Thursday, October 21, 2021

Video Game Comes to Life

Back in the early 1990s, I played one of the first (if not the first) games in the Need for Speed franchise on my 286 PC. By today's standards, it was... awful. But, hey, it's what we had.

There were three things from that game I wished were in real life: no consequence speeding tickets and crashes, and the game had a map that showed you were police were. If you didn't slow down in time, you could still get a ticket.

Well, I realized recently, one of those things has come to real life. Google maps will display on your route where people have reported police on the road. It works fairly well. On a recent trip to Spokane (where people were passing me constantly as I went 5 mph over the speed limit), no cops were reported and I didn't see any. On a trip to Seattle, Interstate 90 was like an autobahn.

Now, I don't trust this map well enough to speed as brazenly as some others do. Just my luck, I'd be dong 80 mph and a cop would show up that isn't on the map. And I'd get a ticket. And, unlike the game, those have consequences. And in Washington State, speeding tickets are expensive.

Do you use Google Maps to find police? Has it worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

COVID Booster Shot

A week ago Wednesday, I had my third COVID shot, the so-called "booster." That was just over six months since I had my second COVID shot. I had the Pfizer shots.

I discussed with my doctor if I should have this booster shot. I'm not over 65 but I do have health issues that qualify me for the third shot. He said I should have it.

I made an appointment through my county health district website to have the shot at a Walgreens. When I got there, I discovered having an appointment meant nothing. When I told them I had an appointment at 10am, they said, "Get in the line." There were five people ahead of me who apparently didn't have appointments.  I finally got my shot about 10:30 and then had to wait 15 minutes (I waited about 13 minutes). I got in before some of the people in line in front of me because I had my paperwork all finished and ready to go. I expected to have my shot shortly after 10 and be out of there by around 10:15. I was there for 45 minutes. Thank God they had a public bathroom. 

I felt fine except for soreness at the injection site which is common with any inoculation. But almost exactly 24 hours after getting the shot, I felt nauseated and had a mild headache. I was still able to eat and never vomited. Those were the only side effects I had.

I'm just hoping in six months I don't need another "booster." Or is COVID going to be like the flu and you need an annual shot for it.

How do you feel about the booster shot? Did you or would you get one if you're eligible? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

What Could Have Been

I was channel surfing a while back when I came across the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy. I watched it until the first commercial break. But, because I have Disney+, I decided a few days later to watch it in 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos sound and no commercials.. So I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. Because it was the second time I watched it, I understood it better. There's a lot going on in these movies and a second viewing helps.

And then I watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II a few days later, again on Disney+.  And I enjoyed it more than the first movie. I'm thinking of watching End Game and Infinity Wars next (in the right order, I don't remember right now which came first).

And I thought, "This goes to show how good the Star Wars sequels could have been." That is if they'd been in the hands of someone such as James Gunn instead of J.J. Abrams. (I guess Gunn has been fired for "offensive" tweets. Let's hope GotG III is still just as good.) 

The GotG movies are visually intense: there's a lot going on the screen. But they are still fun and well made and just overall enjoyable. Yes, Star Wars is a different type of movie. But the sequels could have been so much better. 

It sort of breaks my heart. I hated hating the sequels.

Maybe Disney should turn the Star Wars movies over to Marvel Studios.

How do you feel about Guardians of the Galaxy? How do you feel about the Star Wars sequels. Let me know in the comments below.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Huskies are 2-3

For as long as I can remember (or paid attention) the Oregon State University Beavers have been the doormat of the Pac-12 conference. They were a team you played and beat before going on to the tough teams in the conference. So when I heard that last week, OSU beat USC (one of the tough teams) in Los Angeles by a score of 45-27, I started to worry about beating the Beavers this week. 

And I was right to worry. The Beavers came into the game with the top offense is the Pac-12. 

Then the game started. The University of Washington Huskies got the ball first, and marched down the field to make a touchdown. Apparently, OSU's defense wasn't as good as its offense.

But then the game got down to a grind. The Husky defense was able to hold the Beavers to only 27 points. But the Beavers held the Huskies to 24 points. And the Huskies lost to the Beavers for the first time in eight years. 

At least it wasn't a blow out and it was a tight, exciting game that was often tied. OSU ran the ball a lot and Washington had trouble stopping their running game. The game ended on a tie-breaking field goal by the Beavers. 

And what is surprising and a bit ironic is that the former doormat of the conference is now in sole possession of the number one spot on the Pac-12 North as the only team unbeaten in conference. That's because Oregon was taken down in an upset by Stanford in overtime.

Next week the Dawgs have a bye, giving them two weeks to prepare to face UCLA. The time and channel are to be announced.

UPDATE: The UCLA game is at 6:30PM on October 16th. It'll be shown on Fox broadcast channels.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Bullets Go as Far as They Want


I was watching The Fifth Element on television the other day for the nth time. I came in toward the end. And Gary Oldman's character, Zorg, is shooting upward with an automatic weapon into the ceiling of the hotel room at Leeloo who is hiding in the duct work. And I thought, for the first time, anyone in the room above them is going to have bullets coming up through their floor. But, of course, this isn't shown because the filmmakers likely didn't think of it. While there were bullet holes in the bottom of the duct work, there were none put in the top.

In the real world, bullets go where they want to go and as far as they want to go. One of the four rules* for safe gun handling is "Know your target, what's in front of it and what's behind it." That's because it might miss your target and hit something (someone) behind it, or your bullet might pass through the target and hit something (someone) behind it. In Hollywood movies and television productions, this rarely happens. Hollywood has trained us to think bullets only go as far as we want them to. Which just isn't true. A bullet will travel (sometimes miles for rifles) until it hits something that stops it.

Oh, and guns don't make a cocking sound when you draw them. I'll never get tired of pointing that out.

*The four rules of safe gun handling are:

  1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  2. Always treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  3. Know your target, what's in front of it and what's behind it.
  4. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Hollywood does an awful job on number four, too.

Does Hollywood gun handling drive you nuts, too. Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Huskies are 2-2

The University of Washington Huskies went 2-2 last night by beating the University of California Berkley Golden Bears (hereafter "Bears" or "Cal" or "Cal Bears" or "California"). 

Despite a slow start (three and out on their first series), the Huskies played strong through the first half of the game, scoring 21 points to California's 10. California had a muffed field goal attempt which would come back to haunt them.

But in the second half, the Cal defense came alive and their offense managed to score 14 points while the Huskies only got one field goal. At the end of regulation, the score was 24-24. If Cal hadn't muffed that field goal, they would have won the game there. 

In college overtime, each team gets a chance to score starting on the 25-yard line. The Huskies got a touch down making the score 24-31. Then Cal tried to score, but a fumble at the goal line that was recovered by the Huskies ended their try and the game. 

Dylan Morris, Washington's quarterback, is getting better every game. But in the second half of the contest, he had no time to find a receiver. Cal's defenders were coming at him all the time. On the other hand, the Bear's quarterback seemed to have all the time in the world, and if he couldn't find a receiver, he'd just run for a first down himself. He was California's number one rusher in the game.

One issue Washington had was that Cal Otten was out for "COVID protocol." He's one of Morris's best receivers. Let's hope he's available next week when the Huskies travel to play Oregon State, who pounded USC yesterday, 45-27. 

Washington is tied for first place in the Pac-12 conference with Oregon and Oregon State at 1-0 in conference. But Oregon is 4-0 and Oregon State is 3-1 while the Huskies are 2-2. So, I guess we're actually in third place. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Interstate 90 Autobahn

I always used to scoff that those "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs because I was rarely slower traffic. I did keep right except when passing because it's Washington State law that you have to keep right except while passing.

But that's all changing and I don't know why.

A few weeks ago I drove to Seattle and back to see the Huskies lose to Montana. Now I usually set the cruise control 5 mph above the speed limit. That keeps the cops off my back. And that used to make me one of the faster cars on the interstate. But lately, it's not. Lately I'm the slower traffic. (I've touched on this before.) On both the way there and the way back on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I was being passed constantly by cars exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 mph, probably more. I learned to check my mirrors before pulling out to pass to make sure there wasn't a car coming up fast in the left lane. It was almost like I hear driving on the German autobahn is like. 

For example, There were three lanes and I was in the middle lane passing someone. I was doing 80 mph to get around that person and free up that lane. And someone passed me on the left going much faster then I was. I estimated they were doing at least 90 mph. The speed limit is 70. 

I don't know why this is happening. I wonder if it's Google Maps/Waze showing where people have reported cops. I don't trust it enough to risk going faster than 76 mph (I added a mile per hour because so many cars were going so much faster). If I started driving 80+ mph, I'd get a big nasty ticket pretty soon. At least, that's my experience. 

I didn't experience this when I drove to Walla Walla for the Chicago concert. But that was mostly two-lane road and I did a bunch of passing of slower vehicles.

So now I am the slower traffic and, yes, I keep right.

Do you have an idea why people drive so fast lately. Let me know in the comments below.