Elections over, go home

When I lived in the rural area where I grew up, there were quite a few signs that would crop up around election days. Any person who had a candidate they supported would put up a sign in their yard. Large signs, small ones, yards were full of them.

But they were only in people’s yards. Once you got into town, there might be a sign in a business’ window, but they were kept to property that was owned by someone.

When I moved to Northern Virginia, it was in September. Suddenly, not long after, I started spotting these small election signs in the median. I was confused, I knew from different dealings back home that signs weren’t allowed on public/state property. I assumed the rules were different up here, and I was not happy about it. Before the end of October, the median was littered with signs. And it wasn’t like home, where one sign for each candidate they supported was in place in one area. Every five feet was a sign for the same person.

Did they think I couldn’t see the first one? Were they afraid they would get taken down? Then, a day later, the opposing candidate would come along and put signs on either side of the existing ones, tripling the ugliness. Then another volunteer would drive by and the signs would double again.

There is no other way to describe this practice: it is an eyesore. It is wasteful. It is in short, one of the most disgusting displays of political idiocy that I have ever seen. The money and manpower spent on those signs could do so much good, and instead it’s rusting and fading on a median in Tyson’s Corner.

A recent news report cleared up one issue for me: these signs ARE illegal. When you vote for a candidate who puts up a sign in a median or right-of-way you are voting for a criminal. The fact that everybody does it changes nothing for me. The fact that they promise to take down the signs after the election doesn’t change it, especially considering that a handful of signs always remain for months. They become even more litter on our roadsides.

VDOT says that they can’t enforce the restrictions on this kind of signage. They don’t have the manpower or the money to deal with it. So I say if people don’t like the signs they need to make a point: they need to stop voting for people just because they saw their name at an intersection.

People wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work. I wonder, if a candidate made a big stink about not putting up those kinds of signs, made a platform out of not creating litter and waste, would they get elected? I would probably vote for them.

I also wonder, if regular citizens who are tired of this went through and started pulling up the signs themselves, would they get into trouble? If we started a group that regularly pulled up signs whenever they found them, would that be considered a help or a hindrance? If you said that the candidates could come pick up their signs, would it still be considered theft? If you took the signs back to their headquarters with a note that said, “You seem to have placed these signs illegally. I’ve taken the liberty of clearing up for you, please follow all rules and statutes for signs in the future” would they get the hint, or cry first amendment?

There’s an election every year in Virginia. I’ve lived here through three Novembers, and I’m already sick and tired of this issue. But what in the world can be done about it?

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NaNo!

It’s November again, so my posting will be spares. I know I just started this blog, but I’ve now embarked on my yearly insane quest to write the next great American novel. Or at least write a lot.

National Novel Writing Month is almost 10 years old, so you may have heard of it before. The basic gist of it is that starting November 1st, you make a promise to write 50,000 words in 30 days, before midnight on November 30th.

This will be my fifth year participating, and I’ve “won” twice. So I just need to keep going at a steady pace and I’ll make it again. So far I’m still on track, and I’ve learned that the first few days of the month can really set the ton for the rest of it.

I’m actually stretching myself only slightly more thin, because I have a trip coming up so five days worth of writing are knocked out. I want to be done before the 25th because I don’t want to write while I’m on vacation. So 2,000 words a day, here I come!

It’s not too late to sign up, plenty of people succeed even when they start late. So go, get started, get writing!

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Safe driving

So, living in Northern Virginia one of the first things that you have to cope with is driving and traffic. The funny thing is, I used to spend about the same amount of time in my car back home. The difference is back then, I was driving across the county, going about 20 miles in 20-30 minutes (depending on if I felt like speeding).

Here, you spend 20-30 minutes to go about five miles. If the traffic is light.

Since I’m spending so much more time in my car, I’ve also greatly increased the amount of time I spend on my cell phone in my car. You can say what you want about how you should “pull over to talk” or not answer the phone, etc. The fact is, it’s just not feasible. If you’re stuck in traffic because of an accident, you need to call work to tell them you’ll be late. If you’re lost, you need to call and get somebody to help you figure out where you are. At least until you can afford a GPS system. There are reasons that you need to talk while you drive.

And to be honest, I’ve never bought the idea that the phones were the problem. Bad driving is the problem, the phones are the catalyst that makes the bad driving more apparent and problematic.

All that out of the way, I don’t actually LIKE driving and talking. I have problems hearing my cell phone, and spend half the conversation going “WHAT? SPEAK UP!” It’s just not comfortable, it’s not fun. Years ago, when I used to commute between NoVA and my hometown a lot, I had a headset. It was handy, but it died on me, and I haven’t quite found the money to get a new one.

Which is why I was so happy I found FreeHeadset.org. I caught the URL on television one day, and I checked it out. Basically you find your cell phone type, select a free headset from the ones they have posted, you pay about $4 shipping, and wait a few weeks.

It did take some time for my headset to arrive, but for $4 instead of $20 (the price comparable headsets were going for when I ordered) I have a simple, working handsfree accessory for my phone. It’s made my drives so much better, because I know that if anything happens, I can call easily.

I highly encourage people to check out the site and get a headset if they don’t already have one. They also have higher quality headsets for discount prices. It’s made my commute that much nicer.

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New Blog!

Hello!

If you are looking for One Girl’s Opinion, my blog of reviews, please go to it’s new home http://www.onegirlsopinion.net.

This is now the home of Expect Delays, my blog where I will (hopefully) update once a week with essays about random topics. But mostly about life here in the D.C. Metro Area and Northern Virginia.

Enjoy!

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