Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another day in the city...

So I work in downtown Seattle. Like pretty much any big city (I'm assuming), we hear a lot of sirens during the day. Lots of fire trucks, cop cars and ambulances driving around. You tend to ignore it, figuring it's just some guy having chest pains in an office building, or a homeless person too drunk to get up. But occasionally it's something interesting. Something that gets a headline like this: Man sets women's hair on fire in downtown Seattle

Now, what makes this REALLY interesting is that:

a) It happened while I was working out at the gym a block away from the incident,
2) I saw the fire truck and cops go by and ignored it, and
iii) I know the un-named witness.

The story from my perspective:

So I'm on the tread mill and I see the cops and fire truck go by and think "Oh, another cop and fire truck driving by." I finish my workout, shower, get dressed and head back to work. As I'm walking down 3rd I see 2 squad cars parked at the corner and a guy with what looks like a TV news camera hanging around. "Huh." I think.

Then I look at the guy getting out of one of the squad cars and it's a guy I used to work with. I'll call him Horace Johnson.

"Huh," I think. "What's Horace doing in the cop car? Well, he's waiving at them and carrying his lunch, and getting out of the front of the car, so he can't be under arrest..."

Horace proceeds to walk down the street with this other guy. I'm just about to say "Hey, Johnson, what gives?" When I see that the other guy has a notebook out and Horace is saying "I don't want my name used..." So I think "OK, I won't say anything..."

I get back to work and start an IM chat with him and get his side of the story:

Scott Chicken says:

OK, I've got to ask...what was all the excitement? I was coming back from the gym and saw you getting out of the cop car, then being interviewed...

Horace Johnson says:

please don't drop my name around, but...a guy attacked 3 people, and set a woman on fire.
a few of us caught the guy until the police came

Scott Chicken says:

Damn! I won't drop any names...I was just about to say "Hey, Johnson...." when I heard you telling the reporter "don't use my last name". I saw the fire truck and cop car go by while I was on the treadmill, but didn't realize it was that exciting.

Horace Johnson says:

it was the craziest thing i've seen in a while

Scott Chicken says:

No shit!

Horace Johnson says:

i thought i was desensitized to weird events

Scott Chicken says:

So how exactly does one go about setting someone on fire? Did he have a gas can or something?

Horace Johnson says:

lighter fluid, he doused all 3 of them. the woman that got lit up REALLY got it bad. 3 foot flames

Scott Chicken says:

Jesus! That is truly insane.

Horace Johnson says:


Scott Chicken says:

Hoo yeah.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stupidly addicting game

Thanks to Dave for getting me hooked on this. Nothing like a stupid, addictive, noisy Flash game to seriously waste your time!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And then there was more snow.

In case you haven't been following the weather, it's the winter of ages in the Northwest.

First we had more rain then ever before in November. Then December hit with big winds that blew everything over. And then it started snowing.

Now, usually we get a nice wet snow over night, people stay home from work for a day, then at 2 or 3 in the afternoon it turns to rain and everything melts. Well, not this time.

The first snow storm left a huge mess of ice behind it. That eventually melted, only to be followed by more snow last week. Fortunately that snow was pretty dry, so when the temperature dropped in to the low 20s it didn't make every road in the city a skating rink, just some of them.

This weekend it was supposed to warm back up in to the 40s and start to melt. Well, it didn't. In fact, some time last night it started snowing again. And, since it was the day after a 3-day weekend and the "it might snow Tuesday morning" forecast didn't come in on Friday, I was sorely unprepared to work at home.

So I'll end up burning a vacation day, but I did get to play in some nice wet snow, suitable for snow balls if not for sledding on a saucer, and got to break in the new toy - a slightly used Nikon D50 digital SLR. It's been a while since I played with a "big" camera, and I must say I'm hooked again. Or re-hooked. Which ever it is. The thing's bulky, but it's way faster than my Coolpix and came with a big ol' zoom lens.

And since it's digital it doesn't cost me anything to take, oh, 17 pictures of a branch covered with snow. Or of Santa apparently taking a vacation to come sled down our hill incognito. Or Logan eating snow. Anyhow, here's a link to some samples!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Forward into the 21st century!

Who, you ask? My mother. Yes, the senior Mrs. Chicken, who has been on e-mail for much of this century, has decided to finally leave the dial-up connection behind. My nephew Matt will be thrilled to no longer have to wade through the swamp the Internets become when using Mom's dial-up connection. I think it has something to do with the fact that the phone lines were laid when the community was built back in the 50's, but as far as I know she's never had a connection faster than about 2400 baud. If that. Slow as, um, something really slow.

What pushed her to this? Well, I kind of did. I mentioned what I thought was a new cell tower on the outskirts of the neighborhood and she said "Oh, no, that's for that wireless internet thing."

This led to a discussion of Clearwire and their service and the other high-speed options available to her. After doing some pricing research it turned out that DSL was a better deal because a) the price incentive was longer (6 months @ $19.95 rather than only 3) and she wouldn't have to change her e-mail address since Earthlink can get her the DSL service.

The big advantage, I suppose, is that now when her e-mail system crashes and she calls me for tech support I won't have to say "OK, when you connect next time and see that error try this and then call me back..."!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Who is John Galt?

Is it just me, or is this straight out of "Atlas Shrugged"? First the utilities, then the copper mines, then the next thing you know everyone with a good idea will be holed up in the Colorado Rockies.

Chavez to nationalize U.S.-based utility

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans Monday to nationalize Venezuela's electrical and telecommunications companies, pledging to create a socialist state in a bold move with echoes of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution.

"We're moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution," Chavez said in a televised address after swearing in his Cabinet. "We are in an existential moment of Venezuelan life. We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it."

Chavez, who will be sworn in Wednesday to a third term that runs through 2013, also said he wanted a constitutional amendment to eliminate the autonomy of the Central Bank and would soon ask the National Assembly, solidly controlled by his allies, to give him greater powers to legislate by presidential decree.

The nationalization appeared likely to affect Electricidad de Caracas, owned by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp., and C.A. Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, known as CANTV, the country's largest publicly traded company.

"All of that which was privatized, let it be nationalized," Chavez said, referring to "all of those sectors in an area so important and strategic for all of us as is electricity."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Miss Maya Chicken!

Well, the big day has come and gone, and the girl is now six. And well-fed on cake, too. So here, to commemorate it, is a series of photos covering this and the previous birthdays:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

As if ME getting old wasn't bad enough...

Today is the last day I can say I have a 5-year-old. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, mind you...five is a fun year, but it's a trying year. Maya moved from pre-school to Kindergarten (a wonderous and exciting place where they play with trucks and learn to read and write). She also moved from ear-splitting screaming bouts to screaming bouts that make us worry about the crystal. Not that we have crystal, mind you, but if we did we'd worry about it.

It's hard to believe that 6 years ago instead of sitting in my basement typing on the computer I was loading Paige in the car to head off to the hospital. Yes, I am indeed getting old. er. Older...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

School is boring

At least that's the word on the street. Actually, to be honest it's apparently 4th grade that's boring, because Kindergarten is just a pile of laughs.

Such is the story I get from the kids. Logan (4th grade) claims to be bored by the whole thing, with the exception of PE and some of his math. Maya (kindergarten), on the other hand, finds the whole thing to be an exciting adventure as long as you don't ask her to sound out any words. Then she hides her head in her hands. I'm assuming that once she's got as much school under her belt as her older brother she too will be jaded and bored. Sad, really...I kind of liked 4th grade.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

So, it's 2007 and I'm 40. I suppose that's better than it being 2007 and me being dead...

So far 40 is a lot like 39. Not quite like 30, 'cause when I turned 30 I was in London, it was cold, the wife was pregnant and I had just gotten over a nasty sinus infection. When I turned 40 I was home in Seattle, relatively healthy, and spent the evening rocking out with the band.

That said, New Year's Eve 2006 and New Year's Eve 1996 were fairly '96 we ordered in dinner, ate Hagen Daz ice cream, then watched TV until Paige fell asleep. In '06 we ordered in dinner, ate caramel apples, played some games, then watched TV until Paige fell asleep. Of course, the TV in '96 was English and didn't make any sense, while the TV last night was the insanely awesome Metalocalypse. So, in short, so far 40 is way more kick ass than being 30. So far...