Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow Plowing in Madison a Joke

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Madison area experienced a situation with snow followed by freezing rain. Madison streets superintendent Al Schumacher told the Cap Times, "If we had plowed the snow Saturday, the freezing rain would have gone onto the pavement, and cars would have been bouncing into each other."

I whole-heartedly disagree with the city's choice not to plow on Saturday. Its inaction resulted in a heavy layer of snow topped with ice, a combination very difficult to plow and shovel. The city should have ordered plowing immediately, as well as spread salt and sand to reduce the effects of the freezing rain (yes, I realize no salt and sand were spread because of environmental issues, but I think the land and lakes can tolerate a little salt and sand in exchange for fewer accidents).

Anyone who drove on Saturday or Sunday knows the results: terrible road conditions, cars plowed in on the streets, ice everywhere. This is unacceptable, especially considering neighboring cities such as Fitchburg had clear roads. Those cities did the right thing in plowing early and often unlike Madison, which relies on late and hardly ever.

One other thing that is maddening: The alternate side parking debacle. I think most people don't follow it because they know the city won't plow anyway. For three days cars on my street downtown have diligently followed this rule, but the sides of the street are still not plowed. Meanwhile, the parking enforcers work hard to ticket people--I just wish the plow trucks would word even half as hard.

Monday, November 5, 2007

New Bus Shelters at Capitol Loop

For the second time this year, Madison Metro has temporarily re-routed its Capitol Loop routes so that new bus shelters can be installed. If you remember, Madison Metro closed the Capitol Loop for the entire month of August just to tear the shelters down (they were not aesthetically pleasing). But guess what? Some genius forgot to order the new shelters! The bus driver who told the passengers on her bus this was as incredulous as we were. So, after tearing down the older shelters, Madison Metro erected temporary shelters just to cover its ass.

From Nov. 3 until Nov. 18, riders will be inconvenienced once again to go to the outer loop, without the benefit of any shelter. Great job Madison Metro! Way to forgot to order $336,000 worth of shelters!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Watch out for bad weather--yeah right!

About mid-week last week, residents of the Dane County area were warned about approaching severe weather for the weekend, including the possiblity of tornadoes. (Wait, tornadoes in October?) We were warned to stay home, as this weather could pose a major threat to us.


When should we ever believe meteorologists? Besides referees, this is the only profession in which you can be wrong 100% of the time and not be fired. Remember this summer when we were warned of bad weather, causing businesses to close early? And then ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED? Same thing this past weekend (beautiful 70-degree weather--just the EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT WAS PREDICTED).

Hey weather people: way to waste four years of college for a degree that is meaningless! Anyone can look at the doppler radar and predict weather more accurately than you can.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Almost two traffic accidents

Yesterday I witnessed two near-traffic accidents. In the morning, as I was riding my bike to work, a woman ran a red light (at the intersection of Main Street and MLK Jr Blvd). Fortunately, there is a long delay before the light on MLK turns green, otherwise the woman on Main Street would have hit the other driver on MLK (or been hit herself). This was not a case where the light was changing from yellow to red; it had been red well before she approached the intersection--I think she was simply inattentive. As she parked in a meter near Walgreen's, I yelled "Way to run that red light, you idiot!" I'm not sure if she heard me.

In the evening, I was crossing Park Street on Johnson Street. The light had just changed to green for Johnson Street. A college-aged female on a bike came southbound on Park Street and nearly hit me as I was in the crosswalk. She continued south on Park Street, through a red light, and two cars had to come to screeching stops (thank goodness for antilock brakes) to avoid killing her. They also honked at her, and she was completely oblivious to anything that had just happened. She was not wearing headphones or anything, and she just continued riding her bike through the intersection. I'm not sure what the fuck she was thinking, though she probably deserved to be hit if she's that stupid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mom was wrong in Verona car crash

In the early hours of Monday, Sept. 24, four people were killed after the car they were in went off a windy road and crashed. In today's Wisconsin State Journal, the mother of the driver expressed anger at all the negative attention her now-deceased son has received. Although my heart goes out to her and the parents of the other victims, this mother should feel responsible, more so than simply saying "I feel responsible because it was my car."

Holy shit! Did she say that? Her son had a lengthy record of traffic-related convictions, PLUS his license had been revoked. The mom, in fact, told her son to drive his friends home! Maybe she should have said, "I feel responsible because I know he's a bad driver and I sent him and his friends to their death."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Charter Ranks Lowest in Customer Satisfaction

In the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Residential Cable/Satellite Satisfaction Study, Charter Communications ranked lowest in customer satisfaction in the North Central region that includes Wisconsin.

For any of you that has ever to deal with Charter, this comes as no surprise. Their prices are ridiculously high, their technical support is a joke and their service is spotty at best (both Internet and cable). To be fair, most cable companies have similar flaws, but Charter is always the worst.

This may be the No. 1 reason why the legislation should allow the cable bill to pass: So that consumers get more choice, instead of being stuck in a monopolistic setting.

WOW!, which operates in areas of Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, led the North Central region for the second straight year, scoring 729 on the 1,000-point scale, 21 points above last year. DirecTV was second with 661, followed by DISH Network at 640, Insight at 616, Time Warner Cable at 606, Bright House at 580, Comcast at 572 and Charter at a paltry 562.

The study is based on six factors -- performance and reliability; customer service; cost of service; image; billing; and offerings and promotions -- and on responses from 17,033 U.S. households.

No wonder Charter isn't financially sound.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Mayor's Shortsightedness

Many Madison residents know Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's ideal city doesn't work with reality. Examples:

1. Building Madison's Central Park. It's nice to fix up that desolate area, but the cost of having the train tracks moved, plus the fact that every other park in the city needs dire maintenance, makes this a bad use of money.
2. Before the section of East Washington Avenue closest to the Capitol went under construction, Mayor Dave wanted the streets narrowed (i.e. fewer lanes). Are you fucking kidding? Has he ever seen all the traffic on that street?
3. The management of the Overture Center and Goodman Pool has been a joke.
4. His stubborness for the trolley almost made us lose our chance for federal funding for light rail.

The new item-du-jour is the mayor's comments on ATC's proposed power line route in Dane County. ATC's top choice is along the Beltline, to which the mayor responded, "If we build (the transmission line) along the Beltline and we need to expand the Beltline but we can't ... that's going to create more pressure for a new southerly Beltline. Then the question becomes: would you rather have a power line along that route or a new six-lane highway?"

Once again, he juxtaposes an issue to mask another. Mayor Dave would NEVER allow the Beltline to expand to six lanes because he's against cars and urban sprawl. Plus, how the hell could the Beltline be expanded anyways? The mayor's shortsightedeness is atrocious. Look at the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the levees in New Orleans. Will it take a brown out of Dane County for him to realize we need these lines, and that the Beltline poses the least disturbance to homeowners' properties?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Problems at Brittingham Park

For lack of a better term, there are many "sketchy" people that hang out at Brittingham Park (on the corner of Park Street and West Washington Avenue), especially in the shelter. This is definitely not a park you would want to be in when the sun sets (I don't even like rollerblading or jogging through it during the day). I often use the park to play kickball, and I have friends who use it to play soccer, and there's one thing we agree upon: if you have to use the bathroom, hold it! That shelter is gross enough as it is, but the bathrooms are even worse. I have seen the sketchy people passed out in that bathroom, and who knows how many times drugs have been used in them.

There's always a huge police presence at this tiny park, but I don't feel much safer with them there. The Capital Times printed a story today about a homeless person who died in the park. The article goes on and on about neighbors' concerns, especially regarding the number of homeless and drunks at the shelter. One thing the author forgot to mention is that the shelter was the base for a group of criminals to plan out their crimes last summer.

It's sad, but I think they need to lock up the shelter each night at 8 p.m. I know, it's the equivalent of putting a bucket under a leak instead of fixing the leak, and consequently I'm not sure where these sketchy people will go, but any solution is better than no solution.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Crocs are Ugly

I'm sure you've seen those shoes: they're plastic, toy-like and full of holes. When I see people in Madison wearing them, I want to ask: "HAVE YOU GIVEN UP ON EVER BEING FASHIONABLE AGAIN?" Seriously, they are so ugly and ridiculous looking that I can't imagine what a person's mindset is when they put them on their feet.

I'm not alone in my hatred for Crocs. Check out:

I highly recommend reading this article on Crocs. Some highlights:

--"the ratio of shame to comfort was extreme"

--an "early Croc-adopter reports that when she went to her daughter's school dressed in Crocs, the kids all wanted to know why she wore 'clown shoes'"

--"'When it comes to shoes, people mistake comfort for support. Comfort is fool's gold—a soft gushy shoe that makes your arches collapse'"

--"'Uggs [a fad] I can make an argument for. Jellies [another fad] also had their moment of being cute and cool. Crocs [just a fad?] are just a pox.'"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brewers' Ben Sheets on DL--again

What a shocker. Today the Brewers announced pitching ace Ben Sheets was placed on the 15-day DL list. Earlier this season the fragile Sheets had a groin strain and a blister on his middle finger. Here's a look back at his past injuries:

2006: A strained muscle behind right shoulder puts him on the DL before the season even begins. After four starts, he suffered tendinitis and missed more playing time. For the season, he had a career-low 17 starts.
2005: Placed on DL April 29 for Vestibular neuritis. Tore his right latissimus dorsi muscle in late August; initially placed on 15-day DL but was eventually moved to 60-day DL.
2004: Somehow makes it through the entire season but has surgery to repair a lumbar disk herniation in October.
2003: In August and September, suffers from upper respiratory infection.
2001: Placed on DL in August with tendinitis in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.

Sheets is just someone who can't be depended on to stay healthy.

UPDATE, 7-18-07:
The Brewers announced that Sheets will miss four to six weeks after an ultrasound revealed a partial tear of the tissue surrounding the tendon in his right middle finger.

Can't wait to see what he hurts next!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Apple iPhone is Crap

No surprises here. Apple comes out with another innovative product (the iPhone), but once again the item is faulty.

Take a look at the iPod. Not the first portable mp3 device on the market, but certainly a sleak-looking device. The first buyers of the iPod soon discovered the faulty battery, and it took a class-action lawsuit for Apple to finally provide replacement batteries. Plus, the iPod was overpriced, easily allowing for other products to enter the market and come out with better AND cheaper mp3 players (see SanDisk).

The iPod isn't the only example, but let's move on to the iPhone. For those of you unfamiliar, it's a combination phone/PDA/music/video player. Most stores selling the iPhone sold out of it within a few short hours. This weekend many buyers soon discovered the problems with iPhone, such as delays in phone activation, difficulty using iTunes and other issues. Then of course, Apple made some bad decisions: going exclusively with AT&T for five years, touch-by-skin screen only (it won't read a stylus), using EDGE network (slower) instead of 3G (faster), having just 4 or 8 GB of memory without the chance of adding more (the former costs a whopping $499, the latter $599) and not allowing third-party software makers to help.

Other problems include: No copying and pasting; no recognition on car adapters; the impracticality of continuing to re-join WiFi network after WiFi network instead of a dedicated connection (i.e. like Blackberry); no removable battery; no video recorder. For people in Wisconsin, only the Milwaukee and Madison areas will be served by AT&T, which hasn't announced a timeline yet for the rest of the state.

Of course, like Apple always does, its second generation iPhone will probably address most of these issues (let's not get started on Apple picking AT&T of all companies). But that's the M.O. of Apple: sell a shitty product, fix it, rob consumers.

And if you own one, your iPhone is a major target for theft.

Here's a funny iPhone video:

The IPhone