Saturday, October 17, 2009

Short and Sweet Criticism of streaming "The WB"

I was recently watching the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Hulu. Just today, they stopped showing season two and the only place to watch it is the WB's website. Presumably the WB is trying to maximize their revenue by bringing the advertising dollars directly to them rather than licensing to Hulu. Well, I don't know exactly how the business works but I suspect it is failing because here's what has happened.

The WP player sucks quite a bit, not as bad as ABC's player, but it is WAY worse than Hulu. Hulu's played in higher quality, without skipping every 120 seconds and correct commercial breaks ... seriously, the people who made the show can't find the commercial breaks as well as Hulu. So, I will watch one, MAYBE two more "Buffy's" on your crappy player, only until I get the DVD from Netflix. I assume that this is how your brilliant plan failed. Netflix has probably already paid for the DVD. So, where the WB was once generating a little revenue by me watching through Hulu. They decided they wanted a bit more and thought they could capture that themselves, but now they lose out on the additional revenue for seasons 3-7 since Netflix has already paid for the DVDs I will be watching it on.

So, if you are the WB, you could toss a few more million bucks at bringing your player up to the industry standards, go back to letting people who are good at streaming stream your show, or just let me watch it on DVD. It doesn't matter to me, I will just work withing the system to get the show I want, at the time I want, and at the price I want. Heck, I would even watch more commercials on Hulu.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 5

Day 5 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.


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Day five started off in Prestonsburg, Ky. We backtracked a little bit to the Civil War battlefield monument for the Battle of Middle Creek shown below.


From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip



I am not well educated about the Civil War so I don't know what these sites generally look like but this was essentially a field with some trails and informative signs. At this point we hopped back in the car and cruised through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and Western West Virginia and made it to Charleston for lunch.

I had been through Charleston in the late '90s and the memory of their gold capitol dome in the lush green river canyon is still vivid today. I think originally seeing so much green made it pretty impressive to an Arizona boy but my year in Ohio has made vast expanses of green less novel. Regardless, I knew I wanted to head downtown so we made sure to get through the suburban sprawl of the west side of town quickly.

We parked the car in a pay lot downtown and ventured into the "big city" in search of lunch. Cara earned her second commendation of the trip for spotting the front entrance of the Blossom Deli. I had the "Full of Bologna" grilled bologna with red onion marmalade sandwich which was quite a treat. I figured even though we were probably obviously out of towners ordering a bologna sandwich would earn us instant local cred, because seriously, who goes on vacation and orders bologna sandwiches?

We went for a stroll after lunch then follow the river back down to the US 60 and snaked our way through central West Virginia. This was a fabulous drive. The 60 follows what I believe to be the New River or one branch of the New River. We stopped to rest and read at the Kanawha Falls which are not very tall but are quite wide and still an impressive site.


From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip



From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip



From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


The river is also known as the Kanawha River and its Wikipedia page has an excellent panoramic picture of the falls. Further upstream we came across the Hawks Nest Dam Generating Station.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


The dam itself is actually 3.5 miles upstream and the water travels these three and a half miles through a 35ft diameter tunnel built in the first half of the 1930s. The story of the Hawk's Nest Tunnel is worth reading. This was a longer day of driving so we pushed on, sadly hurrying past the Mystery Hole and into Fayetteville for a night of rest.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 4

Day 4 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.


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After our very pleasant stay at the Beaumont Inn, we set off east, trying to cover some ground towards West Virginia as well as stop and see the sights. This leg of the trip brought us up into the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

We decided to head towards the Red River Gorge and see what we could see along the way. Driving along one of the smaller state routes we saw a State Park sign for "Cottage Furnace". Neither of us had any idea what this meant but it looked like it would take us further up the mountains and it was an awful pretty drive. Following the signs down increasingly smaller roads we arrived at the Cottage Furnace picnic area parking lot, nestled up at the top of a mountain in the woods.

We walked around for a while trying to find what the point was. There weren't really any helpful signs with information about the site and we headed back to the car. Fortunately, we noticed another trail near the car then headed down that to see if we could find anything. Down the hill a bit and we came across the Cottage Furnace.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


Unfortunately there is not much in the picture to provide scale, but that entrance is probably 10 feet wide and the whole structure is maybe 40 feet tall. As you can well see, it is somewhat overgrown. This large stone structure and a pile of discarded flint shards are about all that is left to see. At this point, you might be asking yourself, "What is Cottage Furnace?". Well, so were we. We found out later that it was used to make pig iron and operated in the mid 19th century. There are a number of sites that talk about these types of furnaces this site has a brief history of cottage furnace.

Having discovered Cottage Furnace we hopped back in the car and continued east. We found a Natural Bridge State Park on the map just south of Red River Gorge and decided to see what that looked like. I guess there's little mystery there ... it's a natural bridge! There are a number well maintained trails, as well as a sky lift, leading up to the bridge.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


Once you have gotten up top there are a number of other trails you can follow around. One of them leads to a lookout point that makes for a great picture opportunity. Unfortunately, Cara was caught licking her lips here. I assure you, this picture is much better than her attempts to photoshop in a proper smile :)

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We climbed down the "Balancing Rock" trail and picnicked in the park at the bottom then set off to the Red River Gorge. Red River Gorge has an excellent visitors center next to a historic farm. Our trip to the center brought us through the single lane 900 foot Nada Tunnel, which was an old railroad tunnel. The day was getting late and we had already had our hiking in so we failed to visit any of the many trails in the Gorge, but it made for a nice drive.

At this point, we pressed on east looking for a place to stay. We stayed the night in Prestonsburg, Kentucky at a Super 8 next to the worlds most scenic Wal Mart.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We had dinner at a restaurant down town and got a good rest for the next day's push into West Virginia.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 3

Part 4 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.


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We sprinted across Kentucky to get past Lexington to the Bourbon Trail, the central portion of Kentucky famous for Bourbon and horses. The views were gently rolling hills scattered with horse farms.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We first tried to stop off at the Woodford Reserve distillery, but it is closed on Mondays, so we were unable to see it. So we pushed on towards the Marker's Mark distillery stopping for lunch in Versailles ("ver-sales") Kentucky for some good home cookin' at a downtown diner.

We toured the Maker's Mark distillery and saw all of the steps of whiskey making. We saw the 12 foot high 12 foot diameter cedar tubs they ferment the whiskey in and the several story tall copper stills they distill the liquor in. The still house and still storage tanks can be seen through the front doors of the still house below.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


At the end of the tour, we got to taste not only the Bourbon, but the "high wine", or the clear distillate that gets put into the barrels to age. It was diluted to 90 proof to be more drinkable. We had expected it to taste like Vodka but it had a distinct grain flavor. It was an interesting surprise. This tour was definitely worth taking the time.

After the tour we headed back east trying to find a hotel. We struck out in Danville, KY, but the folks at the Danville Info center provided a number of suggestions including the historic Beaumont Inn, which sounded like it would be nice. As it turned out it was a fantastic and not too expensive Inn. We had a delicious dinner at their tavern, played a few hands of rummy on their porch, a very comfortable night and an excellent and sizable full breakfast in their dining room the next morning.

The Inn was built in 1845 and used to be a girls school among other things. It is filled with antiques and memorabilia like this "Cleopatra Clock" that came from the French Exposition at the 1893 Worlds Fair.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


The front entrance to the Inn.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 2

Part 3 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.



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After a somewhat disturbed sleep and being awoken by various stomping and children noises we had our continental breakfast, which became a staple on this trip. The free breakfast at motels really saved us quite a bit of money and made our occasional light picnic lunches reasonable.

Day two brings us out of Ohio, through a bit of West Virginia and into Kentucky. We shot straight south from Athens to Pomeroy, OH right on the Ohio river. Pomeroy had a quiet little riverfront downtown.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We stopped at their river front park and took a picture of ourselves

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


as well as some pictures of the new bridge complete with coal plant exhaust in the distance:

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We crossed the above pictured bridge into West Virginia and perhaps somewhat amusingly the first thing a visitor crossing this bridge sees is a Wal Mart. This really did seem like a bridge to Wal Mart. Interestingly, if you go look at this bridge in Google Maps (Satellite View) and Street View, you can see that it is under construction.


View Larger Map

Also, someone else has pictures of the Pomery/Mason Bridge under construction on Panoramio.

We drove along the West Virginia side of the river up to Gallipolis. Along the way we passed the Gavin Coal Power Plant shown below. An interesting tidbit about this plant is that the power company ended up having to buy up the entire town of Cheshire, OH downwind of the plant because clouds of sulphuric acid ocassionally, uhm, inconvenienced residents.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We cruised a few more hours through West Virginia and Ohio and then finally into Kentucky. Stopped for lunch along this creek in the Carter Caves State Park where we later took a tour of X Cave and a two mile hike.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip



All of our drive through Kentucky on this day was along the US 60. The very same US 60 as in Arizona and I would venture to say that the East Valley has far more trailers along the US 60 than does Kentucky. Though I bet more moonshine is made along the Kentucky stretch.

At the end of the day we zipped into Morehead, KY and found a decent cheap hotel, had a calzone and a walk. We went back to our hotel room and drank some wine that we had brought with us. I have awarded Cara with a vacation commendation for thinking ahead and packing some beer and wine to save some dollars as well as insulate us from silly regional liquor laws. The restaurant we had dinner at couldn't serve drinks on Sundays.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 1

Part 2 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.



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The first day started late, so it was a bit short. We headed south with our first stop being the mandatory custard stop at Whit's Frozen Custard in Granville. Since I first had that custard, I don't think I have made it through Granville without stopping. It is really quite fantastic, delicious and sooo smooth. Granville is also home to Denison University. After paying the Whits Custard toll we pushed further south.

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway station was along the roadside in Nelsonville, OH. Even though it was closed, the train cars are still easily viewed from the adjoining parking lot so we hopped out and took some pictures. This beast caught my eye so I slammed on the breaks and we stretched our legs. This is a rail road snow plow though I think it could easily have a future in the movies as a Mad Max like vehicle of doom and destruction.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip


We made it to Athens at about 6PM and drove around until we found downtown and the Ohio University area. As a point of reference for my Arizona friends and family, Athens is the Flagstaff of Ohio. Athens is the big hippie enclave of the state as far as I can tell. It has a nice downtown right next to the University and was full of partygoers since there was a big "Boogie on the Bricks" block party.

We strolled around for a while an settled in for dinner at Casa Neuava. Actually dinner was an hour and twenty minute wait due to the crowd, but that was no big deal, we enjoyed some local beers and their salsa selection with some probably too healthy corn chips. Finally we got seated and ate a quick dinner. The food was excellent and could be best described as Mexican Hippie fusion. No offense to either Mexicans or Hippies, it really was delicious and I hope to eat there again.

After dinner we called it a night and drove around in circles until we found a motel on the other side of town. Our first night away from home was the least comfortable but worked. Noisy in room air conditioners are possibly the worst thing that can happen in a cheap motel. Maybe I should say the worst legal thing that can happen in a cheap motel.

Austin

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer 2009 Road Trip

Cara and I took a nice long road trip around Kentucky and West Virginia this July (2009). Over the next few days I will blog our experiences but I will provide a quick overview in this post.

We had a great time and managed to happen across enough entertainment to fill our time. A quick summary of sites includes:

  • Athens Boogie on the Bricks block party - Day 1
  • X Cave at Cater's Caves State Park, KY - Day 2
  • Maker's Mark Distillery Tour, KY - Day 3
  • Natural Bridge State Park, KY - Day 4
  • Lunch in Charleston WV and traveling the US 60 - Day 5
  • New River Gorge and Hawk's Nest State Park, WV - Day 6
  • Beartown State Park, WV - Day 7
  • Cass Railroad and Green Bank Telescope, WV - Day 8

A selection of our pictures are mapped below. Some of these will be included in upcoming posts.


View 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip in a larger map

With no reservations or specific destinations in mind we set off and tried not to look at the map too much. We brought a cooler with picnic goodies, avoided the interstates, looked for cheap entertainment and hoped to stay in inexpensive motels. As we pulled out of the garage, we debated whether we should head east to Pittsburg or south to Athens. We decided to head south. As you can see below, I was quite enthusiastic to finally be "rolling".

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kayaking to Howard

We did about an 8 mile trip today from home to Howard. It was a beautiful day and we set off about noon. We saw a number of Great Blue Herons, geese, goslings, ducks and turtles. The water level was pretty high since it has recently rained but it had fallen since yesterday. The following image is the river levels for the last several days from the USGS Kokosing Gage Height page.

From General


The river was pretty much clear except a spot along 229 where there were a few fallen trees completely spanning the river. We were able to get under them after pausing to decide the best route to try it. It could have been rougher had the water been higher or lower, though maybe not too bad. We also passed the Bald Eagle nest and saw one of the Eagles a little down river from that.


View Kokosing River Trip - May 3rd 2009.kmz in a larger map


The whole trip took about 2.5 to 3 hours on the river plus a bit driving and cinching the kayaks down to the roof of the car. All in all a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How was YOUR commute this morning?

This last Monday morning I had to drop off my car at the garage to get it worked on. Having recently purchased kayaks I figured, why walk home when I can kayak! So, I loaded the kayak on the car and set off.

From Kayaking_April_2009


I dropped the kayak off at the first bridge just upstream from my house, tucking it away a bit so it would be obvious, then drove up the hill to the garage. I had a pleasant walk back down the hill and put in on the sandbar under the bridge.

From Kayaking_April_2009

I leisurely paddled and drifted downstream, it was only 8:15 AM, still plenty of time before I started work at 9:00 AM, no need to rush.
From Kayaking_April_2009

Right upstream of some of our light rapids I came across a fallen tree and a spring running into the river.

Kokosing Commute - Spring from Austin Godber on Vimeo.


After the spring I ran through the rapids. I couldn't take any pictures since I had to paddle. Just past them I came across some of my noisy neighbors.
From Kayaking_April_2009

A little more paddling around the bend and I pulled up into my front yard.
From Kayaking_April_2009

These kayaks aren't too heavy, so I can safely lug it out of the river and haul it up the hill on my own, good thing I have been doing those pushups though.
From Kayaking_April_2009

This easily makes the winter worth it. So, how was YOUR commute today?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Springtime is here and we have discovered that we have lovely tulips in our flower beds out front. These are the ones that were lucky enough not to be deer food.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hulu Rocks

Hulu rocks so much that I even enjoy their commercials.  For instance this one, which apparently aired during the superbowl:





Thursday, February 5, 2009

Winter in Gambier

Well, as many of you know, its been a tad snowy and cold recently. We has some overnight lows below -20F and have changed a flat tire at 2F. The river froze over and right now our road and driveway are quite covered with ice thus making getting in and out tricky. I have some winter time photos on Flickr as usual

Here's a picture of our snowy road in the middle of one of our snow storms:


Snowy Met-o-wood Lane


Here is the river early on when is first froze over. It was frozen for a couple of weeks:


Frozen Kokosing



I have started birdwatching, so I put a bird feeder in the back yard. Here is a picture I snapped TRHOUGH my binoculars, hand held, with autofocus on, through a window ... didn't turn out too bad considering. This is a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker, a Northern Cardinal, and some sparrow on the other side of the feeder.

Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker


Lastly, we just got some beautiful Knotty Pine bookshelves installed today. Our books have been in boxes until now. I am off to unpack them finally after I finish this post. Check out the pictures on Google's Picasa Web Album:

From New Shelves