Monday, November 30, 2009

260 - Thanksgiving Eve

Nothing gets you in the mood for a festive Thanksgiving like hitting the grocery store the afternoon before kick off.

Fortunately, the store was very calm...a blessing and a curse. I got through fast, but then had to wait 20 minutes for the bus. And while it was a very pretty day, I did admit that having a car rightaboutnow would have been great...would have saved some serious time.

But one train and two buses later I arrived home with all the needed ingredients for green bean casserole. And I rethought the whole Iwantacar-rightnow thing when we crossed the Perimeter and I saw traffic wasn't moving at all. In any direction.

So, I'll take a 20 minute wait in the pretty weather every time, thanks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

261 - Geez...what a Grinch!

I got up super early Tuesday and hustled to catch the 7:13 bus. It was cold, it was dark, it wasn't fun.

The train rolled into the station just as I got to the platform and I hopped on. Score!

Unfortunately in my haste to get a seat, I stepped on a lady's foot. I immediately apologized and she just scowled at me. Nice to see she's in the holiday spirit.

Upon further reflection I should have told her to get her big ass feet out of the aisle. If she can't be bothered to move them out of the way who am I to have to slalom around them? Life will continue to be hard for her if she thinks everyone is going to bob and weave around her.

Fortunately, the day got better as it went on. And I didn't train home last night, so I didn't have to worry about Little Miss Sunshine and her callous disregard for the Marta aisle.

Monday, November 23, 2009

262 - Bomb Threats aren't how I wanted to start my Monday

Apparently a pair of bomb threats were called into Marta this morning. Both the Atlanta Police Department and the Five Points Marta received calls pertaining to bombs on the system.

After extensive searches of the trains and the stations, with bomb sniffing dogs to boot, authorities didn't find anything. Which is a-ok with me.

Hopefully this was A) a prank (not funny) or B) the act of someone running woefully behind schedule for work who needed a good excuse for being tardy.

If A, don't quit your day job. If B, set your alarm clock moron...no need to instill fear and panic (and what I imagine are hefty costs associated with a search) to CYA with the boss.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

265 - What are the Chances?

Friday night I was on the bus heading home. We were stopped at a traffic signal and as the light turned green there was a swift breeze that blew some leaves off the surrounding trees. As we started to advance with the traffic, one lovely red leaf fell into the bus.

Marta buses have a sort of sun roof, for lack of a better word. The driver had the one at the front of the bus open. And this lovely leaf floated on the breeze and into our moving vehicle. It was just amazing to see the timing...had the breeze come later, had the driver accelerated faster, it wouldn't have happened. There just would have been one more leaf on the road.

The odds of this sort of thing happening have to be slim. And I am sure I'll never witness something like this again. But it reminded me of a lesson I very often forget; everything happens when it is supposed to. Best to stop trying to control the wind and just go with the flow.

It's funny what you can learn from a leaf...and a Marta bus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

267 - Friends in Various Places

So tonight I boarded the train per the usual. I was just starting book five of the Sookie Stackhouse series and listening to a little Sinatra/Nat King Cole when I felt a tap on my shoulder. (sidebar - how awesome is Nat King Cole's voice? I firmly believe that if silk could speak it would sound just like him. I am miffed I never got the chance to see him perform...fortunately I did get to see Sinatra once before he passed.)

Anyway, I thought perhaps it was some nice guy offering me his seat. It was better than that...it was my compadre Peter! He works for an architectural firm just down the street from my office and we've teamed with them a time or two in pursuit of some projects. Also, we both belong to a professional organization within our industry, so we've known each other for some time. Peter is good people.

We chit chatted about our families, the upcoming holidays, etc. And he introduced me to one of his co-workers who was also riding in our car. Les, his coworker, looked really familiar and lo and behold we figured out we'd met when he was working at Georgia Tech. I tell you, it really is a small world.

Anyway, I looked at my watch to see if I was going to be able to catch the 5:35 bus and I was just going to miss it. Before I even looked up from my watch Peter was offering to drop me off at home. How nice is that?

Folks, let me tell you, the traffic here is to unbearable most days. There have been days when I've spent more time sitting on the bus traveling 2 miles than I have walking to the train and taking the 11 mile ride out to my stop. So the offer of a ride is no small thing here in Atlanta.

We hopped in Peter's Civic and took the back way to my house and it saved me 35 minutes...or at least 15...as it wasn't really dark yet and I had thought about walking home from the train station closest to my house (which is incidentally not where I catch the bus). I know, I know, walking alone isn't always the most accepted mode of transport for a person, but sometime you gotta do what you gotta do.

So muchas gracias to Peter for being such a kind Samaritan. And he can rest assured should I ever get wheels again, I'll be the first to offer him a lift should he ever need one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

268 - Kicking off the Day with some Night...

..Night Fever, that is. Yes, I am referring to the Bee Gees classic.

Guess what? They have a station on Pandora too. I am sure this shocks you. Not.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to begin my Wednesday...because it seems to me this week is dragging. Anyone else feel it's going by slower than a herd of baby turtles stampeding through peanut butter?

Anyone? Anyone? Frye? Frye?

TTFN...the laundry, dusting and my book are calling. Sometimes it is hard to live this rock star lifestyle.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

269 - Gridiron Gab

So tonight I got into an engaging conversation with my evening bus driver regarding the NFL this season.

A few weeks back this guy was stunned to find out a girl was a true sports fan. I mean he was flabbergasted. I assured him I come from a long line of ladies who love their sports. Point in case - my aunt once threw her shoe at the TV when the Packers made a terrible call on 3rd and 13. Not to mention when my college gang gets together it's the girls who are glued to the TV for the Mountaineer games..the guys tend to wander in and out to see what we are yelling about.

Anyway, the driver is a Dolphins fan. I refer to the Dolphins franchise as "The Fighting Fish from Florida" but really I don't feel strongly one way or the other about them. This year they do hold a special place in my heart as they drafted Pat White (from WVU)..and because I adore him, I hope they do well. But other than that they really aren't on my NFL radar.

I am, in general, a NFC East girl. Specifically, I affiliate with the Redskins. It's been a rough couple of years for me. Sunday was a miracle in my eyes as A)we beat Denver (who I do hate with fire of a thousand suns..one word: Elway.) and B)we managed to score more than 17 points for the first time all season. A W is a W and I'll take one any way we can at this point.

We got to talking about the unfortunate 3rd down call the Patriots made Sunday against Indy. For the life of us, neither he nor I could come up with a good reason for such a poor play calling. I am sure there must be some method to Coach B's madness...but wow....talk about a crash and burn. I am all about showing faith in your defense but with a 5 point lead and roughly 2 minutes left that is asking a lot of any line. Maybe if you are playing a crap team that play works out but - hello - you are playing Indy..and more importantly, Peyton Manning.

Don't get me wrong, I hold no affection for the Colts. They will forever be the team that packed up in the middle of the night and bolted out of Maryland like a bunch of criminals. I was 10 at the time and lived about 25 miles down the road from them...and that sort of thing leaves a mark, ya know. (This is also why I loathe the Broncos in general and John Elway in particular, but we can get into that another time). And I think Peyton is a great player and a decent human in general but I've never swigged the Manning Kool-Aid that others often offer.

From there we discussed the lackluster performance of Brady Quinn during the Monday Night F(*& up of a game. Three seasons in and he went 13 for 31 in completed passes for the night. And this guy is starting? Not that the Ravens brought their A game but wow that is really bad. Mangini might want to get his resume ready for the Buffalo head coaching position that just opened up.

We covered a lot in our 8 minute ride but I don't think we answered any questions.

For those interested, I'm once again co-writing this Sunday's upcoming picks with my friend Julie (Alabama Julie not North Carolina via Boston Julie). She does her picks based on random topics that have ZERO to do with the actual NFL. I think this week she's using a True Blood slant. If you want to see what she and I concoct, you can check out the post on Facebook...or if there is a demand here I can certainly post them. Just let me know in the comments section if you'd like me to do so.

Oddly enough, and even with this weird method, Julie is doing better at picking the weekly winners than most of the dudes on ESPN. So yeah, there are some girls out here that like sports for real.

Monday, November 16, 2009

270 - Once More With Feeling

Today's title comes from the best installment of the Buffy the Vampire series. This is a great episode where the Sunnydale resident are cursed with only communicating through songs...showtune-ish songs at that. It is simply marvelous...I watch it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

To that end I decided to see if Pandora had a GLEE portal, if you will, and low and behold they do! I specifically wanted to hear their versions of Defying Gravity from Wicked. Sadly, that one hasn't popped up the rotation yet but WOW am I thrilled to have found this station. It's got Glee tunes, songs from Rent, Hairspray, Grease...you get the idea. I am not embarrassed to admit that I was singing along to Good Morning Baltimore this morning while I waited for the bus. No worries..I was the only one at the stop.

Tonight as I walked to the train Be Our Guest from Disney's Beauty and the Beast came on. I tell you, it was all I could do to not reenact the dance number that accompanies that tune.

The best thing about Pandora is you can select various artists and they play that artist as well as similar acts in that particular genre. So far I have "stations" set up for the following:
  • Jay Z - which also leads me to Nas, Ice Cube and the like
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - which segues to Green Day, Incubus, etc.
  • Oasis - which puts me on the path to Coldplay, Radiohead and even the Beatles (ironic, huh?)
  • Nirvana - which make me miss Mr. Cobain greatly and guides me to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam et al
  • Jim Croce - Really, does anyone NOT cry when they hear Operator? Plus I get a healthy dose of JT (James Taylor for TNITK), Simon & Garfunkle, and Fleetwood Mac, etc.
  • And finally, the Claude Debussy station which provides fab tunes from not only Claude but also Chopin, Ravel and Mozart to list just a few.

Seriously, whoever thought up this Music Genome Project is nothing short of a genius. I just wish had been me.

So if you hear a tall blonde singing Miss Baltimore Crabs tomorrow do not be alarmed. This is normal behavior for a Pandora user...I think.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

275 – Veteran's Day

I got up early this AM to get into work early. Sadly, a misplaced Marta card (was in my rain coat and not packed in my backpack as it should have been) caused me to miss the 7:13 bus. So, I ended up with an extra 25 minutes to kill. I have no idea what I did with this time, by the way. I am still not used to functioning at such a high level in the morning. I may have eaten breakfast but I cannot be sure.

I caught the 7:45 bus and was able to make the 8:01 train by the skin of my teeth. If I hadn’t run up the stairs and darted on the train as the doors shut I’d have been really screwed. (Not to mention I’d have been soaked too. I am not even going there…even I am tired of bitching about the rain.)

I stood as we made our way to Midtown, content to lean against the back wall of the train car while finishing the last few pages of Living Dead in Dallas. And as a result I almost missed my stop. Seriously, if the train had been a bit more crowded I would have never made it off in time.

The upshot is I finished book two of the Sookie Stackhouse series…which I started Friday AM and didn’t touch over the weekend. So yeah, I was kinda into it. I’m waiting to start book three until tomorrow AM when I’ve got to make my way to Hartsfield for what are becoming monthly trips to Houston. Actually, I think I am going to take books three and four along as I think that I can realistically finish both in the four plus hours I’ll ultimately be on the plane..and that is if we encounter no delays…which is never the case when flying Delta.

This will be my final post of the week so I leave you all with a special shout out to all our Veterans who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Thanks for all you do to keep the rest of us save. And if you are in the mood to really celebrate our Vets today check out this new documentary:
P.O.V. - The Way We Get By
Wednesday, November 11, 10:00pm on 8 (GPB/Georgia Public Broadcasting)

"The Way We Get By" relates the stories of three senior citizens who, as part of the "Maine Troop Greeters," thank soldiers at a Bangor, Maine, airport who are arriving from or departing for Afghanistan and Iraq---some 800,000.

To find out when it’s airing in your area visit:
http://www.pbs.org/pov/tvschedule/local-schedule.php?program_id=991525&display_format=ep_description&display_feed=8643&display_date=2009-11-11&display_time=22:00:00&feeds=&station=WGTV&zipcode=30328&transport=&provider=&channelsuppress=f

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

276 - Thanks for the Offer of a Lift Beth!

Today was another thrashing downpour, this time courtesy of Ida.

Clearly, my foray into mass transit commuting has sparked an end to the drought that has plagued my region for so long. If only I had known I that my use of transit and foot would cure us of critical water shortages perhaps I would have started this experiment sooner.

While waiting for the bus this evening, I received a call from my friend Beth who offered to give me a ride home so I wouldn't have to be out in the elements. The bus pulled up while we were on the phone so I declined her very kind offer. But still, it was very nice that she thought of me...particularly on a day when A) traffic was a nightmare and B) when I really am out of her way.

Finally, happy birthday USMC and Sesame Street. Both are celebrating the day they came into existence today...and I am thankful for both in very different ways.

Tomorrow I plan to attend the Veteran's Day parade that travels down Peachtree Street to give a proper thanks to our service men and women. If you are in the area I encourage you to come out too. Parade kicks off at Pershing Point (rather fittingly) at 12Noon. Come out if your schedule permits. Semper fi.

Monday, November 9, 2009

277 - Somebody has a Case of the Mondays

Is it just me or is everyone having a tough time adjusting to the time change this year? I have no problem getting up in the AM...but at night I am simply exhausted. I feel like I should be going to bed right when I get home. I guess because it is sooo dark out. The older I get, the harder the time changes seem to affect me.
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Had a great weekend with my friend Kristin. She came down for the Redskins game (if you can call it that) and while the Redskins didn't win (and truthfully we didn't expect them to) she did have great weather and some tasty food while she was here.
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Somewhere between my house, the GA Dome and the Midtown Marta station I lost my monthly Marta pass. This is the SECOND time I've done this. Must come up with a better/more secure way to travel without losing it. So, this month's commutes are on my dime. Yay.
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Finally, I was listening to 98Rock this morning while waiting for the bus. They were lamenting the Ravens loss to Cinci yesterday. Mickey's silver lining statement of the day, "It could be a whole lot worse. We could be further down 95 by the Capitol Beltway." Ouch. Way to throw the Redskins under the bus Mick.

Friday, November 6, 2009

280 - Onto the Next...

Well, I finished Dead Until Dark this morning in the doctor's office. Must say I liked it..though I did figure it out before the end.

I've now moved onto Living Dead in Dallas...book two of the series. So far, it is off to another interesting start. 22 pages in and I am already forming my opinions about what's happened so far and how it will all play out.

Tonight a good friend from home is coming in for the Redskin Falcons game on Sunday. So long about 8PM you'll find me again on the train making my way to the airport. If you see someone headed southbound reading LDID, chances are it will be me!

Have a great weekend and Let's Go Redskins!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

281 - And I thought I had a Bad Day

Today was rough for a variety of reasons. Lots of last minute deadlines at work, some personal issues cropping up. All in all I left the office feeling totally drained and a bit defeated.

I got on the train and fired up Pandora and tried to forget about everything. But for some reason in the midst of my ride I fired up USA TODAY and saw the horrific news about the Fort Hood shootings.

I read no further than the headline. I don't know anything other than 12 people were killed and scores were injured...and that the alledged shooter was a solider. An immediate wave of nauceouness hit me and I simply shut down the webpage. I just couldn't take it.

God help the victims. God help all of us who seem to be rendered helpless on an almost daily basis by random and incomprehensible acts of violence in this world. It makes no sense to me. And frankly, I'm tired of trying to figure out why these sorts of things happen.

282 - This has been my Favorite Train Ride so far (Wednesday post)

Tonight I detoured from my usual route home and met up with two of my former roommates for dinner. One is still local; the other has moved about 2 hours away. So, the opportunities for all of us to get together are not as often as we’d like.

I lived with these two when we were still girls in our 20s. They had roomed together at Georgia Tech and continued to do so after graduation. That they opened their door and hearts to me and allowed me to join them still baffles me. And maybe most impressive is they never made me feel like a third wheel..even though I came to the game late.

While we did have bumps in the road, namely me dealing with such a crushing depression that I can’t fathom A) how I didn’t know I was in it until it was over and B) how they tolerated me. But by and large we had a great time together. We hosted parties, road tripped, discussed and disagreed about politics. We all know each other’s parents, siblings, and pets. They’ve both married and I was honored to assist each in different ways the day of the big events. And now with husbands and children and distance we still take a moment here and there to just check in, say hi and reconnect.

I sometimes fret at my state of being in this World. I feel bad because I haven’t found “the one”; because I may never find “the one” and have my own family; because I am not as far along with my career as I had hoped; because I am not as thin as I once was; because I wasted many, many years on relationships (both social and romantic) that at best were not nearly as serious as I had thought… and at worst proved to be rather toxic.

But then I remember these two roommates, and my roommates from college who I am still very close with as well, and I think of how through all these years they have always loved me and supported me. Even at times when I’ve not been very loveable. Even at times when they perhaps needed me to help them more than I’ve needed them to help me. Even when they may not have agreed with my choices. Even when I said I didn’t need them and blocked out their concerns and advice.

I may not be good at many things, but I do believe I am very good at picking friends. And if that is to be my legacy after I am gone, if that is what I am going to known for, I think I am OK with that. After all, aren’t friends the families we’d choose if we could?

So while BHBHL might look like gibberish to you, to me it reminds me that I am not alone in this sometimes scary World. And for that I will forever be thankful….and grateful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

283 - I Really Did Take the Soul Train in Today

The train car I hopped on this AM was wrapped in advertisement film for the upcoming Soul Train Awards scheduled to be held in Atlanta on 11/29. It was totally tripped out in the old school Soul Train fonts and colors. It looked AWESOME..and so does the line up for the show!

(For more information about the award show visit http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/4552897/)

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to get down like James Brown…and I’ll try and snap a shot of the Don Cornelius-inspired train car. It would seem “the hippest trip in America” is my ride into Midtown for work.

Who knew?

Monday, November 2, 2009

284 - I Love it When Technology Works

So today was my first commuting day with my new IPhone.

The morning commute was spent catching up with my bus driver and fellow passengers. While on the train I dove back into the book du jour.

This evening I did my first commuting Tweet from the phone. Instant snark provided IRT courtsey of yours truly. I got to tweet while listening to my favorite radio station from back home in MD...98Rock...while on a train 600 miles from the station location. It was pretty cool.

I am still trying to figure out the ins and outs of the IPhone but so far I've managed to not to start WWW3 by accidentally launching our nuclear missiles. So I've got that going for me...which is nice.

If anyone has tips on how to best maximize Pandora, please post in the comments section here. I can't seem to get more than three songs to play in a row. I did find the Nirvana and Debussy stations...so I am not totally clueless.

And finally, if you want to follow me on Twitter just look for MassTransitChik...that's me.

That is all for now....Seacrest out.

287 – Everybody’s Working for the Weekend (Friday, October 30th)

You know you are in for an interesting day when the first thought that pops into your mind upon waking up is, “Hey..I can take a nap when I get home this evening”…and you are actually excited by this revelation. Isn’t that special? God, I miss my 20s.

The AM commute saw lots of out of towners using the train. It was Pride Weekend here in Atlanta so many participants travel into town to partake of the merriment of the event. I directed several dudes to various and sundry venues in the greater Midtown area as I made my way to the office that morning. (I am sure the event was super fun this year given that Halloween fell right smack in the middle of it all. Bummer it rained almost all day Saturday.)

The PM commute didn’t have the interaction of the AM ride…probably because Midtown is the epicenter of Pride Weekend…whereas Sandy Springs (the direction I travel at nights..and where I live) is more, what’s the word, boring?

Anyway, Elvis could have sat next to me on the train and I wouldn’t have known. Thank you Dead until Dark for continuing to engage me to the point of almost missing my station.

A special shout out to Phish fans.. this year’s annual Halloween cover was Exile on Main St. The Rolling Stones. Good stuff. Hope you enjoyed it.

TTFN.