Friday, December 09, 2005

Guiding Light

You know, I think it's hard to take a bad picture of a lighthouse, particularly this one. Sure, Hattaras gets all the big press, but sister Bodie is a beauty in her own right. The Bodie Island lighthouse is just barely visible from the balcony of the condo we usually rent in Manteo (you have to lean over the rail a bit) and is located just across the highway from Coquina Beach. I love this time of year when you can shoot towards the sun without a lot of filtering!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Killing Christmas

As if the non-issues of flag burning (fuck you, Hillary Clinton - you will NEVER be president no matter how many right-wing asses you kiss), gay marriage and the like are not enough distractions from real problems (like, oh, illegal and immoral wars, increase in poverty, totally corrupt ruling party, etc.), professional asshat and sexual predator Bill O'Reilly has decided that there is a left-wing, atheist, Jew-led campaign to kill any public acknowledgement of Christmas.

If it's that important, then by golly I'll help him out. Hey, Bill! Tonight while I was watching the Sinclair Broadcasting-owned WB affiliate (yes, the home of noted left-wing radical
Mark Hyman), they ran a station ID with the tech crew wishing us all "Happy Holidays"! Clearly Sinclair Broadcasting is in league with Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in killing Christmas!

Eternal vigilance is required to keep Christmas safe for
Santa Claus and Baby Jeebus, so help us out here! Report any cases of Christmas killing to Mr. O'Reilly and me as soon as you see them!

Damien Post-surgery Update

Damien's surgery last Thursday went well - he had a tumor removed from his lower jaw and one from his left side just behind his foreleg. The x-rays showed no problems with his lungs. Got a call from the vet today with the results of the labwork on the lumps and to no surprise they were both mast cell tumors - one of the most common types of canine cancer. He's recovering pretty well from the surgery - we finished his antibiotic series today and he'll finish the pain killers tonight. Over the last few months he's had such trouble with his hind legs (he's at least 14 years old now) that it's hard to tell what's causing what. He lost a LOT of weight with the tumor on his mouth but he's eating much better and seems to be getting a little stronger.

Next is a series of scans and stuff next Tuesday, primarily to check his spleen, liver and heart for tumors. If they find anything, I'm afraid the best we'll be able to do is make him as comfortable as we can as long as we can. If they're clean, we'll need to see an oncologist (probably at the NCSU vet school) to talk about radiation, chemo or ... I don't know what else. I know he's got at least 3 or 4 smallish lumps in other places (as I understand it the lumps themselves at that stage are not necessarily the problem - it is the chemicals that they produce that cause things like gastric ulcers and internal bleeding that are the biggest problems). We'll just need to wait and see what the results of next week's tests are.

The good thing at this point is that he's eating better and seems to be feeling better. I'm happy with that for now.

Scandal Season

I've not been posting about the scandals plaguing the Repuglicans in Congress for two reasons - lack of time and the fact that Josh and Kevin and others are doing such a great job of covering them. The Duke Cunningham scandal feels really "retro" - real 70's. Straight bribery and influence peddling with no discernable ideology. The Abramoff thing though is just an awesome mess - an incredible number of people involved and touching so many different areas. I certainly don't have the patience to unravel it so thanks to the political bloggers for taking care of that for us.

The main reason I'm bringing it up now is a couple of posts from Josh indicating that the Repuglican slime machine is starting to try to tie as many Dems as possible to Abramoff in order to make it look like this is not a partisan issue. The Washington Post has already started down this road - if there are 25 Rethugs involved and 1 Dem, then it's a bipartisan issue. Unbelievable - and something we should all be watching for and calling it when we see it. It's not that Dems are necessarily above this kind of thing or inherently more honest - it's more that we don't have any influence to sell. That being said, it has been pointed out by many that it took 40 years of Democratic control of Congress before they even approached the kind of sleaziness the Rethugs managed in just a few short years.

Jonathan Livingston and all his Friends

Took this at the waterfront park in Edenton on the way back from Manteo the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If you've never spent any time there, it's really worth a Saturday afternoon just to poke around and hang out at the park. The main street that runs down to the park seems vital in that small-town NC way - you can catch a movie at the old theater, do a little shopping at the Peebles and spend hours at JennySlash's idea of heaven - an old-timey craft store attached to an old-timey hardware store. There are a couple of interesting-looking restaurants, a collection of some of the most beautiful houses I've ever seen and lots of historical sites. The Barker House on the waterfront has mostly recovered from the damage from Hurricane Isabel a couple of years ago and is open with information on the history of the area (the first permanent settlement in what became North Carolina). There are at least half a dozen B&B's in town, many of which have waterfront views - we haven't checked any of them out yet but undoubtedly will at some point. Check it out!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Signs I'm Getting Old - Technical Convergance Edition

I realize that I'm way the hell outside the target demographic for them (technically savvy, yes, but way too damb old), but I'm not sure I get the latest mobile convergence represented by portable everythings like the Nokia N-series. Okay, so the N80 has "a three-megapixel digital camera, email, MP3 player, personal organizer, game console, and WLAN connectivity". I read that as a crappy camera, a miniscule MP3 capacity until expanded, a game console with a tiny little screen and a personal information manager. What good does having all of this in one package do if each of the things that it does, it doesn't do very well? The N91, which is focused more on the music, has a 4GB hard drive for MP3s but a lower-res camera. Oh, and unlocked versions (in other words, the ones you can get without signing up for a 3-year commitment to some cell service) are running around $1000 US.

There's something really wrong with the TV ads that they're running for convergence devices like these as well. You see the cute 20-something bopping down the street listening to her tunes, switching over to pick up a 5-second phone call, then switching back to her tunes. Tell me, when is the last time you saw Miss Thing walking down the street (or having a coffee at Caribou or checking out at the drugstore or sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office) when she wasn't actually
talking on the phone? Incessantly? Loudly? Something tells me the MP3 component isn't actually going to get much use.

Like I said, I know I'm the wrong demographic and maybe in part it goes back to my discussion of MP3s in general a few weeks ago. I want a higher definition camera, my video games on a bigger screen with better graphics, my MP3s (when listening to a compressed format is acceptable) in the smallest formfactor possible (trying going for a 4 mile run listening to your tunes on an N91) and my cellphone to be as unobtrusive (and as little used) as possible. For the folks that they are marketing this stuff to, it appears (to me at least) that lower quality is an acceptable tradeoff for convenience. Me, I'll continue to festoon myself with various Eagle Creek bags to lug my crap around in and endure the snickers of the younger, hipper, lo-fi generation.