Maybe it's the collective anxiety before the election bubbling up through the various social networks, maybe it's the post-Halloween sugar crash, or maybe I'm just suffering from pre-manstrual syndrome. (Yes, manstruation is a thing, don't make me mansplain that to you.) Or maybe it's just the fact that the Internet exists only to make people agitated. Whatever the reason, there's some irritating stuff going on out there. The first thing that stressed me out today was this, which I saw retweeted in @jasongay's feed:
OMG, my heart is exploding right now. Dad of the year just passed out candy to everyone on the flight so his 3 year old could trick or treat pic.twitter.com/vfsAcYNrhr— Stephanie Kahan (@stephaniekahan) November 1, 2016
Really? Her heart is exploding, my head is exploding:
Like every ostensibly cute thing parents and pet-owners do, there are a number of serious problems with this, including but not limited to:
1) She's three. She doesn't understand dates. She can wear goofy clothes and eat candy any day of the week. She doesn't need to join the mile high trick-or-treating club.
2) Halloween was on a Monday this week. People work and go to school. Was there really not a Halloween party in their neighborhood on Sunday? I saw kids walking around in costume a full two weeks before the 31st. If you do it right your kid's burnt out on Halloween by the time it actually rolls around.
3) If Halloween is such a big freaking deal to your three year-old (who won't remember trick-or-treating tomorrow, let alone when she's a teenager and making out her list of reasons to hate you), why the hell are you flying? ("Remember when you made us fly on Halloween? I HATE YOU DAD! That's why I'm dating a weed dealer.")
4) Further to #3, what kind of jaded three year-old is this that she's not so excited to be on an airplane she no longer gives a shit about Halloween? Kids LOVE airplanes, which is why the little shits can't stop kicking the back of your seat.
5) Don't call your kid a donut.
6) YOU WANT THE CANDY BACK, REALLY??? What, are you going to pull the same stunt again at the car rental place?
As a parent of 17 children I can assure you that had I been on that flight I'd have pretended to be asleep.
Next up was this:
As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration moves forward on plans for a new streetcar line from Queens to Brooklyn, city officials on Tuesday unveiled the different routes they are considering for the project.
The $2.5 billion waterfront streetcar would run on streets in some of New York City’s most popular and crowded neighborhoods along the East River, including Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn. City officials plan to discuss the routes at community meetings over the next two months before selecting a path early next year.
So basically it's a bus that can't get around the inevitable double-parked car and requires rails designed to fell cyclists:
No matter, I'm sure it will work out great, because if there's one thing New York City drivers have proved time and time again it's that they're always willing to share the streets. In fact, they're so downright magnanimous that they also share our bike lanes--which is why you can now report these kinds of overshares to 311:
This week the city added another option: officially reporting lane squatters through its 311 app and 311 website. To make a complaint, go to the drop-down selection for “Illegal Parking” and specify “Blocked Bike Lane.”
Sounds great, until you consider that the number one blocker of bike lanes is the NYPD:
@bikelaneblitz @D00RZ0NE @BrooklynSpoke @bikesnobnyc @nyc311 @NYPD88Pct filing of false instruments, #noblockvember day 2. @OIGNYPD pic.twitter.com/kc0fay9Xro— Andrew W (@wandrew_w) November 2, 2016
The Police Department responded to the complaint and with the information available observed no evidence of the violation at that time.
Reporting bad police behavior to the police is like smoking banana peels: sure, you can try it, but I can promise you nothing's gonna happen. Plus, you get the same answer from 311 even if you're not complaining about the police. Last time I complained to 311 about an illegally parked vehicle this happened:
1) Police arrived at vehicle;
2) Police parked in front of vehicle;
3) Police opened sandwiches and ate lunch in their car;
4) I got an email saying pretty much the same things as above;
5) They drove away.
I'd have gone downstairs and kvetched but my kid was napping and I didn't want him to wake up alone because I'd been taken to jail.
I also happen to live on a street with no alternate side parking that is close to a subway station, which means people use it for long-term car storage. (Don't get any ideas.) Here's what happens when you report that:
LONG TERM PARKING IS NOT ILLEGAL FOR PASSENGER CARS
Except that it totally is (PDF):
(9) Street storage of vehicles prohibited. When parking is not otherwise restricted, no person
shall park any vehicle in any area, including a residential area, in excess of seven consecutive
But why would that matter?
I'd prefer and "OFFICER DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT AND WAS HUNGRY" to an outright lie.
Meanwhile, the city needs to repair the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway:
The crumbling 1.5 mile stretch of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway that wraps around Downtown Brooklyn may not be in need of emergency repairs, but representatives of the Department of Transportation said Tuesday that a combination of eroding concrete, leaky joints, and corroding rebar are proof the city needs to be proactive or face emergency repair work and gridlock across the neighborhood a decade from now.
"The structures have been out there some 60-odd years and are starting to show their long life now, and we're going to need to start planning," said project manager Tanvi Pandya.
Here's an idea: tear that piece of shit down and replace it with a bike lane.
Done and done.*
*[If you'd like to read my New York Times op-ed about how New York City should allow Staten Island to secede and annex Yonkers and Mt. Vernon to offset the lost revenue you can do so here.]
Anyway, I was just coming to terms with my 311 frustrations when some company tweeted this at me:
Shoka: Is There Anything This Bicycle Bell Won’t Do?
It might look like a cross between a vintage microphone and a Nokia 3310, but the Shoka Bell is a bicycle bell which will smarten up your ride with am impressive array of features. It packs an LED light which adjusts to ambient light and even your speed to optimise safety and energy efficiency - that of course frees up some space on your handlebars for other useful things. Shoka doubles up as a GPS navigation tool as well, directing you with an LED display and audio system; it doesn’t score quite as highly on this front as the BeeLine compass, but it’s certainly not short of additional features. The Shoka Bell links up to your phone to provide you with ride-tracking information and will alert you if your bike is moved by anyone other than yourself (provided you are within 250m radius).
I don't know, how about make a bell sound without having to be charged first?
So basically it's the phone you already have, the bike light you already have, and the bell you already have with the added benefit of needing to charge it.
All in one ugly bumble bee package.
Lastly, there seems to be some Twitter kerfuffle over this article, which has nothing to do with bikes but is nonetheless relevant to my personal experience:
The nameplate necklace was always a cultural touchstone of black and brown urban fashion—that is, until Sex and the City, something Rosa-Salas and Flower also noticed. I first began to encounter white girls wearing nameplates in the early 2000s, after the HBO show exploded in popularity. The series’ main character, Carrie Bradshaw, wore a single-plated version of the necklace that had a tiny diamond dotting the “i.” Google “Carrie Bradshaw…” now, and the search autofills to “necklace,” yielding results such as “Unique carrie name necklace related items” and “Personalized Boutique, Inc.: Sex and the City Style.”Why white girls need to stop wearing nameplate necklaces: https://t.co/VDbTSa80Ka pic.twitter.com/WmOHqiq1It— Fusion (@Fusion) November 2, 2016
Hmmm, I dunno. I went to a school with more than its fair share of what are politically-incorrectly referred to as "JAPS" and "Guidos" (hey, as what is polictically-incorrectly known as a "pizza bagel" myself I feel entitled to use these terms provided I put them in "quotation marks"), and I can assure the writer that "white girls" (and boys) have been wearing nameplates long before "Sex and the City" was a glimmer in Darren Star's eye. Indeed, the only thing that differentiated one group from the other was whether they paired the nameplate with a Star of David or a crucifix--well, that and a mysterious shrinking of the nose at 16. (I wouldn't even be surprised if WASPs wore then too, but the fact is I never saw a live WASP until I was 21 and working in book publishing.)
In short, I don't think nameplate necklaces are in any way a case of cultural application...though the kid in my class who wore a rope chain with his "Italians Do It Better" t-shirt might be another story.