Monday, October 29, 2012

A better way to do it.

Short of totally abolishing the Electoral College, two states have a process that gives the voters a little better representation.

I live in the state of Utah, which for the last 40 years has given all it’s electoral votes to the Republican candidate for President.  Because I live in what is now known as a solid-red state, my vote is irrelevant.  And frankly, according to every Presidential candidate in every election I’ve been here for, every single Utahn is irrelevant at election time.  They know where the electoral votes are going to go, they never personally campaign here (yes, they do fundraise here, but that’s a one-stop and then hit the road), and we hardly ever see campaign ads here (blessing in disguise).

The entire population of Utah is marginalized, and the same is true of all the solid blue states.  We simply don’t matter come election time.

The Electoral College made complete sense in it’s day.  But now, with electronic voting, it makes no sense at all, and is detrimental to the democratic process.  It should be abolished.

That would take a Constitutional Amendment to do, since the electoral process is spelled out right in Article II of the United States Constitution.

But the way a state chooses it’s electors is up to the states themselves.  There is no requirement for all the electors to vote for one candidate.

Case in point: Nebraska and Maine.

Each state gets the same number of electors as the number of members they have in congress.  2 electors for their Senators and one for each Representative in the House.

In Nebraska and Maine, the two electors for the number of Senators go to the Presidential candidate that has the most votes state-wide.  The rest go to the Presidential candidate that their House of Representatives District votes for.  In 2008, the 2nd District of Nebraska gave one of the state’s electoral votes to Obama, while the other 4 went to McCain.

It may not be as good as eliminating the outdated Electoral College and actually letting every person’s vote count, but following Nebraska and Maine would be heading in the right direction.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trump’s Super Chunk

I wondered if the cookie inside this package was produced by Donald Trump, but decided it couldn’t have been because I didn’t have to show my birth certificate or passport before receiving it.

Travel, Travel: another TP entry.

I think I’ve posted some of these before, but Alexia’s “travel, travel” post reminded me of them and I decided I had to revisit this trip.

In 2001, the Dance Company where I was teaching was invited to perform a couple of dances at Disneyland, and I was lucky (?) enough to be invited to go as a chaperone.

As you can see, digital photography wasn’t what it is today, but I still had a great time overall.

Waiting to board the plane in Salt Lake City.

We took up 90% of the flight, I felt sorry for the regular passengers.

You say “life saving oxygen mask”, I say “toy”.

Arriving in L.A.

At the hotel, waiting for the bus to take us to Disneyland.


The enormous crowd waiting for the show.

The first day the Ballroom Dance group performed.

Our Dance teacher built up a great program that, unlike the other Junior Highs I’ve taught at, attracted a lot of boys.

The second day was Dance Company’s turn to perform.

This group was mostly girls.

Ballroom Dance’s sweatshirt logo.

“I wear my sunglasses at night,”

That’s the bed at the hotel they broke, you can probably tell how.

We left a couple hours free before the flight home so we could visit the beach.

But I didn’t get to relax the whole time, I had to go find a store to get some band-aids for a kid that cut his foot on the rocks.

Buried in the sand, with seaweed hair. 

And then it was time to say goodbye to California.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Utah, the Orange Barrel State.

Traveling in Utah by car means one thing: running into road construction.

The good thing is that the scenery is gorgeous and you rarely have nothing to look at while you’re stuck or simply slowed down..

Friday, October 19, 2012

One step closer.

I spent an hour at a place that does CNG conversions today.  Learned a lot, and now I’m even more sure that I want to do the conversion.

It’s going to cost me about $5,500 for the conversion to bi-fuel, which means the car will still run on gasoline if I ever run out of CNG.

They also offer financing, which is helpful since I don’t have six grand hanging around.  I’ll have a car payment for the first time in several years, but the savings in gas bills should make the payment, and more.  Gas mileage per GGE (gasoline gallon equivalent) should be about the same, and since Utah is flush with natural gas production, a GGE costs about $1.50 right now.

With the bi-fuel, driving long distances isn’t a problem, although a lot more expensive if I can’t find a CNG station.  Fortunately, as you can see from the map, there’s quite a few stations around Utah.  I could probably make it all the way to Vegas and back totally on CNG.

Do I hear “Road Trip”?

Construction Time Lapse.

It’s been a year and a half in the making, and technically it’s not done.  They are supposed to remove those two power poles in the middle of the parking lot, but I’ve been waiting a month and nothing’s happened.  I got tired of taking identical pictures every couple days, so I’m finishing it now.

The building itself is complete, and occupied now.  So here it is:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TP: Drink Up

Have you ever seen “That 70’s Show”?  I love that show.  It chronicles my high school years pretty well (with a little tweaking).

I was Eric Foreman, the solid middle class “good kid”.  Except I never dated Donna.

My best friend was Hyde, he even lived at my house for an extended stay a couple of times.  Although he took Kelso’s characteristic of dating everyone in sight.  At one point he was juggling 3 girlfriends at once.

We had our Fez, but they changed every year and were girls.

Our Kelso dated our Donna, and they had a kid together in 10th grade.

For us, Jackie never dated Kelso, but she did date our Hyde for a little while.

We even had our own version of Laurie, except she was definitely not my sister, and was created in the way-back of my car.

OK, it’s not a perfect match, but many of the episodes made me think of episodes in my life.

Anyway, the theme “Drinking Up” brought me back to those days.  And here are a few pictures I took back then.

(If anyone in these pictures would like to be removed from here, please let me know and I’ll take the picture off.)

For more Drink Up pictures, visit Thematic Photographic.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Neighbor(s)

Looks like I’m going to be getting new neighbors in the near future.  I saw this sign go up a couple of days ago, a few months back the owner mentioned that he was possibly going to be moving to California, but I’d thought the move was off.  Seems not.

There’s a lot of stress involved in moving, which is one reason I’m determined to stay in my house until they put me in a home, or the ground.

But there’s also some stress involved in getting new neighbors.  Especially when you’ve got good ones now.  I have no control over who chooses to move in.  Will we get along?  Will they be good neighbors, or will they ruin the bliss of my house?

Who knows, but at some point I guess I’ll find out.  And you’ll probably read about it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Colors

I took these pictures a couple weeks ago on a cruise over Wolf Creek Pass, somewhere on State Road 35 between Francis and Tabiona.

About a decade ago, most of this route was still dirt road, and even now it’s closed to traffic for part of the winter.

The colors might not be as vibrant as you see in New England and that part of Canada, but I really like the contrast of them dispersed within the evergreens.

See more Fall Colors by visiting Thematic Photographic.