12/29/2006

Last Post of 2006

Departure Time: 7:13
Arrival Time: 7:46
Weather as I call it: Cloudy and cold -- 30s
Paper Guy: Hat but no scarf
Shady Gas Price: $2.29
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I tried to get my duration down under 30 minutes today...but my attempt was foiled by some strange traffic pile up at Kenmore Square. It was strange because it cleared up as fast as it appeared....it may have been due to some bad merge.

Funny stuff from the user stats: I have received a few visitors from search engines on the query of "Let Earth Receive Her King". How 'bout choo?

I am currently working on the Shady Gas Price chart with all-time data. Although it isn't finished, there is a pretty clear trend.

Wellup, 2006 had its ups and downs for me.

I predict 2007 will be a better year. Be well.

12/28/2006

32 Minutes Long

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 7:44
Weather as I call it: Clear skies, around the freezing mark.
Paper Guy: Scarf around the neck.
Shady Gas Price: $2.29
Yelled at other drivers: Nah
Feared for my life: Felt good!

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When I drove by Paper Guy, I think we had a moment...ish. Since there were very few cars on the road this morning, I approached him at a pretty steady clip. I turned to look at him while I was passing. He looked up and I think we made eye contact although it was hard to tell because he was wearing his shades.

I felt a twinge of sadness as I left him standing there. He doesn't make many sales on days like these...or so I assume. Don't fret Paper Guy! Come January 2nd the traffic will be back.

I tried to get my duration under 30 minutes...missed it by 3 minutes. I hit one too many stop lights.

I saw an old guy walking two dalmations along the Charles today. Here's a cute dog picture:

dalmations

12/26/2006

Twas The Day After Christmas

Departure Time: 8:28
Arrival Time: 8:58
Weather as I call it: Light Rain
Paper Guy: Hat, shades, winning smile, and a bundle of Heralds
Shady Gas Price: $2.29
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Soooooowah, I was in the lovely town of Plymouth for Christmas...and that is where I woke up this morning. I drove up north to drop off all our gifts at the house and a little pebble bounced off a dump truck and now I have a little crack in my windshield.

Wah.

After leaving the house, the ride to work was awesome. A 30 minute duration is fantastic! Let's see if I can get it down under 29 later on in the week.

12/21/2006

Happy Holidays Indeed

Departure Time: 7:14
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Cloudy...cold but not freezing
Paper Guy: Ready for a blizzard. He had a scarf wrapped around his face.
Shady Gas Price: $2.29
Yelled at other drivers: I tooted the horn
Feared for my life: No

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Some woman was playing games on Soldier's Field. One moment, she needs to be in the right lane. The next moment, she needs to be in the left.

It wasn't until she almost cut me off that I let her know she was annoying me and putting me at risk of another No-Fault accident.

She looked at me as if she didn't understand why I was beeping. I wanted to ask her if she recalled the 5 previous rapid lane changes.

Happy Holidays, ev'rbod. See you on Boxing Day.

12/20/2006

Later Than Usual

Departure Time: N/A
Arrival Time: N/A
Weather as I call it: Sunny and Clear!
Paper Guy: N/A
Shady Gas Price: N/A
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I had a doctor's appointment...so I came to work late.

No problem, mon.

12/19/2006

12 Days To Go

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:49
Weather as I call it: Sunny with a solid mass of wispy clouds
Paper Guy: Winter hat, shades, and a smile
Shady Gas Price: $2.29
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I don't know about you...but I can't wait for 2006 to be over. Apart from my son being born, this year has been crappy. I guess it all balanced out.


I still need to get my car repaired from my accident.

12/18/2006

Less Cars and Loving It

Departure Time: 7:07
Arrival Time: 7:48
Weather as I call it: Cloudy...but still mild
Paper Guy: I didn't see him...driving too fast.
Shady Gas Price: $2.29...boo!
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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And it begins! The holiday season brings light communtes...people on vaca...college kids home for winter break...shoppers getting locked inside department stores overnight.

It's the most wonderful time of the year...except for summer...and opening day...and my birthday.

As long as you are out of my way, I am pleased.

12/14/2006

Wishing You A Cup Half Full

Departure Time: 7:04
Arrival Time: 7:48
Weather as I call it: Foggy at the start...then sunny.
Paper Guy: Smiling with his hat and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I have my satellite radio receiver programmed to alert me when certain songs are broadcasted over any of the channels, although I think this particular one is only played on the Blues station: "Stay All Night" by Junior Kimbrough.

If you ain't rocking the Kimbrough, then you ain't rocking.

Off tomorrow...Type at you Monday.

12/13/2006

Catchphrases

Departure Time: 7:14
Arrival Time: 8:00
Weather as I call it: Cloudy but mild
Paper Guy: Smiling, waving, and selling with his winter hat and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Have the college kiddies gone on winter break already? The roads have been calm, and although the volume has been roughly the same...there seems to be a rhythm...a smoothness...to the commute that usually coincides with the lack of inexperienced drivers on the road.

Or maybe I am just filled with X-Mas joy and it's affecting my attitude about driving to work.

Like Dean's Home Furniture used to say, "I doubt it!"

12/12/2006

Driving While Blind

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:52
Weather as I call it: The sun was up and out...I had to scrape the windshield though.
Paper Guy: Working hard with his hat and shades on.
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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No racing today, but I did see a woman pick her nose. I just happened to look in my rearview mirror and there she was...digging for China.

Other than that, it was pretty uninteresting. I did have some frosted-up windows that did impair my view...but I'm a pro.

I can drive this route with my eyes closed.

12/11/2006

I Wouldn't Call It Dragging

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 7:56
Weather as I call it: Cloudy...probably in the 30s
Paper Guy: Leaning against the "Left Lane for Left Turn Only" sign. Hat, McDs windbreaker, shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Ugh...having problem with the new blogger interface...no matter....

Quiet Monday morning. I got into a little race with a young woman in a silver Civic. She passed me once on the McGrath HWY (The seagull is gone, btw)...I came up behind her and passed her while I crawled up to a red light.

As I passed her, I looked over...and although we didn't make eye contact...we both knew...it was on.

At the next light, she deftly maneuvered and got way ahead of the line of cars.

By the time we got on to Storrow Drive, I conceded.

She's tricky.

12/07/2006

Better Late Than Never

Departure Time: 8:42
Arrival Time: 9:21
Weather as I call it: Sunny and a little warmer
Paper Guy: N/A
Shady Gas Price: N/A
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I left a little later today because I had to take my wife to the dentist for a 7:15 cavity filling.

I went a different way...Tobin bridge to get to work faster. Meh, traffic.

I'm out tomorrow. Check back Monday.

12/06/2006

Go Down To The Crossroads

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:50
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cold
Paper Guy: Shades Scarf Hat
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: Yeah
Feared for my life: No

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On Storrow Drive heading westbound, there is a split...a crossroads if you will...where everybody has to make a decision.

Either stay to the left and head into Kenmore Square or stay to the right and keep on trucking west.

This morning, a woman in a minivan (I hate vans) paused while traveling in one of the right lanes...probably to contemplate and reflect on her choice.

As fate would have it, I was in that same lane....and I almost hit her...because two of her three brake lights were out.

I passed her on the left and I looked in to see who was having these deep thoughts.

Alas, alack...a woman on her cell phone.

"But I still love technology...always and forever..."

12/05/2006

Frozen Bird

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:48
Weather as I call it: Cold. Temps in the high 20s
Paper Guy: Bundled up! Scarf, hat, coat.
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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There is a dead seagull on the McGrath HWY. It lying close to the barrier on the left hand side of the inbound lanes. This is the second time I have seen it this week. It may have been hit by a vehicle, but the carcass is pretty intact so I doubt this cause of death.

Maybe I should contact the DPW to give it a proper burial?

Seagull in a living state

12/04/2006

Snow Slows The Ride

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Snowy...a light wet snow that didn't collect on the pavement
Paper Guy: I didn't see him. I was paying attention to the road.
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Slow going today...slow but steady. No one did anything annoying, which is half the battle.

I saw a guy with a "Save Our Center/Stop Home Depot" bumper sticker. I let him cut into my lane.

I thought we had to "Save the Cheerleader" to save the world?

12/01/2006

Let Earth Receive Her King

Departure Time: 7:03
Arrival Time: 7:44
Weather as I call it: Warm...too warm to be December. Overcast.
Paper Guy: No hat needed.
Shady Gas Price: $2.23
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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There were multiple emergency vehicles in front of the retirement home in town this morning. They didn't block or slow down traffic, but I hate seeing that....and so it goes.

There was this Lexus SUV with a huge red bow on its front grill...apparently to spread joy around and to the world and beyond and goodwill towards man and all that.

So, I did find it a bit unusual when, as I was stopped alongside the Lexus at a red light, the driver decided he had enough with said red light and proceeded to run right through it.

I did find it even more unusual when I found him tailgating me 5 minutes later, red bow and all. How did that happen?

See you on the roads Monday.

11/30/2006

Web Analytics and Statistics

Departure Time: 7:07
Arrival Time: 7:47
Weather as I call it: Sun breaking through the clouds
Paper Guy: No Hat, Shades, rocking the McDs windbreaker
Shady Gas Price: $2.14
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Paper guy made a sale today. It was awesome.

I have some interesting stats from my site's tracking systems.

Here are some search queries that have brought users (like you!~) to my bloggy blog as reported by Statcounter:


turning left on a green light, headache
name for maple seeds
slummerville
name of maple seed
weather boston december 2005
runover possum
boston weather 12-9-2005

Tremendous!

Google Webmaster tools reports that my blog-zizzle has visibility on these keywords:

Search query: ups drivers "few left turns"
Average top position: 2

Search query: burnt peanut
Average top position: 4

Search query: gas parka 2006
Average top position: 5

Search query: nerve of steel
Average top position: 6

Search query: solidier field
Average top position: 10

If you google any of these terms, I don't see Driving to Work anywhere. Wha?

11/29/2006

The Right of Way

Departure Time: 7:07
Arrival Time: 7:52
Weather as I call it: Misty
Paper Guy: Black wool hat. McDs windbreaker
Shady Gas Price: $2.14
Yelled at other drivers: ...yeah
Feared for my life: No

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At a major intersection in town, not one but two peeps cut in front of me to take left turns (from their perspective).

As I was coming towards the intersection, I could see a silver Corolla and a small SUV waiting to turn at the green light. There is no green arrow on this traffic signal, so they had to yield.

I guess they were sick of yielding because as I got closer, both cars decided to creep slowly but steadily to the middle of the road...effectively forcing me to stop.

At first it was like a game of chicken, no one was stopping....but I came to the realization that I do not need to get into another accident.

So, I stopped, beeped my horn, raised my hands in disgust, and shouted, "What the Efff?!?"

The female passenger in the Corolla changed her expression as if to say "Sorry.....I do not know what I am doing with this madman behind the wheel...but he treats me ok for the most part and my family likes him...and I just can't take Brad back."

(Yes, all that in one expression)

The driver in the SUV made no eye contact. Good move.

11/28/2006

Wellington Circle Is A Mess

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:56
Weather as I call it: Cloudy. I had to put my headlights on
Paper Guy: Brown hat, McDs windbreaker
Shady Gas Price: $2.14
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Lots of volume in Wellington Square. I am not sure what the cause of it was. I swear sometimes the lights are off slightly some days. If the duration of a green light is shortened by two seconds, it makes a big difference. It means less people can speed up through the yellow light and even less people can run the red light.

The other factor may be the large number of trucks that roll through the area.

Large Truck

11/27/2006

Drenched in Dignity

Departure Time: 7:07
Arrival Time: 7:50
Weather as I call it: Hazy sunshine. 43 degrees.
Paper Guy: Got tricked by a guy in a pickup. More details below.
Shady Gas Price: $2.14
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Phew. Shake out those cobwebs!

The morning started with a whimper. It looked like I had a flat tire, but after a closer inspection it was just a little low. I will have to pump it up a bit.

Then, I turned the key and the engine was slow to turn over. I hadn't driven my car in 4 days. I guess it was as groggy as me this morning.

Paper Guy thought he was going to have a sale, but it turned out to be a "fake out" instead. This pickup truck made a quick move to get into the left lane near Paper Guy's median. Paper Guy lifted a newspaper over his head with a knowing smile, but then quickly retracted his arm and stuck the paper back into his sack. He realized that the pickup truck was only driving erratically, and not interested in a purchase.

For some, this incident would cause embarrassment. For Paper Guy, every move he makes is drenched in dignity.

11/17/2006

Big Puddles

Departure Time: 7:14
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Rainy...wind swept rain
Paper Guy: Plastic bag over his papers. Running to avoid rain drops
Shady Gas Price: $2.09 (I actually didn't see it today. I had to pay attention to the road.
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I have to stop watching the morning news before I leave the house. The traffic guy on the screen told me that Soldier's Field Road was closed at N. Harvard St.

So, I took Memorial Drive instead (the calmer, more social sister of Storrow Drive) to avoid what I thought would be a major headache.

When I looked across the river, cars were motoring as fast as normal. I think they lied to me (and only me).

Wellup, I am off all next week for Thanksgiving and such. Have a good one. Let's give thanks for blogs, driving, cars, and the avoidance of phantom traffic.

I may post stuff during the week anyway...just cuz.

11/16/2006

I Need a Fog Horn

Departure Time: 7:07
Arrival Time: 7:53
Weather as I call it: FOGGY. 50s.
Paper Guy: Hat, no shades (I think...it was foggy). He did wave to someone behind me.
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Yeah, foggy conditions out there. There was about a 1/4 mile of visibility on the roads...so no leaf peepin' today.

I saw an Audi in Somerville with their driver's side back door opening and closing as we drove through the intersection where the McGrath Highway meets Medford St. As I passed the car, I looked to see the driver pretty distraught. I was going to roll my window down and ask something like, "Hey, do you know your door is open?"...but I think he was quite aware.

You don't want to be the person who points out the most obvious item. It's only a good time when you know you will get a response like the ones I remember from Mad Magazine:


Q: "Hey, do you know your door is open?"

A1: "No, I didn't notice that...but I did notice how nosy people are in this town."

Q: "Hey, do you know your door is open?"

A2: "No, but your mouth is open...shut it!"

Q: "Hey, do you know your door is open?"

A3: "Actually, yes I did know that. I was trying to see if I could go faster with it open. The thing is, I can't complete my experiment because I keep getting slowed down by idiots like you!"

11/15/2006

Speedy

Departure Time: 7:18
Arrival Time: 8:09
Weather as I call it: Cloudy with a few breaks.
Paper Guy: No hat, shades, and a windbreaker.
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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I have to give a "shout out" to my fellow commuters on the south sho-ah. I saw on the TV that there was a bad accident (van, fire, spillage) on Route 3 northbound. At about 7 AM, I saw 3 lanes of brake lights for miles from the 'copter camera view. I poured my coffee on the sidewalk for you.

Lots of police officers pulling over people today. It must have been "Speedy Wednesday". I missed the memo.

Speedy

11/14/2006

Not At Fault

Departure Time: 7:06
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Light rain. Not pleasant.
Paper Guy: Hat, Shades, Light coat.
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Hey, I'm back...ev'rybod.

Good news on the insurance-who-is-going-to-pay-for-my-rear-bumper-dealy. I was a pest yesterday and called my insurance company...again and again. This time, I had my claim number...which I am sure helped the process. The woman who was handling my claim called me back and told me a check would arrive in 3 to 5 business days to pay for the damage.

Nice.

Also, it was determined that I was not at fault and a surcharge would not be levied onto my policy.

Sweet A.

Rainy drive today, but people were cool for the most part. I take it particularly slow on Storrow Drive/Soldier's Field Road. No need to get into another incident.

11/10/2006

No Traffic No Problem

Departure Time: 6:59
Arrival Time: 7:34
Weather as I call it: Sunny and pretty warm for this time of year. 50s
Paper Guy: Winter hat, coat, and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.09 - 3 cent increase. Is this a reaction to the Dems taking the Senate majority?
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Since Veterans' Day is tomorrow, many people had the day off today. The drive was spectacular.

A few notes:

The Wendy's in Medford is no longer hiring smiling cashiers. They took the message down from their sign. Are they now hiring smirking ones?

The liquor store in E. Cambridge is using their sign to thank Question 1 "No" voters. I guess I can't take part in this mass appreciation.

The accident I was in 3 weeks ago is still lingering in the back of my mind. Mostly because I haven't received money from my insurance company yet. I called the person handling my claim on Wednesday and had to leave a message. I think I may need to be pesky to get this going.

I am taking Monday off...so see you Tuesday on the roads.

11/08/2006

No, No, No

Departure Time: 7:15
Arrival Time: 8:12
Weather as I call it: Overcast, sprinkling in places, wet roads
Paper Guy: No hat or shades. Jacket
Shady Gas Price: $2.06
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Slow ride today. Nothing too worrisome on the roads. I had my travel mug full of coffee so I was ready for a long ride.

Well, not enough people voted "Yes" on Question 1. I guess I will continue to buy wine from another place outside of my local grocery store (during non-driving to work hours, of course).

Hey, I will be out tomorrow on a random vacation day because I gotta take them or I'll lose them...type to you Friday.

11/07/2006

Your Vote Counts

Departure Time: 7:22
Arrival Time: 8:10
Weather as I call it: Cloudy and cool
Paper Guy: Winter hat and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.06
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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There was an old man driving a late model Buick with Florida plates on the Monsignor O'Brien Highway this morning. He decided to hit the brakes at the green light in front of the Discount Liquors store in East Cambridge. He forced me to slow down to a stop while the light turned yellow to red. As we were waiting for the light to turn green, he threw his cigarette butt out his window.

When the light turned green, the older gentleman made an illegal left. He may have been turning into the liquor store...I'm not sure because I didn't stick around.

Vote yes on Question 1 today.

11/06/2006

Predicting The Weather

Departure Time: 7:04
Arrival Time: 7:48 (subtract 3 minutes for gas station stop)
Weather as I call it: Cloudy and chilly
Paper Guy: Winter hat, shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.06
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------
I wonder if Paper guy can be used not only as a weather indicator but also as a weather predictor, like the wooly bear caterpillar. He has been bundling up a lot lately, overdressing if you ask me.

If Paper Guy has a heavy coat in the Fall, does that mean we have a nasty Winter in store for us?

El Nino sez No!

11/03/2006

Songs For Everyone

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:09
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cold...10 degrees below average.
Paper Guy: Dressed appropriately.
Shady Gas Price: $2.06
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------
Easy ride for the most part. Slow at times, but I was distracted enough by my satellite radio that it didn't matter much. I was constantly scanning through most of my 100,000 channels to find forgotten gems like The Marshall Tucker Band's "Heard It in a Love Song".

Seriously, does anybody need to hear that tune again? Then again, it's satellite radio and there is something for everybody...and even though I can't believe that anyone would want to hear that song, I stayed on to listen to the whole thing (Well, almost...once I got to the flute solo, I had to bail). There must have been some nostalgia working its magic...bringing back memories of listening to AM radio in the back seat of my mom's Chevy Malibu and getting car sick.

I swear that's why I instantly feel nauseous whenever I hear Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle."

Saw peeps in Leverett Circle waving and holding signs to vote "Yes" on Ballot Question 3 this Tuesday. Their frantic waving and infectious smiles may have swayed me.

"Heard it in a loooooooooove song!"

11/02/2006

Rolling Stop

Departure Time: 7:06
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Rainy. The liquor store sign said it was 49 degrees.
Paper Guy: Hat, Jacket, No Shades. Right on.
Shady Gas Price: $2.08
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I was super cautious today. Wet roads and fresh memories of being spun out on a divided highway will do that to you.

In town, the "rolling stop" was in full effect. Usually, one uses the rolling stop when one has the notion that a yield would do just fine instead of a full, wait-three-seconds-after-the-engine-lurch type of stop. A good time to use the rolling stop is when you have full visibility of the intersection you are entering and there is no one else on the roads within a 5 mile radius. It's against the law, but it's a victimless crime.

The rolling stop should not be used when one is attempting to force themselves into a slow crawl of traffic. Anytime one forces their way into traffic, one should realize they will incur the wrath of their fellow commuter. Unfortunately, it was not one...but I encountered many people this morning that thought it was okay to nearly hit me because they wanted to get in front of me.

If one is choosing the path of forcing yourself into traffic, I suggest not using a rolling stop. Instead, come to a complete stop, then wait for three cars to crawl by, and then start to force the car into the traffic line up.

I think one would garner more sympathy that way...and get better results.

11/01/2006

Foggy River

Departure Time: 7:04
Arrival Time: 7:49
Weather as I call it: Sun breaking through clouds
Paper Guy: Lighter coat on today. Had a friend with him...just hanging on the median.
Shady Gas Price: $2.08
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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There was this five foot high fog coming off the top of the Charles River. It was creepy.

One day late...but still creepy. Maybe as creepy as this photo.

10/31/2006

Early To Rise

Departure Time: 6:58 --yeah, I don't know wha' happened.
Arrival Time: 7:38
Weather as I call it: Sunny, no wind, warmer.
Paper Guy: Dressed for December
Shady Gas Price: $2.08
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

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Hey, All Hallows' Eve Ev'rybod!

So I got out the door pretty early today. Not sure why, I guess the stars were aligned just right.

Anyhoo...pretty easy drive today. It got a little interesting towards the end when a state police car started to tailgate slow drivers in the left lane on Soldier's Field Road. I wasn't sure what he was trying to prove or communicate, but I think if I saw a cruiser behind me I would get out of his way.

10/30/2006

Why Aren't All My Clocks Turned Back?

Departure Time: 7;12
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Sunny, not as windy as this weekend.
Paper Guy: Black wool hat, winter gloves
Shady Gas Price: $2.08
Yelled at other drivers: Nah
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Clocks on a network, like the one on the company's cell phone, are still an hour ahead. There is nothing more jarrring than having conflicting time pieces.

Gas Price is down a cent.

When I got to work today, I was amazed at how many cars there were in the parking garage. Then I thought to myself, these peeps still think it's 8:59 not 7:59...

I'm late.

10/27/2006

Back On The Rise

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:03
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cold
Paper Guy: Winterized
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Happy Friday Ev'rybod! (That's the way I say "everybody")

A few programming notes:

Gas price went up 4 cents overnight. Huh?

As far as I know, my brake lights are working correctly. I fixed the "loose wire"...

See you on the flip side.

10/26/2006

Exaggeration Is Your Friend

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Sunny, cold...the sun was blinding...let's turn the clocks back already.
Paper Guy: Brown winter hat, black coat, shades.
Shady Gas Price: $2.05
Yelled at other drivers: Yeah
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

In the first segment of my commute (what I like to call the "in town" segment), I have to drive through 6 or 7 traffic lights. Any hesitation can throw off the entire rhythm. I cherish every green light that I do not have to wait for.

This morning, a woman hesitated while stopped at a red light. Typical distraction: she found whatever was fiddling with in her car's back seat to be more important than the road ahead at the moment the light turned green. Because it took her three seconds to situate herself behind the wheel again and accelerate from her stopped position, it caused me to miss the green and consequently the yellow light that she scurried her way through.

Her action caused a chain reaction of events that led me to be stuck at the next 3 red lights. It put 2 minutes on my commute. TWO MINUTES!

(I am exaggerating my feelings about this inconvenience for a humorous effect...is it working?)

P.S. I saw some guy in my rear view mouth the word "*sshole" after someone beeped at him.

Nice.

10/25/2006

Now Hiring Smiling Cashiers

Departure Time: 7:02
Arrival Time: 7:46
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny...but the sun was so low in the sky it was hardly a factor.
Paper Guy: MIA
Shady Gas Price: $2.05!
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

There's a Wendy's on the Medford line on Highland Ave that has a sign proclaiming "Now Hiring Smiling Cashiers".

That's quite a prerequisite. Plus, do you need to be smiling all the time or just when needed? See, they don't disclose that information on the sign. Probably because the sign isn't that big. I guess one would need to inquire further.

Shady gas price is tumbling down. I am calling for under 2 bucks by Nov. 10th.

Paper guy wasn't at his post when I passed. I was probably too early to catch him.

10/24/2006

Gun Shy, Trigger Happy

Departure Time: 7:05
Arrival Time: 7:50
Weather as I call it: Cloudy, giving way to some sun. I wore my jacket for the first time this season
Paper Guy: Brown wool hat, shades, winter coat.
Shady Gas Price: $2.07
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: I was a bit shaky.

------------------------------

I had a scheduled vacation day on Monday...so this morning was my first trip back to work after the accident.

I would be lying if I said I was steady as a rock on the roadways today, especially on Soldier's Field Road....but I got through it.

I think leaving a bit earlier helped my anxiety. Less people, more space, better chances of a safe drive.

On a lighter note, I saw a woman flossing her teeth while stopped at a red light. I don't know how I feel about what I saw. Is it gross? Does it go against good driving manners? Does it matter?

I can say this: she can put on her resume that she is a true multi-tasker.

Flossing is Fun!

10/20/2006

Major Accident

Departure Time: 7:20
Arrival Time: I really don't remember
Weather as I call it: Cloudy, some light rain in spots, wet roads.
Paper Guy: No hat, shades, windbreaker
Shady Gas Price: $2.07
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: YEP.

------------------------------

So it finally happened: I got into an accident.

Here's the scene: I was driving west down Soldier's Field road, right by the Harvard Square exit in the right lane. There was a blue Acura SUV who was tailgating me. He got behind me from the BU bridge and didn't let up until we went under N. Harvard St.

Once you get past that bridge, the road opens up to three lanes (my lane is now the middle lane). The blue Acura decides he is going to pass me on the right. As he passes me, he sees an accident in the process of being cleared up. This accident is blocking the right lane so he slams on his brakes. I am in the process of passing him when I am hit from behind. Although I didn't see him, there was a Jeep Liberty behind the Acura. He must have slammed on his brakes to avoid the blue Acura, and swerved into my lane.

The Jeep Liberty bumped me just enough to send my car spinning. I spun around until I was facing oncoming traffic. I am amazed I didn't hit anybody else or get hit again by somebody else.

I put my car in reverse and pulled over to get out of the way.

Everyone was ok. Both cars were drivable after the accident. Papers were exchanged...The state police officer on the scene of the first accident helped me to turn my car around.

Things could have been worse...a lot worse...but I am here...and I am typing about it.

Big wheel keep on turning.

Let's try to be more careful out there.

10/19/2006

Loose Wire

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:08
Weather as I call it: Cloudy...50s
Paper Guy: No hat today...but the McDs windbreaker was on
Shady Gas Price: $2.07
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

First off, my passenger side brake light...turns out it's not a burnt-out bulb...but a loose wire. I bought a new bulb, installed it, and it still didn't work. I wiggled the casing a bit...and suddenly it worked.

When I checked it this morning, it wasn' working.

Ugh.

Lots of people were pulling in front of me today. I let the 18 wheeler in but the Taurus got the "Tough Luck" look.

10/18/2006

Mr. Creeps

Departure Time: 7:09
Arrival Time: 7:54
Weather as I call it: Clouds giving way to sunny skies...warmer...don't need the coat today.
Paper Guy: Overdressed
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: meh
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I hate people who swing to the right to take a left turn. Idiot truck guy had to pull a bold move to get into a Dunkie Donut parking lot...by slightly turning right before taking a hard left. Since he had his blinker on, I was trying to get around him on his right. So, his stutter step freaked me out a bit.

I said, "Whoa there, daddy-o, what are you doing?"

I need to go to AutoZone this afternoon during lunch to get a new brake light.

Mr. Creeps is all right (see comments from yesterday's post).

10/17/2006

VW Golf Multi-Tasker

Departure Time: 7:18
Arrival Time: 8:10
Weather as I call it: Partly Sunny
Paper Guy: Had the McDs windbreaker and winter hat on.
Shady Gas Price: $2.09
Yelled at other drivers: No, but some guy ticked me off a bit
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

There is nothing worse than a guy who A) forces his way into your lane by sheer force and B) is on his cell phone the entire time he is in front of you so he's driving slower than the rest of traffic plus C) he's driving a stick shift, which adds to his slow acceleration after the green light is illuminated.

Thank you Mr. VW Golf for slightly annoying me this morning.

Other than that, good times on the roadways. Check out that shady gas price.

10/16/2006

Cruising On Monday

Departure Time: 7:06
Arrival Time: 7:50
Weather as I call it: Sunny, colder - 40s
Paper Guy: Had his mind on his money (and his money on his mind)
Shady Gas Price: $2.11
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Paper guy was dressed for snow with his wool hat and heavy jacket, but the best thing to report about him today was the counting of his money. He had a huge wad of $1 bills he was rifling through...counting them as he moved them with his thumb from one hand to the other. A true gangsta.

A few pockets of congestion couldn't get me down this morning. Mostly, I was flying down the roads with other early birds - rocking Monday morning unlike the other schlubs trying to get their move on.

Mondays are tough.

10/13/2006

Ten Thirteen

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:52
Weather as I call it: Sunny and chill-filled --> 40s
Paper Guy: Same outfit as yesterday (and the day before that)
Shady Gas Price: $2.11
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Sometimes you see things on your drive to work that are little captures of time in other people's life. Today I was at a stop light that had a left turn only lane. This lane came equipped with its own green arrow signal, which to me are the best kind of turn only lanes.

I just happened to look to my left as the arrow turned green. There were these guys in this early 90's Mercury Grand Marquis. Young guys, they couldn't have been older than 22. They were fumbling around in the car; looking for something I guess. The driver, who wasn't paying attention, suddenly realized that the light had turned green, exclaimed "Oh sh*t!", and slammed on the gas to get through.

The look of surprise on his face was priceless. You can't pay for moments like that.

10/12/2006

Shortcut Unnecessary

Departure Time: 7:09
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Cloudy with wet roads
Paper Guy: Hat, jacket, shades...you tell me why.
Shady Gas Price: $2.13
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

It rained a lot last night. I didn't have too much trouble navigating the slippery roads until Soldier's Field Road (SFR) right before the Harvard Sq. exit. All traffic came to a screeching halt.

As I was sitting there momentarily in the stuck traffic, I had this revelation: I can avoid this mess by taking the Harvard Sq. exit, go over the Lars Anderson bridge, and take a left onto Memorial Drive.

As I got into the right lane to take the exit, traffic started to move again. Instead of being a jackass and forcing my way back onto SFR, I took the exit...but instead of taking a right off the ramp...I went straight and took the downramp back on SFR.

There was an accident that had been cleaned up. State police was on the scene with their blue lights on and there were two cars on a flat bed truck all smashed up.

Be careful on those wet roads.

10/11/2006

Nerves of Steel

Departure Time: 7:11
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Filtered sunshine as they said on the news.
Paper Guy: Winter hat, shades, jacket. Man, I didn't think it was that cold this morning.
Shady Gas Price: $2.13 - Hanging with Mr. Cooper
Yelled at other drivers: No, but I wanted to.
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Allright. I had a tough time today.

1. There was some dude who was in a real rush today in my town. He was trying to pass me on a one lane road. When we arrived at a red light, he used the "right turn only" lane to pass me and a white school bus van. I kept my eye on him throughout my trip. For all of his speeding and iratic driving, I was constantly only two cars behind him. All that rushing for not much gain.

2. There were two Middlesex County Sherriff cars in East Cambridge that decided they wanted to be a caravan that could not be separated. I felt like I was close to being sideswiped. It looked like they were transporting somebody. The thing is, if they wanted to be official and break the rules of the road...they should have had their blue lights on....instead of muscling me out of merging into a lane.

3. Some aggressive drivers in pickup trucks on Storrow today. I saw many Ford emblems fixed upon large chrome grills in my rearview. When peeps tailgate, it doesn't make me want to go any faster....it makes me want to slam on my brakes.

You gotta be tough to keep your nerve in this place.

10/10/2006

Burnt Peanut Butter

Weather as I call it: Mostly sunny and temps in the 50s
Paper Guy: Sweater. Big smile. Waving to the pick up truck in front of me
Shady Gas Price: $2.13
Yelled at other drivers: Ish
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

When the light turns green, and the line of cars in front of you makes it through the intersection...don't hestitate. Don't slowly roll towards the line as if you are perambulating down some Vermont back road on some casual leaf peeping expedition.

Instead, trying gunning it.

I (and the guy in front of me) had to get ourselves around a small station wagon so we could make a light at Wellington Circle. We saw the green light was getting stale. We revved up our engines and passed her on the left as she rolled through the intersection. I think the light was still yellow when we passed her (at least that's the story I'm sticking to).

Let's try taking advantage of the opportunity green lights give us. The opportunity to GO!

As an aside, anybody else smell burnt peanut butter in East Cambridge today?

I did.

10/06/2006

Calm Before Columbus Day Weekend

Departure Time: 7:19
Arrival Time: 8:05
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny...cool...50s
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.13
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Fridays are a good day for the drive. I think a lot of peeps were making a 3 day weekend into a 4 day weekend.

Thanks for being off the roads. You didn't make me look like this guy:

Angry Driver

See you Tuesday.

10/05/2006

Our Glass Friend

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 8:02 -minus 5 minutes for gas fill-up
Weather as I call it: Mostly cloudy.
Paper Guy: Shades were back on...Jacket for cooler temps.
Shady Gas Price: $2.13
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

We had some rain last night. By morning, the clouds were breaking up and getting pushed off to sea. The sun shown through the slivers; silver sunbeams slicing through. The filtered light, from my vantage point ten miles away made the Hancock Tower seem incandescent.

Our tall glass beacon in Copley Square showing us the way, reflecting back at us.

30 years old and I can't imagine Boston without it.

10/04/2006

Cheap Coffee at Dunkin' Donuts

Departure Time: 7:15 (second attempt)
Arrival Time: 8:04
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny...warmer...63 degrees.
Paper Guy: No shades...and he was having trouble with the sun.
Shady Gas Price: $2.13 (I knew this would happen)
Yelled at other drivers: Yeah-ish
Feared for my life: A little bit.

------------------------------

Rough start today. My first departure time was 7:06. After bringing the trash to the curb, I got in the car and took off. I was well on my way to work when I realized I forgot my lunch. I prepared a turkey sandwich with some reduced fat mayo and a slice of Processed American Cheese food on some organic whole wheat bread last night. This sandwich looked so good, I dreamt about it. I was 3 blocks away from my house when it finally dawned on me that I was without my dreamy sandwich.

I was at a crossroads. Do I turn back? Do I continue to work and when lunchtime rolls around I will go and buy some crappy Chicken Frontega SANDWICH??!?

Well, you already know what I did. I am happy with my choice.

Some dude in a box truck had a hard time staying in his lane. He almost ran over me. I had to beep my horn. I feared for my life.

Right before I walked into work...I went to Dunkin' Donuts. Hey, a medium coffee is only $0.49 ($0.51 with tax) at the Dunk today. I waited in the longest line evah to get mine. Normal wait time at DD is about 15 seconds. I was in line for 2 minutes. Sheesh.

Peeps were buying coffees 10 at a time. Crazy Dunkies.

10/03/2006

Autumn in Boston

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Sunny...cooler...I still have not worn a jacket yet.
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades
Shady Gas Price: Holding steady at $2.15
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

The state police presence in Leverett Circle continues to be non-existent. Now, if drivers would realize you can in fact turn right on red without an officer waving you on...we would be rocking in the free world.

I wonder if there was a decision to pull the officers out of the area as of the 1st of October. If you know, let me know.

I can't think of anything that was out of the ordinary today. Volume was about right for a Tuesday. Traffic flowed, Paper Guy sold...Perfect autumn day in Boston.

10/02/2006

State Police Directing Traffic in Leverett Circle--No More?

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 7:54
Weather as I call it:Mostly Cloudy and 54 degrees
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.15 but the station down the street has it at $2.13
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

If experience means anything, I have learned that Mondays tend to be the easiest commute day. I attribute this circumstance to either less people having to work on Mondays...or lots of people get a later start on Mondays. Not sure.

I have decided to compile the gas price/trip duration/weather data for 2006. I will make graphs. It will be awesome.

***News Bulletin***
There were no state police officers directing traffic in Leverett Circle today. Has this era in Boston traffic history come to a close?

I will let you know tomorrow.

9/29/2006

Next Stop, Wonderland

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:53
Weather as I call it: Damp. Cloudy. 60s
Paper Guy: Black windbreaker...and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.15
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

No accidents. No animal terrorism. Nothing out of the ordinary. Happy Friday.

The leaves are starting to turn color 'round here. Boston is becoming a wonderland of color.

Yes, a wonderland!

Yes, I typed wonderland.

9/28/2006

Accidents Will Happen

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Hey, it's autumn...it's cool.
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.15
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I saw an accident today. It happened right in front of me, literally. There is always an uneasy feeling when a traffic light changes from green to yellow to red...you have to make a choice.

Do I do what I want to do and speed up to get through?

Do I do what I am supposed to do and slow down and stop?

When you do not make a clear decision, like the guy in the silver Acura did today, you sometimes get rear-ended.

He made a move like he was going to speed through, then he second guessed himself and came to a stop. Unfortunately, the guy in the black Mercedes behind him didn't react to the second guess. He was all for the first guess.

Black Mercedes got his front crumpled: a directional broken off, some of his grill broken, and his radiator was a-steamin'.

Acura guy didn't look like he had any damage. And so it goes...

I applaud them both for getting out of the way and not holding up traffic. If you need a witness, I am your man.

When I got closer to Boston, I saw a whole bunch of news trucks outside of a pet store.

Cripes, how many flavors of terrorism are there?

9/27/2006

Please Pay First

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 8:09
Weather as I call it: Clear and sunny...50s...I refuse to wear a jacket.
Paper Guy: He had a jacket on though
Shady Gas Price: $2.25
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I had to get gas today. I had a $20 bill in my pocket...I had a station selling it for $2.19...Although there were no signs stating such, I did indeed have to 'pay first' before pumping it.

It only took me a few tries to figure it out that I would need to pay the attendant before any gasoline flowed.

I gotta make sure I get some coffee on days like these.

9/26/2006

Fired Up

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cool
Paper Guy: Running around. I have never seen him so mobile. Wearing the blue sweater, of course.
Shady Gas Price: $2.25
Yelled at other drivers: Yes
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Everything was going fine today. Everything was smooth as silk until I got within a 1/2 mile of work. Then, this dood in the lane to the right of me decided to slow to a near stop, put on his left blinker, and proceeded to cut in front of me so he could drift two lanes before the beginning of a median.

This mockup below should help illustrate wha' happened:

Atari Near-Accident Scene Mockup

Just to clarify, my car is the red Atari-like pixel...the dood's car is the green one.

I was fired up. I beeped my horn. I used a few expletives. I was in full road rage.

His action was intolerable. It was a selfish move. If you realize that you have made that kind of mistake at such a late stage of the game, that you are in the far right lane when you should be in the left and the median is coming up and there are people behind you...you stay right. You punt. You figure it out later.

Don't put me in danger along with everyone else behind me.

I feel better now.

Hey, if you're nice on the T, they'll give you free coffee!

9/25/2006

Too Close For Comfort

Departure Time: 7:13
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny..62 degrees
Paper Guy: Blue sweater, which ostensibly is the exclusive autumn wardrobe
Shady Gas Price: $2.27
Yelled at other drivers: Once
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I am pretty tired today. I created my own three day weekend by taking Friday off and I stand by my creation wholeheartedly, but one of the after effects is having a hard time waking up on Monday.

Hey, I am dealing with it.

Some lady (I am sure she was a lady) driving one of those Crown Victoria-boat-of-a-car things was hugging the double yellow line while I was stopped at a light. I should have rolled down my window and slapped her windshield as she drove by but I probably would have lost my left arm in the process of letting her know I was displeased with her proximity to my car.

Instead, I asked, "Are you close enough, Lady?"

She didn't answer.

9/21/2006

I Need a Toll Booth Collector Gig

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 8:04
Weather as I call it: Blinding sunlight...the sun is at that bad angle again.
Paper Guy: Same McOutfit as yesterday.
Shady Gas Price: $2.37
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Needed the shades today. The sun was intense during the times I was driving in southeast direction...which I am apt to do.

State Police officers are still in Leverett Circle directing traffic, but hopefully that will be over soon since they are planning to reopen the Big Dig tunnel soon (Friday morning). At least, I thought I saw that story yesterday. I tried finding a link to the story..but I couldn't find anything. Maybe I dreamt it.

I found this story instead.

9/20/2006

McWardrobe

Departure Time: 7:15
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Partly Cloudy
Paper Guy: Blue McDs V-neck sweater
Shady Gas Price: $2.37
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I don't think schools were in session today. Probably some kind of teacher professional day. Whatever the reason, getting through town was as easy as Sunday morning....literally.

I think Paper Guy may work at McDonald's in addition to his newspaper gig. This is the second piece of clothing I have seen with the golden arches on it. This is only a conclusion I am drawing from a small set of data, but don't be suprise if he is a manager at your neighborhood Mickey D's.

One more question:

"Are we going to get trip durations and gas prices charted out over time again?"

Yeah, when I get a free second....in 2008.

9/19/2006

Voting in Massachusetts

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 8:04
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny...I had to put the A/C on so it must have been warmer
Paper Guy: I couldn't see him today...I was trapped on the other side of the street.
Shady Gas Price: $2.41
Yelled at other drivers: Yes
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I voted today so my departure time marks when I left the school (the booths were set up in the gym) to go to work.

I felt there were many inexperienced drivers on the road today...not inexperienced in the sense that they had just received their license...but inexperienced with the ways of the commute. There was one woman who needed to cross over three lanes of traffic to take a left turn. I beeped and yelled at her. I had to make some drastic moves myself to avoid her and that is why I was unable to see the Paper Guy today. Her "lane change" was a pretty ballsy move...but it was executed because she didn't know the ways of the commute. In time, she will know what lane she needs to be in and prepare for it ahead of time.

Another question I got in response to the anniversary blog:

"How come you don't yell at drivers as much anymore?"

Well, I guess there are a few reasons. I generally leave earlier than I used to, which means less cars on the road, which means less yelling. Plus, I am mellowing in my old age...like a fine Merlot. (Looking at today's post, I wonder about that.)

Overall, I think I am just more selective. Someone has to do something really stupid to make me yell.

9/18/2006

An Hour Later

Departure Time: 8:20
Arrival Time: 9:08
Weather as I call it: Sunny and summer-like.
Paper Guy: Paper guy's got the jacket thang going on. Once he is the autumn mode, there is no going back.
Shady Gas Price: $2.43
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

My wife had a follow-up dentist appointment at 7:15 today...so we went and did that...and came back home. So, I was about an hour behind schedule. Because I was late, all the schools were in session so the traffic I tend to get stuck in that is associated with kids getting to school was not a part of this tip.

People are more awake in the eight o'clock hour than they are in the seven o'clock hour. You get a sense of a little more of "hustle" and tons more "bustle".

I got a few questions posed to me from my anniversary post that I would like to answer now.

"What's with the Shady Gas Price?"

I get the price from a station that back in the days of dot-comedy (1999-2000) always had the lowest prices. Nowadays, it definitely not the lowest price I see in my travels. Plus, it seems to me they are heavily influenced by prices the "other guys" down the street put up. I can sometimes predict what the shady gas price will be from looking at what the Gulf station's price is, since it is three blocks ahead before the shady gas station.

The station is still sorta shady and I like keeping track of "the haps".

I will answer the other question tomorrow.

9/15/2006

One Year Anniversary

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Cloudy and muggy when I started out...Sunny and muggy when I arrived.
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades.
Shady Gas Price: $2.45
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Wow. One year of blogging. How about that?

Before I talk about the past, let me type about today. What is with the roadkill this week? Somebody hit a skunk on Soldier's Field road and it was stinking bad. Don't you just hate it when you drive by a dead skunk and the smell gets trapped in your car for the next 5 minutes...? Well...I'm not a big fan.


So, I been tracking all my trips to work since Septemeber 2005...and I am not sure what I have accomplished. I needed a subject I could write about often so I chose something I did a lot and could comment on either in a positive or negative way. It looks like it has been mostly negative.

I thought tracking the time it took me to get to work would be interesting to track, plus recording the weather to see how it affected my trip times. (I still say rain over snow slows me down more).

Of course, there is Paper Guy who would act as my true weather beacon. I think over the year we have really gotten to know him well...and how important he is to my drive and the blog.

Gas Prices have gone up and down...the seasons have cycled through...Here's to another year.

Top Best Posts

Number 10

Number 9

Number 8

Number 7

Number 6

Number 5

Number 4

Number 3

Number 2

Number 1

9/14/2006

To Be Born Again

Departure Time: 7:02
Arrival Time: 7:52
Weather as I call it: Cloudy but slightly warmer...maybe 60 degrees out.
Paper Guy: Just a jacket today...I was a little worried there
Shady Gas Price: $2.50
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Pretty easy ride today. My time would have been 6 minutes shorter if I hadn't stopped for a fill up at the ol' gasoline station. It only cost me 33 bucks...that's $8.50 less than my bill was on July 6th.

Good times...really good times. Check back tomorrow for the rebirth of this blog....

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where the immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch and the backroads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss my eyes
And lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again?

9/13/2006

First Day of Autumn (Unofficially)

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Cloudy with the sun peaking out a little bit. 50s
Paper Guy: Autumn is here. Paper Guy was wearing a jacket AND a wool hat. Paper Guy, say it isn't so.
Shady Gas Price: $2.51
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------


There were a few incidents near Wellington Circle on Route 28 today...I think Route 28 is otherwise known as the Fellsway East in that area. First there was a state police officer who was attending to a pulled over car...not sure if he was giving a ticket or was helping a disabled vehicle. No matter because while he was over to the side of the road, the state trooper waved at a dump truck and had that vehicle cross a lane or two to take it place right in front of the car. Needless to type, this incident backed traffic up a bit.

About 100 feet down the street, there was an accident involving a delivery truck and a little car....which made for more weird merging situations and more tieups...

The rest of the ride was pretty good. Paper Guy threw me for a loop...didn't think he would start wearing the cold weather gear until after the 23rd...

Oh well, embrace the changing season.

9/12/2006

Temps and Gas Prices Are Dropping

Departure Time: 7:11
Arrival Time: 8:02
Weather as I call it: Sunny but Cooler still
Paper Guy: It isn't Autumn until Paper Guy wears a jacket. He wasn't wearing a jacket today.
Shady Gas Price: $2.53 (I saw $2.17 in town)
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I was diligent on the roads today...My eyes did not stray from the road...

Here are some of the things I saw while I was paying attention:

I was behind Mother Teresa in a Suburu wagon. She let everybody cut in front of her. I wasn't too upset since it didn't slow me down all that much. The people who cut in drove fast. It was if Mother Teresa only let in the quick....she had a sixth sense.

I saw Paper Guy make a sale today. He has some fast hands...the coin/paper switcheroo is serious business.

Gas prices are going down...commuters are getting into their rhythm...Good times.

9/11/2006

Pay Attention in a Pedestrian Zone

Departure Time: 7:05
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Wow...much cooler today. I might need to start wearing a jacket...sunny though.
Paper Guy: Wearing his blue sweater and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.57
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No, but some kid feared for his.

------------------------------

Let's put it this way...when you are driving through an area that historically has a large volume of pedestrians crossing the street....pay attention. I had a close call today. There is a high school in my town, and I pass it around the time school is about to start up. Today, as I was passing the school, I was fiddling with the 'climate control' in my car. When I looked up, I saw a student crossing in front of me. I slammed on my brakes enough to hear the tires squeal a bit. Although he wasn't in a crosswalk, he still had the right of way.

I felt ashamed of myself. I talk a good game, but sometimes I make mistakes too. Chalk it up as a Monday morning fluke and it won't happen again...sir!

9/08/2006

The Busy Season

Departure Time: 7:09
Arrival Time: 7:54
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cool...I had dew on all my car windows...
Paper Guy: Talking to some dude who was pulled over on the other side of the street. Connecting with customers, I like it.
Shady Gas Price: $2.61
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: Nope

------------------------------

Cooler temperatures bring back many things:

  • School buses
  • Hot coffee
  • Traffic tie-ups

One thing I haven't mentioned is increased paper guy sales. He's been selling newspapers left and right this week. During the summer, I didn't see a lot of sales happen while I was at the light. Many times, I was driving by him as fast as I could so I could make the green light...

Now that the streets are clogged with a larger number of commuters and people who read; i.e. college students, Paper guy is cleaning up. If it puts more money in that guy's pocket, I will sit through a couple more jams for him.

This is the busy season, Paper Guy. Capitalize on it now because soon it will be winter and people won't want to roll down their windows to buy a newspaper...no matter what the news is.

9/07/2006

Still Adjusting

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 8:01
Weather as I call it: Sunny...cool when I started out...but then it got warmer as I got closer to work
Paper Guy: Blue sweater with a nice white collared shirt underneath
Shady Gas Price: $2.61
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

It's going to take a while for me to settle into this new reality. I don't think I am coping well. The streets are busier...many of them highly caffeinated. I saw lots of people raising their D + D coffee cups over their steering wheels. I guess the days of iced coffee are over...back to the hot Joe.


I didn't run into school buses at all today...my biggest trouble was just "weird pockets of heavy volume" in places where I don't usually expect it. (No, I am not wearing loud cargo pants). Today it was on one of the side streets I take to get onto Route 28. I take a left turn and blamo!...20 cars where there shouldn't be 20 cars.

Take a deep breathe...this too shall pass.

9/06/2006

School Days

Departure Time: 7:05
Arrival Time: 7:56
Weather as I call it: Sun peaking through the clouds
Paper Guy: Blue sweater
Shady Gas Price: $2.65
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Easily the longest duration in a while and a bit frustrating at times, today's drive was tougher than the same drive a week ago. You can see I left 10 minutes earlier than usual....but I still ended up with a 51 minute trip. Ah, poop.

Mostly it was the school buses that held me up. Since it was the first day of school for many kids, there were a lot of parents waiting at the bus stop and hugging their kids before they got on while those big red blinking lights just flashed and flashed and flashed at me...(Yes..Taunted me, they did.) Wellup, I couldn't get myself worked up too much...I can imagine in 5 or 6 years, I will be out there at the bus stop for my son's first day of school....but I promise I will keep my hug short.

Seeing those kids getting on the bus brought back that feeling in the pit of my stomach that I got on the first day of school...the nervousness of the unknown, the dread of the realization that summer vacation was indeed over, the anticipation of what the heck we would learn about this year...all wrapped up in a pukey mass in my gut. Just by typing that last line, I feel it again.

Would you go back if you could?

9/05/2006

Zip Line = Big Dig 2 (without the digging)

Departure Time: 7:14
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Sunny...with some wispy clouds
Paper Guy: Long sleeved shirt and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.65
Yelled at other drivers: Nope
Feared for my life: Nope

------------------------------

Looked into the zip line concept this weekend......yeah......I don't think I have the capital to get a 15 mile zip line a-going. But like they say, "Don't let go of your dreams, kid."

I read on the interweb that today's traffic was supposed to be nightmarish. Starts and Stops said, "Woe is us come Tuesday." Now, I did not have any trouble today...yes, my commute was a little longer than what I was used to this summer (typing as if summer ended 50 days ago) but I can't say it was nightmarish.

I still say the true test is tomorrow. Stay tuned.

9/01/2006

Let's Not Labor This Weekend

Departure Time: 7:19
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Hazy sun.
Paper Guy: Dress shirt, black pants, shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.69
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

That's it...no more driving to work. I am building a zip line from my house to the office.

Look up next week. You'll see me.



Be safe.

8/31/2006

Do Not Use Maid 4 You

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Mostly sunny...but cool...some places were in the 40s today.
Paper Guy: Blue V-neck sweater vest...with a white collared shirt underneath
Shady Gas Price: $2.69 That's crazy
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Happy fun observance:

I saw a woman walking and reading a book at the same time. She was walking on the sidewalk in front of the Museum of Science. As they say in my household, that takes skillz.

Awful sad observance:

So, most days I join the crawl to Storrow Drive via Route 28 (A/K/A Monsignor O'Brien HWY). There is a light at Leverett Circle that holds traffic up somewhat. As an aesthetic improvement to the area, they have taken down the elevated pedestrian bridges...so now people have to cross the street using crosswalks at street level. This improvement to the look of Leverett Circle does not, unfortunately, work well with car traffic. In many past posts, I have complained about this area. It's probably the most time consuming part of my ride.

Since the Big Dig tunnel closure, there has been a state police presence in the circle. They are there, I think, to make sure traffic moves smoothly as the circle could quickly turn into a major jam for people who are taking Storrow East instead of the Pike East to get to Logan through the Callahan tunnel (phew). Some state police officers I feel have been very helpful in getting traffic a-going, especially when they take an active role in directing cars to turn right on red when there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk. Other mornings, I have seen officers who do not take an active role in moving traffic along...and I feel they are more of a hindrance than a help.

Today, there was an officer who was taking an active role in directing traffic. Cars seemed to be moving just fine...not the fastest traffic flow I have ever experienced...but certainly not the slowest. I got closer to the intersection (it really isn't a circle anymore...it really is an intersection) steadily with each light cycle. When I got to the point where I knew my entry onto Storrow Drive was imminent, I noticed a small red pickup truck in front of me. It was a commercial vehicle (at least that’s what the plate said) for the home cleaning company "Maid 4 You" based in the Boston area.

Once the light turned green, traffic started moving...and the state police officer reinforced what our action should be by waving us on. A few cars went through until the red truck stopped to discuss something with the officer. At first I thought the driver was lost and was asking for directions. I was a little annoyed for the stoppage, but I forced my feeling away thinking I should be more compassionate for the lost. As the stoppage continued, you could see the officer's expression turning from surprise to anger. As the truck pulled away, the officer shouted something at the truck. I didn't hear what was shouted since I had my window rolled up but I did read a few words off the officer's lips. Let's put it this way: the phrase "have a wonderful day" wasn't used.

What the hell happened? It's not every day I see somebody piss off a Statey. Here are your choices:

• Did the guy in the pickup truck express his displeasure about the traffic direction?

• Did the guy in the pickup truck make a rude comment about the mismanagement of the Big Dig?

or

• Did the guy in the pickup truck make a sexist remark because the officer was a woman?
(Hee hee, I left that part out)


You decide. I say boycott this company...or contact them to let them know their employees behavior isn't cool. Their drivers shouldn't be holding up traffic to mess with police officers. Even if you don't do anything, she took a long look at his license plate as he drove off...I'm thinking there will be some payback.

8/30/2006

Don't Make Eye Contact

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 8:03
Weather as I call it: Better...skies were lighter
Paper Guy: MIA
Shady Gas Price: $2.79
Yelled at other drivers: No...but I had to beep
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I had to fill up the old tank this morning...I was trying to stretch it out to the beginning of September...but I couldn't risk it. Thankfully, the station I went to was selling 'regulah' for $2.57 (and 9 tenths of a cent)....so a little relief...only cost $37.

Some dude in a pick-up truck was trying to change lanes on the ol' Monsignor O'Brien HWY...and I was in his blind spot. I made sure he knew I was there. I didn't make any eye contact as I passed him by so I wonder if he was mad or if he was sorry.

I guess we will never know.

8/29/2006

Zen and the Art of Directing Traffic

Departure Time: 7:20
Arrival Time: 8:02
Weather as I call it: Same as yesterday...dark and dreary
Paper Guy: Wearing a blue sweater. Summer is over.
Shady Gas Price: Hanging tough at $2.83
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

There were kids flooding into both the middle and high school on the main road in town today. I thought it was really going to slow me down. Taking a look at the duration, it only added two minutes to my time. Pretty darn good, but psychologically it felt like I was stuck in slow mo...waiting for the crossing guards to let me through.

Look, kids need to be safe. There is no part of me that does not agree with the notion that the crossing guards have a very important job, but (there it is! There's the 'but') there is an art to directing traffic...there is an art to keeping everything moving; cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, wild horses, etc.

Peeps, let's embrace the art of directing traffic...you can keep all things flowing if you put effort into it rather than just hacking away at stopping traffic.

8/28/2006

Summer's Almost Gone

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:48
Weather as I call it: Drizzling...The themometer said 66 degrees...but I think it was lying.
Paper Guy: Raincoat...desperately wanting.
Shady Gas Price: $2.83...
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------


What can I say today? It was not the most pleasant of mornings. The rain-soaked streets and the dark skies didn't make for a slap-happy drive. The Sox are packing it in. It feels like the summer is calling it quits too early as well. The snap of cool air brings back memories of school starting up again. These days, that pang in my stomach is sparked by not the dread of sitting in a classroom for six hours a day but from the dread of school time traffic. It was nice to have ten weeks of smooth sailing...but next week we are in for some serious traffic snarls.

This too shall pass.

8/25/2006

Stay Away From The Tobin

Departure Time: 7:00
Arrival Time: 7:36
Weather as I call it: Rainy for the most part...noticeably cooler
Paper Guy: Green polo shirt...not looking happy in the raindrops
Shady Gas Price: $2.85 - Whoa.
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Left early...got to work early. After taking a day off, I needed to get in and get going.


Hey now, anybody else upset about the lane closures on the Tobin Bridge? I think they have been working on different parts of the bridge for two years now...it still looks like crap. Eh, I am just comparing it to the Zakim. While not a complete piece a beauty (Let's face it, those concrete arches are ugly!), at least it doesn't look like it's about to crumble down to the waterway below.

Although...it is a product of the Big Dig...and ya never know.

Thank goodness I don't take either bridge on a regular basis in the mornings.

P.S. The grooved pavement I typed about earlier this week has now been paved over. Sweet.

8/23/2006

Favorite Things

Departure Time: 7:20
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cooler...probably high 60s.
Paper Guy: Sporting the long sleeved shirt today with the shades.
Shady Gas Price: $2.89
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

1. Here is my brand spanking new Web 2.0 logo:

Generated Image

Sweet A. If you would like your own Web 2.0 logo, visit the Web 2.0 Generator.

2. The Catholic school down the street from my house was back in session...sorta. There were peeps hustling and bustling to look at a whole bunch of documents taped to a fence...so I wonder if today was a type of orientation. Not sure...but they did mess up my commute a bit since kids need to cross the street and that means crossing
guards and that means delays.

3. Had a few moments of clarity this morning, probably because I was listening to John Coltrane "searching for it" Live at Newport in 1963...Today, let's not talk about things I hate...let's talk about things I like. There is a huge replica of a styrofoam Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup on the top of a Hess Station in E. Somerville. Think a "medium regular" for a dude who stands as tall as the Hancock Tower...and you get a sense of how 'UGE this coffee cup is... I guess Hess is serving up the Dunk’s coffee. Of course, there is a DD a mere 300 feet away....but that’s no big surprise.

I guess I have a thing for inflatable promotional material.

8/22/2006

A Familiar Face

Departure Time: 7:28
Arrival Time: 8:08
Weather as I call it: Sunny with some thin wispy clouds in the air.
Paper Guy: Blue shirt and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.91
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Still reeling about the Sox losing 5 in a row at home against the dreaded Yankees. You can feel the deflation/melancholy all over the city. Hey, wha' happened?

Saw a guy on a bike poised to cross Storrow drive this morning. Not sure he was ever going to give it a go...unless there was a huge break in traffic...which wouldn't occur until after 10 AM. Upon further inspection, I recognized this guy. He was a homeless guy that I used to see all the time circa 1993 hanging around the intersection of Mass. Ave and Marlborough Street. (I think Marlboro Market is still there...not sure why they left the 'gh' off their name...maybe to save money on the sign)

He wore, and seeing him again today confirmed that he still wears, a green camouflage jacket and hat. He would talk in some hushed mumbles and point violently to the sky and to the ground. Some of my college cohorts tried conversing with him, offering him some food... All at once he stopped his mumbles and his finger pointing and clearly and softly said, "No thank you." He would disappear for weeks and we would think that he was gone forever, but then when you weren't expecting him...there he was.

Looks like 13 years later he is still kickin' it in the Back Bay. God Bless ya. Now go use one of those footbridges before you get killed.

8/21/2006

I Don't Like Grooved Pavement

Departure Time: 7:15
Arrival Time: 7:53
Weather as I call it: Cloudy
Paper Guy: Blue short-sleeved shirt...shades.
Shady Gas Price: $2.91...wow...
Yelled at other drivers: Yes, cell phone guy
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Things I hate while driving to work in Boston:

(in no particular order)

1. Grooved Pavement. You know the stuff...It makes motorcycle riders shake in their boots. This process of tearing up the roadway to replace it, in a word, stinks. I saw on tv once that asphalt is 85% recyclable, so I fully support ripping it up so we can use it again....but the aftermath of the roadway makes for slow passage due to dangerous conditions. I bring this subject up because there is a patch of grooved pavement on Route 28 right before the 93 overpass.

2. Vans. If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know I don't like vans.

3. Cell phone users. Ok. I use my cell phone while driving on the way home...and I think I do a pretty good job of handling both activities. Peeps who can't handle doing both driving and talking at the same time shouldn't. Here's a test: If you can rub your belly and tap your head at the same time--talk away. If not, think of the others on the road and stick to one thing at a time. Some dude almost took me out on Storrow today. When I caught up to him, he was gabbing away on his little mobile device. Argh.

8/18/2006

I'm Ready For My Close Up

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:54
Weather as I call it: A little bit overcast
Paper Guy: Green polo shirt, shades, and a smile
Shady Gas Price: $2.95
Yelled at other drivers: Not at a driver
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

1. Last night was the company's annual booze crooze...so if you're a co-worker and you're having a hard time reading this post...close your browser, get another cup of coffee, and come back when you are feeling better.

2. To the pedestrian in the orange shirt talking trash on your celly at 7:20 in the morning...wait until the light's red before you start crossing the street. (I apologize for yelling at you. It took me a moment to realize who you were---the most important person in the world---I should have kept my mouth shut)

3. There was an old guy videotaping the traffic at Wellington Circle. It was one of those VHS-sized cameras...very weird...I didn't know if I should wave or pretend as if I didn't see him. I should have asked him what my motivation was for the scene.

Lame week for the blog...please forgive me. I will try to make it a better week next week.

8/17/2006

Summertime Blues

Departure Time: N/A
Arrival Time: N/A
Weather as I call it: Sunny and clear sailing...too bad I was in a car.
Paper Guy: N/A
Shady Gas Price: N/A
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

My son had a doctor's appointment....so I came into work late today. I don't know if it is the good weather or what, but peeps are not staying in their lanes. There were two times when I had to honk the horn to let people know they were fading over the dotted lines.

Stop daydreaming about the beach and drive.

8/16/2006

A Little Coffee May Help

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cooler than it has been.
Paper Guy: I didn't see him today...not saying he wasn't there.
Shady Gas Price: $2.97
Yelled at other drivers: Ish
Feared for my life: Ish

------------------------------

Sorry, I had the day off yesterday...but I am back in business today.

Some guy in an old Honda Civic decided that lane lines weren't for him...and decided to fade into my lane on Storrow Drive. I felt the panic. I thought he was going to crash into me. I told him to drink some coffee.
Have Some Coffee!

8/14/2006

On The Road With Octogenarians

Departure Time: 7:22
Arrival Time: 8:08
Weather as I call it: Best August Ever
Paper Guy: Saw him briefly today. Rocking the shades as they say in my neighborhood.
Shady Gas Price: $2.97 - dipping 2 cents
Yelled at other drivers: Not really
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

I saw some good stuff today. There was an old couple (I mean old...they were oooolllllddd) who were having a hard time navigating Storrow Drive. Even before they reached Storrow, they were having a grand time convincing a driver to let them in the right-most lane.

Here's the scene: I am stuck in traffic (natch). I am sitting on the metal grates of the draw bridge...right over where the Charles meets the Harbor.

In front of me is a white Elantra wagon with a dude at the wheel on his cell phone.

Old couple drives up on the left in a 1990 Oldsmobile. The elderly lady passenger rolls down her window to try to get the attention of Elantra guy. She waving and pointing...mouthing words "We need to get in"...

Elantra guy is having none of it...keeping tight with the car in front of him. He is trying his hardest not to let them in...until he has a change of heart...or he just wanted the elderly lady to stop talking to him.

Once the old couple got onto Storrow, they were a nightmare. Driving slow...fading in and out of lanes. It took me a while to pass them because everyone else had the same thoughts and ideas about the Oldsmobile.

"Sheesh! Are they drunk or old or both? In any case, get away from them!"

8/11/2006

Evil Leader of the Pack

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Sunny and noticeably cooler...but that sun is still beaming down with summertime intensity
Paper Guy: Blue shirt. Smiling like he just won a million dollars.
Shady Gas Price: $2.99
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

No state police officer in Leverett Circle. Now that they have open up a ramp to get onto the Pike, I think the police presence will be scaled back.

I have to say I would have had a shorter duration if I hadn't been caught up by pesky red lights...sometimes you just hit them more often then not.

Overall, it was a nice summertime Friday commute...light and easy...I don't think we have many of these left.

P.S. Check out Lunch at Work if you get a chance. See you Monday.

8/10/2006

Delayed Today

Departure Time: N/A
Arrival Time: N/A
Weather as I call it: Sunny and warmer.
Paper Guy: N/A
Shady Gas Price: N/A
Yelled at other drivers: Nah.
Feared for my life: Nah.

------------------------------

I had to drive my wife to the dentist today...and my li'l boy and me spent some quality time together while she got a crown on one of her molars. Fun...regular stuff tomorrow.

8/09/2006

It Feels Like Mid-August Out Here

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:00
Weather as I call it: Sunny...the weatherperson on 'the TV' said it felt like September...I politely disagree.
Paper Guy: Shades and blue short-sleeved shirt
Shady Gas Price: $2.99
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No

------------------------------

Are you noticing that people are calmer on the roads lately? Last week, I was sensing a widespread uneasiness out on the roads. The past few days have been...quieter...more laid back....easier...

It must have been the heat. People were really freaking out because of the triple digit temperatures and doing crazy rude things...well, beyond the normal crazy rude things...

If the weather were like this everyday, Boston would be friendlier...I guarantee it.