January 11, 2006

The weather has turned so unseasonably warm today that even first thing this morning without any sunlight the house was managing to hold at temperature in the low sixties without the furnace kicking on to help it. At night we generally set the thermostat down to fifty-seven degrees and close off all of the rooms that we don’t need to heat at night to save on fuel costs. With the skyrocketing oil prices it is important to use as little as possible. The grass is green and the sun is shining. And it is mid-January. What a strange place New York is.

Today is the final day of the first year with my CPAP. I can’t believe that it has been a year all ready. And I only just paid it off this week! It is interesting that the CPAP keeps track of the amount of time that I sleep so that I have a way to see how much sleep I get in a year. I have never had such an accurate amount of information about that before. An actual count of an entire year’s sleep. Weird.

Dad has to go to Batavia this morning to see his doctor so that he can have the last of his stitches removed from his fingers. Most of the stitches are all ready out but the last few need to be taken out up there.

I missed the trash pickup again today. It is awful trying to get out there before they leave. They pick up the garbage just minutes after Dominica leaves for work. They used to come a bit later then that so I am used to having time to think about it before they came. Now I remember just in time to look out the window and see them pulling away. At least we generate so little trash around here these days that it isn’t all that important. We could really get away with only getting our trash picked up once a month or so.

For those of you who do not live in the Rochester area and are not aware of our big news up here: the Fast Ferry (aka. the Fast Failure) is finally done. The new mayor of Rochester who is, apparently, not getting the same awesome kickback that the former mayor must have been getting (is that considered giving him the benefit of the doubt over being mentally incapacitated and being controlled by monkey on crack which is the only other reasonable option?), said last night that the City of Rochester would immediately stop putting any more money into the ferry. It has been losing $1,000,000 a month all year in 2005. The first company that ran the ferry lost a fortune. Everyone involved with the ferry in any way has lost a fortune. There was no business plan for the thing at all. The new mayor said that if they raised the prices by twenty percent (which are all ready so high that no one can afford to ride the ferry compared to driving or taking the Amtrak route – both of which are faster and more convenient as well) and managed to back the boat to seventy-five percent capacity on every single run that the city would manage to lose only two million dollars a year!! But that is only the beginning of the story. Because the entire ferry infrastructure is only designed to transport Americans to Canada it also means a high level of lost revenue as Rochesterians begin to do more and more shopping in Toronto instead of at home. The ferry was really an instrument to lower Rocehster’s revenue base. Sure Canadians were welcome to ride the ferry to Rochester. But unlike Americans going north to land in the middle of a giant city with a great public transportation infrastructure that will carry them wherever they want to go Canadians landing at the Port of Rochester find themselves stranded a significant distance from the city of Rochester which is a significant distance from anyplace that anyone would want to go. Rochester itself is in no way a destination. You never hear people from Buffalo or Syracuse talking about how much they would love to go visit Rochester or shop in Rochester. The big malls are elsewhere. The big downtown is elsewhere. What does Rochester have to offer over any other city in the region. Nothing to visitors. And the city is built in such a way as to reflect that. Nothing exists in the downtown area. Hotels are all on the outskirts. The safe parts of the metroplex are far from downtown. Shopping and culture (what little there is) is all out in the suburbs. And if you are a Canadian visitor to the city you had better have a really good grasp of how to get around in Rochester without a car. I have no idea how to do it. It isn’t like we are a big city with major taxi services. The buses don’t go directly from one place to another. You really have to know the bus service and you will be forced to go to a lot of really bad neighborhoods. Even Canadians with their own cars would have a tough time having a good time in Rochester short of visiting the mall (as if that is some sort of entertainment) but as far as doing anything else… what would that entail? I have no idea.

As you can tell, I am pretty passionate about the whole ferry thing. It has been a blight on the Rochester region for the past few years and a total embarrasment to the people who actually have to live here. Just last year Erie County (Buffalo, for those of you not familiar with what used to be America’s second largest city) managed to drive itself into bankrupcy and with the Rochester economy suffering even more than most with the digital imaging revolution devastating the chemical imaging manufacturing capital we were very fearful of Monroe County suffering the same fate as our neighbor.

Formor Mayor Johnson will now be teaching, of all things, ethics at RIT. What an embarrassment for RIT. I have heard that a lot of major sponsors of the school are pulling out their funding because they are so disgusted by this move. Johnson doesn’t even have a degree from a real school, just Howard in DC which is world famous for its racial hatred propaganda. Just the kind of background we need for an ethics professor.

I have decided to compile some links on opinion for the Fast Ferry. From: Andi_67, KeithN, The Green Knight, Commaroto.

Jonathan Schwartz, President of SUN Microsystems, in his blog today talks a little about the CES show going on in Las Vegas but also has a cute little poke at Dell’s poor just juxtaposition of their ads in conjunction with SUN’s recent “Rhymes with Hell” campaign.

I had to drive down to Dansville this afternoon around 4:00 for the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce After Hours event that gets held once a month. I only make to one out of three events or so. This event was held at Noyes Hospital so I really wanted to go because I have never had a chance to be inside of the hospital. I left a little late because I only know so many people at these events and there is always a little bit of awkwardness if you are there for too long so I wanted to limit the amount of time that I would be there since I was going by myself.

I arrived home just a little after 7:00. I realized on my way home that my car’s headlights are not working. Fortunately the bright beams at least work so I had to drive all of the way home with just the brights on because there are no low beams at all. I wonder when and how that happened. One more thing that I have to deal with this week. Tomorrow probably because it is tough not really being able to drive after dark.

If you are looking for some serious cuteness check out CuteOverload.

I heard a really good talk by Jamais Cascio at Accellerating Change 2005 about world wide individualized surveillance. He covers some really interesting stuff.

I was talking to Jeremy over IM tonight. Apparently a teenager from Pavilion was riding a four wheeler around in front of the York High School (where Jeremy currently attends and where I graduated from) and pulled out in front of an eighteen wheeler and was killed. We don’t know any details but that is the rough story that I have heard thus far.

I was listening to another interview today that was talking about online gambling (mostly poker, I think) and one of the questions put to the guy who works at an online “casino” was that the people who are winning money must be taking that money out of other people’s pockets and isn’t that kind of irresponsible. I thought that that was a pretty bizarre question. When can we ever make money that we aren’t taking it away from someone else. Shining someone’s shoes for a quarter is taking advantage of the vanity of the person wearing the shoes. But no one ever blames the shoe-shine-boy for the leather shoe wearing man’s financial woes. You can take this to any situation. Can you blame the burger flipper for being hired by Wendy’s? That poor Wendy’s manager who isn’t allowed to cook the burgers himself. He is forced to give away his unearned money to that kid who ruthlessly flips his burgers and takes his money. What weirdness is that?

No one is going to believe this but Urinal Cakes is finally posting again after a break of four months. I didn’t think that he was ever going to post on his blog again. I guess that situations like this really show the value of syndication because I got his blog just minutes after he posted even though I haven’t checked in on his site in a few months. Cool.

For everyone who isn’t familiar with the Event Database… check out Eventful. It is an events database that is designed to handle all events and all venues everywhere that you can look up all in a single location. Pretty neat stuff but pretty nacent right now.

Dominica got home and cooked dinner before we sat down to watch, yes again, TNG. For some reason tonight seemed like a really short night. It seemed like we had barely sat down on the couch before it was time for bed.

While we were watching the DVDs tonight I installed Microsoft Streets and Trips 2006 on my laptop and got my new GPS unit installed. Even sitting in the middle of my living room it was instantly able to lock in my location and show where I was on the map. Pretty neat. I have never used a GPS unit before. It is a really simple thing (not technologically but in use) but they still aren’t so prevelant that it seems second nature to have a device that just magically knows exactly where you are at all time. Neato. I am going to have a lot of fun playing with this. When using Windows XP it even gives me the ability to get driving directions read to me. Cool. I can see that being handy from time to time although getting maps on the Pocket PC will probably be the most useful thing.

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