The DaVinci Code

I sacrificed a few hours of sleep last night to finish Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. I have to say, when I finished, I kind of wished I’d gone to sleep instead. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give away plot if you haven’t read it, but given the generally excellent reviews the book has gotten, I felt that the ending was a real wimp-out.

A Day Off For Dean

A rare Saturday off. Scott and I went to a favorite local diner for breakfast and then I headed downtown to help out the SF4Dean team. Governor Howard Dean was in SF today to address health care workers SEIU Local 250. That event was not open to the general public, but the governor was scheduled to give a brief speech afterwards to Dean enthusiasts in adjoining Yerba Buena Garden – a rare patch of green on Mission Street.

I had decided to spend the extra $ for parking and drove down. This turned out to be a good idea, as immediately I met up with Dianne, the volunteer coordinator, who had parked a few cars away from me. I helped her carry some stuff up to the meeting spot and spent the next 2 hours standing behind a makeshift Dean table, greeting volunteers and suporters, handing out stickers, clipboards and flyers, telling people what the schedule was, and generally trying to be helpful. The table migrated down the block to Yerba Buena after the SEIU speech began and again when the exact location for the speech was determined.

Around 4:00 PM, Dean made his appearance and I climbed a convenient light pole to wave an American flag a supporter had dropped off and got a nice view of Dean and the crowd. Dean gave a short version of his stump speech and the crowd was very receptive. I’m a poor judge of crowds but my guess is 150-200 people were there.

My parents were active and enthisuastic Democrats when I was a kid, and politics is something I’ve cared about and tried to stay informed on pretty much my entire life. That said, this was the first time I’ve actually been a volunteer at a political event. I hope my schedule will allow it to not be the last. I had a great time, but more important, I hope that in a small way I did some good for a candidate I want to see in the White House.

I’ve also started a Dean Team to do some fundraising for Governor Dean. Cash is tight in our house, so I can’t put my money where my mouth is the way I’d like to. You’re invited to help out.

Good for business, bad for privacy?

An older article from The Register (a favorite news site) got called to my attention today. RFID, which hasn’t gotten much attention to date, is poised to become a serious threat to personal privacy over the next few years. The potential for RFID to make the lives of retail businesspeople easier is vast – and as one of them, I can’t say that that’s a bad thing. I just got 60 cases of shoes – more than 1,500 pounds of product – delivered to my store in the past 2 days. Comparing the contents of each case to the printed manifest of what’s supposed to be there is a pain in the butt. If I could just wave a scanner over all the boxes and get an exact inventory readout that I could upload to the computer, I’d be thrilled.

However, something is going to have to be done to allow consumers to remove or disable RFID chips once products have left the store, just like we can remove the sales tags and security devices today. The potential for abuse is just way too vast for there to be any wiggle room on this one. “Once you buy your RFID-tagged jeans at The Gap with RFID-tagged money, walk out of the store wearing RFID-tagged shoes, and get into your car with its RFID-tagged tires, you could be tracked anywhere you travel.” says The Register, and it’s not a pretty picture.

A sad day for Rangers fans

Breaking news: Mike Richter to retire. One of the great goaltenders in the game. How long until his number (35) gets hoisted to the rafters in Madison Square Garden?

Addendum:

Mike Richter retires not only as the greatest goalie in Rangers history but arguably as the greatest U.S.-born netminder:

– 301-258-73 record with a 2.89 goals-against average in 666 career games
– 41-33 with a 2.68 GAA in the postseason
– 301 victories is Rangers franchise record
– Won Stanley Cup in 1994, stopping Pavel Bure penalty shot along the way
– Three-time All-Star, named All-Star MVP in 1994
– Netminder for 1988, 1998 and 2002 U.S. Olympic teams, won silver medal in ’02.
– MVP of the 1996 World Cup
– Led league with franchise-record 42 wins in 1994.
– Will become just the third Ranger, joining Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin, to have his number retired – that in a pregame ceremony on Feb. 4, 2004

Living in the land of virtual reality

Ah, California, land of the recall. It’s still unreal to me that only a year after we elected a governor we’re going to choose whether or not to un-elect him. Not that Grey Davis is the world’s greatest governor, but he IS the duly elected man for the job and this recall is setting a terrible precedent.

Look at the small Sonoma town of Rohnert Park It seems that the City Council there decided to work with an Indian tribe in regards to their plan to build a new casino just outside the town limits. Rohnert Park residents who don’t want to live near a casino have now launched a drive to recall the entire City Council. I suspect this is only the first in a long line of recall efforts.