Not News

McCain and Obama have both been the target of some idiotic news stories lately:

  • Illinois Governor Blagojevich (everyone calls him “Blago” — I wonder if he has a blog, the Blagoblog?) and his attempts to sell Obama’s seat. How much was Obama involved? A full investigation! Off with his head! Oh, wait, the transcripts show Blago cursing Obama for being unwilling to join in the corruption, and Rahm ripping Blago a new one. Yeah, Blago’s pretty shady (though, as someone pointed out, people are presumed innnocent until proven guilty…Even if he is so obviously guilty), but the only link to Obama is that Obama’s denounced him and Blago has blasted Obama for not colluding with him.
  • McCain can’t promise to support Palin in future runs for President. McCain’s campaign was marred by a series of horrible decisions and bizarre antics, among them picking someone less qualified than Joe the Plumber for the second-highest office in the nation. And after the election, Joe the Plumber lashed out at McCain and his “dishonest” campaign. So this is more of the same? Nope. For once, McCain isn’t making an impulsive decision, instead deciding to not unconditionally support someone in 2012 before anyone can even conjecture who might run.

Feeling Better

I’m at the laundromat, which means I can wear clean clothes tomorrow. PSNH was near my neighborhood as we were leaving, and our answering machine just picked up when we called, suggesting that we’ve got power. This might mean that I can take a warm shower! I can’t ping our home gateway box, though, which means that our cable modem hasn’t come back. That makes sense, as we still don’t get cable TV, even with our TV and cable box hanging off the generator.

But even an unrepetent Internet addict like me values hot water over Internet. Then again, thanks to the iPhone, I only lost the Internet for about 12 hours until the local cell tower was brought back on the air.

Mr. T, are you guys dug out of the ice yet?

I Want a Bucket Truck

I was trying to think of a creative title, but failed. Between going to the dump every week, and having to shovel our driveway whenever it snows, my dad and I had discussed–more longingly than seriously–picking up a cheap pickup truck.

But eBay and Craigslist have shown that used bucket trucks–cherry pickers–are affordable enough. And there are myraid reasons they’d be handy for us, living in a rural area. For one, we have a lot of precarious tree limbs hanging. We could go up in the bucket with a chainsaw. It would also be handy for getting up onto the roof. As hams, it would make antenna service easy. And as a photographer, it’s be an awesome angle for taking aerial shots. Plus, bucket trucks are just cool. I suspect it’s something friends and neighbors would want to borrow, too. (Remember to draft up some paperwork waiving all liability first, though.)

So this is the second in my “what I want for Christmas” category. (The first, you may recall, is a fake moustache. The unspoken third, of course, is electricity.)

New Hampshire

Thursday evening New Hampshire got hit by a tremendous ice storm. The lights flickered a few times, before we finally lost power after a transformer outside blew up.

We had enough hot water left for me to take a shower and go to work on Friday. In Boston, all was well. People were unaware that their neighbors to the north were frozen under ice.

A state of emergency has been declared. Governor Lynch claimed it as because it’s the biggest power outage in state history, with the power company suggesting it may take a week, and even that they’re not sure quite how just how many lost power. They have crews coming in from out of state: and Canada.

But I’m pretty sure it’s because my nearby cell tower is off the air, meaning that my Interet access is spotty at best. We have the generator and fireplace on, but without cable, no Internet access. And that, my friends, is a state of emergency.

On the Auto Bailout Failure

I had mixed feelings on the auto bailout. We have to stop bailing everyone out after years of ineptitude. (Why has American auto failed to give us a hybrid that isn’t a gas-guzzling SUV?) And as far as Democrats go, I’m not terribly pro-union: they started to help get employees some basic rights, but I think they sometimes go too far.

There were lots of reasons not to bail out the industry. And the CEOs with their corporate jets and lack of a plan didn’t help.

But refusing to agree to the bailout because American employees make too much money? That’s a new one. And the claim that they make an average of $75 an hour? Have you ever seen Detroit? I’m not sure anyone there makes $150,000 a year. I am pretty sure, though, that there are a lot of people who don’t make $15,000 a year.

But at the end of the day, I’ve got my trusty Toyota. I just feel bad that Detroit is going from bad to worse, and that Congress has officially decreed that it doesn’t care.


For anyone else who really likes awesome stuff, I’ve just discovered Uncrate, a seriously-awesome blog covering everything from the latest Bentley sedan to cool watches to designer vodka. The stuff on the front page right now is maybe some of the weaker content, but the magnet throwing stars, perfect for making visitors think that your fridge barely survived a ninja attack, are a much better example. Some is utterly impractical, like the $300,000 armored SUV, but others is utterly practical, like free software. And there’s plenty of in-between, like the $2,000 Ridley Vintage Motorbike.


There’s a convenience store attached to the building my office is in, so I tend to stop in for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Yesterday I noticed that the Mass Millions was up to $150 million or so, so I bought a ticket.

What I find interesting about the lottery is that I know it’s a losing proposition. My odds of winning, by definition, have to be way less than 1 in 150 million. They’re so low that you’re pretty much guaranteed to not win. Basically, you’re throwing your money into a huge pile. A bunch of states will then take half of it out of the pool, and award the pile to someone who’s always in a state you forgot existed.

And yet, if I’m paying $3.50 for some chocolate milk and a croissant, I might as well pay $4.50 instead for a 1:300,000,000 shot at $150 million.

If I win, maybe I can afford a little condo near work. But with Charlestown prices, I’m not too sure about that.

vim Color Highlighting

Since every time I set up a new system I try to remember how to do this… vim supports colored syntax highlighting of myriad programming languages. It’s quite helpful. (Some website I happened across claimed that it increased productivity between 200 and 300%.)

It’s actually much simpler than I thought. Enter :syntax on to enable it. (I bet you can figure out how to disable it.) Or just pop that (sans the :) into your ~/.vimrc file.