Well, I looked into it a little wee bit and I was surprised to learn that Modesto’s transportation sitchy (that’s my abbreviation for the word ‘situation’ – the benefits of which are completely negated by this parenthetical interjection) wasn’t as crappy as I was anticipating. Between the MAX and the StaRT bus systems, you can move throughout town (and to Turlock, Oakdale, Merced as well) with relative ease. Oh, sure, you’ll be packed in like a sardine with the odiferous freaks and geeks of the county, but you’ll get from point A to point B.
You could travel outside of Modesto by taking the No. 25 bus to the Amtrak station. You could take the MAX shuttle at Orchard Supply Hardware to the Dublin BART station or the Mall shuttle to the Manteca ACE (Altamont Commuter Express) station. There are also several bus lines that stop near the Greyhound station.
I had a harder time figuring out where the heck the Modesto airport flies to, so I ultimately gave up…and any kind of light rail system seems years in the future.
Dude. Why act? We’re fine. Modesto has all we need…pizza, ice cream and liquor. Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll douse the masses in Tedium and lower the Wall of Impenetrable despair (I rarely get to use that particular super power for some reason). Everyone will be lulled into a state of – if not contentment, then suspension – and there will be no need to go anywhere. Problem solved!
Seriously, I don’t think the transportation here is too shabby. I think the bike paths are an issue, though. I’d use my usual methods (Stinkybutt, Evil Eye, yadda yadda) to compel the Powers That Be to funnel money into building more scenic paths and increasing the bike lanes around town. Another solution I was quite interested in were the Cluster Balloons – hells to the yeah! I’m gonna fly myself around like the house in the movie Up…when I need to come down, I’ll just slowly start popping the balloons. It’ll be super cool.
Five years down the line, everyone’s gonna have jetpacks because it’s the future! Transportation will no longer be an issue…also, folks who can’t afford the jetpacks will still be floating around in Cluster Balloon rigs because, let’s face it, they’ll still be cool. The sky will be filled with bodies!
The bike paths will wind their way throughout the entire city, offering easy and safe access to all corners of town with minimal traffic exposure.
Here's my airmail submission!
I guess I’ll just look into the current catastrophe.
So, the housing situation sucks. Foreclosures are way up and home values are way down. I guess there are a lot of factors that led to this situation. There are the usual things like divorce, job loss, accidents and illness that individual families may suffer. There’s also the large-scale mass craziness that was created by the housing boom of the early Ought’s (2000-2006). It was a surreal time, but banks, realtors, investment advisors - everything was bent on encouraging people, even ill-equipped people, to buy property. Why, even your favorite nebulous flesh sack toured a few 500K one bedroom condos in Pacific Palisades. Prices were high, but deposits and interest rates were low. They told us we would be stupid not to buy. That, with rates so low, it was a wash…you could pony up $500K on a formerly $250K condo because it would all even out in the end. However, everyone kind of glossed over the “variable” part of variable interest rates. After a year, your 3% rate could shoot up to 10% and suddenly you’d owe thousands more a month on your mortgage. Of course things went down the crapper. Fortunately, this squeezable stress blobule couldn’t even afford the down payment, so I avoided disaster.
According to the Impact of Foreclosures Report, the fallout of foreclosure is widespread, not only are families obligated to move but the “effects may well touch on virtually all aspects of their well-being.” They must deal with displacement and housing instability, financial insecurity, economic hardship, personal and family stress, economic hardships and ill health. The Communities are also affected; they deal with declining property values and physical deterioration, crime, social disorder, population turnover, fiscal stress, and deterioration of services.
One word: shoes. They can all live in giant, castaway shoes…like that old children’s rhyme “There was an old lady who lived in a shoe, I don’t know why she lived in a shoe, perhaps she’ll die.” It was definitely something, kind of like that – and you know what? It’s good advice, too. However, if we can’t find any condo-sized shoes, we may have to look to other avenues to solve this housing crisis.
Well, first things first, we need to focus on preventing foreclosures. We need to support homeowners and offer them counseling if they find themselves in trouble. I will lower the Wall of Impenetrable Despair on and douse with Stinky Butt and Really Awkward sauce anyone who tries to rope these families into foreclosure schemes. I’ll personally give creditors and banks the Evil Eye until they agree to renegotiate loans to give owners more realistic interest rates. If a foreclosure happens anyway, I’ll make sure it’s done fairly. Once evicted, we need to help relocate families into new homes or suitable apartments. I’ll work with the City to set up a program to help pay for temporary hotel fees, apartment deposits, etc…perhaps we can set up some sort of insurance program to encourage landlords to take a chance on these families.
With the help of the community, I will encourage the city to purchase foreclosed homes, fix them up and rent them out. Volunteers will help keep empty houses will be keep neat and tidy.
I envision a world where no one lives on the streets unless they’re already a bit crazy in the head. Families may have gone through some patchy bits, but they were able to meet with creditors and counselors to find ways to keep their homes. Most of the houses will be homes and the empty ones will be well-tended, awaiting their next occupants. The home values will be up, crime will be down and the neighbors will all come to know and like each other. It’ll all be very Stepford Wives.
Completely unrelated Pic - I haven't done a jumping jack in years
It's freaking hypnotic. How can I be expected to work when I could be watching this for seven hours straight??? Right?
The Mojometer - No, I haven't taken any anatomy classes
The quoted articles say that California hospitals charge insurance companies loads more than services cost (53% more). I assume they’re doing this because the insurance companies will reject a big chunk of their claims and they’re hoping that it’ll all even out somehow (see how I give the hospitals the benefit of the doubt!). However, this is still a pretty douchy thing to do because the insurance buttholes will just use these figures to justify upping rates. Also, by 2014, everyone is supposed to have insurance and there may not be enough doctors to fit the demand. I was a big fan of the single-payer tax plan, but I don’t know what to do with the thing we ended up with. The government is welcome to give me healthcare, but I don’t feel particularly inclined to pay for it. I can only hope that the current plan is a stepping stone to a better plan in a few years time.
I guess, as with everything else, we’re on our own. There’s no money and no willingness to fund universal healthcare. We’ll have to do everything in our power to postpone the inevitable decline…and if cancer or some other unavoidable ailment hits us, we’ll have go into debt or go without (I never said I was a ray of sunshine, it looks like I’ll have to switch to my back up mojometer). My own physical fitness plan is to eat as much junk food as possible and hope that the chemicals preserve me for decades. I guess this plan won’t work for everyone, so I’m hoping that SuperMom and Corrupt Angel will accept the requests I have sent them to join forces. Ma (as I call her – she loves it) and Rupty (ditto) have solid plans to make sure schools provide healthy lunches and to build community gardens. (EDIT TO ADD: I’ve just received word from Monkey Woman – MoMo for short – that we’ve also teamed up in a powdered StinkyButt franchise, sounds delicious!) I oozed around my hood with a walking checklist and have determined that it’s “A disaster for walking!”. We need sidewalks, crosswalks, speed bumps, trash-removal and more police patrol. In order to fund these fixes, we’ll need to 1) get involved with city council (if my poor-neighborhood even qualifies as within city limits. While there, I’ll blast them with the Evil Eye and Tedium, so they vote for anything to make the meetings end), to try and ramp up funding support and 2) Send out feelers to see if there are any rich peeps or businesses that would like to adopt a street, and, finally, 3) Organize a neighborhood trash-removal event where we all go out pick up crap like convicts on the side of a freeway.
This will be our neighborhood trash-removal outfit
Thanks to this week’s videos/readings, I imagine a world where advances in science, technology and New Media have rendered our physical selves obsolete. I only saw half of the movie Surrogates, but I think it’s going to be something like that; we strap on a headpiece and our more attractive robot selves go out and do awesome stuff. So, all this physical fitness stuff will be totally unnecessary. But, in the immediate future…I see the neighborhood coming together to clean up the streets. Once that’s done, we’ll plant a community garden in the vacant lot by my house; tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, corn, etc. will be available to all residents. Our fund-raising efforts will have been successful and sidewalks, crosswalks, speed bumps will beautify our streets and make it safe to walk here. This one neighborhood will inspire other neighborhoods to follow suit, and before you know it, we’ll have a Healthy Alliance of well-over 500 members, all taking action and making their communities safer and healthier. Rainbows and kittens for everyone (oh, good, back up mojometer kicked in)!
OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD…WHAT DID I SAY?!? WHAT DID I JUST FREAKING SAY IN THE POST RIGHT BELOW THIS, HUH??? I SAID IF YOU GUYS CAME TO ME AGAIN ANYTIME SOON I WOULD FREAKING LOSE IT!!! WELL YOU CAME AND THIS IS ME FREAKING LOSING IT! AAAAAAAHHHHH! GAAAAAHHHH! UNBELIEVABLE! WHAT CAN I DO? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO? WHY ME??? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? YOU BASTARDS!!!
Okay, shhh, chillax Sacky Sacky. Shhh. I’ll just figure this thing out and then go bury my head in the sand for a while. Shhh. Okay. Let’s do this.
According to the literature, Modesto must eliminate 45 police and firemen to make up for a budget shortfall. The remaining nonunion employees have to take a pay cut. This means that if your house gets burgled, or your car stolen, you’re screwed. Also, if your fence catches fire and the fire department comes and puts it out, you’ll get billed. This is totally a regression. In the old days, before the fire department became a city service, individuals had to pay for them to come. They paid up front and got a little plaque to put on their house so if I fire broke out, the department would put it out. Unfortunately, this didn’t help the neighbors who might not have paid, so every house around them would burn to the ground. Nowadays, we’re paying higher taxes AND being charged for these services, we’re getting taken at both ends. What does the fire department do if you can’t pay the bill? Wreck your credit? You just can’t win for losing.
I actually like the idea of forming a citizen bike patrol group. I, myself, cannot actually ride a bike (that no-leg thing again), but I can be pulled in a cart by a team of 30 or so fit, bike-riding cadets. From my seat, I’ll pelt suspicious types with the Evil Eye and Awkward Sauce until they harass some other block. We’ll get them all uniforms (not polyester) and whistles and send them out in groups of four or more. We’ll give them incentives like fancy certificates signed by the Chief of Police and the Mayor, prizes for the cadet of the month, and a big annual volunteers’ dinner (one of my other sub-powers that I haven’t yet mentioned, is bribery). We should also encourage people to start forming active Neighborhood Watches. I’m sure everyone probably has the fading watch sticker in their window, but now we should actually meet…and watch.
I don’t like cameras. I just know they’re going to catch me doing something really disgusting and I can’t handle that. It doesn’t even seem that they really work, they say in London, only one crime was solved for every 1,000 surveillance cameras (there were some other facts about helping to solve murders but I found that info confusing and contradictory to the rest of the story).
I guess I imagine a safer town. A safer town with me, Sad Sack, as benevolent ruler and overlord…just kidding (kind of). The news will have nothing to report except who won the awesome garden contest, or the science fair, or whatever. I will return to my couch and my TV, my Awkward Sauce, without fear of a home-invasion robbery.