Saturday, May 26, 2007

I am now terrified of gasoline.

Apparently gasoline is really expensive. I don't have a car in Chicago, so I'm somewhat blind to the whole phenomenon. I suppose it probably affects the that the CTA is charging riders, but as I've got the U-Pass through Northwestern which cuts my cost down to essentially nothing and have been biking up every day that it's not downpouring to avoid the mass incompetence of said transit authority, I'm a bit out of the Loop, as it were.

But, anyway, gasoline is expensive. Everyone everywhere in every local media outlet ever lately has been going on and on about this, because "$3.50 for a gallon of gas" is a bit shocking and generates some easy stories. Right now, (the website for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for those of you unfamiliar with it) has got a story about how the high cost of gas isn't affecting Memorial Day travel while citing no real statistics other than "there were some people getting gas last night along the Turnpike, and if the price of gas were in any way affecting travel plans, everyone would be in their basement weeping." Or something like that.

The reason I bring this up is that the picture they use to draw you into the story on the main page is one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen.

I'm sure this guy's a terrific person. He's apparently a veteran's advocate, and was off to participate in something with Rolling Thunder this weekend.

But the picture is shot from the perspective of someone looking into a mirror to see an apparently naked old man creeping up on them from behind.

I'm no press-photographer. But I think I might have been drawn into the story more effectively with something that doesn't give me nightmares.

Then again, I'm blogging about it, so maybe that's their intent. Creep out the kid with the blog that five people read.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


So, I use For those of you not familiar, it's the only way I'm aware of to watch baseball games out of market, and since I no longer live in the market of the team I follow, it's good times. Except that it occasionally just inverts the picture for no apparent reason, and that I live in the market of another team in the Bucs' division, so I'm blacked out whenever they play the Cubs.

What they do, essentially, is simply hook you into a feed of someone who's actually broadcasting it. In the Pirates case, this occasionally means I get the FSN Pittsburgh feed, but as we're terrible, and as FSN doesn't broadcast all of their games, it's often the oppositions video feed. While you can choose who you want to listen to on their radio version of the same service, that option is not available on the video. Sad times. But none of that is really important. What is important is that isn't actually affiliated with anyone broadcasting the games, and so they're not going to play the commercials. Instead, they shove a screensaver up. Which is fine. The first week, they used the relatively tame " logo bouncing around everywhere like we're playing Break-Out, but nothing ever breaks" theme. That was ok, except that they played the Break-Out sound effects, so lots of boops and beeps. Irritating. They moved to the same visual with "generic ballpark noise", then a static image of the logo with the same generic ballpark noise. So try to imagine what was going through my mind when I hear the same generic noise, click over to the video feed, and see this.

What Mace Windu, someone from the Bucks, a cat and a pencil sharpener have to do with baseball I have no idea. Disturbingly, the image isn't quite still, and the pencil sort of vibrates in the sharpener. It's very odd and I think I need to go somewhere far away from it for a while.