The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 31, 2009

Out-of-Context Ad Solution: You Might Want to Bring the Umbrella…

Filed under: Bellevue, Malls, Recycled Newspaper — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 3:15 pm

As you’ll recall, last week’s Out-of-Context ad showed the Easter Bunny choppin’ down the Bunny trail, dropping… well, something anyway, on what we would presume to be an unsuspecting crowd of Easter celebrants below.  That much should be easy enough to figure out based on the ad snippet (as shown above,)  but exactly what was the Easter Bunny doing in a helicopter in the first place?  And what the heck would he be dropping on the crowd below? The full advertisement is posted after the jump, along with a bit of background on what was (presumably) going on here.


March 28, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The Fight Over Evergreen East, and Other Tidbits From 1978

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Malls, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 2:31 pm

Although 1978 might seem like a bit of a random choice for a subject for this week’s Recycled Newspaper, the original reason I chose it was because March 21st 1953 was the day that the City of Bellevue was incorporated, and as such, the City’s 25th birthday would fall during that time period.  Before anyone thinks that I have a memory for such useless facts or anything like that, I do have to confess that the only reason I even knew about it was that I had been previously looking through some papers from 1973 and found a couple of things about a 20th birthday celebration for the city going on at Bellevue Square, but the microfilm was too blurry to get any good images from.  This is unfortunate, because it also included a complete map and directory of Bellevue Square at the time which would have been quite useful for my research if not for the fact that it was hardly readable. 

I figured that if there was a party going on for Bellevue’s 20th birthday, then the one for the 25th birthday would be even bigger, right?  Unfortunately, in the Journal-Americans for that week (by 1978, the East Side Journal and Bellevue American had merged together and began publishing six days a week, although there would be no Sunday editions for several years still.) there wasn’t even a mention of the occasion that I could find, much less anything about any civic celebrations that might have resulted from the event.  Even so, I found did find some historically newsworthy articles, particularly in regards to the planned but never constructed Evergreen East mall in what was then an unincorporated area (which later became part of Redmond,) but which eventually got put to use in a manner which is arguably more notable than the proposed shopping mall would have been.  At this point  This, plus a number of other interesting items I came across, will follow after the jump.


March 27, 2009

Feast or Famine: The Camera Conundrum Continues

Filed under: Random Stuff, Technology — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 12:09 pm

OK, now this is just getting silly.  As you might recall from earlier this week, I had purchased a new Canon PowerShot SD890 IS with which to replace the SD850 that I have been using for picture-taking duties on this site and elsewhere after that camera met with the dreaded Canon E18 Lens Error.  Since with the purchase of a new camera I was no longer inclined to spend $140 on a repair, I had my old camera sent back to me unrepaired, since if nothing else I could still use the battery in the new one (which costs $60 by itself direct from Canon, although cheaper alternatives exist.)  There was just one problem with this:  Somewhere along the line, the lens error seems to have decided to go away, and upon receiving the “unrepaired” camera back from the factory, I have found that it is once again functioning as expected.  This means that within a week I have gone from having only my old camera available for photo-taking duties to having no less than three working digital cameras here at home (although as far as I’m concerned the old one can stay retired at this point since it’s always been a pain to take good photos with.)  Technically, if you count the one on my phone (which isn’t all that great, as you can see from the blurry photo above) you could even call it four, but that’s beside the point.

The good news is that this means that all of the damage from last week’s little fender bender is now resolved (I got the car back from the shop yesterday with the back bumper fixed,) but now that leaves me with yet another dilemma:  With my SD850 being apparently back in working order, this means that I have two cameras which are basically redundant.  On one hand, the SD890 is good for a higher zoom and an extra two megapixels (which seems like it would be helpful when trying to pull stuff off the microfilm,) but on the other hand, the user interface has what I would consider to  be some unnecessary complications in it (not nearly as bad as some of the other Canon models I messed with when I was out camera shopping, but enough to be annoying) and a couple of minor build quality issues.  The SD850, for its part, is what I’m familiar with, works well (for the most part) and is a bit smaller (by probably about a centimeter or so on in width, but has lower resolution.  Still, I’m pretty sure either one would work just fine for what I’m using them for.  I suppose I could always keep the 850 as my backup, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would have bothered replacing it if it hadn’t stopped working in the first place.  Both cameras work well for my purposes, I’m just not sure I really need two of them.  Any ideas what I should do here?

Oh, and by the way, there will be Recycled Newspaper coming up, I just need to head back to the library to get a couple more items to use.  Assuming I’m not too lazy about things that should be out sometime tonight or tomorrow.

March 25, 2009

Out of Context Ad: I Don’t Think That’s Candy…

Filed under: Advertising, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 6:05 pm

With Easter just a couple of weeks away, this week’s Out of Context Ad features a 1978 visit from the Easter Bunny, who appears to have gotten sick of hopping down the Bunny Trail and has resorted to slightly more modern means of distributing…   Ummm…   come to think of it, I don’t know what that stuff is, but it doesn’t exactly look like we’re dealing with baskets full of Easter joy here.  Feel free to speculate wildly in the comments;  The entire ad will be posted sometime next week.

A Solution to the Camera Dilemma

Filed under: Site Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:21 am

As I mentioned last week, my old digital camera bit the proverbial dust when it was accidentally dropped last week, and Canon came back with a repair cost of $140 if I wanted to get it fixed.  Aside from the fact that $140 is a rather significant chunk of what I paid for the camera originally, and not too far off from what one of the newer models would cost, I decided that if I was going to spend the money I might as well see if I can upgrade a bit in the process.  Canon has a program to offer upgrades to customers with broken cameras, and gave me the option of getting an SD870 model for the same $140 that fixing the old one would have cost, as well as a couple of options for higher-end cameras at somewhat higher prices, although all of the models offered were refurbished older models.  In light of that, I decided to just go ahead and see about getting a new one.

After considering a number of options, I ultimately decided that the Canon PowerShot SD890model was probably going to be the best fit for my needs, being a couple of steps up from the SD850 that I was replacing.  In addition to having all the manual mode features of the SD850, (relatively) similar controls and a reasonable pricetag (less than I paid for the SD850 about a year ago in fact, although I recall these ones being fairly expensive when they came out,) this camera also bumps up the resolution to 10 megapixels and has a higher zoom range (5x, compared to 4x)  to the mix.  Given the fact that this particular model seems to be on the way out of the channel in favor of a newer model to be released soon (the SD970) it was a bit hard to find one locally at a reasonable price, but fortunately I was able to locate it at Sam’s Club down in Renton for the same price as Amazon, saving me the cost of shipping and allowing me to get a hold of the camera right away.  It also uses the same battery as the 850, so when I get that shipped back to me I’ll have an extra battery to use with this one (although I’ve only run out of battery in the middle of something a couple of times on the SD850, so it hasn’t been much of an issue.) 

Not that I really wanted to be spending the money on a new camera at this particular point in time or anything like that, but at least this means I have the camera situation taken care of now.  You probably won’t notice any big difference here (after all, an extra couple of megapixels don’t matter much when most things get resized down to 800×600 anyway) but this should allow me to resume the usual Recycled Newspaper posts and other stuff like that.  Oh, and I’ll try not to break things too much this time, OK?

March 24, 2009

Defining Down Scorcho

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:01 pm

Some time ago, I made a post about a Del Taco restaurant which had at that point recently opened up down in Federal Way, bringing a new fast food option to the south end of the Sound (although it appears that they have yet to make it any further North than Federal Way, there are a number of locations in the Tacoma metro area.)  Although in my opinion the food at Del Taco seems to be a bit better than what’s on offer at the ubiquitous Taco Bells around here, I’ve only made it down there a couple of times now, mostly because 40 miles each way seems like a lot of driving just for some cheap fast food (not that I haven’t made long drivesfor fast food before, but that’s beside the point.)  I do find myself in the neighborhood every once in a while though, and if I get the chance I’ll stop in for a couple of tacos and burritos.   A few weeks ago, I visited the one down  in Federal Way, and noted a bit of an odd change to the once vaunted Del Scorcho sauce packets.  In the picture above is one of the sauce packets I picked up the last time I was there several months ago and squirreled away in the glovebox of my car next to a couple of Taco John’s sauce packets I picked up when I was in Montana a couple of years back (and yeah, that probably means I need to clean out the glovebox in my car.)  With a name like Del Scorcho, a description along the lines of “Beyond Hot” would seem appropriate, but in reality, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of scorchoing going on here.  “El Lightly Singe-o” might be a better name.  Don’t get me wrong, Del Scorcho is still pretty good as far as fast food hot sauces go (admittedly, that isn’t exactly setting the bar all that high) but the name has always seemed just a bit out of place.  Apparently someone at Del Taco has recently figured this out.

So what was once “Beyond Hot” has now been defined down to “Medium”.  At the top of the proverbial sauce heap, Del Scorcho has been replaced by Del Inferno sauce, which they claimto be “almost three times hotter than any of the sauces offered by Del Taco’s nearest competitors” (although they don’t bother going into any details on that claim.)  I didn’t bother actually trying out the Del Inferno sauce, but the reviews I’ve seen seem to suggest that even Del Inferno isn’t all that blazingly hot, all things considered (I’d link to the thread I found on Yelp, but it consists of about three posts of useful information followed by another twenty posts of standard issue pottymouth Internet trollery.)  I suppose that this means I’ll have to actually try the stuff next time I’m down there (whenever that might be) in the interest of that journalistic integrity stuff I keep hearing about, but the general consensus from what I’m reading is that most people still prefer the Del Scorcho sauce.  Maybe if someone would hurry up and open up a Del Taco somewhere closer than 40 miles away I could figure this out.

March 22, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Fast Food in Bellevue

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 12:35 am

Note: Coupon probably isn't valid anymore.

As I warned earleir in the week (back when I SHOULD have been doing this if I wasn’t procrastinating,) this week’s Recycled Newspaper is a bit thin, due to my current camera woes.  My camera is currently paying a visit to the Canon repair center to correct the dreaded E18 lens error that seems to be a common malady of those Canon models, and on Friday I was informed that it would cost $140 to get it fixed, which is just about more than it’s worth at this point.  I have a number of options at this point: I can just pay the $140 and get it fixed, I can pay the same $140 and upgrade to a refurbed Canon SD870, I can upgrade to a refurbed PowerShot S5  for $175 (This seems to be a nicer model with good zoom , but it’s definitely not pocketable like my SD850) or I can just buy a new Powershot SD890 for $199.  Either way, there doesn’t seem to be a cheap solution to this problem, but I’m probably going to have to bite the proverbial bullet and do something. 

That said, I did make a trip to the library on Wednesday to try to get some stuff, but my old Olympus camera doesn’t do nearly as good a job as the Canon did with this stuff, and the results are rather hit-or-miss.  Occasionally a shot turns out great, but most seem to end up barely readable, if at all, and the macro mode on the Olympus (which seems to be the secret to easily getting good images off the microfilm reader) is just short of useless.   As a result of this, I’ve got two options for what can do here:  I can bore you with minute details about the early history of  grocery stores in Kirkland (a subject that, in spite of best efforts, I’ll probably get around to eventually on here) or I can  do a bit of digging through the miscellaneous detritus in my newspaper files in order to find some stuff for this week’s post.  Since most of the random stuff sitting in my files seems to come from the Bellevue American, I thought this week I’d look at a few fast food restaurants from Bellevue’s past, and a couple which are still around.


March 20, 2009

Theno’s Dairy is Back in Business

Filed under: Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 1:01 pm

Update 8/19/13:  Even though it’s been over a year since Theno’s closed down, it looks like a comeback of sorts may be in the works.  It’s not clear exactly what form this will take at this point, but the plan for now the plan seems to call for a food truck, with potential for a new physical location at some point.  Additional details can be found at this Redmond Reporter story.

Update 5/31/2012:  Unfortunately, it appears that Theno’s is ending its 70+ year run.  More information, as well as a farewell letter from the owners, can be found here.

Theno’s Dairy has been a longtime fixture at the corner of Redmond-Woodinville Road and 124th, having held this spot in the Sammamish Valley since 1944.   Although there haven’t been any cows here since 1985 (with the notable exception of the fiberglass one that takes up residence in front of the shop,) Theno’s continues to be well known among locals for their ice cream, which is made on site.  Especially popular are their seasonal flavors, which include cantaloupe ice cream in the summer, and pumpkin ice cream in the Fall.  Unfortunately, back in December Theno’s suffered a minor fire in their building which has put them out of commission for three months.  Redmond’s ice cream enthusiasts will be happy to know that as of today, Theno’s is once again open for business and scooping up their Vivan’s Pride ice cream.

The building in which Theno’s resides looks every single day of its 65 years, but some would argue that its age is part of its charm.  After all, it’s the ice cream that people are coming for.  In addition to the ice cream, Theno’s also sells milk the old fashioned way in glass bottles with the cream top, and recently they have begun making fudge here as well.  Still, not much has changed here over the years.

One thing that has inevitably changed is the prices.  This is an ad from the August 19th, 1965 edition of the Sammamish Valley news, advertising raw milk for 67 cents a gallon, with pasteurized milk running three cents more (although I don’t even think you’re allowed to legally sell raw milk anymore.)  Incidentally, The phone number found in the ad (TU 5-2339, which translates to 885-2339) is the exact same phone number that Theno’s uses today.  For more info and updates on what’s going on at Theno’s, be sure to check out their Facebook page.

March 18, 2009

Out of Context Ad Solution: And There’s Plenty of Room in the Trunk Too.

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 10:42 pm

As you might recall from last week’s Recycled Newspaper installment, we were looking at this elephant standing on top of… well, something.  And (assuming anyone out there actually did so) your job was to figure out what perch this pachyderm had selected.  As usual, the solution is found after the jump, for those of you who would like to take a guess before looking at the answer.


March 17, 2009

The Best Car Accident I’ve Ever Had

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 10:10 pm

As much as we’d like to avoid them, accidents do happen every so often.  Apparently my number came up on the great big Wheel of Misfortune today, as my car seems to have gotten into a fight with a wayward 1990 Honda Accord, and from the looks of things, I think my car won.  I was at the intersection of 148th street and NE 24th next to the 76 station in Overlake (which also happens to be the site of the Taqueria Guadalajara taco truck that I posted about some time ago.)  I was second in line when the light turned green, and as we got underway the car in front of me stopped abruptly for a pedestrian in the sidewalk.  I managed to stop in time to avoid it, but the guy behind me unfortunately had a little bit harder time of it, and ran into my back bumper.  As you can see, my car seems to have made it through mostly unscathed, although I did have to go retrieve my license plate from the middle of the street (and duct tape it into the back window so I could drive it home.)  Aside from that and the slight bit of damage you see here, everything seems to be fine.  I’m actually surprised at how little damage occurred here, especially after seeing what the other car looked like afterward:

Hmmm..  It’s probably a good thing that I never got around to putting those lowering springs on my car, isn’t it?  You can see a couple of lines on the front of the hood showing where I’d guess it hit the indent for the license plate bracket on the back of my car.  Fortunately, nobody was hurt, both cars were still drivable (to some extent anyway,) and thankfully we both had insurance (and I’m really glad that I paid my renewal premium last week) and they’re going to get things taken care of.  The driver of the other car was cooperative, and seemed to be taking it in stride.  Hopefully he’ll be able to get things back in order quickly. 

If I was going to have to have a car accident somewhere along the way. this would definitely be a good type to have.  In fact, if there was one thing I would change about the whole thing, it would have been nice if I hadn’t dropped my camera just after taking these two pictures, resulting in the dreaded Canon E18 lens error.  Fortunately, that seems to be covered by warranty too, although it might leave me going back to my clunking old beast of a camera for a couple of weeks while it’s in for repairs.  All in all, not a bad day, considering the circumstances.

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