I’ve added a new category, Tech Support, to the categories on the site. Right now there’s only one article in it, but as I find solutions to technical problems I’m having that other people might be having, I’ll post ‘em in that category.
I’ve mentioned this idea before in passing, but I keep coming back to it, so I’ll post it again.
I think car insurance should be enhanced to handle rubbernecking.
What do I mean?
Well, let’s say you have an accident on a major freeway. You know how much traffic that backs up because of the rubberneckers out there having to catch a glimpse? And follow that through to the end results:
- Lost time for everyone stuck in traffic
- Depleted natural resources because of the decreased gas mileage of all of the idling vehicles
- Increased stress on everyone in the traffic
If I’m caught up in traffic because of an accident that’s not my fault, I feel that I should be compensated for the time and resources wasted by the natural effect that others gawking will have on my time.
It would work like this: Someone has an accident and you get stuck in traffic. Once you get home, you go to a government web site (or some centralized location) and file your claim for reimbursement class-action style - give your name, contact info, etc. Then the reviewing agency would go through each filed claim, compare the claim information with the accident reports on file, and pay out accordingly.
The money to pay the claims would come from the insurance company of the at-fault party in the accident. You cause the accident, you cause the gawking, you pay.
I’ve only come up with two problems: First, there’s no way to prove you were actually caught in the traffic. You may have been, but you may also have gotten a tip-off from your friend. Everyone’s car would have to have, like, a GPS tracker or something (and that’s a whole other can of worms). Second, insurance companies would probably go broke (or insurance costs would skyrocket).
But that’s not the point!
Then again, maybe police and fire agencies should have giant privacy curtains they put up around wrecks so you can’t see anything. Might be inconvenient, but it would sure fix the traffic.
The latest Traffic Asshole isn’t even someone I found on the road… it’s someone next to the road, if you can believe that.
This happens every year, and I should have been expecting it, but somehow, just like every other year, it once again took me by surprise.
I was headed to work on Monday the first - the first work day back after the Thanksgiving holiday. At a normally fairly clear area, I noticed cars were jamming up all over the place.
With the density of the crowd, I started thinking, “I wonder if someone’s had a real wreck up there… Maybe someone’s dead. Of course, I’m gonna be pretty pissed off if there’s not someone dead up there, with this amount of traffic.”
Okay, so that’s a little mean and morbid. But true. If there’s not some life-threatening thing going on, what’s with the backup?
Behold, the Griswolds have arrived in Portland:
That’s right - every year the Shilo Inns headquarters puts up the largest lights display ever, and it’s right along the most difficult freeway in the Portland metro area. So I have Shilo to thank for the so-called Gawker’s Block in effect. Let’s see that again:
And the thing is, it doesn’t get any better as the holidays approach. You’d think after the first week all the regular commuters would have seen this thing and be ready to move on. But they always slow down. So Shilo Inns has, once again, fucked up traffic for an entire month. Good job, guys.
I’m still at work because traffic is terrible out there and I’d rather sit around here and get stuff done than sit in a car indefinitely. Ugh.
I was reading the blog of a friend of mine and it brought up an interesting question. Where do you work best?
For him, he works best “out of his element” - traveling, sitting at Starbucks, in someone else’s cube, etc.
For me, it’s a whole other story. If I’m out of my element (i.e., working at home or out of the office), while I will be more likely to come up with solutions to nagging problems, the amount of code I will churn out will be *less* than if I’m sitting in my sensory deprivation chamber at work. Why? Call it ADHD - there are too many things “out there” that I’d rather be doing than sitting and coding… Art projects, working on my own personal code projects, playing with my cat, watching movies, playing games, etc.
Being at work, I have more of a sense of dedication to the task at hand
- I’m at work so I can work.
I think I solve my problems best in the shower or in the car in the morning. I’ll figure out how to deal with stuff I’m stuck on while I’m driving to work in the morning or coming home at night. (Actually, sitting on the pot’s a great place to solve problems, too.) Once I’m going to code, though, I need to put the headphones on (music with no words - trance/techno seems to be best for me) and not answer the phone or see any distractions around me. Otherwise, the workflow goes kaput.
Quite the weekend, considering it was four days long. I can’t say it was entirely restful, but I can say it was better than being at work. I think.
Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was pretty busy, too, considering it’s supposed to be you hanging out with your family. Unfortunately for me, that means two families - mine and Jenn’s.
11:00a saw Jenn and I at the local Hometown Buffet - all you can eat, anything you want. This is especially good for me, since I can’t stand turkey or ham. I ate my fill of baked fish while everyone else shovelled gamey disgustingness down their gullets.
After we finished eating at the buffet, Jenn’s parents gave her “part of her Christmas gift.”
I appreciate that they were trying to do something nice, but there are a few problems with candleholders, particularly candleholders of this nature:
- They’re large, and we’re out of storage space.
- They’re delicate, and the Tiny Cat will knock anything off a shelf if you look away for more than two minutes.
- They hold candles, and even unscented candles bug my allergies like nothing else.
- You can only use them during a short period of the year.
By 2:00p, we were 30 miles away from there sitting with my family at my grandfather’s house in Sandy. Having already eaten, Jenn and I pretty much just hung out during the dinner part of things and then ate pie when dessert rolled around.
I, of course, somehow got into the unavoidable “I need help with my computer” conversation, which I try like the devil not to get into but always seem to get sucked into anyway. I think it’s a combination of several key factors: I work with computers; I do stuff that I really can’t explain to the lay user; People want to have a conversation with me and don’t know what else to talk about, so they ask about work… and then it goes from there. I’m thinking I need to get into some common sport (hockey isn’t for these people, they’re -ugh- football watchers) so at least I’ll have something to talk about.
Hung out at Granddad’s for a few hours and headed home.
Friday Jenn worked, but I was off and I ended up going over to my parents’ house. My dad hauled 12 big boxes full of school papers, toys, and other things that they had saved over the years for us three kids, and they wanted to weed out the stuff we didn’t want. I ended up getting all of my stuff to fit into a single (sizable) box after throwing out loads of duplicates of things and a bunch of crap I’m not sure why we kept. It was an interesting blast from the past, though.
Some of the boxes that things were stored in were kind of neat, too. Remember the Commodore Vic 20? Here’s the box:
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We had one of those, and then we ended up buying a Commodore 64 when the Vic 20 got stolen:
We also got one of the floppy disk drives:
So that was sorta neat to see. (Those boxes have since been dumpstered.)
Saturday Jenn worked again, so I ended up doing housework and working on my blog here. Of my previous list of things I wanted to do, all that I didn’t get done was fixing the links between blog entries, updating my “about” page, and fixing the blurbs to do fancy popup thing I want them to do. The rest got done, though, and I think it’s much more usable, at least from an admin standpoint.
Saturday night I went to the Winter Hawks hockey game and watched us barely beat Seattle. It was also the “Teddy Bear Toss,” where, on the first Winter Hawks goal scored, you throw stuffed animals out onto the ice. The animals are then collected and donated to charities. This year they had 5,448 animals thrown, which filled up two pickup trucks and several dumpsters. It was pretty slick.
Sunday was spent doing things around the house for a while, then we went to the mall because we were bored. Not much going on at the mall. At at the Cajun Grill, which is, in my opinion, the best place in the food court. After that we went to another Winter Hawks game, where, once again, we barely won. Went home and watched Alias, which always rocks, and then went to bed and had a bad dream about zombies coming to kill me.
So the weekend was okay, though I would have liked to have rested more. Because Jenn worked over the weekend, I ended up doing her chores and mine, and that sucked a lot. I’ve got the last two weeks of the year off, though, and I’m hoping that’s a bit more restful.