Annoying drivers

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was in trouble again this year for describing the Isle of Sheppey in Kent as a giant caravan site, but he’s more than well known for bemoaning the number of caravans being driven on the roads and the desperation of getting stuck behind one.

Caravan towers aside, which drivers or actions make other motorists fume? Research by a UK broker unsurprisingly found anything that compromised your own space or safety to be the most annoying, listing tailgating, cutting up or lack of indication amongst the worst offenses. In fact, a quarter of those who responded put not indicating the top of the list.

Perhaps it’s not always a deliberate action that causes annoyance. The research pointed out the difference between pedestrian behavior and motoring behavior: for instance, if we bump into someone whilst walking along it’s a natural response to say sorry, but in a car it’s not easy to get close eye contact and even if you pull a ‘sorry’ face it may not be seen. Easier perhaps to pretend nothing happened and drive on your way!

Are classic car owners more considerate drivers?

Whether the answer’s yes or no, you can rest assured that whether you tow a caravan or forget to indicate when turning, it won’t actually affect your Cherished Vehicle Insurance. And the specialist team at Cherished Vehicle Insurance will be only too pleased to maneuver you into the best possible classic car cover and price!


Where's Susan?

It’s Sunday and it’s seven a.m. and I’ve been up for quite a few minutes. This is fine now because the weather is nice and it always feels good to get a jump on an old day. Later, though, I will be yawning and rubbing my eyes like a child. I’ll need to do a sleeping cap and my eye-mask and hop into bed no later than eight p.m.! Eight p.m., can you imagine it? How embarrassing! How dreadful! How unlikely! It will never happen. I can most usually be seen howling at the moon all night long, going nuts, partying until the sun comes up.

Last Monday was my birthday, and I spent it well. I’m not too keen on birthdays, to be honest. It’s not that I’m sad about growing older. I’m aware that the transition from twenty-two to twenty-three is nothing special or impressive. I like celebrating the birthdays of others, and I remember a time when I was stoked on my own, but it’s been awhile. I wonder when the switch happened. Probably the year that I had a sleep-over and we watched IT because the film caused me to fear to shower, and dirty is no way to enter a new year of life.

Where's Susan?

I think I just don’t like the type of attention birthdays bring. It embarrasses me. While I’m sure it’s not as visible as I think it is, I get awkward and shifty about the whole thing. And also, I didn’t really do anything on that June 1st two decades ago. My mom did all of the work. She walked around the hospital corridors alone and tried not to barf while the big, fat, sweaty nurse with major body odor took blood and things in a tiny, June-hot room. While my heart feels squeezed when I think of that, it really was the most appropriate way for a difficult person like myself to arrive, and here I am, still.

So, I took off work Monday and hung out at Central Park. I snagged an epic spot and read a bit of P.G. Wodehouse. I also got a hair cut, used FAO Schwarz for their nice bathroom and ended up looking at all kinds of toys, and then ate Shake Shack for the first time. It was delicious and only made better by Tim Robbins being in line ahead of us. Vince noticed first and said, “Shawshank Redemption guy?” and I said, “Huh?” and he said, “In line ahead of us,” and I said, “WHERE’S SUSAN!?!?” At least, that’s how I remember the conversation.

Where's Susan?

I really love seeing celebrities, if we’re being honest. Not so much because of who they are, but because of how people, myself included, react to them. Once while I was enjoying some alcohol with Chelsea, I thought I saw Darrell Hammond. He’s not exactly on the top of his game or anything, but I was still young and excitable.

I nudged Chelsea and said, “Chelsea…CHELSEA….dodon’t….look….now…..but Darrell Hammond is right over there!” She proceeded to look around and I scolded her, “Don’t look like that, he’ll see you!” When she spotted the person I was talking about, she laughed at me and said, “That is not Darrell Hammond.” I meekly argued for thirty seconds before conceding that not only was it not Darrell Hammond, but also that it didn’t look anything like him at all. I had jumped the celebrity spotting gun, and Chelsea continues to make fun of me for it to this day.


Typical Online Personas

Growing up we spend most of our time complaining that people don’t take us seriously enough. I know most teenagers think they know it all and no one realizes it or respects them for it. As an adult, most of us get over this though plenty of others do not.

Most adults I deal with on a day-to-day basis understand and even have a sense of humor. I know this may not seem like a novel concept, but it is harder to come by than I would have thought. Some people just take things too seriously and jump at the chance to take offense at even the smallest thing they can find.

I see this a lot in online discussions. Forums, comments on articles, and especially sites like Digg and Slashdot where commenting is a major portion of the community on which they are built tend to drive me crazy. I used to read through comments purely for entertainment, but the common types that appear bug me too much that I have given up reading anything other than the source article unless I am really intrigued by what others might have to say on the subject.

I have discussed before how the anonymity the ‘net gives people tends to bring out the worst in so many. So many people lose all practical inhibitions, meaning the good ones when it comes to social grace or simple respect for fellow human beings. They will jump on even the smallest error in a post as an opportunity to belittle the individual and invalidate any point that the individual might have been trying to make.

Here are a few of the common “types” I have observed when perusing such comment threads:

  • Those with a valid point to add to the discussion – a small minority
  • The spell checkers – those that flame any user that happens to let a typo through before submitting their comment
  • The grammar checkers – just like the spell checkers, but these believe they are the only ones with a mastery of the English language and consider it a shame that apparently no one else does.
  • The oppositional ones – they will take the opposite point of view on every discussion
  • The rule enforcers – those that report anyone they don’t like to the moderator for apparent rules violations.
  • The butt kissers – those that will gush with appreciation and compliments for the site administrators and moderators whenever an official announcement is posted.
  • The loyalists – the ones that want to be recognized for their long-standing loyalty and obvious prowess because they “have been there since the beginning”
  • The experts (aka know-it-alls) – whenever long debate ensues, these users jump in with the “official speak” and a list of references backing their position. Sometimes these types are right, other times they are just annoying.
  • The agree-ers – these just cannot see a thread and not participate. They will post “me too” or “yes” on every thread.
  • The I-can’t-search-for-myself types – will ask the same question that has been covered a hundred times before rather than search out the answer from the previous posts.
  • The propagandist – No matter what the topic, George Bush is at fault (or other conservative/liberal depending on your preference). Even if they think they are being funny, they will constantly throw in degrading comments showing their obvious slant.
  • The spammer – the idiot that acts as they care with some half-baked post and a huge signature line with all their products/sites they are advertising.There are oh so many more “types” out there, but that is a good start. Any other types you would like to add to the list?

There’s Nothing on TV

I know I am overgeneralizing with that title, but I hope to make the point that TV these days has a lot of nothing worth watching.

Do you remember as a kid opening up the fridge and standing there for several minutes before your mom or dad yelled at asked you to close the door? Your reply was “but there’s nothing to eat!” Of course, there were plenty of things to eat in there, but none of it sounded all that interesting to you. You wanted something good.

That is the way I feel about TV these days. There is always plenty of channels with something on, but none of it sounds all that interesting to me. Fortunately, some smart people invented the DVR, which lets me digitally record shows, even automatically recording all new shows of certain series I indicate. This lets me watch what I think is interesting when I want to watch it.There’s Nothing on TV

Lately though, even having a DVR is not enough. I have come to the end of my most recent Dish Network contract feeling unsatisfied with what I am paying nearly $50 a month to have just the basic options of their service. What irks me, even more, is that they are still advertising the $29.95 rate that I signed up for, and not as a promotional price. About halfway through the service, they raised the rates due to “increasing costs of delivering high-quality content.” Hogwash.

So, at the end of the month, we are turning the service off. Prior to this most recent stint back on the Dish service, we chose as a family to not have any TV service for a little over a year. We found that we did more as a family, had more time to do other things, and we ended up watching many DVD based TV shows sans-commercials. For the most part, we really didn’t miss having live TV. We ended up subscribing for Dish to get a few channels and shows we wanted to catch since we are in a pocket that really doesn’t get any decent local reception. Now we again don’t feel it is worth it.

There’s Nothing on TV

With $50/mo in savings, I am planning to research some better antennae options mounted in my attic (so I don’t have a huge device on my roof) to see if I can pull down a better signal for local channels. I will miss TLC and Discovery, ESPN and TBS/TNT, but really that is about it. Otherwise, I plan to catch some shows online and perhaps just do more with the time I have wasted periodically watching TV. What a novel concept.

Maybe I’ll read a few more books or spend more time with my photography. Whatever I do, I know it will be more productive than watching TV.