Friday, June 29, 2007

Some random pretty pictures from the net....

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More shots of Deals Gap from the lensmen of

" Look, a quarter!!"
I just don't get the guys who don't STAY IN THEIR OWN LANE. Darwin's knocking....
Imagine the guy above and this thing meeting....
Now, I usually don't post up nudity shots, hence the blackout. Not that I don't appreciate the form, there's just a LOT of other places you can find boo bees on the net. The simple reason this pic is here is one of the comments was, " I think she's a little out of her Element."

Feel free to click on over to the link above to see the uncensored version.

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I told him, don't get that sticker, it's bad luck....

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More forced perspective sidewalk art....


From the wonderful depository of tales of the human condition over at the" best of "
Since I was a paramedic, so much of this rings true. P.S. The link has some naughty words and discusses adult things, so potentially NSFW.

Open Letter From A Paramedic

Dear citizens of (and visitors to) Multnomah County,

By and large, you're a good bunch. I enjoy providing you with the help you need when you call 911. You make my workdays (and nights) interesting. However, from time to time, I notice a few small issues -- perhaps we can call them gaps in your knowledge? -- that make my job a little bit more frustrating. Herein I offer a few simple pieces of advice to help make everyone's emergency experience more satisfying.

1. When I ask you questions, please strive to tell me the full and complete truth. There's no badge or gun on me. I'm not going to get you in trouble for being high on drugs, but I really would like to know what exactly you did. You're not fooling anyone. Likewise, I don't care who you were having sex with, where, with what exciting accessories, and what your respective spouses will think, but if it's contributed to your condition you should probably bring it up.

2. I regret to inform you life is not like TV. We do not run from the ambulance to the patient, we do not drive everyone to the hospital with lights and sirens, and most dead people stay dead despite our best efforts. On the other hand, we are not just a fancy taxi ride. I can start an IV (in your arm or leg or neck), put a breathing tube down your throat, do an EKG to see if you're having a heart attack, shock your heart if it's in a bad rhythm, and give about thirty different drugs for different medical conditions. I can do more in the short term than most nurses. I had to go to school for years. Respect me and I'll respect you.

3. In a related vein, if you could keep the drama to a bare minimum when your parent/sibling/spouse/friend/neighbor/coworker is hurt or sick, it will help everyone immensely. I understand that the situation is upsetting, and I respect your feelings, but the best thing you can do for the patient, me, and even yourself is try to remain as calm as possible. Shouting at me to do something or hurry up will not help. Yelling in general is not, in fact, helpful. Trying to keep out of our way, answering the questions we ask in a succinct and informative manner, and keeping your dramatic tendencies restrained are the absolute best thing you can do.

4. However, if it is your young child who is badly hurt or critically ill, you are allowed all the drama you want.

5. If I am trying to help you and this makes you upset for some reason, please do not try and hit me. I may not be as big and beefy as some of my coworkers. I make up for it in dirty tricks. If you do decide you'd like to tussle, I'd like to point out that you get ONE swing and it is never free. I have giant zip-ties, sedatives, and a radio that can call a whole lot of cops, who aren't nearly as nice as me.

6. If you are driving and happen to see my big vehicle with all the blinkies and woo-woos, please get the hell out of the way. Specifically, pull ALL THE WAY to the right of the street and STOP YOUR CAR. You don't know where I'm going and when I'll need to turn. Unless you're driving a Hummer I've probably got more weight than you, and if you do something stupid that I can't avoid and we stack it up, things won't come out well for you. Also I'll lose my job.

7. Finally, exercise a modicum of common sense about when to call 911.

Examples of when 911 is IS appropriate: Traffic accidents with injuries. Chest pain. Trouble breathing. Lack of breathing. Serious bleeding. Unconsciousness. Seizures. Strokes.

Examples of when 911 may NOT be appropriate: Blisters. Small cuts. Dissatisfaction with your fast food order. Needing a prescription refill. Colds. Minor problem (sore leg, stomachache) which has been going on for three days.

Bearing all that in mind, it's a pleasure to serve you, and hopefully I won't be showing up at your doorstep, street corner, or car door anytime soon.

One of Your Many Hardworking (If Underpaid) County Paramedics


How to Use a Press Pot

The ubiquitous press pot. It's everywhere. It's seemingly easy to use, right? Well, yes, but a little understanding of the device, how it works, and maybe a bit about the history of the product will get you using yours better. If you want some of the richest coffee you can get, a press pot can deliver. What may surprise most is that you can also get a relatively clean brew from it as well, if you have the right tools and prep everything correctly.

The Press Pot History

First, a bit of my own history. I wrote an article on this site some time back that I called Why I like Bodum. You see, press pots were my initiation into the world of quality coffee, at least in North America. I have a lot of loyalty and fond memories of this brewing method and the coffee (and situations) it delivered me.

But how about the real history of the Press Pot? How about this question - which came first, the vacpot or the press pot? It might surprise you, but the press pot came later. It is, of course, a much simpler design than a vacuum brewer, but there were problems. In the 1840s, when the vac pot and balance brewers were first introduced, the concept of a press, or plunger brewing system was around, but the technology to make a tight enough fitting filter didn't. Even the first models by Mayer and Delforge in France were met with limited success.

By the early 1900s, the press pot, called a "Cafeolette" starting becoming more popular and was showing up on grocery store shelves. In the 1930s, Melior introduced the first model with a stainless steel filter and a metal body, then soon they introduced a model reminiscent of Bodum's current day "Chambord" line. Why is it reminiscent? Because Bodum bought that design!

In fact, Bodum is probably more responsible for the common day occurrence of the press pot than any other company. In the seventies, they started introducing their whacked out colours in their plastic, metal and glass press pots. In the 1980s, fueled by their profits, they bought lines like Chambord and brought out more classical-look press pots. The rest is, as they say, history.

Factors that make a good pot of Press Pot Coffee

If there's one thing that you need to take away from this how to, it's this. Don't skimp on your grinder.

I get really irked at comments I see online, in, even in our consumer reviews section that say things like "it's good enough for a french press"... these are people talking about a blade grinder, or even the cheaper burr grinders like the Pavoni PA or the Braun KM30. I say to that: bull shite.

Let's think about something here. What is it about press pot coffee that makes people think the grind should be more forgiving? The bigger size of the grounds? The steep time? No, none of that. There's nothing in press pot coffee brewing that will allow for a crappy grinder to produce the same results that a good grinder can produce.

With a press pot, particle size of the grounds is as important as it is for espresso. The difference is, you want uniform large particles, instead of uniform tiny particles. Cheap grinders can't give you either - they will give you a mixed bag of big and small chunks. Dust and boulders. It's what leads to the thing people dislike most about press pot coffee - the sludge.

Personally, as someone who cups coffee, I don't mind a bit o' sludge and grit in my cup. Well, that depends. If I find it in my filter drip coffee, it bothers me. But in a Press Pot brew, I can deal with it. What I can't deal with is a funky (in a bad way) extraction because the grinder used wasn't up to snuff. A good grinder gives an even grind. Bad grinders and products pretending to be grinders (read: blade grinders) give a grind all over the map - dust and chunks.

Also, the type of filter you use plays a huge role in what level of grinding you should have. Nylon filters tend to handle a more finer grind (still coarser than drip coffee), whereas metal filters need a true coarse grind, where the particles of coffee are the same size as you would get from a pepper mill set to its coarsest setting.

The fineness of the grind also determines how easy or hard the plunger is to press - the finer the grind, the harder to press. The difficulty in pressing evenly increased with the size of the pot as well. I once scalded myself pretty badly with a 12 cup press, even though the grind was very coarse. Be wary.

I'll say it once more. Don't skimp on your grinder. A quality conical burr grinder, from the Bodum Antigua, up to the Solis Maestro Plus and beyond will suit. You'll get the best possible extraction from your coffee, and a fairly clean, though deep cup.

Other important factors are the beans used (you're only using fresh beans, roasted within 10 days or less, right?), the quality of water used, and the cleanliness of your equipment when you start. All given points, right?

Maybe not. One thing you may not want to do with a press pot, especially a larger model, is use beans roasted less than 2 or 3 days before. What, am I crazy? Nope. There's a problem with ultra fresh beans and it is called "bloom". When beans are only a day or two off the roast, they contain heaps of Co2. Heaps of it, I tell you. That Co2 will translate into a massive bloom of brown suds on top of your press pot, possibly overflowing, but also making it easier for big particulate matter (your ground coffee) to hop and skip over the top of the filter portion when you first apply it. Bloom looks cool, but can make using a press pot more difficult.

( This article stolen shamelessly from Pics and more over there.)

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An old story, but it still makes me grin. Clever.....

Anger Management

When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don't take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don't know.I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I'd forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it.

A man answered, saying "Hello."I politely said, "This is Chris. Could I please speak with Robyn Carter?"Suddenly a manic voice yelled out in my ear "Get the right f***ing number!" and the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn't believe that anyone could be so rude .

When I tracked down Robyn's correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.After hanging up with her, I decided to call the 'wrong' number again.When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled "You're an asshole!" and hung up.

I wrote his number down with the word 'asshole' next to it, and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I'd call him up and yell, "You're an asshole!" It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID was introduced, I thought my therapeutic 'asshole' calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and said, "Hi,this is John Smith from the telephone company. I'm calling to see if you're familiar with our Caller ID Program?"He yelled "NO!" and slammed down the phone. I quickly called him back and said, "That's because you're an asshole!" and hung up.

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking Spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I'd been waiting for that spot, but the idiot ignored me. I noticed a "For Sale" sign in his back window, so I wrote down his number. A couple of days later, right after calling the first asshole (I had is number on speed dial,) I thought that I'd better call the BMW asshole, too.

I said, "Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?"He said, "Yes, it is." I asked, "Can you tell me where I can see it?" He said, "Yes, I live at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax. It's a yellow ranch, and the car's parked right out in front."

I asked, "What's your name?" He said, "My name is Don Hansen," I asked, "When's a good time to catch you, Don?" He said, "I'm home every evening after five."

I said, "Listen, Don, can I tell you something?"

He said, "Yes?"

I said, "Don, you're an asshole!"

Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two assholes to call.

Then I came up with an idea. I called asshole #1. He said, "Hello." I said, "You're an asshole!" (But I didn't hang up.) He asked, "Are you still there?" I said, "Yeah," He screamed, "Stop calling me," I said, "Make me," He asked, "Who are you?" I said, "My name is Don Hansen." He said, "Yeah? Where do you live?" I said, "Asshole, I live at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax, a yellow ranch, I have a black Beamer parked in front." He said, "I'm coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers." I said, "Yeah, like I'm really scared, asshole," and hung up.

Then I called Asshole #2. He said, "Hello?" I said, "Hello, asshole," He yelled, "If I ever find out who you are..." I said, "You'll what?" He exclaimed, "I'll kick your ass," I answered, "Well, asshole, here's your chance. I'm coming over right now."

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 34 Oaktree Blvd, in Fairfax, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover.

Then I called Channel 9 News about the gang war going down in Oaktree Blvd. in Fairfax.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to Fairfax. I got there just in time to watch two assholes beating the crap out of each other in front of six cop cars, an overhead news helicopter and surrounded by a news crew.

NOW I feel much better. Anger management really does work.


" Dude, I was floating for like, 2 minutes off that last tabletop!..."

"Wow, 2 minutes, really?"

Want to truly measure your hang time?

This little gadget does.

Why? Dunno. Just a widget for the sake of geekdom.


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We all know somebody or two that is a sufferer of the dreaded Dunning-Kruger effect,

"the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.

The phenomenon was demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December 1999.

Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, that "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" (as Charles Darwin put it). They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree,

1. incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
2. incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
3. incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
4. if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

They set out to test these hypotheses on human subjects consisting of Cornell undergraduates who were registered in various psychology courses.

In a series of studies, Kruger and Dunning examined self-assessment of logical reasoning skills, grammatical skills and humor. After being shown their test score, the subjects were again asked to estimate their own rank whereupon the competent group accurately estimated their rank, while the incompetent group still overestimated their own rank. As Dunning and Kruger noted,
“ Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. ”

Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence.

A followup study suggests that grossly incompetent students improve both their skill level and their ability to estimate their class rank only after extensive tutoring in the skills they had previously lacked.

Daniel Ames and Lara Kammrath extended this work to sensitivity to others, and the subjects' perception of how sensitive they were.

Some more work by Burson Larrick and Joshua Klayman has suggested that the effect is not so obvious and may be due to noise and bias levels.

Dunning and Kruger won a 2000 Nobel prize for their work."


Hey, buy new tires for your bike recently? Hope they're not Michelins.....

Michelin recalls 19,924 motorcycle tires in US, Canada

French tire group Michelin said it was recalling 19,924 motorcycle tires in the U.S. and Canada citing abnormal deformation in the tread, among reasons.

The recall is in effect for two front tire models - Michelin Pilot Power 2CT and Michelin Pilot Power, the company said in a statement.

On June 15, Michelin had said it was recalling some 68,000 motorbike tires in 40 countries in North America and Europe.

The tires also are marked with the Department of Transportation identification numbers DOT 6UCW 980T and DOT 6UCW 979T. The numbers are found on the sidewall of the tire.

Michelin said that at speeds exceeding normal highway riding, the tires in question may exhibit an abnormal deformation in the tread, which may be accompanied by small localized sections of tread separation or loss.

In addition, the recalled tires could experience a slight to excessive vibration and create an unstable riding condition, the company said.

Drivers affected by the action are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a Michelin motorcycle tire dealer to have their recalled tire replaced for free.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Well, today was the day I put my Valkyrie into semi-retirement. It's become necessary to overhaul multiple systems on it, and as it's my primary means of transport, I needed new wheels. Don't get me wrong, I'm keeping my valk. It just needs much TLC and some neglected maintenance. It'll be in many pieces in my garage for the next several months.

I found this craigslist posting several weeks ago, it stuck in my mind ever since. 2004 ZX-10 Kawasaki Ninja, black. 12000 miles. All the mods I'd do to it already done.

Went to see it today, couldn't find a scratch. As you can see, it's now sitting in my driveway. It's a fun toy....I mean, gas sipping commuter transportation.

Watch this space as my mind comes to grips with 185 horsepower in a 450 pound package.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

The following views are actually suggestions and comments that have been received by the National Forest Service from visitors to our nation's parks.

"Need more signs to keep the park pristine."

"Escalators would help on steep uphill areas of the hiking trails."

"More families would enjoy the parks and city children could learn more about nature if the Parks Department would provide services that include arcades, water slides and child care."

"A big hotel with a golf course and even a convention center would attract more people to this natural beauty."

"Instead of a permit system or fees, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to the wilderness."

"Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."

"All the mile markers are missing this year."

"We found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse."

"Many trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building ones that go uphill."

"Too many bugs and leeches and spider webs. Please spray wilderness areas to rid them of these pests."

"Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."

"Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to the wonderful views without having to hike to them."

"The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."

"It would be nice to have the Kodak scenic markers so we could identify the photographic sites."

"I like all the trees but you need to plant some flowers. Flower gardens would be so pretty in the forest."

"The giant trees are spectacular but there are too many of the same kind; you should plant different types, for variety."

"Reflectors need to be placed on the trees every 50 feet so people could hike at night with flashlights."

"You should have a petting zoo here so that the children could touch the squirrels, deer and bears."

"I was stung by a bee; you should have warning signs."

"A McDonald's would be a nice sight at the trailhead."

"The places where trails do not exist are not well marked."

"Too many rocks on the mountains."

"A deer came into my camp and stole my bag of chips. Is there away I can get reimbursed: Please call..."

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Tantum bona valent quantum vendi possunt.

(Things are worth precisely what they can be sold for.)

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This guy built a simple wind turbine to power a remote, intermittent device...his driveway gates. Excellent, easy idea.

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Toothpaste ad...

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An oceangoing sailboat got to see the birth of a new island, complete with a floating ash/pumice debris field, and eruptions of steam. Wow.

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Still think red light cameras are for traffic safety? .....

The city of Springfield, Missouri prepared for the installation of a red light camera system by slashing the yellow warning time by one second at 105 state-owned intersection signals across the city. In a 2005 Texas Transportation Institute study, a one-second reduction in yellow time resulted in a 100% increase in the number of violations . Each violation under Springfield's new system will bring a $100 fine to city coffers after ticketing begins on June 1. "There has also been concern expressed that engineering countermeasures are sometimes not fully considered prior to the implementation of enforcement," the Texas report stated. The city defended its effort to the Springfield News-Leader by claiming it was "standardizing" and had increased the yellow time at 136 city-operated lights to meet national standards. During the city council meeting last October where the red light camera ordinance was approved, however, Assistant Director of Public Works Earl Newman gave a different explanation for the reduction. Newman said he was, "concerned that many individuals run the light if the light remained yellow too long." The first five cameras are to be installed at intersections run by the city, but once the system is up and running, officials plan to add more cameras.


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As always, some GREAT pics from the boys over at

Impromptu soil sampling...
Love the mascot...
Crazy slide, guy saved it. I'd have to buy new leathers.
Crazy slide, guy did not save it. More dirt flailing....

Front brakes work? Yep.

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