Monday, October 22, 2012

Aging and Driving

The AP has an article on an issue that has affected both sides of our family over the last decade: When the car keys should go away. It's a tough one, but they mention a useful test of skills:

• Walk 10 feet down the hallway, turn around and come back. Taking longer than 9 seconds is linked to driving problems.

• On a page with the letters A to L and the numbers 1 to 13 randomly arranged, see how quickly and accurately you draw a line from 1 to A, then to 2, then to B and so on. This so-called trail-making test measures memory, spatial processing and other brain skills, and doing poorly has been linked to at-fault crashes.

• Check if people can turn their necks far enough to change lanes, and have the strength to slam on brakes.

In related news, Olivia takes her permit test in a week and a half. We're not looking forward to that, either.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Farewell to George McGovern, my first presidential candidate. I couldn't vote yet, but I did stuff envelopes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In a Binder

I was watching the Yankees lose, so I missed the "binders full of women" quote, but I am truly impressed by how quickly it's gone around-the-world viral. Here's a nice set of memes, for example. I have a source who claims that Romney didn't even ask for those binders; they were thrust upon him by organizations who thought he wouldn't bother to look at women for his administration without prodding.

There does seem to be a certain set of white Republican men who continue to view women as something Other, and they've all crawled out of the woodwork for this election cycle. Is it really such a huge step from that POV to Taliban mentality?

LATER: Thanks to Carrie for more and better memes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Once Again Screwed, cont.

And now we have a guy from GeoTherm in Tully, who informs us that just like all the Gleason systems he's seen, ours was installed incorrectly and needs to be gutted and redone.

We can't sue anyone, because Gleason's in Chapter 11 as far as we can tell.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that in order for consumers to use NYSERDA money to install renewable energy systems, the state requires them to use certain hand-picked vendors, but they apparently don't vet those vendors very well or follow up in any meaningful way. I'm not saying that kickbacks are involved, but it might be nice to know just HOW they choose.

LATER: Paul has informed me how NYSERDA chooses. If someone wants to be an approved vendor, he/she must take a state-sponsored workshop for X dollars. Most small vendors can't afford the time or money. If it's like most mandatory state-sponsored workshops, and Paul and I have suffered through a few, it's worthless. So I am sticking to my sort-of-like-kickbacks story: To get on the list, vendors have to pay the state.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Glad I'm Not in a Swing State

Over in Ohio, they'll do anything to keep young people or people of color from going to the polls. For example, billboards are popping up reminding everyone of the dire punishments for voter fraud. If you think that's disgusting, you can sign a petition (it's easy enough to unsubscribe once you're done).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Walking to Work

The mayor of Ithaca posted this to FB, and I think it's pretty cool. We're number one! As someone who walks downstairs to work each day, I like to think I count. Click on the link above for the interactive version of the map.

"Once Again Screwed"

Last year's projects were the broadband tower and the geothermal heating/cooling system. Both took longer than expected and required a good deal of griping and fussing from our end, mostly by Paul. Now he reports that the reason the geothermal folks haven't responded to his recent calls is that the company, Gleason, has gone belly up. It is not unexpected; they were (1) horribly overextended; (2) staffed by a bunch of people who, while very nice, seemed not to know what they were doing; and (3) beset by difficulties of one sort or another due to points 1 and 2.

Meanwhile, I did not get Paul's message—"once again screwed"—via email, because our Internet went down at about 10:30, causing me to miss several frantic messages from clients involving an 11:00 conference call. I was working on a project that is entirely online, so I took the opportunity to run some errands, missing the call entirely. When I got back at noon, the Internet was back. So at least Clarity Connect is not on my shit list today. Much.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bambi, Beware

The DEC may be stalling on fracking regs, but it's still eagerly coming up with new ways to make walking in the woods inhospitable for a good part of the year. Not only did they extend the bowhunting season, starting it October 1, but they also lowered the bowhunting age to 12 and declared that 14 and 15 year olds can head out with guns over Columbus Day weekend, one hopes without shooting Uncle Bob as he lolls in his tree stand with his bow.

But it gets better. Now a large part of Tompkins County, being inundated with dangerous deer, has been designated a "deer management focus area," which turns out to mean that any hunter who registers (and it's very easy to do) can take two antlerless deer PER DAY during the hunting season and again during a special season in January.

Paul says that nobody asked any of the hunters he knows, all of whom are appalled. He also suggests that disapproving of fracking is meaningless if the natural world you're trying to protect is under siege anyway.

Monday, October 1, 2012

And Right Next Door

We are hosting a fundraiser for the candidate in the next district over.

Nate in The Nation

Our own 28-year-old Congressional candidate, Nate Shinagawa, receives mention as one of ten key races in this article in The Nation.