Ashley Richards

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Are Y’all Yeller?

May 26th, 2004 Posted in Madness

Terror Alert Level

So another wonderful holiday is coming up where children can be carefree, Summer. But wait, we don’t want you to be too carefree now would we? So we’ll just announce that there’s a terror threat. It’s just that like every over protective parent, we want you to be safe.

No, that’s not it. We want to protect us and our friends who hate it when protesters show up at our nice little get-togethers, like the G8 party we’re throwing in Sea Island, Georgia.

You’re probably thinking that I’ve gone off the deepend here with another conspiracy theory. Well, I haven’t. You see by stating that there’s a eminent threat of a terror attack this summer, they have now given the governor of Georgia a valid excuse for having declared on May 7 a State of Emergency starting Monday through the time of the G8 Summit. And as it happens, just last week the town on the mainlaid that nearest to Sea Island, Brunswick, passed a little law making it legal for the police to terminate protests for any reason when there’s a State of Emergency in Georgia. Well, isn’t that just dandy!

According to this article,
“Melton said the governor did not know that Brunswick planned to amend its law to allow for suspension of protest rights under a state of emergency. And Brunswick Mayor Brad Brown said he didn’t know the governor had already declared a state of emergency until after the city adopted the legal change.”
However, since Georgia declared a State of Emergency when the Olympics were held there it is no surprise that they would call another one during the G8. Oh and Gov. Purdue is the first Republican to hold that office since Reconstruction. So, he probably wants to be in the good books with the party and the President. With this in mind, you can interpret their actions only as collusion to keep protesters away from the Summit.

The area of Sea Island has close ties with the Bush family. Ma and Pa Bush honeymooned at this island/private resort and return often. The resort hosts the Walker golf tournament, which is named after Bush’s grandfather, George Herbert Walker. Even Sea Island’s CEO admits they have ties to the President. Georgia Trend Magzine quotes the reasons as to why they were picked as the venue, “That includes security, it includes the fact that we have a Republican governor, we have military bases nearby and we have a reputation for service. When you put all that together, I believe we were their No. 1 choice and they recommended us to the President. The President probably got some input from his father, though I have no reason to know [whether] that happened. I like to believe that [the former] President Bush would have been supportive.”

So everyone is scratching each other’s back on this event. Not surprising, but in the end the little guy loses out yet again resulting in a potential ban of protesters who are looking out for the little guy. But why are they all so afraid of the little guy?

I’m not holding my breath that the ACLU will have any luck getting the law changed. Everyone best be on their best behavior there, because there is a chance that what happened in Seattle will happen again.

So just remember that the terror level is set at yeller.

Summer’s Here and Everyone’s Busy

May 17th, 2004 Posted in Stuff

This was probably one of the first weekends that the question, “What should we do?” came up. It was more like “What shouldn’t we do?” It was as if all the events organizers were trying to keep people from going to their little festivals. NextFest takes the cake on that one, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Saturday I lucked out in the morning and got all the frames I could possibly need and then some at the annual Mountain View Community Yard Sale and City-Wide Garage Sale where you can rent space at the local park to sell your crap or stay at your home with your crap in your driveway. And the town advertises and has a lovely little map to all the garage sales along with a list of the crap being sold at each home. I wish more towns would run days like this. Unfortunately I did not find suitable patio furniture or a desk.

After buying crap, we went into town and looked at artsy crap. Well, not all of it was crap. There were a number of outstanding photographers,. of course I can’t remember their names, as well as silver and goldsmiths. And while browsing for crap you can munch on food from local restaurants and do some wine and beer sampling. The alcohol bit was limited to two stands along with the selection.

Then I went and looked for more crap at IKEA and Home Depot come home only with wicker chairs and paint.

Sunday brought more crap – the techie kind. We arrived at NextFest after sitting and dodging traffic due to the Bay to Breakers Race. Both Brendon and I forgot that it was this past weekend, so when we followed the directions that the good people at NextFest put on their site it brought us directly into the path of the race. You’d think that the event organizers would have had a clue and routed people arriving from the Peninsula around it via 280, which by the way would have been a better route anyway. Well, their lack of understanding of traffic extended into the venue itself. There was no sense of flow to the space so people got backed up between displays and you could necessarily see all the exhibits unless you elbowed, punched and pushed your way through to them.

I saw most of the displays except half of the health exhibits and the special shows on the stage. Next year they need a bigger main stage seating area so everyone in attendance can see the shows, not just the first 100 people or so. Some of the cool crap, in my opinion, that we saw was

  • electric paper – the venue had free standing signs throughout that were hooked up to a wireless next work, so they could change the signs to announce upcoming shows. Pretty neat.
  • HP e-book – Still not a replacement for a book but getting there. I asked about the whole eye fatigue issue and the HP guy said that they’re working on it. They scanned pages from an old paperback to mimic the texture of paper. Cool, but I’m still not giving up books.

  • vocalization software that sings – didn’t really hear it but Brendon said that it sounded good but still a bit artifical. It sang the national anthem at the Giants-Phillies game and people booed. Booing the national anthem…treason!
  • Smart Car sports car – it has more trunk space than the original smart car, seats only two people, and is cute!
  • Mindball game – I don’t know the proper name for it however it’s a pretty sweet game you play on a table and you control the 1 inch ball’s movement with your mind. Don’t ask me how it works, probably has to do with brain wave activity, but the kids loved. And some obnoxious socially inept Geeks who pushed literally kids out of the way to use it. I saw that happen way too many times at various displays.

Crappy techie crap – there wasn’t any crappy tech that I could see, but there was stuff that just didn’t wow me. One that I thought that’s had technology that could be put to better use was the Long Distance Dodge Ball. The whole purpose of dodge ball is inflict pain on your opponents and to make you run out of fear of getting hit. Instead you’re looking at a screen of the people on the other side and trying to hit their images. People already have issues with video games desensitizing kids to violence. Imagine what’s going to happen with this one.

Weird crap – genetically engineered tobacco – the new wacky tobacky? It would be an interesting way to keep a lot of people employed if people ever stopped smoking. The idea is that the biotech tobacco would easily produce ingredients for pharmaceuticals that otherwise would cost a lot of money to produce. But it rubbed me the wrong way. Probably for the same reason that other GMOs do. Since it’s being grown in tobacco, is it possible that it would contaminate the drugs with nicotine and cause many people to get green tobacco sickness? That’s what happens to you when you’ve never picked tobacco before and you absorb too much nicotine through you skin. Maybe I just need to look into it more, or perhaps I have an valid concern. Dunno.

I would go to NextFest next year if a) I don’t go on the same day as Bay to Breakers, b) they do something to improve the layout and people traffic and c) they put in more seating and better scheduling for the main stage.

Fun with Real Audio

May 12th, 2004 Posted in Fun

Don’t like what the President has been saying lately? Wish you could make him say what you want? If you have time to waste why not put words into Bush’s mouth? Some guy named Matt in the UK created a Bush Speechwriter flash app that lets you splice together various soundbites. And you can save it for all the world to see. You can make him curse, but unfortunately none of his malapropisms are available.