Friday, July 22, 2016

What can you get filled at the drugstore that used to be available only at the corner pub?

A growler. Of course.

For those of you who don't live in the craft beer capital of the world, a growler is a half-gallon refillable container used for purchasing draft beer to go. It can be filled at a brewery or taphouse. Or, now, at your local drugstore. No prescription required.

Just last week, I had a growler that needed to be filled and I was aware that Bartell Drugs in downtown Bellevue had a growler station. (See? It's right there under In-Store Services, following 1 Hour Photo and CareClinic.) It happened to be the closest place to go, that I knew of, not counting the neighboring grocery store which also fills growlers. The grocery store would have been the better choice but the novelty of getting beer at the drugstore compelled me to check it out.

The growler station was located in the front corner of the store, behind the souvenirs, next to the soda fountain and coffee bar, just around the corner from the artisan cheeses. (Did I mention this was Bellevue?)

Sure enough, there were six or eight beers on tap. We were allowed to try a couple from tiny paper cups which, btw, are not ideal for tasting beer. For our growler, we selected the KZOK Electric Citrus IPA brewed by Bellevue Brewing Company.

(Wait, there's a brewery in Bellevue? What's going on here?)

Beyond the novelty of buying Bellevue-brewed beer at the local drugstore, I can now set my sights on a new goal. I'm 4,170 points away from a $5 discount at Walgreens where, as it happens, I might also fill my growler. So, forget the potato chips, I'm devoting my steps to beer. Or maybe an eyebrow wax.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How much for that spatula there?

Here's an idea for Amazon: What I'm thinking about is the self-storage industry. People are storing their unwanted, un-needed, can't possibly get rid of stuff in storage lockers and buildings covering hundreds of millions of square feet and paying billions of dollars for the privilege. What if, instead, you could just send it to Amazon?

Just think: How many spatulas do you think are in storage today in the world? Hundreds? Millions? Couldn't we do away with some and still have enough to go around on National Pancake Day? How many dishes? Lamps? Sofas? They're just sitting there. Unused.

Amazon's computers and warehouse systems could separate sofas from spatulas and predict how many of each item are likely to be recalled by their owners. Some items never will be and it could be that only a predictable number of spatulas will ever be recalled at any given time meaning that we, as a collective, could do with far fewer spatulas.

As the owner, you could identify your stored items as "absolutely not for sale" - like personal papers - or "available for a price" - like spatulas or sofas. If someone wants to buy your spatula or, say, your husband's ridiculously outdated recliner that's been held together over the years by duct tape, you might be tempted to take the money thereby cancelling your rent payment and ridding yourself of that awful eyesore. Or spatula. A notification would allow you to accept, deny, or counter the offer.

The mail storage industry already exists. I don't mean male storage or the storage of mail which are entirely different things. I'm talking about storage by mail. Mail storage works when you need to store less than a storage-locker-worth of stuff. You mail it in, they store it, then they mail it back whenever you want. You pay by the box rather than by the locker-space. If Amazon ran it, it might resemble a highly computerized, automated, centralized mashup of mail storage and eBay, The result is either a higher utilization of stuff or a tremendous cyclical industry when the new owner realizes she didn't really need a second spatula and sends it back to storage. (Makes me think of Sylvester McMonkey McBean.)

This could put some existing self-storage facilities out of business. But I have a plan for that, too: micro-apartments. (They could be furnished with the surplus spatulas.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Imagine my relief?

Yesterday, I was going to Tweet, "No one ever got listeria from potato chips." But then I thought I should fact check that statement. I asked Siri to look up potato chip recalls and it turns out there have been three in recent history:
So, then, I thought "Well, no one ever got listeria from Spam!" But in
No listeria-related recalls were found, however, so pig out but be sure to floss!

Pretty cool

Steve Walters was in my high school class. I won't say what year. (It was a long time ago.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Get an extra kiss this New Years Eve!



OBSERVATOIRE DE PARIS                                   
61, Av. de l'Observatoire 75014 PARIS (France)
Tel.      : +33 1 40 51 23 35
e-mail    :

                                              Paris, 6 July 2016
                                              Bulletin C 52
 To authorities responsible for the measurement and distribution of time                                         

                                   UTC TIME STEP
                            on the 1st of January 2017

 A positive leap second will be introduced at the end of December 2016.
 The sequence of dates of the UTC second markers will be:                
                          2016 December 31, 23h 59m 59s
                          2016 December 31, 23h 59m 60s
                          2017 January   1,  0h  0m  0s
 The difference between UTC and the International Atomic Time TAI is:

  from 2015 July 1, 0h UTC, to 2017 January 1 0h UTC   : UTC-TAI = - 36s
  from 2017 January 1, 0h UTC, until further notice    : UTC-TAI = - 37s 

 Leap seconds can be introduced in UTC at the end of the months of December 
 or June, depending on the evolution of UT1-TAI. Bulletin C is mailed every 
 six months, either to announce a time step in UTC or to confirm that there 
 will be no time step at the next possible date.

                                              Christian Bizouard
                                              Earth Orientation Center of IERS
                                              Observatoire de Paris, France

Dear Condominium Homeowners Association:

Who's idea was it to change the light bulb in the streetlamp outside my bedroom window? And, what is the reason the new bulb is bright enough to see from outer space? Maybe that's an exaggeration. I don't go walking after dark so it's possible that you changed all the streetlamps and their current purpose is only to guide incoming flights to PDX.

I am surprised that no one else has complained. Mine is not the only bedroom to face this particular streetlamp. It wasn't so bothersome a few months ago when I kept my windows closed but with the warmer weather, I tend to leave my windows and blinds open. I don't mean to over-share but the rather strong glow of this streetlamp blinds me in the middle of the night when I return from a trip to the bathroom (although I do find it a convenience for my path to the bathroom to be so well lit).

Or maybe we have a night-duty nurse as a neighbor? Perhaps she sleeps during the day and you are simulating daylight during the night hours for her benefit?

Maybe it was to deter crime. If so, it's working because I am unaware of any. Of course, I wasn't aware of any crime before you changed the light bulb. But, if I was thinking about committing a crime outside my bedroom window, I would think twice if I had to wear sunglasses in order to do it because who wears sunglasses at night?

Whatever the reason, I would ask that you change the light bulb back to its dimmer setting so that I might get some rest. Or else, might I suggest you provide sleeping masks to all my neighbors whose bedrooms also face the streetlamp?

Perhaps I'll take a walk at midnight tonight to see if there has been dancing in the streets around the complex during the wee hours. Maybe, I'm simply missing out on something.

Unrestfully yours,
Owner of 3B