Archive for January, 2006

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round…

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Bus drivers provide transportation for millions of people every year, from commuters to school children to vacationers. Bus drivers pick up and drop off passengers at bus stops, stations, or—in the case of students—at regularly scheduled neighborhood locations, all according to strict time schedules. Now I know it isn’t a great job but it does have its moments.

From time to time, you get the drunk people who catch the bus. Some try to share their evening with everyone else by going into a long description of their night. Others just pass out and ride the bus 2 to 3 loops before getting off only 10 feet from where they got on. Drunk chicks are the best because if they are drunk enough they might tease you by showing you some skin. Thursday thru Saturday are typical days for these types of passengers. So its kind of expected.

I drove my shift yesterday(Sunday) like usual and expected nothing out of the ordinary to happen. Usually, students drive home for the weekend so the campus is pretty empty on weekends. Little did I know that it was actually going to be a fun night. I picked up three college ladies at one of my stops and they sat in the back of the bus.  As I drove my route, I heard one of them laughing and talking about her trip back to school and how she got scared because everyone in the car was high. She was explaining that she was so high she became paranoid about being followed by state troopers on the highway. The road was barely visible because of the thick fog so I tried to concentrate on the road ahead. I decided to rush to the next stop to see if I could hear more of the tale but it turned out that the next stop was theirs so they left. Towards the end of my shift, the passenger loads became less and less. So I decided to check my bus for trash. When I got to the back of the bus, to my surprise, I found an empty dime bag! I quickly disposed of it and wondered why she didn’t think to share some with me.

Sure bus drivers must operate vehicles safely, especially in heavy traffic and the buses can carry more than 100 passengers at a time. But that’s no reason you can’t share your recreational drugs with them. So take a lesson from the drunk crowd you smokers! The next time you ride a bus share your night’s experience with everyone on the bus especially the bus driver. Because sharing is caring.

Confessions of an SUV driver.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

With ongoing international situation (Iran, Nigeria) and the increase in oil demand (India, China) the price of oil can only go up. Currently my car is nearing the 50 dollars per fill-up mark, and gets on average 17 mpg. For me the 50 dollars fill-up indicates that my car is getting too expensive to drive. My fuel costs for 2005 went up over 20 percent from 2004, and if anything I drove less in 2005 then in 2004 (started biking to work in 2005).

If I decide to get a new car, I would like it to get at least 30 mpg, and still be comfortable for my 6’5″ body. However outside of Hybrids and Diesel very few cars available in the United States match the mpg requirement, and I don’t know how many of those would match the comfort requirement. Diesel is out of the question till Low-Sulfur diesel arrives, and engines are available to take advantage of it. Hybrid technology is tempting, however the increased cost of the car (even with the 2006 tax credit) and increased complexity of the car (potential higher maintenance cost) make hybrids less attractive.

So now I’m left to decide if I should ride out the upcoming increase fuel prices for the prospect of more fuel-effiecent vehicles in the future? Bite the bullet and get a new car, live with a car payment for a few years. Give up driving all together, ride my bike, and use public transport to get everywhere.

So if you have any suggestion on what I should do, go tell me.

Long live the protest song!

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Update: I just heard this song played on XRT. Good stuff. Glad it’s getting airplay somewhere. If you haven’t heard it yet, I urge you to listen to it now, below.

Despite a desperate need for them, there has been a sadly noticeable lack of popular protest songs over the past five or six years. It seems to me as if the large corporations who run the music industry are too afraid to produce music which might lead to a backlash amongst a small, but vocal opposition. But the protest song isn’t dead yet. James McMurtry has recently released a powerful new song depicting the lives of soldiers, single mothers and the working poor all at once. The song is called “We Can’t Make It Here” and you can download it from his website, or through the links below. I recommend giving it a listen…

Peace.

Statistics

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

As Greg mentioned already, a few of us attented an interesting symposium over the weekend. Of the many topics covered, I was particularly fascinated by a presentation made by the Milosovich Brothers of the Boiled Wieners research group from Toronto.

It seems the Milosoviches are from the former breakaway republic of Vladigascar, which I can’t seem to locate on any of my maps, and can only assume was absorbed by another, larger republic during the tumult of the early 90’s. Presumably, because of the persecution these scientists faced in their homeland, they emigrated to Toronto where they were free to perform their research in relative peace.

At the symposium, the brothers presented the findings of their latest study, which quite frankly I find to be rather astonishing. According to the team, a whopping 60% of all Torontoans are homosexual or transgender!

At first I was rather skeptical, but throughout their presentation they presented irrefutable evidence of their hypothesis. Now, clearly, you might be having a hard time believing this as well, so I invite you to listen to a recording of the actual presentation or watch as Goran attempts to deliver his findings to a group of childish, snickering, and clearly gay Torontoans (just a tip: it is very rude to openly laugh at a scientist’s presentation, regardless of whether or not you agree with his or her findings. For shame, Toronto!).

(Let me point out that the Brothers Milosovich believe that science should be accessible to the lay person rather than boring and unappealing, and they do so by setting their findings to music.)

I will try to keep you updated on these findings, and will post back here as results from other research projects on the matter become available. Clearly a fascinating development in Canadian culture.

Sketchfest: No coffin boffin

Monday, January 9th, 2006

A bunch of us got together this weekend, and experienced the Chicago Sketchfest 2006. We saw a total of six groups for the night and they ranged in sketches form Arnold Schwarzenegger giving Public Service Announcements, the hypocrisy of Doctor Laura, tea-bagging dead girls, and so many more. The entire sketchfest runs over two weeks, has over 800 performers, and is a great time. The Chicago Sketchfest is a great opportunity to see tons of groups from around the country. The only downside is that beers cost $7, and mixed drinks cost $8, so if you have a flask you may want to bring it.

Sketchfest is still open for one more week, go check it out Sketchfest.

Another year older and deeper in debt…

Friday, January 6th, 2006

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My New Years Resolution: 1600×1200

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Dan asked me the other day what my New Years Resolution was this year, and I had no idea. So like all things I search google for the answer. Where I found out New Years Resolution started around 153 BC by the Romans. The placed a mythical roman king Janus at the start of the year. The Romans gave Janus two heads. One head to look into past and the other to look towards the future. This didn’t help my quest for a new years resolution. So I refined my query and found these to be the common resolution:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Stick to a budget
  4. Save more money
  5. Find a better job
  6. Become more organized
  7. Exercise more
  8. Be more patient at work / with others
  9. Eat better
  10. Become a better person

Well out of these ten, I would only say #4, #5, #6, and #10 remotely appeals to me. Saving more money is something I could do, but it would be at the expense of going on trips, going out, etc. So I’m not sure I want to do that. Finding a new job would be nice, but I really don’t hate the job I have, it would be nice not to have anxiety about future employment, but all jobs have that to some degree. I know me; becoming more organized isn’t going to happen. While becoming a better person sounds good, but what exactly is a better person? Just sounds way too vague for me.

So after getting discouraged at my googling attempts, I decided to search for comedic resolutions. After trolling through Dave Lettermen’s old Top ten list and I found these:

  1. Take up a new habit: Smoking!
  2. Stop bring lunch from home: I should eat out more
  3. Spend more time at work
  4. Start being Supstitious
  5. Drink. Drink some more
  6. Procrastinate more
  7. Watch more TV
  8. Stop Exercising: Waste of time
  9. I want to gain wieght, put on at least 30 lbs
  10. Read Less

I also discovered oodles of sites on how to keep a resolution. Those are of little help because I can’t decide a good resolution for the year of 2006. I think my resolution will be to have more self-confidence, to stop being so negative. On the other hand after writing this and looking at the length, I think my resolution should be to write shorter blog posts, or drink more.

The Plight of the Commuter

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

There are few times in my work life when I feel like up and quitting more than during my commute. With 32 miles of surface streets and highways to navigate between my apartment and my office, shared with hundreds of thousands of idiots and SUVs, there is ample opportunity for something to get fucked up and delay me.

Today was among one of the worst. An accident PLUS construction.

Neither of these are particularly unique events. People can’t drive and pot holes need patching. But taken together, it just sends people into a panic. Their minds — already distracted by the person blabbering into their ear via cell phone, or reading the paper, or trying to put on makeup, or a combination thereof — simply shut down when faced with the prospect of seeing a bloody, mangled corpse while simultaneously trying to navigate a work zone.

Lanes narrow, brake lights go on, someone tries to change lanes, cars swerve, and then… standstill. No one moves. So this is how traffic jams form? And we all know, traffic begets more traffic. Seeing a sea of brake lights ahead, people inevitably try to cut across all lanes of traffic to catch that last off ramp. Someone starts cutting down the shoulder. People can’t pick a lane and stick with it.

Now you have gridlock. Tempers flare and agression ensues. It all just spirals out of control.

It took me about an hour longer than normal, or about 2 hours, to drive to work today. I was, of course, late, which further compounds my anger, because someone invariably says some form of “Well, why don’t you move closer to work?” And I’ll tell you, if I ever have to choose between my home and my job, I’ll choose my home any day. I mean, if some bumblefuck suburban road that everyone else in the office uses to get to work were ever closed or delayed, I guarantee everyone would get a free pass, but somehow it’s different when the major interstate I use to get to work is closed.

Sigh.

The worst part of this whole ordeal? After creeping along at what was probably an average speed of, maybe, 2? 3? mph for an hour, I finally come upon the cause of all this headache: 2 cars, a cop and a tow truck IN THE SHOULDER followed by a moving work crew patching pavement. No jacknifed semi. No rollover SUV (my favorite). No blood on the pavement.

My guess? Some asshole, not focusing on the road ahead, comes upon the minor delay of the pothole team, but not paying attention, rear ends some other sad sap.

Patch the fuckin potholes at night. The time and a half you have to pay the crew is a lot less than the money lost to the economy through the inefficiency of a traffic jam.

That, or let me fuckin drink myself stupid while driving. Just don’t tell me it’s my fault because I live so far away…

Strip Clubs & Customer Service

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

It’s about 4am right now so my buzz is wearing off and I’m tired so I’m gonna make this short. How do awesome strip clubs become crappy and vice versa? I used to go to Scores and Heavenly Bodies pretty regularly and I thought I knew their levels of customer service versus cost. But the last two nights made me have to re-evaluate these two gentleman’s clubs again. I don’t want this entry to sound like a forum’s post from the SCL Website message boards but man HB has gotten rid of all of their 35+ year old strippers and sent them to Scores! All of the women at HB are perfect 10 hotties. Of course the downside to that is that they’re always busy. Bottom line, if you want to have a good time for cheap whores and booze then Heavenly Bodies is the place to go to.

MajorMUD

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Some of you might have come to this site looking for the current status of TDH’s mud. You can still find all the old information here. But, in the future, check this blog for updates on mud.

That said, the current status is, well, not good. Mud is definitely down, and pretty much dead in it’s old form. But we haven’t given up on it. We’ll keep working on replacing the old mud and will be sure to let you know when that happens.

Hopefully 2006 will be a rennaissance year for text based RPGs 😉