Another month, another opportunity. But we'll see. I enjoyed a nice weekend at home, for the first time in over a month. Brian and I met Joel and Susie for another Boulevard tour, and went immediately afterward to Smokin' Joe's Barbecue, for some tasty cooked meat. We went bowling that night, and it turned out to be "Rock n' Bowl" night at Ward Parkway Lanes. We had a nice time, and Mickey got drunk. On Sunday, Brian and I went to church, and did a little shopping. It was a humdrum weekend, and it was exactly what I needed.
I have changed the Ireland pictures page back to the same working condition for both IE and modern browsers, until I work the compatibility bugs out. Work has been a good deal busier since Geoff left two weeks ago. The workload for all the non-Rennaisance apps has been bequeathed to just Eddy and me. We take it in stride, though. I still manage some time to work on this site, and some side projects for work. Tuesday started warm and gloomy. Gloomy like it often is in early March. It then became cold, started sleeting, then freezing rain, then snow. This made for the scariest driving conditions I've seen since the Ice Storm last year. It took me about 20 minutes longer to get to work, on account of having to scrape the ice off my car, and drive snail-like, to work. I have a buddy that lives by my work, and works right by my apartment. He and I need to switch jobs.
I have been browsing the KC Skyscrapers forums, and have been engaging in idealistic discussions about the problems in Kansas City, and some possible solutions for them. Foremost, in my mind, is transit. Kansas City has an altogether disappointing public transit system. I don't hold their inadequacy against them, though. They are only doing what they can, with what they have. What they certainly don't have is ridership. The sad reality of Kansas City is that the only people who really ride the bus, with a few concerned exceptions, are the people who can't afford to make car payments and buy gas.
One very unfortunate behavior that has helped perpetuate this city's status as a "car town," is its continued and encouraged suburban sprawl. There are few things that depress me more, in this town, than driving to streets numbered higher than 100th, and seeing rapid development, while the urban core wastes away, in comparison. Suburban sprawl, I have found out, is something of a cancer to cities. An area will experience sharp economic growth, with new housing, retail, and office space popping up quickly, and will enjoy a period of success for about 20 or 30 years. After that, a steady decline settles in. This is evident in places like Raytown, Independence, Hickman Mills, Shawnee, Roeland Park, Old Overland Park, Waldo, and North Kansas City. They are all suburban places that are just not up to scratch with other parts of the sea of sprawl. Sprawl has that effect. It seems to "use areas up," and move on.
This pattern, while daunting, is entirely avoidable, in my opinion, and it all has to do with keeping the inner city, the urban core, healthy. There is no human urge, no physical law, no divine ordinance, that says that cities are incapable of staying vital and prosperous. Ironically, the principal cause of the failure of cities(and hence, sprawl, and the deadly cycle thereafter) is the action of the people we choose to see to the health of the city: government. Actually, government, in itself, inherently is a bad thing for something as characteristically capitalistic as a city. Government restricts, It impedes, it disrupts. The word "govern" is often used to describe devices that restrict the speed at which a vehicle can move, for example. This, and many other cities like it, have been severely mismanaged, through punitive taxation and zoning, which leads to economic opportunity leaving town, pulling monied residents with it.
But, that is neither here nor there. These are standard practices for just about all cities, and they can be worked around. Maybe someday, in more enlightened times, cities will realize that rewarding people for living and working there is a very lucrative pursuit. But again, I digress. The issue I am pushing with this short treatise is public transit. Put simply, it's far too easy to drive in this town, and the result is sprawl, pollution, and a weak urban core. What I propose, to remedy this is that the dozens of expressways in the Kansas City area need to be toll roads. Most people put on a face like they just ate broccoli when someone mentions tolls, so let me put it this way. Why should someone be paying a higher sales tax for a burrito or a pair of jeans, to support a transit system that doesn't work, while meanwhile paying high state income taxes to drive on bumpy, substandard roads?
I think that the people who use the roads should pay for them, instead of placing the financial burden on people who don't use them, when they pay taxes for things that are completely unrelated to driving on expressways. In doing this, a lot of taxes can be eliminated, and roads will improve, being better funded. These new funds will be far more than what is required for their maintenance, and can be used on things like public transit, because regardless of their viability, tolls will always infuriate people. These people will look to find alternate methods of getting to where they need to go, and will fill the ridership requirement of public transit.
This is the first of many thoughts of this nature that I hope to get written down in the coming months and years.
I have been working quite a bit on the site, to get it a bit in good standing, as standards are concerned, and have decided that HTML 4.0 Strict will be the model for bahua.com. Some things I hope to accomplish with this is getting some html I have been working on to work right in both Microsoft Internet Explorer, which is giving me all the trouble, and pretty much everything else. Konqueror has a few CSS rendering problems on this site, but I have faith in the joint work of the folks at Apple and KDE to set things right. Mozilla, while a bit sluggish, renders everything just fine, and Opera performs brilliantly.
I have a weekend with the apartment to myself, ahead of me. It seems that I'll be flying solo, because of a good deal of my friends will be busy or out of town, too. I might get a new game or something.
This past weekend went just as pitifully as I suspected it would. I never went out, and I held an awards ceremony today, in which I won the "Filthiest Slob of the Weekend" award, and swept all the related awards. All I did manage to do was to spend some money, on one of these(the one on the right), and one of these. I look forward to the holiday weekend, and to the busy, understaffed workweek between now and then.
I went and preordered myself a new video card, for when they come out next month. My current card, a Geforce2 Pro variant, is beginning to show its age. It has served very well, but it's time, I think, to pass it down the chain of computers, to vesuvius. I went and picked Brian up at the airport, tonight(and woke up with only ten minutes to spare), and he reported that he had a wonderful time in Baltimore, and even made it to Washington while he was there. I suppose I'll be ferrying him to the airport again, this coming weekend, when he goes to Chicago. Interestingly enough, he'll be taking me to the airport the week after that, for when I go to Chicago to see Guster(not John Mayer). In any case, we have an eventful couple of weekends ahead of us. Tie your shoes.
The cryptic entry from this morning needs to be elaborated a bit, I think. I drove up to North KC on Saturday, to have a look and a drive, involving a Subaru Impreza WRX. I liked it so much that I took it home. It's a lovely car, and I am currently just enamoured with it, though my driving it seems to make 16 to 19-year old boys think they need to race me in their parents' cars. I suppose I could "waste" them, but I'd prefer to avoid speeding tickets and accidents, and circumstances that commonly lead to them. I'm just glad that I have a reliable, fun car to use. Now, though, I have to take care of it. Sigh. I won't let that bother me, though.
I had a great time for St. Patrick's Day, yesterday. Susie and I took the bus downtown, and spent the day watching the parade, drinking beer, and reveling in general merriment. See all about it on the pictures page.
An ultimatum has been presented to Saddam and his sons, in Iraq. He is faced with the choice of stepping down from power, or suffering a massive invasion. I have laid out what I think the main possibilities are:
Nobody attacks Saddam(nothing changes):
We'll just see which way it all goes.
War is upon us, or, more accurately, war is upon Iraq. Missiles are flying, and the Big Red One is marching. All eyes are now on our folks in the Middle-East. I just hope they accomplish what they've set out to do. I have company, this weekend. Alex, Steve, and Renae will be in Kansas City for a visit. I'll show them around, and a good time. There will be barbecue, beer, and ... well, you'll just have to BE there!
The weekend was a great deal of fun, and maybe I'll post some of the anticlimactic photographs from it. I probably won't however, because they are anticlimactic. I woke up comfortably at 8 AM today, and now I am back at work, an hour and a half into an overnight shift, and quite happy to find that the vending machine still has Mountain Dew in it. I need caffeine.
I will go to Chicago this weekend, for a concert, and all thought is currently bent on that occurrence. I'll also see, I suppose, what it's like to fly when our nation is at war. Eat some meat, and order a large water for free, for these are two things about being American that are enjoyed to excess in the States.
With regular updates from the ntp server in Columbia, all linux machines in our apartment now have actual, synchronized time. I'll be leaving for Chicago on Friday morning, to see Guster, and enjoy a cold weekend in a colder place. The weatherman says that it's supposed to be 14 degrees in Kansas City, on Saturday. I think it'll actually be a bit warmer in Chicago, but still not warm enough to go to a concert without a coat. There's something that freaks me out a bit, about going to a concert with a coat. One thing that I think'll make the whole thing easier, though, is that the crowd will mostly consist of kids. This means that the rather expansive bar will be largely unoccupied, and maybe will even have open seats, over which we can drape our cumbersome jackets.
Until then, I have a night and a half here at work. May it pass quickly.
I just went into my links page, and made a few improvements. All but one were not as much improvements as they were grammatical repairs. The main thing I put in place was a feature addition. I have more planned, of this type, but if you go to the links page, you'll see an index of the current highlights from Slashdot, updated every ten minutes. As I work the kinks out, there will be more additions.
I leave for Chicago in about six hours. It's been 8 months since I've visited. I haven't gone that long without visiting Chicago in a long time, and I look forward to getting back and seeing everyone, and Guster.
I am quite drunk at the moment, but nonetheless, I had a wonderful time tonight, getting drunk and all. Guster was fun too. I'll give you the surprise, Brian, when I get home. In the meantime, I will blissfully sleep in my drunken state. God bless us all, every one.
The weekend was great, but I spent most of Sunday nursing myself back to health, with Julia's help. As I said before, the Guster show was awesome, with lots of fun surprises. Setlist here(courtesy Guster.net). Seeing them at my leisure in a few weeks will be great, and Brian will be the designated driver. Yay! Bring it on, April!
By the way, I backed out the changes I made to my links page, because it was neither innovative, nor fully functional. Also, if I has remembered to grab my camera, when I was at Julia's apartment on Saturday afternoon, there'd be a ton of pictures up and ready for you to download. Unfortunately, I do not. Just imagine Guster playing their instruments, and a reckless good time, captured on film.