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10/20/2015

Electrified

IMG_3465.JPGLately I have been driving by some impressive new structures in town. AEP is replacing many older transmission line pylons with these new ones.

They have a smaller footprint on the ground and are (hopefully) less susceptible to storm damage. One question remains, though: why do they still have to be up in the air?

Underground HVDC transmission lines have been around for some time and seem to have advantages. Maybe that's why Bavaria recently passed a law mandating underground installation for all new transmission lines.

09/06/2015

Labor Day

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This year, for the first time in decades, Indiana Tech gave us Labor Day off! This was the perfect opportunity to load up the van with beach gear and dog, and head to Portage where we stayed at a hotel for two nights. Yesterday we shopped the Lighthouse Place outlet mall in Michigan City, today we relaxed at Central Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The wet and rather cold June had prevented people from using the beach, so nature had had a chance to clean up. The lake was crystal clear, we had the beach mostly to ourselves. Armani went in the water a lot more than he did in previous years. We even let him off the leash for a bit to wander about on his own.

11:17 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)

07/30/2015

Riding along the Obstacle Course

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Weather permitting, I enjoy riding my motorcycle to work. Six years ago, when I first purchased my Honda Shadow Aero cruiser, the shortest distance was also the best way to go. My ride took me about 25 pleasant minutes along 9 miles of easy going, even scenic, city roads.

Harsh winters, cheaply built roads, mismanaged city budget, lacking maintenance, careless "patching", quick and dirty "resurfacing", increased traffic, construction projects, and water main breaks, have since taken a toll on road conditions.

Some streets are closed, some have lane LongTrip.JPGrestrictions, many are in dangerous disrepair. The asphalt is cracked, riddled with potholes or patches, covered with sand, gravel, debris - not funny, if you travel on only two wheels.

So, in my attempt to pick the safest route to work, I was forced to add 3.5 miles and 15 minutes to my daily commute - each way, of course. For most of it I am now driving amidst dense traffic with frequent periods of stop-and-go.

 

06/25/2015

Finally got rid of "Apt. 119"!

Three times a year I order my free annual credit report from one of the three credit bureaus. It used to be quick, painless, and easy to do online - until two years ago. All of a sudden Equifax and Experian would not let me request my report over the web anymore. When I finally received the report from Equifax, ordering over the phone, I realized why: there was a change in my address.

Somehow an "Apt. 119" had been appended to my home address, which is a single family home, by the way.

That's when a frustrating journey began. I called Equifax to tell them about the error and have it corrected. You'd think that should be easy. It is not. It is actually impossible. They kept telling me they could not correct my address because it was being reported like that by one of my creditors. They would not tell me which one.

Experian just listed "Apt. 119" as one of three addresses somehow "related" to me, but didn't use it as my primary address. Calling them was just as frustrating, though - different reason given: we can't remove or correct any of the addresses associated to you, unless it is your primary address that is incorrect. They also informed me that the address was being reported like that by a creditor, and I needed to talk to the creditor. They would also not tell me which creditor.

A major break-through occurred this year, finally! I had ordered my annual free report from Experian again, over the phone, of course. It arrived today. On it I noticed the "Apt. 119" address came with an "address identification number". The same "address identification number" appeared under the section with our mortgage account. The mortgage that we refinanced two years ago. Apparently the bank had been reporting the address with "Apt. 119" ever since. Don't ask me why.

APT119.jpgLogging in to the online user interface for that bank account, going to their "service center", and fixing that address was easy. 

Hopefully, just another two years from now, I will be able to order my Experian and Equifax annual credit reports online again.

06/17/2015

Lines, or no Lines?

lines.jpgWhile I can still get by everywhere without glasses, it is increasingly tiring to stare at my computer screen for hours. So I thought some midrange bifocals would be advisable.

Costco has an eye specialist on site, and after you get your prescription, you can order your glasses right there. Very convenient.

The optometrist recommended those "no-line progressive" lenses that seem to be the in-thing to have. I didn't know any better, so I agreed to that.

My goodness! Let me tell you this: you want lines on your bifocals. After just briefly trying the progressive lenses I really wonder how anybody would prefer those.

Your area of useful correction is about pea-sized. Everything outside the immediate center of the lense doesn't help you see; it turns the world into a wobbly, distorted blur. So, to be able to work, you need to learn to keep your eyes straight at all times, and move your entire head to look at stuff. No way!

I paid an extra $20 to have the lenses switched for some good old-fashioned bifocals, with lines. Much better!