outskirts: life and times in charlottesville

…small town life

The locals stations have gone digital. Of course the current view is old school digital 480p shown by that small dark region in the lower left. HDTV is the full image. The current format is like having a 15 year old kid that is 2 feet tall, or an elephant that fits inside your purse.

Size Matters in HDTV

WCAV posted that they will be trying to switch to actual HD in the next 24-72 hours. I’m keeping my teeny tiny fingers crossed…

Back in the 50′s C-Ville enjoyed having their first AM radio station. The 70′s brought FM. In the 80′s they discovered television when NBC 29 started broadcasting (that scared the locals for the first few weeks – witchery was discussed in depth). Five years ago we got FOX, CBS, and ABC with the mind-numbing low-def analog signal. Since then the world has changed. HDTV is now the norm, but here in C-Ville nothing has change. Tomorrow is new day.

After decades of nothingness the airwaves are expected to obtain intelligence. The trifecta of stations plans to switch to digital. Civilization as we know it will cease to exist. Will the village turn to violence? Will voodoo become in vogue?

There were rumors that the stations briefly went dead earlier today. Will we truly get HDTV from all four local stations tomorrow night? I will believe it when I see it, and you can bet my iMac will be doing a bit of EyeTV scanning.

Stay tuned…literally.

man with cane

Apple has style. Can’t wait for the keynote next week. A shot from Christmas Eve in NYC. The store was packed.

As the unbearably hot summer rolled on, the number of my posts dwindled down to nothing. How can anyone survive in the south? Summer is brutal. It is hot. It sucks all creativity out of humans. Our drought has been going on so long that we can no longer use water. No car washing. No water at restaurants (unless you beg). No watering dying plants in your yard. No fountains. No swimming pools. I really wonder why nothing has been done since our last drought four? years ago. The locals say plans are being made for a decade from now. Is that helpful? What about the next five years? One can only hope a hurricane drifts up here…of course if the wind blows the power goes.

Fall has trickled in. Over the weekend we had our first day under 90 in many moons. The other exciting thing is that the UVA students have returned. Many parents were with their kids this morning at the local malls buying them a wealth of “necessary” things. What mom and dad didn’t know is that their kids were out partying last night. Parties were going on all over town. Pills were flying. Alcohol was pouring. Things were getting torched. In Belmont there was a rather large party. Eventually four police cars appeared. Thirty minutes later things had quieted down and local residents got to sleep before 3am.

I feel sorry for the local police at this time of the year. UVA consists of about 18,000 students and 19,000 employees. During the summer that number is miniscule. In one day a wealth of criminalistic behavior appears. Due to lack of funding there is absolutely no way they can deal with it all. Since C-Ville consists of about 22,000 people (the city loves to include students in the population totals so they can get additional funds) the influx is crushing. All I know is I want some sleep tonite. I hope the parties have ended. Either C-Ville should give up and just tell UVA to provide all security, or UVA should realize that C-Ville is just the outlying dorm, and send some security out here. As for cameras to prevent crime in the historic downtown area…the tribal elders have decided to “think about it” for awhile before anything happens. Perhaps they will just live off interest on the 2.3 million sitting around to improve the mall rather than actually trying to improve it. What about updating the sign that says Subway? How much would that cost?

I signed up for the Richmond Marathon which is in November. The DC marathon sold out before I could enter. Will I get to run by some “The South Will Rise Again” statues while running the marathon there? I’m still wondering if I can survive a full marathon. Not hopeful at this point.

Before my b-day this year I bought an iPod nano with the Nike+Sensor (but not Nike shoes, just a little holder to put it on my New Balance). This toy is so much fun. I love being able to track the distance/time of every run I do. I’m using the online Nike site so I can see every run, weekly totals, monthly totals, etc. I also took a peek at the XML files that get stored on my iPod. Far more info available in those files, but haven’t really had the energy to look any closer. I did 11 miles this weekend. Next weekend I’m going for a 12.5 mile run. Slowly building up my distance.

Preseason football has cranked up. The Fins are 2-0 and both games had a duplicate finish. The Fins future QB drove for the winning touchdown at the end and was successful on a two point conversion to give them a one point victory. As always…I’m a bit delusional and think the Fins can make it to the Super Bowl.

I have a feeling the UVA fans are also delusional and think they will have a good team. They aren’t in the top 25, but did get a few votes (how many were by people named Groh?). I have a feeling Groh is enjoying his $1mil/year more than coaching at this point of his career. The best thing UVA has going for them is that their schedule is trivial. If they can’t win seven games AND a bowl game…

Blogging is rolling along again. It may take me awhile to get going once again…but I’m still around. I put up a new poll…asking about your favorite local news source (online of course…is there another way?). I know what my answer is already. Should anything else be included? Let me know and I’ll put it up there as a choice.

Everyone has to keep eating…even when blogging…right? So I have at least one restaurant rumor. Who goes to Kiki’s? I heard through the grapevine that they might be getting just a bit short on the cash side of things.

I still haven’t gotten around to digging through my Aritni 2007 photos. The worst part about this village is that if you don’t work seven days a week, fourteen hours a day you can’t afford to eat…so free time is severely limited. One of these days. Perhaps I should listen to more music…very relaxing….right? At least for these unlucky seven.

The blog is about to go through a few changes…stay tuned…we’ll see what will break in the next hour or so.

Update: I think most everything is working…but enough fun for one morning. Time to go outside and feel the pain and punishment of the summertime heat (what month is this again?).

One of the things that continues to amaze me is that the Commissioner of the Revenue here in can’t accept credit card payments when they bill you for things. They still make you carry a pocketful of coins. The coins are then placed on a big scale against “calibrated” weights. When the gold coins are piled high enough they say you have paid enough.

Who checks the calibrated weights? Can we burn a witch?

Why can’t this village accept that new technology called credit cards? I guess they are rather new…since they weren’t used until the 1920′s. That is brand-spanking-new-fangled-f*cking-high-tech dude. No way. Show me money says the man, cash in the hand is better than plastic in a groove.

Roberval scale
This is what you see when paying a bill in Charlottesville City Hall

I enjoyed the announcement of the Apple iPhone today. Not that I want one (since I rarely speak on the phone), but the stock price went up about 8.5%. As I keep saying…it’s good to buy Apple stuff and/or stock. Should I sell now? Or keep? Hindsight is 20/20. I’m hanging on. Just imagine the stuff they’ll come out with later in the year.

What I really want is to use that technology to make a wide-screen HD iPod and skip the phone stuff (and a few bucks). I’ll be buying that the day it comes out. At least they didn’t announce any new computers, so my 24inch iMac is still king of the iMac hill.

A cool drizzly Christmas day here in the village. I often do a walk about town to snap photos of a deserted village. I’ll probably do that later in the afternoon. Right now I’m off to see if I can find a Starbucks that is open. That certainly seems to be a lively topic of discussion. I’m not a big fan of that particular establishment, but I already know nothing else has a chance of being open around here. Even the stores that say “we never close 24/7″ are closed.

Yesterday I spent about 90 minutes looking for my second 2 gig compact flash card for my camera. It was driving me crazy. I never found it. This morning I lay down on my couch in front of my computer to play with the demo version of Aperture and there it was…sitting right below my monitor (only visible when laying on the couch). Nice to know I didn’t leave it in an airport or anything like that.

Update: 2pm. The Starbucks on 29 across from the Fashion Square Mall is open. It was rather crowded. A former UVA coach was there, and he didn’t seem very friendly when I went to grab the newspaper sitting at the table next to him. Seems he thought it was his. Oh well…I found a Washington Post kicking around (he was reading the Regress).

I noticed some of the chinese buffet places were open, along with all the Subway’s that I drove past. The Blockbuster on Pantops was open. I guess that is so all the parents can get some kidzy movie playing on tv while they pound back some eggnog. On the downtown mall the only thing open is the chinese restaurant. I was hoping for a slice of pizza…but there was none to be had.

I love Apple. The iPod changed music, and having a Mac is joy. I also like their stock. See that cute little red dot? That is when I bought a few shares :)

Apple stock price

I sure hope iTV and iPhone are good products. I also hope you all head out and buy a new iPod and iMac for the holidays.

My iMac arrived today (36 hours from Shanghai to C-Ville). It was 9 days early. I was so excited. I opened it up and put it on a table. It stood there in all its glory.

I then sat down in front of it and the first thing I noticed was a scratch on the pristine 24 inch monitor. It is about 8 to 10 inches long in a semi-circle. I then noticed another small scratch that is more linear (about five inches), and one really small one that is about a half inch in length.

I emailed Apple after sitting on hold for 30 minutes. If I don’t hear back by tomorrow I’ll sit on hold a bit longer.

So disappointing, but when I get a nice pretty one I’ll be so happy. It is a gorgeous machine. This is the third Intel-based Mac in a row that I have been involved with ordering that has had a problem with the screen. The plant in Shanghai really needs to do a better job with these.

Arrrrgggghhhhh…I want my new toy.