07-27-11 - Some random ranting

Print to PDF is easy peasy without installing anything; there are various PDF writer printer drivers, but I've found them to be generally flakey and generally a pain. Instead just select print to the built-in Microsoft XPS Document writer, then use one of the web XPS to PDF converters.

There's god damn traffic on the 520 every day now because of the construction on the *side* of the road. Not on the road, mind you, they don't actually block traffic at all, but there's lots of cranes and shite around preparing for the new bridge building, and all the fucking morons freak out and slam on their brakes. It used to be that traffic cleared up by around 10 AM and I could shoot in to the office, but now it lingers until 11 or so. And worst of all when I do get stuck in this traffic I'm just filled with rage because it's so fucking stupid and pointless, there is no god damn reason for these traffic jams they aren't actually blocking the roads you morons!

(every time the god damn toll signs change on the 520 that also leads to a wave of unnecessary stopping ; god fucking dammit, when you are driving on the freeway you don't fucking slam on your brakes to read a sign. If you want to find out about the impending toll get on the fucking internet and look it up AFTER you get off the freeway)

The major bridges here now have adaptive speed limits. That is, the speed limit is on a digital screen and it changes based on traffic conditions. So if traffic is bad it goes down to 45 or whatever. This is so fucking retarded. First of all, if traffic is bad, you have to go slow anyway. I understand the point is to get you to slow down before you get to the traffic to try to smooth things out, but there's no fucking way that's going to work, you're on a freeway where people are used to going 60, they're not going to slow down to 45 just because there's traffic miles ahead. In reality what it does is make you constantly watch for the speed limit signs to see what the limit is today, rather than watching the road. And it opens up the door for the ticketting cops to really fuck you when you're driving along on the freeway at a perfectly reasonable speed and little did you know the limit actually was 45 not the 55 or 60 that it normally is. Hey, let's just randomly change the laws each day of the week.

I often complain about how getting a ticket in the US wrecks your car insurance rates. The $400 ticket is pretty irrelevant compared to the $5000 in increased insurance cost over the next few years. But if you have a reasonable amount of cash there is actually a solution to this - either self insure completely (possible but kind of a pain in the butt because you have to file various forms and set up the right kind of savings account), or just get the absolute minimum of insurance from the cheapest/shadiest provider and just plan on using cash if you ever have a problem.

I have noticed that people who build chicken coops often put them at the very edge of their own property, eg. as close to their neighbors as possible and as far as possible from their own home. This is of course being a huge fucking dick. If you want to have questionable barn-yard animals in a dense urban area, you should accept all the negatives (smell, noise) for yourself, not inflict them on others.

(of course I feel the same way about dogs; for example if a dog won't stop yapping at all hours, the only appropriate place to keep it is inside an isolation tank with its owner; chickens really aren't any noisier or stinkier than dogs (as long as you don't have roosters or particularly noisy varieties of chickens)). (and of course dog owners are just as bad about the placement of their dog run ; they always put it as far as possible from their own bedroom).

I tend to be way overly considerate about how my actions affect others; I've always had the philosophy that anything you do that's voluntary (eg. for your pleasure, not for your survival) should have no ill effects whatsoever on others. But this is really just a form of self-sabotage, because nobody else treats me this way, and nobody really notices that I'm doing it; for example the neighbors don't appreciate the fact that I would like to crank up the music loud but I don't because that would be an annoyance to them. Similarly, if you make a mistake, I've always believed that you should suffer the consequences for yourself. You don't try to minimize the affect on yourself or pass it off to others; when you do a shit, you eat it.

This ( Backyard Chicken Economics Are They Actually Cost-Effective the GoodEater Collaborative ) kind of self-serving economic rationalization is super retarded, and sadly quite common. There's a formula for this particular form of insanity that they seem to follow quite closely. They'll be oddly over-specific about certain things and count costs down to the penny, and then just wave their hands and completely not count things. It's exactly like the wonderfully un-self-aware "minimalist" movement that's going on now, where they exactly count their posessions, and then wave their hands over "cooking gear" as one item, or "I also borrow things from my wife" ; wait, what? you're not counting your wife's stuff? The backyard chicken rationalizer just randomly doesn't count things that he "got from a neighbor" ; wait what? You can't do that. In any case, the whole analysis is retarded because he doesn't count opportunity cost for your time or the land (the land in particular is quite significant). In reality raising chickens in your yard is a *massive* money loser and the only reason to do it is if you like it. The whole article should have been "chickens cost a lot, just like any pet, so you should have them if you like them. the end" instead of this inane long-winded pointless rationalization with charts and graphs.

(Also : "Joshua Levin is a Senior Program Officer at the World Wildlife Fund, specializing in finance and agricultural commodities" ; hmm but he doesn't realize that using organic feed or not changes the value of the eggs? or that small-scale agriculture in any area with outrageously high land and labor costs is just doomed; or that going super-upscale is the only remote chance that it has to be close to break even; holy crap the WWF is in bad shape).


Aaron said...

Re: 520 That exit into Bellevue is closed, but yeah it's mostly just drivers are fucking idiots. Are you saying it's slowing traffic on 90 too, or are you actually using 520 again?
When it's really stop-and-go on that section of 520 from the bridge to 405, I sometimes jump off at at that first exit after the bridge (84th?) and parallel the freeway till 92nd and get back on. It's slightly faster, and much more relaxing.
Have you seen the completely insane plan for 520? I thought they were just going to replace the bridge but no... it's much much worse than that. They're replacing all of 520 basically from I-5 to 405, turning into a huge concrete hell-corridor like 90 is. The I-5 - Medina section and the eastside section. These youtubes are pretty terrible (they should just release a maya model of the project or something, but omg even with the horribly optimistic tree rendering going on, it's pretty nasty stuff. And that huge of a project is going to screw up the commute way more than the bridge replacement will.

cbloom said...

I stopped using 90 because it's just too obviously the right thing to do to cheat into the carpool lane on 405 N through downtown Bellevue, and I just didn't want to deal with the moral dilemma every morning. So yeah, back on 520 until I move.

The W of Lake Wash stuff is still pending. So rather than just shut it down and get it all done at once, the bridge will take until 2015, then the non-bridge part will finally get underway, and it will just be fooked forever.

old rants