Beautiful Spider

This big bastard is on our back porch.
Spider on our porch
Juan Williams and NPR

The fake hysteria over Juan Williams being fired from NPR by those on the right is getting out of hand. The mistake NPR made was saying they fired Juan Williams over his comments about seeing Muslims and feeling nervous. They should have fired him over appearing on Bill O'Reilly and essentially assisting Bill O'Reilly in defending the horrible remarks he made on The View. As a long time listener of NPR I don't respect the opinion of any journalist that appears on Fox News and assists them in delivering their right wing message. Once you are part of the Fox News team (Dennis Miller) you lose all credibility. You are no longer a journalist but a paid member of a right wing propaganda machine. Everyone let Juan Williams take his $2 million dollar gift from Fox and calm the hell down.

It is unfortunate that NPR did this because you can't win a fight like this with Fox News. They have too much power and too many other news outlets march to their beat. I think the Daily Show once again nails it. Hopefully this won't have an ACORN type of effect on NPR. If NPR loses one dollar of funding over this nonissue then Fox News has won again and true journalism in this country gets weaker. We don't need that. NPR made a mistake in how this was handled but for people like Bill O'Reilly and Newt Gringrich to take a bad management decision and attempt to use it as a way to suppress NPR is a calculated attempt to shut down a viewpoint they don't agree with. Firing one man is not censorship. To attempt to take away NPR, that is censorship.
Great Quote by Jon Stewart

From his recent interview with Terry Gross: "There is this false idea that we have to be fair. That there has to be a fairness in what we do. You have to find equivalence on each side, all that. It's a wonderful game everybody is playing, in that, they've misconstrued criticism as persecution. And they've created a great little trap that any criticism of them, however valid, is further proof of the plot that is out to get them and how persecuted they are."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Awesome Mix

I am completely hooked on this mix by an artist called RIAA. It's several hours long but really worth your time. Parts of it are jaw-droppingly inspired.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bike Riding

In an effort to stave off fat-bastardness and to get in a little better shape I have started riding my bike to work. Before you get too impressed you should know that I live two miles from work so my ride each way is around 15 minutes. This is not much of a bike ride but it has got to be better for you than driving your car while guzzling a Mountain Dew.

What I do enjoy about the ride other than the energy it gives me to start my day is how being on a bike or walking allows you to interact more intimately with your neighborhood. In cars people stare straight ahead or into their handheld device. Biking to work is like camping. You and the rest of the tiny percentage not whizzing by in cars can say hello to each other and are at the mercy of the elements. Or, if you are fixing to pass a walker on on you bike while sidewalk riding, you interact with them by saying, “On your left!” and then they move.

It can also be a lot of fun. I’m a sidwalk rider so I get to jump curbs, zoom around pedestrians, duck under low lying branches and ride down the brick sidewalk that goes around the Southpark Mall. But it’s not all fun and games, bike riding or walking in Charlotte, NC can get a little hairy.

I am a sidewalk bicyclist because riding your bike on the road in Charlotte is akin to drinking products from under the sink, eventually you are going to end up in the hospital. Also, if you ride in the street you have to keep your speed up so you are more in sync with traffic. I don’t go that fast. I am a casual sidewalk rider, I don’t wear spandex pants and special shoes or own a $2,000 road bike and, because I am a child of the seventies, I don’t wear a helmet. I have a Fuji Sunfire that’s over five years old that cost me $200. I’ll be on the sidewalk taking it nice and easy, thank you. When I want to hang it out a bit I ride in my neighborhood where I can ride on nice wide streets and the motorized vehicles are going 25 mph not 50.

The most dangerous aspect of using the sidewalk as a pedestrian or a bike rider is that in Charlotte the lines at intersections are taken by drivers as a suggestion. The consistency that I have to detour around a car parked in the crosswalk is shocking. What is especially humorous is that once they are parked on that crosswalk the pedestrian becomes invisible. They won’t look at you and become quite self absorbed when you are moving out into traffic to move around the hood of their car. I didn’t properly appreciate how insanely dangerous it is to be using any other mode other than a personal car in Charlotte until I walked in Charleston, SC. A Charlottean doesn’t know how to respond when a driver stops before a crosswalk and waves a pedestrian across. It happens all day in Charleston. When it happens here you become suspicious that the driver may have had a bad day at work and he’s looking for a pedestrian to send airborne.

The scariest moments while commuting on the sidewalk can come when you are facing a vehicle making a right turn because the driver never, never, never looks to his right to see if someone is coming his way down the sidewalk. All he will do is look to the left for oncoming traffic. I am guilty of this myself. Sometimes they will look to the right and if they see you they may wave you across. If that driver is on the phone, forget it. You’ll just have to wait for him to make his turn. He can’t see you because his right arm is blocking his view of world on the passenger side of his car. You think seeing someone yacking away on their phone is discomforting while driving? It’s terror inducing when you aren’t surrounded by steel and you are counting on the driver of a vehicle that outweighs you by a couple of tons who is using the reactionary portion of his brain to navigate.

Riding my bike to work also requires some extra effort on my part. What I try to do is drive my car to work on Mondays and take my clothes for the rest of the week with me so I can ride the bike Tuesday through Friday. Since the library is closed now on Tuesdays and Fridays I only have to bring enough work clothes to get me through Wednesday and Thursday. Because I have to change I have to leave my home 30 minutes before rather than the fifteen minutes I used to allow my self.

Now if I can only get in the habit of not stopping for a Mountain Dew on the way to work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some Flickr Finds

Abortion Protester in Columbia, SC. I think she proves George Carlin's point
Stop Abortion Now 2

Sunset in Cadiz
Thursday's Sunset

A small island south of Okinawa
Best Point in Okinawa

Kevin's backyard in December of 2008
Dec 7 08

Okinawa always had incredible sunsets
Sunset off West Okinawa

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Something to Consider the Next Time

At some point during 18 holes of golf you are going to get to a series of shots that will cause you to wonder why in the hell you bothered to waste your time and money on the game. As my friend Chris put it the other day after hitting a bad shot: "You know we could have spent $35 on booze and we'd be a lot happier right now."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Different Kind of Golf Hazard

At Emerald Lake today not only did we see Muggsy Bogues, one of my favorite athletes, but we also discovered that if you hit a drive to the right off the second tee into this dog's yard that he will claim the ball as his. FYI.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

More Fun with 3D Animated Gifs

The Morrison Regional Library. My home away from home.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yup, Gonna Get Totally out of Hand

This is an apartment courtyard at the mall. Took this on lunch after visiting Showmars. It was bright out and I didn't notice my thumb covering part of the lens in the second shot.
My First 3D Moving Gif

This is going to get completely out of hand.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Some Flickr Finds

It's 1978 and you're going to a KISS show...
Halloween 1978 at McDonalds

It 2010 and you're taking your army men to Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain

Sunrise in Crete
Sunrise 4873ew

Field Level Panorama at the Panther's Stadium
Bank Of America Stadium  Panor

Nice Shot of Train Bridge in South Carolina
NS over the Conagree

Friday, October 01, 2010

Purty Sky

If you live in Charlotte I am sure you noticed the sky yesterday. I don't know how you couldn't. The air was clean and visibility was off the charts and low fluffy clouds with white and black in them moved slowly overhead. It was stunning.