Your Smartphone or Your Life

Everyone: please be safe on the road. Whatever you need to read or look at on a phone can wait. It’s not worth dying for.
 
A few things I’ve seen in the last 24 hours:
 
A young man riding a bike and reading a piece of paper, with no hands on the handlebars. He was so focused on the paper that he wasn’t looking at the road at all, ran a stop sign, and turned directly into oncoming traffic, where he nearly got hit by a car. He never looked up, even when the car swerved around him, but just kept riding down the wrong side of the road.
 
A guy driving a car, using both hands to hold a book instead of the wheel, and looking down at the book in his lap, all while driving at full speed down one of the busiest streets in Houston during rush hour.
 
Multiple people running stop signs in my neighborhood at full speed, while all around children were walking to and from school.
 
A lady driving down one of those same neighborhood streets, holding her phone directly in front of her face… with small children in the back seat.
 
A story about a young lady who tried to “go live” on a streaming video service while driving. It cost her life and the lives of everyone else in her car.
 
Please drive when you’re driving. Read, text, tweet, “go live,” or play games later. Whatever else is going on in your life, it’s not so important that you need to jeopardize your life or the lives of your children and neighbors.

The First Thing We Do…

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
~ Dick, in Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2

I am always amused when I get campaign literature from various folks attempting to smear some candidate or another as “a trial lawyer.” Being a trial lawyer myself, I tend to have a flickering sense that I should be somewhat offended. But then I remember that this kind of campaign literature gives good insight into the candidates promoting it, who, hypocritically, are very often trial lawyers turned into politicians. I then get a good chuckle out of the whole thing as the literature in question enters the trash compactor (or paper shredder, depending on how strong that first reaction was).

Note to Self…

Always, always double-check that anyone who has worked on your car gave you back the key for your wheel locks. Apparently, the last folks to work on Sarah’s car did not give us the key for her wheel locks, which we discovered today when I tried to get a screw removed from one tire and get the tire patched. Better now than out on some highway, but still a pain.

The stupid part is that I’ve had this happen to me once before. Fortunately, in this case, I was able just to put some air in it, drive it to the nearest dealership, and buy a replacement key on the spot. The last time that happened was a much bigger pain.

Minutes to Circle

If you’ve ever driven from O’Hare into the heart of Chicago, you have surely seen the electric signs that say things like “24 minutes to circle via Kennedy.” I’ve always thought that was bizarre at best, since I am aware of the Loop in Chicago, but not anything known as “the circle.” Can anybody shed light on this? Is it just a huge mistake, possibly by highway workers who don’t know the city, like when I once had to call 911 and the dispatcher didn’t believe that Lake Shore Drive is in Chicago? [Yes, that really happened – she insisted I must somehow be calling from Indiana. She also did not recognize as a Chicago landmark the term “I-55.”]

Hard Times

You know times are bad when large corporations start accepting advertising money to do product placement in their web chat tech support sessions. For example: “Thank you, I’ve found your account information.  While I’m looking up your account info, be sure to check out _____, where you can meet friends, play games, etc.” That just happened.  And yes, I really was told that my account info had been located, then pitched some nonsense third-party garbage while the tech support person “looked up” my account.

Oh, and said company did not resolve my issue. This, despite the fact that this was my second contact with tech support stemming from the complete failure of their website to display the option I need to access, except in how-to diagrams.

Truly impressive.

Heavy Memory

This is just odd.

ad fail

You know, there are times, ya just gotta rip that RAM right out of the computer, drop it in your pocket, and GO. You just, you know, gotta move. And you might need 4 gigs of RAM when you get… wherever you’re going. Somebody might need RAM! Think of the children!!!

How Not to Set Up a Patio Set

Last weekend’s big project was for me to set up our patio furniture. Newly arrived – we ordered it online – it sat on the back porch for only about 12 hours; I really wanted to get to it. So, I went outside, cut open the table box with a utility knife, started removing the table… and promptly exploded the glass table top into roughly 180,000 pieces. It was a tempered glass top, and just barely brushed the box and ground on its way out of the box. So, I was left holding an empty table frame and a sackful of glass. Good times.

I went and bought a new set – we were able to get a near-total refund (no shipping) on the old one – which reminded me of two important life lessons:

1) If you want something done right (like tying a table to the top of the car), you’d better do it yourself.
2) I need a pickup truck (eliminating the relevance of #1 to this scenario).

Of course, the simplest lesson of all here: do not detonate your patio set.

Epic Mail Merge Fail

I received a mass-mailed (via U.S. Mail) invitation to purchase window blinds – lots of them – today. The recipient on the label was:

Cottrell Edward Michael Etal Cottrell
Edward Michael Etal

FAIL.

Dog on a Ham Slicer

Jeremy Clarkson is one of the geniuses featured on the BBC series Top Gear. He is also author of possibly the most amazing review of a new car I have ever read.

Money quote:

It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid.

And the sound is worse. The Honda’s petrol engine is a much-shaved, built-for-economy, low-friction 1.3 that, at full chat, makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer.

So you’re sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you’re doing only 23mph because that’s about the top speed, and you’re thinking things can’t get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit.

Genius.

(h/t Arts & Letters Daily)