Sunday, April 24, 2016

My post politically active year ever!

     So, aside from being a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter, I have also participated in more aspects of the social process than ever before.  I have been a regular contributor by making small $10 weekly payments to Bernie's Campaign, and I've even engaged in phone banking (an activity that I absolutely despise.)  All because I feel like for the first time in my life, a political figure actually represents my views.  However, I have been learning a lot about Hillary supporters in this process, and I would like to take a few minutes to describe what I am hearing from them.

     First of all, there is not much (if any) talk about what actual policies Hillary supports.  The vast majority of people I speak with just say they want to vote for her, and usually say they don't have a reason.  Honestly, who can blame them.  News channels like CNN and MSNBC only cover how much Hillary disagrees with the other candidates, but there is never any talk about what Hillary is planning to do.  She just talks about how she is being attacked by Bernie Sanders, who has tried more than any other candidate to keep the debate about policy issues, but she has only engaged in mud slinging.

     If her time as First Lady, A Senator, or as Secretary of State are any indication of what to expect, then we can rest assured it will be a year dominated by news of the various scandals she is involved with.  We can rest assured that she will continue to deregulate the banks, and we can be certain that the countless wars we actively engage in will continue to receive more tax dollars year after year.  Furthermore, the TPP would be signed, and tax loopholes would be expanded to provide new alternatives to Panama, now that recent events have exposed that loophole.  Our healthcare system would continue as is, and she would make more grants available to finance college education; both of these are part of the problem leading to astronomical College tuition rates and healthcare costs.  This is what we should expect if Hillary does exactly what she has been doing throughout her career.

     I have not talked with a single Hilary supporter who understands what Hillary will do, nor can they even explain what she claims she will do.  Again, who could blame them.  In order to figure out what her claims are, you need to sift through pages of empty campaign slogans and glittering prizes, and you still won't read much about what she actually plans to do.  Most of the time, especially in terms of campaign finance, you are looking at a candidate who benefits greatly from Citizens United and secret funding from Super Pacs; not to mention that she gets sanctioned for campaign finance violations in every campaign she has run.  However, thanks to the Clinton Defence Fund, she can just treat these pesky fines as the cost of doing business as usual.  If she did bring campaign finance reform, it would most likely be in the form of opening up contributions so she wouldn't have to pay so much in court fees and sanctions.

     One thing Hillary has established, is that she knows how to speak out against the ideas of others, but where she is lacking is the actual follow through on her own views.  She considers contacting your state representatives and asking them to support your candidate "harassing the Super Delegates."  She calls Bernie Sanders unqualified with no basis, and then claims she is being viciously attacked when Bernie said taking tens of millions in campaign funds from special interest groups through her Super PACs makes her unqualified; he claims that supporting the Panama Free Trade Agreement makes her unqualified.  Honestly, based on her campaign claims from her own website, she is claiming that she will eliminate the very things that have allowed her to run for president.

I cold continue to go on, and honestly, when it comes to the issues she lists on her own site, nearly every one of them is in direct contradiction to the actions she has taken throughout her political career.  Honestly, I can't go through all 30 of them here, but I encourage you to do some fact checking, and see what she has actually done.  You , may be suprised to find that while many of the points she makes on her site seem good on the surface, she does not have a plan to achieve any of them, and history has shown that she typically voted against these views in the past; with a few exceptions like Alzheimer's, sexual assault, and disability rights.  However, those are no-brainer issues that have not even come up during the campaign; additionally, everyone agrees with those points.

In closing, Anonymous has a great video that lists the scandals that Hillary was involved in.  While I admit some of these are not substantiated claims, but it was proven that she repeatedly lied to the public, she pardoned FALN terrorists, and repeatedly committed record setting campaign fraud offenses.  Anyway, take a look at this video, and judge for yourself.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why I Chose Bernie Sanders

Before half of our precinct showed up, they had to move us to the hallway because we didn't fit in the room...
After caucusing today, I got really riled up about why I chose Bernie. (121 people in my precinct, 93 for Bernie, 23 for Clinton – well over 1,000 for my district showed up!) Part of it was because I chose to get involved when it came time to give arguments supporting him after the Clinton candidates spoke, and the thoughts are bouncing around in my head now, so I feel like I need to get them out! So, here I go… A vote for Bernie is a vote for:
  • Eliminating the health insurance racket, not reforming it.
  • Eliminating the overpriced private school system we refer to as Universities and Colleges, in favor of updating our public school system to include a college education.  Increasing access to grants and student loans has resulted in over a Trillion dollars of outstanding debt, and the 37th education system in the world in terms of quality.
  • Eliminating tax loopholes, that allow large corporations like the NFL, Microsoft, Walmart, and Apple to shift profits to overseas tax havens, costing the American public Billions in taxes each year (I.E. $40 Billion from Microsoft and nearly $100 Billion from Apple every year!)  Plus we all know the NFL should not be considered a non-profit tax-exempt organization.
  • A vote to repeal citizens united, which Hilary has utilized in every campaign she has run in the past 6 years (thus, no way in hell she would change that.)  I suppose rootstrikers.
  • A vote for trying to confront Islamic extremists by disproving their argument (and primary recruiting tool) that the western world doesn’t care about them.
  • The only hope for achieving peace in the middle east is to treat each of the countries involved as equal partners in a mutual resolution to conflict. (I.E. Remain neutral and not side with Israel and Saudi Arabia exclusively in opposition to Iran).
  • We need to adjust our tax laws to remove tax caps for high income households; especially in terms of the 15% investment income tax, which almost exclusively applies to people with annual income above a million dollars.
  • We need to ask the question of where the money to pay for war is coming from.  This money is obtained by punishing the teachers and schools in this country with insufficient funding.  It is obtained by punishing the citizens of this country by not maintaining our existing infrastructure.  It is obtained by devaluing public transportation, and denying people a mass transit alternative.
  • We need to recognize that we only have one planet, and if we break it we might not be able to fix it.  Global warming is real, and regardless of how it is happening, we need to take every action possible to slow or reverse it’s effects.  We need to reduce subsidies for oil, coal, and nuclear power production, and increase subsidies for solar, wind, and geothermal power production.  There is no reason we shouldn’t have a 100% green power grid by 2020.
  • We need to promote a more sustainable materials economy.  Our buildings, electronics, and other consumer goods need to be designed to be broken down into raw components that can be used for the next generation of consumer goods.  This type of technological ecosystem will reduce the burden of disposing of waste, and reduce the demand for destructively mining new raw materials.
  • Electric vehicles are one of our best bets to reduce CO2 emissions.  Even though the current electric grid would produce a similar or greater emission per mile than gasoline cars; centralizing the source of emissions increases the feasibility of eliminating CO2 emissions from transportation.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Adventures to Amazon Land

South Lake Union Neighborhood seen from Lake Union
South Lake Union Park
     On the North side of downtown Seattle is a neighborhood called South Lake Union.  It is, as the name suggests, South of Lake Union.  On the shore of the lake you will find the MOHAI (Museum of History & Industry) as well as the center for wooden boats.  (Also home to the Jeff Bezos learning center - extra points if you know why he is relevant).  At the other side of the neighborhood is Denny Way, and my new employer The Seattle Times.

Center for wooden boats

Space Needle from Seattle Times

Amazon construction
     In the middle is the place where everything you buy comes from... At least the world headquarters.  That is, the main campus of Amazon's would headquarters.  It's a wonderful mix of brick and mortar retail shops... with the online giant that's putting them out of business sitting right on top.
Riding S.L.U.T. to Amazon
Part of Amazon Campus
     A land of contradictions... it's named after a place synonymous with nature, but in a place where anything older than me is decimated and covered in concrete.  Retail stores in the capitol of online shopping.  Its a hip little space with bars, stores, restaurants, and even a Microsoft office mixed in there.

I get coffee here in the morning
     Along the ground snaking through the forest of construction cranes is Westlake Ave... and the S.L.U.T. (South Lake Union Trolley) - a trolley that apparently uses the honor system to collect fares.  The person riding with me tells me he has been taking it every day without paying, and watching a few other people board I relief that nobody really pays.  I had to laugh a little at that.  I watch the S.L.U.T. pass me every morning as I walk to work, and if I really wanted, it would reduce a 1\2 mile walk into a small city block. 

I rode the S.L.U.T. back from Lake Union to the south end of the line.  Which is the heart of the shopping district.  Westlake Center, where the bus tunnel, most surface buses out of the city, the S.L.U.T., and the monorail all meet.  From this point, its a short walk to the Pike Market, the Elliot Bay waterfront, and the convention center, and all kinds of stores.

The Bus Tunnel
Park at Westlake Center

My purpose for visiting Westlake is usually because I'm either entering or leaving the city.  In this case, I came for the bus tunnel... a weird pseudo-subway where buses and trains meet in the same tunnel.  Here, the light rail can take you to the airport, and based on what looks like an honor-system fare situation, I bet most people ride for free.  The ebb and flow of people gathering in the station, then boarding and heading off on the light rail is neat to watch.  A train comes about every five or ten minutes, and because my bus was running about 20 minutes behind, I got to watch a few groups of people gather and board.
My broken bus... Where my bus broke down... Local Artwork...

Of coarse, today was not my most lucky day riding the transit lines.  My bus broke down just before getting on the Interstate to head back to Renton.  They said the check engine light came on, and it's against the rules for them to get on the highway with the light on...

Anyway, the bus parked for about 30 minutes until a new bus could arrive, then I boarded on and went home.

So, if you ever wondered about Amazon's campus, or what the area is like... maybe this will give you an idea.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's been a long time... How have you been?

I think the quote from GLaDOS is appropriate for any return after a long time.  The Portal villain certainly reminds me of my favorite things of the video game.  After all, it's all for science.

That's  not what I came to babel about this time.  To be honest, I was starting to wonder if I would ever return to this blog, or if it had faded into the ether of my distant past.  I find myself writing more in a book these days than on the Interwebs, but I don't know why.  Perhaps I don't always want to share my thoughts with the world first.  I guess I could do that, but digital permanence and all.

I recently have had a few things change.  I went through one of the hardest break ups I've ever experienced, and a couple days later I lost my job.  I didn't care about the job though;  it seems that SDETs are in high demand around these parts, and I have no shortage of options.

I recently started thinking about moving to Portland.  I love Seattle, and it would be hard for me to move on from here, but a breakup followed by loosing my contract, and finally a call from some recruiter who might offer you a way better job than you had... it all seems to feel like it was meant to be.  Funny enough, just the breakup made me think of leaving town to get a fresh start.

Anyway, maybe that's a thing... maybe I'm just babbling again... whatever it is, I might have some changes around the corner, but in the mean time, I have more time on my hands.  Maybe I'll just start blogging again for a while?   time will tell.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No picture today...

I don't have a picture (because I'm still waiting for my camera) however, maybe I can describe it for you...

Anyway, I have been waking up just before the sun rises to the point it would be visible if the clouds weren't hanging around.  In fact, the clouds are right on top of me most mornings, and even below me as I walk my lap around the river.  Along Riverside Drive, across the bridge at Wells, backtrack through Jones Park, and cross the river again at Bronson.  It's a short walk, maybe a quarter mile at best, but it is just enough to help wake me up and make sure Jaani can do his morning business.

I fill up Jaani's dish with food, and then I dump out, rinse, and refill his water dish with nice cool water from my filtered pitcher in the fridge.  This time of day, my phone keeps my rhythm for me... Cock-a-doodle-doo marks the time to wake up.  I need to get up for my morning eat and clean... Beep-beep, Beep-beep and it's time to take the dog for his walk.  Usually I get the early 1900's phone noise before making it back to the apartment, which means I need to check his food and water.  Honk honk means the bus is about 15 minutes out.  However, the bus alarm isn't just based on a specific time.  Sometimes it comes earlier than I expect... This alarm is from an App on my phone (other than the default clock app).  It updates the bus schedule in real time. I can pick up my phone and see how many minutes I have until the bus gets there.  It is handy.  (One Bus Away is the name of the app FYI.)

My phone is my master of scheduling.  Something that makes me very nervous to tinker with now that I use it for more than just fun and games.  A feeling that makes me a little nervous about the idea of getting the latest and greatest new gadget on release day; however, I suspect it still won't stop me.

So, this marks the time when I start heading toward the bus.  I need to allow about 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop in order to get there in time.  Sometimes I can wait a couple minutes because I time the lights just right, but usually the bus is pulling up just after I arrive at the terminal.  I usually manage to get a seat toward the back, but today I actually had to sit near the front (in the sideways seats that are reserved for elderly and handicap people (usually that just means I need to sit sideways and can't lean my head back.

Although I wouldn't lean back if I could.  I break out my tablet, plug in my headphones, and watch a video lecture.  I have about 30 minutes to watch lectures before I arrive at Overlake Transit Center.  I am excited about this bus ride in the summer.  The view of Mt Rainier from 520 East while leaving Bellevue is an excellent way to start your day off.  The fog is usually below the horizon.  The sun is behind the Cascade range to the East... Rainier to the South.  The left side of the mountain glows, the glacier on top can even blind you on a sunny morning when the sun hits it just right.  The right side of the mountain is dark and takes on a blue tint from the shade.  Sometimes the mountain wears a white fedora, almost as if it was lifting it's hat to say good morning.  For this, and only this, reason I almost always sit on the right side of the bus in the morning.

Once I arrive at Overlake, I am just across the street from the Studios West Campus. Well, across 520, which is a six lane road with two additional exit lanes on each side... So the bridge is like a small city block.  Then I cut between Studio A and the Commons... across to the far side of the campus, where I get to Studio C.  Once in the building, I take the stairs to the fourth floor and get my coffee before heading into the lab.

Things are a little different in the lab.  The teams have become adjusted to the new space.  Every part and tool has found it's home.  It's time for new developments; this is the story in the tech industry.  Stay competitive... be adaptable... do what the lab needs you to do.  This sometimes forces me to step slightly outside my Test Engineer role, but doubling as a part time Network Engineer... Software Architect... or miscellaneous grunt is something that just needs to be done from time to time.  You just read a few articles about what you are trying to get done... find someone who can give you practical advice... get-r-done!

I came back at a time where several teams need a little help.  All the new products that were put out this past year have created some interesting challenges, and new tests need to be run... test results from the summer need to be analyzed to make sure we learn from our failures and successes.  My boss likes it when I can point out things we could have done better, and how to ensure it really gets done better next time.  Even though that sometimes means making a plan for something we will never do again.  That's just the nature of being on the bleeding edge.  If one and three ideas pans out, we are making progress;  However, if one and six pan out... well, it's epic... whether win or fail.

By the end of the day I'm usually beat.  Half the time I can hardly make it through more than five or six minutes of lecture before I need to close my eyes and lean back.  I open my eyes to find I'm back at the Renton Transit Center... I walk home... get Jaani... walk him for a mile or two... then get dinner and relax for another couple hours.

I spend from 07:30 to 18:30 away from the house.  Which makes me feel really bad for Jaani.  All alone for 11 hours a day... although, I need to go to work.  Plus, I try to make it up to him on the weekends by not leaving him alone at all.

Anyway... That's the story with my work life right now.  It's not bad.  I get a sense of fulfillment form my work... a sense of greater being than just fending for myself in the wilderness... a sense of belonging somewhere that only comes from working with a great team of people.

So, that's all for now.  It's my story, and I'm sticking to it.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yooperland Vacation!

So, I have been neglecting my blog again... I guess I have been up to a lot of stuff.

Jaani has been enjoying 3 walks a day in his own private 1.5 acre dog park... sometimes when the neighbors are around, I'll put him on a leash because I don't think they would like it if he went running up to them...

I have been spending a lot of time entertaining my nieces and nephews.  They are all at the point where they want lots and lots of attention, so it's a good thing I'm here to give it to them.

I went to the renaissance festival where I enjoyed a turkey leg, a pickle, lots of beer, and a show at the smoker.  Then we went to a near by bar for more beer and pizza.  It was good to see my cousin the Amazing Flec perform his fire show at the smoker, although it was weird that there is no smoking in the smoker... at least not sense they passed that non-smoking law...

Next, I went around visiting old friends from high school... just dropping in and getting a beer at the local bars, but this past weekend, we went out for a Yooperland Adventure of sorts.  (Jaani stayed with my parents...)

We went to Craig Lake which is just north of Michigamme, Michigan (which is in Michigan's upper peninsula SW of Marquette.)  The way to the lake is to drive into Michigamme, where you will find a small one lane dirt road (craig lake rd)... take that road about 6 or 7 miles in (following the signs to craig lake)... then you will find a small parking lot... from there, you will have to carry your boat about 1/2 a mile down a dirt road to the water.  From there, we traveled across the water for about 1.5 miles by boat (1 canoe, 1 kayak, 1 row boat)...

While there, we polished off about 168 beers, 5 fifths of liquor, and a half gallon of 5 o'clock vodka... we didn't bring much booze back with us... it was a good time.

Speaking of drinking... it seems that after spending a few weeks in Michigan, I find that I have greatly increased my capacity for alcohol.  Funny how that works...

Anyway, now, I think I will spend the weekend going to East Lansing, Royal Oak, and possibly Duck Lake for another relaxing vacation.

Maybe I'll write more later, but that's all for now.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

So, I've made it about 1,420 miles, and that puts me at over half way.

I drove through Sturgis, but most of the bikers were out on the Interstate... but you can really tell that nearly everyone here has come for the festival.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired.  I got on the road at about 7:30 this morning.  I Filed an insurance claim for my camera, and they are sending return addressed box for me to return the camera in.  It really is too bad that I have to deal with my phone camera.  I have just been letting my phone upload new photos as I take them, then I move the photos over to the album when I am sitting around.

I have mixed feelings about using my phone camera.  For the first leg of my trip, I had a tripod that I was using to take pictures, but with my phone, it already has a dashboard mount.  That means I can just hit the button every once and a while to snap a photo.

Anyway, I still have a camera to use, but I don't think I'll take any more picture with Jaani and I in them... oh well.

So, once arriving in Wall, I still had some sunlight to take advantage of.  I didn't realize how much earlier the sky gets black in the mountains.  Here on the plains, I feel like I get an extra couple hours of sunlight.  Anyway, I decided to walk over to the giant dinosaur. I have seen it several time from the road, but I wanted to stand next to it.  So, Jaani and I walked over there from the motel room, and looked around for a while before I realized how hungry I was.  I guess when you drive all day...  anyway, I left Jaani in the room while I went over to Wall Drug to take a peek and got something to eat.  I might go back over there again, but I am feeling pretty tired.  I might just lay down and go to bed then start going early in the morning.

I might start before the sun... that way I can make some progress before it starts to really heat up outside...

I guess tomorrow will come soon enough.