100,000 miles of gas guzzling goodness!No, I’m not celebrating 100,000 hits to the website or anything like that. Today my car crossed the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer. It seems a bit odd to think that I’ve driven that much when you take into account that I’ve only gone outside the Atlanta area in the car maybe a half dozen times at best. 5 years… that is 20,000 miles per year, and almost all of that is driving on highways 75, 85, 285 and 400, going to and from work. My Jeep Cherokee is pitiful… I love the car, mind you, and its never broken down or given me any trouble, but its guzzles gas like its going out of style. A hearty 18 miles per gallon… and at an average price of around $1.50 a gallon for gas over that time, I’ve spent over $8,300 dollars on gas in the last five years.

Wow… there’s so much I could do with that money… even half that money. Perhaps I need to seriously consider a new car…

The Mod Squad

I’ve never seen the TV show, but it had to be better than the 1999 movie.

Giovanni Ribisi is fairly good in everything he does, and he’s about the only watchable part of this film. Almost, because he’s barely watchable in this. Claire Danes acts poorly, and Omar Epps proves that he’s not Wesley Snipes (a compliment to neither Omar or Wesley). The only real actor worth a damn is Dennis Farina, and he dies in the beginning… good thing too, at least he can say the rest of the movie wasn’t his fault.

I think the worst part of the movie had to be that it was just so absolutely predictable. Linc (Epps) tells Pete (Ribisi) not to damage his car… so Jodi says, “Its going to be a running gag, Pete’s going to keep damaging the car.” And it was. Like five times Pete does something to hurt the car, and it got less and less funny because you could see it coming ten miles away.

In the end, I believe I’ve spent far to much time talking about this movie… it was filmed, and that’s the best thing I can say about it.

Crossing the Great Divide

There is a joke I love to tell… “One of the worst things while driving is when some guy gets right up on your bumper, you know, right in your tail pipe, and he just stays there. You are driving over the speed limit already but this guy is right on your ass. Burns me up. Worse than that though are those people who drive so slow, I mean, you have to get right up on their bumper to get them to move!”

The funniest thing about that joke is that everyone laughs, and at the same time a good 75% or better of your audience is only laughing to cover up the fact that they know they are guilty.

Because of jokes like that, and my desire to avoid as much irony in my personal life as I can… hey, irony is great when you catch other people, but being caught in an ironic situation yourself just blows most of the time… I try to avoid tailgating people, people who tailgate and other like situations while driving.

One that I cannot avoid though are the people who block intersections. First off, when you take the driver’s exam, one of the rules you study and one of the questions you have to answer covers this. Don’t block intersections. Now, the main reason for this is if an ambulance, fire truck, or police car need to go through and you are blocking it… well, lets just say you wouldn’t like to get to heaven and find out that the reason you died was because some schmuck blocked an intersection and delayed EMS in reaching you in time… nor would you like to die and go to hell and find out that you are there because you causes the death of some very nice people because you needed to get to the mall 30 seconds sooner than if you had just waited through the next light.

And that’s the crux of what I don’t get… most traffic could be avoided if people just stopped thinking about themselves and thought about the bigger picture. Traffic sucks, but its a fact of driving. By blocking the intersection all you are doing is making it suck more because while you hang there all the cross traffic can’t go. You might think to yourself, “This traffic sucks so I need to take every advantage I can to get where I’m going.” But do you know why the traffic sucks? Its because other schmucks are blocking other intersections.

So, to rectify the situation… step 1, learn your car. Is your car 10 feet long? 20? step 2, learn to spot length from a distance. You know, you don’t have to be spot on, but if your car is 20 feet long and there is only 6 inches of space on the other side of the intersection, 20 feet clearly does not fit into 6 inches. step 3, don’t pull into the intersection until there is enough room or traffic movement to accommodate your car. It’s actually pretty simple, if the cars aren’t moving and there isn’t enough room, don’t go. If there is enough room, go. If the room is a bit short but you can clearly see cars moving and the light is green, go. And just because the car in front of you can make it doesn’t mean you can. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose… and sometimes you have to wait a whole minute for the next light. Turn up the radio and enjoy the wait.

All was quiet…

… on New Year’s Day.

2004 is over. Time to put it on the shelf.

So what did we learn?

Well, I learned that life does, indeed, go on. A year after my mother’s death and I’m still here. It still hurts, but the days are getting easier.

I learned that parking downtown is, in fact, dangerous. I really need to just stop believing in the kindness of strangers. Not only did my car get broken into twice and my stereo stolen, but a man who claimed to see it happen fled the scene when I asked him to stay and describe the perpatrator to the cops. The roadside emergency kit I carry in the back of my car was stolen in my own parking lot when the door got left unlocked.

On the other hand, I did learn that some people can be nice, even though they might be stupid. I ordered a gift for Jodi for Christmas. It was very close to the holiday and it was going to be risky getting it in time. Now, lets say I live in an apartment who’s number is 9921… the FedEx driver tried to deliver it to 9291. Those people weren’t home. Instead of taking the package back to the distribution center, he decided to give it to my (their) neighbor in 9290. I guess he was trying to be nice… but see, I live in building 99, and building 92 it 7 buildings away, those people don’t know me… and appearantly are too stupid to read the address. When she gave it to the people in 9291, they read it and didn’t open it… but they also made no attempt to get it to me. The FedEx website listed that the package was delivered to the front office and my signature was on file… of course, he never actually went to the office. Meanwhile, I’m going to war with the front office accusing them of losing my gift (which wasn’t exactly cheap). I apologized to them once a non-idiot at FedEx customer service told me that the website was wrong and told me where my package was (9290). After that it was just a matter of tracking people down. In the end, I got the package… three days after Christmas. I guess you could say I learned that FedEx blows and that stupid people, while nice, are in fact stupid.

I learned that I buy too much crap and have put a stop to it.

And I suppose that’s about it… Not a very fruitful year I guess… mostly it is what in business would call a “rebuilding year” … 2005, here I come.

And that`s two.

This time its the vent glass on the rear door of the passenger side. And it turns out the vent glass isn’t as useless as I pictured. An enterprising thief used a stick or something after breaking the vent glass to push the power door lock button.

With the doors open, he was free to pry off the dashboard cover and steal my stereo.

Twice in two weeks. What are the odds? I was even parked in a “better” packing lot… better only so far as unmanned-pay-money-in-a-slotted-board lots can be.

I decided I want a car alarm… but not one that prevents break-ins. I want one that allows the break-in, and then kills the intruder. I was to find dead street thugs laying in pools of blood when I discover my car has again been vandalized or a target for theft. Kill ’em all.

8 October 1999

Moments of Personal Shame.
Everyone has them, even if you don’t know what they are.
It’s those moments where you are deeply embarrassed, and even though no one saw it and no one will know, you still somehow feel ashamed.
Let me give you a quick example. One day at work I was feeling uncomfortable, couldn’t figure out why. Just kept shifting in my chair, getting up and walking around, fidgeting. When I got home that evening, changing out of my work clothes I looked down and saw that I had put my boxer shorts on backwards. So I stood there looking down at the tag sticking up out of the front of my shorts, embarrassed.
That is a moment of personal shame.
Now to the meat, and another moment of personal shame.
Last night, a Thursday, I went out for the usual evening: to Rio Bravo for drinks and food before something else (if something else happens). And so I’m there, I have a couple of beers and a couple of shots. I’ll admit it, I got drunk. But an hour of not drinking and a glass or two of water and I felt fine.
So I’m in the car heading home, totally okay. Until the last drink I had, a shot – an Oatmeal Cookie to be exact, just must have hit some particularly sensitive spot of my gullet. I quickly pull off the highway and into an office park, but I don’t get the door open, and… yep, you guessed it, puked in the car. On the window and door.
Well, I open the door and most everything spills onto the ground, and a quick wipe down with a few tissues cleans up most of the mess. This is not the moment of personal shame.
I drive the rest of the way home, put my clothes in a plastic bag for washing tonight, get a shower, drink a couple glasses of water, take an aspirin and hit the sack.
This morning, I get up (late) and get ready for work. I head out to the car. Mine is the only car in the parking lot, everyone else is already gone to work. I open the car door, and look at the mess. But it really isn’t too bad. I head back in, get some paper towels, cup of water and the air freshener. A few minutes later and its all clean. Still smells a little, but that’ll go in a day or two. This is not the moment of personal shame.
I head to work. Stopping at the gas station for gas, I get a carwash, and about a dozen of those little green trees for the car. All signs of the incident appear to be gone, or going. I get to work and as I get out of the car I see, just under the edge of the seat, a small spot that I missed. This is it.
I cleaned everything up, and if I didn’t write this page, no one would have ever known about this. But seeing that small spot on the floor board, I felt it. Embarrassed. A Moment of Personal Shame.
So now I have given you two of my moments, and believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg. But personal shame can be a good thing, you can learn alot. I always double check my underwear when I put it on, and I won’t be drinking Oatmeal Cookies anymore.
Have a good day. And don’t laugh at me too hard. 🙂