Rally number two

Char, Henry, and I went to the antiwar rally in Boston on Saturday. The weather was strange — it looked like rain, but never really did. It would start misting suddenly, and then stop. The rally itself was large, 25-50 thousand by various estimates. The speakers weren’t especially high quality. I was hoping for something eloquent and interesting, more than just "impeach bush." There was a group of women with husband’s in Iraq against the war, they were a good group. Otherwise there were too many highschool kids giving speeches.

That’s not to say I regret going. It was good to be there, to show that just because the war has started there are many people who want it stopped. And it was good to hear them reinforce "anti-war does not mean anti-troop."

This Boston Globe article mentions a man who climbed on top of a light pole at the rally. He shouted a bunch of pro-war garbage which I couldn’t hear. I said, "I hope he falls off", and soon enough he fell off the pole. He seemed unhurt.

This is him

After the rally there was a march, which we didn’t do. I feel a little bad for skipping out on it, but we had done our part. We went and got Chinese food in Chinatown. Yummy and cheap!

So I hear there’s this war on tv?

I took part in the Boston antiwar protests today. The organization was quite clever: first there were walkouts at various campuses around the city, and each college had its own rally. Then they started to walk toward the center of the city and converge, forming a larger protest. From Boston City Hall we marched to Copley Square. The MIT rally was smaller than I would have liked, but it felt legitimate, unlike the protests I remember passing by at school in Madison.

The MIT protest was already underway as Char and I got there

Bush Head

Professor Hugh Gusterson, who gave an excellent speech.

The microphone was very quiet, so sometimes it was hard to hear the speakers. Also the news helicopters overhead kept buzzing closer and closer, making the ambient noise very high.

A 21st century protest — this woman is recording the speeches onto minidisc.

I saw a guy with a video camera attached to a laptop. I saw lots of cell phones everywhere. I didn’t get a shot, but often people would hold the phone up to the crowd so the other party could hear. Imagine if the US had more phone-picture infrastructure, MMS, etc? I could see talking to friends across the country, sending eachother photos. I would also like to update my blog from a phone.

I worked some, then headed to government center for round two. I got there just as the marchers reached city hall plaza

The marchers arrive

A lot of the signs were more extreme than I would have liked: Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity, Fuck Bush, fuck all bastards(?!?), etc… Any news organization is going to have to edit around these stupid signs, making it harder for the protests to get mainstream coverage.

Satellite uplinks sprout

The Bush head made the trip

There were a lot of people

I don’t know what that line of cops with what look like lightsabers are guarding

Everywhere we went people watched from the windows like observers of an experiment.

It was much darker marching to Copley, so I didn’t take as many photos.


This photo is very dynamic, but also sort of creepy. I like.

More PVR success

I have now used my mad skillz to use two infrared devices at once. This may seem arbitrary, but what it means is that I no longer have to point the remote directly at the receiver in order to change channels. It now works clear across and into the kitchen with no trouble (except that then the text on the tv becomes hard to read at that distance).

The only functionality still missing is reencoding shows to a format I can watch later or burn to a cd, but I’m fairly sure that will come around. For now the system is at a point that I feel I can recommend it to friends, as long as they keep in mind a couple things:

  • It’s still development software, and it does crash from time to time. recovering from a crash involves typing on a keyboard, but it’s not that bad
  • Channel changing is slow, about 3 or 4 seconds. This doesn’t matter if you’re just watching recorded shows, but sucks if you plan to surf channels.

Arnold Arboretum

Char and I took a walk in Arnold Arboretum today to celebrate 60 degree weather. Boy it was nice. We live right next to the park, so in literally five minutes we can get away from our apartment and enjoy the peace and quiet of an underused government property.

I love parks, because most people ignore them. When I was at Madison I’d go to Blue Mounds State Park, and invariably I’d be just about the only one there. There were gaggles of kids at the pool, but venture just a minute down the path and it would just be wind and trees and birds. See my old photos for pictures of the place.

Arnold Arboretum has a few more people in it, all walking their dogs or their kids, but mostly it’s empty. It’s not the large forest that blue mounds was, the trees are far apart and you can always hear the traffic. But compared to the parks I saw in Japan, which charged admission and were manicured to the point of insanity, it’s like a gigantic tropical jungle.

A map of the park. Hey, is that large mark a bullet hole?

Arty shot with Char.

The snow was melting quite fast, and made very interesting patterns. The following is a screencap from a short video I took with my camera. The quality is shitty, but you can get the idea. The water flows under the ice and snow, taking little packets of air. These bubbles make cool patterns under the ice as they flow.

click to download movie in quicktime (linux OK)

Bubbles where the water comes out

Closeup of water trickling

Breathed is breathed new life

I was just decrying the fact that Bloom County books were out of print, and that one needed to buy them used from amazon. Seeing as every cartoonist of my generation cites Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County as inspiration (just see Sinfest) it was very unfair that you couldn’t get a hold of one of them. No longer true!

Bloom County is being republished online for the low price of ten bucks a year. One week’s worth of strips will be put up every two days. Sweet.

(thanks slashdot)

Truth > Fiction

Today, congressmen will eat Freedom Fries in the House of Representatives’ cafeteria, and all I can do is laugh nervously.

ps: I’m going to be posting the links with which I would normally assault my friends on AIM here instead. The ratio of text to pictures is going to go down, but hey, no more link spamming.