SG/NT March 2017: WHO Can’t Drive in Snow?

This post isn’t going to be so much about Southern Goth as just Southern. You have been warned.

The South gets  a lot of heat, so to speak, from other parts of the county for Southerners being unable to drive in snow. Granted, parts of the South get very little snow, so unfamiliarity is an issue. However, what most Northerners don’t see is the ice under the snow, which is extremely detrimental to driving conditions.

Still, I’m not writing this to make excuses, justified though they are.

I’m merely tracking some observations I’ve made over the two (admittedly rather snow-less) winters I’ve been here.

First – y’all Northerners only think you can drive in snow.

You can’t.

Nor can you drive in rain, wind, or sunshine. I thought drivers in Atlanta were bad…until I moved here. In Michigan, I’ve seen some of the worst driving in any kind of weather. In fact, Ohio has replaced Tennessee in my list of Places I Absolutely Hate to Drive.

Second – traffic rules do not apply. Neither do speed limits, no matter the weather conditions. Turn signals are optional. And if you hit someone, it doesn’t matter, just keep on going; Michigan is a no-fault state, so it’s not like there are any repercussions for hitting someone (I mean, hit someone’s car; obviously, it’s disastrous if you hit an actual person, no-fault state or not). Seriously, most cars up here look as though they’ve done at least one round in the Demolition Derby. I’ve driven bumper cars with better drivers – and bumper car drivers are usually ten or so.

Third – do I even need a third? Isn’t this enough?

Okay, wait, I do have one more thing to say. It’s even positive. And believe it or not, it’s about traffic.

While people drive like maniacs up here, at least they’re not driving like maniacs in backed-up, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Traffic here is light, comparatively. People at my work come in complaining that the commute was an extra fifteen minutes today because of weather or a wreck or construction, and they’re genuinely indignant when I laugh.

Really loud.

And can’t stop laughing.

Sometimes I even laugh so hard my eyes water.

Fifteen extra minutes on your commute…which is usually around fifteen minutes in good conditions, twenty if you hit all the lights on red – and you live twenty miles away. They don’t believe me when I say my commute in Atlanta was forty-five minutes on a good traffic day, and I lived eight miles from my office.

So, to tally it up: two bads, one good. Unfortunately, the one good doesn’t make up for the two bads. Der Mann does most of the in-town driving as he’s much more patient than I am, and even he rants about drivers up here.

So, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to wrap this up and realized I forgot to mention one important thing: this is all very definitely tongue-in-cheek*, so I do hope no one is offended. If you are, then I just have one thing to say:

Well, bless your heart.

*(Okay, except for the bit about comparative commute times. That’s a true story.)**

**(Oh, and the bit about black ice in the South? That’s also a true thing.)***

***(And, um, Michigan is actually a no-fault state. And insurance rates are commensurate. But that is a post for another time.)


Commonplace Book(s)

So, I used to do this thing: I had a notebook, usually cheap, and often unlined; it lived in my bag and went everywhere with me. I’d scribble down anything I found interesting or important – phrases, names, dreams, writing or art ideas, notes from books or about books (including my own or my friends’ WsIP), lists, words I liked the sound/spelling/meaning of, song lyrics that spoke to me…anything and everything. I also doodled in the margins and on the covers.

I called it my idea book. I had no idea that what I was doing was keeping a commonplace book, albeit a somewhat disorganized one.

Unfortunately, I fell out of the habit a few years ago. Just…things weren’t going well in my life, and I wasn’t doing many of the things I used to do, so when the notebook was full, I put it away and never started another. (I also stopped keeping  my journal, stopped writing, stopped socializing – like I said, it wasn’t a good period of time.)

But now, my head seems to be coming back online. I’ve suddenly found myself scribbling on anything handy, and then, well, losing the notes – so maybe not completely rebooted.

I’ve been exploring art journaling for the past year or so, and that seems to have broken down the dam*. But now I need to stretch. While I never stopped working on my novel, now I’ve embraced it again, and am enthusiastic about working on it (in my third round of revisions right now – so close to a good, complete manuscript!). I’ve been dreaming, and ideas pop up, germinated from anything and everything – hence the scribbling on whatever is handy.

I decided that I need a new idea book.

I did what I usually do; I grabbed up a blank, wirebound sketchbook, one of the $5 ones from Barnes & Noble that I had lying around, and started scribbling away.

But it felt wrong.

Then I remembered that Der Mann backed a kickstarter a year or two ago.  A kickstarter for a new type of notebook. And it got funded. And he received the notebook. And it was still in a box on my bedroom bookshelf.

So I got it out and looked it over. The notebook is bigger than the ones I’ve used before, being closer to 8.5 x 11 inches, but it’s thinner, so it evens out in terms of carrying.

Notebook 1
The cover is cloth, and feels nice in the hand.

The paper is glorious. It’s thick and creamy, and holds ink well. It’s a stone paper, meaning, from what I’ve googled, that the paper is made from actual stone; per their website, the paper is calcium carbonate “collected from waste material at existing limestone quarries and ground up into a fine white chalk powder”. It smells different than paper, perhaps a bit stronger, but not unpleasant. The paper itself is smooth and silky. It always seems to be cool and feels almost wet to the touch. The notebook is split; one half of the pages are lined, the other half are not, so I have the best of both worlds. There’s a pocket in the front for stashing all those scribbles I’ve lost so I can transcribe them later, two elastic bands (one on each side), and an attached ribbon bookmark. 

Of course, it’s such a nice book that I was leery about using it, until Der Mann also bought me a set of multicolored Frixion erasable gel pens and a set of Frixion erasable markers**. Now I can write and doodle in this notebook with impunity!

Frixion erasable gel pens and markers

So – that’s my new commonplace book. Does anyone out there keep a commonplace? If so, what do you collect? Tell me about your experiences!

*Also, researching art journaling led me to the phrase “commonplace book” and then I had to research that, and here we are.

**They do write and erase quite well. I recommend them, as long as you don’t overheat the notebook (that will erase everything) or put it in the freezer (getting it super cold brings back all the erased stuff). I use them for my planner and for my commonplace. I do not use them in my art journal; I prefer my alcohol markers because I’m usually working on gessoed, painted, or watercolor-crayoned backgrounds.