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Stop at an Actual Stop Sign? Never!


I guess I’m getting old and grouchy.  Or maybe I’m not old, but just plain persnickety.  Whatever it is, I seem to be the only one around bothered by people who run stop signs.  Sure, there are letters to the editor in my paper about stop sign runners or people who apply their brakes ever so slightly when approaching a signed intersection.  But who’s going to do anything about it?

Most of the major intersections in my area are controlled, which is good.  We used to be an area of 4-way stops and there was always someone who wouldn’t yield the right of way.  Frustrating, but what can you do?  It’s actually pretty fun to watch anxiety levels rise by coming to a complete, wheels-don’t-turn stop at a 4-way stop.  Try it sometime.  😉  I never realized that I wasn’t stopping at stop signs before until my local Safe Kids coalition did an observational survey at an intersection a few years back.  Out of several hundred vehicles observed, something like only 3 actually came to a full and complete stop at the stop sign.  I was shocked and immediately on the drive home paid attention to my driving habits.  Sure enough, I wasn’t stopping my wheels either when I thought I was.  Now when I see a stop sign or a red light when I’m turning right, I come to a complete stop, much to the chagrin of the driver behind me (sorry, dude, it’s the law and I’m gonna stop).

I’m still amazed by the drivers who don’t even slow down at a stop sign or red light when they turn right.  It’s like it’s not even there; the world revolves around them and everyone else should yield to them, right?  What the heck?  The thing is the number of drivers who do this.  If I only saw it happening once a week, I’d write it off as the person was distracted (um, who hasn’t been?), but it’s often several times a day.  This kind of driving, plus all the drunk and otherwise impaired drivers on the road, plus the drivers going 80 mph in a 45 mph zone make me feel like a moving target who will one day run out of luck.

CarseatBlog Grab Bag Giveaway Contest


Today’s contest is another “Stump the Reader” like the one Kecia did last week.  This time, I know what it is and want to see who else does, too!  It might be CPS-related and it might not.  If it turns out to be too hard, I’ll give hints with a zoomed out photo every once in a while.  Without further ado, here IT is!

What is IT from?

Take your best guess!

Only your first guess counts.  Anytime I post a hint, you may guess one more time.  Extra comments will only serve as hints to the next person!  Anyone who has a login to write guest blogs is not eligible!

I am looking for a very specific answer.  Even if you guess ITs function, you must also say exactly what IT is from to win.  I will be the sole judge as to the first person with an acceptable answer that meets my definition and my interpretation of the rules!


What is the prize you ask?

This weeks prize comes in video format.  I make no guarantees as to the condition of the prize or its contents.  Good luck!


First Hint:

Let’s Play “Stump The CPS Geeks”!


Okay, here’s the deal – I’ll PayPal $5 to the first person who can correctly tell me what this thing is and what purpose it serves.  For the record, I have never seen this before and I have no clue what it is.  And unfortunately, the one person at Volvo who probably knows for sure is out of the office for the week.

My Third Notebook This Year: Sony Vaio Z Review

Sony Vaio Z540 vs. HP ZD7000

Sony Vaio Z540 vs. HP ZD7000

Yes, it’s another long, boring, techie-wannabe filler review, since we’re out of carseat material for today.  My current HP ZD7000 notebook is almost 5 years old.  Not bad, considering it spent a substantial percentage of its first year being repaired (or not repaired as the case may be) by HP.  It was relatively problem free for two years after that, until it died again a couple years ago.  They replaced the motherboard with a new video card under warranty and it has worked like a charm since then, knock on wood.  Other than a loose power connector, it might last another couple years, if only as a video player or for the kids to beat on.  Problem is, it’s a tank.  It’s a 17″ widescreen model and combined with its huge power adapter, it weighs well over 10 pounds.  Plus, it eats through a full battery in less than 2 hours of surfing and can warm a small room with all the heat it generates.  It has a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, 1GB memory and ATI x600 graphics, pretty much top-of-the line in 2004.

It wasn’t meant to be a portable machine; I bought it as a desktop replacement that had a lot of power and you could even play games on it.  Now, I want something light and easy to carry on trips or around the house.  I tried a netbook.  It was a nice computer, but ultimately I returned it because of a quirky touchpad, an uncomfortable palm rest and a keyboard that was just a hair too small and made touch typing error-prone.  I then bought a pretty typical 14″ notebook, a Samsung X460 targeted at business travelers.  It was also nice, but it had a screen with a very narrow sweet spot for viewing and washed out quickly if you tilted it up or down even slightly.  Mine also a problem with Vista errors and crashes that made me decide to sell it and start looking for yet another notebook.  Well, that and two trips for repair in the first month brought back painful memories of my HP ZD7000.  I do credit Samsung with customer service that is far, far better than my experiences with HP, though their repair department is probably no better.

Anyway, back to the new computer.  I took a look at a Sony Z590 when I was shopping last time.  It really fit the bill of what I wanted.  Despite having a full size keyboard, it is quite compact and very light weight.  Solid battery life.  Good display.  Reasonable power.  Bluetooth.  Vista Business with XP downgrade disc included.  And a whole lot more.  Overall, a nice upgrade to my HP desktop replacement in a package that was one third the weight and lasted twice as long on a battery.  Problem was, most people seemed to be paying well over $1500 for them and much more in many cases.  The current model is the very similar Vaio VGN-Z690 series that are even a bit more expensive.