New Blog

I've been neglecting this blog for going on seven years now. In that time I've posted just about anything that seemed to hit my brain. The result is that, while this blog does present a diary of my life and thoughts, it lacks a central focus. If a reader were regularly visiting my blog in hopes of seeing coding and gadget posts, they would be frustrated by the movie reviews, book reviews, game reviews, political rants, and other detritus that periodically appears here. So to solve that issue, I've started a new blog that will be focused only on the techy type stuff I do. I still intend to post here whenever I gut a burr in my saddle, but if the topic of the post has to do with coding, computing, or some other technical subject I'll be posting it here instead. I've already copied over my existing technical posts, and I hope I can provide interesting content there in the future.


I received a lot of fantastic gifts over Christmas time, and the two that have gotten the most use are the water cooler and Netflix subscription. I don't have much more to say about the water cooler (aside from how awesome it is to have hot and cold, good tasting water in the basement). The Netflix subscription has given me an opportunity to watch a lot of films, and the one I watched tonight left me with some thoughts.

Ink is an independent film shot on a small budget about a girl who falls into a coma and enters a dream world with opposing forces fighting for her soul. First, let me say that I am not an indie film fan. Not that I have something against indie films, just that I've never had any strong desire to go to Sundance or anything. So even though this movie showed up as recommended for me on Netflix streaming, I was reluctant to watch it. I'm glad I did, but now I'm struggling to decide just what I think of it, and whether I would recommend it.

The budget for this movie was small (under $250,000) and no major publishing studio picked it up. Still, it is pretty impressive what the film makers were able to pull off on that budget. There are no fantastic special effects, but what effects are in the film fit well. I was a bit put off by some of the performances and camera work. At times I thought, "these guys are making a movie in their yard!" Even so, the story is well told.

Which brings me to the story. I liked the story. It is an important tale to tell, and I would recommend this story to others. I would recommend it even more strongly if there were a big budget remake, because I think I could have really enjoyed it more that way, but as it stands, I feel comfortable recommending this movie to others. I will say that you should set your expectations low going in. You aren't going to be blown away by incredible action sequences, or wowed by some clever special effect. Once you've watched it I hope that it leaves you thinking about the message, which it did for me.

By the way, if you would like to watch Ink, it is available for instant streaming on Netflix, as well as Hulu.

Exit 5 is Broken

View Larger Map

Every day my commute takes me to exit 5 on I-69. I can say with a high level of confidence that this exit is broken, especially when taken from I-69 northbound. It is a sad situation, as a great deal of work recently went into "improving" this exit. Exit 5 services two major roads: SR37 and 116th street. The recent road construction extended the start of the exit ramp by a half mile to the south, so that just after passing under the 106th street overpass vehicles can take the exit. About a quarter mile further north the exit increases by a lane, with the right hand lane intended for vehicles exiting at 116th and the left hand lane for those going north on SR37. The trouble is that the line of cars queued up for exit five regularly backs up all the way to 96th street. Traffic attempting to merge from 96th street heading north is blocked by a wall of vehicles that are trying to dive down to the right-most lane to get in the exit 5 queue. In addition, traffic already heading north is preparing for the four lane interstate to become two lanes. The net result is a huge mess of vehicles.

The most frustrating part is that the portion of exit 5 that I need is almost always clear of traffic, but is impossible to get to. As I said, there is typically a solid line of vehicles in the right most lane that runs from 116th street all the way back to 96th street. From what I can tell, nearly all of the traffic in this lane is looking to head north on SR37. My usual tactic is to bypass as much of this traffic as possible until the exit has grown from one lane to two lanes. At this point, I just hope for a gap. Now you might be thinking, "What a jerk, get in line like everybody else!", but remember that the lane I'm aiming for is empty. If I can just squeeze through that wall of folks heading north on SR37 then I wouldn't be inconveniencing anyone.

I don't like to present a problem without attempting to present a solution, so here is potential solution: separate the exits for SR37 and 116th street. The SR37 exit should be moved north of 116th, expanded to two lanes, and moved to the left most lanes of I69. The traffic in those left lanes needs to merge down anyway since the lanes are ending, so this would be a good way to get that traffic sorted. I think this would greatly diminish the traffic at exit 5, ease the troubles of traffic merging from 96th street, and help those attempting to go north on SR37.

Jade Mason