Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

Our dear friends and traitors former writers/co-founders Greg and Elijah recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of their blog, Lost in the Cloud.  Sharp readers will see the correlation between them leaving and the precipitous decline in CAI’s monthly posts – oh well.   I would be remiss if I didn’t celebrate them – even though they proceeded to write some of the most popular posts on the entire interweb (see link above) that could have made CAI world famous.

If only because Greg is my brother, I can’t hold a grudge.  The twice a year we see each other would be terribly awkward.  (sorry Boog!)  The twice a decade I see Elijah is even worse.

Anyway – if you’ve never checked out their blog, then now is the time.  They’ve even provided quick links to their favorites of the last two years.  Good work, fellas  – we are proud of you and hope you keep it up for another 2 years.  Then it’s probably time to retire… I mean, honestly how many NOTW’s and Fairie’s Aire’s can you have in a lifetime???  At least we got one of them.

Congratulations!!

Read Full Post »

Happy New Year

We here at CAI would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.


Read Full Post »

LinkedIn?

Can anyone explain to me what this website is supposed to accomplish?  About three years ago someone sent me an email asking me to connect to them on LinkedIn.  I emailed back, asking him why he wanted me to do this.  His response was that he wanted me to be added to his network, or something like that.  Well, I didn’t get it- was this a more professional version of Facebook?  I’ve resisted Facebook, Myspace, and every other social networking site.  But the guy asking me to join his network is a very serious man (to borrow from the Coen Brothers), so I figured that I might as well sign up and, in time, I’m probably figure out what this was all about.  Maybe it would lead to some work opportunity or something.

Then, I got more requests, and I indulged them, still completely unclear as to the objective of all of this linking.  Most of the requests came from likewise serious people, such as pastors at my church.  OK, so there must be some clear benefit to all of this right?  But after linking with at least 10 or 15 people, I still couldn’t figure out one single positive upside to the time it took me to log in to my account and click some box accepting invitations to “link.”  So finally, I stopped responding to all requests.  Occasionally I read the LinkedIn updates that are sent to me, and they are always filled with pressing information such as “So and so is now connected with some other person.”  Why would that information be useful to me?

So someone please answer some questions for me: When I ignore a request to “link” am I actually being rude?  If I do link with all of these people making the request, can someone please tell me what positive benefits I might expect from this?  Can anyone share a story of how LinkedIn created some kind of actual, tangible benefit in their life?  And if there is no benefit, can we all agree to stop sending these requests to each other?

Read Full Post »

I recently sold a dresser to a guy through Craigslist, and upon delivering it realized that my buyer was Ron Heathman from The Super Suckers.  I’m no Super Suckers fan, but I know enough about them to appreciate how cool it was to be standing in this guy’s apartment, talking about music, furniture, coffee and life.  It made me think about how cool Craigslist is, how it brings interesting people together, how it makes great transactions possible, and how it is a picture of the possibilities and perils of a free market. And so I introduce Craigslist Chronicles, a column about interesting things that happen through Craigslist (or ebay, since ebay is basically the same concept but with fees, rules, and less awesome).  My hope is that others will contribute as well, so please start collecting your stories now.

For my maiden voyage I will tell of my stolen bike, and how I got it back.  I woke up one Saturday morning to find my 1960’s Raleigh 10-speed stolen.  It was my fault really because I didn’t lock it.  I figured it wouldn’t be worth stealing.

I initially didn’t grieve the loss too much, since I’d gotten the bike for free, but began to become more and more bothered by the loss as I considered that Jana had the matching she-bike, which was pretty damn cool.  Plus, I didn’t have a bike now, so I was going to have to go buy one.  Plus, that was my bike, and it had my cup holder, my lights, my recently purchased seat, and my son’s child seat attachment.

On Sunday morning I was struck by a thought- if I had stolen a bike, how would I go about selling it?  Put it on Craiglist, probably.  And with that thought I went on Craigslist and typed in “Raleigh bike” and boom, there was my bike, stripped, cleaned-up, and for sale for $80.  Now I ask you dear reader, what would you do if you were in this situation?

I called the number in the ad and left a message: I’m interested in the bike, please call me.  I went to church.  I asked all my friends at church what they would do, and I soon had a posse of about 20 guys who just wanted to the time and place to meet to go take the bike by force.  But what if the thief is a violent man?  Or what if he calls the cops on me?  No, I had to go through legal channels on this.  But how would I prove the bike was mine?  I had not registered it, did not know the serial number, and really didn’t have any pictures.  In the meantime, the guy with my bike had called me back and we had set up a time to meet.  His name was Nicoli, and he was from somewhere in the former Soviet Union.  He sounded like a cool guy.

I called the police and hoped to just convince him it was mine, and show him Jana’s matching bike, and just generally win him over with the Pete Deeble charm offensive.  That didn’t work, but the cop agreed to look at some photos on my computer, and we found one of Luke sitting on the bike.  The picture was really just of Luke, but you could make out one small part of the bike- the stem that supports the seat, with a small rust mark across it.  We blew it up, printed it out, and the cop agreed that if I could show him the same mark on the allegedly stolen bike, he would take necessary action.

And so we drove over to Nicoli’s place, near Anaheim and Termino, and the cop and I mapped out our sting operation.  I would approach on foot, ask for a test ride, ride over to the cop who was parked around the corner, and go from there.  The plan went off without a hitch, I showed the rust mark to the officer, and it was on.

Naturally, Nicoli claimed he had not stolen the bike, but had bought it from some other guy.  I would have taken my bike and dropped the whole thing but I wanted my cup holder, lights, child seat attachment and seat (they switched out the seat for some reason).  Nicoli swore he didn’t have those things, but said he’d buy me anything I wanted.  The cop threatened him that I would press charges if he couldn’t produce these things, and before I knew it we were on our way to the place he had bought the bike from.  I rode my newly reclaimed bike, Nicoli rode with the cop.  Soon we were at a dumpy garage near Temple and Anaheim and speaking to an old Asian man who, wouldn’t you know it, had some bikes for sale.

The man denied knowing anything about the bike, then claimed to have gotten it from Salvation Army, then claimed to have bought it from a kid down the street.  Meanwhile I was able to locate my things in his garage.  While the cop had been rather slow to show much interest in my bike up until this point, the prospect of busting a petty crime ring seemed to get him buzzing a little bit, and soon another cop car was on the scene and they were running serial numbers on some of the other bikes for sale.  Soon, I had all of my bike parts except my cup holder.  Neither Nicoli nor the old man seemed to know anything about it, so I told them I’d drop the whole thing if they gave me $20.  Nicoli told the old man that he “owed him big time” and pulled out a $20.  So I had my bike, all my parts, and $20.

I rode my bike home, and the cop dropped by later to deliver some of the parts I couldn’t carry on my bike.  Apparently they weren’t able to make a bust, because none of the bikes were registered.  Nicoli called me and apologized, and told me that if I ever need any bike parts, give him a call.  I told my friend Josh about the incident, and he told me that he knew Nicoli and had gone riding with him before.  Nicoli told me that he bought the bike off the old man for $40.  My guess is that the old man bought the bike off a kid on the street for $20- there’s no possible way he got it from Salvation Army, and I really doubt he personally stole it from my porch.  I think a kid was walking by, saw an unlocked bike, and figured it would be a free ride and maybe a little cash, and he was right.  So think about that: in two days the bike changed hands three times and in the process went from stolen to $80.  That’s a lot of criminal activity for a very minor reward.  For me, it was the ultimate vindication for all the times I’ve had something stolen and thought ‘I’d give anything to find the guy who stole this.’  For one sunny afternoon, I got to see almost everyone involved in the taking of my bike, and I actually got it back.  It was awesome.

Read Full Post »

Georgia’s Channel 2 reported recently that an organic farmer in Clarkston is being sued by DeKalb County for having too many vegetables on his property, a violation of zoning laws. The man, Steve Miller, is a landscaper who, according to the report, gives his vegetables to clients and friends and occasionally sells his produce at the local farmers’ market. For fifteen years, Miller has been growing vegetables on his two-acre property. Fifteen years. Which begs the question, how did the county even know he had “too much” in the first place? For fifteen years his farm has remained concealed on his two acres of land. What changed? Why now?

The answer, most likely points to a previous post about a town in Long Island using Google Earth to find zoning violators. More and more local governments are using online aerial photography for assessing fines and generating money for cash strapped local & state budgets. While the privacy concerns were brushed off as laughable then because the story was about rich people problems unlicensed pools in wealthy areas, this story is a little different and cuts right at the heart of our rights to Life and Liberty.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Sorry for the disturbing lack of posts here at CAI.  Ironically when our writers are off for the summer (Pete) they write less than they do when they are working – our lucky children.  Kidding, Pete.

For myself, I can only claim grad school and an about to be one year old for my limited postings.  So for your temporary amusement – until our next post arrives – I offer you the chance to visit another site I’m proud to be a part of and which has recently undergone some drastic changes.  Formerly Among the Thugs is now… Yanks Call It Soccer.  Enjoy.

The Thugs are all now cleaned and scrubbed.

Read Full Post »

Just a few things popping through my mind last couple of days.

  • Been seeing a lot of UAW workers striking on Cherry Ave. near my house.  Can’t help but see it as bad form to be striking while so many are without jobs and hungry for work.
  • The other day on my way home there was a major backlog on the 405 North.  When I finally reached the problem I discovered (as is not uncommon) that the issue was on the other side of the freeway where two firetrucks and paramedics were working on something… no problem on the northbound.  And I thought that maybe this phenomenon could be analogous of the difference between theory and practice.  In theory the northbound side should have been flowing as smooth as normal, but in practice the rubber-neckers had created a domino effect that slowed things to a stop.  Need to remember that whenever I (or an idealist from the other side) propose some fix for the woes of our society.
  • Also seen on the freeway… a truck covered in Oregon stickers, U of O, Ducks, etc. but with California plates.  If you love Oregon so much, why are you here?  I always hate it when people are proudly celebrating some other location, rather than the one they are in.  Either keep it to yourself, or move back.
  • Finally… forgot to update you on a Chelsea-related post.  We did win the Premier League title, AND then went on to win the FA Cup for the so called domestic double.  Thanks for all your best wishes, I know you were all rooting for them as well.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »