Yeninko of the Umlaut

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Screw BART, I'm taking AAA.

I’m sure this last new years we were all to busy drinking to take note but AAA offered free tows to anyone who had to much to drink. Yeah, not only would you get a ride home, but they tow you care there for you. The best part? It was free AND available to anyone, not just members. THAT is pretty rad.

San Francisco, December 22, 2005- On a typical day, a AAA tow truck can come to the rescue when you need help. On New Year's Eve, one might just save your life.

This year, AAA of Northern California is launching a new program called "Tipsy Tow." The concept is simple: If you have too much to drink, just call AAA and you and your car will be towed home for free. The program is open to everyone. You do not need to be a AAA member to take advantage of this service to the community.

AAA will offer the service to drinking drivers from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day in Northern California, Nevada and Utah. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders and restaurant managers can call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to seven miles. Just tell the AAA operator, "I need a Tipsy Tow," and a truck will be on its way.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long as there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck. You cannot make a reservation.

Despite the decline in alcohol-related crashes in the last 10 years, alcohol is still a factor in more than 16,000 vehicle crash deaths each year in the United States. Drunk-driving crashes also account for about 60 percent of highway deaths of young people age 16 to 24 each year. It takes only one or two drinks to impair vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time.

AAA estimates that a first time DUI conviction can cost up to $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and added insurance expenses. You can't put a price tag on a crash that causes an injury or death.

"Start 2006 off right," said Mike Bregante, AAA senior vice president of automotive product management. "If you've been drinking, don't get behind the wheel. Give AAA a call and we'll make sure you get home safely."

AAA of Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance and financial services to more than 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.


Some wild animals are just born to die. In that category I’d like to include perhaps the cutest animal of them all, the Giant Panda.

Here is an animal so clueless that despite being taxonomically a carnivore, their diet is overwhelmingly herbivorous. The Giant Panda eats shoots and leaves, living almost entirely on bamboo, perhaps one of the most nutrient-poor sources of food known. In fact it provides so little caloric value that they can’t be bothered to actually hunt or forage anything else because they don’t have the energy. I swear I know some polar bears that are embarrassed to be in the same family.

To add to that, Bangkok Zoo administrator Prasertsak Puttrakul, who leads a team taking care of the pandas, noted they tend to live in isolation in the wild, and do not witness other pandas mating. "That's why they are bound to extinction should there be no help," he said. They don’t even know how to do it!

Fortunately they have one advantage. They are furry and cute. This will guarantee there continued existence. After all we can’t let something as cute as this to go extinct can me?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Jason and the SF Chronicle have covered the drowning of a sufer on Sunday at Ocean beach pretty well. I thought I’d just include this picture from the SF Chronicle last week that should remind us of the down side of surfing.

The associated article has lots of details about the danger of big wave surfing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bad Eyes! Bad!

As some of you may know I had LASIK eye surgery performed about five years ago. Previous to that, I had worn glasses or contact lenses for a decade. My eyesight was so bad that, as I’m sure you have heard before, I couldn’t find my glasses if some one moved them from one end of the table to the other. I would just be unable to see them and would paw around till I found them. I don’t know where it rated in the 20/20 scale but in contact prescription lingo it was -5.75 which is pretty bad.

After LASIK I had 20/15 which is slightly better than ‘perfect’ vision.

A while back when renewing my DMV card I noticed that my left eye could just barely pase the test. Apparently 20/40 is what you need to do so. So I went to the eye doctor and had my eyes checked. Of course the results were in contact notation*, right eye -1.00 left eye -0.50, enough to notice, and therefore annoy. I thought that maybe I should pick up some disposable contacts for those nights at the opera or on the occasional long drives.

Today I went in to be fitted for contact lenses and it turns out that contacts aren’t a good choice for me any longer. Due to the LASIK surgery the ‘roundness’ of my cornea is now less round then it normally is. Normal eyeballs are in a range of 4.1 to 4.4 somethings (which I will henceforth refer to has eyesballroundnesses’). Post LASIK most peoples eyeballroundnesses is are between 3.8 and 3.4. Since contact lens manufactures are concerned with the majority of the population and not a tiny fraction of it (me), they don’t make disposable for eyes like mine (and yours if you’ve had LASIK done).

I can use non-disposable soft or hard contacts but seeing how I don’t plan on using them often and they wouldn’t fit as comfortably it seems that those would be suboptimal solutions. Glasses would probably be the best bet. So after five years of perfect vision I need to get glasses. I could get LASIK done again (and indeed the place where I had it done in Montreal has a lifetime warrantee) but I think I’m going to wait on that and make sure my eyesight stabilizes. Ones cornea has only so much tissue that can be removed (usually two procedures is all you get before you run out of corneal tissue).

Now I blame all of this strictly on computer usage. Perfect eyesight plus five years of a minimum of 8 hours of screen reading a day gets me here. It probably doesn’t help that I read so much either. In any case this is just more of an impetus to work at a job that doesn’t require staring at a screen all day. Just another reason to pursue teaching.

Any one wanna come pick out some glasses with me?

* If anyone knows what either notation is called and/or knows of a conversion chart, let me know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Look Ma! No Eyes!

So rather than composing a post that attempts to illustrate my ceaseless wonder at the universe around me, I will simply note a few interesting things about my life at this point.

First I realized I can type. It was sort of odd noticing it. Normally I stare at the keyboard as I type not really focusing on where my fingers are going but looking down nonetheless. On Monday I decided I should try learning to type with my head up. After all if my dad can learn to type correctly in three months at 68 years of age, I should manage to figure it out after a decade on a keyboard. Armed with a pile of data entry drudgery I began typing, and lo and behold I can type without looking down. Go figure. I wonder how long I could do that but didn’t notice.

Jethro, Trevor, Meadow and Genevieve. Lowing, the verb low has one meaning: it is the sound bovines make. Now you know

I also had my first day of tutoring yesterday, or rather of being a tutor. It was great. I printed out a bunch of worksheets and refreshed myself on the fundamental operations on integers, linear and quadratic equations, graphing, etc. I rehearsed some lecture material, I was prepped and ready to go.

Jennifer and I sat down, had some snacks and I started to explain some intro stuff and she was with me then I said something about multiplying a negative times a negative and her face went blank. I backed up and tried a different tack, a minute later, same effect. So I pulled out the worksheets showed her how to solve the first problem (they started easy and grew more complex) and after that she just took off. I sat back and did some problems of my own, read the menu and now and then when Jenny would get stumped I'd explain the trick to use. Other than a bit of moral supprt when needed (“Don't lets those bastards trip you up by putting the X on the wrong side! You slap it back where you want it!”) I just sat back and relaxed and the hour progressed well. I was surprised how quickly we fell into learning pattern that worked for us. The whole experience put the wind back into my sails about teaching. The again it helped that Jenny has done all this before and this is mostly a refresher but still, it felt rewarding.

On an odd note I stopped drinking. It happened in Arcata and I really haven’t wanted to drink at all. Now in fairness that has happened before but I’m still surprised that it’s been about ten days and I don’t even want some delicious bed time port. Like I said, odd.

I finished 1776 (very good) and The Simoquin Prophecies (fair to poor). I have three books from Gen and I’m trying to decide which one to start (any suggestions Gen?).

And that friends, is all he wrote.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Look Hot Rule #14: Stand Next To Thin People

At an obesity doctors meeting in 2003, a University of Liverpool study indicated that just standing next to a large woman can be bad for a guy's image. The study had young women look at one of two pictures: One of a trim young man standing next to a svelte woman, and the other showing the same man next to a heavy woman.

When the man was shown standing by the large woman, he was rated 22 percent more negatively by the study volunteers than when he was next to the thin woman. When seen with the large woman, he was more likely to be described as miserable, depressed, weak and insecure.

Dance You Freaky Monkey, Dance!

It's getting to the point where I think the funniest people on earth (barring John Stewart and God) are employeed as T-Shirt designers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Let the Movie-ing Begin

As you may or may not be aware, the Metreon has discount coupons for the month of January. Last night was my first outing and the lines being way too long we missed the showing of Syrian and instead went to a later showing of Narnia, and I wasn't disappointed. I expected crap and that is what I got. I swear when Aslan came back to life I just want to jump up and say "Jesus H. Christ, he’s been resurrected!" Normally kids (or anyone) talking during a movie bug but this time it was the probably the most entertaining part of the movie.

Having said that, I can't tell if I'm emotionally fragile right now or if the first ten minutes were that good but I nearly wept by the time they were boarding the train. If they could have maintained that level of emotion, I would have been a wreck. Fortunately for me and those around me, they could not.

Additionally, some aspects of the story seemed a little dated. For example, giving small children implements of war seems to not be so much in fashion anymore. Girls with daggers and boys with long swords is generally not something you are expecting to see when they are digitally removing bats and knives from Tom and Jerry cartoons and replacing them with feather dusters and towels.

And lastly the number of uh, I don't know what they are called, screw-ups?, was pretty significant. Ed consumes a drop of the potion that will heal all wounds, such as the gut wound killing, him but not his cut lip? The queen’s notice and the mysterious disappearing and reappearing hole in it.

In any case, yes I know you loved the book and yes I know you were hoping for great things but just let it go, let it go.

Who is up for Munich and Syriana?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pardon the Delay

I realize I haven't been posting lately what with X-Mas, New Years, Stella-sitting and a vacation to Arcata but that will all change this week. I spent most of my blog-life allocation updating Yen's Bikes today. Expect some updates here in the next few days. Also if anyone is interested I'll be working downtown from the 10th to the 12th. Maybe an after work move ($5 at the Metreon) or a lunch buddy? To all of you hounding me for the lack of updates, thank you. I thought no one actually read this.