Thursday, January 21, 2010

205 – LOL

So this week I am reading Why We Suck by Denis Leary.

I gotta say I am loving it. To the point of laughing a little bit too loudly on the train. Yes, this week all the strange stares are coming my way. I guess random fits of laughter stand out this day in age… whereas drunken pleas for money and people yelling that we are all going to Hell are hardly worth a second glance.

Anyway, Denis’ rants are a legendary part of his standup routines..and he’s been able to convey the wit and laser sharpness of his dialogue onto the page. If I wasn’t so entertained by it, I’d totally be jealous.

In this book, I think Denis is hoping to explain why the rest of the World wants to blow us up and generally wreck havoc on us. He’s not advocating they do so…he’s simply shedding light on some of the ridiculous facets of American culture (like how Tom Cruise’s kid being born is the third story on the evening news/the overreaction to Nipple-gate while at the same time the almost constant Viagra ads running during the same show never got a mention/parents who fail to parent, etc.) that makes them desire to do so. And man, when you see all the ammo we as a country provide for him, it’s hard not to agree.

I am a fan of anyone who questions pretty much anything, so I’d recommend Why We Suck hands down. As does my friend Julie M in Charlotte who said, “I've read it. Made me laugh out loud.” And she’s from Brockton, Mass originally…a city known for their tough crowds.

In closing, as Denis’ dad said, “No owes you anything and being born into a free society means you get to say whatever the hell you want…but it doesn’t mean anyone has to listen.”

Well said sir, well said. And fortunately, we now have blogs..which provide a place for those of us with something to say to wax poetic..even if no one really wants to hear it. Or read it, as it were.

206 – Yeah, that’d be Me

In case you were wondering, that girl wearing the Chuck Taylors and carrying a food processor on the train Tuesday night? Was me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

207 - In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that…and he was right on.

My company was open on Monday as we don’t get any “official” holidays between Jan 1 and Memorial Day…(tho we sometimes get a floating holiday in that very long stretch). As I was still battling a head cold from hell - with the added bonus of a fever – I stayed home. And slept the day away.

I wonder why it is that all of us that pay Federal taxes do not get the benefit of all the Federal holidays? Either we should get those days off, or we should pay a reduced tax rate since we don’t get the benefit of that time off. Seems only fair to me.

Ladies and gentleman, I think I just came up with my presidential platform should I ever run for office.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

210 - Just so you know...

If you are wanting to ride the Marta bus make sure you are actually standing at an actual bus stop.

I say this because I found out today that if you are standing by the directional sign that looks very similar to the bus stop signs they totally won't stop.

It took three buses whizzing by me before I figured out what the hell was going on. And when I was all of three feet from the "real" bus stop a fourth one went by me too.

In the words of Frank Costanza, "serenity now"......

Thursday, January 14, 2010

211 - The Sound of Silence

Well, I couldn't drag my carcass out of bed in time for the 7:45 bus this morning. It was simply too warm and toasty to get up. Of course by refusing to get moving that meant I had to walk to the train. I simply didn't have the time to wait for the next bus.

I have to say, it really wasn't a terrible way to start my day. By last week's standards, it was warm (22 degrees) and I didn't acutally have to speak to anyone until I arrived at my office. Starting the day without getting bombared with a ton of words has its charms.

As I sat on the train enjoying the sounds of the morning, less chatter aimed at me, and my magazine, I recalled a quote by Marcel Marceau that I once read. He said that silence is full of music. Today, I'd have to agree with him.

212 - International Man of Mystery

So, I heard French, Chinese and Japanese spoken this morning on the way addition to the standard English.

The French people, not so extroverted. One girl and one guy...he (or if you prefer the French pronoun, il) hit me with his work bag and either didn't notice (I was the only other passenger on the bus) or he didn't care. I am no French scholar but I did take it in high school, and it seems he should have at least said excusez-moi. Then again, he is French.

I then encountered two teen-aged (or at least they looked like teenagers to me) Japanese girls. Both with beautiful skin, stick straight almost blue hair (Jealous, party of one..that's me!), and leggings under their tunics. Sidebar - Apparently, the tunic/legging outfit is the new teenage uniform. When I was in the teenage army, its uniform included big hair, pegged pant legs and, how times change. Anyway, no clue what they were talking about...but they seemed to be having a jolly time.

And finally, I witnessed the international language of love in the form of a lovely Chinese couple who conveyed to me without any words I could understand that they were absolutely mad for each other. He touching her had when he spoke, she looking at him with twinkling eyes. I may not know Chinese, but at least I know love when I see it.

All this watching brought an interesting question to my mind: Is it evesdropping if you can't understand a single word anyone is saying?

Readers, what say you?

213 - A Wave of Sadness..which isn't the follow up song to Wave of Mutilation

No post for Monday..was in Texas for meetings. No one really wants to hear about my turbulent experiences on that slingshot of a plane.

So, onto Tuesday!

I got in late last night so I was beat this morning. Made my way in with no drama. So, the day was off to a good start.

Usually, I am neither in a happy or a sad mood...I sorta just "am"...if that makes sense. But today, as I took my seat and set about my day, I, for the first time in my life, felt a deep sadness roll over me. And the intensity of the feeling actually scared the hell out of was as if all the hopes I had disappeared and there was nothing within me. I am telling you, If I could have left the room without anyone noticing I would have done so, post haste.

I have no real clue what triggered this feeling. The bad thing about an epiphany of this magnitude is that it cannot be ignored. At least it can't be ignore for too long.

And now, I've got to figure out what that sadness meant...and what I've got to do to either keep it at bay or deal with it better the next time it rears its ugly head. Because I sure don't care to ever feel that way again.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

217 - I Crossed a Snowman with a Vampire...I got Frostbite

I awoke to discover that Alabama defeated Texas in the Rose Bowl and ice was everywhere in and around Atlanta. Further, I soon ascertained that Marta had suspended my bus yours truly would have to hoof it (ever so carefully) to the train station if I wanted to get to the office. And oh yeah, it was 2 degrees outside.

What a glourious start to my morning.

I made it to the train station without falling or witnessing any accidents. I consider this the first miracle of 2010.

As you might imagine, only the heartiest souls were making the ride into the City today. I must conclude that this evening's commute will be even lighter.

The intersection at Peachtree and 15th proved the most hazardous area of my commute. Some dude in a Jag got stuck on the hill and ended up almost back sliding into a Marta bus. And he was in the oncoming lane too. Just goes to show that money can't by brains I guess. Anyway, I was on my way to offer a push when a truck pulled over and several guys hopped out to help.

No longer needed, I made my way to my office and by the time I looked out the window to see if everything was OK, everyone was gone and off to start their own day. And I then embarked upon my 20 minute disrobing exercise so that I could start mine too.

218 - When 27 Degrees felt like a Heatwave

On what was, so far, the warmest day of the week, I scored a ride to work. Or rather to an early ass meeting in Buckhead. (For all of you out there who might ever invite me to an event, please note a 7:30 start time is not my idea of a good time.)

When I got picked up this morning the temperature was 27 fun loving degrees. And wonder of wonder the "feels like" temperature was 27 too! It was so warm I didn't even wear a hat out to the car. Guess I better get out the sunscreen as a day at the pool can't be far behind.

The real concern this morning was trying to decide if I should haul my (uninsulated) rain boots into the office. A wintry mix was anticipated for the evening commute and I didn't want to find myself in Midtown unprepared. I can handle cold (though I don't like it) but cold and wet feet, not so much. I decided to roll the dice and chance it. We'll see if I made the right call.

We had a few flurries this afternoon but nothing major. I am so glad I didn't drag those damn boots down here after all.

Snapped this photo of the fountain (yes, it the same one) on my way to Marta tonight...train rolled in and out without a glitch and the bus was waiting for me this evening when I arrived at Dunwoody.

By and large, a perfect commute home!

219 - Sardines..Hey and Pork and Beans


Today's starting commute temp: 19 degrees with a "feels like" temp of 5. We are making progress boys and girls!

As mentioned in the 220 post, I had an early appointment this morning. That said, I made a point to catch an earlier bus & train to make sure I was on time...perhaps even early. Thank God I did so.

Once again, the train arrived at Dunwoody and was fully packed. And for the first time since I started this experiment, no one offered me a seat. Which was OK..but a little surprising nonetheless.

We creeped Southbound (and I mean creeped!) and when we got to Buckhead we were inundated with an entire train full of more Southbound passengers. Their train broke down so they joined us in the sardine can that was our train car.

This sardine can atmosphere, of course, reminded me of the song Sardines, Hey and Pork and Bean by the DC go-go group, The Junkyard Band. DC folks, I am sure you'll recall this tune..everyone else, check this out to learn more.

Anyway, I only had two more stops to go before I disembarked so I figured this wouldn't be too bad. Except I was standing and therefore I soon found myself in the middle of the train car. And an equal distance from both doors. Not ideal, but not the end of the World either.

We then chugged onto the Lindberg station, where even more people piled on...and as we pulled out of that station I tried to not panic while simultaneously working my way to the door. Between the Staypuft marshmallow coats, the backpacks, luggage and the sheer number of people, I felt like I was running the gauntlet. Factor in the herky jerky motion of the train and it's nothing short of a miracle that I didn't crash into/onto anyone!

Commuter tip #78: Folks, if you are blocking the door on a train that is crowded, step off the train at the station so that those of us disembarking can do so. Then you can hop right back on. This is not rocket science, just common courtesy. When you fail to move, those of us trying to exit will be forced to push by you in a rather gruff manner. We've only got about 20 seconds before the train rolls on. So move it, chief!

After bouncing off folks like a pinball, I finally got off the train. And as I climbed the stairs to exit the station, I looked back at the still packed train and I thanked my lucky stars that I don't suffer from claustrophobia.


Q: What do you do when it's 28 degrees (but feels all of 18) when you have a 25 minute (if it's running on time) wait (outside) for your bus?

A: Ride one more stop and make the 10 minute walk home..and haul ass while doing so.

Here's another shot of the same fountain I posted a few days ago. As you can see, the weather is getting worse instead of better. So much for progress.

220 - Sadly, Tuesday is not the new Friday

Well, another shitty start today. I apparently turned the alarm off somewhere in the snooze cycle. Which meant I woke up at 7:15 instead of 6:45. I made like a bread truck and hauled buns to the bus stop by 8AM.

After 7 minutes waiting in 4 degree weather I said, out loud, to myself, "where the f*&^ is the bus?"

After another 8 minutes of waiting I decided I'd start walking to the train station.

(sidebar - I need a watch, pronto. Mine broke over Christmas and the Iphone requires one to remove their gloves in order to activate the screen and check the time...which sucks in this kind of weather.)

Just then the elusive 105 bus ran a red light and retrieved me. And unfortunately the cute driver from yesterday was nowhere in sight. Instead, Mr. No Personality was back. Great.

Given my propensity to oversleep this week, I reached two conclusions on the way in:
1 - I am going to have to miss The Biggest Loser premier tonight as I simply need more shut eye time; and
2 - I've got to get up and moving tomorrow AM with no delays. I've got a doctor's appointment in the morning...and I can't be late.

Wish me luck...and let me know how the new Biggest Loser cast is.

221 - The Return of the Cold War

Horrible start to the first working Monday of 2010. I set my alarm for 6:30 PM instead of I shot out of bed already behind schedule. Year is off to a raging least I still made the 7:45 bus.

Plus, I am stressed out. I bought a new book to record my thoughts/stories for use in the blog and I am now freaking out about getting it all dirty with my writings. Most people are probably daunted staring at so many blank pages thinking they'll never be able to fill them. Not me! I know my fellow Atlantans will provide lots of fuel to feed the blog fire.

Today's starting commute temp?: 17 degrees...with a "feels like" reading of 4. That's right, I said 4. As I stood outside waiting for the bus today I thought I'd could very happily never work outside the home again. After being fortunate to have so much time off I am dreading going back. I've been out so long I am not even used to getting up anymore. And starting out the day feeling like I've been hit with air from a blow dryer that emits an Arctic blast isn't making things any better.

In the silver lining department, we had another new AM driver today. And he reminded me a bit of Morris Chestnut. Translation = he's really cute. Hopefully he's our new permanent driver as I am still not a big fan of Mr. No Personality who I've mentioned before.

Ahem, back to the brutality of this cold weather. Imagine, if you will, being stabbed in your nasal cavity with an icicle. That pretty much sums up today's AM commute.

And then a dude on the elevator at the Dunwooody station tells me this ridiculousness is estimated to last for 15 days. Gee, thanks for sharing. Maybe you can find some puppies to drown Mr. Sunshine.

When the train finally rolled in a large number of folks appeared out of nowhere. (They must have been hiding in stairwells to stay out of the cold. That or they were beamed in from the Starship Enterprise.)

We all hustled aboard to find an already crowded train car. And considering we are only the 3rd stop on the route, this was very odd. With temps so low I've no idea why ridership was up today.

I have two theories: 1 - Maybe lots of folks made New Year resolutions to be "greener" or 2 - Gas prices are up again. If the former, I guess that is good news but right about now Georgia could use a little Global Warming action. If the latter, I'd have no way of knowing since I can't tell you the last time I checked gas prices. And that statement is oddly freeing.

The PM ride how was just as crowded and just as cold. On the way back to MARTA I snapped shown above. This pretty much says it all. In fact, my cousin may use it on the evening newscast in Green Bay, Wisconsin this evening..and if it's news worthy there, that is saying something.