"If you aren't scared to the point that you might pee yourself, you aren't going fast enough."

I drove through 7 states yesterday; Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It was a hell of a drive, a motorway blast through the heart of the east coast, riding the very arteries of this great country. As I powered through the mountains at 85 miles per hour, I found myself marveling yet again at the sheer size of not only the largest highway system in the world, but the largest public works project ever.

We've hacked away through mountains, across lakes, rivers, creeks and estuaries. We've slung power cables and telephone lines over mountains that have stumped travelers for hundreds of years. We've flattened out hillsides and built hotels, fast food franchises and radio towers on top of them. We truly have conquered mother nature. But we haven't cracked traffic laws yet.

Last summer I visited Germany and a few other countries in Europe. Though we had a pretty basic rental car with a tiny engine and an even tinier wheel-base, I thoroughly enjoyed driving in Europe. People didn't drive 10 mph under the speed limit in the inside lanes of highways, cops didn't hide behind every nook and cranny on the damn road with their radar guns pointed at innocent travelers trying to get somewhere, and best of all, trucks were restricted to outside lanes (most of the time). Are you listening, Mr. Obama? We need CHANGE.

It's ridiculous that instead of enforcing laws that might actually save people's lives (Slower traffic : Keep right fuckers), cops choose to hide on the side of highways and hand out speeding tickets to the same innocent, hard-working, tax-paying citizens that are essentially signing THEIR PAYCHECKS! It's ridiculous that they fine you exorbitant amounts of money for going 80 mph in a car that's safe at 120. Why do we still let this philosophy of "speed kills" govern our traffic laws? My average speed yesterday was well over the legal limit, but I didn't even come close to crashing. I ate, I made phone calls, and I changed radio stations all while driving a 6-speed manual car, and it's funny, but I'm not dead. I didn't even have a single close call through all 17 hours of my trip. Why? Because I drove carefully, defensively and was constantly aware of my surroundings. This is what really matters.

I understand laws are supposed to be for the common good, but seriously, we need to rethink a lot of our traffic laws. Regardless of what the speed limit is, people are always going to have crashes. Instead of limiting everyone to 65 mph, why don't we try educating our teen drivers better, making sure our adult drivers can still see and hear adequately, and for god's sake, can we please stop handing out licenses to every idiot that can parallel park a car and turn on their turn signal?

Germany's unlimited Autobahns are proof that speed isn't really what causes the majority of crashes; bad drivers cause crashes. Let's work on eliminating the real problem.

Ten years. That is a long time, no matter how you slice it. Ten years ago on this date I found e2 and although I have not been around, or contributed anything at all for many years, I have been checking in and reading frequently during that time.

I think this site still has a lot to offer and I hope to be one of those folks doing the offering in the near future.

E2 is not the same as it was 10 years ago, but that is probably as it should be. I know I'm not the same.

Good luck to us all in the next ten years.

The sky is a subdued blend of pink and grey. Thunder rolls in the distance and every time I move my head, I see a flash of lightning that blinked and vanished like the flash of a camera. It takes a snapshot of a seemingly innocuous moment; it's early and no one thinks at this hour, unless they've been up all night. A night's worth of unresolved issues are piling up, having been drowned momentarily in booze and fleeting frivolity, designed to distract from said issues, if even temporarily. I stand outside and smoke a cigarette and enjoy the warm weather and the sights, sounds, and smells of the incoming storm. There is nothing special about this day, aside from being three days from the one year anniversary of my graduation from Mohawk. This won't be special until the time my education pays for itself, for which I am not holding my breath in this day and age. I am merely pleased to see the sun rise today. And thunderstorms always make me happy.

I hear rain on the roof. Thunderstorms let out what they've been holding in without restraint. Some people would do well to follow that example.

Some days I feel like an angel with crushed wings that healed in a twisted, useless way. I can't put a finger on precisely why, but the image flatly will not leave my brain these last few days. Maybe it's just the isolation starting to get to me...

Anyway, I'm still writing. I've got an SF novel in the works right now, with the initial bits done, but I'm still brainstorming from there. ZoeB has quite helpfully given me a few points to ponder and ideas, and I'm trying to weave those in there. It doesn't exactly help that I'm typing on an EeePC in my copious free time, but hey, I make do with what I've got. My other laptop wouldn't have been much better, so I don't feel too bad. On that note, I've discovered that said laptop is now sitting in a Richmond PD evidence locker, held until I return, and is no longer in the hands of the douchevalve that nicked it from me almost a year ago. Maybe I do get a break once in a while :P If I'm /really/ lucky, all my data's still there.

We're finally starting to replenish our numbers in my division, too. Unfortunately, one of our recent gains is a cocky, self-righteous Bible-thumping jizznozzle, but I think I can get used to that. What's one more, after all?

But anyway. It's not all bad. We're past the halfway mark, finally. Between Joint Warrior and the harried month between then and deployment, it's going to feel like we've been gone for nearly a year by the time we return. I'm looking forward to getting back, even if I try to keep it out of my conscious thoughts. Evidently a fair few things have changed, mostly for the better.

But, there is a fight lurking. I'm trying to get one of my friends into college, and they're putting him through hell about financial aid. He's practically an orphan at this point - his father hasn't been seen for something like 12 years, and his mother is dead. Also, he's about to turn 19. Notwithstanding any of this, the damn financial aid office still insists on a parental signature. Where in hell is he supposed to get that from? There has to be some protocol for handling stuff like this, but I can't run it to ground out here and he doesn't know where to begin. Arglebargle.

War on Drugs

Teenage kids gone
over some dope laws
helping society cope
with their fears.

A hodgepodge of statistics.
Thousands of innocent
dead, millions more
cast away to prison.

And from the study
the doctor was said
to learn, twelve
pot smoking schizophrenics
favor the color red.

August 31, 2009 | July 6, 2010

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