marcicat: (snowbirds on a line)

Yesterday I thought to myself ‘I’ll just listen to this npr podcast on my way to work; that will be interesting and not too exciting for the first day back.’ (I figured there would be a lot of ‘back at work’ energy floating around, so I wouldn’t need to pump myself up with loud tunes or anything in the car.)

Whoops. Turns out I picked the episode about wage stagnation (among other things), spent the entire episode offering rude commentary back to the guest, and arrived at work fired up for the fall of capitalism.

(Maybe today I’ll stick with music.)

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (hug it out)

The shift change at work has made me remember how different driving is when you’re doing it at a more standard commuting time of day.

Commuter rules seem to boil down to “Go!” with the corollaries “go faster!” and “now stop suddenly!”

Which is exciting, I guess. Something like exciting.

On the other hand, it’s been a good opportunity to listen to more calming music in the car!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (cat in the green)

Last night I was driving back from work, and I was happily minding my own business on the highway. And when I got to my exit, the car behind me was also exiting. What luck!

I felt like they were a Little Close on the exit ramp, but I tend to have a sense of ‘this is a disaster and no one can drive, including me’ any time I’m driving, so I ignored it. Also I hoped we’d be parting ways at the end of the exit, but nope. Samesies again.

Then it got kind of weird? Because that exit is one of those ‘if you turn right at the end of the exit, and then stay in the right hand lane, you’ll wind up right back on the highway again’ situations. So there I was, moving over into the left lane, and there’s my buddy, staying in the right lane and speeding up.

I slowed down, because typically people realize their error about two seconds from the on ramp and hastily jump lanes. Which they did. Sort of. They made the swap to the left lane, and then, BIZARRELY, turned their right blinker on and came to a complete stop in front of a green light.

WHAT EVEN.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (yin yang hearts)

Last night I drove over a curb on my way out of work and got a flat tire. Not awesome. Called AAA and was reassured that someone was on their way. Awesome.

1. Thanks Dave, the AAA phone operator who asked if I was going to be okay until the repair truck arrived.

2. Big thanks to Mom, who stayed on the phone with me until said truck pulled up. It kept me calm and also provided vital info on Dancing With the Stars!

3. Thanks to the guy whose name I didn’t get who swapped out my tire for the spare at near-NASCAR level speed, but still took the time to give me pointers on driving with a spare.

4. Thanks Joe at the car spa, keeping it real and fitting in my car for a same-day tire replacement.

5. And thanks to my boss, for letting me come in halfway through my shift.

Sometimes it feels like it takes a village just to get me through the day, and sometimes that’s a really good feeling!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (blue footed plush)

For the time being, road work seems to be “finished” along my route to work. The signs and cones are gone, at least, so either it’s finished or a particularly persistent thief has been hard at work.

The most noticeable change is at one of the merges — it’s a merge in from the left-hand side of the road, which is always exciting. The solid white line (the one I always assumed meant ‘don’t leave the merge lane yet’) now goes on a really really really really really long time. Like, crazy long. Which leads to one of two situations:

1. Nobody likes waiting till the line switches over to dashes to make their merge, but when the solid line was shorter, people would often at least wait until they could *see* the end of it. Sort of a plausible deniability thing on jumping the solid line. Now it seems that people have decided if they’re not going to wait long enough for that (it’s a REALLY long line), then every other spot is basically the same level of rule-breaking. Which is pretty much chaos.

2. If you do choose to stick around in the merge lane for the entire recommended time, it’s not actually better. It’s long, as I mentioned, and straight. Very runway like. So there you are, “getting up to speed,” except that you get up to speed and there’s still so much lane left, and so you keep getting up to speed, and the end result is that you pretty much shoot out of that lane like a launch ramp, and then have to hit the breaks to actually fit in with the traffic you’re merging into (none of whom are expecting you to merge so far down the road). Which is also basically chaos.

Driving! So Much Adventure!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (agh a monster)

‘Tis the season for road construction, of course, and there’s a stretch of highway that’s part of my commute that’s been undergoing “night road work” for about a month now. Of the many unhelpful signs surrounding this project, my current favorite is “New Traffic Pattern Ahead.”

Apparently what that means is “we drew all the lane lines three separate ways, and none of them match up, so… good luck, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

I merge into this particular stretch of road when it has five lanes across, which then drop to four as one of them exits, then splits into two sets of two a little further along. At various points in the road, lanes are marked with the following types of lines:

1. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
2. _____________________
3. ___ ___ ___ ___

Not consistently, of course. Sometimes multiple types of marks overlap, lending more weight to the idea that the lane actually has a border right there. Other times there’s only one type of marking, which seems perfectly clear until it cuts off and the next marking is a foot further left.

Anyway, this week we got a new sign: “Uneven Lanes.” You don’t say.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (hershey kiss)

Taking the day off from work today to:

1. Take a trip to the car spa. Many jokes possible about the fact that I waited until the end of May to get the snow tires off. (Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial end of winter, right?)

2. Get some plants. Hopefully will have success with more than just coleus this year. Just in case, coleus will feature heavily in the plants selected.

3. Enjoy a day not working. The days around a holiday weekend always go fast for vacation time at work, so today was my compromise day.

4. Finish my June door art? It’s supposed to be pretty hot today, and that sounds like a nice quiet activity that can be done out of direct sunlight.

5. Mm, maybe a nap? Any day is a good day for a nap.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (badger stream)

Signs announcing night road work have gone up along my route to work, which is always good for a few posts.

First the signs said the work would begin Sunday, May 8th, but then it rained for the whole week and they switched to Sunday, May 15th. Except that the signs now say work will “resume” May 15th. It putting a bunch of orange construction barrels everywhere counts as getting started, I guess resume is the correct word.

Last night there was a new sign, posted vaguely before the road splits, merges, and splits again. “Right lane closed.” Which right lane? Where? None that I could see.

Ah, road work season. A sure sign of spring.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (agh a monster)

Yesterday I ended up at a carwash, due to skunk-related reasons. I had never been to a carwash before. (Isn’t that what rain is for?) So I was kind of nervous — how long would it take? What would I be required to do? Would I need to pay in cash? Credit card?

But I gathered my courage and drove to the carwash, only to wind up in a line with a couple cars in front of me. Which was actually great! I got to watch the guy in the car ahead of me go through the whole process. (And he didn’t make it look easy — first the machine wouldn’t take his cash, then it wouldn’t take his card the first two attempts.)

Anyway, a big thank you to the random stranger in front of me who went through all of that! It actually made me approximately 10,000% less anxious for my own turn afterwards.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (loaf cat)

Whoops — somehow I have frittered away a significant portion of my morning… Instead of work, how about a quick review of Parking Lot Anarchy!!!

The parking lot outside my window is angle parking. Three rows, although one of them is weird? Instead of angle parking like a standard chevron style (>>>>>), it’s straight through (/////). IDK why. But as soon as snow falls, it’s chaos! Madness! It’s parking lot anarchy!

After all, if you can’t see the lines, maybe they’re not even there at all. And the plow driver (while dedicated!) follows a sort of ‘go as fast as possible’ approach.

The two most crucial lessons learned during last winter:

1. Forget the lines. Can’t see ’em, don’t use ’em.

2. Tuck in! The safest place for your car is between or next to other cars. Do not under any circumstances allow your car to be an island!!!

Okay, I better actually go to work now.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (duckling)

Just chilling at the car spa this morning. (Literally and figuratively; it’s brisk today!) Now is the time to break out the traditional car spa prayer:

May my car run smoothly and not be embarrassingly dirty,

May there be nothing unexpected wrong with it,

And if there is may it be inexpensive.

Thank you, car repair deities!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (puffin)

This summer has seen a big road work project on the major highway I commute on (major in a relative sense; it has two lanes in each direction). There have been signs about a lot of night work, and it’s pretty clearly demarcated as a seven mile stretch of highway upon which this construction is occurring.

And then there’s this:

Last night, I get to the start of the area and see the speed signs are lit up — flashing lights, blinking speed readouts, all that. Okay, no problem.

(Note: Most of the action has been taking place at the other end of the seven miles, which has led to a lot of slowing down to 55mph at the signs, then speeding back up to 65mph around the corner.)

But! Last night around the corner was a sign letting us know the right lane was ending — merge left, y’all! Which everyone did. And then continued to do for — not even kidding – almost five miles of highway that had the right lane blocked off by cones. Which then just ended.

No construction vehicles, no workers, no police, nothing. Just merge left for five miles, then feel free to go about your business as usual.

Very. Weird.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (sky circles)

As I drove home from work on Monday, and saw So Much Lightning, I reassured myself that the car was a pretty safe place to be, right? Then I got home and checked with google, and it turns out maybe not.

Since that was news to me, I figured I’d share: Vehicles and Lightning!

As far as I can tell, being in your car when lightning strikes may or may not be a good idea:

*If your car is mostly metal, and the windows are all rolled up, and you’ve pulled off the road and aren’t touching anything metal or wired (including the steering wheel), that’s pretty safe!

*Just driving around like usual is still probably safer than being outside the car, but not really “safe” in the most classically accepted version of the word.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (cats at sunrise)

It’s summer, and that means road work! Now, it’s hard for me to interpret exactly what’s going on along my usual commute, but it seems to involve a lot of traffic cones (along with their larger version, which the internet informs me are called traffic barrels or traffic drums).

And I’ll admit I was initially dismayed to find out that my usual exit off the highway (and the one right before it) was going to be closed at night. However, the scheduling is very clever, because the exits are closed Sunday through Thursday evenings. While my guess would be that this decision was based on an extensive study of traffic patterns or possibly a random whim, it actually works out perfectly for me!

I can drive the alternate way Monday through Thursday, and then on Fridays return to the normal route and check to see if the construction signs are still up.

(Now that I’m re-reading this post, it seems super random. But it exists in the physical realm and I’m not sure what else to write about, aside from the fact that it’s super hot out right now, so road construction it is!)

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (polar bear)

The whole thing was kind of anti-climactic, actually. Turns out that this is one of the more computer-like functions in a car, so it’s also more intuitive (and forgiving) than, say, figuring out how to turn off the “you need an oil change” light.

I managed the whole setup during my lunch break on Monday, though I think “hands-free” is a bit of a misnomer, since it’s not, really? Some of it, sure, but there’s buttons on the steering wheel, and you can push the radio presets for your speed dial phone numbers, so unless you’re doing that with the power of your mind alone…

Anyway, I’m sort of cranky about the whole law in the first place, because I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. But I am pleased to at least be able to report that I figured out the car thing without even once setting off the car alarm!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (pacman stealth)

Starting July 1st, my state has a new hands-free driving law thing going into effect. (So many jokes about driving with your knees, so many. Really it’s about not using any devices in your car that require data entry, though.)

It’s come up at work a couple times, and there was a whole discussion about bluetooth devices and such. But when’s the last time I actually *needed* to make a call or send a text while I was driving? So I was all, ‘yeah, I don’t have that.’

EXCEPT IT WAS THE REMOTE CAR STARTER ALL OVER AGAIN! Because I got this sort of side-eye from one of my coworkers and they were all, ‘you sure about that?’

The answer being, of course: OF COURSE I’M NOT SURE, AT LEAST 85% OF EVERYTHING I SAY IS OFF THE CUFF AND AT LEAST PARTLY FICTITIOUS, THE ONLY THING I KNOW FOR SURE ABOUT MY CAR IS THAT IT IS BLUE.

Long story short, there is bluetooth on my phone, and also built into my car. Encouraging them to play nicely together may be a chore, but I am hopeful it will involve 100% less setting off the car alarm than learning to use the remote starter.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (today I eat cake)

I took today off from work so I could take my car to the garage for some stuff.

(Which is a 100% AWESOME reason to tell me if they ask why you are taking a day off, by the way! Highly recommended! I mean, in this case it happened to be true, but it’s not like anyone’s going to check.)

And I had a great conversation at the garage, when I was asked, “You’re always so positive — is that a facade?”

(And I was all, “Sometimes!”) But for real, we had a nice chat about how it often feels better to act happy even when you’re not sure you are.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (bird with balloon)

1. The screens in my apartment building slide up to open, just like the windows. (Thanks, first floor kid who I saw doing this!)

2. Putting down any single window other than the driver’s side front (while on the highway going 65mph) creates a weird wind tunnel pressure effect in my car that is extremely weird and uncomfortable.

3. I am now the only one of my coworkers who has never seen the movie ‘The Goonies.’

4. I dream about stairs a lot.

5. Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) are both in Jurassic World.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

daily kudos

May. 7th, 2015 06:01 am
marcicat: (cookies)

Here’s my kudos for the day: thank you, DDA truck drivers! (I have no idea what they’re trucking. Google says probably truck parts! Crazy!)

Anyway, I absolutely LOVE tucking in behind one of these trucks on the interstate and just rolling on down the road. They are always within a 5mph range of the speed limit, which means a commute behind one of these trucks is super easy.* Every once in a while, I get to follow one from entrance ramp to exit ramp, pretty much my whole drive!

[*I think it’s way easier to stay about the same distance behind someone than to go by the speedometer, especially on big highways where people are going all different speeds.]

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

marcicat: (iriomote_cat_warning)

Anyway, so I wanted to write about songs that are REALLY VERY STARTLING when you listen to them in the car, because I’ve always thought that one with the police sirens in the beginning* was the top of the list, but it now has some serious competition.

[*This is where I ran into trouble, because I can’t remember the name, and google informs me that there are actually MANY songs with this sound effect. Though not, as one site’s header led me to believe, 162 of them.]

I recently got the Annie (2014) soundtrack, and have been enjoying its sing-along qualities on my commute. In the movie, the song ‘The City’s Yours’ is set in a helicopter. For whatever reason, the helicopter sound effect is included with the song on the soundtrack. (A reminder of the key importance of helicopters to the plot? No, wait. Definitely not that.)

But let me say, when you are driving next to an airport and the sound of a helicopter suddenly fills your car, it is REALLY VERY STARTLING.

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

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marcicat: purple (Default)
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