Dear Mr. Skilling

May 25, 2006 at 4:37 pm (Politics)

You might want to get one of these.   May I suggest the black suede S.O.A.R?

I haven't been this happy at work for a long time. 

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Boring

May 22, 2006 at 7:06 pm (Uncategorized)

My life has been quite dull lately, so I thought I would post a relatively interesting passage from a paper I just wrote.

Political considerations aside, Gordon and Richardson raise some interesting points regarding energy and transit use. Construction of transit systems are very energy-intensive endeavors, to the point that some result in net increases in consumption. The I-205 light rail project, for example, will consume slightly less than three trillion BTU of energy during construction,1 and will result in a net savings of only 966 million BTU annually by 2025. (Operations will use 327.967 billion BTU annually in 2025, vs. 328.993 billion under the no-build scenario. 1 BTU is equal to 125,000 gallons of gasoline). It will take approximately 3,000 years for I-205 MAX to “pay for itself” based on these estimations. Is it worth it? No one is claiming that energy savings alone should justify the project, but it is noteworthy that the EIS considers construction consumption an indirect impact, while only operating consumption is direct.

Discuss.

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Mind dump

May 11, 2006 at 9:40 pm (Rant)

I'm getting really tired of the fauxhawk-sportin' barista at my local coffee shop. This applies to several local coffee shops. When I say "room for cream" I don't mean I want to add 1/3 cup of half-and-half. A tablespoon, maybe. So why do I find myself only getting 2/3 a cup of coffee half the time these days? This is a growing phenomenon. Is there a coffee shortage? I remember when Wendy's stopped putting tomatoes on your sandwhich unless you asked for them, it was due to some kind of tomato crop failure a year or 2 ago. Whatever it is, I blame Hugo Chavez.

Will somebody please give OPB money? Make the pledge drive stop, please make it stop. I can't think of anything that annoys me more than waking up to some local Tier-B celebrity acting excited about a free coffee mug and begging you to write a check. It's pathetic the way they grovel, it really is. I think they should have a bunch of mini fund drives throughout the year rather than these painful marathons. I heard about some station somewhere that was trying that this year, and good lord I hope it works. I bet people would be more interested if they could, for example, win baseball tickets in July by pledging a hundred bucks or so. As it is now, all I do is change the channel because it will go on for 15 minutes.

Ok, last year about this time I got guilted into pledging. I was like "you know, I really do enjoy their programming, and I am basically a free rider" so I called and gave them 50 bucks. Not 10 minutes later, they offered a special where you got some free book if you gave them $60. Now, clearly they knew this was coming down the pipe, so why didn't they try to get me to up my pledge? I would have in a heartbeat…all I get for my 50 bucks is All Things Considered and a really bad weather report in the morning? Needless to say this year I will be waiting until the really sweet deal is offered…which I will miss…because I won't be listening…because I change the channel whenever the pledge drive comes on.

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Coming soon to a freeway median near you

May 11, 2006 at 5:09 am (Planning, Portland)

Trimet introduces new MAX train design features.

The new trains have a streamlined look with larger windows and 12 more seats per car, since there is only one operator cab per train. Each car will have a total of 76 seats; current low-floor trains have 64 seats. Each new MAX train costs about $3.5 million. The new cars will begin service when the I-205/Portland Mall project opens in September 2009.

"One operator cab per train" means that the new trains, when not coupled, are not bidirectional. That is, the operator can't simply walk to the other end; the train must physically turn around at the end of the line. The new transit mall alignment will have a turnaround at the south end, but that means that these new trains will have to be dedicated to the line, or always have 2 car consists, both of which represent changes to current Trimet policy. And what happens when the Milwaukie line opens and the mall alignment is extended? Isn't that incredibly short sighted?

I know I have a bunch of dorky Portland planning types reading this thing; now is your chance to shine.

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‘Burg update

May 10, 2006 at 7:00 am (Parkersburg, Planning)

Who knew?

Transit levy in Parkersburg (where I grew up) passes by over 70%.

Joe Lockhart, general manager of the transit authority, said the landslide approval of the levy was the largest margin in years and perhaps the largest in the city’s history.

Wood County schools use biodiesel.

“The new fuel helped knock the crud out of the engines, which of course meant we had to replace the filters within the first month of use,” said Todd Bloss, director of transportation for Wood County Schools.

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Republicans like hookers

May 9, 2006 at 5:52 am (Politics, Republican incompetence)

I try to avoid non-local politics on here but I just can't let this one slide. Porter Goss, CIA Director, resigned recently. Old news. Today, the Executive Director (#3 man) at CIA also submitted his resignation. In case you hadn't heard, and god knows that lapdog MSM has been towing the party line on this one, Mr. Goss resigned because, as a U.S. Representative from Florida, he made common practice of exchanging influence for sexual favors from prostitutes, and the administration wanted him out before the scandal hit. Which if CNN had its way, it wouldn't ever hit (your liberal media, folks).

Well today, after Kyle "Dusty John" Foggo resigned, unnamed "intelligance officials"assuaged fears that this is in fact something other than a chicken wing:

Intelligence officials said Foggo's departure would be "pretty standard" because the executive director "tends to follow the CIA director's career trajectory."

CNN of course presents this as common knowledge, and does not question the veracity of this claim, by, for example, citing other times in American history when similarly abrupt resignations have occurred (perhaps someone with more time than me can do this).  This has to be the most ridiculous statement out of CIA since "slam dunk."  Are they telling me that if the director leaves to become a Fox News analyst, or to take up painting, or to spend more time with his grandchildren, or to become a circus freak, that the ED is soon to follow?  Do they actually think people believe this kind of stuff?  What do they teach communications majors about issuing press statements that are blatant, unabashed lies?  I really want to know.  

My goal here is not to provide any particular insight but only to note that people who don't regularly read non-conservative blogs probably haven't heard that top U.S. intelligence officials are sleeping with hookers. This isn't the president and an intern who is subject to rigorous background check, this is the CIA DIRECTOR and god-damn prostitutes.

What if one of the hookers was a foreign operative? Yeah, okay, bad Grisham/Clancy novel, but what if? What if a foreign agent got photographs of the agents in question and tried to blackmail them? Again, unlikely, but can anyone really say with a straight face that having high level members of the C-I-freaking-A compromising themselves in such a fashion isn’t serious news?

What he said. Tell a friend.

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Breaking things

May 8, 2006 at 7:14 pm (Sports)

I'm not one to condone violence, but if someone up and went all Jeff Gillooly on Barry Bonds, you wouldn't hear me complain.

And Boo to the Phillies organization for not allowing that SOB to get what he deserved (hint: it starts and ends with the letter D…just ask JD Drew)

Seriously, how anyone can continue to support this guy is beyond comprehension. He is a liar, a cheater, a genuine asshole, and a disgrace to the game. He doesn't even deserve an asterisk if you ask me. People who continue to support him and even cheer for him are like people who still actually say "freedom is on the march." Your blind allegiance to a partisan has caused your brain to actually stop functioning. Yet there you are, breathing, eating, shitting. People like you should be isolated and studied, to determine what nutrients you might have that can be extracted for our personal use.

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Perspective

May 7, 2006 at 1:02 am (Personal)

I wasn't having a very good day today.

I woke up and had a hangover. I'm 28, and I fucking hate hangovers. I just can't deal with them anymore, almost enough to make me stop drinking excessively. Almost. I also have an unexplained soreness in my tailbone, as though I fell out of a chair last night or something. I don't remember doing that (anyone? did I do that?) I remember knocking someone out of his chair, so maybe it's karma. Vacarious pain. I don't know, but it has gotten worse throughout the day. These two things combined to make my favorite Saturday morning activity impossible.

I have been really stressed out about school lately. I look at all the stuff I have to do over the next 6 weeks, and it is unbelievable. I went down to do some work today in a computer lab, and my Ipod (which doubles as a flash drive) is broken. The FTP server that I use as a backup was down. So I couldn't access my data, or do any meaningful work on this huge project that is looming over my head like a guillotine. I went to the gym to blow off some steam, but my tailbone made working out painful so I didn't last long. I was extremely frustrated.

Then something interesting happened. I was driving home and had a strong sense of deja vu. The first Saturday in May last year, I was on my way home at almost the exact same time, on the same route, the weather was identical, the sun, the temperature, the breeze, the smell of spring in the air. Except last year I was on my way home to begin dealing with an extremely traumatic event that had just begun to unfold. On that trip today, I realized that I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

I just went for a run, down to a place called Grant Park. I was taking a break, watching a little league baseball game. I saw some kid strike out, get mad, and throw his bat against a fence. Coach pulled him aside and gave him a little pep talk. It reminded me of one of the commencement speakers at my college graduation, who reminded us that even the best baseball players in the world are lucky if they get a hit 35% of the time. They fail a lot more often than not.

I realized that my life is better today than it was one year ago, even one year and one day ago, in every measurable sense. I can never be certain of this, but I think that the oft-cited incident of one year ago played a large role in that transformation. At this point, I can't imagine what life would be like if it hadn't happened, and I don't even want to imagine it.

I have formed new relationships, and solidified others, to an extent that I wouldn't have otherwise done, with some high-quality individuals who I intend on remaining friends with for a long time. I feel smarter (school will do that to you). I am in the best physical condition of my adult life. I have long since stopped questioning my decision to move to the west coast. My gf told me today that we don't have sex enough; quite a change of pace for me and something I definitely look forward to improving. She is a superior human being to my previous gf, any way you slice it. Apple will fix my Ipod for free (because I bought a warranty, but even if I hadn't it would only be $49. Contrast that with Sprint, who will not fix anything not under warranty, and their warranties are so restrictive that pretty much means they won't fix anything. Yet I continue to send them a check every month.) I am going to Otis, Oregon tomorrow, to scope out my digs for my summer job on the coast. On June 14 I will be 3 credit hours from a Master's degree. I have 5 gallons of homemade glacier (excuse me, snowpack) beer in the kitchen, that I will put in bottles soon. Then I get to drink them.

I look back on how I felt this time last year and it makes stressing out about a paper seem kind of silly.  I'm going to go buy some shrimp and throw them on the barby.

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Meat

May 1, 2006 at 5:02 pm (Uncategorized)

Some people have been questioning my reluctance to eat meat recently.  To them I say this: I am very, very sorry.  

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (AP) — A diner found a piece of human flesh on his hamburger shortly after a restaurant worker accidentally cut his finger, and a spokeswoman said the company (TGI Friday's) was "very, very sorry."

The spokeswoman is Amy Freshwater.  I bet the water is not as fresh as the hamburger.

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Irony

May 1, 2006 at 4:57 pm (Random)

Demonstrators began to rally Monday against a proposed crackdown on illegal immigration, boycotting jobs, schools and businesses as a way to show the economic power of immigrants.

Meanwhile, in other news…

The government of Puerto Rico ran out of money Monday, forcing the U.S. commonwealth to close public schools and shut down government offices, putting almost 100,000 people out of work.

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