Achievement Unlocked: Online Map presence

A few months ago, we were driving from A to B and saw a Bing Maps camera car mapping parts of Denver. We followed the car for a few blocks on Grant Street heading toward Speer. I was curious if and when we would appear on Bing Maps. I started checking every couple of weeks and today found me driving.

bingmaps

My left arm looks great in the shot, doesn’t it? I had no idea my windows looked that dark. COOL! It’s like I drive a cave.

And sure enough, this is the one shot that doesn’t have my licence plate obscured. So now y’all can track me down. Because of my license plate being visible online.

See it live here.

Full URL: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=39.728197~-104.983614&lvl=16&trfc=1&sty=x~lat~39.728197~lon~-104.983614~alt~1590.171~z~30~h~28.7~p~-13.3~cz~0.336~pid~5082&app=5082&FORM=LMLTCC

12.000 gallons of gas and the universe in general

I filled my car with gas yesterday. I usually put the pump on and let it do its thing until it automatically stops and that’s what I did yesterday. When the pump stopped, it stopped at 12.000 gallons. I have probably been pumping gas for 30-odd years and this is the first “whole gallon” stoppage I can remember.

And no, I didn’t take a photo. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

I wasn’t even tempted to top off. It was the universe saying, very precisely, that I had enough gas in the car. Which got me to thinking: What are the odds? Assuming that the fractional gallons in any given fill-up are random, it’s a simply one in a thousand occurrence that the fill ends at a whole gallon. I fill up approximately once a week or 52 times a year. So dividing 1,000 by 52 gives 19.23. Let’s call it 19, which means that this only happens to me roughly every nineteen years.

So the triple-zero fill-up is rare indeed.

But this also got me to thinking. It isn’t particularly special. It’s quite arbitrary, in fact. The gallon is arbitrary. It’s just useful because we (well America at least) all agree that’s how we measure things. Of course, if I was pumping liters, the same thing would occur on roughly the same frequency. And assuming randomness again, mathematically, the odds of any given 3-digit number appearing are the same. So why not also get excited about x.352 gallons or even x.786? Again, it’s an arbitrary assignment of meaning to x.000 as opposed to other numbers.

I suppose my OCD just likes the neatness of it all.

I’m chalking it up to randomness and enjoyed the fun thoughts it fostered. I refuse to assign deeper meaning to it mainly because I didn’t hit the lottery. Yet.

Well that wasn’t pleasant…

You know how I like to ride my bike to the train station. That means I have to ride it home. There’s one stretch of road that I have to cross that’s less than ideal. Cars are looking to the left watching traffic approach as they get ready to turn right onto the main avenue. I’ve had a few close calls, but today the call was too close. I got hit and knocked off my bike.

Before anyone worries, I’m fine. I’m scraped and bumped, and my left knee if in a good amount of pain, making walking rather difficult. A quick trip to urgent care resulted in a tetanus shot, and some x-rays that showed some soft tissue damage. But otherwise I’m fine. My helmet has no scratches and my glasses didn’t fall off or break.

I’m not too sure about my bike. It’s got some curves where none were before. I am pretty sure it is repairable.

I do appreciate that the EMTs who showed up gave me the option of removing my pants in the ambulance to check out my knee rather than just cutting them at the scene.

I might need a day of rest tomorrow, depending on how stiff my knee is, but the doc said I should just act as normally as the pain will allow.

I’ve never been hit by a car. Took 43 years for that to happen. I’d rather it didn’t happen again. It could have been a lot worse.

Slip Sliding Away

It snowed yesterday in Denver. The front of my car is covered in icicles. I got home from work tonight and parked outside. When I opened the garage door to go into the apartment, I noticed a trash bag that needed to go to the dumpster. I put the mail and my backpack on a shelf and grabbed the trash.

On the way to the trash, I saw one of my neighbors whom I’ve spoken to before. She recognized me and said hello.

“You’re from Nevada, right?”

“Yep!”

“How are you liking the Winter?”

“I’m loving it actually.”

As I said that I hit a patch of ice and fell straight to the ground. Nothing snapped or popped or hit too hard. Just some bad footing.

My neighbor asked, “Are you OK?”

“Yep I’m fine. Nothing hurt but my pride.”

She didn’t miss a beat: “So how do you like the Winter now?

“Ha! I still like it.”

She said, “I fall all the time. I don’t even bother wearing Winter shoes.”

“I’m a bit disappointed in these boots, to be honest. They have zero ice traction, obviously.”

And with that, I trod the rest of the way to the dumpster to deposit my bag. I also took a slightly different route back, where the driveway had been exposed to sun and there was no ice.

I might be goofy, but I’m not stupid. And I still like the Winter.

Slow Rider

I rode my bike to the train station today for the first time in weeks. Even with the threat of snow this afternoon, I just felt the need to not drive my car and get a little exercise in the process. It was cold, of course, but I got so much more out of it than I do when I drive.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a car I thoroughly enjoy owning, and I enjoy driving as long as traffic stays out of my way. But this morning’s bike ride to the train station showed me a few things that I was starting to forget about.

The ducks in the little pond at the front of our development are one of those things. The pond had about twenty mallards doing their duck things in it. Some were standing on the little ice island on top of the pond and others were in the water and swimming around. If I had driven, I would have only had a second or two to notice, if I had noticed at all. On my bike, I was able to slow down and enjoy the scene. Quack!

About a third of the way into my ride, I noticed something moving off to the side of the road. I would not have noticed if I was driving, since I would be going past at thirty miles per hour. On the bike, at about one-third that speed, I again had a chance to see a cute bunny rabbit hopping about, trying to find a place hide from me. One of my favorite things about the move to Colorado is the number of bunnies I get to see. We have one living in the bushed right outside our front door. There are quite a few others in various places along my route to the train station and even at the station. I smile every time I see one and get a happy feeling inside. Squee!

Even though I had a bit of exercise on the way to the station this morning, I was more relaxed when arriving and enjoyed my ride to work even more. I’m realizing the Amish have it right in many ways: avoid being too fast. Sometimes life needs to be lived at its own speed, rather than the fastest speed possible.

It did snow today in Denver. Not a lot. Just a few light flurries. It was still snowing when I rode home. I enjoyed that ride, too. I usually ride home quickly, but took my time today. I took my time for two reasons. The first reason was safety. There’s no sense wiping out and giving the drivers a show, possibly injuring myself. The second was to intentionally slow down.

An added bonus was that the snow was forming a sort of warp speed visual effect as I rode in it. Prolonging that felt good. I arrived home happy and relaxed. The best part is, the ride home usually takes less time than the drive.

Weather permitting, I’ll ride again tomorrow. Slowly.

 

Farmer’s Insurance has a weird way of drumming up business

A couple of nights ago we went to the Mall to do a little shopping. It wasn’t holiday shopping since we had finished that a while back. The mall offers free $10 gift cards in the month of your birthday and I wasn’t about to pass that up. I was there to collect.

I got my card and used it to purchase some Happy Socks at JC Penney.  I love Happy Socks. They’re a little goofy and fun. But I digress.

We eventually left the mall around 7:00pm. It was dark. Cars had their headlights on. Well except for one drive. We saw a white Ford Fusion (didn’t write down the plate number or I’d share it) driving without any tail lights. The did have headlights on though. I could see them ahead of the car. Apparently it was the curse of the Daytime Running Lights, illuminating enough street that the driver  didn’t realize the real headlights weren’t on. I guess the lack of instrument lighting inside the car went unnoticed, unless Ford has daytime instrument lights as well. (I know my Flex doesn’t have them.)

Normally I’d figure it’s just another forgetful civilian puttering along in blissful motorized ignorance but when we got directly behind the car it had “farmers.com” in big friendly vinyl letters and an 800 number (which I also didn’t write down and didn’t think to call until just this minute). This car was owned, or at least endorsed, by an insurance company. And it was driving very unsafely. I will say that the brake lights worked, but once the driver’s foot left that pedal, the rear of that car was once again in stealth mode.

At first, I thought maybe it was a forgetful driver, insurance company car and all. I mentally started to write it off. I wear many hats and one of them must be tinfoil. I suddenly thought it was a conspiracy of some sort and perhaps driving with no lights is a weird way for Farmer’s to cause accidents and try to get new clients. Or maybe they’re looking to have the customers of other insurance companies cause accidents forcing those companies to pay claims, putting them out of business. I’m really not sure, but it just seemed weird.

I thought about alerting the driver somehow, but there wasn’t really a good way short of honking flashing lights, but I wasn’t driving; we were in Sheri’s car and I didn’t want to bug her with this. I could have also gotten out of the car and gone up to the other car, but that’s dangerous and slightly creepy. The signal turned green, the Fusion turned left, and we went straight, so I’m not sure what happened after that.

I like to think that the driver found the headlight switch and fixed the error of his ways, but I’m not too sure. This has me worried now. What if other businesses start doing neglectful and dangerous things in the name of business? I can’t think of any potential things that are equivalent right now, but I’m keeping my eyes open. Especially on Burger King. I’m not sure why I’m worried about Burger King, but they’re been acting suspicious and my Spidey Sense is tingling…