Tag Archives: traffic

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Racing the GPS 

image via garmin.com

The dashboard GPS has to be one of the greatest inventions ever.  I mean it is right up there with air conditioning and the baconator.  For one thing, if you have a GPS you never have to listen to your wife nag  suggest you stop and ask a stranger for directions (which might as well be the same as getting out of the car wearing a shirt that says: I am only 75% of the man you are).  This little device, though often frustrating , brings a certain calming quality to our marriage when I decide to take a short cut and dare veer off of the digital pink line of safety.  Sure, sometimes we follow our digital mate precisely and put an unhealthy amount of trust into it as we wind up cursing under our breath and turning around in vacant lots or wishing we were still on the paved road but all in all, it is pretty dang awesome.

I think that my favorite thing about our GPS is that on long drives it gives me a clear competitive objective.  When I am driving and using the GPS, all of the goals in my life boil down to one thing.  Beating the arrival time on the GPS.  It is almost embarrassing how much joy I derive from beating the GPS.  I say almost because the amount of awesome clearly outweighs any shame.  One of the great things about racing the GPS is that it re calibrates as you go so if you gain a minute, it will adjust giving you instant gratification.  I went on two separate business road trips this week and am happy to say that I beat the GPS each time.  There are a couple of ways that you can beat the GPS like catching green lights or light traffic, but the best way to win is by speeding.  I drive a lot, so as a byproduct I speed a lot.  I don’t mean driving reckless like a maniac but my cruise control is most comfortable at least 8 mph above the posted limit.  I don’t know why it is, but anytime I cross back into my home state I feel a sense of relief like the state troopers here will welcome me home as a favorite son and overlook my GPS racing.  This is stupid for several reasons, mostly because  I really only seem to get tickets in Georgia.

Driving can often be a long mundane tiring task, but beating the GPS can make it totally sweet.



If Only I had a Portable Infrared Sauna 

image via consumertraveler.com

Have you ever heard of a plane crashing because of an iphone?  Maybe missing the runway and landing in a river because of a Kindle?  No?  Funny, me either.  I know that in my house we have computers and cell phones and regular cordless phones and baby monitors all running at the same time with nary a glitch or disruption.  So here is the thing. I don’t think that safety has anything to do with the reason that we have to turn off all electronics before take-off and landing on a plane.  I think the real reason is Sky Mall.  Unless you bring your own material, the seat in front of you really only contains 2 pieces of reading material (assuming you don’t need to read the barf bag or evacuation instructions)  some boring airline magazine that really is just about restaurants in cities you aren’t on your way to, or Sky Mall.

Sky Mall has comandeered my attention more than once below 10,000 feet.  In fact, had I not read about it only a day before Mother’s Day, my wife may have been the proud owner of one of these:

Sit back and just say ahhhhh to in-home relaxation. Portable Infrared Sauna $399.99
image via Sky Mall

Something about flipping through Sky Mall makes me feel like I am severely lacking in iphone accessories, meerkat lawn statues, and pet car-seats.  Has anyone actually ordered anything from Sky Mall?  Perhaps a plush mini staircase for your little dog to climb up to your bed, or maybe packets of the first ever protein supplemented ketchup? I mean surely you are all getting your credit cards out to order one of these:

The Traveler’s Bed Bug Thwarting Sleeping Cocoon. $79.99
image via Sky Mall

You know, thanks to 20/20 and 60 minutes, that one may actually be a good idea.  I am sure there are folks out there that needed a bunion regulator or a generic Snuggie, I just doubt that Sky Mall is their retail destination.  Have you ever met anyone that works for Sky Mall?  Tell me that wouldn’t be the best job ever, getting to decide what makes it into the Christmas edition?  That actually may be my dream job.  I want to be in charge of all of the vendor’s submissions and test products in order to deem them worthy of mile high status.

Until then, I will continue to ask every flight attendant possible if they have ever seen one of these on an actual flight:

This person is able to sleep comfortably in any Seat! Can you say the same? Probably not, unless you have SkyRest. $29.95
image via Sky Mall

It looks like that guy is taking a restful snooze, but my guess would be that he passed out from exhaustion and light headedness after the 20 minutes it took to blow that thing up.  So far zero accounts of seeing one of these in person by any flight attendant I have ever asked.  I don’t know how much longer Sky Mall will be paying the airlines in order to gain a captive audience at the start and end of each flight, but until then I will participate in the flipping ritual and wonder if I need a hot dog toaster or one of those butler statue toilet paper holders.

It is funny to joke about after the fact but when you have to bring your chair to its upright position and lock your tray tables, the prospect of looking through a Sky Mall for the next 15 minutes is totally weak.



Are We There Yet??

Necessity is the Mother of Invention


This morning I had the pleasurable experience of getting caught in a traffic jam when the interstate I was on was closed due to an accident.  I take these kind of things in stride fairly well but this particular bit of traffic put me in park sitting completely still for 68 minutes.  It was raining and I was in the left lane boxed in by two large trucks.

Lately I have been adhering to all of the health advice out there about staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.  At minute 55 of the traffic standstill I realized some sort of action needed to be taken and I did not have extra pants.  Below is a picture of the emergency urinal I constructed.  Luckily upon completion of the build traffic began to move and I found relief at a nearby service station.  If you are interested in helping me patent this object please let me know.

Getting stuck in traffic is completely weak.

The Mystery No One Enjoys


Squinting in the Rear View Mirror  

I log a fair amount of time sitting behind a windshield.  The amount of time I spend driving combined with my general disdain for it and desire to reach my location has resulted in more than one contribution to various state governments via their blue light collection agents.  A few weeks ago I was about 150 miles from home driving along and minding my own business.  Probably going somewhere between 5 and 10 miles over the posted limit.  I had set the cruise control and was changing cd’s when I looked in my mirror and saw it.  Is it?  I can’t tell, it is dark and they are too far back.  Annoyingly, I slow down because I am not going to chance it and they seem to slow down with me.  Following behind me just far enough back to make me equal parts nervous and agitated.  I wish cars with roof racks had little illuminated signs on them that said “not a cop.”

Finally the car passed me (probably wondering why I had started driving so slow).  As soon as I verified that it was only a roof rack, zoom zoom buddy.  Driving for miles looking in your mirrors trying to figure out if you are being followed by the police is not super awesome but that moment you realize it is only a roof rack and you gun it is totally sweet!

*Note:  I passed the car in the pic last week.  He probably thinks that blue duct tape is hilarious.


When First in Line is the Last Place You Want to Be 

Traffic in Atlanta is pretty bad so not much surprises me and for the most part I keep myself from wading into the deep end of the road rage pool.  Lately though, one particular scenario has begun to force my frustration into a crescendo.  If I am driving in the right lane and the cars in front of me suddenly come to a stop while the left lane is still moving I should be first in line to go around right?  But noooooo that isn’t how it works.  I come to a stop, exhale in frustration and begin looking in my mirrors to find the needed gap to pull into the left lane and go around the traffic standstill.  I see my opportunity steadily approaching.  After this green car, I am in the promised land.  The green car approaches and I gently ease off the brake and begin to sneak the nose of my car into the left lane when it happens.  Some jack leg behind me steals my window and leaves me in the dust!!

This is a time when being in the front of the line does not make you next.  The gap in traffic that you had your eye on gets to the cars behind you first and they could care less about you.   In fact what usually happens is the last car in line takes the window first and the proverbial jerk floodgates are opened so everyone can speed around you until it is just you and a stopped bus sitting on an empty street.   If you happen to be driving with your kids in the car, this is one of those times when a swear substitute like Mother Hubbard! comes in handy.  Stealing someone’s merge  window is totally weak.

Red Light, Green Light


Meg, How I love thee.  

I am not really one for multiple Hollywood crushes or movie star infatuation.  Yeah, I obviously had a thing for Samantha Micelli on Who’s the Boss, but what 12-year-old boy didn’t?  I do, however, make a rare exception.  The movie “You’ve Got Mail” comes on TV a lot and no matter what, if I am able, I watch it until the end and fall in love with Kathleen Kelly all over again.  I am certain that it is her girl next door appeal that gets me every time.  I am a sucker for it and lucky to have a beautiful wife with that same kind of something.  (Ok, now that I am finished with that sentence, back to Meg.)  I can admit that some of her attempts to stay youthful have yielded less than stellar results in the lip area, but she is still Meg and every-time I see Kathleen Kelly sit down on the floor of her apartment with her bowl of soup, my heart flutters a bit.

I wouldn’t be  true to myself to have a blog that talks about things that are awesome and not mention Meg.  I appreciate your indulgence and will see if I can’t think of something funny to write next time, or at least butch it up a bit with a post on the designated hitter or the spread option offense.

Meg Ryan, with short hair and a crooked smile.  Totally sweet.




Uh, Yeah; I meant to do that……  

You ever have a moment when you are sitting in the pole position (1st place) at a red light and the car on your left goes so you ease off the brake and begin to proceed when you realize they only had a green arrow and your light is still red?  No? Just me?  Great.  That moment is pretty weak and you can’t really play it off.  You are now sitting there with at least 58% of your car jutting into the intersection and the idiot behind you wasn’t paying attention either so he just filled the gap.  Leaving you hanging out there with no place to go and nowhere to hide.  If you have the courage to look around you will see your fellow drivers shaking their heads at you in disappointment or even gesturing to you with their friends and laughing at your expense.  If you are lucky, your light turns green quickly and you speed off leaving your shame and embarrassment behind you, but if it is one of those long green arrow deals you just have to sit there and take it like a man.  Maybe you could roll down your windows and explain that you saw a black widow  spider walking in front of your car and you were simply being a hero by killing it with your tire.   I think that some people figure out how to leave embarrassment back  in jr. high with dropped lunch trays and cracking voices, and some people wind up shamefully trying to sink down into the seat of their car counting the seconds till THEIR light turns green.  Feeling like an idiot is totally weak.

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