Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving dinner

my initial statement and question: "hmm, thanksgiving is this week. you want a, what should we have for side dishes?"

Shawn's in-depth and highly complex answer: "jello"

And the rest of the conversation is as follows:
"alright, what type of jello?"

"I don't know, strawberry?"

"No, I don't mean what flavor, I mean what type--like lime with cream cheese and marshmallows, or cherry with fruit, or strawberry with whipped cream?"

"Why's it got to have extra stuff in it?"

"Because it's Thanksgiving."

"You know, just because it's Thanksgiving doesn't mean it has to be difficult."

"right, well, what else should we have for food?"

"we've already got potatoes...and a box of stuffing...and biscuits...and jello...."

"yeah, I know, but that's all easy stuff, what else should we have?"

" pie?"

"Ah yes, apple pie! That's kinda difficult...or not difficult but time consuming. Okay, now we're good."

"you know..."

"yes, I know, just because it's Thanksgiving doesn't mean it has to be difficult."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The good (transpo) book

So, as I promised last week sometime (whenever it was that Jon posted about the guy running for senate or something in Pennsylvania) here is my post about determining speeds for roadways...of course, for whatever reason the book gives everything more as a "if you want the speed to be this, then you should design this as..." as opposed to "if you have a roadway that is designed as this, then the safe speed should be..." But I digress.

Ok, #1. There are tons of tables...which I do not feel like scanning in for your if you want the tables themselves, go find them from AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)...or find the transpo book I have (Transportation Engineering Planning and Design Fourth Edition by Paul H Wright And Norman J. Ashford)

Various parts that go into designing a road:
-Sight Distance (how far can you see in front of you),
-Perception-Reaction distance (how far you travel from when you first see something to when you react to it--Reaction is usually set to 2.5 seconds, but can go up to 3.0 seconds),
-Braking distance (how long you're breaking for),
-number of lanes (number of lanes needed to maintain a certain level of service--otherwise known as "why am I sitting in this traffic jam?")
-width of shoulder (the wider the clear shoulder, the faster people will go)
-slope of hill after shoulder (this determines usage of guardrails)
-other various stuff which I do not feel like typing about (gutter inlets, train intersections, highway intersections, bridge design, type of pavement used, thickness of pavement, etc.)

Sight distance on the road generally just means "how far can you see in front of you?" this is why when it's dark out you don't want to "out drive" your headlights. And thus, probably the reason for Texas having "Day speed limits" and "Night speed limits". Stopping sight distance is the distance you travel from when you first see something to when you actually stop...How fast can you stop the car when you see a hindrance in the road? AASHTO uses "wet pavement" calculations because wet pavement has less friction than dry pavement, thus it takes you longer to stop. So then, the calcuations are as follows:
Perception-Reaction distance: 1.47*(2.5 sec)*V where V is the velocity of the car in mph.
Braking distance: V^2/(30*f) where V is the velocity of the car in mph and f is the coefficient of friction (between 0.28 (for about 70mph) to 0.4 (for about 20mph))
Therefore your stopping sight distance is the distance you travel while reacting plus the distance you travel while breaking...and this is only for level ground, it would be longer for slopped ground.
And thus, the speed limit you select should take into account that your stoping sight distance needs to be shorter than your sight distance--you don't want people traveling on a road at 65mph when they can only see 50 feet in front of them.

Number of lanes calculations: Number of lanes = Directional Design Hourly Volume (DDHV) / Service Flow Level.
DDHV = Annual average daily traffic * K * D
K = percent of AADT that occurs in the peak hour (usually 10 - 20%)
D = Directional factor (percentage of cars on the roadway going the direction of interest) (usually 50-70%)
SFL (service flow level) is taken from a table--calculated as "vehicles per lane" by a percentage of trucks (0-20%) and by terrain (level, rolling hills, or mountains). The better the level of service, the less cars in a lane, and therefore the less likely you are to get stuck in a traffic jam.

Wide shoulders and other types of obstructions:
The wider the shoulder, the faster people can travel safely because brokedown cars can get completely off the road, plus you can use the shoulder for evasive tactics if needed.
The wider the lanes, the faster people will drive because they don't have to worry as much about hitting cars in other lanes.
The steeper the hill off of the shoulder determines the use of gaurdrails--you're more likely to over compensate and try to stay away from the guardrails, plus if you do hit the guardrail, it's supposed to keep you from going over the edge of the mountian.
Dividing a highway makes it safer to travel faster because you're not as worried about being hit by oncoming traffic.
Dividing a small neighborhood street, usually gets you to go slower because you can't necessarily see people or animals crossing the street as easily, especially if trees are added.
Adding cones gets you to slow down because you don't want to hit anything...even if the cones are placed to give you the same amount of space as the lane does.

ah yes, what a glorious weekend

So, I decided I ought to take monday and tuesday off (in addition to having friday off for veteran's day), and thus turn my 2 day weekend into a 5 day weekend. And it is glorious!

Friday, I didn't do anything...or rather, the only thing I really accomplished was getting the $20 I promised to Daniella to her...I ended up spending 3 hours over there...hey man, she's bored--she's just sitting at home watching TV all day.

Saturday through Sunday, Shawn and I went backpacking at Pedernales Falls. It was pretty cool. Pictures should be posted soon.

Monday, I finished painting the guest bedroom/drum room...finally, it's only been a year and a half since I started painting the damn room! And I cleaned up some--did laundry, did dishes, that type of stuff.

and today, today I have the goal of getting my hair cut--well trimmed really. I want to donate my hair to "wigs for kids" or "locks of love" and so I figure I better go make sure that my hair is actually in good shape and whatnot. I also should finish the laundry, finish the dishes, and finish putting away all of our stuff from backpacking...woo!

right, well, ta ta for now!

Monday, November 06, 2006

God I hate the doctor's office

so then, as I mentioned quite some time ago (almost a year to be exact), I hate the doctor's office. I normally only go when I'm healthy and all the test results come back saying that I'm sick. AND just so you know, that goes the other way as well--I go in when I'm sick, the tests say I'm healthy. For example, I woke up this morning and said "hunh, my bladder feels funny...I wonder if I have a bladder infection..." then I go to the bathroom and decide "yes, yes I have a bladder infection." so I call in sick to work and make a doctor's appointment. They set an appointment for 2pm. I get to the appointment and go pee in a cup (because that's what they have you do). and the test results come back that I've got too much water in my the tests can't find any bacteria, thus there is no proof I have a bladder infection. Stupid. So the doctor told me to come back later if I get the other symptoms of a bladder infection. Otherwise, we're done here. blah. stupid body and it's stupid reaction to the stupid doctor office. Stupid.

In other news, I found out that one of the guys I went to college with (and was one of Shawn's biking buddies) who is a model (you've seen him in ads for American Eagle--he's the one on the right in the add above), is now in a commercial for Gain laundry detergent. so now I have to watch commercials to see if I can spot him...damn commercials, I have a mythTV for a I don't have to be subjected to watching commercials.

In the real news there was a threat at one of the local highschools. They dont know anything about it...don't know if it was a Columbine thing, or if it was a Wisconsin school thing...but whatever.

Also, I love Heroes. If not only because I can watch the episodes Online after they air. one less thing for me to record on the MythTV.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gah, I've done it again!

GAH! so I was talking to mom on the phone this evening while driving home from work. She was telling me about how my sister is "moving" out. It seems to be quite the long move. She's had an apartment, but hasn't moved all of her stuff over there yet. Don't get me wrong, she's LIVING in her apartment, just ALL of her furniture is at mom and dad's. Mom says that they're going to help move the furniture, but dad says that she has to have all the small stuff out of the house before he'll help with the furniture.

In anycase, Dani was visiting at Mom and Dad's while I was on the phone with Mom. So Mom, of course, had me talk to her. I told her that she had to pack all the small stuff in boxes because there is nothing more annoying than trying to help someone move who obviously isn't ready to have their stuff moved. Mostly because you're sitting around waiting for things to be thrown haphazardly into boxes instead of moving all the damn stuff onto a truck. I mean, if you dont' want to put the stuff in boxes, at least put everything in large trash bags....but get the stuff ready to move before you start to move for christ's sake! But anyhow, I started telling her this and she was like ":::sigh:::: [now this means that she's pissed off]. Well, have a good one, Katina." Click. Yep...she's mad at me. Sorry DaniBani.