Tag Archives: alms for the poor

Running way late getting started on the post, Wreck-Free Sunday

I had to work today (more wrenching for the camping trip as I have a number of bikes that never see the light of day except when they go camping, which usually means replacing rock-hard brake blocks, lubing chains and pumping tires that haven’t been filled in 6 months or more. These bikes will be used to transport people from one end of the 101 acre camp site to the other as there is about a half mile from Refugee Camp in the back to Guardians’ Camp at the front of the camping area, which is quite a haul if you’re in a hurry. Even at just $10 per bike if you do enough bikes you can pay for your trip…

Something I have been wanting to discuss with you for a while is the guns vs cars comparison. You would have to be living under a rock with your fingers in your ears to not know that there have been a few million words flying back and forth in the gun debate, about who should own one and what hoops they should be made to jump through to buy more, and how many bullets you should be allowed to carry. That’s all well and good, but a gun is only 0.45% fatal average for every time the trigger is pulled in anger with only 1 in 20 bullets actually hitting someone, and 1 in 11 bullets that hit someone actually causing death. Motor vehicles on the other hand are 5% fatal against unarmored targets (pedestrians and cyclists) when traveling at 20 MPH. But up the speed to just 30 MPH (the statutory minimum speed limit in the state of Texas) and the death toll rises to 50% of cyclists and pedestrians. Interestingly enough from what limited data I have been able to find salmon cyclists are killed at a rate consistent with combined bike and motor vehicle speed, while the rest of us are killed independently of the cyclist’s speed and entirely dependent on the speed of the weapon vehicle. If you think about it it makes some sense, but it would be nice to have more bike speed equal less danger for the struck cyclist, if for nothing else as a reward for the effort expended… :P

Anyway, getting back to cars vs guns, cars have a slight edge in deaths with 30K gun deaths vs 36K killed by motor vehicles last year. The number one killer of adults under 35 is motor vehicles, guns are not far behind though with gun deaths spread pretty evenly across the age groups while motor vehicle deaths concentrate near the young end of the range. This points out that not everyone killed in a car is driving it, or even inside the motor vehicle. Many killed by motor vehicles are walking or riding bicycles, or not anywhere near a street or road inside a building. Yep, several people every year are killed inside buildings by motor vehicles crashing from adjacent streets and highways. There is a good reason why I call motor vehicles WMD used as transportation…

And this is where I feel I should stop this post, that I have made my point and any further exposition is flogging a deceased equine.

PSA, Opus

Waiting to lose the hair, Wreck-Free Sunday

Yep, I’m waiting on the shear the sheep ceremony still, we were supposed to do it this morning but none of the people that showed up were willing to participate in shaving my head (actually clippers with no guard that leaves about 1/32″ of hair behind) I’m losing everything except the eyebrow; hair, beard and moustache will be gone at the end of this ceremony The hair will be set out in a way that enables the local birds to use it as nesting material, the idea being my sacrifice of a warm head will result in warm baby birds.

I’m watching the Cup race in Vegas while I’m trying to figure out what to write in the post today.

The tattoo contest is progressing nicely with several submissions at the moment, remember they all have to be in my the end of May, see last week’s Sunday post for rules and the image of what you will be working with. Shout out to Giselle Lagase for posting the contest in the news section of Ma3 . That link has been sending most of the site views to this blog about the contest, and that single post had more views in the last week than I normally get in an entire month. And what really makes me feel good, most of you have been hanging around and reading the other posts, too. I hope I can help a lot more people because of this contest, even thought that was not the idea behind it. The idea was I wanted a tattoo but had no idea what I wanted on the tattoo, and that idea is also working out great.

I have been looking for a better way to document the danger and destructiveness of motor vehicles. I’m trying to find a tally of gun deaths to compare to motor vehicle deaths as published by the NHTSA in the FARS reporting system. The links I have found so far for gun deaths do not even come close to the tally published by the NHTSA. What I have been able to find has not been favorable for motor vehicles, with the most complete tallies I can find putting gun deaths at several thousand less than motor vehicle deaths per year, year after year. Something I had not expected to see was gun deaths roughly paralleling motor vehicle deaths per year. I hope to pursue this further with good links to hard numbers to make my point.

OK the race is over and Matt Kenseth won in the Dollar General Toyota run by JGR, Great race with drivers riding the ragged edge of “loose” and “too loose” all race long as they had major condition changes between practice and the race. I tell you it was a great race to watch, with the last 20 laps being a real nail biter.

PSA, Opus

Waiting on a delivery, and the Feed.

Well Fed Ex robocalled yesterday as I was finishing up the blog post and left a message that a package requiring a signature for delivery was going to be here today and someone needed to be here to sign for it. So I’m up at 0800 waiting for a delivery that might not happen until 1600 or could be here in the next few minutes. So in the meantime I read some comics, and left comments on some comics, filtered the first part of the Feed. had a “cup” of coffee (my coffee cup holds a full pint), read some more comics, had another “cup” of coffee, read the newspaper (yes, they still make those), had another “cup” of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich, read some more comics and started to read the bike blogs of other people, had another… well you get the idea. I’m waiting for the rest of the Feed to hit my inbox and also for the FedEx guy to show up with this package. What I have so far in the Feed that I can use is entirely from Enn Zed again.

OK the FedEx guy just showed up with an envelope that had a Kroger gift card in it from their Portland OR office, nothing else on the envelope to identify the origin, why I got a Kroger gift card or anything else to explain why I just was handed the equivalent of a month’s grocery budget. Suffice it to say I’m more than slightly confused, as I have entered several contests for Kroger gift cards both online and at various events in the area and you would think that had I won they would have mentioned it somehow as part of the promotion instead of the card just showing up on the doorstep, and had it been one of you fine readers I would think that it would be a heckuva lot easier to just buy the card at the local Kroger and just mail it to me. So now I have a mystery on my hands: Why would Kroger send me a gift card directly via FedEx with signature on delivery? To add to the confusion, the contact information was my land line, not my e-mail. Well actually this clears it up a tiny bit, as the land line would mean that it was from one of the various contests and promotions I signed up for at the State Fair last year. Still trying to figure out which one it was, though…

Speaking of Portland OR, our first link is about a shooting and hit-and-run in that city. Man shot at with paintball gun and assaulted by man driving a car while riding in North Portland Fortunately the shooter was using a paintball gun, not an actual lethal firearm, but I can state with utter assurance that getting hit by a paintball fired at close range is no picnic, and being menaced with a motor vehicle is about as far from a walk in a park as you can get outside of a war zone.

A CA cyclist who was hit-and-run and dragged into a freeway after a left cross wreck loses a leg and is about to lose the other leg. Bicyclist in hit-run near Griffith Park left for dead, loses leg Let’s find this low-life and make him pay for the crimes he has committed. Intersection wreck, but as the guy was breaking line in a traffic jam I don’t think even intersection protocols would have avoided this wreck, nor would any infrastructure that had cyclists crossing motor vehicle traffic at grade level have stopped it. The only thing that would have prevented this wreck would be a driver’s license program that managed to filter out “drivers” like this.

Rampant windshield bias in this article about an AZ cyclist getting killed. PD: Elderly bicyclist hit, killed in Mesa The driver of the weapon vehicle was operating on a private road AKA a driveway. while the cyclist was riding on the public right of way, meaning the cyclist had the right of way and the weapon vehicle should have yielded to the cyclist instead of running him over. Intersection protocols to avoid, and educate PD about right of way laws to help prevent, as well as get the infrastructure right. I mean seriously, if they get it that wrong when a vehicle pulls from a driveway onto a public street and kills a cyclist when the cyclist clearly had the right of way, what will happen in wrecks where right of way is more nuanced? This is the Google Street View of the site. If the link came up right you should see an alleyway behind a shopping center. This was the only “private road” visible on the map view that had an east-west orientation (the driver was “westbound on a private road near Main and 48th streets“), all the rest were north-south.

The first of the Enn Zed links is an intersection wreck. Cyclist injured Note that the cyclist was seen to be wearing the hideous glow-in-the-dark clothing dictated by recent judicial findings, yet still was hit anyway…

And in the same paper a cyclist is hit from behind while being passed too close, and they blame the cyclist! Cyclist’s death an awareness reminderMr Crerar said that shortly before colliding with the car, Mr Scott had veered toward the centre of the road, into the path of an oncoming car.” and then”He did not know whether it was a deliberate manoeuvre by Mr Scott or the result of a wind gust“. If the wind was blowing that hard, shouldn’t the driver have been aware that the cyclist might get moved over a bit while being passed? And this is another case where the cyclist was doing more than required to ride his bike getting hit while riding with the right of way, and still getting blamed for getting hit. TANJ!

And those are all the links that gave me fits…

Billed @$0.02, Opus

What should be a short post before Mule Duty, and the Feed

Well there isn’t much in the Feed today, and I think I have played the pictures from the parade line as far as it will go, so there’s grocery shopping and real links today and not much of either one.

First link is not about wrecks, or infrastructure or any of those things, in case you have forgotten the date. Valentine Bikes Day Notice the one word that is not about two-wheeled human powered vehicles? Cowabunga dudes! (and if you “get” that reference you may be younger than you think.)

The Big Story today is closure on a fatal hit-and-run in CA. Man Sentenced to Prison for Deadly Hit and Run and Driver who hit, killed bicyclist in Rancho Santa Fe sentenced to two years in prison I don’t know which is worse, that the driver only got 2 years for killing a cyclist, or the comments that he would have gotten more if he hadn’t been an Asian, or the comments that he got too much for killing “just” a cyclist.

A cyclist trying to cross a highway at an intersection gets hit part of the way across. Family Searches for Answers Following Bicyclist’s Death That intersection is huge, at least 3 lanes in each direction, turn lanes and all combined to 9 lanes to cross in the time alloted by the traffic signal. The cyclist appears to have been hit in lane 7 of 9, if he wasn’t watching the light carefully at the intersection he could have lost 2-3 seconds after the change to green and a slight fumble getting started would have cost him another second, so 4 seconds off the green phase off the bat, with 4-6 seconds of amber could have given him as few as 10 seconds to clear the intersection that would require more than 6 seconds to clear if he hit the intersection at a normal cruise speed. IOW if he had timed the intersection perfectly he would have had barely enough time to avoid getting hit, but any delays or fumbles on the cyclist’s part would have placed him in the middle of the intersection with traffic coming at high speed towards him. The LEO at the scene reports that people get hit in this intersection regularly, so I’m going to call this wreck the fault of the City of Las Vegas for building crappy infrastructure that can only be negotiated safely by motor vehicles, and that only because motor vehicles have crumple zones to protect occupants in wrecks.

Two links to a cyclist who was collateral damage in a police pursuit. Female cyclist injured in downtown police pursuit and SIU investigating Queen Street collision after cyclist injured From what little LEO have released on the cyclist’s part of this there was nothing a cyclist could do to avoid this wreck as it appears to be a “pinball” wreck with the direction of the weapon vehicle altered by impacting a third vehicle (actually a second with the cyclist being the third) before hitting the cyclist. Infrastructure would not have helped much either. The wreck looks to have been pretty severe from the crumpled remains of the bicycle shown in the second link.

Infrastructure! in VA, two links. Petersen’s bike safety bill dies and Bike tailgating measure clings to life in Va. House One can readily see the value the VA GA places on human life not moved inside a motor vehicle.

Infrastructure in Canuckistan. Bike lanes pit cyclists against residents Oh gee, free storage of private property in the public right-of-way, or a safe place for human beings? That is a conundrum [/sarcasm].

A coroner in Enn Zed recommends requiring the very thing that made no difference in the death he was investigating. High visibility gear should be compulsory for cyclists – coroner The off-duty LEO who died in this wreck was wearing all manner of reflective gear and properly lighted, but still was killed by a motor vehicle operator. And the coroner thinks it a “no brainer” to do something that the evidence in front of him has just proven to be ineffective. To talk of a lack of working brains…

Last link has nothing to do directly with bicycles, but is an example of what can be done with talented DIY. DIYers build prosthetic hand for 5-year-old boy Lose a hand? build another one. It’s Open Source Medicine.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Out running around ALL day, Feed tomorrow

I was on the road today from shortly after sunrise until well after dark. Mrs. the Poet needed navigational help again to get to her part-time job, and I took advantage of the bus pass to pick up supplies for the DIY bike light project. I stopped in at BG Micro and picked up some 4.5V Solar power units, a switch, and a 3*AA battery box with leads to power the conversion project. If I got my sums right I should only have to charge the batteries in this light once as long as the unit gets 2 hours of bright sunlight for every hour I ride at night. The solar units are sized to power 3S NiMH cells, and 3 of them will be enough to keep the batteries up if they are charged before entering service. I wouldn’t have enough power to bring 3*AA batteries up to a usable charge from dead, but I can keep previously charged batteries up to or near full charge. YAY! sun. The pack should keep the lights burning near full output for at least 10 hours without charging, and these lights put out a phenomenal amount of light for their cost. But light output alone would not justify the time and expense of doing this project. I could get much more light for the same amount of money (if you figure my time at minimum wage), but it would not have the cool factor of this light. Plus, this is a system that throws intentional light to the side to the side that lets drivers know I’m coming even when they can’t see the front of my bike or the headlight. That other light that puts out (fractionally) more lumens for less money does not do that, nor does it put light out as evenly as this light (I have already tested the lighting units, this is not supposition on my part but a side-by-side comparison). And my DIY light does it on one less AA cell and is solar-powered, to boot. Go Team Witch!

I realize I’m seriously building this up, but that’s because I think this project will perform as advertised, and have the benefit of being fun to plan and build. Of course if you build it then you lose the fun of planning it in exchange for building a known good project. And THAT assumes that this project will work as a whole. I know the bits work, but I can’t say the same about everything together. But when the project is complete I will document the build on a Wreck Free Sunday post.

And links tomorrow!

PSA, Opus

Trying to decide what I want to be when I “grow up”, Wreck-Free Sunday

I desperately need to find some kind of steady income that I can get legally. I think I have posted that my last job interview was back in 2006, and that I gave up applying for jobs back in 2009. I figured that three years of no interviews meant I was pretty much never going to get a job again. I haven’t driven since 1995, so getting a job driving trucks looks to be out of the question. That kind knocks me out of about 2/3 of the jobs openings I see posted either online or in the local papers. Jobs doing what I do here, writing and researching on the Internet, are gaspingly rare, and ones that actually pay a steady income are rarer still.

I lack the social skills to be a bike mechanic, or pretty much any job that would require interacting with actual people on a regular basis. I like people, most of the time, I just don’t like to be around them except in limited circumstances that I can control and be able to leave when I need to. It’s real easy for me to get over-stimulated around people and shut down as in “Don’t talk to me” shut down. In a job situation that is generally considered too not be good for business. Part of that is my personality from before the wreck, and part is what happened after the wreck, and just a tiny bit is because of the actual wreck itself. I have a touch of PTSD, which is what I consider to be what happened after the wreck with GPD totally ignoring the case, and this is not made any better by riding my bicycle in traffic with crazy people. I don’t know many bike commuters personally, but every one has this to some extent, even the ones that haven’t been hit yet. And for many years in Dallas County it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when” you would get hit as a bicycle commuter even if you followed the laws like a pharisee, so most of the bicycle for transportation people I know have been injured by a motor vehicle while riding their bikes.

So, again I ask my readers what I can do to make a steady income, knowing my limitations. I also have to be working at a job that makes to world a better place, or at a bare minimum does not make the world any worse than it already is (so no Wal-Mart greeter jobs, or anything like that). I don’t know that I could work for myself as I seem to lack the ability to motivate myself to “do things” outside of posting this blog 7 times a week. And that is because I have to write, I get really bad if I don’t get to write something of meaning to me. Ideally if I could make money writing, that would be fantastic. Realistically that ain’t going to happen. There are just too many people that are writing for free for that to ever happen. Just look at the people that are doing web comics, the ratio of people drawing comics to people making a living at drawing comics. The ratio of people doing blogs, to the people making a living doing blogs, is likewise. You have your Huffington’s and your Drudge’s making 6 figures a year at top, and you got a bunch of people like me with niche blogs down at the bottom. In the middle you get a few making enough to not have to work a regular job but they’re not even in the middle third of the middle class. I wouldn’t mind making a living in the bottom third of the middle class doing this, but will it happen? Not unless I start writing about something other than bicycles.

So any suggestions about what I could do to make a steady income? Leave a comment.

PSA, Opus

Changing weather, and maybe no Feed

When I hit the office this morning the first thing I did was check the Feed and there was nothing in the Feed folder in my mail. So this may be a very short blog post.

Weather here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell has been variable this week as we had snow on Tuesday with skating-rink driving conditions, and shirtsleeve temperatures with light breezes yesterday. Many people I know are sick because of the rapid changes in temperature because they are not hardened to the cold as I have by running around wearing shorts and slippers as the thermostat is gradually lowered a little bit every day to get the house down to low to mid 60s F (16-18C). I used to go barefoot, but the continuing nerve problems I’m having with the foot on the injuredcrippled leg has forced me to wearing both socks and slippers in the house to prevent pain that literally knocks me off my feet (I go back to bed until my feet warm up). Anyway, the changes in the weather have left less-hardy people abed with colds and flu has also been prevalent in the area. One of the advantages of working at a home office (besides wearing nothing but soccer shorts and slippers to work) is I’m not constantly exposed to communicable disease, unlike Mrs. the Poet who works with those biological warfare vectors known as “children” every day.

Time passes.

The mail came in and among the other things was a big box from Alertshirt.com. My post-Christmas purchase finally arrived and I now have 2 long-sleeve wicking Ts, a short-sleeve wicking polo that I’m wearing as I type, a long sleeve cotton sweatshirt that is oh-so-cozy, and a zippered mesh vest that has a crazy huge array of retro-reflective stripes, about twice what I have with my ancient blinky-LED vest. That blinky-LED vest is going to be salvaged to make flashing wrist bands so I can be better seen while signaling turns, and the rest of the reflective strips will be glued to my Army ALICE ruck to make me less invisible when I’m getting large items from the grocery store. And they also included a VERY COLORFUL pen… When the bulk of your merchandise is ANSI Safety Lime and you put pictures on your promotional items they become VERY COLORFUL! This is the second large purchase that either I made or was done for me, and I’m very happy with the previous purchase as those items are still in very frequent use. I’m sure the stuff I got today will be in similar rotation, especially as everything but the sweatshirt is a 3 or 4 season article when combined with layering. And the vest can be used in any season as it doesn’t add much to insulating properties nor take anything away.

And as there doesn’t seem to be anything in the Feed folder today I’m going to post this and be on my way doing errands like depositing someone’s Christmas money into the bank, for which they will BE GRATEFUL OR ELSE! At least now I’ll be more visible on the trip there and back…

Billed @$0.02, Opus