Friday, March 26, 2010

The Thousand Days

The world will end on December 21, 2012. It says so on the Internet.

Okay, so maybe the Web isn't the most reliable news source, but when Google returns 26,100,000 hits for the search "end of the world 2012" (sans quotes), something serious is going on, right? Even if you believe you'll wake up on December 22 wondering how you'll get out of visiting your family on Christmas or forgiving yourself for drinking egg nog for breakfast, millions of other folks are already making plans for the coming Apocalypse, zombie or otherwise.

How will you spend your last 1000 days? Freaked out? Proseletyzing for Seth or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or refusing to take it seriously? Me, I'm going to blog them. Maybe not every day, or even most of them, but enough to keep all of you glued to your seats. Want to know what the Mayans really said about 2012? Or how solar flares/continents/floodwaters/comets are going to kill us all? Ever wondered who or what Nibiru is? What does our old friend Nostradamus have to add? What about Hollywood's take?

Then stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Note to Mainers

Congratulations on your new car horn!

Your car's horn is designed to get the attention of other drivers, as well as dogs, children, and other pests that are occasionally impediments to safe driving.

Your car's horn is not to be used indiscriminately at 5am in front of your friend's house because you're too lazy to get out of your car and knock on his door yourself.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Infrastructure Blues

Just before Christmas, the Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2008 Infrastructure Report Card. The report covers fourteen aspects of Maine infrastructure, from roads to ports to parks to wastewater treatment, and more. The grading scale goes from 'A' (exceptional) to 'D' (poor). There is no 'F' rating. As anyone who lives here could have guessed, the results for Maine were not good.

Maine received 'D' or 'D+' grades in five of the fourteen categories: Contaminated Site Remediation, Dams, Municipal Wastewater, Bridges, and Roads. (The overall grade for the state was a 'C-', just barely above poor.) A simpler way of looking at this is that, according to the ASCE at least, one-third of the state's infrastructure is failing.

This report only underscores my observation that Maine has the worst roads I've ever driven. Only the Interstates and the tourist-heavy coastal Route 1 approach any state of driver- or car-friendliness, by my experience. (By ASCE standards, only the Maine Interstate meets any kind of 'good' condition.) In addition, a closer look at the report reveals that Mainers spend on average 285 extra dollars per year on "extra vehicle operating costs," amounting to $286 million statewide. (No wonder my mechanic is the happiest Mainer I've ever met.)

What will it take to get things to change? A massive bridge collapse like the I-35 in Minneapolis? Let's hope not. Will Obama's proposed infrastructure cash infusion help? It couldn't hurt, and Maine obviously desperately needs it. But it'll come a little too late to save me money: I'm having new struts put on my car this week. One week into the new year and I'll be over the $285 dollar average. I can't wait to see what the next fifty-one weeks will bring.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The AT Book Review: The Archivist

Let me start by saying, yes, I read a chick-lit book. For the record, I have also watched numerous Jane Austen adaptations, and on my other blog will be forcing myself to watch National Velvet one day soon. I'm so evolved.

Let me finish by saying that this example of the genre is an execrable time-waster. An indulgent, navel-gazing snoozefest. The "hero" is so repressed, so restrained, so flat, that I can't see why anyone would ever take an interest in him. And to sum it up: he burns the letters. Archival trash, indeed.

THE VERDICT: Failing archival students will be assigned this book as punishment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Love TV (Sometimes)

Arts education PSA. You'll spit your Raisin Brahms all over your monitor.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Netflixations 2

As a public service, some recent viewings courtesy of the good people at Netflix:

Wire in the Blood
-- Psychopaths, gore, murder, and mayhem. If these are your cup of tea, then WitB is the show for you. We're two seasons through this, and although we can't say we always enjoy the spatter, it's good to see some quality TV, and of course the British accents lend that touch of class. And for the ladies, there's Robson Green (whose chemistry with Hermione Norris is so hot that even though they never do anything, you'll feel like they did.)

Extras -- Thoroughly uncomfortable to watch, like Seinfeld, only better. And so low-key that if you're not paying full attention, you'll miss the best lines. Each episode features a celebrity playing him/herself -- Kate Winslet cursing and touching herself while wearing a nun's habit is a must-see.

Burn Notice -- Okay, it's shallow, set in Miami, and its female co-star is so skinny that you want to hold her down and force-feed her milkshake after milkshake. But it's all in good fun, Sharon Gless and Bruce Campbell are a treat, as is watching our disgraced spy try to figure out how he landed in the fire. (And does anyone else ever read the show title as Bum Notice?)

Saving Grace -- The wife and I are split on this one: she gives it thumbs up, while I say thumbs sideways. The way-too-thin Holly Hunter stars as a way-too-hard-living detective in Oklahoma City who's visited by an angel named Earl, who wants her to change her life. Yeah, lots of Christianity for everyone in here, plus all the cowboy boots, oil fields, chaw, yee-hawness, and billy-bobbery you can stand. Still, Season 1 gets better as it goes along, and Hunter does, as usual, a tremendous acting job.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Long Overdue Return

No, not me. Blimp rides, that is. Or should I say Zeppelin rides. A California company, Airship Ventures, has begun offering the first passenger-zeppelin rides in the US since the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. A one-hour ride, from either Mountain View or Oakland, California, will set you back just $495. Sounds like the perfect gift for those software and wine company execs who haven't yet lost everything. Oh, and don't call them blimps: "Zeppelins have a light, rigid metal and carbon fiber framework that is covered with a synthetic canvas hull - just waiting to be adorned with your company logo for yet another fee. Blimps do not have internal rigid frames." Aren't you glad that's cleared up?