Track Tales

Our country is broken. More broken than even I thought…

November 9th, 2016 by Conductor


In a horrific turn of events, Donald Trump, bully, racist, misogynist, xenophobic egotistic troll, was apparently elected President on November 8th, 2016.
I’m disgusted, and terrified by this, but more so by the clear and massive divide in this nation.
Those who voted for him didn’t just elect him, they hand him a nomination for Supreme Court Justice. Every decision SCOTUS has made in the past century is in danger.
us-flag-upside-down


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Another year…

December 18th, 2014 by Conductor


On the plus side, 42 doesn’t feel any different than 41.
On the minus, I feel like something more should be happening, but isn’t.


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Oh, yeah. They decided the arm needed to come off.

March 30th, 2010 by Conductor


Just kidding. Went to an orthopedist, who took some x-rays of my shoulder, looked at ’em, then attempted to unscrew my arm. That last bit was actually a range of motion test. Apparently with a hand on my back, my arm can in fact articulate like an action figure. Remove the hand though, and it just doesn’t bend that way.

So while there is a bone spur in my shoulder, it’s up top and very small. Doc # 2 thinks I managed to tear something in my shoulder, though he was as baffled as I am at how I managed to do so and have no memory of doing anything that could cause such an injury. Maybe some figurative backstabbing manifested itself? I dunno.

Anyway, doc said no surgery, or PT was needed. He have me a cortisone injection in the back, and said it would hurt more before it felt better, but not right away.
HE WAS NOT LYING.
Holy F*CK! the next two days were like I had an arrow stuck in my back.

But after that, the pain in the arm receded, and for the most part has been reduced to some aching and occasional stiffness. Just as well, since the Oxycodone kind of stopped working after the first couple of days, and was not helping me sleep at all. My earlier post suggested it did, but apparently that was food poisoning and fatigue from trying not to move and aggravate the nerve. I have since learned that Demerol might have been the better choice, as it’s stronger and supposed to help you sleep. Just as well though, as I’d like to hold off using that stuff until/unless there’s something major like surgery involved.


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Now that’s love. Or insanity. Maybe both. Probably both.

February 23rd, 2010 by Conductor


While I do know I’d like to be in love with a woman, I honestly have to wonder if this might be overdoing it.
Still I like the use of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.


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Very random thought.

May 16th, 2009 by Conductor


Bambi. Yeah, the deer from the book and Disney movie and the source of many cases of childhood trauma. I imagine Ted Nugent has a looping clip of Bambi’s mother being shot as his screen saver, but that’s not the random thought.

It’s the name Bambi.
In the book and the film, it’s very clearly defined that Bambi is a male deer. In other words, Bambi’s a dude.

Now, perhaps it’s some twisted outgrowth from the Disney movie, or just some odd coincidence, but the name Bambi is, with only our dear little deer as the lone exception, is an exclusively female name.

Bambi is about as female a name as it gets; it’s right up there with Dolly, Elvira, Misty, or Jane.

So why would you name a male deer Bambi?

The one reason I can come up with that doesn’t involve some weird plot by Siegmund Salzmann (aka Felix Salten) to intentionally screw with people’s notions of gender and names, is that it’s short for Bambino, which is baby in Italian.
That would work fine as a explanation, except that the Author was Hungarian and raised in Austria, and the book was originally written in German.

It seems like a very “Boy Named Sue” kind of deal to me.

If a boy were named Bambi today, I suspect he would either wind up overcompensating for it until the courts granted his request for a legal name change to Agammenon or some other unequivocally male name, or they’d be the gayest person ever – that guy that even other gay people refer to as the most gay person they’ve ever met. Picture someone that would embarass Big Gay Al from South Park.
Yeah, that gay.

All joking aside, one does wonder how Bambi got his name.

Gotta be a comedy sketch there, maybe Bambi’s father cheating on his wife with a deer named Bambi, then blurting out her name when his son was foaled and being forced to run with it. Maybe she was standing in the background and he saw her or something.


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Odd one. Shot down after already scrubbing the mission, returning to base, and hanging out in the O-Club.

March 3rd, 2009 by Conductor


Yeah, that pretty much covers what happened.

Not at all pleasant, but it is what it is.
No point in going further with it, as it’d just be a waste of time and energy, not to mention serving no useful purpose.

In other, non-emotionally numbing news, I’ve headed back underground.

Due to the inclement weather (rapid snow followed by frigid cold)  I took the Bus/Subway combo into work yesterday, and the Subway today (seeing as there were no buses and standing to wait for one… well it was just too damned cold for that). Yesterday the streets were a mess around here as usual, and I really didn’t feel up to dealing with all the people who have no idea how to drive on snow and ice. Same thing today, and probably tomorrow, maybe Thursday & Friday as well.  Monday wasn’t terrible, although the lack of a non-limited bus on the way home was annoying. Not as annoying as discovering I’d power walked 10 blocks to get home in time to watch House in HD (new TV), only to find a double episode of 24, a show I don’t watch and have never warmed up to.

Today was less pleasant, what with having to hoof it to the train, then wait forever for the 1 train at Times Square, which turned out to affect a good number of my coworkers as well. The ride home was uneventful, the playlist was good and long enough to last all the way home with tracks to spare, even with the walk from the subway to the house.

Yesterday I also made a decision that could turn out really well, or be the worst clusterfuck of a mistake I’ve made in a good long time. Not going to go into details about it just yet, though.

Check back in a few weeks to see if it’s going OK, or if I’m updating my resume and cursing excessively about what an idiotic mistake it was.

The only expectation I’m trying to take into this is that it’ll be different, which I feel like I desperately need.

To hope for the best… I’d like to, but at the moment, hope’s something people delude themselves with to stave off the inevitable letdown.

Aaaand that’s as close as I want to get to being this dude today, so I’ll end this here.


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The new TV is in, and it’s pretty, Oh, so pretty.

February 19th, 2009 by Conductor


Ok. The TV”s installed, most everything’s hooked up the way I want, and yeah, it’s nice.

Still have tthe HTPC hooked up via VGA, although I will compare it to an HDMI connection when I switch the video card from an HD3850 to an HD4850 this weekend most likely.  (That swap is mainly because the 4850 has a controlable fan, whle the 3850 does not, and it spins up audibly at times.)
From this distance ( about 8 feet) it all looks fine, and 1000 times better than the old set via Component or S-Video did.

Also got the correct cable for my PS2  (yes, PS2. I only bought it to play Gran Toursimo 4), and a cordless controller. Once I build a foldable bracket I’ll try out my G25 with it, since what I’ve read online suggests it should work.

I may need to get a new roof antenna though, since I can’t seem to tune in some of the local stations HD channels, like NBC, WPIX (I’ve lost track of what network that is) and WLIW.  CBS, FOX, ABC and WWOR (My 9 or whateve it’s called these days all come in fine in HD, as do a couple other stations. This is fine for now because the first half of the NASCAR season is on Fox, albeit in 720p, and I can watch House in High Def. House is basically the only show I watch on Network TV besides auto racing, so House in HD is a big deal.  I relate to the character a lot, which might be a bad thing, but I don’t care. My mother said he reminds her of me, but worse, but she just can’t watch the show without thinking of Wooster & Jeeves. For me, Peter Laurie is such an awesome actor I have no such trouble.  But back to the TV. Before the new set, I did not know that the actress that plays 13 has a very small scar on her right cheek. Now I can see it quite easily. Not distracting at all, unlike her eyes which I supsect would burn me  if she turned her gaze upon me for too long.

I had DirecTV add the HD package, but despite their insistance that it should work, I don’t see HD from the box I have, so I’ll be picking up the HD box soon, and maybe moving the current box to another room. They also seem to think my current single LNB dish should suffice, but I think they’re wrong about that too. We’ll see.

Still no sign of FIOS in these parts. Damne Verizon cherry picking neighborhoods.


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Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Kwanza is a made up holiday…

December 25th, 2008 by Conductor


Whatever you celebrate, even if it’s just getting the day off from work, have a happy and safe one.

To anyone stuck somewhere they really don’t want to be but feel they have to be, hang in there! Hopefully you’ll get out and get back home soon, unharmed.

Oh, and that goes for all the troops stationed overseas, too. 😉 You at least get paid (not nearly enough) to get shot at and yelled at by people who don’t really want you there, but you are missing the joys of inlaws, crowded malls, lousy winter weather, and the lamest yule log shows in recent memory.

Seriously.

WPIX isn’t even showing it until 9am, and then only for 4 hours. That station in Chicago (WGN) is running the audio for “It’s a wonderful life,” and other “classic radio shows” as the soundtrack for it’s Yule Log show. The log doesn’t even look warm and inviting. I thought it was bad back in 2000 or 2001 when I had to watch Yule Log on the web because I was working. Now you can download it to your iPod. Sometimes technology goes too far.

And if you think I’m just grousing, think again. It made the news.

Anyway, a Happy Christmahanakwanzaka to you and yours, and you Festivus people stay off the roads. We know you’re all drunk.

As you know I prefer Halloween, but Christmas isn’t too bad, plus it’s 7 days after my birthday. One of these years I will have a party that spans that week.


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Is it still Rickrolling if you actually get Rick Astley to do it?

November 28th, 2008 by Conductor


I still say he’s been a remarkably good sport about the whole thing, and I still enjoy his music.
And if he can make some money off of it, why the hell not?

In other news, the W’s in the shop getting some dings fixed, so I got a rental from Enterprise.
It’s a 2009 Ford Escape. On the whole, it’s not bad, but there are some issues.
Now, I’ve not driven a Ford in a number of years, so I’d forgotten how, well… mushy the handling is from the driver’s perspective.

The steering is sluggish and loose. Fans of Top Gear may wish to refer to the review of Ford’s F-150 to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

In the W, you jiggle the steering wheel, the wheels jiggle too. In the Escape, you jiggle the wheel and the wheels continue following the last major input they were given. I suppose that’s good for drivers with shaky hands, but it is very disconcerting coming from a more responsive vehicle.

The other adjustment I’ve had to make is the throttle. The throttle response isn’t all that gradual, although that may just be the different pedal feel. Also, with the W, there is Turbo Lag, which basically means if you step on the gas, it’ll go, but then it’ll go harder once the turbocharger kicks in. On the Ford, there’s no turbo, and as such no lag, so there’s a bigger initial surge of power.

Other than that, it’s an ok vehicle. Fairly roomy, decent stereo, although the center console is cluttered with buttons, and it’s fairly quiet.


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For those that know the song and the driver, this is very funny…

November 6th, 2008 by Conductor


Pretty sure he passed but didnt inhale. The last thing you need when running over 230MPH is to be high.

Pretty sure he passed it, but didn't inhale. The last thing you need when running over 230MPH is to have your reflexes dulled by a foreign substance.

Image swiped from the 1010 WINS .com live audio feed.

Wiki page on the song…


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Can’t sleep. Stupid brain won’t shut down.

August 10th, 2008 by Conductor


I think too much.

So I’m lying here, tired, wanting to fall asleep, but unable to.

Instead I’m thinking about school and how I hated having to hold back so the other kids could have their turn to answer questions. Looking back, I really resent having to do that. Not that I wanted to deprive my classmates the chance to learn and show what they knew, but most of the time, it seemed to me they didn’t want to answer the questions. I did, so why not just let me answer them? It was probably at it’s worst in grade school and junior high, but I don’t think it ever stopped.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t the master of all subjects, far from it. But for those classes where I enjoyed the subject or was just plain good at it without even really trying, it was so annoying to have to hold back.

It was better in college I think, but I think that was mainly because it was less of a question and answer type environment.

Now that I’ve been in the workforce for several years, I’m feeling that way again, only it’s a bit different.

Half the time I’m annoyed that some people at work just expect me to have the answers for everything, simply because I have a good memory and am familiar with the patterns of problems that keep happening with slight variations over and over again. Actually, I’m think it might bother me more that people who’ve been there as long or longer don’t recognize and remember these things. At times I want to ask them how they can’t remember, “You were there! We worked on fixing it together. Did you block it out or something? I mean it wasn’t the greatest day ever, but still…”

Feh. Maybe my memory is just freakish. By extension I suppose that makes me (more of) a freak. Yay.

Anyway, the other half of the time I’m just ticked off that people do things so haphazardly, and without hashing out what could go wrong with something before they do it. They’re so focused on getting something out there by a certain date that they wind out forcing people that are capable of putting out truly kick ass work to constantly churn out rush jobs to meet the deadlines set by people that couldn’t do the work if they tried. The end result is more stuff for me and the folks I work with to clean up after. Almost every single time.

If they’d just ask the people who actually have to deal with the stuff on a daily basis, we could tell them the pitfalls beforehand. Granted, that probably wouldn’t stop the litany of insane deadlines and half-assed end results, but it might slow it down and maybe get rid of some of the more obvious screwups.

So after that chunk of venting, I should be ready to sleep now. But I’m not. Because those were just second and third level thoughts my mind tried turning to in order to stop thinking about the one thing that’s really keeping me awake.

A few posts ago I mentioned going after what you want or risk losing it forever. I’m still ‘there’ as it were.

What I want isn’t a thing, it’s a person. All I have to do is ask a question. I should have asked a year ago. But I can’t do it. I’m terrified that it’ll come out weird or creepy or just sound totally inept. I’m more terrified they’ll say no. It always comes down to that.

Right now, right this minute, I think I could do it, but of course it’s 4am on a Sunday, which would totally fulfill the weird, creepy, and inept fears all in one fell swoop.

How bad have I got it? I found myself wanting to get stuck in an elevator, and I despise elevators. Also, I do believe I’d take a bullet or knife for this person if it would keep them from harm. Worse yet, I actually care what this person thinks.
And now it’s 5:15am.

To quote South Park, “That’s pretty fucked up right there.”


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It should be obvious but…

July 19th, 2008 by Conductor


I still have to remind myself that some people don’t like finding out that they’re very predictable.

However, it’s still fun doing it, and I am a Professional Bastard, so I do it anyway.

Sometimes I do wonder though if I’m actually that fast to recognize people’s patterns of behavior, or if it’s just that I just accept it right away and move on from there. Meanwhile, (at least from my perspective), other people see the pattern, but it either doesn’t register, or they’re consciously or subconsciously ignoring it, often to their own detriment.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people, possibly myself included, are often oblivious to how busy they actually are at work. Actually, I’m usually painfully aware of how busy I am, but don’t have time to do more than grumble about it and press on until the work gets done.

A few months ago, (or was it last year?), I was trying to explain to someone that they didn’t see the same thing on one device as they saw on their own because they were always doing something. The person thought I was kidding, but I told him I wasn’t. He then actually looked at his calendar and had to go a few weeks before finding a day with nothing scheduled. There was a third person in the room and we had a little chuckle about it, but I was a little concerned that this was really a revelation to this person, and a felt a little bad about it. I still wonder if that’s the first time in a while he’d actually looked at it that way. Hopefully he’ll take it as an impetus to slow down a bit and not be booked so solidly.

This came up the other day when I told someone I wanted to see when they’d be free for lunch because they were always busy. Again the initial denial, but then they had to reschedule because they realized they were in fact very busy. I was too busy myself to do anything worse than a mild I told you so.

As for myself, again, I tend to be painfully aware of how busy I am, but some days the hours slip by like seconds. But they keep paying me, so I keep going back. Still it’s a bad day when I can’t even find time to pass by my one calming influence there. I would like to bottle that and carry it around with me, but they’d quickly suffocate if I closed it, and dragging a person sized bottle around all day would be inconvenient and highly conspicuous, which is a no-no on a team that’s supposed to slip in, fix what’s broken and get out.


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My upper lip is naked…

June 9th, 2008 by Conductor


Shaved the beard and for the first time ever, the mustache.

Yeah.

So I thought back, looked at some old pictures, and the rough estimate on the last time I was without a mustache is sometime in 1989 or early 1990. I’m not one for changing my appearance all that often, but that’s pretty damned long.

I’ve shaved the beard a couple of times, but never the mustache.

It feels a little odd, and I’m still attempting to get used to how I look.

It feels cold when I exhale through my nose, but it’s been ridiculously hot this weekend, so it’s been sweating whenever I’m not in a room with Air Conditioning.

I suspect the reactions of my coworkers will be either “Whoa” ala Bill & Ted, or stunned silence followed by inquiries of who I am and what did I do with the real me. I’m still the evil twin, so don’t expect a kinder, gentler me anytime soon.

As to why the hell I did this, well, I’ve been considering it for a while now and finally decided to just suck it up and do it.

One bit of advice I received from a friend is that it’ll grow back. Hearing that from someone else (again) was enough to kick me out of the waffling funk I was in about it. She is right, it’ll grow back, but I did counter that if she recoils in horror, it’s a pretty good sign that it was a bad idea.

However, I can’t blame her. 1) She’s too beautiful to blame, and 2) It’s not like she handed me the razor and a can of Edge gel and said, “Go. Shave!” That might have been interesting… 🙂 Ah well.


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Sick of being alone.

June 5th, 2008 by Conductor


If at any point in your life, you come to realize there’s something or someone you want, go after it right away.

Don’t wait. You’re never going to build up more nerve than you have at the moment you realize, “I want that/her/him more than anything in the world.”

All waiting does is give someone else the opportunity to slip in there and grab it before you can.

Then you’ll never know it would have turned out, and you’ll hate yourself more and more each day.


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So true it’s depressing…

May 26th, 2008 by Conductor


Insomnia

From xkcd, a very funny and occasionally deep comic.


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Flashbacks and What Ifs…

September 25th, 2007 by Conductor


Was going through some old files a little while ago, and found a file outlining an interview I had lined up from the time when I was out of work in 1999 & 2000.

The date of the interview was 9/25/2000. I recall that it was a bright sunny day, with hardly a cloud to be seen. 7 years later and I open the file up. Weird, huh?

But wait, it gets better.

The interview was with the New York office of Marsh and McLennan, who at the time had their offices in the World Trade Center. Specifically, 1 World Trade on the 96th floor.

At that point in time, I was just about at the point where I’d take any job that paid a decent salary, and this one, despite not feeling like a job I actually wanted, was offering good money, was a fairly short commute, and they were willing to hire me.

A few days before, I’d had an interview for a temp gig at the Law Firm I’m employed at today, and I was leaning towards that job, as it was a more along the lines of what I was good at at that time, and being a 6 month gig, would get me a paycheck while I explored other options, something I really needed at the time. I told the person who interviewed me that I was interested, but I’d had one more interview scheduled and would like to let them know after that.

I took the Law Firm gig, of course, and while I’ve since complained about things at that job to the point of wanting to quit more than once, it’s still beats the other job in one critical way. A year later I was a helpdesk analyst at the law firm, and watched in horror as the WTC towers were hit and subsequently fell on September 11th. It too, was a bright sunny day, with hardly a cloud to be seen.

A few days later I found the visitors pass I had from Marsh a year earlier, and as more information came in I realized that had I taken that job, I would more than likely have been on one of the floors that were destroyed.

That shook me up a bit, needless to say. If I’d been in a different mood, or the interviewers had made the job seem more enticing, I might have taken the job at Marsh, and would probably be dead.

Looking back, it’s a bit creepy even now, but I guess enough time has passed that I’m not quite as freaked out about it as I used to be. I just felt it was worth mentioning.

And as I look out the window, once again, it seems to be a bright sunny day, with hardly a cloud to be seen.


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Off track…

August 5th, 2007 by Conductor


Had the strangest dream last night/this morning. Weird enough that I feel compelled to write about it before the memory fades.
It was about someone I haven’t seen or spoken to in at least 10 years, possibly 16 years.

Honestly, I can’t even say I’ve thought about this person in that time span, until this dream.

We were classmates in grade school and Junior high. We weren’t really close, but I think when you spend 6 or 7 of your formative years in a classroom with basically the same 25 – 30 people, you get to know them, at least a little bit.

But I digress.

Anyway, the exact details are somewhat fuzzy, but I distinctly recall that she was getting married soon (in the dream anyway), and we’d met and I think were catching up and doing the whole old friends thing. she had her hair down, which is something she pretty much never did back in school. I seemed to be genuinely happy for her and supportive, which I’d like to think is how I would react in reality. Another odd thing is that the whole dream was in shadows; there weren’t any lights on to speak of, and it seemed overcast and dim outside, very much like when a big thunderstorm rolls in but right before the rain starts.

Towards the end of the dream I think I was trying to figure out what to give her as a gift, when I either noticed or was informed she was still into dance – something I have no actual recollection of her doing back in school – although the uniforms weren’t really dance friendly. In fact, I think they may be the reason I’ve never rented a car from Avis. Those red jackets bring back memories – some good, but some I’d rather remain filed away forever.
Thinking about it now though, she did have a slight build so it’s possible she did dance. Meanwhile back in the dream, for some reason I’d probably have to dig way deeper into my subconscious than I care to anytime soon, I decided a really big gift certificate from a dancewear shop would be perfect. Now, the only thing I can think of in my life that would tie into that is that I work about a block from a Capezio Dancewear shop. I know this because of the very large, very bright neon Capezio signs in the windows, and the fact that they have racks of leotards and ballet shoes and posters of people wearing those in the windows.(Broadway and 51st for those familiar with the area) That and going to high school, college and working in that neighborhood over the past… 20 years come September.

Damn. 20 years? Subway fares have more than doubled in that time, while service seems much worse now. (Ha! A transit reference makes it into the post.)
Well, now that I’m totally bummed and weirded out by this dream, I’ll end this.

I’m hoping that this dream isn’t some kind of bad omen, but I never dream about the people I went to school with, and while she’s not the last person I’d expect to meet up with in a dream, she’s up there for sure. Not in a bad way, just not one I’d expect to have a one on one conversation with. In a flashback type dream with the rest of the class sure, but no just her.
Hopefully, she’s already happily married or at least happily single, happy being the main goal, and that she’s alive and well.

On that one-in-a-million chance she or someone who knows both of us happens to read this, I hope you’re doing ok Laura.


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That perfect time between winter & spring.

April 6th, 2005 by Conductor


04/06/05 – No more winter! I was really getting sick of cold weather. Mind you, once spring kicks in to full swing, I’ll look back fondly on this in between time when nothing’s blooming (and flooding the air with pollen) yet. In other news, I got a little bit of woodworking done, and have the tools and materials in place for a couple more projects I’ve been wanting to do. Still driving too much, and gas prices have spiked again, so I think I’ll be dusting off the old metrocard soon. Speaking of ye olde subway, there’s a new submission! Check it out here.


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Return of the neglectful webmaster (or this post needed a title)

May 11th, 2003 by Conductor


05/11/03 – Apologies for the lack of any updates. I’ve really neglected my web sites over the past year. Among other distractions, my personal life was basically torn to shreds by someone who wouldn’t know a good thing if it walked up to her and chopped her hand off like Darth Vader did to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.* And yes, I am bitter about it. Emotional investments like that are rare for me and to be honest I’d be happy if the ground opened up and swallowed her and I never had to see or hear her ever again. But enough about that. Not worth the time or energy; never was, and never will be.

Since last summer, I’ve been the happy owner of a 2003 Subaru WRX, the one bright spot in my life. I’ve been working my ass off for 3 years at my current job, and it was time for a new car. The ignominy of having to rent a car in my own town if I wanted to go somewhere on my own schedule had to stop. And stop it has!

$2.00 for a one way trip? No improvement in service, and the system as a whole is as bad if not worse than when I first put up this site, over 4 years ago now. I’m so glad I have a new car.

For the past three years, I’ve basically been taking a cab to the Franklin Avenue Station rather than ride from Church Avenue to Times Square on my way to work. The reasons for this can be found in Tales from the Track #1. The rest of the tales should be up soon, as I’m in a good writing mood lately. Anyway, that cab ride costs $7.00 a day, or about what I spend on lunch on average. So my total winds up being $11.00 a day for a lousy ride with drivers who should have their licenses revoked forever, followed by a ride that could be swift and uneventful, or turn into some hellish journey that would make Odysseus (Ulysses for you Roman mythology buffs) shed a sympathetic tear, so comical (in the Shakespeare sense) you just want to go home and stay in bed forever. It costs me $22.00 a day to park my car in Midtown, which is actually a decent rate. I don’t include gas since I tank up every week and a half anyway. While I still only drive to work twice a week (Monday & Friday), it’s becoming more and more tempting to push it to 3 or 4 days.

* – 6/9/2008 At this point in time I’d like to apologize for the utterly pathetic Star Wars reference in this post. It sounds worse each time I read it, but that’s what I wrote at the time, so it stays. The rest of it is pure bitter angry dude venting, which I’m fine with. Better that than bottle it up and let it eat away at you.


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