Category Archives: comments

Roll Credits

Hello all and welcome as I finally break the fourth wall.

For those not sure, yes, NIJOT is offically complete as a story.  It was always concieved of as a one-year project, and I think we got everything into the story that we intended to.

I’d like to extend some special thanks, especially to my wife who pushed me to try this in the first place instead of just talking about “wouldn’t it be neat if…”  As you know, she quickly got wrapped up in the project more directly and added a much-needed home-front perspective.  As you don’t know, she was the one who pushed and prodded to make sure that the gaps between posts weren’t a whole lot longer.

The characters presented in NIJOT were often based off of or mixtures of actual people we know here in the Davis Square area.  This became less and less true as the story progressed, but I’d like to thank my friends and family for the inspiration they provided.

I’d like to thank those of you who joined in the project by adding your in-story comments.  In particular, Peter Stinson (who I swear I have never met before this project started) both commented and drove a fair bit of traffic our way.  Other folks at the Alternate History discussion boards gave some needed feedback and support.

That said, the comments are now open for out-of-story questions, discussions, and abuse.  What did you all like?  What didn’t you like?  What was plausible?  What was absurd?

On a technical note, if anyone knows how to re-arrange the posts in WordPress to allow for easier reading in the order posted, please shoot me a note.  Now that the day-by-day portion of the project is over, I’d like to make it easier for folks to read the ‘archives’ in the proper order.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Does anybody else know what the hell is going on?  We got woken up at 5 AM when a couple of jet engines whent sceaming overhead (April hasn’t really settled down since).  Most of the radio and TV stations are fuzzy and garbled.  Grid power is still out, but that means nothing.

There have been dull thuds to the south and and the west.  I hope they aren’t bombs.  Or if they are, that it’s just our guys practicing or something.

I know this might pop-up on RSS readers.  I know WordPress stayed up when Gmail went down last Halloween, so maybe it’ll work again today.  Please, if you’ve got news on what’s going on in Boston, post a comment.  We really only know what we can see from the roof.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I made a comment calling Boston a war zone a few days ago here. One of my friends called ‘bullshit’ on that assertion.

OK, Boston in 2009 is not Sarajevo circa 1994 or Stalingrad circa 1942.

That said, people are fighting. People are dying. And the rest of us are trying to figure out what to do and who to believe.

The crap-storm that was Memorial Day weekend seemed to be mainly an attempt by the Federal troops (mostly Backwater mercs but I think there were some FPS, FBI, DHS, and even Army grunts) to roust the veterans (following the Colonel and including some non-vet supporters) from the Esplanade. Rumor is that Gov. Patrick and the State and City signed-off on the plan, especially since the Esplanade is a city park, not a Federal one. Tactically, it was a victory for the mercs — there are no more vets camping on those islands.

Strategically, I think the government has lost control of this city. The vets are still out there, they just aren’t staying in large groups (these guys learned urban guerrilla tactics the hard way in Baghdad and Fallujah). Meanwhile, they’ve earned the help and respect of other groups who were harassing the Feds.

The Children of Liberty are asking folks to open their homes and help the vets any way they can. Internet videos (and circulating DVDs and CDs) show the vets sabotaging Backwater vehicles and leaving CoL tags. I don’t think these two groups were communicating a month ago.

Some of the ‘insurgent’ videos show guys using some pretty-high-tech equipment too – little robots rolling under Hummvees to cut fuel lines at night. Mercenary communications suddenly blaring out “Dirty Water” instead of orders from on-high. To me it looks like the MIT hackers have entered the fight.

Governor Patrick has stepped-up his rhetoric against ‘unwarranted Federal intrusion into Massachussetts’ and Boston’s affairs.’ This is pretty two-faced if he did agree to have the mercs kick the vets of the Esplanade, but it also sounds good to folks who just want to be able to sleep through the night without hearing bull-horns, sirens, and gunshots.

The real wildcard is what I think of as the Allston Boys. There are a lot of college-age men crammed into the run-down two-family houses and apartments in Allston, just across the river from Harvard Square. They are rowdy, irreverent, and often dangerously smart. It used to be that when they organized, it was to create a new sports or bar memes – to sell “Yankees Suck” T-shirts or make “Girls-Gone-Wild” video knock-offs. When they got a little more serious, they had fights (occasionally violent) with the local slum-lords or city officials. Now they are using their brains and wit to tear-down the Feds anywhere and everywhere they can. I don’t move in Allston Boys circles, but these guys (and similar folks in Southie and East Boston) seem to be defining what it means to be a Bostonian right now.

Friday, Jan. 9, 2009

Neve and I have been reading Shotguns & Sweetpotatoes (on the NIJOT blogroll!) mostly because it is a good place for reviews of books on disaster preparedness, low-impact living, and the like. Mr. & Mrs. SNS are generally looking at the large-scale disasters, but I wonder if Inauguration Day isn’t going be small to medium-sized challenge here in Boston. If a Coastie from Virginia is willing to jump in on my “federal worker walk-out” idea, what is the Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade going to be up to? Whether it is anarchists, terrorists, or security contractor/mercenaries in the streets, I’d like to know that my city is ready and willing to share its information and resources with it’s citizens.

Somerville, just across the town line from us, has made a pretty good step with their 311 system. This lets the citizens act as the eyes and ears of the city, to let them know about things that need to be dealt with but aren’t enough of an emergency to warrant a 911 call. On the other end, the system sends out mass-phone calls to city residents about snow emergencies, road closures, and the like. A friend of ours has dubbed it the ‘city AI’.

I love the idea of these systems, and unlike the federal government under the current regime, I trust the city governments to use them in the interests of their citizens. However, there are a lot of communities stacked one on top of the other in greater Boston. I wonder how hard it would be to get something comparable set up for the stay-at-home mothers and nannies (letting you know what playgrounds have been plowed, advertising promotional events, mapping stroller-friendly routes after snow storms). Or, jumping back to Inauguration Day, what would it take to build a system for all the protesters and and would-be insurgents to meet, share information, and track any possible blowback from the Powers That Be?

There’s gotta be some MIT kid out there just dying to try this hack.

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008

A few quick words about blog maintenance:

This little solipsistic project is almost three weeks old.  In that time I’ve found that a) it is harder to be interesting and entertaining than I thought, b) my wife may be better at it than I am (she’s certainly better at stirring up a hornet’s nest), and c) it’s hard to keep your personal (and professional) life from intruding into you blog.  But the biggest learning curve has been on comments.

WordPress has been so kind as to put a filter in to catch comment spam, but it is still interesting to see what gets caught.  Do people really think that I’m going to buy herbal Viagra because they sent a mass-produced comment to my blog?  I know spamming is cheap, but there has to be point of diminishing returns.  Other spam is harder to figure out; links to other sites with passages from blog entries here.  I have to figure it’s some form of Google-bombing.  And then there are the comments that WordPress doesn’t catch.  The person who found us by Googling for “merino pjs” and is annoyed that Neve doesn’t have any for sale.

I don’t mind comments.  I encourage comments.  I crave comments to give me something to write about when my well of inspiration is dry. That said, can we stick to the topics at hand?

Personally, I’m looking forward to Monday night’s big debate.