RANT: Duke Power

The worst utility company in the entire world is Duke Power. According to Microsoft’s “Streets and Trips 2005”, the missus and I live a mere 1.6 miles away from the Allen Steam Station here in Belmont, but our damn power goes off all the frickkin’ time. And it would be one thing if it was just a blink here and there, but it goes off for hours when it does this. If anyone from Duke Power is reading this, PLEASE FIX YOUR SYSTEMS! I mean, when’s the last time you picked up a phone and didn’t have dialtone? Was there any weather-related issue that caused our power to go off for several hours yesterday? No. Do you people have ANY idea of what a pain in the ass it is to have to reboot an Exchange server? Do you know how much fun it is to sit in the dark on Labor Day? Do you have any idea of how frustrating it is to buy a freezer FULL of food the day before the power goes out for several hours? Do you?? Do you??? As ol’ Ralph from Ben Hill would say… “Duke Power.. GET OUTTA TOWN!”

By the way, I was really sneaky today and managed to sneak in to the Allen Steam Plant and snap this picture of the generator in action!

RANT: “Replacement Music” on TV Shows on DVD

This week’s rant may sound silly, but bear with me while I try to justify my anger. You see, the people that produce television shows are required to obtain a license for most of the “pop music” you hear on a TV show’s soundtrack. I’m not talking about the instrumental “classical-type” music you hear in the background; that music was probably created specifically for the show or is part of the studio’s ‘stock library’ that it can use in any production. No, I’m talking about the sort of music you’d hear on the radio. Many shows that appeal to younger audiences like The OC, Veronica Mars and Popular – shows that often have the “this show featured music by…” ad just before the end credits start rolling – use this type of music. The problem – and this rant – comes when the shows get transferred to DVD. Many times it’s simply too expensive for the studio to license the music that appeared on the original show. Other times it’s just too confusing; for example, if a song has three songwriters, each might have his or her own publisher for the song’s rights. So instead of dealing with one company, the studio in this example has to deal with three – not to mention the actual songwriters and\or their estates. Needless to say, it can get quite confusing.

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RANT: TLC’s “Command Decisions” Show

Have you guys seen the show Command Decisions on The Learning Channel? It’s a show with a cool premise: take a historical battle and give the viewer three options per point-in-time about how he or she would do it. The only problem with the show is that it takes the decision the commander made and makes it the right one. Sometimes this makes sense – lots of times the questions relate to technical issues. For example, the question might be “how should George Washington begin the attack?” and the “official” answer would be “because it’s raining, muskets won’t fire reliably. Sneak up on the British from behind and use bayonets”. OK, that makes sense. The last thing I’d want to hear while staring down thousands of British troops would be seven thousand “clicks” from the wet gunpowder in my troops’ muskets. But at other times, the questions and answers are far more ambiguous. Like: “George Washington gets to the end of a road. Both roads lead to the same town, are equally straight, have an equal incline and equal cover. The British are equidistant from both roads and face the same terrain no matter which way they pursue you. Which way do you turn?” Of course, the official answer is “left – because that’s the way George Washington did it!”

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