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 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 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 be overlooked here in Vancouver (the other one), Washington (the other one).

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Salad, Anyone?

Nice Try, Vegans: Plants Can Actually Hear Themselves Being Eaten - Gizmodo
" While it's still unclear whether or not plants can actually feel us sinking our teeth in, one thing is for certain: You can be damn well sure they're hearing it. "
H/T - Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!

Shocking Behavior

Most men would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts - The Washington Post
" . . . when left alone in the room for a 15-minute thinking session, the participants exhibited some shocking behavior. One man (whose data was left out of the study) shocked himself 190 times. “I have no idea what was going on there,” Wilson said. “But for most people, it was more like seven times.”
" And while only 6 of the 24 women shocked themselves, 12 of the 18 men did so. "
H/T - Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spurious or no?

Just be careful if you plan to retire in Florida.

Figure 4:  Top Five Cities From Which
Potentially Fraudulent Tax Returns Were Filed
City, State
Number of Tax Returns
Refunds Issued
Tampa, Florida
88,724
$468,382,079
Miami, Florida
74,496
$280,509,449
Atlanta, Georgia
29,787
$77,113,392
Detroit, Michigan
23,870
$74,313,933
Houston, Texas
22,754
$72,089,847
Total
239,631
$972,408,700
Source:  TIGTA analysis of TY 2010 tax returns.
Figure 5 shows the number of questionable tax returns we identified by type of individual whose identity appears to have been stolen.  These categories can commonly involve individuals who are not required to file a tax return.
Figure 5:  Analysis of Potentially Fraudulent Tax Refunds for TY 2010
Type of Individual
Number of Tax Returns
Refunds Issued
Deceased 
104,950
$415,047,568
Elderly
76,338
$374,419,730
Citizens of U.S. Possessions
67,789
$387,183,428
Students (ages 16 to 22)
288,252
$695,343,022
Children (under age 14)
2,274
$3,960,327
Income Level Does Not Require Tax Return Filing[17]
952,612
$3,345,064,109
Total
1,492,215
$5,221,018,184
Source:  TIGTA analysis of TY 2010 tax returns.



Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Reference Number: 2012-42-080

Traffic Thought For The Day

Have you ever spotted an off-season Santa? I see him driving around town once in a while. He's often wearing an undershirt (because it's relatively hot in Seattle) and suspenders. He hasn't shaved and he hasn't lost any of his winter weight, either. He's never in the kind of car you think he'd be in. He's usually driving a Pinto or a Ford Focus and I most often spot him near a Walmart. He's not as glamorous in real life as he is when he's working.

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure I spotted Superman in traffic. From the looks of it, he might not be that good of a driver. The bumper on his 10-year-old minivan was starting to come loose and there were a couple of small dents here and there. Of course, Superman doesn't have a car so he might not have much experience behind the wheel. He might not even have a driver's license! Clark Kent might have a car but Clark Kent wears glasses.

This guy wasn't wearing glasses but I could tell it was Superman.. He had a giant head with a big, strong jaw. He didn't have his mask on - or his cape, obviously - and he was wearing the rest of his unitard under street clothes. But he wore his gloves which stuck out from his shirtsleeves and were positioned at ten and two on the steering wheel.

DOH! Superman doesn't wear gloves! That changes everything!

This guy was what I imagine Superman would look like if  it was his turn to drive the kids to school. But since Clark does't live in Seattle, it was probably someone else - maybe some other superhero that lives in Seattle and drives a minivan. He could be on his way here.

Well, it definitely wasn't Santa Claus.