Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gardening: Part II

Today I built my raised garden bed, which turned into an all day affair.

Wood + supplies.

Frame constructed using Gardener's Supply raised bed corners.

Soil delivery.

Slightly filled.

Fully filled with brick path.

I ordered 4 cubic yards, which was slightly more than I needed, and it looks they delivered over 5. Moving 4 cubic yards less 50 feet took about 5 hours. Now I'm going to have to spend tomorrow morning finding some place to dump the remanning 1+ yard.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

cars REDUX

A follow up from an older post about cars.

I spotted this car while biking this afternoon:

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This morning I finally went to Home Depot to buy wood to build a raised garden bed.

The interior of my car has about 7.5 feet lengthwise of storage space, and the wood I wanted was 10 feet long, so the drive home was interesting:

I asked the staff at Home Depot for help with securing the wood so that it wouldn't slide out of my car while I was driving -- I figure they do this kind of thing all the time. Their big suggestion was using some twine. Well, duh.

I took full advantage of getting to drive with the trunk open and blasted Gershwin -- a fellow Yiddish Yank -- on the five mile drive back home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Need of Roadside Assistance

Since living in Alabama I've noticed something on the highway that I doubt is unique to the state, but I certainly cannot recall seeing in the mid-Atlantic region. If I drive for more than 10 minutes on I-85 or I-65 (the two interstates that go through Montgomery), I'm guaranteed to see an abandoned car on the shoulder. During trips of over an hour I'll see many cars that appear to have been left on the shoulder.

Maybe I was just totally oblivious to this when living in Philadelphia, but during the many, many times on the Schuylkill, I-95, Northeast Extension, and NJ Turnpike, I rarely can recall seeing abandon cars on the shoulder. Maybe PennDOT and NJDOT were more aggressive about removing them?

But here's the thing that really strikes me as weird. Typically there is a 20ft grass area to the right of the shoulder. If I'm going to pull over to the shoulder and get out of my car, and especially if I'm going to abandon my car, I would pull into the grass area to minimize the chance of me or my car being hit by a car on the highway. No one does this. And who the heck are all of these people who are just leaving their cars on the shoulder? These cars typically don't appear to be clunkers. I would wait with my car for the tow truck to pick it up.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Storm!

According to the Pat Robertson school of thought, central Alabama is being punished for not being conservative enough with 3 to 5 inches of snow tomorrow.

Everybody is panicing because the most snow Montgomery typically gets in a winter is a dusting. The City doesn't have any snow removal equipment or salt, so it doesn't take more than an inch or two to shut everything down. By noon today the public schools, colleges and state government all announced that they would be closed tomorrow.

This evening I decided to go down to the supermarket to gawk at some good old fashioned pandemonium.

The supermarket must have reached capacity because every single shopping cart was in use.

Predictably bread, eggs and toilet paper were top sellers:

Kinda strange was that citrus fruits and strawberries were cleared out, but vegetables were fully in stock.

I expected that there would be a huge dent in the milk, but the shelves were totally filled. While I suppose the supermarket was aggressive about restocking the milk, I didn't see anyone with it in their carts. In fact, the drink of choice seemed to be soda and Gatorade.

I'm kinda of tempted to go back tonight before it closes to see what things are like, but I'm sure I can find something to watch on TV instead.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Causing Trouble at Local Dem. Party Meeting

At last night’s monthly Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting two candidates appeared as guest speakers; one was running for State Rep., the other for Agriculture Commissioner (yes, it’s pretty nuts that they elect an Agricultural Commissioner – the job entails food safety and protecting consumers from fraud).

Both spoke about why they were running for office, why we should vote for them, and waxed poetics about being proud Democrats.

Then came Q&A time.

My question was: “Both of you talked about how proud you are to be Democrats, how important the Party is, but on both of your literature (their staffs distributed palm cards) no where do you say that you’re Democrats. The message that sends to me is that you don’t want people to know your Party affiliation, that maybe you’re even embarrassed by it.”

The Agricultural Commissioner candidate stood up first. He looked at both sides of his palm card and then said that he was proud to be a Democrat, this was a mistake, and that he’d contact his printer to have “Democrat” added to the palm card.

Next the State Rep. candidate spoke and rambled for two minutes that it was also a mistake, but people should vote for him first and foremost because of his agenda and values.

Then someone else in the audience asked the State Rep. candidate: “How long have you been running?”

A: “Since June.”

Q: “So you’ve been running since June, and you’re just noticing now that your literature doesn’t say Democrat?

The State Rep. candidate then rambled for three minutes about how party affiliation isn’t important, we get too hung up on that, etc. etc., but then remembering that he was at a Democratic Party meeting, he occasionally interjected how proud he was to be a Democrat.

On my way out of the meeting he pulled me aside and admitted that he didn’t give a good answer to my question, that the truth is that he’s running in a +12 Republican district, and that he needs Republican votes to win.

I responded by saying that the problem with the Democratic Party is that they’ve allowed Republicans to brand us to the point that candidates like him are afraid to be identified as a Democrat, and that he shouldn’t show up to a Party meeting asking for support from the Party while giving out literature that hides the fact that he’s a Democrat – at least have two versions of your palm cards and bring the “Democrat for State Rep.” version to meetings like this.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Expedia and USAir FAIL

So I'm in Philly and New York this weekend. I went to print my boarding pass last night I got a message that the flight had been canceled and that I needed to call USAir. Most of the airlines began preemptively canceling all flights going in and out of Philly after 3pm today last night because of tonight's snow storm. While I expect to get screwed and then pistol whipped by USAir, I thought Expedia would be better.

Neither USAir or Expedia notified me by email that the flight had been canceled -- I only found out when I tried to check-in. After being on hold with USAir for 20 minutes, getting through, then having my call dropped, then on hold for another 30 minutes, I was able to book an earlier flight into Philly. Had I waited to print my boarding pass until the morning of the flight and found out at that point that the flight had been canceled, I would have been up shit creek. The last flight out of Atlanta was at 3pm (which I took), and USAir canceled their 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm flights -- I was competing with all of the people on these flights for a seat on the 3pm flight.

Now here's the best part: USAir would let me change my flight free of charge as long as I took a flight that left within 6 days of today. This policy makes sense if something unexpected happens with the weather, but they canceled my flight 24 hours early, before any snow had fallen.

Final complaint: if the only way to change flights is to call USAir, they need more operators and a better phone system. I saw on twitter that other people were having the exact same problem. USAir had all the calls go through their main customer service number -- they should have a special number for these kinds of reschedules.

I'm still fuming that I never received any email notification -- I'll be sending angry emails.