An occasional struggle

Often the words come to the surface easily, slipping through perfectly executed keystrokes that will eventually give way to a triumph of syntax. But some days, my mind shakes and shivers, constipated with ideas until I finally stick a finger in and force the bloated paragraphs out into some sort of semblance. My heart has ached at the thought of having treasured nonsense pried from its grasp while I beg it to just get up, already, put on some pants and leave the house.

And I wonder why I can’t stop biting my nails.

Vote for BK! Please!

As I alluded to in this post the other day, I entered BK in a contest, and I need your help to make her a winner!

The contest is sponsored by Bissell, and each week the picture with the most votes gets a Pet Hair Eraser vacuum from Bissell. But the grand prize of the whole contest is the pet’s photo printed on the Pet Hair Eraser vacuum and package and a $10,000 donation to the pet cause of the winner’s choice. Of course, I’ll consult with BK if we win. I’m sure she’ll want me to buy her a pony.

Look, we all know that BK is hot. BK knows that she is hot (which can be a problem sometimes, having a cat diva in the house). Please help us in our quest to make her America’s Next Top Cat Model and vote for BK!

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Let’s play “Who’s that commuter?”

After more than two years as a Murfreesboro-Nashville commuter, I’ve learned there are several truths about Nashville-area drivers. The No. 1 truth I have discovered, and I believe a commenter on Music City Bloggers mentioned this once, is that drivers on Nashville’s interstates take being passed as a sign of weakness. It doesn’t matter if they only want to travel at 73 mph. If someone tries to pass them, they will speed up to at least 85 mph before they resign themselves to being passed.

I admit I have been guilty of this occasionally, though only if the passer has already passed me only to then slow down to a speed less than what I was traveling previously. Otherwise, I just suck it up and let them go on about their way. Since I mainly travel at 74-76 mph, anyone going faster than me runs a greater chance of getting pulled over by one of the many state troopers on the road, leaving one less cop for me to watch for.

In my time on I-24 and 440 (I have a 75-mile roundtrip commute each day), I have come to the decision that most Nashville interstate drivers can be categorized. There are countless types of drivers out there, but these are the worst that I encounter most frequently in my daily commute. I call them the Asshole Commuters:

The Pusher. This is the driver that no matter what lane you’re in, and no matter how much over the speed limit you’re already going, will come up behind you and act like he is prepared to hit your back bumper unless you MOVE OUT OF THEIR WAY IMMEDIATELY!!!! While the Pusher mainly targets drivers in the HOV, left and middle lanes, I have actually seen the Pusher once force someone to merge left to let them pass in the far right lane.

The Floridian. Generally driving a Buick, Lincoln or other old-person sedan with Florida tags, the Floridian will drive no faster than 10 miles under the speed limit. The Floridian is elderly and always has an elderly passenger with him. Nintety-seven percent of the time, the Floridian will drive in the HOV lane and refuse to move to let you pass. Technically they are allowed to be there since there are two of them in the car, but in rush hour Nashville traffic this is a dangerous feat to attempt, as the HOV lane is often the last refuse of those trying but failing to pass in the other lanes. I have come to believe the Floridian is OK with taking such a risk because he is resigned to the fact that he only has a few years left to live, anyway, and why not go out pissing somebody off that has several years left to spend fighting traffic.

96_geo_metro_coupe_2.jpg

An example of a vehicle the Hillbilly might utilize. Other common options include a Dodge Neon, Chevy Lumina or Chrystler LaBaron

The Hillbilly. Like the Floridian, the Hillbilly is most often found riding in the HOV lane at several miles per hour under the limit. The only entities capable of persuading the Hillbilly to move out of the way are the Pusher and a state trooper or Metro cop. However, unlike the Floridian, the Hillbilly is always riding alone and most likely in a vehicle that would best be described as “busted.” The Hillbilly’s vehicle might include any four-door sedan made before 1995, will have at least two hubcaps missing, at least 25 percent rust on the body, and may be utilizing a donut tire. If you see a vehicle that resembles the aforementioned and notice the license plate has tags from Bedford, Warren, Cheatham, Hickman, DeKalb or Cannon counties, you are driving near the Hillbilly. Roll up your window immediately to avoid projectile cigarette butts and the tell-tale sounds of Def Leppard.

Mr. Important. Mr. Important always drives a BMW, Saab, Audi or Mercedes, and travels at a speed approaching that of light. He is most often found riding in the HOV lane, because let’s face it, he doesn’t have time for all that passing-slower-cars business. Mr. Important occasionally appears to be the Pusher, though he will not bother you after you’ve moved out of his way. He doesn’t want to traffic-battle you; he just wants to make his 40-mile commute in 20 minutes. If you are ever having trouble fighting your way through traffic, try to stay in the wake of Mr. Important. He will always find the quickest way out of a pack of slow drivers.

The Redneck. Not to be confused with the Hillbilly, the Redneck only drives a large truck (think Ford F-150, Ford F-250, Ford F-350, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Avalanche or any of those other big-ass trucks. No Rangers or Tacomas allowed). He can have plates from any county, though most found along I-24 will be from Rutherford or Davidson counties. The Redneck is annoying because when he passes you, your view will be obstructed–but only momentarily, as the Redneck is generally found speeding way more than you are. Incredulously, the Redneck is actually the most courteous of the Asshole Commuters, as the majority of the time he will move out of your way if he can see your tiny car behind him through all the glory of his American-flag-painted back window. The Redneck is also good about staying in a lane that fits his speed, and you will rarely have to pass and then move back in front of the Redneck. You will, however, be assaulted with an onslaught of “They took our jobs!” “W, the President,” and “It’s not a choice, it’s a life that I don’t want to raise or pay for with welfare programs but I’m going to vote for politicians who want to force you to have the bastard anyway” bumper stickers.

The Soccer Mom. The Soccer Mom drives–yep, you guessed it: a minivan. The soccer mom is not usually on the interstate for more than 10 miles or so, as she is either shuttling her kids to or from school or heading to work after dealing with the kids, but the damage she does in a short amount of time is unmistakable. If she has her kids in the car she will drive–slowly–in the HOV lane, even though technically her kids don’t count toward HOV-lane occupancy, as they are not licensed drivers that otherwise would be operating an additional vehicle in traffic. No matter what lane she is driving in, she will not move out of your way, no matter how slow she is traveling, until she sees her exit. She will then increase her speed by 70 percent, whip across four lanes of traffic without looking, yielding or turning down the Dave Matthews Band or the Doodlebops, and hit the exit ramp completely oblivious of the chaos left in her wake.

The Blocker. The Blocker is a commuter who doesn’t just want to prevent you from passing him, he doesn’t want you to pass anyone. He will maneuver his vehicle to a position that traps you behind another vehicle but next to him, and maintain the same speed as the vehicle in front of you so that there is no way you can get out of the pocket unless you slow down considerably. This can be dangerous, though, because the Blocker will often target vehicles in the middle or left lanes of traffic, and you risk pissing off other drives by slowing down to get away from the Blocker. The Blocker will also slow down or speed up to match your speed, so you must plan your extraction strategy carefully and be ready to initiate when he least expects it. The Blocker is most often seen driving a large-size SUV or a small, sporty luxury car.

The Megalomaniac. The Megalomaniac is perhaps the worst commuter you will encounter on the road. He drives an SUV the size of a house, and will do everything in his power to make your commute miserable simply because you dared to drive within 100 feet of the ridiculous amount of emissions coming from his vehicle. The Megalomaniac drives primarily in the left lanes of traffic, including the HOV lane, at approximately 65 mph, and under no circumstances will he move over to let you pass. Ever. If the pavement in his lane were to suddenly go up in a 20-foot wall of flames, the Megalomaniac would come to a complete stop, end his cell phone call to ring up 911, and then wait for the fire department to clear the road before he would move to another lane. You will most likely have to pass every Megalomaniac you encounter on the road once, but once he realizes what has happened, he will speed up immediately and become the Pusher. Once he has pushed you out of his way and is traveling in front of you again, he will then slow down until you are forced to brake and swerve to avoid hitting him. The Megalomaniac often exhibits signs of The Blocker as well.

The Douche. The Douche is a commuter who is driving a small, sporty luxury car but obviously does not understand how to operate such a vehicle. The Douche varies his speed from slow to did-he-just-pass-out slow, weaves in and out of traffic for no apparent reason as if still asleep, hugs either the right or left line of his lane for miles before taking up half of your lane temporarily and frequently, and taps the brakes unnecessarily. If you suspect you might be driving near the Douche but aren’t sure, look for the bluetooth headpiece in his ear or a three-letter vacation destination sticker on his back windshield.

These are just some of my pet peeves that I encounter on my way to and from work every day. I know I am not completely faultless when it comes to inconsiderate driving, but I really do try my best. Unless you piss me off first. Then it’s on, bitches.

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Mountains

I can feel the more brewing
in my bones
it taunts me in the hills I pass
flaunting its freedom in a back corner
of my hard-wrung head
it smells like the fall
and sounds like the west.

Rush Limbaugh is an idiot

I’m sure you already knew that, but I’m not talking his right-wing wacko leanings today, folks. I’m talking about his lame-ass plea to Steve Jobs to help him with some issues (which he didn’t name in his original plea, but has now said what two issues–two very common issues, actually, that he could most likely solve if he, I don’t know, DID SOME RESEARCH. Or talked to Apple support like any other NORMAL human being would do. It’s not like he had tried and tried to get help and was ignored.)

So it’s not so much the fact that Limbaugh thinks he’s so important that when he has a problem he can just expect Steve Jobs to respond to him (and seriously, when is the last time you had a problem with Windows–ok, if you use it then you probably had a problem 5 mins. ago–and expected Bill Gates to even know how to fix it? Got car trouble? Why, call on the CEO of course!) that bugs me. It’s the bullshitting he does in his plea.

For example:

“You know, I’m a big Mac guy. I love Macs, and I’ve got four Mac Pros. They’re the top-of-the-line Mac Pros, maxed out…”  

Seriously? Because when a Mac Pro is actually “maxed out,” it costs roughly $24,000. So Limbaugh has four $24,000 machines for personal use? He spent about $100,000 on these machines and his sales rep/Apple store/wherever-the-fudge-he-bought-them is just ignoring him? Really? Because when I worked for Apple, we helped people who didn’t even buy their machines from us. FOR FREE.

But then I read this, which clinched my thinking that he’s just making shit up:

“I just ordered six brand-new Mac Pros: four for me and two as gifts; maxed out, Blu-ray drives.”  

Yeah, you know what? Mac Pros don’t come with a Blu-ray drive option. Check the Web site, Rush. And if yours showed up with them, then you obviously didn’t get them from Apple. So I hope you got someone really good to fuck around with and add blu-ray to your four $24,000 machines, jackass. Maybe you should ask them what else they tinkered with.

If Steve Jobs does reply, I hope it’s to tell Limbaugh to stick his microphone up his weathered old ass. Oh, wait. Steve did respond.