grrgoyl: (UCB titles)
To give you an idea of what Tery is up against at the hospital, she was working Reception alone the other night but knew it wasn't going to be enough.  One of the assistants would have to go home (and the only choice was a girl who'd already been sent home by Tery twice that week).  Tery, tired of always being the bad guy, phoned down to Dr. E. (the medical director) and asked her to "cut A. loose."  A few minutes later A. came upstairs and cheerfully informed Tery she was there to relieve her, thinking she was doing Tery a big favor by sending her home (Tery had worked like a 12-hour day). 

Later on the phone Tery pointed out Dr. E.'s mistake to her.  "Oh, THAT'S what you meant by 'cut her loose.'  We need to work on our code words."  What?  In what language does "cut her loose" mean anything besides "let her go"?  My god. 

Consequently yours truly needed to make some sacrifices on the weekend, which I'm normally happy to do.  Friday night was actually pretty busy with patients so I had to stay the whole shift.  Saturday I had one patient, a small, bony, shivery chihuahua Parvo puppy, who only required two shots of antibiotics from me -- one at 9 pm and one at 5 am.  I had to stay a full night just waiting to give the dog one stupid shot.  Tery was desperate and asked me to give up three hours, but of course I still had to stay to give the shot.  True, I slept most of the time, but the only thing worse than giving up three hours from your shift is giving them up and having to "work" them anyway (which I realize is technically illegal, but like I said, I wasn't exactly the paragon of industry during that time, and in fact rarely am after midnight).  She promised to ask her doctors to give a little more thought to the med schedule in such a situation.

However, this was my first weekend with the new hours, sleeping in until noonish or so on Saturday, and it was HEAVENLY.  Almost like a proper weekend.  Meandered out into the living room whenever I damn well felt like it, watched a little TV with Tery, enjoyed a luxurious breakfast.  All lovely.  And it turns out the four hours on Sunday night pass so quickly (evidently Sunday always has a huge workload so I actually get to spend the whole shift on just one account, as opposed to the weekdays when I'm bounced all over the place) it's barely like working at all.

~*~

Last weekend I got pulled over on my way home from the hospital.  The cop looked exactly like Matt Lauer, and said he got me doing 50 in a 40.  I found all my documents except my insurance card, which it turned out he didn't ask for a second time, fortunately. 

I knew damn well why he picked me out of a herd of other vehicles that was leaving me in the dust even before his lights came on.  Because a few miles earlier there's a place where the road crests into a big hill, and just below the edge of it you can see the top of a building that has always made me insanely curious.  The roof is shaped into a series of four sequential domes, each of which has a ceiling fan lit from below.  A fancy parking garage?  A greenhouse?  I had to know, and that night I drove down there to find out.  It turned out to be not nearly so interesting from below -- only one discernible entrance with a soda machine next to it, and no windows at ground level.  A group home of some sort, I surmised.  But I noticed an SUV skulking around behind me, approaching on the side street I would be turning onto to get back on the main road, and slowing down to a crawl to obviously let me go in front of it.  I have a strong suspicion it was this cop. 

Sure, my detour probably looked a little suspect.  The building was on a dead-end, so I really had no other reason to be down there.  It wasn't exactly the nicest part of town either.  He pulled me over, saw I was harmless, and then made up an excuse about speeding (he didn't ticket me or even give me a warning).    Since I don't always think the most clearly at 5 am, I stutteringly asked if this was about my explorations, and tried to explain my curiosity -- evidently not very well, because then he asked if I'd been drinking.  I of course pooh-poohed that idea, but I often worry about being given a sobriety test after working all night, if I would fail it out of fatigue (one would hope they'd use a Breathalyzer as well). 

But my real point is, where are these johnny-on-the-spot cops when I've got some asshole climbing into my backseat despite there being two other lanes to pass me?  Or when some dick needs to get into my lane WHATEVER THE COST and cuts me off, despite there being five empty car lengths behind me?  Nowhere to be found, that's where.  But pull ME over because I stopped to check out some unique architecture.  Yeah, I know.

Since I no longer need to hurry up and sleep, I now take my very leisurely time getting home (which drives the tailgaters round the twist -- yet they refuse to pass me, making me think it's less about being in an actual hurry and more about forcing me to go faster.  I don't take kindly to people trying to force their will on me) and NO detours. 

~*~

A few days ago I was completely harangued by a doctor in a dictation.  He started the report by saying, "I want you to call your supervisor right now before typing this report.  You people have been messing up my reports for years and I'm tired of it." 

Naturally that took me a little aback, but I wasn't about to call the supervisor without having an actual problem, and certainly not just because this guy told me to.  And for the record, I'd never done a report for this man in my life, so he wasn't talking about me specifically anyway.

Some dictators have what are called "standards," which are templates we can pull in for sections that are common to all their reports.  Most of the time these standards are numbered or otherwise easily identified.  This guy asked for one of his standards; he had six (three for each eye, right or left), and the broad, vague titles and very limited information that he gave made it virtually impossible to tell which one he wanted.  I eliminated one because he said, "NOT the one that uses this drug and this drug," and that was where his helpfulness ended. 

He provided a few more bits that would have fit into any of the standards, then signed off with "I hope you don't screw it up because you people are really getting on my nerves."

Do you know what's getting on MY nerves?  Slaving away for tuppence a day listening to doctors who apparently think we're all mind-readers, therefore it's not necessary to bother opening their mouths when they speak, or slow down instead of vomiting the report up in a single breathless stream of syllables that would make an auctioneer say "What was that again?", or stop chewing their lunch, or put some distance between themselves and the gaggle of shrieking, laughing nurses in the breakroom, or use a phone that doesn't cut out every third word, or not dispense portions of the report in between taking other calls while I sit and wait, making NO MONEY AT ALL, etc. etc.  THAT'S what's getting on my nerves. 

But I can't say that to him.  So I called my supervisor, explained the situation and his attitude, and asked her to please make sure I was using the correct standard.  She came to the same conclusion I did and okayed it, then said, "We've been dealing with this guy for years.  He's impossible."  She listened to the beginning of the dictation and sighed heavily.  "We've asked him to try to be more helpful and maybe number his standards, but he's apparently happier wasting five minutes lecturing us with every report." 

On a funny note, I did some reports by Dr. Shirley Nurse.  Dr. Nurse!  Sounds like Dr. Girlfriend from Venture Bros.  I need little moments like that to counteract Dr. Dipshit there (note:  not his real name).

~*~

I've got a whole saga about trying to buy an iClone, but since there are a few more chapters still waiting to develop, I think I'll wait.  Hope the suspense doesn't kill anyone.
grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
If stupidity has no consequences, what will motivate people to get smarter? This weekend, on two different days, at two different locations, I saw two different drivers fail to notice they were in an exit lane and expected the more observant, intelligent members of traffic to come to a grinding halt to allow them back in. I don't know how much clearer the city can make it: right turn only signs, short dotted line between the lanes, big overhead yellow exit sign -- all failed to make an impression. It should go without saying they were both SUVs, who we all know are above the law. No, I say. Stupidity should have consequences. This is why the definition of defensive driving is assuming that everyone else on the road has a big bowl of avocado dip where their brains should be until they prove otherwise. Fortunately this is the assumption I make about most of the human race on a daily basis anyway. Does that mean that I live defensively?

~*~

My new icon is a result of my latest Christmas gift, which arrived last week from JeffyJeff. It's okay -- did you know that Britain celebrates Christmas in February? Jeffy assures me of this and I have no reason to doubt him. At any rate, my present was 3 BBC comedies on DVD. Big Train, which is kind of hit or miss but does feature Simon Pegg; The Mighty Boosh, which is bizarre, surreal, and at times pretty funny; finally, Black Books starring Dylan Moran, which is fabulously funny. True, he played a real tosser in Shaun of the Dead, but on his own he's deliciously dry, snarky, misanthropic and gorgeously Irish. So much so that I was inspired to buy the rest of the series, plus another show How Do You Want Me? plus a standup performance, Monster. A Dylan Moran extravaganza! I'm not saying he's taken Alan Rickman's place (yet), but I've expanded my Bandwagon of Obsessions to a King Cab just for Dylan.

~*~

The other day my doorbell was rung by someone who looked far too much like Sylar for my taste, so I didn't answer it. I then congratulated myself on avoiding a potential serial killer attack. He even came back a few hours later, but I again didn't answer. Sorry, Mister Man -- it will take more than an Office Depot clipboard prop to fool me. And if you're just taking a poll or collecting money or something, I don't want to talk to you either.

~*~

We watched one of the scariest movies I've ever seen: Friends of God, Alexandra Pelosi's roadtrip documentary of Evangelical Christians. Let me tell you, these people are TERRIFYING. It's receiving criticism on IMDb because it "only shows the extremists" and crazies. Maybe so, but it's not as though Pelosi built the drive-thru prayer service (no joke), or the Christian theme park that recreates Biblical locations in miniature dioramas and features a Christ lookalike strolling about wearing a Jabra headpiece to preach. She just filmed what she saw.

The Evangelicals don't even listen to themselves talk. One preacher had a solution for people trying to get into Planned Parenthood through picket lines who complain that the Christians are imposing their beliefs on them. "Explain that you're just telling them the rules of living as set down by the Author of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ." Yes, that's entirely different from imposing your beliefs. Is there any point arguing semantics with a religious extremist?

The most disturbing part was the elementary age victims of "intelligent design" classes, who now believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that man and dinosaurs lived side by side and that evolution has no supporting evidence. I weep for the future.

They only touched briefly on gay marriage, but by then my blood was boiling so badly it didn't matter. Just these people and their pigheaded obstinacy and their singleminded determination to "reclaim America" and drag us all back to "basic Christian values." GRR. I've held a great optimism in the upcoming generation being more openminded about gays, mostly based on what I've read on LJ...perhaps stupidly surrounding myself with likeminded people has created a skewed view of the world. But this documentary shows massive youth rallies with teens chanting ominously in the name of Christ. The comparison to a cult is unavoidable. I took brief comfort in the fact that I was raised Catholic and look at me now! But back then homosexuality wasn't an issue. I never even heard the word, never mind that it was wrong.

I guess I need some reassurance. What do YOU think the trend is? Are the majority of kids today more tolerant because of greater exposure to gays, or are they being brainwashed by all the religion being thrown at them as a result? Please people, give me my hope back....
grrgoyl: (sissy)
I don't know if it's because of the new Pirates movie, but suddenly the place is just crawling with Johnny Depp movies. I've watched three of them in the past week alone.

I watched the first Pirates on TV for the second time, having no memory whatsoever from seeing it in the theater except a distinct bewilderment as to why the rest of the world was losing its mind over it. Sure, it had Johnny AND Orlando (who, I'm sorry, does nothing for me without his long blonde elf hair), but apart from that, it really wasn't that great a movie (which was Tery's very response when I told her the new movie had the top grossing weekend of all time: "That doesn't make it a good movie," she sniffed disdainfully. She's just jealous because people don't flock in those numbers to watch documentaries, her film genre of choice). I believe this proves that squealing fangirls are just as guilty of thinking with the "little head" as men are often accused of.

I felt similarly on my second viewing. I found myself only slightly more interested than Tery, whose attention was waning even before the cursed pirate crew made an appearance. Ah well, c'est la vie. It isn't like I don't have plenty of other fandoms keeping me busy. However, my little sister informs me that if I don't like the new movie, it could jeopardize our future relationship as siblings. I shall have to take my chances.

In summary, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl: 2 out of 5. Still.




I once read an article about Johnny that began by pointing out that his agent was the most frustrated man in Hollywood, due to his client's insistence on taking only the quirkiest, most bizarre roles out there. These next two movies will probably demonstrate that in spades.

I happened to notice a Depp vehicle coming up next on IFC's gay film week, Before Night Falls. Unbeknownst to me this was nominated for an Oscar and Tery actually had wanted to see it. Great! A movie that achieves that rarest of intersections between her interests and mine.

It's the story of Reinaldo Arenas, a gay Cuban novelist living in Cuba when Fidel Castro comes to power. It was interesting, I suppose, although an hour and a half into it I was starting to suspect that this was yet another indie film cashing in on having one big star attached (actually two -- Sean Penn makes a very brief appearance and is virtually unrecognizable as a peasant farmer. I recognized him but Tery didn't, and argued with me about it. She joked that as an indie film, they could only afford South American actors who vaguely resembled Hollywood stars. NEVER question my movie acumen, bitch.) Every time a new character was introduced, I asked, "Is THIS Johnny?" Since everyone had dark hair and dark eyes, he could have been anyone. But I persevered on the dwindling hope that Johnny might be a romantic interest for the star eventually.

Reinaldo gets thrown into prison and it is there we meet "Bom-Bom," a transvestite known for his impressive capacity for smuggling in contraband (I will say no more). Bom-Bom's on-screen entrance is made from the rear (oh, it gets worse and worse) and as we watched the back of the shapely but unmistakably male character cross the exercise yard, I joked, "Is THAT Johnny? Ha ha ha." Hooboy.

Bom Bom Bom let's go back to my rom

Would you believe it wasn't until I started looking for internet pics for this post that I noticed Bom-Bom has facial hair? I'm still up in the air about whether Johnny makes a pretty girl or not. I'm leaning more towards "unsettling," sad to say. He restored his masculinity in the next scene where he plays a sadistic warden (who, nonetheless, starts to beat off for Reinaldo in a short fantasy sequence), but this just confused me. Was Bom-Bom the warden in disguise? Or were they two separate people who looked inexplicably similar?

Like most gay-themed movies, the ending was dismal and depressing, and had I known Johnny's total screen time was less than 10 minutes, I might have just left Tery to it. Eh. 2.5 out of 5




Finally I rented The Libertine from Netflix. I was excited to see this since first hearing about it many months ago. Johnny plays John Wilmot, who sounded like a less extreme Marquis de Sade of his age. It was also a fairly safe bet he would be on screen for more than 10 minutes in this one. And here I will cut, since this is a recent release and I will never be counted among the inconsiderate filth who doth blab the spoilers.

::The Libertine:: )

It was strange. I liked it, though not enough to watch it repeatedly. 3.5 out of 5



=============================

COMPLETELY unrelated, a short tale of road rage. Yes, these are boring to everyone but me, but some days I suspect this can be said of anything I write.

I was driving home from work last night, minding my own business (yes, surprisingly I am yet again the innocent victim in this story). It was just me and one other car on Parker Road, the massive 6-lane freeway street my road branches off of. Suddenly, literally out of nowhere, another guy came cutting across three lanes to get behind me. I don't know why he didn't get in front of me, he had plenty of time and he could have saved us both a lot of stress. But he didn't, and there he sat behind me.

"Tailgating" is such a small, inadequate word. This guy was INCHES from my bumper. INCHES. I could have leaned my head out the window and caught a whiff of his aftershave, he was so close. Think NASCAR minus the skill and handy roadside medic crew. He also had his high beams on, lighting up my car's interior as bright as daylight, he was so close. I tried the flipping the mirror up tactic, but I could still see him in the side mirrors and of course, his blinding headlights. For an entire block he breathed down my neck like this then, delightfully, he also turned onto my road. We continued and he didn't back down one tiny bit.

I put up with it most of the way up my street, then I just snapped. I pulled over to the side to let him pass, admittedly slamming on my brakes first, because why should I make it easy for him? He didn't pass me right away. First he pulled up alongside me to gesture at me silently (with my windows up). Yeah, mister, I'M the one with a problem. I'M the asshole. Tell me I'm the first person who won't tolerate your guerrilla driving style. For my part, I started screaming (though I doubt he could hear me either) "GO!!!!! Don't just sit there, you're in such a fucking hurry, GO ALREADY!!!!!!!!" If you think I was coming unhinged unnecessarily, you're still doubting me when I say he was INCHES from me. Unless you've got someone giving birth or bleeding to death in your backseat (in which case you shouldn't be heading home), ain't no reason on the planet for driving that close to me.

He finally moved on and I pulled out to follow him. Is this better, sir? Do you enjoy having someone behind you who's pissed as hell at you, you fuck? Of course I didn't tailgate him because two wrongs don't make a right, lucky for him.

He turned off about 50 feet later, and again I was left wondering how the story would be told from his perspective. "...and then this crazy bitch suddenly just slammed on her brakes in front of me! Yes, for no reason, why do you ask?" This as always is closely followed by the question of how Tery can drive to and from work 5 days a week and never once have this happen to her. People. Should. Die.
grrgoyl: (Tick)
Last night when the Crackwhore got home it was obvious she got her warning from the city, because her first course of action was to put up a lower hideous bamboo screen in addition to the larger hideous bamboo screen that completely covers the front of her balcony. Yeah, THAT will raise property values. She obviously thinks if she squeezes her eyes closed reeeeeeeeeeeeeaally tight then we'll all just disappear. Perhaps if the screens were soundproof we might, but they aren't, and they sure don't stop the dogs from barking. If anything it makes them crazier because now they only have a small place to peek out on the side. But now she can amass as much fecal material as she wants and none of us will know, except for me because I'm the only one who can still see onto her balcony. It is truly astounding the efforts she will make to keep doing what she's been doing, rather than just do what she should be doing, namely walking those poor dogs once in awhile.

But now the Alcoholic is on a new crusade against the screen...she doesn't want to see horrible, horrible poo, but that screen is an unforgivable eyesore (for the minute it takes her to walk to her unit). For her part, she's taping the dogs with a big, clunky recorder like the one I had growing up. Which is fine except she is also interjecting snarky comments about the barking, instead of just presenting objective evidence that should speak for itself. I'm tired. So very tired. Why can't people just stop being asshats?

But in the midst of it all, as always, Tery made me laugh. I spent so much of the day focusing on the poo that she didn't realize when I switched gears. Namely, I followed this link from [livejournal.com profile] anne_jumps to a post that made my blood run cold (and anyone who is a friend of mine should have a similar reaction) and I immediately leaped into action to mail my elected official. I called Tery to ask if the correct form of address was "Representative Salazar" or "Congressman Salazar" (without telling her why I needed to know). She asked if I was taking the poo battle all the way to Capitol Hill. On the spot she devised some rousing slogans for my march:

"Hey hey! Ho ho! The Crackwhore has got to go!"

"We're here! We hear! Get used to it!"

"It smells! Like hell! It smells! Like hell!"

She so funny. (I didn't bother emailing my Republican Congressman. I did that once before regarding gay marriage and got back a very pleasant letter that basically said, "Thanks for your concern on this issue, but I'm going to do whatever the hell I want anyway.")


In other news, my eye has finally cleared up without leaving any permanent interesting bits of color as I'd hoped. Now it just looks like everyone else's. Damn my exemplary vascular system to hell.

Finally, one for the "Evidence That Brains Are No Longer Mandatory" file: The other day as I was walking out to my car to go to work, an SUV was pulling in. The driver saw me get into my car, yet inexplicably pulled up directly behind me. She was apparently dropping her friend off, but they had to sit and chat first. I stared at them in my rearview mirror, then started my engine. No signs of moving, so I put it in reverse so the lights would go on. Still nothing, so I had to open my door and tell them that yes, I was trying to leave and yes, your big ugly vehicle is completely blocking me (okay, so that second part was only in my head). At last my message got through.

I'm not saying it requires extraordinary intelligence to be able to drive (oh, if only it did!) however, a working knowledge of back-up lights and their significance certainly comes in handy at times. Remember what I said about SUV drivers not being the brightest crayon in the box? We can call this Exhibit QQ.


Addendum: So far every single co-worker I've told about taking gingko biloba for my memory has had the exact same response - "How do you remember to take it?" Guffaw. Really, people, do you all share the same brain?
grrgoyl: (MST)
What if everything around you
isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know
is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
is it all you want to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
would you find yourself
find yourself afraid to see? - NIN

Chapter I

My MST obsession is coming along nicely. I found out the guy I chose to be my supplier actually isn't including the commercially-released eps (which I am certain was never stated in the eBay listing). This news brought with it frustration at my collecting scheme suddenly developing some speed bumps, but I admit a tiny bit of delight at facing the challenge. I started to look at eBay with an eye towards buying anything I could as cheaply as I could, before it occurred to me I might be able to just rent VHS/DVD copies and copy them (but you didn't hear that here...) I went to my local Hollywood Video (I haven't set foot in Blockbuster since writing my strongly-worded letter. By now I'll bet they're reeeeeally feeling the burn of my missing $4.08 a month, bastards). The problem with Hollywood is they have such narrowly-defined categories for anything that isn't a new release. I stood in the middle of the store, staring at the back wall blankly for a good minute or so. Where would they shelve MST3k? I started with the obvious location, Comedy, but no. Science Fiction? No. A bit of a stretch, but Mystery perhaps? Still no luck. It sure as hell wasn't Drama. Special Interest then. Nope. I FINALLY stumbled upon a lonely, cobweb-covered section for Cult Classics, where I found an ep I already had, an ep I didn't already have, and a copy of the film, all on VHS. I grabbed Mitchell as a good starting point (Joel's final ep). The punk-rock looking kid that checked me out told me how funny it was, one of his favorites, and that he hoped they would do a sequel to it. ....the hell? I didn't have the heart to break it to him that the show had been cancelled for some years now and probably would not be producing any new eps.

Bolstered by this small bit of success, I zipped up the street to the other local Hollywood in search of a different selection. It was much smaller than the other, so small it had no room for a Cult Classics section. I tried again searching other likely categories but soon noticed that not only was the store tinier, but also regarded the alphabet as more of a loose suggestion for displaying titles than an actual criterion. This didn't take long to piss me off so badly I had to leave.

But I am also enough of a freak that I went to Best Buy to get a sexy Body Glove CD binder to store all my soon-to-be-acquired lovelies, as well as sat down with a list and made a note of which disc would eventually go in which slot, so it will be a little like collecting trading cards or stamps. I suppose it's a good thing I don't have more days off like this.

Chapter II

As further proof that I am a certified Asshole Magnet in traffic, this happened to me the other day. Tery and I were driving to work, heading for the highway on the route both of us take many times a week. We were driving on S. Parker, as I've previously stated a secondary road commonly treated like a major freeway (posted speed limit: 45. Average speed: 60). Suddenly we saw Ms. Dangerous Idiot come careening across 4 lanes, from the far left to the far right (on-ramp to NB 225). Then, she wildly veered back across 2 lanes, apparently to stay on S. Parker. By this time I had come up alongside her just in time for her to change her mind AGAIN and start to veer straight into my lane, and when I say "my lane," I actually mean "me." I've drawn a helpful diagram (such as would be seen in the courtroom had this ended differently) to make this description clearer (no, she wasn't driving an AMC Pacer, but because it's one of the ugliest, stupidest-looking cars ever made I felt it was much more appropriate for her IQ level. I am the one in the more attractive, more sensible Honda Civic):

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It wasn't until I lay on my horn with all the ferocity I could manage that she seemed to finally notice there were other cars on the road besides her, and she actually stopped and let me pass. (A note here about car horns: As much as I adore my Honda Civic, the factory-installed horn falls dramatically short of the intensity of emotion I am trying to convey with it. But until someone comes out with a horn that shoots searing hot plutonium death rays directly into the skull of the other driver, my tinny, whiny little substitute will have to do.) I agreed with Tery that sometimes when driving there comes a point where you have to face the fact that you are in the wrong lane and live with the consequences. In this case, the consequences are a bit more bearable when one takes into consideration the fact that there is another SB on-ramp about a block further up the road (note diagram), which this person obviously didn't know.

Can you tell I only got 2 hours of sleep last night?
grrgoyl: (Tick)
I had to work in Castle Rock tonight. It's only 22 miles south from me, yet it's a commute I hate and dread the most out of all the places I travel in Denver. The posted speed limit is 75, so naturally the average speed of traffic is around 90. I know this because I drive in the middle lane somewhere between 75-80, and people blow past me irritatedly like I was a blue hair out for a Sunday drive. This strip of I-25 is the closest we can come to wormhole technology and still remain on the same planet. Only 22 miles, yet it seems there is an accident on this stretch serious enough to close the entire highway down at least once a week. Some people simply can't be trusted with a speed limit of more than 55. This is where a month ago I was being dangerously tailgated (again, in the middle lane. The passing lane was completely empty) and I temporarily foreswore my resolution not to apply my brakes as a warning. The guy had to slam his on so hard I could see smoke coming from the tires and he actually had to swerve violently to avoid me. Yeah, get the message, asswipe? Use the fucking passing lane if I'm cramping your style so bad. Thanks to my friendly reminder, he did.

This month I was playing the usual 10 rounds of Daytona 500 on the way down, and it was with relief that I saw my exit coming up and got into the right lane. Out of nowhere this guy came rocketing up behind me, going at least 100, and at the last possible second jumped into the breakdown lane to pass me on the right. Ummm, illegal on SOOO many levels. I barely got an adequate curse out of my mouth, though, when he overcompensated and his tire hit the embankment, making the car roll at least four times, coming to rest only to explode in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. The driver was trapped inside and slowly burned alive before anyone could get to him.*

You damn kids need to slow down.

It also hit me today how growing old means slowly losing touch with the music scene. Sure, I can still pick Billy Joe Armstrong out of a lineup, and I can recognize a Tool song from 50 paces (wait...or is it A Perfect Circle?) But I realized if not for movie soundtracks (like the very fine Garden State for instance), I'd be exclusively stuck in the 80's/90's. I realize bands like Modest Mouse and The White Stripes are somewhat big, but to me they are just names on my friends page. Even Tery is more musically evolved than me now, buying bands like Queens of the Stone Age and The Shins. But I also wonder if I left the music behind or if it left me? Because even when I was driving to work daily and had access to radio stations, they played the same recycled crap over and over so much I was forced to flee to talk radio, surely a sign of old age. I noticed even then I preferred to listen to old Cure rather than new Korn. So I don't take all the blame. I think a lot of bands today are boring and derivative, or at least the ones that get air play.

Can one of you nice kids come and rub some Ben-Gay into my shoulders?

*It would reeeeeeeeeeeally have made my day had this been true.
grrgoyl: (bored now)
Driving to work last night I was waiting to turn out onto Parker Road, a 6-lane, insanely busy thoroughfare that wants to be a major highway but isn't quite; which you couldn't tell at all based on the average speed of the people using it. Trying to work through this morass were four emergency vehicles, cops, ambulances, sirens blazing. To my astonishment and disgust, no one was pulling over or stopping for them, just driving alongside them in their own lane. I can't begin to imagine what was going through these selfish peoples' minds, or maybe they were too wrapped up in cell phone conversations.

After the four had passed I entered the stream, only to stop further up because a firetruck was trying to pull out of a notoriously difficult intersection just before the on-ramp to the highway. Again, no one else was letting him through. These people had better pray I never become Ruler of the World, because if I do my first order of business will be to see to it that every last one of them or someone they love dies because their ambulance is stuck in traffic, surrounded by self-centered, idiotic drivers.

I could see the accident just past the on-ramp and under the overpass. I headed for the on-ramp but just then a minivan (who I know for a fact was one of the offenders) came to a complete stop ON THE RAMP to rubberneck in front of me. Sir, if you don't get your ugly-ass minivan moving, so help me I will ram you and give you a front row seat to your very own car wreck, you stupid fuck. Is exactly what I thought. That and I wondered where the Darwin Principle was when you needed it, and how many times a day the dangerously moronic are saved by the actions of smarter people.

We will wave to them from such great
heights
"Come down now," they will saaaaaayeyahay.
But everything looks perfect from far a-
way
"Come down now," but we will staaaaaaayeyahay.


Nope, I'm sorry. The healing power of Garden State can only go so far.

P.S.: Note to the owner of the Ford Excursion, our neighbor who moved in a week ago and is already pissing me off: Obviously you are incapable of parking your behemoth of a vehicle properly, i.e. without crowding into the spaces on either side, it being roughly the size of a New York City studio apartment. Do you think you might stop taking up 1-1/2 of the primo parking spaces in front of the building and park off to the side where no one would mind so much? But I guess if you had that level of sensitivity and consideration you wouldn't have bought such a ridiculous, impractical car to begin with.
grrgoyl: (Default)
Last night I became convinced that every car on the road today needs to come standard with the Garden State soundtrack. It is the most relaxing, spiritual, purifying collection of music I've ever heard and seems to completely erase all traces of my road rage. Last night as I happily cruised home going 55-60 in the middle lane (unheard of for me or anyone on highway 225 for that matter) I was completely oblivious to the cop sitting on the side in the dark. So unfortunately was the guy rocketing by me at 70-something. He slammed on his brakes but he knew he was too late based on the speed with which he moved over to the breakdown lane, even before the cop could start full pursuit (I wonder if that disappoints policemen?) "That could have been me" I thought absently as I drove past. Maybe that's why the sight of someone else being pulled over makes me so happy. No, wait...that's only because I am Eeeeeeeeeeeevil.
grrgoyl: (Default)
I wouldn't consider myself a workaholic, but I am psychotically opposed to being late for work. It isn't the unprofessionalism of it that bothers me as much as any time I miss is money I am not getting paid. Even five minutes makes me insane. It is gratifying that this attitude is so widely recognized by my co-workers that if I'm not in the store at least fifteen minutes early, people start to worry about me. Tery, on the other hand, doesn't share this viewpoint, not by a long shot. We even have a running joke after countless mornings spent sitting in stoic silence in darkened parking lots for twenty minutes at a time because I drove like a demon unnecessarily, and sheepishly muttering, "We're a little bit early, honey" as she glares at me from the passenger seat.

For this reason it is amazing I survived our trip to work Saturday night. It was a store situated more or less in downtown Denver that I dislike going to only because the traffic is so hard to gauge on a Saturday evening. We left at 4:20 for a 5 pm start, Tery insisting she needed to stop for a soda first. As I pulled into the convenience store across the street I could see out onto the main road where traffic was at a dead standstill. I panicked momentarily and she irritatedly told me to forget stopping, but I did anyway, because without caffeine Tery can be just about as unbearable as me. After buying the Coke we approached the three lane parking lot main street and had a bit of luck in the form of one thoughtful motorist who let me in front of them immediately. As it turned out, this was the only luck we would have for the next practically two hours. <-----note skillful foreshadowing

Nosiree, the traffic really wasn't moving, it wasn't just a trick of the light. We couldn't see how far ahead the problem lay, so clung to a faint hope we could at least get to the highway on-ramp, a mere mile or so away. The stressful lack of motion was not helped by the presence of kids in the road, weaving in and out of the trapped cars apparently distributing flyers for one of the local businesses in the plaza we just left, so even when you got a small window of opportunity to move a precious foot or two you had to be careful to avoid hitting one of them, or at least I knew a more levelheaded person would be careful of such things. They wisely avoided my car, I wouldn't be surprised if at that point the hostility was emanating off the roof like a heat mirage. After traveling only half a mile in 30 minutes I had resigned myself to the fact that we were indeed going to be late, no doubt about it. An uncustomary peace comes with such a revelation, and I myself am quite proud of attaining it, being a horrible control freak. I was glad I hadn't begrudged Tery her Coke at least, I would never have heard the end of it. We speculated about what the holdup could possibly be. She loosely quoted from Raising Arizona, "There'd better be a spherical object on the highway."

As we came up over the hill the stress temporarily increased tenfold when it became apparent the three lanes were becoming one (ours, explaining why for the most part we weren't moving) and then being diverted well short of the on-ramp (no spherical objects or any clue as to the cause of the jam in sight, I might add). Thus began the cutthroat car politics of who to let in front of us. I let a few in, but Tery and I were of the same mind that assholes who could see damn well that their lane was ending yet insisted on speeding on to the very last minute to get the farthest ahead in line did not deserve generosity. As we neared the front and these wankers became more directly our responsibility, Tery uncharacteristically spurred me into tailgating dangerously to shut them out, which I was only too happy to do. It also pleased me uncharacteristically to see the guy behind me clinging to my back seat to do the same.

Thus diverted onto another side street, I panicked as I struggled to think of an alternate route, customarily taking the highway to get to this store every time. Fortunately I had a large amount of time to do this, as this road was only moving the tiniest bit faster than the last. I was reminded of Office Space when I noticed a young woman walking on the sidewalk chatting on a cellphone and easily keeping time with us, often getting well ahead of us. We measured our progress based on hers until she reached her apartment complex and left us in the dust. Bitch. Naturally almost everyone was planning to make the same left turn I was, and naturally the left turn arrow mercilessly only let about four cars through at a time. It was about this time I noticed that I had to pee very, very badly. I complained to Tery who sat there smugly sipping her Coke. "You've got guts, girl," I said, "There's no telling when we'll see a bathroom again....let me know when you're done with that can."

At about 5:15 we finally made the left turn and started moving again, which raised my spirits somewhat. We made good time to a gas station where I thankfully solved one of my problems, raising my spirits even more. We weren't out of the woods yet, though. I knew the store was on 11th, but not the cross street, only that it was still quite a ways to go. Denver is laid out more or less in a grid, though not as concise a grid as, say, Manhattan. I knew from my first attempt to get to the store from this direction that 11th, or for that matter most of the streets, do(es) not go straight across as one would hope. Sure enough, what ensued became a comical string of errors as every road I tried to take across the city would abruptly end, necessitating a detour north or south, then over a few more blocks west, rinse, repeat. This continued so consistently and often that when I made another venture west and we immediately saw the road ended in a big old "Road Closed" barricade ahead, I burst into psychotic, uncontrollable laughter, the kind of desperate laughter you see in movies when you think it just isn't possible for anything else to go wrong, and then something else does. I took on an Alabama drill sergeant accent and explained to my troop, Tery, we were approaching the store "serpentine."

So it was that at 6:15 we finally triumphantly pulled into the store parking lot. Well, the triumph was diminished somewhat by a chick waiting to pull out of the parking lot. Since she was going left she was taking up almost the entire entrance. As I gingerly turned into the small lane she had left me, to my surprise I looked at her in time to see her giving me a spiteful, enraged middle finger. I am still trying to figure out exactly how I deserved to be flipped off in this situation. Even more surprisingly, she wasn't even driving an SUV, where I am used to encountering such an "how dare you drive where I need to be!" attitude. I would have kicked her ass if I weren't so grateful to just not be driving anymore. We were met with some concern by our co-workers, then gratitude that we had finally made it.

Tery couldn't wait to get home and find out what we had sort of been a part of. Apparently it was a gratifyingly large accident (to merit such a huge inconvenience, I mean). Someone had lost control of their vehicle on one side of the road, taking out a couple of cars, one of which flipped over the median and took out some more cars in the oncoming lanes. Two people were hospitalized in serious condition.

It is days like this that make me soooooooo grateful to have a work-at-home job most of the time.

-=Lainey=-
grrgoyl: (Default)
So...we are at war with Iraq and, consequently, most of the world, George W. is at war with homosexuals, and things in general are extremely fucked up. And what do I choose to go on about? SUVs.

SUVs. The scourge of my existence (apart from George W. And reality TV, see below.) If I chose, my rants about adventures in driving would be a daily feature in my journal, and probably stultifyingly boring, so I thought I would put most of it in one entertaining entry.

I hate SUVs. Right up there alongside this is an equal hatred for SUV drivers. Living in Colorado, we have plenty of both (well they do tend to go hand-in-hand), though I don't really understand why: most of our roads have been paved for at least the 8 years I have lived here, and I'm guessing probably even longer than that. The only off-road action most of these vehicles ever see is when they end up in a ditch in the winter due to drivers who assume they're invincible (the sight of which never fails to fill me with immense, spiteful glee).

SUV drivers as a rule make me nervous, because I figure anyone who voluntarily purchases a vehicle that only gets 15 miles to the gallon can't be the sharpest tool in the shed anyway. Putting them in control (I use the term loosely) of 4,000 pounds of American-built, death-dealing steel just doesn't strike me as a wise idea. It has also been my objective observation that SUV drivers as a group have very poor depth perception, as evidenced by their tendency to drive with their front tires stuck in my backseat. (Of course, I could compose a rant all unto itself on tailgaters. I simply don't believe that being one carlength closer to your destination at the expense of safety has ever made a significant improvement in anyone's day.)

A short while ago when there was first talk of raising gas prices, to own an SUV or not to own an SUV briefly became a huge debate on the AOL chatboards. I wasted a goodly amount of time reading these arguments, and believe I saw most of the excuses people use to buy these ridiculous, useless automobiles. Here are some, in no particular order:

1.) "I need an SUV to accommodate my family": Oh, where do I start? We were a family of 4 who got along swimmingly with a Subaru hatchback growing up in the 80s. Which was, admittedly, an improvement over the Volkswagen Beetle we had in the 70s. No family of 4 absolutely needs a fucking Ford Excursion (a vehicle that practically needs its own zip code) to transport themselves comfortably. If you have more than two children in this day and age, look into global overpopulation and why it's a bad thing.

2.) "I love the feeling of safety I get from being so high up": I'm willing to bet that most SUV drivers (as I stated earlier, not a terribly thoughtful, perceptive bunch) never realize that they owe their lofty, clear lines of sight to us lowly cars. If everyone drove SUVs *shudder* then everyone would be the same height. There would be no choice but to design even taller, more inefficient vehicles. But that would be no good, they would compete with tractor trailers. What's the answer, then? There must be a way that we can ALL be high (and mighty. Face it. It's implied).

Part two of my problem with this excuse is that most SUV drivers seem to think this unobscured vision gives them enough of an extra safety margin to make it acceptable to abandon other more common sense driving practices that make the road safe for everyone, not just them. Like not veering into other people's lanes without even a hint of a turn signal. And leaving 5 or 6 inches behind the car ahead of them in case something sudden and unavoidable happens (although back when I learned to drive, the rule was one carlength for every 10 mph you're traveling. Oh, well, things change). And even really basic stuff, like not taking up a lane and a half regardless of the remaining half of the lane being occupied. I don't care how damn big you are, the SUV manufacturers at least have not sunk to the level of stupidity of creating vehicles wider than the established traffic lanes. Yet.

Case in point of this lack of concern for safety...a few days ago I was driving to work on a 6-lane road (not a highway, though you usually can't tell based on the average speed). I was in the passing lane because not only was I turning left ahead, but I was keeping up with traffic and not holding anyone up. Not good enough for the woman behind me in her Jeep Grand Cherokee, frantic to get that extra carlength ahead in her journey, despite the fact that I had about 10 people ahead of me going the exact same speed. Realizing she couldn't just plow over the top of me (though obviously dearly wishing she could), she tried to pass on the right, nearly wiping out an unsuspecting motorcyclist in the process. I made an exaggerated "what the hell is your problem?" gesture in my rear-view window, which she immediately returned, mystifyingly, as the only problem I had was with her. Most of the time when I get a nutcase like this behind me, I make a big show of flipping my rearview mirror up (I used to slam on my brakes until Tery convinced me the no-rearview ploy was safer). Out of sight, out of mind, problem solved. Though I really don't trust people of so little intelligence to realize that it does no good to tailgate someone if they can't see you doing it. If only this incident were unique, but it seems to happen on an almost daily basis.

3.) "I have money and it's my own damn business if I want a car that needs $50 worth of gas every week.": Spoken like a true American, I'm ashamed to say. This argument might work if you lived on your own planet like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. But you don't. You share a planet with a considerable number of other people (see global overpopulation above) and your overblown sense of entitlement is using up and destroying precious natural resources at a much faster rate. All so your family of 7 can enjoy a higher view as you sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic with other morons with a similar sense of entitlement. I think life would be better in general if everyone for just two minutes could think of someone else besides themselves. Frankly I'm surprised Bush doesn't add a constitutional amendment granting the Freedom of Choice of Automobiles as long as he's messing around in there, because most people act like he already has.

4.) "I'm a small business owner/farmer and I need a larger vehicle for my work.": This is the only excuse I can possibly accept. And there are plenty of farms in Colorado to support this argument. But judging by the number of SUVs on the road, each of those farms would have to be operating a small fleet that would make the Navy proud for them to account for all of them. And I have no statistics, but I'm willing to bet my next paycheck that almost none of them use a Lexus 470 or a Cadillac Escalade to get their farmwork done. These gleaming, gas-guzzling status symbols are barely allowed to get highway dirt on them, let alone do an honest day's work.

I think I've made my point (and then beat it into the ground). Naturally I'm not talking about ALL SUV drivers (just most of them). There are plenty of inconsiderate car drivers as well. But they seem to be a dying breed, slowly converting into more SUV drivers, so they can be inconsiderate on a much grander scale.

Needless to say, this will be my next car. So I can just drive under all those stupid SUVs while they're sitting in traffic.

-=Lainey=-

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