February 25, 2007

I knew I shoulda stayed in bed

As I usually do on every Saturday morning, I slept 'til well past noon. That gets me a lot of extra sleep, but it usually takes me the rest of the day to get in gear.

Well, last night Tex's band was having a CD Release Party at their home base -- a bar and grille in neighboring Stratford. So, I rushed out in time to be sure that I catch their weekly porchetta sandwich special before they ran out. Yum!

Then I had a few hours to kill, so I went over to the shop and did some crossword puzzles. But, I just felt kinda yukky all afternoon. I felt really hungry, but like that food wasn't really going to satisfy me.

I headed back over to the club at about 7:00pm (the show was scheduled to begin at 9:30), and had a chili burger. Then at about 9:00 I had some clam chowder, a New York strip steak, a baked potato and some garlic bread. Strangely, I still felt weak and felt a tad light-headed, as if I hadn't eaten a thing.

After two beers I switched to coffee. Bad move. I thought I was gonna hurl.

Then at about 10:00 or so, I began to feel the beginnings of a toothache. Maybe something got caught in one of the myriad crevasses that are the landscape of my molars. I got home at 2:00am and went to bed, but I couldn't sleep at all. The pain got worse, and by 5:00 I could feel some swelling coming on. I got up and brushed my teeth. I had no ibuprofen, nor even aspirin.

I finally fell asleep around 7:00am, and got up at 1:30pm today. The swelling was only mild, and the pain was dull, yet omnipresent. So, I took a shower, brushed my teeth, got dressed, drank some orange juice, took a vitamin and headed to the store.

On my way back with some Advil, two Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, a cup of coffee and two fresh packs of Pall Mall 100s, it happened.

I am a paranoidly safe driver. I am the worst passenger in the world because I tend to complain when the driver is -- in my judgement -- driving too fast, following too close, turning without signaling, talking on the phone, fiddling with radio knobs, etc, etc.

Most drivers on the highway tend to speed up in order to get closer to the car in front of them. It might save them a few seconds during their trip, y'see. I, on the other hand, try to be as far away as possible from every other car and truck on the road.

So anyway, on my way home from the supermarket a little while ago, I came to an intersection with a traffic light. The light had just turned green as I approached the intersection heading east, and slowed to pause and turn left and head north, and home.

A large white truck -- probably a Ford F-150 -- was heading west and turning south.

From where I sat, there were positively no vehicles behind that truck.

Now, looking at the map, you can see that Hughes Avenue curves north. From my vantage point -- in the right lane leaning toward the center -- the white truck was the only vehicle I could see.


The truck -- pausing, as I was, to be sure that I, too, was indeed turning left -- had just begun to turn and head south. I began to turn to head north.

Then, out of frickin' nowhere, a dark blue SUV comes barrelling out from behind the truck. This guy was doing at least 35mph (possibly 40) in a 25mph speed zone. Look out!

When I saw him coming I slammed on my brakes.

But then he kept coming. Fast.

I was a sitting duck.

I watched the SUV try to turn to avoid hitting me -- it's master steering with one hand and holding a phone in the other. He hit my driver's side front panel and, then, kept on going.

I swear, he never applied his breaks. He never skidded. He was talking on the phone and forgot how to drive.

He clipped me and then went up over the curb, over the sidewalk and plowed his passenger side into a large tree.

I then turned hard to my left and pulled up just behind him, knowing full well that I was blocking traffic. The task, then, was just to get to his sorry-ass vehicle.
It took me about 45 seconds to finally push open my door wide enough for me to get out of the car.

Even after all that time, I was obviously the first one to get out of his car.

I saw no movement in the truck. If this guy wasn't wearing his seatbelt... ...***shudder***...

I, finally, was able to pull myself up enough to squeeze out of my car. Nobody else bothered to. I supposed they all wanted to see what I might do.

Anyway, I stomped on over to the driver's side window and there he was, on the phone.

He rolled down the window and he was obviously extremely shaken up.

He probably thought he saw his life flash before his eyes. But it wasn't his life, but a Chevette, curb, sidewalk and a tree. He repeated several times, seeming nearly ready to burst into tears, "How could you do that? How could you do that?".

"I'm sorry," I said, "but, I swear to God, I did not see any cars behind that truck. You came outta nowhere...".

I found out while overhearing his conversations, both on the phone and with police officer's, that this was not his truck. He is a vehicle delivery man (he seemed to be about 25-30 years old, btw), and that he was on his way to one of the airports in New York to pick someone up.

Anyway, with him being so shaken up and not knowing what to do, I tried to keep him calm just by being calm myself. Which I was, anyway. I mean, what else are ya gonna do? Pfft.
(Yes, I try to be an infectious individual...)

As several other drivers emerged to ask if we were all right, I said, "I'm fine," and, refering to the guy in the truck, and making sure to say it loud enough for him to hear me, "He's a bit shaken, but he says he's physically okay."

One guy from across the street: "Do you need me to call anyone? (pointing to his house) I live right there."

"Thank you," I said. "I don't have a phone and he's talking to family." I held out arms, "Uh.. we'll need a cop."

Still shaking, the young man in the SUV asked me: "Can you see the number on that house?"

"Yes, it's 361", then clarified, for the benefit of whoever was on the other end of the phone: "You're at the corner of Brooklawn and Villa Avenues.".

The police arrived shortly afterward and took our statements and paperwork. An ambulence arrived, but was sent away.

At one point a woman walked up to one of the police officers and volunteered her eye-witness account. I heard her tell the officer that the SUV had come speeding through the intersection and never slowed down until it hit the tree.

She repeated this with more emphasis, as if her point wasn't getting across.

The officer was sitting in his car so I couldn't hear what he said in response, but the woman began walking back to her car saying, "Well, I'm sorry for trying to help..." The officer's final response was, "well, he was going straight through the intersection, so he had the right of way."

As if nothing else mattered.

The guy in the truck (I never caught his name) began to calm down quite a bit as the minutes rolled by. At one point he put his hands on his jacket pockets and said, "...and I left my cigarettes at home.". He then pulled out his cell phone and made another call.

I went to my car and rummaged through my grocery bags. I walk over to him and handed him one of my fresh packs of Pall Mall 100s. He smiled, sighed and accepted it with a gracious "Thank you."

After he got off the phone he opened the pack and said, "This is the exact brand that I smoke."

The SUV needed to be towed, but my car was fine to drive. It was dented pretty badly in the left-front and the headlight was smashed to bits, but the wheels were free to turn.

He hit that tree a whole lot harder than hit my car.

After a while, another SUV parked across the street. A woman stepped out, and we made eye contact. I thought she smiled at me, as if to say "hello", but I didn't recognize her. Then the guy from the SUV/tree stepped out of the passenger side and I gathered that this was his mother.

They crossed the street and she actually said to me, "I'm so sorry about this." I just shook my head. I presumed that this was because her son had told her that I had fullfilled my life's mission to successfully help to comfort a distraught soul. ("He was so cool he even gave me a pack of cigarettes, Mom...!! :)")

But I did manage to get a chance to talk to her quietly -- away from the cops.

I mentioned that he'd been travelling at at least 10 miles over the speed limit; that he was talking on his cell phone at the time, and that he was out of his lane and never hit the brakes. And, without those legal infractions, the collision itself could have been avoided.

He kept telling people that I'd hit him. Literally, he hit me. I slammed on my brakes and sat there waiting for him to slam down on his. Instead he, evidently, was steering with one hand and, because it happened so fast (and because he was on the phone) wasn't sure what to do and, consequently, tried to avoid me and instead found himself headed for a tree.

While I am familiar with that intersection and how dangerous it could be, and should have waited for the truck to pass completely just to make sure there was no maniacal driver barrelling up and around it before I made the turn, he should not have been coming through that intersection at at least 35mph while talking on the phone.

He broke three laws. Possibly four.

That collision could have been avoided if he was a safer driver. Another driver would have slammed on the brakes rather than tried to avoid me while still safely passing through the intersection.

I call the phone "the black hole of peripheral awareness", and I think it fits.


Lesson #1: Obey the speed limit.

Lesson #2: Don't talk on The Black Hole Of Peripheral Awareness while driving.

Lesson #3: Don't go flying around vehicles that are in front of you if you can't see what's ahead.

Lesson #4: If you're heading for a parked car or a sidewalk or a tree, press down on the damn brakes!


The good news is that it completely made me forget about my toothache! :)

Oh, by the way, when the other driver was asking for our exact location, he was not talking to his mother. He talked to her later. So who wanted to know the address and why?

As I was leaving -- just after the officer had returned my paperwork -- the guy's mother walks up the officer and says: "So, I haven't seen you in a while. How ya been?"


Guess who got a ticket for an illegal left turn. Uh-huh. Oh, yeah, I'll be contesting this rot.

Drive safely, folks. It's dangerous out there.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:14 PM | Comments (191) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, George!!!


Oh, right. Yay.

So anyway, in honor of George Washington's 275th birthday, I picked up a few of them new Washington dollars at the bank this afternoon. Pretty cool coin. Fer a coin...


The reverse has a nice image of the Statue Of Liberty. The neatest feature is that writing engraved along the edge.


I presume that the P stands for Philidelphia.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:20 PM | Comments (871) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007


Hi, Britney. You don't know me and I don't know you, but... uh... wussup up, grrl?

I'm someone who's never given a rat's patootie about you or your music. I don't listen to your kind of "music". I don't like what's become of "popular music" in the past two decades -- the skankiness that is Madonna's true legacy and that seems to have defined your understanding of what music is supposed to be: slutty, vacuous, dance-track videos. But, please, just lemme talk out of turn for a sec.

Clearly you are not happy with your life or with who are are. You shaved off your luscious glory in order to kill the person that you've found yourself to be right now.

Surprised, Brit? Surprised that that didn't transform you into a new and fresher person but, rather, made you see, in that mirror of yers, that what you've done was not a self-transformation but merely self-destruction?

Y'see, in order to change, you need to have a goal. A goal other than destroying your present self. You need to become the grrl you want to be, not merely destroy the person you are.



P.S. And wear some clean underwear. You never know when you might be in a trainwreck.

P.P.S. Couldn't let this post go by without a YouTube video. ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:48 PM | Comments (87) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Slippin' an' a-Slidin'

I'm not complaining about the sleet storm we had today. This is winter in Connecticut, afterall, and it's nothing unusual.

But, sheesh, just because Chevrolet makes an economy car called the Chevette, do they have to bolt on tires that are barely larger than dinner plates?

I've got studded snow tires on the back, but they don't do much better than regular tires in only two or three inches of snow.

I pulled into the parking lot of a the local deli (which closed early due to the weather) so's I could turn around and head back to another deli that is always open. My front tires seemed to be stuck and I couldn't back out.

I put the car in neutral and took a look-see. Sure, they were sitting on a little snow and some ice, but nothing seemed to be preventing the car from moving in reverse. No normal car that is. I gave the car a little shove. Used only about as much energy as it would have taken to move a large tool box on wheels, and pushed the car about three feet into the street. Got back in and headed off down the street.

I wonder if it's possible to recalibrate the odometer and speedometer to accomodate larger tires.

By the way, a long-serving, fiscally frugal, no-snow-plow-hiring mayor of Bridgeport during the '30s and '40s (and maybe into the '50s) named Jasper McLevy once famously said after a heavy snowfall, "God put it there and God will take it away.".

The spirit of Jasper McLevy is alive and well in Bridgeport.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:49 PM | Comments (1078) | TrackBack

February 04, 2007

Just a little bit of goofy fun with Donny & Marie and Betty White

UPDATE: And here are the Osmonds playing Crazy Horses. The music is the album track; there's no one even sitting at the drum set. But the vocals are done live.

Crazy Horses was the first and only Osmonds album my mom ever bought me. We got back from the store and put it on, and the opening song, Hold Her Tight begins playing. My mother looked at me and said "I didn't know they were monsters!". Heh.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:41 PM | Comments (153) | TrackBack
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