Some Bones I'd Like to Pick...

This page will serve as a playground for my peeves, an acropolis of annoyances, and even a home for my hostilities. I will post them here as they become available. The majority of the stories will most likely have something to do with driving, since this is where I run into the most people. If you are feeling hostile towards me after reading this, feel free to make your own page.

  • Toyota Retarding Development
  • Tailgate Party
  • Bubble Wrath
  • How Low Can They Go?
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing
  • I Think... Therefore it is
  • Nazisoft
  • The Thin Green Line
  • Recipe for Disguster

    Toyota Retarding Development Added: 12/29/01

    The other day I was leaving work on my lunch break with a list in my head of errands I needed to perform. These simple tasks included locating a torque wrench, a spring compressor, and butane light fluid (I won't bother to explain). Seems simple enough, and not the least bit taxing. I decided I'd stop at Walgreen's to look for the lighter fluid first, since it was closest and on the right side of the road, so I wouldn't have to negotiate traffic in order to continue on my quest. I patiently sat in the left turn lane behind three other vehicles waiting for the arrow so I might head north towards my first destination. The arrow turned green. We each proceeded forwarded, one by one. Except me.

    Due to oncoming traffic I could not complete my turn as of yet, so I waited. The oncoming car decided to turn right, but like a proper driver I sat still so as not to provoke a head on meeting should he change his mind. As the opposing vehicle commensed his turn the arrow became yellow, and suddenly a lumbering 4x4 swooped around my right side without warning. Seeing as how I use this intersection every day at least twice a day I knew it like my own mother. I could not grasp how someone could turn left in front of me when I was the lead car in the only left turn lane available. Realizing that in a second and a half I would become a rather nice looking roadblock when the light changed I somewhat hastily applied my foot to the accelerator and squealed my way through the intersection.

    I scanned my entire brain for any sort of logic or reason for this persons action and became somewhat perturbed at the absolute lunacy of their action. Being the social minded citizen I am, I felt I had to teach him/her what their parents had obviously failed to. I sped up to catch the offender as he approached the next light which disgustingly enough, turned green just in time so that he did not have to waste his/her precious braking resources. Making it through the light myself I soon arrived at the deviant's back door. I then realized I had no power. No matter how hard I shook my fist, they would simply erupt into laughter just as their parents must have when they fell out of their crib.

    I needed reinforcements. I needed someone with a siren and a gun. I took my phone out to dial DPS only to conclude that I was being as foolish as them to try and use my cell while driving a 5-speed. I recalled having a pen in my car with which I could write down their license plate and report it at a more convenient time. Attempting to follow them and find a pen proved more difficult than I thought. Slipping up on my right side was the Walgreens I was headed for, and slipping away on the left was the culprit, and nowhere was there a pen. Both disappeared from view as traffic did not permit me to make any course changes. No pen. No butane. And no justice.

    Now Mr. Happy-go-turny sees no consequences to his actions and he will most likely continue to do moronic things such as this until he hurts someone you or I care about.

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    Tailgate Party Added: 01/02/02

    Without going too far into what will most likely be my next topic, I would like a moment to talk about bubbles. I hope that anyone reading this has a bubble, 'cos I'm going to stomp on those who don't right now.

    I have a demon which takes it's form as other people. This demon attacks me without provocation, several times every day. It finds me on the road. It sneaks up from behind. It feeds off my need for control of the environment around me which directly effects my well being. Just this morning I was driving to work just like I always do. It's 6:30 AM, nothing is awake, not even the sun. I am casually following another car as the road narrows to one lane each way. In my wake, another driver in his Ford pickup realizes that there is another vehicle in front of him and slows down to match my speed, but only after getting close enough so that I can count the squashed bugs on the front of his bumper. Shortly there after, he appeared to be backing off, so I relaxed. He then rode right back up on my bumper, introducing me to his headlamps again. I begin getting agitated at this point.

    Allow me to explain the root of my annoyance. There are two main causes for my grievance in the case of tailgaters. First, there is the aforementioned bubble. My bubble is important to me, because it is in place for the sole purpose of protecting me from harm, be it physical or mental. A car enters my bubble and my most basic sense of personal safety is compromised. Second, there is the actual concern for safety. As anyone will tell you, braking distance retards exponentially as speed increases. Likewise mass and driver awareness and ability also effects braking performance. By tailgating especially at 50+ MPH, the driver's ability and awareness are immediately compromised. This leaves no buffer of safety should the lead car need to stop or merely slow suddenly.

    A bit of history: My parents and I were leaving my Aunt's house after dinner one night in my Mom's brand new black Eclipse GT. Seeing an opportunity to drive this wonderful machine, I offered to drive. I made every effort to be cautious and to be courteous to my Mom seeing as how it was her car. Though it may not have been to my stepdad's standards, it was well beyond the average driver's level of caution. It just so happens it was raining as well, and had been most of the night. And further more, the road home was prone to flooding where the washes cross (note: this is the same road that I take to get to work). As I approached each trouble spot I slowed as did the traffic in front of me and behind me. Passing through what I thought was the last wash I began to accelerate to normal speed. Shortly after this, I caught the glimmer off a sheet of water up ahead. I slowed aggressively to creep through the flood. This was too aggressive for the person following me and there was a forceful meeting between us. Immediately after this my Mom began to cry. Maybe the wine she had was making her more emotional. But I think she just loved the car that much. Needless to say I felt horrible. Upon recycling the events in my head, I couldn't say that I saw the driver following me, but this could suggest that he was so close that his headlights were beneath the rear deck of the Eclipse. It turns out the driver was a punk kid who had only had his license for a short time, but this didn't aid my conscience too much. The damage to my Mom's car has since been repaired courtesy of the other guy's insurance company, but I am still a little queasy about the whole thing.

    Fast-forwarding to the present, my discomfort was heightened by the fact that this person's headlamps, which were already in my eyes, were now strobing as he went over every bump, so now we have distraction added. Assuming the follower would in fact follow, I sped up to meet the car in front of me and then slowed down to the speed limit which is how fast traffic was moving. He did follow me and rode right up to my tail before slowing down. I did this one more time in the hopes of presenting myself to this driver as a loose screw, and one to be given space for his own sake. He didn't care. We approached an intersection after which the lane count doubles. I used this as an opportunity to return the favor. I pulled to the right lane myself going 10 MPH over the speed limit, and as expected my Rump Rider passed me on the left. I pulled behind him and removed any bubble they might have had making sure that my headlight was visible in his side mirror the whole time. The next light we came to turned red, we stopped, it turned green, we went, but the left lane went to slow so I passed them all on the right. Shortly after Night Rider turned left never to be seen again.

    My efforts to effect any change in this persons behavior probably had no effect. But I continue to hope that maybe something will click inside their brain and they will realize that the same agitation I inflict on them is what they inflict on others when thay act as they do.

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    Bubble Wrath Added: 01/02/02

    I should probably expand on the bubble issue before I forget. Everyone has a bubble. For some, it is arm's length. For others it is the width of the room. I'm here to talk about those select few whose bubble is about a hair's width off their skin.

    The bubble most notably comes into play in queues. The queue itself is an unsavory entity, so it does not need any help to make us unhappy. Disneyland would be the happiest place in the Galaxy if it weren't for it's horrendous lines, and the DMV would be a close second. In the pursuit of ignorance some people choose to push the limits. They step on your heels, they breathe on your neck, and they generally encroach upon you like most relatives wouldn't even dare.

    In my constant pursuit of enlightenment I ask myself, "What must it be like to never consider how your actions affect other people?" And then I promptly respond to my inquisition by making cricket noises. Space is an issue which is constantly discussed by all people. So we all know that there's an issue here. We argue with our parents and siblings about it. We put walls between us and our neighbors, whether we know them or not. We pay exponentially more for additional square footage in our homes. We are all heard at some point saying, "I'd really like to get away." And yet when space is most easily conserved and adjustable, it is least likely to be accounted for.

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    How Low Can They Go? Added: 01/02/02

    Recently on television I have seen an advertisement that I find disgusting. It is only during the daytime and it is sponsored by a law firm, so it's already obvious that level of class might not be present. Essentially, it is calling out to any people who have used a certain drug and experienced any side effects as a result. So, we can probably conclude that someone at some point took this medication, had complications, and is now seeking compensation. In and of itself, this presents comes off as a noble cause. Once you see the ad, nobility is not a word that comes to find.

    To start things off, the spokes-person for this crusade just happens to be the same voice which you will hear on those charming monster truck and tractor pull event commercials. "YOU COULD BE ENTITLED TO MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!" he calmly tells us. There's something about his whole presentation which forces me to refute any credibility their cause may have had.

    Next, we see a gentleman, the average Joe type, talking about how he was taking the drug and even though he didn't have any side-effects, he called these lawyers because he found out he could be entitled to money. While he describes his hardship, the bottom of the screen is garnished with a label which reads, "Dramatization." I guess we are to believe that the people whom are actually affected by this wanted to much money to appear on television. Or maybe they lacked that, as the French say, "I don't know what." Certainly it is not a case of anonymity seeing as how we have people prancing all over ads which showcase medication for venereal diseases.

    This, on top of the ads which talk about how good each law firm is at getting DUI offenders freed, only serves to undermine the delicate image which lawyers hold today. Considering these folks are in charge of upholding justice, I think they should be a bit more ethical in their conduct. Next we'll see an advertisement for a judge whose convicted the fewest murderers, rapists and molesters, so if we are ever charged with a crime we should have him as our judge.

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    Sheep in Sheep's Clothing Added: 01/05/02

    I'd like to take a moment to talk about false advertising, and blatant misrepresentation. This practice might also be labelled "good marketing skills," or more effectively, "the Devil's work." I admit that I have fallen for this tactic before, but I'll be a monkey's uncle's left kidney before I fall for this one.

    I'm, of course, talking about the Chevy Avalanche (copyright, trademark, blah blah). I'm sure you've seen it. It looks like a pickup, drives like a pickup, but it's actually a pickup. Venture to Chevy's website and you find this description: "It can go from a six-passenger SUV to a full-size three-passenger pickup with an 8'1" protected cargo box in less than a minute, without any tools." The conversion this vehicle goes through is no more spectacular than if I were to roll up my sleeves. Wow, I just invented the first long sleeve shirt that turns into a short sleeve shirt in 4 minutes without any tools!! Bidding starts at $4,000.

    Now, ignoring the fact that MSN Carpoint lists the Avalanche under Small Pickups, let's look at the other facts. If you'll kindly direct your attention to the dictionary, you will find that the definition of sport-utility vehicle is "a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a roomy body." Now let's examine that last part: roomy body. Using data both from Chevy's site and from Carpoint, we can conclude the following (largest to smallest): The Tahoe (SUV) can carry 6 people with 63.6 cu ft of cargo; The Trailblazer (SUV) can carry 6 people with 41 cu ft of cargo; The Silverado (pickup) can carry 3 people with 65.4 cu ft of cargo; The Tracker (smallest SUV Chevy makes) can carry 5 people with 20.2 cu ft of cargo. Comparitively, the Avalanche will carry 3 people with 42.9 cu ft of cargo, or 6 people and very little cargo.

    If we assume that adding two more people with leg room and the hardware for the seating takes about 20 cu ft, then the Avalanche and the Tracker have about the same capacity. This must be the criteria Chevy uses to justify the SUV label. They ignore the fact that a supercab Silverado has 33% more cargo while carrying the same number of people.

    So we have a vehicle that is smaller than both a full-size pickup and a SUV, even though Chevy says that it is both. I can concede that it could be considered a full-size pickup as long as it was noted that the bed length is significantly less. All in all a very sad attempt by Chevy to capture the yuppy market that Ford's Splash and Lightning and, more recently, Explorer SportTrac have maintained. All I'm saying is that, a truck is a truck, a car is a car, and that's the way things are.

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    I Think... Therefore it is Added: 01/10/02

    I don't know if you've noticed but a lot of people seem to have their own opinions on things lately. While may not seem like a bad thing, the descrepency comes when people start stating them as fact. "I think," "I feel," "I believe," these are wonderful phrases that have relocated themselves to the local landfill of Egocentricville. One might proclaim that this whole page is a list of opinions that I am wrongly stating as fact. This, I believe, is not accurate. My statements are presented as fact because they are deeply rooted in common sense. And common sense is not open to interpretation, it just is, no matter how uncommon it may be as of late.

    Case in point: I was discussing computer hardware with a co-worker and the subject bent towards CD burners. He proceded to spout off about how these new 24x burners are absurd and a ripoff and bait for fools, so he bought an 8x one. He was so proud that he had made such a wise decision, and not fallen for the evil marketing ploys. I politely pointed out that I was one of those fools who coughed up the cash for the high-end equipment, with good reason. He countered this by politely telling me I was wrong. I suddenly realize that he was right. It's not worth the extra 60 bucks to burn an entire CD in about as much time as it takes one to use the restroom, whereas the one he bought can burn one in the time it takes to eat a full meal and wash the dishes. Obviously I was deceived like an ignorant little child. Though, it should be noted that this person makes about twice what I make, and I was not hurtin for those missing 60 dollars.

    In other situations, such as critiquing things like movies and music or other subjective subjects, the problem is far more obvious. "That movie was terrible," is a common mistake people make. It is not necessarily fact that it was terrible, even though sometimes it is. To immediately blurt out the indisputable shortcomings of something that can easily be different for every person that experiences it, is inconsiderate and close minded. With 6 billion people on the earth, the chances of any significant number of people having the exact same point of view are infinitesimal. Of course, this is based on my point of view, so maybe I'm the odd man out. But, I am willing to acknowledge that possiblity which many won't even consider.

    The moral of this story is, think before you speak, or don't speak at all. Consideration for others is an easily obtainable virtue, so there's no excuse for not offering it to others. Everyone has different hands, that's why gloves come in different sizes, and even then, not everyone is guaranteed to find one that fits. Opinions are the same, so treat them with as much flexibility.

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    Nazisoft Added: 01/24/02

    I just started reading another article regarding the overzealous business tactics of Microsoft. It made me wonder. You cannot talk to anyone in the technology or computer industries without getting a complaint about Microsoft namely, it's Windows brand. Their lawyers are busier than DUI attorneys, and we all know how much people like to drink and drive. Despite, all this distaste, they still remain the only operating system to penetrate the common household.

    It's been asked of me when I discuss the evils of Microsoft what it matters how many operating systems there are to choose from. To anyone who only uses the computer once a day to check e-mail and to make a resume, it doesn't matter. But, it must be pointed out that in the real world the only relevence these people have to the market is their dollars. These people will buy something new simply because the name came up in conversation, not because it does what they need it to, has useful features they want, is expandable, updatable or anything like that. Unfortunately, the current state of computer technology still puts in somewhat of an elitist class. It doesn't serve a purpose for everyone, nor is it required by everyone to perform daily tasks. It is still a horseless carriage.

    Analogy time: Everyone needs an automobile. If you live near work, you probly need a car to get groceries. If you live near a super market you probly need a car to visit friends or family. Restaurants, movies, vacations, outlet malls, fishing, skiiing, government, police, schools, businesses all require a vehicle of some sort at some time, and some need all kinds all the time. Let's say that when the car first came to be, Ford and Dodge were the only cars available to the mass public. Both were basically the same car except that they use different fuel. At this point in time it's no big deal for gas stations to sell both types of fuel because there about the same number of each car on the road. Ford decides to put an automatic transmission in their cars and they sell wildly. There are still enough people who prefer a stick shift to keep Dodge alive. However, the gas stations keeping equal amounts of each fuel on tap, are selling out of Ford's fuel because more people are buying their car. The gas stations begin stocking more Ford fuel than Dodge. This goes unnoticed to the world because the car is still a luxury and the Dodge folks still have enough fuel. Eventually Ford sales so far outweigh Dodge's that the gas stations only sell Ford's fuel 'cos the demand is far greater. Dodge stops making cars, but people start building them themselves because they still like the stick shift. They learn how to make the fuel themselves since no one sells it. Dodge is solidified as a hobbyist vehicle and Ford continues to dominate the mass market. Many years pass until every gas station across America only carries Ford gas. Ford continues to develop their cars and refuses to release vital information about how they work and patents their fuel so that making anything similar is beyond any private businesses means. Despite problems with the cars due to rushed manufacturing and tight product cycles millions of people buy new ones every month, either because their last one broke or wouldn't run on the latest type of fuel. By now the automobile is in every garage, and Ford's name is on almost all of them. People are taken to court for adding power windows and door locks that weren't made by Ford. Attempts to modify the engine to increase power or efficiency are seen as copyright infringements.

    This scenerio would never come to be. The car is too deeply rooted in our society, and too many people know too much about it, and no one had a problem with the government stepping in to keep things under control. Even the most naive person with a license to drive knows when there's something wrong with the car they're driving (whether they fix it or not is another story). So, I only hope that when the world becomes more involved with computers they will know when something is wrong.

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    The Thin Green Line Added: 01/25/02

    I started to feel a little sick the other day. It wasn't the flu, nor was it a cold. It was an ad for Mandy Moore's new movie A Walk to Remember. Other than the fact that the plot is retardedly trite (bad boy meets good girl, good girl makes bad boy good.. *gag*), I have no problem with the movie itself. What makes me sick is that one of Mandy's songs is playing in the background. One can only assume she does the entire soundtrack, but I don't know 'cos I don't care.

    Why does this make me sick? It's the fact that every pop star now feels they need to break into acting, and when they do so they take their music with them. I don't care for Mandy's music, but I might care for some movie she decides to be in. So, I don't care to hear her music in the movie. Romeo Must Die was on TV recently. I turned it on during a scene in which Aaliyah was with Jet Li and a song of hers was in the background. On the Line includes songs by N*Sync, not to mention songs by Britney since she's getting sweaty with Justin. And Britney's movie will most certainly include her songs. The Glitter soundtrack was done by Mariah, but that movie was just a sad attempt to get everyone to feel sorry for Mariah anyway.

    An example of an appropriate crossover would be Björk in Dancer in the Dark. While it is true I love Björk, my opinion does not need to step in to justify this blending of talent. Dancer was a musical, and as such the main character is expected to perform the music. Julie Andrews sang for The Sound of Music which was quite appropriate. There's an artistic seperation between a musical and a drama, or comedy, or sci-fi. Popstars need to examine this seperation more closely if they want to be taken seriously, instead of just trying to take more of the teenies money.

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    Recipe for Disguster Added: 01/26/02

    Anyone who knows me know that I love junk food. And high on my list of favorites is Doritos. If I don't have any at least once a week, I'm probly sick. My favorite flavor is Nacho Cheese, or Nacho Cheesier as it is called now. And I don't like the Cool Ranch flavor at all. Actually, I'm a big fan of cheese in general. If it has cheese in it or on it, I just might like it.

    It should go without saying, that when Doritos came out with the Four Cheese flavor I was fairly excited. Even though I couldn't imagine what four cheeses they decided to use, I was curious. One day I saw them in the vending machine at work so I thought I'd give them a try. Upon opening the little bag I was greeted with a less than appealing odor. Figuring that I probly wouldn't like to smell a Nacho Cheesier Dorito either, I paid no attention to it at this point. Then I pulled a chip out and got my second shock: there were green and red flecks on it. I suddenly realized that the smell and the appearance strongly resembled the vile Cool Ranch chip. I popped the little curled triangle in my mouth and all my suspicions were confirmed. I groaned in displeasure and turned to my coworker with obvious distaste on my face. The bag promptly went in the trash.

    It would seem as though Doritos decided to dust the chip with Cool Ranch flavoring. It made some sense, seeing as how most of the people I knew back in high school seemed to like the Cool Ranch. However, the bag said Four Cheese, as in having four cheeses on it and nothing else. Salt and Vinegar, BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion; These names are all highly descriptive of the content of the chips inside. And how many people really like anything with cheese on it to be sprayed with ranch dressing?

    A similar puzzlement of mine relates to the 3D style Doritos. You can purchase these with Nacho Cheese flavoring so I would assume they would be similar to regular Nacho Cheese Doritos as far as taste. Unfortunately, it seems you can't get a typical tortilla dough to "bubble" so they had to use a new formula. This new formula does not compare to the original. The first time I tried these it took only one chip before before the rest of them earned a trip to the trash can. If it is in fact a function of the dough not being able to bubble, that's just too bad. But, if in fact some shmuck in their R&D department decided to try something new, he needs to be fired. They should learn from The Great New Coke Debacle that rapid changes in tried and true recipes are dangerous.

    In closing I'd just like to say, instead of churning out new crap like this, they need to bring back the Pizza Hut flavored Doritos. Those things were beautiful. I miss them every day of my life. Rest In Peace you sweet, wonderful chip.

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