The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, Debtember 18, 2006

Oh how I long for the Monopolistic Power Company here in Florida




It wasn't my alarm, in this case, my cell phone (the actual alarm clock long having died on me) as that starts out very soft and gradually gets louder (a very cool feature that).

Nope, this was a loud inscessent beep.

It was then I realized it was the UPS.

Yup. Power failure.

I roll out of bed, confirm the power outage (yup—bathroom lights don't turn on—we's got no power) and start the process of shutting down the computers.


I later learn that Lake Worthless Utilities were doing maintenance on the power lines in our neighborhood and hadn't bothered to inform anyone they where doing that.

Lovely bunch of fellows there.


I swear, I'm getting ready to tell our customers to shove it and use GMail; we don't handle email anymore.

Parable of the Stairs

The other day a young girl came to the door to solicit my support for her presidential candidate. I asked her why I should vote for this man. She was very nice and earnest, but if you got her off the talking points she was utterly unprepared to argue anything, because she didn't know what she was talking about. She had bullet points, and she believed that any reasonable person would see the importance of these issues and naturally fall in line. But she could not support any of her assertions. Her final selling point: Kerry would roll back the tax cuts.

Then came the Parable of the Stairs, of course. My tiresome, shopworn, oft-told tale, a piece of unsupportable meaningless anecdotal drivel about how I turned my tax cut into a nice staircase that replaced a crumbling eyesore, hired a few people and injected money far and wide—from the guys who demolished the old stairs, the guys who built the new one, the family firm that sold the stone, the other firm that rented the Bobcats, the entrepreneur who fabricated the railings in his garage, and the guy who did the landscaping. Also the company that sold him the plants. And the light fixtures. It's called economic activity. Whatss more, home improvements added to the value of this pile, which mean that my assessment would increase, bumping up my property taxes. To say nothing of the general beautification of the neighborhood. Next year, if my taxes didn't shoot up, I had another project planned. Raise my taxes, and it won't happen—I won't hire anyone, and they won't hire anyone, rent anything, buy anything. You see?

“Well, it's a philosophical difference,” she sniffed. She had pegged me as a form of life last seen clilcking the leash off a dog at Abu Ghraib. “I think the money should have gone straight to those people instead of trickling down.” Those last two words were said with an edge.

“But then I wouldn't have hired them,” I said. “I wouldn't have new steps. And they wouldn't have done anything to get the money.”

“Well, what did you do?” she snapped.

“What do you mean?”

“Why should the government have given you the money in the first place?”

“They didn't give it to me. They just took less of my money.”

That was the last straw. Now she was angry. And the truth came out:

“Well, why is it your money? I think it should be their money.”

Then she left.

And walked down the stairs. I let her go without charging a toll. It's the philanthropist in me.

James Lileks: A minor political note, if you're interested in such thing

My guess, the girl worked for a PIRG where knowledge of a particular issue isn't a requirement to work for them (link from Jane Galt).

Archie in the 21st Century

So I learn that Archie Comics are getting a face lift with a new direction in art. It seems odd to think that Archie & Co. will have a whole new look—what caused this to happen? Wasn't the old house style good enough?

But when you look closer at past (70s) Archie (50s and 80s) comics (60s) you can see the style has changed over time—it's not as static as people make it out to be.

And perhaps the Archie company realized they needed to update the look of the comic to remain relevant (and more importantly—solvent!) in these modern days. After all, they know their market better than I do (heck, I don't even buy Archie comics anymore) and it's the obsessive catering to the hard-core fan that has gotten DC and Marvel into the mess they're in today (wherein the story lines are hopelessly messy, and any new time buyer is going to be totally lost without buying about a thousand dollars worth of back issues across all their titles—in other words, they aren't new reader or casual reader friendly).

But it sure would go down easier if the artwork was even halfway decent.


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