Monday, October 30, 2006

A big fuck you to Cnn.com's videos

I have a big problem with Cnn.com's streaming news videos. They always play a 15-30 second commercial before the news clip, which is annoying itself. Honestly I don't want to be forced to watch a stupid commercial for a 1.5 minute long news clip.
Though the commercial itself is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that often the commercial loads and plays fine, then when you get to the video, it craps out, fails to load, is jerky or otherwise doesn't play. This is unacceptable. In fact I have decided right now that I will no longer visit cnn.com. They suck in general. Their news coverage is always sensationalistic and they takeup way too much space on their site with entertainment news. I don't give a fuck what katie holmes is doing, but i do kind of care about wars, economics etc...
I will take the bbc news over cnn anyday!

1st time with Critical Mass

I rode with Critical Mass for the first time on Friday. I joined Fred, as he has gone several times and is much more hardcore of a biker than I. I thought of this first time as an experiment more than anything else. I might do it again, but this time was just to see what it was all about.

The wikipedia article on critical mass is good and fairly accurate from my knowledge of the event.

I was once stopped by the mass, (2-3 years ago) while in a cab going someplace. The mass had entered the polish triangle area (division/ashland/milwaukee) and had decided to ride around the triangle. We were 2 cars back from the edge of the intersection and Alyssa decided to jump out of the cab and go talk/yell at somebody and find out wtf they were doing. The guy that she talked to was obviously not a spokesman for the group and his answer is basically bikes are trafic too. I was somewhat amused by the situation, though I guess i would be slightly pissed off if I was held up while going somewhere important. Then again the point made in the wikipedia article about motorists causing most traffic jams is probably the greater truth.

So I rode with the group on Friday. There was probably around 1500 people i would guess, though i often over estimate...but i tried sampling sections and then estimating...1500 is probably a good guess. About 2/3 had some kind of halloween costume on, which was kinda fun. Generally throughout the route I observed the following:

-The majority of the participants are good willed and pretty much just there to participate. They shout things like "happy friday" or "happy halloween" to people in cars, bars/restaurants, on the sidewalk, etc...

-There are a handful of jerks throughout the group, who think everyone in the LP neighborhoods are stupid rich fucks etc...

-A good bit of drinking goes on.

-A handful of riders have some form of music playing, ranging from a handcarried boombox, to a full stero system with a large woofer on a bike trailer.

-A lot of people in cars are more or less content to wait the extra 5-10 minutes while the group passes. Most bus drivers (and other city workers) are in full support of the group, honking their horn in celebration and waving as the mass passes.

-There were a handful of bike cops present for a majority of the ride. They were slightly dickish, but generally attempted to prevent scuffles between the bikers and motorists.

-Occassionally, someone, usually a woman or young lady, will roll down their window to yell and scream at the bikers...this usually only serves to make more bikers stop and surround the car until a majority of the mass passes...the both the bikers and driver are left to go on their way.

-There was one major incident, which basically caused the entire mass to surround a single car. I was about 20 feet away from this car when i saw this blonde chick jump out of the passenger side of a car and confront/attack a girl who was "corking". I stayed right at the front of that car for most of the duration of the incident...pretty much because i couldn't move my bike through the mass that was surrounding the car. Eventually the blonde chick pushed the corker away which caused the corker girl to push back, which caused the dodge neon guy to get out of the car. Once the guy got out of the car, he started randomly going off on people...throwing punches, though i didnt see any land. Anyway it went on for a while and I would assume the mass eventually passed through as they got tired of watching the guy be an asshole....
The incident was documented in these flickr photos:
http://flickr.com/photos/jessipervola/281704229/in/photostream/
http://flickr.com/photos/jessipervola/281704254/in/photostream/

-Overall impression: A big party on bikes that happens to frustrate a few drivers for a few minutes. Eh, you got time....slow down, relax, wait for the group to pass and then go on your way.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Crazy Ray Lamontagne

You probably heard the anthem of the summer of 2006, Crazy, by Gnarls Barkley (Cee-Lo/Danger Mouse). British musician Ray LaMontagne recorded a much better version.

Courtesy of Village Indian you can download the MP3 of Crazy

I also scooped up Ray's album Till The Sun Turns Black