The Punishment Light

If you drive a car, you have no doubt encountered one of these roadway adversaries. It's the mechanical bully that abuses its power. It wants to make you suffer. Worst of all, it does it without intention or desire, but you know deep down there is a method. That's because its hostility is systematic. It's the product of shatty programming and ass-hat engineering. The middle finger directed at your comfort cruise.

I'm talking about the punishment light. You know what I mean. That one traffic signal on your daily commute that defies all reason. You know its there to make your life hell. The red light of rage.


Earlier this year, I got into the first season of Weeds on DVD. It's a hilarious little show with clever stories and writing, interesting characters, and of course, is full of wordsmithing, like when they refer to the fake bakery as a fakery. How can I not like such a show?

Anyway, in one episode, the main character gets caught at this traffic light that stays red for several minutes for no good reason. There are no cars in any direction. But the light simply doesn't change, and she's left to wait it out. She calls it the punishment light.

The Duel:

I have my own punishment light. On my commute, there is a signal that intersects the main thoroughfare that I take with another side road that leads to residential areas. This side road is very lightly travelled. As you may know, many traffic lights change when a sensor plate in the road is tripped. Which generally make sense. Unless a dumbass flunky calibrated the sensor. Or an evil genius.

See, my punishment light will IMMEDIATELY change over once a car hits the trigger. No delay whatsoever. So if one stupid car pulls up to the light on this side street, they get an immediate green light. I get a foot full of brake pedal. And I hate to have my motoring interrupted. Especially in this godforsaken town of lousy traffic clusterfuckage.

And invariably, some sonofabetch will trip the damned thing every time I motor toward the light. It never fails. And the winner of the blood boiling contest goes to the city bus as it makes a wide turn to clear the curb and trips the damned thing. So I get to wait while the light goes green for NOBODY!

Jackass engineers! While I want to throttle all the people who don't deserve the privilege of using our roadways because of their thriving ineptitude, the punishment light and me... ooh, it's become personal. Man v. machine.

Deus Ex Machina:

This week I had a small victory. A bizarre power outage at midnight left my neighborhood without electricity for about five hours. It wasn't a big problem, but bothersome nonetheless. Anyway, on my way to work later that morning, I cleared the rise in the road to descend upon the punishment light as a cavalryman charges his enemy. And there, rendered useless and adorning a fold-down stop sign, was my powerless foe. It was divine intervention. My deus ex machina - god from the machine. The solution to my problem was found.

Sure, the punishment light was shortly reinstated to its former bullying status. But coasting through the intersection that morning was my betch-slap across its three-eyed face. It was my way of showing that light I knew it wasn't invincible. That I knew it answered to a higher power (no, not God, the power company). And from now on, I will see my punishment light as a tragic figure, tethered to is faulty mechanics, stuck in its ways, and never able to truly move on.

Lost In Translation

Have you ever looked at someone and just thought, "Are you a dork in your country, too?"

I saw this Asian guy on campus today who (god love him) was all decked out nerd-like in a mismatched way with crazy bad hair and 80's glasses, and it hit me. This guy cannot be cool in his own country. Or can he? Is it possible for someone to be a complete goofus in one place and a total mack-daddy studcake in another? Could two cultures really view the same person in such a totally different way?

I'm not sure that's possible. But then again, he did have a girl. And there I was. Casting my judgment and working my joke angle on this guy. It reminds me of this particular song...

It goes something like, "I started a joke, that started the whole world laughing. But I couldn't see, that the joke was on me." Hmm.

This post started out funny in my head... and now I've been sabotaged by my own line of thought. Somehow the geeky guy has upstaged me. Stupid brain.

Mental Manufactory: A Stiff Drug Cocktail

Does your work or personal life require overexertion of emotional investment? Do you feel under-aroused when listening to others? Can you simply not get it up for other people when you need to?

Performance fatigue is not your fault. If it isn’t one thing, then by god, it’s another. Yes, tell me again how smart your child is. No, I didn’t realize that was every detail of your afternoon, but please continue. Sure, I want to hear all about the melodrama that is your train-wrecked life.

You no longer have to suffer in head-nodding silence. Ask your doctor about Liagra.

Liagra is a medical miracle that lifts your spirits, engorges your attention-focus areas, and brings to your lips the phoniest smile you could ever muster. Now you can achieve the erect emotional wherewithal you have always wanted without the mental fatigue of putting your mind into it. And the best part is, no one has to know you are faking your “Oh?” face.

Side effects may include making your face stick that way and inexplicable death. If your over-interest in other people persists for more than eight hours, consult your doctor immediately. Liagra should not be taken if you are emotionally imbalanced or Tom Cruise (which is partially redundant).

Boring and tedious people are everywhere. And as of now, killing them is still illegal. But that doesn’t mean you should have to fake your arousal on your own. Just a little white Liagra is all you need. It will be our secret.

Liagra is endorsed by Allcock and Dickerson.

iRant: Clearing the Air

Okay, everyone. Read closely, jot down some notes, and spread the word. I don't want to say or type this again...

People do not buy hybrid vehicles to save money.

(Read that sentence again and do a double-take. Did it sink in?)

Yes, they cost more than their non-hybrid counterparts or equivalents. Thanks, Captain Obviouses of the nation. I agree that you shouldn't buy such a car with your prime goal of safe-guarding your clutchpurse. But please, stop mentioning this little "tidbit" when the topic comes up, like you are so enlightened with your devil's advocacy.

Yet speaking of devil's advocacy, take note that the most expensive Pruis is around $30K, which is far less expensive than many larger troop transports and hoopties busting up our roads. But still. People don't buy hyrbids to save money. So shut up.

Yes, they save fuel. There are many cheaper non-hybrids out there that get fairly similar mileage per gallon, like the Toyota Yaris and Corolla. Honda Civics do well, too. And others. But that's only part of the reason people buy hybrids.

Focus, Sally. Pay attention.

People buy hyrbid vehicles because they are environmentally-friendly! While this seems to be a Captain Obvious statement itself, I'm continually disappointed when no one seems to remember this aspect of these cars. In my estimation, it's a big selling point.

And in this way, hybrids are statement cars. But not status symbols like Cadillac Pimpcalades and Hummer busses and Chrysler 300 land yachts. And to me, a statement car is far superior to a status car. We don't need to know how small your "friend" is or for what inadequacy you're compensating. Just go develop a drug habit and give the ozone a break. Or go work out until you look like a cartoon super-mutant.

Are we clear?

Final Thoughts

If you want to save money on fuel costs, check your tire pressure. They should be inflated to their safety maximum. Tires that are fully inflated can increase fuel efficiency by about 10-15%, according to a test run by Senior Automotive Editor, Mike Allen, of Popular Mechanics. Also, use your cruise control when possible.

Remember, it's not about having the most efficient car on the planet, it's about using what you have wisely.

And Another Thing...

I almost forgot. Nobody is allowed to continue to compare the price of premium fuel to standard, as if the price gap is a bank breaker. It's 20 cents, people. You can pretty much count on that. So in a 13 gallon tank, that's a huge $2.60 price difference at the pump.

Likewise, stop driving an extra five miles for fuel that's a whole 5 cents cheaper. You just saved 65 cents to drive farther, Dr. Economist. When you taking the trip to Disney on that sweet payola?

Now stop reading and look at that iced mocha latte frappuccino freeze you just bought. How much did you pay for that daily treat, hmm? Nuff said.

Shameless Plug 01

I was just thinking back on some of my favorite posts from the days of yore and feeling it was a shame they are buried in the nebulous archives of the blogosphere. To the realm of forgotten. I hope someone can invent a clever way to sift through this kind of material. Because so many bloggers out there have excellent past posts. How can we bring them back?

Labels can only do so much to categorize...

So my quick fix is a Shameless Plug! Self-promotion is the key to any successful purveyor, performer, pauper, or poet.

Anyway, after motoring home last night -- window down, elbow propped, caressed by the wind
-- I was reminded how much I love motoring through cities at night.

And it brought me back to one of my memorable posts that eventually spawned my Mythology of Life series.

So check if out: Night Motoring Through Cities

I've updated the music selection. The rest is preserved in its original packaging.

Motor on,

What the Butler Saw

In one of my random and meandering web searches that probably included Google, Wikipedia, and XTube... er... I mean... um... other stuff, I stumbled across the phrase "What the Butler Saw." For some reason, it intrigued me. Don't ask why.

No, seriously. Don't ask me.

So I know what it refers to, but I'm curious what you all think it's about. Behave now... no Googling. Or more appropriately, don't Ask Jeeves what the butler saw. Hehe.

I'm so funny...

Mental Manufactory: Syndrome Syndrome

Do you suffer from chronic time-wasting?

Do you find yourself putting off important tasks until the last minute?

Do you put the "pro" in procrastination?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you may already be one of the millions of Americans that suffer from Dragging Feet Syndrome.

Dragging Feet Syndrome is a debilitating set of non-specific symptoms that include restless thought, distraction, idleness, and procrastination enabling behavior tendencies.

Now is the time to actually do something. Now there is both help and hope.

Ask your doctor about Azingear. This drug works at the laziness sites in your brain to stimulate miserly activation cells. Or something like that. Does it really matter? We've probably just created a clear capsule chock full of neat sugar beads so you think something is really going on. Or we're poisoning you for our profit. But nevertheless, your well-being is at stake. Dragging Feet Syndrome is a gateway condition that may lead to such scary things as Volitional Affective Syndrome or Productivity Disruption Disorder. And that's when the bad shit goes down.

Why wait?

Do you want your family and friends to hate you?

Because they may already...

Don't join the Future Procrastinators of Tomorrow. Get your Azingear today. And find yourself on the road to recovery, consumerism, and drug-driven happiness once again.