Third place…!

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to modify images with photoshop to humorous ends. Some of you may even know that I will, from time to time, enter the Woot.com Photoshop Contest.

Well, today, I finally placed in the top three! That means that I’ve got $20 headed in my direction! :)

Here was the challenge:

Contest 61: Remote Possibilities

Since the dawn of history, man has dreamt of a utopia where his kind would never, ever have to move, where the entire journey from cradle to grave would cover maybe ten feet at the most. Vestigial anachronisms like legs would wither away. Who needs to walk around when handheld electronic devices satisfy all your nutritional, spiritual, and reproductive needs? Universal remote controls like today’s RCA unit are a step forward in the march toward total indolence, but if we’re ever going to unlock the vast potential laziness inside each of us, we must do more.

Create a remote control with a ridiculous or redundant application, and show it in action.

These delicious Funyons would taste even better if they were delivered directly into my mouth by remote control. Lifting a toothbrush is just so much effort – I’ll start brushing my teeth when it’s as easy as pushing a button. And, tragically, occasionally the remote control may fall a few feet beyond our grasp. Wouldn’t it be great to have a remote for your remote?

And here was my entry (scroll– it’s down the page to preserve humor):

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Some of the woot user comments:

go BubbleWrap! ( that one was my favorite.)

Good work winners. Bubble-wrap. Chuckle.

Awww . . . the RCA crank remote got ripped off . . . at least as good as bubble wrap (and better than boardroom)

Loved the bubble wrap though!

I remember the remotes like the one with the bubble wrap. The ping sound from clicking it would probably be louder than popping bubble wrap.

Travesty… bubble wrap, rca remote, all that and the board room one wins? yeah…..

This was my first try and mine was not the best, but I made honorable mention without Photoshop. I used the totally free GIMP. The bubblewrap ROCKS!

That’s one of the things I liked about the bubblewrap remote . . . using the old tuning fork/harmonic “clicker”!!!

Woot!

Ugh-lympics

Yeah, so I stole the title from the Caveman Laugh Ugh-lympics.

I do have to say, I’m disappointed. NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is awful.

Let me make a prediction: This Olympics will be the worst rated Olympics in the last 20 years.

Why? Because NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is awful.

Here it is, shortly after 1PM on a Sunday. I turn the TV on to watch some idiots hurl themselves off the side of a mountain. What do I see? Nascar timetrials!

Now, let’s say I’m a lazy person, and I just woke up. I have big plans for my Sunday afternoon. I turn on the TV, and see that the Olympics are on. Before I know it, I have watched for six hours, and have gotten nothing done. But I *did* end up watching the Olympics for much longer than I had intended, and I boosted NBC’s ratings.

But noooooooooo. NBC decided to pump up the Olympics for 2 years, and then completely drop the ball when it comes to scheduling.

Pffft.

Passing the Buck in a Game of Railroad Roulette

Grrrr. I hate government.

Yeah, that will put me on a watch list, but I don’t give a damn. I’m already on all your lists anyway, I’m sure.

Here’s today’s “Grrrr.”

We’ve got a railroad crossing here in Savannah that is unsafe. It is about one mile outside of downtown, right by the onramp/offramp for a busy highway. The road on the inbound (towards downtown) side of the tracks is a 50mph zone, and the outbound is 40. A company called RailLink owns the crossing, and it is unsafe.

In the past month, I have seen all kinds of craziness at this crossing. I personally had to come to a screeching stop, along with the guy next to me, as an idiot on a railroad utility vehicle (almost like a crane) decided to try to make it across the tracks without lowering the gates. This guy drove his vehicle across two lanes (the 50mph lanes), and stopped waiting for traffic on the other side to pass so he could illegally cross the other half of the road. The traffic never let up, and eventually, the idiot backed up his crane and off of the 50mpg road. NO GATES. None. At all. No lights, no bells. NO FLAGGER. These folks are breaking all kinds of safety laws.

Today’s incident involved an actual train. I’m headed out of downtown, going 40. I look up, and here comes a train. Why didn’t I see the train? Well, because the ARM to the GATE is sitting in the GRASS. That’s right– the grass. It’s not even connected, yet it is one of the devices implemented with the goal of making highway traffic safer.

Obviously, we have problems with this crossing. Every day, school busses pass through this intersection, as do thousands of people on their way to work. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed or injured.

I did some research. It turns out there have been 227 accidents involving 13 injuries in Chatham County since 1975. There have been 40 collisions, 166 derailments, 20 equipment failures, 70 track failures, 115 human errors, 21 “other” failures, and no signal failures. source

About a month ago, I decided that I would try to get these gates fixed. I grew up in a “railroad family.” My dad was a freight engineer until the 80s when the Rock collapsed, and then was hired on by Metra in Chicago. I’ve been in the engines. I’ve been in the freight yards. I’ve been in the passenger yards. I’ve been in the backrooms of railroad facilities. I’ve seen track control rooms. I’ve been around it my whole life, and I have learned quite a bit.

I know that railroad crossings kill. Many people don’t realize that a train takes a minimum of a half-mile to stop, and that is if you have a light train. Freight trains can take several miles to completely stop. Trains are dangerous, and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

So, a couple months back I called the city. I spoke with the traffic manager, and told him that the crossing was bad. He said he would contact the railroad, but that is all he can do. So, I contacted the NTSB– the National Transportation Safety Board. I never heard back. So, I contacted my congressman John Barrow. The idiot in his office had the nerve to tell me that railroad safety was a state issue, and that there was nothing he could do about it. Hello moron, have you ever heard of the NTSB? Idiot.

Nothing came out of any of my calls. So, today when the gates were again not down and the train was again crossing and traffic was again coming to a screeching halt to avoid certain death, I decided it is time to do something about these gates.

I’m going to go as high as I can to make sure these things are fixed. My job allows me a flexible schedule, so it is not beyond me to go stand out by the tracks with a sign that says, “UNSAFE GATES KILL.” That would attract media attention, I’m sure. But do I really want to be labeled as a nutcase? Probably not.

So, I called the city manager, who would not take my call. Why would he– he is appointed, and has no reason to work on behalf of the average citizen. I left a message and told the lady that I was displeased that he would not take my call regarding a matter of public safety. I informed her that I would be sending the city a certified notice that the gates are unsafe, and that I have notified them in the past about the same issue. I made it clear to her that once she receives my letter, the city is most likely open to massive amounts of liability of they fail to act to preserve the safety of their citizens.

Five minutes later I get a call back. It is Mike in traffic again. I tell him I already talked to him and that he said there was nothing he could do. I told him I would be sending out a letter to the city, and he would be carbon copied on it. The head of traffic should be acutely aware of unsafe roads and crossings, and it should be his first priority to rectify unsafe situations.

I left a message for my alderman, and am yet to hear back. I also left a message with the very friendly lady in Atlanta who works at my state representative’s office, and she told me the state representative would call me back. I hope he does.

Anyway, that is where I am. If I don’t see that gate up by the end of the week, I’m going to the media. We are a small city, and our news coverage reflects this. A story about an individual citizen trying to wade through the sea of red tape and accountability in order to potentially save lives is news around here. I really hope this gets fixed.

Mike

Impressive

So, I placed an order last night for some stuff for the radio show. Most of the order went to American Musical, who I have raved about in the past. It seems, though, that American Musical has a poor selection of cables. For XLRs, they have 3′ cables or 10′ cables– nothing in between. I needed 5′.

So, I headed over to Sweetwater.com. I had done business with them last week when I needed some cables, and was impressed.

I have a sales rep, Nathan. I’ve got his direct extension if I have problems, and if there are problems with my order, he contacts me. Now that is how business should be done.

For example, my order last week was partially out of stock. Nathan called me and told me as much, and said that if items were time-critical, I should order elsewhere. I did order elsewhere, but I really appreciated the honesty. He even upgraded a couple of my cables to make sure he made the sale!

Today, I wanted to be sure my order would ship. I rang Nathan, and got his voicemail. Within 100 seconds, he called back to say the order will ship tonight, and I’ll get it on Thursday or so. Bravo! What a fast response.

Lastly, Sweetwater did something with my first order that impressed me– or shall I say left an impression with me. They tossed in a handfull of name-brand candy with my order. This is brilliant! Now, here I am telling you how they gave me great service, and free candy. It cost them what– maybe a dime for the candy?

Was my testimonial worth a dime?

You decide.

Mike

(Alleged) Moron of the Day

So some guy is suing Apple because the Ipod is capable of producing sound at levels high enough to damage hearing. link

Let me be the first to say it:

This guy is a freaking (alleged) moron!

Other products/services that have the potential to damage hearing:

- ALL Headphones
- ALL MP3 Players
- ALL Walkmans
- MANY Cellphones
- MANY Speakers
- MANY Motor vehicles
- SOME People

Give me a break. If you don’t know by now that loud noises damage your hearing, you deserve what is coming to you.

Are you hearing this? No? Good.

Mike

AD Radio is off the ground!

I would like to thank everyone who listened and everyone who called in to AD Radio.

The show was a huge success. Our server was constantly pushed to our limit, and our phone lines were packed.

I think we had something like 18 calls in 2 hours!

Anyway, check out the audio at radio.americasdebate.net.

I would also like to thank UltimateJoe, Crashfourit, and Beau for helping test the audio, UltimateJoe for helping provide perpetual comments and critique throughout the website development process, and Beau for the help coding the application that handles our phone.

I would also like to thank the folks at RadioDaddy.com. They provided the amazing voiceover talent that you hear on the show, and amazing talent indeed.

Lastly, I would like to thank Jaime. Jaim, you are the absolute best. You did a great job on the air.

The next show is Wednesday, Feb 8. I’ll talk to you then!

Mike