Friday, October 24, 2014

Speaking of corn...

click on the picture to enlarge it.  Dents showing in about 30% of kernels
 I managed to creak my way out to the cornfield and picked a couple of sample ears.  The dents are showing up, and it continues to ripen, slowly, but its making progress.  We usually get frost first two weeks of november, but indications are that this may be a warmer-than-usual winter, and the temps have been in the low 60s during the day and the mid-40s at night... so far so good.   The corn plants are still green and alive, which is good.    
Inspecting an ear for milk line
 If you want to know more than you even thought possible about corn growth stages, click here.
Getting closer every day.    Hoping I'll be in shape to actually drive a tractor when it's ready to go.

Not the way I wanted to spend a friday night

WARNING:  Fairly graphic description of a car crash follows.

Last friday I was driving home from a candidates forum along a local highway, and a pizza delivery guy turned left in front of me.  I hit him and the impact drove me off the road into two other cars parked on the highway shoulder.
2013 VW passat after collision
So for me it was a normal, quiet drive home.  I noticed two cars on the side of the road, on the shoulder, that were nose-to-nose, like one was trying to jump the other.  On a rural highway you see a lot of vehicles getting fixed by owners, nothing remarkable about that.  I could see headlights of the westbound traffic (I was eastbound).

I saw this guy turn a fraction of a second before I hit him; not enough time to hit the brakes.  I guess he thought he had enough time to make his left turn; and misjudged.  I think he's a younger guy, and I sure wish he had waited another 30 seconds for me to pass.

When I hit him everything went white.  I remember wondering what was going on until I saw the airbag deflate and I could see the shattered windshield.  It felt initially like I had done the mother of all bellyflops and I could tell I was hurt but I couldn't tell how much.  I could see one of the cars on the side of the road (a light truck) that I was resting against, and I wondered briefly if that was the other vehicle I'd hit.  I didn't know if it was.  but there it was.  weird.    I really couldn't draw a breath.  There was a white powder drifting through the drivers compartment.  i switched the ignition off, (not realizing that the battery, and the whole front of the car, was just gone) and when I did so I noticed I had blood on my left hand.  and I looked at my right and there was blood there, too.  I was wearing a suit and tie, and I noticed blood on my shirt.  I started wondering where all this blood was coming from.  So i kind of gingerly patted myself down, and wiggled my toes and fingers and didn't find any obvious wounds.  not a gush, more a drip, and seemed to be coming from my hands.    
My blood
My face and chest were covered with the airbag when the windshield hit my knuckles and cut both hands up.  I didn't see any bone showing, but it was hard to tell.
The car that turned left in front of me I think
  Dr. Leonard, an emergency room phsysician was driving to work and turned out to be one of the first people on the scene.  He talked to me a bit, and looked at my hands, and said "I'll be seeing you in about 20 minutes I think.  " and the paramedics got me out of the car on a backboard with a collar and I was in the emergency room for a few hours.  x rays and a presecription for muscle relaxants and pain relievers ("you are going to be very, very sore for a number of days" , said Dr. Leonard) and in truth the real pain didn't start up until about 4 hours after the accident.
takes quite a blow to bend the steering wheel like that.  no airbags.

after 3 vehicle impacts

Dr. Leonard said to me something that I heard very clearly.  "10 years ago this wouldn't have been a survivable accident.  You're lucky you had a good, safe car with airbags.  That car failed in exactly the right way to direct the energy of a head-on collision away from the passenger compartment.  You're very lucky.  "  Guys, I'd buy another passat again in a heartbeat.  probably will.

Most of a week later I can finally think about putting my own socks on again.  Separated rib, neck strain, back strain, cuts on both hands, intermittent back spasms...  It hurt any way I lay down, or stood up.  Tears-in-the-eyes pain.

I really don't know the extent of the injuries to the other drivers, I asked the paramedics but they didn't know either but they did say that no one died.  thankful for that.  Was amused to learn that the guy who caused the accident was insured by my insurance company, too.  Glad he has insurance, not sure how this is going to play out as far as claims go.  State patrol issued a ticket for something to the jeep driver; probably failure to yield.  insurance company accepted fault was his.

Kinda put everything into perspective.  I didn't think about the corn until today.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm running for office.

I haven't mentioned this before,but I'm running for political office; I filed for this position on May 12th, and I've been campaigning since.

It's been an interesting process; this is the first elected position I've run for, and I've been doing all of the things that campaigns need to do; public appearances and signs and advertising and fundraising and it's been a good education in the process.   I've probably talked to 5,000 people since the start of the campaign.  That's a lot of talking!


I'm running for the position of  Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) commissioner;  I am running to become a member of a 3 person commission that oversees the PUD; the commission approves contracts over $25,000, accepts or rejects rate changes, and can hire and fire the professional manager of the PUD.

To explain what a public utility district is, the closest analogy I've come across is the difference between a credit union and a commercial bank.  A credit union is a not-for-profit institution run for the benefit of its depositor/owners.  A commercial bank is run for the benefit of its shareholders.

The mission of the PUDS was to give the ratepayers in the service area a better deal than they might get from a commercial entity, and for most of the PUDs in Washington State (there are over 20 of them) they do.

But the Snohomish county PUD seems to have drifted a bit.  They have the highest rates of any PUD in the state, and they've had recent troubles that point to a management problem.   These troubles have led to the loss of millions of PUD dollars, and millions of federal dollars, too.  And they are studying a much larger project, at 180 million dollars, that I'm  that I'm skeptical that they can manage.

In addition, the basic job of the utility is to keep the lights on.  The number of days of power outages that the average customer experiences has climbed over the past 12 years

The job of commissioner is to make sure that your neighbors money is spent wisely, and that's what I'd like to do.  I think it's time for a change in the leadership, and for fresh eyes and ideas to take the PUD to the next decade.

You'll find my campaign website here, and here's a some recent letters to the editor that put it better than I can:

PUD needs King
Change Definitely needed at PUD
PUD commission needs a shakeup!