San Diego Travel Log – 1

As a follow on from my post on visiting Napa to buy some of the yummy V Sattui Madeira for my dad’s birthday party this weekend, we are now in San Diego.

Friday – Travel Day

As airfares were ridiculously expensive, even a month in advance, we decided to drive. Save the airfare, and the cost of a rental car. Big win.

Of course, that meant driving the 9 hours (with pit stops) from San Jose to San Diego. Mostly smooth, we were against the commute on the way out of Silicon Valley, and the trip down I5 was boring.

Read more…

Solve California’s Financial Issues Forever

As with most states, there is always a bit of tightness in the budget. California, although our outlook has improved, still is on the precarious edge. I have the guaranteed solution to those fiscal woes.

First step, raise the fine for texting while driving. California’s is the lowest in the nation at $20 for a first offense. Make it a nuisance, say $100 or $150.

Second, have every officer of the law on full alert. They will become virtual ticket writing machines, because I see CONSTANT people texting while driving here in the bay area. Literally I SEE with my own eyes, in my slow slung S2000 no fewer than 50 offenses each direction.

Third…

Fourth PROFIT!

For the record, there are four states that do not ban texting while driving and the maximum first time fine/penalty is Alaska. $10,000 and 1 year in jail if you get caught. Source: MotherJones

Another day in Paradise

What a shock. Where I USED to live, it will be 106F today. Here (Santa Clara) it will be 79. The local people will bitch about it being HOT.

I have a lot of DMV stuff to do, alas, California is nowhere near as efficient as Arizona is/was. When I first relocated to AZ back in 2003, I walked into the local MVD office in Tucson at about 11:00AM, took a number, and before I could sit down, I was called. I re-registered my car, got my driver’s license, transferred the title on my motorcycles, and was out of there in less than 20 minutes, plates and driver’s license in hand.

Not likely to be replicated in California. Hoops up the wazoo, probably 3 trips (hopefully with appointments) and a lot of money out of pocket. Sigh.

Drivers

Both states have their share of asshole drivers. But they are different in their bad practices. I need to recalibrate to account for the beemer drivers who seem to like to pass on the margins here. Without signals. Far over the posted speed limit.

Life is good. If only we could sell out damn house in Chandler…

When being a nice guy backfires: Traffic edition

I have an easy commute. A hair over 7.5 miles straight up a surface street, never too bad traffic. I am never in a hurry (well, very rarely), so I am often willing to let someone in who is leaving a driveway.

But today I goofed. I waved some lady who was trying to get out of a gas station. I figured she wanted to just merge into traffic. BZZT

She took my opening, then proceeded in slowly obstructing ALL traffic to get to the left turn lane. Sigh.

So I, and several other (justifiably pissed off) people missed the green light while this tool stopped traffic to get to the left turn lane.

When I am in a similar situation, I :

  • Take a deep breath. Really, it isn’t the end of the world.
  • Merge into traffic, but look for the next convenient (and safe) place to make a U turn.
  • And get to where I want to go a minute or two later.

What I don’t do is obstruct 3 lanes of traffic, hanging in limbo, just to “make” that next left turn. Sheesh.

American Exceptionalism, my ass

If you listen to any politicians these days, they seem to be incapable of going more than 2 minutes without commenting on the veracity of “American Exceptionalism”.  Today, I am going to debunk that claim.

I am currently vacationing in Sedona, AZ, part of the “Exceptional America” (and I will posit that the views, the food, and the relaxation options here are indeed superb).  

To help with traffic flow, they have built roundabouts in many intersections.  This keeps traffic flowing, and reduces emissions, as cars don’t have to stop and idle waiting for their turn to go.

However, “Exceptional Americans” seem to have a brain freeze when they come to one of these traffic flow control devices.  Many STOP and wait until the roundabout is empty.  BZZZZT you merely wait until you can merge in.  Often there is no waiting.

Another thing I see is that there are tire marks where people have driven straight over the roundabout.  BZZZT You merge in, go around to where you exit, signal, and exit.

I know, some of you will call this “communist tactics imported from Europe”, but the truth is, they are vastly superior to keeping traffic flowing, and reducing annoying waits at stop lights.  For the love of god, learn to navigate Traffic Roundabouts.