August 12, 2004

Driving me mad...

I don't know if it's the fact that my daily commute is 2+ hours, or that part of it includes the worst freeway bottleneck in the nation, or that I'm just getting more paranoid as a daddy.... But I've been bitchin' a lot about drivers and their vehicles lately.

My wife, kid and I have driven the 800 some-odd miles back to our home town of El Paso several times since moving to 'trafficopolis' five years ago. On our last drive back she and I both noticed a disturbing trend-- DVD video screens within the DRIVER's view. Now, I can personally attest to the vast nothingness that spans the horizon during a 17-hour drive on I-10. I actually enjoy some of that 'nothingness' after staring at miles of tail-lights in LA every day. Regardless, what's the one thing we've all heard for as long as there's been cars? Say it with me-- "Keep your eyes on the road."

USA Today: "This year, 33 states have considered 83 bills dealing with distracted driving, Sundeen says. Though 22 of those bills focused on the use of handheld cell phones, others looked at television monitors, DVD players and other car gadgets."

They should "consider" a little faster, else court precedence absolve us of any responsibility-- Driver cleared of death crash while watching DVD.

As for all the recent gripes about SUV's, LA traffic, fuel consumption, tax breaks for WMDs (wagons of massive dimensions), driving habits, etc. Think about it-- Do you ever get as irrate with such vibrant language and gestures as you do behind the wheel? When I'm at the bank or post office, I don't start swearing a blue-streak when someone gets into the line before I do. I don't start running with my shopping cart and whip around slow-moving customers at the grocery store. Now, I'm actually pretty good about not doing that all the time in traffic. But it still happens (especially when someone takes my parking space!)

So what's up with that? Is it really about the act of driving? or is it actually about the things we can/can't control while getting where we're going? ... where we're going in our relationships, in our careers, as individuals, as a nation?

Just how much road rage is really about "something else"?

I'll ask my wife, the Psychologist to blog on this some other time.

For now, how about we just chill the hell out and not kill each other and our families with several tons of flying steel? I'd really appreciate it.

- Lito

Posted by Lito at 11:33 PM

August 07, 2004

Home, home out of price range

My wife and I just spent a couple months looking for a simple 1500+ sq ft, 3+ by 2, detached, with great curl appeal to call home. Our awesome agent showed us a ton of places....

Alas, the only place we actually submitted an offer for was not interested in anyone with 100% financing. The recent explosion in real estate prices combined with all-time low interest rates made for quite a volatile market. A lot of people jumped into the market with very risky loans right when interest rates started to bounce back. As mentioned in a recent New York Times article, The Ever More Graspable, and Risky, American Dream. Use account info
user: noneof
password: yourbusiness
to read the article.

At either rate, we decided to hold off our search until 2005. It's too close to the pending birth of our daughter and it allows us more time to save up, since our purchasing power is bound to shrink as interest rates start to climb back up.

- Lito

Posted by Lito at 12:48 PM

August 06, 2004

Weight, weight... don't tell me!

This is priceless! I've often grumbled and grumped while driving my ultra low emission, fuel efficient, actually fits in a 'compact' parking space Honda over those massive SUVs (small unit vehicles) blocking out the sun with either their low-orbit stature or gas-guzzlin' emissions. All too often I've dreamed of a time and place where those thundering behemoths are not allowed on the same streets as my kid and his tricycle. Turns out there IS such a place-- CALIFORNIA! (we just didn't know it!)

Andy Bowers of MSN Slate did some digging, and came to an interesting realization-- California's SUV Ban

I admit, it's not likely the authorities are going to do anything about it, but there is a certain satisfaction knowing these WMDs (wagons of massive dimensions) are at some level, banned wagons!

- Lito

Posted by Lito at 09:28 AM