Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Weaving in Seattle: DON’T

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Yesterday I was hearsalin’ down Westlake Ave to Fremont, like I do. Left lane, going 40 in a 35. (Call the cops!)

A fat man in a large pickup truck could not handle my crawling pace and made a big show of passing me. As he pulled his fat ass into my lane, he stuck his fat finger out his window and pointed at it, indicating that my offensively slow hearse should not be there.

He’s going to roll coal, I thought. He’s gonna do it. Right here in Seattle. Pack up your shit, everyone. It’s over.

That’s MY stereotype, I guess. He didn’t do that. #NotAllFatMenInTrucksRollCoal

Moments later (10 seconds max), we found ourselves at the Westlake/Dexter/Nickerson/4th Ave N/Fremont Bridge interchange (because city make teh streets gud).

As anyone could predict, passing me saved him no time. Fatass sat fuming at the Nickerson light while I smoothly veered toward the bridge onramp. I gave him a friendly wave good-bye as I did so.

Moral of the story: On surface roads, especially here, there’s no benefit to weaving because you’re going to hit a 5-way stop, turn, water, congestion, etc before you can pick up enough speed to reach your destination noticeably sooner.

Can We Keep Doing Halloween, Please?

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that Halloween is my Christmas, so I took Friday off and gave myself a long weekend of festivities. Working on Thursday barely counted, since Halloween is a big deal there and costumes are almost a requirement. Finally, some mandatory fun that’s actually fun.

After work, I drove a party to the KUBE 93 Haunted House. (If you go to the site, watch the video. It’s pretty well done!)

While my customers went through the house, I hung out with the man in charge (who happens to play the creepy clown in the video in the link above). He was super nice and took me backstage to see how things worked and meet some of the actors and actresses.

After that, we went to a bar in Georgetown and I yikkity yakked with people outside. (Seriously, I’m not going to drink on the job!) I also ran into one of the first people I drove when I brought the hearse back to Seattle. Man, does time fly!

Labor Day Fun

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

With PAX, Bumbershoot, and UW’s opening game going on, Labor Day weekend is already a crazy time in Seattle. Seeing the throngs of people on the streets near these events, you’d think the rest of the town would be subtly doing their own thing.

Nope! My Friday night consisted of driving a bachelor party (yes, boys are allowed) around downtown. Fortunately for them, I didn’t have my camera, so their illustrious activities can remain a mystery.

Saturday started off with a (mostly) girls’ night out.

The night ended with an epic wedding in Sammamish and the first-ever signing of a marriage license in the Dream Hearse!

(Thanks to the Universal Life Church, I could have married them in there too.)

Congratulations, Kelcey and Christina!

Labor Day Not-So-Fun

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I wanted to write this in a separate post because 99 percent of Labor Day weekend was awesome. I loved being a part of some Seattleites’ special events and helping make their celebrations memorable.

BUT… now I need to address the one percent that is decidedly not awesome.

Rarely do I leave the garage without some impromptu interaction taking place, and that’s fine. Hearses are weird, and the Dream Hearse is really weird. So if I’m out and about, I expect some questions, picture-taking, and gaping-maw gawking. You can’t run around screaming, “Look at me!” and then expect everyone to leave you alone when you want them to (ahem, Kim Karda$hian).

That said, I don’t particularly love when people interrupt me while I’m helping customers, but I understand this is a common problem with any public-facing job. As a former sales associate, bank teller, ice cream scooper, and yes, even sandwich artist, I know interruptions are going to happen and patience is always the best policy.

However, some rubbernecking activities are just plain wrong and unsafe. If I’m going 50 mph on I-90 in the middle of the night, don’t sidle up next to me with a camera pressed against your passenger side window and a flash going off. And when you realize the picture is going to be blurry and unrecognizable (because we’re on the fucking highway at nighttime), don’t hang back and get cozy in my blind spot, shining your headlights in my rear view mirror for five miles. When I slow down further to pull over and get away from your nonsense, don’t keep pace with me, causing everyone behind you to slam on their brakes even though they have a reasonable expectation to go the speed limit in the middle lane!

Yeah, it’s not the end of the world, but I don’t want to be the indirect cause of an accident because someone can’t handle his own vehicle in the presence of an unconventional one. There’s a phone number and a website on the back of the hearse. You can find out more when you’re not in the middle of conducting a two-ton killing machine.

In our day of tiny attention spans, I realize it’s unlikely that the person who sparked this post is going to read this, or even remember that they saw a hearse last night. But if you do, know that you’re also the impetus for the new East Side tag. Congratulations on being another bridge-and-tunnel stereotype.

Jerk Night at the Apollo

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Despite the new law that allows the SPD to draw blood for DUI offenses, the Friday-night stupidity was in full swing on I-5. Perhaps not everyone was drunk, but the situation was bad enough to warrant this rant post.

I spent my entire evening driving to and from the airport, transporting out-of-town guests for a convention. I will write more about them in another post, since a quick skim would reveal a bunch of names under the heading “Jerk Night at the Apollo,” which is rather misleading because everyone I drove was extremely nice.

On my first trip, drivers were swerving at 60+ MPH speeds to avoid a traffic cone in the middle of a lane. This was a small green cone, not a the standard bright orange cone used in actual road construction activities. It probably fell off of a building or lawn care contractor’s truck because someone wasn’t talented enough at the Tetris game of packing tools into a truck bed. No matter where it came from, drivers clearly weren’t thinking of the several hundred pounds of impact they could endure from side-swiping the car next to them.

On my way back into town, I was nearly hit with a hubcap that came flying off of a beat-up old Sedan. I guess car maintenance is a thing of the past. I fear for the many Smart / hybrid / tiny fiberglass cars that would have been easily taken out by one of those things.

So some people lack judgment and are careless. Others are just plain shitheads. While I was slowly making my way through the parking lot known as “Arrivals,” a passenger in another car gave me the finger because I wouldn’t let his car in front of mine. If you have road rage as a passenger, I hope it’s because your driver license has already been revoked.

Their car was going to get to the terminal just fine (if there had been a lane-split, the finger would have been justified). The only difference is that it would be one car-width further away from the curb than the drivers who anticipated their desire to be close to the curb earlier and safely moved into the correct lane.

I’m not mentioning any of this because I’m surprised. It’s just more evidence that they should make the driving test harder, the fines for littering higher, and the desire to keep good company stronger.

(Part of) The Year in Review (Sort of)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Halloween has been the grand finale in the world Barbie in the past. With summer festivals long gone and spooky shindigs screeching to a halt, things usually die down as people start focusing on the holidays and making air travel plans. This year, folks continued making hearse travel plans as well, meaning I got to meet more fun people with the living, fun-loving guts to cruise around town in my one-of-a-kind hearse.

A picture in the Barbie Dream Hearse is worth at least a thousand words, and I don’t feel like typing that much, so I’m going to share some snapshots from the last few months and call it a night.

I turned on iPhone’s special “glowing eyes” camera feature for this birthday party shot near the Fremont Troll:

Just a random guy and his dolly we ran into (figuratively) while making a pit stop:

Just married:

Fifty years old and not giving a f*ck what her friends make her wear:

Barbie party girls:

Funeral directors preparing to get crazy:

Oh hi:

Come on, Barbie, let’s go party:

I happily ended the year with some nice folks and a short news segment, and I’m looking forward to another year of even more good times!

Hearst World Problems

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Terrible injustices are taking place:

1. I found myself at the front of a four-car pile-up while driving my body shop’s loaner car. (I am not at fault.) Some say I was lucky not to have been driving the BDH when it happened. How is it lucky to be stuck in Everett for two hours while the police fill out paperwork?

2. I recently learned that the Russians sometimes transport their dead in buses. How do they decide who gets to sit up front?

3. I went to the Seattle Auto Show and there were no Cadillac Ciels for me to sit in. How have they not started building these damn cars?

4. It’s hearse, not hearst. How did you get through this post without calling, texting, and/or visiting me personally to tell me what a horrible mistake I made?

Adventures in Everett and Beyond

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

First, happy birthday to Holly, who is 21!

Second, even happier birthday because you’re going to the casino like a good girl!

Before the party, I went to Costco to gas up, and I encountered some of the employees talking about the car. They were gesturing and saying “BARBIE DREAM HEARSE” really loud within earshot, so I walked over and said they can just ask me if they have a question about the car. I never know if people are talking that way because they want my attention and don’t know how to get it, or if that’s just how they talk. Anyway, one thought it was a hearse, the other thought it was a limo. I thought they sounded a lot like Jessica and Ashlee Simpson in the Icebreakers Liquid Ice Commercial. I cleared up the confusion (or perhaps caused more) by stating that it was a limo-hearse, and walked in to buy 30 gallons of everything.

Then I went to Brown Bear and gave the attendant a tour. Since we were talking a whole bunch before my wash, we both got distracted. He forgot to tell me to put down my antenna… and I forgot to put down my antenna. Now I have another thing to add to my laundry list of things to do. I wouldn’t mind just removing it. The only good station on AM/FM radio is NPR, and I can stream that.

After I drove Holly and her friends, I stopped into Walmart for the novelty of it. The cashier said she saw me pull up and complimented the hearse, saying she’d like to buy one herself someday. I gave her the advice I give everyone (research research research!) while she tried to find the proper pricing code for my bundle of kale. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t ring up kale very often. In fact, I’m surprised Walmart had it in the first place.

Then I passed back over the Bridge of Doom in Marysville. Although I usually go a steady 50 mph for fuel efficiency, one whiff of that nasty sludge gets Barbie up to 75 in no time. There were actually workers on the bridge at 10pm inhaling that odor. As long as I see people doing this, I will never, ever complain about my job. Eek!

Shake, Rattle, and Roll!

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The door rattle is gone! Thanks to the ever-helpful, always friendly staff at L-M Body Shop, I am rollin’ without rattlin’. Carl, their resident Cadillac guru, had the manly task of driving the BDH through Kirkland and listening for the rattle. So if you were on the 405 yesterday and saw a long-haired guy taking my Barbie car for a spin, yes, that happened on purpose.

The guys had secured all the loose wires and checked the electronics in the door console last time, so finding the noise had to be difficult. It turns out a small piece on the outside of the door was loose, just below the grip (not the door handle, although I find it funny when people mistake it for one). All it took was some sticky material called Butle, which I’m sure I’m spelling wrong.

Rather than gunning it all the way back to Seattle where I belong, I stopped over in Bellevue to meet with my Junior League committee, Life Skills for Women. Our goal is to help women do more things that are awesome and fewer things that suck. (Awesome things include writing a resume, creating a budget, cooking healthy meals, and the like.) I’m flattered that people think I can do that, and I’m looking forward to getting started. We all have something inside us that makes us the fantastic individuals that we are, it’s just a matter of finding and harnessing it.

Apparently, taking the pristine road less traveled was good for business, too. I came home to a few calls and emails from people who had seen the car and wanted to know more. How sweet! Coming up this week, I have a party, and then I’ll be in the Greenwood Seafair Parade and the Silverdale Whaling Days Parade. Let’s do this!

There’s Snow Reason I Should Be Driving Today

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

It was an Everett day for me and Barbie, although extremely short-lived. The weather in Seattle was nice enough, but as I rambled up I-5 at the first crack early, I found myself caught in a vortex of swirling white stuff. I had to skip my flying lesson (LGT my personal site; pardon the poor image quality) and go straight to work where the snow was already sticking.

It was continuing to pile up as I hastily met with everyone I needed to see and got the hell out of dodge. The snow was pretty and all, but my main concern was hydroplaning, which I managed to avoid. Going 40 mph for long stretches helped:

I lucked out, dealing with only slight mid-morning traffic. By the time I left Lynnwood, it was no longer snowing. However, I still had chunks of it falling off my car and my windshield wipers going at full speed to combat the slush flying up from the hood. As I returned to Seattle, I couldn’t help but notice how UNREASONABLY GORGEOUS it was:

Nonetheless, Barbie had a rough a day and was still trimmed with snow, so I bought her a drink and took her home: