Cheers for Ruins

If you too love urban ruins, Opacity.us has awesome photography of abandoned hospitals, churches, libraries, factories—you name it—with all structures well categorized and documented. Don’t miss the wallpaper.

A decent Gainesville find is in the woods directly South of where Shealy Dr. ends.┬áMy coworkers and I used to walk the mile along Shealy Dr. and Ritchy Rd. every day and I finally convinced them it was a Great Idea to explore the trail into the woods where Shealy Dr. ends. It runs South along the edge of the open field and down to Bivens Arm, but if you head Southwest when you see water you’ll come across an abandoned brick house in the middle of the woods. The roof is caved in and kids have spray painted pentagrams and nonsense on the walls, but still awesome. A trail also heads West along the North side of Bivens Arm.

I just got life insurance; who’s up for some misguided exploring and documentation of “Satan House”?

Voicing Opposing to UF’s E-cigarette Ban

Update Nov. 15: My letter to the editor in Monday’s Alligator.

Recently I wrote about the potential e-cigarettes hold for harm reduction, so when the University of Florida proposed a regulation that would expand its tobacco use ban to explicitly include e-cigarettes, I decided to speak up. Today I sent the following e-mail to Paula Fussell, Vice President for Human Resources. Continue reading  

Locked Down

Yesterday morning the police put our neighborhood on “lockdown”. A squad car drove through with a loudspeaker (he was clearly audible inside with all our windows closed) announcing we should stay in our homes and secure all doors and windows. A bit later there were helicopters (not unusual in our hood). ┬áLater Kathleen called GPD a couple times and they confirmed they were attempting to apprehend a suspect and we should wait until they announce it’s safe.

Of course, they never did. When I called a third time they told me they were done.

Nothing on TV20 or in the Sun so far. How do you look up events like these?

Hopes for 2009

In no particular order, I hope…

  • the release of IE8 will spur organizations currently standardized on IE6 to finally bite the bullet and either upgrade their users to IE8 or move them to other browsers. Killing off IE6 (and IE7 really) will significantly decrease web development costs and reinvigorate CSS by opening up a world of selectors and properties that have been unofficially “off the table” due to the prevalence of IE6. As bad as IE6 and 7 have been in comparison to its competitors, IE8 looks to be a major step forward for the default browser of Windows systems.
  • the popularity of IE8 will interest IE upgraders to try other browsers as well. While IE8 is great for the IE user, exactly what the web does not need is another browser market so dominated by one product that web developers move from web standards back to coding for the dominant browser. Although IE8 looks to be committed to standards support, there will be plenty of quirky rendering modes that ignorant developers will get accustomed to if they don’t test in other browsers.
  • Opera 10 will continue strides to increase compatibility with broken sites and stay so blazingly fast and handy out-of-the-box that I’m willing to do most of my browsing without the luxury of add-ons. As far as I know no other browser lets me put my addressbar and tabs on the bottom where I like em’; it’s the little things.
  • that the kids who vandalized a bunch of cars last night, including mine, will receive better parenting than they have in the past. God knows making them spend time with other messed up kids in juvenile detention or giving them permanent criminal records isn’t going to do anything positive for their lives.
  • that our family will have fewer health problems. For the past couple months illnesses just haven’t let up long enough for us to catch our breath. For several events we were looking forward to we were either out of town, sick, or just too exhausted to bother. A Roller Rebels bout, the Of Montreal show, Don & Sarah’s mixtape party…
  • that the new president will choose a drug czar with a background in harm reduction or, better yet, open a public dialogue to discuss if the current federal system (ONDCP, DEA, and CSA) is the right way to reduce the public harms associated with drug use.
  • that my friends and random readers (especially those, like me, who don’t use any drugs) will take some time to learn about what the War on Drugs is doing to the world. The top search engine results are as good a place to start as any, and, of those, the Drug Policy Alliance provides the best overview of the harms, while Rolling Stone describes the last 20 years and the battle of cocaine and meth. Since October I’ve found this topic fascinating, and every day I uncover more evidence that our current system based on blanket prohibition causes tremendous societal harm.
  • that the web will continue to be an exhaustive source of information about drugs, policies, and history and help people form educated opinions based on facts. I grew up knowing nothing about drugs but the old “this is your brain on drugs” ads, so when I started reading about the real science and history of illegal drugs it was quite eye-opening. First you realize how dangerous heroin and meth are, then you find to your shock that marijuana is hardly the drug the government makes it out to be, then that alcohol and tobacco are so much worse and you wonder why they’re exempt from the CSA, then you read about when alcohol was illegal and the havoc that caused, and finally you realize it’s not the drugs, but the prohibition causing the biggest problems.
  • that the media will continue its coverage on the harms of the War on Drugs in Mexico and continue to give voice to clear-headed intelligent criticism of drug policy as its done increasingly recently.
  • that online news sources continue to allow readers to openly discuss drug policy in their commenting systems. It’s obvious that more people are taking the time to do their research; the won’t please someone think of the children! arguments are thankfully falling from fashion, though I’m increasingly seeing the “sends the wrong message to kids” argument from drug warriors anytime anyone suggests reducing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
  • I’ll play and record more music.
  • that Skate 2 will be as awesome as it looks.
  • state budget cuts will not cost me nor Kathleen a job. Did I mention the War on Drugs is damn expensive?
  • the recession will not cost Gainesville any of its awesome eateries. Yesterday at The Jones’ I had corn-flake-encrusted brioche french toast topped with almond whipped cream. It was possibly the most magical thing I’ve ever tasted.

A faulty argument for policing morality

Recently the Gainesville PD conducted a prostitution sting that busted a particularly vile couple who solicited sex in front of the woman’s six year old son. In addition to the prostitution charge, the woman was rightfully charged with child abuse. I heard about this on the radio, and the report included a quote, I’m guessing from GPD, stating that (I’m paraphrasing) “this shows that prostitution isn’t a victimless crime.”

Continue reading  

Brittle Stars @ Pop Mayhem, Thursday, May 8

6500 miles can’t stop the rock. Thursday, May 8th, a reunited Brittle Stars play Common Grounds as a part of Gainesville’s Pop Mayhem festival.

Hear songs such as, but not performed as well as, these:

Also that night: Ifwhen, the Buddy System, Giddy-Up Helicopter, and maybe one other band. Sorry to hear about Que Possum! :(

The show is $10 at the door/on tonevendor, or get the full pass to get in all the shows.

WDHV and Maria Taylor

WDHV 101.7 is a little FM station in Trenton that plays some great pre-70’s classic country. The other day I caught the tail end of “Talk Back Trembling Lips” from 1963 and the rhythm section and reverb filled the van so nicely–it made my morning. They do slip in later stuff and even up to the awful she-thinks-my-tractor’s-sexy “big hat” country, but it’s in moderation and all played by people who actually seem to remember this stuff.

I mention this because this week I’m helping sabotage statistics by recording my radio listening habits for Arbitron (think Nielsen for radio). Three things are great about this: 1. Per day, I only listen to maybe 45 mins of NPR and 10 minutes (if I’m lucky) of some hodunk out-of-area oldies station. 2. They bribe you with dollar bills in the envelope…$10 so far, and since Arbitron works for the LPFM-hating NAB, I’m happy to take their money. 3. This makes twice that I was randomly selected to do this, first being probably a decade ago.

Tonight I’m going to see Mates of State, Maria Taylor and papercranes at Common Grounds. Maria is/was(?) one half of Azure Ray, who put out a great debut album and some OK follow-ups. It’ll be nice to finally see the Mates outside of Wayward Council, they’re sometimes a little much for casual listening, but a blast live.

Alachua County Library Bookmarklet

Whenever you’re on a page with an ISBN in the URL, like Amazon or some other bookish site, activate ACL to pop-up a search for that book within the Alachua County Library Catalog.

This was generated with the LibraryLookup Project‘s Bookmarklet builder, which can build a similar bookmarklet for any library using one of 16 popular web catalog systems. Very nice. People are also turning these into Greasemonkey/UserJS scripts so you don’t even have to click; when the page loads, your browser queries the library and adds a link to the page like “This book is available now at the library!”. Some even report back how many copies at which branches, etc..

The great thing about bookmarklets and userscripts is that with a tiny bit of code you can force independent systems to work together for your benefit. Um..also because I can save these crazy YouTube videos the kids seem to love.