Archives » March, 2007

March 30, 2007

Out Of Town

I’m going to be out of town for a couple of weeks, on vacation up to the Great Green Northwest. Sometimes I manage to make a post or two while I’m gone on these vacations, but sometimes not. So I just wanted to leave this note here so you’ll know what’s up when the page sits stagnant for twelve days.

Unlike all the other times the site has sat stagnant with no explanation, I know.

March 29, 2007

Amazing Race All-Stars Episode 6 Recap

My latest recap of The Amazing Race is now up both at and my new blog, On The Air.

Out on the open seas, majestic music brings us to the sailboat cutting through the open waters of the Indian Ocean, and Danny and Oswald sleeping peacefully on the deck. Then a record scratch and funky music as we pan over to Charla, retching over the side of the boat. Oswald becomes the hero by putting a cold cloth on her neck, and gets called a “doctor” for it, and is thanked for his “beauty tips”. And, it’s just a cold towel; I don’t think either one of those apply. But it’s good to hear Charla say the word doctor without adding an “o” at the end.

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recaplet
TV Guide review
TV Squad review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

March 28, 2007



My latest at On The Air: Sanjaya’s the King of the Circus.

He’s come to realize that he’s nothing more than a punchline, and he understands that there are two options: either take the criticism and make an earnest try to do his best each week, ultimately failing and going home three weeks from now, or to just go balls out and become a full-blown circus. He, fortunately, has chosen the latter. He’s decided that if he can’t be good, then he can at least be horrible, and he can have some fun with it, and he can take his horribleness and stuff it in your face and make you eat it.

March 25, 2007

Amazing Race All-Stars Episode 5 Recap

My latest recap of The Amazing Race is now up both at and my new blog, On The Air.

But the funniest thing about the coal, and quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in eleven seasons of The Amazing Race, is when Danny and Oswald get to the Pit Stop, covered from head to foot in coal dust. Phil is immaculately clean and pressed, as usual, so Oswald sees this and immediately runs straight at him, all “I’m hugging you!”. Phil shrieks, “No way,” and he takes off running through the trees, Oswald and Danny both giving him a merry little chase. Let’s just consider this the pilot of that reality show we were promised last week, shall we?

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Miss Alli’s recaplet
TV Guide review
TV Squad review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

Online Photo Collections

Cross-posted from Around Carson

Street Scene, Historic Mint Building in Distance, Carson City, Nevada 1939

Why are museums and historical societies so stingy with their photo collections? This is something I’ve always wondered. You’ve got an organization that’s been created for the public good, like a museum, and they have this fantastic resource, like a collection of historic photos, that could easily be put on the web to enrich the community, but instead they hold onto it. They control access, they charge fees, they keep everything hidden and away from public view, and they only let these pictures be seen as special “exhibitions” that run for a limited time. Then the photos go back into the dark where nobody can see them except for the chosen few. Why do they do this?

The latest thing to prompt this question is an RGJ article on an exhibition at the Nevada Historical Society featuring photos from the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad over the Sierra. Sounds like a great exhibit:

Along with dozens of historic photos that track the building of the Central Pacific from Sacramento, across Nevada and into Utah where it met the westbound-building of the Union Pacific at Promontory Summit, the exhibit includes maps of suggested routes for the railroad, artwork, artifacts from work on the railway and newspaper stories of the era.

Now, except for the artifacts part of that, this entire exhibit sounds like it could easily be put online. Grow your audience from hundreds to thousands, or hundreds of thousands. Instead of having it “run through Dec. 14” because you have limited space in your exhibition hall, put it online where it can be permanent. But do they do this? No. It’s like they deliberately want to limit the reach of this exhibit, to share it with as few people as possible. They want the control, they like being the keepers. That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

And it’s not just this one exhibit. Museums all across the country have huge collections of photos and artwork that they could put online. Some of them do a pretty good job. Just search Google for historic photo collection and you’ll get five million hits. But if you go in close and study the results, you’ll see that these are only partial collections. Like they’ll have a few dozen images online, and if you’re lucky some kind of catalog of the rest. Our local museum, the Nevada State Museum here in Carson City, has none of this. Neither does the Nevada State Library and Archives. The afore-mentioned Nevada Historical Society has a website so out-of-date that it doesn’t even mention this new Central Pacific exhibit. The only ones doing it right locally are the University of Nevada and their growing number of “Digital Collections“. Maybe the other museums and libraries in the area need to catch a clue from them.

Carson High School, Carson City Nevada

Some of the resistance might come from the fact that these photo collections are a revenue stream for museums and other organizations right now, and they don’t want to cut that off. That’s valid, but short-sighted. Are these collections being maintained for the good of the public, or as a way to raise money for the museum? And which of those two options is better for society? You can still charge for prints, anyway.

More resistance might come from them thinking the costs of putting the pictures online is too high. And that comes from not understanding the web. Most of the organizations I’ve found online that “get it” are using software called ContentDM, which from what I can tell looks like a very good CMS for publishing photos. The software isn’t free, but I can’t imagine it breaking a museum’s budget. And if you don’t want to shell out for a professional solution, find some volunteer or staff member that knows PHP and get them to write the thing. Or bring someone from the community that has the skills onto the project as a consultant. Photo galleries are not hard things to program; I’ve done it myself, so you know it’s not difficult. And as far as hosting? Web hosting is cheap and getting cheaper every day. Maybe there are control freaks in the State IT department that balk at you running PHP or using outside hosting? Tell them to stuff it and remind them that you’re their boss, not the other way around. Or even use Flickr and poach off of Yahoo!’s generosity.

The obstacles are there, but they’re not insurmountable. More and more stuff is moving onto the web, the entire of human experience that can be transmitted digitally, text pictures and video, is moving onto the web. These museums, libraries, and historical societies need to get with it and realize that the transformation is happening. People don’t want to have to visit the museum in order to visit the museum, you know? If they want to do it from home, if they want to do it from their office or from a coffee shop or from a hotel when they’re on vacation, let them do it!

Carson City Nevada 1946

This is part of the motivation behind me wanting to build my own historical photo collection of Carson City and the surrounding areas, as a workaround for the state agencies that are dragging their feet. Some anonymous person out there has been great at submitting pictures to the Around Carson Photo Database, but one day soon I hope to start on a separate collection, a special site just for historic pictures, and dump in all the pictures I’ve gathered from all my different sources, and let you dump any pictures you might have, and maybe we can show them how to do it right and spur them to get off their butts to do it even better.

That’s how the grassroots works. One blade at a time.

March 24, 2007

Kitchen Remodel, Part 2

Yes, the kitchen was finally finished on Friday. After three days of tear-out, and two days of construction, the new kitchen is done.

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See the before picture here. We took out the old peninsula, and the cabinets hanging from the ceiling, that had divided the room in half and instead went for a more open layout with more cabinets on the walls. The island, too, is a huge improvement over what we had before, since it promotes traffic flow in two directions, instead of the dead-end that our kitchen used to be. We also separated the stove and the fridge, since putting the hottest and coldest parts of the room right next to each other wasn’t a great idea, and we moved the dishwasher closer to the sink.

And the cabinets themselves are just a smarter use of the space now. In the corner there used to be two “blind” cabinets, a completely stupid concept where half of the cabinet space was hidden from view and basically unusable. We replaced that with a lazy susan unit down below and a diagonal corner cabinet up above. This means that all the space that was wasted before, in dark corners, can now finally see the light and be usable.

And the entire layout also serves to make the kitchen more a part of the dining room than it was before. The two have always been in the same room, but with the peninsula and ceiling cabinets they were separated, making it impossible to carry on any kind of conversation between the two rooms. Now that things are done, the whole space is more open and friendly.

Of course, “done” is a loaded word here. The countertop installers couldn’t come in to measure until the cabinets were done, and since they were done on Friday the counters won’t be measured until Monday. And it takes two weeks to get those made. Plus we’ll be on vacation two weeks from now, so they can’t come in to install for another week after that. We won’t have real counters until April 16, so for now I put the old, ugly counter and sink back in place. It’s just temporary, but it takes something away from the new cabinets. So I can’t wait until the counters are in.

And then I have to install new floors, and take the popcorn down from the ceiling. God, will this ever be finished?

Here are some shots from the construction.

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Sam helps out.

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The cat helps out.

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End of Day One.

March 22, 2007

Rebuilding A Kitchen

I hate renovating. I hate the work, I hate the mess, I hate the way it disrupts your life. So why then, does it seem like we’re always renovating?! This week it’s the kitchen.

Here are few shots from before, the old cabinets that date back to Jimmy Carter.

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I decided to do the demolition myself. That’s where the work comes into it. I gave myself two days to do it, and it ended up taking three. Who knew knocking stuff down was so time-consuming?

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Finally, at the end of the third day, the kitchen was cleaned out. A blank slate for the carpenters to come in and start work on the new cabinets.

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And here’s the part where our life is disrupted. Below is a picture of what we’re using for a kitchen now. The maple bookshelf on the left holds cups and dishes. The table on the right is our pantry, with everything in paper bags. Pots and pans are beneath that. Meal prep is done wherever you can find a few square inches free. And when you’re done, wash your plates in the bathroom sink.

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We’ve been eating out a lot lately.

More pictures at Flickr.

March 17, 2007

Stardust Demolition

Las Vegas knows how to put on a show. Just to knock down a building, it’s a bigger spectacle than most towns have on the Fourth of July.

March 16, 2007

The Apprentice LA Episode 8: GNC and Soccer

My latest recap of The Apprentice is now up both at and my new blog, On The Air.

Frank comes out wearing a suit, all “Let’s get ready to rumble!” Except he’s reading from a script that’s longer and more convoluted than most Broadway plays. He goes on and on about “Joe” (a very scrawny-looking Tim) and how he doesn’t feel his best. Then he yells “Here! Is! Mr Vitamin!!!” And the crowd…doesn’t respond. It’s so funny. Surya is talking about how people really got into the story, but we see a shot of a whole group of people just staring off into space. Like they’ve put PBS on the Jumbotron, that’s what this crowd looks like. There’s no cheering. There’s no life. The line at the bathroom is probably reeally long. The executive from GNC looks like he’s doing his taxes in his head, rather than pay attention to anything that’s actually happening around him. Some backup dancers in black shirts are following “Joe” around the boxing ring, but then when Mr. Vitamin comes out they change into white shirts. And there is no boxing! I don’t know who “Joe” was supposed to be boxing, but he keeps hugging Mr. Vitamin, who is standing outside the ring, and these other guys are just walking around, like in circles, and for all the fuss they put into building a boxing ring, where’s the boxing?

Go read it all.

Episode links:
Jacob’s recap
TV Guide review
Download the episode with BitTorrent

March 15, 2007

Washington Street Rails – Then And Now

Washington St Rails - Then And Now

There is a new Then And Now article at AroundCarson: #30 – Washington Street Rails.