Lunacy Unleashed

Notes from the field in the War on Spam

Madison from the 600 block of State Street

It’s been an interesting few weeks for me here in Madison, Wisconsin.

I spent most of October blogging from the road in various locales such as Knoxville, Tenn., Newnan, Ga., Asheville, N.C., New Orleans, La., (oh, and how I wish I’d had a digital camera) and canceled a planned trip to Florida due to Hurricane Wilma. So I went to Madison.

I got here just before Madison’s annual Halloween festivities and blogged about that. Earlier today I blogged about an initiative to recall Madison’s mayor for being too socialist.

From my adopted vantage point on the second floor in the 600 block of State Street, (no I won’t tell you exactly where) it’s been quite interesting to watch life in Madison. It’s definitely a statist’s paradise, if you can call statism paradise, which you really can’t.

State Street rents are quite high, and for good reason: it’s where everyone is and wants to be. One end of the street reaches the University of Wisconsin, the other reaches the state capitol building. You can easily walk from one end to the other. And the street is full of businesses which open, charge high prices for everything, and many close within a year. Some are closing after decades of operation.

In a strange reversal from virtually everywhere else in the country, Starbucks is the cheapest place to get a cup of coffee: $1.90 for a 20 oz. (venti) cup. Across the street at Espresso Royale, it’s $2.21 for the same size cup. But at Starbucks, you have to pay for the Wi-Fi connection. At Espresso Royale, it’s free — when it works.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, that mad mayor Dave Cieslewicz wants Madison to be the first completely Wi-Fi city in the nation. Under his plan, a Wi-Fi signal would reach virtually every point in the city limits by 2007. And it wouldn’t be free, either. A business will be allowed to come in, build out the network, and charge for it. This is in stark opposition to other cities, such as Portland, Ore. and New York City, in which the people themselves have put together grassroots Wi-Fi networks and charge nothing for them.

I’ve been extremely busy, what with blogging on two blogs regularly, one blog irregularly, writing code for paying customers, and totally neglecting this blog. And spending much of my free time with Becca, the mad scientist, whom I’ve mentioned here before. And by “much” I mean virtually all of it.

Not that I’m complaining; certainly not. I absolutely enjoy spending time with her. Even when she tells me about creative ways to kill an ex-boyfriend and destroy the DNA evidence — not to mention the body. Hm, what have I gotten myself into?

November 11, 2005 Posted by | Madison, Personal | 2 Comments