Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Don't Like Change. I Don't Like Change. I DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

In mid-'98 I moved from Metairie, LA to New Jersey and took a job with what would probably be called a dot-com company. Things with the company are rocky right now, and I'm considering leaving. I used to love working with this company, but things changed.

In mid-'98, all things considered, I enjoyed life, I was proud to be an American, and I think we had it pretty good in America. Diebold happened in 2000 & 2004, and things changed.

In mid-'99 I bought a house, and simultaneously signed up for Speakeasy DSL Internet service, which I've had continuously since then. My SE service is slower and more expensive than Comcast cable or Verizon DSL service, but the service/support and liberal Terms of Service are so refreshing and outstanding that I've done nothing but rave about Speakeasy for the 8 years I've been a customer. Last spring I cancelled my Verizon phone service and moved my home phone service over to the Speakeasy DSL line as well. Then, this morning I received an email from Speakeasy informing me that Best Buy has bought SE. According to the email, nothing will change. I don't believe it. I'm willing to give the new, Best Buy-owned Speakeasy a chance, if for no other reason than changing will be a major pain, but I expect things to change for the worse over the next 6 months to a year.

I Don't Like Change. In fact, I'm thinking I ought to make that the name of this blog.

There is a potential upside to this, though. My neighbor recently got Verizon FIOS. For $99/month, he's getting digital TV to 2 different TVs in his home, VOIP, and unprecedently fast Internet service. For a while I've wondered if maybe I should cancel SE and get cable or Verizon, in order to spend less and get faster service, but I always stuck with SE for the less mainstream benefits - liberal TOS, 2 static IPs, competent and friendly tech support, news servers, free national dial-up, etc.... If SE begins to suck and eliminates all of those benefits, I'll simply grab FIOS and save money while surfing at much higher speeds. Things could be worse.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Saved from watching yet another TV show.

A few minutes ago my lovely wife Jessica called me while on her way home, to ask me to record a television show for her. Specifically, CSI:Miami.

Now, I don't really care for police dramas, and it seems that lately there is ALWAYS at least one episode of Law & Order or CSI running on some channel or another. However, I grudgingly moved my lazy butt to the den and recorded the show for her. There was no time to program the VCR, so I turned the TV on to CBS and waited the 2 minutes for the show to begin, so I could use Instant Record and tape the full hour automatically.

The result is that I was watching as the show began, and saw the bit before the opening credits roll. Now, as I said above, I don't usually like police shows, and CSI is no exception. I have minimal interest in watching these shows, and never seek them out.

The beginning of this episode began to hook me, however. The scene was interesting, and I started thinking about carrying the laptop and AC Adapter into the den so I could watch the show as I worked and browsed the web. Then, just before the credits rolled and the commercials aired, the star of the show, that guy from NYPD Blue, opened his mouth and said a few typically 'smug'n'smarmy' lines, and I remembered why I never want to watch this particular show.

Thank you Mr. Caruso, for sparing me the desire to waste an additional hour of my life in front of the boob tube.*

*For those of us that really do want to see boobs, why can't the boob tube return to the old-fashioned glory days of Jiggle-TV, like Three's Company and Charlie's Angels? 8-) The only boobs that frequent TV nowadays seem to be on CSpan or Fox 'News'.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Take it down to a bite-size chunk.

Climate Change.

Major Pet Peeve: The proper term for the environmental changes occurring right now is CLIMATE CHANGE, **NOT** Global Warming.

When the process is called Global Warming, it frames the situation such that it can easily be disputed by unseasonably cold or snowy weather, when, in fact, extreme climate swings in both directions are occurring.

Now, aside from pedantry, what's the point of this post? I had an idea this morning. As a child, I recall there were frequent occasions in Sunday School Hebrew School, or other synagogue-related events where donations were solicited to plant trees in Israel. I could easily be mistaken, but I believe that this organized program soliciting American Jewry to donate funds to Israel, specifically for large-scale planting and production of TREES in Israel, played a large part in transforming Israel to a vibrant oasis capable of self-sustenance.

Now, I read something this morning about the USA refusing to sign some treaty, having something to do with trees having an effect in combatting climate change. (Aside: I was unsure of the proper spelling for combatting - one t or two? Turns out, www.dictionary.com lists both spellings. Some authority.) I depressingly filed that article under 'more of the same' and didn't pursue it. But it sparked an idea related to the idea of planting trees in Israel 30 years ago.

The whole climate change crisis seems awfully daunting and overwhelming to me, and probably most other folks. Practically speaking, I've got pretty much all I can handle just keeping my day-to-day life together and my mortgage paid. I don't have the resources to erect solar panels on my roof, as much as I'd love to lower my monthly utility payments. I'm not prepared to trade in my V6 Station Wagon (indulgent, I know, but I love the car) on a $25k Prius, and can't lose the functionality of my wife's minivan.

BUT, I can probably plant an additional tree in my backyard.

I doubt it would solve the problem on it's own, and would undoubtedly just be a small part of a larger solution, but maybe if large numbers of people, all over the world, made a committment to simply plant one tree somewhere, maybe that could help.

And if some capable group organized a legitimate effort to solicit tree-planting world-wide, so much the better.

As for me, I'll just try to plant the tree near the edge of my yard, so the leaves land closer to the curb, minimizing the additional raking I need to do every fall.

Sign Of The Times

What some call Bush-bashing, others call THINKING.