Compression: The bane of modern music

I stumbled across a fantastic article in Rolling Stone about the trend of increasing compression in CD masters. It explains the problem in laymans terms, and if you're not worked up about the problem already (I have been for years, but nobody listens to me) you probably will be when you're done reading.

What bothers me the most is the idea that portable music players require a highly compressed waveform to eke the best fidelity out of a compressed format. That may be the case if you're buying crap quality tracks from Steve Jobs. Those of us who do our own compression are using variable bit rates of 192k average, or more. With a quality set of headphones, you should be able to achieve highly dynamic sound in almost any environment.

This is, as with so many other problems, simply a failure of education.

I also take some umbrage at the blanket statement that 'nobody buys high-fidelity stereo equipment any more'. Yes, this is generally the case, but I'm of the CD generation, and I own a system that by any objective standard can be considered hi-fi. These days it's more affordable than ever to buy a great stereo system. Stereos just aren't cool. IPods are.

I guess I'm just not cool.


Long-term product review: Motorola L2

I hate cellphones. I hate cellphones for the myriad purposes to which they are put which have nothing to do with the one thing they facilitate - communication. Status symbol, game platform, music player, digital camera, object of lust... None of these uses interest me in the least. I just want a phone.

Some engineers at Motorola apparently read my mind.

There's this term that everyone knows of, even if they don't know the term itself: convergence. Convergence means that instead of two discrete pieces of consumer electronics that each perform a specific function, you have one piece of technology that does both things, only not as well, with less battery life, and more complexity. Not only that, but the weaknesses of each device - fragility, vulnerability to the elements, heat dissipation issues - are combined in your shiny, new, state of the art device that is sitting there, shod of it's clamshell packaging, fragrant of solvent and mold-release.

Oh, and when one function of the device becomes obsolete, as it inevitably will, you get to toss the circuitry and supporting hardware for the equivalent of two devices into the trash.

Ain't technology grand?

I was opposed to the idea of a camera in a cellphone from the first time the news of this fevered marketer's dream appeared, and cellphones started sprouting tiny plastic lenses like warts. I already had a digital camera, and the limitations of it's huge-by-comparison lens were glaringly obvious. I already had a cellphone, and I wasn't really interested in killing my battery life with a huge color display and a CCD sensor, and the comparatively huge increase in processing power needed to process digital imagery. But consumers as a whole loved the technology. They were only using their digital cameras for snapshots anyway, and this removed several pretty serious barriers to sharing their snapshots - the need for a separate computer to get the snapshots onto the internet, and of course actually getting the images off the camera. The cellphone manufacturers rejoiced as every cellphone in the world was obsoleted in an instant.

Pretty soon it was difficult to even find a camera-less cellphone on the market, let alone get one bundled with a plan from a major provider.

What was a cantankerous luddite like myself to do? Enter the Motorola L2.

The L2 - my Knight in Shining, uh, Protective Metal Casing
I'm not sure how I discovered the L2. I think I wanted to prove to myself (and others, more importantly) that it was possible to have a modern, stylish phone that didn't include a camera. Plus I'd been researching cellular technology, and lusted after a quad-band GSM phone - it'd work just as well in the Carribean as in Berlin. Sign me up. So, I punched these criteria into a helpful cellphone database, and happened upon this delightful sliver of technology.

Only problem: No cellphone provider offered this phone anymore. Some had, for a brief moment in time, particularly in pink, but those days - apparently only a few days total, as cellphones sans camera don't appear to do that well in the US market - had come and gone.

Next stop was of course Ebay, where I found a brand new example of the handset from a British reseller, unlocked, with a universal charger. It was from a batch of Cingular-destined phones, and still displays the vaguely annoying Cingular logo on startup. Hmmm. Perhaps I need to fix that. I think I paid around $90 with shipping. You can pick up similar examples (new, unlocked, US packaging) for $60, these days. The phone works great on T-Mobile's network, and it's easy enough to set up world-wide roaming. The option itself is free, but you'll incur per-minute charges in other countries. Of course, if your friends send you lots of text messages, you might want to tell them to lay off when you're on vacation.

I love this phone. I think I said that already.

It has:
  • Bluetooth
  • SMS, of course
  • MMS capability (send and receive picture messages)
  • a Java compiler
  • 128 x 160 x 16 bit screen
  • a USB port for charging and hacking
  • quad-band GSM
  • 310 hours of standby time, 4 hours of talk time
  • MP3 playback/ringtones
It doesn't have:
  • a Camera
Really, it has everything I need, nothing I don't need, and a few bits that I wasn't expecting. The only port is a USB port, which charges the phone and allows access to the filesystem on the handset, for adding carefully optimized background images and MP3 ringtones. I'm not sure I have the original charger anymore, and I don't care. The USB port doubles (triples?) as an earphone jack. I wasn't expecting MMS capability, but since the hardware is essentially the same as the L6 - the same phone, with a camera - the firmware is probably mostly identical. I get about three days on a charge with moderate usage with a one and half year old battery.

Yeah, you can get an iPhone. In fact, these days, there's virtually no limit to the amount of computing power you can carry in your pocket. Manufacturers are packing millions and millions of transistors into increasingly small form factors, hoping to convince you to upgrade your moldy old phone, hoping to finally get you on the bandwagon of cellphone chic, hoping that you'll toss the handset that's served you well for so long (or, perhaps, hasn't).

Good luck, Apple. Do your worst. I've found the perfect phone.


Why I ride

I was climbing out of the small valley where the Soos creek trail runs, and my legs were burning. My breath seared my throat as it rattled past my teeth, and I pondered the replacement of my front chainring with something a little more reasonable. Only another 50 feet of climbing, I tell myself. Only another 40.

It's times like this that I remember my childhood. I remember the running, especially.

The first time my family moved to the US for any substantial amount of time, I was 10. That seems incredibly young to me now (no, really!) although my math is definitely correct. I remember it so vividly. We had the good fortune to be living in Connecticut, fairly far from civilization, in the beginnings of the Adirondacks. Connecticut is a beautiful state, neither flat nor featureless, as the Midwest often manages to be. The seasons are vivid, and distinct, the entire valley changing color in a matter of days. The area we were in made poor farmland, and was mostly covered in secondary deciduous forest.

I had one particular teacher who was obsessed with fitness. He was in great shape, and loved to run everywhere, and couldn't understand why we didn't want to do likewise. I just wanted to build go-karts out of lawnmowers and electric wheelchair motors and play games on the 386 in the library. Thinking back, I just wasn't old enough to get it. I liked sports, and was reasonably good at them, but had no desire to go running for no good reason other than burning calories.

Frankly, it hurt too much. I'm just not built for running. I'm fast over a short distance, but on anything longer than a few hundred meters, physics and genetics both dictate that I will be experiencing serious pain in short order. My legs aren't particularly long, and I'm not particularly slender. I've already complained about how the BMI system consistently rates me as 'overweight' (and probably always has). I was blessed with a fair amount of childhood fat, and nothing I did seemed to make any difference. I remember swimming specific strokes for tremendous distances one summer as part of a contest - by this same teacher, of course - with fitness components. I swam 2 miles of crawl without stopping. It took all afternoon. I racked up tens of miles of sidestroke in half-mile or mile increments. I was still fat.

Still, I loved swimming, and since that part of Connecticut is dotted with small bodies of water, I had ample opportunity. There were plenty of things that I enjoyed doing that burned calories, although I didn't think of them that way. I could (and did) swing a ax or a maul for hours. Boiling thousands of gallons of maple sap into syrup requires a fantastic amount of firewood. I learned to ice-skate in Connecticut, and when the local lakes froze over you could skate for miles over a glassy sheet, frozen plant life flashing past beneath your blades.

I still had to run. I guess the idea was that once you were forced to do something you'd come to like it. It didn't work. The neighborhoods of Norfolk are seared into my memory along with the soundtrack of my rasping breath. Staring at the houses as they go by, ever so slowly, desperate for something to distract me from the pain. Just another few hundred feet to the top of this hill... Just another couple hundred...

Sure, there are moments on the bike I wonder why I'm doing what I'm doing, usually once the gradient gets much steeper than 10% for more than a few hundred feet. But even at it's worst, the pain doesn't compare to running. The scenery, the smell of the tree leaves as the year turns to autumn, the endorphin rush after the climb - that's all still there.

So I ride because it's everything running was supposed to be for me, and everything running isn't.

I'm sure my teacher would be proud.


Fullscreen DVDs: When more is not necessarily better

On the 1462002th day (approximately), God created the Digital Versatile Disc format, and saw that it was good. And he created standards therein, whereby his children could publish feature-length movies upon this format, and profit greatly.

And there was great rejoicing.

God in his great wisdom had optimized his most holy of consumer video standards (until many days later, when He created the Blu-ray and HD formats, which were more holy, and there was a holy standards war - but many days are to God but a tiny moment of time, probably only several milliseconds) for widescreen display. And, in the beginning, there came upon the market many discs of great quality, bearing naught but the movies in their original aspect ratio, as their directors had intended them to be seen. And God smiled upon his people, and there was peace throughout the land.

But there in the city of Los Angeles there were many movie studio executives. "Why doth our discs only contain wide-screen versions?" they cried. "What of the poor, the meek, those that only possess small, pathetic, cathode-ray tube televisions, unlike my 72 inch plasma display? The one in my bedroom? What of them? When they buy our discs, they shall see bands of black at the top and bottom of the screen, and confusion and sadness shall reign." And they smote their breasts, and gnashed their teeth.

And with great sadness the engineers did adjust their presses, and cut glass masters of the movies with much of the good bits cut out, so the lowly could watch movies on their pathetic televisions. And the movie studios did distribute these discs to grocery stores, and department stores, and sold them for less money than the wide-screen versions.

Then God became very angry. "Why do you mock me so?" saith the Lord. "I create standards, and verily I say unto thee, thou shalt follow them. In a few short years of your time, I shall phase out all analog television programming. Then only digital programming will prevail, and wide-screen televisions shall cover the earth."

"What then?" pondered the Lord (aloud). "Shall these poor people, who bought this abomination, not notice the degradation of their picture as their television stretches the image in 4:3 compatibility mode?"

And God's wrath was a terrible thing to behold.


Note to the Lord: most people are probably using their new widescreen television in 4:3 compatibility mode, because that's how their nephew left it, and they can't tell how to change it, and wouldn't notice if they did.

Note to Safeway: stop carrying those crappy versions of movies, or I see some smiting in your future.


Ten sets of 10 reps

I've finally started hitting the weights in earnest, and have been rewarded by constantly sore muscles in my upper body to complement my sore legs. It feels great.

It's also a new feeling, for me. Granted, after a three hour windsurfing session, my entire body will ache from my toes to my neck, but that usually only happens at the beginning of the season. There really is no better full body workout than windsurfing. Swimming is great, but doesn't give you the incredible interval training that windsurfing can. That said, I've only been windsurfing a few times since I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Part of it has been the dearth of wind, at least by my standards.

Part of it has been that my wetsuit no longer fits.

Unfortunately, over the past year, I've become really fat - by my standards, anyway. For the first time in my life I broke 200 pounds, and not by a small amount, either. This is particularly sad given that I was down to around 155 two years ago, when I was windsurfing regularly (3 times a week, between 1.5 - 4 hours a session). My diet didn't change, although due to stress at leaving my job and planning a move 2500 miles across the country to a place where I had never been and where I had no friends or even acquaintances, I was eating as a stress reliever, and simply stopped exercising. Given that my job consists of punching keys on a keyboard, it's no surprise to me that I packed on the pounds. What did surprise me was how much I gained, and how quickly I gained it.

At this point it's probably a good idea to mention a blog that's been a source of motivation in this effort: the Fat Cyclist. Elden is a funny guy, and not really as fat as he claims to be. The confessional style of his early blog postings is not only wildly entertaining, but inspirational. Really.

So, I've been duly inspired to post about my own weight loss experience, in somewhat less excruciating detail. You're not going to get pictures of me, since I have no desire to subject anyone to such things, and weight measurements won't be included as any usable metric. You see, according to BMI calculations, I'm obese. Like, more than borderline, actually well within the category. On the other hand, BMI measurements are an incredibly generalized metric that doesn't take into account body type. Even at my most fit several years ago, wearing pants with a 30 inch waist and very little abdominal fat, I still weighed in at 155-160, placing me in the 'overweight' category. That's absurd.

So, BMI calculations aren't going to factor into this. However, I still want to set a target weight of 175, because I think I can reach it, although it might take a while. Yes, this still puts me in 'overweight' territory, but I don't care, because of my strategy for losing weight.

My strategy: add muscle. That's it. This requires the least lifestyle change for me, and as lifestyle changes that are dictated only by the requirement to lose weight are always doomed to failure (for me, anyway) this has the best chance of working over the long term. This definitely differs from most people's weight loss plans, including Fatty's. Let me explain why.

  • Diet. I already eat a relatively healthy diet, and have cut down on grazing activities. The only meats I eat are various fish that I consider sustainable, and most seafood. I eat eggs and cheese provided it's a small quantity and non-processed. If it's sheep or goat cheese, so much the better. Most of my/our diet in this household consists of Asian cuisine, and I'm not talking about Chinese food. I'd say we eat at a Vietnamese, Thai, or Japanese restaurant almost every day now that we live in the Seattle area. It's not just an addiction, it's healthy and it's cheap. Bientu, of course, eats nothing but raw meat and organs, but she's a dog. I hate candy, and anything with corn syrup or artificial color in it is a non-starter (another household rule). I generally eat two proper meals a day, one of which is breakfast. So, I'm not sure I want to change anything. I did forget to mention beer, which can amount to 200-800 calories a day for me. I refuse to alter that part of my diet.
  • Exercise. I'm not relying on the things I do for fun to provide the increase in calories burned. This is because I want to continue to do these things for fun, and not to lose weight. I ride my bike for fun. Yes, all my miles are junk miles. Hah! I windsurf for fun, although it's hard to imagine windsurfing for any other reason. I snowboard for fun. I simply refuse to run, ever again, for any reason. I did for a while, and it did very little for me. My knees are still in good shape, and I want to keep them that way, thanks. Besides, the more over your target weight you are, the more you're trashing your knees. No thanks. So, my strategy is simple: interval training on the mountain bike for the lower body, weight training for the upper body in the gym that's conveniently located half a mile down the street. I have a route that I ride every day that includes some hard climbing for short periods interspersed with nice rest intervals. I'm spending an hour in the gym five times a week. If this doesn't work, nothing will.
So, if BMI metrics are pointless, what will I use to gauge my progress? Well, in the spirit of beth bikes!, I'm going to include a bunch of measurements of an specific muscle group. Actually, a bunch of muscle groups. There are lots of bodybuilding resources on the net, and I stumbled across a male "Grecian Ideal" calculator, that will give you your ideal measurements based on the size of... your wrist.

No, really!

So, based on my wrist size (exactly 18 cm) here are my ideals:

neck43 cm
chest117 cm
bicep42 cm
forearm34 cm
waist82 cm
hip99 cm
thigh62 cm
calf40 cm

I don't know, compared to my target waist and quad measurements, that's extremely close. The others... Well, I guess I just have to see. Here are my current measurements:

neck39 cm87% of ideal
chest102 cm87% of ideal
bicep32.25, 33, 32.6 cm77% of ideal
forearm31.25, 31.5, 31.4 cm92% of ideal
waist95 cm115% of ideal. ewww
hipi'm not sure how to measure this
thigh58.5, 60.75, 59.6 cm 96% of ideal
calf40.25, 40.75. 40.5 cm 101% of ideal

Hey, that was actually interesting. Aside from the obvious (I'm pathetic) there's clear evidence that cycling has been a good idea. My upper body, on the other hand, needs a lot of work.

Oh, my weight? 200.5, yesterday. Scary.


Quote of the day

From MSN Money:
It is only now, during this period of acute crisis, that individuals who won't go on a bicycle without a plastic-foam helmet are coming to grips with what business risk really means. And that is why a childlike innocence is dying along with the stock market this week, making people feel as sad, helpless and angry as when they first discovered the truth about other realities of adulthood.

Read the rest of the article for a reality check, although I think the author is wrong about one thing. It's not ignorance of the realities of investing that drives middle-class individual investors, it's willful delusion, tempered with the good old-fashioned American belief in the concept of 'hitting it big'.

I loved the helmet dig, though. Ok, people: it's actually more dangerous, minute for minute, to drive a car rather than ride a bicycle. So why don't I see more people wearing helmets when they're driving a car? Oh, because it's uncomfortable, cumbersome, and inconvenient. Hmmm.

I'm not sure the author regards helmet wearing in the same light that I do. He sees it (probably) as most people do - as a way to mitigate risk. I see it as a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived risk, without actually understanding the real risks that cycling involves. The majority of fatalities on bicycles happen in an encounter with a motor vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. In this case, as in the recent Puyallup death, a typical cycling helmet is unlikely to offer adequate protection.

Helmets may be risk mitigation, but far better to understand the actual risks involved in cycling, weigh them intelligently, and make an informed decision. If you really want risk mitigation, lobby for better infrastructure, tougher driving laws, and (it'll never happen) more stringent driver licensing requirements. Right now, though, I'd settle for tougher banking regulations.


Charges filed in Puyallup hit and run

Prosecutors have filed charges against Blair Jensen and his girlfriend. Bail has now been set at a cool half million dollars - but given Jensen's prior behavior, that's not exactly unjustified. At least we don't have to worry about him bailing out and running... again.

A man now charged with fatally hitting a bicyclist and then fleeing the scene is back in custody after his arraignment Tuesday, reported KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Police filed charges against Blair Jensen, 23, in connection with a fatal hit-and-run of a bicyclist in Puyallup last week. The charges include vehicular homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident. Jensen's girlfriend, Christina Ripple, was charged with rendering criminal assistance to Jensen and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Jensen pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday. The judge said there's a risk Jensen might run, so he upped his bail from $15,000 to $500,000. Jensen made bail when he was previously arrested, so he was out of custody when he came to court.

There are more details about the case and images here.


In which I am almost run down by a Camry

Ah. After a ten year hiatus from cycling, there are things you forget. Not how to ride a bike, but some of the wonderful adventures you can have on one. Indeed, my favorite impromptu adventure is the Near Miss. Today's Near Miss comes courtesy of one shiny blue 2007 Toyota Camry.

Let's see. The innocent protagonist is riding his beloved Peugeot mountain bike (also blue, coincidentally) to the local corner store to procure some liquid refreshment.

Since there are no cars stopped at the light right before the store, he hops his bike onto the sidewalk and presses the button for the crosswalk, rather than pointlessly standing in the bike lane as the traffic light ignores him. The light changes. The little white man beckons. As he crosses the street he notices a car approaching from his right. He notices that it's closing quickly. Very quickly. Our protagonist mashes the pedals as he realizes that the driver is planning on making a rolling right turn, and has enough time to utter a very loud, very startled expletive as he clears the front bumper of the car moments before it comes to a halt several feet past the end of the crosswalk. He catches a glimpse of the driver's startled face as her head swings around, her gaze having been transfixed on the oncoming lane of traffic to her left...

She just didn't see me.

She didn't see me, because she wasn't looking. I'm sorry, when you approach an intersection with a red light, your primary focus should be on actually stopping for the light. Once you've obeyed the letter of the law by stopping for an instant, you may do as you please. However, may I ask that you stop before you've driven through the crosswalk?

As she drove away I noticed on the back of the Camry - what else? - a bike rack.


Fatal hit-and-run suspect surrenders

From the PI:
A 23-year-old Puyallup man suspected of fatally hitting a Sumner bicyclist with his car Monday and leaving the scene has surrendered to police, authorities said.

The man, joined by his attorney, turned himself in to Pierce County sheriff's deputies in Tacoma on Friday around noon, Puyallup Police Department Cmdr. Bryan Jeter said. He was then placed under arrest.

Jeter didn't know whether the suspect has made any statements regarding the hit-and-run that killed John "Chip" Murrell McRae III, 51, in the 2600 block of East Main Street in Puyallup.

Investigators have linked the man to the fatality based on witness descriptions and the 2005 Cadillac STS that struck McRae.

"He was seen in it in and around that time," Jeter said. "He is our prime suspect."

The suspect was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run.

Well, that didn't take long - only about a week. John McRae died on Monday, and the prime suspect is finally in custody. Looks like his parents hired him he retained the services of an attorney, too. (I'd hate to unfairly impugn his parents in this matter. It's entirely possible he turned out a toolbag without any assistance from them). Isn't that nice. I supposed the good counselor advised him that fleeing from police was unlikely to endear him to the court.

I was supposed to post something constructive, but I'm too upset right now. Ride safe out there people, and watch your six. I mean it.


Driver named and photos released in Puyallup cyclist death

Technically, I shouldn't use the term 'driver' in the title of this post, since the person pictured below is merely the owner of the vehicle, matched witnesses descriptions, and is now apparently on the run from police. He has not yet been convicted of a crime, although an arrest warrant was supposed to be issued today.

Feast your eyes.

According to KING5, these two are now on the run from police. Apparently the male (driver) is also a convicted felon and should be unable to leave the country. Well, that makes me feel better.

An arrest warrant will be issued Friday for a man police said caused the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in Puyallup.

Police said as 51-year-old John "Chip" McRae III was cycling down East Maine Street Monday when he was struck and killed by a silver Cadillac STS.

Police said 23-year-old Blair Jenson owns the Cadillac that killed McRae and have identified him as a "person of interest." Jensen may be with his girlfriend 20-year-old Christina Ripple. Jensen and Ripple may be driving in her vehicle, a white 2008 Toyota Scion TC Coupe with the Washington license plate 523XEM, Puyallup police said.

Puyallup police said they found the vehicle involved in the cyclist's death on Tuesday. Officers said the vehicle was damaged as was expected after such an incident.

“Anyone harboring or protecting him is, in our minds, rendering criminal assistance so they need to give us his location,” said Lt. Dave McDonald of the Puyallup Police Department.

Authorities said Jensen is a convicted felon and cannot legally leave the country.

Puyallup police have sent the attempt to locate bulletin to police agencies across the state including the border patrol and the Sea-Tac airport police.

KING 5 also put up a series of images related to the crash. Here's the car.

I think it's fairly clear that the driver wasn't exactly obeying the speed limit at the time of the crash.

If you really want, follow the link to the KING 5 article and view the rest of the photos. Not exactly the most upbeat viewing material for a Friday.

I'll close with some appropriately enraged commentary. I can do that, right?

This guy has now proven that not only is he a complete and utter toolbag who is so hopelessly lame that he has to race people on Main street in a car that is usually driven by men in the acute stages of a midlife crisis, he's incredibly, painfully, awe-inspiringly stupid as well. The pathetic attempt to hide the crime after leaving the scene was just the beginning. Now, he's running from police. Well, if we didn't have an admission of guilt before, this should pretty much do it.

Thanks, Mr. Jenson. You've just bolstered the state's case. Traffic laws are incredibly lenient, although this state is better than most. Still, the more crimes you commit, the less likely it is that a judge is going to be nice to you when it comes to sentencing.


I'm going to go for a long, long ride (and yes, some of it will be on roads) and clear my head. Then, tomorrow, I'm going to write something about cars, fast cars, my love for said fast cars, responsibility, and physics - all things I've been thinking about a great deal the past few days.

Panorama: Narada Falls, Mt. Rainier

If you enter the park at the Paradise entrance, you'll encounter these falls about 15 miles in from the entrance. There's a short, steep path to a natural viewpoint.

Managed to remember to lock the white balance this time. It's definitely overexposed, though. Having so much detailed material in the center of each shot meant that autostitching the images worked flawlessly.


More ugly details in Puyallup hit and run

I missed this item on King5 yesterday:
Witnesses say John McRae III was riding his bike down Main Street in Puyallup at roughly 8 p.m. when he was hit from behind.

Pieces of evidence left at the scene suggest the driver knew he hit McRae.

"It's over 300 feet of debris, so we think the victim was drug," said Lt. Dave McDonald, of the Puyallup Police Department. "So this is not a brush off the shoulder into the ditch. The victim was left in the middle of the street."

McRae, a 51-year-old from Sumner, died at the scene, despite wearing a helmet.

Well, a helmet isn't going to do much good when you're dragged for 300 feet, then left in the middle of the street. We also get:
The car is registered to a Puyallup woman and to 23-year-old Blair Jensen. Since Jensen matches the description of the driver seen by witnesses, police call him a "person of interest" in the case. They want to talk to him immediately.

Jensen is not considered a suspect.

Whoever is responsible will likely face vehicular homicide charges for causing the death of John McRae.

I don't get it. Get caught on camera for speeding, and the owner of the car is not only a suspect, but in most jurisdictions, considered guilty by the preponderance of evidence (a few crappy photos triggered by a sensor). Here, we actually have witnesses, and the apparent driver isn't even a suspect?

Full story here.

At least vehicular homicide is a Class A felony in this state, with a max term of life. I bet he gets a couple years, if he gets anything at all. A cyclists life isn't worth much, even in this state.


Police find car suspected in Puyallup hit-and-run

I'm following this story because I'm not far from Puyallup (in fact, I'll be there this weekend), and while I don't plan on doing any riding there, I'm curious to see how this case pans out. There seems very little doubt that the driver is at serious fault. From the News Tribune:

Puyallup police have impounded the car believed to be involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash Monday night and were looking for its driver.

A damaged silver Cadillac STS was found about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. It had been abandoned in the 1200 block of Ninth Street Southeast, Puyallup police Cmdr. Bryan Jeter said.

Investigators have identified a person of interest in the incident and were looking for the 23-year-old man Tuesday night. The News Tribune is not identifying the man because he’s not been charged in the case.

John McRae III, a 51-year-old Sumner father of three sons, was riding a bike in the 2300 block of East Main Street when he was hit by a car about 8:10 p.m. The car didn’t stop.

Witnesses provided a description of the car to investigators. Someone called Herb’s Towing on Monday morning to request a tow of the abandoned car, Jeter said. The tow operator found the car, noticed its damage and called police at 10:30 a.m.

“When they saw the condition of it, they called us,” Jeter said. “It was definitely wrecked, and there was blood on it.”

The damage on the car was consistent with striking McRae, police reported. Investigators also were looking into the possibility the car was racing another driver at the time of the crash. Police identified and interviewed the other driver, Jeter said.

“It’s a distinct possibility, but we haven’t confirmed that yet,” he said.

McRae worked as a computer technician. His family has asked for privacy.

The ugly details of this incident keep piling up. Not only did this worthless piece of shit leave someone lying in the road to die, he (and I'm pretty sure it's a he, regardless of whether the police have enough evidence to bring charges yet and make an arrest) had the temerity to call a tow for his wrecked car - without even bothering to wash off the blood.

Either he's simply an amoral psychopath, or he's just incredibly stupid. I'm voting for the latter.

This is the main reason that my regular ride only has about half a mile of road in it - the part where I get to the trail, and get back from another trail. I just don't trust people. Granted, riding in the road here is vastly less dangerous than the last place I lived on the outskirts of Cleveland. Ohio is just a huge wasteland of trucks and SUVs and asphalt. If people ride, they ride MTB or on bike paths. I wouldn't want to get into an argument with a midwest redneck about who has a right to the road.

Here, things are different. The prevalence of cyclists, and the courtesy/timidity level of most drivers make for a fairly harmonious environment. Of course, there are always outliers, and it only takes one careless asshole, after all. And who wants to be killed by a statistical anomaly? I guess the only thing worse would be to be killed by clerical error, Brazil-style. One way or another, though, you're still dead.

RIP Mr. McRae. My heart goes out to your family.

As for me, I'm going riding.


Hit and run driver kills cyclist in Puyallup

Great. This kind of thing always makes excellent reading before you go out for a ride. From the Seattle Times:

Puyallup police are asking for help identifying the driver of a Cadillac that killed a bicyclist in a hit-and-run Monday evening.

The victim, a man in his 50s, has not yet been identified.

The driver struck the cyclist in the 2600 block of East Main Avenue then fled eastbound on East Main at 8:10 p.m., Puyallup police said.

Witnesses said the man was driving recklessly before the collision, police said.

Full story here.