Rage Against the Machine - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 14, 2020

Rage Against the Machine

A day off

Last night, the forecast was for rain off and on throughout the day today.  Rachael is due for a day off the bike anyway, so we planned to leave the bikes behind and explore the surrounding park on foot in whatever breaks in the weather provides.

The forecasts have been surprisingly unreliable here so far though, and today was actually quite nice.  We’d already committed to the plan though, so we enjoyed a relaxing day with A balanced mix of walking and loafing.  Rachael was due for a day off from me as well though, so we walked our separate ways.  She went south, I went north.  She came back and annoyed me with photographs of pelicans and baby geese, which I could only match up against one squirrel and one mallard.  I heard a few woodpeckers, but from about a million miles up in the top of the huge pine trees.  Clearly, the south is the direction to go if you want to see much wildlife here.

Plummer Creek Marsh has a nice little wetland, with walking platforms and a viewing blind. I’ll have to go there myself soon.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Cute!
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Why does Rachael always get to see more wildlife than I do? Grrr.
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My walk was just fine too though.  I went north, skirting the west side of the lake.  I followed a utility path most of the way until it gradually fizzled out at the last of the string of houseboats north of the bridge.  Nothing dramatic, just the usual walk in the woods.

Most of the walk was along this minor service road, which looks like it exists just to maintain utility access for the houseboats.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The woods are mixed conifer, but the predominant species is the western white pine, the Idaho state tree.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Andrea BrownAre you sure that isn't a ponderosa?
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownYes, I know; as you probably noted later. I think I was just expecting to primarily see Idaho’s state tree in Idaho.
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1 week ago
The trail follows the contour of the shoreline, about thirty feet above the water. It’s high enough to give a nice perspective on the bridge.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The Chatcolet Lake Bridge, built in 1921, is a Pratt through truss design. The bridge was part of a Union Pacific line that was abandoned in 1991 and fell into disrepair until it was restored as a part of the new trail system.
Heart 3 Comment 0
A string of houseboats line the shore in a small inlet north of the bridge. There’s no road access, so you must need to boat or swim your way in.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The trail doesn’t appear to receive regular maintenance.
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I enjoyed walking along the shoreline, imagining what it would be like staying in one of these quiet havens. Number 19 looks quite pleasant.
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It must stay very calm in this little bay. I don’t think the deck furniture is bolted down.
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It looks like all the houseboats have electricity, but I’m not sure about indoor plumbing. There’s a string of rustic outhouses tucked into the woods above them.
Heart 2 Comment 0
By the end, the trail is really faint. It’s not much more than a pile of pine needles.
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End of the line. I like the looks of this one. Next time, we’ll stay here.
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Looking back from the end of the bay. The scar above the houseboats is the path I’ve been walking.
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Looking back toward the bridge from the endpoint of the walk. It’s looking darkish; time to head back.
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Is this just a narcissus? It’s just growing out in the woods, but I doubt it’s native.
Heart 2 Comment 0
New growth. Looks a bit like a sea star, or a corn cob cornucopia.
Heart 4 Comment 9
Bill ShaneyfeltThat will soon be dusting yellow all over!
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanThose are future pine cones not new growth.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanWhy not new growth? It looks pretty new to me. Or is ‘new growth’ one of those botanical terms with a specific meaning?
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1 week ago
Andrea BrownThese are the male cones, which are only present in the spring and are the producers of the pollen that will float on lakes for a few weeks.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonThis is definitely not new growth. Well, the very center has the beginnings of some new growth but those red things produce pollen. I thought they also turned into the cones but Andrea is debating me on that. If that's not where the pine cones are born I don't know where else it would be.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanStill not getting the concept. Aren’t pine cones growing things too?
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanThe very center is new growth of needles. The red things are full of pollen. But I don't know where the cones form.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanOh, well. I give up. Something for us to laugh at over coffee some day.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanSo, your photo is of the male pollen packets (the red things) plus a tiny bit of new growth of needles emerging in the center. Usually up near the top of the tree on the tips of branches will be the tiny reddish beginnings of the pine cones and will indeed turn into pine cones if the pollen gets up there.
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1 week ago
Actually, I think I was wrong. I think these are ponderosa needles and cones, not western white pine. It looks like the needles are in clusters of three, but there should be five. I’ll need to look again.
Heart 3 Comment 1
The endearing, ever-popular American red squirrel. Everyone loves squirrels, don’t they?
Heart 2 Comment 5
Bruce LellmanTree rats you mean? Oh sure, they are so cute!! I don't actually mind the native red squirrels but in Portland they have mostly been killed off by invading, much more aggressive, Eastern Grays and they are the ones I detest.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyIs that Simon? Where is his marshmallow mask?
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1 week ago
Andrea BrownThis is a Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii), which we referred to as "pine squirrels". They harvest pine cones and seeds and stash them in larders, conveniently located in, say, our stored moving boxes.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyActually, wasn’t Simon a chipmunk? I think this is Rocky.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownI’m not sure that’s right, Andrea. From my references, the Douglas doesn’t extend this Far East, and their ranges don’t overlap. They’re similar though, and both are also known as pine squirrel so.
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1 week ago
Another brodiaea (cluster lily). Right?
Heart 3 Comment 1
Andrea BrownBrodiaea have recently been reclassified as Triteleia grandiflora. http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=pmlil21060
Botanists now can more precisely order species using genetic testing and thus new branches form and old botanists complain. I know this because one of my wildflower Facebook pages erupted into a "discussion" about this very species.
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1 week ago
Some interesting information about the ubiquitous balsamroot: “ Nearly all parts of this plant were used as food by various Native American groups. The roots may be baked or steamed and eaten, as well as the young shoots. The immature flower stems could be peeled and eaten; the flowers themselves are good browse for wildlife. Balsamroot seeds are nutritious and oil-rich, another good source of food. The root could be used as a coffee substitute. It was also used medicinally.”
Heart 3 Comment 0
Help, s’il vous plait.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like anemone...

http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Anemone%20piperi
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2 weeks ago
Andrea BrownTo Bill ShaneyfeltAgree. Good ID, Bill.
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1 week ago
Lichen crusted rocks: always an interesting subject.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Looks like a battle for lebensraum at the frontier.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanI've heard that these grow at the astounding rate of about a millimeter per year which would mean these are pretty old.
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1 week ago
This outcrop near the bridge looks like it could be in Maine. It reminds me of Acadia National Park.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Andrea BrownIt looks like home to me. I grew up puzzling over the bends and twists of sedimentary layers I saw on road cuts, then I had an 8th grade Earth Science teacher that changed everything about how I see the world.
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1 week ago
Mallard and cattails.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Pond algae and apple blossom petals.
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Rage against the machine

Last week, We vented a little spleen over our exasperation when Capitol One restricted our credit card when they no longer were sure that I am me.   They gave me a choice of submitting verification documents (drivers license, bank or utility statement, social security card), or of closing our account.  I haven’t carried a social security card in decades, and couldn’t imagine getting a replacement would go quickly in today’s world, so we closed our account and opened a new one with a different vendor.

I peaked too soon.  I needed to save some spleen, because the worst was yet to come and more venting was called for.  Before going into details of this wretched latest installment, I just want to pass on some advice.  If you were considering opening an account with Capitol One, think again.  If you’re still not sure, just say no.  And if you currently have an account with them, you might want to consider your options.  Just saying.

We wasted a good chunk of the afternoon talking with representatives of Capitol One and the Social Security Administration, getting pointlessly enraged at them and the situation, and stressed with each other.  Two hours of our lives we’d like to have back.  For the memory book though, here are the essential details of the situation:

  • Capitol One locked our account for reasons they were unable to explain.  I don’t actually think they know why it was locked either.
  • They are unable to unlock it without me providing documents to prove my identity.  They have little flexibility on the choice of documents.  Drivers license and Social Security card are mandatory.  Also required is a current document demonstrating our address, such as a utility bill or utility statement.
  • I do not have a social security card.  I lost it decades ago, and haven’t found a need to replace it before this.
  • I didn’t forsee it being easy to get a new one at the moment, so we closed our account last week.
  • In the meantime, we have cancelled several Airbnb reservations.  Airbnb returned our payments in the only way their system permits: as credits back to the account they were withdrawn from when the reservation was made.
  • They were all booked using the now cancelled Capitol One account.  As a result, we now have almost $4,000 of credits sitting on our inactivated account.
  • Capitol One will not release these funds to us because the account is locked.  They apparently can suck in transactions, but not dispense them.  They can’t send them to us, and they cannot send them back to Airbnb, because the account is locked.  We’ve been through this often heated conversation with four different representatives and each of their supervisors now, and I’m finally convinced.  They’ll keep our money forever, or until we give them a copy of my social security card, which I have not got.
  • SSA has a self-service web application, and filing for a replacement card is one of the supported functions.  For reasons not clear to me though, the function is not available to Oregon residents.  I have to apply for a replacement at a social security office.
  • Every social security office in the nation has been closed to walk-in service since March 25, due to the plague.  It is unknown when they will open again.  My only option is to mail the application in to the local office, accompanied by a government issued identification document: my drivers license or passport. 
  • They require the actual document, not a copy.  So, the plan is that I will mail in an application, accompanied by my actual passport or drivers license.  They will first quarantine everything for a period of days to protect themselves from disease before opening it up, making a copy of the document, and mailing it to our home address.  They’ll then process the application and mail my new card to me, when they get around to it.  
  • Once the drivers license or passport is (hopefully) mailed back, I’ll pick it up in Portland - hopefully next month.  I’m still considering what’s the least riskiest document to mail in, but I think I’ll send my drivers license and make a copy in case we get stopped.
  • Once my new card is mailed, I’ll pick it up when we’re in Portland again, whenever that is.  When that happens, I’ll upload a copy of my documents to Capitol One and try again to get our card unlocked.
  • Once the card is unlocked, in theory they’ll issue a check to Portland, which we’ll pick up when we’re in town again and deposit into our bank account.

So let’s have a contest!  Send in your best guess in the comments for when we’ll get access to our money again (in hand, deposited into our account).  Prizes to be awarded for the closest two guesses.  Unfortunately I didn’t keep the destroyed card, suitable for framing, because that would have been the obvious first prize.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 20
Mike AylingI have an affinity group credit card issued by one of Australia's "Big Four" banks about 30 years ago. At the time they asked if I would like a card on the same account for Mary which we accepted. In March 2020 they contacted us saying that they did not have any identification for Maryand if she did not get her ass around to the bank soon with her passport and driving licence her account would be cancelled with a veiled threat that maybe mine would be as well if she did not comply.She did and we retain the account. A long time ago in one of my Financial Controller jobs a bank manager told me "It's called the golden rule - we have the gold and we make the rules"
I hope that you get it sorted out soon!

Mike
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1 week ago
frank jellisonYour new Social Security card will arrive on November 4, 2020 the day after the election. Your $4000 will wind up in your bank account on January 21, 2021.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanSince the prize is all the money that is currently locked up (I read that correctly didn't I?) I will guess that everything will be settled on July 8th.

I've had at least some trouble with just about every credit card I've ever owned except my current Alaska Airlines card. I almost applied for a Capital One card once but then at the last second I heard that they were the worst.
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1 week ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesYou will most likely get your funds released when hell freezes over or the orange menace is ĺong forgotten, whichever comes first. :).
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1 week ago
Bob DistelbergSo, I am also one of those people who have not seen my SS card in about 25 years. A few years ago, I decided I should try to get a new one, but was put off by the idea that I had to send my actual passport off to the Social Security office and just hope that they mailed it back some day, so I decided it wasn't worth it. Our nearest social security office is a couple hours drive away, and I really didn't want to blow a whole day dealing with it.
Fast forward to today, your post inspired me to get online on the social security website, and I found that I now live in one of the 'good' states (I think because we now have Real ID's), where I can now just type in my license number, and do the whole thing electronically. So, thanks for the post!
Anyway, I think this is going to be about a 3 month process for you, so I'm guessing September 1st.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOdd. Ken and Judy also predict we’ll get our money back when he’ll freezes over. Must be a sentiment that comes from living in such a cold climate.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergSeptember 1st! Our son’s birthday. I like that. It feels a bit optimistic, but perhaps.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanJuly 8th! That will be our 32nd wedding anniversary - a double reason to celebrate. We’ll have to check with the awards committee about that fine print though if you should be the lucky winner. It does seem like we ought to be able to keep something for ourselves to celebrate with. Maybe we could underwrite a HAC event instead?
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo frank jellisonIf you don’t count the predictions that we’ll never see our cash again, this is the most pessimistic prediction yet. I might have predicted that, Frank.
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1 week ago
frank jellisonTo Scott AndersonPessimistic? I thought it was very positive. Picking the day after the election for you to receive your new Social Security card makes the assumption that there will be an election. Picking the day after Inauuguration Day for you to receive you $4000 assumes that there will be an inauguration of a new president.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyI like the idea of the HAC celebratory event.

I pick 7/11/20, Grumby Anniversary #12.

So, who wins if you pick up the paper check and have it in hand on 7/9 and then you deposit it to your account on 7/10? Bruce or me?

What a ridiculous experience!! Very well summed up by Mike's tale of the bankers version of the Golden Rule. (Creepy. Just creepy!)
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1 week ago
Patrick O'HaraMan. Reading about your experience makes my blood boil! The tug-o-war between helplessness and rage. Just ridiculous. Hope it gets sorted soon. My guess? September 30th 2020. Good luck, Scott and Rachel. Been really enjoying your adventures.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOur anniversary is 3 days before yours!

If the timing is that close, we’ll try to time it so that it’s a tie and you two can share 1st and 2nd.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraThis looks like a pretty realistic stab, Patrick. It’s roughly what I predict also. Which would be fine. I don’t mind Capitol One keeping our money for four months. I’m sure they’ll give it back with 18% interest when the time comes.
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1 week ago
Andrea BrownI'm in the "hell freezes over" camp. Sorry for the pessimism. We have stories too but let's let them go under the bridge with that other angry water.
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1 week ago
Jonathan HechtFWIW...

I’m a former commercial banker, never involved with credit cards, and never employed by Capital One. And yes, I’m an avid, but non-blogging, bike tourer, to which the Millers can attest!

While banks, credit companies, internet/cable companies, and others can be impossibly difficult to deal with, I am a Capital One customer and must say that I have been very pleased with their customer service.

It’s interesting that they are making you do loopty-loops through hoops without giving you any good reasons. I’ve had my credit card blocked due to fraudulent charges and the solution was to cancel the card and issue a new one. Legit charges and credits were automatically transferred to the new card.

The biggest pain factor was notifying a couple of places that charged the card monthly...like my health club and a couple of utilities.

By the way, I’ve also had good luck dealing with them through Twitter. Maybe you could regroup and try that approach, if only to expedite the return of a credit balance.

Good luck...and please watch out for dogs!

Jonathan
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jonathan HechtHi, Jonathan. First off, thanks for following along! Nice to know you’re out there.

FWIW also, our experience with Capitol One until now has been just like yours. They’ve been our primary card for thirty years, and I’ve always sworn by them. Like you, I’ve appreciated their fraud protection monitoring. We’ve had to cancel several cards over the years, after losing my wallet, or after an ATM ate the card, or after fraudulent charge issues. It is a hassle having to notify all of our recurring charges, but we’ve never had a complaint about the company, until now.

I’m really quite surprised. I kept thinking that if I just found the right person I could get a reasonable response, but the answer was always the same. It’s especially frustrating that no one can even explain what the concern actually is. No one I spoke to actually knew. They all just said the card was locked, they couldn’t see why, and they couldn’t see any alternatives but the one given. I really wonder if it isn’t the result of a failure in their computer system somehow.

Anyway, thanks again for the perspective and the company.

Cheers,
Scott
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyTo Scott AndersonA triple celebration (2 anniversaries and Capitol One $ returned .. with interest!) with 2 prize winners .. could be one of the best HAC gatherings yet!
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1 week ago
Ron SuchanekJuly 32nd, 2029. This is maddening. I hate things like that with all my soul, and I hope it gets resolved soon.
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6 days ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekOTOH, we can feel grateful to them for giving us material for an interesting story, free of charge. Assuming we get our $$$ back some day, we’ll enjoy reminiscing over it some day.
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6 days ago