Dec 312004

Another year is about over, and this marks the end of my first calendar year doing the blog thing. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog during the past 6+ months…and I wish all of you the best in 2005!

 Posted by at 8:59 pm
Dec 132004

Recently, it seems that many of my friends are dissolving into huge piles of emotion and that they also have the urge to talk to me about it. How silly is that?

 Posted by at 2:59 am
Dec 122004

I’ve been procrastinating for several hours now in starting a 5-page group paper, 2 of which have already been written. So what will I do? Make a long blog post! :-)

This has always been a topic in I’ve held in reserve (in fact, my only blog post in reserve), and I’m sure that it will not be of interest to many people, but numbering systems have always fascinated me, in particular those that order in a spatial fashion. This evening, I’ll offer my take on how county roads are numbered in the state of Nebraska.

Until the late 1990s, Nebraska’s county roads and highway were not systematically numbered in any fashion, except around Lincoln and Omaha. If you lived outside an incorporated area before that time, you did not have a physical address – just a rural route/contract carrier route and box number. This all changed with the development of the E911 systems, which require a physical address. Therefore, all rural roads had to be named/numbered and every county would have to develop a system for numbering rural addresses. In typical Nebraska fashion, every county was allowed to develop its own system as it best saw fit. This led to many numbering systems, some simple, others needlessly stupid. (Note: clicking on the links provided may be helpful if my commentary doesn’t make sense to you.)

The simplest, most logical system (in my opinion) is to start at the corner of a county and start incrementing each mile road numerically in one direction (Road 1, 2, 3, etc.) and alphabetically in the other direction (Road A, B, C, etc.); each square mile is the equivalent of a block. Cuming and Saunders counties, among others, do this. Other counties (like Butler) have a similar system, but start numbering at a point other than 1 to avoid a conflict with other streets/roads in the county. Kimball, Cheyenne, and Deuel counties have worked together to develop a system in which odd numbers run N/S and even numbers run E/W. All in all, so far, so good. It’s all downhill from here.

While I have no beef with how Douglas and Lancaster counties number their rural roads – it’s just a extension of the Omaha and Lincoln street plans – other counties mangle this simplicity. Cass uses a bastardized hybrid of the Douglas and Lancaster schemes, which meet in the middle of the county. Adams uses an extension of Hastings’ street numbering…but only in half of the county; Buffalo does so E/W, but not N/S. These may be inconsistent, but they’re still far preferable to other counties’ numbering systems, some of which are plain idiotic.

Several counties in northeast Nebraska (Antelope, Madison, and Knox, among others) use a bizarre system in which county roads are incremented by 1 per mile…but the E/W roads are in the 800s and the N/S roads are in the 500s. As best I can tell, this would imply that the starting point for this grid would be somewhere near El Paso, TX. WTF? Also, rural addresses in this system are all 5 digits long. Necessary in Omaha, needless near Newman Grove. However, one county numbering plan takes the cake as being the most excessively moronic in Nebraska…congratulations, Platte County!

Platte County numbers its mile roads in increments of 15 in both directions – streets E/W, avenues N/S. Why? Because that’s how the city of Columbus numbers its streets. However, instead of just extending the numbers from Columbus itself, Platte County roads start at 100 from the southernmost and easternmost corners of the county…but the roads immediately around Columbus are numbered as an extension of its city streets, so road numbers abruptly change a few miles outside of town. Finally, rural addresses are in 5-digit form; for those of you playing the home version of this game, that’s one physical address per 7 feet. Boone County (where I grew up) uses a slightly less dumb variation that uses increments of 10 and a mere 4-digit road address. To top it off, when Boone County implemented its new system, the address notices came from a consulting-type firm in Minneapolis. Yes, somebody got paid to do this. If this isn’t the sign of America’s decline, I don’t know what is.

Wow, that post was absurdly long. Sorry.

 Posted by at 10:34 pm
Dec 102004

I don’t have any real reason to blog, but I should probably do so anyway. Another week, another post…

Classes are over for another semester; finals next week, then break. In one short year from now, I’ll graduate once again. (It’ll be the last time as well, damnit!) On a somewhat related note, I’ll be back in St. Edward from Dec. 19 until the 26th or 27th, then I plan on being in Lincoln through the rest of winter break (with the exception of a trip to KC, dates TBD). If you’ll be around during break, let me know…I won’t have a whole lot to do during that time. I *should* also look for a part-time job as well, but we’ll see how that goes.

 Posted by at 11:29 pm
Dec 052004

My wheat beer was a success. Yay! So successful, that it’s nearly gone already. (Free beer would go quickly? Who knew?) But wait, there’s more!

I started brewing a second batch today, a spiced winter ale; due to the generous donations of the ingredients (thank you Beermann) and some additional labor (thank you Snell), it’ll be ready to go when classes start back up next semester. Hopefully, it’ll be very tasty. :-)

 Posted by at 9:52 pm