Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Non-Bikes in the Bike Lane

I ride bikes, and also like to run, and also I drive, and actually I walk places, too.  Because I experience the city in multiple ways, I am hyperaware of when people are in the wrong place, like pedestrians crossing the street out of turn.  I commonly see people inappropriately using the bike lane and it really pisses me off. The bike lanes in this city are crappy enough without cars, pedestrians and other obstructions in the lanes. Since apparently it is a complicated thing for people to determine whether they should be in the bike lane, I put together a simple test to guide your decision making:

Question #1: Are you using your body to propel you forward?
--If you answered no, you might be in a car or truck, or potentially on a motorcycle or vespa. You could be double parked while you run to grab a mocha latte from Starbucks. Or maybe you're a taxi driver and want to pull over to chat with your cabbie friends without getting out of your vehicle. Or perhaps you are on a moped and want to get around traffic. All of these would require you to be in the bike lane and thus should not be done. Motor vehicles do not belong in the bike lane, with the exception of when you are making turns.  You actually should enter the bike lane when turning right, especially when stopped at a red light.  This way any approaching cyclists can determine your intentions when approaching the intersection.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #2.

Question #2: Are you on a bicycle?
--If you answered no, but yes to Question #1, you might be a pedestrian. You could be walking or running, but in either case, you're not on a bicycle.  This means you should not be in the bike lane, since it was designed for people on bicycles. For some reason, many runners like to be in the bike lane, despite the presence of a sidewalk. This should not be done because as I said earlier, it is a bike lane, not a running lane.  If you want to run on road surfaces, there are a lot of side streets that you can run on. Typically these side streets don't even have bike lanes so you won't be confused.
--If you answered yes, continue to Question #3.

Question #3: Are you obeying traffic laws?
--If you answered no, but yes to Questions #1 and #2, you are in fact on a bicycle, but you are riding illegally.  You should immediately dismount your bike, and walk beside it on the sidewalk. Cyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic, stop at red lights, yield to pedestrians and follow other traffic laws. And take off your freakin headphones because that is dangerous and it pisses me off when you can't hear me say, "On your left" and you get all freaked out when I pass you.
--If you answered yes to all three questions then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are appropriately using the bike lane!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post: Messing up the Morning Routine and Forgetting to Brush your Teeth

Everyone has certain routines, especially surrounding getting up or going to sleep.  For example, in the shower I always do things in the same order and if I get out of order for some reason, I forget what has already happened. I will condition my hair without shampooing, or wash my face twice and forget the whole soaping process.  Apparently my friend Eric has similar problems, as evidenced by the guest post he wrote:

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I'm a guy with routines. If something comes along that breaks up one of my established routines, it takes extra brainpower on my part to keep everything in the original routine from falling out of place. One of my most frequent and engrained of these routines is how I get myself ready for work and out the door in the morning. Ready? Here it is: wake up, roll out of bed, shower, dry off, eat breakfast, make lunch, put on work clothes, brush my teeth, check that I have wallet/phone/keys/sunglasses (in that order), and boom, I'm out the door. Monday mornings I put on a pot of water to boil a week's worth of eggs as a mid-morning snack, and that comes in between roll out of bed and shower. Other than that, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year (2 weeks of vacation when anything is possible), that's what my morning routine is.

Unfortunately during a recent shower I remembered that my softball league started that night and I hadn't packed my bag before going to bed. For the rest of my shower I was writing a mental checklist of all the things I needed to pack and where they were located around the apartment so I could be as efficient as possible. I made it through the first six and a half steps of the routine when I got sidetracked into looking for my cleats. "Are they in the front closet with the sports gear and jackets, or on the bottom of the shoe pile in my bedroom closet? Hmm, better check now before I forget!" So with my tie half knotted around my neck, I went in search of my cleats, glove, hat, and everything else on my mental list. Eventually I found everything I needed, threw it in a bag that no longer zippers shut, grabbed my pocket stuffers (keys, phone, etc.), and out the door I went, just in time to hear the USS Constitution cannon go off to signal 8am. KAAABOOOOM! I was on time.

About halfway to North Station it hit me - my mouth tasted awful and my teeth felt like they were
covered in a wooly mammoth hair. Twice I slowed my stride and debated whether or not I should turn
around to go home and brush my teeth, but twice I decided that since I was on time and already halfway to the T that I would just do it when I got to the office. Then I got mad that I had forgotten to brush them in the first place, that I had packed my softball bag instead of brushing my pearly whites, and now I was stuck with demon breath for nine T-stops and a quarter mile walk to my office. (Hopefully I didn't offend anyone on my train, and I consciously kept my mouth shut.) Worst of all, as I walked in the building I realized I didn't have a tooth brush in my desk drawer anymore. Crap. But wait, I do have Listerine! At least I can do an alcohol-fueled (21.6% by volume), scorched-earth style rinse and gargle before talking to my coworkers face to face.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of Work After a Vacation

UUUUGGGGHHHH!  Your inbox is full of emails asking you to do things, your desk is piled high with notes, and people run up to you and in the same breath ask how your vacation was and then ask you to do something for them. Also, why do crazy things always happen while you're away?  You go through weeks on end of nothingness, and then as soon as you step away from your computer for an extended period of time, all sorts of you-know-what hits the fan.  It seems like everyone needs something different from you but they all need it at the same time. And you can't even really complain because you just got back from a vacation.  Except if you have a blog dedicated to complaining, and then you can say whatever you like.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

When Other People Go on Vacation and You Don't

Everyone loves a great vacation. They're totally awesome.  But it stinks when that fabulous vacation is being taken my someone else. I mean, let's be honest. When someone tells you they are going somewhere ridiculously cool, you are primarily jealous, and then remind yourself to rub it in the next time you get away. It's so easy nowadays with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, you can post photos while you're vacationing just to make people extra aware about how sad their lives are at that moment.

When someone posts online that they're on their way to some place amazing, you secretly wish that it rains the whole time. Don't deny it. You do. We all do. In the winter I like to check the weather and see if it's going to be uncharacteristically cold at the intended destination. I guess it's kind of mean, and I'm sorry, but I think it's just human nature.

Anyway, sucks to be all of you because I'm off on a cruise to Bermuda with my family! Don't be too mad though; it's going to rain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Billboard Advertising Massachusetts, in Massachusetts

There is a billboard in a suburb-y neighborhood of Boston that has a picture of a sunset over a lake in a forest, and the words "Massachusetts.  A Great Place to Live and Work." I apologize for not taking a picture for you.  Thing is... I do not understand the advertising goals or target demographic of this billboard.

You might think it is targeting tourists, and trying to convince them they should move to Massachusetts. However, this particular sign is not located in an area frequented by tourists. It also seems unlikely that many visitors would be swayed by the bland slogan and generic image. "Honey, I know we really like living in Phoenix, and both of our families are there, and we have great jobs, but just look at that billboard." "Oh Darling, you're right.  That sunset is simply deevine."

It also crossed by mind that maybe it's trying to get people to stay in Massachusetts.  But again, it seems like a poorly chosen location.  Is Brighton known for its high turnover?  Do people take one look at the traffic down Washington St at rush hour and think, "Well that is IT. I'm moving to Vermont!" (this part is true--I say it all the time) and then drive one more block and say, "Oh actually, that sign says it's great to live and work here so on second thought, I'll stay." (That part is not true and seems highly unlikely.)

There are a lot of college students and recent grads in the area, because it's not too expensive in terms of rent.  Is the MA government (or whoever is shelling out the dough for this monstrosity) trying to convince econ major frat boys to stay in town? Anyone at Faneuil Hall on a Saturday night will tell you there are enough of those here already. Can we please instead start an advertising campaign for people who won't start a sing-a-long on the drunk train?

Maybe it is designed to boost MA pride, to remind us all while we're sitting in Red Sox traffic that we're happy here.  Or perhaps to brainwash us?  "You will like living here. You will like working here."

In conclusion, I think it's stupid dumb and should be replaced with a photo of Ryan Lochte. That would definitely improve the traffic delay.