Sunday, October 19, 2008


This is the intersection of Dexter, Florentia, Freemont, Westlake, and Nickerson. I was impressed with the complexity when I saw this sign with 5 street names, so I took a picture.

Jack O'Lantern

According to Wikipedia, the name "Jack O'Lantern" comes from "the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o'-lantern." Not as Irish as I would have guessed. This is one I made on Monday, already starting to go bad.

Shed version 2.0

My parents put some finishing touches on the shed, including trim, a cupola, and a weathervane with a squirrel instead of a rooster (my mom's idea). I love it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Game Show History

Pat Sajak and Vannah White just gave away the largest total in Wheel of Fortune's history - $1,026,080. The contestant won a wedge from the wheel which changes the $100,000 prize wedge on the bonus round wheel to a million. So, she had to get to the bonus round, pick the right wedge on the bonus round wheel (1 of 24), and solve the bonus puzzle. What are the overall odds? Not good. But somehow, some way, she pulled through. What a moment!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

LIghts and Sirens

My company has an agreement with the Bellevue Fire Department in which we transport their patients in exchange for a guarantee that we will be there within 12 minutes of the call. For every call we arrive late, the city of Bellevue will fine my company $500. What this means for me is that I have to drive fast and bend the rules of traffic to get there on time or I will face the wrath of my boss. Well, yesterday I was dispatched to go lights and sirens to an emergency in Bellevue. It was almost 6 miles away. I found myself going a little faster than I normally would, and going over a median into oncoming traffic to get through an intersection. You can understand why I felt the pressure to make it on time. Mapquest says it should have taken approximately 14 minutes to get there. We made it in 11 minutes and 40 seconds. Perhaps driving against a stopwatch is more stressful than dealing with some emergencies. I'm glad only 2 of our 8 fire contracts have a time limit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blog Etiquette and the Definition of Marriage

I got an email from an old acquaintance inviting me to check out her blog because she wrote something she felt was important. Basically, she was arguing that traditional marriage is and has been the foundation for any stable society since the beginning of time, and we should choose to restrict marriage to traditional relationships. She began by talking about the definition of the word and I thought I could strengthen her position. I posted a comment that said something like "yes, if you change the definition of the word, the word may lose its value ... ethics aside, a traditional relationship has greater value than an (alternative) because it has the potential to bring new life to the world ... including other types of relationships under the umbrella of marriage would be like, for instance, changing the word 'square' to include rectangles, the word 'square' loses an important part of its meaning." I checked back to see whether anyone had responded to my comment because I was so proud of it, but it turns out she didn't allow my comment. Excuse me? You allow other people to post stuff like "Wow, great idea, you're so cool" but you screen out a new idea? Whatever, see if I read your blog again. Was my comment offensive? Does it make sense? Maybe she didn't want to open up a can of worms.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to School

Next week I start working as a substitute teacher, K-12, on my days off from the ambulance. It's more money, and it's a big change of pace. Part of the deal is I can only profess polytheistic or atheistic beliefs, and if I teach history, the only fact I can mention about the founding fathers is that they had slaves. But I'm excited to see what it's like to work with kids. My little sister is confident that I will be able to especially relate to the geeks.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Math Story Problem

One of the great things about working on an ambulance is that I go all over the greater Seattle area. I don't always have my camera with me, but I happened to get a picture of downtown from Providence Mt. St. Vincent in West Seattle. The most prominent features are the Columbia Tower (toward the right of downtown) and the Space Needle on the left. I estimated they were about 20 degrees apart, and the actual distance between the two is about 2 km, so assuming an isosceles triangle, what is the distance between this point and downtown? It should be about 6 km. Right? Right.

Neighborhood Security

One of our close neighbors takes the 2nd Amendment quite seriously. He sometimes likes to practice bearing arms out his window and aiming them toward someone else's house. You don't believe me? Well, I took a picture because I thought it was so strange. It is only a BB gun, but it still raises questions about his sanity. So far no casualties. I think we should designate him to be our neighborhood security guard/SWAT coordinator.