Month: July 2010

The Colorado Governor’s Race: Now That’s Entertainment!

Normally I’m a lot more interested in national politics than local politics, but lately the race for Colorado governor, at least on the republican side, has been pretty darned entertaining! So let’s see. First it looked like Scott McInnis  and Josh Penry were going to fight it out for the republican nomination, but Penry was pressured to withdraw from the race. Little-known candidate Dan Maes stayed in, but nobody expected him to give McInnis much competition, especially after the Post reported on campaign finance violations which eventually resulted in him paying a $17,500 fine. So far, pretty much a yawner, with all the excitement waiting for the general election against John Hickenlooper. But wait! It comes to light that McInnis was paid $300,000 for a series of essays that he plagiarized from a water expert who’s now a Colorado Supreme Court Justice. McInnis responds by blaming a staffer who wrote the essays for him, never mind that he put his name on them and issued a statement that they were his original work. According to him, this is “taking responsibility for the error”. Suddenly his campaign is imploding…and then it starts getting interesting. Now Tom Tancredo says that unless both McInnis and Mays pledge by 2pm Monday to get out of the race if the winner is trailing Hickenlooper by the polls after the primary (a virtual certainty), he’ll...

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Why I Love Amazon Prime

Several weeks ago, Brit ordered a large tent for the wedding from an Amazon third party seller, Aubuchon Hardware. The delivery window extended through July 22nd. On the 21st, it still showed as “shipping soon”, so she emailed them to find out what was up. Their reply? It was backordered and expected around the end of the month. !!! Obviously, she told them to cancel the order. Amazon doesn’t sell that particular tent themselves, but they sell a slightly better version that costs quite a bit more; on the bright side, we didn’t have to pay the $65 shipping. The page said that it would take an extra 4-5 days to ship, so I paid $3.99 for next day shipping to make sure it’s here in time for the wedding next week. This happened two days ago. Yesterday afternoon, the tent was delivered. $4 for next-day delivery of a tent that, according to Amazon’s page, weighs 119 pounds (142 pounds shipping weight), and we don’t have to deal with incompetent sellers. At $79/year for the Prime membership (and free this year with my student email account), that’s what I call a bargain! Share on...

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Photos of Central City

A few weeks ago, after a day spent preparing for the wedding, Brit and I decided to grab the camera, hop in the car, and head west towards the mountains. Brit suggested Lookout Point, but before we arrived we decided to just keep going; eventually we decided to follow the signs to “Hidden Valley” and ended up in Central City.  I’ve been meaning to check it out for a few years, but wasn’t intending to do it this month! We went in to one of the casinos and lost $5 in a video poker machine for the heck of it, but mostly we just wandered around and took photos. I thought I’d go ahead and post a few of the pictures here. These have not yet been photoshopped or altered in any way, with the obvious exception of shrinking down the file size so this page doesn’t take forever to load! The photos were all taken with my Nikon D300 using a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. One of the first things you see upon entering the town, we weren’t able to snap the Hawley Mose Warehouse immediately, but after circling around for a bit to find parking, we eventually ended up above it. Central City really keeps that “old-time” feel (in spite of every other building being a casino); lots of steep roads and odd parking! We love Vegas, but...

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What I’m Reading

I’ve been reading quite a bit of different material lately; here’s a quick roundup. As I mentioned last week, I recently finished and reviewed SEO Warrior by John Jerkovic; I’m currently reading books on iPhone application design and Javascript programming, which I hope to finish by the end of the month, and I have one on PHP I’ll be reading after that. I’m currently looking for full-time work, and I’ve always been interested in web development, so I decided to take advantage of whatever free time I have to pick up the skills that are in demand in this area. Thanks go out to O’Reilly for keeping me supplied with good books lately! FiveThirtyEight has an interesting article, with discussion, about the history of countries cutting spending during a recession. The Baltic states, for example, slashed spending immediately after the credit bubble popped in 2008, and have since suffered the deepest recessions in Europe. China, on the other hand, increased government spending with a massive (relatively the world’s largest, although smaller than America’s in absolute dollar terms) that went towards infrastructure (as I’ve argued that most of ours should have); as a result, not only is the country being upgraded, but wages are actually increasing.  In fact, China’s economy grew by 8.7% in 2009. I’m currently contributing five articles per month to BrightHub, mostly on the topics of college and...

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