Re: Car culture

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We walked a little over 3 miles! (Together; that doesn't count the distance Heebie walked from the subway or the 1.4 miles I walked home from Harvard square after putting her on the subway.) I know this because I am obsessive at the moment about keeping track of how far I walk.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:12 AM
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Does that count the walking around the museums and various buildings? I guess I do that kind of walking in Texas, however. We actually don't drive once we're inside the building.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:14 AM
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Biking (at least around here) is actually way, way faster than public transportation. 45 minutes away by bike would be at least an hour and a half by public transportation, anywhere I can think of where you would want to go. For shorter trips bikes are faster than cars, here, as well, although things scale differently (45 minutes by bike would be maybe 20 minutes by car unless traffic was really terrible).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:16 AM
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I did so!


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:20 AM
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That doesn't count the walking inside buildings. I usually don't try to count that, figuring it's better to underestimate than to overestimate how much exercise I'm getting.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:20 AM
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If the bus is right there, I can get home by public transportation in under a half hour. Thinking about this, that's really stupid slow. The bus route maybe covers four miles. If I walk quickly, it's 50 minutes. If I rode a bike, I'd probably just get hit by a car and die in traffic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:21 AM
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I'm not saying that I can walk four miles in 50 minutes. I think I'd be jogging to move at that speed. The bus goes a longer way than I go if I'm walking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:25 AM
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We walk everywhere! Now!

Sidewalks everywhere, with landscaping and big verges. Stoplights all have four pedestrian buttons. Drive half-hour in three directions gets the same. Fourth gets me lake or open country.

Dogs are easily pleased with smelly trees and fenced dogs, trash and squirrels, we don't have to go much of anywhere in particular. Sometimes I just drive them 5 minutes to a different block.

Meet a lot of people, mothers with prams, intent and determined young folk, greyhairs manicuring lawns, latinos working streets, yards, roofs. But not so many as to feel crowded.

I fear those who would destroy this life, and force me into 2x2x7 sleeping pods in the concrete canyons. With great Thai food.


Posted by: bob's evil dogs | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:30 AM
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Yeah, I'm all 'I don't even own a car, and I love it', but there's no arguing that car culture is more convenient that way. I've got my neighborhood, which is sort of anyplace I can walk to in 20 minutes or so, but once I need to go further than that, any destination takes 45 minutes minimum. (That's partially a feature of where I live -- southern Washington Heights is a bit of a dead zone as far as destinations for me go, so if I'm going south of 175th street I'm going at least to 125th.) But the distance that takes me an hour would take someone in a car in a rural/suburban area 15 minutes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:30 AM
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Half an hour doesn't sound like a crazy long time to get somewhere to me. Not least because it wouldn't be any quicker by car, in London.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:31 AM
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As stupidly long as it can take to get places in Boston on the subway, in the end it still doesn't cover that large an area. I miss that feeling you get in a city with a really expansive subway system, like Berlin (and maybe also Paris?), where you can ride to somewhere that feels quite distant, and get out and feel like you're exploring a completely separate place. It seems like the NYC system has this too, but I'm always too pressed for time on visits to NY to explore.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:33 AM
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Oh, in NY, a car would often be slower than public transportation -- a car wouldn't make my life easier. But a car in a place built for cars would be easier.

Getting Sally home from rugby practice is a ridiculous process. I take the subway from work for a half-hour, walk a mile and a half (two miles?) over a footbridge to get to her practice field, walk a mile back with her over the bridge, and catch a cab to get the last five miles home. There really isn't a saner way to do it, or at least not one I've figured out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:35 AM
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11: It is like that -- I could be wrong, but I seem to remember there's some reasonably non-cherry-picked measure by which ours is the geographically largest subway system in the world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:36 AM
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I didn't own a car for about five years and I walked everywhere. So great. Now I drive a lot more, and people kindly recommend restaurants that are a 90 mile round trip. The West is great, but so weird.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:38 AM
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I sort of think that the proper way to calculate travel time in a dense area isn't distance but how many people you pass to get to your destination. I don't live thirteen miles from work, I live two million people from work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:41 AM
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I just had a nice combined shopping/dining/movie theater development open up a fairly easy walk from my apartment but in among all the other development they turned a moderately unpleasant road crossing into a asphalt and steel river of death.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:42 AM
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We have three different places with great Thai food within 10 minutes walk.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:42 AM
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One thing I've really gotten used to as a pedestrian around here is that you can have some confidence that cars actually will stop if you walk into a marked crosswalk that lacks other traffic control measures (i.e., no stop sign or light, not necessarily at an intersection). It's not perfect, but the fact that it happens enough to make those kinds of crossings useful is great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:46 AM
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If you walk into a marked crosswalk without a stop light or something here, you've got maybe 1 out of 5 chances somebody will stop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:48 AM
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I claim that this is mostly a political problem.

Instead of urban planning and control of land use, free markets decide. The market's first movers are "developers," who are in fact fast talkers with a rudimentary understanding of what the richest are interested in paying for and an ability to secure credit from equally short-sighted bankers. Tract houses on huge lots, strip malls, and low office building with huge parking lots and a sparse network of arterial roads are the result. Where the land is already built on, developers have less relative power, so people begin planning, but it takes many decades for an American city to recover from the initial mutilation.

topically relevant art


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:59 AM
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13: The Works has a page breaking down the various subway metrics, but I am too lazy to get up and look at it right this second.

Do other people feel that taxi service in Beantown is substandard? Maybe I've just had bad luck with drivers, but it's never been less than irritating.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:03 AM
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19: On my street, pedestrians cross the street wherever and whenever we feel like it. Also near the University. I don't know why it is just these two stretches, as most places around town, people are fairly punctilious about obeying traffic laws.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:07 AM
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Instead of urban planning and control of land use, free markets decide.

Free markets decide where highways go?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:07 AM
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21: Yes! Taxi drivers in the Boston area don't know where anything is, which was a serious problem before GPS and is still annoying even now. Or do you have other grounds for complaint? Because I'm ready to commiserate with almost anything.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:11 AM
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18: Having grownup in Texas, the first time the bf tried to get me to use a crosswalk that wasn't at an intersection in West Hollywood, I thought we was fucking mad. I think I said something like "Fine. But you walk the hell out there first, and if you don't die, I may follow."


Posted by: extexan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:18 AM
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23. Lobbyists of and campaign contributors to local governments are mostly land developers. Here's one database, for Texas


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:24 AM
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I walked a lot more during the week in DC, and a lot less on the weekends. I liked walking, although it seriously cut into my procrastination time.

Neither house I've lived in here is 'walkable' to any kind of commercial establishment -- well I guess I could walk to the Starbucks by the interstate if I drank coffee -- but the former place was close to a trailhead with a very extensive network of hiking and biking trails. I figured you could walk from there the Canada, some 200 miles, and cross pavement 3 times.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:38 AM
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Biking (at least around here) is actually way, way faster than public transportation.

Here too!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:38 AM
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Unless you want to go across the bay or something like that. Or you're taking the N but not during commute hours. Basically what I'm saying is that it's way faster for me to bike to/from work than to take the train.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:39 AM
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(Starbucks is a bit over a mile. Hooters is another half mile. The prospect of riding a bike down this strip, and then past the industrial quarter and railyard keeps me in my car for the 6 mile daily commute.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:44 AM
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24: In my experience, they've all been kinda fussy, unwilling to stop for you, and ignorant of basic directions. And rude. Maybe not the worst cabbies I've seen, but uniformly subpar.

Re: NYC subways. There are 842 miles of track in the system, but only 230 route-miles, due to many trains running on parallel tracks, as well as a whole bunch of non-passenger track in the system. Still pretty impressive. Also, NYC has by far the most stations and the largest number of cars.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:45 AM
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In Berlin, where public transport is about as good as anyone could realistically hope for, biking requires about the same time as public transport for medium distances.

However there's a good 3-4 months of the year when it's so cold only a lunatic would cycle in it.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:47 AM
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Hooters is another half mile.

Do you think you'd get any cred with the waitresses if you biked to Hooters?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:51 AM
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I don't know if this would work for cred, but the waitresses at Hooters and cyclists share a common love of very tight shorts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:55 AM
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33: That really depends entirely on the bike.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:55 AM
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Maybe if it had a thermonuclear weapon embedded in it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:00 AM
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Oddly enough I'm in Berlin right now and was just trying to understand all the various pricing things. (It's always a bit tricky in Germany to work out when you should be buying ticket packs vs. day passes vs. group passes.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:03 AM
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I have a nice bike commute, but I've been surprisingly constrained around here to use it otherwise - there are hills in the more interesting directions, which are a problem for me. I pat myself on the back a lot for biking to the grocery store, which is quite close but requires a short, steep climb on the way back with full bags.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:03 AM
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but what's striking is how (depressingly) little walking I do on a daily basis back in Texas. Here's my usual rationalization that I'm active: I teach about three hours MWF, which counts as active.

Flipping topics here, I do always notice how tiring walking all day seems to be for car people. It's doesn't seem to be fitness necessarily so much as familiarity -- when athletic twentysomethings from out of town come visit, they seem exhausted after what doesn't feel like that much walking to me, despite being objectively much fitter than I am. I wonder if that's a specifically physical thing, such that someone whose exercise of choice was hiking wouldn't get tired walking around a city, or if it's mental.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:05 AM
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I don't have any sense of whether taxis in Boston are substandard; I have a near-pathological aversion to taxis generally and will usually spend an hour walking somewhere, with my luggage, in a pedestrian-hostile set of roadways, rather than take one. I've been trying to be more rational about them lately, and it is super annoying to find one if I'm not right near a cab stand, and I definitely feel annoyed if I have to give them directions. The general annoyance level has made Uber a very attractive proposition, and I've used them a couple of times pretty happily.

But I can't say I've had better luck with taxis in the other cities I've tried them (SF and Seattle), so it may just be me and taxis, not anything Boston-specific.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:08 AM
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And to pile on to the point that Ginger Yellow and LB make, far enough within the urban core car trips just aren't very fast. I have driven to my current workplace twice in the past five years. Each time it's taken slightly longer than the walking+subway commute I usually do, and that's without considering parking. So while it's true that it's 30-45 minutes to get anywhere, that's a fact of life in the city, not specific to the non-car transportation.

(It is occasionally frustrating that I can't spend money on a cab in order to get home faster; if there's some urgent reason I need to get somewhere (day care issues come to mind), it just can't be done).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:14 AM
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39: Do you have any data points on athletic twentysomethings that live in other urban environments? If they don't know New York (or any given city, nothing necessarily particular about NYC) well, they might be tired from the sheer amount of information you can take in walking in a city. I know that happened to me when exploring Boston after not having been there for years.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:14 AM
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That could easily be it, but I don't know how you'd test it -- a tourist from a different walkable city would be accustomed to both the physical walking and the information overload, if you see what I mean. I don't think there's an environment that would give you the overload without the walking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:16 AM
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In my home town, I took the bus for a few years to the office downtown; it took about 45 minutes. As a drive, it was 15. After a move, I would often bicycle in good weather and drive or take the bus in bad--it was about 15 minutes no matter how I got there. (You might save 5 minutes by driving.)

Now, based in a hotel that I drive to each week, work and hotel ends are both quite walkable and walked. Work starts too early to seriously consider getting up earlier to bicycle. I'll resume using a bike for evening exploring in spring, after the time change. For now, I walk at night; lots of good options for food & shopping within 15 minutes.


Posted by: MooseKing | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:17 AM
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Speaking of walking, my daughter has talked herself into hiking the whole AT next year. By herself, except when other people want to tag along.

One finds oneself veering between constructive encouragement (hey, I could join you for Vermont!), smug dismissiveness (she'll ditch it in a month!), and paranoia (bad people! hunger!). Not making the top 100 in parental challenges hereabouts, obvsly.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:17 AM
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I sort of think that the proper way to calculate travel time in a dense area isn't distance but how many people you pass to get to your destination. I don't live thirteen miles from work, I live two million people from work.

I think there's definitely something to this metric.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:18 AM
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(It is occasionally frustrating that I can't spend money on a cab in order to get home faster; if there's some urgent reason I need to get somewhere (day care issues come to mind), it just can't be done).

I think car traffic in NY has gotten worse since I was a teenager. I used to have a firm belief that cabs were faster if you really needed the speed, and every so often I forget and try to make this happen, and it just doesn't work any more. Possibly I was wrong about this in the eighties, but right or wrong then, it's certainly wrong now. (There are routes and times of day where cabs are faster, but if it's a reasonable public transportation trip during the day, taking a cab won't help.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:19 AM
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43: Not necessarily--there's a difference between walking in a familiar place and exploring. Maybe this is just peculiar to me, but in the former mode, I intentionally zone out most info, while in the latter I breathe it in.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:19 AM
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However there's a good 3-4 months of the year when it's so cold only a lunatic would cycle in it.

I always find it weird that Berlin has a reputation for being so cold. I've never found it particularly colder than other winter-having cities, and there's usually significantly less snow than in, say, Boston. The grayness does get to a person, though.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:20 AM
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That could easily be it, but I don't know how you'd test it

Next time someone visits, blindfold them and make them wear earplugs, and see if they're still as tired after walking around with you all day.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:20 AM
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45: Huh. That would worry me too -- no chance of cobbling together a companion or series of companions for the whole trip?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:21 AM
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46 -- I would think this measure is especially useful for determining how tired out of town guests get. I find NYC exhausting, even if I'm riding taxis everywhere.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:23 AM
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11, 13: This expansiveness, both geographic and cultural, is a big reason why NY is my favorite subway. Thirty minutes from Grand Central puts you in Flushing, which is basically China.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:24 AM
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More of 47: Not arguing this as good policy (I think it is good policy but not for the reasons I'm giving here), this is part of the reason I'd support vicious congestion-pricing for Manhattan at least. Now, there's no way to get somewhere in Manhattan quicker than the normal public transportation process. If we had severe enough congestion pricing to knock traffic way back, then it wouldn't inconvenience people going about their normal ways of getting around, but it would make car-based-speed a purchasable luxury when you really needed it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:31 AM
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I should try commuting home by Hubway bike a few times to see how that fits in, since there are stations pretty close to me at both ends. It's been a long time since I biked on roads with real traffic, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:31 AM
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Either the small city with fast car travel or the large city with fast public transport is good. The city where you have to drive everywhere and driving everywhere still takes at least 30 minutes is not good. (Tucson)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:31 AM
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48: I'm like that. In an unfamiliar area, I always feel like I've walked much, much farther than I think I have. On the other hand, familiar walks are just mental blips that don't even register.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:34 AM
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55: I walk to work along Beacon Street and see so many Hubway commuters.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:37 AM
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My theory is that any commute north of 45 minutes total is going to be miserable and exhausting. Ithe cities I've lived in with 100% public transit, because of transit times, I always had a commute that long and it was exhausting. But of course 45 minutes a day sittin on the freeway also sucks. Very small errands were easier in no car ville (you could just pop down to a corner store); big ones much much harder.

I walk a lot in my neighborhood, but it's just walking the dog or going to the local park. It's reasonably possible in LA to have the best of all worlds and set up your life so that you both (a) live in an easily walkable neighborhood (b) have a relatively quick (15-30 minute) car commute to work. I had that setup for a while and it was awesome, but my current neighborhood, while extremely pleasant to walk in, isn't really set up to be walkable in terms of amenities.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:42 AM
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Non-car cities with decent public transit are quite easy to get around in. Toronto's downtown frex is accessible from most anywhere in its outer districts in ten or fifteen minutes, twenty tops, by combinations of street car, bus, and subway. I don't know 'bout Cambridge.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:42 AM
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I don't think there's an environment that would give you the overload without the walking.

The spaceship in Wall-E.



Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:42 AM
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48 and 57 get it right, I think. I'm a walking machine in NYC, but I get more tired in walking around a different city.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:43 AM
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59: Mine's an hour each way, and I wouldn't call it miserable, although I would love a shorter one. But I'm pretty much guaranteed a seat on the subway each way, so I can read or knit and listen to music or podcasts or nap; it's not an unpleasant two hours at all. The only thing that makes it lousy is just the amount of time it sucks up that I could be doing something else with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:47 AM
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45: That reminds me of my brother's son who decided he was going to bike across the country all by himself. His parents did their best to talk him out of it. My brother suggested instead a long bike trip together on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and they did this and had a great time, but at the end of it my nephew was still determined to make a solo coast-to-coast trip. They tried to at least persuade him not to do it alone, but he wouldn't listen.

So, he did it -- with modern communications technology his parents were in contact with him a lot more during this trip than they were normally when he was in college. There were mishaps - his bike needed repairs several times, but he mostly was lucky with the weather. He made it all the way to the Pacific, and it seems to have been a great experience for him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:48 AM
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59: Mine's an hour each way, and I wouldn't call it miserable, although I would love a shorter one. But I'm pretty much guaranteed a seat on the subway each way, so I can read or knit and listen to music or podcasts or nap; it's not an unpleasant two hours at all. The only thing that makes it lousy is just the amount of time it sucks up that I could be doing something else with.

Yeah, an hour is too much, but absent a pressing need to get somewhere right now, I much prefer half an hour where I can read or listen to podcasts or watch a video than 10-15 minutes where I can't.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:51 AM
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That could easily be it, but I don't know how you'd test it -- a tourist from a different walkable city would be accustomed to both the physical walking and the information overload, if you see what I mean

On an out-and-back hike the "out" portion generally seems longer than the "back", even if it's all level.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:54 AM
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49: The only two other climates I've spent significant time in are 1) the deep and dirty American south, and 2) north Atlantic Europe. Berlin is obviously way, way colder than 1, but it's also significantly colder than 2. In the latter, it usually doesn't get much lower than around -2 or -3C, but Berlin will regularly go down to -20C or worse.

I believe most immigrants to Berlin are usually from 2, or from the Mediterranean, so to them it's going to seem freezing. If your reference point is Chicago or Boston though, maybe not so much.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:54 AM
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I do worry about it, though -- pretty much any degradation in subway service would make my life much, much worse. I can handle an hour each way, but an hour and a half would get miserable. When I thought Sandy-related damage was going to keep the subways out of service or messed up for a long time, I was panicking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:56 AM
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Hmph. Hubway is in the process of shutting down for the winter? I guess I'll try next year.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:01 AM
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But I'm pretty much guaranteed a seat on the subway each way

You know where you're guaranteed a seat? That's right: on your partnership of wheels.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:02 AM
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Berlin will regularly go down to -20C or worse

It gets there occasionally, but it's not like it's there for long periods of time. Average low in January, the coldest month, is -3C.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:04 AM
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69: That is so annoying. It was particularly stupid last year, when there was no winter to speak of.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:04 AM
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67: Four below?! That's not very cold, really. Probably doesn't even keep the riff-raff out.

Frowner bike commutes all winter. Because people in MN are tough.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:07 AM
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Talking her out of it isn't on the menu. Her fellow will come along for the first week or so, I think.

She's actually less excited about New England in the fall than I would be, and might well call it off in Pennsylvania.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:10 AM
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Getting Sally home from rugby practice is a ridiculous process. I take the subway from work for a half-hour, walk a mile and a half (two miles?) over a footbridge to get to her practice field, walk a mile back with her over the bridge, and catch a cab to get the last five miles home.

Holy shit. It must take well over two hours to get home from work.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:15 AM
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Frowner bike commutes all winter. Because people in MN are tough.

That's the way, patriot.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:17 AM
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I do always notice how tiring walking all day seems to be for car people. It's doesn't seem to be fitness necessarily so much as familiarity -- when athletic twentysomethings from out of town come visit, they seem exhausted after what doesn't feel like that much walking to me, despite being objectively much fitter than I am. I wonder if that's a specifically physical thing, such that someone whose exercise of choice was hiking wouldn't get tired walking around a city, or if it's mental.

My theory is that the cement specifically tires me out. Like standing around on the hard cement in the kitchen is much more tiring than standing around in the laundry room folding laundry.

Also walking does use different muscles than running or whatever exercise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:19 AM
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48/57/62: Isn't that a way one identifies tourists? They can't help but look at everything?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:20 AM
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75: From when I leave work? About that, yeah -- I leave work about 6:30 and we're home around 8:30. Rugby's in about the worst place to get to we could tolerate at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:21 AM
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78: I can't remember where I read this, but the tourists are the ones with the freckles on the roofs of their mouths from staring slack-jawed at the tall buildings.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:23 AM
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On an out-and-back hike the "out" portion generally seems longer than the "back", even if it's all level.

This is amazingly true. And in fact it's tipping me towards the "it's the unfamiliarity" side of the exhaustion debate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:25 AM
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77. Wooden shoes would keep you in touch with the earth. Maybe clogs?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:25 AM
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71: Wow, those averages are way warmer than I would have guessed. There was a several week period last winter where my nose hairs would freeze the moment I walked out the door. I'm guessing what's happening is people's anecdotal impressions of a given climate tending toward the extremes. They're not giving you the average, they're giving you the average of the 9 or 10 worst days, so places with broader range would tend to be rated more "inaccurately".


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:32 AM
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The winters where there is snow on the ground for any extended period of time are also made more annoying by Germans' refusal to shovel sidewalks. By the time they sprinkle some sand a few times, people walk on the sludge, and it refreezes, it's like you've got a whole new layer of concrete where the cement is ice.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:37 AM
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The weather is one thing - walking around in the summer time is a problem if you'd like to look barely presentable at your destination.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 10:53 AM
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Speaking of walking, my daughter has talked herself into hiking the whole AT next year. By herself, except when other people want to tag along.

What kind of Montana-n is she? She should be hiking the Continental Divide trail or at least the Pacific Crest Trail. It's true that the AT has the best social/party scene but the other two have incomparably superior scenery/landscapes.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:00 AM
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54: I'd support vicious congestion-pricing for Manhattan

I would too, especially now that New York is going to be in a huge-ass budget hole after paying for all the Sandy damage, and this seems like a good place to get some revenue to cover it.

Similarly, I'd like to see New Jersey hike their gas taxes all the way up to the national average.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:02 AM
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Yeah, I gotta agree with PGD here. I wouldn't contest her idea of an all-summer hike, but why do it in the long green tunnel? The PCT has granite outcroppings and stuff.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:03 AM
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You might be able to test your information overload v. walking theory here in Sacramento. Everything's walkable, but the window frontage and building density isn't overwhelmingly rich.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:05 AM
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The scenery on the AT is mostly the inside of a forest. The trees limit the views, although they aren't bad for protection from wind and rain.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:05 AM
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86 -- My greatest failure as a parent, I agree, was making her live in the East as a kid. She lives in San Diego now though, and is making a deliberate choice. Not that I understand it: her latest blog post was about how much she loves the desert.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:05 AM
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I find the idea of hiking the AT by myself some summer when I'm 17 again to be magically appealing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:05 AM
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(I visited her in May, and we hiked a portion of the PCT near her. It was lovely, and she gets out there fairly often. She might be thinking of the parts of the AT in Shenandoah we hiked, which aren't so much of a green tunnel.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:08 AM
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She's in San Diego and she'd fly to the AT for her pilgrimage? I'm confounded.

Also, me too. I would love to do a several month walk somewhere. Or maybe bike. But also walk.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:09 AM
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92 -- She's closer to your age than to 17, and her fellow was seen to be looking at rings not long ago. This may be a last clear chance for an adventure like this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:11 AM
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My magic hike wouldn't involve carrying heavy stuff, and I'd have an internet connection when it suited me, and fluffy beds and hot showers once a week. What.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:12 AM
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Biking is slower than public transportation only at times when you wouldn't want to bike anyway. At night, for example, when traffic is light, the busses can skip some stops and don't get stuck in traffic and so they beat the bike, but I'd be pretty worried biking on a city street anyway what with drunk or tired or generally crazy drivers having poor visibility. And this time of year, it's noticeably colder at night than in the day, which is uncomfortable. Or if I'm going far enough that I'm leaving the downtown area, then busses would no longer have to stop every other block and could make good time, but such a long trip would be inconvenient by bike anyway.

At other times? Like commuting, or generally going anywhere during rush hour, or going shopping on the weekend? Where I live at least, biking is quicker than busses. Slower than the metro overall, but once you take into account getting to and from the metro station and waiting for a train, it almost evens out. During rush hour, biking is often faster than driving. I've noticed myself coming out ahead of cars over a couple miles of commute, or at least keeping pace with them. And then there's parking, which is generally easier on a bike.

I agree that walking can be weird unless you take it for granted, though. Last weekend my sister visited me, and she remarked that I looked like I was in great shape, as did my parents last month (hell with humblebragging, I can just brag!), and I credit that to commuting by bike. It's not a long trip at all, but doing it twice a day really adds up. But my sister is really seriously physically fit - I don't know if she's ever done a marathon, but she's done more than one half-marathons - and when planning some trips around town by bus and metro she just suggested walking. It wound up being a couple miles at a time, and in shape or not, it was still definitely tiring to me and my fiancé.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:12 AM
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96: Horses?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:22 AM
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HG, you should really go on one of those multi-day pack llama trips in The Bob.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:25 AM
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More like unicorns.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:25 AM
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Or maybe a pack-burro. Strong enough to carry anything necessary, but smaller and less difficult than a horse.

Llama?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:25 AM
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I can't believe I was llama-pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:26 AM
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But the key is being by yourself. Llama trips sound like they involve exploited locals.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:26 AM
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There are tons of services devoted to creating the experience described in 96. You just have to be rich!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:28 AM
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I prefer to euphemistically hike the Appalaichan Trail.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:30 AM
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96, 104: A college friend(ish) posted pictures of her safari and it was . . . redolent of empire, let's say. I bet they dressed for dinner.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:30 AM
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But they have to also involve reverse-snobbery and thumbing my nose at the patriarchy. How much does that cost?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:30 AM
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I used to go camping out of my car by myself. That fit this desire pretty squarely, actually.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:31 AM
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People who make their living taking llama trips in the Bob think that you're the one living the life burdened by exploitation. Just ask them!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:31 AM
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Also, IMO the worst urban transport experience is where things aren't really walkable exactly but also not really easily driveable and also public transportation sucks. San Francisco, I'm looking at you, but tbh much of the West Side of LA is almost there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:32 AM
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107 -- you might be able to find one sponsored by the Sierra Club.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:33 AM
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What's the Bob?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:36 AM
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Frankly, a llama expedition deep inside Bob sounds terrifying.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:37 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Marshall_Wilderness


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:41 AM
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Is heebie-heebie the same person as heebie-geebie?


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:42 AM
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It looks nice enough, but I prefer more trees.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:42 AM
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I guess you could create the experience at home with a llama, some bad mescaline, three large dogs, the Criterion Collection's Seijun Suzuki films, and downloaded snippets of Althusser collected from the Internet.

No need to go to Montana.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:42 AM
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116 to Bob. It looks like it would be nice if you didn't go up too high.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:44 AM
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115: They're identical twin cousins.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:45 AM
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We all fear the coming of geebie-geebie, though.

117 sounds terrifying.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:47 AM
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You'd want to make sure the llama and the dogs got on well together, at a bare minimum.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:50 AM
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Second to 115: is x.trapnel the same person as trapnel?

117 it was the Althusser that puts it over the top.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:51 AM
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117: Wasn't that more or less the premise of Altered States?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:51 AM
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I'd think that dogs breed to herd sheep might make a llama feel overly constrained.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:51 AM
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118 -- The trails mostly follow rivers, and then up and over passes between the heads of the various drainages.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:52 AM
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119 I suppose that's possible if the mother was a conjoined twin.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:54 AM
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124: When she's feeling energetic (not lately so much) Dogbreath could have made a moose feel constrained.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:55 AM
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Here's a nice pic of the Bob's "Chinese Wall," 1,000 feet high and over 20 miles long. I'll walk over there some day.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 11:58 AM
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119: I never watched the Patty Duke Show, but the premise made a strong impression on me.

Patty Lane (Duke) is a normal teenager living in the Brooklyn Heights section of New York City (and as the lyrics to the theme song point out--"Patty loves to rock 'n' roll, the Hot Dog makes her lose control!"). Her father is the managing editor of the New York Daily Chronicle. In the unaired pilot episode, her "identical cousin" Cathy Lane (also played by Duke), whose father also works for the Chronicle as a foreign correspondent, arrives in the United States from Scotland to live with Patty's family and attend school.

The show's premise is that Cathy is more worldly and demure than identical looking cousin Patty. The remarkable physical resemblance that Patty and Cathy Lane share is explained by the fact that their fathers are identical twins.

Duke played a third lookalike role in the second season episode "The Perfect Hostess", in which Patty and Cathy come face to face with their southern belle doppelganger when distant cousin Betsy visits from Chattanooga, Tenn.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:01 PM
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I've decided that what I really want is a donkey. They are supposed to be stubborn, but only if you're trying to get them to do something foolish and dangerous. That sounds like a useful sort of companion.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:11 PM
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You can get a miniature donkey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:13 PM
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117 is great, and I was trying to think of a way to express something like 105, but gave up, so congrats, Halford.

Also, IMO the worst urban transport experience is where things aren't really walkable exactly but also not really easily driveable and also public transportation sucks.

This is certainly true, but I question your example. How is SF not really walkable? Are you talking about the hills, Mr. Crossfit Caveman? Because otherwise I don't know what you're talking about. And public transit doesn't suck. It's not NYC, it's not Chicago, but it has pretty great coverage. Echoing what someone said upthread, I'd rather be sitting for 30m where I can read or be otherwise actively engaged than be driving for 15m when I have to be constantly aware of how I'm piloting my two-ton death machine.

And of course it's great for biking.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:15 PM
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115, 122: I thought heebie-heebie was H-G using her ipad or phone or something.

I don't have the Remember Personal Info box checked, because I always tell myself I'm walking away from this place for good, and not all of my browsers save the input from the Name field. And I like being a little bit spontaneous!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:18 PM
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128 is amazing. My first reaction was, "hey, look, it's a screencap from Game of Thrones showing the Wall!"


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:20 PM
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I think in an energy-strapped world, we will wonder why we used to have such a horror of buses. Yes, they can throw you around a bit, and crowding can be uncomfortable, but they're always going to provide a lot more coverage than rail transit, and you can often get in quality reading or internetting time. (Perceived comfort will probably also increase a lot in tandem with rise in middle-class usage.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:21 PM
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and you can often get in quality reading or internetting time

Oof. I almost get carsick just reading that.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:23 PM
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I think in an energy-strapped world, we will wonder why we used to have such a horror of buses.

I think you may be right, but I also wonder whether a fleet of tiny robot-cars will be the answer instead. Would an electric or hybrid self-driven thing half the width of a Smartcar really be less energy efficient than a typical-load bus, especially since the robot-car would take you precisely where you want to go with no extra distance needed?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:28 PM
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Yeah. I could arrange to listen to stuff, but more than a glance at written text and I'm nauseous. (Sorry about the pun and unintended reference, text.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:28 PM
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136: When I started riding the bus daily to work, I thought I would get carsick if I tried to read, but eventually I did try and found out that I could read without any queasy feeling at all.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:28 PM
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I love how walkable our neighborhood is, though I don't walk to the grocery store either. My commute is not one that could be swapped for biking or walking (too many major hills and river crossings) and public transport is far from ideal, so I drive. I'd like to improve there someday, but haven't yet. I just checked how far the longest walk I do with the girls (across the river via pedestrian bridge to downtown or a riverfront park) and it's 1.25-1.5 miles each way, which is very doable as long as they have something to look forward to on either end of the trip that I can use to discourage whining.

I do worry a lot about the place where Mara's siblings live. Apparently it's the same in the big city across the river, but the worst public housing projects are hidden away on hills above the city. I know pizza places won't deliver there, there's only one bus that goes up there, and it's a long walk down and then up a long hill (though I see people making it) to get anywhere. So my girls can and do walk to the parks and the library and tonight we'll walk to dinner, but Mara's siblings can't do any of that, although there are playgrounds there at least.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:32 PM
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136 gets it right.

The LA bus system is actually pretty excellent, I think -- coverage is really amazing. I chronicled here once the time it took me to get home, and it was like 10 extra minutes. But it still feels overwhelmed by poverty, crowding, and mental illness. Driving is much easier and more pleasant, even if you don't have a sweet ass car like mine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:32 PM
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Halford, what car do you drive?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:34 PM
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Oh, right, there are people who can't read while walking either.

I think you may be right, but I also wonder whether a fleet of tiny robot-cars will be the answer instead.

Possibly robot-regular cars that automate carpooling.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:35 PM
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Grocery delivery is a nice solution for the walking-to-the-grocery store problem. Not sure how green it is, but its damned convenient.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:38 PM
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Halford, what car do you drive?

It's not just the car; it's the accessories.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:38 PM
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I think I've mentioned that my baby brother (in L.A. and now a senior in high school) has decided he really likes busses, enjoys the show. He goes all over L.A., choosing semi-arbitrary destinations for lunch.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:38 PM
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142 -- CTS, hoping to upgrade to the CTS-V if a case goes well this year, but probably not. Really a fantastic car.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:39 PM
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Oh, right, there are people who can't read while walking either.

IME even the ones who think they can can't, if by "walking" you mean "walking without constantly making other people jump out of your way".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:39 PM
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I also wonder whether a fleet of tiny robot-cars will be the answer instead.

I thought telecommuting was supposed to be the answer.

That and delivering everyone's food through the city water pipes (sealed in waterproof containers).

Then people just don't need to go as many places.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:39 PM
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148: Watch me sometime.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:40 PM
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That and delivering everyone's food through the city water pipes

Smoothies. Chewing is so twentieth century.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:41 PM
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147: the coupe?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:41 PM
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We only have a 1/2" connection to the water main. I guess extremely thin foods can be good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:42 PM
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upgrade to the CTS-V if a case goes well this year

Huh... I didn't realize you were at the sort of firm where a case going well would necessarily directly impact your compensation.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:43 PM
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152 -- Sedan. To 154, mostly no, but in one significant instance yes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:44 PM
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We only have a 1/2" connection to the water main. I guess extremely thin foods can be good.

Well, no, you can't deliver to each particular house without expensive upgrades to the connections. But you could deliver to a hydrant on each block. Surely people can walk to the nearest hydrant to pick up their food.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:45 PM
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The hydrant is covered in dog urine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:46 PM
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I had to google to find out what Halford drives.

From wikipedia -- "The 556 horsepower CTS-V variant is the 'Least Fuel Efficient Small Station Wagon' in the North American market"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:47 PM
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Your food would be sealed in a waterproof container.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:47 PM
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117:I guess you could create the experience at home with a llama, some bad mescaline, three large dogs, the Criterion Collection's Seijun Suzuki films, and downloaded snippets of Althusser collected from the Internet.

I got everything but the damn mescaline. The llama ranch is five minutes away, but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to use them with the Suzuki and Althusser.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:48 PM
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I'm not sure how I'm supposed to use them with the Suzuki and Althusser.

The mescaline will show you.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:49 PM
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Self-driving cars will immediate;y lead to congestion pricing, because otherwise every beno box and cappucino will get its own car, and these cars will clog every road everywhere.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:49 PM
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159: Obviously, urple should be the Minister of Food.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:49 PM
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158.2 is exactly the car I want. That thing is so fucking sweet. It's a 556HP station wagon!! I want to just take it out and drag race teenagers with my kid and dog in the back seats.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:49 PM
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164. I invite you to give to the charity of me choice or I press send on the recent compromising photos of you with a mid-1990s Daewoo. Nice driving gloves, by the way.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:52 PM
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164: It really is a shame that BMW doesn't bring the M5 Touring to the US. At least you can get the AMG E63 wagon here.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:53 PM
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You can also get an upgrade to 650HP. Check out this video of the station wagon smoking a 911:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPz9SgoqxCA


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:53 PM
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I drove one of these until 2007. I'd still like to have a hot rod version.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:55 PM
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and you can often get in quality reading or internetting time

Oof. I almost get carsick just reading that.

This makes me sad.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:56 PM
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Halford, between you 500 HP car and your all-beef diet, I hope you're buying carbon offsets by the kiloton.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:57 PM
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I'm not, but I enjoy complaining about environmental policy on the internet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:57 PM
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Well, that's a close second.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 12:58 PM
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168: I had that car too! I didn't keep it that long because a teenager sped through a stop sign, and totalled it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:00 PM
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It just makes sense: we're already pumping all this water to your house--why not have something useful floating in it?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:01 PM
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Another vote for granite outcroppings over green tunnels.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:01 PM
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My commute involves sharing crowded roads with expensive cars when I drive. Having the hoopty ride meant that I could clear a lane effectively by tailgating slightly, which no longer works. Also I am no longer stopped for no reason by policemen.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:03 PM
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it's like you've got a whole new layer of concrete where the cement is ice

I remember being in Berlin in this stuff. The big snow had been weeks ago, but the whole city was armoured with jagged, filthy icebergs it would have taken a pickaxe (or more like 50,000 immigrants with pickaxes) to shift.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:03 PM
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174. Vintage yogurt is not useful, even if there is a devoted collectors community.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:04 PM
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174: are we talking about your plumbing woes again?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:04 PM
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I wonder if it's the movement of the words or of the body that gives people motion sickness while reading. (I do get it sometimes, but not often.) Google Goggles might let us find out.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:05 PM
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CA's old ride. Seatbelts (and ashtrays! and cigarette lighters!) for 6!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:10 PM
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My Ford Escort was an '84. The night of my high-school graduation I burned out the engine on the side of I-95 because, apparently when the engine oil light goes on, it means you need to add oil to the engine.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:11 PM
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Another vote for granite outcroppings over green tunnels.

Go to New Hampshire and have both!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:12 PM
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181 -- Was CA Clyde from Doonesbury?

(I believe that is literally an early 70s Buick Electra, which I think was Clyde's car. I know that this is just the place to have this conversation).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:14 PM
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Oh right it says 1970 Buick Electra in the URL. Let's check and see what Clyde's car was.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:16 PM
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This is also the place to discuss high end Cadillacs. Don't be afraid to let your freak flag fly, Hal.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:17 PM
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I drove one of these across the country when I was 18. It was the same color as the one in the picture, but more shambolic, and with a pimping red-and-white cap.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:18 PM
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You might be able to test your information overload v. walking theory here in Sacramento. Everything's walkable

Sacramento has the most beautiful trees, and gorgeous Victorians. Trees are key to urban walkability, then comes beautiful houses where you can peer in the windows as you walk. (You can tell I think Manhattan is overrated; a New Yorker would say I'm more a town-walker than a real city walker).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:23 PM
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Hmmm. Here is what I was thinking of. Doesn't really look like an Electra but I seem to specifically remember Clyde driving a Buick.

I know that somewhere LB has the real comic available and can look this up. Anyhow, I will now think of CA as Clyde.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:28 PM
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Yep! A 1970 Deuce-and-a-Quarter!
I will be so pleased if that really is Clyde's car.

As previously mentioned here, there is videotape of helpy-chalk and me (and at least 3 others) getting out of the Buick so CA could drive over a speedbump.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:31 PM
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Now I drive a lot more, and people kindly recommend restaurants that are a 90 mile round trip. The West is great, but so weird.

I think the mentality is a bit worse up in the northern reaches. I'm at the southern end of the valley here but I can be at my precinct in twenty minutes. And once the Draper line goes live in the next few months the 11400 S stop will only be a mile from my house.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:40 PM
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Speaking of actual car models, I saw an ad for this recently and was flabbergasted. My memory is of a car that required popping the hood and sticking a screwdriver into the carb in order to start it, and being able to see the road through holes in the floor. Maybe that was just ours, but it's not a positive set of associations and seems like a weird brand to revive.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:45 PM
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192 me.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:46 PM
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My memory is of a car that required popping the hood and sticking a screwdriver into the carb in order to start it

People are nostalgic for cars that you could fix on your own.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:47 PM
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192 -- yes that is bizarre. The best thing about the Dart was that the coupe was called the "Swinger," thus making it the ultimate 70s car on so many levels (incredibly crappy workmanship, creepy sexual reference, commercial failure).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:51 PM
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People are nostalgic for cars that you could fix on your own.

Word. Our first car when we were married was a '79 Mercury Monarch. Basically a nicer version of a Granada, identical to this but in white with the red nagahyde interior. Good times.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 1:58 PM
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and being able to see the road through holes in the floor

That was so you could see how fast you were going. My old '72 Dart rattled like hell and felt like it was going to fall apart all around you not to mention it looked like metallic green rusted shit but it left all domestic comers in the dust.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:00 PM
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People are nostalgic for cars that you could fix on your own.

Its less nostalgic when you remember that you had to fix them on your own. Frequently. In nasty weather. When you needed to get someplace.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:04 PM
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Oh hey, people. I was just snooping around amazon, and I found a link to this here book.

Isn't it funny, the guy who wrote it is named Dart!


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:05 PM
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and being able to see the road through holes in the floor

You know that kind of fear of hights where you aren't afraid you will accidentally fall, you're afraid that some wild impulse will overwhelm you, and you'll jump?

Holes in the floors of cars always gave that to me when I was a kid.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:06 PM
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Ex-wife #1 had a Chevy Nova with a convenient hole by the passenger side door that whenever she locked her keys in the car* which was often, all one had to do was get down on one's back and reach up through the floor and pull the handle down.


*Which reminds me of this which will probably make the commentariat think less of me but here goes, the meanest thing I ever said to her was when one day she said to me , "you know, if everyone on earth was just like me there would be peace and the planet would be a much better place to be," and I immediately retorted, "K., if everyone on earth was just like you it'd be a planet full of people looking for their fucking car keys."

**I should mention that ex-wife #1 was the manic pixie dream girl to a T.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:17 PM
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Henceforth, I will read Nathan Williams' and Barry Freed's comments in the voices of Tom and Ray.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:25 PM
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It's pretty incredible how much better cars have gotten in the past 30 years. I think the moment when cars went from "very often don't work unless brand new" to "you can have a solid expectation that they will mostly work fine" was about 1992.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:30 PM
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In 1992, I was driving a 1980 Audi 4000 that didn't have a functioning reverse gear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:31 PM
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I don't know from cars, so I'll mention that I had a nightmare two nights ago in which my father was forcing me to drive down a highway in reverse.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:33 PM
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204: isn't that sort of the opposite of the problem they usually had?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:33 PM
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206: You mean not a functioning forward gear or a hyper-functioning reverse gear?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:36 PM
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I think there's a thread somewhere where it turned out to be a widely held nightmare that you were having to drive from the backseat. I know I've had it. Sometimes the driver's seat is missing altogether.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:37 PM
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Oooh I definitely have had that nightmare.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:38 PM
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207: the latter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:38 PM
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I once had a '78 Chevy Impala station wagon that gradually lost the higher gears until it only had reverse left (using it for tile work was probably not a great idea but they gave me an extra $50/day to do it at the time) which happened about 3 miles from home at night and being young and irresponsible I decided to drive it there. It was surreal waiting for the left turn signal and staring the driver in front of me (behind me!?) in the eye.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:40 PM
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211 to 204 and before I'd seen 205.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:41 PM
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208: Me too!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:41 PM
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||
I just bought a Tom's of Maine deodorant in a scent I'd never tried before, calendula. It turns out to smell exactly like vomit.
|>


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:42 PM
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214. Maybe you're thinking of the Dodge Aztek.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:44 PM
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That nightmare freaks me the fuck out, almost as much as the one in which I loose all my teeth.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:44 PM
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See? Nobody will notice your armpit sweat at all!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:44 PM
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208: There's also this xkcd. But I imagine such nightmares are more common among drivers.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:45 PM
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It's more of a re-odorant.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:45 PM
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Also, I had to double-check before I posted to make sure I had written Tom's of Maine and not Tom of Finland.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:46 PM
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210: Those were much new models than mine. Plus, I had a manual.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:46 PM
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220: the Tom of Finland toothpaste is pretty weird, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:47 PM
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Unspeakable seeping horror coming from every direction, above sidewise behind below, all that's necessary for salvation is for the hapless dreamer to scream.

Usually when I wake up from that one (closed-mouth screaming in fact) my pillow is sweatier than a naugahide sock.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:48 PM
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You wear naugahyde socks?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:50 PM
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Total had dream.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:50 PM
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225 to 224.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:51 PM
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I don't have the "driving from the backseat" dream any more, by the way. Probably has to do with, you know, not driving.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:52 PM
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I'm not in the back seat in my dream, but the car is veering wildly, not responding to the steering wheel. And then it becomes tiny and we drive under someone else's tire.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:54 PM
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where you can ride to somewhere that feels quite distant, and get out and feel like you're exploring a completely separate place. It seems like the NYC system has this too

It does. It's one of the best parts of New York. Get on the B train in the West Village; get off 35 minutes later and everyone around you is speaking Russian. And you're at the beach.

My commute is LB's minus 5 minutes. Sometimes it doesn't bug me. It isn't exactly the lost time...if I were at home I would not be finishing my epic poem or anything. I guess for one thing I always notice when I emerge from the station that suddenly I'm not cooped up with other people's noise. At times I wonder how I ended up so apparently devoted to city life when all I want a great deal of the time is for everyone to shut up.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:55 PM
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Never had a dream about driving at all, which makes sense because I mostly don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:56 PM
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205: Had you recently watched The In-Laws?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:57 PM
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At times I wonder how I ended up so apparently devoted to city life when all I want a great deal of the time is for everyone to shut up.

Because outside of the city it's considered rude to tell them so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:57 PM
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227: Me neither. It's also been a long time since I've played basketball, and consequently I rarely dream my jumpshot won't go near the basket. Oddly enough, I still occasionally dream that my punches and kicks are completely ineffectual against the zombies, even though it's been several years since I did any kickboxing, and it wasn't against zombies.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:58 PM
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Or Smoke Signals?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 2:59 PM
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LB, I know you are probably busy with trivialities like protecting the pubic interest, maintaining your career, and spending time with your family, but I demand your assistance in my 70s Doonsebury related research project described above. Do you have the old books somewhere accessible, or do I need to pay money to access the Doonesbury archive to determine the make and model of Clyde's car circa 1976?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:02 PM
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The "oh my god I have to take over driving!" dream went away for me once I could drive.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:03 PM
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224. There's a movie where an aging Burt Reynolds plays a powerful dude who walks around with vaseline in his cowboy boots. Maybe wiht Demi Moore?

Which of them is crazier in real life, I wonder.

Maybe the solution to filibusters is to make them humiliating-- not only is it necessary to actually speak on the senate floor, but also while dressed like Huggy Bear or a short order cook. While there's a calsithenics video show being taped in the visible background.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:03 PM
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My only recurring dream nowadays is I'm about to get on a plane to fly somewhere when I remember my fear of flying. I miss my recurring tornado dreams. They were much more, uh, poetic?

I can read on a train but not a bus. This doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:05 PM
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238 is me, perhaps obviously.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:06 PM
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235: Despite my affection for the strip, I actually don't own a single Doonesbury book. Everything I know from before the time when I was reading it in the papers I read in books owned by other people.

Sorry about that, chief.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:06 PM
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231: No, I was driving with the flow of traffic, but the car was turned around.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:10 PM
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I miss my recurring tornado dreams.
Ooh, I get this one sometimes. It's glorious and terrifying.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:12 PM
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I FOUND THE STRIP ONLINE. Here it is.

Clyde drives "A sky-blue Electra 225, with the baddest V-8 ever to leave Detroit."

This is maybe my greatest achievement of the year.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:14 PM
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My parents have that book at home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:19 PM
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I have had programming dreams, used to have physics dreams-- the sensation of being immersed in a problem that's going badly with time pressure.

Here's a 21st century real-life error: misformatted email in Afghanistan


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:19 PM
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242: For a while I wanted a tornado tattoo because of the dreams. Then I stopped having the dreams and anyway I have mostly concluded that getting a tattoo is something I'm going to talk about every once in a while and never do.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:19 PM
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This is maybe my greatest achievement of the year.

Having tried to dig through the Doonesbury archives before, I'm impressed. It's nice that they're all online, but not easily searchable.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:28 PM
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That book is sitting on the shelf of my childhood bedroom at my parents house.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:28 PM
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243: Yours for $12,995


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:32 PM
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I love mid-'70's Doonesbury.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:36 PM
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243: !!!! And most amazingly, we must have known this at some point, because we used to say "baddest V8 ever to *roll out of* Detroit!" semi-jokingly. (CA's 225 was seafoam green. Oh! It is in the flickr pool somewhere!)
Good job!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:43 PM
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How much grappa is too much grappa?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:54 PM
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IME, surprisingly little grappa.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:55 PM
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Definitely don't listen to LB right now, essear. Too much grappa is more grappa than you've had right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:55 PM
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252: LB is wildly incorrect. Excelsior! (Unless your daughter is Angelica Huston.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:56 PM
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Same with enough grappa.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:56 PM
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255: Anjelica


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:56 PM
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Clearly I'm too drunk to remember the || and |>.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:56 PM
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All the other physicists here seem to be of the opinion that grappa is too gross to drink. So the one non-physicist at the table (girlfriend of another physicist) kept pouring me more, and my former grad student colleague who probably weighs 50% more than I do kept proposing toasts to get me to drink it. Wheeeee.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 3:58 PM
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Sweet now that he's wasted I can finally get him to make that death laser I've always wanted.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 4:00 PM
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I only use my powers for good useless.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 4:04 PM
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I'm not going to manage to read the whole thread but yes, the Boston area on foot is awesome. Yay heebie.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 4:06 PM
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260. Try this dude:
http://www.nature.com/news/microwave-laser-fulfills-60-years-of-promise-1.11199


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 4:10 PM
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Walking improves complexion. I figured this out because I rented an apartment for 2 months and my complexion improved. I tried to figure it out, maybe it was a change in diet or atmospheric pressure or what. Then (much later) moved to a different apartment and started to walk miles a day and complexion improved. That was it, that's what the two apartments had in common. I'm like Seth Roberts without the quackery.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 5:05 PM
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I did a small geology research project in the Bay Area by public transit. (One or two semi-legal scrambles down washouts in Marin, and you can pop up by the roadside where a bus will stop. Once I got a fake-trolley tourist bus, which was great.)

heebie, you could go glamping, possibly with pack goats.

My surveying grandfather was extremely convincing on the advantages of mule transport. Mules, he said, not only wouldn't do anything they thought would be too dangerous, but they often had better judgement than the humans.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 5:13 PM
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260: Death Laser? Fiddlesticks. I bet it won't even slow them up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 5:18 PM
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LB, I know you are probably busy with trivialities like protecting the pubic interest

The pubic interest pretty much takes care of itself.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:43 PM
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Ogged Standpipe!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 7:54 PM
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265: my wife did a research project about dirt alongside the LA freeways. didn't use public transit... but we wore the fuck out of some brakepads. probably also gave our kids birth defects (i was holding a gps and a cellphone in my lap to record time and location of samples).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:06 PM
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I recently had a dream where I was in the very back seat of an eight-passenger van full of people I know, including my Torts professor who was riding shotgun. I figure his presence meant we were destined to get hit by a train, but I woke up before finding out.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:36 PM
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Torts?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:41 PM
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No thanks, I already ate.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:44 PM
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270: something complicated happened before you awoke, didn't it? The driver attempted suicide but killed the conductor of the train?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:49 PM
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273 cont'd: but the conductor had an aneurysm *just* before the bullet struck?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:50 PM
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Did you hear about the bakery shop that kept getting sued for not making their cakes sweet enough?

It was totes tart tortes torts.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 8:52 PM
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When I was in New York, I rode the length of the subway system. It took quite a while, mostly evenings and weekends. I've also ridden the length of BART, the DC metro, and Vancouver's Skytrain. You could do those each in a weekend or even a long day if you really wanted to.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:09 PM
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275: But the plaintiff was barred from recovery, because she reasonably figured she could play a particular board game at the bakery?

Yep, it's a classic: Assumption of Risk.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:10 PM
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The PCT has granite outcroppings and stuff.

The PCT is pretty difficult logistically. I don't know if it's more difficult than the AT and it's probably not more difficult than the Continental Divide, but if you're going South-North and you're not putting in really long days, you have to hit the Sierras just after snow melt if you want to make it through the Cascades before snowfall.

When I was 16, almost 17, I set out to do the PCT. I got about 80 miles north of Mexico before I twisted my ankle. I thought about waiting out the injury, which really wasn't bad, but that happened to be one of the wettest years in about a decade - this was at the tail end of the 80s/90s drought - and there was still fresh snow falling in the Sierras.

So I bailed, thinking I'd try it again later. (The year before would have been no problem.) But then I pretty much stopped backpacking altogether about a year later. I don't regret trying it or giving up. It wouldn't have been possible to stay on schedule, given the weather and my lack of snow/ice equipment (not to mention dealing with high river crossings). There was even another big storm a couple of weeks after I went home - in June.

It might have been possible to head south that year, but you have to start later and finish in October/November and I needed to be in college in September - my plan was to just skip the first week.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:37 PM
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If you are drinking so much grappa that you materially affect the world supply of grappa, then that's too much. Other than that, you're okay.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-16-12 9:58 PM
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When I was in New York, I rode the length of the subway system. It took quite a while, mostly evenings and weekends. I've also ridden the length of BART, the DC metro, and Vancouver's Skytrain. You could do those each in a weekend or even a long day if you really wanted to.

Basically the same as doing the PCT.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-17-12 5:55 AM
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Yep, a lot of exposed granite.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-17-12 5:59 AM
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I'd never take public transit for granite.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-17-12 9:36 AM
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