Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A LEGO® tow truck: Cool.

Stupid Things I Used To Like When I Was A Kid... Happy Halloween, everyone! Just thought I'd post a long-planned journal entry ranting about things I thought were cool back when I was young, but now I just despise them for causing total inconveniences in my adult life. How many of you think that certain things that you liked when you were a kid are now lame? Whether it's a music group whose songs had a cool beat when you were 11 but now think sound pretty cheesy (like those of um, New Kids On The Block). Or a movie classic that you watched half a dozen times on VHS when you were 8 but now find totally corny and badly-acted [like The Goonies (yea, you heard me)...and for people born in the early '90's, flicks like The Phantom Menace]? Or an old cartoon that you found action-packed when you were little but now ridicule because of its formulaic episodes and crappy animation (like Voltron)? Well, I'm discussing none of those here. Instead, I'm ranting about things that most likely only other dudes can relate to when they were kids: automobiles. Or specifically, diesel-powered trucks, buses and trains. Read on.

A REAL Peterbilt truck: Not cool. Unless it's Optimus Prime.

For those of you who have driver's licenses and commute almost everyday, you've probably experienced lots of moments where you were frustrated because scores of big rig trucks were clogging up lanes on the freeway (particularly the 5, 60 and 605 freeways if you live here in Southern California). Back when I was a kid, I used to love trucks. I liked building them out of LEGO®, and even daydreamed about buying my own Peterbilt (yep, the same truck used for Optimus Prime in Michael Bay's Transformers movies...though I didn't know that it was called Peterbilt back when I was 10) when I was older. Just something about these vehicles and how they dwarfed regular cars with their multiple oversize tires and loud roaring engines intrigued me. Now, these trucks just piss the hell out of me because they're slow, I have to roll up my window so their diesel fumes won't get into my car and have to occasionally dodge fragments of shredded truck tires on the freeway when I'm commuting somewhere. Screw you, trucks.

Buses of any kind: Not cool. Even the ones that run on hybrid electric power like the bus pictured here.

Another stupid thing I used to like when I was young is the bus...for the same reason why I naively liked trucks. Not only because buses are also bigger than cars and have large tires, but also because of their design (Woohoo, they're rectangular!) and the fact they can carry dozens of people aboard interested me as well (just because). Now, I find buses even more of an annoyance on the road than big rig trucks do. I'm sure that most of you fellow drivers agree with me: You're driving on the right-most lane of a city street (particularly a street in a major metropolitan area like Los Angeles), and all of a sudden you come across a bus that's still idling at a bus stop waiting for more passengers to board. You're unable to change lanes because there is too much traffic on the lane to the left of you, so you have to wait impatiently for the bus to finally depart from its stop, or more frustratingly, wait for the traffic signal to turn green so that the bus can drive away. Buses that I truly hate are the outdated school buses that have their tailpipe right at their rear bumper...facing a vehicle that's directly behind them. Smelling the stench of carbon monoxide from a Honda Civic cruising in front of me is one thing (I'm not sniffing on purpose, of course), but to see a black cloud of diesel smoke billow out from the ass of a yellow, crappy-looking behemoth as it drives off after stopping at an intersection? Apparently, the fools who designed these buses have never heard of lung cancer before. God, I hate public transportation.

A classic LEGO® train set: Cool.

And last, and just as least, is the one major inconvenience that most normal dudes liked when they were boys: trains. Like trucks, I wanted to build a train out of LEGO when I was young, but my folks never bought me the train set. I found the design of Union Pacific locomotives to be very intriguing...with all of its large metal wheels and the fact locomotives dwarfed not just cars but trucks and some buses as well. Trains, when I was 10, were the epitome of diesel-powered coolness. Now I just want to blow all of them up (Just kidding, Department of Homeland Security! Good ol' freedom of speech...). Seriously though, I'm sure every other driver can agree with me when I say I've lost countless hours of my life waiting at railroad crossings for freight trains, Amtraks and even Metrolinks to pass by. The idea that Union Pacific would add at least one mile worth of container cars to a freight train pisses me off. It may be convenient in terms of obviously moving as many goods as possible in one trip around the country, but trains are one of the reasons why people are late to work in the morning or get home late at night, and why road rage exists. For me, at least.

A REAL train: Not cool.

So the gist of this entry is that diesel-powered land vehicles suck ass. That, and people can like the dumbest things when they're kids. Having to deal with trucks, buses and trains is just something that all drivers have to deal with however...unless, of course, you live in New York City (which I'm glad I don't—at the current moment, at least). 'Cause then you'll just have hundreds of taxis (and buses, darn it) to piss you off on the road. And for those of you angry at me for criticizing The Goonies at the start of this entry, buck up. I shouldn't have included The Phantom Menace with it in the same paragraph, though...seeing as how I'm sure even young kids (maybe not little toddlers) thought the idea of Jar Jar Binks was repulsive. Carry on.

Sloth: As cool as THE GOONIES is flawed.

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