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Why am I driving this sexy little roadster?

My consolation prize for being the victim of a hit and run

My consolation prize for being the victim of a hit and run

Here’s why I’m driving this sexy little roadster…

My car is in the body shop getting repaired after a hit and run. The car rental company took pity on me and gave me this car to drive for the 2 weeks it’ll take to repair my car. Considering I have to pay my deductible to get my car fixed and get the rental, it didn’t come cheap. I’ll have to add that to my running total of expenses due to road hazards. Still, enjoying this car does admittedly help take the sting out of what happened. It’s also making me rethink the kind of car I’ll buy next!

So here’s what went down… A couple of weeks ago, I was driving on PCH (our scenic coastal route Pacific Coast Highway – for those not in the know). I was returning home after a fun day at the beach and lunch in Malibu. Of course, I was stuck in gridlock traffic, the bane of my existence. At least it was a beautiful summer day and I could stare out at the ocean while not moving on PCH.

Then, all of a sudden, a jolt to my car knocked me out of my zen state. I had no idea what the hell happened? I looked in my rear view mirror and didn’t see anything. Then, in the flash of a second, 4 motorcycles splitting lanes on my right side went zooming by. One of the sons of a bitch hit my car and they all kept going not even looking back! There’s no way they didn’t know what just happened. I believe it was the first motorcycle in the pack that hit me as it was the largest and widest motorcycle. He had the first spot in the pecking order of motorcycle packs. This Big Kahuna is no doubt compensating for a smaller part of his anatomy.

I still am in disbelief. They took off so fast, I couldn’t get the license plate of any of the motorcycles. It’s as though the first motorcycle hit me and the ones behind covered him so I wouldn’t be able to see his license plate, not that it will help apprehend someone — keep reading below and you’ll see why). Because I was in complete gridlock so there was no way I would ever be able to catch up to him either. Great scenario for him. Not so much for me.

Later when I got home I took a look at my car. There were deep scratch marks running pretty much across the back side and mid side including the rear tire of my car. Estimated repairs — $2,600.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been the victim of a hit and run. It has happened sadly plenty. Once, I was hit from the rear and the guy sped off. I took off chasing him and got his license plate. He saw me chasing him in his rear view mirror. I’ll never forget those beady eyes staring back at me, seemingly nervous that I would catch him. I figured it was probably best to let him go as I certainly wouldn’t want to become the victim of a more serious crime. A wise move. As it turned out, when the police traced the license plate, not only was the registration on the car expired, but it was also reported stolen. I don’t know if the guy was ever caught. I was out the cost of my deductible.

Another time, there was a guy ahead of me driving a pick up truck on the freeway. The back bed was filled with stuff; seemed he was moving. Then, all of a sudden glass from presumably a coffee table flew off the car and crashed on the freeway in front of a Lexus in the lane to my left. I’m sure he got it worse than I did, but the glass chards flew on my car, cracking my windshield and chipping paint. Once again, I chased the car so I could get the license plate. I reported it to my insurance company only for them to tell me that he denies being there and there’s nothing they can do about it. Out once again the cost of my deductible.

Frustrating to say the least.

Living in Los Angeles, most of us are forced to drive everywhere. There’s just no good alternative public transportation for most geographic areas around the city. We put our lives in peril day in and day out to get where we need to go. Poor City planning has created a situation that is becoming increasingly unmanageable. People dodge in and out of traffic because they’re tired of the gridlock. Motorcycles split lanes. Cyclists ignore the rules of the road entirely. When you stress people to the hilt, they take on behaviors that they might not ordinarily exhibit. Of course, when you stress people who are already inclined to be jerks, look out! Who knows what they’ll resort to when stress is added to their already on edge personalities.

I have a lot more to say about motorcycles and splitting lanes as well as cyclists completely ignoring the rules of the road. I’ll leave that for another post though.

Drive safely out there!


Karma Shwarma!

Nail in the coffinI’d really like to believe in Karma. There can be peace of mind in believing that people who deliberately do the wrong thing will have it coming to them. Of course, I realize that statement is counter to the principle of karma, but oh well. Thus is the life of someone who has had this principle tested all too often.

Here’s an example of that. I NEVER spit gum out into the street. Yet, I frequently seem to step in it. I’ll be getting out of my car, put my foot down and low and behold, the rubber has not only met the road, but now the bottom of my incredible find of (albeit last season’s) Jimmy Choo’s.

Nail This!

Nail This!

I do a lot of walking too for exercise. As I’m strolling along the city streets, I frequently see nails along the side of the road or in the intersection as I’m crossing. I pick up these nails and throw them into the bushes to spare a future driver from suffering the fate of a flat tire. This is a regular occurrence. In fact, there are few times when I’m walking that I don’t see nails in the road. Not that I’m keeping track, but I figure I really should be scoring some major karma points.

Well, on a recent Monday morning, I got into my car to head to work only to discover that one of my tires was very low for the 2nd time in a week. I took the car to my mechanic and sure enough there was a screw stuck in it. Mercifully, my mechanic was able to patch the tire and I didn’t need to buy a new one. As he was pointing out where the nail was, I saw something shiny from the other tire catching the light. I had yet another nail in another tire! Thankfully, that one could be patched too.

Maybe that’s ultimately how karma works. It only cost me $30 to repair the tires and of course I missed 2 hours of work. All in all, not bad!

Driving Quotes

I will share more quotes, but for now, here’s a great driving related quote for you…

“Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested.”

Hunter S. Thompson

Don’t drink and drive and of course don’t speed. 🙂



Ill Advised Vanity Plates

S'Marci's - Inspired by the Gershwin Song

S’Marci’s – Inspired by the Gershwin Song

As you see, I have certainly fallen into that trap of personalized license plates. I wanted vanity plates back in the day when I was driving a red Toyota Celica. It was my first NEW car and the first car I ever paid for completely on my own.

I loved that car, but I soon got tired of complete strangers calling me by my name or for those in the know, serenading me with the George Gershwin song S’Wonderful.

As ill advised as my personalized license plates were, I’ve seen far worse. I’ve only recently started snapping photos. I’m sure I’ll capture plenty more in time and I’ll be sure to post them. In the meantime, perhaps you can tell me what people are thinking with these…

Greek hero or social disease?

Greek hero or social disease?







This guy is advertising for dates. Something tells me it's not working.

This guy is advertising for dates. Something tells me it’s not working.









Can you enlighten me with what he's trying to say?

Can you enlighten me with what he’s trying to say?









Okay, maybe this works for her?

Okay, maybe this works for her?








A good reminder

A good reminder



STEELing Thunder

I often complain about road construction and the impact it has on my ability to get where I need to go on a timely basis. Well, the latest road construction project in my neighborhood has just gotten personal! It’s taking place right outside my window and it’s turning my former sanctuary into a stress zone. It’s also preventing me from getting a decent night’s sleep.

Steel Plates - an all too common sight in Los Angeles

Steel Plates – an all too common sight in Los Angeles

How many of you have driven down a road only to meet up with those annoying steel plates on the ground? You know they’re destroying your tires, nevermind agitating your innards as you drive over them. There’s no avoiding them though.

The DWP is working on an “infrastructure improvement project” in my neighborhood, a very common occurrence in recent years thanks to the endless development. Let’s just say, from the start of this particular project it has been anything but a joy. On their first day, they started a fire underground which knocked the power out in the area for about 10 hours. The construction project has worked its way down the road to now just outside my window.

The Claw in Action

The Claw in Action

Every time a car drives over the steel plates, I hear a thundering sound as though a train is going by.

Feels like I’m living in New York City. I dub this the F Line. What could F possibly stand for? Let me count the ways…

Your agitated blogger, Marci

Camry is the New Prius and Other Random Things Encountered Recently on the Road

For weeks now it seems as though every time I get stuck behind a car, it’s a Camry, a light color Camry I might add. Camry seems to have taken the top spot for annoyingly slow drivers, pushing the Prius down to 2nd place. Double the frustration if it’s an old model Camry. I now catch myself muttering (not so under my breath) the word “C…A…M…R…Y” every time this happens. Picture Seinfeld saying “NEWMAN.”

The Road – A Great Equalizer



Driving on the roads in Los Angeles (as I’ve said before) is a great equalizer. It’s one of the few places in life where money or socioeconomic status does not dictate how far you get ahead. It might dictate how comfortable you are sitting in traffic, but that’s as good as it gets. This Lamborghini beauty was weaving in and out of traffic on the 405 trying to get ahead. In the end, he ended up considerably behind me on the freeway. What’s perhaps most notable is that this was one of those few instances where I was content to stay in one lane. My patience seemed to pay off. In the interest of full disclosure, I was patient (at least in part) because I was ahead of the Lamborghini.

Sanford & Son on Wheels Thank you Ian H. for submitting this photo!

Sanford & Son on Wheels
Thank you Ian H. for submitting photo!



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A Health Dept. Vehicle?

A Health Dept. Vehicle?


If you can’t read the sign in the window, it says:

Persons having currently active diarrhea or who have had active diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water.

I wouldn’t particularly like seeing this sign at a public swimming area, though I understand why it gets posted. BUT… posted in a car? What’s going on in that back cab?


Shaming the Lady in the Mercedes

Mercedes LadyThis lady was something else. We were in stop and go traffic on the 405 (where else would I be?) and every time she’d slow to a near stop, she would flash her brights and honk as if the car in front of her could just magically move and make the traffic go away. (That would be my superpower of choice.) I was a passenger in a car when this was happening. I turned back to see who was honking, made eye contact with this woman and she was completely expressionless. I was not. I wish I could refer her to the picture of the Lamborghini. Honey, if he can’t get ahead on the road, surely you can’t either!

Graffiti Van

Graffiti Van



Don’t you wonder what’s going on inside the mind of the owner or at least inside this van?








Have a happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Be careful — this holiday rivals New Year’s Eve for drinking and driving.


Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning!



Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to stay home the past 3 days, unable to drive or leave home for that matter. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went 3 days without driving somewhere, even if just to the market down the road. Even when I take a vacation, I’m often driving for some of the time or at minimum someone transports me so I never fully escape being in a car. Three days may not sound like a lot to you, but for me, it’s an eternity when you “live” in your car like I do. So, what happened? Did I go through withdrawal? Was I longing to get behind the steering wheel and head anywhere? Would I be more relaxed and passive in the car come Monday when it was time to resume my routine?

In truth, I’ve been dreading today — Monday. It’s the Monday after we go on daylight savings time. We spring forward, but let me tell you, I don’t really spring when the alarm clock sounds. You know that song, “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” where the guy bemoans the military Bugler’s morning wake up song “Reveille?” There’s a verse in the song that goes:

One day I’m going to strangle the Bugler.
One day they are going to find him dead.
I’ll amputate his reveille
And step upon it heavily
And spend the rest of my life in bed

Irving Berlin and I share that in common. That’s how I feel when my alarm sounds. If I kept an anvil next to my night stand, I’d have to create a line item in my budget for alarm clocks. It’s really that bad. I’m not a morning person despite living a morning person’s schedule, never have been, never will be. So, for me, while I love that it’s not dark when I go home from work after we go on daylight savings time, I abhor waking up an hour earlier! It takes me weeks to adjust. Truly. If not for coffee, I’d be doomed. And it really doesn’t matter if I go to bed early. It’s just the morning. I don’t like sunrises unless I’ve been up all night for the right reasons :=). I’m more of a sunset person. Anyway, I think I’ve made the point.

So, back to Monday. I got in the car to head to work and it seemed at first as though traffic was fairly light. I was pleased. I suspected people were like me, having a hard time adjusting to that loss of an hour. But it seems that was short lived; we all fell into our usual patterns. 1.) A car in front of me was creeping along sloooowly, approaching a busy intersection with a 5 minute light. I hate 5 minute lights. If the light turns red, you have to wait a full 5 minutes until the next green signal. I managed to get past him so I wouldn’t get stuck. I was pleased. He was left behind of course. 2.) Then, a car turning right onto the street I’m driving down cut right in front of me, causing me to brake. Not so pleased. Then, strike three – you’re out! A white car (an Altima not a Prius) just sat at another signal despite the light turning green. He was fiddling with his phone. Normally I would give a gentle tap of the horn to wake him up, but I sounded the horn fully, not excessively. The Bugler would have approved. I saw him jump and look up. He looked back at me annoyed in the rear view mirror and then accelerated. Finally, I made it to the freeway. I did get stuck for a bit behind a cluster of cars on the freeway. It wasn’t a cluster fu** by my driving term definition. There was no patrol car to be found. It took a bit of maneuvering to get out of the cluster so I could go the full speed limit. I was once again pleased. In the end it wasn’t a particularly bad commute, but it wasn’t good either.

So, in answer to the above questions – I’m afraid the answer is a resounding NO on all counts. On my three day hiatus, I didn’t go through driving withdrawal. I wasn’t longing to go somewhere or anywhere. And, clearly I was not more relaxed and passive as a result of the time off the road. It was a nice thought though. On reflection, it was just another day in the life of a commuter driving in Los Angeles.

Hope your Daylight Savings Monday goes well.


Another Gross Generalization

OMG! I can’t believe I forgot to mention this one…

Minivans – any minivan fits into this gross generalization. They’re easily distracted and lousy drivers. Maybe to their credit that’s why they drive so slow. Or maybe it’s the screaming children in the back. Either way, they’re nothing more than a big blind spot slowing you down. The one minivan consolation is that they go so slow I can almost always cut in front of one if I need to change into a lane where this is one. They leave painfully large gaps between them and the car in front of them. Seeing a “baby on board” sticker increases the above issues exponentially. Steer clear!

I’ll back soon with a new topic. Keep checking back.


Gross Generalizations about Drivers of CERTAIN cars

I’m bound to piss off someone with this this post, but so be it. I spend a lot of time in my car and on the road and if I didn’t see a pattern in behaviors, I would have little to blog about. So, that said, here are my gross generalizations about drivers of certain cars. I’m sorry if I offend you.

Porsche (excluding most Panameras) – Long ago, this was truly the cool car to drive. Think Risky Business. Then, it became the middle aged man’s mid-life crisis car.  But now it’s the older man’s car, that is the older man who thinks he’s still middle aged. This is so prevalent it seems it’s become a cliché. Perhaps it’s one’s last bastion of virility? Maybe you should trade it in for a Tesla (soon to be the next cliché.)

Rolls Royce – No matter which model you drive and how you justify owning one, this is simply an ostentatious car. Anyone who drives it is wearing his wealth and not only knows it, but thrives on showing off how rich he or she is, but mostly he.

Hummer – I’ve written a lot about my dislike of this vehicle because I believe it really should have no place in an urban metropolis. Men who drive this car (I have yet to see a woman behind the steering wheel of one) must feel the need to prove their power. Perhaps he’s compensating for a smaller part of his anatomy. Arnold (our former Governator) – that’s what happens when you take steroids.

Cadillac Escalade (and other gargantuan SUVs such as the Suburban, Yukon, Tahoe, Expedition) – While the Escalade seems to stand out from the pack of other monstrous SUVs, they all fit into this description. I have yet to encounter one of these where the driver wasn’t dangerously aggressive. Men and women drive these monsters and they drive it as though they’re in a little Fiat zipping in and out of lanes! I also have yet to see an Escalade in any color other than black. (Please refer to my post on the color of your car and what it means about you.)

Dodge Charger – Same as above. I have never encountered one of these cars going with the flow of traffic. The drivers always seems to be dangerously aggressive. It doesn’t matter the color of the car. They are all aggressive drivers!

Light colored Priuses and PT Cruisers – I’m sorry to pick on Priuses all of the time, but there are now so many on the road that when I’m approaching one (there’s never one that passes me), invariably my guard goes up because I know I’m going to have to navigate around it. Simply put, these drivers are responsible for slowing down the overall flow of traffic! I get that you want to maximize your MPG, but for the sake of being a team player on the road, get one or two less MPG and move your ass! Now the PT Cruiser has the same problem, but I don’t fault them in the same way. These cars just don’t GO fast. I’ve had one as a rental before and it was terrifying how little get up and go it had.

BMWs – Alright, so I hear again and again that BMW drivers are rude, always cutting people off, thinking they’re somehow better than others. I do agree, but as with all generalizations, there are always exceptions. 🙂



My “Red” Cross to Bear!


The 405 and 101 Freeways - I'd pray but what's the point?

The 405 and 101 Freeways – I’d pray but what’s the point?

This image, courtesy of Sigalert, is the bane of my existence, my red cross to bear! I spend an inordinate amount of time on this stretch of freeway. If only divine intervention could save us all from this sin of the modern world — road congestion!

I’ve written a lot about how I have to plan activities around traffic patterns in Los Angeles. Plans often get waylayed because of traffic snafus in this city. Heck, it can even become a tool to seek revenge if you’re in a position of power — aka Governor Chris Christy’s Bridgegate Scandal! I also remember one of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees a couple of years ago (I forget who though) almost missed the event because he was stuck in traffic in Los Angeles. No one is immune and it often feels as though we’re all just pawns in this urban game of life.

I’ve certainly had my share of plans that went down the tubes because of getting caught in traffic. It’s conceivable that some day not being able to get where we need to go might become a matter of life and death. I suppose at that point you would call 911 and get a police escort or ambulance to get through the gridlock. Today, I had a situation that fortunately was far from life and death, but it was pretty darned unpleasant anyway.

The day started off great. I was pretty psyched this Monday morning, heading into work a few minutes early (New Year’s Resolution). I got plenty of sleep last night so I’d be ready to take on a busy work week. I glided along in lighter than normal traffic for a Monday morning on my so called “reverse” commute. I attributed my light traffic to masses of people hung over from drinking too much and eating too much crap on Super Bowl Sunday. Thankfully, I wasn’t one of them.

I arrived at work a few minutes early and was settling into what promised to be a productive day. Then, about an hour into the day, my stomach would put the kibosh on my productivity. No, I didn’t indulge in any unhealthy Super Bowl foods or alcohol as I was already feeling a little off yesterday. It seems I had some sort of bug. But, what was I to do? There it was 8:30 a.m. and I was trapped — miserable, sick and trapped. It seems the Super Bowl indulgers who travel South down the 405 were running late and would leave the 405 clogged for hours to come. I felt like the entire team of Seattle Seahawks put together on the 1 yard line with no ability to get to the end zone. Torturous.

It would have taken me 2 hours to get back home and let’s just say there was no way I would have made it without severe consequences! I was forced to stick it out at work. I got through my day somehow and finally made it home later that afternoon. Thanks to my “reverse” commute, it only took me 50 minutes to get home during the off peak time.

This incident will force to me in the future to re-think when I should just stay home. If I’m not feeling well when I wake up, it might not be worth taking a chance to see if I get better. I wouldn’t want to get stuck again because of traffic in Los Angeles.

I think my next post will be 10 Costs of Traffic Congestion!!

Stay tuned!