Items for a Saturday Afternoon

  • Item The First. We Has New TV. Well, actually, we has old hotel TV. Let me explain. Our main TV was a 27″ JVC TV that we got around 1999 after our old house was burgled. In the last few months, it had an odd problem: the top of the image seemed aimed down (i.e., we had a black bar just at the top), and the real top of the image was reflected upside down over the part just below it. It’s hard to describe, but it looked sorta-like this:

    In any case, we looked at TVs from BestBuy and the like, and they were all around $400, all seemingly HDTV, and all flat-screen. We just wanted a cheap replacement. Luckily GFG is on the mailing list for a Hotel Surplus Outlet, and we were able to replace the TV with an RCA 27″ for just around $70. The DirecTV remote works it just fine. What’s interesting is all the extra plugs on the back for things like security systems.

    P.S.: Who can identify the show in the fake TV image?

  • Item The Second. My condolences go out to the families of those injured or killed in the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash, which wasn’t that far from our house (about 6 miles), and was walking distance from my inlaws. Reports are that the Metrolink engineer missed or ignored the signal. Too, too, tragic. I was pleased that Californians for Obama did send out a message for folks telling them how to help:

    Many of you have asked what you can do to help. The UCLA Blood and Platelet Center will be open Monday through Friday to accept blood donations. Healthy donors of all blood types are needed to donate blood. Appointments can be made by calling 310-794-7217 ext. 2. Contact the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS or visit for other information about blood donation or ways you can help.

  • Item the Third. Remember when Tom Lehrer indicated that parody was dead. Well, it’s dead again. Evidently the new season and upcoming seasons on Broadway aren’t giving Gerald Alessandrini enough material, and so Forever Broadway is closing after the current incarnation. Supposedly it will still tour, but it was great while it lasted.
  • Item The Fourth. Speaking of reviews of entertainment icons, Roger Ebert has an interesting take on Sarah Palin — it looks like it is thumbs down from the balcony (and new information is coming out all the time, such as how she hired friends and fired critics). However, her 15 minutes in the limelight may be over, as the focus seems to be returning to the heads of the ticket: Obama and McCain, and what their positions are. Of course, it is getting harder and harder to determine them, especially based on the McCain ads which are stretching the truth even more than usual for a campaign (and the distortions are getting even more coverage).
  • Item The Fifth. You know how you may soon be able to use the Internet on an aircraft. All well and good. But don’t try to VOIP. They’re blocking that. Of course, folks will surely find a way to get around it (and don’t call me Shirley).

Some tidbits from the news, plus a few other things…


Some Unrelated Entries

  • For some reason, I’ve been very hesistant to connect my iPod to iTunes today. I hope it syncs when I do finally connect it.

    ETA: Hmmm, others are having a freezing problem… yup, seems to be a problem

  • We took this afternoon off to visit Universal Hollywood. They are now using a fingerprint reader for annual pass holders. I was curious to see some of the changes in store, such as the Curious George Wet Zone (not there yet), the removal of Marvel characters (not quite yet), and the progress on the Simpsons (there’s a fake Kwik-E-Mart). By the way, I do want to recommend the FunLand blog at the LA Times for theme park news, as well as the Re-Imagineering Blog.
  • I finished the march through the highways that I started in December. Now I just have to make a pass to see if there were any oddities in the statutes, or if Nathan uncovered any early routes I need to add. I’m just not worrying about the Freeway and Expressway system. But I think completing this project will be the extent of the January updates — my normal stuff will wait until February.

    When I upload the pages, however, it will be bad news for some folks. My software that generates the pages from the individual highway entries creates files with 8 highways per file. Those have been static for a while. However, doing the march I discovered two old routes, almost phantom routes, I didn’t have in my lists: 294 and 296. These two entries will potentially change the file assignment for everything above 294. Oh well, I guess that happens. I guess, when I upload, I should put a notice in misc.transport.road.

  • I’ve been thinking a bit about “the midlife crisis”, given what tomorrow is. I think another word for a midlife crisis is exhaustion. You’re just plain exhausted of adult responsibilities after so many year, and want to be childish, and have a child’s responsibilities again. In other words, thinking “If only I had just my chores, and didn’t have to provide a solid income for my family”. That’s what prompts the bursts of irrational behavior. Which reminds me… I really do need to schedule mine :-).

Various and Sundry Weekend Observations

  • I got a haircut this morning at my usual place. The discussion was what I expect: Football at Alabama, Football at UCLA, and who was getting them their next cup of coffee.
  • Next Friday (our 23rd wedding anniversary) I’m taking a day off of work and taking the family to Universal Hollywood. This was about the only day I could do it before school starts, and we’ll do a nice anniversary dinner up on Citywalk. I debated between one day tickets (at about $46 each with a coupon), or getting an annual pass ($62, through the credit union). As Universal is only ½hr away, I decided to go with the pass. It will pay for itself in two visits, and that will be easier to do over the year. I actually haven’t been to Universal Studios proper since I was a boy, and they just had the studio tour.
  • This evening, we’re going out to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the DCI World Championships. It should be good; according to the front page of DCI, the top three corps are within one point of each other. The corps in the final, in marching order, are Spirit from JSU, Colts, Glassmen, Boston Crusaders, Blue Knights, Bluecoats, Carolina Crown, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, The Cavaliers, The Cadets, Blue Devils. Expect a review tonight or tomorrow. There was a nice article on the upcoming finals in today’s LA Times.
  • Tomorrow, while the wife and daughter go out shopping with ixixlix, I’m going to stay home and work on the highway pages. I’ve got over a month backlog, so it should be a busy day.

Now, What Was I Saying?

  • We really need more van drivers. Out of our three drivers, one is on vacation for the next two weeks, and the other is on business travel four out of five days, at least. So, guess who gets to drive both ways?
  • I seem to have had more (mild) headaches than usual this week. My doctor has given me a referral to a Headache Clinic, with a relatively famous doctor who has an even more famous sister. Alas, (a) I can’t confirm the doctor or the clinic is a Blue Cross PPO member; and (b) because of the van and work, I probably can’t get in until the end of May anyway.
  • Adding to the headache, nsshere has been more whiney than usual this week. Parents, when dealing with your toddlers, just be thankful. They eventually turn into teenagers.
  • I did receive some interesting mail from Nashville. There are some interesting events when we’ll be there, although I don’t think we’ll be able to see Chicago, due to the reunion. We might be able to see Church Basement Ladies, which sounds potentially interesting. We will also hit the Let Freedom Sing celebration on the 4th.
  • We will be meeting shutterbug93 for breakfast tomorrow morning. Alas, we have no theatre this weekend. Our next show is Saturday 5/5, when ussens and ellipticcurve will be going to see Bush is Bad: The Musical.
  • That’s about it. I think this week has fried my brains. I hear they are quite tasty, with a side of fries.
  • And speaking of fried brains, I did want to mention some interesting passings this week. Of course, everyone by now has heard about the deaths of Jack Valenti, father of the movie rating system, and Mstislav Rostropovich, famous cellist and conductor. We also lost Bobby “Boris” Pickett, who did the mash (it was a graveyard smash); Warren Avis, the founder of Avis Rent-A-Car who always tried harder (as opposed to putting you in the driving seat); and Howard Larman, co-host with his wife Roz of the Folk Scene on KPFK, a seminal folk music radio show.

And with that, I think I’ll go lie down. I will remind folks of my Three-and-Three meme offer.