Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, Mr. President.

Mr. Obama or I suppose after 12 noon today, Mr. President-

I am excited to have you leading us to change. It will be a difficult time without doubt. The challenges facing us are perhaps unprecedented. The challenges are not necessarily new ones, however, they have morphed. We continue to have infrastructure issues, transportation issues, power grid issues, food issues...

As a civil engineer, I understand how much our infrastructure is in need of major maintenance. I am also aware of transportation issues as I live in Virginia, outside of Washington DC. While we need to fix our roads and re-design certain arteries to work with current issues more appropriately, we need a renewed investment in mass-transit. Speaking purely in the DC area, but applicable to many areas, I believe we need a light rail system, similar to what was installed in San Diego or Portland, which traverses the major arterial routes throughout the region. This would allow more options to get people to work. The routes would be permanent, but the stops could quickly be relocated as ridership dictates. A line circling the beltway is necessary as well. Be it Metro or rapid transit. This would allow workers that may ride from Maryland to Virginia the ability to skip the ride all the way into DC and out. Lines are needed in Virginia up and down route 50, 29, 236, etc. These could connect with Metro stations as well. But enough about transportation needs...As mentioned in Michael Pollan's Open Letter to the "Farmer in Chief", I think we need to take a look at how we receive, grow, and process our foods. I won't go into it hear, but if you are interested read the letter mentioned above. I agree with it, I think. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html

The economy is in shambles, can we fix it by new investments in clean energy? Partially, I think the answer is yes. Our power grid is woefully inadequate and outdated. Investments in a modern grid, with modern ways of transmitting power is important. So are solar farms and wind farms as well as perhaps energy from algae and other cellulose materials. Lets get moving. This will help our energy independence, carbon emissions, and possibly our power bills (think solar on every building or home...). Finally, we need to think of ways to really fix our Health care system. Costs are spiraling out of control. Not only are people without insurance, but many who don't work for huge companies pay TOO much for the insurance they do receive. Heck, I pay about $6000 a year for my wife and myself, and who knows how much my employer shells out...That is far too much, especially since my co pays continue to rise.

That is all I have for now...with that, I say Thank you and Good Luck. We are ready to work with you.

Oh, and I had a great time at your concert on Sunday. Good to see you there.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bicycles and accidents...

So...driving to pick up Michelle at the Metro Monday night I hit a girl on her bike. Now, she was not hurt and did not even fall to the ground, but it was very nerve racking. It went down like this, I stopped at an intersection and stop sign to turn right. As I was in the middle of turning right, a girl coming from my right trying to cross the street from right to left was suddenly right in the middle of the car. Luckily I was moving very slowly at this point after having just come from a stop. I don't know why I didn't see her, but I do know this...she was riding her bike on the wrong side of the road from the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic. The only thing I can think of was that I did not expect someone to come at me from that direction.

Bikers (Of which I am an occasional one...) - You are supposed to be riding WITH traffic. You are technically a vehicle. With her coming from the direction she did, it was no different than a car driving down the wrong side of the road. Having not seen a pedestrian and looking to the left for other traffic, I never saw her. Should I have? Probably so, but I didn't.

I offered to pay to fix her bike, if anything really is wrong with it. Her brakes wouldn't release, but that isn't a big deal...I will update when I hear something back from her. I will also kindly advise her about general traffic laws. I understand why she was on the sidewalk coming from where she was...she most likely was trying to be a safe as possible by being out of the road, but at the same time, it can result in what happened by not following general paths of traffic. It also would have been different had she been on the sidewalk on the other side of the road going with the flow of traffic...

Be careful out there...you never know when some guy in a blue Honda may want to make a right turn.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Cynical. Why am I becoming a jerk? I tend to be making mean jokes and being just plain mean to folks lately. Curt responses or no response at all seems to be what is flying out of my mouth. This is not good. Or nice. I don't seem to be able to convey thoughts in a good way. For instance, last night my wife made dinner with shrimp. I asked why the tails couldn't be removed prior to eating, but the question was not posed in a very nice way. I didn't mean for it to come out the way it did, but of course...during the same dinner, I asked if there was more sauce for the meal, which apparently was a dumb question b/c it wasn't a meal made with sauce. Which infers that I did not like the meal. All I needed to do was thank her for the meal (which was good...) and go from there, but of course all I did was seemingly complain.


So much for 2009 starting off well.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hello 2009.

So...it is a new year. I have been saying that it is great that 2008 is over as it was such a crappy year. Is 2009 really going to be better or are we hoping for the best when the worst is yet to come? I don't know and neither does anyone else.

Reasons 2008 sucked:

  • 401K tanked
  • General investments tanked
  • Fear of losing job
  • Telecommuting policy cut back
  • Home appliance repairs
  • VT lost Orange Bowl to Kansas (Game preparation anyone?)
  • Too many hours at work
  • Garfield getting blocked
Reasons 2009 may be better:

  • If the stock market stabilizes (buy cheap...)
  • VT won the Orange Bowl against Cincinnati (I know, it's only Cincinnati)
  • Won a big job at work...cash flow is necessary to remain employed
  • Michelle will hopefully be working at home over summer = less driving for me
  • No further home appliance repairs (All of them are new (3 years or younger)) Knocking on wood
  • May win the lottery?
  • Obama is president (See ya w)
Okay...so that is all I have. A lot of hoping.

This past week Jacob and I went to Ray's Hell Burgers in Roslyn. Might I say...DAMN tasty and juicy burgers. A fork was necessary after eating half of the burger. I had a grilled burger, medium rare. They come standard with lettuce and tomato. You can choose 3 ways for your burger to be, grilled, blackened, etc. and you can choose from a specialty burger. Or...you can just choose your cheese and toppings. I chose the basic blue cheese for $1.50 more. Next time...who knows. I'll see what the mood strikes. At any rate, I highly recommend this burger joint.

I resolve to be more careful with my money in 2009. Less beer = more money. Less starbucks/easy chair - more french press at home = more money. Less soda and beer when dining out = more money. And the big one: lower gas prices = more money.

Cheers all...here is to a better 2009.