January 30, 2008
Some Beautiful Writing
Right here. I dare not quote a word of it.
Been There, Done That
Robot High School. 3:17, one take and SFW. Headphones. Not relaxing.
My Mind Has Been Boggled
Medical marijuana vending machines in Los Angeles. For real. At least three dispensaries in Los Angeles have installed them.
The computerized machine requires fingerprint identification and a prepaid card with a magnetic stripe. Once the card and fingerprint are verified, a bright green envelope with the pot drops down a slot.
[Inventor and owner Vincent] Mehdizadeh says any user approved for medical marijuana and registered in a computer database at his dispensaries can pre-purchase the drug and then use the machine to pick up.
Marijuana dispensed from the machine is less expensive than that distributed by human hand. The machine sells one-eighth of an ounce for $40.
The DEA feigns a neutral interest:
"Somebody owns (it), it's on a property and somebody fills it" said DEA Special Agent Jose Martinez. "Once we find out where it's at, we'll look into it and see if they're violating laws."
A man who said he has been authorized to use medical marijuana as part of his anger management therapy said the vending machine's security measures would at least protect against illicit use of the drug.
"You have kids that want to get high and that's not what marijuana is for," Robert Miko said. "It's to medicate."
Do the obviously level tones of his statement demonstrate a benefit from that medical marijuana?
Anyway, I'm in the midst of watching the second season of Weeds and I spotted this news article and wondered if I had gotten a contact high, or what.
Just In Time To Crash On Super Bowl Sunday
Domino's Pizza has announced that you will be able to track the progress of your pizza via the internet from the time you order it to the moment it goes out the door. Unfortunately, the drive from the store to your door remains a black hole. Why don't they organize ride-alongs or maybe just put a camera inside the vehicle that records the journey on a little chip of flash memory which the driver gives to you along with the pizza. Then, while you eat the pizza you can watch to see if the driver sneezed on it.
Cute, Brief, SFW Video
Here. Must have sound ON.
National Portrait Gallery - Washington, D.C.
Last year I was surprised to hear after the fact about "Blatino Oasis" at Helios Resort in Palm Springs, and I guess the organizers were paying attention. They've sent me an announcement about this year's event. It will be May 9-12 at Helios again [annoying music warning - gawd, I think it's Prince] (NSFW).
Scrolling down that page I spotted these links to make hotel reservations:
For some of us, gay-friendly, clothing-optional resorts ARE regular hotels and resorts.
January 29, 2008
Watch The Vote Counting
The Registrar of Voters office will offer live video of the Election Night ballot count via its
webpage at www.voteinfo.net.
"We want voters in all areas of the county to be able to see ballots being counted on Election Night," said Barbara Dunmore, registrar of voters, "The public can now watch the activities at the central count location in Riverside from anywhere in the world."
Video streaming will begin on Feb. 5 starting at approximately 7:45 p.m. and will run until the release of the final semi-official results, anticipated near 5 a.m. on Feb. 6.
Me, I'm going to be tying a big pink ribbon on my ballot so I can see when it gets counted.
Mayor Parks's Response On Shelter
The Desert Sun has published Mayor Yvonne Parks response to the recent brouhaha about the shelter on Mountain View which she says should be called a "cold weather shelter," not a homeless shelter.
The lack of available space in Indio and the worsening economic condition has created the need for more room than they had in previous years. This is a critical problem and was discussed thoroughly at CVAG’s Homeless Committee beginning in October 2007. I am a member of that Committee. At one of these meetings Judy Shea offered her Sober Age Center as an available site. The Chair referred Judy to work with DPSS and Jewish Family Services to see if something could be worked out.
Subsequently I met with DPSS and Jewish Family Services at the facility. They seemed happy with the site and said they were working out the details of sub-letting from Judy. I advised my City Manager of the County’s plan.
This was not an action item for City Council. I only recently have been advised that Judy was portraying to the County and Jewish Family Services her facility had all of the approvals necessary for the use. County officials know full well that no Mayor or individual City Councilor has the authority to issue land use permits. That is strictly the pursue [perview?] of the City Manager, Planning Commission, and the City Council as a whole.
There will be a special meeting of the city council on Friday night (February 1) at 6 PM to deal with the issue of the shelter.
Scotty's Castle - Tile
One of the wonderful things stored in the tunnels at Scotty's Castle is a huge stockpile of tiles for the swimming pool and house. They were never installed. Fortunately, ceramic tiles in a tunnel in the desert seem to be something the NPS can preserve really well. The ranger told us each tile had been notated and catalogued, but still one was tempted.
This is the last of my highlights of photos from our Death Valley trip. You can see the entire collection here.
Scotty's Castle - Tunnels
Under Scotty's Castle are an unfinished network of tunnels that are used for storage, utilities, ventilation and were intended to be used so the service staff could travel from building to building without being seen.
This tunnel bisects what would have been the swimming pool. The far end of it was covered with wet burlap and air was drawn in and circulated throughout the house. A gigantic swamp cooler.
Scotty's Castle - Batteries
One of the things you get to see on the downstairs tour at Scotty's Castle is a big bank of batteries. When I first spotted them I thought they were recent additions to support a solar system put in by the park service. But no, I was very wrong. These are original to the house and were used to hold power generated by various means. They are no longer used.
Scotty's Castle - Interior
There are two tours you can buy at Scotty's Castle: upstairs and downstairs. The downstairs tour takes you through the basement, showing you through the tunnels and infrastructure that supported this mansion. The upstairs tour takes you through the civilized living parts of the home. We took both tours. Both are fascinating. We got the last upstairs tour of the day, at 5 PM, so there was almost no daylight. The interior of the castle is dark and only very dimly lighted. The park service should loan flashlights for this tour. We were lucky that Scott carried his headlight with him, so he could highlight some of the more interesting elements. I had to use flash for almost all the upstairs interior photos. The downstairs tour was more brightly lighted and about an hour earlier, so some daylight came in through the windows.
Scotty's Castle - Exterior
After recovering from the thrill of seeing no gas at Scotty's Castle, we explored the area a little further. Of course, Scotty's Castle, is actually named "Death Valley Ranch," but you knew that. Here are some exterior views:
No Gas At Scotty's Castle
Anyone who's visited or thought of visiting Death Valley National Park in the last few years knows that the most highlighted attraction in this vast park is the lack of gasoline at Scotty's Castle. You go into the visitors center in Furnace Creek and a sign greets you announcing "No Gas at Scotty's Castle." Pick up a park map and a bright sticker in the upper right reminds you "No Gas at Scotty's Castle." Pay your $20 fee and the ranger will tell you "No Gas at Scotty's Castle." Simply driving into the park you'll see the signs saying "Welcome To Death Valley National Park - No Gas at Scotty's Castle." Any directional sign that refers to Scotty's Castle will also entice you with the words "No Gas at Scotty's Castle." The maps of the park at the few informational kiosks throughout the park all bear the note "No Gas at Scotty's Castle."
I would guess that only the Saline Valley area of the park lacks any notices about the lack of gas at Scotty's Castle, but maybe a Democratic administration will loosen the purse strings a bit so that one or two informational signs can be added there. I anticipate sitting in the hot tubs there some night when another bather asks the thrilling question, "Have you heard? No gas at Scotty's Castle."
Junk In Long Canyon
Follow Up On Iowa Husbands
The Des Moines Register does a follow-up article on Tim McQuillan and Sean Fritz, the one couple who was able to marry this past September when it was oh-so-very-briefly legal in Iowa. They're still married and liking it. Earlier article on their marriage here.
January 28, 2008
Operation: Change For The Better
Reader Dan has pointed out this exciting video celebrating the new currency coming our way! SFW!