Monday, June 30, 2008

Bottled Water

The inspiring article

Blingh20 Not Work Safe, sort of

I've always found it interesting what people will do when convinced that it is somehow better for them, despite publicly available research that shows otherwise. It worries me though. Today, bottled water and "oxygen bars" tomorrow... Actually, i think we've taken this whole human 2.0 thing as far as it's going to go. We have health food and fortified fruit smoothies on every block, atlantean rejuvenation chambers in new mexico, and "light" juices (that are really just watered down versions of regular juice with a popular non-sugar additive added to make up the difference). what else can we really do? I can see building upon these products, but beyond that I can't see a whole lot more innovations. Maybe nanobots that ferry around adenosine triphosphate directly to our cells, without us having to go through all that respiration jazz. I imagine there's a whole host of new biological problems caused by that, though.

Also, one word used in an interview in that article worried me a bit; "mouthfeel" describing how a liquid feels to the mouth. I'm not sure when we decided to step away from taste and invent a new word for a particular sensation out of a complete bastardization of two existing words. It seems rather newspeakish. I blame marketing.

I suppose I'm overreacting a bit.

Motivations, Immolations Pt. 2

Wow, look at that, I wrote an entire post and forgot what it was originally about.

That’s just no good.

I started this blog as a step in a plan to find alternate revenue streams as opposed to depending solely on a 9-5 job. As outlined in the previous post, I am unsure quite how I will manage this, but I’ll be giving it a shot anyhow. I’m also looking for work at this point in time, so if there are any local employers browsing; I have a year and a half’s experience as a cashier.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Motivations, Immolations.

While barely managing to keep my expectations low, I’ve been quite pleased with this blog’s success so far. At the end of its first week (first five days, really) I’ve managed to pull about 163 visits and 203 pageviews. This far surpassed my “six people and five of which I had to drag by ear” original expectation.

I feel somewhat bad, as my first couple of posts have been solely focused on a transportation issue in the town I live in. not particularly entertaining. I honestly have yet to decide a direction for this blog, as most niche’s are already filled by another twenty to thirty other blogs, many of which are much better than mine can hope to become. I considered making this a short story outlet, which still doesn’t seem to bad of an idea, assuming I can get enough visitors to actually comment on the posts. Until such time in which I decide the overall direction this blog is going, I will simply regale passerby with amusing anecdotes from my life, maybe an occasional link, or mention of something I like or whatever. But I don’t like that idea so much, as I know firsthand how boring people and their lives can really be. So perhaps I will limit the anecdotes to particularly good ones.

On the traffic thing, I am quite serious about my exceeded expectations. I have a friend of mine who runs a forum here(and has been for some time) that still only has about seventeen (:]) members (including me :|) including some guys from a website called I kind of expected my blog to be like that for quite some time, at least until I figured out a strategy for growth. but a quick and easy $5 donation (that I would have thrown in anyway, really) to child’s play for the Mario marathon guys netted me a little surge in visits, along with the various links to this blog I left on a few forums. I suppose this is just an initial swell that will quickly dissipate once the people who wander in realize I have nothing interesting to say anyway.

So, any comments?

Misguided Philantrophy

Yesterday, I was out biking (as part of a summer fitness regimen) when I noticed a pair of displaced people sitting by a shopping center entrance. Just to clarify, I have terrible willpower when it comes to panhandlers, so I try to keep as far away as I can or I'll burst out in tears and give them my bank card and pin number. So anyway, I rode on by and stopped into a drugstore and spent the two bucks of cash I had on me there on a cold sport drink. The entire time, however, I was thinking that I should give the cash to the destitute folks outside instead of wasting it on my (relatively) advantaged self. My sense of thirst won out though, so I thought about it for a bit and decided I would give them a pair of bus tickets I had in my pocket (I dunno, in case I broke an ankle riding or something). They were really appreciative about it, though my internal guilt machine kept reminding me of the cool drink I had in my other hand and the bank card in my pocket. I managed to escape pretty quickly and went to have lunch at a local Mexican fast food restaurant. I came out later and hopped back on my bike and waved to them as I left, they waved back. They were pretty nice folks.

It’s weird, when I originally wrote this, I included a bunch of brand names for the things I did, almost subconsciously. I don’t really like this method of worming into people’s heads, so I edited it to take them out.

Do you also have an internal guilt machine?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bright side.

Today i was on the local Bus system here in Livermore returning from an assessment test up at Las Positas, when I encountered perhaps the best bus driver I've met so far in my travels. A man had missed the bus in front of ours by mere moments and gotten on our bus instead, pleading his case. the bus driver, Harold immediately contacted the driver of the bus just in front of us and arranged for a quick bus switch, saving that man half an hour of his life. Harold continued on his way, amicably chatting with a passenger seated behind him. It was very nice. Quite a few of the drivers i've met are like that, though not quite as much. Wheels is a pretty good service, even if it is eating a hole in the pockets of Livermore's parents.

Bus fares, bad? or worse?

I want to bring up a little known issue that affects nearly a quarter of Livermore’s population and many of Livermore High’s students, namely, bus fares. As it stands, the Wheels bus fare is at one of the highest levels in the bay area, rivaled only by ACE transit. ACE transit, however, features one thing that Wheels does not: a lower fare for youth riders. The cost for a person seventeen or under to ride ACE is 85¢, as compared to the $1.75 regular fare. Wheels charges $1.75 right up until one is a senior citizen. This a significant problem, especially when considering that many of our students are forced to use the bus to get to and from school each day, since the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District does not provide school buses for them.

This means that students without cars, under the age of 16, or without parents willing or able to transport their children to and from school every day pay $3.50 each day just to get to and from school. That’s $17.50 a week, for a total of $630 every school year. Even with Fare Busters tickets at $14 a week, that still totals $504 dollars a school year. With Super-Saver bus passes, it comes to $477 a school year.

This places an unnecessary financial burden upon the parents (or often the students themselves). I propose that Wheels enacts a lower fare for youth riders, to alleviate the impact on our more financially or mobility constricted families. While one might argue that this would lower revenues for Wheels and cause it to run at even more of a loss, I’ve seen the budget, and the majority of the costs are construction related. Perhaps the next few times a construction proposal crosses the table, it will be denied instead. I’m dismayed that Wheels would rely on a section of Livermore’s population that is dependent on these services to make revenues above actual, non construction costs.

*update, Wheels did in fact raise fares. It is now $2.00 general fare and $1.00 for seniors. All of the additional prices have ratcheted up as well.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Parents forced to waste gas, no one cares.

In nearly every tale of childhood, a school bus plays some role. Be it merely a vehicle with which to journey to and from school or even a setting itself, school buses are synonymous with idyllic childhood joy. There’s even a brand of bread that uses a school bus as its logo. School buses were important places in such popular and memorable films as Napoleon Dynamite and Forrest Gump. And yet, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) provides no such service for its 13,225 students. I find this extremely worrying. There ought to be a law requiring school districts to provide transportation for at least half of its constituents.

With such a law, at the bare minimum, the students living furthest away from their enrolled school would have a reliable method of transportation every morning. Providing students with this service will lower pollution, as fewer cars will be on the road every morning and afternoon; lower stress, as parents won’t have to get up as early just to transport their kids; and lower traffic, as again fewer cars will be on the road in the morning and afternoon. It would lower roadway repair costs and fuel expenses for parents. There is another advantage to waiting until now to enact this: the buses can be hybrids, or even purely electric vehicles, saving even more on fuel, and enabling the program to be run relatively inexpensively. It would create a whole new set of jobs in Livermore, invigorating our economy while the rest of the nation is sliding into recession.

I can see a world in which every morning, our school children walk to a location a few blocks away and are promptly met by a gleaming yellow bus. The door opens, and a smiling bus driver says “good morning children! All ready for school today?” and the children file on, ready to learn, play, and laugh their way through another school day. At the end of that day, the children walk outside their school to find the same big yellow bus waiting for them to get on. This time, the bus driver says “Good afternoon, children. All ready to go home and play?” and the children file on, laughing and talking to their friends. As it is now, each morning parents drag themselves and their children out of bed, with their kids protesting and feigning illness in attempts to convince their parents not to take them to school. With the parents in a cloudy haze, well before the coffee kicks in, they drive dangerously fast down the road to school, where they wait in ten to twenty minutes of traffic before they can stop and let their kids out. Less than six hours later, the parents drive up to the school and sits in another massive queue to pick their children up, and wait yet another five to ten minutes just to exit the parking lot or street in which they picked their child up. Which would you choose?

I call on each and every one of those reading this to speak up! Make you complaint heard! Call Brenda miller, superintendent of LVJUSD at (925) 606-3281! Call the mayor, Marshall Kamena, at (925) 960-4020! Call one of Livermore’s city Council Members, Doug Horner, Marj Leider, John Marchand, or Jeff Williams at (925) 960-4010! Call the Board of Education! Tom McLaughlin and Bill Morrison, whose terms are up for re-election in November of this year, can be reached at (925) 443-1895 and (925) 454-9256 respectively. Also serving are Anne White, (925) 443-3106; Kate Runyon, (925) 454-1339; and Bill Dunlop, (925) 455-1907. Make your voice heard and your vote count! Don’t stop calling until you get a satisfactory answer! Elect the candidate who promises to fix this issue, and stay on them until they do!

I have Joined the Blogosphere

and this is a cleverly designed test post. test test test