Friday, May 23, 2008

9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think

The English language is under assault by stupid people who use words they don't understand, and is defended by pompous asses who like to correct those people. We're not sure who to side with.

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Very impressive graffiti animation...

This must have taken a long time (7.26)

The creator's site....


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Roots of Breakdance...(3;35)

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Funny blog with some of the many many things that McCain predates.

Things younger than Republican Presidential candidate (oh, and did I forget to mention war hero?) John McCain

A few Selections...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

49 of our 50 Governors.


The Zip Code.


Mount Rushmore.

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Some selected shots from Flickr's "You park like an Asshole" pool. 362 more pics Here
Please think before you park.

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Now here's some one-sided reporting.....

Crotch Rocket riders out of control, sergeant says

News 11's Tim Miller reported this story on May 7.

TOLEDO -- Warmer weather has brought out motorcycle riders here in Northwest Ohio. But there's another kind of rider you need to watch out for -- a dangerous one with a strange name, reports News 11's Tim Miller.

The motorcycles are called "Crotch Rockets." They are more aerodynamic --- hug the body more -- and can sometimes go faster than regular motorcycles. The Ohio State Highway patrol gets a lot of 9-11 calls each year because Crotch Rocket riders are out of control.

"Every year there is always something that happens," says State Highway Patrol Sergeant Scott Wickhouse. "Someone crashes, and we end up handling an injury crash."

Crotch Rocket riders often get a little too excited about the power -- zooming around and creating a hazard for themselves and other drivers.

"We do see a lot of people doing a lot of tricks on them, trying to ride wheelies down the Interstate in excess of 100 miles per hour," Wickhouse says. He remembers a recent incident on I-475 in Springfield Township when someone was driving erratically and crashed right into the back of another vehicle.

There are things you can do to steer clear:

* Always look out for the reckless riders. Remember-- motorcycles are harder to see than cars or trucks.

* Look for them when you're at a stop sign or pulling out from a traffic light.

"What they don't realize is that people may not see them, and they may change lanes or turn off or pull out in front of them and they just don't see them," Wickhouse says.


Now, I'm not so naive as to believe bikes are all good, but please show a representative sample, not just a knee-jek to the memorably bad bike experiences.

Some balanced reporting, like these two videos about the bikes on the "Tail of the Dragon", goes a long way to show we're not all maniacs...



Plus people often don't realize bikes are so much smaller than cars, we can adjust lines throughout corners, move and accelerate so much faster... I like to make the analogy about thinking what it'd be like if car lanes were 3 times as wide as your car - think how much more room for error and cornering you'd have...

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AMP energy's commercial - The walk of no shame... (1:41)

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Had today off, was finally feeling recuperated from my time in Vegas, decided to go for a ride. Mt. St. Helens was to be the destination. I posted up on the local riders board and emailed a few friends.

Rolled past my buddy's place just as he was rolling out to meet me, we headed to the rendezvous point, but we were to be the only riders today. Off we went, down I5 south, mincing with traffic. A state trooper held us up for a while, he was sitting in the commuter lane as a huge clump of cars bunched up behind him. Nice. He finally turned off, traffic regained normal speed, and off we went.

Reached the second place, refuelled, and were enjoying a snack when a black zx10r pulls in. A buddy I worked with had emailed me and said he was buying a bike.

That makes three - a R1, and two black zx10r's. The sun was being coy....

Cruised up through the cold fog bands to Johnston observatory, no pics of the climb...cold and foggy about covers it....
The majesty that is Mt. St. Helens....
Not so much, not a good day for visibility. My riding buds strike a pose.....
Now me. I'm having a great day!!
Just a bit of snow remains....
What are we doing here?
Foggy riding...
With a few sun breaks. The colours in this pic are so surreal...
Typical fog section...creeping along, wiping your visor, watching cars appear unannounced in the oncoming lane...
Getting lighter....
Visor-wipe (TM)...
The boys....
Must... clean... bike....

We said goodbye to the other zx10r, as he had to work tonight. Now a duo, we cruised through Morton, Elbe, Eatonville, Orting, Then returned to Seattle via I5's bridge across Lake Washingon. 500 miles or so. Great way to spend a day.


Monday, May 12, 2008

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I finally got over my favorite passes here in Washington....Rainy pass and Washington Pass, both are on the North Cascades Highway, State road 20.

It opened a week ago, the snowblowers coming from east and west finally reached each other, and the snowpack was stable enough that it was opened to traffic.

Here is the Dept. of transportation webpage on SR20, some impressive pics and an idea of how big of an undertaking it is to open the road each spring.

I wouldn't mind some company, so I posted it as a ride on our local motorcyclist's forum....Pacific Northwest Riders.

The post...

Hey, I've been checking the weather, 30% chance of rain. Not bad odds.

It opened May 1, ten days is usually enough for the sand to runoff and the snowplow cuts to stabilize.

Kind of a rite of spring for me to go across and back asap after opening.

All are welcome, since there's really only one road there's no fear of getting lost or separated, plus impressive photo opportunities abound and we'll be stopping periodically. The road is a biker's dream, one of my all time favourites.

Dress warm, the top of the pass gets cold. We'll head to the sunny picturesque little eastside town of Winthrop for fuel and food at Winthrop Brewing company, a cool little pub/restaurant, then head back the same way we came.

Arlington to Winthrop is just less than 100 miles, so it'll be a 200 miler plus your travel time to Arlington. Seattle to Winthrop and back makes mine a 300 mile day.

I work nights, I was treated to a beautiful sunrise, sunbeams pouring in the window.

Got home, checked the website(it's blocked at work), noted a few responses. Especially the one stating it was currently raining in Everett.

I got geared up, posted that the ride would take place, rain or shine, and headed out to play in traffic.

Interstate 5 was it's normal chaotic self, people driving slowly in the fast lane, oblivious commuter lane blockers with a row of angry people behind them and a mile of empty space in front, three cars side by side going the exact same speed....etc. I enjoyed roughly ten minutes until I felt the first few drops hit my helmet visor. It rapidly turned to drizzle, where the road spray created a fog of mist that required me to turn my head to the side to allow the windblast to clear the faceshield. It turned into rain, with a few pockets of actual pouring heavy drop downpour.

I got to the meet point, my gloves were saturated, my fingers marinating inside. My leathers were uniformly damp, except the elastic panel at the small of my allowed a goodly amount of rain to penetrate, to the point of my butt being wet. Not pretty. I was considering cancelling, but I really had wanted to do this ride. My spirits were buoyed somewhat by the fact that I could see a swath of clear sky approaching, and that it had been sunny in Seattle. I fuelled the bike, then found an overhang where I could shelter and await any other brave/stupid riders.

I heard the unmistakeable sound of a literbike downshifting, a CBR 1000 turned in. Shortly after, a new GSXR 600 showed up. We talked about the route, the weather, and the bikes as we waited for the "kickstands up" time to roll around. We waited 15-20 more minutes, hoping the rain would let up, but no go.

So, we decided to part ways and I headed home. The end.

Nope. We went for it.

The rain had eased a bit, we rolled gingerly through the small towns as the rain continued. I'd recently replaced the rear tire with a Pilot Road rear, the sport-touring version, touted to give mileage at the expense of some grip. Problem was, I didn't know how much grip I'd be giving up.

The road continued to dry as we travelled through the tiny speed trap towns, beginning to open the bikes up as the weather and my confidence grew. I know these roads, I was enjoying the ride immensely despite the cold, wet fingers.

The two-lane out of Marblemount (last gas stop) takes an abrupt left to let you know the town is done, then follows a river as it winds slowly upward. New pavement, smooth, trees lining the gradually tightening sweepers to the point where we were often running through a tunnel of greenery. Smooth, fast, flowing lines.

Through the tiny strip of a "town" known as Newhalem, the road abruptly changes character to become tight, sharp curves, piled against each other as the river gorge we're following gets narrower and steeper. Constantly climbing now, we run through several tunnels, over several bridges and by numerous dams as the road clings to the rock face. Waterfalls everywhere, often right next to the road. Greenery abounds.

What few cars there were pulled over or were easily dispatched with a quick wrist flick ( I love the instant on power of my ninja), we banked through in unison. Grinning like a moron all the while.

The bikes just plain work out here. Fast enough to relieve your wrists, moving around on the seat, setting your lines, feeling the suspension compress and unload, the tires biting as you wind on the gas, over and over and over. This is why I ride.

In the groove, I often see with my minds eye the line I want to set almost laid out on the road ahead, braking points, apices, chicane sweeps, all just a line on the asphalt, all I have to do is follow it. The bike almost disappears beneath me, the physiological motions of controlling it all but forgotten, taken over by muscle memory. Think about slowing and it does, there's no," I'll squeeze the brake lever with this much force..."mental background chatter. In the groove.

We stop at the Lake Diablo Overlook (just to the right of the "20" in the Googleearth rendered pic above) and I'm laughing. I love this road. Even when the crosswinds pick up your bike and unsettle the chassis as you come around a turn. The boys are having fun, too. Neither had ever been on this road before.

Too cold to stay any length of time with the strong wind coming off the lake, we continue on, reaching the snow level. The road up here follows valleys and contours, the straightaways long, trees thinning, the turns long arcing sweepers. The roadside snow appears, first only 6 inches or so deep, thickening to overhead height within a few miles. Feels like a bobsled run. Nervous going over the rivulets crossing the pavement, wondering if they're ice or water. No worries, though.

Gearing down for a corner I know can be treacherous, I tapped my brakelight several times for the guys behind, then downsh....Hmmm. My previously saturated gloves were freezing, making it difficult to unclench my hands from the grips. Cold.

We were coming up to the top of the pass, at 5,477ft. The snow was blowing, I had some ice crystals stuck to my visor. Cold.

A pic from a similar ride last year, looking west at Washington Pass.

We stopped at the top. I asked if we should turn around, since my goal had been reached, or continue to the warm east side and eat, only to have to face the whole mountain again. We went on.

The only road pic of the entire trip... the bikes at the top...Brrr.

Dropped down the eastern valley, the road loses a lot of elevation quickly and the snow rapidly disappeared. More importantly, feeling came back to my hands. We rolled into the tiny postcard town of Winthrop, to refill the bikes and get a bite to eat.

The bikes were Filthy. The rain, snow, dust and silt all combined to coat them. Everywhere.

We left to face the return trip. I'd decided to turn up the speed a bit, both because we'd now been riding together for some time and no one had done anything dangerous or stupid, and I reasoned that less time in the frigid zone is a good thing, wind-chill be damned.

Wicked it up, letting my beast of a bike pull up the hills, carving up the long arcs, dispatching the slower cars with quick effortless passes. Road still dry, visibility great, we made great time. Why is the way back always shorter than the way there? 60 miles of hispeed joy.

Stopped for fuel in Marblemount again, having run across the passes again without ill effects, other than purple-stained hands from my wet gloves and a thick layer of road grime that I'll never completely vanquish.

Left Gixxerboy2 in Arlington, Dwschultzy and I jousted with I-5 traffic back toward Seattle. Got home, pulled off my left boot, went to pull the right, and CRAMP!! My right calf locked up into a solid ball for a minute or so while I dropped girlishly onto the sofa and discussed a variety of nsfw topics in a loud voice. Guess I was shifting around on the bike quite a bit after all.

Cramp subsiding, I gingerly got out of the rest of my leathers, and chilled on the couch for a bit, seeing undulating roads everytime I closed my eyes.

A great day.

Dwschultzy and Gixxerboy2, great riding with you, everyone else missed out.


Friday, May 09, 2008

The glass armonica’s ghostly notes will cause insanity in its musicians and listeners! At least this is what was thought to be true in the 18th century. People were frightened by the armonica’s sound due to it’s strange interactions with the human brain and ears. Benjamin Franklin invented the glass armonica (above) in 1761.

The glass armonica’s ethereal notes were said to cause insanity, depression, and marital problems.

Via Wikipedia:

"One example of fear from playing the glass harmonica was noted by a German musicologist Friedrich Rochlitz in Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung where it is stated that “the armonica excessively stimulates the nerves, plunges the player into a nagging depression and hence into a dark and melancholy mood that is apt method for slow self-annihilation. If you are suffering from any nervous disorder, you should not play it; if you are not yet ill you should not play it; if you are feeling melancholy you should not play it."

The glass armonica’s sound is perceived by human ears differently than other instruments because its range is between 1,000 and 4,000 hertz. When sounds are below 4,000 hertz, the human brain compares “phase differences” between the left and right ears to triangulate the origin of the sound rather than comparing volumes. This causes hearing disorientation and a “not quite sure” feeling about where the sound is coming from. The video below is “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from the Nutcracker being played on a glass armonica. Relax and enjoy.


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(The Black one's mine)


Snorting Coke - You're doing it wrong.....

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This bud's for you, and you, and you too.

How I got my hands on some marijuana -- the legal (and easy) way.

Sometimes I can't believe how Californian California is. Women walk around half-naked, waiters call patrons "dude," and medical marijuana is legal. But I wondered just how legal. Could anyone buy it? Even me, who doesn't have cancer, AIDS, arthritis, glaucoma or even any previous pot-smoking experience?

Medical marijuana isn't really legal -- in 2005, the Supreme Court said federal anti-drug laws trump state laws -- but California and 11 other hippie states have been flipping off Washington for years.

Finding a medical marijuana distributor is shockingly easy, as Times columnist Sandy Banks noted in her recent columns on getting pot to treat arthritis. Sprinkled innocuously around L.A. County are more than 200 dispensaries that look like health food stores or pharmacies -- including three just at the intersection of Fairfax and Santa Monica. To shop at these places, though, you need a doctor's recommendation on an official form. Once you have that, no California cop can arrest you for holding up to eight ounces. That amount, I'm guessing, was based on conservative medical estimates of how much Snoop Dogg would need if he came down with glaucoma at the same time Animal Planet aired a "Meerkat Manor" marathon.

I made an appointment at a medical office recommended by Shirley Halperin, the coauthor of the new book, "Pot Culture: The A-Z to Stoner Language & Life." Halperin chose our particular clinic less for its medical expertise than the fact that it shared a parking lot with a pot dispensary. Stoners are very clearheaded when it comes to avoiding extra effort.

As I sat in the tiny waiting room, filling out my medical history and getting nervous, Halperin assured me that no one she knows had been rejected, which seemed convincing because the only people sitting near me were two healthy looking guys in their 20s. When I got called in, I entered a doctor's office different from any I'd ever been in. It contained only a tiny desk, two chairs, a small TV and two cans of Glade. Also, the doctor wore a Hawaiian shirt.

He took my blood pressure and asked what I was suffering from. "Anxiety," I said. And then "occasional insomnia." And even though he seemed to be moving on, I blurted something about headaches. The only malady that would have made me more similar to every human being throughout history would have been "these painful little pieces of skin that peel up next to my fingernails."

The doctor followed up on my insomnia, however, and asked if I was having work problems or relationship issues as he handed me a photocopy of a handwritten list of psychiatrists. He'd give me a recommendation for medical marijuana for six months, he said, and would extend it to one year if I saw a therapist. The whole thing took about four minutes.

I paid the receptionist $80 -- cash only -- and she gave me a filled-out form that states I am under medical care and supervision for the treatment of a "medical problem." I felt touched that the doctor hadn't just written I was suffering from "stuff."

At the dispensary, a Harley-riding bouncer checked my newly minted medical forms and driver's license and let us inside. The dispensary was like a really nice coffee shop, with paintings on the wall for sale, couches and a drum kit upstairs for live jazz.

A pretty woman behind the counter -- kind of a pot sommelier -- brought out a huge menu, divided into sativa (uppers) and indica (the downers all dealers sell) varieties, with names such as Bluedot Popcorn, Hindu Skunk and Purple Urkel. Like a high-end tea shop, she used chopsticks to procure the buds from glass jars -- all organic and grown in California -- which she had me smell and look at under a microscope. I settled on a gram of Sugar Kush, which sounded appealing until I wondered what kind of breakfast cereal would cure Sugar Kush munchies. Honey Bunches of Fudge? Frosted Mini Frosted Minis? Count Plaqula?

Next, I took the advice of a fellow patient and went to buy some "edibles" at the Farmacy. This is the most famous of the L.A. dispensaries, with three locations, only two of which are right next to a Whole Foods. The Westwood branch is a sleek health food store that also sells vitamins and lots of Goji berries, and, unlike at the doctor's office, all the salespeople wear white lab coats. As a first-timer, I got to spin a wheel to determine my free gift medicine, which was a pot-infused lollipop. I also bought a vegan chocolate-chip cookie medicine and a chocolate bar medicine, and deeply considered the gelato medicine.

Wondering if I had an unusually easy time, I called High Times magazine's 2006 Stoner of the Year, Doug Benson, a comedian who just released "Super High Me," a documentary in which he stops smoking pot for 30 days and then, for his next month, is high every waking minute. As part of the documentary, he got his medical marijuana certificate. "I told my doctor I had a weak back. And when he said, 'How long?' I said, 'About a week back.' " He did not get rejected. As a patient or a comedian.

In fact, Benson buys all his pot from a dispensary now. Even with the sales tax, he pays the same price and, he said, gets more consistent quality than he did from a dealer. "I had a dealer who came by my house, but this is more convenient," he said. When I asked him how that could be, he explained: "I used to have to sit there and listen to his stories. Because dealers like to hang out."

I always wondered what would happen if marijuana were legalized for anyone over 18. It seems it already has been, and nothing happened.

By Joel Stein


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Can't figure out why I like this commercial....(0:32)

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Got a band but can’t afford to shoot a video? Use public CCTV cameras and then demand the footage!

The Get Out Clause are an upcoming UK band who are currently unsigned. They took a brilliant and I’m sure soon to be much copied method to producing their own video. Unable to hire a production crew for a standard 1980’s era MTV music video, they performed their music in front of 80 of the 13 million CCTV “security” cameras available in England, including one on a bus.

They then used Britain’s Data Protection Act to request the footage that was shot of them. Grab some decent and inexpensive video editing tools and presto!

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Little sobering thing to keep you in the proper frame of mind while riding on the street.....(3:54) Fatal bike accident.

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Builder....... Jhomba Tapasco Acevedo
Owner...... Team Sable
Location ...... Mejorada del Campo (Madrid)
Country ..... Spain
Website .....
Bike Name ..... The Paisa
Bike Year / Model....... 2008 one-off custom
Engine Make / Size ...... H-D XL 1200 (2003)
Transmission Type...... Sportster Stock
Frame Make / Type ...... T-Sable Custom
Rake ..... 45°
Swingarm ...... T-Sable Air
Wheels - Front ..... Yamaha XV 1100 modified (19")
Wheels - Rear..... Yamaha XV 1100 modified (15")
Tires - Front..... 100/90-19"
Tires - Rear ..... 170/80-15"
Brakes - Front ..... No
Brakes - Rear .... Drum
Painter ..... Team Sable
Chroming / Plating...... Team Sable


Penn and Teller do a " How it's Done " expose on the Muppet show (4:21)....

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Police raid suspected meth house, only find fish tank

Brooklyn Park police were looking for a meth lab, but they found a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it.

And a few hours later, when the city sent a contractor to fix the door the police had smashed open Monday afternoon, it was obvious the city was trying to fix a mistake.
It happened while Kathy Adams was sleeping.

"And the next thing I know, a police officer is trying to get me out bed," she said.

Adams, a 54-year-old former nurse who said she suffers from a bad back caused by a patient who attacked her a few years ago, was handcuffed. So was her 49-year-old husband.

"They brought us here and said once we clear that area, you can sit down and you will not speak to each other," she said.

Police were executing a search warrant signed by Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson, who believed there was probable cause the Adams's home was a meth lab.

Berhardson, who was appointed to the bench less than a year ago, did not return KARE 11's phone calls.

"Ohmigod," Adams said as she recalled police breaking down her door and flashing the search warrant. "I just kept saying to them, 'you've got the wrong house.' "

Police soon realized that themselves.

"From a cursory view, it doesn't look like our officers did anything wrong," said Capt. Greg Roehl.

Roehl said the drug task force was acting on a tip from a subcontractor for CenterPoint Energy, who had been in the home Friday to install a hot water heater.

"He got hit with a chemical smell that he said made him light headed, feel kind of nauseous," Roehl said.

The smell was vinegar, and maybe pickling lime, which were clearly marked in a bathroom Mr. Adams uses to mix chemicals for his salt water fish tank.

"I said, 'I call it his laboratory for his fish tanks,' " Mrs. Adams said, recalling her conversation with the CenterPoint technician. "I'm looking at the fish tank talking to this guy."

Police say there was no extended investigation, just an interview with the subcontractor.

"Everything this person told us turned out to be true, with the exception of what the purpose of the lab was," Roehl said.

Adams is looking for a lawyer.

"I could say that about my neighbor - I smelled something when I went in their house," she said. "Does that make it right for them to go in there and break the door down and cuff you? I think not!"

Police say the detective who asked for the search warrant is an 8 ½-year veteran, but he just started working in the drug task force.

CenterPoint energy maintains the home was "unsafe" and it would have been "irresponsible" for the subcontractor not to report it.


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Photos of a 2006 trip a Michigan photographer took of the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone.....

Full text and more pics are Here.

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