Friday, June 24, 2005

Speaking of Poor Air Quality!

I noted poor air quality in Charlotte earlier (below). It's about to get even worse when they start blowin shit up on Sunday morning. If you like destruction and don't live in the Metrolina area you can watch the old convention center implode on Sunday morning at 7am Eastern.

You can watch it live on the web here.

Notes on Charlotte

Due to all the travel recently, I forgot to renew my license. So long story short, I'm sans driving privileges for a while. That leaves me at the mercy of public transportation. It may shock some of you - but probably not - but I've never actually used public transportation in the United States with two exceptions; to get to a Red Wings game in Chicago and in New York City.

The way Americans view public transportation is bizarre. Typically, we think of it as the mode of transportation for poor and/or minorities. Most systems are completely inept and inefficient. I imagine this perception leads, at least in some way, to the horrible air quality in many cities - like here in Charlotte.

Most of my co-workers thing that it's completely off for me to leave uptown Charlotte this week by bus. Even worse, they were shocked when I came in to work this morning after skating at Eastland Mall (the "Black" mall) last night. I suppose they assumed I would rather sit around than be seen on the buses here in Charlotte. Perhaps they were surprised when I noted that I was, in fact, not anally raped on the bus last night.

Charlotte's bus system is remarkably adequate. I can get most places in the city in 15 minutes or so. Now, this is because I'm in uptown and am near the hub. I guess if I had to draw a comparison, I would say it's similar to Dublin's bus system - a hub and spoke; you have to come to the hub to get to most of the spokes. Maybe residents of other areas don't find it so convenient.

Link to the Charlotte Area Transit System here.

Monday, June 20, 2005


"A lot of people had this as a family event," Arbelaze said. "A lot of people invested money to come in for a good time, and we feel betrayed.

Betrayed? Yep, that's one way of saying it. Disgust, rage, and disappointment would be others. I feel most sorry for those that traveled from other countries - about 100,000 people.

But this situation leaves the Captain in a precarious position; Defending FIA and Ferrari. As the FIA notes, "As it is, by refusing to run unless the FIA broke the rules and handicapped the Bridgestone runners, they [the "other' tire vendor] have damaged themselves and the sport."

Michelin was unprepared. And the Michelin teams wanted to break the rules. For whatever reason, Bridgestone was prepared for the peculiarities of turn 13. Mrs. Ober posited that Firestone may have communicated with Bridgestone the dynamics of turn 13 during Indy 500 running that may have given them an advantage. Of course, we'll learn more as the days progress. But for Michelin to be shocked that there is a turn 13 in Indy and then not be prepared is insane. It isn't as if this race was put on the schedule at the last minute; F1 has been in Indy for 6 years now. I understand new tire compounds are being used this year but the tires should be ready for ALL circuits.

The bottom line is that Michelin teams wanted to break the rules rather than compete with inferior equipment and the fans lost. What an incredibly sad time. Perhaps the saddest part is that attendance was up and the excitement in the air was unlike any of the previous 6 years.

Update: You can read letters here. I don't agree with all but we can all agree that as fans, we just got royaly fucked; Ouch!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ober to Attend Linux World Expo

Well, I'm heading to Linux World in August. Hope to see you there! Drop me and email if you plan on going.

I hope to learn a lot and re-energize those creative juices!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rumours of Our Discontent....

Ok, so apparently we sounded like we were having a bad time. Nope, nothing could be further from the truth. I would have to admit, Firenze didn't quite measure up to expectations but was still pretty cool. And naturally, Rome was awesome. If you can't recognize the typical Ober rant then truly you are worse than Hitler.

Now, we find ourselves exploring Venezia. It's rather hard to explain this place, you really just have to see it for yourself. It's hard to believe a few slack-jawed yokels founded this place as they fled a bunch of blood-thirsty Goths and voila, one of the most incredible places I've seen. It seems so unnatural for this place to exist let alone for it to be a seat of such power and influence. One of the things we love so much about this place is it's ability to allow you to just get lost - without consequence. One could wonder aimlessly and still never really get lost.

The most important thing I have to reiterate is, for the love of god, don't get travelers cheques!!! There are ATMs all over the place here and the money changers are scoundrels. They give you the worst rates and charge up to 15% on your transaction.

More observations:

Timing and Pricing - We heard that Venezia was both over-crowded and over-priced. We have found it to be neither. Actually, we have found it to be close to the opposite when compared to the other cities we've visited. However, we suspect during peak tourist season this place is about as nutty as squirrel turds.

10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag - I ignorantly believed this was a mostly American phenomenon. Boy was I wrong. Now I haven't asked everybody where they were from but when I hear an accent and a foreign language, I assume they aren't from Yonkers. Sorry American women.

St. Marks - Very Cool. When I die, I want a bunch of people to go steal my body under cover of darkness and then build a basilica for me! Rock on St. Mark.

Campanile - We took the elevator to the top of the Campanile today (pic here). The weather was absolutely perfect (unlike yesterday evening's monsoon). The view of the city was fantastic but most impressive was the view of the Alps. My suggestion would be to wait, if you can, before ascending until you get a clear day. Fantastic!

Catholics - Assholes (mostly). The loudest and rudest people in St. Marks today were Catholics. (They made the sign of the cross as they were yelling. You tell me; Were they Catholic?) St. Marks, featuring, you guessed it, St. Mark himself, has to be one of the more holy spots for Catholics. They didn't stop them from treating it like Disneyland.

Smoking Frenchmen - The only thing that beats a smoking Frenchman is smoking Frenchman below a No Smoking sign in a restaurant. Simply marvelous!

Rob Thomas - Just saw that stupid video. Yikes. Thanks for ruining my vacation asshole. I come all the way to Venice to see it. Actually, I saw it on the plane coming home from Denver a few weeks ago with the sound off... Oh, the cure is worse than the disease!

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Mrs. O and I are both sitting here in a internet cafe in Florence. A few quick notes on the journey so far...

Travelers Cheques - In this day and age it may be better to use an ATM. Most places we have found charge up to 15%. Bullshit we say!

Books - If you are going to vacation someplace of which you are clueless, try the Eyewitness travel guides. They are far superior to any we have found. Of course, Frommers do the trick when dealing with entire countries but Eyewitness guides really get into the details.

Blogging - Go to the internet cafe after your wife goes to bed so she cannot tell you how to run your own blog. Although she did just help me "find" the apostrophe and the quotations!

Art, the Church and Violence - Holy shit! There's a tonne of all of it. Every single piece of art has some goblin shoving something hot and smoldering up some poor sinner's ass. Also plenty of raping, pillaging, and the like. Every frescoe and statue features someone fuckin' someone else up. I've sort of grown tired of making a point on this blog so you can take from this whatever you want.

Trains - They're nice when they aren't Amtrak

Fiesole - Take the bus to the top of the hill for the love of all things holy!!! Don't take the so-called Captain Ober Express...it's a trap. Mrs. O and I walked the entire mountain overlooking Firenze because I thought it would be brilliant to get a look at some stupid hotel...or something. Hell, I didn't even know what I was looking for. We finally resorted to stopping every single person in the towne and asking them - in French mind you - where the towne center was. At least I got some mad props for my French accent. Some kind women thought I was from Belgium. Mrs. O got sore feet and a reason to question any such short cuts in the future. Although she did reprezent by climbing the mountain in sandals, a dress, and a haltertop (but she looked hot doing it).

Friday, June 03, 2005

La Musica

I will update my dìverts section when I get home and can find certain articles of spelling and speach. In the meantime, let me just say that you have not purchased the new Stephan Malkmus record by the time we get home, there is going to be trouble. I listened to it all night from Munich to Rome and listened to it most of the flight here. Of course, I have been listening to other stuff, but Face the Truth is the best.


We find ourselves in Rome this week, at least until tomorrow. Here are a few random thoughts.

Tradition - If Mrs. Ober and I failing to order a second course in your restaraunt bothers you so much, perhaps it is you that has the problem and not us - the borish Yanks. I am all about viva lè difference and such but getting that bent out of shape over fucking pasta makes you seem like a pathetic greaser. Sorry.

The Vatican - Maybe the protestant reformation was not that bad of an idea. Holy shit that is a bunch of stuff over there. Note to travelers - check out the doors on St. Peters, there is some scary shit on there.

The Latin Tradition - I will take our American traditions of order and systemic control over the latin tradition of chaos anyday. Compare the systems of France, The Commonwealth, and, Germany to those of the latin countries. Any questions.. yes, I lost the question mark!

Architecture, Engineering, and Artifacts - I will take Tikal any day!

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