Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yesterday was probably in my top 5 worst days ever in terms of commuting. When I left the house around 8:15 AM it was about 35-40 degrees. Sometime around 11-12 it started snowing, and by about 2 it was blizzarding heavily. The wind was insane. Snow stopped around 5 PM and the sun came out – wee!

So I end up leaving work at the normal time, 6:45. There’s ice all over the street. I get into Penn Station and my train is operating about 2 minutes late, which is pretty good considering the weather.

As the train approaches Jamaica we come to a dead stop. After 10 minutes of sitting, the conductor comes on the PA and announces that we’re waiting for track space in Jamaica. Another 10 minutes and we’ve moved about 30 feet or so. This is a PACKED LIRR train – people are standing shoulder to shoulder pretty much, as usual these days.

So we finally roll into Jamaica 20-25 minutes late, and of course my connecting train has long since departed. So once again I get to pass the time in the “New” HORRIBLE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT Jamaica Station LIRR waiting area. Whoever designed this fucking thing should be sued, and then hunted down and shot. The way Jamaica used to work was that there was an enclosed overpass that connected all 8 train tracks. If was a decent waiting area because it had a TV and – get this – HEAT!

The new Jamaica LIRR waiting area is a fucking eyesore and is probably the most poorly designed structure I’ve ever had the misfortune to enter. Now, instead of a nice enclosed tunnel, we are expected to stand in this cavernous steel/glass enclosure that is *OPEN ON THE NORTH AND SOUTH SIDES*, creating a sort of wind tunnel. It had stopped snowing around 4 PM but in the LIRR waiting area of Jamaica Station it was like a fucking blizzard with the snow blowing around and around. There are these glass panels up there that keep you from jumping down onto a train – these glass panels were pure white, covered with snow, despite the fact that there’s a 50 foot ceiling over them for 100 feet in all directions. Someone took the liberty of writing “The MTA HAS NO CLUE” and “THIS FACILITY SUCKS!!” in the snow on the glass panels. Oh, also the waiting area has 3 or 4 heat lamps – enough for maybe 7 or 8 people to stand under – as its only heat source.

I have no idea if the Jamaica station is “done” or if there is still more to build, but assuming it’s “done” in terms of leaving the north and south sides completely open, whoever designed it should have his/her/their architecting license revoked and then burned. A FUCKING WIND TUNNEL AS A WAITING AREA!

So then my train finally rolls in around 8-8:30 PM. We pull out of Jamaica and all is well until the train stops and the conductor gets on the PA to inform us that the switches are frozen and we have to wait for them to thaw. So I’m thinking, man when am I going to get home, April?

Anyway to cut the story short I got home around 9:30. Let me reiterate how happy I am to be paying 5% more to the MTA for this great service. I can deal with weather issues and can cut them some slack, but don’t raise the rates and then give shittier service. One day I’ll have to get into the issue of the fucking “new” M7 trains that the LIRR keeps touting as being so wonderful, but they are uncomfortable, poorly designed trains that smell like shitters on wheels.

Hugs!

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Here’s a sentence whose horror can only be appreciated by people familiar with the Long Island Rail Road:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, for today only, this train will be making all local stops to Penn Station.”

Seriously… fuck you guys. My monthly ticket went from $168 to $178 and the service has continued to degrade.

Car is working, family is well, life is beautiful. 🙂

The smiley insertion thing doesn’t work well here.

I’m enjoying putting two linebreaks after every sentence.

March 1, 2005

Ok this day is starting out really super. I wake up to my alarm clock blaring, interrupting a dream in which somebody was yelling at me that “The database connection is DOWN! It’s DOWN, man!” But I don’t think the guy meant down as in like, defunct, he just meant it was down, like, “man the database connection is really down with it.” I don’t know what that means. But I do know that I was fucking exhausted when I woke up. I sat in the shower for like 10 minutes hoping the water would thaw my eyelids open but it didn’t work. I got dressed, and went outside to shovel the step and the driveway. The guy who lives downstairs loaned me his snow shovel which was a lot better than mine, and man this thing cuts ice like nobody’s bidness. So I got the sidewalk cleared and I looked around, and none of my neighbors had cleared their sidewalks. Whatever.

So I head over to the train, which, remarkably, was actually on time despite the snow. Change in Jamaica was really super, my normal express to Penn Station wasn’t there, so I had to walk from one end of the train to the stairs up to the newly redesigned, completely fecal looking platform, then wait for them to announce a track. Oh, track 1! Joy. So I go down to track 1 and of course the fucking thing is packed. I go alllllllllll the way down to the other end of the train to find a place to stand. The train sits on the track for about 10 minutes with the bell ringing like the doors are closing, but they don’t. So I’m standing in the train in Jamaica with the doors open.

Crap, work to do. I’ll finish the story later.

(11 hours later)

Ok so I was standing on the train in Jamaica. Finally the train moves out of the station and we head to Woodside (it wasn’t an express like my normal train). We get to Woodside and the conductor gets on the PA saying, “Due to a disabled train in one of the tunnels, we STRONGLY suggest that if you can take the 7 train to your destination, you do so.” So, like, I can take a hint. I get off the train along with 500 other people and trudge up to the 7 train (yay for having an emergency MetroCard, I think it expires this year though and has $20 on it ). I’m not really a subway person so I had no idea really where to go, but since my office is on 5th avenue, I got off at 42nd and 5th and walked the rest of the way, which was fine. So I got to work like an hour late.

The day got somewhat better after noon; I solved a minor problem that was caused by someone else’s shitty programming. I had an Italian hero which was pretty good except for the fact that they used regular huge onions on it instead of those purple ones (Vidalia?) that you expect to see on an Italian hero.

I also found out that one of my banks, Bank One, is merging with Chase. That’s kind of surprising; I hadn’t heard anything about that until their message. When Fleet merged with Bank of America I knew about it right away. Bank One has a decent web interface for checking your account, but they also charged me $39.00 for a late payment… asses.

It’s 9:10 PM right now and I’m waiting for my WoW server to come back up. These guys could learn a lot from Sony in the ways of making a scalable game infrastructure.

Monday, February 28, 2005

First let me say, TP on.

This weekend we had no car at all so we were basically stranded in the house. Which was fine really. I have no problem staying in the house, I figure if I’m paying that much in rent, the longer I stay in the house the more I’m getting my money’s worth.

It’s depressing looking at the housing market in New York. Regular shitty houses are going for like half a mil. It’s depressing because you have to accept the fact that you will never be able to afford a home where you’ve grown up and spent your entire life. I was thinking I could get my parents’ house but I imagine the capital gains tax alone on that would be obscene.

The idea of moving somewhere else to be able to afford something is kind of frightening. How do you get a job in, say, North Carolina when you’re living in NY? Do people really hire over the phone etc? It’s all really weird, and the situation is made worse by the fact that I don’t want to live anywhere besides New York. I am tired of living in Queens and Nassau though… I want to live where I grew up. But what they say is really true, you can’t go home again. I can remember when the corner of Main Street and Hampton Road in Southampton didn’t have shops on it (I’m talking about the SE corner I think, across the street from Saks). My mom used to take us to Sip N’ Soda all the time, and I would always get a hot dog and a chocolate milk. Sometimes we’d sit at the counter. She’d order a hamburger extremely rare, and if it was too well done she’d go yell at the cook. Then I would go to Poremba’s and look at all the various car shit. My dermatologist, Dr. Weinberg was across the street; I always thought he looked a lot like my aunt.

No point to all this. Just procrastinating.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I feel really old sometimes, and it doesn’t feel how I expected it to feel. I don’t think I was ever young. It’s really weird. I feel like I was born old. Maybe I’m some old dude reincarnated. It would be really reassuring to be able to think that; I guess that’s why people come up with shit like the afterlife and heaven and all that. I still want to go to Rome and stuff.

I used to have such lofty goals for myself. As I thought more about them, I realized they were pretty shitty goals, all things considered. I really don’t want to be a CEO, I think that takes an optimist and someone good at politics and slinging a lot of bullshit. That’s really what I used to want to be, like the CEO of Ford. A “Captain of Industry.” Man my mother latched onto that phrase. But when you’re 16 the world looks like a really exciting place. But then you find out about rent, cable, verizon, cell phone, gas, electric, laundry, bla bla bla. Have a bad experience or two and your outlook changes drastically. Make some dumb moves (sure… let’s drop out of college… k, great!) no matter how many times you’re told not to… Use lots of ellipses…

Anyway, just rambling. I love my proxy server. When you find yourself taking joy in setting up a proxy server accessed over an SSH tunnel so that you can use the internet securely, you begin to realize that maybe you’re not like the average person. I also hate hoes. My boss asked me if I wanted to go to a strip club the other day and the idea repulsed me. Why would you pay some skanky ho to rub her ass on you? Then what are you supposed to do? Not my idea of fun. I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but that is just nasty to me. If you want to do a ho then do one, but I’m not spending money to be teased. Not that I would pay a ho, but at least I can see a value in that service. Paying some girl to rub her ass on you is not something I’d even want done to me for free, nevermind paying for it.

Friendster is kind of neat.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

So today I wake up — very reluctantly I might add, after a 3 day weekend — and head into the shower where I had my 15-minutes of fame, and when I finish, I open the door to find a nice pile of dog shit on the rug outside the bathroom. My life is dominated by feces. So I got dressed, picked up the prize and put it out on the curb with the rest of the trash, then walked the dogs who provided me with some more gems to deposit.

On the train I got a nice empty seat and started reading my book (The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille), and at the next stop 2 guys get on and sit down across the aisle from me. As usual for New York they do not speak in a quiet voice so I heard their whole conversation. Apparently one of them just got back from a trip to some kind of a resort (he mentioned 6-hour jet lag so I’m assuming thailand or Europe?) and his exploits there. As the story progresses it becomes obvious that he and his buddies were hanging out at a whorehouse. One of the hoes came out buck naked and yelled at him that “your friend need more money!” And he ended up giving her another $50 because the friend “needed more time.” :-/

Long story short, the guy spent about 4 or 5 minutes bragging about how many whores he fucked. This has to be one of the worst things to brag about that I can imagine. I mean really, who could consider that an accomplishment?

I started getting sick last Wednesday and my cold or whatever it is peaked around Saturday, and by Sunday night I was starting to feel ok again. I stayed home from work on Friday (yay for VPN) to keep cow-orkers from getting sick, but I did manage to get everybody at home sick, which has made me unpopular there.

Also I found out my credit rating is no longer as wonderful as it once was; I guess being unemployed for 6 months took its toll in more ways than one. Also the motherfucking US Postal Service keeps fucking my mail up royally and I frequently don’t get my stuff, so I missed a bunch of bills.

Puffs Plus with Lotion = win for blowing the nose.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I forgot to say my basic point about the gift thing, which was “Fuck Valentine’s Day.” If you love somebody, you love them all year ’round, not just on fucking valentine’s day, regardless of what the Whitman’s Sampler and Russell Stover assholes try and tell you. I can’t think of a more retarded holiday.

When we were in like, 6th grade, I had a crush on this girl Becky. My school had “Candygrams” that you could send to somebody for 50 cents and the money went to the “Student Council,” whatever the hell that was. So I must have sent Becky like 50 to 100 candygrams all from “Your Secret Admirer.” Somebody put 2 and 2 together and figured out it was me and that was really fun. 6th grade sucked. Anyway fuck Valentine’s Day in the neck.

/hug