Archive for category Observations

Toll Roads

I guess it’s already been about two years since the new toll roads starting opening around Austin. I’m not against toll roads in general, though I do think there are issues of misappropriation of public resources for private gain. If the tolls were simply to repay bonds used for construction, that would be one thing, but that’s not the way these toll roads are operated. I’m not sure exactly what the arrangements are, and I know they differ for some specific toll roads in the area, but at least one of them is apparently operated for profit by a private company. I suppose even that would be acceptable as long as the company paid a suitable lease (or property taxes, though I doubt they bought the land).

But that’s not the point of this post. Rather, it is the odd sense of pleasure I get when I use a toll road. Now, I don’t use them regularly as I quickly determined that they simply didn’t save me enough time to matter — at least not on my commute to and from work. But there are a couple of toll-connected fly-overs that avoid quite a few stoplights. Naturally, these short stretches of toll road are usually the most expensive. Still, when I’m in a hurry — which is fairly often — I just go for it. And, as I said, I actually get a small amount of pleasure when I do so. Of course, the TxTag hides the cost pretty effectively, which is probably a factor.

Am I alone in these feelings? I expect that if I took the toll road on a daily basis, I wouldn’t feel this way. Do you take toll roads occasionally, and if so, how do you feel when you do?


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Thank You

Thank you for your service

Thank you for your service



Political Phone Survey

I just received a phone call for a political survey. It was primarily about local issues, though there were some national questions. Oddly, right after I answered that if the election were held today I would vote for Bob Barr, and the interviewer confirmed my answer, the line went dead. There was no click or anything and I assume it was a technical issue, possibly even on my end (Vonage), though my Internet connection was still fine.

However, it certainly crosses my mind that it would be pretty easy to manipulate survey results by “dropping” calls….

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Survivor: “I’ve lost my reign…”

Best. Episode. Ever.

After last week’s episode, I dubbed it the best episode of Survivor ever, taking the place of the first episode of Pearl Islands where Rupert lived up to the piracy theme by stealing supplies from the other team.

Well, that didn’t last long at all as this week’s episode was even better!

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Too much multitasking?

In traffic this morning I was sitting behind a guy that had a bluetooth headset in his ear, a cigarette in his left hand (sticking out the window) and a laptop in the passenger seat that he would often look over toward and sometimes lean toward. It felt a little like I was in somebody’s comedy routine….