HALLOWEEN CLAIMS, “ROAD RAGE IS SCARY.”

“Welcome to a new kind of tension, All across the alienation.”
-Green Day, “American Idiot”

America has proven that we’re a tense and intense nation. I’m not a psychologist, though I did minor in the subject in college which obviously certifies me as a professional despite my previous claim, but if I were to analyze the root of something as common as road rage then I would simply blame the sense of entitlement we have grown to believe we’ve earned. See, I can be just as vague as someone you pay $200/hr to analyze why you lashed out as a teenager when it was obviously rebellious angst most individuals go through during that phase of their life. Get over the fact that you couldn’t date the person you wanted to date and that your parents fought. Welcome to the club. I have a PayPal account if you would like to deposit this session’s fee; anytime will work.

Two recent road rage incidents have provided a dark cloud over the mental stability of American drivers. The first was an incident involving a motorcycle in Dallas. On October 17th, 2015, 68-year-old William Crum purposely (it’s a blog, I can make assumptions) ran a couple on a motorcycle off the asphalt as the rider tried to pass two vehicles on a two-lane road outside of Granbury, TX. Both riders were injured and Crum was arrested on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (cars are bigger than guns). The motorcyclist, Eric Sanders suffered abrasions, and passenger Debra Simpson was moved out of the ICU and is considered to be in stable condition after deep lacerations on her arm as well as a broken wrist. Crum exclaimed that he “didn’t care” as witnesses approached him immediately after the incident, explaining that Sanders was trying to pass him on double-yellow lines. His story later changed saying a wasp or spider or some insect that probably would not be just chilling in a person’s lap while driving bit him. I believe he was just  upset he was getting passed, and stubbornness is part of road rage. Everything is bigger in Texas, especially egos and lies.

William Crum starcasm net
Courtesy of Starcasm   

He sure looks like someone who can be trusted. You’re more than welcome to find the video, it’s all over the interweb and if you’re reading this blog you probably have some time on your hands. The second occurrence happened yesterday, October 20th in Albuquerque, NM when a driver on I-40 opened fire on another vehicle for an incident moments earlier on the road, shooting and killing a four-year-old girl. APD Chief Gorden Eden said, “This is a complete disrespect of human life.” I don’t think anyone could put it any better. However, it’s disappointing that New Mexico banished the death penalty because whoever committed this heinous act deserves nothing more than to die. Some could probably put it a little better than that, but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking the same thing. The suspect remains at-large because as of now not one person is stepping up and providing vital information regarding this case. If we’re going to sit here and believe that no one saw the confrontation on one of the busiest east-west interstates in the country then maybe there is reason to bring up the issue of gun control again, but not on the level the government is recently debating. Maybe it’s not the fact that stupid people are using guns, maybe just a majority of the country is stupid and can’t handle the responsibility of a deadly weapon. It’s our right to bear arms and I support our constitution, but our founding fathers didn’t take into consideration that we bear idiots as well.

ABQ latimes com
Courtesy of LA Times

The humorous yet serious essays in the book Driving: An Unofficial Guide (available on Amazon) will help you understand the psyche behind these losers on the road. You should buy it; just a suggestion so we don’t get too serious now.

We want power, but we can’t handle it. We have people in our country who hide within their state-of-the-art machines and feel indestructible, or they cower behind deadly weapons believing just carrying around a piece validates ultimate respect from everyone. It’s simply pathetic. Where do we get this sense of entitlement that we know the law better than the law, or feel that we are allowed to take matters into our own hands, or deserve respect based off image and our conception of common sense that is solely influenced by learned behavior in a small, yet unfortunately all-too-common, setting. You know who else thinks they know everything and believe they can decide what is right or wrong: those teenagers whose parents are paying Psychologists $200/hr to state the obvious. The only problem is that the uneducated who are taking matters into their own hands are humans who never developed properly. It’s not a road rage problem or a gun control problem; it’s a societal problem.

WBG

REFERENCES:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3280922/Driver-veered-smashed-motorcyclists-viral-video-arrested-assault-claims-spider-bit-leg.html

http://www.koat.com/news/heavy-police-presence-closes-i40-west-at-unser/35947470

SELF-PUBLISHING: ADVICE FOR THE CRAZY AND IMPATIENT

“I’m crazy for trying, And crazy for crying.”
-Patsy Cline, “Crazy”

The self-publishing process is attractive and intriguing, but not as beneficial and easy as one would think. Writers often, well not often, almost always have the desire to achieve complete flawlessness in their work in a way that only they deem adequate. The truth is that it will never be perfect in the eyes of the creator. God can probably vouch for that as well.

With that being said, though the word “self” is in the very popular form of publishing, there’s a need for support in other aspects of the process. It’s a difficult route, but also can be a rewarding learning experience, especially for ones vetting for discovery. If no one is going to offer you an opportunity to gain the all-important experience many houses wish you had, you may as well do it yourself. You’re a writer, you’re controlling, you shouldn’t have it any other way.

The writing process is similar to driving (you’re just saying that because you wrote a book on driving). Be that as it may, it’s true. An author can easily get into a routine just like a commuter takes the same route to and from their career at a fast food restaurant cash register at least 5 days a week. You become used to it, and very comfortable in your habits that it becomes a customary part of your daily life. Outlines, character development, draft after draft, edit after edit, re-wording, additions and removals, and so on. However, it’s your routine and no matter how you choose to approach your route, you perform with ease. Big house publishers are the other drivers, the ones that distract you with what they have to offer, the ones that force you to take a different approach or pace to work at, and other comparisons to what you experience on the road you can think of. I wrote a book on driving; it’s your turn to find the analogies.

Driving Cover Image
Photo courtesy of me

Control is a key aspect for the writer. It’s difficult to accept changes, but we must realize that it’s necessary. You can do it all by yourself, it’s not a capability issue, but another eye or another perspective never hurt anyone (unless you’re one of those sensitive people). For example, editing is the most important service one can use. I edited “Driving: An Unofficial Guide” on my own and the 1st edition has typos. Of course it does! I know what I wrote, and I know what it was supposed to say, therefore I read through it quickly because the words were already processing in my mind before my eyes could catch up. In a paragraph near the beginning of the book a starting sentence reads, “Rushing a though process.” It was supposed to say, “Rushing through a process.” The obvious irony has already been noted and joked about, thank you. I’m a very good writer (conceded much), and my grammar is very good as well, but editing with fresh, unbiased eyes is essential. If I edit your work it probably would have no typos, constructive criticism, and productive suggestions. If I edit my own work it could be embarrassing.

Design is another factor. Make sure you do your research on trim sizes, font choices, formatting, gutter and margin positioning, and so forth. You even have to take into consideration the fact that a standard tab at the beginning of the paragraph won’t adjust after formatting changes. It’s not a big deal, but maybe 3-5 spaces will serve as a more attractive insert on a 5” x 8” trim size than a full standard indentation. A tab may look like it’s starting at the middle of the page. Take your time and play around with all these functions; it’s better to have an end product you’re happy with that will be on the shelves or in the digital world forever rather than a rushed draft. A couple more weeks of precise work isn’t a big deal considering you probably just spent months, if not years, doing the same obsessive process while creating your work.

Cover design is a big deal. The old adage goes, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but we all know that’s hogwash. My traffic school instructor (again with the driving, geez) was pretty assuming towards the lawbreakers I shared a classroom with over the weekend, just like you look at the illustration or fonts on the cover of written work or CD album (if you still listen to those things). There’s no reason not to judge a book (literally) by its cover because you can’t read the whole thing for free. Finding a contract illustrator or designer will definitely help, or even someone that you know that’s a great illustrator. You wouldn’t believe how many friends you have that can draw or digitally create; it’s just not a hobby most people feel they should share anymore. Ask around, networking is a big part in the process of self-publishing for reasonable costs.

For example: I spent a whopping $325 to self-publish “Driving: An Unofficial Guide”, and it’s a success (definitions of success may vary from person to person)!

We can get into copyrights, ISBN’s, and what not another time, but please feel free to comment if you have any questions about the process. As of right now, let’s worry about the basics. Take it from a writer who has experienced it; it’s fun and rewarding, but patience is necessary. You don’t want to end up going crazy; on the other hand, it does fit the profession.

REPORT: AMERICANS ELEVATE BOREDOM TO ANOTHER LEVEL IN VEHICLE

“Something’s got me reeling, Stopped me from believing, Turn me around again, Said that we can do it, You know I wanna do it again.”
-Sugar Ray, “Every Morning”

It was a boring week to say the least. I would talk about Russia and the Ukraine situation, and what the United States is doing about it, but I really haven’t paid much attention to the crisis. Let’s focus on something that affects our lives for five days (for most people) instead of the possible American economy crash that depends on the outcome of feuding Northeastern European nations. Maybe if we started purchasing American-made products that statement wouldn’t have been a minor jab in a blog post.

The thing that happens five days a week for the majority of us is the morning commute. Since this is a boring week (you already said that), I have decided to advertise my book, “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves”. I mentioned in a past post that 90% of Americans commute to work via their own vehicle (owned, leased, borrowed, rented, or stolen; it’s still 90%).

http://clknauf.com/2014/01/20/report-160-million-overweight-drivers-break-resolutions/

See, I told you I did. “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves” is intended to offer the comforting reassurance that other drivers experience the same stresses as the next motorist. We’re all in this together, and more and more people are hitting the road.

The morning commute is becoming hectic to say the least; orange barrels, more drivers because the days are becoming longer, parents rushing to get their kids to school without paying attention to safety protocol because they are also running late for work, the makeup-appliers, the burrito-eaters, the Irish coffee-drinkers, and the on-edge motorists ready to purposely cause a pile-up just to end it all, but not before taking as many people with them.

And of course cell phones…

The technological trend is becoming too much of an addiction. Every morning someone is texting or talking on their phone; actually not just someone, but a majority of the people. Maybe if everyone is doing the same thing then it’s safer? Of course that makes sense; the lack of awareness has always been proven an efficient way to travel. It’s only led to approximately 6 million accidents a year; not too bad considering 160 million people drive cars. That’s like every 26th person; big whoop.

However, the mobile epidemic has a broader affect than just the lack of awareness on the road. It’s affecting personalities and real communication; a dependence on technology. Remember when people just knew where they were going without the assistance of a GPS? The world didn’t have those at one time you know. People still arrived where they wanted to arrive, and punctually. Remember when you would have to call your friends from a land line and hope you all met at the same place at the same time, and if one didn’t show they wouldn’t partake in the event? Everyone still got there miraculously. Now, people get lost and are late or not even in attendance most of the time. People are relying on the comfort of something that isn’t real essentially; kind of like that movie I didn’t see or don’t really know anything about.

her
Photo courtesy of impawards.com

I’m not the only one that thinks so…

It’s all very true, but it’s also because we are bored. Sitting around is being human, but so is boredom. There’s something about the morning commute that merits distractions, but staying focused at the same time (that doesn’t make sense). If the radio isn’t playing what you want to hear, if the MC’s are talking about something you don’t agree with, if the drivers aren’t moving with the flow of traffic or at your pace, and of course if you’re running out of time then it’s going to be a more frustrating drive. What’s better than picking up your phone and playing a song you want to hear, or talking to someone that you know will agree with you, or playing a game that moves at the speed of your mind and you’re good at it so victory is consistent and satisfying?

I’m big on the essence of time because I’m scheduled, not so much because I want to be, but because I have to be, so every minute plays an important role in my life. The amount of time it takes to wash my dishes in the morning, brush my teeth, make my bed, and stumble around matters.

House to gym (6:22 am): 10 minutes 34 seconds
Gym to work (8:11 am): 14 minutes 6 seconds
Work to guitar lesson (6:00 pm): 36 minutes 23 seconds
Guitar lesson to home (7:37 pm): 15 minutes 54 seconds

What did we learn? Absolutely nothing except that you start over again the next day. It’s necessary insanity, and that’s what you’ll get while reading “Driving: Road Rants with No Raves”.

The simple daily activities we all go through make us human; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. Yes, it’s boring, yes, it’s mundane, but we do these things to eventually do other things (stay with me). We must move with the flow of traffic no matter what the speed in order to stabilize our mind, and that goes for life as well. Remember, we don’t always drive to our required destinations; we drive to new experiences, to meet new people, and to make that first leg in the direction of new places. For example: driving to the airport to get on a plane to fly to Russia or the Ukraine. Let’s give that one some time.

REPORT: 160 MILLION OVERWEIGHT DRIVERS BREAK RESOLUTIONS

“Cause I’m broken/When I’m open/And I don’t feel I am/Strong Enough”
-Seether, “Broken”

It has been 19 days since claims of necessary changes were barked and new starts were promised; the turn of the year when the future looks bright and the past needs to be forgotten; a time for redemption and achieving lost goals and dreams.  It has been 19 days of new faces at the gym, adults returning to the classroom, alcohol and tobacco sales decreasing, and the produce section of the grocery store no longer consists just of older ladies.

A certain writer is determined to perfect his own barbecue sauce, the most amazing amber lager, refresh his piano and guitar, finish projects that have gone on long enough, and test the limits of self-learning and abilities.  He also would like to stop stressing out about driving; it just seems easier to write a book about it.

Please keep an eye out for that writer’s first book, “Driving: Road Rants and No Raves”.  The non-fiction manuscript is set to hit shelves and online stores early 2014.  Spoiler alert: I’m that writer.

No matter how strong and successful the average person is regarding their resolutions, there’s always the negative thought process.  Americans love to focus on the one bad thing instead of the other four good things; the one failure to the four accomplishments; the one loss to the four victories; the one negative to the four positives; the one synonym to the four other synonyms.

As Americans deal with their first-world problems, they still find difficulty in keeping their resolutions; and why not?  It’s easy to get comfortable, and everyone can relate.  With that being said, most can also relate to the daily commute.

Less than 19 days is all it took to grind teeth, spread arms out of confusion, raise hands and a certain finger out of frustration, and to rest a head against the window complemented by a frown.  Less than 19 days to honk a horn, tailgate, attempt to avoid the unavoidable potholes and sewer lids, and deal with construction.

Refresher: http://clknauf.com/2013/12/09/paseo-del-norte-broke-ground-on-broken-spirits/

We touched on Paseo a few weeks back, but let’s focus on the nation as a whole, and what better way to do so with statistics that no one cares about.

-90 Percent of Americans drive to work; that’s around 160 million people Dews, 2013).
-According to the US Census Bureau, the average commute time is 25.4 minutes.
-Top ten not provided by David Letterman.
Driving StatsGraph courtesy of Mashable (2013). http://mashable.com/2013/11/07/cities-worst-commutes/ 

That’s a lot of time in the vehicle to think about what’s wrong with your life.  Drivers have some serious issues while handling a giant machine that took a whole two weeks to obtain a government-issued license to operate.  It’s stressful to deal with the competition and the rage, the addictive need to respond to a text messages, women (and transvestites) putting on make-up, people eating burritos, guys (and butch women) shaving, people drinking coffee, and parents paying more attention to their children in the back than the cars in front.  There’s a lack of attention; people getting bored and driving (no pun intended) each other crazy seeing the same stupid faces next to them everyday to and from work.  It’s like they’re your friend and enemy; how stressful.

One disappointing resolution can lead to the breaking of another.  Health is one of the most popular choices amongst people willing to attempt to change their lives.  Of course there are the people who don’t make resolutions because they’re obviously perfect or don’t care, but many others take advantage of the opportunity to start over.  Maybe a resolution for the perfect ones is to not ridicule people for their decisions?  No, no, no; that’s too much to ask, plus that would point out a flaw; how embarrassing.

Here are rarely thought-about issues that stress creates on the body: chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability and anger, panic and attention disorders, grinding teeth and jaw tension, rapid heart rates and arrhythmias, strokes, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, digestive disorders and irritable bowel syndrome (how inappropriate), upset stomach and abdominal plain, muscle tension, fibromyalgia (whatever the hell that is), complex regional pain syndrome, alcoholism, drug and tobacco addictions, suicide, decreased sex drive, and weight gain and obesity (Heart Math, 2014).

Eureka!  Driving makes you fat (and I think they mentioned something about attention disorders, hmm?).  69.2% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese (CDC, 2010).  Plug that into the stats mentioned above and the evidence is strong.  Coincidence?  Probably not, but at least one writer is skeptical.

See how easy the breaking of resolutions can lead to some other breakdown?  Yearly goals aren’t for everyone because attempting to accept disappointment is sometimes harder to do than achieving goals; however, we could all use a little change as Smash Mouth would say.  It’s better to accept disappointment than to never face it; just take it easy as The Eagles would say.  Some people need to stop making music references.

Maybe it’s time to slow down on the road, in life, and for your health.  Then maybe next year a whole month will go by without any broken resolutions.

CDC (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm on January 17th, 2014

Dews, F. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2013/10/ninety-percent-of-americans-drive-to-work on January 17th, 2014

Heart Math (2014).  Retrieved from http://www.heartmath.com/infographics/how-stress-effects-the-body.html on January 17th, 2014.

PASEO DEL NORTE: BROKE GROUND ON BROKEN SPIRITS

“There ain’t no easy way/no there ain’t no easy way out”
-Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Ain’t no easy Way”

The four mile (or so) stretch from Jefferson to Coors in an agonizing drive for the average commuter, morning and evening.  The highway portion of the street is a dangerous cluster of gridlock to and from your “career” each weekday.  You see the same cars and the same stupid bumper stickers claiming political stances, humorous attempts to seem intimidating, or the amount of family members and pets one family must gloat about having.  You see the same dented cars and the same ugly faces that drive them, putting on makeup, talking on their cell phone, drinking coffee and eating most likely a burrito (we’re in New Mexico, duh).  You experience the same bumps, potholes, same accident prone areas, and drive into the bright sun that always sneaks through the cracks left open by your visor.  East in the morning and West in the evening; it’s kind of like the old man who claims he used to walk uphill both ways to school in 10 feet of snow back in 1837 or whatever.

The current project to relieve the agony of the people of New Mexico’s twin cities (Albuquerque and Rio Rancho; we’ll get there, Minnesota, you’ll see) has begun.  It’s the construction that will save the souls of commuters and add years to the lives that have been losing time due to stress and rage.  The computer simulation posted on the project’s website looks fantastic if the population of Albuquerque drops significantly.  Please see below:

Paseo

I counted roughly 115 vehicles, not including the ones parked at the Marriott because they are obviously visitors and an attempt by the city to church up the numbers.  There are 154,000 vehicles passing through the interchange daily, and the 93 million dollar project that Westsiders desperately needed won’t be completed until the Fall of 2015 (NMDOT, 2013).  Oh, what a two years it will be.

However, there is no proof a large giant turn will be an adequate solution.  When drivers approach a bend they insist on slowing down to five miles per hour because they are under the impression that the bridge collapsed over the mighty Rio Grande heading westbound.  It’s probably the safest river to fall into if that were to happen considering the mud would serve as a cushy sponge and absorb the impact.  So beautiful.  Eastbound in the morning motorists pause because they assume the 2nd Street exit ceases to exist from a magical overnight change performed by Chupacabra or whatever.  Every slight veer from straight-forward causes a slam on the brakes.

Either way, construction happens; Jefferson has been poorly constructed since the renovation six years ago so let’s hope the same doesn’t happen with Paseo.  In those same six years, 2nd Street, one of the worst streets in town and the only other entrance to the six-lane highway, has yet to receive a total makeover and was rarely touched (how inappropriate); but why not do a little something at this exact time.

“Hey, I have a brilliant idea: since we are doing the interchange, we might as well slow down the other entrance and do some minor construction there, too.  You know, just to piss everyone off a little more so some blogger can make fun of us later on.  They already hate the fact it takes almost two minutes for the Jefferson light to change, 2nd Street needs to be equally frustrating.”
-Actual testimony from fake City Planner

That’s right; I timed the light at Jefferson (kind of), not the city planner, because I get bored in the small cab of Brutus (my truck).  To stop possible uprising as the sarcastic words above may suggest, the city may take a Hunger Games approach to the situation and put fear into the hearts of the public instead of hope.  The 12 participating districts (not actual districts) shall include: Journal Center, 2nd Street, Alameda, North Valley, Montano, Ventana Ranch, Taylor Ranch, Cabezon (I don’t volunteer as Tribute), Los Ranchos, Corrales, Loma Colorado, and the rest of Rio Rancho that doesn’t do the smart thing and take exit 242 home instead.  What’s the big deal?  People feel like they want to die sitting in traffic anyway and it will be an outlet for their aggression; plus, it will break up a little of the congestion (23 cars to be exact).  I’ll tell you what, to soften the deal, the winner gets a free bus pass.

I guess the bus pass is a more reasonable solution to begin with, but now you know what I think about in traffic.  The city is growing further and further away so more people are attempting to escape to get home where they eventually want to escape to go to work.  It’s a vicious circle, kind of like a giant interchange.  They can give us fear, but we still have hope (insert weird three-finger symbol Jennifer Lawrence gets people killed doing here).  They won’t break our spirits, so a majority of the population will just drink them to deal with the drive.  Oh, that vicious cycle.

There ain’t no (grammatically incorrect for song relevance) easy way out of the city.

NMDOT (2013). District 3 road construction projects. Retrieved from       http://www.dot.state.nm.us/en/ProjectsD3.html on December 4, 2013

Paseo (2013). Purpose and funding. Retrieved from        http://www.paseoi25.com/about_the_project.aspx on December 4, 2013