Month: April 2007

Things that make me proud to be a Rhode Islander

I think it is because we take the environment seriously. Granted, politics is screwing rotten as usual and our moral has hit rock bottom (Name the song and group please. If you don’t know it was “Stand or Fall” by the Fixx).

But back to the environment. We have one of the bigger open space initiatives in the country with thousands of acres protected from development. And we even have Environmental Police. I kid you not, they have full jurisdiction when it comes to wooded areas, waterways, etc.

I remember the time I was with my buddy and he tried to put his boat with the 135HP motor in the water where the limit was 15HP. The DEM Police showed up and to this day my friend has a record.

The fact that we have birds of prey nesting in Providence is amazing. For many years the rivers that make up the Providence River (Woonasquatucket and Moshasuck) were disgusting. There are still spots that need cleanup but it is nowhere near as bad as it once was. For one, the river was decked over for many years. It’s only in the last 15 years or so that it hasn’t been covered over.

Another thing is our respect for personal liberties. RI is one of the only states in which roadblocks for DUI are illegal. The .08 limit is ridiculous. It’s all because of FUD spread by MADD. We also have protections for gay people, but no civil marriage yet thanks to the Catholic Church.

Now if we could just clean up campaign finance it’d be utopia.

Things to ponder

Right now we’ve got electricity but we don’t have a net connection per se (I’m piggybacking on a generous neighbors crappy Verizon DSL connection at the moment.) nor do we have natural gas service which means no hot water. And the heating system is having issues, since all the radiators are leaking water. To me it means that the washer on the fill valve is shot. Oh well.

So we’ve still got access to the old place we’ve been showering over there. National grid will be out to turn on the gas today so this was the last day we had to do that. So I did something very interesting this morning.

Usually I don’t got out of the house unless I’ve showered, put deodorant on and put gel in my hair elsewise it’s a curly mess. But this morning, I had my PJ’s on along with my bunny slippers. Since it was raining Charles let me use his car to go over to the place.

Now normally I’d walk it but since it was offered I thought what the hell. The car is a 1989 Ford LTD Crown Victoria, otherwise known as a land yacht. That car is in relatively good shape but for two things. First the shift linkage (Actually a cable, much like that on bicycles) is off a bit. You shift the car to R to start it. Charles has trouble getting it into park but I don’t since I’ve previously drive a Ford with the exact same problem and knew what to do. The other problem is that the brakes need to be fixed since he rode his emergency brake for about 1,200 miles. But for about $1K this car would be cherry!

Anyhow I actually went out with said PJ’s and funny slippers. Quite liberating actually. They say as you get older you just don’t care and I guess that is true.

Lifes little coincidences

I’m not a gamer per se, but I do love the Grand Theft Auto games. I own both GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas. Vice City being set in Miami ala Scarface, and San Andreas is a fictional state, with parallels to LA, SF, and even Las Vegas.

In San Andreas the main characters name is Carl and he lives on Grove Street.

And wouldn’t you know, we just moved and what street can I see from my living room (The place is at an angle and sees both the street we live on and the street in question.)? I can see Grove Street.

You just can’t put down a G can you.

I’m loving the new iPod

So the other day I finally made the jump. I’ve had three different digital audio devices over the past decade or so.

The first was an RCA Lyra with I believe 32MB of memory. Since it was my first it was my constant companion until it started to disintegrate. That was about when the MP3 player market exploded but I wasn’t about to buy another and find it fall apart after a year or so.

The next was a Dell DJ Ditty that shipped with my new computer. Didn’t actually cost me anything, had 512MB of memory, in essence a USB stick with MP3 codecs and a headphone jack. The problem was the headphone jack, a poor solder joint consigned that one to the junk heap.

Everyone I work with has an iPod. One guy has both an iPod and a Microsoft Zune. I got to play with both and determined that not only did Microsoft cripple the crap out of the Zune via DRM, the interface was klunky and poorly done.

I also realized that hard drives don’t last very long when subject to vibration or regular bouncing around. So I picked up an 8GB Nano. It’s maybe 1/4″ thick, about 3″ long and 1.5 inches wide. Weighs next to nothing.

I do note that shuffle play isn’t really random. I noticed this with iTunes too. For example, I just heard a Stephanie Mills track that I really like so I five-starred it. Then suddenly my random shuffle starts toward her, Candy Staton, etc.

Like this morning, a little Luther Vandross, then Levert, a nice Sunday morning mix

Battery life is pretty good. I used it all day yesterday while we were moving and most of the morning today before the little battery indicator went into the red.

And now I can finally take my podcasts mobile! Right now the only two I regularly listen to are Learn Italianpod and KBCS’s City Soul program. And even though it doesn’t do video that is just fine with me, that’s what my digital camcorder is for.

Speaking of the digital camcorder, this morning I captured the audio from a neighborhood resident. Yes, we have a woodpecker in the neighborhood. The cats are most amused.

Of course I can just imagine my next visit with my audiologist. She reads this blog on occasion and I’m sure she’ll be horrified that I’m blasting music into my ear canals. But just so she knows, I’m careful with the device, constantly adjusting the volume and even setting the max volume level several notches below the proverbial 11. I’m also going to plunk down the $149 for the Shure noise blocking earphones. That way I won’t be tempted to ratchet up the volume because outside noise leaks in.

The only dangerous part of blocking almost all outside noise is that you have to be especially cognizant when crossing a street.
Which brings up another thing, what happens when we go all electric? The only noise the car will make is from the road resistance to the tires, which isn’t much to begin with.