Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quotes From Gary Bell of Alphas

There is a show on the Syfy Channel called Alphas.  Unfortunately the second season just ended, but you can see the first season on Netflix.  The show is about a group of people with heightened abilities above that which normal humans possess. The show is sometimes hokey, but always well written and imaginative.

One character on the show is Gary Bell, portrayed by actor Ryan Cartwright, is an autistic man in his 20's who's special ability is being able to see data in the thin air that is broadcast over wifi and G4 data streams.

Since this character is autistic he also has the ability to speak his mind without filters; sharing his own form of logic like Mr. Spock, but without all the condescension.  Here are my favorite Gary quotes from the show:
“I don’t think you can get catharsis from words on a rock”
“I was gonna walk back to the office but Google maps said it would take 3 hours and 18 minutes. I’m not built for that.

“No, hearts don’t really break.  They can stop and they can leak, but they can’t really break.  It gets tired and gives up after a while.

“I made that. With a label maker. We don’t have any “Top Secret” stickers so I made 200 of them.”
“F-R-E-A-K-N. That’s not a word.”

“It’s a no star hotel. There’s only one review. It says, ‘Don’t stay here.”
No, I’ll kill you first. I get up at 7:42.

“ He calls her baby which is weird, because they're the same age.”
“It’s all gone.  There’s no wi-fi, there’s no 4G.  Everything’s gone!”

I like humus. It’s all one color and it’s soft.”
It’s ok to joke because he didn’t die

“ Yeah, it was the government.. They killed him. That's what they do they're jerk-asses.. Dr. Rosen, I told you I tried to warn you.. When they stole my pudding.”
“There are bruises in my hair”

“My inside voice is too quiet!”
“No, I do lie. I've been practicing, cause it's a social skill. Like the other day, when I said I was going to have a pudding pop I was lying, because I don't like pudding pops. That was a lie, I do like pudding pops.”

“I don’t like horses; they look confused.”
“Yeah. I've been at it all day and I've found bupkis. That means nothing. It's like zilch. I've found zilch.”

“Rachel, what's wrong? Oh, you look like one of the faces from my expressions chart - j-joyless.”

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stupid Phone

Have I mentioned recently how much I hate my present smart phone?  I've had enoughso I just purchased the phone in the photo above.  It is a Casio GZOne Boulder.

I got the LG with the slide-out keyboard last September and I gave it a good year.  The problem with that stupid smart phone was that when ever I needed it I would wake it up and it would try to tell me what the weather was like.  I'm standing in the friggin rain, I know what the weather is doing.  After getting that screen to clear it would go into its App Selling mode where it would display apps for me to buy, which I never did buy any.  So lets say I have an emergency, I'd have to wade through all this crap for 45 seconds or longer before I could dial out.

Lately I've had another problem where people on the other end couldn't hear me.  I just had enough with this phone so after the last event last night I went on Amazon and ordered the Casio which is the phone Gearhead uses.  It can be dropped and dunked in water and it still works.  It is the most durable cell phone on the market and it will work when I want it to without trying to tell me what the weather is doing outside or try to sell me apps.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Electoral College is a Problem

If you think your presidential vote really counts, watch this video about how the Electoral College really works...or doesn't.  There is a 30 second commercial that runs before the video starts but the video is extremely worth watching.

Electoral College Video

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Roku is Cool

Computer based entertainment is fun and all, but it is kind of like a cup cake, meant to be consumed by one person at a time.  Computer screens are not conducive to being viewed by more than one person.  They are too small and too flat for the masses or even family fiewing.

We use Netflix but the only options for us are to get a DVD in the mail, schedule time to watch it, mail it back and wait three more days for the next film in our queue to come.  There is no spontaneous want to see/can see about it.  For that you can get the streaming service, but there you get to watch it on your computer.

This is where Roku comes in.  For under $50 you can buy this device that access your your wireless feed and you can stream Netflix directly onto your TV for all to see.  It doesn't do only Netflix, it is like its own cable system with several (around 100)channels like TED, Smithsonian, NBC News, Faux News, Huffington video and all sorts of streaming Internet channels.  There are even free movie and broadcast channels.   I've been catching up on all the eppisodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

It's a device like this that makes one question if they need cable TV at all.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Backing Up

Sometimes when the universe is in prefect alignment I can back the truck right up to the horse trailer, however most times it's a game of getting out to look and finding I need to go an inch or two in one direction.  Sadly it sometimess takes four or six tries before I get the hitch directly over the ball.

My remedy was to get a back-up camera.  It is supposed to mount on the rear license plate, but that doesn't give me the correct angle so I made a removable bracket that hangs on the tail gate and looks down directly on the hitch ball.  Very cool, no more hopping and skipping out of the cab for a look.  It's all there to see on the screen.

The additional cool thing is that the unit is wireless so after I'm hitched up I can move the camera inside the horse trailer and I can see that the horses are OK while in transit.

The problem with permanently hooking it up to the truck is that the camera is water resistant, but the wireless antenna unit isn't waterproof at all.  But all in all, it's really cool.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Addicted to Pawn

We were driving through Longview on Monday and we saw a sign on the back side of a building that said Pawn Shop.  Sure I've seen Pawn Stars, Cajun Pawn and Hard Core Pawn on TV and I've seen The Pawn Broker.  I went into a pawn shop to look around when I was much younger, but I didn't fully appreciate how cool these places can be.

I've been to Goodwill and other thrift stores in the past and have been under-whelmed with what they have to offer and I rarely buy from them.  It was at the pawn shop where I realized that you can find things of value that have been pawned and the things of little or no value end up at the thrift shops.

At this pawn shop I could have purchased a 25 gallon compressor, a 5,000 Watt generator, and a wire welder each for around $125.  My wife ended up getting a cool watch and a digital camera.  I bought a pocket watch to replace my cell phone since that is all I use my phone for and I bought a new two burner propane camp stove which REI has for $70.  We got everything for $50.

I am now addicted to Pawn!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chicken Report

It's been a while since I've written about the chickens.  Fourteen of them are still alive and the laying is at a minimum with six of the chickens entering their fourth year, five of them entering their 3rd year and three of them finishing their first six months.  Add to that most of them are molting; some days I'm lucky to get three eggs. 

This is the latest that we've ever ordered baby chicks, and yes they are available this time of year.  We just ordered nine brown leghorns and they will resemble the birds above.  They are beautiful birds but they are supposed to be on the skittish side.  Their ear lobes are white so they will lay white eggs.

The coop I built was designed to give the chicken ample room and security from predators.  It a tall coop that an adult human can stand inside after going into the back door and then entering the inner door that separates the hens area from the food storage area.

One thing that has always been unpleasant about having chickens has been the routine coop cleaning.  We have bedding that is made from broken pellets that people use in pellet stoves.  We pour them on the floor and wet them with a hose.  The crumbles break apart and fluff up into a fine saw dust.  This stuff absorbs chicken waste beautifully and keeps the coop smelling nice, however sooner or later it reaches a critical mass and has to be removed and replaced. 

Up until recently I had to carry one shovel full at a time through the two doors to dump it in the wheel barrow, but then I realize I could cut a trap door in the back side of the coop where I could just push all the waste out through the trap door in the wall into a container outside.  The old laborious way took sometimes up to 45 minutes.  With the new way I am done in less than five minutes.

Now if only there was an easier way to deal with horse manure...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Bottle Bill Is Broken


When I first moved here nearly two and a half decades ago I was delighted that Oregon had a bottle bill.  Having come from a state where bottles and cans were routinely thrown in the trash; this state was the leader in forward thinking.  Back then one would take their bottles to the grocery store and a bottle clerk would count what you brought in and give you a slip to be cashed in at the register.

 Several years ago the process became automated and hulking machines were brought in to count your cans and bottles.  The problem is these machines are operating in a sticky environment and they break down often, so no sooner than a clerk clear and reset a machine and starts walking back to the store another machine jams.

I live on a back road where people who want to drink while driving will use the route by my house to imbibe and in an effort to destroy any evidence they toss their cans and bottles out the window rather than risk being caught by the police with an empty container on board.  It’s their five-cent insurance premium.  There are folks that walk the road occasionally and pick up the cans and bottles, but as I ride my horse down the road I’ve calculated that there is often around $3.00 of containers per mile.

I went to Fred Meyer last night with a large accumulation and I had to wait for three jams to be cleared for the two people in front of me before I was even able to step up and jam the machine four times myself.  The other bottle machine was broken.  I finished most of the glass bottles I had and all of the cans in the bulk machine.  I still had plastic bottles in the truck as it was getting dark.  I had enough so I gave the remainder of the bottles to a pensioner who came with more returns than I had.

This makes me question if people are really disposing of their cans and bottles on the road because they don’t want to be caught with them, or if it just isn’t worth the five-cents to deal with the aggravation of turning them in.  I thought that once water and juice bottles were added to the bottle bill the state was going to create return centers where that all that was done, accepting returns.
The bottle bill was set up to prevent litter, and that doesn’t seem to be working.  I wonder how Washington roads look.  They don’t have a bottle bill and I don’t think they have a problem.  Folks in Washington are avid recyclers.  It would be much easier if we could drop the five-cent deposit and trust us to recycle.