Monday, March 05, 2007

Random Directions

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, and since I haven't had time to think about something long and drawn out (much to the relief of some, I'm sure), I thought about a few things that I'll spend a little bit of time on.

Ralph D'Andrea hit the nail on the head with his post today about the expansion of Daylight Saving Time and its' effect on various devices that up to now automatically changed the time. Some are going as far as calling it a "mini-Y2K", and while I don't think it the angst that accompanied that day will be duplicated, it will be annoying for many. Both of my machines run Windows XP, so the automatic updates should kick in. I think they've got a handle on it at work, but my guess is we'll be double checking all of the system times, and the GPS-based master clock that updates all of them. Should make for an interesting weekend.


This was the first year that I managed to see a majority of the films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and for me both the show and the honor are becoming something of an anachronism. Sure it's valuable to those involved in the industry, but the Internet has empowered the average citizen with the ability to research, obtain, and develop opinions on films that are somewhat to significantly out of the mainstream. What's coming on DVD in the next couple of weeks will be enough to fill more than a few more weekends worth of video time. If you get a chance, check out Fast Food Nation, Children of Men, Casino Royale, the first season of Hawaii Five-O (Contains the first known reference to public safety interoperability, "Patch me through to McGarrett"), and for more adult fare, Shortbus and Borat.

I personally thought that Babel was the best movie out of the nominated ones I had seen, although Letters from Iwo Jima (the only one I missed) looked extremely interesting. I would have liked The Departed better had it not incorporated the annoying trend of so many movies today, using the wireless phone as a device to advance the plot. Since the movie is based on another movie made in Hong Kong that I haven't seen, maybe that's the way it was originally written. Babel even had some of this going on, but seemed to do it right, as an illustration of the role of these devices in everyday life, and especially how they empower the differently abled. The deaf girl who gets video email from her friends in sign language, for example.

We watched Man of the Year a couple of nights ago, which is basically a movie written around the debate over paperless electronic voting and the comedy of Robin Williams. As a result, lots of cell phone use. Barry Levinson needs to go back to Baltimore for material; as the grandchild of immigrants, Avalon struck a chord with me, and along with Rain Man represents his best work. He is also largely responsible for the TV drama Homicide: Life on the Street, which sticks out for me as one of the best cop shows ever done.

There are two other films not coming out on video very soon that are definitely worth checking out in the theaters. These are The Painted Veil and Little Children, which is currently at the Avalon Theatre along with The Last King of Scotland. Hopefully time to check these out later this week. Maybe a birthday present before work. I turn 47 on Wednesday. Maybe I'll have more to say about that later, maybe not.


Canyon View Vineyard Church has had an excellent sermon series the last two weeks dealing with the topic of relationships. Youth Pastor Jake Wilkinson did an excellent job conveying ideas for "Rediscovering Romance" two weeks ago, and Senior Pastor Dan Cox followed up this past weekend with several points addressing the issues of the differences between us. He gave five considerations regarding these differences that are critical to maintaining relationships and not isolating ourselves from each other. I have linked the related scripture. These are:

1. Realize that we are uniquely created.

2. Listen to people who come from another point of view.

3. Communicate with an appropriate attitude when there are differences.

4. Focus on reconciliation and not resolving every issue.

5. Remember that relationships are eternal.

Hopefully the audio and notes from these sermons will be available on the sermons page of the Vineyard website soon. I'll have to see if there is anything I can do to help them update it.


The work on Seventh Street in Downtown GJ is in progress, and while it's a temporary inconvenience for me, I'm working around it. I hope to start riding my bicycle to work again when I change to day shift in April, so the available routes to work will increase. In the meantime, the amount of vitriol and venom expressed over the current project has been considerable, and not all entirely inappropriate.

Most of the complaints center around roundabouts, which to me are not a big deal so long as they are designed correctly. If you want examples, check out 24 Road at I-70 or 24 1/2 and G Roads for a good design, and 12th and Horizon for not so good.

I believe that the focus on roundabouts is misdirected in comparison to the underlying purpose of the entire project, of which the two main proponents are the Grand Junction Downtown Partnership and those who own property in the Seventh Street Historic District. The first group wants the Downtown area to continue to develop as a magnet for cultural, trendy commercial, and upscale residential development, or gentrification for short. The pros and cons of that are a lengthy and diverse list, better saved for another time.

The second group wants Seventh Street to be as unattractive a north-south traffic artery as possible, so as to reduce or maintain traffic levels through their neighborhood. It will also be interesting to see how the project affects speed limits all the way to North Avenue. Even though no construction will take place north of the Grand Avenue intersection, I wouldn't be surprised at an attempt by the gentry along that corridor to further attempt to calm and reduce traffic levels through the "historic district".

I am fighting sarcasm here, but even though the completed Riverside Parkway will also reduce traffic through Downtown, anyone who needs to travel to and/or through the Downtown area will likely turn their attention to Fourth Street and Fifth Street to accomplish that end. These one-way international dragways will likely see the bulk of increases in traffic in and out of the Downtown, as well as traffic to the High School and St. Mary's Hospital. This is largely by design save for the drag strip component, and because I live between the two it can be annoying at times. Because I choose to live here and my house has no seeming "historic significance", it's on me to live with it. We'll see how this plays down the road.

Speaking of St. Mary's, the part of Seventh that goes through their campus could be the next future battleground over traffic through the area. The hospital's Century Project is slated to drastically alter the complexion of the hospital campus and surrounding area over the next several years, and the safety of pedestrians, including employees, has become an issue there.

It became so much of an issue, specifically regarding the intersection of Seventh and Wellington, that St. Mary's CEO Robert Ladenburger addressed this in one of his periodic "Letters from Ladenburger" that are posted for hospital employees, and that I happened upon last month while Jan was in the ER. In short, he stated that pedestrian safety was of paramount concern to the hospital and it's administration, but that a pedestrian bridge over Seventh Street was cost-prohibitive.

To its' credit, St. Mary's has initiated a public awareness campaign on pedestrian safety, but this is too little and has the potential to be too late. As the hospital continues to formulate its' vision for facilities and capabilities for the foreseeable future, now is the time to integrate a comprehensive solution for getting foot traffic safely over Seventh Street into the existing new construction, as well as the future components of the Century Project.

Plan for, design, and build the bridge now, so that perhaps future growth across major city thoroughfares can follow the forethought and prescience of an effort of this type. Are you listening, Mesa State? There's a good use for a cool million that you might have lying around.


On a concluding note, kudos to the Daily Sentinel and reporter Ann Winterholter for the excellent article on controlled burning in the Grand Valley that appeared in Sunday's paper.
As I write this, the scanner is chattering with traffic about at least two controlled burns that have gotten away from those managing them. Ah, the first sign of Spring in the Grand Valley.
Perhaps I should be thankful; It used to be Speedo Man on roller skates.

Have a great week.

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