28 January 2010

Dumb Animals - An Adventure in Nearly Killing Someone

Now that my heart has been shoved back down my throat into my chest cavity, and the brown stuff cleaned out of my shorts, I get to rant about the stupidest person that is still alive.

I hate my commute. Thirty minutes of stress from stupid drivers, toll plazas, waaay too many cars. But this morning topped the worst of the days driving twenty-one miles to work.

The drive was ridiculous today. There is a winter storm predicted for tomorrow night and Saturday, so everyone was driving like fools - three or four miles of twenty miles an hour, back up to fifty-five or so, then "oh look the sun, let's slam on our brakes after sliding in between you and car in front of you that is also slamming on his brakes." I'm used to all that, and just try real hard not to tailgate anyone. Mario Andretti I'm not, though I think almost all drivers today think they have somehow inherited NASCAR driving skills just by watching the races on HDTV.

I got off of I-64E at the airport exit. There is a scant quarter mile to come off the ramp, and shift three lanes over to the left turn lane.At the best of times, it can be dicey because of the traffic already approaching the intersection, and this morning was no different. The light was red going towards the airport (my direction), so the traffic was backed up. I managed to get into the left turn lane and was slowing down for the red light.

HOLY CRAP!!! THERE'S A PERSON IN FRONT OF ME!!! This idiot truck driver had parked his rig on the other side of five lanes of traffic (on the shoulder), crossed Airport Drive to the WaWa, then jaywalked through the red light traffic. He stepped out from in front of box truck right in front of me. There was absolutely no way to see him. I slammed on the brakes - fortunately I was already slowing for the light - and shuddered to a stop. He could have put his hand on my hood. The fool doesn't acknowledge me, wave, nothing, just continues his stroll across the highway. Of course, at this point he's holding up traffic because the light has turned green and he is half in the lane with the truck beside me. Maybe he was as shocked as I was. I hope so.

How many ways was he stupid??? Let me count the ways. One, he'd parked illegally on the shoulder of the road. Getting coffee is not an emergency. Two, he could have turned right and pulled into another convenience store, parked on a spacious lot, and walked a lot less distance to get his coffee and donuts. Three, he could have turned left, and parked in the WaWa lot if WaWa coffee is the only kind he'll drink. Four, he could have crossed at the intersection instead of threading his way through traffic making him effectively invisible.

But no, he does all these stupid things and comes within about one quarter of a second and about two feet of spending time in a hospital or morgue. Once again my theory is proven: There is no animal dumber than the general public.

07 January 2010

A completely off topic rant...

I love technology. I work in it, I play in it.

Why the heck can't I push a button on my remote when I see a promo for a TV show that I want to record on the DVR, and have it schedule the recording????

In fact, I should be able to push a button and have the DVR ask if I want the whole program, the whole series, or just the one episode airing 2 or 3 or 4 weeks in advance - way past when it's doable to fast forward the on-screen guide out that far - IF it goes out that far...mine certainly doesn't, and there is no date search.

If the networks know when a program will air, and promotes it relentlessly, why can't the delivery systems (Cable, FTTH, over the air- well, ok, not OTA) make it easy to work out as far as the networks do?!?!?!
Just a rant...

03 January 2010

More on the story...

Shortly after posting the previous story Be Prepared, I decided to write a letter to the Editor of the West Virginia Gazette, Charleston, WV"s newspaper. Charleston is the capital of West Virginia. I wanted to thank the people that worked so hard on Sandstone Mountain to get us stuck fools on our way again as quickly as possible. Here is the article as it was published, as a Guest Commentary.
January 2, 2010
Joseph G. Murphy: Agencies hardworking during storm on Turnpike
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I commend the West Virginia Division of Highways, the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia Turnpike Authority on their handling of the severe winter storm that erupted over the Mid-Atlantic region Dec. 18.
I was one of the "unfortunate" motorists trapped on Sandstone Mountain for about 18 hours that night. I must confess that the blame lies with me. However, the response of those West Virginia agencies made a bad situation much better. I am sure there is much blame to be passed around, but most of it lies with the drivers, who, like myself, decided to continue traveling even in the face of deteriorating weather conditions and worsening road conditions.
I fell into a line of vehicles following a snow plow up the mountain on I-64, starting on level ground at the base of the "hill." I am sure I was better equipped and better able to deal with poor driving conditions than many of the drivers I saw on the mountain that night, in that I know how to drive in snowy conditions, and my preparations took into account the possibility of an extended stay. I had food, water and plenty of warm clothes. To castigate the state agencies listed above for lack of preparation does them no justice. You should be responsible for yourself  if you choose to venture out in such conditions.