Category Archives: Department of DIY

You are allowed to hate me now, and the Feed

I’m constantly hearing from women about how hard it is to lose weight. All you ladies are officially allowed to hate me now. I weighed 220 on March 31 in the doctor’s office, and the certified scale at the grocery store reported I weighed 211, so that is a pound a day with nothing more than reducing the amount of meat I eat in a day by maybe 20% which ain’t much considering how little I eat to begin with, and dropping salty snacks for a week. And taking a couple of long walks during that time. It also reported a BP of 106/65 and a BMI of 32, which would be obese to morbidly obese if it was anyone else who was not “blessed” with bones as dense as concrete. Another reason for ladies to hate me I guess, I won the “jackpot” in the bone density lottery.

Up first because terrible behavior needs to be highlighted. Uninsured lorry driver who killed cyclist admitted he went through a red light Uninsured, driving an unregistered vehicle while driving with a revoked license, Mrs. the Poet thinks he should go directly to jail and just set up permanent residence there. His only saving grace in this wreck was he was not drunk or on drugs, which in a way is even more disturbing because that means he did it deliberately with a clear head and assumably with a clear conscience. More Lorry driver banned from the roads five times admits jumping red light and killing cyclist

Another preventable wreck in the UK that has wended its way through the legal system. County settles with widow of cyclist killed by pothole Dudes, if your potholes are big enough to kill cyclists trying to ride over them, you are way, way behind in inspection and repairs. You deserve to lose this case. More Pothole council pays ‘six-figure sum’ to widow over Clevedon charity cyclist’s death

Another idiot wreck, only this time both the idiot and the victims are one of us. Wheelie cyclist ordered to repay couple after crash Yep, you got Mad Skillz riding on the back wheel, but not enough to prevent you from injuring a couple on a tandem while you were running the red light.

Hey, even people in car-sick Houston are building bike lanes. And then people are parking on them. Dear Houston: Bike Lane ≠ Parking Spot I’m in agreement with one of the comments left with the article, drivers that block the bike lane should get immediately towed.

Our Daily Ted. San Diego cyclist dies in solo fall after suffering medical problem; bicycling deaths down nearly 75% from last year Sorry for Ted on having to report on such a sad incident. And then there’s the regular link fest from Ted. Morning Links: Evidently, Great Streets require skinny street sweepers; bike share moves forward in Beverly Hills

Mexico is getting corrupted by the US in more ways than just the narco cartels. Death of a night cyclist: how a fatal accident could change Guadalajara The deceased cyclist was wearing a reflective vest and had a bright light on the back of the bike when he was hit from behind, and the driver still claimed blindness…

The DIY DoT in OR. Signs posted by frustrated Salem cyclist are taken down I don’t see what the problem is with the signs, aside from possibly the reflectivity requirement they were MUTCD compliant.

If anything ever deserved the “crap infrastructure” tag from this blog… UPDATED | Cyclists still at risk a year after Mathilde Blais’ death, Projet Montréal says There is a tag that posits that “sidewalks are not bicycle infrastructure” and the obverse, “bicycle infrastructure is not a sidewalk”, but seriously this is a major “fuster cluck”, of detached “solutions” to pervasive problems. The people in charge are putting out “hot spots” when the whole forest is on fire, and then they can’t understand why people are still getting killed. But when you have a budget that barely pays for a little bit of paint when major construction is required you have to do what you can with what you have.

And this seems like a no-brainer, but here in TX they build roads all the time with no thought on paying to maintain them after they get built, sooo… Letter: Bike paths require basic maintenance

And years after a cyclist was killed, and her partner almost killed tending her memorial, a deadly crossing has only reached the planning stage for resolution. Mancunian Way slip road where cyclist Jaye Bloomfield died to be reduced to one lane I think putting up a box like the one used for photo radar with a strobe light triggered by a vehicle detector might do the job for reducing vehicle speeds approaching the crossing.

Another wounded veterans ride. Nearly 50 Veterans to cycle through Folsom during Soldier Ride

How do you ride faster or farther? Yeah, the nut on top of the bike, some of us are certainly guilty of not fixing the nut properly… Well either that or get e-assist.

And thank [$DEITY], I am out of links.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

For April Fools I will go play D&D

Yep, no foolin':P

Ima go play kinky D&D this afternoon/evening. How do you play “kinky” D&D? Well let’s just say there are a lot of “house rules” in this one and leave it at that, because this is my first game session.

PSA, Opus

April Fool’s service 3/29

Standard welcome.

This is our annual April Fools chaos service. This is as much an homage to the weather in Texas as it is to anything else. About the only thing we haven’t had for this service has been snow. And I think an actual tornado because we hold the service too early in the day for one of those, but we have had watches in effect for later in the day. So we have weather chaos, congregation chaos, outsider chaos, just about any kind of non-destructive chaos you can imagine. Today we have “No toilets” chaos. And somehow we have managed to control and somewhat harness that chaos for the benefit of the church and the larger community.

Now join with me as we call the quarters in the traditional April Fool’s fashion.

East: Yo! Air! Here, quarter quarter quarter! We wanna breathe here, and think. Y’all come!

South: Yo! Fire! Here quarter quarter quarter! Let’s warm things up with some passion. Y’all come!

West: Yo! Water! Here quarter quarter quarter! Let’s splash around and feel things emotionally. Y’all come!

North: Yo! Earth! Here quarter quarter quarter! It’s time to get down and dirty and be stable. Y’all come!

Center: Yo! Center! The gods might be crazy, so send them here to party! We light a beacon so we can enjoy their company. Y’all play nice now. Open beer and place on altar

Aphrodite: Your contributions to chaos are many and varied, most notable your son/daughter Hermaphroditus. We love you, just like you love us, so everybody love everybody as you join our party and ritual.

Lunation deity

Play “Duck Amuck” Video

Yes, who is responsible for this? I demand to know. My life seems like a series of short stories or at most novellas written by different writers intent on different things, including changing the name of the main character in the middle of the story. And such starkly unbelievable stuff as surviving getting hit by a truck doing 60 MPH and only spending 13 days in hospital before sorta walking out. I mean who does that outside of a work of fiction? That is literally a million to one shot. And that’s not the only unbelievable thing that has happened in my life, just the most recent. I demand script approval and rewrite privileges. Or I would if I could find the freaking writer.

Sometimes we bring the chaos on all by ourselves, which I have also done. For instance the lovely bride who graces my life was somewhat forced there by a combination of stupid mistakes, mine, hers, and ours. But somehow we survived it anyway and we have been together for almost 40 years. I’m sure the rest of you can tell similar tales of preventable mistakes that had life-altering consequences for you and yours. It happens to everybody. But we survive, and sometimes prosper, in spite of and sometimes because of our mistakes. We live through it, and we move on.

Candles of “Why did I do that?” To share how this works, light a candle while sharing a mistake that ended up helping your life in the long run.

While this is going on blow bubbles from the altar.

Pass basket while sharing announcements.

Announce that there will be no pot luck this evening

Dismiss Aphrodite with gratitude for controlling the various guest deities with her expansive love.

Center: We thank all the various deities who have graced today’s circle. Go in peace, at least until you get past the property line. Then you become somebody else’s problem.

North: Thank you for lending your stability in these times of chaos. You may leave with our gratitude.

West: Thank you for lending your calming emotions to these times of chaos. You may leave with our gratitude.

South: Thank you for lending your passion and transformation to these times of chaos. You may leave with our gratitude.

East: Thank you for lending your intellect and communication in these times of chaos. You may leave with our gratitude.

The circle is open, but unbroken. Merry meet, to merry part, to merry meet again! Blessed be, and don’t forget to turn your phones back on.

PSA, Opus

No post today, I got hypothermia on the way back from court

I really wish that was a joke. After I got the papers to get Blue out of the evidence locker this Friday I got caught in a frog-strangler of a thunderstorm, that was rolling in on the leading edge of a massive cold front. It was 51 when I left the house and 31°F when I got home soaking wet as I got caught in ankle-deep streams that covered half of some of the streets I had to cross. Between that and the horizontal rain blowing under my umbrella I was completely soaked from the waist down. But before I did that I got Blue out of jail! I can have my bike back as soon as Friday, the first day I could get a ride together. Looking at the recovery pictures Blue was in pretty good shape, not too many added scrapes and scratches, and all the electronics seemed to be intact except for the dead batteries. I am dreading opening up the lights to see what is in the battery boxes. When Blue was stolen there was about $20 in high-end NiMH rechargeable cells between the two lights. I’m expecting leaking alkaline cells or empty space in there instead of those pricey rechargeables. And I’m still freezing here, so I’m done now.

PSA, Opus

What LOTR and The Hobbit tells us about economic theory.

In a nutshell, it’s all about churn.

Tax breaks for the rich have much the same economic benefit as giving gold to Smaug. Smaug gets richer, but never spends any gold as he already has far more gold than he can possibly spend for his needs or even for his future needs, so it just sits there doing nothing except being dragon bedding. Likewise giving people who already have too much money than they can possibly spend on their needs more money just results in the money sitting there doing nothing. Taxing that money and using it on infrastructure and social programs results in that money being churned through the economy and growing the economy so that the rich still get the same amount of money, it just has to pass through a few more poor people’s hands before the rich get it, making everyone a little richer.

In order to stimulate the economy you have to develop churn, putting the money in as many hands as possible so that it then passes through as many hands as possible and creates growth. Savings that just sit in a bank or under a mattress don’t create any churn, and “investments” barely ruffle the surface of the water in creating churn. What has been shown to make churn on the federal level has been Food Stamps and infrastructure projects. Food Stamps go from the recipient to the grocery store and pay for the employees at the store as well as the people who transport the food (and other things) and the people that create the food. There are at least 4 stages of economic churn created by Food Stamps that can be easily identified and tracked.

Tax breaks for people who already have more money than they can spend on their needs or even on non-need items like TVs and computers (although I would put computers in the “need to work” category because I use one for work every day) is not the way to grow the economy. I mean how many new cars can one person buy in a year? How many boats? Unless you are out there spending money, you are an economic dead weight no matter how big your checking account is. Rich people don’t create jobs, poor people with jobs create jobs because they are the ones out there spending most of their money. Aldous Huxley had the right idea when he coined the term “conscripted consumption” in the book Brave New World . If you have a consumer economy, you have to get people consuming things to grow the economy.

And because I am not an economist by trade (I am a technical writer who translated jargon into plain English so that people in other fields can understand it) I will let real economists pick it up from here. Go for it guys.

PSA, Opus the Poet

Seriously having trouble keeping my head on straight here, and the Feed

As announced earlier I no longer post links to bike wrecks here at WoaB. I started this because It was causing me “problems” in the rest of my life. I mean seriously, if there was something that was killing as many people as motor vehicles do every day, but say in larger numbers at a time instead of in singles and rarely doubles, then people would be screaming to “do something” about the deaths. Look at Ebola. There were exactly 3 people who died from Ebola in the United States, none of whom contracted the disease here. All of the people who contracted Ebola in the US have recovered. But for weeks all you heard or saw on the idiot box was Ebola and ISIS terrorists were going to kill us all in our beds. While all this was going on about 6000 people died from what is quaintly acronymed MVA and many tens of thousands more were injured to some degree from minor temporary inconvenience to long term hospital stay but full recovery to lifelong disability to “spend the rest of my life in bed unable to move and still be in constant pain”. Those last two add up to about twice as many people as died, so about 20000 people left dead or permanently crippled to some degree while 3 people died and a few more got sick and spent a few weeks in hospital or isolation. And all of the attention was on the 3 people dying and the few sickened instead of the twenty thousand killed or otherwise destroyed by something that we could actually do something about and stop the deaths and life-changing injuries. And people are still asking if I’m wasting my life on bicycles. So now you know why I’m having trouble keeping my head on straight in spite of no longer doing the bike wreck thing.

Up first is a response to the comments left on an article linked here a while back. Blame in the wrong place The letter is in response to comments that blame the cyclist for the wreck that was previously judged to be the criminal act of the driver in the video.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%

Cycling in the city where my last full-tine job went. ‘Nobody cycles across Mumbai.’ But why?

Another link to a bike that depends on the model of phone you own to be fully functional. Dutch introduce first-ever ‘intelligent bicycle’ that warns of danger I’m not so sure I want a bike that would not give me everything I paid for unless it “liked” the phone I was using.

If the city won’t do it, DIY. Guerrilla traffic diverters installed – then removed – on SE Clinton Interesting that they didn’t have the money to install diverters, but less than 8 hours after the DIY diverters were set up they had been removed without even a meeting of the City Council?

And where does your state rank? 2014 BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATE℠ RANKING All I have to say in favor of TX is “Thank [DEITY] we are not living in Alabama!” Seriously 33rd out of 50 is appalling for a state that is constantly bragging about how “Great” they are. But considering that the city I live next to was “The Worst City for Bicycling In the US” just 4 years ago, being 33rd out of 50 is improvement. EDIT: How the Hell did we end up BEHIND Florida?

And I have run out of links again, yay!

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Sammy the Sharing Squirrel scripts on Wreck-Free Sunday

I was going to live-blog the final race of the Sprint Cup season from Miami, but I figured that if you are interested in that kind of thing (Sprint Cup Racing) you are watching it too, so a summary at the end, but no live-blog. So instead I’m going to script out a few PSA to animate and show on the Cartoon Network late night block that used to be called Adult Swim, then was Toonami for a while. I haven’t watched it in a long time (as you can probably tell), because they went with a lot of inane live action programs, and I don’t watch the Cartoon Network for programs that are not animated. Anywho, I’m told that PSA campaigns in this programming block that utilize humor work well at getting the message across.

Script 1.

CUTE MUSIC

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Sharing the lane is like sharing a pair of pants without letting the first guy take them off…

Animated sequence of large bear pulling out Sammy’s waistband and sticking legs inside the pants legs with Sammy.

SAMMY: (strained voice) You have to leave room for the guy that was there first.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 2

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Sharing the lane is like being forced to swim with sharks and no shark cage.

Animated sequence of Sammy swimming with a smiling shark wearing a short skirt styled like a pair of board shorts. Shark is not being aggressive, just swimming way too close.

SAMMY: Just because you aren’t trying to be scary does not mean that you aren’t scaring people.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 3

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember roads are first-come, first-served, not fast-come, fast served.

Animated sequence of Sammy driving a convertible with the speedometer pointed to “Speed Limit” with a bear driving a house-sized SUV roaring up on him and driving right over him.

SAMMY: Just because you drive faster does not give you more right to the road than someone slower.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 4

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember there is is no such law as “The rule of gross tonnage” on the roads.

Animated sequence of Sammy driving a convertible with the speedometer pointed to “Speed Limit” with a bear driving a house-sized SUV with the grill logo “Split Level” roaring up on him and driving right over him.

SAMMY: Remember a bigger vehicle does not have a greater right to the roads, bicycles have equal right with cars, trucks, or motor homes.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 5

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember that cars are not the only thing allowed to use the roads.

Animated sequence of bicycle leading a group of road users that stretches out to an unseeable horizon, none of which are cars or trucks.

SAMMY: (voiceover the animated sequence) Remember that there are lots of other people using the roads perfectly legally with just as great a right as a person driving a motor vehicle, including bicycles, farm vehicles, mopeds, (herds of sheep, a platoon of soldiers, a cattle drive) fade out through the line in parentheses

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

There you go, Hollywood. Five 15 second PSAs to show to adults late at night and (hopefully) ooze through thick skulls. You’re welcome.