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Showing posts from January, 2010

Kentucky's broke...wait, What?I

I live in a dysfunctional state.
Actually scratch that...I live in a dysfunctional Commonwealth.
Looking at this logically: We have 4.3 million peopleWe rank 22nd in population densityWe have a state sales tax of 6%, except on foodstuffs.We have a state income tax of 6%, basically for everybody.We pay property tax assessed on cars, yearly.We pay property tax on LEASED CARS. Think about that for a minute.Lots of our local municipalities levee income taxes as wellYeah, so of course we're flat broke. Comically so, like your friend who's lived off credit cards for the last 10 years, then can't convince Citibank to up his limit.
There are some bright spots. Crit Luallen, our auditor, is a gem. She's the all-seeing eye. She causes embezzlers and graft-takers to shudder, as they should. When things go wrong, she arrives like a pissed off Darth Vader hunting Princess Leia. (As my commenter, Dash, corrected me, the muckrakers at the Herald-Leader play a huge role, as wel…

The weekend that was, and other musings

Trying to journal a few things from the past weekend:My wife likes Ducatis and Triumphs. She thinks that a Nighthawk 250 and the Honda Rebel are ridiculously too small for me. In other news, I actually got Whitney to go to a motorcycle shop with me :-)I'm considering selling some of my Voigtlander R1 Rangefinder kit, particularly the 15mm Heliar f/4.5 and the 90mm f/3.5. I haven't snapped any pictures with this camera in 2 years, and the 35mm and cannon 50mm f/1.2 are good enough. I keep waiting for the day when my kids go, "What's that stuff you're putting into that camera? 'Film'...is that like a coating for light sensor? Where's the 32GB memory card go in that thing? What do you mean it doesn't use BATTERIES!?"I had chills and low-grade fever Saturday evening through Sunday morning, and still don't feel 100%Currently reading Peter Egan's excellent compillation Side Glances. It's much the same old stuff--Peter buying old…

Review: James Cameron's 'Avatar'

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I paid $4.00 at a matinee to watch Avatar, now 3 weeks after its worldwide release. The 2.5 hour video gamemovie amazed me, and at the same time, its overarching vanity and irony haunts me. Let's talk.
The movie itself tells the story of former marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington)'s journey the new world Pandora, where he's embedded with a corporate mining operation of 'Unobtainium', a mineral essential to old Terra. Jake takes over for his Ph.D. identical twin, who's killed months before he's supposed to ship out to be an Avatar driver. In return, they'll fix his paraplegic legs after his 6 year hitch on Pandora.
Pandora's an earth-like planet orbiting a gas giant with several other moons (think Titan, only habitable). Not only habitable...the planet's teaming with life, including an indiginous group of 10 foot tall blue natives, the Na'vi. The Avatar drivers remote-control company-grown Na'vi bodies, enabling them to walk and ta…

Niches: Blogs versus Facebook/Twitter/*

Yes, the blogging fad is over.
When it was invented, blogging was a giant leap beyond "creating your own website" by hand-coding HTML or using a program to 'publish' your site. Suddenly, you could type out your thoughts, embed images and let some other program handle all the layouts, storage, archiving, and hosting. Blogging exploded.
However, blogging is lonely, hierarchical. Comments made it better, allowing you to engage with other people. Still, it's not a *conversation*. It's like standing in a room with one person yelling statements and thoughts, then yelling 'Whatta ya think of that?'
So, sites like MySpace (*shudder*), Facebook (yay), and Twitter flattened that all out. You weren't the tip of a conversational pyramid; you were part of a web of conversing people. Sometimes, you can be blabby; other times, you can just hang out.
So where did that leave blogging? The 90% of blogging that was "here's what I'm doing today…

Cars I've owned in the Awful Aughts

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So, here we are, at the end of the Awful Aughts. The automobile in America has pretty much jumped the shark, maybe for good (Exact moment: The day the movie 'Cars' was released).
Still, I'm a gearhead. I'll die a gearhead. The 2000's coincided with my twenties; having no debt to speak of, a well-paying job, and no one to answer to besides myself, I wasted as much of my own money and my inheritance on cars as I could. Motorcycles are much cheaper and more fun...wish I'd figured that out 10 years ago. Anyway, onward. This list is pretty-much chronological:
* 1995 Nissan 200SX SE-R: (140hp/FWD). Nickname: "Little Green". My parents bought me this car, brand new, when I was 16. I drove the crap out of it until 2001, when I traded it (and my soul) for a VW Jetta. This car was my first love. I dated my future wife in this car. Yes, it got some rattles after SIX YEARS OF ABUSE. Honestly, I redlined this car every time I drove it if I could.
* 200…