Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update on Sound Transit Projects

The Seattle Transit Blog has a piece up with updates on various ST projects. See the full article here Sound Transit is aiming for a JUNE 2009 opening though it may very well be July 2009. Either way, it will be a Summer launch. Very exciting, they even have some information about the University Link portion of the Light Rail project. As well as some info on the Sounder Station that is opening up in Mukilteo. Fun things in our future.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What is with Towing Companies?

I've made a huge mistake!

I'm house sitting for a friend/co-worker in Ballard this week so I have my car and am enjoying the local fare as much as possible. After coming back to Ballard from a friends on Wednesday night I parked and went to bed.
Well it turns out that I completely missed the fact that the reason the spot I parked in was so prime was because I had completely blocked someones driveway. :( sad panda. When I thought of the person coming out to head off to work Thursday morning only to find someone had completely blocked your driveway. I would have been upset.
So I was not upset by the fact that my car had been towed, I would have done the same thing, and the fact of the matter was, I was completely in the wrong. So I called Laura to tell her I was going to be late and she came down to pick me up and take me to the place where my car was being held. Such a nice girlfriend isn't she?
I call up the towing place to make sure that they do indeed have my vehicle and the lady is really short with me. She made sure that I knew that it would cost me $120, then asked if that was ok? Well if it is or is not ok, I still owe the money so what is the point of asking? Through her tone and phone posture she made me feel like I was scum
When I got to the lot the lady I worked with there was not much better. She again made sure by asking several times "I'm going to charge this $120 to your credit card now, is that ok?" and giving me basically the cold shoulder. It was a bit surreal, I mean I admit that I had parked illegally, but I'm hardly a habitual offender, and if I had known that where I was parking was someones driveway I definitely would NEVER have considered parking there. Also it was not like the lady was representing the home owner who's driveway I was blocking, nor was she representing the city. In fact I had in no way wronged her or her company, in contrast I had given them some business that they likely would not have had otherwise. She should be grateful for having to talk to me, because it means she gets to keep her job.
I was in no way rude, or alarmed that I had to shell out the unexpected cash, like I said, I recognized that I had made a mistake and was willing to pay what was required to get it taken care of. It was almost as if the clerk was expecting a scene and was doing everything to diffuse a sittuation that was non-existent.
After the 3rd or so successful attempt at securing my approval for charging me the money, and as she was running my card she drops almost anecdotally "This does not take care of your obligation to pay the fine to the City of Seattle, you still owe them for the parking ticket." If I had not previously had my vehicle towed this would have taken me completely by surprise. It was very nice of her to wait till the last possible minute to tell me the bad news. What is with the fucking passive aggressive behavior.
All this does is confirm every single encounter I have ever had with a towing company. THEY SUCK! They are late, they provide about the worst service consistently of any service industry I have every experienced. It is an insurmountable problem unfortunately, as the service you recieve from them is not generally one where you have much choice in the matter. In this sittuation I didn't get to choose who towed me, but even if your car breaks down, you are pretty much limited as to who you can call. They have you over a barrel and they take advantage of you to the fullest extent possible.
I remember one time a friend and I had broken down. We were on the side of the road and called a tow truck from someones home phone that lived nearby (before cell phones). They said they would be there in like an hour. Two hours later we called back, they said they would be there in a half hour. Another hour later and we called back, they said they would be there as soon as they could. Another half an hour and the guy finally arrived. He said he couldn't tow us unless we could pay upfront. My friend had only recently opened a new checking account so did not have pre-printed checks. I was not prepared and had no form of payment on us (we were fucking 16... you don't always plan for shelling out an extra $200 when you drive to the store). The short of it was after waiting for him for like 4 hours he refused to tow us and we had to call someone to pick us up and we left the car. The driver was a serious ASS and offered no sympathy to two kids who were stuck on the side of the road unprepared for the cold night. This was one of my first experiences with a towing company and they have never succeeded in reversing my low expectation
I guess that is what we get for being criminals


humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Parallel Music Dimension

Somehow it has happened and I'm not really sure what we have done to deserve it. In any case there has been a barrage of great music events announced of late in and around the Seattle area for this upcoming summer.

First there was the 300 lb Gorilla: Sasquatch

With an evil plot to force concert goers to endure a grueling 3 day hell feast at the gorge or to selectively choose like some kind of sick game which bands to see and which to miss. After days of lamenting a decision had to be made. Saturday/Sunday it was. No Flight of the Conchords no The Flaming Lips no Built to Spill no Ghostland Observatory no Kinsky It were to be sad times.

Next came the party to end all parties: The Capitol Hill Block Party

And like a miracle the skies opened up and dumped upon us unworthy folk an amazing lineup of AWESOME bands including:
Just to name a few. WHOLY CRAP! is about the only thing to describe it. What could be better, two great multi-day music festivals around my home? I'll tell you what would be better.... a 3rd.

If two is good 20 is even better: Sub Pop 20th anniversary event

Again with a stellar lineup of great music to fill my weekend with bliss. We have:
An impressive lineup, made even moreso by the fact that it is all taking place near Seattle! If you are anything like me you are saying, "Surely there is nothing that can make this summer better musically, is there?"

The bigger older Gorilla: Bumbershoot

OH YEAH! You forgott about Bumbershoot? For shame! They recently announced the tennative lineup for the event... very nice!: Beck, Stone Temple Pilots, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Ingrid Michaelson, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Jakob Dylan, !!!, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Saul Williams, Joe Bonamassa, M. Ward, The Walkmen, Asylum St. Spankers, Dan Deacon, MIDIval PunditZ, Blitzen Trapper, Bedouin Soundclash, Tim Finn, Dale Watson, John Vanderslice, Final Fantasy, The Fall of Troy, Orgone, Forro in the Dark, Ryan Bingham, Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, Arthur & Yu, Darondo and Nino Moschella, Pacifika Baring some serious rain... all 4 of these events will for sure be super awesome! I usually hate the hot weather of summer, but this has got me excited!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sad Times :(

A Flash Mob gathering in Washington DC to honor Thomas Jefferson ends in arrest. Ars Technica has a good summary of what happened.
The group working on getting the word out about what happened has a site here.
Here are 3 YouTube Videos chronicling the event:

Act 1:

Act 2:

Act 3:

The irony of infringing on the freedom of others at the memorial of a man who valued exactly that is priceless. People should be aware that this sort of thing is happening, and America is becoming more apathetic about it.
Sad Times :(

Friday, April 11, 2008

What can Web 2.0 Do for you?

It can reduce your cellphone bill for one.
Ever wonder how your plan stacks up against plans offered by your carrier or other carriers?
Well some very clever people have put together a nice service to help you do just that. If you are looking for a new cellphone plan or just wanting to compare how you are doing vs. the competition Bill Shrink can help you do it.
It analyzes the way you use your phone (either by what you tell them, or by importing your bill) and figures out if you could save money by going with another carrier. For the most part it does very good too.
You can set preferences for signal vs cost and filter by plans that will work with your current phone.
All of this is wrapped up in a slick interface. Interested in figuring out what the "Web 2.0" hype is about? Check out this site for a good example.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fuck It! We are going 5

An oldie but goodie. From The Onion
Fuck Everything, Were Doing Five Blades

The Onion

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of shaving in this country. The Gillette Mach3 was the razor to own. Then the other guy came out with a three-blade razor. Were we scared? Hell, no.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Seattle Transit

I know I'm not an official Seattle citizen anymore... but at heart I very much remain so. That coupled with my work means that I follow a lot of what is going on in and around King County relating to transportation.
I found this post from Seattle Transit Blog to be of particular interest:
Ironically the parts I like the best are not so much about Seattle area transit, but rather housing. From the article:
One thing I want to point out: a property tax levy is not more progressive than a sales tax. There seems to be this common misconception that renters don't pay property taxes, and it's only those who own homes who do. Think about this: if costs of garbage pick-up increased dramatically, would your landlord charge you for that, provide fewer garbage cans (or something), or just agree to pay the difference out of the kindness of his heart? He'd raise rent because he needs to make money. The same thing for property taxes. If property taxes go up, your landlord's property taxes go up, and he passes that onto you in a rent increase. The reason that property tax increases aren't more progressive is that the poor spend the largest percentage of their income on housing. Affordable housing is hard to find.
Housing is a big problem in Seattle, despite being partially protected from the housing market downturn there is an ever increasing disparity between housing that is affordable and housing that is accessible.
What does anyone else think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Download Firefox and be successful!

Ok Maybe it is not that simple:
Example: 25% of the visitors we track at Squidoo use Firefox, which is not surprising. But 50% of the people who actually build pages on the site are Firefox users. Twice as many.
This is true of bloggers, of Twitter users, of Flickr users... everywhere you look, if someone is using Firefox, they're way more likely to be using other power tools online. The reasoning: In order to use Firefox, you need to be confident enough to download and use a browser that wasn't the default when you first turned on your computer.
See the full article here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/04/why-downloading.html

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

32oz? Really?

Maybe I was in the "formative" years, but I remember the race to the bladder buster between AM/PM and 7 Eleven mini markets all to well. I remember what seemed like each subsequent week marveling at how enormous the 32oz sodas were, then 64oz... then... then... *BOOM* busted!
I went to this coffee place the other day, Bikini Bottom Espresso. For the record; YES! I went to see if the baristas wear bikini bottoms. I learned 2 things from my trip to my local coffee drive through:
  • I'm obviously not the target demographic, as when I pulled up to the window the bottoms of the barista were SO not visible. In fact I was having trouble seeing if she had cleavage or not. It seemed much more appropriate for someone with an FX50 with a lift kit who's height is measured in double digits. It was as if the coffee trailer itself was mocking my fine German auto for being so puny. It made me feel inadequate.
  • I also learned that we have some kind of issue with competition here in America. As I was looking at the order menu where drink names were laid out as to rows, and drink sizes were laid out as to columns my eyes marveled as they traveled farther and farther left to meet with a 32oz version of each drink. Folks that is 5 shots of espresso in what some would argue a bladder buster size. Why must we equate quality with quantity in this country. Why is it better to get a Gallon of Olive oil at Costco? Just because it is a good deal? What is happening to the quality products? Why can't we be satisfied with a 16oz drink? or 20oz? Why must we make the leap to the gigantic?Now I don't know about you all, but I've had 5 shots before... nay not all in 1 drink, but over the span of a few hours. As some of you may know, I'm no small man. At 6'4" and a svelte 260 I've been described as a "large human", haven't we all? It is with the deepest horror that I attempt now to wave you off the 5 shot configuration for your tasty bikini served (safe to assume I would wager) coffee beverage. Having imbibed all 5 of my shots spread over the course of a few hours I found myself unable to operate my auto, and NEARLY had to pull over to the shoulder of the freeway because tears of joy rippled my vision making it impossible to see. That's RIGHT! I turned into a blubbering idiot, and I'm here to warn you that It could happen to you too.
    I mean a 32oz Latte is a hell of a lot of coffee! Whats next? 64oz? The beverage race of ole would seem to suggest. But it is a slippery slope... before you know it we will be getting free refills and hot dogs with our coffee, it seems like a crime.
  • Spanaway! Ugh!

    The local Fred Meyer store is a laboratory for the effects of suburban ism on the general population, specifically when it comes to shopping. The store has isles easily two times as wide as your average supermarket. Yet every damn time I go there people continue to take up the whole isle with their shopping carts and general idiocy. For example, I visited last Sunday, there were quite a few people in the store, but not a ton. I'm walking down the isle and this large woman with her large child and her cart were taking up the whole isle. I could not comfortably circumvent (or curcumvrent LOL Gob) the trio and had to wait for either the lady or her fat child to realize that there are other people in the world and move the other two into say only half the isle.
    I've been to supermarkets that were crowded, with super narrow isles (Whole Foods market off Roosevelt comes to mind) but everyone who shops there seems to have a general courtesy that allow them to pull to the side of the isle and not block the isle.
    It just seems like this is such a perfect example of what I hate about living out here in Spanaway, the people. Not to say there are not kind and courteous people around Spanaway, but I've yet to find a confluence of them that lasts longer then a sub-atomic particle does. Is it any wonder that I wish to move?