In case you hadn’t gathered…

…we decided to take an extra day in New Jersey after our whirlwind drive back from North Carolina yesterday. Judging from what I read at StephenEsque regarding the snow in Boston (see Stalingrad. We Are Surrounded), it’s probably a good thing we did.

Incidentally, Stephen Baldwin may be one of the most original writers in the blogosphere right now. Writing daily on some odd topic or other, reading his blog is like getting the best parts of a new Mark Leyner collection in your RSS reader. Sample:

So. I return to Boston from Christmas Day spent at my two-year-old nephew’s house in the cacophonous company of the hauntingly cadaverous Murray Wiggle and his antipodean friends, only to find the city in the icy, double-fisted clutches of a capricious winter blizzard. Beacon Street, in particular, I thought, stepping out of the airport cab I had managed to commandeer into curbside dunes of thick white flakes, could most definitely have provided the contents of a highly effective snow globe, myself with suitcase and duffle bag cast in the role of tiny plastic figure standing stationary forever outside the minature two-dimensional brownstones in this swirling souvenir of some tourist’s inability to discover the location of TV’s “Cheers” bar, having walked four blocks down the road in the wrong direction as they invariably do.

All through the remainder of the night – or so it seemed to travel weary people – Boston Public Works departments were out in force, ploughing the road with their huge urban tractors and scooping the unwanted snow up on to …. the sidewalks, which consequently become impassable by all except mountain goats, extremely experienced Himalayan guides, and the yeti, none of whom, at least as far as I am aware, live in Greater Boston area – definitely not in the Back Bay, at any rate.

Catch up #2: Global Voices Covenant

Following up on my notes from the Day 2 sessions at the VBB conference, here’s the newly drafted Global Voices Covenant, already translated into multiple languages:

We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.

To that end, we want to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak — and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.

Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world.

We want to build bridges across the gulfs of culture and language that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully. We want to work together more effectively, and act more powerfully.

We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable – for all citizens of this planet.

While we continue to work and speak as individuals, we also want to identify and promote our shared interests and goals. We pledge to respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one other.

We are Global Voices.

And, a la Jeff Jarvis, at whose blog I found the link, here are the first words of the manifesto, as translated by grassroots effort into 19 languages:

إننا نؤمن بحريّة الكلمة: بحماية الحق في إسماع الآخرين والاستماع لهم. لكل فرد في العالم الحق في الوصول إلى أدوات التخاطب.

Wir glauben an Meinungsfreiheit: Schutz des Rechtes, seine Meinung zu äußern. Und des Rechtes, zuzuhören. Wir glauben an unbeschränkten Zugang zu den Instrumenten von Meinungsäußerung.

Creemos en la libertad de expresión, en el derecho a hablar y en el derecho a ser escuchado. Creemos en el acceso universal a todas las herramientas que contribuyen a la expresión.

Uskomme ilmaisunvapauteen: siihen, että oikeutta puhua – ja oikeutta kuunnella – tulee suojella. Uskomme siihen, että kaikilla tulee olla yhtäläinen pääsyoikeus puheen työkaluihin.

Nous croyons à la liberté d’expression, à la protection du droit de parole et du droit d’écouter. Nous croyons en l’accès universel aux outils d’expression.

Crediamo nella libertà di parola: nella protezione del diritto di parlare — e del diritto d’ascoltare. Crediamo nell’accesso universale agli strumenti di comunicazione.


Nós acreditamos na liberdade de expressão: protegendo o direito de falar — e o direito de ouvir. Nós acreditamos no acesso universal as ferramentas de expressão.

Now I guess we‘ll see how well MarsEdit copes with posting in multiple scripts… (Thanks to Jeff Jarvis for the link.)

Catch up #1: tsunami

Yesterday morning, as we wove our way around Old NC 20 in the pre-dawn light, we clicked on a station that was carrying BBC News and learned about the devastating tsunami.

I’m now working my way through my RSS feeds—even though old items automatically roll out of the feeds and no newspaper ever has more than a day’s worth of items, I still have about 1800 items to read—and have found the following about the tsunami:

We assimilate another one

Shades of Gray: Back to Mac. My fellow Sloanblogger is seeing the light. Straz, here are my quick thoughts about life with a Mac:

  • Make sure you check out VersionTracker for software downloads—including Keyword Assistant and other invaluable iPhoto plugins; Mac OS X Hints for tips and tricks for getting more out of your machine; and the MacFixit Forums for troubleshooting.
  • MarsEdit is my blog posting tool of choice—it copes neatly with my Manila blog as well as the Movable Type-based BlogCritics.
  • The biggest problems I have with my machine tend to be managing hard disk space—probably because I have over half my 60 GB disk filled with digital music.

Have fun, Straz, and welcome to the other side!


red sky at morning, sailors take warning

The second batch of photos from our trip. These include outdoor shots around my dad’s property (and my uncle’s house on the neighboring hill) across several days, from sunrise to sunset.

Technical note: the last batch, starting with the wood photos, were shot at twilight, although the exposure makes them look as though it were still late afternoon. This is why they aren’t especially crisply focused—I didn’t have my tripod, so I leaned against a tree where I could and shot freehand where I couldn’t.

Greatest Hits of Greatest Hits of 2004

I’m not sure I feel moved to write my own Best of the Year list as I did last year… but when looking at these two lists by cartoonists whose musical tastes I respect, I know that there will at least be a lasting guide to what’s good from the year. The more complete of the two so far is Jeph Jacques’ top 10 list at Questionable Content, on which I’ve listened to exactly one and a half discs; good shopping list.

Another indie-focused list, in words and pictures, comes from Scary Go Round’s John Allison, who has his character Shelley Winters (no relation) reviewing his top 20 selections (link goes to the first five; looks like he’ll be doing them as a week of comics). The coverage is hilariously honest: regarding Air’s Talkie Walkie, she notes, “This record is nice when you are listening to it but you forget it the second you turn it off,” and she zings Franz Ferdinand with “their songs are about being an androgynous pixie-boy who dances on the dance floor with anything in trousers or a skirt.”

There’s also a meta-post at Blogcritics collecting “best of” lists, and KEXP has posted their collection of DJ Best Of lists—the Top 90.3 won’t be posted until Friday.