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Friday, May 29, 2009

For $199 I will help you beat any speeding ticket.

Some of you may remember that I was issued a traffic citation on the tandem a couple of months ago. On moral grounds, I felt obligated to fight this injustice. I had my day in court today.

While waiting for my name to be called, I prepared an elaborate (and likely losing) defense:

1) Your honor, I have not been issued a ticket in the last 19 years of driving.
2) When we are on tandem bicycle, I obey nearly all traffic laws:
a) I never speed (pause for laughter)
b) I stop at red lights
c) I stay to the right (I had actually written down "left" in my notes...still dreaming about New Zealand.)
d) We use hand signals (I was having trouble deciding between "we" and "I" for all of the above.)
3) Occasionally, I check for other cars/bikes and just slow down at stop signs.
4) At the intersection in question: On a (signed) bike route in San Clemente, there was minimal traffic, and no cars approaching the intersection. I slowed down to about 8 MPH, saw that the intersection was clear, and continued through.
5) Something about Bill McCready's proper method. (I was thinking I would blame the stoker for pedaling us through while I tried to stop...)
6) Your honor, I've learned my lesson...I have not run a stop sign since. (This last point has made it impossible to ride with other cyclists--it is impossible to convince people who have not yet been hit with a $202 ticket that running a stop sign on a bicycle is a ticketable offense.)

As luck would have it, the ticketing deputy did not show up. Eight of us (including two other cyclists) had our cases dismissed. (The two other cyclists had been with a group of twenty. They claimed that they were at the front, and would have stopped, but they were getting bumped from behind. All twenty of them were issued citations.)

So after watching two hours of traffic cases, I am confident that I can beat any speeding ticket. Either that, or the defendants were so poor at defending themselves that the cops did not bring their A game. Please note: I said speeding ticket. There seems to be very little defense for any other moving violation (red light, stop sign, littering, marijuana possession).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Highly skilled repair of Sony DSC-T5

Alternative title #1 was: I've heard you can restart a human heart by the same method
Alternative title #2 was: That's 45 more dollars I can go and drink tonight

Yesterday, instead of taking pictures, our little Sony digital camera would show only a very blurry display and the following message: "E:61:10".

I searched all over the internet, and the consensus seemed to be:
1) Send it back to Sony for repair ($100-$150).
2) Drop it (from a height of somewhere between 2 inches and 3 feet).

As with many small electronic devices, the cost of repair was more than the value of the camera, so I chose option 2. Dropping a camera from a height of 2 inches is much more difficult than you might think; you will find yourself attempting to drop the camera gently to avoid breakage.

After about 3 or 4 tries (and a height of 6 inches), the camera is now working again.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Favorite line spoken by attending physician whilst I was in pharmacy school:

Med Student: What did infectious disease doctors do before HIV?
Dr. Battiger: We grew cultured.

Spent last night at the symphony for Nico's birthday. In a couple of weeks, I get to go to the opera.

Too much culture for one month. I am glad these places have bars.