Monday, January 14, 2008

Frustration, again... but the post gets better

I was going to make a funny post about road-related things, but I've been frustrated by my phone again and don't feel much like laughing at the moment (I'm pretty irritated by T-Mobile at the moment). T-Mobile's T-Zones service is not accessing the GMail mobile site. Or maybe it's my phone. I don't know; but it's really, really frustrating and irritating. That's how I try to stay in contact with my world, which admittedly isn't very big, but I like to stay in touch.

Ok, slightly less frustrated now... I went out for coffee with my wife, and I'm in a better mood now. We were going to go to Starbucks (to use a gift card I received as a Christmas gift for working with the youth choir - thanks "Jane" [or Cecily, if you prefer], mainly for the opportunity to work with the youth choir), but Starbucks was crowded; so crowded, in fact, that there wasn't even a parking spot, so we went to Joe Muggs over in Books-a-Million instead. The coffee was ok, the company excellent.

In an effort to succumb to the valiant efforts of the Joe Muggs/Books-a-Million, that is, they put "buy one get one half off" on their mints at the order/pay station, I suggested to my wife that we get a couple of small tins of mints. She got the peppermints and I got the cinnamints. (Note: they were $1.99 + tax, or $1.79 after the 10% discount card discount, not the $1.61 they are online; but we did get two for that price, so we still beat the online price overall.) Anyway, later on, I took a look at the tin; check out these two photos of the front & back of the tin, and see if you notice anything odd (click them to view larger images if necessary):

Well, if you didn't catch it, let me clue you in: take a look at the serving size and number of servings (on the back) and the net wt. (on the front). The last time I checked, 17 * 2 is 34 (or, 20/2 is 10). Um, hello? Who did the math on this number of servings compared with the net weight? Maybe that's why they were buy one get one free...

As I sit here (intermittently) writing this post, I'm watching "American Gladiators" on NBC. An entertaining show. Not quite as good, in my opinion, as the original series, but entertaining anyway. (If you don't recall, we only have broadcast television, so don't bother telling me about some great series on some obscure - or even not-so-obscure - cable channel; thanks anyway!) My wife wonders at times if it's scripted, but I don't think any writer could script such poor monologues... :)

Anyway, what about road-related things? Well, I've recently found myself frequently shifting into neutral while coasting downhill and saying, "I'm coasting down a hill in neutral." That's illegal in Alabama (and, apparently, in Rhode Island as well, according to this site). Funny, though: according to the Alabama law, if you're the driver of a "motor vehicle" you can't "coast [on a down grade] with the gears or transmission of [your] vehicle in neutral or the clutch disengaged," but if you're the driver of a "truck or bus" you only can't "coast with the clutch disengaged." Um... I guess Alabama doesn't consider a "truck or bus" a "motor vehicle," at least not if you're coasting down a hill. And if you're in a truck or bus, you apparently can coast in neutral as long as your clutch is engaged (now we have to determine whether, in an automatic with the gearshift selector placed in neutral, is the clutch engaged or not? What technically defines the clutch, when most automatics have the transmission and engine connected via the fluid in the torque converter?).

Hmm... loophole (?) here: "A law enforcement officer or a peace officer of any incorporated municipality or town which has less than 19,000 inhabitants according to the most recent federal decennial census shall not enforce this section on any interstate highway" (Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-171 (8)). Thus only state troopers could legally ticket you for speeding on an interstate highway (you know, those numbered roads whose names start with "I-"). But we wouldn't be speeding anyway, now, would we? Ok, forget this paragraph...

Another regulation that probably isn't regularly enforced (or even known, even though it makes sense): "Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks" (Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-214).

Now here's one that makes sense, yet I find ignored all the time (it's one of the "inconsiderate" ones): "Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway" and "any pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway" (Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-215). In the research park where I work (and in various neighborhoods around here, although not my own, since we don't have sidewalks), I frequently see people walking or running on the road right next to a perfectly good, serviceable sidewalk. And I've even moved my car out of the regular lane and into a turn lane, without turning, to avoid said idiots jogging several feet out onto the road when there's a sidewalk a few feet away. Oh, did I say "idiots"? Oops.

It's also illegal to solicit contributions or employment or to distribute any materials from or near a roadway, and it's illegal to fish from a bridge or trestle unless the bridge or trestle is marked with a sign that specifically authorizes such fishing (Code of Alabama, 1975, section 32-5A-216).

Also in Alabama you can't:
Fun, eh? I found out a lot tonight by looking through the Code of Alabama. Maybe this was enlightening to you; maybe it was amusing. Maybe it was boring. Maybe it was too long. Sorry about that. You didn't have to read it all, but I thank you for doing so.

Oh, and my T-zones seems to be working, somewhat, again. Well, for GMail - it was working for non-secure sites before, just not for secure sites (the GMail mobile site, indeed all Google mobile - and non-mobile - sites, uses secure pages for the login, but then switches to the non-secure pages once you've logged into the site). Hooray (for now)!


Anonymous said...

Christy said... Boy you must have a lot of time on your hands! Then again if I didn't have cable TV I just might be tempted to read the Alabama Code too.
On the mints tin I thought you were going to comment on the tin being made in China (lead threat) and the mints in the USA. Also I noticed that it was packaged (or was it distributed - something anyway) in B'ham, AL. I thought that was neat.

Tell your better half I said "hey".

Tony M said...

I have a better half? Wait, I thought it was a better 2/3 or 3/4, or maybe even a better 99.99%... and I told her "hey" from you.

I forgot to mention my conversation with her in the car last night; I said, "I'm coasting down a hill in neutral," and she replied, "You're such a little rebel." To which I replied, "No, a little rebel is a small Honda motorcycle..."