Thursday, March 30, 2006

I Can't Drive 55

Ever wonder what would happen if everyone actually drove no faster than the posted speed limit on a freeway? Then you'll want to check this video out. Amazing stuff.

55: A Meditation On the Speed Limit Around the Perimeter

(contains PG-13 language)

9 Talked Back:

At March 30, 2006 at 2:00:00 PM CST, Blogger Jim said...

egocentric little group of SOBs -- they proved nothing, inconvenienced thousands, delayed who knows how many emergency vehicles -- and, of course, broke the law by leaving the scene of an accident--

Georgia has a five mile over the speed limit legal tolerance -- so if 55 is posted, you can do 60 and NOT be breaking the law

 

At March 30, 2006 at 4:43:00 PM CST, Blogger J.D. said...

I've commented elsewhere that this video proves nothing. This doesn't show what would happen if everyone drove 55. It shows what would happen if everyone drove 55 and blocked traffic by driving in parallel. The fact is, they'd cause just as much woe if they were driving side-by-side at any speed. A 55-mph speed limit is not stupid. I'm not saying it's right or that it's smart, but it's been thought-out and developed by better minds than those that made this video. The minds that made this video are clueless that if they'd each driven 55mph and kept natural spacing, nobody would have given a rat's ass.

 

At March 31, 2006 at 8:45:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Not only did they leave the scene of an accident (which was actually caused by someone else's illegal actions due to selfish impatience), the driver of the van who hit the parked car left it as a hit and run.

If those people had all been doing 60, or 75, across the lanes, people behind them would still be just as impatient, in a false hurry to get where they're going. Emergency vehicles? if there were any in that pack, they'd have cleared traffic with lights and sirens, just as if it was bumper-to-bumper traffic doing 15 mph.

Inconveniencing thousands was the point. At least they were driving at the high limit instead of the minimum speed of probably 45.

Yeah, they should have kept natural spacing, so that clueless, lead-footed idiots could have unsafely woven between them, maybe causing an accident that would block the lanes, inconveniencing thousands.

 

At April 1, 2006 at 8:48:00 PM CST, Blogger Jim said...

(d) No two vehicles shall impede the normal flow of traffic by traveling side by side at the same time while in adjacent lanes, provided that this Code section shall not be construed to prevent vehicles traveling side by side in adjacent lanes because of congested traffic conditions.

The Georgia Code

 

At April 2, 2006 at 3:16:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

I guess that'd be why Dave and I got pulled over by six cop cars that one time. :)

 

At April 3, 2006 at 12:25:00 PM CDT, Blogger h-i-p said...

I still think that was a great video. We should try it sometime.

 

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

My instant video library

The local video store is closing up soon, which saddens me greatly, because it's one of those local, independent (sort of) stores. The last day to rent was last Monday, and all movies had to be returned by Wednesday night.

On Thursday, the frenzy began. All of the stores movies were for sale. Large numbers of people crammed into the store and bought literally boxes of movies for an average of six or seven bucks apiece. VHS tapes were usually four bucks. I wasn't able to make it into the store when the sale began, but int he evening, there were plenty of good movies left to buy. I will admit that I spent more money on movies than I ought to have, but much, much less than I would have spent paying full price.

Yesterday Katie asked me which movies I ended up buying (becuase I had called her from the store to see if there were any movies she wanted me to look for for her, which there weren't), and the funny thing is, I couldn't remember more than three titles. I said that I'd have to make a list and tell her later. Here, then, is what I bought:

VHS:
12 Angry Men (1997)
All the President's Men (1976)
Don Quixote (2000)
The Game (1997)
The General (1998)
Jackie Chan's Police Story (1985)
Sleepers (1996)
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
The Wild Bunch (1969)

DVD:
Apollo 13 (1995)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Blue Streak (1999)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Danny Deckchair (2003)
Dear Frankie (2004)
Empire Falls (2005)
eXistenZ (1999)
The Good Girl (2002)
Intermission (2003)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
Millions (2004)
National Security (2003)
One Hour Photo (2002)
Ong Bak: Thai Warrior (2003)
Out of Sight (1998)
The Quiet American (2002)
The Replacements (2000)
Runaway Jury (2003)
Something the Lord Made (2004)
Spellbound (2002)
Sunshine (1999)
Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Team America: World Police (2004)

Most of these I've seen already. A few, however, I'll admit I'm taking a chance on.

6 Talked Back:

At March 30, 2006 at 12:11:00 AM CST, Blogger Jim said...

I thought you had no money???????

You now officially have more movies than the local rental place.

(To Stan and anybody else -- if you have tapes or DVDs you no longer want, your local shelter for abused women will usually have a collection box nearby. Children's titles are especially appreciated.)

 

At March 30, 2006 at 12:27:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Jim - I turned in my empty beer cans. I had thousands.

 

At March 30, 2006 at 12:51:00 AM CST, Blogger Katie said...

Wow, that's a list! I don't even recognize some of the titles. But I am excited you got: Dear Frankie, Danny Deckchair, Spellbound and Millions. I can't BELIEVE you bought: Jackie Chan's Police Story and Team America: World Police!

 

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sorry about my absence; I was busy having my @&^%# identity stolen

Hey, I'm still alive, but I'm relegated to only posting from home, since I no longer have access to the Internet while at work—including on my own time. (And I'm working overtime again, so that's just less time at home.)

I haven't only been neglecting my blogging. I've also been procrastinating my bill paying, too, since I do all of it online. Tonight, as I was preparing to pay a credit card statement, I noticed some activity on the card that I knew wasn't mine.

For starters, I haven't used the card in more than three months. It sits in a hidden location in my house...I don't carry it around with me.

Second, and most ironically, there were two transactions on the same day (3/19), of more than $500 each, from...Victoria's Secret. Make all the jokes you want to, but the fact is that I have never been into a Victoria's Secret store in my life—heck, when I walk by one, I intentionally look the other direction! I have no wife or girlfriend to buy lingerie for (not that I would need to buy lingerie for a girlfriend anyway), nor do I have any other reason to step onto their real estate. So there.

Third, the purchases made (four in total before I called the fraud department) put my account balance over the credit limit for the card. Not by tens, but by hundreds of dollars. I may not have the brightest mind out there (sometimes I'm about as sharp as a cue ball) but I know not to go over my limit on my credit cards by hundreds of dollars.

This whole thing really came as a shock to me because I believe I have taken many steps to protect myself against this type of fraud. My mailing address is a locked post office box. I don't carry my cards on my person. I do receive those annoying, useless "convenience checks" but I always (cross-cut) shred them. My statements are kept inside of my locked house and I only keep a year's worth, after which I shred them. I rarely make purchases online, and when I do, it's always on a secure site with an https: URL.

Whoever stole my identity was able to manufacture a new card in my name. I know this because the credit card company said that the purchases were swiped, not made online or with a convenience check. This means that there is a fake card out there with my name and number on it, with a forged signature (in case the merchants actually bother to check the signature). Fortunately, the credit card company noticed the unusual activity and stopped a $950 transaction from paying. So sorry, Nordstrom. I'm sure the clothes were nice.

The account is now closed, but I still need to call another fraud office tomorrow to individually dispute the transactions. So there goes my lunch break. Guess I'll have to read my Grisham novel while driving again.

6 Talked Back:

At March 22, 2006 at 12:12:00 PM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

Welcome Back!

Oh my gosh! I have been wondering if everything was okay with you. I'm so sorry about the identity theft. It's frustrating that even when you are careful, things like that still happen. Thank goodness you caught it when you did! A couple of years ago, I found out that someone had used my SSN to open a cell phone account in California, a place I've never even visited. It was pretty upsetting.

Just so you'll know, you have been missed! The blogosphere isn't nearly as much fun without you! My friends who read your blog have been asking me (like I would know, since we've never met. I guess since I introduced them to your blogs, they all think I know what is up with you.), anyway, they've been asking about you. So, I've reported that you are okay and still on the scene!

 

At March 22, 2006 at 12:23:00 PM CST, Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

You have my complete and utter sympathy here. Before we had our ID stolen, we did get The Wife™'s purse stolen from the top of the car (one of those 'we just took our eyes off it of a second' situations) and the thief promptly took our debit card, used it at the Utopia Club over at NE 82nd and Multnomah, then went out to White Salmon Washington and bought...a bunch of groceries.

When at last our ID was stolen by someone, they used it to buy...an AOL account.

We're still scratching our heads over this stuff.

 

At March 23, 2006 at 8:37:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Thanks for welcoming me back. Since the Internet lockdown at work, I almost feel less inspired to blog about stuff. I'm one of those people that gets the best stuff done when I'm supposed to be doind something else. Like right now, I'm supposed to be in the shower.

Did anyone notice my prank letter to the mayor of Portland?

Nicole, didn't you realize that you and I are old friends now? Of course you are my Carthage liaison. And whenever I have questions about all of your friends, I'm relying upon you to give me the latest news :)

Although now that you know I'm reading Grisham rather than Shakespeare, I'm sure you'll quickly disown me...

 

At March 23, 2006 at 9:50:00 AM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

I know exactly what you mean. I am most inspired to blog when I'm supposed to be studying for Physics or finishing up the expense report at work. (It's usually when I'm working on something non-literary that I get my greatest inspiration to be literary!)

I did notice your letter to the mayor of Portland. Loved it! Where do you come up with this stuff?

And Stan, I could never disown you, you're my favorite Oreg. resident! Of course, I don't know anyone else in or really even from Oregon, so . . .

 

At March 27, 2006 at 12:35:00 AM CST, Blogger h-i-p said...

very uncool. well good luck with that. you have made a lot of precautions -- paranoia? for good reason i suppose. a bit unfortunate that everyone else who so blantly just throws away their convenience checks (i'm not one of them!) without ever shredding them never are the victims of identity theft. how does it feel, to be a victim? well, good discernment on nordstrom's part. that's the nordstrom customer service in action for ya. and you weren't technically their customer. be careful reading grisham on the road. i've heard of accidents being caused by crichton, grisham, et al. king and sagan can cause pile ups.

 

At March 27, 2006 at 1:25:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Well, actually, it wasn't so much Nordstrom's service as it was Bank of America's anti-fraud policy to flag suspicious transactions and hold them for payment. I hadn't used the card in months, then all of a sudden here were four transactions totaling about $2,000. Even if I had been the one making the purchases, it still would have flagged.

So, actually, shame on Nordstrom's for not checking ID on a purchase for $950 worth of clothes. Thank you BofA for having anti-fraud policies in place.

As for Grisham, this book was much less exciting than previous works. If Lost in Translation was Sofia Coppola's postcard from Tokyo, then The Broker was Grisham's from Bologna, Italy. Interesting, but not riveting. So really, I was in more danger from nodding off at the wheel than anything.

 

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Recent photos


The wacky painting on the wall at the office where I pay for my parking.

Might want to think about buying some curb feelers, there.

The ominous evening sky.

Trying for artistic motion blur, facing east...

...and again, facing the west.

It actually snowed last night. Interesting, considering the weather was warm enough to mow the lawn on Saturday.

2 Talked Back:

At March 9, 2006 at 5:02:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

nice photos. did you go for a hammock swing this morning?

 

At March 19, 2006 at 9:35:00 PM CST, Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Stan (and anyone else), speaking of photoeaux, you may be interested to know that I at last got off the spot and used one of your fantastic street blade signs to illustrate one of my posts:

Portland Signs: MLK Jr Blvd

 

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Anothr rejected McSweeney's List

WHAT JAMES BROWN
MIGHT HAVE PUT
IT ON IF HE
HADN'T PUT IT
"ON THE ONE".


The four

The nine

His tab

The eight

The two

The Ritz

The seven

A train to visit its aunt in Oklahoma

The six

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Grabbing the shirttails of another blogger...


Imagine the intro to "The Simpsons" done with live actors. Well, it's been done, and it's awesome.

Because I found this through another blogger, I'll make you go to his blog, Gone Ronin, to get the link. Thanks Ghost Dog!

1 Talked Back:

At March 7, 2006 at 2:48:00 PM CST, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Thanks for dropping by, and for the link! Glad you enjoyed the video.

I have some friends at work who instigate eating competitions for money, so it was more than appropriate to send them the link, given what "Bart" was writing on the chalkboard...

 

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Still fizzed out


I can't believe it's been a whole year since I last drank any kind of soda. This calls for a celebration!

I'm gonna have a Coke and a smile.

3 Talked Back:

At March 7, 2006 at 11:22:00 AM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

What kind of Coke are you having?

 

At March 7, 2006 at 11:26:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

Pretend Coke. Because today is the first day of Year 2!

 

At March 7, 2006 at 11:31:00 AM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

I'm impressed. I've never been able to go longer than 6 months without "pop." I'll bet you have more energy, also! Congratulations!

 

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Wow, two modern wonders in one day?

Well, three, technically, if you count the two items I talk about in this post.


Øresund Link

This is a bridge/tunnel that carries motor and rail traffic between Sweden and Denmark. It cost DKK 12 billion (US$1.94 billion) to build, and took several years to complete! Google Maps link

-------------------------


Trevipark Underground Car Park

This is pretty darned cool, unless you are claustrophobic. You drive into a loading bay, and an elevator lowers your car to the level of an open parking slot, rotating as necessary. It reminds me of those sandwich vending machines, the ones with the sliding door. Pretty nifty!

4 Talked Back:

At March 8, 2006 at 1:55:00 PM CST, Blogger Wayne said...

Stan --- I had never heard of bridge-tunnels until my brother moved to Norfolk, VA. There are a couple there.

Have you seen pictures of this bridge in France?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4091813.stm

 

At March 8, 2006 at 1:58:00 PM CST, Blogger Wayne said...

Another good link....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millau_bridge

 

At March 8, 2006 at 7:15:00 PM CST, Blogger stan said...

The Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia (overhead) was actually the first one I'd seen. I was going to feature it but I thought that one bridging two countries was just a bit cooler.

Millau bridge is pretty cool. Love the shots of the bridge above the clouds. Thanks for the links.

I like bridges!

 

At March 21, 2006 at 3:45:00 AM CST, Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

The funny in this was that, in the Sund where the bridge was being built and the tunnel being dug, one landing point where the bridge went was called Saltholm.

Dredgings from the project built another island near it where some of the operations were being based; they called it "Pepparholm".

'Strewth!

 

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So I'm guessing those aren't chocolate chips

In my Inbox this morning:



That's right, they used a picture of Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch to encourage people to come to the company cookie bake-off. No, not the Cookie Monster. Oscar. The character who lives in a garbage can and eats garbage.

"Come on down to the Cookie Bake-Off! Our cookies taste like garbage*!"

*For the record, the cookies baked by the nice lady in my department do not taste like garbage.

2 Talked Back:

At March 4, 2006 at 10:00:00 PM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

This is disturbing on so many levels.

 

At March 6, 2006 at 11:25:00 PM CST, Blogger Katie said...

I'm dying! How funny. I wonder if they ever realized they were using the wrong character!

 

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Wonders of the modern world


Check this out, it's now possible to get hard-packed ice cream, made on-the-spot...from a vending machine! That's insane!!!

MooBella

3 Talked Back:

At March 6, 2006 at 3:33:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

sounds yummy. do you have one in your building?

 

At March 6, 2006 at 5:41:00 PM CST, Blogger stan said...

Nopety-nope. So far, I think they only have a few on the East Coast.

 

At March 8, 2006 at 12:50:00 AM CST, Blogger kristen said...

how did you find out about it??

 

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A little blog design talk

You may have noticed that I made a few new title banners in the last couple of days. I also changed the rotation from eleven images to just ten. So now, all but one of the current banners features a photo that I took.

I'm thinking that in the next round of banners, I might start introducing color photos instead of black and white. It's tricky, because I create the banners at home, where I have an LCD screen, which displays a little brighter and less color-saturated than regular monitors; so there's the risk that the new banners could be too dark. But it might be fun to try, anyway. What do you think?

Actually, I'm starting to get the redesign bug again, for the whole blog. I think I'm getting tired of this color scheme. I think I'd like something overall lighter. Not pastel lighter, but just not with so many heavy colors. A white or light grey background might be nice.

So, any ideas? Anyone?

More cowbell?

2 Talked Back:

At March 1, 2006 at 9:47:00 PM CST, Blogger Meagan said...

Since I still don't see the banners on my browser, sorry I have no input on that subject to share with you. But I agree with you that some less-heavy colors might be nice.

love meagan

 

At March 2, 2006 at 11:00:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

i think you *should* go with pastels.

 

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This is not highbrow comedy


So I guess I'm going to become one of those old guys with insanely long eyebrows. I don't want it to be so, but I'm already showing signs. I have one or two eyebrow hairs on each side of my face that are like an inch long. I have to yank them out because I can't stand them. Imagine how long they'll grow to when I'm 70.

On the other hand, since my eyebrows and I are already in the habit of providing entertaining observational commentary, you could be looking at the next Andy Rooney.

2 Talked Back:

At March 2, 2006 at 11:03:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

i think it's ok to have one or two extra long ones. common for men. at least you're not like some ladies that pull all theirs out. those just look weird, especially when they have to draw them ON!!

 

At March 6, 2006 at 11:27:00 PM CST, Blogger Katie said...

You could of course keep them trimmed and then you'd never be crazy old man with crazy eyebrows... Just a thought. ;-)

 

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It zips! It clips!

About a two months ago, the plastic strip that attached to my coat's zipper pull broke off. A week later, fed up with having nearly nothing to grip when I wanted to zip my jacket, I attached a large paperclip to the pull.

It really stands out. But to this day, nobody's noticed.

5 Talked Back:

At March 1, 2006 at 11:03:00 AM CST, Blogger Nicole said...

You should attach little reminder notes to yourself on the paper clip and see if anyone says anything.

 

At March 1, 2006 at 11:21:00 AM CST, Blogger stan said...

I reckon they'd just think it was a lift pass, which is a pretty common sight around these parts...

 

At March 1, 2006 at 5:09:00 PM CST, Blogger Amanda said...

I prefer a bit of pipe cleaner myself.

 

At March 1, 2006 at 9:46:00 PM CST, Blogger Meagan said...

There are so many fun and useful things one can do with paperclips

 

At March 2, 2006 at 10:58:00 PM CST, Blogger kristen said...

pure and utter brilliance people. pipe cleaner does sound colorful. paperclip comes in handy if you have some papers that need fastening and no stapler. and leaving notes to yourself is good too.

and hey stan, i noticed. so now you can't say no one noticed.

 

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