I Know What I Hope I Get For My Birthday!

I was browsing through some junk mail the other day, when I came across an ad for this INCREDIBLY ADVANCED photo storage device. If you've already seen the TV commercial for Wallet PixTM, showing a bunch of older women showing pictures of their grandchildren to each other on this thing, then you know what I'm talking about. I mean, WOW!

Even though this thing is thicker than an iPod and most phones, it's probably so it can hold UP TO 58 PHOTOS! That's like... a ZILLION photos! I'll never be able to fill up that kind of storage. AND it comes with a built-in stand, for, you know, when you want to display family pictures on your end table on a screen that's smaller than a credit card. Act now! Only $19.99!

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Weekend Weather

After a tough week at work (about to get tougher), I was in bad need of a mental distraction (i.e. I couldn't just drink my way out of it). So Sarah and I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall at the Levee in a matinee, and then aftewards took a Purple People & Taylor-Southgate bridge lap.

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Streetcars Be Comin'

With only a small amount of drama, city council yesterday formally approved the streetcar plan. It's far from a done deal, and construction won't begin for another couple years at best, but now that the city is officially on board, the road becomes a lot clearer.

I was particularly excited that the voted-upon plan did include the Uptown link, which, as I've said before, is critical for real streetcar use. It adds another $30-$35 million, inflating the total cost to $110-$120 million.

That's a lot of money. Many critics have said that that kind of money can and should be better spent elsewhere, and when I think about things like CPS' $75 million budget shortfall or the $30 million parking garage money that delayed the Banks for so long, I understand why they say that.

But then I think about spending $400+ million for a football stadium that sees 10 games a year, or spending $250 million for a baseball park that is surrounded by highways, or $100 million to build a highway exit, I still think the streetcar plan is the best development deal in a long time.

As Chris Bortz put it:

"If we don't do something big, bold, challenging and new, we're going to have the same city, which is a city that has been struggling to pull itself out of 50 years of decline."
5chw4r7z has some celebration party photos.

"I Live In Cincinnati"

Joe Deters's controversial editorial in the last issue of Cincinnati Gentlemen certainly raised some eyebrows. In the lastest issue, 3CDC's Steve (I guess he's no longer Stephen) Leeper responds about progress made in the city center.

Now, Leeper has attracted plenty of criticism in his tenure as head of 3CDC. People who are upset about moving the fountain, who say that 3CDC just wants to gentrify OTR, who doubt the corporate makeup of 3CDC's board, who still criticize his work in Pittsburgh - they all end up pointing the finger at the man in charge of 3CDC. And that's Leeper.

But in the few times I've heard him speak, I have to say I like what he says. And I like his results. Fountain Square is not just for lunchtime anymore. OTR is showing steady and, dare I say, equitable progress overall, a few bumps notwithstanding. And the Banks have broken ground. If you'll remember, those were the three charter projects that brought the organization into existence. And as far as Pittsburgh goes, he accomplished everything he was tasked with doing, whether or not it was what Pittsburgh needed at the time.

So reading his editorial did nothing do dampen my opinion of him. I liked it very much. You should read the whole thing, though I will quote the passage I liked best:

Millions of people are playing a role in this investment. You're contributing if you are: one of the 9,000 people who now live downtown; one of 250,000 people who attend the Broadway Series at the Aronoff Center; one of 100,000 people who attend the ballet, opera or May Festival at Music Hall; one of 3 million people who attend a Reds or Bengals game; among more than one million people who visited one of six urban museums from Mt. Adams to the riverfront; one of more than 40,000 people who skated on the Fountain Square ice rink this winter season; and one of thousands of children and teens who attend summer movie nights on the Square.

You're supporting the investment if you're developing new housing and retail units in the Gateway Quarter or you're buying one of those condos or opening a new store. Restaurateurs who are opening new spots downtown and in OTR are supporting the investment, as are the thousands of customers from throughout the region who are packing those venues every night. You're supporting the investment when you rebuild a new Art Academy of Cincinnati and School for Creative & Performing Arts to create an arts and culture mecca in OTR and you're supporting the investment by sending your children to those schools.

...And as a community, we should not concede defeat to those that violate the public trust by discouraging residents or visitors from going into the city based on negative perceptions and comments.

Walking Home From Work #2

Walking home from work, I took some of these pictures near the water tower in Eden Park.

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Presenting This Month

I will be giving this month's OINK-PUG topic entitled: "Optimising The Front-End Using YSlow And PHP In A Continuous Integration Environment." (I prefer the Queen's English in this case.) If that title doesn't pique your interest, then my name is Betty.

The event details are on our Ning page.

It's a pretty narrow target audience, but hey stop by if you want! The more the merrier, etc.

Make Cincinnati Weird!

Looks like Make Cincinnati Weird has undergone a heavy makeover, and transitioned to a traditional blog format. And there's some recent posts too!

Anderson Ferry

I needed some new jeans, so Sarah and I made a trip to the GAP Outlet in KY. It was such a nice day, we decided to support the Anderson Ferry on my jeans-buying mission.

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Cradle Of Brands et. al.

Earlier, I had asked, if we are the Cradle of Brands, then where are all the conferences and expos? I can give you one answer to that now. Over on Soapbox, I saw that, DMI, the Design Management Institute will hold its 20th Brand/Design Conference in Cincinnati on June 11, 2008. Now, I don't know what kind of conference this is. All I know is that it's neat to see Cincinnati alongside Singapore and Paris in the list of other cities holding DMI conferences.

Continuing this random thought of city boosterism, I came across this CincyTech blog. An older post relates a quote from Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (the most active VC on Sand Hill Road) once talked about Silicon Valley being the digital media hub, L.A. being the entertainment hub, and Boston being the biotech hub. When asked about Cincinnati, he responded that we are the “Marketing hub!”
I'd heard that quote before, but I'd never had anywhere to link to. Also, in the version I heard, he mentioned New York as being the financial hub.

And lastly, I'd been meaning to write something about this Enquirer article about a local industrial design company, Kaleidoscope, that started a blog that is trying to share the knowledge the company has acquired about sustainability of design and services to lead to a better world. Past posts include topics like "Dangers and Remedies for Multitasking" and "Surf community launches a wave of sustainability initiatives." But I never got around to it. So I'll just throw it in here and say: love the title.

Cueto, Henry Leave Fans Speechless

The Bengals cut Chris Henry after his fifth transgression with the law in the last 28 months. I say good riddance. He was a walking punchline off the field. On the field, he had some spectacular plays, but he wasn't clutch.

What's especially disappointing is that Henry was a model player and teammate, behavior-wise. There was an ESPN article on Bengals' off-field problems a while ago:

But inside the Bengals' locker room, Henry is regarded as a model teammate. And therein lies the difference between the kind of character that matters to teams and that which matters to fans. Henry's coaches and teammates say he shows up on time, pays attention in meetings and goes about his football business as quietly as a mouse. When he does speak, Henry addresses coaches with barely audible "Yes, sirs" and "No, sirs." He works hard in practice, has played through injuries and has quickly developed into the Bengals' No. 3 receiver, with 29 catches for 451 yards (15.6 ypc) and 7 TDs, the same number as Chad Johnson.
That tells me that Henry was for the most party a good person, but makes bad, really bad, snap decisions, and has a bit of a temper, when in social situations and not beside a coach.

In Reds news, Johnny Cueto made is major league debut yesterday. His line in a 3-2 win:
7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 SO, 92 NP, 1.29 ERA
I'm sure I join thousands of Reds fans when I say:

Cue CuetoMania.

Opening Day 2008

Here are a few pictures from the Opening Day parade on Monday. I thought I was going to get drenched, but the rain held off. I couldn't stay for the whole thing, and only caught the first hour's worth before returning to work. They said that this was the largest field ever, with over 200 groups in the parade.

You can see all my parade pictures here.

The parade started off with a police motorcycle formation. Bright and shiny!

The mayor rode with his assistant in the D.A.R.E car. I saw Pepper and Portune, and most of city council.

One of the nicest things to see in the parade.

This plug-in, 100 mpg, electric car caught me eye. If I haven't said so before, my belief is that the electric car can remove our country's dependency on foreign oil. They get 100 mpg, they're proven, and they've been around for 100 years. You park 'em in your driveway and plug 'em in overnight. But why doesn't anyone have one? Technology? Please. I believe that the oil and car industry will not let them come to market.

This woman had a cooler scooter.

My shot of Peanut Jim Tarbell didn't turn out so well.

The Bockfest goat always entertains.

This T.A.N.K. bus is a Reds fan!

The Chick-Fil-A cow, exhorting me to eat more chicken.

A unicycle gang.

Some sort of lawnmower formation.

A portable tennis match.

Dance Party Fridays

How did I not know about this? Oh yeah, because I'm not usually awake to watch the traffic report on channel 12 at 5:45 am.

I saw this first in this year's CityBeat Best Of Cincinnati issue under Best Fender-Bender in Funkytown. But I hadn't seen a video until this morning. Check it out. You'll find yourself watching all of the "Related" videos on YouTube.

It's almost enough to make me want to get up at 5:45 am on Fridays. Almost.