Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A foolish young blogger over at Urban Cincy is under the naive impression that the "place to be" for New Year's Eve is downtown....
As everybody knows, the place to ring in the new year is obviously scenic Northside.
The Comet serves up the Blue Rock Boys.
The Northside Tavern hosts The Bad Veins.
The Gypsy Hut brings you the Rumpke Mountain Boys.
The Art Damage Lodge dishes up Sylvester Kunstvereen Familie Montex for your listening pleasure.
The C&D will be celebrating the "Alcoholidays" as only they know how.
Sidewinder will be serving coffee and tea til 10PM to keep you awake and thoroughly cranked til well into 2009.
And, unlike downtown, Northside has a WHITE CASTLE !!!!!
poor poor sad downtowners.....
The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that holiday sales at mall & shopping center stores had it's worst season since 1970.
But were sales and gift giving down ?
For the most part, on my end, it wasn't. A lot of the gifts given and most appreciated were handmade by local artists, craftsmen and family members.
For some time the "shop local" mantra has been trudging along and gaining some traction.
This article from the Noose Son describes the popularity of knitting these days. In Cincinnati there are several knitting groups including CinCity Stitch and the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library offers a knitting program at some of it's branches.
Add to that the local galleries and craft shows/fairs in Cincinnati like the annual Holiday Arts Fair in Northside early every December and The monthly open houses in Oakley and OTR, one has to ask himself how much these individuals making and selling unique items are affecting the sales at big box stores selling generic electronics and stuff.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The animated movie, The Tale of Despereaux, was recently released after 2 years of work at the British animation and special effects house, The Framestore.
have you ever downloaded a file to your computer and you just couldn't find it ? You know you have a funny picture of a cat you would love to send to aunt Minnie, but, wherethehellizzit?
The Framestore had over 200 artists, working together to generate 90 million files taking 200TB of storage to make the movie.
One of the most cpu intensive things to render is hair but cartoon makers love furry critters so ya gotta do things like go out & buy 1,000 servers.
From The Framestore's website:
  • There are 40,089 individual assets in the film
  • 25 hero characters were modelled, surfaced and textured, as well as 12 secondary characters
  • 60 hero environments were modelled, surfaced and textured
  • There are 413,138 hairs on Despereaux's head
  • he film has 126,248 frames altogether

c'mon, no polygon counts ?
The result ?
It looks kinda cheesy. But it's mice, so what the hell ?

El Reg story (a fluffed out press release of which this is a streamlined version thereof) here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Junky's Christmas

Part 1

Part 2
Merry Christmas !

Telstar by Evan Johns & the H-Bombs

From 06

Due 09

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OK, I think I have found a pattern here.
The NAACP objects to a streetcar system in Cincinnati.
In the last election they fought technology to help police gather evidence against traffic crime and they proposed a return to an old voting system that they felt would be better implemented with laborious hand counting of ballots rather than using electronic mechanisms. Before that they objected to a new and improved jail.
The common thread ?
A fear of technology. A fear of progress. A fear of, ironically, advancement.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Holidays on Ludlow

12/19/08 celebrate the holidays on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton with
  • Free carriage rides
  • Strolling carolers
  • Prizes
  • The Fairview German Choir
  • Crafts workshop
  • Santa Claus

Parking in the merchan's lot will be free after 5 PM.
And afterwards, (you knew this was coming) head on down to Northside for even more shopping, fine food and entertainment !

Art Damage Lodge
4120 Hamilton Ave.

Banner and Ross Gallery
3841 Spring Grove Ave.
hrs: 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM Mon-Thurs, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Fri

The Blue Jay
4154 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM Mon-Sat

Blue Rock Tavern
4221 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 5:00 PM - 2:30 AM Mon-Fri, 6:00 PM - 2:30 AM Sat

1677 Blue Rock Ave.

Boswell Alley
1686 Blue Rock Ave.
hrs: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Mon-Thurs, 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM Fri-Sat, Bar til 2:30 AM Mon-Sat

Bug House Video
4170 Hamilton Avenue
hrs: 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM Mon-Thurs, 4 - 11:00 PM Fri, noon - 11:00 PM Sat, noon - 9:00 PM Sun

4023 Hamilton Ave.

The C & D Cafe
1714 Hanfield Ave

Club Bronz
4029 Hamilton Ave.

The Comet
4579 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 4:00 PM - 2:30 AM Sun-Sat

Gajah Wong West
3937 Spring Grove Ave.
hrs: 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM, bar open late

Ginger's Bar
1701 Blue Rock Ave.
hrs: til 2:30 AM

The Gypsy Hut
4231 Spring Grove Ave.
hrs: 8:00 PM - 2:30 AM

The Hideaway
44163 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM Tues-Thurs, 5:00 - 11:00 Fri-Sat, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Sun

4034 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM Tues-Thurs, 11:30 AM - 10:PM Fri-Sat, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM Sun

Junker's tavern
4156 Langland Ave.

Hamilton Ave.
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM Tues-Fri

4165 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM Mon-Thurs, 11:00 AM - 10 PM Fri-Sat

NYPD Pizza
1566 Chase Ave.
hrs: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM Mon-Thurs, 11:00 AM midnight Fri-Sat

Northside Bar
Hamilton Ave.

Northside Tavern
4163 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 5:00v PM - 2:30 AM Mon-Fri, 8:30 PM - 2:30 AM Sat-Sun

4577 Hamilton Avenue
hrs: 2:00 PM - 9:00 PM Wed-Sat

Park Chili
4160 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM mon-Fri, 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM Sat, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Sun

1609 Chase Ave.
hrs: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Mon-Sat

The Serpent
4042 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 9:00 PM - 2:30 AM

Sidewainder Coffee & Tea
4181 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 7:00 AM - 9:00 PM Mon-Fri, 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM Sat-Sun

4046 Hamilton Ave.
hrs: 5:30 PM - til he food's gone, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Sun

Taco Bell/KFC
4147 Hamilton Ave.

Take the Cake
4137 Hamilton Ave.

White Castle
3940 Ludlow Ave.
hrs: 24/7

Thursday, December 18, 2008


ok, actually, uh, model making ?
The Phoenix Cafe, at 641 Walnut St, had the reputation of being the only bar to be open in Cincinnati continuously since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Their policy of enforcing ladylike behavior by not allowing women to sit at the bar drew the ire of the feminist movement in the 60s. It was a place where the working poor could get a longneck for a buck. It was a place a guy could squander his welfare check. It was a dive. The Cincinnati Business district used to be a welcoming place to the poor. White Castle, The Phoenix cafe, The Belmont Cafe & The Milner hotel and lounge all catered to the lower economic classes and were happy to serve the wealthy as well.
They are all gone now as the area has gradually become an exclusive playground for the affluent. The business district always had it's havens for the affluent like The Palm Court and The Maisonette. But the yuppies have decided to set the cultural tone and those places were too stuffy for them and the low class dives were not only beneath them but an affront to their sensibilities.
After finally shutting the Phoenix Cafe down after 70 plus years in business, it will be replaced with the Righteous Room, another in a chain of bars owned by a group of investors known for their yuppie frou frou establishments. I would guess that 70 years in business on the same location would merit the designation of institution. Will the Righteous Room become an institution ?
Doubt it. Probably last a few years as a trendy meatrack & then change hands, names and do it all over again and again in an endless cycle. It won't be a cycle of failure, of course, because nobody expects the places to last.
I realize that money talks, but sometimes it just steamrolls. I fear the era of institutions is coming to an end.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Springfield Stones the Crows

Springfield, has become, apparently, the Bodega of the midwest. With an increasing number of crows roosting in the city, crews have set to dealing with the growing murder problem with bangers and screamers.
I wish 'em luck. Might as well try building a "rabbit fence".
Still, crows, like all birds, are pretty much just flying shit machines, so I understand the annoyance. Watching them and listening to them usually isn't a problem and be quite entertaining, tho.
Cats might disagree.

Noose Son story here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking at the budget woes of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the regional school systems, I am frequently amazed at how much money they seem to be throwing away using Windows and standardizing on other Microsoft products. Hamilton County seems particularly dependent on the buggy, bloated overpriced OS and office suite. With OS prices ranging from approx $180 - $300 and Office ranging from $300 to $400 per seat, it seems like supplying 6000 employees with computer access would be a lot cheaper paying $0 for the OS and $0 for the office software (yeah, I know they get bulk discounts). Add to that the licensing for Windows Server and Exchange Server and the customer support needed, solutions like Red Hat Enterprise probably start looking pretty good. But, still we have the slow buggy websites the various county departments post. The County Auditor's being a prime example.
In looking for web hosts, the price for Windows service usually entails a premium charge. I assume the costs of mintaining a server internally would reflect the same cost difference.
From my experience with Linux (Fedora and Yellow Dog) and Open Office as well as using Mac and Windows, the big difference between the commercial systems and the open source systems is that the commercial systems support more proprietary media and gizmos like iPods and Zunes and frequently demand newer more powerful hardware.
For some years, governments, worldwide, have pushed for and even legislated the use of open source software.
In SW Ohio we just hemorrhage more money to Washington, tho.......

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


December 6th is Krampusnacht. It is a Bavarian celebration commemorating St Nick's demon dude, Krampus, who gave the bad kids a good thrashing, leaving St Nick to be the good guy and leave presents and treats.
Today it is pretty much a chance for modern day folks to get weird and have a party.
Anyway, it's good enough for Cincinnati's sister city, Munich, so I say we oughtta go for it here. We have missed it this year but now is probably the time to start planning for next year.
C'mon folks, let's take some Christ out of Christmas !
I am sure the local bars and breweries wouldn't argue.

Friday, December 05, 2008

image by Ursula Roma

I am frequently asked, "What's going on in Northside this Saturday ?"
ok, not really, more often than not, if I'm not being asked for money and/or cigarettes, I'm being asked to leave.
This Saturday, Northside Arts hosts another Winter Art Fair featuring locally made arts and crafts just in time for your holiday shopping. Some of the folks who will be there are Mary Faith Colon, Rachel Jones, Rose K. Brenner-Schwartz, Michael Isaacs, Andrea Vetter, Anna Collins, Carol Ann Newsome, Gillian Thompson, Heather Jerolaman, Jessica Ring, Amanda Carlisle, Karen Boyhen, Bill Williams, Mary Faith Colon, Ted Jeckering, Mike Smith and Mike Newman.
Also, this Saturday, we got:

And, as usual, lotsa fine food, drink and entertainment at Honey, Take the Cake, Bonomi, Ginger's, Boswell Alley, The Northside Tavern, The Gypsy Hut, Park Chili, The Blue Jay, The Hideaway, Melt, Portofino's, The Comet, Gajah Wong West, NYPD, Sidewinder, Bronz, Bullfishes and more.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I always hate agreeing with the inmates over at the Beacon. Never know if my iron grip on reality is slipping out of it's velvet glove or if they are just good examples of the broken clock theory. I have learned to take their numbers with a grain of salt but regardless of any exact number, the Cincinnati mayoral primary is a stupid idea. Primaries make some sense, especially with the 2 party presidential races in the US. You are dealing with people and communities and industries and even cultures that can be very different from Rhode Island to Hawaii or from Alaska to Missouri. Many people in the US will never see or know anything about vast regions of the country.
In a city the geographic size of Cincinnati and with it's population of less that 400,000 and with the non-partisan nature of the mayoracy, the primary is pointless and wasteful both in time and money.
I doubt the cost of campaigning is much different.
I guess there might be something to say for the mayor's getting a larger number of votes through a 2 way race, thus giving the elected mayor a little more legitimacy, but it is just not necessary.

Monday, December 01, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

Is an Elizabeth Bathory Action Figure !

This way cool toy was released in 2004 and went under my radar til I found I shared my birthday with the forward thinking countess. I can't believe the folks at Mattel haven't come up with a Barbie Bathory playset. Lord knows a household with kids is a household with headless dolls.
McFarlane Toys
Elizabeth Bathory