January 6th, 2005

Me

(no subject)

Passing the car that had smashed into the taxi this morning reminded me of why I don't like driving in this type of weather. So many people think they are good snow drivers. I've only ever met one person who really is a good snow driver: Dan. Of course, he grew up in Maine, where he got a lot of practice, and drives a car which handles exceptionally in bad driving conditions.

The key, I think, to driving on snow is to be smooth. No sudden turns, no sudden braking, no sudden acceleration -- all these are recipes for loss of control. Naturally, one has to drive a bit slower, because faster speeds increase the probability that you will need to make a sudden maneuver. That doesn't mean you have to drive slowly; just be cautious, give other cars a wide berth, and try to maintain a constant speed that is safe for the conditions.

Driving in this weather makes me nervous. One, I know that the percentage of idiotic driving behavior increases sharply. Two, I drive a pickup truck. There seems to be a misconception that trucks handle well in this sort of weather. There couldn't be more fetid bullshit out there! Pick-up trucks have no weight in the back ... unless you've piled sandbags or other very heavy items onto the truck bed. Therefore, they are more prone to spinning out. To compound things, my truck is rear-wheel drive. That means that if I don't get a good grip on the road with my rear tires (for example, on ice or snow, especially going uphill), my rear will drive right by my front, spinning out, rather than push the front. I can drive slightly aggressively in good driving conditions because I am intimately aware of how my truck will respond. However, bad weather takes all that out of the equation, as the truck's response on a slippery surface can be so unpredictable.

<sigh> I can't wait for this snow to end!
Me

Cell Phone Question

Does anyone know if I can buy a phone from an independent retailer, such as Radio Shack, and be able to use it with my service? Or does one have to purchase through the service provider? I have Verizon Wireless, if that makes a difference.
Me

(no subject)

The two halves of my Motorola V60p are dangling, held tenuously together by a thin strip, the all-essential lifeline that sends digital information streaming between the two halves and keeps the phone functional.

In an attempt to save a few dollars, I cancelled the equipment insurance on my phone last January. The insurance company won't allow Verizon to reinstate it. I'd have to wait until June of '05 to be eligible for the $100 cashback offer on a phone upgrade. My current contract with Verizon doesn't end until August 2005.

My options are limited. My phone won't stay together forever. I don't plan to be in the U.S. much more than a few months, the fewer the better. I want to stay with Verizon, because they are associated with VodaFone, which would make transferring easier. Verizon only offers one GSM-enabled phono, and it's a hideous and overpriced Samsung. The new Motorola RAZR is not available to Verizon. If I want to replace my current phone, it would cost me $200, and the phone would be useless in a few months. I could get a cheap-ass phone, if there is such a thing, but lose many of the features I use -- probably store fewer numbers, no voice-activated dialing, less reliable reception, etc. Maybe it's better to cut my losses, pay the fee to leave Verizon, and go with a company that offers phones I can use both in the U.S. and the U.K. Any thoughts?