Friday, February 25, 2011

TGIF Week 8

Gas Prices - 25 February 2011
"Gas Prices - 25 February 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with OM 50mm 1:1.4
1/40s, f/2, ISO 200, Manual

Prices have been boosted at the pump over the last few days as the crisis throughout the middle East and Libya in particular drive up the price of both crude and refined products such as gasoline. Back on January 5 regular unleaded gas was just over $3/gallon. I expect to see gas quickly spike to near $4 before the start of summer and stay there. Just like 2008, only worse. This was taken at the corner of Turkey Lake and West Sandlake, looking eastbound towards I-4 and International Drive. These are the prices that tourists see, which aren't much different than what suburbanites see.

Red Light Running - 25 February 2011
"Red Light Running - 25 February 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm
1/1250s, f/8, ISO 800, 42mm

Yesterday I wrote about the red light cameras. This is how much it costs to run a red light in Orlando, caught by camera or cop. I should have googled the Internets, because sure enough, a story was written by WESH/2 in July 2008 when the cameras were first installed. The fine back then? $125. The fine has more than doubled in less than 3 years. Talk about inflation.

Jersey Mike's #13 Small
"Jersey Mike's #13 Small"
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 14-42mm
1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 800, 14mm

Finally, I had lunch at the latest fast-food sandwich shop to open next to my office, Jersey Mike's. Jersey Mike's is another franchise sandwich shop with an emphasis on community involvement and super fresh food. This makes the forth sandwich shop to open within walking distance or work; the other three are Extreme Pita (right next door), Jimmy John's, and Pinera's right across University.

I'm curious to see if all of these shops will survive over the next 12 months. Because in the same area you'll find First Watch (next to Extreme Pita), Pei Wei (in the same shopping center)  Houlahan's (next to Pinera's), Chik-fil-A (next to Houlahan's), Ruby Tuesday, Grill and Greens, Zaxbys (former KFC), Tilted Kilt (former Bennigan's), Azteca (former Uno's), IHOP (former Krispy Kreme), Del Taco (former Fazoli's)...

Just drive up and down University between Alafaya and Rouse and count the number of fast food and general restaurants. As the price of gas continues to climb past $3 on its way to $4 and beyond, and DoD budget cuts take more of a toll on the technical staffs in Research Park, thinning will occur again like it did 2008/2009. I'd say that Extreme Pita will probably be one of the first to fail.

The sandwich I ordered was a #13 "The Original Italian", small, on wheat bread. I got out with a filling sandwich for $5.10. That was with no chips and no drink. Ten years ago in 2001 I could have gotten an entire meal similar to this (sandwich, chips, and drink) for well under $5 at either a Subway's or Quiznos. But times have certainly changed.

The sandwich was quite good. The meat was freshly sliced and instead of mayo they put on oil and vinegar. While oil and vinegar are certainly healthier than mayo, it's also probably cheaper. Unfortunately it's still too much for a regular daily meal. I do better health-wise and budget-wise by taking in leftovers. Places like Jersey Mike's make for a nice occasional diversion.

Low Quality Content

The Google tweaked it's ranking algorithms today to fight against "low quality content" produced by content farms and general web spammers. I'd like to think that I stand a little above that, perhaps ranking as "medium quality content." It will be interesting to see how my little blog's rankings shift. In 2007, at the peak of my pro-Linux writing, my little blog ranked between 50,000 to 100,000. Later, as I grew disenchanted with Linux, my following pretty much dried up and I now sit around 7 million or so. Before I started to parallel my 365 photography project with a 365 blog project, my blog's ranking had dropped down to 10 million or so. As I've continued to post, it's begun a slow rise.

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