October 13th, 2015

Today's Activities Include: photos, trip reports, taxes, lunch, walking, recycling iPhone 5

I uploaded my phone photos from the C-weekend trip to North Conway. I also posted the daily trip reports from the weekend. That was _after_ finishing my portion of the taxes. There wasn't much -- fix errors and put in the real numbers from two K-1s that had only produced estimates back in April (and boy, those estimates weren't very accurate). R. still has a bit more to do, but it's looking good. I walked with M. for a mile and then did the 3 mile loop. I went to lunch at Julie's Place. I dropped my iPhone 5 at the UPS store in the BrightStar packaging. If I'd done more research, I might have opted for Verizon's recycling offer, over the Apple Store suggestion to use BrightStar. Verizon offered $25 more than BrightStar, so if you are looking to unload a phone, and care about that amount of money, you might want to do a little more looking around than I did.

It's been a productive day, altho it has had some moments (getting confused about where to find my insurance on the condo).

There's some great fall foliage in town right now. I took a picture while out on my walk and updated my cover photo on FB, which had been bare trees against a bright blue sky from early spring.

My Dutch lesson was canceled today, which was just as well. Tomorrow is T.'s half day, so less time to work on things like taxes, and Thursday is the 15th when they are due.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up, Aunt Division

The whole world is judging the "childless" aunt who sued her nephew in Connecticut court for damages that resulted some years ago when he, as an 8 year old, jumped on her to give her a hug. He is described in the article as weighing 50 pounds at the time, which honestly sounds very light for an 8 year old boy.

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Jury-Aunt-who-sued-8-year-old-gets-zero-6568677.php

She lost. Duh. Her position was that a "prudent" 8 year old would have known better than to jump her. The jury's position was probably representative of the population at large's opinion that "eight year old" and "prudent" rarely belong anywhere near each other in a sentence.

However, because we don't necessarily want to encourage 8 year old (especially ones who weigh more than 50 pounds) children to jump on unsuspecting fifty year olds (my daughter tried this with her great aunt J. recently. J. had only recently recovered from a shattered pelvis and is in her 80s. I about had a heart attack, but J. is savvy to the ways of children and knew to dodge), the media has seen fit to make the plaintiff sound extra special ridiculous: "childless" is in quotes because it appears in all the coverage, as if this was either additionally damning or somehow explanatory or possibly both; having trouble holding a plate gets the full treatment: “I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she said." So in addition to no kids, suing a relative and eating something called "hors d'oeuvres" (instead of apps, the way any reasonable adult would say today, or, if you are square, appetizers or conceivably small plates), she lives in Manhattan (and we know about THOSE people), etc.

If the media had wanted to sympathize with this woman, she would have been described differently: having trouble with activities of daily living, such as carrying a plate of food, living in a cramped apartment in a building without an elevator, and probably some text associated with the extent of the medical bills not covered by insurance.

Children jumping on adults is something that causes very serious problems for some adults. And probably we should all, collectively, come up with some way to protect adults, especially ones who spend a lot of time around children, from this problem. I sort of feel like tourists like the childless aunt are kinda on their own. (One wonders what happens when she's around large, overly friendly, dogs.) I'm fairly certain, however, that the solution will not involve lawsuits. I'm thinking something along the lines of disclaimers, warning labels, signs, etc.: "Warning! This is a Birthday Party! Children Doing Stupid Shit! Maintain situational awareness at all times and be prepared to dodge. If you require assistance in defending against incoming small bodies, please notify the host before arrival."

ETA: Also, how does living on the 3rd floor make a wrist injury worse? I'm really confused about that part. If it'd been an ankle, or knee or hip, sure, but wrist?

Book Huffing is Alive and Well -- But Some Huffers Feel ... Pangs

Nate over at TDR included this in the post formerly known as Morning Coffee, but
now known as Daily Brief:

https://thebookishclothesehorse.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/acknowledging-the-artifact-how-we-privilege-physical-books-and-undermine-reading/

In which the blogger has this to say about themself:

"When you look in our apartment from the sidewalk, you see the bookshelves (and a John Coltrane poster.) There is no TV in the living room…there’s no TV in the apartment. I like what that says to passers-by. Those books, not just owned but possessed by me (and Zac…but the lion’s share of those shelves belongs to me) are as much about me as their owner as they are about their contents and literal use function. Our book collections—lined up, color-coordinated, and Instagrammed when the lighting is right—tell the viewer who we are as people."

Yup. Those books say a lot about you as people. Your summary in the blog really brings it home, in case we missed the point.

This, dear reader, is Someone Who Owns Books. As opposed to a person who actually enjoys reading and does a lot of it. And they are starting to get an inkling that maybe being pretentious might NOT be quite as much fun as actually _doing_ the thing they have fetishized as an identity.

Seriously. Real readers recognize they have a Problem. If you feel like you need to do this:

"I’m not advocating that we forgo this connection to our physical books or stop taking pictures of whatever we are reading laid out next to a latte on a blond wood table. I take that picture a lot. I love that picture."

You probably believe those surveys that position book-a-month people as "heavy readers". And that 50 book challenge thing? It never occurred to you _how fucking hard_ it would be to drive your reading that low.

Parking Woes

I was telling someone from the PacNW recently about parking out here, specifically, the complex and angry rules surrounding parking spaces which have been shoveled out (this would be during a snowy winter, obvs). I went looking for an example of coverage, and found this:

http://somerville.wickedlocal.com/article/20150216/NEWS/150217257

It doesn't include the really good bits (like putting lawn furniture and similar into a plowed out spot to save it for later), but _does_ include an actual confrontation that led to charges.

You want older coverage? Cause this is _old_:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39654-2004Dec31.html

In 10 years, things _have_ become more lawful. Probably because the area has gentrified the less law-abiding residents out. I find it absolutely amazing that people who lived in the area felt that a few hours of shoveling somehow meant that spot was theirs for the whole winter/until the next snow storm. Seriously?

These days, the collection by officials of the lawn furniture used to save spaces generates fewer threats of mayhem and more problems of what to do with the crap that is collected:

http://patch.com/massachusetts/somerville/what-heck-somerville-supposed-do-all-these-parking-space-savers-0

I mention this, because NYT had coverage of California electric car charging slots that suggests they may be developing a similar dynamic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/science/in-california-electric-cars-outpace-plugs-and-sparks-fly.html

The problem is roughly the same: inadequate negotiation and/or inadequate enforcement of negotiated allocation of a scarce resource. (Handicapped spots typically do not suffer from the same problem, because negotiation and enforcement is well developed. However, incidents do occur: http://ktla.com/2015/03/03/fight-over-a-handicap-space-outside-wal-mart-sends-71-year-old-to-hospital/ Trial started in September; I'm not sure if/how it turned out.)

Of course, I'm a nerd, so over the long haul, I think we should decrease/eliminate "free" parking on city streets and allocate _all_ parking. That way, if you drive into an urban area, you know _exactly_ where you are going to park and how long you can stay there and what it will cost, whether that's because you live there and you own/rent a spot associated with your living space, work there (ditto) or are visiting, and place your request for parking on your way in, receiving your allocation before it's time to come to a halt. There are people out there Who Should Know who claim that a lot of traffic in urban areas is people circling around looking for parking. If we allocated every single spot every single trip, we could put a stop to that circling once and for all. (With mobile phones and apps, of course. Payment to be determined through the usual collision of cost and public values.)

ETA: Shoup on street parking in the NYT just before the bust:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/opinion/29shoup.html

It's an opinion piece and boy does Shoup have opinions! But there are at least some citations you could track down on how much traffic is people crawling for parking. Shoup is arguing for fixing it by appropriate pricing. Typical of the app and cloud era, I'm in favor of fixing it with more information.