Thursday, December 13, 2018

Feedback to the Seattle Times:

Your delivery guy for the Maple Leaf neighborhood drives dangerously and has repeatedly endangered the lives of people in my neighborhood.   I used to rationalize his erratic, aggressive, and inattentive driving with the fact that he has a job to do, but the repeated near-misses I've observed in the past few weeks is unacceptable.

This morning at around 6:00am, as I was cycling northbound on 5th Ave NE near NE 90th St, I saw your driver approach 5th Ave NE eastbound.  As is usual, he blasted past the stop sign at around 10-15mph before hitting the brakes.  I assumed he had seen me given that his entire car was in the intersection before he hit the brakes.  However, as I was starting to cross the intersection, he gunned the engine as if he were trying to run me down.  I yelled (not much else I could have done), and he hit the brakes again.  Thankfully his window was open so he could hear me scream.

This is very similar to what I saw happen a few weeks ago to someone else.  That morning, I was walking westbound towards 5th Ave NE and as I neared the intersection I saw a woman walking southbound on 5th Ave NE.  She saw your driver approach the intersection and paused to see if he would slow down.  He did, so she started crossing the street.  When she had made a few steps into the street, your driver decided hit the gas.  He didn't kill her that morning, thankfully, but he seems to consistently tricking people into thinking he sees them, then plows ahead as if nobody was there.

Immediately after he almost killed the lady, he decided to give me a scare.  I was on the north side of the street on the sidewalk, wearing my bright orange jacket and backpack with reflective straps, which should be visible in his headlights.  I was unlucky enough to be by the house he had a delivery for, and his focus was on the delivery.  As he neared the house/me, he jerked the wheel so that the car was aiming straight at me and continued towards me (on the wrong side of the road) at full speed (20-something mph) before turning the wheel at the last moment to pull up next to the curb.  If I had been walking closer to the curb (or hadn't jumped out of the way), he would have clipped my legs with his bumper.

There aren't a lot of people or cars in the morning at that hour.  There's the typical dog walkers, joggers, and commuters like myself making their way to the bus stop.  There's also the silver compact car that drives a bit crazy delivering the Seattle Times.  I'm not telling you to fire the guy, but some action needs to be taken to make sure no one gets hurt or killed.  Just ignoring all stops signs instead of pretending to check for people on the street would be a huge improvement.

Friday, June 27, 2014

bike to do list, update 2

An update on the "to do" list that I posted two years ago.

  • Bike to/from work
  • Bike to the beach (Discovery Park)
  • Bike to a hike (Discovery Park)
  • Bike camping (Lopez Island)
  • Take a ferry (to the San Juans)
  • Bike to a gas station (Chevron at NE 65th St and 35th Ave NE)
  • Bike to Vancouver
  • Bike across the border (Canada)
  • Bike to the duty free store
  • Carry some beer across town to a party
  • Carry some dim sum across town for a party
  • Bike to dim sum
  • Bike through an airport (Renton)
  • Bike to catch a flight (Seatac to JFK)
  • Bike to Sears (Overlake)
  • Bike on a highway (Barnet Hwy in Burnaby, BC)
  • Bike across a floating bridge (I-90)
  • Bike across an extradosed bridge (Golden Ear Bridge)
  • Bike 116 miles in a day (RSVP Day 1)
  • Bike the North Interurban Trail
  • Bike the South Interurban Trail
  • Bike all of the Burke Gilman Trail
  • Bike the Sammamish River Trail
  • Bike around Lake Sammamish
  • Bike through Duvall and Carnation
  • Bike to Fu Man Dumpling House (I think I did this...  I've definitely biked around there)
  • Get some fried chicken on the way home from work (I now do this regularly)
  • Cedar River Trail (meh)
  • Bike across a suspension bridge (Tacoma Narrows Bridge)
  • Go over 50mph (50.2 mph)
  • Bike the western side of the Puget Sound (RAPsody?)
  • Bike to a "real" hike (Mt. Si, and two hikes by Mt. Rainier)
  • Bike to Mount Si
  • Bike to hike Mount Si 
  • Bike to bike camping
  • Bike to an auto parts store
  • Green River Trail
To do:
  • Bike across the Lions Gate Bridge (planned for August)
  • Bike across the Cascades (maybe in October)
  • Sound to Mountains trail
  • Bike to climb Mt. Baker?
  • Bike to a multi-day backpacking trip (maybe 2015?)
  • Bike to West Seattle
  • Bike while carrying all my ski gear
  • Bike to go skiing???
  • Do the Chilly Hilly
  • Bike to Target
  • Bike to dump off antifreeze at the hazardous waste site

Thursday, January 30, 2014


First night skiing day for the season tonight at Alpental.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

picking up pennies

Is it worth the time and effort?  I just picked up two pennies while grabbing my laundry, so it got me thinking...

Each time I pick up a penny, I get one cent (which I put in a box and never use, but let's assume I'll use this penny).  Stooping down and picking up a penny takes a few seconds - three seconds if everything goes well, but it could take longer since pennies aren't all that easy to pick up.

Five seconds per penny means I the action "earns" me 20 cents a minute, or $7.20 an hour.  It's not terrible...  at least not until you consider how you should probably wash your hands afterwards.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

car or no car?

Let's look at the trips that I've taken this year.  Through the end of September I have used my car ~60 days, of which I really *needed* to drive ~20.

Days where a car was legitimately useful: ~20
5 days during ski season for night skiing after work
3 days during ski season for going skiing on non-work days
9 days due to friends in town
3 trip to some place in the boonies
1 trip for buying large items

Days of low value car trips: ~35
20 days for the sake of moving the car or fixing the car (no car, no need to do this)
5 days due to being nice and volunteering to drive (no car, can't)
3 days due to long work days (bus, or just leave!)
2 days due to picking up friends from the airpor (light rail)
1 days due to laziness
1 day due to being sick
1 day due to other reasons1 days to pick up free stuff

Now let's look at how much these trips cost me.  Looking at my costs so far this year, I project owning a car costs me about $1600/year
$120/year registration fees
$360/year insurance
~$160/year in tolls for gratuitously moving my car to/from work
~$130/year in parking tickets (for when I forget to move the car...  still cheaper than $1200/year for a spot in my building's garage)
~$300/year in maintenance
~$500/year in gas

By owning my own car, I have some flexibility to use my car whenever I want (assuming my car is in the right place), but I also need to do a large number of trips just for the sake of keeping my car functioning and avoiding parking tickets.  Owning a car costs me about $1600 a year.  Using a Zip car would cost me about the same amount of money.

Since costs are comparable, it comes down to ease.

Doing the Zip car would mean I would need to reserve a car in advance. I wonder how that would work for ski trips. It would probably be a bit more annoying when skiing, but not too much worse considering how nowadays I need to make sure my car isn't in the garage at work.  Perhaps it might even be easier!

On the flip side, I'll make less unnecessary trips, which means less time in traffic and more reading/sleeping.  It also means I don't have to worry about doing maintenance on my car, which would free up a few days on my weekends each year.  I think this balances out the days where I could have used to car for an easier commute for those long days in the office.

Overall, it's a wash.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My philosophy on tipping...  excerpted from some comments made on Facebook.

General tipping policy:
Great service: 20-30% (fuzzy math)
Decent service: 20%
Passable service: 15-18%

Bad service: 5-10%
Criminally bad service: 0% or less (this has happened twice - once at Hard Rock Hollywood, FL; again at El Gaucho in Bellevue)

Bonus points if I was a pain in the butt or if the items on the bill are really cheap. Servers at cheap restaurants work just as hard as those in fancier places but get the shaft from this deal. Additional bonus if I'm a regular (generally repaid in the occasional free beer).

In response to the policy of tipping more at fancy places:
Servers at nice places already get the bonus built in because the food is expensive. There is no way the guy who brings out a $30 plate should deserves $5 tip while the guy who serves me a $6 dish deserves $1. They probably both deserve about $2.

El Gaucho earned $0 because she never got me my drink (among other reasons). After watching the bartender fill the drink order, I watched my drink wait at the bar for 5 minutes. Then I walked over, asked if it was for my table (it was), and picked it up myself.

Additional clarifications - defining "criminally bad" and some more tipping philosophy
I give people the benefit of the doubt. Criminally bad is when it's clear that the bad service is from willful incompetence, not accidental incompetence. Like manslaughter vs. murder. "Manslaughter" would get a 5-10% tip, murder gets nothing.

Somehow, this also helps even out income for good servers. A good server who's overwhelmed on a busy shift would commit "manslaughter", but still be compensated for suffering through the hellish shift because of the volume. A good server could also have an OK night when it's slow by delivering excellent service to fewer people. A server who doesn't do the basics like take and deliver orders (e.g. El Gaucho server) should not be a server and shouldn't be encouraged to continue in the trade.

Yes, I've thought about this a bit. (-:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

fantasy 2012

Yellow Bellies Starting Lineup:
QB: Cam Newton (1)
RB: Michael Turner (4)
RB: Rashad Jennings (11)
WR: Percy Harvin (3)
WR: Miles Austin (6)
TE: Rob Gronkowski* (2)

K: Stephen Gostokowski (10)

DEF: SF (7)

Matt Schaub (9)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis* (5)
Lance Moore (13)
Justin Blackmon (8)
Doug Baldwin* (14)
Brent Celek (12)

*From Yellow Bellies 2011
(round drafted)