Monday, February 25, 2008

Running Dogs!

Blurry dogs! That is a good picture! Only because it has Jaani and Payal chasing after the big dogs. Payal is like a bully, because she runs around and barks at all the dogs. It was good to see Payal again, but a shame that Maninther only let her stay for about an hour.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The 11811 building

I should become a homeless alcoholic! If I were, I could live in a 300 ft2 apartment, get 2 free meals a day, get counselling for my addiction, get help finding a job, and have a team of doctors and nurses to help me within minutes. All at no cost for me, or if I get a job, it is all available for 1/3 of my income.

I somewhat fear the idea that some people in Seattle will realize this reality, and cost me an additional $14,000 a year. However, it is also estimated that it costs the city over $20,000 a year per person to have those same people on the street; this is an estimated cost for: Police to regulate the homeless drunks (and pan handlers), hospital visits for the homeless, collecting dead bodies off of the streets, AA centers, and loss in tourism revenue. The project also seems to help these homeless people get low income jobs that pay for the majority of the expenses within the first 3 years. In fact, the 11811 building actually makes a small profit after 10 years of operating. The residents with jobs actually have been able to take advantage of free educational programs created from the profits of the building; allowing them to not only move out of the house, but some of the past residents have been making donations to help ensure the future of this program.

The Mayor of Seattle released a public statement today claiming that projects like the 11811 house could save the city of Seattle as much as $700,000 per year if we were capable to house all the homeless people in Seattle. An initial investment of over 3 million dollars would be required, but after 10 years, it is possible that the project could return money to the city and remove homeless people from the streets of Seattle. I must admit that I do like the program if the program actually does save money, gets homeless people off the street, and can successfully turn homeless people into responsible tax payers (as the mayor has stated.)

The $3 million would be combined with an additional $28 million to operate the program for the next ten years. With an on-going cost of around $2.8 million a year, the program would still be less than the $3.5 million the city of Seattle pays every year to deal with the homeless problem. It also provides a way for the city to potentially eliminate the cost of homeless people all together.

So I don't know... I like the idea, and if it is as great as it sounds, then maybe it really could be a pilot program for other cities to follow. Maybe it will have major problems if implemented on a larger scale. I guess only time will tell.

that's all about that.

As far as what I've been up to, I took Jaani to spend a day at Marymoore park! It was completely worth the $1 parking fee for the day of off-leash excitement. There had to be over a hundred dogs, and a couple dozen of them were pugs! Jaani and I love pugs (FYI)! Some of the dogs intimidated Jaani a bit because they were so big, but he loved to just run around!

Pooky went too, but he is so small and young we couldn't let him play with the other dogs. It was ok though, because he liked to spend lots of time under Evelyn's feet. When we came close to the other dogs, we had to pick him up, but Pooky loved it too!

It was a really nice day. The park had a few open fields, a nature trail that ended at Lake Sammamish, a rock climbing wall, a bicycle track, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and all kinds of stuff. We spent most of our time in the off-leash dog park, but we also went walking around the rest of the park too (just so Jaani doesn't forget how to walk on a leash.)

So, that's about all I have to say.

Later,

SteveO

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Update!

The forecast today... 52 and sunny. It's a really nice day. I took the three (yes, three...) dogs up to green lake. The new dog, Pooky Fuzz... I picked the Fuzz part... is an 8 week old Shitzu. He is too young to cause an trouble, but Jaani and Payal were both little hell maker all the way around the lake.

Pooky came home Friday night all the way from out in Aberdeen. I actually would have really wanted to go, just for a trip out to Aberdeen, but it would not have been worth it for a 20 minute stop to pick up a dog.

Other than that, Jaani doesn't like having more animals here... Payal loves having another little dog to constantly sniff and paw at... Jaani just gives the little dog an evil stair, and turns his head away. Maybe they will get along before the end of the next month, but I have this strange feeling that won't happen.

I just saw this movie the other night, Across the Universe, which is basically a giant medley of Beatles songs. It takes place is the mid 60's, and it's a love story about an immigrant and an American girl who fall in love. It was really good though, and it is an essential movie for any Beatles fan.

Other than that, I am still looking for a good job. I have been driving to Volt Media Center to do on-call Xbox testing. It doesn't really pay well, and it isn't very consistent, but it is better than making nothing, and it counts as experience toward my career goals. So it isn't a complete waste of time, but I think I'm going to see if this will get me to the end of my 100 day break.

After that, I can go back to Microsoft.

Anyway... that's what's up with me...

Later,

SteveO

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Let's go Caucusing...

So, today I attended the caucus for Kent's 33-1055 district. There were a total of 10 people in my district. There were a few hundred people everywhere else, but only 10 at my table. Which I felt was both good and bad. It was good because the table was small enough to relieve any tension, however it was so small that it did not seem to represent the entire community.

Anyway, I am now an alternate delegate for my district. Which means if I do not move out of the district before April 5th, I will be able to attend a meeting at Rainier High School in Des Moines. I guess it won't happen because when I move I will forfeit my status as delegate, but I may just do something to spread the word to some people in the area about what happened at the Caucus today.

The official vote of the Caucus was 7/9 for Obama and 2/9 for Clinton. This turned into a 4:1 in favour of Obama.

We also voted unanimously yes on a proposal to end NAFTA.

Other than that, I went around to all the other tables that each had 20 - 40 people over the age of 70 sitting around them. Just kidding. The majority of the people were probably over the age of 50, however I was pleasantly surprised to find out our table was the only table that only had one person about my age. In the end, every table had an overwhelming majority of people on the side of Obama. I know of at least one district where he one, and judging by the turn out at Key Arena yesterday, there are more.

The major argument against Obama is his lack of experience, which I do not see as a big deal. I know that while experience is important, it is always over-rated. As precedence I site Bill Gates, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Founders of Google); Bill had no experience running a software company, and Sergey and Larry had no experience running a corporation. On the other hand, George Bush has been surrounded by politics his whole life. Hilary Clinton will say anything to get elected, and being the first lady does not count as experience.

I am siding with the Democrats this year in the elections (in case you want an official statement.) However, I do not feel that necessarily makes me a Democrat. It just means that of the parties I have to choose from, I choose the Democrats.

Anyway, all being said and done, I feel Obama will bring the type of change this country needs because of his lack of experience in a corrupt system of being paid by interest groups to sway the actions of this country. I feel he will do his part to at least bring affordable health care, which is the first step to universal health care. I feel he will really end the war. I feel he understands the problems of the lower classes. Finally, I am inspired every time I hear the man speak; that is one thing I feel is incredibly important about a president.

On the racial thing, I feel it will help bring the African American community out of the slums to see an African American leading the country. It will help to eliminate racial and ethnic tensions within this country. I say that because Obama has lived in the slums, and he has lived in foreign nations, and now enjoys the life style of the upper class. He is living the American dream.

On another note. I just read an article on the founders of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page. I read it while I was writing this post and I looked for articles to link their names to. I discovered that they both individually have a net worth of either 16.6 or18.5 billion dollars. I am not sure, the Wikipedia article on 2007 Billionaires lists them at 16.6 or the 26th richest people in the world (along with Alice Walton, and just under S. Robson Walton, oldest son of Sam Walton (founder of Wal-mart.)) According to Wikipedia Article on Sergey Brin is the 4th youngest billionaire at the age of 34, and he is the 5th richest person in the United States. Which is not bad for a guy who has an official salary of $1 per year; Actual salary of $43,000 a year (according to Google's Salary listings. The rest is all in stock earning. Amazing!

So, it just goes to show you. If you start a company, release it for public trade, and own a large stake in that company, then you can (In the case of University of Michigan graduate Larry Page ): become the 5th wealthiest man in the United States, make
$43,000 per year, have a hobby building solar powered cars, drive a Toyota Prius, and purchase a Tesla Roadster.

I am pretty sure the Tesla Roadster part is the coolest; the Prius just isn't that cool of a car, and it's only a hybrid, not an all out electric car. Oh well, I would buy a Roadster if I had $98,000 to spend on a car. It only has a 221 mile range, but it gets the equivalent to 135 mpg (based on the DOE's energy content for a U.S. gallon of gasoline of 33705 Wh/gal:), it does 0 - 60 in 4 seconds, and weighs under 1000lbs. The bad part is that it takes 3 1/2 hours to charge, and it is electronically limited at 125mph; Which isn't even bad unless you want to take it out on the Autobahn (aside from saying you have a super fast car.) If they didn't market it as a super high end sports car, it would probably get a bit closer to the 300 - 400 mile range everyone seems to think they need. Long term maintenance is a benefit as well because it does not need oil changes and regenerative braking eases wear and tare on the break pads. Keep an eye on Tesla Motors, I'm sure they will be doing well in the future.

Here is a video of the first production Tesla Roadster released on February 1st 2008 12:56 PM PST. This is a historical moment marking the first production electric car to be sold in a very long time (keep in mind other electric cars have been made, but they were leased out and not sold.) In the video you can see the batteries being installed because it was cheaper to have the battery and car shipped separately. This video is available from the Tesla feel blog. Which also has the car magazine reviews of the vehicle



Anyway, that's all for now.

Later,
SteveO

Candidates in Seattle!

Today, I fought some of the worst traffic ever in Seattle... Parked a long ways away from Key Arena, and then walked all the way to Key Arena to watch Barrack Obama make a speech. It was truly impressive. There were more people in that arena than it was ever made to hold. Every seat was taken and every free space where a person could fit was filled. People were even sitting on the stairs. Out in Seattle center, hundreds of people gathered to watch a huge projection screen. All to hear Barrack Obama.

I have to say, every time I hear him speak I feel inspired. He is an excellent public speaker, he is excellent at foreign affairs, and he has an understanding of the lower classes. Tomorrow, I will Caucus for Obama.

I'm pretty excited. I am going to bring my laptop, and take notes... it will be my first Caucus, and the 19th will be my first Primary. Because Washington is so cool that we have a Caucus and a Primary.

So... I'm off to bed. I need to have a clear head tomorrow at the Caucus.

Later,

SteveO

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The new look is almost complete!

So, I changed the width of my blog to 800 pixles. Which is about 140 pixles wider than it was. This allowed for my little Election Results gadget to actually fit in the side bar, and it allows me to just have things look closer to what they look like when I'm writing the blog. In other words, I like it!

Then I put together just a quick little graphic for my logo... Just something I threw together using a script that came with GIMP... you know, That's how I roll!

So... that's what I did. I have an interview tomorrow, wish me luck!

Later,

SteveO

A new look, and New Gadgets!

I changed the look of my blog. I was looking at the different templates they have for blogger, and I liked what I saw. I have also come to the conclusion that I want to customize my theme.

So far, my thought is, why re-invent the wheel?

So many themes that are really close to what I wan have been made. The only problem is that there is nobody reading my blog that needs the 800 pixle width. I suppose on my Nokia 770 I can only get that, and cell phones too, but I don't feel a need to market my blog toward the mobile device blog reader (mobders, I coined that term myself.)

So... I downloaded the source code for the templates that Google uses. It's an in-line style sheet, and I guess that is good. I am using the template for what becomes an approach to reverse engineer the data the template is organizing. I guess I haven't been spending much time on that lately. I spent the weekend researching the candidates running for president... and during the week I apply to jobs. My count so far is 59 applications and 24 interviews completed so far. I currently have 1 interview on Thursday and I am waiting to hear about another 2 interviews that I may be able to get by the end of the week. It is a hard job search this time around. I think I may just have to take a technical support job. I have turned a few down already, but I think I might have to stop being picky about what end of the technical industry I work in.

oh well, I guess that is what I get. I just have to keep looking though.

Later,

SteveO

Monday, February 4, 2008

#1 question for Barack Obama

That's right, Google broke out the hard questions. They came out, and the first interview question they had for Barack Obama was" What is the most efficient way to sort a million 32-bit integers?"

Genius! He also answered with a bubble sort... and said he knew the answer because they have spies... that was funny.

Obama is doing a very good job a winning my vote, but he has not done it yet.

more on that after my Republican review. As for now, I am siding with Obama out of the Democrats.

Later,

SteveO

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The glory of Craigs List...

Today on Craigslist I found a dog carrier. Normally this sort of thing would be around $90, but I found it for $5! Plus, I can take it on the plane! Jaani likes it, sort of... actually he wants to run free, but he can at least fit in it.I guess when he sits in it like that it doesn't look like he can fit in there, but when I lie it down (like under the chair of a plane) then he fits fine. I think that for a plane it would work fine.

Well, that's it for now, I am still working on trying to get some good videos for the Republican Candidates. Once I get that done, then I'll post about my opinions there.

On a final note for the day, I finished filing my taxes! With a little luck it will only take about a week for me to get my refund (like last year)... So, I guess that's it.

Later,
SteveO

The Primaries and Caucuses are coming to Washington!

The election year is in full swing, and the candidates are going to be chosen.
First we need to remember what the Primaries and Caucuses are.

The primaries (aka primary elections) are a vote by the people of a local or State government to determine who that state will support for president.

I heard on the news today a definition of a caucus relating it to a colonial town meeting. Where you gather with your neighbours to discuss issues relating to who will run the town. I seemed to like that as a simplified definition... and I like the sound of that.

Finally and probably most important is the purpose for having these two important parts of the election process... I swear I never heard this in school... which is really sad... The results from the caucuses and primaries are used to determine the Democratic and Republican nominees to run for the office of President of the United States of America!

As far as the candidates go, I would like to start by looking at the Democratic candidates in this post. The Republican candidates will be for my next post on the elections.

To start with, we have Barack Obama.
I have to say I really like what the man has to say: Bush has never said anything of sustenance at the State of the Union address, Middle Class tax cuts, pull out of Iraq, unemployment insurance, and affordable health care... For his video, I choose his response to Bush's last State of the Union Address.


Next is Hillary Clinton.
Take the tax subsidies away from the oil companies to create a fund for alternative energies (strategic energy fund), tax cuts for the middle class, public health care, end the war on Iraq, bridge the Spanish language gap, economic emergency fund, and more student funding. In other words, she is really big on public services for the people. Anyway, I think for my video, the best one I could find was from the Democratic Debate about her experiences that qualify her for president...


Last, and it looks like he may probably be least is Mike Gravel.
MSNBC said he dropped out on January 3rd... His website says he is still in... either he fired is web developer when he dropped out, or he is still running. He has an interesting history considering he played a significant roll behind the "Pentagon Papers" which ended the draft during the Vietnam War.

If you want to see some really intelligent talks that ask the candidates real questions, check out the At Google Talks for the Democratic Candidataes (Caution, these videos are 1 hour each):
Barack Obama - Candidates@Google
Hillary Clinton - Women@Google
Mike Gravel - Candidates@Google

The Mike Gravel one is good... Obama is a speech, not an interview... The Hillary Clinton one is definitely a different tone but still good. The Mike Gravel one is the best I think...


I can see that a lot of money will have to come from taxes for public health care, but at the same time ending the War on Iraq/terror will free up trillions of dollars. I think that should cover a good chunk of it. However I think a genuine concern is national spending... and there are some really good arguments to consider when talking about spending money. For instance, watch this video which talks about David Walker's argument concerning government spending:


I think I'm part of the You Tube Generation... maybe... but concerning this video it does seem that DavidThePatriot, the poster of the video, is rooting for Ron Paul for president, 2008. Ron Paul does seem to have some good arguments, but as a republican my analysis of him is a topic for my post about the Republican candidates.



And now for something completely different...


Snoqualmie's pass may just open in another few hours! Apparently the avalanche control people have done their job enough to significantly reduce the risk of avalanches and are ready to clean up the pass. The pass has only been open for 4 hours this week, marking the longest period in three decades that the pass was closed. Crazy stuff.

Anyway, that's it for now... Check back later for more election themed stuff.

Later,
SteveO

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Taxes are almost done!

I have almost finished my taxes, and all I need is one more W2 to come in the mail. I figured that if I had worked at bungie all year, I would have make over $66,000 this year! That would have been great. I can see the mind set that got me into buying me car. If I was making that much still, I would be in the same position I was in working at Bungie... No debt... extra savings... oh, that was nice. I would have even been able to go on a more extravagant vacation. Like Mountain View California for the most recent Google Camp Fire... Colorado to go visit Julia. Or just somewhere random.

Oh well, it will be nice to finish up my taxes, and get my refund.

I can hear the two little snorting machines in the background. They are napping on the couch. I can hear a loud snoring, then a quiet snoring... then loud... then quiet. It really is nice to see them getting along. They both hang around under my feet when they are awake... they play all the time... I will grab a toy and throw it, then they both go running after it, and play tug of war as they run back toward me. I love my pugs... well, my pug and Ev's pug.

Anyway, I should get going. The sun is sort of out... at least on the horizon, so I'm going to take this opportunity to walk the dogs.

Later,

SteveO

A happy picture

unfortunately my internet connection doesn't work in my room... so it's the 770 to the rescue... even though typing on it sucks... I guess i should get a bluetooth keyboard or something...

anyway, here is a pic to counter act the video in my last blog entry...