I should have stopped, pointed, laughed

ted | driving | Thursday, August 31st, 2006

…but I kept on driving. Mostly because I could tell the Celica was unharmed, partially because I knew the hate shakes hadn’t arrived yet but they were in the mail.

Alls I’m saying is that the big portable LED sign said “IL-394 USE LEFT LANE” and since I was traveling onward to IL-394, I got in the left lane. The other signs says “WORK ZONE – 45 MPH SPEED LIMIT – $375 MINIMUM FINE”, so I had the cruise control set at 50.

Allegedly the automatic photo ticketing vans only nab you if you’re going 15+ mph over the posted limit and I know my speedometer is a bit optimistic, so 50 indicated would be more like 47 – 48 mph, far below the ticket threshold but slightly above the posted limit.

Sorry, black Celica driver, I am unwilling to move out of the left lane (where the big LED sign told me to be) or speed up. I don’t play that game anymore. I know driving fast is fun and on any normal interstate highway, I would have been in the wrong for driving in the leftmost lane and gladly would have moved out of it. But you should know that if you continue to flash your brights at me in an effort to make me speed up, I will flash my brake lights at you, which is exactly what I did.

As this black Celica jerked into the lane to my right and started to pass me, I could see the hate in the driver’s eyes and the epithets issuing from his lips – easier than lip-reading Ozzie Guillen’s invective-filled discussions with the home plate umpire. I could also tell this guy had more planned for me, so I started to slow down just as he got ahead of me.

Turns out that was a good instinct.

I think his plan was to jerk his car back in front of mine and abruptly brake, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. Instead, he lost control of his car, narrowly avoided smashing into the guard rail, slid across all three lanes sideways, did a 270 degree spin and came to a stop half in the rightmost lane, facing the oncoming traffic.

So no, I did not stop. I resumed my indicated 50 mph speed and watched in my rearview mirror as he moved his car onto the shoulder of the road, apparently unharmed and under its own power.

The rest of my trip was uneventful, even with the Illinois State Patrolman sitting under a bridge, waiting for speeders. Must be near the end of the month or something. I like not having to worry about speeding tickets or even caring if oncoming folks let me know about a speed trap ahead.


ted | junk | Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Yes, friends, Motherfucking Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane took the top spot this past weekend and I, for one, did my part to earn it the $15.3M. All in all, it was a surprisingly good movie, far better than most of the other placating crap movie studios churn out. If you’re interested at all, go see it. You won’t be overwhelmed, but you won’t be disappointed either.


ted | junk | Monday, August 21st, 2006

I’m back from China. Again. This time Qiqihar (surrounding area looks like Illinois/Indiana) and Shanghai (the NYC of China). Hot and numb tofu is fucking delicious and tastes exactly how it is described.

I’m another year older. Again. Thanks for those of y’all what offered your congratulations or brought me bourbon. You should really quit bringing liquor over to my house and leaving it, though, because we’ve got about 10 bottles in the freezer right now. We’re considering a mixed drink party in the forseeable future.

I’ve seen another good movie. Again. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it has to do with herpetological avionics. Totally worth it and far better than most action movies what come out these days.

crossposted from the fortressblog

ted | travel | Monday, August 21st, 2006

Liquids? You have got to be putting shit in my pants, TSA. First off, banning something after the dudes have been arrested and their plot thwarted is FUCKING BACKWARDS YOU TWATS. If y’all were spending my hard-slacked tax dollares properly, first you ban something, then you thwart a plot. Not the other way around. I seriously believe soon we’ll all have to change into TSA-approved scrubs under the watchful eye of TSA ass inspectors at the airport, put into opaque hermetically sealed containers which will be loaded onto planes (what no longer have windows, in-flight service of any kind, bathrooms or air conditioning since terra-ists will be suspected of using line-of-sight communication, peanuts, free maxipads (sleds to you, Mark) or cold air (to drive a terra-generating heat engine) in any combination to wreak havoc) and flown to your destination with four F/A-18 escort planes and Red Chinese soldiers on board hired to poke at you with a rusty Tokarev SVT-40s to make sure you’re not having any fun whatsoever.

Stranger things have happened. We used to laugh at Matt’s craaaaaazy ideas about pissing into cars’ fuel tanks by the year 2000 and the Scroty-Toteâ„¢. Mercedes recently announced a method of injecting urea to reduce NOx emissions in their diesel engines so they would be CARB emissions compliant. Yes, urea. As in “urine” as in “to piss”. No word yet on anyone planning widespread adoption of the Scroty-Toteâ„¢.

Which is one reason why I ain’t yet nor do I plan to move to California, the land of fruits and nuts. I like my diesel car, especially that 11% of my fuel comes from locally-grown soybeans. It also seems to me that living in California makes you soft, much in the same way living in NYC makes you hard. Plus I like cold weather and the Midwest. And my dog. And this lamp, and this chair. And my yo-yo. And Martin being done with school. Again. I congratulate you, sir!

But I tell you what, there is one thing that frightens me on planes.

Motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking planes.

Dear Mr. in the black Camry

ted | driving | Friday, August 4th, 2006

Sir –

I realize 50 mph may not be fast enough for you and there may be a million reasons why – perhaps you’re late as hell to a meeting, maybe you’ve been on a long trip and want to get home, perhaps a loved one is in the hospital – but you must realize that it was in fact a work zone with 45 mph posted speed limits and $375 minimum fines. The IDOT handed out over 1900 work zone speeding tickets in June alone. I’ve already had a roadside conversation with some bored suburban RADAR-gun jockeys this year and cannot afford another good driving award. Plus it’s a proven fact that vehicles get better fuel efficiency around 55 mph than at higher speeds – my car can get 60+ mpg at that speed in sustained non-AC use driving on summer fuel.

I know I was in the left lane. Under normal circumstances, I would have done the same thing you did. Folks need to learn that the left lane is not the fast lane – it is the passing lane. If you ain’t passing somebody, you ain’t belong in the left lane. However this was not normal circumstances – it was a work zone, reduced from 3 lanes to two lanes. The IL-394 exit was temporarily on the left, which is where I was heading and why I was in that lane – I anticipated my exit as I normally do. If everybody did that, there wouldn’t be any bottlenecks at exits. But yes, I was in the left lane. In a work zone. With cruise control set 5 over the posted speed limit. With Illinois State Troopers regularly patrolling the area. I feel completely justified in my road positioning – it was completely within my defensive driving limits given the situation.

Regardless, it was not very nice of you to get behind me and start flashing your bright lights after weaving in and out of traffic. That’s why I ignored you at first. When you continued to do so, I lightly tapped my brake pedal to let you know I saw you and was unwilling to speed up to let you by for reasons outlined above. I assume the semi truck in the right lane was equally unmoved by your lightning bug tactics. You must’ve been in a terrific hurry, because you insisted on still flashing your brights at me, while holding very close to my rear bumper. The thought briefly flashed through my mind that I should move over to let you pass since you were obviously in some manner of emergency, yet your emergency flashers (called four-way blinkers in some locales) were not lit, so I banished this from my mind. That’s about the point where I stomped on the brake pedal because I was thoroughly sick of your douchebaggery.

I can only imagine the invective what spewed forth from your lips at that point as you came quite close to my car and we both know that there is no disputing that you would definitely be to blame for such an accident. For all I know you may have been marveling at the incredible braking power engineered into my car. Now having slowed down quite a bit, you were able to swing over into the right hand lane, pass me on the right, jerk back into the left lane and try the same tactic on me. Hah hah, jackass, I know how to leave a sufficient space cushion between me and a vehicle in front of me. You may have also noticed I had my sunroof open that morning as it was glorious out, and at first I gave you a hearty middle finger. As soon as you started to pass me and get in front of me, it changed to a hearty wave to match my smile.

I can only assume that in your hurried morning, you spilled your mocha half caf double shot skim soy iced venti wheatgrass infused beverage causing you great embarrassment all day, or a blood vessel in your temple burst or you lost control of your car and plowed into a school bus. If you lived through this morning, you really need to slow the fuck down. Be glad I didn’t toss my four D-cell Maglite out the sunroof. Had it hit your car it would have done a great deal of damage.

I’ve calmed down dramatically in the way I drive and it’s a much much more relaxed time on the road for me, not to mention saving wear and tear on my car, better fuel economy and makes the road a far nicer place to be. I really hope you come to the same conclusion some day, you fucking douchebag. Otherwise, I hope your kids enjoy the fatal heart attack you have at age 38.

– ted

PS – next time I’m tossing out the Maglite. You’ve been warned.

Vehicle fuel is non-potable? What a country!

ted | driving | Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

This is one of the hidden dangers of ethanol they don’t bother to tell you about.

wind come to town, make town delicious

ted | chicago | Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Despite not running the AC during the hottest day of the year – a solid ninety nine degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, one hundred and seven if you count the effect of relative humidity – I was still able to enjoy the sweet scent of graham crackers wafted my way as if god hisself had opened the blast furnace doors.

Still didn’t win the lottery last night. I don’t think the clerk understood that I wanted a winning ticket.

Ironic or just stupid?

ted | junk | Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

25 years ago MTV played their first video – the Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star.

25 years later, radio still plays music but MTV no longer plays music videos.

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