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Road Work

Posted 2009.11.02 9.33 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Dunno why, but I’ve taken to snapping pictures of construction crews when I get stuck in traffic because of construction crews.

Here we can see a team of experienced professionals have closed a left-turn lane at a major intersection, so that half the crew can put Xmas lights on the spindly little trees, while the other half of the team guards the precious fuel supply and the trash can.

Work Crew

Road Repair Rage Rant

Posted 2009.09.15 20.21 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Wow it was hard work getting home today! I live very close to the office, under 10km. Normally it takes me just a few minutes – most of my commute is actually spent at the drive-through coffee shop. Lately though… it’s making me crazy. There’s this one major thoroughfare that I don’t even have to drive on, I just cross it. But they’ve been tearing it up, laying it back down again, I don’t know what they’re actually doing. Maybe one side is done and they’re just flipping it over, one bit at a time.

Anyhow, so I’m trying to get home and trying to avoid the major intersections. I came through a residential area, side-streets, to cut across the main road where there’s a set of traffic lights, from one residential area to another. OMG what a mess.

At first I tried to be patient, calm, etc. but the minutes kept ticking past with hardly any movement. I could see a growing line of cars behind me. Eventually the line would scoot ahead a carlength, then stop a while longer. Finally after about a half hour I was near enough to see what was happening.

Whenever the lights went green for us, the construction crew would kick into action and move equipment infront of us. See, they were trying to minimize disruption to the main street, so when the main street had a red light, they’d go out into the intersection and do their thing.

Road Rage

Only, uh, WTF about the rest of the traffic? I mean ok, the lady with the stop/slow sign couldn’t see how huge the backlog of cars was – how could she, when she was so very careful not to turn around and look.

What was happening was now and then, when we had a green light, one or two cars would get a chance to sneak through. Then we’d miss 2 or 3 lights while they were dumping dirt, or pushing dirt, or pointing at dirt that needed to be pushed, or pointing at dirt that needed to be dumped.

WTF goes through their minds? I mean if they were going to effectively close the road, then just close the f-ing road! Don’t let it back up all the way to the next major intersection.


Road Signs

Posted 2009.08.24 14.49 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I don’t know why, but lately I find I’m slightly agravated by road signs that are either too polite, too subtle, or just too wishy-washy. For example, those signs that say something like Please help keep our highways clean! when what they really mean is Don’t Litter, Assholes!

That’s just one example of course. It’s about trying to be too polite and sidestep the real issue somewhat. Like ‘help keep the highways clean’ could mean anything, including getting out there with a broom and dustpan, when really this isn’t the issue at all. The issue is brain-dead jerkoffs who think that when they throw trash out of the window of a moving vehicle, it magically vanishes into the land of smoke and fairies.

Another one that vaguely irks me are the ones that are obviously hand-made, you sometimes see along highways through rural areas, that say something like Please drive slowly, watch for children. or words to that effect. I’m never quite sure if they mean, The speed limit is 60 asshat, don’t be doing 100! or if it’s the opposite, like Our kids are too dumb to stay off the road, slow down so you won’t miss!

This is why I’d like to see these signs become less vague and just be blunt, get to the point. Say what you mean to say and get the point across. Here’s an example of what I mean – it’s straightforward and tells you exactly what the message is, without being rude. And it applies not just to drivers, but hunters and virtually anyone who happens through the neighborhood:

Please Don't

You could even make it into a little self-adhesive label and stick one on your car, or your front door – it’s multi purpose!

Why did the Chicken cross the Road?

Posted 2009.07.31 9.43 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

We don’t know, she declined to give us an interview.

Chicken, road, crossing

Clearly, further research is required.

First the Ranting, now the Raving

Posted 2009.06.20 19.10 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Today is the birthday celebration for my little niece and nephew. They’re twins. They’re going to be 5 years old tomorrow.

I nearly missed the party – not because I forgot, or was late or anything. It was because there’s a parade down Main Street and when that happens, they close off either end of the street I live on. They don’t close my street – it’s a sort of side-street, and they don’t close traffic on it. But they do close traffic on the two larger streets at either end of my street. So I am free to drive up and down my little street all I want (less than 500 meters long), but I am not allowed to leave.

And you see, because my street is never actually closed, there are never any notices provided that there are going to be road closures. ┬áSo this morning when I saw a sign saying there would be a parade this afternoon, I realized there could be trouble. The parade is going from 2pm to 4pm. I wanted to be at the party at 4:30pm, so I’d need to leave about 3:30ish.

I checked the city’s website, no information about road closures. I checked the local newspaper’s website, no information about road closures. Why the hell don’t they have a posting, or even a crude hand-drawn map? Just something to say, yeah, we’re going to shut down these roads at this time. They do mention that Main Street will be closed for the parade, well duh. But they always park all the trucks and vehicles on the streets surrounding my little street, and I want to know if they’re doing that again. Appearantly it’s a big secret though. Asshats. I bet noone on city council lives on my street.

So at a little after 1:00pm I went out to get gas, and just in case, I took the kids’ gifts with me. Good thing, too. I just barely escaped, they were setting up the barricades and I just squeeked by.

The first time this happened, by the way, I had gone grocery shopping, and then was on my way home when I got caught at the barricade. I was gone less than 45 minutes, and in that time things went from not even a sign, to fully shut down / no access. I had to plead with a cop to let me through so I could get my groceries home – had to tell him my address to ‘proove’ I lived there.

Grumble grumble mutter swear curses hell and poop. Parades – PTOOEY! Oh what I’d give for a good solid thunder storm…

Brilliant Idea for a new Buddy-Road Trip Period Movie

Posted 2008.07.30 0.00 in Swords by Stephanie

I got this idea from a post in a thread on a forum about swords and armour. I sorely wanted to post it as a reply there, but it would be so far off topic… Here’s the gist of the post:

for example, in the icelandic saga of gunnlaug, we have Hrafn and Gunnlaug intent on dueling each other to the death. They try to fight in Iceland, only to have the ruling council there tell them no – no dueling here. illegal upon pain of death to duel here. so they agree to sail to norway to settle their differences but again, the earl there tells them no – no dueling here. so they wind up walking into sweden just so that they could come to blows. that is a heck of a long way to travel just to find a jurisdiction where they would be free to fight.

So here’s the angle – the movie version of Hrafn and Gunnlaug’s Saga: You’ve got two guys, strong, athletic, but also kind of cute and loveable in their fighting-and-pillaging kind of way. They get in a squabble about some perceived injustice, something kind of small and ridiculous, but it gets out of hand. Hrafn steps on Gunnlaug’s foot, or Gunnlaug crashes his cart through Hrafn’s fence or something. So, there are some insults, some bravado, one thing leads to another and swords are drawn. They’re gonna duel it out. But wait! No, not here. The ruling council forbids it. Well, these two get drinking and talking and finally they both put their foots down – their gonna do it. The fourth cousin of a friend of a guy Hrafn once drank with heard that there was dueling in Norway. So they’re gonna go to Norway and fight it out. To save cost and make sure neither back out, they’re gonna go together – on the same boat! Now you’ve got Hrafn and Gunnlaug, road tripping, getting into some wacky adventures – they end up having to save each other from the occasional predicament, because neither wants the other one to get dead before he can get a chance to have the darn duel! Finally, they reach Norway. Ready to Get It On! But no. The Earl forbids it. So they’re having a drink, telling the story to the innkeeper, and he says Oh – My wife’s no-good cousin had a friend who got killed in a duel in Sweden – you can duel there. So off they go, Hrafn and Gunnlaug, walking to Sweden. More whacky adventures ensue.

In the movie version, neither Hrafn or Gunnlaug actually die. They do get to have their duel, but it ends up in a draw – they battle it out for a full 5 or 10 minutes, first one then the other losing or breaking his sword, they resort to fists, and so forth. Finally, exhausted, the two are laying muddy and bruised in a ditch, panting.

Hrafn (panting): “Gunnlaug… I think I yield?”
Gunnlaug (panting): “Yield…not a chance…I won’t forgive… uh..”
Hrafn : “No…it is I who cannot forgive…ah…”
Gunnlaug (hesitant>: “Hrafn…I no longer remember, what we were fighting about.”
Hrafn : “Nor I. Let’s go home.”

In the director’s cut — or after the credits roll — the final scene will be Hrafn and Gunnlaug, back in their home village, where Gunnlaug buys drinks, but accidentally knocks one of the mugs over, pouring meade all over Hrafn. Hrafn jumps up in anger, going for his sword, saying something untoward about Gunnlaug’s mother. Gunnlaug goes for his sword too, demanding justice.
The end…

My Summer Vacation – Days 3 and 4

Posted 2007.07.12 0.00 in Work by Stephanie

As expected / feared / dreaded, my presence was required in Ottawa to do the other installation. So Wednesday morning found me on a 5-hour drive to the nation’s capitol. Most of which went quite smoothly, thanks to the highway system.

Things changed abruptly on arrival though. In the Toronto area, we always whine and bitch about the traffic and the endless construction. Well either Ottawa is way, way worse than Toronto for traffic and construction, or I was working in Ottawa’s Construction District.

At one point I had to get from the customer’s location to a Staples, and back again. What should have been a 20 minute trip ended up taking an hour, because the roads kept closing. Some closed for construction, others closed for no observable reason. And when they close these roads, they don’t just put up a temporary sign in the road – they actually bolt signs to the light posts that say the road’s closed, and then add those red and green “New” signs next to them. Like, it’s not an inconvenience – it’s a feature! Isn’t this wonderful and exciting and novell – we’ve closed another road! Whee!

The traffic was a bit crazy ontop of all this. I don’t mean, there was more traffic – what I mean is that what traffic was there, seemed a bit crazy. Maybe they were just jumpy from having so many roads closed, like you never know when you set out to work in the morning, if you’ll be able to get home. They might close some roads behind you and leave you stranded.

Other than the navigational excitement, work went fairly smoothly and steadily. It still took time of course, but since I learned how to do it on Tuesday, the assembly / installation on Wednesday wasn’t too bad. Afterwards, I had some dinner at the hotel, did a bit of work via my laptop, and got to sleep early.

Day four started off pretty good in fact. I woke early but didn’t feel too tired, so I had breakfast in the hotel. I wasn’t expecting much so it was quite a surprise when the breakfast proved to be fabulous. The best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had, were had in the little cafe in the basement of a Best Western hotel in Ottawa. Go figure.

Back at the customer’s place, should have been a very short morning – just install the data file, do a training session, then hit the road. The data install went fast, the training was pretty quick, then we hit a snag. The data wasn’t right. A further hour of frustration ensued, plugging away on my laptop to try and clean up the data file. It was eventually sorted out and re-installed, and things appeared to be good.

So, about noon, I was able to hit the road and ‘enjoy’ another 5-hour drive.

For the last day of my summer holidays, I expect to have to go into the office and deal with whatever emergencies and crisises have developed over the past three days of being incommunicado due to these customer installations.