Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shed Completion

It all started with a dream. The dream became a plan. The plan started a cascade of trips to Home Depot and BMC. Then, any time it was sunny, my parents or my little brother or I were out there working on the shed. It was the project to end all projects, the icing on our back yard cake. 3 months later the dream has become reality. I don't want to brag, but I can't deny that it is a fine structure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Yesterday I went to Arizona to interview with a PA program. The trip was short and sweet. An old time buddy picked me up from the airport and was benevolent enough to let me crash at his place. And his roommate did us the courtesy of snapping our picture about 5 times when we were not ready, the best of which is posted here. The interview went well. The most difficult question they asked me was what do I have on my iPod (because I don't have an iPod) and I think I should hear back from them within the next couple of weeks. The school has a beautiful campus, lots of cactus and it seems you never have to pull weeds in Arizona. I was impressed by the students. They seemed happy and friendly.
The second picture is of Mt Rainier. I happened to get a window seat and to look out just in time to get a picture. Magnificent. If I move to Arizona I would probably miss seeing the mountain once in a while. The Phoenix area seemed very flat.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Prices always depend on supply and demand, right? It's a free country, and I can always buy what I need from whoever offers me the lowest price, right? Not always. The price of labor can be fixed by unions, which exercise absolute control over labor supply. You might say a union has a monopoly on labor, or that they are a sort of labor cartel. This system can be detrimental to the economy, and does little to satisfy the needs of the company.
If, for instance, you are a large aerospace company with a multi-billion dollar deal on the horizon, and you need a lot of laborers, and you are willing to pay out (demand) $25 an hour along with excellent benefits, stock options, etc., and there are heaps of guys (supply) who are willing to work for you for said price, you can't hire them unless you meet the demands of the union. So the union says $30 an hour, and a $5000 bonus, and Mariners tickets along with a large bag of cotton candy to sweeten the deal. You can't move forward until you come to an agreement, meanwhile your stock is dropping $2 every day and you are paying millions in penalties and there is a growing possibility of losing some of the business altogether. You see where the damage to the economy comes into play as well as the potential to seriously mess up important business deals that have been years in the making.
It seems to me that most of what unions do these days is get their members riled up to bite the hand that feeds them. They call for strikes and file grievances at the drop of a hat while communication and negotiation would be more in the interest of the laborers, as well as, of course, for the company. Strikes are a last resort, as in the 1800's when working conditions were hazardous and guys working 80 hours a week could hardly feed their families. I think Samuel Gompers would turn over in his grave if he could see what unions are doing nowadays. And I think today we could do without unions altogether.

Pacific Raceway

Today I worked on an ambulance crew posted at Pacific Raceway. Our responsibility was to provide basic life support in the event of an accident on the track. It was time trials or something, so there wasn't very much traffic, and fortunately there were no injuries. We just listened to the roar of the bikes and read books for 9 hours. Meanwhile, all the other ambulances in the area were slammed because a national private ambulance chain sent down several of their Seattle crews to help out with hurricane Ike. I should have bought a lottery ticket - it was my lucky day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Husky Fever

My ladyfriend and I went to a college football game Saturday. Her brother has a great eye for the game. He can see offsides and holding better than the officials from all the way in the back of the stands. We supported the visiting team and won by 1 point after the visitors blocked a PAT. It was wild. Unsportsmanlike conduct was called after the hometeam scored a touchdown which brought them within 1. This made the PAT 15 yards longer, which made the kick easier to block. Some say the unsportsmanlike penalty was wak and it should have gone into overtime. I believe there was a deficit of penalties against the hometeam throughout the game so it worked out fair enough.


Looking around the highways, you might guess that there is one motorcycle for every 20 cars. Maybe 30. But working on an ambulance it might seem like half the vehicles involved in accidents are motorcycles. I know that's not true, but what does seem to be true (in my limited experience) is that half of motor vehicle accidents in which someone has to go to the hospital involve a motorcycle. And who is the one going to the hospital? It's always the guy on the motorcycle, never the guy in the car. So it seems to me a very disproportionate number of MVA victims going to the hospital are motorcycle guys. I think this is part of what makes motorcycles cool. They show less regard for personal safety than any other mode of transportation, which is very cool.