traffic comments edit

For a while I thought this could be filed in the “unwritten rules that should be written somewhere” category, but then I realized they are written somewhere and people just choose to blatantly disregard them.

What the hell am I talking about?

People don’t know how to merge onto the freeway.

No, no they don’t. This probably includes you. I tell people I’m riding with about these rules and they don’t believe me, but they’re there. I think the rules are pretty clear, so I’ll let them speak for themselves. I’ve pulled the appropriate text from the Oregon Driver Manual, published by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. They even have a Spanish version there, if you don’t understand what is written there in English.

What rules? Well, let’s see. How about this one:

If you use an acceleration or merging lane to enter a freeway or other highway, you must give the right of way to vehicles already on the freeway or road. (p. 36)

Or, under the section marked Entering a Freeway (I’ll highlight the good parts, just for you)…

In most driving situations, you slow down or stop before you enter a busy road, but when entering a freeway you do the opposite. Use the merging or acceleration lane to speed up and merge with fast-moving traffic already on the road. Try to reach freeway speed by the time you start merging. Keep moving if at all possible. A stop might mean a slow and dangerous start into fast traffic. Even slowing down as you approach an entrance can result in a rear end collision with a driver behind who expected you to pick up speed, not slow down.

If a freeway has an entry ramp with a red-and-green signal to regulate traffic entering the freeway, obey the signal. Stop and go with the light. Then speed up in the acceleration lane to merge with traffic on the freeway.

If you are entering a freeway from a merging lane, you must yield to traffic already on the freeway. If you already are on the freeway, you are obligated to help merging traffic. Adjust your speed to permit a safe, smooth merge. (p. 57-58)

Now, it does say there that you are obligated to help merging traffic. That part is true. But what it implies is that if you see someone coming onto the freeway, not only do you (as the traffic already on the freeway) have the right of way, but you shouldn’t change speeds erratically and confuse the person merging. Which boils down to this: Just because someone is merging into your lane does not mean you have to fucking stop.

That is directed at all the idiots who migrate up here from California or come down from Washington and decide that traffic here needs to be as bad as it is in LA or Seattle. Learn to merge. It’s in the driver’s manual.

To drive home that point:

A slowpoke on a freeway can be as dangerous as a speeder. Remember, if you drive at a speed below the flow of traffic, you must use the right lane.

Freeways often have several lanes in each direction. On these roads, you should leave the extreme left lane for faster traffic. If you drive at an even speed, you will have less need to change lanes. Remember, lane-hopping any time is dangerous, annoys other drivers, increases the risk of collision and seldom saves time. Sudden bursts of speed also waste gasoline. If you are traveling in the left lane and someone comes up behind you at a faster speed, move one lane to your right. Do not tie up traffic in the left lane. (p. 58)

Slow people - get the hell out of the damn fast lane. If you’re not going to drive the speed limit, get over.

I think Paul Reiser said it best in one of his stand-up routines: “The only reason we have traffic is your failure to go.”

While we’re on the subject, here’s a little anecdote from yesterday:

I’m driving down the street near my house on the way home and make a right turn behind this Ford Taurus. Whatever, right? Well, the speed limit on this street is 25 miles per hour. It’s fairly light out, there are no other cars on the street, and there are no people walking around. And yet the chick driving the Taurus decides to go 15 mph the whole way. Of course, it’s a no-passing zone, so I’m screwed.

Folks, if the speed limit’s 25 and there’s not even another car on the road, go the whole damn 25 miles per hour. If you want to know why road rage exists, it’s because fucking idiots like that drive around among the rest of us.

I hope everyone has learned something valuable today. That is, how to merge onto the freeway correctly. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll put forth another public safety announcement on how to properly use the left-hand-turn lanes that run down the center of some streets.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

media, movies, hockey, family comments edit

I saw the movie Panic Room this weekend. For those interested, it was actually well worth checking out. It wasn’t scary at all, but there was some good suspense going. Forest Whitaker (who is very cool) was good in it, but let me tell you now, and have no illusions about it:

It was all about the Jodie Foster cleave shots.

There was some pretty damn good JF cleavage going on in this one. As far as I’m concerned, worth the price of admission. Gay, straight, bi, whatever. She’s hot. That’s all there is to it.

Oh, and her daughter (in the movie) was annoying as hell. If my kids ever act like that, I’ll beat the crap out of them. I mean, come on - you don’t ride your stupid scooter through a house you’re walking through to buy. Seriously.

The Winter Hawks won game six of the seven game series with Seattle, so I guess I’ll be at game seven tomorrow. Admittedly, I sort of hoped they’d lose because I’d like a little more time to not have to run around all the time, but since they won, I hope they make it all the way.

Of course, if we have to play Spokane, it’s all over.

Had a good Easter dinner at Mom and Dad’s place. Afterwards, Jenn and I got tormented with home movies that my parents had filmed but never watched. Actually, it wasn’t that bad - we have my cousin dancing at Christmas from a couple of years ago, drunk and doing his best attempt at breakdancing. I really should digitize that and put it up here. It’s just way too funny.

On a whole other topic…

We have air pots full of coffee here at work. There are three pots, all of which should have some level of coffee in them at all times. There are three huge signs around the pots, all of which say (in some form or another), “If you take the last cup, make a new pot.” It takes, seriously, about two minutes to grind the beans and start a new pot of coffee.

I went to get a cup a little bit ago and there wasn’t a drop of coffee in any of the pots. Not one. I don’t think I could have combined the dregs from the pots to make half a cup. I thought about starting a new pot, but then decided that if I didn’t get any, I wasn’t gonna make any. Fair’s fair.

I think I need to start a CoffeeCam. Stick a motion-sensitive camera out there, aimed at the pots (and, more importantly, the people getting coffee). Let’s see who the last person was so we can stick it to them. Or, even better, rig the stand the pots sit on with scales so you only take pictures of the people who leave the pots with less than a cup of coffee in them. I don’t think that’d be too difficult. Maybe I should start that as a side project.

media, movies, toys, activities comments edit

Or, more precisely, “Oscar Contest Winner.”

That’s me.

My friend Liz has a contest she runs every year where she sends out ballots to a group of folks and we get to vote on who we think is gonna win the Oscars. I must be freaking psychic because I got the most right. Which means I won a gift card to Hollywood Video.

In case you were wondering, yes, I am the man.

Yesterday I downloaded some software called MixMeister that allows you to take music in just about any format (MP3, WAV, etc.) and mix it like a DJ - either just fade one song into the other or actually do beat mixing where you change the tempo at the end of one song and at the beginning of the next and mix them together in a continuous track. It also allows you to do overlay tracks (like little sounds or whatever that you want to mix into a song). Once you’ve got your mix, you can burn it to a CD or even webcast it. It’s pretty cool. Give it a look.

My Tron action figures have shipped from eMerchandise.com so I’m hoping they’ll be home when I get there. I think I’m going to set up a Tron display at work on my desk. That’d rock. One thing about the eMerchandise site, though - when I went back just now to check on what Tron stuff they had, I noticed they had doubled their prices on the Tron stuff across the board. I bought the figures for $4.45 each; now they’re $8.45. The light cycles were $8.45, now they’re $16.95. For the figures, that’s a bit of a rip-off; you can get those at SunCoast for like $6. But the light cycles are still $8 cheaper at eMerchandise than they are at SunCoast.

I got forwarded an email today from my friend Mike. The subject line was “Travis is a dad!” His comment at the top of the message was, “Dude! I saw the subject of this email, before I saw the sender, and it scared me!” Me, too, man, since it would have to be, like, the Immaculate Conception or something. According to the email, the “baby’s got Travis’s head.” Scary. I don’t think I wanna see a baby with my head on it.

Jenn’s parents come back from Disneyland today. They asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted a big Cheshire Cat, like the gigantic animals you see in the Disney Store. I thought that’d be awesome, the Cat being my favorite character. Well, apparently they don’t make big Cheshire Cats (figures), so I’m SOL. Which probably also means that they didn’t bring me anything else back, either. I guess we’ll see, eh? If not, I sure hope they don’t think I’m bringing them anything from my vacations, either. Turnabout’s fair play, and all that.

Oh, and for the record, Alice is a total hottie. I’d take her any day of the week over any of the so-called “Disney Princesses.” Snow White? Bah. Cinderella? I think not. It’s all about Alice.

gaming, playstation, toys comments edit

Important things first: I’ve finished finding all of the hidden packages on the first island in Grand Theft Auto 3 and now I’ve made it to the second island. I’ve been doing mostly taxi missions to get to know the place, but I’ve done a couple of regular missions, too. The place is huge! I had enough trouble getting to know Portland and now Staunton Island is here. My work is cut out for me.

Thank goodness for GameFAQs.

Got a link today to probably the scariest thing in the world - US Attorney General Ashcroft singing a “patriotic hymn” of his own concoction. Give me a frickin’ break.

I’m trying to find a decent stuffed Domokun doll. A guy at www.domo-kun.de has some links to online stores, but they’re always out of the one I want - if you squeeze the doll, his arms flap. If anyone out there knows where to get one of these in the US, leave a comment. Thanks.

activities comments edit

The Blazers sucked hard last night. Really hard. They started the game out with a 25 point lead and then came back to lose the game. How do you lose the game with such a lead? Ah, let me enlighten and amaze you.

See, it’s really a strategy for them. They start out strong in the first half of the game and come out with a huge lead. This is, I’m sure, an attempt to demoralize and degrade the opposing team in an effort to make the opposition weak. And, for the most part, it works. The opposing team doesn’t come on too strong in the first half of the game.

But then - and here’s where the plot really twists - the Blazers notice that they’ve got a huge lead on the other team and they decide to take the rest of the game off. As in, “send in the clowns, ‘cuz we’re going home” style. And when the ref calls them on something, by all means, bitch out the ref so you can pull the technical foul.

So, 100-103, the Blazers lost. Not a big surprise.

The food in the box that Jenn and I were in was good, though, and since the Blazers scored 100 points, we all got free Chalupas, which pretty much just made my night.

Then Jenn had to go let out her parents’ dogs because her parents are on vacation, so I got a little late night Grand Theft Auto in. Found all but three of the hidden packages on the first island, but I know where they are, so I’m good to go. Buffy is a rerun tonight, so I hear a little package-searching in my future. Or maybe we’ll watch an episode from the first season, since Jenn hasn’t seen all of those.