Thursday, March 31, 2011

ad placement

finally! an ad placed where all the lazy, lying-down folk on the train can enjoy.  i wonder what those lying-down folk are thinking?


a) how you gonna learn, spelling with numbers?
c) oh god, stop spinni -- hluh
d) uhhnn, what stop is this?

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    get off the bus!

    wow!  look at this ad that was attached to my fence a week or two back.

    i know it's cut off here, but that says "$3* a day" for a sentra.  how could i resist?  i'm marching over to the dealership as instructed right now!  to buy a car.  well, no, to lease a car, but it's as good as mine.  right?

    but, wait, "3*" isn't a number, is it?  i wonder what that "*" means?  oh, there's the fine print right there, right above the sentra and the american flag that makes me feel so patriotic about buying -- i mean leasing -- a japanese car.  let's see, "36 month lease + tax/fees."  no big deal.  "$4999 due at signing."  wtf!  "$0.15 per excess miles, 12,000 miles per year."  huh?!  cost of maintenance i guess.

    okay, time to bust out the calculator.  so, $4999 + 36 * $99 ($8563) gets me the car for 3 years.  hmmm, that comes to $7.82 a day or at least $0.24/mile (that $0.15 overage doesn't sound so bad now, does it?).  a day pass only costs $6.  and i get unlimited miles.  hmmm...decisions, decisions.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    service changes

    mta vs bru...again.  they faced off in court 15 years ago, bru winning.  i wasn't riding mta then, but as a discretionary rider, i can guarantee you i wouldn't be riding mta at all if not for the trains, which the bru does all it can to eliminate.  anyhow, here's the la times's article.  here are the service changes straight from the mta's mouth.

    as an interesting side note, it appears the economics of the 450 (highlighted in this blog here) and silver line are netting the axe for the 450, resources being re-allocated to the silver line.

    etiquette, pt 2

    you best believe there is a reasonable potential for an encounter with a homeless person on an la mta train.  the fare collection system isn't exactly air tight and on a very hot or cold day the trains are a mighty tempting refuge from the elements.  something i've come to learn about homeless people is they don't always get to pick their place of bodily elimination.  if you wrapped up nice and tight in the two blankets you got, temperature's just above freezing  and nature calls, i understand if you don't wanna get up to pick up the phone.

    well, these two phenomena sometimes combine and people's reaction can be pretty telling.  some people come down the aisle and when the wall of odor hits, they turn back around.  some people who can't find distant enough refuge cover up their nose and mouth with their shirt.  all of these folks go out of their way to make some kind of "gross!" face, convinced that such emoting helps take everyone else's mind off the topic.  some people get to talking, making sure they're loud enough for all to hear.  terms such as "gas mask," "shower" and "stank" are common.  often, said speakers are wearing some kind of baller crucifix-oriented necklace or bad-ass image of virgin mary.

    as i'm getting off, a 14- or 15-year old cross between d-nice and coolio taps the homeless person on the shoulder.  "hey, lady, looks like you could use this more than me," he says as he passes her several green bills.

    a "thank you, sweetie, you don't need to do that" charismatic and genuine enough to make it onto stankonia comes from her, but he insists.  "oh, thank you, sweetie," she says again as the train door closes behind me.

    Friday, March 11, 2011


    people make a big deal out of how rowdy kids are these days, especially in public places like transit.  i've had my fair share of run-ins.  the worst instance was a few kids throwin' sunflower seed shells and routinely missing each other.

    but i think it's unfair to call out this behavior without making note of an equally rude class of people: the suited.  they ignore "excuse me," leave their briefcases seated without even the thought that they should offer it (the seat, not the briefcase) to people who are standing and violate client/attorney privilege by talking very loudly on their cell phones.  if they didn't manage to get their briefcase seated, they'll, of course, have to rifle through a bunch of papers during this privilege-violating phone call.  they'll sit for their entire journey, then rise one stop before exiting.  this allows them to give the impression they're getting off, the result being the polite folks by the door (who have usually been standing for quite some time) step aside for them.  now, they can be the first out of the gate at their stop.

    perhaps these are smaller infractions than being hit by a sunflower seed shell, but at least that one goes acknowledged (the kids apologized) and doesn't happen daily (only once so far in my decade of mta patronage).  maybe this doesn't get called out because people secretely want to wear a suit to work everyday.  luckily, i'm safe from such a malady.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    hs kids, cleanin house

    i'm on my way to my usual ride home one night.  right when i walk up to the stop, i knew something was up.  there were kids all up and down the platform when usually there’s just a handful of adults.  listening to some of them, i found out they’d been waiting 20 minutes.  i’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes this time of day.  then it happens, three buses show up, one right after the other, all pulling into the stop at the same time.  as you can imagine, all three buses were packed, especially the first one, which i managed to squeeze my way onto.

    while that was slightly aggravating, that was nothing compared to what happened a couple of stops later.  a guy who i’ll call “herb” got on.  herb was perfectly ambulatory and was even hauling some roller luggage with him — not the kind people take on trips, but the kind that substitutes for a backpack.  the bus driver tells herb he needs to step behind the yellow line.  herb yells out, “i’m handicapped,” and whips out an id.  the driver just says, “i can’t leave until you step behind the line.”  herb repeats, “i’m handicapped,” followed by, “someone needs to give up their seat for me.”  i’m not sure if the driver was skeptical or lazy, maybe both, but he looks at herb and says, “if you can get someone out of their seat, go ahead, but you need to step behind the yellow line.”  herb continues his outcry, “isn’t it your job as the driver to get me a seat.  i’m handicapped!!”  the driver, knowing how close the buses behind him were tells herb, “why don’t you just wait for the next bus?”  herb rails, “why should i have to?”

    there’s no doubt that handicapped folks have their rights and when there is a genuine violation of those rights, they need to stand up for themselves.  but when the bus was already filled to capacity, when you’re holding up everyone three busfuls of people and you screamin “handicapped” when everyone saw you walk with your own two feet down the platform onto the bus, you gotta know people thinkin you an asshole.  not herb.

    finally, herb pushes his way through the crowd in front.  a kid who was doing his homework starts to pack his stuff away so he can get up and give herb a seat.  before he’s finished, herb shoves his card into this kids face and says, “i’m handicapped.  i need to sit down.”  the kid is somewhat startled and replies, “i’m movin right now.  just cuz you handicapped don’t mean i’m retarded.”

    then herb gets a phone call.  “yeah, the trip was great.  we got about 20 stores involved.  i must’ve made half a million in sales.”  usually a phone call on the bus is no big deal.  usually, the person taking the call isn’t talking so loud that the people at the very back of the elongated bus are rolling their eyes.  “let’s celebrate together.  we can go to the beach, go to dinner, the whole thing.  c’mon, you can’t spare a day for me?!  ohh, okay, alright. okay, have a nice weekend.”

    then herb pulls out a card.  tapping someone in the arm, he says, “can you give this to that girl over there?  excuse me, have you ever modeled?  i think you’d do great.  i’m a fashion designer.”  this is when riding on a bus full of high school kids pays off.  one of them chirps in an unidentifiable, high voice, “liar.”  the girl tries to take it in stride.  she says, “thank you.”  herb presses on, “i do high-end…suits.  have you ever modeled?”  one of the kids chirps, “bullshit.”  the girl says, “when i was younger.  it’s not really the right audience here for me,” before pulling out, “so, why are you on the bus?”  herb shrugged his shoulders emphatically and said, “y’know, the judge said.  can i ask you where you live?”  the kids chimed in with, “stalker.  rapist.”  the girl had clearly been hearing the kids the whole time and finally stumbled a bit with a long pause before saying, “i’d rather not say.”  trying to make lemonade out of lemons again, herb says, “it’s not like that.  i’m married…happily married.”  i’m not sure even he believes that one.

    Saturday, March 5, 2011


    i'm not usually a fan of people eating on the train.  there's a $250 fine for a reason.  chances are eating will lead to a big mess, which will lead to a much less pleasant ride for everyone else, possibly injurious.  nevermind that i rarely find what people eat on the train appetizing.  i know that bucket of church's chicken smells good and maybe even tastes great on its way in, but i also know how runny it gets on its way out, 'specially if helped along with some wings and jalapeno cheese bombers*.  but check out this guy.

    that's right, trader joe's broccoli florets.  can't say i see that one everyday and i bet he's regular as old faithful.  if anyone reading thinks they can identify which mta train stops between which this picture was taken, test your skills and comment below.  1 point for getting the right line, 2 points for each stop you get right.

    * -- being vegan, i would not actually eat any of these things.  having not always been vegan, i can still bear witness that runniness happens.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    no boot

    and by "boot," i mean "trunk" for us state-siders.  as anyone from the other side of the pond will tell you, "boot" means "the part of your car where you store things, usually separate from the seating area and at least marginally protected from the elements" or, as i stated earlier, "trunk" in america-speak.

    when travelling with no boot, as, by definition, you are when on the train, you will occasionally embarrass your very nice attache. 

    i mean, there's nowheres else to put the gym bag now, is there?  and you can't very well carry a gym bag while wearing a really nice suit, can you?