DRIVERS CLAIM, “GIVE US A MINUTE, WE’LL MESS IT UP”

“I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” -The Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited”

Impatience is an attribute shared by most drivers, and construction is a contributor to the irritation, especially during the dreaded rush hour portion of the commute. People are on edge traveling towards or away their place of work; a place that isn’t the most stable or ideal career choice for a majority. The last thing an individual wants is added stress, but seeing orange barrels and hard hats doesn’t help. Therefore, anxiously awaiting the completion of a state-funded project (as in a ‘taxpayer-funded’ project) is similar to running towards the Christmas tree on December 25th and ripping open what has been hiding from sight and use for so long.

The Paseo Del Norte/I-25 interchange in Albuquerque, NM was finally wrapped up. Of course, an impatient driver such as myself would use the word “finally” to agree with the rest of the exasperated public. However, the project originally had a 24-month time frame, but the contractor used two shifts to complete construction in 14 months (Paseo, 2014). He (or she, we don’t discriminate here, but let’s get real) probably doesn’t enjoy the road and understands the agony of commuting. Setting goals based on time is a poor characteristic of any driver, yet the contractor found a loophole: If you give yourself way more time than needed then you look great finishing early and avoid disappointment while keeping complaints to a minimum. That just takes all the drama out of everything and doesn’t seem fun. Who needs efficiency anyway?

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Photo courtesy of The Albuquerque Journal

Residents of Albuquerque are flocking to the west side of town and Rio Rancho because homes are more affordable. Due to the increase of population, the project was a necessity, and it only used $93 million of taxpayer’s money (Paseo, 2014). Hooray, whoopee-de-do. On a side note, taxes were not raised for this project (Paseo, 2014) despite what east-siders would have you believe. The point of the flyover and re-route to avoid traffic lights was to make the commute smoother during morning and evening rush hours, and possibly prevent heart attacks, brain aneurisms, strokes, and a few suicides stemmed from stress.

On the other hand, Albuquerque drivers don’t like bends in the road which flyovers generally contain. It’s as if they believe the road fails to exist after the slight veer to the left or right and therefore must slow down to make sure everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be. Spoiler alert for the paranoid: the bridge above the Rio Grande is still holding strong. Also, if more traffic is entering Paseo with a flowing consistency, doesn’t it mean that more traffic will come to a stop when they hit the poorly-synchronized lights on Coors, Golf Course, and any other street that stretches across the Westside? I have an idea: let’s just add more people out there and no businesses. That makes sense. Oh wait, that’s what their already doing.

How about more businesses so people didn’t have to travel to the east side of town as their only option to afford their Westside home? Nah, that’s a stupid idea.

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Photo courtesy of The Albuquerque Journal

The best news is that only one person died, and was most likely unrelated to the project, but it just happened to be right in that area. Albuquerque is growing, you can tell by all the brown houses camouflaged in the desert on the west side of town like we’re trying to hide from aliens. How long before another change is needed? How long before drivers treat the interchange like all other worrisome spots scattered across the city? Let’s give it until the end of the month and after people break their resolutions claiming they won’t be stressed out in 2015.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Paseo. (2014)Retrieved from http://www.paseoi25.com/faqs.aspx on December 19th, 2014

ALL BUT FOUR REMAIN UNHAPPY

“’Cause you’re hot then you’re cold, You’re yes then you’re no, You’re in then you’re out, You’re up then you’re down.”
-Katy Perry, “Hot N Cold”

It’s been a long year of waiting, hoping the results of the first ever College Football playoff would change the game forever. Universities were making their claim to be one of the top four teams at the beginning of the year, like politicians campaigning for primaries ten years in advance or whatever. Alumni pleaded their cases to uninterested bar patrons who could care less about how good Alabama’s offense looked in spring training. Sports fans with no affiliation to any quality football program told others with no affiliation to sports why this mattered so much. Now, the wait is over.

The era of the dreaded BCS concluded last January with a spectacular game between Florida St. and Auburn. Read all about it here: http://clknauf.com/2014/01/13/breaking-up-with-the-bcs/ because apparently I’m one of those aforementioned sports fans who talk about this subject a lot.

Now that you’re done reading the other post (you probably didn’t) we can analyze the inaugural four College Football Playoff teams:

No. 1- Alabama: They have a good offense, ask that dude from the bar. With arguably the best wide receiver in college football, Amari Cooper, and an experienced coaching staff who has won national championships before, the Crimson Tide looks to prove that the SEC will always be the strongest conference. The committee had to have an SEC team in the picture, if not then the playoff would be extended to six teams instead of just four next year.

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Photo courtesy of al.com

No 2.- Oregon: Perhaps the most complete team of the bunch, and led by the Heisman trophy winner, quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks are out to finally fly over the hump of winning the big game. An offense that seems unstoppable and a ball-hawking defense are the perfect combination to take home the championship; that, plus shiny helmets, psychedelic uniforms, and the strongest mascot in all the land (if compared to real ducks).

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Photo courtesy of walterfootball.com

No. 3- Florida St.: The defending champions, a team who has not been defeated in two regular seasons, have snuck their way into the playoff by surviving upsets and sloppy play. There is no way the committee could have left a 12-0 team from a power conference out of the national semifinal, so we wait to see the Jameis Winston who won the Heisman last year, or the immature college student who stole crabs, or got crabs, or stood on a table and yelled something about crabs. I’m not sure.

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Photo courtesy of cbssports.com

No. 4- Ohio St.: Let the griping begin. The coveted fourth spot was earned by the Buckeyes with their stunning pummeling of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, all on the shoulders of third string quarterback Cardale Jones. They lost two Heisman trophy candidates in the same season, but with Urban Meyer at the helm, no opponent is safe, including a certain southern program he knows all too well. Hopefully nothing illegal comes up again.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Ohio State
Photo courtesy of foxsports.com

Baylor and TCU were the two teams left out of the mix with the best claim to the last spot. However, it took the committee an all-nighter to figure out this one when I will tell you what put the Buckeyes over the top: The Minnesota Golden Gophers. TCU’s big win of the season was early and at home against Minnesota. Ohio State defeated the Golden Gophers in Minnesota during a late season conference matchup. TCU also lost their head to head matchup against Baylor, so the Horned Frogs’ chances were slim. Baylor, on the other hand, shared the Big 12 title by defeating #9 Kansas St. at home on the last game of the season 38-27. However, Ohio State defeated #13 Wisconsin on a neutral field, the final score being 59-0. Both the Bears and the Buckeyes losses came to average teams with Virginia in their name. Their auditions during the statement games finalized the decision of the committee.

Of course, expansion has already been brought up. Why not six teams? Why not eight teams? Why can’t half the schools be from the SEC? Why not teams with the best mascots or cutest cheerleaders? Why not sixty-four teams then, just like March Madness? That way we can break the students down all for the sake of money and making everyone happy. Except for the 65th team who thought they should have been in the playoffs.

The truth is that there will be more angry universities than happy ones concerning their ranking whether it is the BCS, the playoff, or that cool mascot/cheerleader tournament that was briefly suggested in the above paragraph. The solution: play better football when it matters. Make a more difficult schedule, beat the better teams, make a bigger statement, and just get the job done through hard work. If you do, the committee will take notice. There’s always next year, but just enjoy the damn thing for what it is.

Semifinals: January 1st, 2015
ROSE BOWL: 3) Florida St. vs. 2) Oregon- 3pm MST
SUGAR BOWL: 4) Ohio St. vs. 1) Alabama- 6:30pm MST

National Championship: January 12th, 2015 in Jerry’s World (Cowboy (AT&T) Stadium) at 6:30pm MST
PREDICTION: Oregon- 35 Alabama- 24 (Quack Quack)

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Photo courtesy of imgarcade.com

AUSSIE

“All he asks from me is the food to give him strength, All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get.”
-Cat Stevens, “I Love My Dog”

Humans are lame; they’re confusing, full of drama, and contain the ability to be disloyal, a characteristic one hopes never to experience from friends or family members. It has come to the point where our best friends are of another species, and we treat them like people because they act more human than the self-involved social networkers who congest the bandwidth of society. I guess I could have just said, “People like dogs.”

It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs reside in 37-47% of United States’ households (ASPCA, 2014). That’s about the same amount of legs all combined humans have in the United States, but we have 316 million more pairs of arms. There’s no time to argue these petty differences between canines and humans, it’s not a competition, and if it was, dogs would have the upper paw on how to treat another person, so it’s best we don’t dig deeper into the subject for the sake of embarrassing our own species. Yet, we find excuses like divorce and size of residence to send them to the pound.

Our family dog, Aussie, didn’t apply to the excuses. I purchased Aussie in the late summer of 2000. He was a three-month-old crossbreed, mostly of Australian Sheppard heritage, and was cute as the cutest off all cuties. Wait, let me get back into guy mode here, “He was pretty cool.” My mom didn’t want him from the start, we had recently put down our other dog, Duke, and everyone had already claimed that another canine was not an option (ever). Of course, being a teenage boy, I didn’t care what anyone had to say about anything, so Aussie and I would go to school gatherings and football practice together until the inevitability of too much responsibility for a high school student to deal with became a factor. So, ultimately, my mom and Aussie became best friends.

Aussie 2
Photo courtesy of Me

He had special meaning in our lives because this was around the time of my parents’ divorce, actually before I even knew about it. Aussie was a distraction for my mom, and when I went to college, he moved to Connecticut with her. Whoa, you’re beginning to learn way too much about me (if you would like to know more, please read Driving: An Unofficial Guide, the link is below). He was her best friend and vice versa; all the jogs and walks, new discoveries, photo ops, and nightly broadcasts of the news were done together. It was clear that even though Aussie was originally my dog and became the family dog, he was always mom’s dog. Every time I visited her house through college and now my annual trips home, Aussie greeted me with a smile, a hug, licks, millions of wags, and energetic chases from room to room. This was the case for the last fourteen-plus years, the case until November 15th, 2014.

Aussie passed away. He was an old dog, even for one his size. It’s tough when your canine companion passes away, and we all know we all care more about dogs than people. If that’s the case, why is it when an animal dies in a movie people freak out and become emotional, but then at the same time they can watch an action movie where hundreds of people meet their maker? Independence Day would have been a lot different if that dog didn’t jump into the safe part of the tunnel before the explosion. I think you need to watch that movie again to know what I’m talking about.

A dog is not just a best friend, they’re loved ones, they’re family members, but they’re more similar to man (oh geez, or woman) than one would initially believe. It only took over 30,000 years, but scientists have discovered that dogs and humans respond the same to emotions in the voice, as well as sharing a related social environment, suggesting that canines and people use similar brain mechanisms to process social information (Spencer, 2014). Man (or woman), I sound smart sometimes repeating what others say and research. Whether it’s proven philosophically or scientifically, Aussie will be missed because he was part of the family and loved us as much as we loved him.

Aussie
Photo courtesy of Me

ASPCA (2014).Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistic on December 1 2014

Spencer, B. (2014) Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2557825/Why-dogs-mans-best-friend-Because-similar-BRAINS-Canines-share-voice-region-helps-tune-emotions.html on December 2 2014