What’s the matter with people

Today I remembered why I hate driving.

Incident 1:

Coming up to a set of lights just before a 30 zone. I’m in the outside lane, doing about 40. Car on inside wobbles part-way into the outside lane, sees me and wobbles back. I carry on. I’m about a foot from him (or her) and they start coming again. No indicators, nothing. Fortunately I’m able to use a right-turn lane to go round him. We then stop at the lights.

Horn beeping at me. I look in the mirror and shake my head. Then the abuse and shouting starts.

Let’s get this straight: I managed to avoid an accident, I manage to stop this person spreading me and my son all over the road, and somehow it’s my fault.

I indicated right (as in look, this is what indicators look like) and waved at the indicators. More beeping and abuse.

The lights change and we move off.

For some reason this is still winding me up at 1 o’clock in the morning and I bet the idiot concerned is sleeping soundly. There ain’t no justice.

Incidents 2, 3 and 4

All at roundabouts, people pulling out at me. I’m not speeding, I’m obeying the rules about signalling properly. I just don’t get it. If you’re going to take a risk because the traffic’s heavy you should get out of the oncoming person’s way, not make them have to brake to miss you.

Incident 5

I’m coasting to a stop at the lights and someone swaps lanes when I’m maybe six inches from them. Fortunatly they’re moving and can get away from me before I hit them. I just wave hello, completely speechless.

All this for the two or three seconds you save at 2 o’clock on a Saturday. Not even in a busy part of town. Why risk your neck for this? I don’t get it, not at all. All of these incidents happened in the same hour or so.

Sad thing is, this happens to me all the time when I drive to work. No wonder I love going there so much. I wish people would chill and calm down a little, just think through how little life we all have left, before they start taking dumb risks in cars made of kitchen foil.

Family stuff

Took Jon to the kid’s club at Awesome Walls. He manged to get his first award. We’re going there tomorrow (today, actually) so we can all climb. I then went and got him a new controller for is PS/1, because the old one’s broken. This was a reward for getting something called a silver book award at school for having a good attitude.

Programming Projects & books

Just finishing reading Advanced PHP Programming by George Schlossnagle (0-672-32561-6). Very good book, even if you’re not interested in PHP he has a lot to say about cookies, caches, security, reverse proxies, using design patterns (as in getting some value from the academic view), as well as a host of other useful stuff. PHP differs from Java in that it doesn’t use threads: the persistent thing is in fact the interpreter. This makes it hard to crash but perhaps slower because it’s difficult to share things across sessions. Not an issue for my project but worth remembering.

I also really like the __get() and __put() object methods, where you can add arbitrary fields to objects that you can access using standard syntax rather than a method call. I think this is going to be a very useful facility for my database abstraction layer.

Motivational books

If you’re struggling with motivating people or yourself I think you should read Whale Done by Ken Blanchard (I think of One Minute Manager fame). Essentially:

  1. Catch people doing things right and sincerely thank them for it.
  2. If they are doing things wrong, take the blame and then redirect their energy where you want it to go.
  3. Praise improvement, however small.
  4. Don’t forget to catch yourself doing things right.

It revolves around positive feedback. The metaphor is based on how they train the killer whales at the Sea Life Center in Florida. You can’t use coercion on an animal that is a top predator and weighs 1000 pounds. You have to become its friend and find out what it wants as a reward. People are even harder than this and yet we all persist in saying GOTcha.

I think this is why I’ve been so fed up recently. I have no idea what the value is of anything I do, and I get no feedback; either positive or negative. How can I improve or fix things without a benchmark? Also being told that your work is good when you know you are demotivated and underperforming calls your integrity into question and adds to the stress. Brains are weird.

Ah well, just finished some camomile tea.