Urinal Rant

Avert thine eyes, if you are not inter­est­ed in men’s uri­nals and the eti­quette that sur­rounds them.

It appears that some men are pre-flush­ers. That is, when they arrive at a uri­nal, they imme­di­ate­ly haul on the han­dle to get a good flush going. I don’t know if they need to hear the rush­ing water to get start­ed, or if they just like a clean uri­nal before pee­ing. I don’t care.

What I do care about, is that, when they are done, they flush again. Please. There is noth­ing nas­ti­er than arriv­ing at a uri­nal to find it full of some­one else’s urine.

So if you’re a pre-flush­er, would you please also be a two-flush­er?

Thank you.

I’d like to note that the auto-flush­ing uri­nal is a handy solu­tion to this. I’d like our gov­ern­ment to do some­thing about man­dat­ing these in new con­struc­tion.

Bashing TiVo

Yeah, I know. I’m the ulti­mate TiVo evan­ge­list. I love TiVo. Peo­ple who know me know the prais­es I have sung about TiVo. And yet… and yet. This past week I have come to dis­like TiVo, the com­pa­ny.

Let me be clear, lest there be any mis­un­der­stand­ing. Time-shift­ing tele­vi­sion has changed my life, and for the bet­ter. The con­cept, the inter­face, the sim­plic­i­ty with which TiVo pre­sent­ed this com­plex idea, was remark­able. Still is. There’s noth­ing like it in the mar­ket­place. There are com­peti­tors, sure. There are HD com­peti­tors, and free com­peti­tors, and hack­acble com­peti­tors… but none of them approach the ease-of-use, the inter­face, the sim­plic­i­ty of what TiVo hath wrought.

That said, this is for the search engines: TiVo sucks! The com­pa­ny, that is.

As you may or may not know, I have a new TiVo. A Series 2 TiVo, which is bet­ter than my old one in a cou­ple of ways. First, it is blessed to receive the lat­est TiVo soft­ware update, which added some cool stuff like fold­er orga­ni­za­tion in my Now Play­ing list. (All of Aidan’s Mr. Rogers episodes are lumped togeth­er in a fold­er! Yay!) Sec­ond, this new Series 2 TiVo has Inter­net capa­bil­i­ties. You can hook it up to the Inter­net so that it can get sched­ule updates, so that you can sched­ule shows remote­ly, so that you can con­nect two TiVos (if you have two) in your home, so that you can see pho­tos and lis­ten to music from your home com­put­er, and final­ly, so that you can save (and even­tu­al­ly receive?) movies to/from the Internet/your com­put­er. It is an Inter­nets-con­nect­ed-glo­ri­ous-poten­tial­i­ty.

Or not.

To con­nect to the Inter­net, you have to buy some addi­tion­al hard­ware (because in their wis­dom they added a USB port to the Series 2. Not an Eth­er­net port. A USB port. For which there is exact­ly one use, attach­ing a USB to Eth­er­net adapter. Hel­lo?). $20 for a wire­less adapter if you have a wire­less net­work at home, or $25 for a wired one, if you have an eth­er­net jack near­by. Of course, if you go with the wire­less option, you’d best be run­ning either no secu­ri­ty on your net­work, or the easy-to-crack WEP scheme, because the very secure WPA scheme is not sup­port­ed by TiVo. And if you go with the wired option, be sure to buy only one of the two test­ed and approved adapters, one of which is no longer made (be sure to find the ver­sion 1 adapter, because the cur­rent ver­sion 2 is not com­pat­i­ble!).

Should you actu­al­ly get con­nect­ed (and to be fair, many peo­ple have) you’ll then dis­cov­er that the cool movie saving/sharing fea­ture (called TiV­o­To­Go) is not avail­able for Mac­in­tosh com­put­ers. Actu­al­ly, the whole pho­to and music shar­ing thing is not either, as TiVo points out that the required soft­ware is not com­pat­i­ble with the lat­est ver­sion of Mac OS X (Tiger). It works, with an error or two, some of the time, and there’s a hack you can down­load to get it to work more reli­ably, but you have to run it each time you want to share music/photos. Oh, and TiVo Online Sched­ul­ing? I was expect­ing to be able to log into my TiVo and manip­u­late it remote­ly, but that is not the case. What you can do is pick a show from an online list and tell your TiVo at home to record it. You can’t change its pri­or­i­ty, you can’t see if it will con­flict with any­thing else, it is pure­ly a one-way trans­ac­tion.


I pay my month­ly fee (and TiVo has now added a “ser­vice con­tract” where­by if you can­cel ser­vice with­in one year of sign­ing up, you owe them like, $100, all that on top of the $12 month­ly), and I get my ser­vice. But part of that ser­vice includes the cool TiVo Home Media Fea­tures: music and pho­to shar­ing, TiV­o­To­Go, etc. I can’t get at those fea­tures with­out pony­ing up anoth­er $20 for an adapter. And even then, I per­son­al­ly can’t get them, because of my plat­form choice.

How much of my month­ly fee do you think goes towards these ser­vices? Some of the TiVosi would sug­gest that these are free, because you used to have to pay extra for them, and now they just come with the sys­tem, at no extra charge. That seems disin­gen­u­ous at best, and inten­tion­al­ly decep­tive at worst.

I find I am ter­ri­bly frus­trat­ed, dis­ap­point­ed, and even angry at TiVo for what I have to endure as a cus­tomer. It should just work. The orig­i­nal TiVo did. You plugged it in, and it just worked. It was glo­ri­ous. This new box does every­thing the old one did, with­out a hitch. But all these new things, these new cool things… you have to pay extra, jump through hoops, pray and fid­dle to even get it to sort of work. That’s not the way it should be.

In the end, I feel betrayed. I find I don’t care about the com­pa­ny any­more. I feel like they don’t care about me. The rela­tion­ship between us is now just about mon­ey and ser­vice, like the way I feel about my cell phone com­pa­ny, or my cable tele­vi­sion com­pa­ny. And to that end, I would be inter­est­ed in some way to recoup my fees, since it is TiVo’s fault I can­not access these ser­vices they pro­mot­ed to me. Any­one else inter­est­ed?

Keeping in touch

I will con­fess some­thing that is sure­ly not a shock to any­one who knows me. I am ter­ri­ble at keep­ing in touch. I don’t do it. I had dear friends in col­lege, and had dear friends (well, one or two) in NYC when I was there. And yet, do I e‑mail? No. Do I call? No. Do I respond, even, in any­thing resem­bling a time­ly man­ner? No. And does that make me a bad per­son? It sure as hell does.

So I promise to do bet­ter, I promise to write, I respond to a year’s worth of e‑mail, or a year’s worth of wait­ing for an e‑mail email with a long, tasty notye… because by then it had bet­ter be long and tasty. And I feel crap­py doing it, and it nev­er comes out right, and I’d rather just chat with these peo­ple each day, not throug…

I’d rather chat. Each day.

And so I do, with my friends from Iowa. I chat via instant mes­sen­ger. Not every day, but often enough that I still feel like I’m part of their lives, at least a lit­tle bit. It is fun­ny, because we cer­tain­ly don’t tell each oth­er that “today we went to the gro­cery store and there was this huge peach with a growth on it that, I swear, looked like my sec­ond grade teacher!” But we keep that con­nec­tion, that bond.

Hell, it is some­thing, right? And with voice chat com­ing to a phone near you, and video chat a real­i­ty now, well, it can only get bet­ter.

So. Kim. Yev. Nan­cy (if you still think I exist). Get on chat, and drop me a line. I have one of every­thing (AIM, Yahoo, yes, even an MSN account).

I’d love to chat.

Where then, nine eleven?

So, today is Sep­tem­ber 11th. What with all the fresh tragedy, it seems nobody is remem­ber­ing past tragedy. Is it just me, or has this anniver­sary crept up on us? Sure, four years isn’t any­thing to cel­e­brate (black humor intend­ed), but it just seems… so sad. Not that we might be for­get­ting 9/11, but that we have so much else on our plate.

I find, on this day, I can only wish that we had more hope than we do. But I do not trust our elect­ed lead­ers, I do not trust our ene­mies, I trust Nature only so far as she can throw me… I can hope, though, that when the fifth anniver­sary of this day rolls around, that I have found more to trust, more for my son to grow up hop­ing for.

That’s all. Hug your loved ones. Peace.

Let’s just impeach him

We almost impeached a Pres­i­dent for hav­ing oral sex. Can’t we impeach one for deceit, incom­pe­tence, and mal­ice?

In this arti­cle from CNN, Chertoff argues that nobody pre­dict­ed this kind of dis­as­ter, while Brown sug­gests that FEMA had planned for a cat­e­go­ry 5 storm two years ago. Time Mag­a­zine has an arti­cle on Brown’s faked cre­den­tials, and The Washin­gon Month­ly has a chronol­o­gy of FEMA under the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion. Mary Lan­drieu (D‑LA) released a state­ment on Sept. 3, not­ing the staged nature of Bush’s pho­to-ops in New Orleans.

Bar­bara Bush had this to say about evac­uees in Hous­ton’s Astrodome, “And so many of the peo­ple in the are­na here, you know, were under­priv­i­leged any­way, so this–this (she chuck­les slight­ly) is work­ing very well for them.”

Kei­th Olber­mann takes every­one to task, in a con­vinc­ing man­ner (mov).

The New Orleans Times-Picayune print­ed an open let­ter to the Pres­i­dent.

And final­ly, The Dai­ly Show skew­ers the Admin­is­tra­tion’s response (wmv).

Jesus Christ, peo­ple.

UPDATE: I fixed the link to the Times-Picayune edi­to­r­i­al, now at CNN.

I cannot imagine

The dev­as­ta­tion along the Gulf Coast is unimag­in­able to me. That our Pres­i­dent grand­stand­ed to the point of fly­ing Air Force One with­in 1700 feet of the ground so he could get a “first hand view” (he’s going back in a more pro­sa­ic heli­copter next week) is unimag­in­able to me. That he would state that “nobody expect­ed the lev­ees to break” is unimag­in­able to me.

That peo­ple (and police!) would loot busi­ness­es and rape vic­tims and shoot at res­cuers is, sad­ly, not so unimag­in­able. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, mar­tial law has been declared in New Orleans.

Fol­low the lat­est here, from the still-report­ing Times-Picayune. Please con­sid­er help­ing out, as you are able. Give to the Red Cross or find anoth­er char­i­ty you like.