Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Knowing that there was no way in the world that my normal bus - the 265 would be running since they shut it down at the slightest hint of snow, I hopped in my car and drove down to the South Kirkland Park & Ride to catch the trusty 255. Since it doesn't have many hills on it's route it's pretty reliable in adverse weather. Or so I thought.
The roads really weren't too bad getting to the P&R, so I expected a minimal wait for the bus. It runs approximately every 10 minutes in the mornings, but after standing there freezing for more than half an hour, I began to wonder if it was time for plan B. That's about when somebody walked up to the P&R and announced that he had just gotten off a 255 going the other direction and that it was on a different snow route and was stopping on Lake Washington Blvd. I proceeded to make the 4 or 5 block journey there, and after about 20 minutes of no buses, headed back to my car.
Plan C involved driving to the Evergreen Point P&R - right next to the 520 bridge. I usually avoid that P&R because it has a very small lot and unless you get there early, you won't be able to find a parking space and you'll have to go somewhere else anyway. Luckily for me, the snow kept enough people away that there was still available parking, and shortly after walking over to the bus stop, along came a 545 which would get me to work.
Well, the bus was absolutely packed, and the driver said that they had to leave 20-30 people behind at the last stop because there wasn't room for them. Fortunately, 5 or 6 people got off the bus there so I was able to squeeze in and head toward downtown. I made it into the office about an hour and a half late. There is very little snow left in the city, although I was amused to see a snow covered car parked in front of my building with just enough snow brushed away to put a parking ticket under the wiper. I don't know why that amuses me, maybe because it seems unnecessarily cruel. I still haven't checked the forecast, but I'm really hoping I won't have any difficulty getting home tonight. Global warming my ass.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
In what can only be a bad omen for the Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. is coming back. I thought we'd had our fill of washed up, injury prone players, but apparently not. I'm going to predict right now that Griffey will spend at least 40 days on the DL this year and will at some point launch in to a juvenile tirade because some team mate (probably Ichiro or Felix Hernandez) is stealing some of his lime light. I don't think Griffey is a team player and I don't think he has anything left in the tank. What this signing says to me is that management cares more about filling seats than winning games. They are willing to sacrifice wins by bringing in a fan favorite that they know people will pay to see (for a while at least) at the expense of playing time for a better player. It's going to be another long season baseball fans. Brace yourself. And if you're looking forward to seeing him play, buy your tickets early in the season because after the first month all bets are off as to him being healthy enough to be in the lineup.
The good news out of M's camp that has largely gone unnoticed because of the Griffey debacle is that last years first round draft pick, Josh Fields, has finally been signed. He hasn't pitched in 8 months thanks to extended negotiations, but the cupboard is pretty bare in the bullpen and I don't think it will be long before he gets the call. I don't know how realistic an expectation it is, but here's to hoping he'll be contributing before the all star break.
In news that I'm sure nobody cares about, my 8 year reign of terror as a Mariner employee has come to an end. Last year was miserable and it just doesn't pay enough to be worthwhile anymore. I started in 2001 and loved every minute of it. I was there when they won their 116th game. I saw them play in the post season. I worked the all star game. It was unbelievable fun to be there every day. The energy was amazing. From there it has been a steady decline, and to be honest, last year's problems had more to do with management issues than watching a terrible team. Since attendance was down we were overstaffed, and I really think that management's solution was to make employees miserable until they started to quit. Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the negative. I have a lot of great memories from my time there and will probably miss it terribly around July or August when the weather is really nice. I can still honestly say that on a beautiful, warm, sunny day, there are very few places that are better to be than Safeco Field.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The prevailing public opinion is that the New Deal is the model of how the government can spend it's way out of a depression or recession. The truth is that the New Deal implemented new government spending programs from 1933-1938 and the economy didn't start it's recovery until late in 1941 when WWII started. FDR was in office for 8 years before the economy turned around, and the New Deal programs were ineffective. The evidence suggests that we're more likely to turn the economy by starting another war than by more government spending programs.
Most of the philosophy that increased government spending and decreased interest rates is the way to fix a depressed economy comes from John Maynard Keynes. Since I haven't taken any economics courses since college about 15 years ago, I decided to brush up on my Keynesian Economics. A lot of the theories are logical, but the two factors which I think are noteworthy are that government spending crowds out investment from the private sector, increasing the nations reliance on the government and making it more difficult for the private sector to sustain itself. Second, increasing the deficit increases the volume of government bonds, decreasing their value and encouraging an increase in interest rates. This makes it more expensive for businesses to finance investments.
I don't really know what the solution is, but I don't think the economic stimulus package is it. I think that fiscal responsibility by both the government and individuals is important, and ultimately investor confidence is going to have to return somehow before things start to improve.
Monday, February 16, 2009
What this all really leads me into though, is almost a political statement. How much longer are we going to have companies fold because way overpaid executives are raping the company? Corporate America seems to have gotten so top heavy that it sickens me. How in the world can executives justify such exorbitant salaries while nickle and diming non management employees? Maybe in a privately held company that can happen, but don't executives of publicly traded companies have any accountability to their share holders? Even on their way out Circuit City is splitting $2.3 million in retention bonuses between 16 execs while giving $750k to the remaining 34,000 employees who will be losing their jobs. The same 16 people who just ran the company into the ground. How in the world are they not accountable to stock holders? The same thing is going on at the big 3 auto makers along with who knows how many other struggling companies across the country.
I'm not a communist by any means and certainly don't favor any kind of government regulations. I simply can't understand how the free market can allow this kind of irresponsibility when, in my opinion, much of the current economic crisis is due to exactly this kind of mismanagement. I don't have any answers I'm sorry to say, I'm just angry today. Maybe it's about time for me to stock up on weapons and ammo and join Shelvis in his bunker so I can have some company during the impending chaos. At least I can count on an abundant supply of home made pickels there. Things are going to get worse before they start getting better.
Reason the first. The most obvious reason is that the DVR I use is provided by the evil folks at Comcast and will hold 60 hours of standard definition programming, which is more than enough, but will only hold 15 hours of HD programming. That means if I record 2 football games, that fills up half the capacity. Not to mention the fact that I've gone on vacation and run into storage issues before. So the added capacity would be nice.
Reason the second. Since my DVR is provided by the evil Comcast, it is prone to the occasional demon possession episode. I have had it freeze up on me and reset itself, deleting the entire contents. Unwatched episodes of tv shows and movies gone forever. I also had another incident where it started recording an episode of Monk and then decided it was never going to stop. I woke up the next morning and found an 8+ hour episode of Monk still recording, deleting saved programs to make room. Having saved programs on the expander would keep them safe from a runaway DVR.
So I'm hoping that someone has some experience with one of these. Reading the user reviews it sounds like it's easy to set up and use, the one major concern for me however is compatibility. It says it has been tested for compatibility with Scientific Atlanta 8300 or 8300HD DVR, but my Comcast P.O.S. is made by Motorola. It does have an SATA port, so at least the expander could be plugged in. I've done a limited amount of googling on the subject and since it appears that Comcast uses different models of DVR, it's hard to find anyone who has tested the expander with my specific model (DCT3412 I). I refuse to call Comcast and spend 5 minutes wading through their automated menu just to get someone who either has no idea what I'm talking about, or at the very best will say that it might work but they can't make any guarantees. Although I already need to call them for another issue, so maybe I can just inquire while I already have them on the line. Anyone willing to save me the trouble and give me a definitive answer would be appreciated though.
In case you are curious, the other issue I have is that they mailed me a flyer back in December telling me I should have about 30 new HD channels (depending on the package) as of 12/19. So far I get none of these channels and trying to email them for a solution has proven quite unhelpful. I've gotten advice like, "make sure your connections aren't loose." Good lord, like that's the reason I don't get channel 517 but I get both 516 and 518. I simply haven't had the patience to talk to someone without getting angry about it yet. I think I may have anger management issues. Until Comcast foots the bills for therapy though, they aren't going away.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Today's special music comes courtesy of local heroes Queensryche.
On an unrelated topic, today's hilarious quote comes to us courtesy of Homer Simpson:
Behold, the tailgate party, the pinnacle of human
Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to
stuff his guts with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others
exercise. What childbirth is to women, eating trunk meats is to the
You don't hear terms like bawanged (pronounced be wang ed) nearly often enough. Your homework assignment is to find some way to work that into a conversation sometime in the coming week.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I thought this was a brilliant idea, but my test audience that I bounced the idea off of were less enthusiastic. One person claimed that creating a product to basically kick people when they are down is unlikely to be successful. Another claimed that such a product already exists but I have yet to verify that. I, however remain undaunted and firmly believe this idea is a winner.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
First up is Eleven. They had some limited success in the mid 90's, and really could write some catchy songs but for whatever reason never made it. I liked the song Let Down, Left Out, Laughed At better but couldn't find a video for it. They could fit into the category of grunge which was huge at the time and had some catchy guitar riffs and solid vocals. Drummer at the time Jack Irons eventually went on to briefly play with Pearl Jam.
Everything is a band that I've actually only heard one song from, Hooch. Maybe the rest of their songs suck but this one is pretty catchy. Plus seeing a bunch of goofy white guys singing the blues is just funny somehow.
Sponge had one great song - Have You Seen Mary. Maybe one of the more underrated songs in history. I think the big thing holding Sponge back though was the fact that the rest of their songs were pretty bad. So I guess this is more of a why wasn't this particular song more popular than why wasn't the band more popular.
I'll hold it down to 4 bands for now. Bringing up the rear is The Tragically Hip. They should have been huge based on the name alone. They were able to maintain a decent career but never regained the success they had with their first single - New Orleans Is Sinking. Embedding is disabled for this video so here's an old fashioned link. I think of these bands, The Tragically Hip are the most talented. And after their debut album it looked like they were going to be huge. I think it's because they are Canadian that it didn't pan out.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
So the out of the ordinary thing I eventually came up with was throwing up a video of me butchering the Joe Satriani classic Tears In The Rain. Will this turn into a continuing series of me butchering songs or will it be a one off? Only time will tell. But for now, here's something that will make poor Satch roll over in his grave. I know what you're thinking - he's not dead yet. Well, this might just kill him.
In my defense, it's been a pretty long day and I'm tired now, not to mention suffering from a case of hot dog fingers and having a hair thing going on since I haven't gotten it cut in about 3 months, plus fighting an on going battle with run on sentences. A battle I seem to be losing. I had some other crap to complain about but my brain is beginning it's shut down sequence, so you lucked out for now. And I guess I won't brag about becoming a published author either. That will all have to wait for another day.
It appears that the trashing of the Chuckman may have been premature. There's still time for her to back out or be a no show, but all indications are that the Chuckman has been able to procure a girl for this week's football game. All hail to the Chuckman. Ladies, please try to form an orderly single file line at his door.