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America, December 26, 2005

I am a WiFi Addict

I need me some WiFi, and I need it now!

I need WiFi
In the cities
In the jungles
wireless in the wilds
Even in Africa
Has it come to this? Am I at my nadir now? Could this be the sign I need to change, to break my addiction? Me, driving around Vero Beach at 1:30 am on Christmas night, looking for my fix? Driving into darkened parking lots, down lonely streets, checking and checking for a signal? Looking here, there, everywhere, teased by indications, fooled by phantoms, still hopeful for another hit.

Yes, I have a problem, I have an addiction. I am a WiFi addict.

I noticed the signs on my arrival here to see Mom. Moments after the welcome home hug, I started exploring her Internet setup. I knew she had DSL, so she had a mainline to the source, but she didn't have WiFi - wireless Internet for my laptop. Her ancient computer doesn't have all my programs, my customized interfaces, my familiarity that I'm loathe to work without.

So the first trip around Vero was not to Riverside Cafe to meet long lost high school buddies, it was to Best Buy for a WiFi router. A router that connects via Ethernet while the DSL modem only terminates in a USB connector.

What does that mean, you ask - it means that I can't connect the two. I would need a female USB to Ethernet adapter, and just my luck, this type of adapter is too rare to be sold in Vero, making the connection impossible. It means I quickly called Bell South, to get a new DSL router, one that would not arrive until the Tuesday after Christmas. Tuesday - four long days from Friday.

Friday I sublimated my WiFi needs with long spells with Mom's Win98 hand cranked computer. But this substitution only made my wanting greater. By Saturday I was under her desk, trying to hand-wire the parts together after failing to connect the DSL router directly to my laptop. Failing, I slipped into an arm-scratching need for WiFi that took over my brain.

Christmas morning, presents were not on my mind. Gifts from family? Bah humbug! I couldn't wait for the wrapping paper to tear so I could check my fix - WiFi, I need it! Luckily, the last gift, a Creative Zen Nano, took my mind off WiFi for a spell. A short spell, for after it maxed out at 500 Megs, instead of the 1 Gig it should've held, my techno-impotence came back with a vengeance.

Back to the computers I went, re-thinking, re-tinkering with every way I could get my laptop connected. Failing, I retreated to the sunshine and escape of tanning with a good book. Still, the WiFi need was calling.

Last night, it came on double strong. With rumors of a WiFi enabled restaurant, I drove off with my laptop, back to wardriving; the old skool practice of driving neighborhoods hunting for unlocked WiFi routers. Before and after the annual Riverside Cafe reunion, I wandered the streets and parking lots of Vero, refreshing my wireless network list like a coke fiend looking for a dealer.

Then I found it. An open router, connected and free. With shaking hands I hit "Connect" and only exhaled when I saw that lovely, wondrous "Wireless Network is now connected" dialog box.

Never before had it looked so good. Never before had I felt so low. It was 1:30 am, Christmas night and I'm huddled in my car, clicking keys like a crack addict flicks lighters, inhaling my addiction by the megabyte.

Yes, I have a problem, I have an addiction. I am a WiFi addict.

America, December 25, 2005

The Annual Riverside Cafe Reunion

What is there to do at Christmas time in Vero Beach? After you've recovered from your 26-hour home-flight oddssey, talked with Mom and Dad, caught up with your brothers and sisters, listened to your Grandparent's same stories and dodged all those "We're ready for grandkids" comments, where do you go?

America, December 22, 2005

Twenty-six hours to Vero

My ass is flat. I'm only one third the way to Florida and my ass is already flat. It's flat from the book I've sat on for the last three hours. The book I need to sit at this desk correctly, so I can type like mad during my layover at Charles du Gaulle airport. I'm a WiFi addict, and need my fix.

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America, December 1, 2005

A Cafe Citron Thursday

The night began with the last-minute email from Amy that says there is a par-tay at Cafe Citron, a Latin-themed bar favored by the hotties for its cheap and tasty mojitos. She's celebrating a promotion and work, and me, happy with a new Geekcorps program contract, am ready to make the night right. Downstairs, I find Amy and crew on the second drink, mellowing form the daily grind. Think I should catch up quickly, I spy the sangria pitcher pour at the bar and try to get my own sampling. If only!

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America, November 29, 2005

The Best Turkey Day Party - Ever!

Every year I wait for it, dream of it, yearn for it, the best house party in the DC metro area. Yeah, better than any that you've ever thrown, or even gone to around here, ever. What party could be this good? So hot I'm willing to cross the Potomac on freezing cold nights? That I've been known to beg for? Only the Todd Boss Annual Thanksgiving House Party!

America, November 25, 2005

Black Friday at King of Prussia Mall

Outta my way Grandma, move aside little girl, its Black Friday at the King of Prussia Mall and I need me some deals! I've already checked out the deals on and I studied the KoP Mall floor plan online, so I know where I'm going. Oh and I've lived in Russia and China, I know how to use elbows in a crowd and I will run you over.

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America, November 5, 2005

Look Ma! I'm on TV!

Sometimes I even get the multimedia upgrade. A while back I gave an interview to BBC Radio's "Up All Night", which was quite interesting in that it was live late night in the UK and mid-drink-a-thon in DC. Breaking from the bar, I gave a quite lucid interview even though I was hunkered down in a schoolyard play set, trying to stay dry from the rain and shield the phone from the sounds of fire truck sirens seemingly converging on my setup. Recently, I've got the TV Holy Grail. First it was a two minute interview on the BBC News that was so quick I didn't get a chance t record the session. I did wander around the office enough for a photograph in the BBC DC studio. That background - its fake.

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America, October 24, 2005

Will You Buy Me?

Help me. I've been here a year now, hanging out in this living room, never used and only abused. Abused with plants, coats, umbrellas and such, hanging from me, but never once touched the right way. Nope, never cared for, never noticed, he ignored me, even cheated on me, even used another instead of me. Now he too has gone, leaving me alone, forlorn, and destined for the Dumpster if not saved soon. Would you be for me?

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America, October 22, 2005

A Wet B-More Wedding

It raining outside, no make that pouring cold rain that tormented Jin and I as we drove here from DC. Here would be St. Philip & James Catholic Church in Baltimore, where Jin and I are attending a wedding. Don't worry, I'm not getting married, I did that already, and divorced too.

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America, October 9, 2005

Just Another Soldier

Jason Christopher Hartley goes to Iraq Around a year ago, Time magazine did a profile on influential bloggers, and named a few websites that were up and coming. One of the pick stood out not so much for its topic (Iraq) or its angle (soldier's viewpoint) but for the cheeky...

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America, October 8, 2005

Wanna Live With Me?

I'm a clean guy whose fought grime single-handedly for the last year as my housemate watched TV. While I don't care what you watch, you do need to share, both in cleaning and remote control mastery. And the Daily Show is preferred over Fox News, but if you don't care to watch either, even better. I'm usually geeking out on my computers anyway. That or out socializing. Right, which means you need to help keep the beer fridge stocked too. Beer, wine, booze, this ain't a dry apartment.

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America, October 7, 2005

Hockey Goals Matter

I gotta say, I like hockey. Yeah, me the guy who doesn't know if its time for the World Series or the Superbowl, I enjoy watching hockey. You could blame it on all those drink-a-thons in Moscow that led to nights cheering Spartak, but I would disagree.

I like hockey because its one of the few sports where every goal matters.

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America, September 11, 2005

A Too Perfect Beach Town

Avalon. Doesn't that sound nice. Avalon. Like a place you'd want to be for a while. Well I am here, in Avalon, NJ for a long weekend and it is a nice place to be. While not the Isle of Avalon of the Arthurian tales, it is somewhat mystical in its perfection. Wait, make that eerie in its perfection.

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America, September 5, 2005

A New Orleans Friend in Need

What can you do? What help can you give? How can you do your part to alleviate the tradegy that is the banished residents of New Orleans? Everyone says donate to the Red Cross, send them your money and they'll make it happen. They sure are doing there part, but I am a more active guy than that. I say help the friends I made in NOLA directly, with gift cards and cash sent to them in Houston.

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America, August 22, 2005

ISO: Geekcorps Mali Program Manager

What a dream job - be a Geek in Mali with me as backup Your work commute Your fancy cubicle Your office view Your Happy Hour While in my joe-cool job with Geekcorps, I am constantly looking for ICT experts willing to take volunteer assignments in developing countries, this time...

America, August 15, 2005

Smoke Free DC Please

Smoke free DC because I'm tried of your ash in my life. Like men who pee standing up, when you flick your ash, you spray it everywhere when you aim for the ashtray. It floats in the air too, landing in my drink, on my food, in my breath. Thanks. And when you're not flicking ash, you're tagging my new shirt with the lit end, burning a hole in my quality polyester.

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America, August 12, 2005

Mt. Vernon Trail News Flash

See, when you do that, swinging your teenage boyfriend out to the other side of the Mt. Vernon trail, a busy, narrow section at 6:45 pm on a Thursday, he's gonna get hit. And not by some slow-moving jogger. No, by a very competitive triathlete who, unlike your idiot self, is focused on improving himself, and will be approaching you on a very expensive racing bicycle at very high speeds.

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America, August 1, 2005

Where's My Wingman?

Flashback to 2002, and I am playing kickball on the National Mall. There, between flights of Matisse's 'La Negresse' and living in cel phone hell I meet Matt P. He and I quickly become inseparable wingmen, tag-teaming the beauties of DC. Then jump to spring 2003, when I style naturally in New Orleans with Yana, a woman who partied so hard that many of her stories sounded like the start of a police report; "So, I'm walking up 16th Street 'round 2 am, heels in my hand, drunk off my ass, and then...", and the dastardly duo becomes a terrible threesome.

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America, July 29, 2005

Better Than a Devo Comeback Tour

Before they abandon me for a dance floor filled with the worst in bad white-man dancing, I get an earful of what women talk about when they're out. Guys of course, with out-of-context phrases like "he's dreamy," and "scratching balls in public" or "gag reflex" I made my own storylines while sipping tasty beer + lime + ice.

America, July 26, 2005

A Drive Across America

Wow. I just drove from Las Vegas to Washington DC, a three and a half day, 2,500 mile odyssey across America with only one Applebee's stop. As much helping my friend Sam move here from San Diego, as seeing another part of America, the flyovers, it was just quite an interesting trip. Unlike when I did a similar but wandering American tour with my parents, we did this trip as a straight, almost nonstop sprint, for I had a job to get back to and Sam has a DC life to start.

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America, July 18, 2005

Happy Anniversary DC Metblog!

You know how I can't stop yapping about life in DC? How I am an unrepentant city-snob? And have the hyperbole to go with that gift of gab? Well it seems others have recognized this um, skill, and now I'm writing all my loves and hates for a cool DC-centric website

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America, July 10, 2005

2005 New York City Olympic Triathlon

A sight I welcomed as I got ready to start the 2005 New York City Triathlon. Olympic distance as in I was about to start a race that requires me to swim 1,500 meters (almost mile) in the Hudson River, bicycle 40 kilometers (almost 25 miles) on the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Bronx and back, and run 10 kilometers (just over 6 miles) through Central Park.

America, July 1, 2005

Do I look like Ben M Gautheir to you?

Okay folks at Front Page, just who do you think I am? I know I was drunk when I left on Friday night, those six or eight Coronas kicking in hard, but I was a nice guy. I tipped you well, I kept to my crew, I even make sure one guy readjusted his beer goggles before it was too late.

America, June 29, 2005

Google's Spy Eye in the Sky

Oh my God is this hot!

Google just launched its Google Earth application and if you download it you can see amazingly detailed satellite images of everything from the Mall to your house. Images so detailed, you can see cars on the street, or if you look at Beijing, even people!

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America, June 25, 2005

Fletchers -International- Boat House

Hark! What is that I hear? Might that be Russian music, traditional, soulful Russian music? Why yes it is, and who's playing it but a Mongolian family here to celebrate a birthday. And since its summer, and time for the 2005 BBQ with Mom, 'here' cane be only one place - Fletchers Boat House

America, June 19, 2005

2005 Charlottesville Sprint Triathlon

I cannot brake, I cannot steer, trees a blur, road ending, I know what's going to happen next. Pain. Agh! There it is, on my thigh, ass, back, I feel the impact of body to dirt, tree, rock. I know I am down. I can taste the earth, I can smell the damp wetness of leaves and decay.

America, June 16, 2005

The Perfect Gift: A Bulgari SD 38 SG

Father's Day is just around the corner and I bet you're still looking for that perfect gift for him. One that says, "Dad you rock" in a way that will stun his friends. Well look no longer as I now have the perfect last-minute super-bling for Pa that will have Mom shaking her head and his friends whistling in awe - a real Bugari watch for cheap.

America, June 15, 2005

Chill This Secret Service

Some days you have to stand up for what you belive in. And after my censorship in China, where my website is still banned, and the FTP blocking in Laos, I'm not about to watch it happen here. So this is my, albiet tiny, contribution.

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America, May 31, 2005

Surrealist Culture & Cuisine

Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer, and what better way to celebrate than taking one of the $15 Chinatown buses to Philadelphia for two days of old-school culture and new-school cuisine. With a retrospective on Salvador Dali as the draw, the Philadelphia Museum of Art provided the cultural infusion I needed. It's been too long since I checked out Dali's masterful strokes.

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America, May 23, 2005

Bye Bye Chinatown

Washington DC once had a thriving Chinatown, not NYC's mind you, but still respectable. It was a decent Chinablock with maybe five or six square blocks of very Asian restaurants, stores, and activity centers, so Asian the police even had a Asian outreach office there, complete with Asian officers. Then Abe Polin built the MCI Center in the midst of Chinatown and the end came swift. With hordes of suburbanites headed to the Center's shows, Chinatown was over-run by folks expecting General Tao's Chicken, something you'd never find in a real Chinese restaurant.

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America, May 20, 2005

Star Wars III - Yoda is a Badass

Last night, in the midst of hype, crowds, and even a Storm Trooper from Endor, I showed my full Geek colors and stood in a two-hour line to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, and I have to tell you... it was good! George Lucas finally broke out of his stink bomb mode and made a decent move. Yes, it was cheesy, especially the Darth Vader Frankenstein scene which would've only been more over the top had he screamed 'I am alive!', and Lucas sucks at romance, can Anakin be more fake and Padmé more two-dimensional?, but he did recapture the spirit of the original three.

America, May 10, 2005

I will be an Olympian!

Up the hill I pedal. Slowly turning the gears, my lowest, as the seemingly vertical road keeps stretching out in front of me. Up and up I go, around the curve, and still up, till finally, with thighs burning and sweat pouring, I crest the hill. Now it's easy to pedal and I shift up quickly into my highest gear. Spinning, twisting, turning, I am now flying at maximum speed through the turns of Rock Creek Parkway's Ross Drive, screaming with delight as I pass trees and time in a blur.

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America, April 30, 2005

Skipping San Diego Style

So I am out in San Diego for the weekend and it's a high school flashback for me. More than my 2002 visit, this time out I am reminded so much why I left Vero Beach, never to return. Like my feelings for Ile de Ngor in Dakar, I love the beach, it is in my blood, but it is not my whole life now. And San Diego is all about the beach.

From a view of it at the top of every hill, to the salt in the air, to the clothes everyone wears, this is a beach town.

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America, April 28, 2005

Dream Date for Sale!

I bet you've never asked yourself that question. I never asked it either until last night when I wandered through the packed throng of bidders, wearing my 'Buy Me!' sticker, and feeling like a prize steer. It was odd seeing folks scan me like a piece of meat, and not in the usual gay man in Dupont kinda way either. There were women, hot women, wealthy women, women who would be waving $20's in the air even before I took my shirt off. Women, and men, who were at Whitlow's on Wilson to bid on Babes for Boobs, the Third Annual Celebrity Dream Date Auction to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Research. And I was a Babe up for bidding.

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America, April 27, 2005

The Ms. Pac Man Challenge

Into the bar he walked and across the way he looked. She was there, his nemesis, ready and waiting. Was he ready? Could he challenge her, was it to be a duel to the death? Only one way to know he thought, challenge her now or else, live in fear and denial his whole life. So he did, and they went to the Ms. Pac Man, drinks, and thumbs at the ready.

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America, April 13, 2005

Psst... do you know ebXML?

I have a Geekcorps project on the beautiful border between Kenya and Uganda, right near where I went whitewater rafting on the Nile, which requires a Systems Integration Geek for four months starting in May, 2005.

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America, March 5, 2005

I am an American Consumer

Its Saturday afternoon, and I am about as far from African Happy as I can be. I am still happy, mind you, but in a way only an American can be, happy in a way an African might only dream of, happy in a way I know you can relate to.

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America, February 28, 2005

Twenty Hours of Travel

Bridget Jones is on the telle, doing her thing for the second time, this time with Dutch subtitles. I'm in 31C, laptop out doing my thing, writing my website while hurtling through time and space at some ungodly speed. Now over the Atlantic, soon to be in Washington DC, with Saharan sand still staining my shirt.

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America, February 18, 2005

Call yourself a commuter?

Somewhere in Queens, Sylvester stopped the cab and turned round. "You wearing suspenders?" he asked. When roused at 5am, usually by a tearful child in London, I rub my eyes. But this was midnight on the Van Wyck Expressway, suburban New York. I rubbed my ears. Suspenders? Sylvester, a yellow cab veteran, sighed. "You know, suspenders, to hold up your pants."

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America, January 28, 2005

Woohoo, I'm going to West Africa!

I really don't know how I go this lucky. How I could find a job that (so far) I love so much. Not only do I get to talk technology all day long to people excited about it, but I get to send hard-core geeks on all-expenses paid trips to Joe-cool countries. Yeah, its not hard to convince that nerdy IT guy lurking in the depths of your company's server room to spend four months in sunny Senegal, talking to other geeks who will hang on his every word and copy his every move.

America, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Party Crashing

It's January 20, 2005, and we are celebrating the coronation, oops, I mean inauguration of another four years of President George W. Bush. I couldn't be more unhappy or under whelmed with our 43rd President and I know I am not alone.

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America, January 16, 2005

I'm in Glamour Magazine!

Why Men Do What They Do In Bed? Squeezing your breasts like Play-Doh. Going at it jackhammer-style. What's up with that stuff, anyway? The most mysterious male sex habits, explained. By Lynn Harris, Senior Contributing Editor, Glamour Magazine - February 2005. I once dated a guy who was obsessed with having a threesome. He made a list of candidates, scouted locations, called me on my cell to run ideas by me - he had the event planned from beginning to end like a Martha Stewart wedding.

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America, January 10, 2005

Mouse in the House

Yes, you little brown mouse. Why do you sit there next to me, on the couch back, looking at me so? Do you want me to change the channel? Tired of this movie, eh? Or maybe you're done reading this week's Savage Love article in the Washington City Paper. Do you want me to turn the page? How about some cheese? I've heard mice like cheese.

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America, January 3, 2005

A Good Idea: Car-Free DC

I recently gave up "Wayan's Lounge", my Joe-cool Honda Civic Coupe to my mom. Why? Read on! - DC's Driving Guide - So you've decided to take a trip to your nation's capital. Well here's a few things you should know that will hopefully help you prepare for your trip. The DC road grid was laid out by a Frenchman, which explains why locals hate the French, and also explains much about US Foreign Policy.

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America, January 1, 2005

High School Prom Payback

It's my senior year of high school. We're talking 1989-1990 here, and I am trying to make my big move. I am attempting what few dare and even less succeed in doing. I wanna move up from the dorks to the cool kids. No need to try and make that move in the lunch room, we all go off-campus to eat, but there are specific times to make the move in school.

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