Archive for February, 2006

NES rate hike

Grab your wallets, folks, NES is raising rates again, this time by a whopping 8.9% — meaning an average $8/mo or so increase.

The revenue would be used to pay for new transmission lines, poles, transfer stations and underground utility services, and to maintain existing equipment.

“We’re experiencing so much growth here in the Nashville area,” Hill said. “It’s business growth as well as improvements on the aging system. We’re having to not only upgrade the systems, were adding new stuff to it.”

Ah, the joys of monopoly. Maybe I’ll go off-grid.

“It’s good to be da king.”

I go better with Diet Coke

Ready for the impending blizzard.I have a thing for Diet Coke. OK, I’m probably 98% Diet Coke, but, who’s counting? Unfortunately, my thing is for fountain Diet Coke, and, it’s not exaclty like that’s available to me at all times. Yeah, I admit I’ve even fantasized about a fountain machine at home or in my office. Yes, sad, I know. However, not all fountain Diet Cokes are the same. I don’t know much about maintaining that fountain of life, but, some places do it a lot better than others. The eating area at the medical establishment that signs my paycheck has the machines, but, they somehow manage to dispense it with no carbonation. OK, not literally, but, by the time you sit down with it, it’s already flat.

Mc Donald’s and Krystal have it right. Actually, if you hit the right Krystal, they are the winners in the Diet Coke competition held only in the crevices of my mind. The Krystal in Bellevue has the best, but, by the time you actually get through the line, you no longer want it, or, you have have grown old and died. In the latter case, I think they offer it to the person behind you for free.

Street Crossing Nightmare for Left Handed

I was walking home from the Green Hills Club or The Club in Green Hills (side note: see if you can find their website which is the subject of another lesson in real life user interface) when I came to the intersection of Crestmoor and Hillsboro here This is a particularly nasty intersection with several closely spaced traffic lights in the middle of Green Hills which has to worst traffic on Earth (parts of Bangkok and Beijing come close). In my left-handed confusion I look for an indication of where to cross, anything to help me navigate the street in a safe and orderly fashion (well that’s a lie .. I was looking to see if there were any cops who might ticket me for jay walking but it leads to the same conclusion so shut up).

That’s when I saw the sign – “Crossing on South side of street ONLY”. Here is the essential difference between left and right .. handedness. The street crossing is designed no doubt by the same fellow who oversees usability at the Nashville International Airport — a Malthusian right handed chauvinist. Nashville isn’t New York where I could always tell North and South because I knew which streets ran East to West and could work out the South part by standing with my right hand pointing west and left hand east. This left my butt pointing south btw.

I looked for further guidance thinking how in the world am I supposed to know which side of the frigging street is north or south in a city where all the streets ran wherever? There was no button to push, no white lines in the street , nothing logical . So how am I supposed to know? I know that Allan Funt is dead or I’d think they had a camera on me. (I still think that’s makes more sense than anything).That’s when it hit me that the damn street was designed for right handed people. Only right handed people would be so anal as to have a compass with them at all times? How could I be so stupid I thought. Another example of how the majority oppresses. And its wrong okay. There should be some kind of crossing for left-handed people who don’t have a compass up their butts at all times. Even some right handed elderly peoople might have a hard time seeing the little hands. Add to that the pressure of being nearly blind with onrushing traffic, (the worst on Earth as I said), no sidewalks and not having any idea what to do other than pull out the laptop and go to Google Maps to find out which direction is south and whether the sign refers to the adjacent street or the tangential one. So okay, there is a Starbucks across the street which should have wireless if it hasnt been sued by Bellsouth.

I’m sure the conservative bloggers are reading this and thinking oh no! here they go again. Will the cradle to grave socialist mentality ever stop? You want us to do what? Put up street crossings? Do you know how expensive that is? No. actually I don’t. I might just opt for the old fashioned . CROSS THE FRIGGING STREET HERE, YES HERE WHERE THIS SIGN IS and leave out the need for a guide or skills at orienteering and guessing in general.

Sometimes.. good UI design means CUT THE CRAP. And if this stems for some secret agenda by the Purcell administration to weed out the old and infirmred for budgetary reasons. well okay. I understand. But .. but it might cause a lawsuit if they are from out of town.. Some day soon a right handed person will be killed at that crossing and you’ll be sorry. Then you’ll put up a sign.


MTA Speed Demons

Apparently an MTA bus ran a red light on 4th and Charlotte today and plowed into a car trying to cross the intersection.

I’ve been noticing more and more the fantastic speed at which the MTA buses fly down 1st avenue on my walk to work in the morning. And by “noticing”, I mean alternately fearing for my life and seething with rage. And while I appreciate the opportunity they give me to reflect on my own mortality, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they could be going a little slower.

45mph on a 2-lane road with pedestrian traffic (that would be me. hi!) just isn’t cool, especially when it’s a 16-ton bus. I think maybe the MTA needs to have a talk with their drivers:

Lesson #1: getting customers back and forth on time is less important than, you know, accidentally killing them.

Schooled in traffic

speeding.jpgSelected offenders can now attend traffic school online in Nashville. Though the defensive driving classes have always had mixed reviews, offering the course online seems to be a viable solution to the overcrowded classrooms caused by the more traffic tickets issued due to the crackdown on driving offenses in town.

You can now complete the course from the comfort of your own home, from work, or, via the free wifi at Centennial Park (that I can’t ever get to work). If Nashville had city-wide wifi, you could theoretically complete it while driving, but, I’m suspicious that’s not what they had in mind.

The bigger question is, how many times do you have to take it to be considered for the affiliate program? Do you get a commission for every friend you lure into a traffic violation?

West End Dogs

Dog catching frisbee Even though we’ve just had some snow and freezing temperatures here in Nashville, I am seeing signs that we are inching ever so slowly to Spring. The first indication that the days are getting longer, is that I have to hunt down my sunglasses when I leave the building after work. While I’m glad that I’m no longer living the life of a bat (dark when I get to work, and, dark when I leave), I have to admit that I was just now getting to where I’m not startled that the streetlights are on when I walk outside in the late afternoon.

While I haven’t seen the UPS man in shorts, yet, (the other sure sign of Spring), I did see a different sign: the gathering of the dogs (and their people) at the corner of West End and Murphy Road. I don’t know who they are, or even if it’s a “formal” gathering, but, there’s something about watching that group enjoy the outdoors that makes me happy. Big dogs and little dogs all getting to know each other and playing in the grass. I’d love to join them sometime, but, I’m thinking their dogs are better behaved than mine. So, if you ever see someone chasing a dog in the turning lane on West End near 440, just know that it didn’t work out quite like I planned, and, I will continue to enjoy them from afar.

Thank You For Not Smoking

State Capitol

The Tennessee State Legislature seems to be listening to a lobbyist that isn’t the tobacco industry. Two bills are currently up for review that would prevent smoking in Tennessee Restaurants. Unfortunately, both bills face an uphill battle for approval. I tend to think a statewide ban won’t pass. More than likely, the wimps on Capitol Hill will pass the buck and leave it up to each Metro area.

I’m all for approval of either of these bills. Many states and major cities to have banned smoking in bars and restaurants over the past couple of years. After traveling out to L.A. for 5 days last month, I can tell you that going out is a much more pleasurable experience. Coming home smelling like an ashtray isn’t high on my list of things I enjoy when out on the town.

Will the Titans Draft Vince Young

Rumor has it that the Steve McNair contract has been settled; McNair will be with the Titans for one more year. That plays nicely with the expectation that the Titans will draft Vince Young.

There is a post on today that states Vince Young will not be showing off his skills at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. Does this mean he has pretty much made up his mind? Could the Titans have already negotiated terms with Vince Young? Could the New Orleans Saints draft him before the Titans get a chance to?

If I was to place a bet on this, my money would be with Vince playing for the Titans in 2006. The only question that remains for me is how big of a role will he play during his mentor’s last season?

save the belle meade theatre to Belcourt, the Belle Meade Theatre is probably Nashville’s oldest and most storied theatre, despite the fact that it was gutted and turned into a Bookstar in 1991. That book store closed down a few years ago, and it has been sitting vacant ever since. You might think it couldn’t get any worse, but it can, and it will. The plans for the theatre are to tear down most of the building and keep the facade in front of .. a Harris Teeter.

No, I’m not joking. What a disgrace. Check out the redevelopment page at the website for the developer, Giarratana Development, LLC. It includes some high-res mockups of what the proposed grocery store would look like.

When Belcourt was threatened, a city-wide movement was enacted to save the theatre. Where is the “Save Belle Meade Theatre” movement? I’d almost prefer that they just tear it down, rather than leaving up the facade as a sad reminder, co-opted by the consumerist megaplex that took its place.

Downtown Living

It seems like we have been inundated with stories about how everyone is now wanting to live in Downtown Nashville. I know a few people who are living downtown, but now that I have kids I have settled down across the river in East Nashville.

This is the second revitalization of downtown that I remember. In the early 90’s downtown nashville got a little nightlife and some restaurants. Prior to that there were loads of pawn shops and porn shops. A large part of the revitalization seemed to be spurred by Daincin’ in the District.

I am surprised that it has taken this long for urban living to really catch on in Nashville, but I have to wonder what is driving it? I think that sports are playing a large role in the appeal of downtown Nashville. Within walking distance we have hockey, football, and soon to be baseball.

While it is hard to fiscally justify the money that taxpayers are spending to have professional sports teams in Nashville, it does make Nashville (and especially downtown) a cooler place to live.

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