April 28, 2006

18-Wheeled Vigilante!

So... I'm driving back from Memphis this afternoon. My Shop Van is in fine tune, and I'm in a hurry to get back to the crib. Average speed is around 80 to 85 mph, and I'm makin' tracks. It's a bright and sunny day, and the temperature isn't bad. A Good Day for Drivin'. Interstate 40 East, The Mississippi river about 95 miles in my rear-view, Just East of Jackson, TN...It happenned.

Now, anyone who's ever run any decent stretch of two lane blacktop has experienced a trial or two. everything from broken down vehicles, to "Road Rage", to being boxed in by a couple of Semi's having a "Drag Race" for twenty miles (at 62 miles an hour in a 70 zone.). It's this latter phenomena that I'd like to discuss for a minute...

I think that we can all agree that one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you on a long drive is to be stuck behind a couple of tractor-trailors that are running side-by-side at about the same speed. The penultimate "rolling roadblock". the truck in the "fast lane" is doing about a 1/4 of a mile-per-hour faster than the other truck, so he won't give up and get out of the way...The truck in the "slow lane" gets paid by the mile just like everybody else, so he isn't giving up any progress to alleviate the impasse, as it will hit him in the pocketbook. Stalemate. Here you are (an innocent four-wheeler) stuck behind this mass of rolling metal, with no option other than flashing your lights or blowing your horn (neither of which will do a damn bit of good in getting these trucks away from each other).

Here's the scenario: The truck in the "slow lane" is a really interesting rig. you've all seen a truck rolling down the road (sans trailer) that had another truck attatched to it backwards, right? One big bar holds the trailing trucks' rear-wheels off the pavement, and the other truck is driving normally. This contraption was much the same, but the "bar" that held the two tractors together was doing double-duty...as a car hauler. Between the "big truck" there was a full-sized Chevy Suburban! (Nifty contraption if I do say so myself.) In the "fast lane" there is a Semi hauling a flatbed. A flatbed filled with wooden pallets. Empty pallets. They're stacked up five or six high, right in the midle of the trailer. Heavy Cargo?...Not so much. Why the hell isn't he moving faster? I have no idea.

Behind this "Rolling Roadblock", I'm absolutely fuming. Five miles passed... No change. Ten miles passed... No change. Dear Lowered, something's gotta give... I began to hear a vaguely familiar sound of the "rumble strips" that lie outside of the stripes on every Interstate Motorway. We've all heard the particualr "BRRRRRRRRRRR" of those things. They're there to ensure that someone who is asleep behind the wheel, is awakenned before they collide with a guardrail. I've wandered into them a time or two, but this was different. "BrrrRRRUP!" is what I'm used to. What I heard was: "rrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" I looked to my right... to find a full-sized "Semi Truck and Trialer" in the "Breakdown Lane"...Accelerating.

When he had passed the truck in the "slow lane", he crossed over into the "fast lane", and he did somethin unexpected... He hit his brakes. I nearly rear-ended the flatbed in front of me, but I'm marginally more obsevant than the average gnat, so I applied brakes myself. The back-to-front vehicle shot past me on the right, and the "flatbed" pulled into the right lane. I was now able to pass, and pass I did.

I gave the Freight Driver who'd "checked up" the "Slow Passer" a "Big Thumbs Up" (as I went around him after he'd politely moved into the right lane, so I could pass).

I don't care what you say... Not all truckers are BAD.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 15, 2006

Death & ...

being a single guy, and not a homeowner, means that I have no deductions that I can claim on the old 1040. Makes doing my taxes extremely simple, but it turns out I had to pay the piper this year. A whole $114! What a nightmare! Now I'll have to put off buying those two video-games that I wanted...for at least a week! Woebegone I am.

Actually, I'm tickled shitless to have owed a few bucks to Uncle Sam. Unlike the majority of the population, (It seems to me at least) I've never looked forward to getting a refund from the Gummint. Most folks are excited to get that check, and use it to buy all sorts of stuff that they couldn't afford through the year, or they just piss it away on useless bits of frivolity that they never would have purchased if they didn't have the bread in a nice lump sum. All sorts of bidnesses capitalize on this sort of attitude, from car lots to retailers, everybody has a sale going on to get you to spend your refund there. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but my take on things is a bit different.

I'm proud that the Feddle Gummint didn't get an interest free loan from me last year. So far as I can tell, they are the only entity in this country that can get away with that AND have people happy as hell with the circumstance. I can't borrow a nickel from a guy on the street without him expecting a 5% vigourish added to the loan, but the Powers that be are able to take my money before I ever see it, keep it for a year, and then give back what I involuntarily overpaid without any type of penalty for their screw-up? Ever since I joined the workforce, I've found this process to be a little off-kilter. Even moreso after I got my first loan, and realized how much I was being charged for the privelage of receiving same.

I know that all of this has been said before, and probably written better than I ever could, but still...I'll never understand why more people aren't out in the streets protesting this thievery. Oh wait, they get a big check once a year. What was I thinking? Here's hoping that I never get another refund check as long as I live.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 08, 2006

Quick update.

Well, it was another harrowing week in Memphis, and it started way WAY too early on Monday morning. This whole "daylight Savings" thing is a real pain in the ass when you've got to get up at 3:00 AM to try and make it to the job at a decent hour. Tack on the loss of the "Spring Forward" hour and I'm sure that you can imagine how bad the drive over truly sucked.

The week went by pretty quickly though, as I was pulled away to help out with delivering a wheelchair lift over in Mississippi (Twice, as the shipping company didn't deliver it on Monday, so we had to go get it at thier docks, and deliver it to the jobsite on Thursday.), assisting with a repair of an old freight elevator downtown (The building is a block over from where MLK was shot), and trying to finish up another job that Ed started. Lots and lots of running around got done, but Iw asn't able to advance my Modernization job very much at all. something that I did manage to do, was convince the owner that he really needed new cabs, so I'll actually have something stable to mount my new header and door operator's to. It's a nice addition to what is already a fairly lucrative job...and I get to be the hero.

The best news is, I don't have to get up so early this Monday, because I have to go to the shop and pick up my shop van. Yay! It's gotten a fender and door repaired (from an accident that the previous guy got into), a new paint job, all new company logos, and is having the Air Conditioning repaired and a new fuel pump installed this weekend. It may not be new, but it's being put into "top condition" before I recieve it. This is the first company that I've worked for that has seen fit to give me a vehicle, and as you may have noticed, I'm pretty stoked about it.

Meanwhile, as all of this stuff has been going on, I realized that my odometer turned over another milestone... This site turned two years old on March 31st, and I completely missed it. I guess it's a testament to how much of a streotypical "guy's guy" I really am. Not only do I forget Birthday's and anniversaries of friends and family, I even forget my own. In celebration, I'm going to put on some proper britches, and head on over to my favorite watering hole. I've got to harrass my favorite "beertender", and get a bite to eat. I think a steak is in order, and a tall glass of frosty malted adult libation. Then a haircut. Then do my taxes. Then the laundry. (Woo! Can't slow down this party animal.)

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack