28 Sep

Meter purposes

If you drive on the freeways in Minnesota, you've seen them.

Ramp Meter signals on the acceleration ramps.


I'm not totally against them, but some things really annoy me about them:

1. They're so far down the acceleration lane that you have no chance of accelerating up to speed with the rest of the traffic already on the freeway, defeating the purpose of the lights (which is to limit impeding the flow of traffic)

2. They only function during the morning and afternoon rush hours. In off-peak hours, they blink yellow. Why not conserve energy and turn them off?

The next point is the real reason for the Gripe...

3. At 7:45am... near the peak of the rush hour, the ramp meter at 77th and 169 (doesn't receive a huge amount of traffic) was cycling extremely quickly. Ok, what do I mean by this...

For those not in the know, the meters operate just like a traffic light. It turns green, waits 1 second and then cycles to yellow and then immediately red (hence the 1 car per green sign). The path of going from green to yellow to red is called a cycle. Typically, there are lights on both sides of the acceleration ramp, where cars are supposed to make two lines -- one on the left and one on the right. When the light on one side cycles, the light on the other side has its turn to cycle. Usually there's a pause of anywhere from a few seconds to close to 15 seconds, depending on the location in the Twin Cities. This helps restrict the amount of cars entering the freeway at one time, which otherwise, would slow traffic.

So back to the story. The lights at this location cycle quickly. Once the light on one side cycles, the other side immediately cycles with no waiting time in-between. This is always the case with the lights at this location.

WHAT'S THE POINT OF EVEN HAVING THEM ON THEN? They're not even doing anything. THERE'S NOT EVEN ENOUGH TRAFFIC ENTERING THE FREEWAY AT THIS LOCATION. And even if there was, how would they be able to keep up with the unbelievable cycle speed? That's right, they couldn't.

Even with traffic at a standstill (on the freeway), these lights still function that way. Take them out! They are a true waste of energy. If you're not going to control them properly, do yourselves and mother nature a favor. They cause more confusion than anything. I watched as some dufus, getting closer to the lights, actually moved over to the other side to time the green. EVEN MORE REASON TO TURN THEM OFF (hell, just have them blink yellow)... you're going to be driving thru a red light anyway, and now you're causing that dufus to slow down unnecessarily. There were no cars there to begin with, so there would have been no impact to the flow of traffic anyway.

Come on MN-DOT.. sheesh

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16 Sep

Rain rain come this way

Rain already!

We need it.

After a wetter-than-normal summer, our meteorologists are chomping at the bit to tell us how dry it is out there. You got Mr. Douglas LEADING OFF the weather with how wet it was... 32nd wettest on record since 1891.


So if you're trying to contract how dry we've been with how wet it was in the summer.... Ok, first off, we've got oh, let's see... (2011 - 1891) = 120 years that have passed since 1891, and of that, we experienced... the 32nd greatest..... amount of rain............... which isn't even in the top 25% of all time? And we're supposed to care about this? Get back to me if we're in the top 10 or something.

Look, if you're writing the weather almanac or something, fine. But that's not what's going on.

A lack of rain makes things all brown, which sucks. It's already dreary enough being between seasons. And I'll bet it'll start raining when I'm about ready to rake up the leaves. Never fails.

Just don't rain when it's 30 degrees out. I hate it when it snows then melts, then snows, then melts. Pick a weather type and go with it.

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10 Sep

Alright cops, listen up!

"To Protect, To Serve"

B, with a capital S

Eden Prairie, this is for you.

Last night, I'm coming home from being at work late. It's dark out. Waiting at a stop light. Light turns green, so I proceed to enter the intersection and realize there's a car coming that isn't stopping. I hit the brake and watch him go right through the intersection.

Then, couldn't have been much more than 3 minutes later, I watched a pedestrian almost get hit crossing IN THE CROSSWALK with the right-of-way (even though they always have the right of way, technically).

I get on the freeway (494) and what do I see up ahead? Two cop cars just sitting there waiting for some sucker to be caught speeding.

Of course I get mad at excessive speeders, but cops' slogan shouldn't be about Protecting and Serving, but rather "Being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

No I didn't get pulled over (for the record, I was doing 58 in a 60)... I'm talking about the fact that it always seems that when something legit is worth catching, the police are never there. Why is that? Well, that is until it involves you... then it always seems like they're in the right place (for them).

Catch the people running massively-red lights and causing head-on collisions or sideswiping accidents. THERE, you're protecting.

And I know that we can't have a cop sitting at every intersection... that's not what I'm saying. But it's certainly better than two cop cars just sitting on a freeway road doing virtually nothing. I'm not condoning speeding, but it causes less accidents than running red lights. Why do you think 169/81 in Brooklyn Park was among the top 10 worst intersections in America in terms of accidents? Why do you think they acted so quickly to get an overpass over that intersection?

Be in the right place at the right time for once, that's all I ask!

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02 Sep

See Titanic for a 5th time!

You have to be the first in line for the Star Wars movie on release night.

On Black Friday, show that you're a die-hard and camp outside the Target store the night before (to save $0.30 on shampoo)

Be the first to ride the Wild Thing at Valleyfair.

We are surrounded by stupid challenges, whether the challenges are directly stated or not. I heard the most recent one on the radio, regarding our Minnesota State Fair ("August 25th through Labor Day, State Fairgrounds... BE THERE!"). We were given a challenge. The challenge was a very basic one: How many times are you going to the fair this year? That's not a question, that's a challenge!

You got it buddy! I'm up for it! </sarc>

He's right! I can't be the only one on my block to go just one time!

Those people around the water cooler will be jealous I went twice!

Nobody's going to touch my going 5 times -- I'm the champion! ::self-gratification::

Yup, you win buddy... good job! Dropping $60 for your five visits (not including parking, food or drinks) just to have the privilege of standing with 100,000 others waiting 20 minutes for your damn salad-on-a-stick which is $5 overpriced to begin with.

Look, I'm not saying you can't go to the State Fair. I go about every 4th year. I'm just trying to understand why you would go multiple times within a year. Certainly if you go with your friends one time, and then your family the other time, that at least makes some sense. But for those not included in the previous example, you certainly didn't go back to see the giant pig once again, nor did you go back to get more free rulers from the Education tent. Did you not see everything the first time? It's not really that big of an area. Maybe it's the pork-chop-on-a-stick that you just can't find anywhere else.

But would you really fork down another $12 for that? Mr. Announcer, tell me... why on earth would Joe Blow challenge himself to go back more times? To stuff his face with Deep-fried-butter-on-a-stick again? No, it's stupid commercialism that causes people to stop thinking. Imagine:

Neighbor 1, holding a can of Schell beer: Goin' to the State Fair, 'ya know?

Neighbor 2, drinking cucumber water: Yup, already went twice, now going with the wife and kids

[the sky opens and the sun shines down on Neighbor 2]

Neighbor 1: [in awe] Woooowwwwwww!


But go ahead... go 10 times. Be that person on your block! You can do it! And while you're at it, make sure you take a thorough shower after each visit, or the stench from the garbage will linger with you until next State Fair!

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