Friday, July 31, 2009

'Birthers' must be stopped - Los Angeles Times

'Birthers' must be stopped - Los Angeles Times

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Another Black Day.

Another Black Day for the Motorcycle World.

According to stories published in both the paper and electronic versions of the Casper Star Tribune an icon of the motorcycle world died Thursday in western Wyoming. Bruce Rossmeyer set a very high example and would easily be considered a pillar in any community. Yet he died as a result of something as simple as a bad choice on an afternoon ride.

Again I plead with any driver reading this. Look twice. Look again. Never use your phone while in motion.

Bikers - Please ride with the belief that you are invisible to most and that those who can see you are trying to kill you. I know it's easy to let yourself return to being a 16yr old when you are on the bike - lord knows it happens to all of us but do your best to resist.

The Star Tribune seems to have two different stories but the comments in the first one sheds a lot of light into what really happened.

The following link is from Mr. Rossmeyer's website. Please read this so you understand the loss we have all suffered. It's easy as a driver to dismiss the "biker scum" but you truly never know who might be riding that bike in the next lane.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Maker and Manager

The Maker and Manager's Schedules.

Wow!  I love it when I find a piece on the net that eloquently describes something I've been trying to explain or get a handle on for a length of time.  Today the "honor" goes to Mr. Paul Graham and his writings on the Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule.  He hits it right on the money. 

Gina Trapani sums it up on her blog: "creative types–need half or whole days to produce anything that solves
complicated problems. Managers schedule out their workdays in hour-long
blocks. When managers schedule makers into midday meetings, they kill
creative productivity in real but not-obvious ways

I have always gravitated to the maker's schedule.  Even when living by the manager's.  I used to do (sometimes still do) the same thing Graham mentions - work two days for every one.  Daytime running on the manager's schedule and then hitting the makers - in the evening / night.  Lately I attempt to pull off the office hours trick.  I limit my manager's schedule stuff to the afternoons of two or three days out of the week.  I even block the time on my schedule - hoping that others will see me as busy and not schedule me into those one hour meetings during my maker periods.  So far results are mixed.

Town Square

Town Square

Over the last several years I've attended quite a few functions at an area around the art museum in the middle of our downtown area.  There are concerts, festivals, and for the last couple of years a weekly farmers market.  After spending a little time at the market last night and having some conversations (in person and online) I realized something interesting.   This kind of thing is getting to be very common in most cities and large towns.  We seem to be returning to our roots a bit. 

There was a time when cities and tows were built around a central square that was used as a market and a place for public performance etc.  This evolved into downtown business areas and then as cities sprawled outward - moved to malls.  Now there seems to be a trend to return to the town square.  At least a little. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tron Legacy

Watch the High Def version if you can. There is some awesome cool detail in there.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to deal with bankers

This story reminds me of purchasing my first new car. I was in my early 20's at the time - took my mom with me as a co-signer since I didn't really have any credit.

Even though my mother could have written a check for several of these cars, the loan officer was asserting his "power" and playing the usual intimidation games with me. When he started acting like he was going to turn me down, I informed him that I had the funds on deposit with his bank to purchase the car outright (I did) and that it was his choice. Make the loan and earn the interest, or lose the deposit.

He reached across the desk and congratulated me on my new loan.

I vowed to always work with a local bank and to always have leverage of some sort when I did. It's worked well for me so far. Now if only my car payments were closer to that original loan...

Via BoingBoing:

Artist takes $190,000 out of bank because they won't give him a mortgage

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago

40 years ago today I was with my great grandfather in the playground across the street from my grandmother's home. She had called to him several times because even at his age he was still climbing the slide and playing on the swings with me.

The last time she called we went running back to the house. He pulled that ugly green chair up about 3 feet from the screen like he always did. He fished out the brick of tobacco he kept snapped into his chest pocket and cut off a hunk. I remember the pocket knife he used had been sharpened so many times the brown blade was curved a little. He used the blade to pop the tobacco into his mouth. I was about to ask about it and he shushed me as the voice of Walter Cronkite announced the events unfolding live.

40 years ago I sat on the floor next to an old cowboy sitting too close to the big Zenith. Next to a man that came west as a boy in a covered wagon and saw the world from the back of a horse for most of his life. I sat there wide eyed, less than 50 years from that first flight at Kitty Hawk. I sat there 40 years ago and watched with the rest of the world stunned and amazed.


Start Seeing

It's riding season and the fatalities are happening. I didn't know this man but I'm still taking his needless death quite hard. I'm so terribly sad for his family, and for those in the car that hit him too. They will travel with that moment for the rest of their lives. As a "biker" I'm all too familiar with this issue. I've been cut off and put my bike down. I know first hand what pavement feels like when it takes your skin. Almost daily someone turns left in front of me or changes lanes into or directly in front of me. Assuming I'm invisible and that everyone is out to kill me are the only reasons I'm alive today.

Most drivers think that motorcyclists die on the highway or that those shirtless idiots doing a wheelie on the freeway are the number one organ donors. According to the NHTSA 50% of fatalities involve another vehicle and of those 38% (in 2005) were turning left as the bike was moving straight or overtaking. That is - the biggest killer of motorcyclists are drivers turning left in front of an on coming bike or worse - turning left from the right lane! They all say the same thing - "I didn't see him".

Every person involved in a wreck are a father, brother, daughter, wife, husband, mom, sister, boy or girl friend to someone. If you turn without looking and kill another person. Imagine living with that.

This last video is fairly shocking but exactly illustrates the problem.

Starting with your morning or evening commute today. LOOK for motorcycles. LOOK before you turn. Double check that "opening" in traffic. LOOK before you change lanes. Put down the phone!

If you are a fellow rider. Please wear the gear. Assume you are invisible at all times and take the MSF course. Even though I had to pick scabs for 6 weeks - I'm convinced it saved my life and I'm going to go back for the advanced rider course.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Insurance Company VP Tells all to Bill Moyers

Every voting American needs to spend 30min and see this interview.


Painful Socialization: My original posting on health care. (Warning - it's loaded with actual facts and references.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

How to never go over your minutes again

A little trick with Google Voice can keep you from using almost any minutes on your wireless plan, that is if you are with a carrier that lets you register frequently called numbers for no cost calls. Plans like "Friends and Family" or "My Circle".

How it works: First register your Google voice number with your carrier as one of your choices. This way calls to and (usually) from Google voice will be free. Next go into your contacts list and add a new number for each contact in this form - google voice number, pause (usually commas), 2, 10 digit number of your contact, #

That's it. Just use the new number whenever you place calls. Assuming you have issued your google voice number to your contacts as your "new" number you should almost never have the need to use any of your wireless plan minutes.

A gift from me to you...