Even more collisions and near misses at the intersection the City of Everett refuses to fix

Enjoy (?) this collection of near misses and collisions collected over the past year and a half. The City of Everett has declared the existing traffic controls at this intersection to be “appropriate” and they refuse to make any changes to the design.


And of course these are just the ones that happened while we were home and checked the camera after hearing the commotion.

Update: One of my neighbors contacted the city yet again to request some sort of improvement at this intersection and the similar one a block north. Here is the city’s reply, in part:

It appears that no crashes have been reported to the Everett Police at the intersection of 36th Street and Wetmore Ave in recent years. The intersection of 35th Street and Wetmore Ave does have an average of 1.5 reported crashes per year, but only about 1 crash every 2 years results in any injuries. While ideally there would be no vehicle crashes in Everett, the low incidence of injuries in this area is considered acceptable to the City.

Tugboat with stuck horn at Port of Everett

Listen to the tugboat’s stuck fog horn at Port of Everett that kept my neighborhood up all night

Sunday night just as I was about to go to bed, I heard a strange noise coming from outside. It wasn’t too loud so I didn’t think much of it, but then I got a notification that someone had just started a thread on my neighborhood’s Nextdoor page: “Boat horn/siren 11pm?” When I got onto Nextdoor, there were two other threads that were rapidly filling up with people complaining about the noise, which was apparently really loud in parts of the neighborhood. There was speculation that maybe it was coming from a train, or maybe a boat at the Port or the Navy base.

So of course, instead of going to bed I decided to hop in my car and go try to find the source of the noise and get it on video:

It turns out the noise was coming from a tugboat with a stuck horn, as first reported that night by My Everett News:

The tugboat horn did not stop until around 3:30 AM, keeping many people awake for most of the night. In the follow-up story the next day on My Everett News, they included a photo of the offending boat, which you can actually see in my video starting at around 1:25:

Tugboat with stuck horn at Port of Everett

Tugboat with stuck horn at Port of Everett (click to enlarge)

A lot of people must have been disappointed that they missed out on the sound of the horn, because my video turned out to be fairly popular. It was featured on a handful of local news sites, radio reports, and even the national Fox News site:

So I guess I’m officially a video journalist now.

I logged every cup of tea I drank in 2016

For no particular reason, I decided to keep a detailed log of every cup of tea I drank in 2016. I kept track of the time I started drinking each cup, what time I finished the cup, the brand and flavor of tea, the type of vessel I was drinking from, and a few other things. Now that 2016 is finally over, it’s time to share the results. Note that here I am referring only to hot tea. I don’t tend to drink iced tea.

Tim’s 2016 Tea Stats

  • Total hot tea consumed: 7,086 fl. oz.
  • Number of individual mugs: 790
  • Average duration per 8oz.: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Median duration per 8oz.: 1 hour 37 minutes
  • Favorite brand/blend: MarketSpice Cinnamon-Orange (3,514 fl. oz.)
  • Top hour for tea: 9AM-10AM

I don’t drink coffee, so I tend to drink a lot of strong black tea in the mornings. Meanwhile, the early afternoon is a good time for green tea, as evidenced by the tea type by hour chart:

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption by Hour

The majority of the tea that I drank in 2016 was from MarketSpice, a local tea company here in Seattle. In a distant second was Tazo, the brand of tea stocked in the office at work.

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption by Brand

Most of the tea that I drink is black tea. I should probably try to shift the balance more toward green tea, given its numerous health benefits.

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption by Type

Most of the time when I’m drinking tea I’m sitting (or standing) at my desk, working. At both my workplace office and my home office I’ve got an electric mug warmer that keeps the tea at a pleasing temperature for the entire duration of each cup.

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption by Vessel

When I’m drinking tea away from home, it’s almost always in my Zojirushi insulated mug, which keeps the tea hot literally all day. Even though I took a lot longer to drink tea when I was away from home, it was always still hot when I finished it.

Tim's 2016 Tea Drink Duration by Vessel

I was also curious whether there’s any sort of seasonal trend to my tea consumption. The answer to that question appears to be “not really, but there was a bit of a drop-off in November and December.”

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption by Month

Finally, I thought it would be interesting to compare my 2016 tea consumption to data on tea consumption around the world. The best data I could find on this was from a 2014 Quartz story. The catch is that the annual per capita consumption by country data was measured in weight of tea leaves rather than volume of tea drink.

In order to properly compare my 2016 tea consumption to the rest of the world, I counted up the number of cups I drank using tea bags and multiplied it by the average weight of tea contained in a typical tea bag, 0.075 ounces. I also weighed the leaves I typically use to brew an eight ounce cup of loose leaf tea, which was about 0.4 ounces for MarketSpice Cinnamon-Orange. I told you that I like my tea strong.

The total estimated weight of the tea leaves used to prepare all the tea I drank in 2016 came out to 13.5 pounds, nearly double the per capita consumption in Turkey, the heaviest tea-drinking country in the world, and over 27 times as much tea as the per capita consumption here in the United States.

Tim's 2016 Tea Consumption vs. The World

In conclusion: I like hot tea.

City Of Everett Continues To Declare Dangerous Intersections “Appropriate”

Still more dangerous driving persists right in front of my house. The city of Everett traffic engineering department refuses to make any modifications to the flawed designs at this intersection that are obviously conducive to such dangerous behavior.

Here are the latest examples:

[Update November 28 – Here’s another.]

Note that these are just the ones that we happened to see first-hand. This kind of dangerous driving happens daily, I just don’t happen to be looking and save the video.

Here’s my latest email to the city of Everett traffic engineering department:

From: Timothy Ellis
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2016 11:36 AM
To: Michael Brick; Ryan Sass; Engineering / Public Services
Subject: Re: FW: dangerous intersections on Wetmore Ave

I would like to reiterate my request for four-way stops on Wetmore Ave. at 36th, 35th, and 34th streets. We continue to see people driving at unsafe speeds (35-40mph) north on Wetmore and other drivers running the stop signs on the cross streets. We’ve already seen one fatality and without adjustments I am certain we will see more.

Just a few days ago the same Everett High School bus almost t-boned a van that rolled through the stop sign at 35th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxvPcgtUktM

Please consider adding four-way stops at 36th, 35th, and 34th where the steep hills lead down to Wetmore. By adding the four-way stops it would 1) discourage through traffic from using Wetmore Ave, moving them instead to the much better suited Colby Ave and 2) slow all traffic through those three intersections, dramatically reducing the risk of a fatality collision.


And here’s their non-response reply:

From: Michael Brick <mbrick@everettwa.gov>
Date: Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 9:11 AM
Subject: RE: FW: dangerous intersections on Wetmore Ave
To: Timothy Ellis
Cc: Ryan Sass <rsass@everettwa.gov>, Tim Miller <tmiller@everettwa.gov>, Kevin Allen <kallen@everettwa.gov>

Mr. Ellis,

After further review of this location Traffic Engineering still finds that the existing east-west stops at these intersections are appropriate. I have contacted Sgt Allen with the Everett Police Department and made him aware of your concerns. He agrees that this is an issue of compliance with the existing stop signs and that police enforcement is the appropriate next step. He will be contacting you shortly to discuss what option the Police have to address your concerns.


Michael Brick, P.E.
Associate Traffic Engineer
City of Everett Public Works

It’s only a matter of time before there’s another serious injury or fatality collision at one of these intersections. It’s a shame that the city refuses to take the appropriate measures to prevent it.


Tim’s 2016 Presidential Election Predictions

Just thought I’d make a few election predictions for the upcoming 2016 US presidential election. Before we get started, I’ll say up front that I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. They’re both terrible candidates and I am seriously disappointed in the voters and the political parties whose actions have led to us having such a historically awful pair of choices in November. Shame on all of you.

With that, here are my election predictions for what will go down in November.

Voter Turnout Will Drop Below 50 Percent

Americans are disgusted with the way this election has played out. From Trump’s manipulative pandering, to Clinton’s prioritization of her own convenience over national security, to the Democratic National Committee rigging the primary election against Bernie Sanders from the start, everyone is simply fed up.

We haven’t seen voter turnout below 50 percent since 1920 and 1924, but the first of my election predictions is that a record number of voters will opt not to vote, and as a result 2016 will see turnout hit at least a 92-year low. I could even easily see turnout dropping below 45 percent, which would be the lowest level in nearly 200 years.

Neither Clinton Nor Trump Will Receive More Than 45 Percent Of The Vote

Clinton and Trump are literally the least-liked candidates ever to run, by a wide margin. If either party had put up a different candidate, they likely would have won in the biggest blowout since Reagan’s 1984 reelection. Instead, we’ve got two candidates that most of the country can’t stand.

Even many Democrats and Republicans are disgusted at the candidate their own party has selected, to the point that they’re not willing to vote for their own party just to support the “lesser of two evils.”

As it stands now, I expect that the Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson will net at least ten percent of the vote. I would not be surprised to see them pull in twenty percent or more, collectively edging out Ross Perot’s 1992 performance.

Donald Trump Will Probably Win

As much as I’d like to believe that there’s some way we’ll break a 164-year streak and elect someone other than a Republican or Democrat, it just doesn’t seem at all likely.

If I’m forced to choose who I think is likely to win this year between the two terrible choices that were nominated by the major parties in the past week, I’m going to have to pick Trump.

When Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, like most people I laughed and assumed it was basically nothing more than a poorly-executed publicity stunt. And yet, here we are just over a year later and he’s not only the Republican nominee, but he’s even edged ahead of Hillary Clinton in the polls. As this has played out I’ve been reading Scott Adams’ blog, where he has been predicting and—more importantly—explaining Trump’s rise every step of the way.

tl;dr – It’s all about persuasion. Adams contends that Trump is a “master persuader,” who is playing the game in a completely different way than any of the other candidates.

In August 2015, when election prophet Nate Silver gave Donald Trump a 2 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination, Scott Adams gave a “98% chance of Trump winning the whole thing.”

Here’s how he justified his prediction:

Since the beginning of time, every winner of every stick fight was a guy with a stick. So you’d expect that trend to continue. Until someone shows up to the fight with a flame thrower.

In mid-April before the New York primaries, when Nate Silver was predicting that Donald Trump would end up with around 1,160 of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination, here’s what Scott Adams said about Trump’s position:

This is the strongest position Trumphas been in since he announced. The chess board is all set for him to win the nomination and then go on to a landslide in the general.

I thought Adams was nuts in August, and I thought he was nuts in April, but here we are. For the record, Donald Trump ended up winning 1,543 delegates.

Also, compare Trump’s favorability trend to Clinton’s favorability trend:

Trump: Favorable/Unfavorable

Clinton: Favorable/Unfavorable

Although both candidates are still historically disliked, over the last year Trump’s net favorability has risen 13.5 points (from -34.6% to -21.1%), while Clinton’s has fallen 15.2 points (from -2.0% to -17.2%). And this is despite the fact that Trump seems to say offensive and reproachable things daily, while Clinton hasn’t had a press conference since December 2015.

And so, here’s the last of my election predictions: A specific guess for how the electoral map will play out in November:

2016 Electoral Map: Tim Ellis Prediction

So Yeah, We’re Basically Screwed

In closing, I’d like to again point out that I think both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are terrible candidates, and I won’t be voting for either of them. These are my election predictions, but they aren’t what I hope will happen. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late to realistically expect something dramatically different than the outcomes I’ve outlined above.

Despite how terrible our choices for president are, you should all at least go out and vote for your local and state races.

Here’s hoping 2020 turns out better.