Posted on January 24th, 2019
As I think I mentioned a while back, I've been working on a photo wall in my stairwell. It's a huge, expensive project, but I've been loving how it's been coming together so much that it's all been worth it.
Until I went to finally finish the dang thing only to realize I'm out of black spray paint for a couple frames that are the wrong shade of black. So after work I made a quick run to The Big City and Home Depot for a stupid (but necessary) $3 can of paint.
Then I went to finally, finally finish the dang thing only to realize that I didn't have enough Command Strips to hang all the remaining photos. So there I was at 8:00pm tonight making another run to The Big City and Home Depot to buy hangers.
The good news is that I think I will finally, finally, FINALLY be able to finish the dang thing tomorrow morning once the paint has had a chance to dry thoroughly.
If not, there will be no more trips to The Big City and Home Depot. Instead I'll just light the entire project on fire and forget I ever thought about doing it.
Because everybody has their limits.
Mine was two trips to Home Depot ago.
Posted on December 26th, 2018
Driving in the snow and ice is not that tough if you have experience and good tires.* I've been driving in this stuff for decades and my tires (which I originally purchased for my mom) are the best money can buy... so not such a big deal.
What is a very big deal is other drivers on the road. A significant portion of which are total idiots and raging assholes.
They drive too fast for conditions. They drive way too aggressively. They follow too close. They don't pay attention. They pull out in front of you. They cut you off. All of which is bad when the roads are perfect and dry... but when they're covered in ice and snow? Disaster. You may be able to drive in the stuff, but your ability to do so safely depends on how others are driving.
I was fairly lucky on my way home today. Had a dumbass pull in front of me once and had somebody following way too close, but it was a pretty easy drive because the plows were out keeping things clear.
Here's a short 30-second video of me at the top of the pass...
And now I'm home safe and sound where I have two cats who are very happy to see me.
Though Jake is slightly more interested in the snow that's been dumping down in buckets. After making sure it was really me, he bolted outside to watch the flakes fall...
And that's that. My last trip of the year.
*Want to know what is tough to drive in? Slush. Especially deep slush, which can easily suck you in and pull you off the road in a heartbeat. I'd drive in just about anything before I'd drive in slush, and 90% of my driving horror-stories have slush involved.
Posted on December 24th, 2018
Apparently squatting down to apply and remove chains to my car for the drive over the mountains yesterday worked some muscles I haven't used in a while... because my gluteus maximus is all kinds of sore today. Guess I need to look into assercize or something like that. Or, I dunno, just exercise at all maybe?
And speaking of chains...
Yesterday after I made my way through Tourist Town, there's a sign before you head into the mountains advising you as to road conditions and closures and such. If the roads are impassable, there's also an arm-block that drops down to keep people from going any further.
This was the sign which warned me that chains were required over the pass... 21 miles ahead.
Some people decided that they didn't want to wait 21 miles and were pulling over to apply chains for driving on bare roads. Since the roads were bare, everybody with chains was driving way too fast. And so... chains were flying off tires and being busted to shit left and right. Which meant that some people wouldn't have chains for the pass and would be ticketed if caught.
Welcome to the hazards of winter driving.
But it was worth it to spend the holidays with friends...
Bring on the jolly fat man!
Posted on December 23rd, 2018
Let the yuletide merriment begin... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Chain Me Up! My drive over the mountains this morning took 3 hours and 40 minutes instead of the 2 hours and 15 minutes it usually does. Partly because traffic was insane, but mostly because chains were required and the max speed was 30 mph. You'd think that my frequent drives over the passes would mean that I've had to chain up a lot. But that's not the case. The last time I chained up was over a decade ago because my studless winter tires have been sufficient. Other than slowing things down, the chains themselves are no big deal. I bought these easy-wrap "chains" a few years ago that are crazy simple to apply...
This was the first time I used them and it was a total piece of cake. So much easier than the old-style chains that are a nightmare to apply and ride so rough.
• Google Trips! When I last looked at Google's answer to TripIt, I was not impressed. Now? Pretty darn impressed...
This is an ideal arena for Google to play in, and I'm absolutely going to give it a shot in 2019.
• Ad Man! I do love me a good ad. Especially when it's so wonderfully inclusive as this one...
Way to step it up, Macy's!
• Roxette! After Pretty Woman was on for the hundredth time, I had Alexa play Roxette's Must Have Been Love from the soundtrack. It's a beautiful song and was responsible for my buying the Pretty Woman CD. Much to my surprise, the Must Have Been Love that played was different than the one I was used to, having the lyrics "And it's a hard winter's day" instead of "And it's a hard winter's day"...
At first I thought that they must have changed the line to make it a Christmas song, but it turns out it's the other way around. It was originally a Christmas song and was altered for the Pretty Woman soundtrack. The more you know...
• Super Intelligent! There are some articles that make their way around the internet in cycles. They'll find you. You read them. And then every time they come around you read them again. One of my favorite articles like this is The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence by Wait But Why. It's all at once very exciting and terrifyingly scary.
• Dyson! One of my favorite science fiction concepts has been beautifully imagined by Kurzgesagt...
This is quickly becoming my favorite YouTube channel on the internet.
Happy Christmas Eve Eve, if you celebrate that kind of thing!
Posted on July 17th, 2018
I have long wanted a dash-cam to record all the crazy shit I see while driving. It's all so wacky that even I don't believe it sometimes, so it's good to have photographic evidence.
Since I didn't want to invest a ton of money in tech that was going to be obsolete in five minutes, I decided to buy the cheapest camera I could find until the newest generation of cameras with all the cool bells and whistles dropped in price. I ended up paying $28 on Amazon for a dash-cam that was usually $70 (I think it was on closeout?) and that would be good enough. Sure, the picture is crap and it doesn't have many features... but it would be better than the nothing I had at the time.
Last night while I was waiting for an email response, I ran out to the car and grabbed the card. Turns out I had four videos saved. Two of them were of my garage door when I installed the thing and kept accidentally pressing buttons. But the other two were from my last drive back over the mountains...
The first was of a guy peeing on the side of the road. Didn't bother to go in the bushes or nothin'... just whipped it out and was peeing. At least his back was turned, but still. Problem is... all the camera captured was his car. And since the video quality is crap, you can barely see that...
The next video I saved was a deer...
I was hoping that Amazon's Prime Day would have a massive discount on a camera with a GPS, voice-activated save, and wireless download... but it was not to be.
And speaking of Amazon Prime Day, it was a total bust. The only thing I really care about is gift cards at a discount but I can never snag one. I set my alarm... wait for the card I want to be offered... then click to purchase the second it shows up as available... but it's always, always, always sold out. I couldn't get Petco. I couldn't get Panera. I couldn't get American Eagle. The only card I managed to get was iTunes, which is great... but it's insane that Amazon doesn't offer enough cards to last more than 2 seconds.
The only real bargain I managed to find was a white SONOS One speaker for my bathroom. I had a $100 gift card that was gifted to me when I watched a friend's dog plus I had $65 in Amazon Credit Card points... so I only had to come up with $35 to buy it (except I didn't have it, so hello credit card). The Prime Day Special was the speaker bundled with a $50 gift card, which I could not pass up because SONOS rarely goes on sale, and this is as close as it gets.
Now all I need to complete my SONOS home experience is a SONOS BEAM for my bedroom and two SONOS One speakers (one for the guest room and another for the main-floor bathroom). Then there will be no corner of my home that can't be blanketed in sound... or that's not Alexa accessible. Gotta tell you... this SONOS stuff is addicting. It's just too amazing to have your television or music playing everywhere you want so you can move around the house for chores (or whatever) and not miss anything. If only they made some kind of a SONOS-style video device for my kitchen so I could keep up with television video as well as audio.
That way I won't have to miss a minute of Love It or List It when I am unloading the dishwasher or making dinner.
Posted on May 31st, 2018
I had to work across the mountains today which meant getting up at 4:30am so I could be on the road by 5am. Given how horrendously bad Seattle morning traffic is these days, there's really no other option. Gone are the days of leaving at 6am and arriving in plenty of time.In another 5 years, I'll probably be leaving at 4:30am. It's getting that bad.
I wonder how quickly it will end up being faster for me to fly than drive, even when going through security and driving to the airport are factored in?
Whatever happened to the Star Trek future where we get to just beam ourselves to where we need to go?
Probably languishing in some vault somewhere along with the cure for the common cold. Shelved because oil companies and airline companies would become irrelevant.
And don't get me started about flying cars...
Posted on May 11th, 2018
Today I finally made the time to have my winter tires changed over to summer tires.
My plan was to arrive just when the tire store opened because you can usually get right in. Except there was an accident on the bridge into town so I was delayed 20 minutes. By the time I finally got there, the wait was up to an hour-and-a-half, and it would have been faster for me to change my own tires at home with my emergency car jack and a lug wrench.
It was a bummer, but it wasn't the wait that bothered me.
It was the reason for the wait.
As somebody at the tire store noted, there was no skidmarks on the bridge. Which means that the car (van?) which crashed into a car (which then crashed into another car) never made any attempt to stop. Which means they weren't paying attention. Which means they were probably texting or changing their baby's diaper or cooking a steak, or whatever the fuck it is that people do when not looking at the road like they're supposed to be.
Apparently the distracted driving "no-texting" law that Washington State passed has done nothing to solve a serious problem that's only going to get worse. Which begs the question... how many people have to die before this starts being taken seriously?
And speaking of dying...
As I've said many times before, I love McDonalds... despite constantly taking shit for liking McDonalds.
My favorite breakfast is a McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no bacon, substitute round egg instead of spongey yellow powder egg. I could eat them every single day because it's just such a perfect breakfast food. The reason I don't eat them every day is that A) McDonald's is a 20 minute drive from my house, and B) they are expensive as hell. But right now McDonalds is running a special where you can get two of them for only four dollars! So, naturally, after getting my tires changed I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200, I went straight to McDonalds for a late breakfast.
It was, as expected, delicious.
Except I made the mistake of looking up the Nutrition Facts for my breakfast while I was eating it.
We'll set aside the 80 carbs in two Breakfast Biscuits and skip right to the 2100mg of sodium... 88% of the sodium that you're supposed to have in a day. And saturated fat? 11g which is 106% of the recommended daily ammount!
I've never been so grateful that McDonalds is 20 minutes away and their McBiscuits are usually so damn expensive, because I'd be dead if they were next door and, you know, affordable and all.
Except they are on sale... and I am driving over the mountains tomorrow... so it looks like I may be courting death once again. Curse you McDonald's and your delicious breakfast!
Posted on May 10th, 2018
Before heading to the airport to turn in our rental car in St. Louis, we stopped for gas so we wouldn't have to pay the insane refueling fee that the rental car places charge.
As I was standing there waiting for the tank to fill, I saw this...
Here's hoping it wasn't the driver, but I'm guessing it was.
Given the non-stop trainwreck of horrors that has been drinking-and-driving, you'd think that people would learn something. How many more lives have to be destroyed before people learn something?
Posted on June 23rd, 2017
Despite not having to get up early (my flight wasn't until 11:55am), I couldn't seem to get back asleep after waking up at 4:00am.
Oh well. It gave me time to iron so I didn't have to fly home wrinkled.
In regards to my Leaving Las Vegas... I love McCarran airport. Unlike the majority of US airports, it's very efficient and has been optimized to move people in and out as quickly as possible. TSA PreCheck line backed up? THEY OPEN ANOTHER PRECHECK LANE! WHAT A CONCEPT! And... ZOFG... plenty of gate seating! For all other airports I arrive 2 hours early because even with PreCheck you never know. With McCarran I am perfectly comfortable arriving 45 minutes before flight time knowing I'll be at the gate 15 minutes later and, not uncommonly, walking into the plane ten minutes after. I wouldn't hate travel so much if this was the normal at airports.
The flight home was great.
The drive home, however, was brutal.
True to form, WSDOT can’t concentrate their efforts into QUICKLY completing a single project... they have to sprinkle resources on several projects, which means they all drag on forever. On I-90 East, they have ripped out huge chunks of the highway and just left the holes there, meaning three lanes of traffic become one on a busy Friday where half of Seattle is headed over the mountains.
Which translated into 45 minutes added to my drive time home.
I'm guessing it's going to be left that way all weekend long. And I just don't get it. Light it up, double-shift that shit, and GET. IT. DONE!
How the hell is it that I am constantly seeing videos from other countries where they will replace an entire fucking bridge in two days... or replace an entire fucking intersection overnight that fell into a sinkhole... or rebuild a fucking washed out road in ten hours... WHEN EVERY DAMN PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE TAKES MONTHS TO YEARS TO COMPLETE?!?
It wouldn’t be so bad if they would focus on one project and GET. IT. DONE! But they don’t. New projects keep popping up all over the place while old projects sit incomplete. You don't stop for construction ONCE on your journey... you stop FOUR TIMES. I'm guessing I-90 is probably going to be fucked up for weeks... and apparently nobody at WSDOT gives a flying fuck that it’s summer vacation season and NOW is when the roads need to be fully operational. Why would they? It would seem there are -zero- consequences to having everything torn to shit all the time.
And speaking of never-ending construction...
When I pull into my driveway, I notice that my new ultrasonic mole repeller isn't doing the job.
On the contrary, the mole seems to be taunting me by DIGGING NEW HOLES RIGHT AROUND THE ULTRASONIC STAKE!
Ugh. No idea what my next step will be there.
And... apparently there was a power outage while I was gone.
The horrible part about it is not that all the clocks have to be set... but that the Litter Robot DOES NOT COME BACK ON WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED. How fucking useless! I mean, seriously. WHY? They sell a battery back-up, but I always assumed that it was so your Litter Robot would run while the power was out. I don't care about that... but I care quite a LOT that it just stays off permanently if there's a power interruption.
And so... the Litter Robot was filled. The two back-up litter boxes were also filled. So nasty. And I feel terrible. Especially for Jenny. She is pretty particular about wanting to poop in a clean box. She will hold it and hold it until she can't anymore, and is forced to use it. I can't believe that she didn't poop on the floor. I would have. And so now I have to buy a $40 battery just to make sure Litter Robot works after an outage. This is on top of the already outrageous price for the unit and the accessories I had to buy that should already have come with it.
I ordered the battery so this won't happen again... but, wow. Still feel terrible. I should have been checking the security cameras to make sure it was running.
And with that... time to catch up on all I missed. Good thing I have a weekend coming up...
Posted on May 30th, 2017
After an early two-and-a-half-hour drive over the mountains for work this morning, I came to the conclusion that the horrific condition of public transportation in this country (particularly on the West Coast) is something Americans should be terribly embarrassed over.
I mean, seriously. our options here are so bad they might as well not even exist. Which explains why our roads are so badly crowded... everybody is in their car, despite the high cost, because public transportation can't get them where they want to go. At least not easily.
Take for example my situation this morning.
If our train system was anything like what you'll find in European or Asian countries, I'd walk to a local train that would take me to the neighboring city of Wenatchee where I'd board a regional train to Seattle. I'd then find a local train that ran out of Downtown over to West Seattle. Done.
But, in reality, I can't catch a local train. The tracks run right thought town, but there are no local trains, thus no local stops. So I have to drive to Wenatchee and hop a train there. Except the ONE train that runs from the station each day boards at 5:35am and doesn't arrive Seattle until 10:25. That's nearly 5 hours for something I can drive in half the time. Even worse, there is no train from downtown to West Seattle. I'd have to find a bus, assuming one even exists.
And so I end up driving, because that's the only real option available to me.
There have, of course, been multiple attempts at adding high-speed rail systems to Washington State. Usually they focus on the Western corridor from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA to Portland, OR. But sometimes they study plans for a route that runs Spokane to Wenatchee to Seattle too. Whether or not these trains ever happen is anybody's guess. But it's just too good of an idea to pass up, so hopefully one day.
Spokane to Seattle in under two hours? Wenatchee to Seattle in under an hour?
Where do I sign up?