The streets of Los Angeles promise to be more hellish than usual this weekend, as a crucial stretch of the 405 freeway closes down for what's been charmingly titled "Carmageddon II" (somehow, the wags who named it resisted the subtitle "Road Rage Boogaloo").
While last year's Carmageddon mercifully turned out to be a bust — with Angelenos who'd gone away on summer vacation lightening the traffic burden — this year may be different.
Don't despair, though; TheWrap has prepare a handy list of things to do this weekend instead of grappling in gridlock with your fellow motorists.
1) Visit "Homeland." Showtime's drama "Homeland" cleaned up big-time at the Emmys last Sunday, and with good reason — the Claire Danes-starring terrorism thriller is one of the most compelling programs currently on television.
In anticipation of Sunday's Season 2 premiere (and in celebration of the show's Emmy wins), Showtime is airing a marathon of the series' first season, spanning from noon Saturday to 12:30 a.m. Sunday. As you ponder the ethics of modern-day interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, you can weigh them against the torture that is your daily commute.
2) Make a Run for It. Is a television marathon too passive for you? If so, the Herbalife Triathlon takes place on Sunday. And while the race will cause street closures between Venice and downtown L.A., thereby causing further havoc with traffic, it will give you the opportunity to watch dedicated athletes vie against each other in a grueling competition.
If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you might even consider joining the race. Because after spending half of your waking hours behind the wheel of your car all year, you could probably use the exercise.
3) Experience some Panda-monium. Only the most hardened cynics among us wouldn't crack a smile and emit an involuntary "Awww" at the sight of Pandas, the cuteness kings of the animal world. And if your heart doesn't melt at the sight of a baby Panda, you deserve the traffic apocalypse that awaits this weekend.
Instead of hitting the road this weekend, log onto the San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam and get acquainted with the zoo's newest Giant Panda cub, which was born July 29. Go ahead and gush — it would take a robot not to.
4) Get in the "Looper." The Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis thriller "Looper" opens this weekend, and while not all of the reviews have been positive (TheWrap's movie critic, Alonso Duralde, wasn't a fan), but for anyone of driving age, it's probably a better bet than "Hotel Transylvania" (which Duralde was a fan of).
Take a stroll to your neighborhood moving-picture house and take in the show. The time-travel theme of the movie might even help you harken back to a time when driving in L.A. wasn't a soul-shriveling ordeal.
5. Give Your Car a Treat. As grueling as your daily commute is for you, it's just as wearing on your vehicle. And chances are, as a car-addicted Angeleno, you'll still be tempted to hit the road this weekend, which is a supremely bad idea.
Chances are, your car could use a tune-up or some other long-neglected maintenance. Bring it to your local shop or car wash and give it a spa day, and check yourself into Driver Rehab for a dose of cold-turkey treatment at the same time.