Friday, January 28, 2005

not since the great bean soup mid-air hot air baloon repair of 1889...

Man peed way out of avalanche

A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by
drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain
path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra
mountains.

He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and
tried to dig his way out.

But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car
before he managed to break through.

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on
holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he
realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down
below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now
my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday
turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."

Parts of Europe have this week been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since
1941, with some places registering more than ten feet of snow in 24
hours.

Philip Johnson

Finally got around to reading PJ's obit in the NYTimes, quite spectacular. Best quote quoted:
"Maybe, just maybe, we shall at last come to care for the most important, most challenging, surely the most satisfying of all architectural creations: building cities for people to live in."

Awe Crap!

From today's AP Newswire:

MILFORD, Neb. (AP) -- Urban dwellers who enjoy dining on filet mignon at five-star restaurants would probably just as soon not know about David Dickinson's dilemma. Bad for the appetite, you know. But Dickinson, who makes his living in the cattle business, has an environmental problem on his hands that is vexing state officials: a 2,000-ton pile of burning cow manure.

Dickinson owns and manages Midwest Feeding Co. about 20 miles west of Lincoln, which takes in as many as 12,000 cows at a time from farmers and ranchers and fattens them for market.

Byproducts from the massive operation resulted in a dung pile measuring 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide that began burning about two months ago and continues to smolder despite Herculean attempts to douse it.

While city folks might have trouble imagining a dung pile of such proportions, they are common sites in rural states.

In July, crews fighting a blaze in a three-acre manure lagoon at a dairy farm in Washington smothered the flames with more of the same -- a blanket of wet cow manure.

In December, Montana officials ordered the owner of a horse feedlot to extinguish a large manure fire that sent a stench over a nearby town.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has informed Dickinson that his smoldering dung pile violates clean-air laws and is working with him to find the best solution to extinguish it, said agency spokesman Rich Webster.

Simply dumping water on the heap is not the answer, Webster said, because of concerns about runoff to any nearby water source.

Dickinson first tried using heavy equipment to spread out the smoldering pile and extinguish the fire.

``But the problem was, it started in another spot,'' he said. ``We've also had the fire department out a couple of times.''

And still it burns.

No one is sure how the fire started, but a common theory is that heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile eventually ignited the manure.

Wilma Roth, who manages a restaurant along Interstate 80 about a mile north of the feedlot, said her customers have complained about the smoke, which wafts for miles.

``I'd just as soon forget about it,'' she said.

Dickinson said the smoke is not particularly malodorous -- although that comes from a man who works full-time around manure.

``I guess it's just all perspective,'' he said. ``To me, it just smells like smoke. I really don't know how to describe it.''

Decades ago, most farmers and ranchers kept their own cows and pigs until they were shipped to market and slaughtered into filet mignon, hamburger, pork chops and bacon.

And with all those animals spread far apart at thousands of farms, it was easier to dispose of the manure.

But huge feedlots -- where animals are shipped to fatten on a high-grain diet for their last several months -- have become commonplace.

Dickinson has an average of 12,000 animals on hand, each eating about 25 pounds of feed daily, resulting in as much as nine pounds of manure a day per animal -- some 54 tons every 24 hours.

Most big feedlots spread the manure over farm fields or compost it to spread later or sell commercially to gardeners.

Farmers in several states are experimenting with using the methane gas from livestock manure to produce electricity. The manure is heated and produces methane gas as it breaks down. The gas is collected and used to power a generator, which sends electricity onto a power grid.

Dickinson acknowledged that while some folks see the humor in his predicament, he takes the fire seriously.

``It's a nuisance, and obviously we are trying to get it resolved,'' he said. ``Everybody's been really patient.''

Monday, January 24, 2005

love, games, identity, and revenge

It's probably coincidence that the district is called FUKUshima...

Woman faces charges for deleting ex-boyfriend's online game data

FUKUSHIMA -- A woman in her 30s who illegally used her boyfriend's online username and password to access an Internet game and delete his game data faces charges, police said.

Police reported the woman, of Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Office accusing her of violating a law banning illegal access. She has apparently admitted to the allegations against her.

"I did it as revenge for breaking up with me," police quoted her as saying.

The man, who is in his 20s, did not suffer financially because of the woman's actions, but she deleted items such as weapons and clothes that he had spent time collecting in the game.

Investigators said the woman accessed the online role-playing game "Lineage" using the man's username and password in about April last year.

"Lineage" is an adventure game in which players fight enemies with characters such as knights and magicians. Players can type messages to each other while they are playing the game, and can have their characters team up.

The woman and the man reportedly met each other through the game in the autumn of 2003, and started a relationship, actually meeting each other, but they soon broke up, police said.

"Lineage" is operated by a company in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

(Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Jan. 20, 2005)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

a creek brooks favor of memory

Doug sent me a NYTimes piece on Four Mile Creek, which to many would be another nothing nowhere but to me is, as Craig Springer (Jerry's son?) so aptly put it by putting it like Neil Young put it: "In my mind I still need a place to go. All my changes were there."

And so some memories, which, rather than putting here to be recalled I am recalling, to be put here:

So many hikes, wading up and down stream.
Leaches.
Matt Deikar (sp?) swinging from a vine that collapsed in three pieces on him (it must have been 40 feet high and 4" thick and how he didn't break a rib I still don't know).
After the crash those kids died in down where Bohnam Road crosses it, finding a human eye in the mud.
Almost dying when Joe _____ (was it Adamak? that name is on the tip of my tongue - with the red hair) was so drunk in that crappy car of his (or Geoff Gutowski's?) on the same bridge (it does cross at a different angle than the rest of the road travels). The only time I ever did something really dumb regarding drinking and driving in Oxford - getting in a car with him - Jake Bowers and I got out after deciding it was that or die.
The spillway. Skating there, sliding down its mossy face. Staring forever at the water rushing over.
The inaugural YTO firebombings.
Seeing it flood.
Walking and wading the whole way from the lake home or from home to wherever that was it joined with what eventually became the Little Miami River (somewhere south of 73).
The Sycamores along where the stables where.
Stinging Nettles.
Swimming Holes - there were fewer than you would think that you could actually jump into.
Dead Fish ramp.
The Covered Bridge.
Taking pictures of Fawn Pittman there.
Trying to catch fish in our bare hands as they tried to swim up the spillway.
Catching crawdads.
Going to Solidarnosch soccer games.
The frontier house just beyond that little steel bridge with the wooden deck.
scrambling up the tributary to the bluffs at Peffer park, or going past the bluffs to the train tracks.
Throwing cans of warm beer at the trains.
Trilobytes. And those weird horn shaped crustaceans.
Wearing those black Chuck Taylors with no socks for wading shoes.
Finding really nice grey clay with no rocks and covering ourselves in it.

here's a link to the story, because it's worth not forgetting that others remember it too.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

brooks falls and leaves

Mary, Bolsinga and I went to Brooks falls in the San Pedro county park in lovely San Mateo county (okay, okay, it was Pacifica, whatever). Truely spectacular. Total walking distance just under 5 miles, but that included a trip past the falls. It's worth noting that the falls are really not impressive unless it's been raining recently but that's hardly the point. Two weeks ago Greg suggested we go there after reading an SFGate article on area falls (including one we'd been too quite by chance last winter). Next week I think the goal is to take two cars, leaving one at Montara beach and the other at San Pedro and walk up and over. total distance 4.5 miles higest point: 1300 or so.
Sadly I was reminded that only three years ago Greg (as in brotherman Greg) and I used to run to the top of Montara from the beach. I think I've found a new goal to get my ass back into shape. Such a great run. Now I know you can run up one side and down the other it's even more interesting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

ah schweet gunfire

From Doug Long:
The New York Times, whose Iraq catch-all is full of good stuff, notices that Iraq's interior minister warned that if the elections don't go well "there will be chaos, and we will have a civil war." The Times notes, "Gunfire rattled behind him nearly the whole time he spoke."

Thursday, January 13, 2005

it's true i hire my body out for pay, hey hey

The Fall Guy

Well, I'm not the kind to kiss and tell,
But I've been seen with Farrah.
I'm never seen with anything less than a nine, so fine.

I've been on fire with Sally Field,
Gone fast with a girl named Bo,
But somehow they just don't end up as mine.

It's a death defyin' life I lead,
I take my chances.
I die for a livin' in the movies and TV.
But the hardest thing I ever do
Is watch my leadin' ladies
Kiss some other guy while I'm bandagin' my knee.

I might fall from a tall building,
I might roll a brand new car.
'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.

I never spend much time in school
But I taught ladies plenty.
It's true I hire my body out for pay, Hey Hey.

I've gotten burned over Cheryl Tiegs,
Blown up for Raquel Welch.
But when I end up in the hay it's only hay, Hey Hey.

I might jump an open drawbridge,
Or Tarzan from a vine.
'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

the torture party

you know you're fucked when safire is spinning torture as what makes the GOP great. seriously, this administration will go down as an embarassment. in a way that makes reagan look like a saint. I personally haven't forgotten about latin america in the 80s.

is there no justice?

AKA file under: that's gotta hurt.

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (AP) -- Officers have finally arrested a man for making late-night runs in the nude along Airport Road in West Memphis.

Fate Patterson, 39, of West Memphis was apprehended Monday night, West Memphis police said Wednesday. Officers had to use a taser to subdue Patterson, who had dodged police for six months or so.

The jogger was arrested after he ran past a police car and failed to stop when he was ordered to do so by officers on location. After his capture, Patterson was charged with indecent exposure, fleeing and resisting arrest.

``You know, this one has just got me kind of speechless,'' said Mike Allen, assistant chief of the West Memphis police department.

Allen said it wasn't known why the man was jogging while nude.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

please don't hurt 'em

well, really there were so many options for titles on this one I was debating what to do. MC Hammer won out.

Vince Neil ties the knot in Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Looks like the days of "Girls, Girls, Girls" are over for Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil.
Neil, 43, the band's lead singer, married girlfriend Lia Gerardini, 37, Sunday at the Four Seasons hotel.
With MC Hammer officiating, the pair exchanged vows in front of a celebrity crowd that included Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, Dennis Rodman and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Motley Crue, the 1980s metal band known for their hard partying, recently reunited after a five-year hiatus.
The rockin' couple's Clark County marriage license lists this as Neil's fourth marriage and Gerardini's second.
The pair live in Las Vegas.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

citizen cake

It really is too bad that citizen cake's food is so good because their service is terrible. I've had nothing but great experiences in the morning and around noon, but yesterday around 3:30 I went to interview a prospective student and was amazed at how rude everyone but the hostess was.
1) The man behind the counter wouldn't pass on my request for a cappucino to my "watiress" because it was her job to take my drink orders
2) my "waitress" was visibly perturbed that I tried to order my drink before sitting down and insisted that I take my seat before ordering (this despite knowing both from the man behind the counter and me that I wanted a capucino).
3) after making me sit down to order a drink she insisted I get up to look at the available food because they "don't serve creme brulee after lunch".
4) when I went to the counter to see the food the woman behind the counter, who had offered to help me, was offended that I asked for the item I selected to be delivered to my table: "you have to order from your waitress".
5) when I responded the system was confusing she said "no it's not. you're just not familiar with it" as if there was no inherent flaw in the system itself and it was the job of customers to wait on themselves according to their secret rules.

Most embarassing in this situation was there were more people on staff than in the cafe. I can understand having rules set up to facilitate really busy times but the place was dead save for the hot air and bad attitude of the staff.

Lesson learned: don't go after lunch, and don't forget to bad mouth them to everyone I know.

what a great way to run a business.

a 10 and a half for tucker

Thank goodness someone finally gave that little bow tie wearing jackass the boot.

the torture party

Gonzales defenders are torture apologists and no one should give them an ounce of respect. Always to be counted on to be fascist apologists the Wall Street Journal yesterday wrote that Gonzales' memo was okay because times have changed since 2001. Written like a corporate lawyer (I mean Gonzales) the op ed brazenly dodges the most significant issue - the rewrite of the memo - and Gonzales' pledge today at the confirmation meeting - totally ignore the important issue: namely Gonzales asserted that torturing "special" people isn't against the law. They simply claim the Geneva convention does not apply. This is the problem of course, you can claim to follow the Geneva convention if people you want to torture fall outside of it.

The sad partisan bullshit about this whole issue is that all of the people writing apologies for Gonzales know this, and are willingly taking part in a legal dodge/disinformation campaign. This is bad for America, and they should know better.

Monday, January 03, 2005

missed opportunity

And I thought we only were tour to cold places on the Sunrise tour! Little did I know about the German South Seas!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

This is rock and roll

Saturday, January 01, 2005

2005

strange feelings as 2005 starts...Doug and Sher are here, we went out for a bit but came home early. Our roof isn't holding up very well under all this rain but it seems a bit inappropriate to complain given that I still have a roof.
Really, the need to wall off time irritates me. I understand the necessity of having names for days etc, and that carries through to years too, but I don't really see the need to celebrate Mondays, so why Januarys (Januaries?)? I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade but I'm a bit irritated with the importance some folks put on it (resolutions, auld lang sang et al.). I can understand celebrating solstices etc from an agrarian perspective (or from a creation story perspective) but I'm a bit with the farmer's on this one, irritated that city folk need more hours of sunlight in the "evening" rather than just getting to work earlier.
So here are my "resolutions" by which I mean, I've noticed I've started to do these things recently and I'm making an effort to do them regularly, new years be damned:
1) I am holding you to it. You agreed to rent me a place that didn't have leaks, fix the leaks. You agreed to have brunch have brunch. You agreed to obey the law, obey the law. I'm not forgiving people for that kind of crap anymore. If that means we don't go out for brunch so be it, if that means I alienate you by documenting and publicizing your violation of the law tough shit, if that means you're bummed that you're in court for breach of contract I've got no pitty for you.
2) Just do it. How's that for a cliche. Take the time off. Work late because it needs to get done now, not tomorrow. If you can make it happen, make it happen. I've started to realize that some 30+ years down the road I'm capable of making the right decisions without wasting too much time thinking about them. More and more I've noticed I just call and say "This is what is going to happen" rather than "is it okay if this happens?" Clearly this requires balance and respect but it really boils down to being comfortable making executive decisions and frankly, I am.
3) Be sensitive to where other people come from. Politics is politics, but rarely will you find someone that doesn't have an intellectual foundation for their position (oh, but they do exist). Crass and dismissive statements based on your assumptions are a sure sign you aren't willing to find common ground and you're left with a strictly machiavellian position (which is the only position that those without an intellectual foundation can have). Be aware of your assumptions, and be aware of how others might see them even though you don't see them that way.

What does all this mean? nothing really, again, these aren't resolutions for the new year, they're just things I've recently noticed that I think are good and worthy of reinforcement. plus of course you've been warned.

Happy January(ie)s.