Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This Technology Thing Is Getting To Be A Headache!

You know, this technology thing is getting to be a headache.  Two days ago I sought to check my iPhone calendar for a past event I had listed on my iCal (calendar) on my Mac.  iCal syncs between the two devices.  The event was nowhere to be found on my iPhone but it was still on my Mac.  I double checked, did this and that, even pulled on my hair, to no avail.  Finally, after searching Google for answers I discovered that my iPhone, all on its own, had changed a preference that deleted calendar events after a month.  Huh?  I swear, I never did it.  Honest.  Technology seems to have a mind of its own.  I didn't quite believe it after viewing 2001 a space odyssey, but it's true!

Then it was my Charter cable service back at it again.  At least twice each month it just stops working.  The remote won't function.  I start to think its batteries have expired but that isn't it.  I have to unplug the cable box, replug it, and reboot.  Not as easy as you may think.  Well, okay, it's not difficult, just a pain as it takes about 15 minutes and always happens when I'm trying to watch a TV program of great interest. 

What's with all this stuff?  I mean Windows 3.1 used to malfunction often enough but that was almost two decades ago.  What gives?  This new technology has had enough time to get its house in order!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting from Here to There on Los Angeles' God-forsaken Freeways

I thought I was being so smart.  It was 2:20 p.m., and I needed to drive from my house in eastern Long Beach to my friend's house on the westside of Los Angeles.  Normally I would take Ocean Avenue west along the ocean's edge to downtown Long Beach, get on the Long Beach Freeway (Route 710) going north for a few miles, and then transfer to the San Diego Freeway (Route 405) which would take me up to Los Angeles' westside, for roughly a 45 minute trip.

But I knew better!  By 2:20 p.m., the enormous trucks laden with cargo vessel containers were departing the Long Beach Port by the hundreds right onto the Long Beach Freeway heading to the train depot in downtown Los Angeles, leaving almost no room for automobiles.  Too often I had forgotten that and paid the price by crawling along the Long Beach Freeway to the 405.  No, this time I would take surface streets in eastern Long Beach north directly to the 405.

I was so proud of myself, that is until I almost reached the on-ramp to the 405 on Lakewood Boulevard.  Just as the light was changing to green as I headed north on Lakewood Boulevard, literally a block from the Freeway entrance, three enormous sanitation department vehicles heading east on Willow Avenue entered the intersection and turned left onto Lakewood Boulevard.  They headed toward the Freeway on-ramp.  As I and about 10 other vehicles headed to the on-ramp on Lakewood as the light turned green, we found ourselves behind these 3 sanitation vehicles.  One was a dumpster but the two trailing were large vehicles with electric signs on them.  All three quickly turned onto the on-ramp but immediately stopped.  The two trailing vehicles' electric signs said "Ramp Closed.  Detour" with flashing arrows.  I and the other drivers weren't expecting a sudden stop and we stopped behind these two large vehicles with signs.  What the heck, we each thought.  But then a sanitation worker got out of the dumpster and started hooking up a line to a plug in the ground at the entrance to the on-ramp.  The two trailing vehicles were immediately behind the dumpster blocking entry to the on-ramp.

It became clear that no one was going to be able to enter the 405 at that on-ramp.  One by one the cars began to pull out and head north.  My brilliant plan to avoid congestion on the 710 had backfired.  Now I had to head north a few blocks, then east for a block, make a u-turn, head back west and take Lakewood south so I could enter the 405 using the on-ramp on the other side of Lakewood.  As I did so, wasting precious time, I noticed a huge row of cars waiting patiently to make their own u-turns.  What a mess.

Welcome to travel on Los Angeles' God-forsaken freeway system.