Bring Me The Head of The Head of IDOT

Sooo… bad enough that the Highland Rd. – Butterfield – I-88 intersection, which is a Double Diamond Interchange as designed by a traffic engineer with a drinking problem and a hatred for his fellow man even when it's "working as it should", is mostly closed. My ramp from work to I-88 so I can start the three-highway and one long surface run home is DEFINITELY closed.

Okay, fine. It's actually encouraging to see any maintenance happening on any of America's infrastructure whatsoever, and Lord knows that interchange fuckin' needed some love, so I'll deal with this in my usual graceful, patient manner.

Ahem.

Take the detour, which is hilariously out of the way because of Yorktown Mall and because suburbs. Head north on Highland away from the ramp that is my blessed escape route and then over onto 22nd to feed into I-88 one exit east of the usual at Meyers…

Now, the detour signage is pretty obscure, and people are fucking morons, so naturally traffic on 22nd as you get near the turnoff for the Highland South detour/I-88 EB ramp is majorly fucknutted.

Surprisingly, whatever piece of shit suburb we're in as 22nd comes up on Meyers decided, wisely, to deploy some traffic control to deal with this first day of construction hell. Smart move. The next decision they have to make after deciding to do this is: where? Where will our limited suburban po-po resources do the most good?

Would it be the major intersection between six lanes of Meyers Rd. and the four lanes of 22nd all trying to funnel traffic to and fro the immediate ramps to I-88, which, thanks to the construction, are now the only accessible ramps onto that major major highway for seven miles in either direction?
Or should those cops be posted up at the minor pissant t-intersection of 22nd and what is effectively some fuckin' church's private driveway a few blocks earlier in the detour from Meyers and 22nd?
Maaaaaaybe there's some vicious little podunk small-town mentality here that says "our cops should be used to benefit OUR citizens, not a bunch of commuters who just want to get the fuck out of our fair town as fast as they possibly can. Put the cops by the church so our blessed local worshippers can get onto 22nd without having to brave the absolute torrent of pissed-off, backed-up commuters that will block that intersection entirely until this project is over".

I can almost appreciate that kind of thinking. I'd be pissed, but I'd get it. I'm a Chicagoan and a midwesterner; we're provincial and suspicious of outsiders as fuck by nature, and "Fuck You, Got Mine" should be our city slogan.

HOWEVER.

Add in that the fucking traffic lights at Meyers and 22nd are unexpectedly dead due to a mistake by the construction crews responsible for all of this mess in the first place. So now you've got TEN lanes of traffic merging through a detoured intersection that's not at all designed for this fourth week of Lilith Fair-grade heavy flow in the first place, AND what little automated traffic control that exists there is on vacation… maaaaybe you'd move your two fuckin' Barney Fifes to this site to make sure that a major accident or road rage-inspired murder doesn't occur amongst the THOUSANDS of cars that are going to feed through this asshole of an intersection during the evening rush hour instead of sitting uselessly a few blocks away with their dicks in their hands waving the occasional dopey church-goer into traffic ahead of their turn?

Nah. We're gonna traffic control the FUCK outta that church driveway, my dudes. Everybody else can go to hell.

Incompetent motherfuckers…

Everybody On The Road But Me Has A Deathwish

Surprisingly, this was only the SECOND stupidest thing I saw on my drive home today:
commute_01

I can only hope that a revenue agent, whoops, I mean cop pulled this dude over at some point and just handed him a hefty ticket for "being an unsafe asshole on the public way".

The DUMBEST thing I saw, I unfortunately couldn't snap a pic of in time, but involved somebody driving through like 10 of those construction saw horses the City and IDOT put up when they need to shift lanes of traffic over from their usual path. Y'know, these fuckin' things:

commute_02

Some dude in a shitty pickup (shitty pickups being today's theme, apparently), decided that he wanted nothing to do with the ten or so of these lined up to move traffic over on Lawrence Ave.

So he plowed right the fuck through 'em.

Seriously, it's just a mess of shattered wood pieces all over Lawrence near Rockwell, or at least it was around 6:40pm Monday night. Fuck your construction site, fuck your worker's safety, fuck the tires and suspensions of other cars that are certainly going to drive through the ripped up lane and/or debris field this caused, because Johnny Silverado has to get to the Taco Bell and he ain't got time for no steerin'.

Jesus fuck but do I ever hate everybody.

The Books of 2016, #2: Ancillary Sword, by Anne Leckie

ancillary_mercy

What was Book #1, you might be asking? Purity, by Jonathan Franzen. Enough ink has been spilled on that book already to where I see no need to add to it. If you like Franzen, you'll probably like Purity, tho' I didn't find it quite as good as either The Corrections or Freedom. I hated every character, but loved reading about them getting their various comeuppances. It's a book generally about well-off, hateful white assholes designed to be appreciated and enjoyed by well-off, hateful white assholes. It succeeds miserably and completely on that front. The End.

So, Book # 2 on the year is, uncomfortably, the middle volume of a three-book sci-fi romp that has garnered all the praise and awards (seriously, the first book took home the Hugo, Nebula, Clarke AND Locus. And it was Leckie's debut novel. That's some achievement right there), and the first book, Ancillary Justice, sure deserved them. I enjoyed that volume tremendously and was looking forward to this sequel.

Unfortunately, a lot of what I liked about the first entry is missing in the second. Breq, again our protagonist, was rather fascinating as a ship. Not so much as a human. Anaander Mianaai, a wonderful villain and concept (Near-Immortal Emperor of the big human empire who also happens to be at war with herself), is relegated to a brief appearance at the very start and some background mentions in passing otherwise. The completely alien and beyond-powerful Presger? Also almost entirely absent, except for a short stint as a Plot Device spent by the wonderful character of Dlique, their human-born but otherwise completely alien translator. Frankly, even the use of "she" for all genders (the Radch do not recognize gender in their speech, so the characters generally refer to everyone using female pronouns), which was a neat trick in the first novel, is more of a nuisance here, and actually set aside entirely in one scene where it would've muddled things up too much.

What we do get is a thinly-(very)-veiled morality play about Why Imperialism And Colonialism Are Bad. Most of the action takes place on Athoek Station and its namesake planet, both of which feature a colonial overlord class that lords it over the other races and keeps them oppressed. On the station, they live in the "Undergarden", which is heavily and brutally policed, and completely unserved by the social and health services that exist for everyone else on the station. On the planet, the non-Radch are either plantation masters or the actual not-slaves-but-totally-slaves that harvest the tea that is the source of the planet's wealth. Yes, really. A sci-fi book that centers on tea plantations.

I'm seriously hoping we just had a bad case of Middle Book Syndrome here, because I'll be getting to the closing volume of the trilogy after a quick palette cleanse, but for now I am as disappointed in this book as I was impressed with the first.