santa cruz wharf

20 August 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ~ SB 1613

Okay.  I may not agree with most of the nanny-state legislation we are now living under…but I understand why a few of them exist. Laws against allowing me to spend my own money on food containing transfat. Laws forbidding smoking out in wide open spaces. I do not agree with them…I would not have voted for them….but I get why enough people were so concerned they became law.

And then we have California’s SB 1613 which went into effect a few weeks ago.  SB 1613 prohibits California drivers from talking on their cell phone while driving without a hands free device. 

This is one law which I simply do not understand.

Anyone giving any thought to the matter realizes the problems with talking on the cell phone while driving stem from holding something in your hand other than the steering wheel…and paying attention to the conversation rather than other vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, and road conditions. 

Fair enough.

Someone explain to me how in the world the legislation of SB 1613 changes ANY of that.

I know the statistics on how distracted drivers cause accidents resulting in serious injury and death.  I lost my brother to a car accident.  I know the gig.  But ummm…you guys and gals in Sacramento…this new law did absolutely nothing to alleviate any distractions.  Truth be known, in my little life it has caused additional distractions.

First of all the conversations continue.  Ya'think I am any less engaged in the conversation if I am holding the phone?  And don’t tell me to just hang up and drive. That is not the point.  The point is we now have this law that benefits nothing and no one with the possible exception of Plantronics and BlueTooth.

Truly…the conversations I have with actual people in my car are far more engaging and distracting than any cell phone discussion I may be having.  Be it one of my kids, my folks, a coworker or a friend, I am paying much closer attention to them in the seats next to me and behind me than if they were merely a voice in my ear. 

Is the next step to forbid talking in a moving vehicle? 

While it may be illegal to hold the phone up to my ear, I still can hold the hands free device up to my ear.  Ironic isn't it?  My speaking voice has a very low resonance …so if the window is down or the AC is blowing…my Bluetooth only works when I hold my hand up along my chin.  I already have glasses, long hair, earrings and a seat belt strap crowding that general area.  Now I have some Borg apparatus as well. 

I find the cold, hard, bluetooth shoved into the sensitive area of my ear cannel far more distracting than the actual phone.  I’m always repositioning the angle…or adjusting the volume.  The other hands free device...the one with the cord….is way fun to fiddle with…I play with the clip and pull the plastic wire through my mouth. I’m always having to retrieve the phone to dial or hang up by tugging on the cord. Half the time the cord pulls out. And then I have to plug it back in again. No distraction there.

Then there is the misguided impression we all now drive around with both hands on the wheel. C'mon. It’s not as if making my cell phone hands free results in my hands actually being free.

I can dial my phone while driving.
I can TEXT on my phone while driving.
I can take pictures with my phone while driving.

I can drink coffee.
I can smoke a cigar.
I can read the paper.
I can eat a taco or one of those hamburgers (without transfat) that drip all over the place.
I can change the CD and reprogram the GPS.
I can put on makeup or shave.
I haven’t tried to wax while driving…
but I bet someone has.

There is just about nothing I can’t do with my hands while driving around in California…except hold my cell phone up to my ear. (does your phone have vibration functionality? )

This is a stupid law.
It does nothing to curtail phone use in cars.
It does nothing to insure drivers hands are on the wheel.
It does nothing to limit distractions to drivers.

Maybe what I really ought to look for is the report detailing revenue generated by citations issued in enforcement of this bogusness. 

With the California state budget two months over due…I bet that dollar amount will be enlightening.

15 August 2008

photo hunting ~ colorful

hosted by tnchick the photo hunt theme this week is colorful. This picture was taken on the stairway in the atrium of the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)...where I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit...which was totally amazing.

14 August 2008

He who laughs....lasts.....

Those of you avoiding all things Olympic...and those of you who are recording every single moment of the Beijing  coverage need to do yourself a favor and take your open minded...politically incorrect sense of humor...and go visit Jeff's weblog "A Word In Edgewise" to read today's post, "New Olympic Sports"

I read it out loud to the fam this morning and everyone was cracking up.

"she who laughs....lasts"  is etched on a little piece of glass given to my Mama by a close friend... I consider it my personal responsibility to provide comic relief...

13 August 2008


It is Wednesday.

On Wednesdays I get to sit in this lovely little atrium.  Glass walls and a sloping glass ceiling looking out onto a pleasant flower garden.  The sun shines through the panes over the leaves making little shadows on the thick pile, well padded carpet.

Fashionable, comfortable chairs and sofas. Scattered coffee tables....the copies of The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and US News and World Report far outnumber the likes of People and Cosmo. Praise God. The table lamps have the less-energy-efficient-old-fashion-light-bulbs.  Not those spiral CFL's that are too bright for my eyes...and remind me of an ugly pig's tail.

There is a rock and water fountain in the corner.  The soft babbling might sound soothing if not for the constant ringing of the telephone:

"Doctors A and Y's office...Betty speaking...."

Wednesday is my Mama's chemotherapy day.

In a fashion similar to some journalist attached to a military unit deployed in active combat...for the past seven weeks we have been embedded in a battle alongside my Mama.

Not completely unexpected...
we knew last December that we'd be in for a fight.

I've taken to taking my laptop with me. It is a several hour visit each week, most of which Mama sleeps through.  No internet access - but hey - my digital photographs are almost all organized and captioned. 

I sit with these folks every Wednesday.  We are an interesting band of accidental comrades...embedded together with our rag tag army of loved ones fighting against cancer. I don't really want to be friends with these people.  I don't really want to know about who they are embedded with.  I don't really want to know their stories.  Most of all...I don't really want to see in their faces the reflection of my own obligatory strength...or my pain...or my fear.

As I type this, I am trying not to eavesdrop on the other conversations in the room. Welllll...that's not quite the truth.  Okay....That in no way even resembles the truth.  The truth is I try not to LOOK as if I am eavesdropping... while actually trying to hear exactly every word they are saying.  (Picture big radar screens rotating on either side of my head.)

Unlike the journalist on the evening news, being embedded puts me in no physical danger. There is no one shooting at me. (In fact, I am the one doing the shooting... although my weapon is a syringe.)

I am not arrogant enough to claim to be out of harm's way.  My Mama's sickness and its symptoms wound me deeply.  Last December I bandaged my wounds protect myself from further injury.  It is possible I wrapped them too tightly to heal.  It frightens me to expose them...they may hurt me too much.

I have not been myself.  I have let my life sidetrack. I have become dependant on the wrong things.

The past month....during this most recent skirmish my words have gone AWOL...absent with out leave.  Even now the transfer of thought through fingertip comes out disjointed. My attention span schizoids. There are a dozen half-started posts in my writer that I have little interest in revisiting.

I have been unable to find that voice inside of me that lessens the turmoil in my brain...although I have learned many lessons about the turmoil in my brain.

and yeah...I bring my better angels to every fight...

07 August 2008

being a reader...more than a writer....

"Readers may be divided into four classes:

Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.

Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.

Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.

Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. "

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
poet, critic (1772-1834)

which one are you?

02 August 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ~ Operation Aborted

Internet Explorer CANNOT open the site

Operation Aborted

Last night while hanging out with my Mama I had the time to take on some LOOOOOONG overdue catchup on my Reader. (HUNDREDS of unread postings)  Time and again that Operation Aborted error window popped up and shut down the weblog I was trying to read.  WTF?  It went from worrisome to highly annoying.  But what really ticked me off was when I couldn't access MY OWN site.  Oh geez. (apparently Miz Mel was having the same sorta

A little troubleshooting, deleting of cookies, temp files and search history brought NO relief.  I finally thought to cruise by the IE user boards...and right there at the top...a whole slew of folks having the same problem.

Seems SiteMeter made some upgrade which IE won't accept. A quick trip to the dashboard to remove the little script with their logo and counter fixed me up just fine.

There were at least a dozen or so others of my faves I couldn't get to last night. Most of them I could access thru Reader...but couldn't comment. Which is probably okay was I wasn't exactly feeling too clever last night.

I am sure eventually Site Meter will fix the bug...and all will be copasetic once again. (and yeah....I know I could have tried another browser....whatever)