Tuesday, April 25, 2006

As it gets warmer I'm starting to see those dreaded orange barrels and cones all over the place. It's summer road construction time baby!

First let me say...it is what it is. Roads need maintenance, I understand that. But I have a question (gripe) about the way they go about it. I have no first-hand knowledge of how it's all organized, but best I can tell from my personal observations the first meeting of those involved goes something like this:

"It's almost summertime boys, this is our plan of attack. First we're gonna take every single last road project on the schedule for the entire summer and block them ALL off in one shot with our beloved orange barrels and cones. We should be able to do this in, oh, a couple hours. We can't have cars driving willy-nilly over our work areas just anytime they want.

Then, over the course of the next several months, just get to what you can whenever it's convenient for you. I realize our numbers are small, but hey, we have lives. Ideally we'd like to actually finish these projects before winter...but whatever.

Okay, let's get to it. After lunch I mean. Break!"

Here's my proposal for a new way to do it, and I take a page out of the book of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They can build an entire house in 7 days. How do they do it? Simple. Lots and lots of man hours in one location.

Would it be so infeasible for them to go around the city doing one project at a time, utilizing every hombre on the payroll, go non-stop until it is finished...and then move on to the next? To me this seems like win-win. Projects are done faster, and at any given time only one piece of the road is blocked off. Can someone please tell me what the matter with this plan is? Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2006

As gas prices begin their annual summer increase, I couldn't help but notice something today as I took a scenic drive through Provo Canyon. But first...correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a pretty substantial chunk of the price you pay for a gallon of gas taxed for purposes of road maintenance? I'm totally down with that system, by the way. The more you drive on the road, the more you pay towards its upkeep...makes sense.

I couldn't help but question the use of aforementioned funds, however, when I saw the sign "Falling Rock" as I entered the canyon. This sign, a fairly common one actually, has always puzzled me. It's obviously warning you that you are entering an area where rock falls are common. But what exactly are you supposed to do with that knowledge? How does one alter their driving while in a rock fall zone in a way that somehow minimizes the chances of being hit by one? Seems to me if your car gets crunched by some errant boulder, then you are the victim of extremely bad luck, not a consequence of poor driving.

So the question is, since we've established that we're going to use "obvious signage", where do we draw the line? Why not post a sign that says "Lightning Struck Here Once" or maybe "Driving In An Earthquake Is Scary"? OR, how about we eliminate obvious signage altogether and save a penny or two on escalating gas prices? My vote is for the latter...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Since my last post I've probably thought up at least a dozen new gripes. But I always forget what they are when I get an opportunity to write about them. I will try to do better - these things need to be documented! :)

But I did remember one today. Have you noticed how the length of a person's voicemail instructions on their cell phone seems to be getting longer and longer? The notion of voicemail has been around, in essence, since PhoneMate introduced the Model 400 answering machine in 1971. I guess what I'm getting at, 35 years later, is there anyone on the face of our great planet who is capable of placing a phone call but who doesn't understand how to leave a message? You hear the beep, you leave a message, you hang up. Shouldn't the instructions be getting shorter by now? Or better yet, no instructions at all, just the beep?

But for some inexplicable reason a typical greeting, when someone doesn't answer their phone, goes something like this:

"Hello. You have reached the voice mailbox of (person says their name). If you would like to leave a message, please wait for the tone. Now, since you really have no choice but to wait for the tone, we'd like to take this opportunity to give you some useless options. But first, a little about voice mail. Voicemail is a revolutionary idea that allows you to leave a message when someone either is not available, or simply chooses not to answer their phone, which that person is then able to retrieve and listen to at a later time. Pretty neat, huh? You may now press # if you're ready to continue. Did you press it? Just kidding...gotcha! Oh, by the way, press 2 if you'd like to leave a numeric page. Now there's a useful feature. Never mind that your number is automatically recorded on their phone when you call. Plus, no one really wants to know why you're calling, so a primitive numeric page is a nice alternative to an informative voice message. Let's see here, what else before I give you the tone. Oh yeah, if you're you, please press # now for a whole bunch more options. I'll give you an extra 10 seconds to comply. (10 seconds) (beep)."

It's maddening really. All voicemail should work the same. The phone picks up, you have like 1 or 2 seconds to push a special key, such as the # key for any special options, and then there should be the tone...and that's it. No message, no greeting, no nothing. Perhaps someday...(sigh)