Category Archives: a big scary blogosphere!

a change of venue.

I’m now usng tumblr for most of my on-the-side ramblings, as the recent inactivity on this blog will attest.

Check it out here.



Filed under a big scary blogosphere!

the definitive dc transportation wishlist.

Richard over at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space has a lengthy revised wish list for District urban infrastructure/transportation changes and additions. If you’re living in the area, take half an hour to read this and discover that you want pretty much everything included within.

Personally, I’m a big proponent of a streetcar link that roams across Rock Creek Park from Woodley Park to Columbia Heights/U Street – if it’s part of a larger link system, even better. Right now, here’s my options for visiting friends in that area of town from my place:

  • walking, which is not happening in inclement/humid weather or under any sort of time constraint;
  • gambling heavily with the ludicrous “Adams Morgan/U Street Link” bus – which usually takes longer than walking. (Every fifteen minutes during rush hour and weekend nights, that’s the biggest crock from WMATA, an organization that has plenty of ’em. The last time I used it, a Saturday night around 9 pm, it took forty minutes for a bus to arrive.);
  • or, taking the Red Line all the way into Gallery Place-Chinatown, then back out to whatever stop on the Green Line.

A street car running across the Duke Ellington bridge seems the perfect solution. Make it happen, powers that be.

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, for the district., here - reality called.

the proper accompaniment to your morning oatmeal.


No time to write a post this morning, so here’s some links for the less busy than I (with a suggested reading order, no less!):

  1. “If there’s one thing this writer has learned over the years, it’s to never tell a woman to get breast reduction surgery.” [Consumerist]
  2. Milan – The Biggest Game At The Emirates Yet [A Cultured Left Foot] (Aaron notes: Oh, how true. I swear to God, my DVR better not break today.)
  3. “Only 22 percent of 3,400 officers holding the rank of major or lieutenant commander and above support the idea of allowing openly gay or lesbian Americans to serve in the military as a means of boosting recruitment.” [Yglesias]
  4. “It’s quite possible in the return leg at the San Siro that Rafa Benetiz fields six holding midfielders. Prepare for anti-football at it’s finest.” [That’s On Point]
  5. Container Store + Sale = Happy girlfriend. [Bargainist]
  6. “The oft-repeated story about [Castro] supposedly having gotten a tryout with the Washington Senators is total bunk, but it’s true that he long harbored a fantasy of playing for the Yankees (where El Duque and Jose Contreras would no doubt have greeted him by saying, “Dude, did you defect too?!”).” [Uni Watch]
  7. “Behold, the Oceáno, a collection of urinals for shy men by Roca, placed at descreet angle from each others that foil ‘peeking’.” [Neatorama]

[photo by andertho.]

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, futbol., here - reality called.

turnout and superdelegates.

Just a little post-Potomac Primary (ah, alliteration) number to stew on:

Of course, let’s give credit where credit is due: It’s Fenty’s Big Green Machine, coupled with the huge Obama grassroots effort, that turned out the vote big in the District for Obama. A little perspective: The reported turnout of 114,012 Democratic voters represents for than two-and-a-half times the 43,836 voters that materialized to vote for John Kerry, Howard Dean & Co. four years ago (let alone the 21,021 that voted for Al Gore et al. in 2000). It also outpaced the 106,288 that turned out for the Cropp-Fenty battle back in 2006 and nearly beat the more than 122,000 that voted in that year’s general election.

That’s just spectacular.

Now, on the down side: John King’s neato CNN drawing TV thingie told me last night that neither Democratic candidate is going to be able to win the required number of delegates needed for a majority, probably putting things in the hands of the super-delegates. This kinda defeats the whole purpose of the primary system, doesn’t it?

Thanks for voting, everyone, but we’ll let a lot of rich and privileged people take it from here!

Either make it “winner take all” or proportional division without superdelegates, Democratic Party. You can’t have it both ways – it just devalues the process.

Also, Mr. King, you really have to draw a smiley face on that screen one day. I know you want to.

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, for the district., media., politics.

the dark side of futbol joy.

Remember that post about the amazing power of soccer helping to reunify the Ivory Coast that I posted the other day?

Well, this is the other side of that.

More than an hour after the Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri made the crucial save in a tense penalty shoot out, gunfire could still be heard in many parts of the capital.

State television broadcast a warning from the Iraqi military urging residents not to engage in celebratory gunfire. But the warning appeared to have been ignored. Preliminary police reports said one person was killed and 17 wounded by the gunfire.

It’s just sad, really. Joy can be such a powerful reaction – for both positive and negative things.

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, futbol., here - reality called.

that sure was fun; or, thanks for the traffic, netflix.

Hopefully I gained some new feed readers yesterday – over a hundred people came here looking for reasons why Netflix’s site had been down all day yesterday. On a personal note, thanks for reading!

This morning, reports are coming out regarding the downtime. Initally, it was thought that a massive power outage in San Francisco was the cause of the outage – but the AP put the kibosh on that thought process pretty quickly:

The online hub of Netflix’s rental system went down Monday evening and remained unavailable until Tuesday afternoon, locking out subscribers for more than 18 hours. Spokesman Steve Swasey attributed the outage to an unanticipated problem that he declined to describe.

The breakdown didn’t appear to be related to San Francisco power outages that were blamed for temporarily knocking out several popular Web sites, including Craigslist, Technorati, Typepad and Livejournal. 

A comment on Boing Boing concluded that it was nothing more than a redesign of the site that had to do with the price restructure that I mentioned yesterday – although why it took 18 hours or so to change some graphics and text around is beyond me. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that Netflix would have prepared the images and simply swapped them in about an hour? Plus, I think that Swasey would have probably used that excuse to promote the new lower price, instead of referring to a strange “unanticipated problem.”

Well, whatever it was, it sure was embarrassing for Netflix, just the next pearl in a necklace of bad financial news this week. It’s a good thing for Netflix that Blockbuster has created so much ill-will in consumers that their market share, while slipping, isn’t really in risk of going down the tubes anytime soon. They are simply entering out a levelling process in their customer base, which is natural for all companies. What will be the next great idea that pushes them even further? Who knows, but it’s not going to just be a price war.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finally go mess around with my queue.

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, netflix.

sixteen views before ten a.m. – it’s either the apocolypse, or netflix screwed up. (the ordeal is over.)


I logged in this morning only to find that sixteen people had viewed my small little post about the Netflix website being down. That never happens. And by that, I mean that many views before lunch, not the breakdown of the website (that happens plenty of times, apparently). Sixteen page views (by 10 am, no less) is pretty much a record that I’m going to have difficulty breaking unless someone wants to fill me in on a presidential affair or something. Regardless, my first inclination after this is to go to Netflix’s site, and lo and behold – this appears! At least something loaded this time, though, which makes me feel like it’s routine maintanance and not something more serious like their servers exploding.

Judging from my sitemeter, though, there’s some unhappy people in Netflix-land again this morning.

This web-bungling – along with the news that Netflix is lowing subscription costs to match Blockbuster in a move sure to start an ugly price war – is sure to have Netflix stockholders just enthralled. Sure enough, Netflix stock was down 12 percent on Monday, hitting a 52-week low. Awesome!

UPDATE (1:10 pm): Well, now they are saying the site will be up at 11:00 am PST. We’ll see.

Also, thanks to these two posts about Netflix, it’s been a record day around these here parts – the most unique visitors ever to a blog I’ve run. Maybe I’ll just write about Netflix forever.

UPDATE 2 (1:54 pm): Looks like we’re waiting until 1:00 pm PST now. At this rate, we’ll have website access by November. Probably.

UPDATE 3 (3:44 pm): They’ve added a disclaimer! “You can contact Netflix Customer Service at 1-888-638-3549.” That sounds like a good sign that they’ll have the site back up in fifteen minutes!

And literally as I type:

UPDATE 4 (3:47 pm): Now it’s an estimated time of 4:00 PST. Yeah, right.

UPDATE 5 (4:58 pm): My last update before I leave work and head to Soho Coffee Shop – and it looks like Netflix has just given up on the whole “estimated time” business. Now, we’re stuck with no sign about when we’ll again be able to access our queues. I am imagining this is a rather big problem. Could we possibly be dealing with the possiblility of data loss? If we have to redo our queues from scratch, there’s going to be some mighty unhappy people.

UPDATE 6 (6:29 pm): Huzzah! Success. Glad to have you back Netflix. It only took eight hours or so. Thanks.

Go update your queues.

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Filed under a big scary blogosphere!, general stupidity., netflix.