Monday, July 28, 2014

Diamonds Are Forever

. . . is a myth, apparently. Actually, diamonds are forever but, more importantly, they are a myth.

This all started when I wanted to know why, in movies or on TV, women wear their engagement rings inside their wedding rings when in real life they are worn the other way around. Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone know why this is done?

I didn't find anything in my internet search that answered this question - which also makes me think I imagined seeing such a thing in the first place - but I did find this Yahoo internet query:

Why do women in the movies wear plain wedding bands?

Responses included:
  • "It's a prop," 
  • "Because the diamonds shine too much in the filming lights," and 
  • "In movies, the wedding band is used to communicate someone is married, and the most obvious symbol of a marriage is the plain gold wedding band." Also,
  • "If a character is the type to obviously go for an intricate wedding band fashioned with many stones, and it adds to the character development, it will be made so, but, otherwise, the plain band does the job."
So, if a simple wedding band is the easiest way to communicate a character is married, my speculation is that when two rings are worn, the actor wears the wedding ring on the outside for the same reason: simple communication. It's easier to see that the character is married. Otherwise, the rings may appear as "bling."

Meanwhile, I came across Act surprised: Your wedding ring is a terrible investment which contains a link to Diamonds are Bullshit. The upshot is diamonds are not the investment jewelers would like you to think they are and the whole diamond market is, in fact, a great big - and very successful - advertising campaign.

We've all been duped.

Which brings me to my next unanswered question: What if everyone who owns diamonds sold them tomorrow on the open market? The success of the diamond marketing campaign would all but guarantee that would never happen. But if it did, could enough diamonds be sold to crash the diamond market? Could an actual market value be established for diamonds? (Okay, that was several unanswered questions.)

My advice to the newly engaged: Buy a used ring. That's as close to the market value as you'll ever get. Or skip the bling ring entirely. Marriage isn't about the ring anyway although many may think otherwise (or ascribe other meaning to it, chiefly relating to financial success). You could invest that money much more wisely elsewhere. (Heck, the stock market would a safer place.) For those of you who have been made to believe there is romance in a sparkly proposal (I was one - twice), you will learn that romance will come in far simpler gestures over the years.

You don't really need any rings at all but if you find you just need something to get the message across, take this cue from the movies: Just wear a plain gold band.

Friday, July 25, 2014

So Much Coffee, So Little Time

I'm going to the Arts Fair today. There will be over 300 exhibits and probably as many coffee shops. There are three Starbucks alone just on the perimeter of the fair - two on Eighth Street and one on Bellevue Way. There are two more, south, on Bellevue Way just blocks away. I need to stop by one of them to stock up on coffee. (20% off this weekend.)

I don't know how many other coffee shops there are in the area that makes up the Arts Fair. I'll try to count them and will let you know.

Meanwhile, I've brought my own cup.

Get 'Em While They're Young

Creative Coding for Kids
" We're helping kids define their relationship with technology, at a young age. "

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What, We're Not Good Enough?

If you've been breathing lately, you may have noticed a certain amount of a hullabaloo concerning an upcoming film called Fifty Shades of Grey (haha - I almost wrote Filthy Shades of Grey). A good deal of the book takes place in Seattle, however filming was done in Vancouver, B.C., no doubt due to favorable government subsidies.

Byran Hall.jpg
Washington State University Vancouver
"Byran Hall" by Iidxplus - Own work.
Licensed under 
CC BY-SA 3.0
via 
Wikimedia Commons.
Part of the story takes place in Vancouver - the other one, in Washington (the other one, on the west coast) - at Washington State University Vancouver. The movie, however, will feature the University of British Columbia (which, coincidentally, is located at Point Grey).

Irving K. Barber Library.jpg
University of British Columbia
"Irving K. Barber Library" by CjayD -
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. 

The Fairmont Hotel will be used in the movie instead of Portland's Heathman in the book.

Hotel vanc 2007.jpg
The Fairmont Hotel
"Hotel vanc 2007" by Ken Walker kgw@lunar.ca - Own work.
Licensed under 
CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Heathman Hotel Portland.JPG
The Heathman Hotel"Heathman Hotel Portland" by Ulmanor (talken.wikipedia
Self-made Transferred from 
en.wikipedia; transfer was stated to be made by User:Werewombat.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
I probably won't see it regardless of where the movie was shot. It won't be good - in my preconceived opinion. (That won't keep it from making a ton of money, though.)

Oh, well. We're used to being overlooked here in Vancouver (the other one), Washington (the other one).

[Added 7/28/14]

I forgot to mention that some of the story takes place in Meydenbauer Bay. (Not in the bay, itself, but on a waterfront estate adjacent thereto.) This happens to be a place where I spend a considerable amount of time.

I have no idea where they shot the scenes in place of this locale. Probably in some other place called Bellevue.

Life in the Dessert

Ron's Log

Life in the desert.


Why We Need A Walmart

This is gonna bring everybody over to the pro-Walmart side: their ice cream sandwiches never melt. Never! Think of what a great relief that would be to the kids (and adults) of hot, hot Desert Hot Springs. (Didn't that 114° bring a smile to your face?!)
What I visualize is, after the Walmart has been approved, built and opened, we the residents of DHS celebrate summer by using Great Value Ice Cream Sandwiches to build a scale replica of the Washington Monument in the parking lot of the Walmart. Leave it for days. I think this would be good to do starting about July 1, so we could then blow it up with fireworks on July 4 (or 5 or whatever).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where Am I, Again?

Let's just say you commute 150 miles to work and then you get a long weekend off. What do you do? Drive more, of course!

We had the opportunity to spend five nights - in succession - in one location.  On top of that, it was the place that we generally call "home." A rarity. As it turns out, we stayed there all five nights but still added close to 600 miles to the odometer. "It's good to be home" doesn't mean what it used to, apparently.

After driving from the southern border of Washington, and stopping for a night's rest at "home," I went on to the norther border to spend some time with my grandson. I brought him back for the weekend and we took one day to go to Remlinger Farms which, among other things, features an amusement park for the smaller set. Thankfully, we didn't have to take him home again - a parent came to fetch him - before we returned to the southern part of the state.

This amounted to about 10 hours in the car, or thereabouts.

It's good to be back at work where I can get some rest.

The Earth Project: Flying High

The Earth Project: Flying High (Video - roughly 3.5 minutes.)
" Google and a team of engineers are building the wind turbine of the future. The turbine, which operates much like a kite, is essentially a carbon fiber wing that flies 700 feet above a traditional turbine and generates about 50 percent more power. It’s tethered by a cable that transmits the energy to the ground. By flying higher, the turbine reaches a stronger and more reliable wind source that allows it to operate more efficiently than turbines on the ground. " 
Meanwhile, Dead Air: End of Tax Credit Deflates Wind Power
" The tax credit, originally enacted in 1992, in its most recent form gave turbine owners 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of power their windmills produced and applied also to wind power construction. It sounds small, but the credit added up. It not only eased the intense upfront costs of constructing high-tech turbines, but also often made the difference when wind was compared to competitors in the solar, coal, and oil and gas sectors – all of which still receive tax breaks and other incentives. Oil, gas and coal, for example, received more than $21 billion in state and federal subsidies last year, according to a new report by Oil Change International, an environmental advocacy group.
" 'It should go,' Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., himself a leading defender of coal subsidies, said of the credit last month at a policy dinner hosted by The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. 'Hell, your mother only carried you nine months.' "
You can leave my mother out of it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Traffic Thought For The Day

I just thought Pacific Northwest drivers were stupid.

The first time the sun comes out, traffic is a mess. After a dry spell, rain will cause another mess. C'mon, people! The big round shiny thing, is the sun! And, it's the freaking northwest! It rains here!

But, no. There is scientific evidence that PNW drivers are just bad drivers.
" During long periods of dry weather, oils and other fluids from automobiles dry and build up on roads. The so-called "first wet" is indeed the most hazardous. That's when rainwater loosens the surface oils, creating nasty, greasy driving surfaces that often catch drivers off guard.I've even seen transportation and insurance studies showing that many people need a readjustment to driving in rain after the summer months.After an especially long dry spell, the roads can feel like black ice when drivers hit the brakes. " 
The Oregonian - Slick roads, crashes causing morning commute nightmare in Portland and Vancouver
That explains this morning's commute. I'll be interested in reading this guy's explanation when the sun comes out again later this week.

Aggressive childish insult!

Audio: This American Life - Episode 241: 20 Acts in 60 Minutes, Act Ten

(Roughly three minutes.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Yes

While there is some kissing, this movie is largely kiss-free. And, definitely worth the rental at RedBox.


Create Your Own State (Everyone's Doing It)

" This is serious stuff, or as at least as serious as things ever get in a state where washed-up actors become governor, the single nip of a swimmer by a juvenile shark at the Manhattan Beach pier attracts more attention than a statewide drought and average people boast of their Kim Kardashian sightings. " 
USA Today - Voices: Is breaking up hard to do for California?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Like Canceling a Gym Membership*

If the idea of calling your calling company is worse than nails on a chalkboard, do not listen to this:



Slate - A Former Comcast Employee Explains That Horrifying Customer Service Call
" In the meantime, if you’re considering canceling your Comcast service, here’s a simple tip: Tell them you’re moving out of the country. As txmadison wrote in his post, 'it's called an unavoidable disconnect and it's the least impactful to the rep's numbers and there's nothing he can do about it. If you talk about price, competitors, lack of choices, service problems, etc, a good retention rep will do everything they can to try to save you.' "
 txmadison also wrote:
" Comcast literally provides an incentive for this kind of behavior. It's the same reason people's bills are always fucked up: people stuffing them with things they don't need or in some cases don't even agree to. "
Just last month, our cable bill went up $20 from the month before, which was $20 more than the month before that. It happens all the time. I make Hubby call to complain about the bill which usually works for a short time. Just last week, he called to disconnect service altogether.

Guess what. We still have Comcast.

Better luck next time.

*For advice on quitting the gym, see this.