24 Jun

TBT Towing to pay driver $326 for illegal tow

The TBT saga continues: Yesterday, Steve Ulene was awarded $326 from the towing company in small claims court. In this case, the Starbucks employee who “signed” the towing authorization was apparently not even working the night Ulene’s car was towed from the Starbucks lot on Olive Way.

TBT owner Rick Woodrow said Ulene’s file was lost, so TBT could not refute his claim.

For more on TBT and various towing issues, see the towing category here on Slumberland. Make sure you read the comments — some of those threads have a lot of them.

17 Jun

Photo from Maui

This is a photo I took while in Hawaii a few weeks ago. It’s part of a monument in Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens on Maui. The Heritage Gardens contains several areas commemorating the different ethnic groups that settled in Hawaii, and this is in the Korean section. It would be a lovely park, but it is terribly run-down and obviously not well-maintained at all. It’s very sad. But the Korean section is new within the last few years, so it still looks fresh and new.

This particular picture is the interior roof of a sort of gazebo. I loved the patterns of color and structure.

16 Jun

Knitting is eating my brain

Project in progressOne of the reasons I haven’t been posting as much — besides the trip to Maui, etc. — is that I learned how to knit a couple of months ago. So a lot of my free time has been spent knitting, though I don’t have a heck of a lot to show for it yet. (I have several unfinished items, though, because I tend to want to start a lot of new projects all the time.) Currently I am working on Soleil from Knitty.com, a nice camisole top, and I’m knitting it from Patons Grace mercerized cotton, in Azure. (See the photo on the left, showing my current progress. I’ve finished the lace at the bottom, and I am into the decrease rounds at the waist.)

The rest of the free time has been spent reading knitting blogs, boards like Craftster.org, and so on. It’s actually interesting how many knitting blogs there are, with people posting constant status reports on their projects, pictures of their latest yarn purchases, and so on. It’s making knitting more than an isolated, introverted sort of hobby; online knitters are very social.

Anyway, no fear, Slumberland will not become a knitting blog. But I will post a few things occasionally, and so I made a knitting category for this and future posts. Those who actually just want to read the knitting stuff can jump directly to that category page.

16 Jun

Adults can spell, too

Spelling Bee trophy Apparently spelling bees for adults are on the rise! I love this!

As some of you know, I competed in spelling bees as a kid. I was the Seattle city spelling champion in 1979, and came in roughly 35th out of 180 in the regional bee that year. (I say roughly because I no longer remember the exact numbers.) 34 short of going to Washington for the national bee. I still treasure the two red dictionaries I received as a prize the two years I went to regionals, and I have several trophies with bees on top (like the one pictured here, which is the Seattle Champion 1979 trophy). It was a blast, and I was really bummed that I had to “retire” after eighth grade. Watching the National Bee and the movie Spellbound in the last few years made me miss spelling bees a lot. So if there is an adult bee, I want to try it!

I am still too young for the Senior Spelling Bee described in the link, but maybe someone will make one for those of us in my age group. Anyone?

14 Jun

Smoke smells: a minor rant

(Disclaimer: I know some smokers that I love dearly and who are very considerate in their smoking habits, and manage not to make everything in their vicinity smell smoky. This is not aimed at them.)

I just got a book in the mail that I ordered from an Amazon Marketplace seller. The book’s condition is fine — but it stinks. Stinks to high heaven. Stinks of cigarette smoke. When I read the book, I feel my throat contract and I just want to throw the book away. It’s awful.

The description of the book did not mention the smoke smell. Possibly the seller did not even notice. (And it’s possible the smell came from a previous owner, not the seller herself. I have owned a smoky book for 4 years and it still smells of smoke, though not as strongly. But if I resell it, I will have to mention the smoke smell.)

But, hey, smokers? Cigarette smoke smells like crap. You smell bad. The things you keep around you stink. I know you probably don’t realize this, since smoking ruins your sense of smell, but my God, it is amazing how bad smokers and their things smell, and amazing how little smokers probably realize this. Because no one wants to smell bad, right? Wouldn’t they take steps to avoid this?

Books that you have owned reek. Furniture, clothing, automobiles, and any other items you own that are capable of absorbing odors stink. At least cleaning will remove some of it, but other things are more difficult to fix.

When you walk past me on the sidewalk, you stink. Honestly. You probably wear deodorant every day and pride yourself on cleanliness, but it doesn’t help this problem. When you come up to talk to me, I lean away because of the smell, or I hold my breath as much as possible. But I will never tell you what I am thinking. Maybe you would be ashamed to know that I am not the only one who notices that you smell funny. Almost everyone who doesn’t smoke notices, which means, here in Seattle, about 80% of the people you meet are thinking something like “Hmm, nice guy, but he smells terrible.”

The last taxicab I rode in stunk terribly. The cab driver wasn’t smoking with us in the car, but it didn’t matter. It stunk of stale old smoke. I would pay an extra 10 cents a mile fare for a clean, non-smelly cab. Maybe more.

I believe you have the right to smoke. Don’t get me wrong. I just wonder if smokers have a clue how foul it really is, to those of us who don’t smoke. It really is as if you never take a bath, or something.

So if you want to smoke, go ahead, but the least you can do is mark your eBay or Amazon sales items with “SMELLS LIKE CIGARETTE SMOKE” — even if you don’t notice the smell — so non-smokers like me can go buy items that don’t smell rotten. I would appreciate it.

02 Jun

Back from Maui

Where have I been lately? In Kihei, Maui, Hawai‘i. Jason and I went down there for his brother’s wedding. We stayed in a condo complex called Hale Kai O Kihei, which was right on the beach and was really nice. The picture on the right is the view from our patio. You can see the water just on the other side of the palm trees, and the island Kaho‘olawe off in the distance.

Other than the wedding and related activities, we mostly just took it easy. I had to take it easy — on the second day of the trip, I got a sore throat, which the day after that, turned into a nasty chest cold. I’m still fighting that one off after a few days back in Seattle.

Before the cold hit hard we did some sightseeing, including a visit to the I‘ao Valley where we saw the I‘ao Needle (see the picture to the left) and marveled at how quickly the environment changed from dry and flat near Kahului to lush, green, and cool in the steep hills just 4 miles to the west.

It is interesting how small distances are on Maui. Even the famous road to Hana is only 52 miles. That is just about the longest drive you will ever take on that island, I imagine.

I had planned to use this Ask MetaFilter post as a resource to find things to do, but since I was ill, we had to put off a lot of activities until a later visit. It was more enjoyable to be ill on Maui, sitting by the beach, than to be ill in Seattle, at least!

I did get to accomplish a lifelong goal during this trip — I finally got to see the Southern Cross constellation, as well as Alpha and Beta Centauri. Having seen Canopus and Achernar on my last Hawai‘i visit, I can now check off the last few stars on the list of the 26 Brightest Stars. I’ve seen them all!

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