Friday, December 11, 2009

Karma in the rear-end

Monday evening, on my way home from work, a girl in her mid 20s from the University of Oklahoma smashed the back of my Mazda, causing $7.5K in damages. It now seems safe to assume that all my ramblings and rants about traffic have come back to bite me where it hurts: in the rear-end.

I had just dropped off my dry cleaning at a place that’s within a 20-second walk from my apartment before the accident occurred. I was stationary in a one-lane road waiting for on-coming traffic to pass so I could turn left. My blinker was on, I had done everything right – except think to use my psychic ability, look in my rear-view and hit my non-existent NOS button to get out of a 2005 Chevy Tahoe’s way. Rear-window shattered, I was shoved forward (luckily not into on-coming traffic) and that was all she wrote.

Luckily for me the girl had great insurance. It took me a shorter amount of time to sort everything out with the wreck – estimates, liability, damage repairs, rental pick-up, etc. – than it does for me to get my oil changed. Odd concept.

Nonetheless, this accident still made me think of how stupid drivers are. The girl obviously wasn’t paying any attention (one lane road + rear-collision + $7.5K damage = obviously), she was most likely texting – looking down at her phone – and not the road. And because she had to send another Sooner a text message that couldn’t wait until she was home, or God-forbid at a red light, I now have to drive around in a Toyota “the Red Rocket” Camry that reeks of Marlboro Reds, marijuana and stale cab driver. It’s amazing how loose/non-existent the prerequisites are in order to be able to operate machinery that weighs 4,500lbs and can go up to 100m.p.h.

Higher toll rates

Article in today’s Dallas Morning News indicates that the “NTTA may consider higher rush-hour toll rates.” Here are some quick details…

- Toll rates jumped 23 percent Sept. 1 and are 14.5 cents per mile
- They will automatically increase 5.6 percent every two years
- Rates could jump as much as 17 percent during rush hour after January 2012

Evidently the “prospect of higher rates during rush hour could lower NTTA's interest costs” which would make it easier for “… NTTA to build the 28-mile Southwest Parkway in Tarrant County.”

Are you kidding me? There’s a prospect of charging commuters even more money than we already pay to help build something that the majority of us won’t even use? I think what’s even more cruel is this idea that we’re going to be charged more money while sitting in traffic. If it was more money to be able to drive 90 with hardly any congestion, perhaps I’d understand this increase in the rate. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods' affair: who cares!

Naturally, all headlines of any major news outlet are posting stories related to Tiger Woods’ recent admission to having an affair. I’ve received text messages about this, I’ve seen tweets, it’s become a Twitter “trending topic”, it’s all over Facebook, I heard about it on the radio on my way to work, saw a segment on CBS Evening News – the list goes on…

Why is there such a big fuss about this? Why are so many people mad, much less even care? Is it because Tiger Woods is held to a higher standard due to his fame and fortune? Is it because we rejoice in people such as Tiger making mistakes, consequently suffering?

It seems as if it takes a certain person to truly care about something like this. It takes a certain person to buy the tabloids and watch the programs that make money on issues such as these. Sadly enough, there’s an immense portion of the population that care more about Tiger Woods’ sex life than do about public policy, religion or current events.

Who cares – let it go.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The 2009 Dallas Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving Day I ran the 2009 Dallas Turkey Trot. Despite living here for almost 23 years and spending well over half of my Turkey Days in Dallas, it was my first time to ever partake in the event. I was one of 37,000 participants in the 42nd annual race that supports the YMCA. Registrants could opt in to run/walk a 5K or an 8 mile. I used the event as another day-in-training for the White Rock Marathon, running the 8 mile at a relatively quick pace. As I was running, I had some thoughts…

I burned more calories and wasted more time dodging in and out of people the first couple of miles than I did hauling the remaining six.

It’s very motivating to run in Downtown Dallas, in between giant skyscrapers, across major highways and through Deep Ellum.

As some of the more seasoned runners passed me, I felt my competitive side creep out. I would speed up, eye down the passer-by, and mumble under my breath: “Oh no you don’t!” I probably need to chill out on that.

It was neat to see all of the supporters that lined the streets, especially the over-obese man sitting in a lawn chair, drinking a [9:30a] beer, smoking a cigarette – having absolutely zero desire to participate in anything even remotely close to ‘exercise.’

I found myself smiling about the entire experience. Yes, I know, it’s just a Turkey Trot, but it felt like more. 37,000 people of all nations, ages and races, coming together in a community – but not just any community: my city, my life, Dallas – all brought together through the bond of wellness, of well-being. Every person I passed (which was a lot due to my blazing speed and incredible athletic ability) I wanted to pat on the back and say: “Good for you!”

Looking forward to next year.