Following on from the other post about people (or at least politicians) not thinking things through, the other one is/was about the EU’s new plan for all new cars to be fitted with speed limiters from 2022.
Speed limiters are – in some circumstances – a really good idea. If the limiting was in place for areas with lower speed limits – the areas with speed limits of 20,30, 40, and perhaps even 50mph – then that would be good. I see so many people speeding in those areas. I still think it’d have its problems, but this would at least help. (I’ve said before that I have my reservations on this in the 50mph average speed limit areas currently in place on a lot of motorway work areas)
If, however, it’s something that is brought in universally, for all roads at all limits, then it’s idiotic – and again, shows a lack of understanding when it comes to people, business, cars, driving, and umpteen other things.
The first thing that occurred to me when I heard this was that a goodly portion of police (or council) funding is generated or paid for via speeding fines and the like. If speeding is hugely reduced by automation and limiters, where will that money and funding be coming from?
For another thing, if everything is limited to the national speed limit, it’ll reduce people’s desire/drive to pay more for larger/faster vehicles. If you can get a basic [car model] that’ll do everything and can go up to the speed limit where it’s limited, why would you pay two or three times the price for a performance version of the same [car model] that can’t do anything extra, that can’t go faster or perform better? (Personally I don’t see much point in these super-performance models anyway, but that’s not the point here)
Again, I like the idea of auto-limiting speeds/cars in slower and busier areas. But making it a universal solution seems to have missed a fair number of knock-on issues, with no clues or hints about how to actually fix them.
Recently, I came across a really odd thing.
For the last few months, I’ve been experiencing problems with my car at night, with the lights suddenly failing and me driving in absolute darkness.
One night this week I had a drive home where it felt like the same thing had happened again – cars pulling out right in front of me as if they hadn’t seen me, that kind of thing. It happened on enough occasions in a short time that I ended up checking whether my lights were working, thinking “Fuck sake, not again”
And that’s when I realised.
I haven’t been experiencing actual problems with the car. I’ve had dreams that I’ve been experiencing problems – because there’s no way on Earth that I would have not got a problem like that sorted immediately. If I’d had an electrical/lighting failure like that, I’d have taken it to the garage the following morning. But I haven’t – I’ve never even called the garage to make an appointment.
So while my conscious brain has been thinking that there’ve been problems with the car and that I really should get things checked/sorted, my subconscious has been sticking its oar in and stopping that from happening. Somewhere along the line it’s known that these problems have been dreams, and has prevented my conscious from actually calling the garage and getting those things sorted.
All the way through I’d have sworn blind that these problems were happening. And it’s only been when I consciously worried that the same problem had occurred again that I realised the previous occurrences hadn’t actually happened.
And that, with no shadow of a doubt, is really bloody weird.
When I moved here six-and-a-half years ago (and yes, that does still freak me out) I got a Cineworld Unlimited card, so I could see as many films as I wanted to. It’s a decent deal, less than £20 a month, so as long as you see more than one film per month, it’s paid for itself.
Because I’m a geek, I also started listing what I’d seen, with a separate sheet per year.
And it seems like I’m really quite consistent in how many films I see each year – not through any plan or schedule, it’s just the way it’s worked out.
The totals are
- 2012 – 26 films (although that’s in under six months, as I didn’t get the card ’til July/August)
- 2013 – 61 films
- 2014 – 64 films
- 2015 – 64 films
- 2016 – 54 films
- 2017 – 66 films
And so far this year I’m on… 62, with a couple of weeks to go.
Each year I think I’ll up my quality control a bit and see fewer films (when you’re not paying anything to see them, it’s remarkably easy to just say “Yeah, fuck it, I’ll give that a go”) And yet it all ends up being much of a muchness.
It’s odd, but I’m not going to complain. At least I know I’m getting value for money out of my Unlimited card. (It’s an outlay per year of £215 all told – so each film is costing me an average of £3.30, which is one fuck of a lot cheaper than the £10-ish for a single ticket!)
Usually by now I’m totally done with it, had enough, and generally pretty fucked off with the entire thing.
This year, though, I’m just ambivalent about it. And I don’t actually know why.
We’re still being faced with the same inanity and vapid bullshit on TV adverts and the like. We’ve had Christmas Shit™ (cards, confectionary, blah blah) in the shops since September. Now we’re in December they’re playing sodding christmas carols and tunes in the shops and on the radio, and various fuckwits are already blithering about “It’s christmas”. (No it’s fucking not, it’s just December)
And on the face of that paragraph, you’d think I am hating it. But I’m not. I still feel the same, that it is all crap and bollocks, but it’s not enraging me this year the same way it has in the past.
It annoys me that I don’t know why it’s not annoying me as much as usual. But I’m also not going to complain – in some ways it’s quite nice to be a wee bit more tolerant of the whole farce than usual.
I don’t like (let alone love) the season and what it does to people – and I honestly doubt I ever will. But at least this year I also don’t hate it the same way I usually do.
There are times where (as many people already know) I’m an absolute dickhead. This is the (fairly short) tale of one of those times.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit Toronto (which I finally did earlier this year) was because I’ve been a fan of a band called the Cowboy Junkies (who I’ve written about several times, and saw twice in November) for a very long time – since the first time I heard their “Trinity Sessions” album, in fact. The Trinity Sessions was an album that was all recorded at the Holy Trinity church in Toronto, with only one ambisonic microphone to pick up all the voices and instruments. It’s one of my all-time favourite albums. However, I’d never seen a picture of the church. (This is relevant)
Then, on the anniversary of the recording of Trinity Sessions, they put a photo on their Facebook page of the church
And I thought “I recognise that church“. It turns out we’d gone in and visited it while we were in Toronto, and I hadn’t even realised it was the same place. Indeed, we only went in because it looked interesting (and was hidden away down a little side-street, so we’d only glimpsed the place and its architecture) and it turned out to be a great little find, because it’s beautiful inside, as well as having an absolutely massive organ. (Fnarr) And I knew it was called the Holy Trinity church. I just hadn’t connected the two.
So it took me another six months to realise that I’d actually been in the place, despite all the clues that were there.
And that, in this case, is why I’m a dickhead.
I regularly drive through Woburn, and at least a couple of times a week I’m amazed at how lazy people are, even when it comes to their own safety.
In the case of Woburn, there are two zebra crossings within a very short stretch of road. There are good reasons for this – the road is usually busy, and fairly fast. But people still cross away from the crossings, where it’s apparently “more convenient” rather than walking a tiny way to the crossing where cars *have* to stop for pedestrians…
The first one looks like this…
This is where most people cross – and you can see the markings for the zebra crossing at the top of the photo (the zig-zags, for non-UK readers) Note also that this is just after a busy crossroads, so has any number of vehicles coming round corners and paying far more attention to other vehicles than to pedestrians. I measured it on Google Maps – it’s 30 metres from here to the crossing. Not even a minute’s walk. (I’ll also note that all the people avoiding the crossing are able-bodied, so it’s not like they can’t walk that distance.)
The second one (slightly further up the road from here, after a tight choke-point and just round the corner so out of view from this one) looks like this
This one is a bit harder to see – it’s a bit further, at 45m from where people actually cross – but it’s still there, with markings visible across the road. Here, people cross from the pub to the hotel and back – and again, with parked cars on the right, an extremely tight road with drivers focusing on squeezing through rather than on pedestrians, people trying to park (or turn into the various lanes and archways along this bit) rather than walking that 45m to be able to do so safely.
I know people in general are lazy bastards and so on, but really, it utterly amazes me just how many (and even more so at school times, as there’s a school just back from where this shot is taken) are prepared to ‘save’ time waiting for a space in traffic and then risk their all to cross the road, rather than walking that tiny distance to do so safely (and actually usually more quickly than waiting for that gap!)
I don’t know if they don’t see the crossing, that they’re blinkered to just going straight across the road instead, or if they’re all just fuckwit examples of Darwinism waiting to happen. Either way, it is (to me) a gobsmacking way to live.