03-06-09 - Driving

Holy crap it's fucking gorgeous out here. It's sunny and very clear, the mountains in the distance are gleaming white.

I've been looking at cars. God damn I hate all the new flanges and hard edges and pointless stripes and cuts that are in ALL the modern cars, even the fucking new BMWs and Audis which you used to be able to at least rely on to keep the styling simple and boring. It's like all the car designers looked at the fucking HYUNDAI TIBURON and thought "wow that's brilliant, we need to make our luxury sedans look more like a fucking riced-up japanese street racer".

Almost every damn car review by an American author talks about the fucking CUP HOLDERS. WTF, when being able to fit your fucking big gulp in your car is one of your top priorities, something has gone seriously wrong with your life.

Anyway I think it's pretty much down to the BMW 335xi or the Infinity G37x. (I suppose a regular M3 should be considered too). Time to go drive them.

The fucking traffic up here pisses me off so much. Commuting in the rain in stop and go traffic at all hours is just unbearably depressing. Yesterday I slogged through it and just didn't even have enough will to live to bother ranting about it. Today it was fucking retarded but at least I still have my vigor. There have been a few days that I've hit traffic on the way to work and wanted to just turn it around and go home. Unfortunately I wasn't in a good spot to be able to do that. I have just bypassed my exit a few times and gone another way when I see a merge is all jammed up. I know it adds a lot of time to my trip, but I'd rather spend more time driving in peace than less time in gridlock.

I swear 90% of the traffic up here is just because of fucking busy bodies and brake-slammer and left-lane cloggers. For those of you who are all holier-than-thou and have no fucking clue about traffic jams - traffic jams largely happen as a random "crystal seeding" type phenomenon. A large amount of traffic can flow through a small hole just fine as long as everybody just FUCKING GOES. When some jackass gets freaked out and slams on his brakes for no damn reason, then some other jackass brakes, then that makes two more brake, BOOM crystal formation total jammup. Furthermore, the slow-restarters make it worse. No, you don't need to drag race away from a jam-up, but you also don't need to keep going at damn traffic jam speeds when you get past the obstruction. Clear the pipe out and it will flow.

By far the most regularly tilting thing here is the fucking inability of half the population to merge. It's ridiculous. I have never in my many travels witnessed a collective population that is so uniformly unable to execute a basic task of daily life. It's like it's become a societal norm around here. There are parents who can't merge that teach their kids to not merge, and they grow up thinking that it's perfectly fine to come to a COMPLETE STOP when getting on a freeway. The onramp from Montlake to the 520 is literally a total traffic jam every single day of the year just because people cannot fucking merge. You get up to fucking speed and you slip in smoothly.

BTW the merge retardedness is not entirely the fault of the people coming into the flow - the people who are in the flow seem equally retarded. Hey you fucking see somebody is coming in, if you just ignore them they're not going to go away. You're not a fucking ostrich. You can either speed up or slow down to let them slip in front or behind you, or you could even like fucking change lanes into the left lane to give them a whole free spot. ZOMG change lanes wow that's way too advanced.

Due to the constant merge crisis I have taken up a few reactive strategies. One is to just hang way back if I'm on an onramp and someone is in front of me. When I first moved up here I had a few crises where I was rolling along the onramp from Lake Washington to the 520, la di da, not a care in my head, when all of a sudden the fucking car in front of me that I expect to merge instead slams on his brakes and comes to a complete stop, so I have to stop behind him. Now I'm like two inches from traffic going 60 and I have to merge. Awesome. Now I always hang back like a 100 yards until I see that the fuck-tard in front of me has actually merged, and then I go ahead and gun it and get on.

The other trick is when merging from one freeway to the other I've taken to jumping the merge really early across the white lines. The thing is, the fucking traffic is really light, there are no cars, but one fuck-tard will be camped out blocking the merge and all the people merging are all in a tizzy slamming on the brakes. In the mean time the left lanes are wide open. Boom I jump it.

Yesterday in the fucking miserable rain and traffic I cheated and used the carpool lane for the first time. I haven't done that yet, and I feel like it's morally wrong somehow, but fuck I couldn't take it any more. I see people cheat *all the time*. Almost every day I see a few. In fact I would say well over 50% of the people in the carpool lane are solos. They're usually the dickwad fuck-tards who are riding my bumper and swerving around too much and they decide to jump out into the carpool lane to pass everyone. It really pisses me off when I'm stuck in traffic, but maybe I should just fucking cheat all the time.

Really the carpool lane should just be a "premium lane" that you pay $500 a year to get access to. They give you a toll transponder thing and put a camera on it so they can just automatically charge violators. The funds go towards road improvements. Everybody wins - the dumb fucking broke suckers who can't afford the premium will benefit from the road improvements, and we masters of the universe get to go faster. Win win imo.


Aaron said...

the 167 in kent is a pay to use carpool lane.

billyzelsnack said...

Living in Seattle and working in Kirkland is a lot like owning a swimming pool. The ideal of a pool is great, but in the end they are too much of a pain in the ass to be worth it. It's better off to just be good friends with someone that owns a pool. Just like it's better off to crash on someone's couch in Seattle.

Actually.. Why the hell are the Rad offices in Kirkland anyway? Doesn't everyone live in Seattle? That's pretty dumb.

cbloom said...

There's definitely a portion of RAD that would be happy to move. The problem with office locations is inertia. Once people get settled in to one spot you can't just up and move them.

It would be awesome to be able to work and live downtown. Not just for the ease of commute, but because you can walk out of your office during the day and have good restaurants and shops and stuff right there. And the feeling of being in an urban place with cool people all day is much more exciting to me.

I would have taken a job in SF if I could have found anything in the city center just for those advantages. Sadly all the good jobs in SF are in the burbs too.

cbloom said...

BTW I lived and worked in Redmond long ago, and that was misery. The traffic to get into the city to go out to dinner or something was just not worth it, so I wound up just staying in Redmond all the time, which is like being in a very bland prison.

Aaron said...

Yeah commute traffic within Redmond is EVIL, too. I'd much rather commute the 520 than drive into work on Willows. Dunno man, I think my commute should be longer than yours, but I just don't feel the pain. You need to like mark up a map or something with where these difficult spots are for ya.

Sly said...

How much time do you guys commute on average?

I've been fortunate enough to live in countries were I was spending not too long time in subways/tubes/metros/mrt/whatever_one_names_it, like the shortest was 15mn, and the longest 45mn.

I'd get crazy if I were to stay in a bloody-not-moving-as-stuck-in-the-traffic-jam-car for one hour or more, like I read somewhere here :(

cbloom said...

I only spend like 15-30 minutes commuting, I'm just a big cry-baby.

I commuted one summer in LA from Pasadena to Simi Valley which was 1-2 hours each way. That's not at all unusual for an LA commute.

The thing that really frustrates me here is the randomness of it, and the lack of reasonable alternatives.

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

35 min to work (north seattle -> downtown redmond.
35-40 home.
That's with heavy optimization. Without that, it's probably 40-45 to work and 45-60 home. 17.5 miles. 25 minutes without any traffic.

old rants