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Whew! Last weekend seemed long. Mom needs me to pay her rent now, as she keeps forgetting how to write a check. This Saturday I made the plunge and told her I would take over paying the rent. I’m not a pushy, or assertive type person, so this type of thing seems fraught with stress to me. Well, actually it went off ok.

I was sick a lot this last January and February, so I got behind in things like getting tax papers together for the CPA. On Sunday I thought I could finish up and drop them off, but I realized at the last-minute, that I did not have the Social Security tax thingy – 1099 I think it is called. So I called mom, not knowing if she would make any sense of what I was asking her to look for. I noticed on last years form that it was mailed to mom’s address, so I figured she probably got it and didn’t know what to do with it. Either that or she gave it to me and I lost it . . .

So, she didn’t find it and so I had to go over there and look for it, stressing out all the time (I know, I don’t HAVE to stress about things, but have you ever tried to call the Social Security office for someone else – ie, not yourself?) As it turned out, I was really tired when I went, as my small car died a month or so ago, and I have made the decision to get another used little car, and have an appointment to pick it up Monday after work, so I had to clean up the garage so it would fit in there.

I have been working on wiring a light for the front porch, so I could plug-in a light out there so mom could see the steps in the dark, and so the garage was a mess. So I had to drill some holes and screw in some hooks for a 25 foot ladder I keep for accessing the roof (which, by the way, is growing a nice thick crop of moss, which I have to get rid of soon, or lose my nice less-than-10 year old roof). I had to hang up some other stuff that was scattered on the garage floor from some other work I’d been doing in there.

By the time I’d finished sweeping and re-hanging things, I was pretty tired, and then I realized I didn’t have the Social Security form and yes, I was stressing. The good news is, I went to mom’s, went through all of her papers (she seems to have a lot, for someone who only has 3 bills per month, but anyway, I went through everything and hallelujah! I found it! I am still surprised, and very pleased.

So, tonight I pick up the new, used little car and give it an overnight test drive, and hopefully everything will be OK. Then I get to do MY income tax crap. Oh, my god. I swear, I’m taking off and going hiking before the end of the month, or I will explode myself all over somewhere!

IMG_3312This is what I mean . . .

So, anyway, I never get a flu shot, and never plan to, but this winter I guess I got the flu. I would call it a bad cold and when I looked up on the internet how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, I had some symptoms from both categories, so I still don’t know. However, I know I got what seemed like a bad cold, and for two weeks simply dragged myself everywhere I had to go, including work, sorry guys. If we could get some sick-leave, I would be happy to stay home, but if I don’t come to work, I don’t get paid, so . . . everyone at work got sick.

But, before you blame me, I was not the first person to get sick. My boss, who did get a flu shot, was the first to get sick. So much for the flu shot.

Well, then after two weeks, I felt like my regular self, so I started going back to the gym. After a week, I was sick again! So another two weeks dragging myself here and there, and now I’m fine again, and back at the gym.

You know what really pisses me off? My 88 year old mom, who still wanted me to pick her up for the day, never got my cold/flu. I guess I’m glad for that, but at the same time, I kind of resent it, if you know what I mean.

Hamster report out!

PS: I’m planning my summer and fall hikes and backpacks, can hardly wait to get out on the trails again.

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Fourth of July Pass

I’ll never understand limitless greed, blind obedience to a religion, political figure, or ideology, or racism.

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Well, what do you know, it’s Friday! You know what that means . . . hold onto your sanity . . . the count this week is:

  • Birds – 2
  • Squirrels – 2
  • Mouse – 1

There you go. Let me see, any bipedal roadkill this week?

Dammit, WordPress just dumped me, and all my text, now I have to re-do it all.  I know one reason why I do this less and less often. It is frustrating and annoying.

Anywhoo  . . .

“As a Seattle car accident lawyer I hear of auto accidents caused by intoxicated driving. Monday morning a Seattle auto accident caused a Washington wrongful death on Interstate 5. Investigators now say the driver responsible for the car accident had been drinking prior to the incident.

At about 2:30 a.m., a pickup truck was driving in the southbound lane of I-5 when he steered off the road and hit another truck that was parked on the side of the road.

Tragically, the passenger of the pickup truck died at the scene of the crash. The driver was immediately taken to Providence Colby Hospital.

Two of the southbound lanes of the freeway had to be shut down for a few hours, while officials inspected the scene.

Investigators found empty beer containers inside the truck, which suggest the driver was intoxicated when the auto accident occurred. When he recovers, he will be investigated for vehicular homicide.

According to State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary, this weekend alone there were 60 incidences of intoxicated driving in Washington State. Drunk driving is a major problem in the United States that results in far too many auto accidents and wrongful death accidents each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008, there were a total of 11,773 alcohol related traffic fatalities in the United States.

This information is provided by Straight Talk Law, where you can order free information on Bellevue auto accidents, auto insurance, and other valuable legal information, offered as a public service by Seattle personal injury attorney.”

There you go – one tragic roadkill story that didn’t involve a deer, raccoon or someone’s pet. Just people.

Pay attention when driving, and for god’s sake, pull over if you are angry, upset, or sick or the kids are driving you screaming in the back seat. I’ve been there; stopping for 5 minutes won’t make any difference as to when you get where you are going, except maybe that you will actually get there.  A side trip to the hospital will ensure that you do NOT get where you are going on time, if at all.

Hamster report

The count this week:

  • Birds – 2
  • Squirrel – 1

Thats it! Good job, Whatcom county  . . . or I just didn’t drive where the roadkill was, anyway, I will take it! Looks good.

The Economist, in an article dated May 12, 2011, and titled “Fighting Road Kill”, wrote the following:

“SOME mortal threats grab all the attention. Malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and cancer win over rock stars to the cause and provoke grown-ups to wear plastic bracelets. At the other end of the spectrum, past meningitis and diarrheal disease, lies road safety—which has been largely neglected on the global stage. But not for a lack of urgency. Globally, road accidents were the ninth leading cause of death in 2004. By 2030 they could be the fifth, above HIV/AIDS and lung cancer.”

The article states that “many Europeans like driving fast”, and “in India, lanes exist in theory only; motorists make suicidal attempts to overtake”.  Read the article, it is informative. They do focus on developing nations, but as a world-renowned economist stated (Manfred Max-Neef) , America is the first “underdeveloping” nation.

You may one day find yourself in a third world country without even leaving home. Find out what that means for safety on the road. Not even getting into bridges that fall down.

Well, some of these things are beyond our control, but we can all drive within reasonable speed limits for the road conditions and watch out for wildlife, other cars and pedestrians and bicycles. 

Good luck, and drive and walk with your brain functioning, don’t let yourself operate on “automatic pilot”, it really doesn’t work very well for the changing conditions you will be encountering along your path, whether walking along a road, or driving on it.

Hamster report

File:Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG

This is what memorial day is about. Kind of depressing, no?

Uh, oh . . . 3 day Memorial Day Weekend! Not a good time to go for a long drive, yet that is just what millions will be doing. Not millions in Whatcom County . . . we only have 201,628, as of 2010 census count. You’d think they would round that up, 201,630 or something. I’m willing to bet there were people who did not fill out that census form, and besides, the day after, some people moved in, I’m sure.

So, anywhooo, road issues:

  • Opossum – 2
  • Squirrel – 1
  • Bird – 1
  • Unidentified – 2

Here is an interesting website: the census bureau has statistics on car accidents, this is for 2012. I have been looking for many weeks and I guess I was putting in the wrong search words. For one thing, they don’t seem to break the numbers down by county, but only by state. I guess all those government and private industry lay-offs reduced the number of people who could divvy up the information into smaller areas than by STATE.

In our state, most accidents occur where the most people are, duh. Which in this case is Pierce and King counties; the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area.

So, anyway, Washington state goes like this, oh, and it only goes up to 2009, so I’ll put that info here:

.9 deaths per 100,000,000 (that’s 100 million) vehicle miles travelled. Wrap your head around that. No wonder people just keep smashing themselves into oblivion at 70 mph. This information is pretty useless to the average person, and I know a lot of math.  How many 100 million vehicle miles have been travelled in Washington and how do they know how many miles each of us travels?

I give up with the useless statistics. I bet the only use they are is to car insurance companies and the people who get paid to compile useless statistics.

The price of gas in our area is $4.40, for the low-octane stuff. How you can all afford to go out and drive for hundreds of miles is beyond me. I can’t afford to. One news report stated that 34.8 million americans are expected to be out on the roads for memorial weekend. Let me do a little math:

34,800,000/50 states = 696,000 per state. I can’t weigh this number by the number of people per state, I don’t have that much time. I wish these stupid statics were more specific. Let me see, how many miles of highway is there in Washington state? Lets see, one website says we have over 7,000 miles of State Highways and that these carry over half the traffic in our state.

This is my idea of the perfect road. Can’t drive it at 60 mph, either.

Hamster report

So, you thought you could get away did you? Buwahaha . . .

The body count this week is:

  • Opossum – 3
  • Birds – 1
  • Cat or Racoon – 1
  • Squirrel – 1
  • Rabbit – 1
  • Unidentified – 2

I believe the Memorial Day weekend is coming up soon . . . they say there are more road accidents/ deaths on these holidays.

I confess, I love these little guys, so please don’t squish them with your car.

Myself, I almost never (maybe actually never, I can’t recall) go anywhere on the major holidays, for this reason. Well, the drinking and driving thing, plus everyone else will be wherever it is I want to go, so I just wait for a non-holiday weekend when I can have more fun and less stress.

I never have understood the tendency for everyone in a country to jump in their cars and all get on the road at the same time. Weird. I do understand why this occurs; 3 day weekend, spring is here, nice weather, etc., but really, I can have more fun sitting around my yard or on my couch, or at a local park, than sitting in traffic on a highway with 10,000 other people and their cars. Besides, someone always gets angry and behaves badly/ dangerously.

I have always had this severe aversion to dying in my car, and/or suffering major pain. Hence, I do not do any major travelling on 3 day weekends.

For those of you who are compelled to do the car thing on Memorial weekend, there is some nice advice from Phillips law firm on what to do to make the driving safer. Au revoir! I’ll wave as you go by.

Now, this is what I want to see – not a hundred mile ribbon of cars.

Hamster report

OK, the non-human body count this past week:

  • cat – 1
  • unidentified – 2
  • bird – 1
  • opossum – 2
  • squirrel – 1

Human body count in Whatcom county this week:

  • 2008 – 21 fatal vehicle involved deaths. This includes cars hitting pedestrians.
  • 2009 – 16 fatal vehicle involved deaths.

It is interesting that after a 20 minute internet search, I could not locate the number of vehicle caused deaths for 2010, 2011, or the first 4 months of 2012. I can get the number of vehicle thefts, murders, suicides, drug overdose deaths, etc, but not deaths involving vehicles.

Do we have a blind spot here? Dare we cast negative thoughts on our beloved vehicles? I don’t know why this particular statistic seems to be hidden.

Just last week, a woman and her child were killed when her vehicle, which was speeding, crossed the centerline and collided with a dump truck. She had numberous citations over the years (she was only in her 20’s) for speeding, and dui’s. It sure sucks to be a child born to an idiot. It can make for a short life. Cars make it so likely that one might be killed before getting out from under the control of a parent with poor judgment.

Not to mention, if the vehicle she had collided head on with had been another car instead of a dump truck, the other driver would probably have been killed as well.

This is not a Whatcom County accident. But does it matter where it occurred?

Is anyone else as pissed off with cars in general as I am? My opinion is that cars and airplanes should only be used for special occasions; and no, I don’t follow this advice. How would I get to work? How would I pick up my 88-year-old mom on the weekends?

I live in a country that worships cars and has a pathetic-to-non-existant public transportation system, with jobs, housing and grocery stores all spread out.

Hamster report

One of the Fukushima reactors destroyed by earthquake and tsunami

OK, if anyone out there isn’t still scared spit less about the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima, they are sticking their heads in the sand. I shouldn’t be amazed at the lack of coverage of this ongoing poisoning of our environment (ie – our food, water, oceans, fish, etc), but it does depress me.

The fact that so many can just ignore this – after all, if our “responsible” media doesn’t cover it, it isn’t happening, right? Nothing to see here folks, move along. In fact, lets build more nuclear power stations, its clean energy, right?

Wrong.  Look it up, if you don’t already know – we still don’t know what to do with the radioactive waste products that have to be stored for thousands of years. In fact, there is an organization in Europe that has been studying how to store the radioactive waste, since the environment (ie – all life forms) will have to be protected from it for at least 25,000 years.

Natural News has an article on Fukushima, and it reports on a U.S. Senator’s visit there.

Do you know how long a written language exists in a decipherable form? Nowhere near the time it takes for nuclear material to become harmless. People are curious. If we store the waste in sealed vaults (which we have not done yet – just look at where American and Japanese nuclear power stations store their waste – above ground, in pools, some with covers, some exposed) we would need to put some sort of sign on the vaults to warn future generations to not open the vaults. How would they read them, since our current languages would have changed to the point of indecipherability in 10,000 years.

You know the saying, “Curiosity kills the cat?”  What happened when archeologists and treasure hunters read the death warnings on Egyptian tombs?  They opened the tombs. Guess what will happen in 10,000 years when someone finds a sealed nuclear waste facility and says to himself, “Must be good stuff in there, if they protected it this well.” Only this time, opening the vaults will be deadly, not only to the one at the vault, but to the whole region.

Back to the present, read any number of articles on Fukushima, and the idiots all over the world who built nuclear reactors on major earthquake faults, above drinking water aquifers, along rivers and the ocean shore.

And after Chernobyl and now Fukushima, what are we doing? Pretty much nothing. I guess if something doesn’t kill instantly, we can assume it does us no harm, right? Look up the pictures of the deformed children in Chernobyl, that’ll give you nightmares.

Think alternative energy people, and how about just using less energy, and I’m not talking about just replacing your lightbulbs and driving less. I mean really use less energy, you know, smaller houses, buy less “stuff”, don’t fly in jetplanes all over the planet, etc. You know the drill.

Hamster report

A Colorado bear falls from a tree after being tranquilized on the University of Colorado's campus (© Andy Duann/CU Independent, http://bit.ly/K0KWM7)

tranquilzed bear falls from tree

Apparently there was  video seen by many last week on msn, about a bear that was tranquilized and then fell from a tree.

When the bear tried to go back to its home territory, it was killed while trying to cross a road; hit by a car. Life sucks if you are wildlife, just trying to get along in this humanity-infested planet.

I wish I had the answers.

Hamster report